The Sky is Falling

Log Entry 3: Shadow Storm

The adventure picks up with most of the characters in the place of the Pattern in Amber. Ausencius is oddly missing, though folk in the castle are still talking about how the guards followed womanly screams only to find him, alone, in an alley.

The Pattern’s magic still appears disturbed to those who view it with sufficient psychic perception, but there is no visible mark on it. Much discussion ensues among the younger royals.

Locke, Dmitri, Jorel, Nexa, and Terrance decide to take a ride out to Kolvir slopes. They adjourn briefly to their quarters and elsewhere in the castle to gather provisions, equipment, and whatever else they might wish. Ray retires to his quarters, claiming a need for rest. At the stables, Nexa was refused a horse, as a result of her abandoning the last one on the slopes of Kolvir. Declining to invoke any royal privilege, she rides double with Jorel. Terrance leads them to the Primal Pattern, using the image Fiona passed him to guide them through the last layer of shadow to the true Amber.

The Pattern sits in the base of a bowl, as if the top of Kolvir had been sliced off and the result hollowed out. Picking their way down the slope, the group finds the primal Pattern unmarked, but showing the same disturbance as the Pattern in Amber.

A tunnel leads away from the Pattern into the mountain. At its mouth is the Guardian, who claims Dworkin had asked him to keep an eye on things. He doesn’t expect to be there long, perhaps 100 years more. He’s at least 500 pounds, 10 feet tall, with four arms and truly fearsome teeth. His reach and strength appear formidable.

Locke finds a knife on the ground. It is of excellent workmanship: damascened steel, blue and green enameled hilt, emerald set in the pommel. Terrance extracts from the Guardian the information that someone dropped it here after failing to get past the Guardian. Locke shows the Guardian a photo lineup, which reveals Caine as the visitor. Locke attempts to view the Guardian through his Pattern-sight, but stops when warned not to threaten the Guardian with magic.

Nexa walks the Primal Pattern. While doing so, she feels a breeze, as if she was being pushed slightly off-balance. She also experiences visions, flashes of ribbons of force and a brief picture of an office with a desk, bookshelves, and a skull.

Terrance climbs the side of the bowl to look out at the sea. After Terrance, Dmitri does, too. Both see a calm, sunny, sea. Jorel watches, getting grumpy and sweating through his skull.

Raymond, in Amber, sees the mother of all storms coming. While he awaits Trump contact near the stables, the storm hits the castle. Fist-sized hail mixed with rain, darkness to rival midnight, howling winds, the works.

Locke tries to view the Guardian through his image of the Pattern while in Trump contact with Raymond. The Guardian uses a power word to disrupt Pattern magic, Locke escapes to Raymond, completely drained of energy but otherwise luckily unharmed. He and Raymond quickly retreat inside the castle to rest up. Once dressed in his smoking jacket and supplied with one of Raymond’s margaritas, Locke casts a Trump scrying. He sees Caine reversed, Dworkin, Fiona, but no clear message.

Nexa teleports from the center of the Pattern to the foyer of Castle Amber and then brings Terrance through via Trump, horses in tow. Vialle arrives at that moment accompanied by guards—she is not happy to find horses in here. She informs Nexa and Terrance that they have lost stable privileges and that the foyer better be clean when she next returns. They leave the horses in the care of the footman at the door, who looks on, stunned.

Dmitri, still at the place of the Primal Pattern, tries a Trump scrying. He sees Caine reversed, Random, Terrance, and Nexa. Very murky. Dmitri also tries various Trump contacts. Jorel watches him, at one point ready to club him unconscious if one of the Trump contacts goes awry. Eventually he makes a Trump call to Llewella and is brought through to Rebma.

Dmitri walks the Pattern in Rebma and finds the experience incredibly draining, far more than the last time he walked the Pattern. He feels buffeted, finds it hard to balance. Eventually he completes it and all but collapses.

At one point, Jorel receives trump contact from Benedict. He reports and is told to be wary of beasts borne by the shadow storm.

Back at Castle Amber, Locke and Raymond head to the dungeon, and they ask about Corwin’s old cell. The guard leads them there, but stops first to visit Ausencius’ imprisoned assailant. The guard remarks the story of the soldiers hearing womanly screams but finding only Ausencius. The group finds Ausencius’ assailant dead on the floor, unmarked. They send the guard to report the death with instructions to preserve the body (method unspecified) and proceed down the hall to Corwin’s old cell. They use the picture on the wall to Trump through to Dworkin’s office.

In the office they see a work table with a large device on it. Close inspection reveals shifting ribbons swirling around a snowglobe-like model of what might be Amber. They see black sparks coming from it, hitting the pictures on the wall. The pictures appear to be Trump: one of a huge tree on a green hill, the library in Castle Amber, and a view of Tir Na Nogth as seen, distorted, from Kolvir. Locke removes the pictures and faces them against the wall. Raymond searches the table, finds only puzzling tools (Dworkin has apparently failed to leave the Ikea-style drawing of how to operate the device). Locke looks at the bookcase, remains puzzled. Eventually, they bring Nexa through via Trump and compare notes. Locke tries a process surge power word on the device and gets painfully zapped (he’s now down one nipple).

Meanwhile, Terrance ascends to the Astronomy tower to view the storm. Nexa ventures to the library and talks with Flora, who tells her of shadow storms and the concern that this may be one. When finished talking with Flora, Nexa joins Raymong and Locke.

Terrance heads to teh office of the commander of the castle guard. The guard is on alert but is not actively responding to any threat. Rather, they are watchful for threats that may arise from the storm or elsewhere. During some apparently overtaxing Trump contacts, Terrance falls down the stairs, drawing odd looks from the guards. One of the Trump contacts was Caine, who assailed Terrance’s mind, held him immobile, and warned him to “Stop meddling.” Terrance felt very lucky to have escaped.

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Log Entry 2: The Banquet

Log Entry 2: The Banquet

The players gathered in the great hall of Castle Amber for a banquet to honor Lord Rein as Amber’s poet laureate. Gérard, as acting head of state, presided in Random’s absence. (Random and Fiona are in the Courts of Chaos for high-level negotiations.) The now somewhat older nobleman was pleased by Gérard’s awkward tribute and even by Julian’s toast, which was complete with a snide jibe at Gérard. Flora was present and attentive, seated at Gérard’s left. Lord Rein, in the seat of honor at Gérard’s right, was also next to Queen Vialle. The players, as befit their rank as third-generation princes and princess of Amber, were seated together at what they referred to as the “kids’ table.” Auscencius and Locke were notably absent.

Crashing noises interrupted dinner. The whine of falling objects followed by terrible impacts caused Terrance, Raymond, and Dmitri to rush to the balcony, Nexa to rush to a window, and Jorel to sit quietly watching the hall. Those looking outside saw huge, irregular chunks of an unknown material crash to earth, causing destruction. Upon impact, the silvery material vanished. Gérard rushed off to see to the city’s external defenses, starting with the navy, leaving Julian in charge of the party (much to Julian’s annoyance).

From the balcony, Terrance summoned the image of the Pattern. He felt a disturbance, something not right, and saw some black sparks mingled with the usual blue-white sparks associated with the Pattern’s energy.

Julian quickly dismissed the guests with apologies. Vialle organized a rescue and repair effort by the Amber guards, assisted by Terrance and Dmitri. They learned from confused reports that small impacts had been happening at night for the past two weeks. Previously, they had been thought to be vandalism, but citizens now thought they might be smaller-scale versions of this big impact. There was much rubble and destruction, but all of it apparently from things broken by the impact. Nothing of the falling objects remained. Fortunately, all injuries to citizenry were minor. Lord Rein, feeling very happy from much revelry in his honor, tried to lead people in song.

Jorel went to bed.

Auscencius was exploring the impact area and the town on his own, unobserved by the others. He saw little of note from his viewpoint. Indeed, his observations matched those of others: Rubble and destruction, but all of it apparently from things broken by the impact. He proceeded into the city, where he was followed by some shady-looking guys, whom he evaded. He then lured a second, similar group to attack him, quickly retreated to a tavern doorway and screamed for help. He knocked one unconscious and fended off the other two until the guards arrived. At their approach, the two conscious assailants fled. The knocked-out guy was taken off to Amber’s dungeon. The guards asked repeatedly whether Auscencius had a woman with him, as they had heard screams. He brushed them off. Auscencius tried a Trump contact to “Uncle Gérard” and was quickly dismissed.

Nexa headed to the stables for a mount and galloped to the stairs atop Kolvir. She ascended to Tir-na Nog’th, the shadow of Amber in the clouds, to see whether it held any clue to the mysterious objects falling from the sky. While she climbed the steps, Raymond contacted her by Trump: “You’ll need a Trump out in case the moonlight fails.” Nexa, appreciating his point, kept the contact open as she travelled through the sky realm. She looked out from the great hall balcony in shadow to see much more extensive destruction than what she had observed in the real Amber. Nothing appeared to be the origin of the strange missiles. Moving to the throne room, she observed her uncle Random talking to Dworkin. Random became increasingly agitated as Dworkin shrugged. Before she could see the end of the interaction, Ray caught sight of the beginning of dawn and the dissolution of Tir-na Nog’th, and pulled her through to the foot of the stairs on top of Kolvir. Disturbed by what she’d seen of her uncle and apocryphal grandfather, she tried to contact Random by Trump but was blocked, either by Random’s choice or by the fact that the Courts of Chaos cannot easily be reached from Amber.

After assisting with the relief effort, Terrance went to the place of the Pattern below Amber. Summoning the image of the Pattern, he observed the same disturbance as before. He Trumped Dmitri down to join him. Dmitri, observing the same thing, awakened Jorel via his card. Terrance contacted Nexa for her knowledge of the Pattern. Nexa and Ray came through to him at the Pattern at the same time a newly-awakened Jorel came through to Dmitri. Nexa attuned to the Pattern and observed a disturbance, but it seemed weaker than what Terrance described. At Terrance’s suggestion, the group cooperated to reach his mother Fiona by Trump, interrupting delicate negotiations in the Courts of Chaos. As they’d hoped, she gave them the image of the Primal Pattern so that they could investigate it. She also warned them to be careful and to above all things avoid bleeding on the Pattern.

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Log Entry 1: Auction Results
Who's the baddest?

Here are the results of the attribute auction. Characters are listed in rank order with the points spent listed next to their name. This is only the results of the public auction and does not reflect any post-auction buy-ups. Listings with the same point amount are tied.

Strength

  1. Terrance: 11
  2. Jorel: 10
  3. Locke: 2
  4. Auscencius: 2
  5. Nexa: 0
  6. Raymond: 0
  7. Dmitri: 0

Warfare

  1. Terrance: 11
  2. Jorel: 10
  3. Dmitry: 8
  4. Locke: 3
  5. Auscencius: 2
  6. Nexa: 0
  7. Raymond: 0

Psyche

  1. Nexa: 30
  2. Locke: 29
  3. Dmitri: 26
  4. Terrance: 11
  5. Jorel: 5
  6. Auscencius: 5
  7. Raymond: 3

Endurance

  1. Dmitri: 20
  2. Jorel: 19
  3. Terrance: 11
  4. Nexa: 10
  5. Auscencius: 6
  6. Locke: 4
  7. Raymond: 4

(And yes, Terrance’s dial only goes to 11).

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Log Entry 0: Player Handout
Setting the stage

Player Handout

The Setting
Welcome to Amber, the Eternal City. It lies at the center of reality, with layer upon layer of Shadow arrayed around it. Shadows are worlds that feel real to those who inhabit them, but to Amberites, they are merely distorted reflections of the one true city.

Your character is an Amberite, and a royal Amberite to boot. You are a grandchild of Oberon, the first king and founder of Amber. As such, you have inherited the ability to walk through Shadow and shape it to your own desire. You can travel to any world your mind can conceive, given enough time and sufficient concentration. Shadows can take any form, differing in any way imaginable from the reality of Amber—inhabitants, landscape, size, cosmology, laws of physics, rate of time flow, anything. The more different from Amber they are, the farther they are, measured by the difficulty of a Shadow walk. The stuff of Shadow is yours to manipulate, and you may carry it or lead its inhabitants where you like.

Shadows center on the Pattern, an inscription drawn in a cavern deep below Castle Amber. (There are two other instances of the Pattern, one in Rebma, the Shadow of Amber beneath the ocean, and one in Tir-na Nog’th, the ghostly shadow in the clouds.) If a person of the royal blood of Amber successfully walks the Pattern, they gain the power to walk in Shadow. Traversing the Pattern is physically and mentally exhausting, and a single misstep means death. Once at the center, one can transport oneself anywhere, instantly, without the need for a Shadow walk. Amberites do not essay the Pattern lightly.

The Politics
King Random, son of Oberon, rules Amber with his Queen Vialle. He has included his siblings in the governance of Amber according to their interests, abilities, and loyalty. Gerard, for instance, manages the navy, which guards the city and maintains trade routes to adjacent Shadows. Julian commands the foresters who guard the Forest of Arden, one of the overland pathways to Amber. Caine, in contrast, plays little role in the Court, though he often appears in Amber. Others, like Corwin, have not been seen in many years.

It has been fifty years, Amber time, since the Patternfall War, in which Amber defeated the Courts of Chaos. Amber has heard little from the Courts since then, although Random has maintained formal diplomatic relations with periodic state visits, often accompanied at times by Fiona, Florimel, and Benedict, his most trusted advisors.

Without a serious external threat, the royal family has reverted to its tradition of scheming and jockeying for power. There is no open struggle for the throne, and all present members of the royal family acknowledge Random’s rule. But trust generally extends no further than line of sight, if that far.

The younger generation, including your character, has benefited from King Random’s recognition that the blood of Amber is precious and dangerous. He has encouraged his siblings to acknowledge and instruct their children as befits members of the royal family. Random has made sure that each of the acknowledged children of his siblings has had basic instruction in Amber and Shadow, supervised access to the Pattern [as appropriate to the character], and a deck of Trumps: one for each member of the royal family plus one for the entry hall of Castle Amber. Trumps allow mind-to-mind contact and physical transportation.

Your Character
Your character is yours to design within a few limits (aimed mostly to keep the adventure manageable within three sessions). You may choose many aspects of your character freely, but some others you must buy with points or bid for relative position (e.g., who is physically stronger or who has greater psychic power) in the attribute auction.

Basic parameters:

100 points to work with Amber rank in attributes as default No additional points for contributions Expect to take Pattern imprint (50 points) No Chaos powers or Court connections

Chosen freely (ask the GM for help, especially if you are unfamiliar with Amber)

How you look—you’re an Amberite, so human in appearance, but that’s the only limitation. Background—where you grew up, who raised you, how old you are, where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing until now. You can choose your parent, but not necessarily how your parent feels about you. Skills—what you’ve learned to do, and how well. Depending on your age, your explorations in Shadow can have taught you almost anything. Personality—how you respond to the world around you and what you expect from it. Personality can and should change through experience (indeed, that’s much the point of the game).

Bid on at the attribute auction (you can reduce an attribute to Chaos rank to gain 10 points, to Human rank to gain 25 points):

Strength—your physical power, which affects not only moving stuff around but also hand-to-hand combat and resistance to physical damage. Psyche—your mental power, which affects your magical abilities, your mental combat prowess, and your resistance to psychic attack. Endurance—your ability to keep going under physical or mental stress, which affects how long you can maintain physical or mental combat and how fast you regenerate. Warfare—your prowess on the field of battle, which affects your weapon fighting, your leadership of troops, and your battle strategy.

Bought with points (see descriptions in the book, stick to basic levels)

Component Points
Pattern Imprint 50
Advanced Pattern Imprint 75
Trump Artistry 40
Advanced Trump Artistry 60
Power Words (five) 10
Sorcery 15
Conjuration 20
Artifacts and Creatures Varies, see book
Personal Shadow 1
Shadow of the Realm 2
Shadow modifiers
Control

Contents: 1
Time flow: 2
Destiny: 4

Barriers

Communication: 1
Restricted Access: 2
Guarded: 4
Good Stuff or Bad Stuff Variable, see below

Good Stuff and Bad Stuff: Think of Stuff like luck or karma. If you spend points in Good Stuff, breaks will go your way, useful things will turn up, and people you meet might be friendlier. If you spend points in Bad Stuff, you’ll have bad breaks, objects you seek will be hard to find, and people will less frequently react helpfully. Either can be fun, but don’t spend a lot of points either way. It’s fine to take Zero Stuff and meet the universe on its own terms.

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