January 25, 2004
Turjan's Matrix Creation Process


1) Matrix math, which allows him to express a biological entity as a mathematical formula. Turjan is expert enough to choose details, given a large enough database, or to combine species.

2) Blood diamonds, steel and copper, are built into the various equipment, making it far more precise and responsive.

3) His headset, which enhances his impressive mathematical ability to inhuman levels, allows him to directly, easily and efficiently access the spells and enchantments in all his apparatus, and keeps a record of everything.

4) The matrix scanner, more or less a magical MRI. Experiments proved that Pattern initiates’ power fouls the scans enough to make them useless.

5) The life vats which have adjustable enchantments all over them to aid the construction process, to keep the biological nutrient soup viable, to generate a sterile field, etc.

6) The biological nutrient soup, which is actually a mass of Turjan’s own blood (which is more responsive to his will than other blood), magically made to reproduce itself many times over and loaded with nutrients, in an outer layer of nutrient-saturated saline solution. The process alters the blood’s DNA.

7) Spirit-handling devices and spells. He can call loose spirits to him, interrogate them (both common techniques among high level mages), examine their auras for personality traits (to a limited degree; an unusual technique) and for psychic integrity – badly worn or damaged spirits will usually die in the new body or be permanently insane. A spirit may be bonded with the developing body at roughly the 10% growth mark. It is also possible to kill a properly prepared person and move their spirit into a new body. Turjan’s creation and wife Tsayn was once so badly injured that such a move was necessary. Normally, strong spells are necessary to keep such a person’s memories intact through the switch. Benedict’s spirit form is so strong that no such support is required.

8) Learning enchantments, much like language spells, give amnesiac adult vat creatures instinctive basic locomotion, eating, speech (where possible), and so on.

9) The actual growth process takes a week to ten days. In earliest stages the growing body resembles a cloud, then an increasingly solid human-formed sponge, until fully solid and intact.

Turjan’s tests show that the Decla duplicate is developing towards Olympic-level human abilities, not superhuman ones.


1) Can be done by magic or technology.

2) Results in a zygote that is normally implanted in a host mother or artificial womb.

3) Acquires a spirit naturally, like any fetus.

4) Can have the natural spirit ripped out and a different one bonded to it. (As can be done to uncloned fetuses, infants or adults.) This is traumatic to the new inhabitant.

5) Involves the normal years of infancy, childhood, etc. Accelerated aging is possible but has drawbacks, like accelerated aging and poorly developed muscle and nervous systems

Posted by Trimmer at 09:26 AM Comments (0)
August 10, 2003
Binder constraints

In regards to Jacob's and Rinaldo's oaths and what they HAVE to do to help other Binders:

You are dedicated to not The mission but Your mission. If it's a choice between Zhartra and you, you win. (Nothing in the oath enjoins you to obey her.) Her priority depends on your view of how useful she is to your mission. She's extremely useful and Jacob's risk, in helping her when she got shot, was of nothing but time and effort, so the geas gave him little choice. You're not so sure about the 2 unmet Chaosian Binders' mission importance; you don't know what they've been up to. Even if Zhartra swore up and down that they were exemplary Binders, you'd judge for yourself. She's been wrong before; she didn't notice Swayvill going bad.

Re: Swayvill. Rinaldo, as GM spokesman, speculates that he might have been able to convince himself that since as King of Chaos he could use the Courts as a whole to support his Binder mission, preserving the Courts (and his kingship) was more important than a temporary draw-down of the Binding power. After centuries of everyone toadying to him, he might have even convinced himself that Zhartra would agree.

Posted by Trimmer at 12:30 PM Comments (0)
June 29, 2003
Some mirrormastery notes

Toriana and Fineas can judge that, so far as psychic and physical strain go, any Broken Pattern initiate should be able to survive mirrormastery initiation. Probably a fair number of the stronger shadow sorcerers could too.

The Redmantle (Rhas, Rhun and company) shroudlings never tried it out on anyone but their family and, now, Amberites and their 3 pure Chaosite Tir Tarngirans: Tiglath, Alit and Nolan.

According to Grania Helgram, her House intends to initiate no one beyond the family members. The spymaster in Amber is not an initiate, she's pretty sure. She was supposed to set up the lunar sprite message relay.

Galina has bound a couple of lunar sprites with Florimel's help. Galina sounds like she wants to acquire an array of bound sprites of various types.

Most lunar sprites are just as idiotic as most other elementals, but they are idiot savants about magic. They're good at analyzing spells, wards, enchantments and such. Stronger ones can disrupt spells. They're as fast as air or fire elementals in moonlight or the mirrorverse. They can't open or close mirrors but they can use very small mirrors that have been left "open".

Some psychic leakage from Rhun and Rhas: both value the alliance; Rhun flirts because it's good manners, gets good reactions and is a pleasant game; Rhas flirts with Toriana because he's interested: she's pretty, powerful, dangerous, refreshingly young, politically useful, evasive -- all the shroudlings have a tendency to chase things that run away. He picked up that Tori isn't sure how to take his interest. Fineas got just a little of that due to blocking hard and being distracted by Werewindle.

Fineas and Toriana picked up that Werewindle got a deeper level of mirror-mastery than either of them. Things gelled for Werewindle before they did for either of them but he -- Werewindle thinks of himself as male -- refrained from dumping them out of the roller-coaster ride.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:32 PM Comments (0)
June 10, 2003
Group Magic/Gestalts

Group magic is fairly common among shadow mages, especially in the good schools. Rebmans of the House of Lir look down on it, at least a bit; they think they're powerful enough to do anything they need to do by themselves. Usually they're right. In Amber... heh.

Still, Toriana was taught the basics, Sabine taught 13 the basics, Fineas absobed the basic facts just living with Jasra and Rinaldo, and Jacob has seen it on occasion.

With a gestalt, which is what you need to really combine power (Mental stat) and blend Powers, you sort of make an artificial group personality. One or more people provide Purpose, others Desire, others Balance and others Limits. So it really works better with at least 4 people. The more people, if they know what they're doing, the less leakage. The set Purpose, etc. also cut down on leakage as the participants become monomaniacs -- hence the need for Limits. The person with the power or specializations best suited for the Purpose fills that role. The most powerful (highest Mental) is best for Desire, the person most experienced with gestalts is best for Balance and the most disciplined or the biggest worrywort is best for Limits. The Hunacans are decent at doing gestalts with crowds. The Gaians are very good with their groups of 50.

The big drawback is that you're physically helpless and breaking the gestalt, as opposed to shutting it down properly, hurts. On the other hand, if there's one non-Purpose thing a gestalt can agree on, it's self defense.

Posted by Trimmer at 04:52 PM Comments (2)
May 31, 2003
Things of Power

BARAN'S EXTRA HAND was a construct grown from his blood by a particular genius loci. It was stored extradimensionally, in subspace, like the increasingly common Chaos trick. The hand was the size of a big horse and tough as a wild boar, it could levitate a bit.

BLOOD resonates with the universe. Dworkin made the Primal Pattern from his blood and it is believed that the Serpent made the Logrus with Its blood. The more power you have, the more mystically significant your blood is. Spells of similarity or contaigion done with the target's blood don't work against those with greater powers.

BLOOD ARTIFACTS are made from the iron or carbon in the blood of people with power. Since it takes about 20 pints to make a nickle-sized mass of iron and a few ounces of carbon, this is a slow task. Blood artifacts are made to some particular purpose and have or can enhance the powers of their maker. Some feel that Blood artifacts should be made in the right place (found via shadowwalking), right time and with extreme ritual. Some Blood artifacts, like Werewindle, have personalities of a sort. The more powerful Blood artifacts are difficult to hide from power-senses. Examples: Werewindle, Greyswandir, Oberon's (now the Regent's) sword, Toriana's ring, Flora's ring, Zhartra's sword.

BLOOD CREATURES are constructs made from a shapeshifter's blood. Simpler is easier, so they usually lack things like a reproductive system. Blood beast spies have to be reabsorbed (eaten, usually) to transfer their information unless they are large enough to be semisapient. Blood symbiotes are possible, as artificial organs or for enhancing and controlling creatures. Dispersed Blood beasts are usually controlled through pheromones or ultrasonics.

BROKEN PATTERNS are inferior 'shadows' of the real four. They, cosmographically speaking, spiral out from the triple center nearly to the border. The farther out they are, the more dangerous and the less likely that the power will be stable in an initiate. Broken patterns look like the real ones, in negative, with breaks. Reddish-orange not-electric fire flows out of the center and escapes through the breaks. The breaks change. The would-be initiate walks the power flow and if a break changes, cutting off the flow he's currently in, he dies. The BPs get more dangerous because there are more breaks and they change more often. Pattern probability control can temporarily stabilize a BP. BP benefits include near-immortality, Amberite-like regeneration, the universal translator trick, limited shadow walking and he ability to glitch things.

"COINS" are made of curdled magical energy, folded into an extremely effecient matrix. They are very psychosensitive and need to be shielded when not in use. If released uncontrolled they don't explode, they turn into a wave of transformative magic. Powers help resist personal changes.

THE CROWN OF CHAOS is the focus of all the harvested magical energy of all the Courts of Chaos. It isn't known if Zhartra took it with her when she took the King of Chaos' head off.

THE GRAND ATLAS is the ongoing work of the Daebekkar Society to map and catalogue all the worlds, and all the interesting parts of the worlds, reachable via the networks of Shadow Paths. The Society has been doing this for about 600 years. The GA is published in a Standard (Thari) Edition, on stuff that looks a lot like paper but is 100 times tougher, in runs of maybe one dozen. (The Brotherhood has an 'interactive' magical copy they've made, but it's buggy. The Rebman one works very well. Princess Florimel's people are making a computerized version in her shadow.) As intelectual piracy laws are uninforceable cross shadow they simply charge a fortune, a LARGE fortune, for each set, and smaller fortunes for regional atlases. The full edition includes all the available articles about everywhere. It fills a good-sized room's shelves. The short edition just has abbreviated notes about each place's relevant features, natural, political, cultural, magical, etc. Amber, Rebma, the Brotherhood of Wizards and the arch-wizard Jelerak (rumor) all subscribe. Amber and Rebma sell copies to their own great trading houses and charge reasonable fees for lesser houses to use a 'public' copy. A fairly large number of trading nations in the network buy regional copies of the short edition. Being a Daebekkar sponsor is a prestigious (and costly) thing across the network. It's sexier to be or have been a Daebekkar and actually gone exploring.

JELERAK'S STAFF (the Pez Stick of Doom) looks, in retrospect, a lot like a Blood artifact. He stores "coins" in it and does spells through it, fast.

THE JEWEL OF JUDGMENT is supposedly an Abyssal Thing associated from earliest times with the Serpent, known in Chaos as the EYE OF THE SERPENT. Used to make the Primal Pattern, Corwin's Pattern and possibly the Logrus. For Pattern initiates it greatly enhances their Pattern abilities. Red.

THE JEWEL OF AMBER is a lesser copy in green of the JoJ. Long used to stabilize Rebma and the stair Faiella-bionin, it is now held by the Regent. Benedict, Flora, Toriana, Jacob, 13, Fineas, Rinaldo, Martin and Dara have all attuned to it.

THE JEWEL OF REBMA is a lesser copy in blue of the JoJ. Moire has been attuned to it for centuries, giving her full Pattern powers.

THE JEWEL OF TIR TARNGIR is a lesser copy in violet of the JoJ. Long used to bind the half-unreal remnants of Tir Tarngir in existance as Tir-na Nog'th, the Jewel is now the property of the Empress and Emperor of Tir Tarngir, given to her by the Cat and endowing her with full Pattern powers.

SPELL RACKS are made from all kinds of things but the very best ones are rods (wands, staves) from Fangorn and gold alloy rings from somewhere in the Rebman network. Some captured Chaosian racks, shaped like wrist bracers, are even better, with up to double capacity.

TRUMPS are of two types: sketches and full Trumps. Sketches can be made quickly and are only mildly resistant to magic. Their 'target lock' starts to fade after a week and they must be used regularly for communication to prevent decay. Full Trumps don't lose their 'target lock' ever. They're about twice as physically resilient as they should be based on materials. They are highly resistant to magic or powers-- except for those of their makers. Dworkin-made Trumps are invulnerable to normal wear and tear, are as tough as sheet steel, have improved range and ease of use.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:23 PM Comments (2)
May 18, 2003
How Fast Do You Regrow Parts?

Let's see. Corwin regrew eyes and burned out nerves in 3 years for partial sight plus one for full recovery. This under bad conditions: discomfort and poor nutrition, but with lots of rest. Eyes are Tiny and Very Complex.

Llewella would have regrown her arms and legs under maximum Rebman care in about 4 months. With Dworkin's spawn Rebman deluxe care optimizes the regenerative process to a completely unnatural level -- all the surviving parts are postioned perfectly, nutrition to each cell is near-perfect, etc. Arms and legs are Complex, Large and Extensions. Diego's SS Regenerative Trance cut the time to just over 1 week.

After playing with the numbers:
The Base Regrowth time is 15-20 months, at END=30 real, for a small, simple part, like an earlobe or a chunk of your butt. The spread is for complex parts. At 15 they work, at 20 they work perfectly.

Regrowth Time Multipliers:
: +1 for Complex (lots of nerves: fingers), +3 for Very Complex (eyes, some vitals)
: +1 for Medium sized (hand, arm), +2 for Large (leg, multiple limbs)
: +1 for Extensions (legs, arms, eyes due to the tiny connection)
: +.5 for Poor Conditions

Regrowth Time Divisors:
: Your real End (adjusted for the Fast Regen/Cockroach Specialization), plus your points in Shapeshifting, /30 [ex: Corwin's real End is 70, he has Fast Regen 2, 105 is 3.5x 30, he regrows parts 3.5 x as fast as someone with 30 End.]
: /2 for Good Conditions, ample food, rest, comfort, cleanliness
: /4 for Very Good Conditions, like modern deluxe hospital care
: /8 for Optimal Conditions, like Rebman/Lynxian magic or nanotech medicine
: /50 to /100 with a Shapeshifting Regenerative Trance, depending on conditions, or even faster with the proper Specialization

Ex: Prince Joe gets two fingers shot off. Fingers are Complex but small: 15 mo x 2 = 30mo.
His END=40, he has Fast Regen 1 (x1.25=50), so his base Regen divisor = ~1.7. 30/1.7 = 17.6 mo.
--If Joe lets it heal on it's own, but manages Good care -- about the best you can manage while keeping active, if you're lucky -- They'll grow back in under 9 months.
--If Joe goes to Lynxia and is a good patient, they'll grow back in 2.2 months. [13 days Amber time.]
--If Joe goes to Tanitheel they'll grow back in about 7 days of trance in Amber or 5.5 days in Lynxia. [1.1 day Amber time] (The bigger the part, the better off you are in Lynxia or Rebma for Optimal care. Redistributing two fingers' worth of body mass is one thing, a leg's worth is another. You need Magic Nutrition, baby. And, of course, there's the 5:1 time time flow in Lynxia too.)
--If Joe goes to Diego it will cut a day or two off Tanitheel's time.

Ahhh. I feel much better now about shooting, hacking, burning parts off the PCs.

Posted by Trimmer at 12:59 PM Comments (4)
May 17, 2003
How Fast Do You Heal?

Start with your Real Endurance.

Multiply by 1.25 or 1.5 if you've Specialized in Fast Regen/Cockroach

Add your total points in Shapeshifting. Note that SS Wounds just seals injuries in seconds to minutes, it doesn't heal them.

Divide by 5. This is how many times faster than a normal human you heal.

Pattern, Broken Pattern, Logrus, Trump Artistry, Shapeshifting and a few other powers enable you to heal completely, without scarring and regrowing missing parts if necessary.

If you have Shapeshifting with Regeneration you heal 10x as fast when in a regenerative trance.

If you can heal others with Shapeshifting, they heal at a rate between their natural one and yours, times 10, in a regenerative trance.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:15 PM Comments (1)
May 16, 2003
Blood and hostile magic retcon

All of you are retroactively aware that your blood can't be used against you by hostiles. (Rebman training for Tori, Brand's training for Fineas and Rinaldo, Garcia's training for Diego, recent experience for Jacob and Thirteen.) It remains yours. Were someone to try, you would be aware of it and able to mess with it. Your hair, fingernail clippings, etc. can be used to some degree. Human mages' blood does not have this quality.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:32 PM Comments (10)
May 10, 2003
Vampiric Powers


Vampires are all Shapeshifters with at least Combat Form (usually a BtVS-like 'gameface', fangs & claws of metallic toughness and armor -- .22s bruise as do shotguns [unless at very short range] and larger calibers do reduced damage, but the armor is useless against fire and silver) and SS Wounds. They may have a number of "anti-Specializations" like Frenzy, Burn In Sunlight, Can't Enter a Dwelling Unless Invited, Vulnerable to Fire, etc. All have Need Blood To Survive for -1 or -2 points. They have 2-8 times the Strength they should for their size and build, and are generally superior in their other Attributes too. They don't have to breathe if they do nothing.

Blood Powers:
By 'burning' blood they've consumed -- and it does smell just like that -- vampires can use a variety of magical effects. Each is rated at 1-3 points and reduces their current End by a matching number of points. If they drop below zero they die. Bloodmastery and Moonhealing do not burn blood. Many vamps have no Blood Powers at all, or only a couple at low levels. '3's' are rare. A new vamp has some of the powers of his or her maker. Blood powers are as vulnerable to Pattern or Logrus interference as any other magic.

Translocation -- 1=burst (~2 sec) of monodirectional "flight" (~100 mph), 2=long burst (~10 sec), 3=short range (~20 feet) teleport; it isn't really flight, it's a warped corridor in which the vamp falls at about 2g halfway and then decelerates at 2g to a full stop. It's very disorienting without practice.
Domination -- suggestion, hypnosis, enthrallment; Mental based, natch
Darkness -- shade self, shade area, smothering/freezing darkness attack
Bloodmastery -- need trivial amounts to maintain health, cause wounds at range, big ones/explode vamps
Strength Boost -- gain = .5x END for a few seconds, +.75x END, +full END
Poltergeist -- random area TK vs. things weighing up to 1/10 your END in pounds, = your END in pounds, 10x your END in pounds
Glamour -- be inconspicuous, illusory disguise, local environmental illusions; lasts minutes, 10's of minutes, hours
Dreammastery -- speak to bite victims in dreams from 100 yards, any or all from 1 mile, from 10 miles
Firemastery -- produce/control a hand-sized flame, campfire-sized, room-sized
Watermastery -- amphibious & immune to running water, swim fast, cause turbulance/undertow
Earthmastery -- 'deep radar', tunnel quickly, excavate/shake ground
Airmastery -- weathersense, 'featherfall'/cause breezes, limited flight/whirlwinds
Verminmastery -- sense vermin, call/dismiss vermin, control vermin
Beastform -- uncontrolled lunar-based lycanthropy, mostly controlled, fully controlled
Moonhealing -- feed off moonlight, regenerate in strong moonlight, reanimate

One vamp may acquire some of another's powers by drinking his/her blood, either a lot at once or small amounts regularly. Too much power acquired too quickly by this method may destroy them. Kirsten would have died of Varnae's blood without an Amberite laying his will on the process.

Some blood is better than other blood. Consuming Chaosite or Amberite blood permanently enhances vampires, to a point, and is much more nutritious, also intoxicating.

Gheneshans (like Tanitheel) are true Shapeshifters with a couple of vampiric quirks. They need a little blood regularly and all have Moonhealing 2.

Hellmaids have the same vampiric quirks as Gheneshans, without the shapeshifting.

Posted by Trimmer at 12:01 PM Comments (0)
April 24, 2003
PM Emrys Feldane & security

Given his position, making sure that PM Emrys Feldane wasn't replaced by some shapeshifter or double has been a priority from the beginning. He got tested daily, blood tests by Tanitheel (taste) or others (magic), at his own insistance. This is more or less public knowledge so as to lessen the desire to attempt a substitution. He also has at top level security detail to guard him all the time, as do his secretaries. (These are secretaries in the Secretary of the Interior sense, but the bureaucracy is so small that they meet personally most every day and they are very much his assistants. With Emrys on vacation the secretaries report to Benedict personally.) Emrys is said to be on vacation at his estate in Lynxia.

Blood tests will reveal a lot to a tester with the right tools and database. Tanitheel can detect by taste shapeshifting power (despite drugs) and type (true shapeshifting, lycanthropy, wereswans, etc.), Pattern, Broken Pattern, Logrus, Magic, Trump Artistry, and most shadow power sources' presence and can ID some (Bel, the Bright Lady and a few others) specifically. She can also ID many kinds of drugs, including several types of antishapeshifting ones. She attributes her abilites to shapeshifting power, experience and her partially vampiric nature. Weir and others can get pretty good but lack her wide experience and conoisseur's palate. (Tanitheel's ID is tested via psychic contact with Gerard or Benedict.) Gerard has, in the course of many battles, tasted a variety of blood (not on purpose, blood splashed or spurted onto his face) and says that, yes, some things are apparent from the taste but that it is not a skill he wishes to develop.

Magical tests -- the very sophisticated ones developed by Amber with Rebman help and Tanitheel's imput -- can sort most of that but it takes time to do them all. There are many, well-guarded testing sets in the Castle. There are tests for the testing sets.

Posted by Trimmer at 04:09 AM Comments (7)
April 06, 2003

Blood's significance is metaphysical and enabling.

Dworkin's blood defined the Primal Pattern. The fundamental powers of the multiverse resonate through his blood, the blood of his descendants, and the blood of his people, the Lords of Chaos.

One would expect that blood was heavily involved in making the manifestations of the other powers: Logrus, etc.

So the blood of Amberites or other creatures with powers doesn't so much contain power as focuses or resonates with power. Spirits temporarily operate at higher levels. Vampires become real.

Blood beasts are somewhere between offspring or detached parts. Your finger has no Pattern powers on it's own. Your offspring have potential but not actual power. So Diego's blood beasts are more resistant to some things, and tougher, they can't defy Bleys' power any more than one of your pre-initiated children could.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:28 PM Comments (1)
February 07, 2003
Other uses for 'Coins'

I'm not sure if it's clear that the Coins can be used for more than magic. They can be used to power Trump tricks like Gates. They can enhance (faster, easier) Shapeshifting. They can be used to power your body when you're exhausted, though the lack of nutrients will damage you if you try this for too long. They can boost your energy for Psychic battles -- they add to the Endurance component. They can boost your Pattern forcefulness, or make Pattern tricks easier. They can do the same for Logrus tricks, Well tricks, Binding tricks and so on.

When you pull one out of its shielding every mage, sensitive and spirit in the area will feel it like lovely radiant heat.

And, of course, they can be blown up in your hands and turn all your accoutrements to an equal mass of tribbles if you're GM is feeling kind, or fire ants if he's not.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:38 AM Comments (7)
January 19, 2003
Necromantic Taint

Necromantic Taint is a sort of meta-magical effect that acts a bit like radioactive fallout. It poisons the area on a magical level and makes it more conducive to further necromantic effects, and less conducive to life/fertility/happy magic. Shandoria City is tainted, along with some other spots, and mucht of the world the Hendrakes came to S. Shandoria from is a tainted wasteland. If there's enough of it, and especially if the human population is mostly driven out or killed, it spreads. Necro tainted regions are also something like northern Scandinavia in that the people there are prone to depression.

Just being in a NT area will stain a normal person's aura for a while. Doing necromantic magic makes for more stain. It isn't permanent, unless the person is overwhelmed and goes nuts. ("Here's Johnny!") The greater your arcane power, the more resistant your aura is to stain and you are to the insanity, and the faster you purge the stain. Pattern provides the greatest resistance, BP less and Magic less than that. Stain/Taint isn't a measure of Evil or Uncleanliness but most live creatures feel like it is.

So the Remans' stain has cleared by now.

Derkon always has some because he works with it regularly. (As I recall, he's now a BP initiate and so clears up faster.) He's 3/4 of the way to his original stain level now.

13 has done little bits of necromancy but hangs out with vampires and always has some stain -- as do Sabine, Badger, Baran, etc. (Though it cleared up temporarily from being around the Glencoran gaian-mages.)

The vamps radiate it all the time, though Genevieve radiates less despite having more power than most. She has more control.

Jacob's massive exposure in a NT shadow stained his aura Dark but it has faded over the weeks and is now just a light stain. (It's cleared up faster since he took up with Tananda. There are no rituals involved and she's no Gaian but happy-sex [as opposed to predatory or manipulative or sadistic sex] does help to drive out the NT.) He should clear up entirely pretty soon.

Life/Gaian/ benign Tantric magicks can drive taint and stain out of areas or people.

If Shandoria City is to be repopulated it needs to be cleared of NT, and what native mages the shadow has are not up to the task.

Posted by Trimmer at 09:52 AM Comments (34)
January 05, 2003

The Jewel of Judgment/Eye of the Serpent
---Attunement, for a Pattern initiate, costs 1 point. Work with it for a while and you can get another point. Work twice as long as that.... and so on. If you weren't a Pattern initiate, and you survive, you are one now! = 26 points

Pattern [limited to Dworkin's descendants]
---basic Pattern = 25pts.
---standard Pattern = 50 points, but can be bought up in 5 or 10 point chunks, or even as a ton of Specializations. [
['chunks' are Senses, Probability, Defense and 10 pt Shadowshifting]
---full advanced Pattern = 100 points, but can be bought up in 10 or 20 point chunks
Logrus [Chaosites and, presumably, Dworkin's spawn] *flaw: eventual insanity
---basic Logrus = 20 points
---standard Logrus = 40 points
---full advanced Logrus = 80 points
Trump Artistry [Dworkin's descendants with artistic talent]
---basic TA = 10 points [slow sketches on-site, sense Trump, enhanced use]
---intermediate TA = 15 points [slow full Trumps]
---standard TA = 25 points [standard production speed, ID, enhanced use]
---advanced techniques = +5 point for each 2 of Trick Trumps, Spy, Block/Jam and Gate
---mental Trumps = 45 points total
Shapeshifting [Chaosites, Gheneshan vazdru, Dworkin's descendants -- Amberites, Rebman royals, Shroudlings]
---a complicated tier, look for its own post
the Jewels of Amber, Rebma and Tir Tarngir
---Just like the JoJ; once you are attuned your JoJ points (if any) apply to any lesser Jewel you can use.
Corwin's Pattern's nature is unclear at present but is seems to give Douglas, Deirdre and Vialle regular Pattern powers in Avallon's region and half-powers in Amber's region. Amber Pattern works half as well in Avallon too.
---Combines the power of a Pattern artifact made of Dworkin's own steel (that is, of iron and carbon from his own blood) and a secondary Pattern jewel.

Broken Pattern
---basic = 10 points: halfassed shadowwalking and senses
---standard = 15 points: can hex
---advanced = 25 points: much improved at everything
Well of Darkness *flaw: eventual insanity
---basic = 10 points: slow fadeaway
---standard = 15 points: faster, travel Well to Well, trans-shadow, passenger
---advanced = 25 points: faster, fade across regions of shadow, fast insanity, several passengers
Binding [geas-bound guardians] *flaw: the job, the geas
---basic = 10 points: draw on the power, enhanced attributes for finding/loosing
---standard = 15 points: more power
---advanced = 25 points: more power still

Mirrormastery: 5, 10 and 15 points
-- sorcery: 5 or 10 points
-- conjuration: 5 or 10 points
lesser shapeshifting -- weres and the like: 10 or 15 points
vampirism: 10 points
vampiric blood powers: 1-3 points each in Domination, Pyromant, Movement, Thirst Mastery, Lycanthropy, Aeromant, Geomant, Hydromant, Obscurity or Dreamcasting
shadow power sources, generally 10 points each. Some SPSs also have special servants with enhanced attributes and powers. Examples: Fangorn, Agheer.
-- the Weir source [select noble weres of Sh. Weirmonken] *flaw: service: instant reassimiliation of severed/ripped parts, don't exsanguinate
-- Bel [whomever Bel pleases; priests and interesting wanderers]: enhanced detection and use of shadow paths, and teleports
-- the Bright Lady of Dom-daniel [whomever She pleases; operatives]: Gaian magic and blessings/curses within Dom-daniel
-- Agheer [the Daughters of Agheer] *flaw: serve Agheer: water magic mastery and undine mastery
-- the Unicorn [whomever She pleases; she's picky] *flaw: job: blessings
-- the Cat, presumably
-- the Heart of Fangorn [natives] *flaw: serve Fangorn, physical tranformation: gaian magic enhancement and earth elemental mastery

Blood is a potent and resonant substance and symbol across creation. The Serpent is said to have made Its spawn, the Elderkin and the Lords of Chaos, from Its blood. Dworkin drew the Primal Pattern with his blood and the Jewel of Judgement. Many in Chaos believe the Serpent made the Logrus in much the same fashion.

A power initiate's blood, or rather the iron, carbon and so on in it, can be made into artifacts that enhance or express his or her powers to some set purpose. Greyswandir and Werewindle were made from Dworkin's blood. (And a lot of it. It takes about 20 pints of blood to get a chunk of iron the mass of a nickle.) Zhartra has a couple of blades charged with her powers: Logrus, the Dark Well, the Binding Force, magic and shapeshifting. Florimel and Toriana have rings. Oberon's sword, now wielded by Gerard, was made from his blood. The Crown of Chaos is almost certainly a major blood artifact. Some are convinced that one can only properly use an artifact made from your own blood or that of an ancestor. Some of the artifacts are sentient.

POSSIBLE POWERS [they have great power but can they share it?]
The Serpent Itself
other Elderkin
Great Old Ones

Posted by Trimmer at 10:54 PM Comments (15)
November 18, 2002
Pattern walks: time retcon

From Amberlist, Me:

> Mike Sullivan mentioned 90 minutes as the time a Pattern walk takes. My
> players think it's more in the 15 - 20 minute range. What's the direct canon
> evidence?

Mike Sullivan:

Well, the Pattern's the size of a football field, right? Something like
100 yards by 50 yards?

And you're walking in a convoluted spiral, presumably slowly, given how
hard it seems to be to take each step.

I'd guess that the total length of the thing is something around 1.5 miles
(that's a bit less than the equivalent of walking around its widest spiral
10 times -- I figure that there are a lot more than 10 circuits, but they
get progressively smaller).

I used 90 minutes as an example, but that's actually my standard reading
for how long it takes somebody who's a novice at the Patternwalk, has a
low Pattern score, or a not terribly impressive Endurance score. They're
walking, I guess, at just over 1mph.

Me again:
That sounds about right. In CH the Patternwalks remain something of an ordeal regardless of your Endurance (it was always tiring for Corwin, so it's tiring for you), so high stats and experience will only cut the time in half. Figure a base of 60 minutes for non-novices and decent stats -- y'all -- which will go down a bit if you do it more. You guys could walk a Broken Pattern in half your normal Pattern time. The non-Blood of Amber types you're shepherding through the BP process take about 90 minutes. Using the J-o-Amber the shepherding isn't very hard for you, just time-consuming.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:01 PM Comments (1)
October 18, 2002
Trump Sketch tweak

Full Trumps make a permanent link between image and subject. Only major, sudden personality changes, like amnesia, will block the link. So far as you know.

Trump Sketches make temporary links. Left unused, the link will fade and break within a couple of months. If used regularly, for several minutes once a week or so, the link renews itself and will last indefinitely.

Posted by Trimmer at 05:45 AM Comments (3)
October 06, 2002
Logrus vs. Logrus Clarification

Dara says:
Logrus masters can't hurt each other directly with Logrus tendrils. They can manipulate objects to attack with. Logrus tendrils can be used to interfere with other tendrils. So when keeping a Logrus initiate captive they drug them and have another L user nearby to wrestle the prisoner's tendrils if necessary, and to administer more drugs or pummelling.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:13 AM Comments (2)
October 01, 2002
Buying up Pattern

In going from basic to standard Pattern by Specializations you are not bound by the one-point per spend thing (since you could buy the whole thing at once). The examples are not complete and it doesn't matter which ones you use to reach the 5 or 10 point cost.

Shadowshifting (10)
2 Shifting to known places (more speed, ease, route choice, "royal way", closer to Amber/Rebma/Tir Tarngir)
2 Sending things or people through shadow (more speed, ease...)
2 Shifting to complex desires (your image gains more scenario qualities; for instance, your desired biker bar will have a gunless brawl without you altering probability after getting there; also, more intangible definition -- gravity, some magical qualities, etc)
2 Better hellriding (faster, easier, safer, take more people with you, limit the psychic stress on passengers)
2 Better, easier shadow resources (quickly 'find' a hawk to attack the bird spying on you, easily 'find' a mount, that sort of thing)
2 Shadow Path creation/erasure (easier, faster, more complex or conditional, stealthed)

2 Tracking
2 Scanning
2 Focused (vs a particular power)

2 weather control
2 hexing
2 magical manipulation

2 easier
2 faster
2 focused (Logrus, magic, etc)

Posted by Trimmer at 09:41 PM Comments (3)
August 31, 2002
P Def and magic remix

Not written in stone yet:

First, for all combat

Full Attack: 150% offense, 50% defense
Aggressive: 125% / 75%
Opportunistic: normal
Defensive: 75% offense, 125% defense
Full Defensive: 50% / 150%

Mental/Magical/Powers declare first
unreadied, thrown or enchanted-item Ranged attacks go next
Melee attacks next
readied Ranged (pull the trigger, release the arrow) go next
Hand to Hand is fastest

act in reverse order

Splitting your actions between physical attacks and mental/power ones means splitting your total action percentages. The minimum you can allocate is 10%. Say 80% to Melee and 20% to Mental. The offense-defense mods are separate for each type; you can Ful Attack on the physical side while going Full Defensive on the mental.

'Pattern Defense' is a Mental action as far as speed goes and only appears when you have an action percentage allocated to Mental combat. The good thing is that you always get the full Power points. Example: Arthur has a Mental stat of 90 (20 pts spent in Psyche and 10 on Endurance, plus the +30 each for the Real stats) and a Melee of 120. He's fighting soldiers with mages around so he allocates 80% (=96) for Melee and 20% (18) for Mental. The Mental is Full Defensive, = 21, plus his Pattern Defense (basic) of 25 for a total of 46.

RANGED MAGICAL/ POWER ATTACKS NORMALLY USE FULL PSYCHE AND 1/2 WARFARE TO HIT. (Tentatively: arguments pro and con are welcome) Why? The spells are not ballistic, they're under some control after launch. Exceptions would be 'fire and forget' spells which are treated as normal Ranged attacks.


Based even more on the d20 spell list:
Spells are rated by the Mental juice needed to cast them. The rating also indicates the MINIMUM strength of the spell -- how much damage it does or how hard it is to resist, modified by spreading (area effects) and other spell-specific things. Spells can always be cast with more Mental juice.
5 pts of Sorcery gives you L0-L4, 10 gives the full array.

Level = the lowest level on the various spell lists
0 requires 10 Mental
1 20
2 40
3 60
4 90
5 120
6 160
7 200
8 250
9 300

Say your Mental stat is 100, plus 10 for the Sorcery. You up it to 160 (L6) with a Full (+50) effort. Using a conjured item specifically made to do so adds another 50, giving 210 (L7). Using another kind of conjured aid, say a pentegram, adds another 50 (L8). Amberite blood used somewhere or other gives a final 50, making L9 possible. Most of these things slow the spell casting time down.

Coins add 100% to your Mental stat safely. Channelling more than that damages you and may let the energy run wild.

Yes, it's really hard to resist a 300 pt attack. It's really hard for the sorcerers to resist cannon fire too.

I'm only listing ones that DON'T work and I'll miss some. Ignore any that refer too closely to d20 mechanics ("+1 on saving throws", Read Magic). Note that things like Read Thoughts will involve touching people with a psychic/magic tendril that most people with Powers can see or sense and dodge, and then a Mental stat comparison and possibly a battle. Ditto spells like Daze or anything else that looks like a Mental attack. Scratch any spell that would add directly to your Combat stats, like True Strike. Bull's Strength and Cat's Grace and the like don't change your combat stats but do make you tougher and able to lift more or better at stealth, acrobatics, climbing. And please, please rename the cheesier ones. The Universe will not be kind to those who say, "I cast . . . Magic Missile!". Only a few very powerful spells cross shadow veils. Involuntary Magical physical transformations of Pattern and Logrus masters doesn't work. (PC'S CAN'T BE TURNED INTO NEWTS. IT WOULD BE BAD FOR THE GAME.)

Most simple sensory enhancement spells (IR vision, telescopic vision, enhanced hearing) are L1.

L zero
Resistance, Read Magic

Protection From X, Mount, ALL Summon Monster spells, Comprehend Languages, True Strike, Enlarge, Magic Weapon (except for cutting through magical defenses), Reduce, Spider Climb (except in a much more limite form), Guidance, Virtue, Bane, Bless, Bless Water, Curse Water, Det Chaos/etc, Divine Favor, Doom, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith, Magic Fang, ALL Summon Nature's Ally spells (you can make spells to call local animals to you and control them),

Prot Arrows, Summon Swarm (except as an Illusion), Ghoul Touch, Spectral Hand, Rope Trick, Aid, Augury, Undetectable Alignment,

Dispel Magic (banned as a general effect; you can make spells to dissolve other specific spells; you can Disrupt spells as they are being cast), Magic Circle Against X, Phantom Steed, Vampiric Touch, Blink, Gaseous Form, Greater Magic Weapon (except for cutting through magical defenses), Keen Edge, Shrink Item,
Bestow Curse, Meld Into Stone, Negative Energy Prot, Prayer, Greater Magic Fang, Speak With Plants (only if they have elementals in them),

Dimensional Anchor (except as a Teleport Block), Shadow Conjuration, Contagion (except to mimic a specific disease), Enervation, Bestow Curse (not on people with real Powers), Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer, Divine Power, Giant Vermin (except as a very slow effect), Imbue with Spell Ability, Lesser Planar Ally,

Dismissal, Lesser Planar Binding, Wall of Iron, Wall of Stone, Greater Shadow Conjuration, Animal Growth (except as a slow -- days to weeks -- effect), Transmute Rock to Mud (make that 'to Dust'), Transmute Mud to Rock (make that Dry Mud to Hardened Earth'), Permanency, Atonement, Commune (except for some devotees of Shadow Power Sources/Gods), Dispel Chaos/etc, Hallow, Insect Plague (unless local insects are actually available), Righteous Might, Spell Resistance,

Planar Binding, Contingency (actually usable as a 3rd level effect), Greater Shadow Evocation, Shades, Eyebite, Tenser's Transformation, Forbiddance, Planar Ally,

Banishment, Prismatic Spray, Shadow Walk (actually just needs a different name), Ethereal Jaunt, Limited Wish, Blasphemy, Dictum, Holy Word, Word of chaos, Resurrection (except in a few places, versus mortals), Changestaff, Creeping Doom (unless there are hives around),

Prismatic Wall, Prot Spells, Greater Planar Binding, Maze, Discern Location (limited to one shadow, or a direction down a shadow path), Clone (well, maybe -- so many evil possibilities), Etherealness, Iron Body, Polymorph Any Object, Symbol, Cloak of Chaos, Geater Planar Ally, Holy Aura, Shield of Law, Unholy Aura,

Prismatic Sphere, Gate, Foresight, Meteor Swarm (needs a new name: they're not rocks), Astral Projection, Energy Drain, Temporal Stasis, Time Stop, Wish, True Resurrection (except in a few shadows, versus mortals)

Attacker's Mental + Pattern vs. Defender's Mental + Sorcery/Conjuration. If an enchantment isn't active, you can't really get hold of it.

Compare the Mental + Conj of the maker to the strength of the attack to get the number of hits it will take

<50% of the item

Posted by Trimmer at 12:00 PM Comments (0)
August 03, 2002
A&C adjustment

For Vitality and Movement when applied to living creatures, 1 point will give 150% of normal rather than nothing at all.

Elemental Vitality:
Air, Fire: 0=1kg, 1=2kgs, 2=10kg, 4=100kg, 5=200kg, 6=300kg, 7=600kg, 8=1 tonne casual lifting; items with lots of surface area lift far easier.
Water, Earth: 0=10kg, 1=20kg, 2=100kg, 4=1000kg, 5=2 tonnes, 6=4 tonnes, 7=6 tonnes, 8=10 tonnes; this is also approximately what they weigh.

Elemental Movement is part of Vitality:
Base (0 point) Air/Fire movement is 100kph, 1=150, 2=200, 4=400kph, 5=500kph, 6=600 kph, 7=700kph, 8=800 kph
Base Water movement is half of that.
Base Earth movememt is the same as water when moving through earth. On the surface, it's 1/10 that of Air/Fire.

Carrying things reduces speed.

Specializations are also possible.

Posted by Trimmer at 02:48 PM Comments (0)
July 28, 2002
Shapeshifting Rewrite

New Shapeshifting Tier -- now there's just one

5 Potential
----5 Combat or were form

Posted by Trimmer at 12:19 PM Comments (0)
July 22, 2002
Gaining Advanced Pattern, etc.

Advanced Pattern aspects of Probability, Senses and Defense all cost 10 points each. Advanced Shadowshifting costs 20.

You get there by going through Specializations.

You're limited to increasing two specializations of a power aspect at a time. (2 points per spend per aspect.)

So it would take you 5 spends to get full Adv Pattern Senses, for instance, by way of, say, Sense Logrus 2, Shadow Trail 2, Identify Trail 2, Sense
Shadowpaths 2, and 2 just to finish it. The points in Specializations go towards the eventual Advanced ability.

At the end you could do like Fiona and spread your awareness over a region of shadow and watch for any shadow movement, trails, paths, logrus use etc within it.

Defense would be, say, Easier, Faster, Stealthier, Affects Others, Full.

The last two points can go just towards finishing the advancement.

PLUS you have to work at the advancement in game. Experiment. Study. Push your limits. So improving more than 2 at a time would be really difficult.

You do not have to have full standard Pattern to start working on an advanced aspect. You just have to have bought up to the standard version of that aspect.
So if you'd only bought up, say, Defense, you could still Specialize in it and could eventually end up with Advanced Defense and Beginner everything else.

Don't forget that you can buy Power Words individually, for 2 points each. 1 point each after the first 5. Gerard and Sir John and some of the Rebman royals can teach various Words.

Only Dworkin has/had 100 points in Pattern.


Trump Memory is as far as Trump goes, outside of Specializations and enhancing it with magic or Pattern.

15 pts of Sorcery and 10 of Conjuration are as far as they go, aside from Specializations.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:03 PM Comments (0)
July 13, 2002

In GoA Benedict throws Ganelon, who weighs at least "eighteen stone" (252 lbs) ten paces beyond Corwin, with whom he'd been fencing. Call it twenty feet. One-handed.

So, tentatively, subtract the weight of the object/10 (in pounds) from your Real Strength, and that's how far you can throw it in feet, with both hands and a serious effort. One-handed you do half as much. Multiply your STR* (Real Strength) by 1.5 for a ferocious effort -- which would leave you vulnerable for a moment.

So Benedict's Strength is (or was) about 35 and throwing Ganelon that far required a ferocious effort -- he covered himself by aiming at Corwin.

Gerard could have thrown Ganelon 30 feet one-handed without the ferocious effort.

None of the male PCs are over 200 lbs, I think, so Gerard could throw you, one-handed, about 35 feet or 60 with a real effort but still one-handed.

A STR*50 person could toss Gerard about 15 feet, one-handed, with a ferocious effort -- or 45 feet two-handed.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:16 PM Comments (2)

WARNING: MATH (But some things have already been calculated.)

NOTE: "STR*" means Real Strength (Strength + 30)


Runner's Build (all of the PCs) = 20 kph
Burly (Gerard), Overweight or (unhealthily) Skinny = 15 kph (get 1/2 the benefit of the 'Fast' Specialization)
Fat or Skeletal = 10 kph (can't buy 'Fast')

then add your (STR*/5) kph

then adjust the total with the Specialization: Fast (X 125% or X 150%)

So Joe Olympian's sprinting speed is 20 + 2, X 150% --- 33 kph.

Flat 'Amber' Strength yields 26kph.

Gerard's ungodly strength and burly build net him nearly 40 kph.

A hypothetical Amberite with 20 Strength (STR* 50) and 2 points in Fast nets him 45 kph -- (20 + 10) x 150%

But youse guys can sprint for hours.

JUMPING (no Specialization available, but 'Fast' helps a lot)

STANDING LONG JUMP = the square root of your STR* in meters
That's 2-3m for most mortals, 4.5m at 'Chaos' Str, 5.5m at 'Amber' Str, about 7m at STR*50. Multiply the results by .75 for 'Burly' and .5 for 'Fat' -- not that that applies to any of you. It does cut Gerard down to about 7.5m though.

RUNNING LONG JUMP : add 1/5 your running speed in kph to your SLJ distance. (This yields results almost dead-on for Shadow Earth records.)

HIGH JUMP = 1/2 your Standing Long Jump

So most Royal Guards, with ~Chaos Strength and 1 point of 'Fast' do a running long jump of about 10.5m.

An Amberite with STR* 30 ('Amber') and no specializations jumps about 11.5m. With 2 points in 'Fast' that goes up to 13.5m.

STR*50 and no specializations gets you 13m. 1 point of 'Fast' yields 14m, 2 points yields 16m.

And Gerard jumps about 15m.

In a quadripedal form, double the sprinting speed and multiply the base jump by 150%. With Royal Guard Weir that works out to about 60kph (37mph) on a sprint and a 19m running long jump.

Oh Joy, another thing to spend points on.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:12 AM Comments (0)
May 12, 2002
Conjury A&E Effects

For gadgets is either a sort of clockwork programmed function (as in a vise or a trap) or an enhancement of binding a spirit into it. Sabine's rope has Vitality, used to hold onto things. Effective lifting or crushing power is based on size and composition.

For critters, 2 pt Vitality doubles its musclepower.

For a gadget is, again, a programmed clockwork effect unless it's part of a bound spirit's function.
Winged flight base (1 point) speed is about 30 mph. Wingless flight base speed is half of that.
Adding flight to an animal that normally can’t means adding Movement. Flight without wings – levitation – is half as fast as winged flight and will not work some places.

For gadgets is a battery, arcane or otherwise. A common combined (Conj & Sorc) trick is to have a spell draw upon an item's Stamina for increased duration or uses -- an ablative spell-shield could take several hits that way, for instance.

For gadgets usually is a feature of things with spirits -- martial ghosts -- bound into them. 1 point is quite good. 2 points is great.
For critters it gives, for one point, skill and speed equivalent to top of the line Special Forces – or better than that if it’s specialized. At two points you’re talking world-class or low-action-hero level skill and speed.

If it isn’t rigid, it protects only itself. No armor spandex, please.
Could be used to enchant clothing to armor hardness -- leaving flexible (and vulnerable) joints.
Is mostly used to toughen up existing armor or objects. The wooden door you're hiding behind, for instance. You could make an item that would slap on the door and transform it.

Applies mainly to breaking through magical defenses, and to not breaking in combat. Greyswandir didn’t cut armor like cheese, so neither can your stuff. BUT you can define it as added energy damage to model flaming swords, freezing lances, electrical axes, etc. Stamina defines how long it can keep flaming/ freezing/whatever.

Generally means there’s a bound spirit inside it. 1 point Intelligence is normal for Minor elementals and ghosts.
A.I.'s are possible but would take months or years of your valuable time to create.

1 point covers simple sensor devices: IR and UV vision, sonar, types of magic, etc. 2 points covers more versatile sensors. There is no Danger Sense.

As a gadget used on yourself, figure the usual 125% and 150% for 1 and 2 points.

SHADOW MOVEMENT is a Creature power, not an Item power. Both Trail and Path vastly increase the range of your sensitivity to Shadow Paths. Seek In Shadow is a very rare ability limited to some magical creatures like (not that your characters know it) fire angels and ty’igas.

Is what covers most spell-like effects. 1 point covers Minor and Moderate effects, 2 points covers Major effects.

Either specific effects, like sealing wounds or curing a specific disease, or a general enhancement of the body's healing powers.

Can be defined as either illusion (1 point) or real shape changing (2 points).

TRUMP POWERS you can forget.

Making spell racks: 1 point makes one that holds one Major/2 Moderate/4 Minor spells; 2 points makes for a 6 Major/12 Moderate/24 Minor rack -- double that if using highest quality materials.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:40 PM Comments (0)
May 05, 2002
elementals, conjury, etc.

Q. from Doyce: Would buying Expertise in conjuration of elementals (of the type seen in "Well-favored Man") be a 1 or 2-pointer? I'd like to get better at that.

A: The Well-Favored Man is a much higher power level than CH. To get a WFM
Salamander... First, something that powerful will be extremely rare or
nonexistant anywhere but a high magic world. (A big-ass Salamander taken
from a high magic world to a normal magic one wouldn't necessarily die, it
would shrink and be unhappy about it.) Second, that's like two steps above
third-level (full) Sorcery, so it's something on the order of a
Salamander-specific enchanted item + 2 major spells (one to boost the item's
summoning and one to bind it temporarily -- a full binding would be a
separate enchantment) + a high magic shadow, or 3 items (which includes
temporary items like the mandalas) and the high magic shadow.

Your djinn was not actually capable of burning everyone; he was good at
looking really dangerous and at intimidation. Two pints of Amber blood was
worth about two steps up from your normal Conjuration ability. It didn't
hurt that the thing was hanging around watching the battle.

Summoning and binding a medium elemental would normally be two conjurations, but you could combine them in one mandala, or use a summoning gadget and a binding mandala.

Elementals being as useful as they are, each category (traditional four plus
Aether and maybe others -- darkness?) would be Unusually Useful -- 125% and
150%. One point would help some (speed and enhanced bindng [psych combat]
ability) and two points would run it up a full level -- in the WFM example
you'd need just two items or one item and one spell.

> Or would it not be expertise, but points spent on Sorcery?

Sorcery is also good, though the initial (5pt) buy in Sorcery wouldn't help
for any but the little elementals.

> Or simply five more points in Conjuration?

You're maxed. Everything beyond 10 points is specific types of Expertese.
> (Obviously, a psuedo-permanent conjured elemental servant would be
> I'd more accurately buy as a servant -- endurance, speed, vitality, combat
> reflexes -- that's a possibility as well.)
Nah, it would be 1 or 2 points: Useful or Very Useful. Don't get too
impressed with elementals; they're mostly made of magic and you've been able
to hurt or destroy them with BP hexing for years -- and Prob control works
better. Logrus tendrils would be able to tear them up too. (Of course if you
have the leisure, you can now protect an elemental with Prob control.) A
sorcerer of moderate power, like Chango, avoids the big elementals because
his psych combat power isn't sufficient to reliably bind them, but he can
protect herself from them. He probably carries a couple of anti-elemental
items on him. Major mages have spells worked up (and enchanted items backing
up the spells) to break bindings or attack elementals directly.

Posted by Trimmer at 03:49 PM Comments (2)

Pattern and Broken Pattern initiates have the universal translator effect. Like Star Trek, their lips even move correctly for the local language. The effect does not extend to the written word. You do learn scripts amazingly fast.

There are spells and enchantments to temporarily or permanently copy a language (including the written word) from one person to another. There are also technological methods to do the same.

So letting your troops talk to each other will be only a minor problem. Lots of the sorcerers employed by Amber noble houses know language sharing spells. The noble houses have normal translators too -- and most of the nobles are trained to be polylingual from birth. Hunac and Fangorn specialists know the techniques. Tori can do the language-share spell and Jake can do the enchantment. Sabine and Derkon can do both -- Derkon's already used it on himself to talk to his Hunac colleagues.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:30 AM Comments (0)
April 28, 2002
Conjuration vs Sorcery

Q. from Stan:
So how do you see Conjouration workinw with Sorcery? Could I load a Conjoured poinson ball in a spell? How about the enchantment things done on Fineas' Rifle. And what about things that can be done with bullets?

For game mechanics, Conjuration uses the 1 and 2 point A&C stuff, as per the chargen. Mostly. It does not include summoning demons or anything else across shadow. Both Conjuration and Sorcery can summon elementals, ghosts or animals. Teleporting anything is a major, complex effect. It does not include making things from the 'stuff of shadow' in the out-of-nothing or magical flux sense. It is possible to transform things from one substance to another, including air-to-solids, but transformations are hard and complicated according to the amount of change. Lead to gold is relatively easy because they are both metals and the weight to volume is pretty close, and the substances are fairly pure. Leaves to gold would be tremendously complex.

Conceptually, Conjuration is magic bound into objects and creatures. It's slower, it's not as flexible. It lasts longer and it's tougher, especially vs shadow movement. An enchanted item (I'm using "enchanted" as a technical term for "empowered by conjuration") will generally work over a wider area of shadow. Because it's tougher, it's what you use to make more complicated structures of magic. The Hendrake necromantic array consists of enchanted circles and altars and sacrificial knives plus the spells that go into the killings and other support structures, all feeding power into the mega-construct of the gateway. Hypothetically, that could all be done with spells alone but the structure would be flimsy.

Fineas' mom didn't enchant the bullet, she wrapped a spell around it. The main differences are that she could whip up a shield-penetrating spell easily, modifying something she already knew by not very much, that the spell is more powerful (it is, after all, 15 pts vs 10 pts) and that the spell would decay in a couple of days. What Jacob does works as well and as fast as it does for reasons that are not yet disclosed, and Tori's the only one -- I think -- who's seen the process and knows to be impressed.

Enchantments take longer to modify or invent becaust they have the equivalent of closer tolerances; they require more tinkering to get it right.

Re: The conjured poison ball. First, making a complex substance like a poison out of, say, air, with magic is nasty hard. If you had the base ingredients you could process them with a spell or an enchanted item. You could fire an existing ball off with a spell, make it hard to see with one, rupture or explode the ball at a set point with one, etc.

Re: the rifle. The Hendrakes use air elementals trained to sniff out 'modern' gunpowder traces. The Chantris sniper rifle is enchanted to not let any such traces out, though that doesn't work when the gun is actually fired. A spell that could suck the traces out when the gun is fired would not be subtle at all (not that an enchantment for that would be subtle either) and the enchantment on it is very low-key and hard to detect.

Re: bullets. Some possible effects: burning, a teflon effect (frictionlessness), more kinetic punch, magical shield disruption.

Posted by Trimmer at 02:36 AM Comments (1)
April 27, 2002
Stat enhancing spells

Q from Stan:
I have a question on Stat enhancing spells. If one can do Psyche enhancement, shouldn't one also be able to enhance Warfare, Strength, and Endurance? And the next part of that question is: What are the parameters of a minor, medium, and major spell. How much of a boost in stat, for how long?

You are enhancing some _aspect_ of a stat. Intimidation

With Warfare, aside from the fact that I don't want to deal with keeping track of Major, Medium or Minor enhancements of the PCs and every frelling Chaos Lord and sorcerer running around*, you have to ask, "How does it work?" Performance-enhancing drugs and supplements in the Olympics work mostly by extending stamina or by helping build muscle. A drug or spell might sharpen your senses but that could be distracting at some moments. Anything that made your muscles twitch faster would throw off all your hardwired, practiced moves and might cause muscle damage. So enhancing vision to give you telescopic vision would help with distance marksmanship, but if you suddenly had to shift to up close, you'd have to cut the spell or fight with blurred vision. Now with a mook, a human-level type, you could train a spirit (or find a spirit of an experienced fighter) to take over their combat actions. You won't find any spirits close to as good as the PCs, so anything like that would only degrade your performance.

Parameters: varies depending on the effect. [Yeah, I'm weaseling]

*Which is why I don't offer Warfare Resource specialties.

Posted by Trimmer at 11:20 AM Comments (0)
April 14, 2002
Resources, Shadows, A&C

RESOURCES is a grab-bag designation for a wide variety of things, including Allies.

1 point: it's useful

2 points: it's very useful

So this covers allies, riches, contacts, special knowledge, extraordinary talents, some kinds of magical specialization, henchmen, armies, estates, feudal realms, cults, spy networks, membership in some organizations...

It doesn't cover combat specializations.

With talents and specializations, 1 point will usually signify a 50% raise in the governing stat/ holistic stat for a narrow purpose. 2 points signifies doubling the stat.

Say I want to stat out a knockoff of Brust's Kiera the Thief, prior to recent revelations:

Psy:30 --- she's amazingly perceptive and charismatic
Str: Ch --- easily lifts 200 lbs
End: Ch --- Olympian marathoner
War: 30 --- 007ish

Conjuration: 10 --- she has all those magical traps to defeat
Sorcery: 10 --- some things have to be done off the cuff

Broken Pattern: 15 --- hexing level

2: burglary --- doubles her real Warfare for burglary (60x2, -30, =90)
2: stealth --- doubles her real Tactics for stealth (90x2, -45, =135)
2: pickpocketing --- Tactics again
2: magical wards and locks --- doubles her real Psy+[War/2] (90x2, -45, =135)
2: magical stealth --- [ditto]
1: disguise --- 1.5x her real [ditto] (90x1.5, -45, =90)
1: magical disguise --- [ditto]
2: friend who does "work"
2: reputation
2: knowledge of tech security measures

Good Stuff =5 (maxed out)

=98 points: About right for the best thief anywhere. She's still not going to have much luck picking Benedict's pockets as his Tactic score, unvarinshed, is aroud 150.

SHADOWS are hard to put points in since I nixed Altering or Editing shadows and declared that major powers can't be blocked. You can define one, within limits, for a point. A shadow with a minor power source costs 2, with a Broken Pattern costs 4. No Control or Barriers.

ARTIFACTS AND CREATURES are confined to 1 or 2 point effects and are not, as a rule, summonable.

Posted by Trimmer at 02:23 PM Comments (0)
Spirits and Elementals

Minor elementals are creatures of near- or low- level human intelligence. They rarely have to be bound for simple, one-shot tasks. They are usually bored and fascinated by human activities.

The commonest elementals are minor salamanders, gnomes, undines and sylphs. There are other kinds, including cislunar or aetheric elementals which are used for investigating magical constructs.

Ghosts, of people and animals, are useful for some operations. Human ghosts usually have to be freed from their haunting parameters and bound to their new jobs.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:09 AM Comments (0)
Shadow 'Gods'

It is possible to bind a spirit (or sometimes spirits, plural) to a some power sources. Sometimes this happens naturally, with elementals or ghosts. More often it is deliberate, where a powerful mage (or, occasionally, scientist) merges with a source, a process that involves dying and has a high failure rate. Another drawback is that such gods are confined to one shadow, or even one part of one shadow.

Some sources will hold only one spirit at a time while others will take lots of them. Multi-spirit entities generally merge but you do get the odd schizo god.

Bel is a singleton spirit of great power. He has a cult and is capable of possessing his priests. They see possession as a good thing, rather like followers of voudoun with their loa. By hosting and providing security for the Brotherhood convention, Bel gets to listen in to gossip and news from all over Shadow. Bel enforces the peace at the Belken (within the borders of the valley of the assembly) gathering by hurling those who initiate or incite violence several shadows away, to the Dung Pits of Glyve, a low-magic, frozen wasteland of excrement. Most mages thrown there never make it out.

Dom-daniel's Broken Pattern is inhabited by a multi-spirit entity tasked with defending that world.

Posted by Trimmer at 01:00 AM Comments (3)
April 13, 2002

cost: 5/ 10/ 15 points for minor, medium or major spells.

Time to cast: 1 minute/ 5 minutes/ 20 minutes.
Time to hang: 3 minutes/ 15 minutes/ 1 hour.

Spell Racks are available commercially many places. The very best racks are wands/ rods/ staffs from Fangorn (that's a secret of the House of Miramon) and rings from a Rebman trade house, available in Amber, Rebma and through the Brotherhood.

Best-quality racks hold 12 hours (as in 'time to hang') of spells and need maintenance once a week, or once a day if you'r doing a lot of shadow travel.

Normal-quality racks, like those you can conjure yourself from normal materials, hold half of that and require more maintenance. Sorcerers can make racks too, with a major spell, but they don't (shadow) travel well at all.

There are also the 1- and 2- point specializations that can be applied to sorcery. Necromancy, for instance, or scrying, or wards.

PCs can only acquire sorcery in-game in 5 point incrememts as you're trained.

Sorcery is being run pretty loosely. Established sorcerers are assumed to know hundreds of spells and have the ability to make more. You do need a list of what you have hung currently.

A drawback to sorcery is that spells can be interfered with or dispelled by other spells, Broken Pattern hexing, some minor powers, Logrus and Pattern. SEE PATTERN.


You can do most of the things with Conjuration that you can with spells. Conjuration is slower for most things but more permanent. Conjuring is far more materials-sensitive (though you can get around it by using really flexible materials, primarily your own blood) and slower to adapt -- research takes longer. Conjurations are far more durable than spells when stressed by power fluctuations, magical attacks or probability attacks. Conjurors usually carry around gadgets for their most frequent effects: goggles, weapons, lights, detectors, elemental summoning devices, etc.


Pattern and Broken Pattern remake you towards a certain ideal. They also
give you some inherent resistance to intrusive magic. So surface healing
magics and tech --- first aid at the late 20th century level -- work fine.
More intrusive healing works if it isn't too complex, since it supports the
return of the initiate to the ideal state. So a bonesetting spell will work
unless the patient is actively resisting it. Surgery, simple cutting and
stitching, works fine. (Rewiring things, like bypass surgery, will correct
itself.) Nutrition spells work fine. Spells (if cooperated with) and drugs
that kill pathogens work. Radiation therapy would work better -- initiates
are tougher -- but they don't get cancers. Skin grafts will work to a
point -- but the initiate's body will quickly consume and replace the alien
tissue. Bigger grafts, like limbs, get rejected. Cybernetic implants get
rejected. (The arm Oberon got for Benedict was a special case.) Nanobots
fail and get rejected but it takes some hours, so it's possible for them to
do some good. Cosmetic surgery doesn't last.

Shape Change spells have to be terribly strong and cooperated-with to work. For more ordinary mages transformation spells are still difficult. They are also dangerous. Altering your body is something you do not want to get wrong and each step of a transformation must be just right. Magically transformed people are quite vulnerable to some kinds of attack spells, magical fluxes, and probability attacks.

Teleports are space-warping spells. They're difficult (like 2 Major spells)
and complex and easy to block with much easier spells. In high magic shadows
permanent teleport blocks (and nastier defenses) for security are
commonplace. All of that applies equivalently to tech teleport devices.

Spells, enchantments and high tech devices can be made to detect Shadow
Paths, Trails and natural breaks. It's also possible to make Gates to nearby
shadows (create a Pathway) with magic or tech devices, but it's a big
deal. (Like, massed sorcerers assembled on Walpurgis Night and
powering up with human sacrifices, or a dedicated nuke plant and giant

Really good, high capacity (= stores 12 hours of spells; ordinary ones store about half of that) spell racks, like a shadow sorcerer needs for traversing shadow without frying all his hung spells, are made from rare woods from Shadow X or rare metals cast into ring shapes from Shadow Y. Both shadows' locations are commercial secrets of the Amber and Rebman merchant houses,
respectively. All the major trans-shadow wizard societies have stocks of
them for their members. That's one reason the dues are high. Amber and Rebma keep limited stocks on hand for their royals and agents.

Posted by Trimmer at 10:26 AM Comments (2)

25 Trump Artistry: Sense, ID, make Sketches, make Trumps, expert Trump usage. No Defense (but see * below), no Trump Artifacts. Trumps are tougher than they should be.
+10 Trump Tricks : Gate, Jam, Spy and Trick Trumps. There are no automatic Trumps, per se, because they require willpower to function -- but see ** below.
+10 Trump Memory

Only TAs can pass psychic impressions to other TAs from which Trumps can be made. Brand did not build up an image from talking to other people about Martin. He put together enough information to find him and observe him himself.

Sketch Trumps are as vulnerable to damage as the materials they're made of. Full Trumps are physically twice as tough as they should be and extremely resistant to energy and magic

Sketch Trumps can be used any number of times for normal communication. They can be used once for transport or for a strong Psychic hit -- then they break. A Sketch will ordinarily transport one person. A TA can stretch that, if they have leisure to concentrate, with an effort. How many depends on Psy + End.

Sketches are not good enough to Memorize.

Magic can be used to supply energy for Trump contacts, Gates, etc.

Trump creation time: People Trumps take 24 hours of work. Place Trumps take 48. High Psyche lowers the time: Divide the normal time by your (Psyche/100) + 1. If your Psyche was =50, your divisor is 1.5 and you could make Trumps in 16/ 32 hours.

How long can you keep a Trump Gate open? (Psych + End)/5 minutes, after which the Gate collapses and you fall to your knees breathing hard. Other people can help, even if they're not TAs, at the same rate. A standard spell can add about 2 minutes. An external power source is recommended. Magic hot spots, human sacrifices, minor power sources you can talk an initiate into helping with, the Pattern: all can be tapped with spells or conjury. Observe safety precautions, especially with the big ones.

Trump ID requires your cards to fiddle with unless you have Trump Memory.

**You can bind spirits into Trumps for a variety of purposes.

You can do Gates, Jamming and Spying with Trump Memory. It adds to the difficulty.

*Your points in Trump add to your mental combat score.

How do you duplicate Trumps? Dworkin could do it, since all the family decks are identical. Nobody else knows how.

With 15 points in Sorcery and basic Trump, you can make a Trump Spell -- a Sketch in spell form. It takes an hour, since you have to hang it and everything.

So if the Chaosians have 10 or so Castle Amber Trumps, why haven't they used them? Gerard wonders the same thing. The Trumping-in spot is covered by several guards and one gatling gun but so far they haven't had any trouble.

Posted by Trimmer at 07:03 AM Comments (0)

Beginner Pattern is bought (free for PCs) as a 25 point block that breaks down into:
10 points- Shadowshifting
5 points- probability control
5 points- senses (mostly to Pattern and Logrus use and trails)
5 points- Pattern defense (visualizing the Pattern as a shield in front of you)

Standard Pattern is another 25 point block but each component can be bought separately. The difference is that you can do things faster and easier, and you can do complex things.

Broken Pattern adds to the basic block like so:
10 points BP- full Shadowshifting
15 points BP- full probability control
25 points BP- full standard Pattern imprint

High Endurance does not make walking the Pattern easier. It does let you recover faster. Dworkin made sure that it's an ordeal for everyone.

You cannot find particular people or things with Pattern.

You can, even with basic Pattern, make or break Shadow Paths.

You can send things or people through Shadow. You must have a really good idea of the shifting sequence unless you're sending along a known path like your backtrail or existing Shadow Paths.

Wishing yourself to people from the center of the Pattern doesn't work. Verbal commands don't work, just visualizations.

There is no Editing or Altering the Rules with Pattern or Logrus. There is no Pattern lens. There are the Fiona tricks -- elaborations of the Shifting, probability, defense and senses categories. Brand summoned monsters via Trump Memory.

The Jewel of Judgement costs one point to attune to --- no more, no less --- once you know how and you have the opportunity.

Power Words are Pattern tricks, not magic. Since nobody started out with them, you can learn from Gerard or some Broken Pattern types. Gerard has demonstrated SURGE and mentioned that there are a couple of nifty ones he uses to defend against Trump attacks.

The first 5 Power Words cost 2 points each and then 1 point each for the 6th and up.

Starting with your 3rd PW you can have an additional, free, cool, non combat related PW. Examples: Dry Paint Fast, Spiffy Up.

Tech and magic work, one way or another, most places. The more complex the
item/spell, the fewer places it will work. Complexity applies to the
operation of the thing, not its means of manufacture. Hang gliders made by
factories or by a spell work everywhere that has the right laws of
aerodynamics. While it is theoretically possible to find a shadow where
sharp things don't cut, such a shadow would be weird enough that many
important mechanical functions of life as we know it would not work.

Magic and technology are not opposed to each other. If you had the materials
handy (creating materials is _hard_) you could turn them into a pistol and
bullets by spells or conjuration. (You'd also need to have all the design parameters in the spells/ conjury, or use the magic to duplicate an existing device.)

Random's hang glider worked without him paying attention to anything but
shadowshifting and the wind currents across a fairly long shadow journey.
With a powered ultralight, left to itself, the engine would have crapped out
a few shadows away from the point of origin. Given the leisure to
concentrate on it an experienced Amberite can shift his vehicle to confirm
to the local laws of nature. So with Corwin driving Random was able to keep
their vehicle going well into Arden. It was a good trick getting it that far
and Random was really pleased with himself. Had he been driving himself he
would not have got so far.

The same trick would work for an experienced Pattern Initiate sorcerer using
spells to propel a vehicle. Without a vehicle, the spells are far more
complicated and hard to adapt. Lift and the mechanics of rolling don't
change all that much from shadow to shadow (unless you're trying for that)
but antigravity and telekinesis do.

With firearms and cannon, the mechanics work most places. A 16th C
musket will work more places than an M-16, which will work a lot more
places than an electronic in-line gun. What chemical mix works for gunpowder
varies a lot. Again, given gradual shifts and leisure to concentrate Random
kept two pistols functional from Earth to Arden.

Keeping it together on a hellride would be tremendously difficult. Fiona, if
she's still alive, would shed some sweat to pull it off.

Pulling off an instant shift through a Trump move... If you're quite
familiar with the destination (in terms of using tech or magic there),
maybe. With total concentration. It would help to have a high Psyche, be a
Trump Artist, and/or have another Pattern initiate on the other end helping.

For non-Patterner sorcerers moving
through shadow is a much bigger hassle. Magic tends to work about the same
in a given region, so they can gradually adapt. (A few minutes tweaking
their hung spells and cast enchantments.) If they've been to a given shadow
before, they already know what to do. Moving to a new-to-you region means
spending a couple of days figuring out the new parameters. (This is where 1
or 2 points spent on Knowledge of the Shadow Path Network come in handy.
You've been there, done that.) Similarly, machines will tend to run within a
given region. It will be necessary to adjust the engines from time to time
and computers will get glitchy with distance from their world of origin.
(Microsoft products fail utterly within two shadow veils of Earth.) Move to
a new region and you'll need a new engine, new ammo. Optics work almost


First, using any of those takes a lot of concentration and some effort. Not
a good idea while engaged in personal combat.

Second, they work best on active, complex spells, enchantments and
machinery. A Tiger tank's engine, turned off, is safe from most anything but
careless smokers. Idling, it's vulnerable. Running full out, it's more
vulnerable. A modern field gun at rest is safe from blowing itself up. It's
vulnerable while shooting. The shell, once it's in the air, might have a
timer malfunction or be a dud. Spells being cast are very vulnerable. If a
fireball is already flying towards you though, you'd be better off dodging.
If the Pattern initiate or BP hexer has time, she can lay the bad luck on
the machine or sorcerer beforehand.

Third, probability tricks are blatantly obvious to Pattern and BP initiates,
who can oppose the effects.

Fourth, doing anything really clever, like turning a spell against the
caster, requires that you be a sorcerer yourself. Clever tricks with
machinery or electronics require you be familiar with how they work.

Posted by Trimmer at 06:07 AM Comments (0)