Nine Imams in Jerusalem

What is a Throne War?

A Throne War is a one-shot Amber RPG session in which the players compete to try to become King or Queen of Amber (Or in this case, the Caliph of the Ummah of Islam), no holds barred. Whether you want to intrigue your way to the top, poison everyone at the funeral of the monarch, or clamber your way their over a pile of bodies on the battlefield, it's up to you.

Where is this Throne War set?

Once, Arabia was nothing but a backwater shadow on the fringe of reality, which was riven by a conflict between the Persians, who followed the Zoroastrian faith, and the Byzantines, who followed the Christian faith.  Both sides sometimes used the hapless shadow as a recruiting ground.  This all ended when the Prophet was called by the Archangel Gabriel to form a new faithful community, which would unite all of Shadow under the true faith.  At first, he was mocked and driven from Mecca, from which he fled to Medina, which become the birthplace of the Islamic Ummah, the Community of Submission to God.  It was there that his revelations began to be written down, which form the Koran.  He then lead an army from Medina and conquered Mecca, driving out the pagans, and drawing the Pattern within the shrine known as the Kaaba.  He then initiated the leaders of the Islamic Community into the Pattern's mysteries, and together, they went forth to make war upon unbelievers.

In the first few years, the community was fortunate because the Christians and Zorastrians had just finished an exhausting war.  In the west and north, the Byzantines were crushed, driven out of Africa and the Holy Land and Syria, which were thus liberated.  Unfortunately, shadow is huge, and the Ummah found itself unable to successfully conquer all of their lands, especially since they possessed many evil dark arts.   The entire Zorastrian Empire was overrun and conquered by the armies of the Faithful.  The Prophet himself did battle with the evil spirits who had guided them, and destroyed the temple which held the evil icons used to initiate their Magi into the dark art they followed.  Afterwards, the Prophet retired to study mystic secrets, and largely left the expansion of the Empire to his subordinates.

In subsequent centuries, the Empire has risen to new heights of culture and sophistication, but some mutter darkly that it has fallen into corruption.  The Prophet seems to have his eyes turned to Heaven and its secrets instead of the Empire's problems (or perhaps to his Harem, some would say), and many have become fat and lazy.  Persian culture seems to have infiltrated and overlaid itself, and the pure desert ways are being forgotten.

And now the Prophet is dying.  Who is worthy to succeed one chosen by Allah himself?  No one knows for sure who should rightfully succeed to the Prophet's role.  Can anyone?  Perhaps it will be you, young one, who will be chosen to become the Caliph, the successor to the Prophet.

What is the Geography like?

You can think of the world as laid out like a cross.  Jerusalem is at the center.  To the west is Egypt, and beyond that is Africa, then beyond that is a seemingly infinite shadow ocean. To the east is Mesopotamia, then Persia, then beyond that are realms of shadow like Sind and Cathay.  To the South is the Great Arabian Desert, which shields the approaches to Medina and Mecca, which lay along the coastline of the desert on its western side.  Beyond that to the south is another infinite sea.  And to the north is first Damascus and Syria, then beyond them the accursed Byzantines, and beyond them strange Pagan lands of Shadow, the Northlands.

Patterns are to be found in Mecca itself, under the Kaabah, in Jerusalem, in a cavern under the Mount of Olives, and rumors claim Patterns exist in the East, the North, and the West which have yet to be discovered.

Who can walk the Pattern?

Those descended of the Prophet can walk the Pattern.  Those initiated by the Prophet in some way not known to the unitiated can also walk the Pattern.  Anyone who starts with Pattern will know how this is done.  This is normally done only for those who have served him well, or for those who he was instructed to initiate in a revelation.  Thirdly, the descendents of those who have walked the Pattern can walk it.  Fourthly, it is rumored that there are strange reflections of the Pattern in shadow that anyone can walk, but which have strange warping effects on them, known as Broken Patterns.

Character Creation

All players will recieve 250 character points; there will be no contribution points, but you're free to load up on bad stuff if you think you need it. (Or sell down attributes if you feel suicidal)

All players must be Muslims, although you can buy Bzyantine connections or tainted Byzantine blood if you really want it. You don't have to buy Pattern, but I'd rather strongly suggest it.

If you haven't played Amber before, I suggest you check out my auction page before continuing.

In addition to the usual attribute auction, and all the other things you can spend points on, auctions will be held for the following jobs, items, or goodies:

You do not have to bid in any of those auctions if you don't want to. These auctions are held in this manner: Opening bids are secret, bids after that are public. Winner of the auction is announced. Only the winner actually has to spend the points (since only one person can have each of these things).

The Cost of the Powers

A brief introduction to the major powers can be found here.
Those familiar with Amber may wish to use the Partial Powers System found here.

Pattern (50 points)

Pattern is the fundamental power of Islam, drawn from the great sigil carven into the stone beneath the Kaaba by the Prophet at the command of the Archangel Gabriel.   Pattern gives you several nifty benefits:

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Pattern (aka Pattern 2.0):  Pattern + 25 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Pattern to learn some of the more obscure arts of Pattern.  This enables you to:

Broken Pattern (10 points)

The Pattern casts reflections of itself through Shadow.  Those reflections gradually become imperfect, enabling anyone to walk them...but they also don't work as well as the real thing.  Broken Pattern gives you several nifty benefits:

But it does have some flaws: Broken Pattern Adept:  Broken Pattern + 15 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Broken Pattern.  This enables you to:

Shapeshifting (35 points)

Shapechanging can be learned by any PC.  This is far more common for Byzantines than the Faithful, but the Koran does not forbid it.  It enables you to:

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Shapeshifting (aka Shapeshifting 2.0):  Shapeshifting + 25 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of shapeshifting as well.  This enables you to:

Trump Artistry: 40 points

Trump Artistry is the knowledge of how to create Trumps and use them most effectively.  Trump Artists are rare but powerful.  To create Trumps which reach across Shadow, once must either have Pattern, or be descended from someone who has it.  However, Trumps are forbidden by the Koran, which prohibits making representational images.  This doesn't stop those damn evil Byzantines from using them, since they follow an inferior, distorted holy text.  This doesn't mean a Moslem can't learn just means you had best insure faithful Moslems don't see you using them.

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Trump (aka Trump 2.0):  Trump Artistry + 20 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Trump as well.  This enables you to:

Power Words: 10+ points

Power Words are words of power which produce simple magical effects fueled by the user's Endurance.  They work anywhere, but using too many of them will tire you out.

But it does have some flaws: Sorcery: 15 points

Sorcery is the art of creating and casting spells.  Many faithful Moslems frown on Sorcery, but the Prophet has yet to actually forbid it.  More details can be found on my sorcery page.

Conjuration: 20 points

You can create something from nothing, molding Shadow into the forms you desire.  This level of conjuration allows you to create items with any of the 1-4 point values on the Throne War Items Page.

But it does have some flaws:

High Compelling (aka Conjuration 1.5):  Conjuration + 5 points

High Compelling enables you to 'conjure' geases and compulsions into beings, in order to try to control their minds.  You can also plant geases on objects, which will then compel whoever meets some set condition.  This requires a victory in a psyche battle to succeed.

Advanced Conjuration (aka Conjuration 2.0):  High Compelling + 15 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Conjuration as well.  This enables you to:

Buying Allies and Blood Ties

Blood of Pattern Initiates: 5 points

You are descended from someone who is a Pattern Initiate, but you have yet to walk the Pattern.  This gives you a claim on the throne without the need to spend the full 50 points for Pattern.  You can walk the Pattern during the game if need be.  All players in this throne war MUST BUY THIS if they do not start with Pattern.  If you buy Pattern, it comes along for free.

Byzantine Descent: 5 points

You are descended from Byzantine ancestors.  This has certain side effects only known to someone who purchases it.

A Spin on the Lesser Wheel of Allies: 10 points

Ten points will get you a spin on the wheel of Allies. This will get you some court official of some importance and influence, from the Chief Cook to the Chief Diplomat.

A Spin on the Greater Wheel of Allies: 25 points

You have the backing of one of the other major leaders of the Faithful of your generation.

Provincial Governor Ally: 10 points

One of the lesser Governor supports you, and will supply you with bases, military forces, magical aid, wealth, and harem girls.  .
Desert Tribe Ally: 5 points

A tribe of screaming Desert Warriors supports you and wants to see you become Caliph.

Shadow Purchase Costs

Shadows have three aspects you can buy up. The first one is obligatory (Location), while the other two are optional.


Defenses Control of Contents

Example Characters and Examples of Play

For some examples of what can be done with 200 points, you can find some sample characters on my Throne War Sample Characters Page.  For some examples of how various things are played out in practice:

Useful Links

Last Update March 3, 2001