:: Wednesday, October 23 ::
Your grandma is not a horse...
that is all.
:: Friday, October 11 ::
Lords of Gossamer and Shadows - 100 Landings on the Grand Stair
100 Landings - Places of Interest on the Grand Stair #3
"...this battle, while losing us the Valuable Compass forever, revealed a curious passage on the stair that I must note in detail.
In finally striking down our enemy, Friend Siv noted that during grapple, she had twisted about thrice counter-clockwise on the steps between the Black Parliament and...
...so revealed a completely unknown passage, which I have Called the Broken Way because of the lack of walls and the dangerous cross-currents of the Void. These currents are Ethereal, drawing upon energy, though not dousing magics of the Third Order. So we explored there for a while with our own weir lamps failing us not a bit. These Doors were very old, showing not the excellent workmanship of Everything else I have noted about the Grand Stair. The metal frames were eroded, the material of the Doors was stone, or something much like it. The hardware was a simple puzzle handle that required three gripping hands, exactly like the Province doors I noted earlier in this volume. However, it was clear that the Province craftsman had nothing to do with these Doors. The passage is cold, but not a cold defeated by furs or fire. Here some aspect of the Void is loose in the Stair construction.
I did not like it.
Walk here with your arms ready. Later, we understood the erosion was...."
-- Uwe's Gazetteer of the Grand Stair, Reconstructed from a partially destroyed volume, no cover.
:: Thursday, September 19 ::
'Emergence'... exactly how do you walk out of the shadows?
From the Wujcik Forum at therpgsite.com
Originally Posted by Doughdee222
Here's a subject I haven't seen covered before but I've been wondering how a seasoned Amber GM handles it. For lack of a better term lets call it "emergence."
Let's say my character is in Amber and needs to ride to shadow Earth, specifically New York City. When he arrives at Earth do I just say he emerges in NYC, say Central Park?
How about a month later my guy is back in Amber and again needs to go to Earth to interrogate someone in Chicago. He takes the same route to Earth but then... what? I just say I emerge in Chicago at the foot of the Sears Tower?
What if after a quick search I learn the guy I'm looking for took a plane to Paris, France. Which would be faster: get a passport and ticket and fly to Paris or leave the shadow, wander around for an hour and return emerging in Paris? Going from Chicago to Paris in an hour (on horseback!) via other shadows just seems wrong and odd to me. What if the guy is still on the airplane, or even a yacht, on his way to France. It seems really odd to emerge on Earth on the plane or boat (particularly if I'm on a horse.)
If it was a direct Teleport spell or Advanced Pattern travel I wouldn't have a problem with emergence. But shadow walking seems different to me.
What if the NPC I'm looking for is hiding in a castle surrounded by guards. The GM intends for me, or the group, to assault or sneak into the castle to get the guy. But one player gets the idea to go to a nearby shadow where the castle is abandoned, casually walk into the Grand Dining Hall, then shift/emerge into the target shadow's castle's dining hall. This sounds like cheating, somehow, to me. But theoretically it could work.
Have any of you GMs encountered these sorts of dilemmas?
(Then this gets into the whole question of what a shadow represents. It's a whole planet really. Even after emerging on the desired shadow how does one know where to begin to search for the wanted person or item or place? I'm guessing a whole lotta fudging goes on. Else you're going to get: "Yay, I'm on Earth, in New York City! Count Orlok is buried in a pyramid, now I just gotta find one. You, sir! Where's the nearest pyramid?")
The books give some very good "flavor bits" for doing these sort of arrivals or 'emergence' moments.
Zelazny shows Random using an airplane flight to try and lose trackers on his way to Corwin. Obviously then you can move in and out of a shadow in making a long speedy trip to visit a friend, especially if you know the destination well.
Also Zelazny comments about 'sparkle' and 'ghost riders' for some faster sequences of moving in and out of shadow.
Random also uses nearby shadows to get around 'obstacles' that he thinks Eric has put in his path to Amber. Sometimes this fails, because Random believes that Eric has managed the obstacle right into a "choke point" where it is easier to go through it than around it.
Your own flavor of shadow topography will become part of your own GM-ing chores.
If the PC has never been to shadow Earth NYC, then odds of finding it on the first go are slim. Possibly even difficult depending on if what you seek is Important or if the action is Opposed. You could search a thousand New Yorks before you found the defining element that needs you to be in NYC. Or, Family could already be near to there and you are drawn off course into a meeting with that Family member.
General rule of thumb: 'emergence' is safe and natural.
Reason?: because skill with Pattern keeps the Amber PC safe unless they are actively doing something risky or desperate.
So you do not arrive in a flash of light in NYC while cops are searching the block for criminals. Instead, you arrive in a suit, carry a briefcase, with nothing to call attention to your arrival because that alley you walked out of was shadowed by buildings and a large dumpster.
In fact, you have a wallet in your jacket with plenty of papers that make your presence very very normal. ?Never been to NYC before? Well, that doesn't matter. It is probable that you will not draw attention if you have some basic experience with Pattern.
What if you find the guy you're looking for used to be in NYC, but went to Paris a couple years ago? Your information seems to be out of date. But wait.... you are doing well because you seem to have the right shadow!
Now it is up to the PC. Do they chance losing this guy again by walking back into shadow? Do they go with the sure thing and buy the plane trip to Paris? What if there are only steamships to Paris? Players might balk if the GM tells them it is a month to Paris.
But the month trip may not mean anything compared to losing the stalk by not being able to find the 'right Paris' if you move back into shadow.
Experienced PC's can indeed use the 'empty castle in the next shadow' gambit in my games. However, they have to be canny about it.
As your question shows, 'emergence' can help you....or it can trip you up so you do not find what you want. Let the PCs define what degree of safety and what degree of overt pursuit they want as flavor. That gives you (the GM) a handle on the risk to express in results.
:: Tuesday, March 26 ::
Ambercon (ACUS) 2013, Livonia, Detroit
Wonderful con with a decent amount of social time with friends I see once a year (when I'm going there!)
Some very good character play and lots of action. Some time as a player with GMs handling genres that I love.
I'm going to do my usual summaries of games below, even though I've not said much about Amber gaming in these pages of late. So this year I'm hoping to do more, stretching format a little to talk about how I design games and how they turn out. No game survives contact with the players. On the other hand, would you really want it to? I don't think so.
:: there's more »»
:: Friday, August 3 ::
the long and winding current, queen, year one
One year ago, Celina failed to save her love from Death on the Pattern of Rebma. Now she is Queen of Rebma. The City pledges to her will.
She swears to defend it with her life.
Celina has gathered good fortune, many of the other Kings (all the other Patterns are led by Kings) have pledged to assist her, especially as it does not harm their own realms. She also has specifically gotten great assist from cousins, most older and wiser than she.
And yet, her tasks to understand Order and defend the Rebma Pattern can be only mastered alone. (In game, time moves slowly... it has been perhaps a month since Khela died on the Pattern.)
Alone, she looks to discover the heritage of Moins and revive the City for a new era. So what was Moins like? What did Moins want for Rebma? What prompted Moins to dare a Pattern of her own when she was young?
What made Moire dare to take on Moins Pattern with no Pattern, no mystic will, no message, no heritage, no crown?
On other fronts, Celina has good help. Politics. Magic. Strategy. Justice. Volunteers are being very kind. Life goes better.
Year One. Celina grabs in the dark for a message that is cold still quiet several centuries. This is a long journey of small steps.
:: Thursday, February 16 ::
as befitting a Prince of Amber...
Sergeant Oddball: "These engines are the fastest in any tanks in the European Theater of Operations, forwards or backwards. You see, man, we like to feel we can get out of trouble, quicker than we got into it." 'Kelly's Heroes'
If you were a Prince/Princess of Amber walking the worlds... the above casual comment from Sgt. Oddball is a worthy bit of experience. It is my guiding principle is answering questions from experienced family members for those younger or more impatient.
The first threshold of immortal experience might be, "why do I care?"
The second threshold might be, "how likely am I to be treated ill-fitting a scion of Amber?"
For the large range of shadow walking adventure, your own innate doubt and caution will influence your shadow travel in a safe fashion. The Rule of Three applies. But there is always the arrogance of "I know what I am doing" or the impatient of "I want it now".
The best rule of thumb for all this is, "ask for what you know" ...much like a strange restaurant in a new town.
If you've never had pickled Cthulhu...why you don't know what you are missing. But Fiona does.
oh, btw, comments on the front page are broken again. Not to worry...you can comment on any individual entry just by clicking through to it.
:: Wednesday, February 15 ::
Rank the elders! Warfare
Leaving out the dead folks.... because that would get into a long story about who trained Benedict and the scions of Oberon that everyone has forgotten.
Oberon (no one's trickier)
Eric (holds Amber against external enemies as well as Corwin AND Bleys, fighting as well as Corwin)
Corwin (even better one on one, this style being developed for a couple Earth centuries, as Eric finds out, dirty tricks specialist)
Dierdre (better with social warfare than all the men above, even Oberon)
Bleys (Master of Armies)
Julian (Master of Constructs, monster fighting specialist)
Caine (Fleet Commander, unconventional warfare specialist)
Florimel (political warfare specialist)
Gerard (Fleet Commander, political warfare specialist)
Llewella (exotic environ warfare specialist)
Random (demonstrates enough endurance, strength, and magical talent in the canon that he can't be really tough on warfare)
So we go from several thousand years of a King in Amber who is total Warfare savvy to a King in Amber who is least among his sibs in Warfare.
Across the range of shadow civilizations, we watch the King is a Badass become, the President is the Face of State.