General information, Places, and the Very Structure of Reality (i.e. Game Rules)

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Prismatic Pangolin
Posts: 2220
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm


Postby Wyvern » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:58 pm

Amber: Amber is the center of things. A comparatively tiny mostly-human island-kingdom, Amber has a monopoly on large scale inter-shadow travel, thanks to its Iron Dragon locomotives - and the Power of Pattern wielded by its royalty. In addition, Amber has a unique defensive advantage: Powers (mostly) do not work in Amber - nor do most forms of explosive. Amber-grade gunpowder was originally a state secret; while it is now generally available, it is also noticeably more expensive than common varieties. Amber-grade percussion primers and high explosives, by contrast, are still a well-kept secret of the royal family.

Shadows with significantly higher levels of magic or technology than Amber itself are very rare, and often highly contested. For example, shadow-earth, with its world-wide computer network, is capable of computational tasks (code-breaking, for example) that would be all but impossible in Amber - and thus would represent a significant resource to anyone with access to it.

Tir'na Nog'th: Is an erratic and unreliable dream-realm, generally only risked by the Amber royal family - though a few particularly foolhardy thrill-seekers have gone up with gliders strapped to their backs. Some of them even made it back down safely when an errant cloud blocked the moonlight.

Rebma: An underwater realm inhabited primarily by atlanteans and sea elves, Rebma is generally considered to be something of an unfortunate backwater - not that it's their fault, really, but the engines of an industrialized civilization do not play well with salt water. Rebma has a (stable) Pattern, but none of the royal bloodline needed to attune to it. A narrow spur line runs from Amber to the head of Faiella-Bionin, the stair down to Rebma; the trade and travel is sparse, but the line can be served by a normal locomotive (rather than requiring an Iron Dragon), so it still turns a tidy profit for the Crown.

The Forest of Arden: Officially property of the Amber royal family, managed by Julian. Mostly wilderness, but Arden contains a few small towns of mixed humans and elves, primarily along the tracks of the Iron Dragons. A single spur line was built into the depths of the forest, though these days the trains continue past the decrepit station and signs for "Mistwyr" without stopping. Felwood or Julian's Folly, it's called now, and passengers who inquire too persistently about it occasionally find themselves bodily removed from the train at its next stop, their tickets canceled with no refund.

Switchburg: A mid-sized town on the far edge of Arden. Cargo trains do not stop here, save occasionally for emergency repairs or to restock on coal and water, instead continuing directly to (or from) Amber. Passenger trains, however, do, and Switchburg has built a thriving industry catering to those who are merely passing through.

Past Switchburg, there are three primary tracks.
The Blue Line leads to Kashfa, then takes a series of switchbacks up into the mountains of Irallith, and finally crosses the sky bridge to the flying city of Ceridus.
The Green Line leads to Balcone; persistent rumors claim of surveying efforts to push track out to some further shadow - but at least for now, Balcone is as far as the Green Line runs.
The White Line crosses the badlands of Tyrell (generally without stopping), resupplies with water at Wahi-Samskra on the Lifeblood River, and (eventually) reaches the Empire of Jade. It is one of the longest and least-hospitable lines, but goods from the Empire - silk, spices, and of course jade - are considered valuable enough to make the track worthwhile.

There's one more Dragon Line of note: the Black Line, which heads east out of Amber (instead of west with the rest of the Grand Trunk) before tunneling in under the mountains, leading to Stygia and the dwarven realms of Dwarrowdelf.

And there are, of course, an infinite number of shadows a Pathfinder sea-captain out of Amber could reach... but the Iron Dragons offer far greater speed and efficiency of travel, relegating oceanic trade to a distinctly secondary niche.

Prismatic Pangolin
Posts: 2220
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm

Re: Setting

Postby Wyvern » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:04 pm

Kashfa: Open fields, farms, and several intrigues worth of local nobles, Kashfa has a very medieval europe feel. Sorcery works well here, but gunpowder is generally less reliable than it is in Amber.

Irallith: A mountainous region (the shadow has lowlands, but what happens there is of no concern to Amber), Irallith's mines generate three valuable resources: Mithril, a lightweight but sturdy metal, Ether, a poisonous lighter-than-air gas, and last but certainly not least, coal. Both Mithril and Ether lose much of their potency outside their shadow of origin; within Irallith, it is not too difficult to construct a steam-powered dirigible, but such vessels fare poorly in most other locations.

Ceridus: Also called the City of Mages, Ceridus is home to the Collegitat D'Arcana. Mages trained here tend to focus on effects involving Force, Fire, or Frost - and their very best mages wield all three. For non-mages, the Collegitat still offers the best education money can buy.

Balcone, the Eye of the Storm: The only shadow on the Dragon Lines where electricity can be harnessed (without the direct attention and intervention of a Sorcerer, at least), though its uses are crude compared to modern-day earth. Still, the efficiency offered by electric motors make Balcone a major manufacturing center, and its factories mass-produce goods to be shipped elsewhere. Balcone is something of a plutocracy, with 'noble' titles purchaseable. Labor unions are present and surprisingly strong, with several union leaders having purchased titles. (Though the degree to which such nobles still represent their common constituent is, perhaps, questionable.)

Tyrell: A badlands area, prone to parched weather broken by the occasional flash-flood. There is some small trade with local 'primitives', but by and large the shadow is considered to hold nothing of value.

Wahi-Samskra: Overall even less hospitable than Tyrell, but the Lifeblood River (along with a complex system of irrigation channels) provides enough water to fuel a set of feuding city-states. Society here is brutally civilized, with a strict caste system from Rajahs and Sultans and Water Lords down to lowest of peasants. Outsiders are generally considered 'casteless' - with results that vary dramatically; in Wahi-Samskra itself, a citizen of Amber can speak on even terms with merchants and nobles both; in other cities along the River, a visitor might be treated as if lower than the lowest bonded serf or war-slave.

The Empire of Jade: Was, when Oberon first made contact, very, very isolationist and xenophobic. Exactly how Oberon convinced them to open trade is an interesting question, but whatever it was, it left quite the impact: even the most common of visitors from Amber finds themselves treated as nobility by the locals.

Stygia: ...The original version of Stygia (viewable here) doesn't translate well into the lower tech level of this Amber game. Perhaps we need something more akin to the Sunless Sea? I'm open to suggestions on what to do with this.

Dwarrodelf: Dwarvenhome. Caverns, forges, and the very best mushroom beer you'll ever find. Also home to a constant low-grade warfare between the dwarves and certain distasteful things that occupy the deepest caves; Amber provides Dwarrodelf with significant military support in exchange for favorable trading rights.

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