in the Shadow of Greatness


October 1, 2002

Model of Chaos @ PatternFall

Follow me now on a fun game of pure speculation about events surrounding the last battle of Patternfall. Folks talk about the model of Chaos that the sons and daughters of Amber opposed in Patternfall War as if it was such a behemoth of resources that Amber could not have beaten it—- at least not the Chaos we see Merlin living in.

Renaissance cities, such as Amber, were functional at a population between fifty and one hundred thousand people. This is like my own Amber. Yet, my Courts of Chaos looks impressive and more comparable to a modern city at a population of over three million people.

Here's the Chaos model I use:

I speculate about thirty Houses, both large and small. The smallest is more than a thousand nobles, the largest nearer to twenty thousand, but the average is five thousand. For this average House size, a standing slave army of forty thousand shadowfolk is ready to fight and die. This same House has about sixty thousand of the servant class, including children and such. But frankly, what matters is the noble opposition, and even then, what most observers really care about is this: how many Logrus Masters might have been in the field the day war came to Chaos?

Note my assumptions are an ever decreasing number from the baseline of five thousand nobles in the average House. In all of Chaos, one hundred and fifty thousand lords and ladies of Chaos.

Because of the distribution of a population that lives to a thousand years of age, 90% of the noble Chaosians are of adult age. One hundred and thirty-five thousand.

Of these, in my Chaos, 80% are shapers of sufficient skill to be possible Logrus users. One hundred and eight thousand.

Of these, 80% have sufficient background in the combat philosophy, histories and politics to be possible Logrus users. Eighty-six thousand and four hundred.

Typically, 40% accomplish standing in the arcane arts that Chaos favors as it chooses the best and brightest to be Logrus candidates. Thirty-four thousand, five hundred and sixty.

Another barrier drawn from the canon material is the patriarchal barrier to leadership. Some Houses ignore gender, while a majority of them are just as patriarchal as Dworkin, Oberon, Merlin, and other Chaos leaders we see. House Hendrake is a notable exception to this, but on average the gender barrier allows only 60% of our candidates to the next level. Twenty thousand, seven hundred and thirty-six.

Now the Elders and experts of each House make selections for those to study the Logrus in preparation for trial. Only 10% of candidates move forward into this. The Elders are now choosing their successors, and they choose carefully. Two thousand and seventy-four.

These candidates are already at an elite status, their futures are assured whether they pass their trials or not, but being so close to ultimate power draws 80% of them onward to take the Trial of the Logrus despite what they learn about its deadly nature. One thousand six hundred and fifty-nine.

And deadly it is, for as the Pattern takes a life of any not attuned to it by birth and even some who are, the Logrus destroys the mind and even those who survive the initial walk may never recover from the afflictions imprinted in their brains. Some, like Mandor of Sawall, are afterwards considered unfit to rule, some must be locked away or executed for Logrus madness which cannot be eased. The Lords of Chaos who are considered successful, are those who recover mentally, mostly unafflicted, and demonstrably stable to a panel of Elders. This is about 20% of the candidates. Three hundred and thirty two, or about eleven per House of Chaos.

On the day when Amberite forces assembled to engage Chaos, Trump and other considerations allowed 40% of the current Logrus Masters to volunteer to defend the Courts. The number might have been higher, but the Black Road, the distances involved in the war, and the need for command to rest not on the field of battle, but in the protected Ways of the Houses. Logrus Masters attendant at the battle: one hundred and thirty-three; about four per House.

On a battlefield of tens of thousands, with responsibility for strategic control of mundane, magical, and greater powers in the engagement, the actual contacts between Logrus Masters and Royals of Amber were problematical, but spectacular and brief. Some Houses fared worse than others, some Houses were very much not represented in the battle except for token forces. On average, 40% of the Logrus Masters survived the retreat back into the Courts. Fifty-three survived, eighty died.

Meaning that each Royal of Amber accounted for approximately eight Logrus Masters in the battle; nearly exclusively in single combat. Perhaps in something like the order below, with Benedict killing the most, and Corwin the least:


If you'd like to add your assumptions to mine, use the comments.

Filed under : Amber, IMC at 01.10.2002