Another day in Paradise
Notes of interest to players
On the Castle Amber and servants.
Most players having been established in Amber have a suite of rooms that fit thee needs. Unlike in the original series the rooms are much more spacious and nice then before. Occasionally the Elders remark about the “Remodeling” which indicates at sometime there was a dynamic shift in the castles presentation.
It is still a fortress and built for defense but inside and gardens, courtyards etc are quite lovely.
A player normally has an antechamber, living room area, bedroom , spare room/studio/study and a water closet with moving water (but no hot water – yet). You could have requested and perhaps received even larger quarters but we will deal with that on a case by case basis. Yo of course can have access to an area for other purposes such as if you need a sculpting studio which requires some larger space the dungeons and castle does have additional space available for special purposes.
The gardens consist of several areas just off the Grand ball room for those who like to go for a stroll without going to far from the castle. Benedict’s Japanese influenced garden is in one corner, the Orchard which has several fruit bearing and flower bearing trees, The rose garden is also a large are filled with flowers and bushes of all descriptions with multiple picnic like areas. there are several other areas as yet not defined by me. However in the center is the hedge row maze which mimics the Pattern. It is said (And appears true) that only those of the blood can easily find their way about so others that walk with them have to usually follow where they are lead. It has several benches and private alcoves for discussion and enjoyment. In the center is a rose quartz fountain with a shining duplicate of the Jewel of judgement from which soft almost sparkling spring water flows. Several of the sculptures are said to have been crafted by the Queens own hand and their skill would support this.
There are also a number of dining areas, meeting rooms and such arranged about the castle. It also has the standard places such as Library, clinic/surgical area, and any other areas a medieval castle would have that has knowledge of modern technology (or at least some do). Amber is technologically locked but its people are not.
Those of the blood and recognized are “issued” a staff to assist them in their royal duties. How well define this staff is is completely up to the player. if you want to design a secretary, housekeeper, stable hands, whatever is up to you. The castle has an extremely competent staff and a floating pool of people available for the royals use such as carpenters, stone masons, glass blowers whatever.
A secretary of some type is a necessity as the Royals receive invitations to a ton of events through out the year and while they are mostly courtesy invites to parties etc it is expected and polite to answer those messages and someone is usually assigned to do so. Upsetting the nobility is not advised. While most royals are not expected to attend, a response is expected.
All of this can easily be set on auto pilot with a competent staff. they will see to your mail, clothing, meals, cleaning and other physical needs.
On protocol and etiquette.
Every player has a Flora and/or Benedict in their head. That is to say your characters know a lot more about what is proper and correct and what is tactical and suicidal than you do as a player. Feel free to ask me what is proper to do in a situation and I will answer it to the best of that characters knowledge. So if you insult someone or are rude to them I want it to be a conscious choice.
Or you can always say I politely decline, I rudely decline etc and let it go at that. It is up to you :)
Everyone gets a Trump deck with all the Elders including the deceased (from the first series). And these
The deck also includes a copy of the minor and major tarot. Something that I will post if I get time. These cards are not Trump but are used for Trump scrying and therefore have some form of Trump Energy residing within them.
You also have 4-5 copies of your own personal Trump made mostly likely by Fiona or Bleys. Who depends on your background.
will be expanded on later
On experience, advancement, Stuff and points in general.
I equate points with effort. So to begin with everyone started out with 150 points and showed where they had put forth their efforts so far in their lives.
As you advance I give points out one at a time and not in large chunks. This way you can advance and pick up things as you go. I don’t necessarily spend the points immediately , I like to bank some until I am sure the character is headed in a certain direction. If a Player initiates into something new I like to have points available to them, Other wise they dip into Bad stuff.
Dipping into Bad stuff is not always harmful, sometimes you have a chance to earn enough points to get out of the hole before I spend them on something, or your only a point or two down which i usually let slide. Its better than adjusting things in game because of an artificial mechanic.
I spend bad stuff it is just not a general thing. For example last game I ran a character had started with 3 points of bad stuff. I spent all on making her a child of two Amber parents. In amber, when it is found out, is a Death Sentence. Now I was not exposing this secret the character was searching for information. I would, of course, not have had her executed immediately as she had a chance to establish herself, gain allies etc and hopefully mitigate this execution but it still would hang over her forever. Another small part is she thought the one elder who knew was her dad and he wasn’t and took no end of the joy of “teasing” her about this without ever saying anything outright. She found that aspect frustrating enough.
So I will spend a point here to make X a serious hater of the character or Y become Infatuated with a character or to make some place or thing a burden. All of this is beyond the normal screwing with players I will do :)
Amazingly Good stuff works the same way. I spend it usually on specific finite things.
Back to points and advancement. You can have a wish list but if you don’t make effort to do those things it remains just a wish. So if you list Trump first but neither on or off screen pursuit it guess what nothing happens your points get spent however I wish on things you do, do. Now this effort can be a training montage in the background which is fine but I need to see ya trying.
The Points :
The points are mechanic that I use as my crutch. It keeps me honest and fair to everyone. I use them a lot but as completely behind the scenes as possible. They are my crutch not yours. Just be aware it is how I balance things and keep it fair for everyone. Chances are from this point on no one will know or hopefully care what they have for points. I don’t release said information either.
As to the rate of progression in this game not sure, never ran a PbP before so we will see but it will probably be fairly quick. Since these things often burn out are slow in other respects I tend to be more generous. Not much fun without some noticeable signs of people improving, no matter how much fun the RP part is, at least to me.
Wishing I could draw but alas I will describe as best I can.
Looking at the map above the area of mountains just to the west of amber castle is not there. It is instead farm fields groves etc. Places for the feeding of the city. then beyond that is Arden as pictured.
The mountains stretch north and east along the coast and dip into a valley beyond that. This is the valley of Ghenesh (If I spelled that right) It is one of the permanent paths into and out of Amber.
Amber castle holds the pass that connects Ghanesh to the field sbelow Amber castle. From outside the courtyard one can look up Kolvir to see the top of the mountain where the steps to tir-na-Nagoth reside. Can’t see them but When Tir hangs in the sky you can see the edges of it beyond Kolvir. While Faiella-Bionin can be seen on the shore below. This vantage point is where the cut back stairs that Corwin and Bleys assaulted are. so you can literally step out or Tir walk down past Amber castle and continue unto the beach and to Rebma.
There is of course the longer smoother road that curls behind the castle and down into the city and is the one most use.
Cabra is slightly south of Amber.
A majority of the nobles administer to the lands between Arden and Kolvir. This is where Bayles vineyard is and other lands. To cross this area to Arden is about a 2 hour ride. Therefore putting most the nobles within a 2-3 hour trip at the furthest edges, one way from town.
The city is more spread out than tall with few buildings being more than 3 stories. It like most cities has, over time, self segregated into dock district, business district, nobles quarters etc. For the most part the city is clean and has a system of running water to keep sewage flowing away from it. though in some quarters this system is far from perfect.
There is little to no trade with Rebma as it has its own Golden circle mirror that keeps it in goods and supplies. A few exotic items are of course traded but only by a few folk.
The docks are almost always busy in amber not that a ton of ships are in at any one time but the trade is brisk. This is the second route out of Amber as there are multiple shadow paths leading away once one is far enough at sea.
Arden is the final easy path out of Amber. It has one main road, So to speak, out of Amber while the forest itself is riddled with paths that extend into other forest shadows, for Arden like Rebma is reflected out into shadow.
I will add more as it comes but the city proper supports upwards of 1/2 a million people though some are spread across the country side.
Of general interest
While the Amber navy and merchant marine is powerful and well traveled there are a number of independent and non Crown supported ventures. Many of whom share pathways with the Amber navy and ships. They also have a number of free trade shadow paths they use, either discarded by the crown, forged by certain powerful shadow individuals or created by Elders at some time in the pass for use by the Freelancers. This free enterprise travel and trade is not regulated or directly supported by the Crown however they do benefit from it buying certain materials from these merchants, Also this is a common avenue for retires of the Amber Navy an Merchant Marine.
Mirrored under the sea, Rebma likewise has a maritime service using boats rigged to sail the currents from place to place, The Rainbow Reef provides many of the same things the Golden circle nation does for Amber. This coalition is arranged, somewhat, as a Mirror to Amber golden circle as well.
In actuality the number of vessels is greater in the free merchants fleets than Amber’s own while Amber actually has larger and much more powerful cargo, merchant and naval ships.
They maintain separate berthing facilities as well. With Amber’s navy and merchant marines being just below the castle amber near the cliff faces of Kolvir while the Free merchants maintain berthing along Amber city and further south along its edge.
Laws of Succession
Well it came out after Random was made king by the Unicorn, those that opposed it like Bleys went to find succession laws. Oberon had very vague ones. He more or less told/implied a lot to his children proving what sort of bastard he was. The only clear ones were Dworkin and the Unicorn giving Oberon the Jewel of Judgement. This precedent allowed Random to claim kingship against even the most stringent opposition.
So Random wrote new laws as King. At this time until he names a Crown Prince/ess (which does not have to be his child) there is not a direct line from him to the throne. By law it defaults to the oldest line which is Benedict and his children. This default only occurs if Random passes suddenly without naming a Crown Prince/ess. This serves to not paint a target on his children and leave it open to those who deserve it more etc. Smart move by Random so far. Keep in mind this is 40-50 years into a reign that may last a thousand. Oberon never really thought he was gonna die I guess.
As it is Above, so it is Below.
Sometimes people think Rebma is just a suburb of Amber, and every time they are wrong. Rebma is a Sovereign nation adjacent to Amber. While it does mirror Amber in geography and other aspects it is decidedly not Amber.
Faiella-Bionin is the stair case that leads down to Rebma. The border is marked by two stone obelisk with ancient Thari writing. As you descend the stairs most gain the ability to breath water as easily as air. While traveling within the natural borders of Rebma you retain this ability. Once you move beyond certain barriers you lose that ability and often start becoming crushed by the pressure of the sea bottom. Rebma is only about 300 feet underwater and despite this the sun light, somehow, still manages to reach its depths. This is true along the same border that allows people to breath while there.
The realm is ruled by Miore’ who has recognized her son Sebastion as Crown Prince. Miore’ while not a close friend to Amber however does little to disrupt any activities between the two. It has been proven that events that occur above the waves in Amber have reflections in Rebma, Both good and bad. Rebma, like Amber was also invaded during Patternfall war.
Seldom do nobles or any members of the two cities mix, there are a few merchants that trade between the city states but beyond that contact is not common. Since the surface world does not extend the same protections that Rebma does to outsiders (The ability to breath under water etc.) Seldom do Rebman’s enter Amber.
Rebmans come in two species; A mer-person and humanoids with aquatic features, such as web fingers, toes, Gills and small scales on the skin. Each species gets along well with the other, with nothing usually beyond friendly rivalry. Other than purely physical differences the are remarkably similar. Mer-People are of course lower half fish like tail with the upper body of a human.
Rebmans sail the currents on schooners outfitted with rigging and sails that catch the faster currents and pull them along. Their fleets tend toward smaller boats then large. The have a Rainbow reef that stretches out into shadow much like Arden and it serves many of the same purposes. Along this reef are a few Golden circle like nations/shadows that Rebma deals with, They also deal with some reflected golden circle nations as well. Often the shadow paths are matched under the sea from Rebma to other Golden Circle nations.
Yes it is all below water. the ships sail beneath the waves using ocean currents like the wind currents.
Though a few of the Rainbow reef nations are above and below the surface having races of humanoids that are more amphibian than purely aquatic.
On group power use.
I have seen this be a problem when the group bands together their mental might and attempts to do something like the books. In the books everyone banded together to get Brand out of his prison. Some were thought to be actively opposing this, which in a game sense balanced things out.
However this is seldom the case in games I have played in or seen. Often they just team up and slam someone into pieces through mental ability.
To counter this but not discourage it completely, I usually make players in deep mental contact, Not any thing casual like a trump call. Reveal a secret about themselves. Assume it to be leakage from the contact. Vague images and subconscious things that escape. I have found this usually leaves people willing to help each other but not make that sort of powered consortium be too common. It also tends to make the game interesting and since I usually let the player choose, it is often fun as well. Makes connections between the players since it is a two way street.
Trumps and Trump contacts.
When attempting a Trump contact most users will get one of several responses; Contact, Coolness with no contact and slight chill.
Contact means , well contact.
Coolness without contact could mean several things, too far away, blocking element (Environmental or perhaps a spell.), refusal to answer.
Chill means the Trump is working but something extreme is occurring sometimes shapeshifting can take you far enough away from yourself for the trump no longer works right, Some serious environmental effects (Shadow storms, abyssal diving)
A Trump artist will usually get an indication of why a Trump is not working. (Sense Trump qualities) and may know if it is environmental, distance, refusal or a combination of those. A person with High enough psyche may also get some information.
I am not planning to slow the game down with a lot of bait and switch trump calls. It may happen on occasion but not to the extent I use that tactic in Face to face games. I don’t mind people using trump as long as it is not abused. Not seeing that as a big issue on a PBP.