The Sky is Falling

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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ehandelman

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