Design For Living - Powers - Shadows

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Shadows And Lorraine?

The country? A good job, I thought. I worked the proper Shadow. It grew in strength by my very presence, as any will if one of us stays around for long - as with you in Avalon, and later that other place. And I saw that I had a long while here by exercising my will upon its timestream.

I did not know that could be done.

You grow in strength slowly, beginning with your initiation into the Pattern. There are many things you have yet to learn. Yes, I strengthened Lorraine, and made it vulnerable to the growing force of the Black Road. I saw that it would lie in your path, no matter where you went. After your escape, all roads led to Lorraine.


It was a trap I had set for you, and a test.

The Courts of Chaos

Just about the most fun thing you can do in Amber is create a world.

For a single measly point, you can be the god-like being that decides how the show will be run for a whole world full of happy slaves. Or uppity natives. Or, for the loners among you, that barren and bare place where you can really get away from the hustle and bustle.

First off, just as with artefacts, remember that you don't have to pay points to get a Shadow.

Once you start your character's story, they can just as easily wander away and find whatever Shadow tickles their fancy.

It's just that later on, coming to the Shadow of your dreams can involve a certain amount of interaction with the Story Guide.

And we all know how those power hungry, plot-driving SG maniacs can sometimes put a crimp on your style. Mainly because they start thinking in terms of who might be watching, what kind of Shadow trap you might be walking into, blah, blah, blah...

How does spending points on a Shadow differ from simply heading out and finding a Shadow of one's desire?

A Shadow that is paid for, like an artefact paid for, becomes an innate part of the character's portfolio, a built-in part of that character's personality.

Just as Corwin contains a piece of Avalon, a Shadow he insists is destroyed, and which he never really visited during his adventures in The Chronicles of Amber.

Therefore, buying a Shadow makes it part of the character, part of the campaign, and part of the Story Guide's grand design.

To make absolutely sure that you get what you want, just spend the points at the beginning of the campaign. You don't have to spend a lot, just one point is all it takes to put the definition of a Shadow under your control.

So, you've decided that your character deserves a Shadow of their very own. What next? Treat it like a Story Element - first write out a description of the place, then figure out how many points it will cost. Description There are several aspects of Shadow description to consider. When first describing a Shadow, a short paragraph is sufficient. But if you've spent one or more points on your Shadow, it is worth making the Shadow a real part of your story.

Figure our what goes on there, spend time involved in that Shadow's particular activities, talk with the people who live there. The main role of Shadows in the campaign is as story elements. They are a part of the story of your character, so your character has to interact with them.

Try to build in plenty of potential story hooks so that you won't tire of finding ways to involve the Shadow in the larger story. Other Amberites may come to visit. Show them around, or trap them in the dungeons, as you like.

Some of the dwellers in your Shadow may turn out to be spies and traitors, or Chaos Nobles in Shape Changed disguise. Others (or the same ones) may become lovers or friends.

As you develop more detail about a Shadow, the SG may decide to award you a contribution point or two. Generally, the more hooks there are in the description and history of the Shadow, the more often this will happen.

Usually the best way to approach the description of your favourite universe is by comparing it to Amber. Is this part similar to Amber, or very different? That may not be how it is eventually described, but it is a good place to start from when inventing the place.

Another element of a Shadow's description concerns its location in Shadow relative to Amber (or the Courts of Chaos). This can be measured by the time it takes to travel at a moderate speed on horseback from Amber to the Shadow. A Shadow's distance from Amber will (partly) determine its accessibility to Amberites. Generally, the more different a Shadow is from Amber, the further away it is.

Describing these factors is not a way of determining exactly how far a Shadow is from Amber. They are merely an indication. Other factors will always alter the distance or the travel time as well. Magic In some Shadows, Magic is a real and potent force, easily manipulated by local Sorcerers. These masters of local magic are commonplace, extremely powerful, but are limited in that their spells only work in that single Shadow. Even in their home Shadow, changing the magical 'mixture', something an Amberite or Logrus Master can do easily, renders them helpless.

Such Sorcerers become much more dangerous when they are exposed to other Shadows. Once they know that they must tinker with their spells, altering them to match the magical environment, then they have the potential to work their Magic anywhere.

There are also places where Magic, by definition, will not work. In such places only Power Words and magical items will function, and most spells will be disabled.

There are two key places to compare your Shadow to in terms of the level of Magic. Amber, and the Courts of Chaos. Of course, that's assuming you use the standard magic system in your Shadow. There's nothing to stop you inventing a totally different system that works only in and around your Shadow.

Amber's Magic level is very low. It is very difficult to find a source of magic energy in Amber sufficient to cast even one spell. This may be why very few Amberites study Magic. So the more Magic your shadow has in it, the further away from Amber it is.

The Courts of Chaos, on the other hand, are rumoured to have plenty of available sources of Magic. The study of the various Magic disciplines is much more widespread in the Courts than in Amber.

It may be possible to find Shadows with lower Magic content than Amber. For example, Amber seems to allow Magic powered from elsewhere to function in Amber. Conceivably some shadows do not even allow this.

It is almost certainly possible to find Shadows with more Magical possibilities than the Courts of Chaos. Timeflow Shadows whose timeflows are much different to Amber's (e.g. are faster or slower than Amber), are also likely to be further away.

Not all Shadows have a consistent relationship between their time and Amber's time. For example, Merlin spends perhaps 20 years growing up in the Courts, whilst about a week passes in Amber. And yet years pass in Amber after PatternFall, between the time of Oberon's death and Random's return, a matter of a few hours in Chaos. Technology Amber's technology seems to be pre-industrial. Before Corwin brought a special substance from Shadow, gunpowder did not work in Amber. (Nor, presumably, steam power.) Such things do not seem to have changed since Oberon rewrote the Pattern.

Shadow technology can range from less than Amber's to high-tech science fiction. But just because a piece of technology works in the Shadow you get it, does not mean that it works in Amber (or in any Shadow very far from its origin). Comparing Shadows Pick up a .38 revolver on Earth, or a Wand of Ignition over in Gazreal, and they'll work just fine. Try firing the gun at a charging dragon on Gazreal, or triggering the wand's spell at an on-coming truck on Shadow Earth, and, in either case, you might as well be holding sticks. Nothing is going to happen. Why?

In both cases, the technological gun, and the magical wand, the items were built according to natural law. In the case of the revolver, the gun won't work unless both the primer and the powder ignite and burn at the proper temperatures, a matter of chemical laws. Also, unless the physical tolerances of metal are exact, the triggering and advancement mechanism of the gun won't work.

It's no different with the wand. Magical artefacts must make use of built-in spells. Spells must be defined by the magical laws of their location. Take the wand to a place where the magical laws are even a tiny bit different, and it won't work.

The more sophisticated the technology, or magic, of an item, the more sensitive it will be to changes in natural law.

So a one-shot pistol needs less precision than an automatic rifle. Electronics, depending on the exact numbers of Maxwell's Equations, are even more sensitive. And the smaller the electronic parts, from transistor to microchip and down into super-scientific miniaturisation, the more finicky they get.

When you combine magic and science, taking items from those Shadows where the two exist side by side, it's even worse. Then both sets of conditions, physical laws and magical properties, have to match the item's tolerances.

Of course, the technicians and magicians who built these items in the first place dealt with these problems. That's why they became techs or magi, because they had the patience to calculate the various finicky details that make things work. They just didn't take into account the possibility that some slob would be hauling their creation over to where molecular bonding, or entropic decay, would be so different.

In short, take any item dependent on magic, or technology, away from its home Shadow, and it will stop working. Except.

Remember that two of the powers, the Pattern and the Logrus, have the ability to manipulate Shadow. Items like flashlights and magic lanterns are made out of Shadow. Therefore characters with Pattern or Logrus can alter technological and magical items.

A character with power can make something work when it shouldn't.

There are, of course, limits to what can be done with this.

The limit is usually where you're trying to do the manipulating. In general, it's easy to find a place where things can be made to work. It's places where things can't be changed that give Amberites headaches. One place where changes don't work is Amber. The closer one gets to Amber, the more difficult it becomes to Shift Shadow (yeah, for Logrus Masters too). Since it's rough shifting things close to the Pattern, very little actually works in Amber. No advanced technology, and very limited magic.

Shadows for the Shadowlame Moving to Shadows is pretty obvious if you're an initiate of the Pattern or a Logrus Wielder. Trump Artists can always make Trump, or Trump sketches, of their Shadows. Moving through Shadow is pretty easy for those with the right magical spell. Having an artefact or creature with the power of Shadow Movement is another way to get around. And, finally, characters with Advanced Shape Changing can just take a form that's capable of moving around between Shadows.

Still, it's possible that a character might have none of these things available. Even powerless characters can walk through Shadow. It's all a matter of following a marked trail.

The big limit here is that the character must start somewhere along the path. Starting in an unknown Shadow, or in a Shadow that doesn't lie along the trail, makes it impossible to get anywhere.

When defining the Shadow for the first time the character, whether capable of independent Shadow movement or not, can define any number of trails leading from their personal Shadow to any other known point in the universe.

Far example, there could be a trail from Amber to the Shadow, or from the Shadow to Ygg, or from the Shadow to Shadow Earth. Each of these trails can be two way, allowing for travel back and forth, or if desired, any of these can be designated as one way. A one way Shadow Trail can be only be travelled in one direction.

As with any other Shadow definition, fixed Shadow trails can also be routed through the Shadow Barriers, and will be subject to the same restrictions, costs, and limitations...

So, if you've got a problem getting around in Shadow, or if you anticipate having followers who may need to get around unassisted, be sure to add in a set of Shadow Trails to your Shadow's definition. Cost Any Shadow can be cheap, just so long as it's static, relatively unchanging and vulnerable to any power that happens to sweep over it. What makes a Shadow more expensive is the degree of control you have over it. Type

   * Personal Shadow [1] - Gets the character an entire Shadow, or universe, set to personal tastes. Any inhabitants, any combination of technology and magic, any society. For example, you could buy a version of Shadow Earth, but one that happens to still be experiencing the Eighteenth Century. Or, if you prefer, a faery Shadow inhabited by elves, dwarves, dragons and magi. Or, just as easily, a high-tech Shadow featuring a galactic empire and ships travelling faster than the speed of light.
   * Shadow of the Realm [2] - A personal Shadow, but located in close proximity to Amber. Such a Shadow will be close enough to the centre of things so it's only a relatively short trip. It's possible that the denizens of the Shadow will be capable of moving through the Golden Circle.
     On the down side, a Shadow of the Realm is too close to Amber to allow for really free shifting of Shadow. Another drawback is that the royal family of Amber will know of the Shadow, and will likely have an interest in what happens there. If you prefer, a Shadow of the Realm can be placed near the Courts of Chaos, in the Black Zone, having similar advantages and disadvantages.
   * Primal Plane [4] - As with a personal Shadow, the player can shape it in any way. However, this Shadow contains a bit of reality, something left over from the creation of Pattern, and possibly even pre-dating the Logrus.

Barriers A Shadow becomes less of a sanctuary if anybody can enter any time they please. Restrictions on admission keep your hidey hole your own. More expensive barriers include the features of the cheaper ones.

   * Communication Barrier [1] - The Shadow is barred against methods of reaching from one Shadow into another. Pick any or all from Pattern, Logrus, Trump, Magic and Psyche. The barrier can restrict incoming calls (from outside the Shadow), outgoing calls (from inside), or both. Communication barriers are all-inclusive, which means the player can't make a barrier that blocks all Trump except mine.
   * Restricted Access [2] - The Shadow can only be entered through a limited number of means or access points. The entry points can be limited to a certain geographical feature, say across a great mountain range, or through a particular type of feature, like any rug merchant's shop. Or a character would have to hop on one foot and hum a particular tune in order to cross into the Shadow.
   * Guarded [4] - Some guardian, or class of guardians, will be set to intercept any and all who attempt to pass into the Shadow. The instructions given to the guardians are, of course, up to the character creating the Shadow. 

Constructs Constructs are not allowed for beginning characters. But they may be freely developed during the campaign (and you must then pay points for them, of course).

Constructs are basically Shadows with special abilities. They often have Manifestations that can move across Shadow and direct the Construct's power elsewhere.

First, design your concept. There are many sample concepts from Merlin's books. The Keep of the Four Worlds, the blue cave and its attendant stones, GhostWheel, the spikards, and so on. Include your relationship with the Construct and how you built or took control of it.

Any kind of Shadow Power can be a suitable base for a construct. It might be worth simply exploring the Power before investing in a Construct. Or your concept might not be suitable for a Shadow Power.

Next, spend the points. This happens in four areas.

  1. Shadows

Normal points for single shadows, *2 points for Named and Numbered Shadows, *3 points for Countless Shadows. All Constructs are based on one or more Shadows.

  1. Manifestation

This is like a normal Story Element (or group of such). Not all Constructs have Manifestations, especially if the owner can draw a Trump of them.

  1. Link between Manifestation and Construct Shadow

x1 point for stable, consistent, traceable link. x2 points for on-off switchable link. x3 points for a link that is only on when it is in use. The multiplier is applied to the cost of the manifestation.

  1. Psyche

This is the basis of the Construct's intelligence. 0 points for No Psyche. 1 point for a Psyche of Rank less than the builder's. 2 points for Expanding Psyche, that increases with time (undefined limits). No multipliers are applied. Constructs, especially those powered with high Ranked or Expanding Psyche, often develop personalities and independence. If your Construct becomes independent it is under the control of the SG. You may regain the points if your character takes strong measures in the story, especially if the Construct is destroyed.

Independent Constructs may or may not find that their best interests lie in helping you. They certainly won't be servants.