Constructs And You
Table of Contents
"I want it turned off until there are a lot more safeguards
built into it....I don't trust a power like that. Not when I don't have
any defenses against it. It could strike almost without warning. What were
you thinking of when you built that thing?"
-- Random, in 'Trumps of Doom'
"You let me rewrite YOUR brain first, sahib, and then you can
monkey with my source code. You're after me lucky charms! You're not my
father! I'll never rule the galaxy with you!"
-- Julian the Construct, in 'The White Rose'
Constructs are, quite simply, artificial beings created by Shadow-walkers
and endowed with some ability to access Real powers. The reasons for building
one tend to range from a desire to test engineering and metaphysical theories
to a search for a bigger hammer to use on one's foes. Regardless, most
Construct creators tend to find that they get more than they bargained
Building a Construct requires a degree of knowledge on the part of the
would-be creator. It is one thing for Gideon, master trump artist and constant
researcher and artificer, to design a construct. It is quite another for
Corey, big warrior type who only knows enough about the powers to walk
from one Shadow brothel to the next. If you have described your character
as someone who does not spend a lot of time coming up with abstract theories,
pushing his knowledge of the universe, and fiddling with odd contraptions...
don't expect to build a Construct. Also, unlike the other powers and items,
Construct building is very much an up-to-the-GM thing.
While Constructs cost a certain amount of points to build, you do not
own them. Constructs are sentient NPCs. They do not have to do what you
say, and they may very well decide to turn against you.
In general, Constructs are very, very powerful. They are also not terribly
mature, at least at first, which is not surprising when you think about
their lack of developmental time. Finally, due to the fact that there is
not exactly a lot of reliable data on how to make a Construct's 'brain',
and also due to the tendancy of Construct builders to use not-very-stable
things like the Logrus and Broken Patterns as a power source, Constructs
are not always very mentally stable.
Picture a clinically psychotic five-year-old on LSD who can fire nuclear
blasts from his hands and hack the Pentagon with his mind, and you're starting
to get a picture of the 'average' Construct.
All Constructs have six stats. They lack the two Strength Stats, due
to not exactly having bodies in the sense we think of. They get these Stats
as the sum total of all the factors in building
The Steps of Construct Building
This is a list of all the steps and options that go into a Shadow, including
how much they cost you.
Every Construct is built in a Shadow, usually tapping into the greatest
source of power in it. To restate the Shadow table:
-  Joe Shadow. This is just another one of the infinite Shadows
out there, a fair distance from Amber and the Courts. It may have picked
up a little extra Reality from your time there, but it's basically nothing
special. The Construct probably runs off of magic, technology, or something
similar. Impressive by Shadow standards, not so fancy by Real ones. Base
Construct stats are PP: 20, PF: Amber, PE: Amber, ME: 20, WS: Chaos, Tactics:
-  Shadow of the Realm. The Shadow is very close to Amber,
and probably has a Golden Circle treaty and trade relations with it. In
fact, it's so close that travel to and from Amber can be done along a Unicorn
Track - no shadowshifting power required. Being so close to Amber, it is
harder to mold the Shadow or change things, or to shift Shadow in or out.
Citizens of the Shadow tend to have Chaos in all their stats. Characters
with a tie to Chaos may choose to take Chaos-located Shadows of the Realm
instead. The Construct still is limited to pulling in magical or tech energy,
but the energy is of higher quality, and the Realer nature of the Shadow
means it picks up skill faster. Base Construct stats are PP: 30, PF:
5, PE: 10, ME: 40, WS: Amber, Tactics: Amber.
-  Primal Shard. The Shadow has something that makes it innately
Real - a Broken Pattern, Trump Font, Logrus Window, or something weird
predating the Pattern. Regardless, molding the Shadow is EXTREMELY difficult.
Citizens of the Shadow tend to have a mix of Amber and Chaos in all their
stats. The Construct is now hooked into one of the Real powers, and can
suck down a frightening amount of quality energy in addition to the usual
array of tech or magic. Base Construct stats are PP: 60, PF: 5, PE:
15, ME: 50, WS: Amber, Tactics: 5.
-  Primal Plane. The Shadow has a major source of Reality in
it, like a Flawed Pattern, a Trump Font of extraordinary power, an Animal
God like the Unicorn or Serpent, or a secret enterance to the Logrus. Molding
it is next to impossible without a huge amount of Psychic Power or an artifact
like the Jewel of Judgment. Citizens of the Shadow tend to have Amber in
all their stats. The Construct has profound amounts of Real power to draw
on, and it uses it. Base Construct stats are PP: 80, PF: 10, PE: 15,
ME: 60, WS: 5, Tactics: 5.
-  Primal Pole. This place has a Pattern or the Logrus in
it, or something of equivalent Reality. Forget molding it unless you have
the Jewel of Judgment or a way to dictate of the Primal Sigil in residence.
Citizens tend to have Amber in most of their stats, and 1-10 points in
a stat or two that they excel in. Constructs built on one of these are
hooked directly into one of the most powerful things in creation, and wield
awe-inspiring power. Not that the powers that be are likely to tolerate
this for long... Base Construct stats are PP: 120, PF: 20, PE: 30, ME:
90, WS: 10, Tactics: 10.
2) Construct Components
These are the 'inner workings' of the Construct, the things that make
up its brain and basic functions. Add the points and modifiers for each
one that is applicable - it is possible to build Constructs that use more
-  Shadow Works. The construct uses weird stuff that only functions
in the base Shadow to operate. No particular bonus.
-  Craefted Works. The knowledge and art of Craefting can be
found in the components. Builder must have Power Craefting. Bonus of
PP: +10, PE: +20, WS: +5
-  Shapeshifting Brain. The mechanisms and processor of the
Construct shapeshift as needed, reconfiguring themselves to adapt to new
data and design elements. Tends to hasten the evolution of the Construct
for better or worse. Builder must have the Shapeshifting power 'Imbue With
Power'. Bonus of PP: +5, PF: +10, PE: +30, ME +30, Tactics: +5
-  Components of Blood. The construct contains parts and circuits
made out of the blood of a powerful Real being, possibly its creator. For
all intents and purposes, the Construct has the Blood of Amber, Chaos,
or whatever, allowing it to do things like walk the Pattern or traverse
the Logrus if it can get a physical manifestation to do so. It also makes
it vulnerable to things like Primal Weapons... Builder must have the Shapeshifting
power 'Advanced Creatures of Blood'. Bonus of +10 to every stat that
the blood's donator has above 40.
-  Trump-Circuit Brain. The Construct uses Trump in its mental
operation, possibly to convey thought impulses from one place to another
quickly. This is a potent addition, but requires heavy shielding if used
in conjunction with Pattern or Logrus. Builder must have Trump Memory and
Trump Alternate Forms. Bonus of PP +25, PF +15, WS: +10, Tactics: +5
-  Logrus Components. The Construct has permanently-manifested
Logrus Tendrils inside of it, formed into components or circuits. While
this allows the Construct to tap the massive power of Chaos, it is not
the best for stable little computers. Being combined with a Shapeshifting
Brain helps in this regard. Builder must have either Logrus Puppets or
Enhanced Tendril Servants. Bonus of PP: +40, PF: +5, PE: +5, WS: +5,
-  Pattern Components. Parts of the design are etched with
segments of the Pattern itself, incorporating the power of Order into the
design. This is probably the optimal component to use in a construct, as
it adds stability and power all at once. Builder must have Pattern Focus,
Mold World Laws, and at least five points of Master-level Pattern. Bonus
of PP: +30, PF: +30, PE: +10, ME: +25
This is the mindset the Construct has been built with.
-  One Task. The Construct was made to do one thing, like map
all of Shadow or create trumps. It will do that one thing very well, but
will get confused and flustered when other subjects are brought up. Constructs
built along these lines tend to obsess over things, have rather dull and
limited personalities, and have a hard time relating to other beings. No
-  One Discipline. The Construct was built to handle a variety
of tasks in a certain area, like Pattern or Trump. It is capable of far
more flexibility than the One-Task Constructs, but will tend to interpret
everything through the lens of its speciality. ("You're bleeding to
death? Hmmm, let me figure out a way to replace your blood with Trump!
Then you won't need to worry about bleeding!") Constructs built with
this scope are innovative and creative in dealing with their speciality,
but rather Rube-Goldberg outside of it, and have a hard time grasping the
fact that other beings aren't as enamored with their speciality as they
are. Add PP: +10, PF: +5
-  All The Wonders Of Creation. The Construct is very mentally
flexible, with a complex personality and the ability to rapidly master
new and alien concepts. In fact, it is likely to start developing concepts
that its builder finds alien, and act and talk with them in mind. Constructs
built with this scope often develop in ways their creator never intended,
and sometimes forget that other people aren't as mentally flexible as them.
Add PP: +10, PF: +10
These are things of power plugged into the Construct. They tend to give
the Construct special abilities and extra points in attributes that depend
wildly on what the plug-in is. Plug-ins don't cost points, but you have
to actually acquire them, which is more easily said than done. Bear in
mind that the attribute bonuses are in ADDITION to the usual powers and
properties of using the item. For example, a Construct with a spikard not
only gets the 25-points of extra attributes, but also can use the spikard
to cast spells and suck in extra power.
-  Minor Items. These are generally minor Real relics or one-of-a-kind
wonders from Shadow. An 8-point Spell Processor is a good example. They
give about 5 points worth of attributes to the construct.
-  Unsuitable Items. These are unique items of great power
that aren't really well suited to powering a construct. Still, improvisation
can work wonders. A Patternblade is an example of an item of this sort;
so is a Prince of Amber who's been plugged into the Construct. They generally
give 15 points worth of attributes to the Construct.
-  Major Items. These are powerful artifacts well-suited for
a Construct to use. A spikard is a good example. They generally give 25
points worth of attributes to the Construct.
-  Stupidly Potent Item. Holy Rollers, Batman! This is something
like the Jewel of Judgment; an artifact so strong it really has no business
being used to power a Construct. They generally give 50 points worth of
attributes to the Construct, and may God have mercy on your souls.
These are the 'remote terminals' of a Construct, the things that let
it interact with people outside its home Shadow. Of course, you can always
Trump the Construct. Or, if the Construct has Trump, maybe it'll Trump
you. These point costs are for Manifestations you start out with. Keep
in mind that there's nothing stopping a Construct from manufacturing them
on its own.
-  No Manifestation. You either have to Trump it, or go to
see it in person.
- [1 each] Solid Link. This is like a big thread of invisible
energy that trails through Shadow between the Manifestation and the Construct.
It is very hard to cut or disrupt, so it means you'll always be able to
stay in touch. On the other hand, it's a great trail of bread crumbs for
all sorts of nasty things to follow or notice. The Builder must have either
the Pattern power 'Forge Shadow Highway,' or 70 points total of Pattern,
or 70 points of Logrus.
- [1 each] Flux-Pin Link. The Manifestation is connected to the
Construct by a sophisticated Flux-Pin that can be turned on and off like
a light switch. This is handy for stealth and for not leaving a huge trail
of power constantly looping through Shadow. It is less handy in that it
is far easier to jam or hack a Flux-Pin than a Solid Link. The Builder
must have the Craefting power 'Flux-Pins'.
- [2 each] Trump Beamer. The Manifestation uses Trump in a highly
sophisticated way to connect to the Construct. This works very similar
to a Flux-Pin, but doesn't ever have a visible 'trail' to follow. On the
other hand, it is subject to eavesdropping by a Trump Artist with appropriate
skills, which a Flux-Pin isn't. The Builder must have the Trump power 'Trump
6) Construct Powers
These are the Real powers that a Construct can access.
-  Sorcery. Any Construct in a Shadow that contains Magic will
learn to use Sorcery, generally pretty quickly.
-  Craefting, Power Words. Anyone with either of these can
teach the Construct all they know.
-  Broken Pattern. A Construct can learn to use Broken Pattern
if it is A) Built on one, B) Incorportates Pattern components, or C) Can
send a Manifestation to walk a Broken Pattern.
-  Shapeshifting. Constructs can learn to Imbue With Power
or make Blood Creatures from people with the appropriate skills.
-  Trump. Constructs can learn Trump Artistry from any Trump
Artist willing to teach them.
-  Logrus. Constructs can learn to use the Logrus if they A)
contain Logrus components, or B) send a Manifestation to successfully traverse
-  Pattern. Constructs can learn to use Pattern if they A)
contain Pattern Components, B) Are built on a Pattern or Flawed Pattern,
or C) Contain Blood Components of Amber, and send a Manifestation to walk
7) Random Chance
The GM will then assign between 20 to 40 points into the Construct,
usually into stats. He will not tell you where.
An Example of Building a Construct:
Horatio has decided that he wants to build himself a Construct. He decides
to name it Trinity, because he has watched The Matrix too many times.
He goes out into Shadow and finds himself a nice site with a Broken
Pattern. This is a 4-point Primal Shard Shadow, giving the construct a
base of PP: 60, PF: 5, PE: 15, ME: 50, WS: Amber, and Tactics: 5.
Horatio is a Craefter and a Pattern Master. He uses both of these in
designing Trinity's processing center, giving her Craefted Works (1 point)
and Pattern Components (4 points). Trinity now has the following: PP:
100, PF: 35, PE: 45, ME: 75, WS: 5, and Tactics: 5. Horatio has now
shelled out 9 points total.
Wanting his new creation to be able to comprehend as much as possible,
Horatio sets her scope at All The Wonders of Creation, for 2 points. Trinity
now has the following: PP: 110, PF: 45, PE: 45, ME: 75, WS: 5, and Tactics:
5. Horatio has spent 11 points total.
Getting really into his project, Horatio locks his sister Joan in a
closet and steals her Patternblade, then incorporates it into Trinity as
an Add-On. It is an Unsuitable Object, and the GM decides that the resulting
25 points go into PP and WS. Trinity now has the following: PP: 120,
PF: 45, PE: 45, ME: 75, WS: 20, and Tactics: 5. Add-Ons don't cost
points once you have them, so Horatio has still only spent 11.
Horatio builds one Manifestation, a snazzy looking laptop, which he
gives a Flux-Pin Connection (1 points). Trinity now has a connection to
the laptop any time the Flux-Pin is turned on, which either she or Horatio
can do at will. Horatio has now spent 12 points total.
Horatio teaches Trinity Sorcery (0 points), Craefting (0 points), and
Pattern (2 points). He has now spent 14 points total.
Finally, the GM secretly adds 30 points, splitting them between WS and
So complete, Trinity looks like this:
- PP: 135
- PF: 45
- PE: 45
- ME: 75
- WS: 35
- Tactics: 5
Shadow: Broken Pattern Shadow (4 point Primal Shard)
Components: Craefted Works, Pattern Components
Scope: All The Wonders Of Creation
Add-Ons: A Patternblade
Manifestations: 1 Flux-Pin Manifestation.
- Regular Sorcery (15)
- Master Craefting (30)
- Advanced Pattern Imprint (80)
Horatio is justifiably proud of his new creation. He is somewhat less
proud of it seven years later, when Trinity has strapped most of the family
into her 'Matrix' and is using them as Add-Ons to power herself. But these
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Last Update May 20, 2003