The Track Not Taken

Setting Info

Amethyst is a trading principality at the head of a small trade league. It's ruled by Prince Martin, who's been around for most of your life, and various other members of royalty visit from time to time (King Luke & Queen Coral, Duke Merlin, Viscountess Julia..). It's all the universe you've grown up in; a little bubble of shadow about a day's hellride in any direction from Amethyst itself (once you get past the sight of Amethyst Spire and you can move into shadow with any ease). You've all grown up with Martin's stories of Amber and the Shadowfall war; but they seem at a distance that makes them seem like either ancient history or Just So story. Perhaps Amber was what Amethyst was before Martin came to power; but that must be at least 300 years ago and none of you are older than a century.

Amethyst Spire is a great glass construction about 600 feet tall, built on the top of a mountain. Public rooms ring the outside and private rooms are towards the middle with windows opening onto a central atrium that runs nearly the height of the building and which forms the throne room and communications centre. Airships and packet steamers trade with neighbouring states and steam trains connect the Spire and the city that sprawls up the lower reaches of the mountain.

The Underspire is just as impressive, some curiosity of geology has made the rock for at least 4 stories down shiny, and mostly shades of purple/black (perhaps this is where the name for the principality comes from?). However it was originally carved out hundreds of years of servants have polished the walls and floor until you can see your reflection in most of them. Off to one side lies the Pattern; a kind of family secret an apparently the prime mover of the multiverse; and also amongst the various store rooms and the inevitable dungeon is an underground railway station.

A shadowy city does appear in the sky on nights of the full moon; but you can't get into it.

Anyone of any consequence in the principality has some kind of device, be it a pocket computer, an enchanted mirror, or a personal familiar that's capable of opening a short range trump connection to facilitate communication. Some of these are also capable of facilitating sorcery and those who have innate abilities with the powers of the universe are capable of using them from shadow as well.

As the game opens the Spire is in the hands of the current Prime Minister as Prince Martin is off on one of his regular trade missions; but that doesn't really concern you except that there's no authority figures around who can complain if you spend all week in the public houses and dens of iniquity near the harbour and that is your goal when you board the train under the Spire.

Character Generation

  • You are the descendent of one of the younger members of the Merlin Saga; and have the blood of Amber in your veins. You've been brought up by Prince Martin (or rather mostly nursemaids with him overseeing) with probably occasional visits from at least one parent whom you know who they are. Feel free to pick.
  • You all have Pattern Initiation and have had at least a decade to get used to it. You have some kind of trump communication device (this can be a deck of cards if you want) and can be assumed to have trumps of anyone you've ever met; although outside of the party and possibly your ancestors; these are unlikely to be very useful. If you have Sorcery, Conjuration or Power Words then this device is a device of power that helps you use your magic.
  • You can have any items / creatures that (a) are less than 15 points each (b) you'd reasonably carry with you on a week long bender.
  • You have 75 points on top of your Pattern Imprint. No more than one stat sold down, If you sell a stat down to Human I will put you in situations where this is a problem. No more than 5 points of stuff either way.
  • You can have Shapeshift.
  • You can't have Logrus; chaos is just a myth to you.

Modifications to normal abilities:

  • You can have Advanced Pattern for an extra 10 points. You are really shit at anything in it because you've had to figure it all out for yourself, have only recently got any of it to work, and haven't had a chance to look at any Patterns than Amethyst's.
  • Sorcery costs 20 points but so long as you have your device of power with you:
    • it works reasonably well near the Pattern
    • you can have up to 4 simple effects that you can use at whim (e.g. "fireball", about as effective as hitting someone with a sword, "teleport 10m foward" etc)
    • you can come up with arbitrary effects on actually useful timescales (not on the scale of falling, combat, or geology unless they're very simple modifications of one of your known effects; but on the order of 15 minutes or so).
  • Don't expect to lose your device of power unless you do so deliberately or really deserve it.