What are Trumps?

Trumps are images which possess a link to the being or place depicted.  Anyone can attempt to use a Trump, even shadow dwellers.  Being cards enable you to open a psychic link across Shadow to the being depicted, if that being consents to the contact.  Once such contact is established, you can talk, engage in psychic contact, pull each other through the link to the puller's location, or even try to kill each other. Place cards allow you to instantly transport yourself to that place.  Few people can make them, but somewhat more know a variety of simple tricks that can be done with them, from Trump Prediction (using them as Tarot cards) to Trump Caller ID, which is quite useful for avoiding hostile Trump calls. Trumps are traditionally the size of Tarot cards, but also may take the form of paintings, engravings, charcoal sketchs on the wall, sculptures, or almost anything else which involves imagery.  Rumors whisper of VR Trumps for high-tech universes, Trump music,  Trump architecture, and other strange forms.

Properly created Trumps are nearly indestructible.  Pattern cannot mold or destroy them, Logrus users get shocked if they touch one with a Logrus tendril, and Magick simply rolls off them.  Shapeshifting will not prevent a Trump of you linking to you, regardless of what form you take on, except perhaps if you attempt a Persona Shapeshift and lose control to the artifical persona.  It is possible, however, for a Trump in use to be destroyed if a weapon  or other object is currently being extended through the link when the link is cut off.

Trump, as a Power, is stronger than Logrus or Pattern at their weakest, and weaker than they are at their strongest.

Using Trumps

Standard Trump Decks

Most Trump Artists chose a personal sigil which goes on the back of every card they make, although this is not obligatory.  Standard Amber Trump Decks typically show the Unicorn.  This sigil has no power in and of itself usually; it's more of a sort of 'brand name' on the card. Chaos has no standard Trump assortment; it varies greatly by house or even by individual artists.  Amber on the other hand, has a set of standard cards set out by Dworkin (Fuyutsuki in my Through A Mirror Darkly chronicle).  This typically includes all children of Oberon known to the Royal Family, and a trump of Castle Amber itself which links to the castle library.  This will often vary greatly by campaign.  For Through A Mirror Darkly, the standard Trump deck configuration can be found on  the Through A Mirror Darkly Setting Page.

Lost decks are not easy to replace, so try not to drop them all in the Abyss.  

Person Trumps

Person Trumps link the user to a specific person, unique in the entire multiverse of Amber, Chaos, and Shadow.  Every being has a unique psychic imprint which is implanted in the card by the Trump Artist.  Because every being, especially those from Amber and Chaos, has many Shadows of themselves in existence, it is possible that a Person Trump may not connect to the being you're hoping it does.  Since every Trump Artist will create a different looking Trump of a person, and even the same Artist could create different looking Trumps of the same person, and since some Trumps show one person but contact a different one, you can only be absolutely sure you contacted the right person if you made the Trump yourself. Using a person trump simply requires you to hold the card and gaze upon the image on it.  Within a few seconds, the other person will feel someone trying to contact them.  If they choose not to be contacted, it is very hard to force a connection unless one has an overwhelming Psyche advantage or backup from others.  If they choose to be contacted, a link forms between you.

This link allows the passage of items back and forth, physical or mental assaults on each other (opening oneself to Trump gives them a free psychic contact which can only be broken by them chosing to close the link or by some trick which disrupts psychic or trump contacts), or even physical travel--either the caller or the recipient can pull the other person through the link.  Several people can be pulled through if they join hands.

When a Person Trump is active, you can see past the person 'on the other end of the line', gaining a somewhat obscured view of what is going on around them, although much of your view is blocked by the person himself. This has the flip side that when Person Trumps are used, you can't see your own environment; it is not safe to answer Trump calls under stress or in combat.  You won't even hear people talking to you unless they touch you, in which case they're patched into the Trump contact for good or ill.

Place Trumps

Place Trumps when activated, transport the activator to the target location within a few seconds.  The user turns rainbow colored and fades out; during the transition they can be effected from both locations. Some Place Trumps are designed to function as traps, sending you somewhere nasty not shown on the card, or going off the instant you look at them or touch them.  These are called 'Trump Traps'.  

Non-Standard Types of Trump

Advanced Trump Artists learn how to create a variety of unusual kinds of Trumps, beyond cards and paintings.  The most common type is known as Etched Trump, where the image has been carved into metal, bone, stone, ceramics, or some other hard surface.  Some also create statues, woven trumps (cloth, tapestries, etc), Virtual Trumps, and other strange forms of the art.

Defense against Trump

In some rare Shadows, Trump either doesn't work or can't reach into other Shadows.  Almost all such shadows seem to be the result of deliberate Shadow molding, but some do seem to be natural.  There is no apparent pattern to such Shadows.

If the recipient of a Trump call choses to refuse contact, it takes a severe Psyche advantage to force such a contact.  If the victim is familiar with the art of Trump Defense, it becomes virtually impossible to force the contact while they concentrate on it.  Logrus Defense and Pattern Defense will also make forcing your way into someone's brain nigh-impossible.  Items which convey Psychic Barriers and the like are also handy.

Those who have studied the art of Power Words can learn 'Trump Disrupt', a Power Word which will deactivate Trumps and break Trump Contacts.

Trump Powers

People wishing to make their own trump or to get more usage out their exsiting trump can study: