in the Shadow of Greatness


January 6, 2003

Why is Vialle 'still' Blind?

Jvstin asks the excellent question:

Why is Vialle 'still' blind?
With all of the sorcery and technology available to Amberites, why hasn't someone simply brought Vialle to a high-tech shadow and had new eyes grown for her, or taken her to a high-magic shadow to have them magically fixed?
This is such an interesting question, that it has absorbed me quite a bit. There are so many ways a GM setting up his Amber can interpret this, and if you follow the link above and look at the comments, you'll see some ideas. Health and Privilege in the Eternal City. What kinds of Repairs of Ill Fortune will you allow amberites? What kinds of sorcery will work permanent change? Any? Some? None? What scope of technology can be imported? Passive? Manufactured? Mechanical? These questions are "musts" to answer if you want a solid campaign texture. To me, if Benedict and Corwin have to "sweat" physical disabilities, and Random has made no move to "repair" Vialle's eyes, then you really have to search your myth for the answers. You have to reverse-engineer the reasons, and even more, you have to look at shadow's infinity and figure out where to draw the limits. Remember that if you dismiss most consequences of ill-fortune, then your game will lose a lot of dramatic intensity. If crushed arms can be regenerated in high-tech shadow hospitals, your cast will do it regularly, and you will have lost a bit of drama and consequence. And once you set those limits, you have to be able to "bend them" logically around the passions of the royals... because I feel strongly that reality does warp a bit around the strongest urges of the Pattern-blessed. Or to put that last another way: if one of your Players really sees their PC having a Trump flintlock pistol, paying some points for the privelege, you ought to seriously consider giving it to them unless you can't possibly figure out a logic for it. Amberites bend the rules.
Digression: And believe me, I shudder at the idea of a Player proposing such an idea; not just because a Player really has no idea how Trump power would project little balls of lead (how could they have insight into how my Trump works at the game-start?), but because most Players don't come up with good legends to go along with their toys. They don't think mythically, as Roger Zelazny did so well.
But more to Health and Privilege in the Eternal City. Shadow is our template and our experience, so we reverse-engineer Amber from what we know of Earth. As GM, I rule that bacteria, mites, rodents, diseases, and other "breakdown factors" are much like the ones you find in shadow. There is no uber-germ that set loose in shadow would wipe out millions. One exception to this is viruses. These little bio-engines of destruction are really simple creatures designed to attack at micro-levels. They can be redesigned, improved, and made more efficient within the limits of Amber and Chaos. And following Wujick's Law of K.I.S.S., such things work pretty well in all shadows. Remember this as well: if an amberite takes damage, it is Real Damage as a consequence of Real Events. You can disallow some kinds of repair simply because shadow techniques may not be able to influence Real Damage. The pain and suffering of amberites may not be like what shadow folk experience at all. In short, here's a list of some things the Eternal City campaign has allowed:
  1. shadow repairs will hold only in the shadow that spawned them (you might be able to save someone's life, or revive someone dead less than five minutes)
  2. amberites heal at slightly faster rates while shadow repaired (brought back from the edge, your body will recover faster if the shadow tech/magic is allowing you mobility and exercise while your Real Healing goes after the Real Damage. You aren't as healthy as you appear, and shouldn't leave the shadow)
  3. regenerated parts will fail quickly upon return to Amber (missing parts atrophy within weeks, as they cannot be sustained by damaged systems)
  4. the more basic the healing method, the better it helps an amberite (rest, splints, transfer of energy from a cousin)
  5. the more esoteric the healing method, the less it helps an amberite (nano-tech, regen tanks, god-gifted healing)
  6. full regeneration is a twenty year process (longer for below 0 Endurance, shorter for ranked Endurance)
  7. 0 Endurance heals four times faster than shadow Endurance, and twice as fast as Chaos Endurance

Added Note: IMC, after some twenty different attempts across the years, Vialle now has some Trump reading glasses that seem to work passing well for her. Random still looks for a cure.

Filed under : Amber at 06.01.2003