March 30, 2002
Experience Points, Etc.

I'm sticking with the 1 spend every 5 sessions bit.

It's a low powered game, so I'm thinking 1 base point per session, plus 1 per Diary with enough detail to let me know what your character did and maybe his/her plans. The details that stand out in my mind may not be the ones that stand out in yours. The non-secret version of the diaries to be posted here in the blog, secret portions sent to me.

Game Log. How about we rotate the Game Log chore each session and give the logger an extra 2 points for it?

Stat raises limited to +5 points or less per Stat per spend. There are no Ranks.

No extra points for food. The GM is fat enough already.

New powers limited to the buy-in cost at first. No Instant Karma for 'initiation' powers, but the power's reliability will be poor until paid for, and that's where all the points go until it is paid for.

Stuff can be raised or lowered only 1 point per spend.

Sound good? Bad? Comments please.

REFINING YOUR CHARACTER

You can reshuffle your points a bit for the next two sessions, excluding things that have already been demonstrated in-game.


ADDITION TO RESOURCES

Also, an addition to the Resources: EXPERTISE. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO COMBAT SKILLS. It's meant to cover things like Burglary (Breaking and Entering), Sleight of Hand, Hiding (costs double), Gambling, Hosting Parties, Sex God, etc. on the same basis of Useful and Very Useful, for 1 or 2 points. Useful will multiply the relevant Stat by x1.5, Very Useful by x2.

This is a result of trying to write up a super thief.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:54 PM
Amber Noble Families

The most important noble houses in Amber:
Feldane highest rank: duke
Bayle hr: marquis
Chantris hr: duke
Miramon hr: earl
Kandive hr: earl
Nominal rank is not a good indicator of real power. For instance, Baron Bayle the vintner is far richer than his cousin Marquis Bayle.

No, I’m not going to make up family trees for all of them. At least not right
away.

The higher (duke, marquis, earl, viscount, baron) titles are attached to land. If the land is sold, the title passes if the buyer is already a noble or convinces the Crown to ennoble him. Children of a titled noble are lords or ladies. Lord/lady is a lifetime title, it is not inheritable. Life peerage (lord/lady) can also be granted for merit, royal whim or (it is rumored) for a really good bribe. Knighthood is considered equivalent to life peerage but is awarded only for military service to the Crown.

Bold = in town

There are more nobles but my brain may explode as it is.

FELDANE


  • Duke Viton Feldane:
    old, crusty, opinionated, tolerated

  • Duchess Shainn Feldane:
    third and trophy wife, beautiful, elegant, not as dumb as she pretends

  • The Duke’s brother, Baron
    Emrys Feldane,
    the Royal Chancellor

  • Baroness Iliza, brilliant manager, effective co-director of the Feldane businesses with > Viscount Callan, less brilliant and more ruthless, grandson of the Duke

  • Landisse, a famous artist (painting, sculpture)

  • Breggor, Iliza’s wastrel son, about to be sent off with the Feldane fleet

  • Owen

  • Wade

  • Caill

  • Lelia


CHANTRIS


  • Duke Astolf Chantris youngish (only ~100), dynamic, shaking things up

  • Duchess Lornaya, very sharp, daughter of a prosperous lesser trading house

  • Countess Elsia, very old, very mean, very perceptive

  • Earl Admiral Steffan, head of family ops in Shandora and heading up the military action there

  • Roxanna, sweet young thing

  • Zacamar, Steffan’s nephew, Lornaya’s second while Astolf is away; smart and tough

  • Ezmay, Zacamar’s daughter, ambitious, already fairly successful with 3 ships of her own


BAYLE


  • Marquis Harcord Bayle, rural gentleman known mainly for breeding horses

  • Count Fenton, the marquis’ son, runs the trading empire part of the family

  • Morden, Fenton’s son and right hand man

  • Margali, Fenton’s much-younger sister, a flamboyant figure

  • Baron Griffin Bayle, the vintner, even richer than the count

  • Vinta Bayle

  • Varela Bayle

  • Violante Bayle, the baron’s three competetive daughters, good-looking, rich and getting richer


MIRAMON


  • Earl Lowell Miramon,
    old but looks middle aged, eccentric, a master mage

  • Countess Vira, an out-shadow princess and something of a nag

  • Baron Tammas, head of the trade fleet, specializes in magical objects, supplies

  • Baroness Drusilla, a notable sorceress with surprising mercantile talent

  • Liam, Tammas’ son, known for ruthlessness

  • Adriana, Liam’s sister, a wild and crazy girl


KANDIVE


  • Countess Mara, old, scheming, ruthless

  • Lord Theron, talented but his mother’s tool

  • Forrest, Mara’s half brother and enforcer

  • Tiazia,

  • Kedric

  • Dame Nyctasia, crown
    emissary, sorceress, healer, spy, not at all what Mara had in mind;

  • Joslyn


Posted by Trimmer at 04:13 PM
Chaosian War Stuff

All four major Chaosite armies are doing, broadly, the same things. They are moving from nexus shadow (one with lots of shadow paths radiating out from it) to another, scouting via shadow paths and Logrus travel. They make a gateway, with each end on major shadow path points, (something that seems to take a lot of effort and some time) and move the bulk of their forces directly through this shortcut. The gateways, thus far, cross only from one region of shadow to an adjacent one. Gerard has not managed to destroy any well-established gateway with Pattern, despite the fact that they’re based on shadow paths.

Amber itself is two regions away. They rely mostly on troops out of shadows on their route. Some of these troops are unchanged while most are magically enthralled to some degree.


The Hendrakes work something like Huns or Mongols. They destroy a few towns as examples and get others to surrender out of fear. They prefer cavalry and other kinds of fast-moving troops. They institute the worship of themselves among all conquered peoples and eradicate the native religions. Local shamans and mages become lesser priests in the cults.

They are currently focusing on the empire of Shandora (Shadow Shandora, ‘Napoleonic’, secret and not too adept mages in competing cabals, major textile source for the House of Chantris, clandestine relations with Amber, which is “across the Great Mother Ocean”, commoners and most others unaware of the reality of Shadow.) after conquering a large region of plains. Something along the lines of enslaved Cossacks and Turks driven towards the Austrian Empire by demons.

Hendrake troops include some elite, semihuman heavy cavalry out of Chaos, several thousands of beastmen, a few hundred wyverns, fifty-odd Fiends (khrazall demons), a couple of thousand hellmaids, razorbeaked birds, and about ten thousand “tandu” – insect-centaurs the size of a pony. The rest are horsemen of the plains and hordes of cannon fodder infantry, most of them half-zombied out. A very few human mages are attached to the army.

Early aerial terror and assassination raids were mostly called off as the locals learned to keep their important people out of the upper floors, as they started taking a good toll on attackers with musket fire and grapeshot, and as the Chantris advisors saw to it that more effective fire fighting methods (mostly magical) were spread around.

The Jesbys prefer more use of divide-and-conquer, seeking out the traditional enemies of their initial foes and helping them conquer their neighbors. Meanwhile, they spread the Chaos-cults and make demonstrations of impressive supernatural power to help their claims of godhood. Allied leaders are marked and set up for later assassination or enthrallment.

The Jesby gateway is located in the coastal sea of Johrom (Shadow Johrom, short & wide lizardmen, moderate magic, Amberish tech, lots of little states in the south and 3 big ones in the north, quarrelsome and grudge-prone) and they initlally attacked and took three good-sized ports on the east coast. The Johroma are sufficiently diverse that the Chaosians seem like usable allies to many groups.

Jesby forces include some thousands of pony-sized aquatic mass-of-tentacle demons, thousands of beastmen, two or three score Fiends, thousands of 10-foot ogreish infantry, about ten thousand centaur ‘heavy cavalry’, the razorbeak birds, lots of semi-zombied pikemen (or pikelizardmen) from the conquered cities.

Miramon House and Kandive House have been active in Johmon for many years, based in opposite directions from the Johmon subcontinent. The aquatic demons take a heavy toll of ships sent in to Johmon.


The Chanicuts have taken happily to ships and naval warfare. They are working their way along the Imperial Isles of Chelaya (Shadow Chelaya, aquamarine colored near-humans, 16th Century tech, cannons, some magic but few effectual practitioners) trashing opposing fleets right and left with sorcery and Logrus and enthralled carcharadons. They continually seek out ships elsewhere and buy, steal, trick or magic them from their owners.

Chanicuts use the ubiquitous beastmen and razorbirds. Their 5 – 10 ton giant, semi-sapient sharks are their main subaquatic force. They like real, undead zombies for galleys.

While all the Chaosites install their own favored cults, the Chanicuts are fanatics at rooting out any competition.

Feldane House has dealt the Chanicuts a few setbacks and Gerard managed a major Pyrrhic victory that slowed them down for well over a year – but exhausted the local allies involved.


The Helgrams are harder to judge. One, they’re sneakier, and two, they’re operating in an area of Shadow that Amber has had little interest in, a region rich in shapeshifters, vampires and the like. You might call it the White Wolf region. They seem to be subverting individual rulers, taking over native demon cults, assassinating white magicians, going after the heads of the vampire and were groups. They have troops around but not in big masses, or at least not out in the open.

Houses Miramon and Bayle have lost a fair number of scouts and spies there. Some Amber crown emissaries are there now.


There was also a berserker-type attack on Rebma two years ago that got pretty close to Queen Moire before being shredded. Some of the Lords of Chaos involved got away.

Posted by Trimmer at 02:19 PM
March 27, 2002
Major Schools of Sorcery

Mages you actually met are _emphasized_

1-4* prestige rating

**** the Floating Spire School; ~100 students master: Archmage Eldevon (the Chairman of the Guiding Council of the Brotherhood) -- a too-charming, middle-aged, blond man said to be one of the most powerful mages of the age. Eldevon is over 400 years old, the school over 900. Other teachers: Rhialto the Magnificent, Gilgad, Mune, Dr Shrew, Hurtch.
Archmage Eldevon seemed eager to help, though greedy. He promised 20 advanced students and Rhialto, Shrew and Hurtch.

*** the Old Citadel School; ~40 students master: Archmage Minhyrdin other teachers: Tryggant, Rosamund and Otaru. Otaru, a slender Asian fellow of indeterminate age, was less pushy than the others. He was the one who mentioned the reports of a whole shadow being destroyed. He promised 10 senior students and, if possible, two masters.

**** the Glass Castle School; 15 students (very exclusive) master: Archmage Elenae, a stunning, black, regal woman, was the most avaricious of the bunch though very genteel about it. Her school's specialty is scrying. She promised three students.

** the Belladonna School; ~30 students master: Archmage Rihar, who appeared as an aged, white-haired man of comforting, grandfatherly aspect. Allowed himself to be talked into supplying 6 senior students and one master. Other teacher: Dr. Ma'ith, an elderly but competent sorceress.

** the Autumn Moon School; ~20 students co-masters: Shining Crane and Mud Turtle, elderly and wise-looking Asians who seemed very sharp. They said they were convinced that Dom-Daniel was on the invaders' list of targets. They promised 5 senior students and themselves.

*** the Burning Peak School; ~45 students master: Dr. Ryll, an athletic, stocky, dark-haired man with a no-nonsense attitude. Very businesslike. Other teachers: Dosh and Kuwirrish. Ryll promised 10 senior students and all three teachers. He seemed dissatisfied with his bargain.

Nubile sorceresses Anais, Daphne, Ione, Margaux and Sabine were sicced on Thirteen by, respectively, Burning Spire (A and D), Glass Castle and Burning Peak. Sabine claimed to be unaffilliated. Not sure how many bagged him. A couple of prettyboys tried too. I assume they failed.


Eldevon, Otaru, Elenae and Ryll wanted to talk further in private.

Many of them had been attending the Brotherhood's Assemblage at Belken (held every 7 years [Amber] for one month, now half over) and Trumped in using the wall-Trumps at the Brotherhood's chapter house. Most planned to return there. Eldevon invited Toriana and Thirteen to attend as his guests and mentioned that a number of seldom-seen mages were in attendance.

Belken is protected by the god/genius loci Bel. One must swear to refrain from harming or killing the other attendees. The god enforces the oath by teleporting transgressors out into a nearby, unpleasant, shadow.


Dom-daniel versus Belken during the Assemblage:
Dom-daniel is like social/working everyday Hollywood, with magic subbing for technology. Belken during the festival is more like a combination of Disneyland, a sci-fi convention, Carnival, a national mafia gathering and a tech fair, with magic subbing for tech.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:25 PM
March 24, 2002
Session One Quote

Hopefully someone else remembers this better than I do:

"Sir John drills #13 mercilessly all week." --GM, meaning fighting drills.
Several disturbed looks: "That doesn't sound good."

Posted by Trimmer at 10:26 PM
March 19, 2002
#13's Report, Session 1

Since I may or may not still be in contact with #2, I shall endeavor to keep track of the new mind fragmentation device.

Last night whist I preparing for bed, I noticed that there was a new surveillance device in my room. This could only mean that our beloved current #2 had fallen into disrepute and had been done away with. They some times return, so it always pays to do your best for them while they are in charge.

I put my clothes back on and headed to the green dome to find out from the Butler what had happened. He told me that there was nothing going on and to come back in the morning. Good, at least I wasn't to blame for whatever had gone wrong. The night was kind of early, and now that the new #2 was in charge I felt a bit randy, and headed out for #46's place. She was more then ready and willing. I also made sure to say the word that she called "Ann" when I came...It seemed to do
something for her.

Around 2:00 she booted me out into the grey night. I made my way back to my place and shortly after that the power went out. No problem, the Village utility workers would soon put it right. time went by..still no one came, odd. I looked out the window and I noticed all of the power was off to the entire Village. Damn, must be someone trying to make another "escape" (like there was anywhere else besides "the Village"). Soon after I heard a loud explosion. Now I was curious, But to be on the safe side with the Rover's about I decided to keep to my cottage.

Sitting in the darkness, I soon heard the door open. Good, the Utility Worker had shown up, now things would be back to normal. I stood up and greeted them, and was assaulted with a flurry of blows. Blackness.

I awoke in a strange room. Not mine. Very old fashioned furniture. The kind you see in the Old Folks Home. Maybe I had screwed up, or at the very least the new #2, with some help from his new lackey's, was trying to divine the loyalty of the inhabitants of the Village. Looking around the room I could see no surveillance devices, but I did spy a small window. At least I could figure out where I was. I got out of bed (my head now hurt), and made my way to the window. I looked out over a large mountain and some formal gardens. Definitely not the village. They must have perfected the mind control device (UMCD). That old thing has not been used in years. That will teach me...Just because something did not work once doesn't mean that it can't be fixed.

As I was contemplating what was going on, A short, old scar-faced mane entered the room followed by a moving mountain, and a short brunette. The Mountain's voice boomed out at me (ok, so they need to fix the volume on the UMCD).

"I'm Gerard and this file says that you are one of my Nephew's. You are in Amber now, and I want to see if you are worthy.

I politely introduced myself as "#13". The mountains brow furrowed at this

"You" as he pointed at the short Brunette "take him out back and put him through his paces"

The Mountain turned on his heel's followed by Scarface, I told them "be seeing you" as they retreated down the hall. The short Brunette grabbed me and drug me out into one of the Formal gardens I had seen.

The short brunette threw a long metal pointed rod to me. it had a handle on one end with a cup over it, and the other was a very sharp point. She told me to pick it up and yelled "en gard" and attacked. Now Miss Engard was very good at this. It took everything that I had to keep her from hitting me. She did nail me quite often early on but I soon got the hang of blocking her. That night one of the staff nurse' tended to my cuts.

This scenario would repeat it's self for the next few days until I was able to not only keep Miss Engard from cutting me, but I was almost able to hit her at will. The odd thing about Miss Engard was that every time I tried to strike up a conversation with her, she would attack. Quite the opposite of the effect the word "Ann" had on #46.

For a little break Engard decided to show me some of the fauna of this place. We walked over to a giant building far from the castle. We walk in and went over to a stall with a large beast in it. She told me that this was a "horse" and that I was meant to ride it. I asked why one would do this instead of waiting for the Taxi. She gave me an odd look and told me that there were no Taxi's. So for most of the day I was either on top of the beast or somewhere near by it on the ground.

The next day Scarface showed up instead of Engard. And again I was at a severe disadvantage. This too lasted for several days. A few times I was able to tag Scarface. I was bruised, battered and cut to ribbons after a week of this torture, but I had had worse, I would not be broken so easily.

The next morning as Scarface prepared the next day of torture, Gerard showed up. Gerard looked me up and down with a slight grin on his face and said.

"so you think that all of this is a drug induced delusion do you, well I've got something that will put you right".

He had Scarface grab me and drag me down a set of stairs I thought would never end, at the end of which stood a stolid, locked door. Gerard opened the door, grabbed me by the shoulders, pointed to a glowing spiral on the floor, and told me.

"You are going to walk the pattern, if you slow down, I'll kill you. If you stop, I'll kill you. If you turn around, I'll kill you. If you step off, I'll kill you."

With that little bit of encouragement he frog stepped me over to the glowing spiral and placed one of my feet upon it. I looked back over at him, he was gleefully juggling a dagger, and decided the best course of action was to proceed walking. The walk was odd, but no odder then all of the things that I had seen since I had arrived here.

When I got to the end of the Spiral, I looked over at Gerard. He had finished his dagger play and was now tossing some little bit of all right on the glowing spiral. I got his attention and told him "Gerard sir, I'm sorry, but I seemed to have run out of any place to walk". He glowered at me and told me to "visualize being next to me". Of course...the UMCD would have little safe guard bits like this in it. I put my mind to it and found myself standing right next to him. The purple haired bird was still going through the walk.

When the girl got done, she popped in next to us and gave me a smug look. Gerard told us that he had a job for the both of us. He next looked at me and told me that I had to have a proper name, not some damn number, and to run the name by him for approval. The purpled haired bird looked up at Gerard and said "Uu-uuu Daddy, can I name him Huh, can I pleeeease". Gerard gave her a dismissive look, and rolled his eyes and said ok. She looked at me and said "I shall call him Reese". She seemed quite pleased with herself.

So, looking at how things stand #1 is unknown of course (though, Gerard has mentioned somebody named "Dworkin"), Gerard is #2, and the Purpled hair Strumpet is #3 (it seems that she is #2's Daughter), and of course Scarface is The Butler (he has since introduced himself as Sir John Gaunt). I still need to find out who The Supervisor is, and what the rules for the game that we're playing are. Maybe even what game we are playing.

Sir John Gaunt grabbed me and took me to a women named Duchess Chantris. She guided me through all sorts of strange and bizarre protocol situations. Some of them were very close to how things were done in the Village, others were just plain odd. But I soon mastered them all, and was sent to see Gerard again.

I was paired up with #3 whom Gerard told me her name was "Toriana" (why they couldn't just stick with numbers is beyond me. It makes everything so much easier), and went on to talk about some plan of his to make a bunch of "wizards" happy. I was to be Toriana's bodyguard (que some Whitney Houston), and she was to smooze a bunch of "wizards" in to helping Amber.

We went off in to something called "shadow" (I've seen better effects done by #27's drugs), and soon "arrived" at a place filled with the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Toriana blathered on about all sorts of things which were punctuated with "Come here Reese....Lets go over there Reese....Follow me Reese....Say hello to nice Wizard so-and-so Reese". How annoying.

I soon found that I was in much demand with these "wizard's", at least the female ones. When Toriana had decided that she was going to be safe, she dismissed me, and I had the most sex and sex partners in my life (of course #2 was trying a new tactic to break me, I of course played along). When several days had gone by Toriana told me that it was time to go, so we "travelled" back to Amber.

Toriana filled Gerard in about what had happened, and that all had gone well with the "Wizards". They had signed on to help Amber. Toriana left and Gerard told me to go pick a room that had not been sealed or taken by someone else, and to meet him back here for some "Pattern" training.

Posted by Stan at 10:52 PM
March 15, 2002
Answers to some of Stan's Questions

Amber is cosmopolitan, literally. Full nudity is strongly discouraged and cleanliness is strongly encouraged. There are lots of public baths with competitive rates; they get tax breaks. Royal infuence on fashion has made reasonably comfortable clothes that one can fight in the norm for Amber locals. Elaborate getups like 50 pound jewel encrusted robes with pope hats or Elizabethan court dress are "foreign" and inferior and somewhat ridiculous. Amber has many fine tailors.

Duchess Chantris is not on staff, she's doing the Regent a favor. She's up for an ambassadorial post.

The black haired chick who showed 13 around, and abducted him, and delivered Gerard's message to Jacob, is Dame (knighted) Tanitheel, crown agent. Sir John is the senior and chief crown agent. Most of the dozen or so crown agents are male. Two others besides Tanitheel are known to be shapeshifters, both of them Weir.

...Which elders are alive, dead, or known to be in prison?

Officially Dead: Oberon, Eric, Caine (Gerard knows almost nothing reliable
of what happened at the Courts), Random, Osric, Finndo, all Oberon's wives.

Missing/Estranged/Unknown: Delwin and Sand/Alessandra.

Exiled: Mirelle, Random's older sister. Blamed Oberon for her mother's
madness and suicide. Missing for centuries. Exiled for insulting the King in
public.

Captured or Killed in Chaos: Benedict, Corwin, Deirdre, Brand, Bleys, Fiona,
Llewella, Florimel, Julian, Martin. Few Lords of Chaos were captured alive
and none lived long under questioning. Amberites were captured or killed by
various Houses who did not share reliable information with each other. So
Gerard really doesn't know. One captive claimed that Florimel survived and
was a duke's concubine.

Enemies: Dara (descendant of Benedict known to be working with the Hendrake
forces), Merlin (supposedly Dara's and Corwin's son; presumed to be among
the Hendrakes)


What are the names of the Castle staff? Standard per Amber DRPG? or the
Source book? or do you have a list o' name's somewhere?

Working on it.
- Count Emrys Feldane is Chancellor. Prior to the new war he was Gerard's chief advisor, more or less interior minister. Old, energetic, brilliant, rich, loyal to Amber.

- Col. Sir Bors is the commander of the Royal Guard and in charge of the city's defenses and the Arden cavalry patrols. [Brian Blessed]

- Captain Fenmor is commander of the Arden rangers. Near in these are commando archers with some trained also as snipers -- though rifles with Amber ammo are only issued at need. Farther out in the many shadows of Arden rangers are recruited locally: Dunedain, Iroquois, Hawkeye-types, Weir, Gurkha-types, elfin types, etc.

-Chief Steward Varjis runs the Castle staff with near-invisible efficiency as
he has for nearly forty years.

-Masseurs: Hans and Gretchen (married couple) and Sato.
-Mages: Masters Chango [Cheech Marin in middle age] and Elmor [Blues]. More
technicians than anything else. For combat mages Gerard can draw upon the
nobility (half have some magic) and the crown agents (most are suspected to
be sorcerers and/or Broken Pattern initiates).

-Royal Trump Artist: on loan from Queen Moire of Rebma, Baroness Kelamon.
Princess Toriana's mother. Currently very busy making Trumps for military
ops.

I'll happily take suggestions for others, especially personality snapshots and actor lookalikes:
-Stewards
-Master of the Kitchens
-Cooks
-Master of the Stables
-Grooms
-Cellarer
-Master of the Baths
-Chief Page (The pages are mostly children -- of both sexes -- of nobles, soldiers and castle staff from age 12 to 16. Pages usually go on to castle staff or military apprentice positions. The Chief Page traditionally runs a tight ship, with slackers getting the shit beat out of them until they improve.)
-Falconer

Most of the Castle staff don't live in the Castle though there is a (mostly) rotating night shift. The royals pay well.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:59 PM