in the Shadow of Greatness


January 11, 2005

IRE 8 :: mayday mayday!

Blog, Jvstin Style: Ire #8: The Dire Outpost
Our IRE this week involves a small, but interesting story in the far North. As the linked article indicates, the village of Kaktovik is in dire need of heating supplies, isolated and cut off. Worse, the power generating plant is out of commission.
Aha, you say, let's see Arref make this one into an Amber DRPG idea. Between Trump and Pattern, there isn't a fine story to be had in the "PCs trapped" genre.

Then you haven't gamed in my Amber, have you? We shall call this one "the Dire Outpost."

Tir Na Nog'th has often been rumored to lead to places touched by time or dreams. Certainly those that have been there wonder how so much time slips by them, and it is deadly to remain past the strength of the moon—even if you have a comrade ready to Trump you out. Certainly there are family that have dreamed of going to Tir for an important occasion, only to have the dream end with them plunging headfirst to the sea.

Yet Tir draws the brave.

This adventure begins with the need to see why there are so many sightings of dead Uncle Caine about the Golden Circle. Perhaps three cousins plan this trip. One stays below on the heights of Kolvir, while the other two take the stairs up into the clouds.

Not having Uncle Corwin's marvelous sword, this is a watch and learn trip, with no talking or interrupting the visions they pass in the clouds.

Once at Tir's castle, the two cousins notice nothing too outre. The night passes as they work their way in and out of various rooms and grounds. Finally, one notices that there is a tower on the castle that seems new—or not part of Castle Amber below. Checking the moon, there seems enough time to go back into the castle and climb this tower (taller than all the rest and black as night).

Of course, they assure the moon's timing with their cousin below (don't take too long), then start.

Once in the upper reaches of the castle, they hunt for access. Perhaps they finally realize that entry may be in one of the family-known secret passages that leads upward...

...and therein they find what they seek: ladder rungs leading upward to the phantom tower. But very strangely, scrapped in dust on the wall next to the ladder is a warning: "beware the Dire Outpost." It may be recognized as Uncle Caine's handwriting.

This does not slow our cousins. Up they go. It is a climb after a night's search, but they are close to goal and quick up the height of the tower. Above now, they see beyond the railings not just the castle laid out below, but an overlay of colored mist that soon shows them a figure in battle. The mist rolls rapidly and the scene moves in slippery jumps until the figure dies, bravely tossing off a curse to his enemies.

This mist changes into a different figure, another man. In a narrow lane of a dark city, he fights like a dervish and dies speaking a vigorous curse upon his foes.

Again, the mist becomes a woman on an orange horse surrounded by a hundred foes. She cuts into them like wheat, but is dragged down in slippery moments, her mouth silently screaming their doom.


As our cousins realize they are seeing the complete roster of the Blood of Oberon gone down into death. Men and women not even remembered now.

Time to leave, perhaps.

Is it linked that Caine was last here and is now dead? If they remain will they see their own deaths? Is that why the Dire Outpost has never been mentioned?

And what do they do when they discover that the cousin left on Kolvir is not answering Trump? Or that when they pull out the rest of their decks that those cards are blank and ordinary?

Run for the stairs? Or the Pattern? Is there time to run down through the castle and walk the Pattern—something that usually takes an hour in Castle Amber?

And once down the tower rungs, fast as lightning, they find the passage is sealed.

How much time do they have?

Filed under : Game Sparks, Meme at 11.01.2005