Keyne found a shadow of Random and stabbed him in the gut. While he was bleeding, she drew a Trump sketch and then put in his wound. She then transported him to a hospital and had him sewn up and sedated.
Sumire called Izaya on his Trump to talk about her death and funeral. This upset Izaya somewhat, so Izaya went to talk to his mother and father in person. He talked to his mother about why she thought she was going to die but all she said was that they had waited too long to leave Amber. Afterward, Izaya went out to the gardens to speak to his father. Benedict was planting and Izaya insisted on knowing why his mother was not recovering better. Benedict had no satisfactory answers. At that point, Izaya filled Benedict in on the situation in Amber. His father told him that if he would stay with his mother, Benedict would go out looking for Eric again. Izaya said he had some things left to do but that he would keep it in mind.
Oku’le attempted to navigate to the Pattern he had seen when Random was stabbed but had difficulty. Part of this difficulty was his inexperience using the Pattern, so he spent time practicing and learned that the Shadows he was passing through could be spoken to.
After receiving a Trump from Brand letting her know that his distraction was in motion, Keyne trumped to Amber where she switched the fake Random for the real Random. She then slit the throat of her fake Random and Trumped the real Random back to her hospital in shadow.
Tristam had a conversation with his father in which he tried to throw some shade for Keyne but Corwin didn’t seem to be buying. In response, Tristam gave his father some sass and Corwin gave him a stern talking to which emphasized the fact that Corwin was in charge now, the delicate situation in Amber, that Corwin was in charge now, the importance of Tristam as Corwin’s heir, and that Corwin was in charge now. Tristam was also emphatically informed that he was not to leave Amber.
Izaya and Oku’le were reunited in their zeppelin where they discovered that Oku’le’s Pattern-working had brought them back to Amber. When they discover that they were circling Amber, they started to make other plans and then they ran into a storm.
In response to the storm, Izaya had a bad feeling and Trumped Tristam to discover the situation in Amber. At which point Izaya and Oku’le returned to Amber in a rush, by Trumping Flora in the palace. There they discovered Random dead with his throat cut. Izaya then asked everyone to leave so that he could magic the scene to see if he could find out what happened.
Tristam went to find his father who in the tallest tower of the palace. There he found Corwin using the Pattern and previously unsuspected magical abilities to try to turn the tide on the storm assaulting Amber. Tristam informed Corwin that Random was dead but did little else to disturb him.
Florimel and Oku’le went to have a late night snack. When Flora wasn’t looking, Oku’le used the magic compass that Llewella had given him and got an interesting reading. He decided that he might have found out who his mother is. After asking Flora about this, she quickly left him in the kitchens bearing two bottle of wine. Oku’le then called Julian who promised to talk to him soon.
After discovering what happened to Random, Izaya refused to tell Tristam what he had discovered. Izaya then Trumped Keyne and they had a conversation. (off in a corner where I couldn’t hear)
Oku’le found Tristam and told him the possible news of his mother. The talked a little before Tristam was Trumped by Izaya.
Tristan and Izaya then had a long talk about the situation in Amber (again, I wasn’t paying much attention) during which Oku’le wandered a bit and ended up returning to the room with Random’s corpse. At some point, Julian returned to the palace and spoke with Oku’le and asked him to stay with the body until he could send guards to watch the room.
Keyne had a talk with Fiona in which they discussed attempting to contain Brand and his craziness. Fiona was hoping that Keyne could lure Brand to Clarissa’s Tower but Keyne was dubious.
Then we had a restful period of a few days while Tristam helped arrange for Random’s funeral, Keyne babysat the real random, and Izaya and Oku’le spend time with Sumire while Benedict went looking for Eric.
Izaya (Played by Alicia): Son of Benedict and Sumire. Izaya tried to follow in his father’s footsteps but found that he had more interest in magic than in swording or leading armies. Benedict arranged for Izaya to study with Dworkin and Izaya is believed to be the last person to see Dworkin before his disappearance, death or what-have-you.
Keyne (Played by Britt): Daughter of Bleys. Keyne grew up with her grandmother, Clarissa, in her Tower of Seven Gates. She was tutored in various esoteric and occult studies by Clarissa, Fiona, Brand, and Bleys but Trump was where she devoted herself, though Brand was uninterested in working with her because he felt her talent was un-extraordinary. Despite that, she muddled through with help from the rest of her family.
Oku’le (Played by Tyronne): Parent unknown. Oku’le was left on the doorstep of a monastery when he was infant. Shortly afterward, the monks declared Oku’le to be the 37th incarnation of the Gogulach. From that point forward, he was trained in the monastery and eventually grew to become the most powerful and beloved Gogulach the world had ever known. He was known as a wise man and a seer.
Tristam (Played by Matt): Tristam is the daughter of Corwin. Tristam was born in Avalon. Corwin refused to except that his child was a daughter, naming her Tristam and representing her as a boy to his subjects and raising her as his son. Sometime during her teenage years Tristam learned that she could change her gender at will, though it wasn’t a permanent change. Tristam fled with Corwin back to Amber when the bordering countries banded together to remove Corwin from power. At some point, Tristam developed the persona of Isolde to go out in public as a woman.
Isolde went looking for the playwright of The Fall of the Demon Prince. Using her cover as a bookseller, she talked the playwright into letting her tag along while he visited with the local nobility. During the course of the day, Isolde determined that Eric was not in the Keep of Avalon.
Izaya, Keyne, and Oku’le spoke briefly before splitting up. Keyne and Oku’le retired to their rooms to rest before Keyne began the task of drawing Oku’le’s Trump. Meanwhile, Izaya contacted Corwin to tell him he was needed in Amber. Corwin said he need time to gather his things so, after a brief wait, Corwin called Izaya back and came through to Amber. Once there, he barged in on Random’s sickroom to interrogate Gerard on Random’s condition. After, Izaya said he wanted to talk to Corwin and they agreed to meet soon.
After her time in the Keep, Isolde and the playwright went to the performance of The Fall of the Demon Prince where she again found Morgan. They went for a walk and had a conversation. Isolde told Morgan that she was looking for a lost Amberite, though whether he had chosen to lose himself or had become lost was left ambiguous. Morgan suggested she might help find Isolde’s missing Amberite if Isolde would agree to a bargain. In exchange for a favor (and not one that Isolde would be unwilling to give), Morgan agreed to seek out Eric. Isolde agreed, then asked if Morgan had the ability to search beyond Avalon and whether she would be able to contact her if she discovered anything. Yes, Morgan said, they are now connected.
Keyne and Oku’le began the process of creating a Trump of Oku’le. (The players were left to talk, so I don’t know what they talked about.)
Izaya had his meeting with Corwin to discuss the situation, focusing largely on Eric’s disappearance. Izaya told Corwin that he didn’t believe that Corwin was responsible for Eric being missing. He also told Corwin about his investigation into their fateful hunting trip together into Arden. Izaya told him about the magical interference at the scene, hiding the truth of the situation. Corwin acknowledged the work that Izaya had done but also made it clear that, since there was no way to prove who was responsible, it didn’t really matter that Izaya believe that an outside force was working to cause chaos in Amber.
There was a time gap while Corwin had numerous meetings with Gerard, Caine, and Julian to make sure that Amber’s defenses were in order.
Keyne worked on Oku’le’s Trump. There were many questions asked and various poses attempted. It took a few days.
Tristam returned to Amber, taking a leisurely ride. Once back, Tristam sought out Keyne, who was just finishing up Oku’le’s Trump. After a brief coke break, the three of them had a conversation that lead to Tristam and Oku’le heading down to the harbor to take a boat ride.
On the way to go sailing, Tristam and Oku’le were intercepted by Izaya who wanted to take Oku’le to Rebma to see if she could help uncover the identity of his royal parent. Oku’le decided he’d rather do that than go for a boat ride for the first time. Izaya Trumped Llewella and the three of them went through to Rebma.
Izaya asked to Llewella to help Oku’le and Llewella agreed to try. After taking some blood, Llewella began the spell work. After a wait, Llewella informed them she couldn’t determine who Oku’le’s parent is but she might have another solution. While Llewella worked, the four of them talked about what had happened when Random was stabbed. Llewella was particularly interested in the special effects of the person who had initiated the Trump attack. Llewella felt that Keyne should be questioned closely since she is the only one known to have Trump abilities. Tristam, Izaya, and Oku’le found this line of reasoning interesting and told Llewella that they would think about it.
At this point, the three PCs decided to split up. Izaya and Oku’le Trumped into Shadow to find a dirigible and Tristam returned to Amber. Tristam then Trumped Corwin and told his father his misgivings about the situation and Keyne’s shifty behavior. Corwin called for the guards and closed the contact.
After that, Tristam Trumped Keyne to tell her what he’d done. It was the awkward beginning to a conversation that was abruptly ended when Keyne cut off the call. She promptly moved herself to another location and then Trumped Tristam back. They then continued their awkward conversation.
Izaya and Oku’le set out to see if they could find the location that Oku’le saw when Random was stabbed.
Keyne Trumped Brand and had another uncomfortable conversation in which Brand offered to bring Keyne fully into the redhead conspiracy if she agreed to kill Random. There was also some talk of Brand having a plan in motion that would result in the destruction of the Amber fleets if Gerard and Caine did not act to prevent it, which would allow Keyne an opening to kill Random. After their conversation, Keyne left to think about what she should do.
Keyne began this session with a conversation with Brand that tap-danced a bit around the topic of the Redheads’ plan. In the end, Keyne expressed her preference for Tristam to be preserved and Brand agreed to abide by her wishes.
Izaya had dinner with Julian and Gerard, both of who expressed their concerns over various inquiries made by Bleys and Fiona, respectively, regarding the disposition of the defense forces of Amber. There was some talk of Eric’s disappearance and what each had found, but the conversation didn’t go far.
Oku’le found himself in a dank, dive of a bar with Random. Oku’le wanted to go back to Amber but didn’t know how. Random promised to see him safely back the next morning. In the mean time, he dragged Oku’le across a filthy dung-strewn street to his hotel where he proceeded to bribe the hotel manager to evict the people in the room adjoining his for Oku’le’s use.
Izaya visited Llewella in Rebma, bringing wine along with. The talk focused mainly on Eric disappearance.
Oku’le woke the next morning and explored the hotel, learning about room-service and the other modern amenities before Random woke. Then Random talked with Oku’le about how one uses the Pattern and gave him some demonstrations.
Keyne had a brief conversation with her grandmother, Clarissa. Then she returned to Amber where she learned that Oku’le had walked the Pattern and had not returned. Disgruntled, she went into the city for hush-puppies.
Izaya visited his parents, Benedict and Sumire. He discovered that they were packing up their house in the city to retire into Shadow because of Sumire’s declining health.
Oku’le was learning about how to use the Pattern and Trumps from Random when Random started to get a Trump call. When Random answered, he was stabbed in the gut. Oku’le grabbed Random to help and saw a shadowed figure holding Random in the Trump contact while simultaneously hiding its identity, and dripping Random’s blood on an unusual and unfamiliar Pattern. With effort, and because the perpetrator’s attention was split amongst many problems, Oku’le was able to pull Random out of the Trump contact. Oku’le, not knowing what else to do, called Julian who was on hunt in Arden. Julian pulled Oku’le and Random through and then immediately sent them to Flora in the palace. Flora contacted Gerard for help and then picked Random up and sprinted to a sitting room where Random could be treated.
Tristam visited Avalon where he’d grown up with his father, Corwin. There they were preparing for their annual celebration of the overthrow of the Demon King Corwin. Tristam changed persona and went out into the village as Isolde. Isolde discovered that she quite enjoyed the delight and celebration that the locals took in the downfall of Corwin. While she was there, Isolde also looked around for signs of Eric or other recent visitors from Amber but found nothing. She’s taken on the guise of a widow turned bookseller.
In Amber, Keyne and Izaya learned that Random had been stabbed and rushed to the palace. There they were informed that Random had been stabilized, though he’d lost a lot of blood. They both quizzed Oku’le about what had happened. Oku’le and Keyne then went down to the Pattern Room to see if the Pattern had been damaged.
In the mean time, Izaya tried to track down Oberon to make certain he’d heard the news but was unable to find him. Oberon’s secretary informed Izaya that Oberon had disappeared from his study right around the time that Random had been stabbed, or shortly after.
Keyne and Oku’le could find no damage on the Pattern.
In Avalon, Isolde met a mysterious woman who introduced herself as Morgan. Morgan made cryptic noises about the smell of Amber on Isolde. When asked what Amber smelled like, Morgan said either horses or whores. Isolde wasn’t sure which.
I remember loving Mage: the Ascension when I was in college. I liked Vampire and Werewolf, too. Wraith and Changeling, not so much. Mage, though, I loved.
I think it was the ambiguity and the god-like power. Mages could change reality just by believing something else. And they weren’t monsters, not like the other WW titles.
I also think Mage really primed me for Amber Diceless. Amber has a lot in common with Mage, in my mind. The vast cosmic power and the myriad possibilities, mostly.
At some point, I decided I wanted to run a Technocracy game, though. A game where the players were the frontline agents of the Technocracy whose job is to keep reality from falling apart and to fight monsters with cutting edge ultra-high technology.
I still want to run that game.
Last weekend, I picked up my Technocracy sourcebook from the shelf and started to read through it. There are still a lot of things that I like about the setting and the idea of a playing the Technocracy. There are a lot of things that are discordant to me, though, and I wonder if that is why this game has never happened.
First, technology is not magic and the Technocracy shouldn’t have all of it’s tech based on the Mage magic system. I have a good idea why it was done that way, of course, this is a Mage sourcebook after all. It just doesn’t ring true to me.
I want a recasting of all of the Mage tropes from an ultra-high tech perspective. Don’t tell me about the Technocracy’s Horizon Realms, tell me about their experiments creating pocket dimensions in hyperspace. I don’t want to hear about what level of the Life Sphere is required for cloning. Cloning is ultra-high tech. It has nothing to do with magic. Sure, it may be experimental and it may not fully have the kinks worked out but that hasn’t nothing to do with Paradox.
I think what I really want is going to require some work. And maybe a different system.
Last Sunday I ran a wuxia game for some friends. I used the new Marvel Heroic Roleplaying rules. It was pretty fun.
There were some ups and downs, of course. I’d never run a Cortex system game before, so I didn’t really have a good idea about how tough opponents should be. Largely, this worked in my favor because the PCs kicked all sorts of butt, as they should
For future reference, more d8s and d10s, fewer d6s.
And, if you’re interested, here is a link to check out the pregens I made for the game:
This is an idea I’m noodling around with for a modified Attribute setup for Amber Diceless roleplay.
The basic concept is that PCs have three primary Attributes (Mental Acuity, Physical Prowess, Social Influence) and three derived Attributes (Awareness, Manipulation, and Presence).
Prowess would cover any physical actions, whether they be dueling, wrestling, running, or what have you.
Acuity would cover learned and accumulated knowledge as well as other kinds of mental activity.
Influence would cover political and social connections.
Presence, as the intersection of the social and physical, is intended to cover leadership and animal magnetism. So, how well a character inspires loyalty or other feelings.
Manipulation, the intersection of social and mental, is intended to cover a character’s intrigue capability.
Awareness, as the intersection of physical and mental, is, I feel, the weakest part of this. It is meant to cover a character’s immediate perception of her surroundings but it seems like there should be more to it that that.
This setup is intended to be augmented by another system for differentiating characters a bit more but I don’t have that sorted out just yet, nor have I decided whether it is really necessary or not.