April 05, 2004
Notes, One

In the old, old days, there were the real Shroudlings in their little island in the Abyss which they held together with Binding power and magic. They were humanoid and limited shapeshifters: cats, birds, serpents. They also had access to the Dark Well power which did not drive them mad.

The Serpent showed up out of the Abyss and was allowed to stay. It was relatively small and weak at the time. It is unclear whether it was hiding the "Eye of the Serpent", an Abyssal entity in its own right, or acquired it later. In any case it did acquire it and used it to create the Logrus, which vastly expanded the stable island. The Shroudlings retreated. The Serpent began a long program of designing and producing spawn to serve it. The Shroudlingoid line was most successful.

Real Shroudlings, Binders every one, are extremely set in their ways. Very few have any interest in the outside worlds. Pan Luum/ Pandelume and the Crow Girls are/were exceptions. Pan Luum was the greatest master and innovator of magic, bar none. Had the campaign continued, the fact that Riddle had stolen much of Pan Luum's knowlege would have been important. The Crow Girls, Pan Luum's great aunts, were fascinated by common people, mostly those of underclasses, living among them and sharing their lives. That made them very nearly invisible to Amberites and Chaosites alike.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:33 PM Comments (1)
September 23, 2003
Sticky?

So, in your opinion, who in Cry Havoc is sticky? (See Arref's description of same.)

Also, who among the NPCs?

When something bad is happening, all the PCs (with, I'll admit, probably the exception of Jacob) are good at going and telling people what's going on and trying to involve them, but my impression is that, in the day to day, the PCs are not very sticky.

Of the NPCs, it seems as though Flora might be sort of sticky. All three of the regents seem to be, in fact.

Posted by Doyce at 10:21 PM Comments (4)
Fighting ranks

Now that you've seen each other fighting full out vs. Tualua, your impressions:

There's Benedict,


Then Bleys,

Then Dara, Fineas, Jacob and Martin in no particular order,

Then Florimel, Thirteen and Rinaldo in no particular order,

Then Toriana and Galina.

Posted by Trimmer at 05:44 AM Comments (2)
September 17, 2003
COLLATED TACTICAL INFO

[information sources in brackets. PCs with relevant info will decide to share it or not. Ben’s info, Rinaldo’s, Lynxian info etc. is shared.]

BINDING LIMITS

Oaths aside, the Binding power is limited by supply. If you don’t limit your everyday uses to the bare minimum then you may not have enough banked (in the one central bank) to use it like mad when you need to.

Note that “bare minimum” is not part of the oath and Zhartra herself is hardly a paragon of virtue in this regard. She Bound Bendict and did Binding tricks on his Trump. She sure as hell uses it to defend herself as necessary. On the other hand, Jacob and Rinaldo are good enough with the power now to know that her supposedly Bound servants aren’t. None of the effects in her fortress involve taps.

Bindings are of two general types, fixed and continuous. With a fixed Binding, one shot should do forever. With an Elderkin or an Abomination you have to worry about it abrading the bonds away, so they include a tap. By the time an Abomination has healed enough to scratch at the walls, the slow trickle of Binding power has built up to unbreakable levels.

Zhartra would really like to have twenty Binders, just to be sure, but between the five or six of you and a hundred+ running taps, you can’t afford it.

TACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Jelerak has an array of troops and minions, so Benedict expect they’ll be used, as expendable distractions if nothing else. He doesn’t plan on bringing commandos or wizards (BP initiates) in at first but he’ll have some handy (Trumpable) and suggests you do the same.

Which elders to involve: Bleys? Flora? Benedict is going.

The enemy will probably try to impede our mobility. Possibilities start with teleport blocks, trick grass, archers, infantry and zombies.

Jelerak is known to use hordes of ghosts to soften up the opposition.


SPAWN OF R’LYEH [Zhartra via Rinaldo]

In the Abyss time, space, physics, matter and spirit are different in different places and times, changing, being created or destroyed.

Some things that crawl out of the Abyss change/are changed to more closely match the new parameters.

Most things don’t, can’t live here (the multiverse) and die or cease to exist.

The line of R’lyeh does not change and can thrive here -- though their progenitor and some of the line try to change local conditions to something more congenial. Their flesh is not made of normal matter, though it can be damaged. Their spirits or equivalents don’t really die but ‘sleep’ out of reach of Logrus Masters, Binders and (Dworkin told her) Pattern masters. If chopped to very small pieces, even microscopic ones, they will regenerate from some piece, slowly corrupting the matter around them to their own sort.

On the plus side, they heal very slowly. A serious wound might take a century or more to heal. When you put them down they stay down more than long enough to bind them.


TUALUA’S TRANSFORMATION POWER

Zhartra thinks that Jelerak used stored Binder power to crack Tualua’s and the Beast’s bindings. Otherwise Tualua should have broken out long ago.

[witnesses in Belken] In Semirama’s hands the transformation power is not a beam effect, it’s more like an air blast or a diffuse water cannon – and about as slow as a water cannon, say a bit under 100 mph. It is not affected by gravity or air resistance so it just keeps on going, becoming more and more diffuse and weak as it does. Semirama’s Transformation-power-and-magic aura was dazzlingly bright when she arrived in Belken and pretty dim when she left.

Unlike an exploding Coin, the transformation wave’s effect is deliberate. Everything it hits becomes stone, for instance, or quicksilver (S. did that in cutting the Archives out of the mountain they were hollowed out of). Fringe effects are random, like a coin’s transformation wave.

Holrune, BP initiate and hotshot wizard, got hit with the full force of a wave and was physically transformed but mentally intact.

TRANSFORMED WIZARDS

Most illustrious Brotherhood wizards had commo devices made as did most who had regular cross-shadow business or interests. Being part of the system was expensive.

[Toriana, Werewindle] The commo devices have been altered to transmit the transformation power across both levels of subspace. Pattern, BP glitching or, probably, strong magic can follow the transmission and strike the devices, destroying them. Tualua (?) will detect activity, given time, and can resist though this will generally kill the wizard linked to the device.

[Lynxian reports, Dara] Transformed wizards (“froggies”) work to kill or weaken Amber royals and Amber in general, and to infect more people. They are insane and dysfunctional to various degrees. The really messed up ones were quickly captured or killed. The Froggies still at large are the most functional, smartest and luckiest.

[Lynxia, Dara, Toriana] Frogging can be reversed with Pattern (driving the transformative power out with Prob control – beware the random transformation radiation that results. (Not dangerous to shielded – magic will do – people or things.) BP also works but is harder on the patient. Lynxian doctors are working on spells. Efforts to drain and store the tranformation power have failed, often with dangerous side effects.

[Holrune, the god Bel] The only centralized list of Brotherhood commo devices was in the Archive.

Lynxia was hit hard, losing 60% or more of their best doctors to transformation or murder.


SUBSPACE

[Chaosian experience] Near Subspace is divided into ‘cells’ identical to each separate shadow. [observation] Deep Subspace seems to be adjacent to all the cells.

Magic works in both levels. Trumps need extra power to penetrate subspace. Pattern (and, presumably, BP) works in both levels. Binding works.

[Dara, Fineas] It takes a lot of energy to defend against the cold of DS, either Binding or Pattern Defense or (fairly sure) magic. It takes a lot of energy to push through it with Pattern.

Subspace is much harder to access from Amber, Rebma or Tir Tarngir.

EMBELYON

The Archwizard Pandelume’s private pocket shadow, either created using some minor Source or found and modified. [13] It is the interior of a bubble roughly 20 miles in circumference. Lighting is diffuse, resulting in a sort of haze that restricts LOS to about one mile. There is a big palace/castle with a big pit outside it and Tualua in the pit. The countryside is mostly gardens, farmland and park forest, all recently degraded as if having Tualua around is hell on the ecology.

The spell 13 used to get there is called the Call to the Violent Cloud. The VC turns out to be huge (bus-sized) subspace elementals that transport you there. Dozens of even bigger (house-sized), enchanted and enhanced VCs were used in Belken to transport the Brotherhood archives. Witnesses thought that a couple of the VCs died in the doing.

Tualua, Jelerak or whomever are increasingly alert against intrusions.


BLOOD ARTIFACTS

Your blood, as you know, is magically and cosmically significant and useful. Distilled into carbon and iron it is even more so. Formed into a useful shape, in the right place and given a purpose by your will, it is even more so.

Simple blood artifacts do one thing. They enhance or do on their own one power trick. They can be made to do one thing very fast, or to do it while you do something else – though the power still comes from you. They can store those powers that can be stored: magic, binding energy, maybe others but not Pattern or Logrus or Trump. Energy stored this way is less easy to access than a Coin, but it is fairly safe from other people.

[Zhartra via Benedict] Iron is more flexible, in power application, than crystal and steel is better still.

Complex artifacts do a range of things, or one thing and store power to do it.

At the other extreme there is Werewindle. Werewindle does a variety of things but is primarily made to help Bind the Big Bads.

Artificial intelligence is possible, but A.I. designs – the good ones – are tightly held secrets and cost points. True A.I.s take years to develop and test. It’s easier to bind an elemental or a ghost into an artifact, though not necessarily wiser.

[Jacob] Jacob found reference to an artifact Delwin made to kill a 200 ton+ monster worm: a big spear or bolt with a blood-diamond head holding a couple of Coins and made to penetrate deep and then explode, the diamond shards likely to find vital organs, reinforced with a Binding to keep it intact and propelled by a big but simple telekinetic spell and a siege engine.

The proper place: each person can find/make the Power-friendly and creation-friendly (assemble via magic, mold steel by hand, whatever) shadow for each particular artifact design -- if they know the technique. More general shadows, for a range of designs, or even for different people can be found. Flora found one intuitively and kept the requirements as simple as possible. Toriana worked a simpler design from Flora’s site. Toriana knows how to find some kinds of Trumpy shadows. [Ben] Benedict knows the theory via Zhartra, though the Pattern specifics are something he’ll have to work out himself. Llewella is the queen of finding stuff in Shadow, outside of Dworkin. Bleys may or may not know stuff.

Delwin’s spear, for example, is tricky only in the Probability working of fragments hit vitals. A shadow to shape carbon powder to diamond with magic is not hard and the Binding is laid on it afterward. Coins are Coins.

{Finding/making Pattern sites is a Specialization, Trump sites is another one. One particular trick is a 1 pointer. Learning this and, later, paying for it will be trial and error unless you can get someone to train you.}


DOM-DANIEL was hit hard. Frogged wizards unleashed blights and disasters all over the place, murdered many of their colleagues and targeted the Bright Lady’s priesthood for special attention. Most of the BL’s priests seem to have survived and are leading the effort to track down and capture or kill the froggies. Her power can dispel the transformations, but slowly. The City is half in ruins.

BELKEN was also hit hard, though not as bad as Dom-Daniel. The shadow god Bel was unable to prevent the Violent Clouds from coming and going and his priesthood was not so resistant. Bel’s powers – teleporting, space-warping -- are not so good for curing them either.

REBMA, like Amber, was plagued only by bad dreams though the dreams were far more common there. Lots of Brotherhood members in Rebma. Away from the city and the Pattern, Rebman wizards have been stricken. How bad, Rebma won’t say.

TIR TARNGIR also benefited from the subspace resistance or influence of their Pattern and suffered only some dreams. They have recruited some Brotherhood members. Some family members are recent members themselves; in their cases the dreams woke them up and they struck instinctively along the transmission, destroying their commo devices. They’ve had some problems out in shadow, too.


THE BAD GUYS
TUALUA, a house sized mass of tentacles, claws and teeth. Once a god in Jandar until he blasted his own worshippers and their world. Transformation waves.

JELERAK, whose name is not spoken. Reputedly evil for evil’s sake. Known to favor necromancy, death magic and turning defeated enemies into monster minions. (Via standard magical means.) Over 1000 years old. Once a heroic white mage. BP, magic, stolen Binding power, keys to pocket Shadow Embelyon, all kinds of minions and allies/slaves.

SEMIRAMA, who claims to be the most famous/infamous Queen of Jandar and High Priestess of Tualua, though that person died 700 years ago. Ultrahottie. Wizard, can use or manifest a big aura of stored Transformation power.

PANDELUME? Ally or victim? If alive and hostile, a superlative wizard and master of Embelyon, probably more. Dworkin described him as a hermit with an obsessive dedication to fair deals.

Brotherhood allies or slaves. Baran of the Extra Hand used to be one. Could be more.

Minions or mercenaries. The ubervampire VRYKOS was named the likeliest assassin for going after Zhartra. A large man who is continuously in shade. Horrendously strong and fast. Professional. Vrykos has a gang, vamp and non-vamp, with useful skills.


FOR JOHN: Between Dworkin’s demands and Deep Subspace, Werewindle is tapped. He needs to chow down on a lot of magical energy. His Binding reserves are also nearly shot and they regenerate slowly.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:11 PM Comments (0)
July 10, 2003
Amber City Contribution

The Amber Carriage Company

The Amber Carriage Company provides swift and relatively discrete taxi service in the greater Amber area. The company runs approximately 40 carriages over a twenty four hour period with the bulk of them on duty during daylight hours. At any given time during the day, there are usually up to twenty carriages on the streets simultaneously. During evening hours that number drops to ten, mostly concentrated on the entertainment district and the Street of Silk Veils.

The owner of the ACC is Reaf Groster. Rumored to be a bastard son of House Bayle, he has done well with his company and maintains an excellent standard of service. Reaf started out with just three carriages (supposedly purchased with a grant from the Bayles) and has worked up from there in the twenty years he has been in operation. His drivers are screened carefully for reliability and discretion. Nonetheless, Sir John has three or four drivers on his payroll to keep an eye on the comings and goings of certain people.

The ACC owns two very special carriages that may be chartered for special occasions. They are fitted with heavy duty suspensions and weigh considerably more than the usual carriage due to the moderate armor plate covering a portion of the passenger compartment. They are also heavily warded with protective spells and anti-scrying magic. Those who know have claimed that a trump card to a safe location is kept in the passenger compartment during use. This is to prevent the passengers from coming to harm should the carriage be immobilized during an assault. They are instructed in it's proper use and the trumps are collected and checked for authenticity at the end of each charter to make sure they are not stolen or damaged.

Posted by at 09:53 AM Comments (2)
May 24, 2003
Knighthoods

Knighthood is a big deal. It's also pretty rare though the royals naturally encounter more knights than other people.

Royals can't be knights. (Royals also don't get medals for valor or any of that sort of thing. What they get is the recognition and appreciation of their family.) Knights don't have to be Amber subjects or human, though nearly all are.

Knighthood is a reward and recognition of great service to the Crown and the nation. Specifics are vague but the concept has always been taken very seriously by the king and the regent. Knighthoods are not limited to nobles or soldiers. Productive land or (much more commonly) an income is part of the knighthood package, along with etiquette training for those who need it.

There are two tiers of knighthood. The top tier is the Order of the Unicorn, with knighthoods bestowed by the regent. Gerard has admitted a few females to the OU. Tanitheel was the first. Unicorn knights have social precedence over anybody but royals and, sometimes, foreign rulers though they may choose to not exercise it.

The second tier consists of the 'princely' orders in which candidates are nominated by an individual prince or princess and nearly always passed by the king/regent as a matter of course. Collectively these are the Order of the Star but are more often called after their associated prince/princess or after that royal's symbol. Corwin's were Knights of the Silver Rose, Gerard's are Knights of the Bronze Ship, etc. Numbers were limited to a dozen for each prince or princess. Most Star knights were lost in Chaos and several of those tasked to remain in Amber died fighting the invaders. Star knights have social precedence over all nobles except the actual heads of the greater houses and their heirs.

Gerard hasn't mentioned the second kind of knights to the PCs. Toriana knows, of course, but [retcon alert] he told her they'd wait until the new princes had a proper appreciation for such things. Fineas probably knows.

Rebma has 5 Orders of descending renown.

Posted by Trimmer at 08:47 AM Comments (1)
May 16, 2003
Mail to Avallone

There are Trumps available (painted on walls, locked behind steel) for well-guarded places at each end. Trained personnel can hand objects through -- that's a 1 point specialization for someone with minor wizard or better Psyche. Both places can be altered enough to temporarily disable the Trumps within minutes.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:23 PM Comments (1)
May 14, 2003
a letter to fineas

my latest thinking is that our press problems come from an excessive sense of noble entitlement, a problem that will only get worse as we move closer to peace, and the nobles become comparitively powerless against the upper echeleon of chaosite troops. Amber's greatest problems seem to arise from internal strife in times of peace, and ambiguity- this does not need fuel.
I think we have an oppotunity to consolidate royal power with the present crisis by presenting a more coherent centralized banking system. this would give us roughly the same amount of economic control as currency restrictions with the added advantage of an increased ability to detect forgery. I have enclosed some articles relating to a reserve banking system.
I am bringing this to your attention in the hopes that it might aid in consolidating the recent transition of power in Kashfa as well.

Posted by at 12:59 PM Comments (2)
April 26, 2003
CHAOS SITREP

CHAOS SITREP, session 30

BASILISK
Suffered early losses from Jesby and Chanicut. They dispersed to prepared positions and have continued to broker information. Rumored to be wooing Hendrake.

CHANICUT
Started off fighting it out with Jesby, now at truce with them after heavy losses. Said to blame their misfortunes on Helgram but are having trouble coming to grips with them.

GRYPHON
Currently faced off against Jesby. The Tir Tarngir rebellion has not helped their situation or reputation.

HELGRAM
Stayed out of the early stages of the civil war while, most now believe, maneuvering the others into damaging conflicts.

HENDRAKE
Started the war greatly weakened by their losses in the Patternfall War – wherein they did most of the fighting and dying. Kept on the defensive. Said to be courted by Helgram, Basilisk (traditional foes) and Jesby.

JESBY
Got the better of their early fighting with Chanicut, now at truce with them. Concentrating on Gryphon. Not yet showing hostility towards Helgram.

MANTICORA
Forted up while other houses tried to get them to attack their foes. Some of the Manticora lords show signs of having got lured in.

SAWALL
Stayed neutral due to lack of interest. Mandor Sawall, the Duke’s heir, leads a small faction (all Sawall factions are small) that wants to join in the fray.

OTHERS
The four strongest lesser (non-royal) Houses have formed a loose but effective defensive alliance to ensure their neutrality. House CRANE (diplomats, courtiers, bards, middlemen), House BROCK (builders, fortresses, engineers), House ARAKHEEN (masters of magic by great masses of people) and House KRAKEN (weirdos, known for a lesser power called the Terrible Glow) have resisted all attempts at bullying or enticement so far.

Posted by Trimmer at 04:13 PM Comments (3)
Currency Restrictions

Acting Regent Benedict has instituted currency restrictions. Payments in Amber and Lynxia must be made with Amber coinage or instruments, effective at the end of the month. [2 weeks]

This is traditional when a great house or a royal starts up a round of inflation. Castle pages will inform the newer members of the family, using their best imitations of Benedict's voice and manner, when next they visit the Castle.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:55 PM Comments (2)
April 24, 2003
the amber enterprise institute

#23 Rue de Kolver
Amber City

Mission Statement:

The Amber Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of Monarchy—A strong Supreme ruler, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and defense of the realm—through scholarly research, open debate, and publications. Founded in the First year of the Regency and located in Amber City, AEI is Amber's largest and most respected "think tank."

AEI research covers economics and trade; social welfare; government tax, spending, regulatory, and legal policies; Amber politics; Golden Circle affairs; and Defense of the Realm and foreign policies. The Institute publishes dozens of books and hundreds of articles and reports each year, and an influential policy magazine, The Amber Enterprise. AEI publications are distributed widely to government officials and Nobility, business executives, journalists, and academics; its conferences, seminars, and lectures are regularly covered by Amber's news agencies.

The Institute's thirty resident scholars and fellows include some of Amber's foremost economists, legal scholars, political scientists, and foreign policy experts. The resident faculty is augmented by a network of more than Fifty adjunct scholars at universities and policy institutes throughout the Amber, The Golden Circle Kingdom's and Shadow. AEI scholars testify frequently before the Chancellor's committees, provide expert consultation to all branches of government, and are cited and reprinted in the Amber media more often than those of any other think tank.

The Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization supported primarily by grants and contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals. AEI is strictly nonpartisan and takes no institutional positions on pending Laws or other policy questions.

Selected Members and Fellows:

Duke Viton Feldane - President (*)
Count Fenton Bayle - Treasurer (*)
Plac Herrara - Sectary (**)

Senior Fellows:

Mdm. Ambrosia (*)
Morgan Legree (**)
Valeri Valerinov Kasynovich (**)
ADM. Sir Strake (*)

Fellows:

Countess Elsia Chantris(**)
Earl Adm. Steffen Chantris(**)
Joph Chalune(*)
Mortimer Clavius(*)
Bing Einhorn(*)
Wade Feldane(*)
Pym Fortune(*)
Maj. Sir Thom Frut(*)
Countess Mira Kandive(**)
Forrest Kandive(**)
Kedric Kandive(**)
Theron Kandive(**)
John Mettesoln(*)
Tristen Pomphry(*)
Niles Quoyle(*)
Eugen Schwartz(*)
Moleena Telengra(*)
Drew Warhaul(*)
Logan Wing IV(*)

(*) NPC's created for contributions, Significant Others of NPC's created for contributions, or NPC's referenced off of other NPC's Biographies.

(**) NPC's created by our GM Randy Trimmer, or NPC's referred to in the Amber Books.

Randy, Please let me know if the NPC selection is ok.

For the warm glow of a contribution!

Posted by Stan at 01:24 PM Comments (0)
Questions for Randy

How different was the political set up in Amber 12 years ago? Was Feldane in the same position at that time? Which houses were dominant and which were still on the way up?

With regards to Diego's treaty with Amber. He has mentioned an extradition treaty exists. Does it work in both directions, i.e. if the vile Valeri Kasynovich were to flee to Vulnavia to flee prosecution, could he be extradited and is this common knowledge amongst the population?

In what form did the payment for advertising for Diego take? Was it a paper transfer of funds, actual exchange of currency or a non public method that would require investigation to determine?

What is the Amber Enterprise Institute and who else of note is a member?

Posted by at 08:47 AM Comments (9)
April 05, 2003
Creatures of the Borderlands

More reasons to stay away from the Borderlands -- things that have shown up there since the Patternfall War.

--

The truth about the beings known in the Borderlands as Succubi is a mystery, but it seems quite likely that these creatures are vampiric in nature (some of the more primitive specimens seem to gain sustenance from human blood) – the advanced members of this ‘species’ seem to actually feed directly off a victim’s shame, guilt, or (most commonly) fear.

--

Hell Jesters are wrinkled, hairless, horde creatures that cackle incessantly as they lope towards their victims. Lawmen and borderlands dwellers who have fought these creatures vouch for the distracting nature of the Jester’s laughter. (Some sort of disorienting or fear-inspiring mental attack.)

Jesters never strike from ambush; instead the approach their victims from a distance so that their unnerving laughter has the most effect. The Hell Jester hordes suffer huge losses to organized rifle fire or large automatic weapon like gatling guns (in shadows were such things function), but rarely seem to notice the losses.

Posted by Jackie at 11:25 AM Comments (0)
March 29, 2003
Whodunnit

The various possibilities brought up vis a vis Who Killed Delwin and Sand were, near as I remember:

  • The Jesbys
  • Some other House of Chaos, framing the Jesbys
  • Some unknown, personal, private enemy who framed the J's
  • Dworkin (Jacob's notion)
  • Some new and smart Abyssal intruder*
  • Some smart, bound-but-talkative Abyssal type, via cultists who desire Its release*
  • Someone or some group who wanted D&S out of the way from their dealings with Abyssal types*
  • Some end of the world type cultists*

*Dworkin's ideas as told to Jacob. All framing the Jesbys unless that Jesby was one of them.

Zhartra is checking on the two Chaosite Binders now.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:00 PM Comments (1)
March 27, 2003
City Contribution

A Vital Organization

Over the centuries, several official organizations have fulfilled vital roles in the administration of Amber. The city guard and the rangers are well known. The press organizations flourish and have been previously detailed. But none have served as faithfully and without complaint as the organization I am about to detail. Without further ado, allow me to present The Amber Sanitation Authority!

Established early in Oberon’s realm, the Amber Sanitation Authority is responsible for the maintenance and expansion of all city sewers, the removal of garbage from the city and the general cleanliness of the streets. The Authority has three divisions, each concentrating on one facet of the public service. The overall position of authority is vacant at the moment, so each division is reporting seperately to the Regent.

The most visible and prestigious of the three divisions is the Department of Streets. It is currently overseen by Quibly Marlenson, a member of a historied family long associated with public service. Quibly is a slightly built man, slightly balding with a receding chin and a thin but well trimmed mustache. Quibly takes pride in the cleanliness of the city streets, employing forty individuals on a rotating basis to sweep the major thoroughfares, remove graffiti and unauthorized handbills and keeping the gutters aboveground unblocked. Also of prime importance is the personal appearance of his employees. Quibly has a rigorous program of inspections to make sure his men maintain a respectable appearance when in the public view. He personally designed the uniform used by his department and is scrupulous about standardizing equipment. Broom handles shall all be of uniform length and thickness. Trash receptacles shall be replaced if dented or damaged, and so forth.

The second division is the Department of Waste Management. Being slightly less prestigious, this department is currently under the supervision of Arnold Barker, a commoner of steadfast devotion to the realm. Arnold’s men collect the refuse of the city each day in large wagons and haul it to a long warehouse type building at the edge of town. There his men activate a large trump mural and pass the garbage through to the shadow once belonging to a noble family that ran afoul of Oberon in years past. The trump shows a stately castle by a pristine lake. What it does not show is the massive landfill in the other direction, slowly poisoning the surrounding countryside. It did not pay to piss off Oberon in the good old days. Arnold holds the trump open until his men finish, a sometimes arduous task. As a result, Arnold has developed a considerable mental endurance over his years of service.

The final division is the one least glorified but has perhaps done more for the security and stability of the realm than all the other organizations save the Rangers. The Department of Sewers is responsible for keeping the underground sewers clear of debris, enemy infiltrators, the destitute, various monsters, thieves and smugglers. The Department is officially run by Avos Bently, another member of a fallen noble house. In practice, Avos manages the care of his men above ground but leaves the actual running of the sewers to Valmont the Gray. Valmont was once court magician to Oberon but was caught in a minor betrayal. Oberon spared his life, banishing him to the sewers twelve centuries ago. Valmont is a Broken Pattern Initiate and was once quite powerful. Now he is a couple miles south of Dworkin sanity wise but he is completely and utterly devoted to his sewers. Over the centuries he has slain more spies and infiltrators attempting to use the sewers than any ranger or guard in the King’s service. He managed to capture and train a handful of otherwise inimical creatures that somehow found their way into the sewers and he uses them to help kill interlopers. Over the years he has become quite physically imposing himself as well, being stronger and quicker than the average castle guard. Below the city streets, Valmont is King. Avos has conveniently forgotten to tell Valmont that Oberon is no more and since Valmont lives in his sewers he is none the wiser. The rest of the men content themselves with minor maintenance, leaving the dangerous work to Valmont and his critters whenever possible.

Posted by at 08:12 PM Comments (4)
March 21, 2003
Creature -- Borderlands Gargoyles

Something for Jacob to run into. :)

Using what appears to be a natural ability to blend chameleon-like into rock formations, the winged gargoyle has become the scourge of travelers throughout the Borderlands. The creatures seem to prefer to horse as a main course and are generally quite difficult to deal with. It is probably fortunate that the beasts are not numerous, for few weapons have proven effective against them and the only tactic that has shown any sort of success can be summed up as ‘Run, as fast as you can.’

Posted by Jackie at 12:27 PM Comments (0)
March 14, 2003
Report from Rinaldo in Tir Tarngir

Rinaldo reports that Marcus & Rhanda offer to train someone in Mirrormastery in exchange for trainging in Trump Artistry. They want two people trained and are making the offer to both Amber and Rebma -- they don't want either court to feel slighted. That is, they want both deals to go through. If one court declines the offer will remain open.

Posted by Trimmer at 05:38 AM Comments (4)
February 25, 2003
There's Nothing Like Amber

Amber itself is almost addictive. It's clear in the books that no matter how much they like other places, there's nothing quite like Amber. In CRY HAVOC that extends to Rebma and Tir Tarngir. After a while you miss it. Dislike of the people there or memories associated it will not entirely negate a longing for Amber/Rebma/TT. You will naturally have favored places, like the City itself, Arden, the sea, Rebma City, etc.

Posted by Trimmer at 05:36 PM Comments (1)
February 24, 2003
Trump call from Gerard

Everybody gets one, or gets it mentioned in some other conversation:
Douglas, Deirdre and Vialle are to be kept from battles, regardless of their wishes.

Posted by Trimmer at 07:48 PM Comments (2)
February 12, 2003
Ky Tung's answers

Lady Ky Tung, Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm thirty one years old, the third child and second daughter of Viscount Shau Tung. My family supported my interest in the seafaring side of our business and I've risen to command various of our smaller vessels. My interests are sailing, exploration, exotic lands, art, dance and aiki-jiujitsu.

Lady Ky Tung, Tell us about your dealings with Vulnavia, and your perception of that distant shadow.

I've met with some Vulnavian officers. They seem to be accomplished sailors and shrewd businessmen. Like many others, my family is studying the potential markets for Vulnavian wares; we see some good prospects. I gather that Vulnavia is a world of steel steamships and factories, with exotic features like guardian sea-monsters and advanced technological medicine. Hopefully I'll one day have the opportunity to visit Prince Diego's homeland.

A question to both: How did the two of you meet?

My uncle Jong hired Fineas on as a navigator on the Fortuntate Winds for that memorable voyage to Shadow Walayam. Fineas quickly showed that his rep as a master navigator was well-deserved. The hellish weather threw us together many times, hauling ropes, manning the pumps, setting bones... I'd been taught to keep, ah, romance ashore but one day it was just there. And mutual, thank Her.

Lady Ky Tung, What has your relationship with Prince Fineas meant for your trade business?

Nothing, so far, beyond what it means to everybody having several Princes and Princesses about giving Amber's enemies hell. Nothing is better for business than the scent of victory.

A question to both: Are there any plans of marriage in your near future?

Victory first, then we'll think about other things.

To Both of you: who feel should become Monarch of Amber?

What a question! Ask me about trade routes or comparitive hull design and I'm your woman, but that.... Either Prince Gerard or Prince Benedict would be an excellent king, I think, and Princess Florimel has recently shown us a serious and effective side. I'm just glad that everything points to them settling the question amiably and the rest of the royals giving whomever is chosen their full support.

Posted by Trimmer at 06:44 PM Comments (0)
Fineas' Interview Responses

1. For our Dear readers, Prince Fineas, Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am the elder of two brothers at 34 years of age. Before I was approached by Gerard to join the official royal family, I spent a number of years working as a navigator on trade vessels for a number of houses, including Ky-Tung's. From that experience I have learned an appreciation for honest and hardworking people in all walks of life and from many nearby shadows. It was a part of my life I will always enjoy, free from responsibility beyond the ship I was on. I had known what my heritage was from a young age, but it was never real to me until I found myself walking the Pattern.

I enjoy the sea, music, arts, sport and intelligent conversation. I have been forced by circumstance to study a bit more history and culture of shadow, particularly political and military aspects and have discovered that I have an aptitude for it. I hope it serves the realm in good stead in our current struggle.

2. Prince Fineas, about your Mother Jasra?

My mother has always been a private person but I think she will not mind if I speak a bit about her. She is of the royal house of shadow Kashfa. She met my father during his travels in the Golden Circle many years ago. One thing led to another and they were wed some 40 years ago. Due to some family difficulties in Kashfa and the stresses in Amber at the time, she chose to take up residence in shadow with my father. Rinaldo and myself were born in shadow and raised with the usual noble education and upbringing.

3. Prince Fineas, why were you not brought into the open sooner?

My mother was uncertain as to the reception Rinaldo and I would face. In Kashfa we might be seen as pretenders to the throne, in Amber we were the children of Brand. At home we were safe and free to develop free of the preconceptions others may have based upon the actions of my father. When Gerard contacted me, it was the chance to redeem the family's honor. That motivation drives both Rinaldo and myself. We take honor very seriously and we have much to make up for.

4. Prince Fineas, your Brother Renaldo has also been made a Prince of Amber, tells us about your Relationship with him.

Our current relationship is good. We had our early phase of sibling rivalry but we have so much in common it is difficult not to be of like mind in things. Rinaldo is a bit more studious than I while I am the more physically inclined. Even so we are close in personality and preferences. Being a bit younger, he is still in the bloom of blessed youth and is a bit more gregarious as a result. We rely on each other a great deal.

5. Prince Fineas, where were you and Renaldo raised and when did you know you were of the royal blood?

We were raised in a nearby shadow, one that I must decline to name to respect my mother's wish for some degree of privacy. Suffice to say it is a high magic shadow and we were made aware of our heritage while we were still children. As I mentioned, it really did not sink in what that actually meant until we were brought face to face with Amber and the Pattern.

6. Prince Fineas, tell us about your feelings about the pace and extent of the war.

This war cannot be over soon enough. We have done well given the head start the enemy had on attacking us. Regent Gerard did a phenomenal job holding things together while he was alone. Now that more of us have taken up the call, I look for a speedy conclusion to hostilities in our favor. There is still much to be done. As long as I draw breath, I will be there to make sure it gets done.

7. Prince Fineas, which of the enemies of Amber worry you most?

The ones I don't know about. There are Houses of Chaos we have not yet encountered in shadow such as Sawall. We know they were affected by the foul geas laid by King Swayville. We have not run across them. That worries me the most.

10. A question to both: How did the two of you meet?

On board one of her family's ships of course. It was love at first sight in my case though you will have to ask Ky-Tung about her version. That first voyage together was certainly the most exciting I had experienced. Foul weather, rough seas and an urgent deadline all enhanced the excitement of sailing with such a delightful lady.

11. Prince Fineas, what has your relationship meant for Ky-Tung's family?

My assumption is that it has helped them land a bit more trade here and there. I have not had opportunity to sit down with them and discover how much has changed for them. I have kept Ky-Tung busy with missions for the realm and I intend to reward the family for their good service in such matters. Ky-Tung was actually the one to discover the region of Tir Tarngir for us and with the help of Princess Toriana actually found the place.

13. A question to both: Are there any plans of marriage in your near future?

Service to Amber must come first. With the war still ongoing, I have been unable to think about my personal happiness. Ask us again on victory day. I certainly hope we have a bright future together but wars are dangerous and one must stay focused to survive.

14. Prince Fineas, tell us about your new Manor House.

I love it's potential. I only wish we had peace so that I could give it the attention it needs. I chose the vineyard region because of the beauty of the area and the relative solitude. It will undergo a transformation as soon as I can devote time to personal matters. A home should reflect on the owner and right now it seems more like I am a guest in someone else's home, nice though it is. Perhaps when better days are at hand I will get it in shape and have an open house.

15. Prince Fineas, what are your thoughts on the Tir Tarngir Brownies, and their popularity in Amber.

I consider them more friends than servants. My heart was broken when I discovered how they had been treated in the Tir occupation. They are industrious, loyal and nearly indispensable to someone like myself. I intend to help them prosper in Amber and am very pleased that they are finding welcome here.

16. Prince Fineas, Give us your opinion on the return of the First Generation Princes/Princess'.
Your Thoughts on:
Regent Gerard?

The Regent has earned every accolade sent his way. He stood alone for years against the machinations of Chaos. I trust him with my life and I certainly trust him with the realm. He is phenomenal and I am proud to call him Uncle.

Prince Benedict?.

Prince Benedict is a living legend. I stand in awe of his ability and service to Amber. Words fail me.

Princess Flora?

Aunt Flora is the epitome of grace and beauty. Not the fragile beauty of a flower, but more the strong beauty one finds in the mightiest mountains and seas. Everlasting and impervious to the ravages of fortune. She is inspiring. Again, words fail here.

Princess Llewella?

Once again, grace comes to mind but of the more quiet serene kind. Her recovery from the heinous ministrations of Chaos fills me with pride. Not even the vilest sort of torture could corrupt her gentle spirit. It is an honor beyond measure to call her family. I have only recently met her but I completely love her charm and personality. She is a treasure to the family and I look forward to spending more time with her when circumstances allow.

Mirelle?

I have not yet had opportunity to meet Mirelle and I know very little about her. I hope to remedy that soon.

17. Prince Fineas Can you give us your candid thoughts and assessments on your Generation.
Prince 13?

Prince Thirteen is a fascinating man. The need to cover many fronts simultaneously has prevented us from working together on more than a couple occasions but when we have been together the results have been excellent. I think he is very competent in a quiet sort of way. He gets things done with a minimum of fanfare. I greatly respect him both as a prince and as a cousin and I have no fear that he will ever do less than his best for Amber.

Princess Dara?

Princess Dara makes fighting for Amber fun. She has such a wonderful elemental spirit about her in combat that it takes away fear when you are around her. Thirteen and I count our lucky stars the day we were able to free her from Hendrake and bring her to her rightful home. She brings a tremendously valuable insight into the minds of our enemies. She is indispensable to Amber and a joy to be around.

Prince Diego?

Ah, Prince Diego. He is another fascinating man. He provided exemplary service at the two battles in which we served together. He is brave, gifted, generous to his friends and ruthless to his enemies. As a major figure in Vulnavia, he has additional pressures placed upon him that the rest of us can only imagine. I think sometimes those pressures boil over and result in some of the friction that has been reported in various publications. He is probably the most passionate of my cousins. A good man in spite of what some might suggest. He is the best healer and inventor in the family bar none. We are lucky to have him with us and I am pleased to call him family.

Princess Dierdre?

I have had only the briefest experience with Princess Dierdre. What I have seen reminds me much of Dara in a lot of ways. Although she will probably spend most of her life in Corwin's realm, I hope her presence in Amber is not an uncommon one.

Prince Douglas?

Another fresh face, he reminds me of a younger, more physical version of myself. I look forward to knowing him better in the coming days.

Lady Galena?

I can't say enough good things about Galena. She is everything that we should aspire to be. Generous, caring, talented and brave. She reminds me of Aunt Llewella in many ways and her presence can only enhance the realm. I pray she is able to take the Pattern and become Princess Galena in the very near future.

Prince Jacob?

Prince Jacob was fighting the creatures of Chaos while I was still in diapers. He has not gotten nearly enough credit for his service to the realm. He is a bit of a loner and does his best work where others never see it. He and I work very well together. I guess I sort of think of him as an older brother. Tough, resourceful and a no nonsense kind of guy. He is the man's man of Amber. Thank the Unicorn he is on our side.

HRH Morwyn?

Princess Morwyn is incredible. She is a true queen just waiting for a realm to rule. She is by far the best trained of us for the duties of running a realm yet still keeps touch with the people. She has a warrior's heart, eager to test herself against worthy foes. We served together during the defeat of the Chanicutt invasion and I was greatly impressed with her composure and ability to command. It was all I could do to convince her not to hurl herself into the fray at Prince Diego's gala. One day she will make a tremendous monarch and Queen Moire should be very proud.

Princess Toriana?

Who else has done as much to bring our missing family members home? She is relentless in her efforts to save our prisoners in Chaos. Her intelligence and resolve are unmatched in my generation. Certainly we all owe her a great debt in bringing the family together again. I think it safe to say she has a delightful fun loving side that we too seldom get to see. She is always able to surprise me with some new facet of her being. She certainly keeps me on my toes far more than any of my other cousins and she inspires us to strive harder.

Princess Vialle?

A very soothing young lady. She is highly intelligent and insightful. I have spent only a very short time with her but I expect she will be a force to be reckoned with in her father's realm. She is another cousin I look forward to spending more time with.

18. Prince Fineas, are you and your brother Rinaldo in fact the sons of Brand and was he truly a traitor?

We are indeed the children of Brand. My father delved too deeply into strange powers and it drove him insane over a number of years. Towards the end his madness was all encompassing and it led him to unfortunate acts for which Rinaldo and I must strive to make right. We will not follow in his footsteps. We must not follow in his footsteps.

19. Prince Fineas, How did you reacquire the sword Werewindle?

A somewhat convoluted story. We were recently contacted by a reputed ancestor who still has contacts in Chaos. Through this contact, I learned that a chaosian house had acquired the sword from an abyss scavenger and was keeping it as an undeserved trophy. This was intolerable. Since the war was preventing me from undertaking a personal mission to retrieve the sword, I convinced my ancestor that it would be in the best interest of both of us if the sword was returned to Amber. In return for my future assistance in subduing some particularly nasty monsters roaming deep shadow, the sword would be liberated from the chaosians by my ancestor's agents and returned. This was done. At some point when duty to Amber allows, I must face horrendous creatures and bind or destroy them to discharge this debt. I intend to do so, not just to repay the debt but to insure such creatures never make it to our shadows to wreak havoc.

20. To Both of you: who feel should become Monarch of Amber?

Regent Gerard , Prince Benedict and Princess Flora have all done great service to Amber. I imagine they will decide amongst themselves how to deal with the succession. I will support their decision whatever it may be and I feel all my cousins will do the same. The days of squabbling over the throne are long past. It may very well be that no monarch is chosen for a considerable amount of time until more of the family is gathered and has had time to mature. Amber is in good hands and there is no rush to make a decision of that magnitude.

Posted by at 02:55 PM Comments (6)
February 05, 2003
Joining the Brotherhood

In chargen being a Brotherhood member cost a point or two, for the usefulness of knowledge and contacts. Were a PC to join now it would cost money and he/she would have to demonstrate magical competence. No point cost, but learn and gain contacts as you go.

Lots of people have memberships under false names. The Brotherhood doesn't check so long as the money is real.

Ditto for making Daebekkar contacts.

Posted by Trimmer at 09:11 PM Comments (5)
January 31, 2003
A Letter to Marcus

Fineas will impose upon Zhartra one last time to deliver the following response to Marcus. If she is unwilling, Fineas will ask Flora to trump her daughter to deliver it and will brief Flora with the minimum information to secure her help. The text follows:

Greetings Cousin,

I am pleased you are in good health. I have brought your request before a very select few of our leaders to plead your cause. I am confident that they share recognition of the desirability of a stable Tir region under your control. I feel safe in saying we all wish you the greatest success in founding a new house free from servitude to the Serpent's realm.

Savaton was badly wounded in the recent unpleasantness but is expected to recover. I am interested in how you propose to effect his release without arousing suspicion from the Gryphon Elders. Until he is in better shape and we have details about how best to repatriate him, it is perhaps best he remain our guest but kept appraised of the situation.

I have kept our correspondence secret from most of the family to reduce the risk of discovery by other agents. It will be necessary to inform Queen Moire to obtain her agreement to a post war division of shadows. I am undertaking this consultation as we speak and will do my best to present the case for a new Tir realm on your behalf.

In order to give the appearance that nothing has changed, expect continued military preparation on Amber's part. We will not move against you during the 2 weeks you require and with luck, will not need to move at all if you are successful. If something should go awry, remember my offer of sanctuary still holds. I will try and arrange a trump to be delivered to each of your loyalists if you so desire.

I look forward to meeting you in the flesh someday in more peaceful circumstances. It is always a pleasure to find intelligent and reasonable people amongst one's relations. The powers know they sometimes seem rare.

Regards,

Fineas of Amber

Posted by at 11:51 AM Comments (9)
January 28, 2003
The Bastard List

Fineas will make the following information available to family members who ask. It has been updated to reflect current status.

Jan Van Eyck, reputed son of Corwin, age 56, Shadow Earth

Van Eyck has spent almost 40 years as a thug, a drunkard and a druggie on a more-than-human scale. Despite 22 escapes, he's spent 12 of those years in various prisons. He kills casually and for the fun of it. His word is worthless. He's fond of raping women and cutting them up.

Flora's organization is keeping an eye on Van Eyck for Gerard. Should the subject somehow find a way out of Earth or begin to study magic or any other power, he's to be killed immediately.

Fineas' Update: Jan Van Eyck recently escaped for the 23rd time, murdering his lawyer in the process. Given Gryphon interest in our shadows (and potentially greater than normal interest in Flora's shadow) I put Van Eyck down before he could be contacted and recruited by Gryphon. At some point when time allows, redress should be made to the families of his victims.

Galina Ostreyeva, reputed daughter of Caine, age 166, Shadow Inakhos

Galina is a music teacher and peace activist in Inakhos, a high tech low-magic shadow. Her views seem to be sincere and strongly held; She's suffered three years incarceration for her anti-war activities. Moreover, her actions for the last 80 years and three identities are consistent with her pacifism.

Eric told Gerard about Galina personally. As there is no evidence that her existence is even suspected by anyone else (except possibly Benedict) and she would just be in the way, she's been left alone unless Inakhos is invaded.

Fineas' Update: Galina has been contacted and made aware of her heritage by myself. She has indicated a desire to see Amber and has been brought in to decide for herself if she can join us with a clear conscience. Her contributions need not be military. It seems likely she has much to offer the realm in more civilized endeavors and should prove an asset to the family.


Othwulf, son of Julian, age 95, Shadow Yarnsaxa

Othwulf is a bronze age barbarian outlaw with an extremely abrasive personality. He offended Julian so much he was left to rot in Yarnsaxa. Among other things, Othwulf is an extreme tribal chauvinist, seeing any foreign customs, speech or equipment as inferior and effete. His Amberite strength and speed have allowed him to become a loutish bully, even by local standards; hence his outlaw status.

Gerard's note: Just what we need. Let him rot.
Fineas' note: Possibly a long term rehabilitation project. Of no value to us under the current situation.

Arpad Balogh, son of Bleys, age 271, Shadow Gyala

King Arpad rules a medieval craphole, badly, as a sort of demon on earth. He's known for treachery, gluttony, sexual excess, sadism and alternating brilliance in battle with disastrously stupid mistakes. He's an effective sorcerer (poorly trained by Amber standards) in a world of incompetents. His stated goal is to rule his world. He's conquered about a quarter of the main continent twice and been beaten back to a small mountain kingdom three times.

There should be a use for him, somewhere far from Amber. Eventually.

Fineas' Note: He sounds much too like a chaosian for my taste. I would let him be.

Decla the Fair, Daughter of Bleys, age 117, Shadow Galway

Decla has spent her life as a whore, thief, adventuress, blackmailer and madam. She is utterly self centered and quite ruthless. Currently she's a highly successful madam in the capitol city of Enskarne. She has an unfortunate love of getting important men to fight duels over her, preferably to the death.

Decla's potential usefulness is more than counterbalanced by her bad habit. We don't need Feldanes knifing Chantrises over a member of the royal family. Worse, she is unlikely to ever learn loyalty.

Fineas' Note: She sounds like an interesting lady. A pity we could not sic her on the Courts to keep up their internal strife.

Posted by at 03:54 PM Comments (2)
January 22, 2003
Notice to the Family

Greetings Fellow Amberites,

Up until now my mother has requested anonymity. Recent events have made this impractical and she is now resigned to losing her privacy. She has asked that I make introductions to the family. Please do not disseminate this information outside the immediate family.

Rinaldo and I are the children of Brand and his wife Jasra of Kashfa, a member of the royal family there. Rinaldo and I are legitimate as our parents wed acccording to the laws of Kashfa (and Amber for that matter) prior to our births. Our home is not in Kashfa however. Jasra is the guardian of the Dark Well located nearest Amber in a shadow known as the Keep of the Four Worlds.

As traffic between Corwin's realm and Amber is only practicable through use of trump near the Dark Wells, Jasra has made arrangements to allow the family access to certain portions of the Keep. She requests that her location and security arrangements be kept confidential. Guest facilities will be available, though limited. Rinaldo and I would like to request that her solitude be respected as much as possible. If you have any questions regarding the arrangements, please contact either Rinaldo or myself.

Regards,

Fineas

Posted by at 10:04 PM Comments (9)
January 20, 2003
A Secret Letter to Gerard and Benedict

To The Regent and Benedict


Greetings Uncles,

A matter of some sensitivity has come up that requires your attention. During our withdrawal from the Tir Tarngir expedition, I took the initiative of leaving a letter addressed to Marcus of House Gryphon offering sanctuary to the Pattern initiates amongst them. I wanted to leave an opening to salvage that portion of the family, knowing someone would eventually be needed to rule the Tir. It appears we may have that opportunity after all. I have received a reply of sorts, delivered via Zhartra last night. The text is as follows:

Cousin Fineas,
I do desire a peaceful accommodation with Amber and I am not alone among my siblings in this sentiment. The elders of House Gryphon do not agree. Their wishes will soon be irrelevant in regards to Tir Tarngir if events proceed as planned. I ask you to exert your influence and delay any provocative moves in this direction for two weeks. This is not a good time for distractions or for moving people out of position.

We intend to have what Amber has, a rich, strong and independent trading empire across a region of shadow. We will not be part of Gryphon and they will not be part of us. Amber's current relationship with Rebma would serve admirably as a model for our future dealings with Amber and Rebma.

Savaton is important to us.

I understand that it may be possible to make a trump of sister Vayla. Contact might be useful.

Marcus of Tir Tarngir


As you can see, this affords some interesting possibilities if true. The sensitivity comes in when deciding how much of this to share with Rebma and how to prevent chaosian spies from getting advance warning of the coup and providing information to the Gryphon elders.

I can only assume similar feelers will be sent to Queen Moire. In my opinion we should broach the subject with her first if we can. I would normally suggest putting Diego's apparent relationship with her to work in this regard, but his irrational attitude towards Marcus & company makes this problematical. I therefore offer my services to contact the Queen, either through Morwyn or directly and make her aware of the situation.

In the meantime, offensive action towards the Tir should be delayed or cancelled if possible. Preparations should still continue (it would look suspicious if they stopped altogether), but those in charge of that front should be diverted with other tasks if necessary to accomplish the delay without raising suspicion. I leave it to your judgment to decide who else should be made aware of this. My preference would be to keep it between the three of us for now. If Marcus is to succeed, there must be no leak from our side.

Regards,

Fineas

Posted by at 12:32 PM Comments (5)
January 06, 2003
A Hand Delivered Letter to Gerard

For Gerard's Eyes Only


Greetings Uncle,

As you have by now become aware of the report regarding the courtesan, I wanted to share a few private thoughts with you. First of all let me inform you I took the initiative to order Sir John to begin the investigation as soon as I learned of it. I hope that meets with your approval. I have purposely not made a personal appearance at the investigation in an effort to keep it lower key than it might otherwise become.

It was apparent that the Gryphons learned of Avalon through the efforts of a spy or turncoat. I am firmly convinced that the trollop was not the primary source of the information. Let me explain why.

To the best of my knowledge, none of my cousins or nobles knew of the origin of the Avalon powder. I myself only knew that it was in the guardianship of Benedict's men. The known customers of the spy presumably did not include yourself or Sir John, the only people I know who were aware of the details. Unless some of Benedict's men happened to spill the beans (totally against everything I know of their character), the spy had no access to anyone who knew anything useful.

The spy could have easily slipped out of Amber in human form, thus keeping her secret. The fact that she was witnessed to have shapechanged and flown away seems to me to be a convenient arrangement. I fear she was yet another decoy to protect the true source of the information. If we become convinced she was the culprit, we do not seek out the true mole.

Of utmost importance is to develop, in secret, a method of detecting the drug we believe was used to camoflage the spy's shapechanging ability. I suggest you task Toriana with this. I would not trust anyone else currently in our employ with this until they have been screened for the drug. That includes Sir John. If we learn who the mole is, we should not let on that we suspect them. They should be fed disinformation and their contacts slowly identified.

Another possibility that I must point out is that Zhartra could have been the source. She has had long access to Benedict and I find it hard to fathom that she would not have learned of Amber gunpowder. She could have disclosed the information to the Gryphons and used the opportunity to ingratiate herself with us by helping us fight them off. Notice she only occupied herself with the cannon fodder, not the Gryphons themselves. We now "owe" her and may be more amenable to whatever plan she has in mind for us. Food for thought.

Finally I come to what should be done with Avalon now that everyone and their dog knows where it is. I propose that Benedict's men remain in direct control of the mine and stores but I strongly urge that a long term plan be implemented to station a well trained and loyal standing army there to protect the area in general. Since you are not at liberty to devote yourself to its defense, I would recommend you delegate the defense as the primary responsibility to Jacob, Thirteen, Rinaldo or myself. Dara is still too close to Hendrake, Diego is under the unhealthy sway of Queen Moire, Flora is conflicted where Gryphon is concerned and Toriana is not martially inclined.

Affectionately Yours,

Fineas

Posted by at 01:25 PM Comments (0)
December 11, 2002
Dara's Primer on Cosmology and Ancient History

Uncle and Cousins:

Here are a few basic facts as taught to youngsters in the House of Hendrake.

In the beginning of history, the Serpent made a stable zone in or on the edge of the Abyss. Within the stability, shielded from often violent changes of the Abyss (changes that include the nature of time, space and matter) It grew stronger. It 'manifested' (dreamed?) the Logrus.

Later It spawned other creatures. Now, creatures out of the Abyss -- usually called Great Old Ones -- are each unique and are seldom designed for reproduction. The Serpent had to invent methods. All of them seem to involve putting a little of Its own life into the spawn. The greater of the spawn are usually called the Elder Kindred or Elderkin. The Unicorn and her brother, the Cat are Elderkin, as is the Mother of Dragons and many others. The lesser spawn include khrazall and many other kinds of demons, and our ancestors the first lords of chaos. There are many theories why the Serpent should produce offspring. Servants. People to talk to. Food. In any case, our ancestors were the last. They were also the first ones able to traverse the Logrus and use its power. With their help, the stable zone, the Courts to be, expanded. Occasional intrusions by Great Old Ones were repulsed, often at great cost. Some of them were bound and their power harnessed to further expand the Courts. Some of the Elderkin also became problems and were killed, bound or driven into the Abyss. The lords of chaos grew numerous and powerful enough to handle most things themselves; the Serpent rested. Lords of Chaos assigned to 'sing' It to sleep eventually became the founders of the priesthood.

Much later Dworkin and the Unicorn stole the Eye of the Serpent, AKA the Jewel of Judgment (probably a strange Great Old One itself and probably the tool used to manifest the Logrus) and created the Pattern. Matter became 'heavier', harder to manipulate but more enduring. Shadow sprang into being. Dworkin and the Unicorn retreated to the farthest reaches of the new space, made children and founded Amber, Rebma and Tir Tarngir. There were wars.

Dynasties came and went in the Courts. Records were lost. New Houses replaced older ones. Things passed into obscurity and legend. So, no, I don't know any details about how this madness-projecting technique worked or what the results were when it was used.

An important point to remember is that there are dangerous things scattered around Shadow and the Courts that have been bound for ages. Some of the Great Old Ones are supposed to be terribly powerful and overwhelmingly alien --and from a person raised as a Hendrake, that means something. There is said to be a cabal or gang that checks on the bound monsters and keeps them safely imrisoned. The Queen of Air and Darkness (whose commonest name, among Hendrakes, is Zhartra) is sometimes thought to be one of them.

The Church of the Serpent That Manifests the Logrus adds a lot of planning and detail to the Serpent's spawning. If you check really old Books of the Serpent against the newer ones, you'll see that much of the detail is of relatively recent vintage.

Posted by Trimmer at 08:18 PM Comments (4)
An Unsolicited Assessment from Fineas to Gerard

Assessment of the Tir Tarngir Situation


The Situation:

House Gryphon holds the Tir Pattern by virtue of control of the existing political rulers. Physically they have at least five Pattern wielders left under their control and an unknown number of Logrus wielders. Presumably they have a strong contingent of Broken Pattern as well. Their relative strength in the Courts is unknown at the moment, but I feel it safe to assume they are players in the coming struggle for the throne there.

From a military standpoint they have the potential to field huge armies. They have a number of inherent advantages in that they know the terrain and political situation by now and have enough power wielders to command several fronts at once (much as we have been doing).

The Danger:

If we wish to maintain our independence from Chaos, it is imperative that the Gryphons not be allowed to claim the Chaos throne while holding the Tir. If they succeed in grabbing both, they will become nearly unstoppable without an extreme alliance between Rebma and Amber. We can prevent this in two ways. Either we can boot them all from the Tir or we can make sure they are crushed in the Chaos civil war. In the long run, House Gryphon must either be convinced to denounce chaos altogether to make the Tir their new focus or we must kill/convert all their Pattern users to make them retreat to Chaos.

Possible Approaches:

If we choose to allow House Gryphon to be sovereign over the Tir, we must cut their ties to Chaos. This will require making nice with the Pattern users in particular while arranging the removal of the Logrus masters. Perhaps an alliance with Hendrake could be used to put down the Gryphons in chaos and hopefully kill off their ties by killing the Duke. We could use Dara as an intermediary with Hendrake to negotiate the alliance while one of the family makes overtures to the Pattern Gryphons. In other words work to kill off all their Logrus users while sparing the Pattern users.

If we choose to boot out the Gryphons altogether, we must begin a military campaign capable of destroying them. This will require killing or capturing all the remaining Pattern wielders early on as they are capable of recruiting as quickly as we are. Drawing off as many of their forces as possible to the chaos civil war will help. Some sort of deal could be worked out with Basilisk help to make sure Gryphons are ganged up on in Chaos. All family members will be required to concentrate on this front for us to be successful. Any surviving Morganna descendents should be located, contacted and assisted to put them back in control.

Recommendations:

Ambassadors should be sent to both Hendrake and Gryphon under guise of peace negotiations. The ambassadors should not be of the blood to prevent a hostage situation from arising. They should be expert in intelligence gathering but must be kept ignorant of our overall plan and military dispositions. Military preparation and intelligence gathering operations should continue unabated.

Rebma should be involved as little as possible. The fewer contacts Queen Moire has with the Gryphons, the less likely unwelcome interference will be. The temptation for Rebma to gain control of the Tir and therefore get the upper hand in Amber/Rebma relations must be avoided.

We should make our decision about which approach to use based upon intelligence received from the ambassadors and other sources.

Posted by at 01:05 PM Comments (4)
December 02, 2002
Battle Report

Battle of Tulun Report


The Situation:

The Hendrakes were arranged in a wide arc around Tulun and were in the process of reducing the surrounding fortresses. A handful had already fallen. The southwestern force was comprised of mixed beastmen and thralls numbering about twenty thousand total. They were in the process of investing the peninsula forts with the aim of cutting off the possibility of resupply of the city via the sea. The next force to the north of the river was made up of thralls exclusively. They were being used to reduce coastal forts and to prevent sea support of the peninsula forts. North of the thralls was a large force of zombies protected by roving mercenary human cavalry. They were just filler in the Hendrake line and were probably going to be used in a wave attack against Tulun itself. Beastmen were attacking the heights north of the city and were in the process of reducing those forts. Finally to the east were large numbers of Tandu patrolling the approaches to the city and assisting in the destruction of the eastern forts.

Amber Forces Used:

Initially the city was held by 45 thousand Franc troops under tactical command of Bono. In addition, 2500 samurai were positioned out of sight for emergency use and some few thousand militia were armed with pikes and minor firearms. Jacob contributed two hundred legionaires for sniping duties to the city defenses.

To the south, Diego committed approximately six thousand clackers divided into two assault groups positioned to counterattack the peninsula assault. He had a number of naval vessels committed and reserves of his human warriors available if necessary. In the event they were not required.

Flora was in command of the largest segment of the Aquitaine army, numbering about thirty thousand troops total. She utilized special Johrom forces including a number of very effective multi barrel weapon teams capable of rapid firing.

Prinz Eugen commanded fifteen thousand Aquitaine troops along with his personal guard. His force was a bit light on cavalry support so he was placed in the middle of the line.

General Luis commanded twenty thousand Aquitaine troops on the left flank with heavy emphasis on artillery. As the battle progressed, it was necessary to support them with fifteen hundred of Jacob's Persian horse archers and a large force of Oscray.

Rinaldo commanded twenty thousand janissaries from the Sultan on the eastern front, supported by naval forces along the coast.

The Battle:

The order to advance was given at 6:45AM. Good progress was made on the west and all three Aquitaine groups reached their initial goals on time. Flora's group reached hillock number one meeting only light resistance and set up to receive the Hendrake counterattack. Eugen's group reached hillock number two and dug in to repel counterattack. Luis seized the ruined town and quickly emplaced his cannon to shred the zombie forces at a distance.

On the east, Rinaldo had difficulty getting his doped up troops to move quickly and they emerged from shadow about thirty minutes late. They proceeded unhindered along the coast for several miles with only minor probes from the Tandu.

By 7:30 all western forces were engaged by substantial Hendrake forces. We benefited by a certain degree of surprise and were able to destroy portions piecemeal especially on Flora's front. The enemy made adjustments and began forming cavalry to threaten the left flank. At this point, Jacob intervened with assistance from Toriana and intercepted the Hendrake cavalry with Persians before they could properly form up. At this point the first Logrus use became evident and Toriana began to receive direct attention from Hendrake snipers.

By 8:00 it was apparent the Hendrakes had stepped up their tempo to capture the peninsula forts. I gave the order to begin the envelopment and Flora moved forward while Diego emerged from the sea to hit the Hendrakes from the sides. Naval assets moved up and began to place fire on the enemy within range.

On the north side, the cavalry engaged the zombie mass and began to hit major Hendrake commanders. Toriana triggered a mana coin cook-off on Chinaway who was attempting to reach her. It opened an opportunity to identify and fix the chaosian commander. Heavy fire was called down upon him and resulted in his destruction. Shortly thereafter, various teleports were detected and the enemy formations began to lose their cohesiveness.

The peninsula fort held on and the attackers were eventually crushed, resulting in the capture of Tor. The Tandu scattered in the east under pressure by Rinaldo and a portion of Bono's troops. At the end, the thralls who were still alive broke from Handrake control and all enemy formations were surrounded and destroyed.

Lessons Learned:

Each major power user needs a dedicated bodyguard to prevent disruption during critical power struggles.

Teleport blocking techniques covering larger areas need to be developed. Far too many enemy commanders are escaping.

Local technological superiority is key.

Enemy commanders have effective means of battlefield communications that we must learn to disrupt. The death of Chinaway was relayed to other Hendrake units far too quickly for mundane means to have been employed. Sorcery jamming needs to be developed. In this case it happened to work to our advantage, but in general it will not.

Human intelligence needs to be improved with regards to future campaigns. We need to recruit disaffected chaosians to improve our knowledge of enemy dispositions prior to a battle.

The political situation for each chaosian house needs to be understood. We had learned that Chinaway was the driving force behind the Hendrake incursion. His removal was the single most important factor in our victory. We need to understand the Helgrams, Gryphons and Jesbys in order to determine the most efficient manner to convince them to return to chaos short of complete eradication.

Posted by at 04:25 PM Comments (1)
November 03, 2002
Re: armor and acrobatics

Gerard's line about being able to do acrobatics in properly fitted armor is something I recall from an article on the subject. SCA people discovered that to be true. Sure, it's 50 or 60 pounds but it's really well distributed and doesn't foul up your balance. Not that you're as good at acrobatics in armor as out of it, but you can still do it. Given Amberite/ buff Chaosite muscles and really top of the line armor, you can be quite nimble.

The Manticora who almost escaped left armor with clever quick-release features and some cut cord (from making a tourniquet). The weasel-serpent form was missing a leg, but had 7 more to make speed with.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:58 AM Comments (0)
October 19, 2002
The Genealogy Book

The Genealogy Book

The book, actually an elaborate but short book of praise for the Tir Tarngiran monarchy, is titled The Royal Family.

The first chapter lists the short family tree.

Barimen (founder of the house)
\
[several unnamed generations]
\
Skall
\
Dworkin m. the Goddess Amalthea (no ancestors listed for her)
\
\ \ \
Lir Morgana Oberon


Lir’s, by Edain – Mananan, Elathan, Tethra,

Mananan’s, by Fand – Maeve, Donn
Elathan’s, by Shannon – Taliesin
Tethra’s, by Vuall – Neave


Morgana’s, by Aegon – Sebastian, Miranda
M.’s, by Prospero – Celia, Tybalt

Miranda’s, by Gregorio – Belario, Olivia, Solino


Oberon’s, by Valeria – Tamora, Alexas, Griffith


Lir seems to have been a generalist. Oberon was primarily a soldier and a poet. Morgana was supposedly wonderful at everything. Rebma’s and Amber’s princes are not important to the writer.

The Princes of Tir Tarngir were also wonderful at everything, almost as good as their mother, but did specialize a bit. Sebastian excelled at soldiering. Miranda was a power monkey. Celia was a scholar and diplomat. Tybalt was a young, dashing soldier.

There are pictures (some line drawings and some very nearly photographs) of the Tarngiran royals, Lir, Oberon, Dworkin and Amalthea.
Oberon looks like the paintings in Amber Castle (Sean Connery, but more arrogant) but much younger and happier. Dworkin (Max von Seedow) is not a hunchback or a dwarf. Amalthea (Grace Kelly)is a quietly beautiful, pale-complected woman with nearly metallic golden hair.

Many events, apparently well known at the time, are alluded to which involve a slew of Tarngiran ‘golden circle’ shadows you’ve never heard of. Chaos is mentioned as a recurring threat. The First War With Chaos sounds like something out of Norse mythology, with hordes of monsters versus Dworkin & Family. The Second War With Chaos was fought less than a century prior to the writing of the book. It sounds something like the Chaosites you know and an actual military campaign, though with references to some horrible weapons. (Bio weapons, which the Barimens turned against the Chaosites. Something called a ‘hellburner’. Something called the World Eater that Miranda, and her grudgingly acknowledged assistant Alexas, son of Oberon, are credited with nullifying.) Another war with Chaos is presented as a given, due to the wholly evil nature of the enemy. (No mention is made of Dworkin having come from Chaos.)

The rest of the book is a lot of flattery.

Posted by Trimmer at 12:59 PM Comments (3)
October 10, 2002
Whoring in Amber

Since there’s a Street of Silk Veils, here are some thoughts on whoring in Amber City.

First, since there is very little disease in Amber, the hookers are not subject to more than the occasional, easily cured bout of some sort of VD.

Second, reliable contraception charms and enchantments are available at reasonable prices.

Third, Amber denizens are not old at 50; they’re old at 150. Their careers can last a long time. As a corollary, the level of expertise is very high among pros and amateurs alike.

Fourth, royals will occasionally become fond of a hooker. Royal guardsmen and crown agents do so frequently. Both cases are hell on abusive pimps or madams.

Fifth, Amber’s sexual mores are just a bit loose, reflecting the attitudes of the royals. There is less demand for prostitutes in general due to the many sexually active non-professionals.

One through four tend to balance out five. Hooking in Amber is far safer than elsewhere. Whores keep more of their money. It’s only really lucrative at the high end, so most lower-level hookers are hooking on the side, not full time.

Posted by Trimmer at 04:33 PM Comments (17)
October 03, 2002
Another Amber City Contribution

The Great Beyond

Nestled at the edge of the city in the better appointed quarter lies the mortuary of Amber. It goes by the name "The Great Beyond" and has traditionally handled final arrangements for both noble and common man. The building is quite large and can process up to thirty cadavers simultaneously before extra space must be utilized elsewhere. Services range from state funerals with all the trimmings to disposal of bodies via dumping at sea.

The enterprise is run by Mortimer Clavius, an elderly widower with a somber demeanor always dressed impeccably in black. Mortimer no longer delves into the actual processing but instead restricts himself to handling the financial transactions and all dealings with the nobility and the royals. The majority of the labor is performed by four sons and two daughters. Mortimer is an extremely wealthy man having held the charter for handling the dead in Amber for over 45 years.

Ferdinand is the oldest son responsible for the crematorium and mausoleum management. He is fortyish, married for ten years but as yet childless. He tends to be the most outgoing of the children and seems to lead the closest thing to a normal life. He is active in local politics and often attends social functions on behalf of the family. His wife Larna is devoted and not put off by his profession.

Renee is the second oldest child, one of two daughters and is responsible for the cosmetics applied to the bodies for those situations requiring viewing by the public. Renee is in her late thirties and is considered a beauty, though suitors have been rare due to her vocation and private demeanor. In truth she is a very lonely person and has considered leaving the family trade to find some other vocation more conducive to her happiness.

Carl is the next oldest. Due to an accident in his youth, he sustained moderate brain damage and is employed only for the actual digging of graves and for the manual labor involved. He is a very sad person most of the time. He is aware of what might have been and keenly feels the loss of his original intellect. Carl is in his mid thirties and is very well built as the result of his labors. He also handles the dumping of destitute bodies into the bay, properly weighted with stones of course.

Paulus is the third son and is responsible for the majority of the body processing. He is an expert on anatomy and body reconstruction. He would have made an excellent physician but is content in his work. As he puts it, his clients never give him any lip and he enjoys the job security. Paulus is recently married and still in the throes of romance. His spouse Lucille refuses to visit his place of employment but she respects the work he does and certainly the wealth it brings.

Morticia is the youngest daughter, also a beauty. She is approximately thirty years of age and still single. She assists Paulus when magical reconstructive techniques are required. Morticia briefly studied in Dom Daniel, dabbling in several areas but specializing in none. She primarily uses illusionary magics in her work but dabbles in other areas as a hobby. She is strong willed and does not mind her vocation in the slightest. So far she has avoided any tint of necromancy in her work and she has a dim view of those who study such things.

Armand is the youngest son at twenty five years of age. He is something of a rake and social rebel. He hates the family business with a passion and dreams of becoming a famous artist. He argues with the rest of the family much of the time and often embarrasses them on purpose. He is used to collect the dead and frequently works with Carl to do the less pleasant duties. He is a frequent patron of many of the less seemly establishments in town.

In addition to the family, the business employs half a dozen groundskeepers and gravediggers. The turnover is high and none stick around for more than a couple of years before leaving for greener pastures.

Posted by at 11:14 AM Comments (0)
September 30, 2002
Town Areas/NPCs

In honor of game-time munchies.

Melanie's
(The best kept secret in town.)

Melanie is short, round, blonde, and hazel-eyed. She is an excellent cook and serves meals three times a day; her kitchen has no menu: customer's pay the same for any breakfast or lunch meal, and a bit more for dinner. There is only seating for about 40 people at the long tables in the front room of her house and the place is usually jammed. Mealtimes are 6:30am to 8:30am for breakfast, 11:00am to 2:00pm for lunch, and 5:00pm to 8:00pm for supper. Melanie is assisted by her two daughters, both of whom are plump, blonde, and thoroughly married; the girls do the majority of the customer service.

The customers are on the honor system, expected to drop the cost of the meal into a small box by the front door; if you can't afford to pay now, pay later. (Freeloaders are generally noticed after the first few times and usually ejected by the regular clientele.)

Posted by Jackie at 05:57 PM Comments (0)
More areas for Amber city

Here's another one, via John's request:

The Street of Silk Veils

The Street of Silk Veils is the pleasure area in the city. Here can be found many beautiful women with whom one may pass a few hours in dalliance for a reasonable sum. There are two distinct pricing alternatives for those seeking adventure on the Street of Silk Veils (so-called because of the custom that someone seeking to earn a little extra income in an easy and pleasant manner usually dons silk veils to advertise that fact): houses tend to be run by women, usually a high rank courtesan herself. For those with but a few silvers to spend, there are a plentitude of independents and happy amateurs.

NPCs

Enos the Maul - a granite block in human guise who wields a 9-pound maul as if it were a flyswatter. He is usually up at dawn working in his livery stable/blacksmithy. A forthright, upright, righteous man, he will aid anyone who is in trouble (physical, not financial) on the Street.

Shops, Taverns, and Residences

Ambrosia
Probably the oldest of the major establishments having supplied the Street of Silk Veils with a luscious portion of its reputation for over 300 years, there is a rumor that the madame who currently runs it is the same woman who originally founded it,

Avrodel's Wine Shop
Carries many wines and even some brandies. The shop opens around noon.

The Black Whip
An establishment (not one of the six Majors) about which little need be said.

The Blue Lantern
One of the six Major houses of the Street.

The Fox and Goose
(A pleasant sojourning spot)

Karki's Sweets and Flowers
Karki lives in a house across the plaza; his shop is open from noon to 6pm and prices are reasonable.

Mordecai, Surgeon
Mordecai is short, round, balding, and has a sense of humor that considers slapping a sunburned man heartily on the back the height of hilarity. When he asks, "Now tell me if this hurts?", it generally will. He is extremely competent, and can usually save the worst sword wound (provided the patient is still alive when Mordecai gets to work on him). In the garden behind his house, he grows many herbs and plants that are used in various medicines. He is usually available day or night, although waking him out of a sound sleep causes him to double his fees.

The Mustard and Fennel
A very seedy bar. Har.

The Perfume Garden
Almost as old as Ambrosia; it is renowned even in foreign lands for both the beauty of its walled garden and the beauties within.

The Red Rooster
Another of the six major establishments.

Posted by Doyce at 05:41 PM Comments (0)
"Fleshing out Amber City" Contribution

Here's a minor trading family with tons of use for someone like Fineas. I can say with some assurance that my character will not have any use of them.

Blackbourne
The Blackbourne family first made its fortune through the importation of fine fabrics; they have now expanded their sights, and are involved in all aspects of the clothing trade (weaving, dying, and even retail sales of finished garments). The Blackbournes own several fine clothing shops, and three large sailing vessels. The rapid growth of the Blackbourne business interests is due to foresight of its current patriarch, Hamlin, an incredibly vigorous man of sixty who has built up an extensive trade network that brings him the latest fashion concepts from abroad, and has the good sense to commission the best clothiers in the city to produce these innovative new designs. His election as master of the Guild of the Loom was virtually unanimous, and this Guild is not characterized by the petty internal politics that dominate the activities of some of the other professional Brotherhoods. Lately, the family has seen personal hardship: Hamlin was recently widowed, and the oldest of his three sons, Anson, is recently deceased.

Hamlin -
A small, bald-headed man, Hamlin is an austere, stern man who rarely laughs or smiles. Despite the key role he plays in setting the trends of fashion 'in Caercala, Hamlin wears rather worn, out-of-date outfits himself, and often looks as if he has just slept in his clothing. He is a workaholic, who can often be seen burning the midnight oil in the study of his estate, poring over the scrawled notes taken by one of his traders on his last expedition. He hates formal occasions, and does not drink alcohol; he does smoke a pipe incessantly (using only the finest blends of tobacco), despite his respiratory problems. It is easy to respect Hamlin for his boundless energy and his business genius, yet he is difficult to like, for he is very opinionated and expects things to be done his way.

Anson -- deceased
The oldest son, Anson, was a slender man with prematurely thinning golden hair and a pale complexion -- not physically strong. He had not only demonstrated an ability to manage the Blackbourne business effectively, but had proven much more adroit than his father at making use of the family's considerable political clout. Anson, regardless of the time of day, was always willing to widen his circle of influential acquaintances, he is very friendly to strangers if they were well-dressed and mannered, and polite to almost everyone; and generally conveyed an image of amiability that people responded to warmly. He also usually sat in for his father at the meetings of the Council of Boroughs, and it was he who kept the officials of the Ministries of Trade and Ports content through payoffs and gifts. Anson was always dressed in the latest Blackbourne fashion styles, and had a frame that showed the garments to good advantage. Anson had one severe weakness, a fondness for cheap trollops, he frequently spent his afternoons or early evenings at one of the many houses of prostitution that line the Street of Silk Veils (or the seedier flats along the South End). Rumors abound that the 'boating accident' that killed Anson was in fact an incident involving one of the girls from 'the Street', a family boat, and far too much cheap wine.

Megaera -
Anson's widow, a young woman with straight reddish-brown hair and quiet eyes. She is normally a very shy woman who blushes easily when made the center of attention; if she has been drinking enough to be tipsy however (not a very difficult feat given her low tolerance for alcohol and the current state of the Blackbourne household), she becomes a totally different person, full of laughter and willing to try almost anything, no matter how brazen. When inebriated, she is very susceptible to the suggestions of others and will believe most of what she hears while in this state. She loved Anson deeply, and knew nothing of his extramarital sexual interests.

Marcus -
The second son, Marcus, is in his third year of apprenticeship as a cloth trader; there is only a 20% chance that he will be in Amber at any given time. Marcus is learning the ropes under the tutelage of the Blackbournes' oldest and wisest hand, Jock McPherson; it is likely that the two men will be together if encountered in the city. Marcus is a fairly tall, slender young man with sandy brown hair; he repeatedly tries to grow a moustache, but can only grow a light "peach fuzz" on his upper lip. When he and Jock hit the city after an expedition, their pockets are usually full; Marcus for his part seems compelled to spend this money in the shortest time possible.
Places Encountered: In any rowdy bar or establishment providing light entertainment (song, belly dancing, gambling events like a cockfight).

Gladiolus -
A pudgy blond lad with very delicate features and an acerbic tongue, Gladiolus (he refuses to answer to his given name of "Geoffrey") has exhibited rather atypical sexual preferences and is known disparagingly around town as the "Fruit of the Loom". Gladiolus is his father's shame, and the two rarely speak (when they do, it is usually at the top of their lungs). Hamlin tried for a time to bring Gladiolus into the business as a clerk, but he was so insulting to customers that the idea was quickly abandoned. He now receives a small stipend from his father, and has no other income; consequently, he can often be found in local taverns trying to find someone who will buy him a drink. Gladiolus spends most of his days hanging around Studio Lane, for he has several friends among the artist community, and has dabbled in various forms of artistic endeavors at times (with no particular demonstration of talent).

Posted by Doyce at 07:39 AM Comments (3)
July 19, 2002
SNIFFER RESULTS

Fineas' sniffers, when fully debriefed, yield the following info.

First, part of what they sense is olofactory and part is psychic but perceived as smell. The older two can tell them apart, the kid is learning.

Fineas notes that they get a more complete picture after discussing it among themselves.

Amberites and Rebman royals (Kelamon, Tori) smell really good, sort of warm-fuzzy good, to all the Weir. They can't tell them apart, as groups, but do know all of those that they've met by their individual scents.

Chaosites, both the captive lord and the hellmaid, do not have any antithetical stink.

They discern two main classes of shapeshifter: weres and, as they think of it, Others. They can tell Weir from normal werewolves and can easily differentiate wereleopards and the two wereswans apart from other types. The older fellow has met vampires of one type and they smelled wereish.

Florimel, the Lord of Chaos and Tanitheel all smell like Other shapeshifters. That would be the more versatile kind.

Tanitheel and the hellmaid also smell a bit like vampires. Tanitheel is known to be an occasional blood-drinker, taking small amounts as part of her erotic activities. The hellmaids are known as blood-drinkers.

Sir John does not smell like a shapeshifter of any kind, nor like one of the houses of Amber or Lir.

Normal weres can smell strong magic. The sensitives can smell weak magic, sometimes.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:00 AM Comments (0)
July 18, 2002
JOHROM RETCON

Also, I'm reading THE HONOURABLE COMPANY, a history of the English East India Company, and the notion that the Jesby actions look anything like that is right out. Two hundred years of dinking around with either their heads or thumbs up their asses -- no.

More like WW2 or something. The Jesbys took over a large but technologically second rate country, came up with a nasty crusading political movement and lots of tech innovations, and are attacking the politically and religiously divided most advanced subcontinent.

Posted by Trimmer at 06:26 PM Comments (0)
July 16, 2002
MINOR RETCON: JOHROM

Johrom, where the Jesby are operating, is still inhabited by lizardmen of the commando-wizard Azvan's species. The cultural flavor of the main area of operation is still vaguely Hindu. The tech is changed to Steampunk -- Victorian with weirdness. The Jesby seem to be going for world domination. Magic level is generally low but some of the weird tech seems to use magic.

Jesby attitudes are like those of the 19th C British: there's themselves, the superior rabble brought from their territories in Chaos, and wogs. Wogs run from useful (Gurkha equivalents) to vermin (Boer equivalents).

Posted by Trimmer at 10:08 PM Comments (0)
June 12, 2002
Florimel's Factoids

The battle went as in The Courts of Chaos except that no Oberon funeral procession went through and Random joined the rest in the Courts proper -- the fuzzy island over the Abyss.

In the Courts they were led through a series of Gates and attacked by pretty much everybody. Flo was with Llewella and in sight of Benedict and Caine.
-- Caine got shot by arrows in the chest and throat, like Brand, and went down
-- Benedict killed a lot of ambitious types until he got swamped
-- Flo and Llewella got swamped. Florimel was taken captive by House Gryphon and made the Dukes trophy concubine, lab rat and breeding project.
-- She's sure they removed some ova. She also bore two kids to the Duke who were immediately taken away and raised in fast-time -- or so they claimed. They lied to her a lot. She met a young man and woman who claimed to be her kids. Flora is conflicted about them. They're the only children she's ever had, but they are also enemies and spawn of her master/rapist.
-- Chinaway Hendrake is said to have killed Julian (who killed Larsus, Duke Hendrake and Chinaway's brother) and made the prince's head into a goblet.
-- the Hendrakes and Helgrams were set on punishing or executing Bleys and Fiona, who betrayed them.
-- Martin was supposedly talked into surrenduring by Dara Hendrake.
-- Merlin stabbed his father Corwin in the back and was reflexively killed.
-- There are conflicting rumors about Benedict, Corwin, Llewella, Bleys, Fiona, and even Caine. Any House that captured them alive would keep it secret if they could. Others would lie about possessing a captive.

-- Flora has long been a Trump Artist, having been taught by a Rebman lover (coincidentally, he was Toriana's mentor and great-uncle). She kept that talent hidden from the Gryphons. She can make Trumps of some of them.
-- Flora started spontaneously shapeshifting her second year of captivity. The Gryphons wouldn't give her any training and there are problems. She'll consult with Tanitheel.
-- The Gryphons sent a sizeable force against Amber like the Hendrakes, Helgrams, Jesby and Chanicuts. Gerard & Co. haven't seen any sign of it.
-- The expeditions were sent on the King's orders, to try to stop a civil war. The King is rumored to be dying. Flora believes that the nobles of Chaos have lost about a third of their number between the war, the wave of destruction, the civil war and the House vendettas. She got the impression that the King ordered them to go in some way that left them with no choice to refuse, literally no choice.

-- The subject peoples of Chaos all regularly tithe magical energy via rituals to their lords. It is channelled, stored and used to strengthen and maintain their citadels. A large percentage is siphoned off by the King of Chaos, Swayvill, and manifests as a crown of flame.

Posted by Trimmer at 09:57 PM Comments (0)
May 25, 2002
Coinage and Credit in Amber

Amber's merchants and bankers have a variety of magical gadgets at their disposal to determine the content and purity of coins. Since they deal with coinage from three dozen or so worlds (and three or four times that many nations of those worlds) regularly, and a hundred more occasionally, this helps a lot. They also employ expert gemologists and several kinds of experts in the fields of textiles, magical doodads and so on. Reasonable honesty is enforced by the Crown -- trade is the lifeblood of Amber -- more by really vicious punishments than constant, rigorous observation and inspection.

Each great noble house runs its own bank but the largest (though not by much) financial institution in Amber is the Kiruz (keer-ooz) Bank. The Baronial House of Kiruz would be a great house if they had much in the way of land. Kiruz operates much as a modern (Earth) bank, issuing many small loans at modern low interest (low at least when compared to Earthly Renaissance rates which compare favorably only to the Mob's vigorish) to small businesses, families, farmers and such. They also conduct riskier business with the minor trading houses and fleets. The banks tend to use letters of credit rather than hard currency, with occasional shipments to even things out. The bankers use a number of effective identification procedures to guard against fraud.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:41 PM Comments (0)
May 21, 2002
Medical care in Amber

Medical care available is very good within the technological and magical constraints. No leeches, no treatment for imbalances of humours, etc.

More radical treatments are available in Shadow. Notably: limb replacement. Both regeneration and transplantation are routinely (but expensively) available in several Shadows. Nobles and other rich people use the services as a matter of course. Noble house ship crews are usually covered, as Amber sailors are harder to replace -- low birthrate -- and more valuable -- more experienced due to longevity. Trade association dues often defray the costs, too.

One of the Crown's few direct charitable efforts is to partly subsidize both treatment and transport to the Shadows where it is available. (It is still a major expense for common folk, but Amber does have 'modern' banking and interest rates.) This is done for both aesthetic and practical reasons; with the general longevity of its people, Amber would eventually be largely peopled hook-handed, peg-legged folk. Not good candidates for the militia or the merchant marine. It's good PR, too. Oberon established his rep for looking after his subjects millenia ago.

Effective contraception is widely available in both chemical form and as a minor magic.

Nearly all diseases are weakened in Amber and succumb easily to many different chemical and magical treatments. (If a sufferer isn't too far gone mere time will work a cure as well.) As a result, some of Amber's lesser towns do excellent business as sanitarium resorts for rich shadow folk suffering one ailment or another. Poorer shadowfolk try to make their way to Amber by a variety of dodges. In Amber, even living in a filthy garret with treatment by a third-rate physicker will see most people cured in a short time. Since diseases spread so poorly, innkeepers and people renting out rooms don't worry about sick boarders.

It also doesn't hurt that Amber has an excellent, Roman-like, sewage system and aqueducts sufficient for plentiful, free, clean, water. Plus general habits of cleanliness and sufficient wealth (and cheap, imported, mass-produced cloth) that even poor people have more than one set of clothes, add to the healthiness of the place. (Amber proper could easily survive sloppy habits but then the Amber traders and sailors out in Shadow would, in following those habits, die like flies. Oberon shaped Amber's society accordingly.)

Posted by Trimmer at 02:23 AM Comments (1)
April 29, 2002
Shadow Atlases

Amber's royal archivist directs the updating of the Grand Atlas, using information from the noble houses, the princes and the various royal agents and officers, supplemented with information from--

The Daebekkar Atlas, the massive and hideously expensive atlas made, updated and printed (in very limited editions) by the Daebekkar Society. Said Society is sort of a Universal Geographic Society of wizards and others. The Daebekkars also make regional and less detailed (but still very expensive)atlases. Daebekkar Atlases have notations for wizards detailing the differences in magic's operation from world to world.

The private atlases of Amber's trading clans and companies.

Rebmas have their own royal atlas, of course. They subscribe to the Daebekkars too.

Amber military commands are equipped with atlases for their area of operations and the adjoining region of shadow.

Posted by Trimmer at 07:14 PM Comments (6)
April 13, 2002
Campaign Divergence from the Books

The first series is true, mostly. Some people -- Dara, for instance -- may have been shading the truth or lying outright on a few matters. Corwin probably made a Pattern. I haven't decided, but rest assured that the conflict between it and the other Pattern or the Logrus isn't going to endanger the universe; been there, done that.

The main difference is that Random did not Trump to Gerard after deflecting the wave of chaos in CoC, instead he joined his brothers and sisters in heading into the Courts proper where they were ambushed and overwhelmed. The Jewel teleported Random away too late to save his life, but with just enough time for him to tell Gerard how to attune to the Jewel.


Other differences:
Rebma and Tir-na Nog'th always were well away from Amber in Shadow; the connecting stairways were really good tricks. The stairways broke in the wave of chaos.

Rebmans of the House of Lir are all actual or potential Trump Artists and super-human, though not quite so superhuman as Amberites. Queen Moire is a bit older than Fiona and quite formidable. Her daughter by Corwin, Morwyn, is in her late twenties and a Pattern initiate.

The Rebman atmosphere and lack of crushing pressure applies to their whole region of Shadow. Rebman is a high magic area.

Amber's mortal nobles are a fairly scary bunch. They live about 200 years on average, have long experience with scores of shadows (and all their technology and magic) and act essentially as clan East India Companies with only the lightest royal control. Their mercenary armies and fleets constitute the bulk of Amber's forces short of royals going out to recruit religious fanatics as cannon fodder. They are not particularly awed by most members of the royal family.

There is no Church of the Unicorn in Amber. There are shrines where the Unicorn was sighted, Shinto-like but all small, tended by holy persons (reputed to be capable of effectively blessing) who are modestly supported by the Crown. Amber City hosts dozens of mostly foreign cults who are watched closely by the authorities. Troublemakers --- inciters of religious riots, for example --- are punished harshly, often quite informally. They are not exempt from taxes. Oberon did not like competition.


I'm using some things from the second series: Logrus, House names, some characters. Things that also fall into the Been There, Done That category and will not be seen in CH: sapient Pattern/s or Logrus, Ghostwheel the Trump God, Dara as Queen Bitch of the Universe and Spikardmania.


The Castle is the one from the Visual Guide with a few alterations like bathrooms, Roman baths, some hypocaust-heated areas. Sure it's small. Oberon liked it that way. He wasn't some mortal monarch trying to awe people with architecture. He had real power and just about everyone who got to the castle knew it. Oberon strangled the growth of bureaucracy for ten thousand years and operated in part on a principal that "staff expands to fill space available." Amber Castle was Oberon's house. The kid's rooms are little two-room, (mostly) windowless things to encourage them to live elsewhere.

Posted by Trimmer at 05:16 AM Comments (0)
April 12, 2002
PCs

FINEAS
A moderately mysterious character who had passed through Amber any number of times, often working as a navigator on trade ships. Rumors named him the son of either Corwin or Eric. While charming and genial, he does have a ruthless streak when it comes to cannon fodder. He has adapted easily to life at the informal court of Amber. He and Jacob are very closely matched in swordplay; Fineas is a little faster, Jacob is a bit stronger. Fineas' Trump Artistry is still OOC knowledge.

Fineas recently revealed to Gerard his true ancestry: he's a son of Brand. Fineas' brother Rinaldo has just shown up to claim his heritage.

Associates: his Mother, a potent sorceress whose identy and even existance is unknown to the other PCs, Liam Miramon (out acquiring cannon fodder most of the time, Ky Tung (female sea captain of a minor house)

Troops: 2500 'euro-samurai', 1000 dragoons, about 3000 cannon fodder

JACOB
Jacob has dedicated many years to hunting and killing supernatural menaces along the Borderlands, the regions of shadow along the Dancing Mountains. He has a strong preference for firearms and is very, very good with them. Gerard told him that he was Random's son. This was a surprise as he'd thought Random was merely a friend. Jacob is not at all used to any kind of princely lifestyle; he does like the perks. Jacob was a Broken Pattern initiate for decades and adapting to the real Pattern power is different.

Associates: his Watchers (sensitives who monitor shadow movement and gather reports of demonic activity), Itzamna (Hunacan tong sorceress: teacher), Zariel (bound sylph)

Troops: 4000 Reman legionaires, 6000 Pars archer-cavalry, 400 'foreign legion' riflemen, 4000 Oscray infantry (orc-Hessians)


THIRTEEN
Thirteen was raised in The Village, an odd prison in shadow for political and espionage prisoners. He thinks Amber and all his recent experiences are not real, or not entirely real. The Village specializes in mind-warping technology. He does treat the experiences as valid. For one thing, there's an excellent chance that if he dies in the 'dream' he'll really die. 13 sees everything through a filter of paranoia and skepticism --- not necessarily a bad thing in Amber. Intensive, brutal training has brought out his strong talent for martial arts. He has found a teacher for instruction in magic. He's making himself useful to Gerard while planning his move up the ladder of Amber.

Associates: Sabine (ex-Autumn Moon sorceress: teacher, assistant and sometimes lover), Jurgen and Gertruda (Amber Royal Guards and Weir: bodyguards)


TORIANA
Toriana is the daughter of Gerard and Kelamon, a baroness of the royal Rebman house of Lir. She's a Trump Artist like half of her relatives --- an unusually good one. She's also an excellent sorcerer. She's also spoiled and imperious. Her father's identity was kept secret until recently as neither Oberon nor Queen Moire approved of mixing the bloodlines. Gerard bullied her into taking the Pattern and her position as a princess of Amber with Kelamon's connivance. Moire, who claims to have engineered the situation, is pleased. Tori has attuned (in a very basic way) to both the Jewel of Judgement and the Eye of the Sea -- the Jewel of Rebma. Tori rescued Florimel via Trump and assisted Moire in the recovery of Llewella.

Associates: her shapeshifting familiar, Heinrik (Weir and Amber Royal Guardsman: favorite bodyguard), Queen Moire, Amber Trump Mistress Kelamon (mother).


DIEGO
A son of Corwin, found and brought to Amber by Florimel. Diego rules an island state in a Shadow near Florimel's Earth. He's a doctor, scientist, engineer and expert shapeshifter. He was instrumental in breaking Princess Llewella out of her coma.

Associates: his aide Marcia Sherman; he's working hard at cultivating Queen Moire and Crown Princess Morwyn, his half-sister.

Posted by Trimmer at 02:59 AM Comments (4)
April 09, 2002
Rebman coloration

Rebmans are generally pale. Really pale. Vampire pale.

Eye color goes from yellow-green, to green (the most common color), to blue, to purple.

Hair color goes from black to dark green (most common), to light green, to blue, to purple.

Eye and hair color do not necessarily match.

So Toriana has the equivalent of green eyes and pale blond hair. I don' believe Jackie has specified her skin tone, but mom is pale and Gerard is southern Italian, out in the sun a lot dark.

False coloring of hair or eyes is not very common despite the common use of illusions for adornment.

Posted by Trimmer at 09:45 PM Comments (0)
Gerard's history lecture

Gerard will be giving the lecture next time he can get you all together. It's long enough and contains nothing the players don't know, that I'm posting it beforehand, since your superhuman Amberite memories would pick up on any little questions that come to mind.


"I've put this off too long. This is how things came to be as they are.

Ages ago, before Amber or its shadows existed, there was Chaos. What that means, really, I don't know. It was not like this. [He gestures, indicating Amber and the worlds beyond.] Chaos had its denizens and among them was one named Dworkin.

Dworkin made the Pattern, the real one, of which Amber's, Rebma's and Tir-na Nog'th's --- remind me to tell you about Tir-na Nog'th --- are the first and truest reflections. The Pattern caused Shadow to come into being between itself and Chaos. Other denizens of Chaos objected to this and tried to destroy the Pattern and the infant Amber. Dworkin and his son Oberon fought them off. Eventually Chaos gave it up or perhaps lost the power to reach Amber and there was peace for many centuries. Oberon's children were not told of Chaos and only a few --- Fiona, Bleys and Brand --- were told that Dworkin was Oberon's father.

Centuries passed. Oberon was a great king, a bad husband to six or seven wives, don't ask, and an indifferent father.

About a century ago Bleys, Fiona and Brand formed a conspiracy to usurp the throne. They had learned of Chaos and approached leaders there for knowledge and aid. Several thousand years of peace had not sufficed to cool the hatred of Chaos, so Chaos gave them what they wanted. The conspirators damaged the Real Pattern. That involved spilling a great deal of Family blood on it. They chose Random's son Martin for it and Brand carried it out. Martin got away without bleeding to death but the Real Pattern was damaged.

The damage opened a way from Chaos to Amber, the Black Road that was reflected across Shadow. Oberon tried to find a way to repair the damage. He was lured into a trap and held prisoner in Chaos. After decades passed with no word, most of us thought him dead.

Eric, Caine and Julian learned something of the cabal's plans and formed a counter-alliance.

At some point Brand fell out with Fiona and Bleys. They began working against each other. Both sides claimed that their disagreement arose because they broke with the Chaosians.

Then Corwin, who had long been thought dead, showed up and joined Bleys in leading powerful forces against Amber. They were defeated, but they killed a lot of our men first. Nearly every soldier and sailor lost kin or friends; Corwin and Bleys are not remembered kindly. Bleys faked his death. Corwin was taken, blinded and held in the dungeons below Amber Castle. Eric crowned himself King.

Oberon escaped with the aid of Martin and a woman of Chaos named Dara. Dara claimed to be Benedict's great-great-grand daughter, and she did walk the Pattern later. Dara seduced Corwin and bore him a son named Merlin who was raised in Chaos to be heir to both thrones. Dara claimed that the Chaosians had assumed all along that they'd be betrayed and planned for it.

Within a few years Corwin grew new eyes and escaped. Meanwhile, attacks from the Black Road grew more and more dangerous.

Bleys and Fiona captured Brand and imprisoned him.

Eric died in a massive attack on Amber just as Corwin arrived with riflemen to save our skins. No one had found an explosive agent that would work in Amber before. Corwin, though ignorant of most of what was going on, became defacto Regent. He effected Brand's rescue by having all of us Trump him at once. Fiona managed to knife Brand without getting caught, to keep him from talking.

She then disappeared. Julian retreated into Arden. Llewella went to Rebma. Caine faked his death and framed Corwin. It was a mess.

Unknown to all of us, Oberon was among us, disguised by shapeshifting as Corwin's henchman Ganelon. Oberon manipulated us into thwarting Brand from attuning to the Jewel of Judgement. Brand was determined, they said, to destroy the Pattern and Shadow and make a new universe more to his liking. Dad recovered the Jewel and directed the others to attack Chaos through a Trump of Dworkin's. I was ordered to stay here as Regent. Dad would then repair the Real Pattern --- at the cost of his own life. There were hints that he intended Corwin to succeed him with Dara as his queen. He warned me that the repair would twist time: years would pass here while days went by in Chaos.

Oberon did the deed. A great, gut-wrenching storm spread out from Amber and Rebma across Shadow, a "wave of chaos" that Dad had warned of. Then things returned to normal, save that the stairways to Rebma and Tir-na Nog'th were broken and the ghost city no longer appeared in the moonlit sky of Amber. I directed the repairs of storm damage to the City and then replaced many broken shadow paths for our fleets.

Nine years passed. One evening Random appeared next to me in the courtyard, bleeding from many wounds and suffering from burns, clutching the Jewel of Judgement. He told me with his last breath how to attune to it and that the others had fallen into a Chaosian trap. He died in my arms. A year later we got the first reports of the invasions. None of my brothers or sisters have returned.

Prisoners have told us that Amber's forces won the initial battle but later fell prey to an ambush. Who among my brothers and sisters is captive and who dead is a matter of rumor and disinformation among the Chaosians. Three sources agreed that Florimel is the Gryphon Duke's trophy concubine. Beyond that, we know nothing for certain."

Posted by Trimmer at 09:30 PM Comments (2)
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 Comments (5)
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 Comments (1)
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 Comments (0)
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