John's Amber Examples of Play:


These examples use the NPCs from the Throne War NPC Cast/Potential Allies Page  and the example PCs from the Throne War Sample Characters Page.

Using Pattern

To get around shadow [short version]

Ami (Ty) is in Amber when her computer breaks.  She needs to go to a shadow which has electronics in order to get the parts to replace it.  She could conjure the parts, but then they'd be vulnerable to being dispelled.  (Although she'll still need to enchant the parts so they can work in Shadows like Amber where normal electronics don't work.)

Ty (Ami):  I get on my horse, and I ride through Shadow to Shadow Earth.  That'll take about five days, if I remember from last time correctly?

BA (GM):  Yes.  You ride through Shadow without any difficulty.  [BA could choose to play out this trip, but it just isn't worth it.  Ami has a high Psyche, so she can move through Shadow with Pattern very easily.  It would just waste time to go through all the details when nothing important is going to happen.]  However, when you get to your favorite electronics store in San Jose, you get a lot of stares because of the horse.

Ty (Ami):  I make sure I don't hitch her in the fire lane this time.

BA (GM):  Good idea.

To get around shadow [long version]

Makoto (Patty) is currently in her Shadow, Gaullia, which is like Old Regime France, but has decided she wants to go pick up a computer to give to Ami (Ty) as a birthday present.  This will require a trip to Shadow Earth (the world you and I live in).  Makoto goes out to the stable, hops on a horse, and starts riding down the road.

BA (GM):  Okay, you're on the road.  It's a cobblestone road leading away from your estate, which will connect in a few miles to one of the main royal roads, which is more or less a Roman style road.  Forest surrounds it.

Patty (Makoto):  As I ride along the road, the forest begins to thin.

BA (GM):  The forest thins and gradually begins shifting from pine forest to soft woods. This takes several hours.  [Patty is taking it slow, rather than hellriding, which makes this fairly safe, but not very fast.  Regular travel by shadow very gradually shifts the details of the world around you]  Someone tries to trump you.

Patty (Makoto):  I don't answer the call.  I don't want any distractions--all my trump calls always seem to end up being someone wanting me to save them.  Once I take care of this birthday present, I'll start answering calls again.

BA (GM):  Fair enough.

Patty (Makoto):  As I continue, the trees start turning into orchards of fruit trees, rather than just random forest.

BA (GM):  As the next few hours pass, the land around you shifts and becomes farmland, interspersing fields with orchards.  The houses are still in an old regime style, as is the dress of the peasants you pass.  By now you've long since passed onto a roman style road, and the level of traffic is slowly increasing.  You're starting to get hungry.  [Travel by slow, safe means can take days, depending on terrain and method of transportation]

Patty (Makoto):  As I crest the next hill, I find a village with an inn.  I'll stop there and eat before I continue.

BA (GM):  Okay, no problem.  The food is very good.  [Makoto has three points of Good Stuff, and so she tends to luck out in this sort of thing.  If Ryouga, with five points of bad stuff, was doing this, he would end up eating lousy food, unless he deliberately shifted shadow to find a good restaurant, in which case the food would be good, but the waiter would probably spill a bottle of wine on him.  Someone using Broken Pattern automatically tends to end up in bad restaurants, sleazy dives, and the like, and has a hard time avoiding that.]

Patty (Makoto):  Once I eat, I find the macadamed road which runs through the village and start riding up that.

BA (GM):  The what road?

Patty (Makoto):  Paved with the asphalt like stuff they used in the nineteenth century.

BA (GM):  Ahh.  You find such a road after a little searching, and start along it.  A telegraph line runs along the road on one side, and an hour after leaving the village, you cross train tracks.  [Makoto is now moving into higher tech shadows as she moves towards Shadow Earth.] You get another trump call.

Patty (Makoto):  I ignore that one too.  The next village will have a train station, and a pawn shop where I can turn some of my gold coins into paper francs which the ticket station will accept.  [It's generally easy for Amberites to get money, using Pattern, which is fortunate since there are no standard coinages across Shadow.  Even precious metals aren't necessarily precious everywhere]

BA (GM):  The pawn shop owner rips you off horribly, but you get enough money to afford the tickets you want.  Where are you buying a ticket to?

Patty (Makoto):  Paris.

BA (GM):  Going to buy Ami a French computer?

Patty (Makoto):  I'm hoping it will reduce my travel time a bit to go from one France to another.

BA (GM):  Okay, I'll accept that logic.  Right now you're in a nineteenth century France shadow, though.

Patty (Makoto):  Once the train gets moving, I periodically walk up and down the aisle, gradually shifting shadow to ever so slightly more high tech trains, until finally I'm on a bullet train which fits modern France.

BA (GM):  By this point, you need sleep.

Patty (Makoto):  I go to my sleeper cab and sleep, then in the morning, I'll start shifting shadow again.

BA (GM):  You are woken from your sleep when you are thrown out of your bunk with great force.  You collide with the wall; you're going to have some bruises, you think.  [She hit the wall with enough force to break an ordinary human's bones, but with her 3rd rank in Endurance, it's painful but not crippling]  You now hear gunfire.

Patty (Makoto):  Oh great, probably bandits blew the tracks and are robbing the train.  I get Werewindle.

BA (GM):  You had to check your baggage; it's in the luggage car.

Patty (Makoto):  I would have kept it with me!  Shifted shadow to alter the train rules if I had to.

BA (GM):  You needed to tell me that.  Checking baggage and not carrying weapons into the passenger car is fairly standard railroad rules in most shadows.

Patty (Makoto):  I get out of my compartment and make my way to the baggage car.

BA (GM):  On your way there, you are slowed by hordes of panicked people, running hither and yon in absolute terror.  Someone is shooting flaming pitch in through the shattered windows.  You hear a lot of whooping and shouting by gutteral voices outside the train.

Patty (Makoto):  I shift shadow as I move to edit out most of the crowd.

BA (GM):  You'll risk ending up recovering a shadow of Werewindle instead of the real thing if you do that.

Patty (Makoto):  Dammit.  I use Light Strobe to blind them all, then start bulling my way through the crowd by sheer Strength, tossing people aside if they get in the way.  They're only shadow dwellers. [Many Amberites don't take beings from outside Amber or the Courts of Chaos very seriously, thinking of them as not entirely real, and using them as pawns]

BA (GM):  With your strength, you easily toss them aside and make your way to the baggage car.  The bandits have already burst into it.  To your surprise, they don't really look human.  They have crude wheellock pistols and swords, and wear patchwork metal armor combining chainmail and plates.  Their heads are like boars, and their skin is greenish, with dark brown hair.

Patty (Makoto):  What's something like them doing in a shadow like this?

BA (GM):  You have no idea at all.  The terrain looks rather like the Alps outside.  The creatures have several catapults set up they're pelting the train with.  Also, the tracks have gone missing.

Patty (Makoto):  Did someone put a shadow in my path or something?

BA (GM):  Maybe.

Patty (Makoto):  Hmm.  My sword could be anywhere in the luggage car, right?

BA (GM):  Right.

Patty (Makoto):  How many pig-men?

BA (GM):  Ten.  You hear hoofbeats coming towards the car.  Two of them have spotted you; they're all turning to face you now.

Patty (Makoto):  Light Strobe again, then.  While they're blinded, I kick one in the balls and take his sword.

Combat ensues, which will be skipped over, since this is an example of Pattern use.  Makoto recovers Werewindle, then spots the man on the horse is her older brother, Touga, who was exiled into Shadow.  She runs over to him.

BA (GM):  "Ahh, there you are, sister.  You weren't answering your trump, so I had to seek you out the hard way."  Touga looks to be in about the worst shape you've ever seen him in.  His clothing is charred, he has a lot of minor cut wounds, and his left arm is bandaged.  "I'd have sought another of my siblings if I'd realized I'd be riding into something like this, though."

Patty (Makoto):  "Can you give me a ride out of here?  I was just trying to get to Shadow Earth to get Ami a birthday present."

BA (GM):  "Climb on in front of me; it won't be comfortable, but hopefully they won't be able to follow us across shadow."  He turns and slashes open a pig-man who just charged him from the far side of his horse.

Patty (Makoto):  I climb on.

BA (GM):  He turns and rides towards one of the clumps of pig-men.  They suddenly vanish.  The sky turns purple, the mountains dip into a valley, a 'forest' of shrubs rises up around you, all looking rather like the one which was right next to the cluster of pig-men.  You vault over it. [This is hellriding, where you change everything except a single detail.  It is a fast way to travel through shadow, but dangerous because you often can't control most aspects of the shadow you just moved into.]  The bush explodes, driving spines into the bottom of the horse, who dies.  [For example..  Touga has a hefty amount of Bad Stuff, which means his hellriding is especially dangerous.]

Patty (Makoto):  I do my best to avoid the shrubs.  "So, why were you looking for me, elder brother?"

BA (GM):  Touga pauses in unloading what he had on the horse.  "I understand our father is finally dying.  I was hoping I could ask you to plead my case with whoever is chosen to rule in his place.  I am tired of exile from Amber, and wish to return.  My exile was Father's petty vengeance, not the result of any crime.  I deserve to be allowed to return."

Patty (Makoto):  The explosive shrubs turn to regular ones as we move along, walking through them.

BA (GM):  Good idea.  You know Touga tends to have problems with the shadows he travels to being rather dangerous, even more so than your brother Ryouga, so letting him lead is probably not a good idea.

And so it goes...

Seeking Items in Shadow

Usagi's fleet has just taken a beating, and Usagi has decided she wants to get a new flag ship.  She decides she'll take a fast boat and seek in shadow for it, since she has no conjuration.

Usagi's Desired Boat:

It has a total value of 19 points.  If Usagi had Amber Psyche, it would  take 19 days of seeking in shadow to find it. BA rules that with her 28 points, she can do this in 14 days.   There's no guarantee she'll be able to just TAKE it, though, once she finds it.

Seeking a Shadow of Desire

Ranma is on the run in Shadow, having beaten up the Royal Librarian, then fled into exile, where two of his fellow exiles, Touga and Ryouga, beat him up for various past offenses of his against them.  Now he's decided to go raise his own army.

Bob (Ranma):  Okay, right now, I'm in a canoe floating down a river through green, grassy hills, right?

BA (GM):  Yes.

Bob (Ranma):  Okay, I'm going to seek a shadow of desire.  It's going to be crammed ceiling to floor with deranged flesh-eating weasels who worship me as a god and believe Touga and Ryouga are the gods of evil, who will follow me through shadow to attack and destroy them.

BA (GM):  ...

Bob (Ranma):  Better idea.  I seek a shadow of desire inhabited by thousands of dwarf clans.  They'll believe I'm the avatar of their god, Knuckles, and that they must follow me in the holy quest to destroy the evil gods Ryouga and Touga.  They'll all wear mithril armor and carry crossbows + 50 of Amberite Slaying.

BA (GM):  There's no such thing as a + anything weapon in the Amber system.

Bob (Ranma):  Oh yeah.  Their weapons will do Primal Damage vs. Amberites.

BA (GM):  Which would make them Chaos Dwarves, then?  Using crossbows that shoot Logrus Bolts?

Bob (Ranma):  OH YEAH!!!

BA (GM):  You realize you're going to have to go a hefty distance towards Chaos in order to find a shadow like that, right?  This could take several weeks of Amber time.  You could just trump the commander of your fleet.

Bob (Ranma):  I can't sail the ships onto the land and kill Touga and Ryouga with them, though.

BA (GM):  True.  You set out for your promised land.  I'll come back to you.

This leads into...

Leading Armies Through Shadow

Ranma has invested hefty amounts of time training and preparing his armies of fanatical Chaos Dwarves.  It's time for him to depart on the march.

BA (GM):  Yes, you can get 5.2 billion dwarves to follow you.  But how do you plan to feed them?

Bob (Ranma):  That's why I organized the quartermaster corps and spent ten years growing a surplus of supplies, once I figured out how to speed up time.

BA (GM):  Do you realize how hard it is to move enough food to feed 5.2 billion people?  That's the entire population of the Earth, you know.

Bob (Ranma):  That's why we're going to build a rail line as we move to help ship the supplies more efficiently.  And I'll direct our march through incredibly fertile shadows where food grows in infinite abundance.  And we'll be so large, no one will be able to resist us.

BA (GM):  That'll slow your rate of march, you know.

Bob (Ranma):  That's fine.  Vengeance is best served cold, like Khan said in Wrath of Khan.  And it's very cold, actually, I'd better make sure it's not too cold.

BA (GM):  Okay, you start out on your quest.  I'll get back to you when enough game time passes for everyone else.


BA (GM):  After about two weeks, your army starts getting sickly.  You've lost ten percent of them to disease or even just random dropping dead.

Bob (Ranma):  But we've been travelling through climate controlled shadows!  I said I'd make them disease free!

BA (GM):  Your quartermasters think the food they're finding is becoming less nutritionally adequate to their needs.  Something to do with how these shadows have more and more Order to them as you move closer to Amber, but these are Chaos Dwarves.  Also, you've having more and more of your machines break down.  It seems that Touga and Ryouga are in a shadow where much of your technology doesn't work.

Bob (Ranma):  Can't I edit the shadows to make it work?

BA (GM):  Not if you want to actually go where Touga and Ryouga are.  As you approach their shadow, you have to pass through shadows increasingly similar to it.


Bob (Ranma):  Are we there yet?

BA (GM):  These shadows are becoming more war torn as you move towards Touga, and you simply can't keep them up as eternal bountiful food lands.  You've lost a third of your army to starvation, lost another sixth to malnutrition and disease, and a tenth to casualties from attacks.  A tenth of them have revolted and fled or gone mad.  You've had to abandon your vehicles and the trains because the technology doesn't work.  You're down to 30%, but the only functional weapons they have left is crossbows; the high tech weapons don't work either.

Bob (Ranma):  Are we close at least?

BA (GM):  No good way to tell.  These shadows do increasingly look like the one you last saw Touga in.

Bob (Ranma):  We press on.


BA (GM):  Well, you're down to ten percent of your original army, but that's still 520 million people.  They're starving and ragged because these shadows are early medieval and can't provide you enough food, two thirds of your survivors used to be support troops who now can't serve any function but to carry pointed sticks, over two thirds of them are sick due to the presence of so much Order, but you did get there with a huge, feeble horde.

Bob (Ranma):  Hrmph. These guys are much more effective in Warhammer. I've been robbed.

BA (GM):  You hit an impassible mountain range, pierced only by a single river valley, the one you remember escaping the shadow through.  You're going to have to march up that valley.  Unfortunately, you remember it was a week long trip just to get to the point where you could shift shadow to get out of Touga's base shadow, because he had apparently bought it as having limited access.  Which means your army would have to march a week on vastly inadequate food.  They just can't hold out much longer.

Bob (Ranma):  Can we spread out and conquer this shadow, then turn it into a supply base?

BA (GM):  Yes, but that could take years; every shadow is its own universe, you know, and you have the impression this one is as big as the Earth.

Bob (Ranma):  I send the support troops to begin that conquest by sheer weight of numbers.  I collect the hardiest hundred thousand and we press up the pass into Touga's base shadow.


Bob (Ranma):  I kick off another head.

BA (GM):  The last of the fire giants fall.  You count your men, who have been whittled down to ten thousand.  You estimate you'll reach the mouth of the pass where Touga's camp was, sometime around noon tomorrow.

Bob (Ranma):  This place wasn't so guarded when I left!

BA (GM):  Perhaps Touga let you escape in order to protect you from Ryouga, who was the one, after all, who was really mad at you.

Bob (Ranma):  We press on.

BA (GM):  The end of the pass, you discover, is now sealed off with a fortified wall.  Touga's army is up on top of the wall with many engines of mass destruction, medieval style.  He stands next to Ryouga, looking down at you, holding a glowing gem.  "I see you're as stubborn as I remembered, little brother," he says.  "Surrender now and I will be merciful for the sake of our common heritage."

Bob (Ranma):  I waste him with my crossbow!  "Men, open fire!"

BA (GM):  You know this is suicidal; you can't win this fight.  Your Warfare's good enough to know that.

Bob (Ranma):  Hah, my lucky dice won't fail me!

BA (GM):  Amber is diceless.

Bob (Ranma):  I can't just run away!

Dave (Ryouga):  If you surrender, I promise I won't use Ranma as a punching bag again.  I've gotten that out of my system.

Bob (Ranma):  I order my men to all fire at Touga while I trump Lord Bayle to get me out of here, then.

BA (GM):  Sickly and weak, your men are in no shape to fight.  They open fire, but Touga dives for cover and they can't hit him.  Then the slaughter begins.  Flaming pitch and stones rain down on your men, and they break.  Half die, while the rest flee.

Bob (Ranma):  I trump Lord Bayle.

BA (GM):  Something is blocking your trump call.

Bob (Ranma):  He's my ally!

BA (GM):  It's not him doing it.

Bob (Ranma):  I run for it.

Fade out on a rout...

Pattern Defense

As Tenchi (Nitro) is camped with his army in Western Harad, preparing to invade Begma, his camp is invaded by a blue masked sorceror with clearly hostile intent.  As the sorceror cuts a swathe through the camp...

Nitro (Tenchi):  I'm going to walk the Pattern in my mind so I can use Pattern Defense against her spells.

BA (GM):  That will take a little while, during which she'll do more damage..

Nitro (Tenchi):  It'll beat having my brain invaded or my flesh fried.

BA (GM):  Most of your camp is on fire by the time you emerge, the Pattern firmly held in your mind, its energy filling your body.  You hear her shout, "Tenchi, you two timing bastard!  I'm going to kill you!!!!"

Nitro (Tenchi):  Oh great, it's that Sayoko freak again.  Either that or Ryoko's having a bad day, I guess.  I get out my Trump Deck and trump Usagi for backup, since I'm dealing with sorcery.

BA (GM):  You can't focus on Pattern Defense and use a Trump at the same time; it occupies all your psychic concentration and it'll hamper your ability to function at the top of your physical capabilities because you're having to split your attention.

Nitro (Tenchi):  Fair enough.  I head for the shouting.

BA (GM):  You find her destroying your siege equipment.  The soldiers are firing crossbows at her, but the bolts glance aside.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I move forward cautiously, drawing Greyswandir.  Do I recognize her?  "Who are you who invades the camp of the Marshal of Amber?" I demand.

BA (GM): "What, you pretend you don't know who I am?  DIE!"  she shouts, hurling a lightning bolt at you.  You think it is Sayoko by her voice, but her blue tragedy mask and her navy blue robes and hood hide her features well.

Nitro (Tenchi):  Pattern Defense will stop the spell, right?

BA (GM):  It stops invasive magics, but not things like lightning bolts.  So she can't control your mind, but she can fry you.  And it's hard for you to dodge while you're using it.  But you can use your sword to block magical attacks, since it's a Pattern Blade.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I do so, slowly advancing on her.  "I'm sorry about whatever I did, Sayoko."

BA (GM):  You have a hard time moving fast enough, but you manage to deflect the lightning bolt, which fizzles when it hits Greyswandir.  [Tenchi is first in Warfare, Sayoko only has Chaos Rank.  However, Tenchi is reduced greatly in speed by his need to focus on keeping the Pattern in him.  If Sayoko was ranked in Warfare, she would be able to hit him some of the time, and if her rank in warfare approached his normal one, she would usually hit him, while he's concentrating on Pattern Defense.]  She shouts out a power word, but nothing seems to happen.  [Sayoko just tried to use 'Neural Disrupt' on Tenchi to make him drop his Pattern Blade.  The power word was too fast for him to block with his sword, but it failed because of his Pattern Defense]

Nitro (Tenchi):  I keep moving in, trying to calm her.  If I get close enough and she's still homocidal, I'll feint with Greyswandir, then punch her with my left fist.

BA (GM):  She continues to rant as you close in.  You manage to stop her next two spells, then as you move in to punch her, she vanishes in a spray of flowers.

Nitro (Tenchi):  [sighs]  I turn to my men and start organizing the clean up of the camp.

Things Pattern Can't Do

Dave (Ryouga):  Hmm, can I go down to the Pattern room with some water colors, study the Pattern, then draw it repeatedly on my umbrella to turn it into a Pattern Umbrella?

BA (GM):  No.

Dave (Ryouga):  Can I draw the Pattern on the floor in front of my room to keep out people who don't have the blood of Amber?

BA (GM):  No.

Dave (Ryouga):  If I'm using Pattern defense, I'm filled with Pattern energy, right?

BA (GM):  Yes.

Dave (Ryouga):  Can I use my fists to make Chaos people explode, then?

BA (GM):  No.

Dave (Ryouga):  Can I use it to make my own personal Pattern hidden away somewhere?

BA (GM):  Only with the Jewel of Judgement.

Dave (Ryouga):  Can I use it to talk to people in other Shadows?

BA (GM):  That's more the domain of Trump.

Dave (Ryouga):  What happens if I pick up the Pattern?

BA (GM):  It's etched into a stone floor, and it's too big to fit through the door.  Nor are you strong enough.

Dave (Ryouga):  What if I carved off the top of Kolvir, jackhammered all around and under it, then used a helicopter to fly it out?

BA (GM):  Helicopters won't work in Amber.

Dave (Ryouga):  There has to be some way to move it.

BA (GM):  There's probably some way, but I'm going to have to hurt you if you waste our limited game time trying to find it.

Dave (Ryouga):  Hrmph.

Using Trump Artistry and Trump Tricks

Miscellaneous Fun with Trumps

Saionji has gone missing in Arden, and Ryouga (Dave) is looking for him using Shirokuro to track his movements.  The trail ends in a glade where a trump lies on the ground, admidst the obvious signs of a struggle.  No footprints lead away, however.

Dave (Ryouga):  Is it a Trump trap?

BA (GM):  You couldn't recognize a Trump trap if it bit you.  You're not even sure that's really a Trump, given it's showing a weasel made of blue flame on the back, instead of the Unicorn, like every Trump you've ever seen.   You need someone who knows about Trumps.

Dave (Ryouga):  Who knows about Trumps in our family?

BA (GM):  Dworkin, Miki, Usagi, that you know of.  Nanami and Nabiki might.

Dave (Ryouga):  I trump Usagi.

BA (GM):  Usagi, you get a Trump call.

Sara (Usagi):  I get out my Trump cards and fan through them.

BA (GM):  It's Ryouga.

Sara (Usagi):  "Hello, brother."

Dave (Ryouga): "I need you to identify if this Trump I found is some sort of trap."

Sara (Usagi):  "Pull me through."

Dave (Ryouga):  I pull her.

Sara (Usagi):  I study the Trump.

BA (GM):  You think it isn't a trap.  [BA would compare Usagi's Psyche to that of the card's maker if it was a trap, to see if she detected it]  As you study it, you notice a bloody stain on one corner, like a finger print, but clearly not a human finger, as it has a grid pattern.  [The stain is actually funky red sweat from a Chaos creature with weird skin]

Sara (Usagi):  What's the picture on the front of it?

BA (GM):  A tall imposing man in purple clothing who has a head so wreathed in flames that you can't see any features except for glowing orange eyes.  There is a psychedelic void behind him.

Sara (Usagi):  No one I know?

BA (GM):  You don't recognize the face or the psychic imprint of him in the card.  Do you wish to try a trump contact?

Sara (Usagi):  "Do you think it's worth risking trying it, Ryouga?"

Dave (Ryouga):  "It's the only clue we have left.  I could try turning Shirokuro loose to track Saionji through Shadow, but that could take days or weeks to get to him.  And if Shirokuro thinks Saionji didn't leave here by foot, he must have Trumped out, right?"  [Dave is wrong; Saionji was carried off by a flying Chaosian]

Sara (Usagi):  "Put your hand on my shoulder."

Dave (Ryouga):  I do that.

Sara (Usagi):  I try to contact him.

BA (GM):  He's clearly resisting the contact.  You could try to force it, but forcing Trump contacts is hard.  [Even second ranked in Psyche Usagi is going to have a hard time forcing a Trump contact on anyone with Amber psyche or above, and Ryouga isn't much help with his flabby seventh rank Amber Psyche]

Dave (Ryouga):  "We'd better gather the psychic posse and try again later."


Ranma and Ryouga went out to scout the north coast due to reports of a Black Fleet.  The Black Fleet finds their lone boat, and is giving chase.

Dave (Ryouga):  I steer for shore.  Our smaller ship can get closer than they can, right?

BA (GM):  Right.  Your skillful steering avoids the flaming balls of pitch they're lobbing at you.  [Ryouga's 3rd rank in Warfare vastly beats that of the Chaos and Amber ranked in Warfare soldiers firing catapults at him]

Bob (Ranma):  I trump Lord Bayle.

BA (GM):  Lord Bayle answers your call.  "What is it, Prince Ranma?"

Bob (Ranma):  Pull me through!

BA (GM):  He pulls you through.

Dave (Ryouga):  Hey, what about ME???

Bob (Ranma):  I trump Ryouga now.

Dave (Ryouga):  I take it!!!

BA (GM):  You feel someone trying to trump you.

Dave (Ryouga):  Are you deaf?  I said I take it!

BA (GM):  Are you sure?  You can't dodge while you're busy with a trump call.

Dave (Ryouga):  It's Ranma!  He's gonna get me out of here.  I take it and I take it NOW!

BA (GM):  You open yourself to the contact.  A man clad in purple marked with red spirals of flame stands before you.  His head is sheathed in flame, hiding his features.  He speaks with a crackling voice.  "Pathetic Scion of Amber, now you will perish!"  [The power of Bad Stuff in action.  The leader of the fleet chose to Trump attack Ryouga just before Ranma tried to trump him.  Only one person can trump you at a time, unless they cooperate as a group, so...]

Dave (Ryouga):  Ha ha, stop messing around, Ranma, and pull me through!

Bob (Ranma):  What are you talking about, BA?  I didn't have time for any practical jokes!

BA (GM):  His eyes bore into your brain, and you feel him invading your mind, easily battering down your outer defenses, although you can tell from experience he isn't as good at this as your sister Nabiki is.  Behind him, you see the deck of a black ship, where soldiers are loading more catapults.  While you're distracted, flaming pitch hits the foredeck.

Dave (Ryouga):  I drop the contact!

BA (GM):  Once you opened yourself to it, the only way to end it is for you to overwhelm him, or for him to drop the contact, or for something to knock him out.  Another ball of flaming pitch hits your ship.

Bob (Ranma):  I get Bayle to help me try to trump Ryouga.

BA (GM):  Something is blocking your trump call, Ranma.

Dave (Ryouga):  I dive off the ship!

BA (GM):  You stumble to the edge of your ship, but splitting your attention allows him to finish boring into your brain.  He takes control of you.

Dave (Ryouga):  Dammit!

Bob (Ranma):  I give up on trumping Dave; he might control me through Dave's mind or something.

Dave (Ryouga):  Bastard!  I'll get you for this!

Making Trump Sketches

Usagi has had a shipwreck and is stranded on a desert island without a boat.  The shadow seems resistant to her efforts to use Pattern to shadow-walk away, and she lost her trumps in the shipwreck.

Sara (Usagi):  I'm stuck on a sandy beach, with a jungle behind me and the ocean in front, right?

BA (GM):  Right.

Sara (Usagi):  I go and get a stick.  Then I use it to draw a trump sketch in the sand of my quarters back in Castle Amber.

BA (GM):  Okay, this takes you about twenty minutes.

Sara (Usagi):  Okay, I then stare at the sketch and trump to my quarters.

BA (GM):  You succeed.  {Usagi was familiar with her quarters and thus was able to make a trump of it from memory.  If she did not know the location the trump sketch was for very well, there would be some danger she might connect to a shadow of it}

Using Shapeshifting

Basic Forms Shapeshifting

Nabiki (Brian) is riding through Arden on her way out into shadow, when she is confronted by a pack of wolves who begin to chase her horse, harrying it.

Brian (Nabiki):  I lob a racked lightning bolt spell at them.

BA (GM):  The bolt fizzles upon striking one of them.

Brian (Nabiki):  I'm in trouble now.  Where's the Warden of Arden?  I take out his trump and try to trump him.

Dave (Ryouga):  You get a busy signal.

Brian (Nabiki):  I go for Juri's trump.

BA (GM):  You reach for Juri's trump, only to have one of the wolves hamstring your horse.  It topples and the cards go flying everywhere.  Most of them land out of reach.  A circle of wolves now surrounds you.

Brian (Nabiki):  Dammit.  I think I'm screwed...aha!  I use my Light Strobe power word.  That doesn't effect them directly, so I hope it'll work.  While they're blinded, I shift to my Avatar Form, a sleek black wolf.

BA (GM):  Yes, it does work.  The wolves sound confused, whimpering a bit and staring at you, sniffing the air and looking about, once their vision clears.

Brian (Nabiki):  I don't wait for it to clear.  I take off for the next river, relying on my wolfly speed.

BA (GM):  Keep in mind you don't spend a lot of time running four-legged through the woods and they do.

Brian (Nabiki):  It's one of my basic forms.  Of course I've practiced.  If I turned into an elephant or a bird or something, yeah, I could see that, since Nabiki doesn't do animals much, but this is an instinctive form.  It would be dumb not to practice with it.

BA (GM):  Hmm...okay, I'll accept that.  You take off running.  They begin to chase after you.  It becomes obvious after a while that they can catch you, although you get the impression they're going to try to simply harry you until you collapse from exhaustion.

Brian (Nabiki):  Can I turn into a squirrel and go up a tree?

BA (GM):  You need Advanced Shapeshifting, or you have to purchase additional basic forms to turn into animals.

Brian (Nabiki):  Still too close to Amber to shift shadow?

BA (GM):  Yes.  You need to get out of Arden.

Brian (Nabiki):  Ahh, can I use Power Words?

BA (GM):  Your vocal cords can't handle words.

Brian (Nabiki):  Can I shift my vocal cords to work?

BA (GM):  Yes, you have time since the wolves aren't going for an instant kill.  You may leave yourself open to some wounds, though.

Brian (Nabiki):  Vocal cords coming on line

BA (GM):  You get nipped several times, and you can feel your legs bleeding some.

Brian (Nabiki):  Head for a very large tree.  When close enough, I do a light strobe, then shift to my demon form and climb the tree.

BA (GM):  Right.  You succeed in this, then scramble up the tree.  Now you're stuck up a tree in Arden in your demon form with wolves baying at you.

Brian (Nabiki):  I use my conjuration, conjure up a crossbow and a quiver of silver tipped bolts.  Then I start shooting wolves until they all die or go home.  I stay in demon form, just in case.

BA (GM):  Okay, hold on, I need to take care of a little business with other players.

A little later...

BA (GM):  Three wolves die, after which the rest decide to go find other prey.  You hear the sound of someone on horseback approaching.

Brian (Nabiki):  I stay in demon form, level the crossbow, and if I have time, I cast a spell on the arrow which will cause it to link me psychically to whoever I shoot with the first bolt.

BA (GM):  Okay, you have time for that.  [turns to Nitro (Tenchi)]  As you follow the tracks, they lead up to an area around a tree, where there's a scaly, fanged, blue-skinned demoness holding a crossbow pointed towards you.

Bob (Ranma):  Waste her with your Pattern Blade!

Brian (Nabiki):  Is that me?

BA (GM):  You see Tenchi approaching you on horseback.  He is following a brown hound that is clearly following a scent trail.

Nitro (Tenchi):  "Halt, beast of Chaos!  Why have you invaded Arden?"

Brian (Nabiki):  I resume human form.  "Tenchi, my brother, it's me!  A bunch of wolves chased me up a tree!"

BA (GM):  The demoness takes on the form of your sister and claims wolves chased her up a tree.  There are a lot of wolf tracks around her.  The hound goes up to the tree and sniffs around the roots.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I pull out my trump deck and try to trump Nabiki.

BA (GM):  Nabiki, you feel a trump contact.

Nabiki (Tenchi):  I take it.

BA (GM):  You see Duke Shishio of House Helgram.  His eyes bore into your very soul.

Brian (Nabiki):  WHAT????

BA (GM):  Just joking.

[Several people throw things at him]

BA (GM):  You two are in Trump contact now.  Tenchi, what you see past her matches the forest around you.  That's your sister.  Assuming of course that this isn't someone with Advanced Trump capable of intercepting Trump calls.

Nitro (Tenchi):  People can do that:?

BA (GM):   Hard to be sure as you know little of Trump.

Shifting Wounds Shut

BA (GM):  Tenchi, you notice Nabiki is bleeding from several wounds.  Nabiki, you're starting to feel weak.

Brian (Nabiki):  I use my shapechanging to close the wounds the wolves gave me.

BA (GM):  Okay, this takes about three minutes, as you don't have very many.  Now, you're more tired.  You really need a rest.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I dismount and let Nabiki ride on my horse, helping her up.

Brian (Nabiki):  "Very gallant of you, my brother.  Thank you."

Automatic Shapeshifting

Nabiki and Tenchi are winding their way up the long road up Kolvir to Castle Amber used by people riding horses.  Twelve strange chitinous winged humanoids have attacked them.  They've killed six when...

BA (GM):  Your lightning bolt rips through another one, taking off its head.  Unfortunately, two more drop down on you from above while you're distracted and grab each of your arms, taking off with you. {The Byakhee have Amber strength, while Nabiki only has Chaos.  She might have been able to delay them if she hadn't also been busy with spell casting}

Bob (Ranma):  I can see this from up on the walls, right?

BA (GM):  Right.

Bob (Ranma):  And I've got a crossbow from the armory, right?

BA (GM):  Right.

Bob (Ranma):  I fire one of my leftover Logrus Bolts at the creature.

BA (GM):  You know Logrus bolts don't work very well near Amber.

Bob (Ranma):  I aim for one of his big wings.

Nitro (Tenchi):  No, wait, Bob!

Brian (Nabiki):  Not while he's got me in the air!

Bob (Ranma):  Sadly, I can't hear them protest from up here.  I fire, load another one, and shoot the other Byakhee.

Brian (Nabiki):  I desperately start casting a flying spell!

BA (GM):  That's an average spell, which will take 3-5 minutes.

Brian (Nabiki):  How about a simple levitate or feather fall?

BA (GM):  Half a minute.

Brian (Nabiki):  I start it!

BA (GM):  A few seconds into your spell, the first byakhee dies as its blood catches fire from the logrus bolt.

Nitro (Tenchi):  SAY WHAT???  This is a creature of Order?  But my Pattern Blade burns them too!

BA (GM):  The other Byakhee drops you and goes after Ranma.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I grab my trump deck and throw a trump, any trump, to Nabiki.

Brian (Nabiki):  Dammit, I...ahh!  Turn on automatic shapeshifting to help me adapt to falling so I don't die, while I concentrate on my levitation spell.

BA (GM):  Your body becomes taller and thinner, spreading out to better catch the wind.  Wings start to grow between your arms and your torso.  Ranma, there's a Byakhee closing in on you.

Bob (Ranma):  I waste him with my crossbow!

BA (GM):  He takes a bolt to the head and dies in flames.  Tenchi, because Nabiki's fall is being slowed by her shapeshifting, the trump deck actually reaches her.  While you're hurling it, you get bit twice by the remaining four Byakhee, who are still attacking you.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I attack all out; I just want to kill these damned things.

Bob (Ranma):  Can I shoot a grappling line to Nabiki?

BA (GM):  You'd have to shoot a bolt into Nabiki to anchor it, and you have no rope.  Nabiki, you think you're going to hit the ground before your spell finishes.

Brian (Nabiki):  I give up on it and concentrate on using my shapeshifting to survive the impact.

BA (GM):  Okay, with your high psyche, you're good at such adaptations.  You hit the slopes near Amber City, WHAM.  You pass out from the pain and from shapeshifting exhaustion.  But you lived through it.


Ranma, Tenchi, Ryouga, and Nabiki have just trumped to a location on a trump carried by a mad Chaos wizard who seemed to have sent the Byakhee.  It is a candle and incense shop.  A sign on the front door says in twelve languages 'Sprechenhaltenstelle Candle Shop:  No Smoking Under Any Circumstances.  We Mean It.'

Bob (Ranma):  No smoking, eh?  [passes a note to the GM] While the others go in, I hang back briefly and use my Pattern to 'find' a half-used, discarded pack of cigarettes and some matches.  Reasonable?

BA (GM):  [passes a note back]  Yes, you succeed in doing so.  [speaking]  You all head into the shop, which is about fifteen feet wide and twenty feet deep with a long counter with a cash register on it near the far wall.  There's a door in the wall behind the counter.  There are many shelves and cases with dozens of kinds of candles, waxes, candle holders, doilies, candle accessories, and forms of incense.  The place is probably a hideous fire hazard, but it smells wonderful.  You realize Ranma's still outside, digging around in the gutter.

Dave (Ryouga):  Probably looking for spare change again.

Bob (Ranma):  Hey, I'm not the one who played the Euthanatos that used his powers to rob vending machines, you know!

BA (GM):  Save the recriminations for later.  The proprietor is a kindly looking old man dressed in a nice white buttoned shirt with a dark grey vest over it and dark trousers.  He is starting to bald, but his pudginess has reduced his wrinkles.  His hair is turning white and he has a monocle.  He stares through it at you.  "How may I be of service?"

Brian (Nabiki):  I call the Pattern to mind and gaze through the image, studying him.

BA (GM):  You don't have Advanced Pattern yet.  You can try it, but it probably won't work right.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I approach him, showing him that trump we have of the chaos sorceror.  "Have you ever seen this man before?"

BA (GM):  "Why yes, he comes here all the time," the old man says.  "Buys entire cases of incense.  Can't imagine what he's doing with so much of it."  You feel he's telling the truth on that at least.

Bob (Ranma):  I don't trust him.  I stride up to the counter, light a cigarette and hold it in my hand over the counter to show my contempt.  Then I say, "You're dealing with Princes of Amber, punk.  Tell us the truth!"

BA (GM):  The old man's eyes get wide.  "Please, sir, don't smoke!"

Brian (Nabiki):  Wait, you said this place is Sprechenhaltenstelle?

BA (GM):  Yeah.

Brian (Nabiki):  Shapeshifting coming on line!  Adapting to resist fire!

Nitro (Tenchi):  You think he'll try to snuff out his cigarette on you again?

BA (GM):  Oh yeah, you were in the last group I used this with, weren't you?

Brian (Nabiki):  I try to grab the cigarette from Ranma and snuff it.

Dave (Ryouga):  Am I not getting something?

BA (GM):  You try to grab it.  the old man flees through the rear door.  Ranma, you resisting?

Bob (Ranma):  I casually bat Nabiki aside, and throw the cigarette at the old man.

BA (GM):  Nabiki, Ranma knocks you for a loop. You fly halfway across the store.  Your skin is becoming leathery and your nostrils adapting to breathe smoke.  {Ranma's first ranked strength easily crushes Nabiki's Chaos strength} The cigarette bounces off the door as the old man closes it and rolls under the counter.

Nitro (Tenchi):  I slug Ranma for being an idiot.

Brian (Nabiki):  OUT the door!

Dave (Ryouga):  I seize the opportunity to beat up Ranma guilt free.  Hefting my umbrella, I charge at Ranma point first.

Bob (Ranma):  I flip over the counter and run after the old man, who is CLEARLY trying to hide something.

BA (GM):  Yes he is.  There's a large quantity of explosives under the counter.  Thanks to your bad stuff, your hurled cigarette lands in them.  The Chaos explosives go off instantly.

Bob (Ranma):  What sort of idiot stores explosives in a candle shop????

Brian (Nabiki):  Whoever wrote that old Top Secret module BA is stealing from.

Dave (Ryouga):  When the explosion starts, I shield myself with my umbrella.

Nitro (Tenchi):  Dammit.  Dive for cover.

Bob (Ranma):  I leap upwards, THROUGH the roof.

BA (GM):  The explosion rips through the entire building.  Nabiki, your body adapts to the explosion, since you'd already started adapting.  You take some damage, but you're conscious.  Next time, don't use out of character knowledge.

Brian (Nabiki):  Next time, don't blatantly rip off an old module for a different game.  It was a logical deduction to make anyway from the sign.

BA (GM):  Dave, your umbrella stops a lot of the blow, but you do get hurled through the wall, which hurts.  Tenchi, you fry and get pounded.  You pass out in the burning building .  Ranma, you ride the shock wave into the sky...then fall back down into a burning building.

Brian (Nabiki):  Once I adapt, I go in and rescue Tenchi first.  If there's time, I'll save Ranma.

BA (GM):  You break a leg when you land, you're surrounded by flames, but you're still awake and still able to move, though painfully.

Bob (Ranma):  Where's the old man?

BA (GM):  He's gone.

Bob (Ranma):  I hellride through shadow to find him, shifting shadow as FAST as I can!

Nitro (Tenchi):  About all you can manage right now is to hell-limp.

BA (GM):  Nabiki, you've saved Tenchi, and now you've spotted Ranma, limping about through the wreckage.  Ranma, you spot a leathery parody of a woman, with no hair and lidded eyes and a twisted nose.  It wears an ill-fitting purple dress that might have looked sexy on a real woman instead of a monster. Most of the dress has burnt away, anyway.  It's approaching you, ignoring the flames.

Dave (Ryouga):  Can I see it inside?

BA (GM):  Dimly, though the flames and smoke, you can make out a humanoid figure approaching Ranma, Ryouga.  It dragged Tenchi out of the flaming wreckage shortly before this.

Brian (Nabiki):  It's me, you idiots!

BA (GM):  It calls you an idiot, Ranma.

Brian (Nabiki):  I said that OOC!

Bob (Ranma):  Groin kick followed by a spinning kick to the head.

Brian (Nabiki):  Bob, don't make me hurt you.  [to BA]  I try to dodge the blows.

BA (GM):  Feebly, the demon tries to avoid your blows, but it fails. [First rank Strength crushes Chaos Rank.  Nabiki has enough Endurance, however, to take a couple of blows.]  It has no genitals to be injured below, but it was clearly hurt.  The spinning kick to the head knocks it into a burning display case, where the glass digs into its flesh.  Nabiki, you're in agony, bleeding from multiple wounds.  Ranma, you just whipped up the flames around yourself.  It's getting hard to breathe from all the smoke.  Also, you broke a leg earlier, remember?  Kicking the demon with it broke it more.  You hop desperately on one leg, feeling your other leg in agony.  And now your pants are starting to catch fire.

Brian (Nabiki):  Can I focus enough to do petty magics?

BA (GM):  Yes.

Brian (Nabiki):  Gordo's Pixie Lights in Ranma's face.

BA (GM):  Ranma, you're blinded for a few seconds.  Ryouga, the demoness clearly cast a spell at Ranma.  Tenchi, you're starting to wake up; you feel horrible.

Bob (Ranma): Hobble over to the demoness, grapple her, and crush her to death with my supreme strength.

Brian (Nabiki):  Bob, THAT'S ME!

Bob (Ranma):  That's Nabiki?

Brian (Nabiki):  Yes, I shapeshifted!

Bob (Ranma):  I'll help Nabiki up then, as best I can with only one leg.

Dave (Ryouga):  Oh.  I won't hurl bandanas at her.

BA (GM):  You reach for Nabiki, but unfortunately, Nabiki's been stressed just a little too much.  She has automatic shapeshifting running, kicks into overdrive as part of her brain fears you reaching for her is another attack.

Brian (Nabiki):  Dammit, I go to my human form!  I go to my human form!

BA (GM):  You leap away from Ranma, and sprout wings, fleeing skyward out of the burning building, beginning to hellride to safety.

Brian (Nabiki):  What is this???

BA (GM):  You've had too much and lapsed into Primal Form, which is your 'shapeshift for maximum survival, think like an animal' routine.  In this case, you ran because your subconscious knew that even with shapeshifting, you couldn't beat Ranma in hand to hand combat.  I'll get back to you.

Bob (Ranma):  I hobble out of the burning building and trump Usagi to see if she can heal me, then.

Dave (Ryouga):  So, should I shoot it down with bandannas?

Brian (Nabiki):  Not unless you want me to bend your legs the wrong way.

Dave (Ryouga):  Nabiki's too weak to do that. I have second in Strength.

Brian (Nabiki):  I mean IN REAL LIFE.

Dave (Ryouga):  Oh.


Brian (Nabiki) believes Nanami had hired the Chaos Sorceror who sent the wolves after her, and has decided to search Nanami's room for clues.  To avoid trouble, Nabiki arranges for a diversion to get Nanami out of the castle, without people really being aware of the absence, and then...

Brian (Nabiki):  I go to Nanami's room, use a spell to open the lock, and then search the place.

BA (GM):  You easily unlock the door [Nanami has magically sealed her door, but Nabiki's first ranked Psyche beats hers, so Nabiki's spell works], then turn the knob to go in.  Unfortunately, you didn't think to scan for wards.  Flames erupt from the door.

Brian (Nabiki):  I should have gotten those power words...Can I release my racked Dispelling spell in time?

BA (GM):  No.

Brian (Nabiki):  Can I call up Pattern Defense?

BA (GM):  That's even slower than your racked spell.

Brian (Nabiki):  Ahh, I'll let my body automatically adjust to the flames as I try to jump back, using my Shapeshifting.

BA (GM):  Your skin thickens and turns leathery as the flames burn away your clothing and char your flesh.  Unfortunately, it takes long enough to adapt that you still get hurt, although if the fire continued, you'd be much more ready for it now.  You'll also be ready if another one like that goes off.

Brian (Nabiki):  Bah, that was no...ahaha!  I will use my shapechanging to accelerate the replacement of the burned skin and flesh.  It'll tire me out some, but I can heal the damage pretty easily, since it's wide spread but not deep, right?

BA (GM):  Yes, it'll take about ten minutes, and tire you a fair amount, as you're only seventh in Endurance and have taken burns from your hair to your feet.  If you weren't ranked in Endurance, you'd be unconscious or dead now.  In fact, without your shapeshifting, you'd probably be lying on the floor in agony at best.  Oh, you need some new clothing too.

Brian (Nabiki):  First I'll heal my wounds, then conjure up some fresh clothing.  Then I'll take on Nanami's features, in case the maids come in or something.  Clothing will match what Nanami wore at breakfast today.

BA (GM):  You're feeling pretty worn out by the time you finish doing all that.  Do you keep the leathery skin?

Brian (Nabiki):  No, back to normal; Nanami won't trap stuff inside her room, and I can't pass as her if I look too weathered.


BA (GM):  As you're paging through Nanami's diary, there's a knock on the door.

Brian (Nabiki):  The book goes back on the desk.  I go over to the door.  "Who is it?"

BA (FM):  "It's me, Sayoko, Nanami-sama!"

Brian (Nabiki):  Is that one of her snooty hangers on?

BA (GM):  Yes.

Brian (Nabiki):  I open the door.  "I'm very busy and don't want to be disturbed, Sayoko.  Make it quick."

BA (GM):  "The spells you taught me so I could get even with Tenchi-sama for cheating on me didn't work!  I need some more!"  She has tears running down her face.  "He stopped them somehow!"

Brian (Nabiki):  Hmm, I'm not sure what Nanami would do here...I'm going to go for full Shapeshift Persona, so I can give an appropriately Nanami-like response.  She knows Nanami too well for me to fool her easily.

BA (GM):  That's dangerous you know; you could lose yourself in Nanami's psyche, and it doesn't actually give you all of her knowledge, which is part of what you need here.  And you're still pretty tired.

Brian (Nabiki):  I've gotten a psychic imprint from Nanami in the past, and this should be over quickly.  Also, I'm first ranked in Psyche, so I don't think she can overwhelm me.  I do it.

BA (GM):  You concentrate while she babbles, and soon you feel yourself drinking from Nanami's bitter well.  You slap Sayoko.  "That's because you didn't plan out your attack like I told you.  You just rushed off to blow him up, I just KNOW it."  She begins to cry more.  "Go and work out a careful plan, THEN come back and report to me," you say.  "And don't ever mention THIS visit to me again.  Do you understand?"  She nods.  "Yes, Nanami-sama.  I'll do that."  Then she runs off.  With a struggle, you manage to throw off Nanami's persona and return to your own, reverting to your own body.  You're now getting exhausted.

Brian (Nabiki):  I haven't done all that much shapeshifting.

BA (GM):  Half your body was a third degree burn, which you had to heal.  That wore you out.

Brian (Nabiki):  I use a spell to copy the diary into a conjured blank book, then go.

BA (GM):  Okay, you do that, then leave.  What's next?

Brian (Nabiki):  I go back to my room and read it and get some rest.

[Nabiki's Zero Stuff can be seen at work here; if she had Bad Stuff, Nanami would likely have returned while she was in the room.  With Good Stuff, the trap might not have gone off instantly, giving her time to dispel it.]

Dangers of Shape Shift--Persona

Nabiki needs to sucker Ryouga into going on a dangerous mission for her.

Brian (Nabiki):  I'll take on Queen Anthy's form and have her send him on the quest.  Given he got Queen Anthy's favorite, he should be able to do her a few favors as well.

BA (GM):  It also means he knows her well enough that it'll be hard for you to avoid making mistakes that would arouse his suspicions.

Brian (Nabiki):  I'll shapeshift her persona as well, then.

BA (GM):  Keep in mind there's some danger of losing yourself in a stronger personality.

Brian (Nabiki):  Her pet mouse bosses her around.  You're just trying to scare me away from a good plan.  {Brian is now engaging in one of the top five Amber Ways to Get Stomped--ignoring GM warnings.}

BA (GM):  Okay, you sit in front of the mirror and concentrate, letting the image of Queen Anthy fill your mind, gradually reshaping your features and persona to match hers.  As you change, you start to realize how cramped and dark it is in your chambers with the windows sealed and all those traps just keep away visitors.

Brian (Nabiki):  I ignore the stray thoughts and finish.

BA (GM):  As you finish changing, you think about all the ways you could lighten up this room, and how what you're wearing really isn't appropriate for a widow.  Then your vision starts to blur, and everything more than a foot away from you gets hard to see.

Brian (Nabiki):  Eh?

BA (GM):  Anthy wears glasses for a reason, you know.

Brian (Nabiki):  I conjure some glasses.

BA (GM):  After you finish?

Brian (Nabiki):  Yeah, better finish this first.

BA (GM):  The changes come to completion, and you rise, conjuring some glasses.  It's time for you to go warn Ryouga about how Nabiki plans to impersonate you in order to send him off as a pawn on a quest.

Brian (Nabiki):  That is NOT my plan!

BA (GM):  But it's Anthy's plan, and unfortunately, her psyche, over double yours in points,  has overwhelmed yours, as it is much, much stronger.  You're now stuck along for the ride in your own head until the next time she sleeps.

Brian (Nabiki):  But she's a total wuss!

BA (GM):  Amberites have been known to feign weakness to throw their enemies off guard.

Brian (Nabiki):  ...

Using Sorcery

Sorcerors' Duel

Nanami has discovered Nabiki's intrusion into her chambers and challenged Nabiki (Brian) to a sorceror's duel.  Both parties have had time to carefully prepare 12 spells with which to try to overwhelm the other. The duel is held in the courtyard of the castle with many of their siblings watching.

BA (GM):  {scribbles on paper}  Okay, I've picked her first spell.

Brian (Nabiki):  Fireballs coming on line, BA.

BA (GM):  If you use the Exploding Hellfire spell, you'll fry your other relatives and probably end up lynched, whether or not you win this fight.

Brian (Nabiki):  Not the Challenging level version.  Didn't have time to rack anything that big.  This is just Average.

BA (GM):  Oh, okay.  You begin to speak the lynchpins which will release the spell.  Meanwhile, Nanami uses her one syllable Power Word, 'Light Strobe' in your face.  You are blinded briefly, which will make aiming the fireball difficult.  [Nanami's Warfare, used here for aiming, tramples Nabiki's seventh ranked Warfare into the dust.  Power Words are faster than even Petty spells, let alone Average ones.  Though it only takes seconds to release an average spell, it only takes about a second to use a Power Word.  However, the Power Word is powered by Nanami's endurance, unlike a racked spell]

Brian (Nabiki):  Have to finish it anyway; it'll be wasted if I don't use it.  I do my best to aim using hearing.

BA (GM):  What you're hearing is Nanami speaking lynchpins.

Brian (Nabiki):  Works for me.

BA (GM):  The ball of flame erupts from your fingertips, but blinded, you can't aim very well, and with her superior Warfare, Nanami easily dodges the fire, which shoots right into the audience.  A one legged dwarf is immolated, as he fails to get out of the way in time, and collapses, screaming curses at you.  You have a few seconds before Nanami's spell finishes; your vision is starting to return.  [With Nabiki's endurance being higher than Amber rank, she recovers quickly from things like blinding flashes of light.  Her shapeshifting also comes in useful here]

Brian (Nabiki):  I need some space.  Should have done this first.  Casting my first Wall of Force spell.

BA (GM):  Stop using those generic Hackmaster names!  These spells should have colorful titles like 'Nabiiki's Everpuissant Shield'.

Brian (Nabiki):  Right.  I use Nabiki's Unbreakable Barrier, placing it between me and Nanami.

BA (GM):  You begin the spell, only to be nailed by a lightning bolt.  Electricity courses through your flesh, disrupting your speaking of the lynchpins and wrecking the spell.  [With Nanami's superior Warfare, she can easily hit Nabiki, especially when Nabiki is half-blinded] You fall to your knees, wracked with pain.

Brian (Nabiki):Using an unracked petty magic spell, since I can cast that in a few seconds.  It's a blinding flash of light spell, called 'Gordo's Pixie Lights'.

BA (GM):  [laughs]  Right.  You catch Nanami right as she begins speaking the lynchpins to another racked spell.  [Nanami has superior Warfare, but has no good way to dodge a flash of light]  Your vision has mostly returned.  She continues speaking her lynchpins.

Brian (Nabiki):  I cast my second Nabiki's Unbreakable Barrier.

BA (GM):  Soon, each of you has a shimmering field of light between you and your opponent.  Looks like she had the same idea.  She looks still dazzled, but is quickly recovering.  [Nanami's endurance is also above Amber]  What do you do?

Brian (Nabiki):  Elminster's Worshipful Aura.  Mind-effecting spell that will compel her to worship me as a goddess.  I bet that barrier of hers doesn't stop non-physical spells.  [Nabiki has used her High Conjuration plus Sorcery to create a spell which performs a High Compelling effect]

BA (GM):  Nanami begins casting another spell, only to find herself locked in psychic battle with you as you attempt to bore into her brain.  Her mind is strong, but yours is stronger, and she falls to her knees, her fists clenched, as she tries desperately to resist.  You sense that your victory is only a matter of time.  Do you press for the 'kill' now, or take your time so you don't exhaust yourself?

Brian (Nabiki):  Did I wreck her spell?

BA (GM):  Yes, she had to give up on it, or she would have left her defenses too weak to stop you.

Brian (Nabiki):  I'll go the slower, but sure way, just in case she's trying something sneaky.

BA (GM):  As her outmost mental defenses collapse, her lips move and she speaks a Power Word.  Magic Negation.  Your spell collapses like a cardboard house that's been hit by a sledgehammer.  [Because Nabiki held back, and because Nanami has a lot of Endurance and Psyche backing up her Power Word, Nanami was able to negate the spell.  BA has ruled Nanami had to put a lot of exertion into it, though, because Nabiki had superior Psyche to hers]  She breathes heavily; you appear to have a brief opening while she gets her wits back.

Brian (Nabiki):  While she's down, I use 'Merlin's Turner Aside of Dweomers' to try to dispel her magical barrier.

BA (GM):  She stands and begins another spell.  Your spell slams into her defenses, dispelling them.  You guess you have a few seconds before she finishes releasing her spell.  [Nabiki's superior Psyche beats Nanami's, taking the barriers down]

Brian (Nabiki):  Free cast another Gordo's Pixie Lights.

BA (GM):  Your spells finish simultaneously.  Her spell of dispelling sweeps away your petty magic lights, and manages to batter down your protective field, since it isn't being actively maintained by your Psyche.

Brian (Nabiki):  I unleash...'Baker's Dozen of Berserk Brownies', which summons twelve berserk brownies with extra damage cake knives.  It's only a two point conjuration, so I'd say it's about as fast as a minor spell.  It's another conjuration/sorcery combo spell.

BA (GM):  You finish your spell before Nanami finishes her next one, which she is forced to abort.  Twelve angry brownies charge at her, knives held high.  She takes three nasty leg wounds as she draws her sword and shouts 'Magic Negation', pointing at your bracers.  Your spell rack bracers evaporate, and she sags again.  She takes another stab wound, then starts slicing and dicing brownies.

Brian (Nabiki):  WHAT???

BA (GM):  They're conjured, and she just dispelled them.  It's worn her out some more, but she's got a lot of Endurance.  Still, you're pretty sure she can't do that too many more times.  Oh, and since your brownies have human rank warfare, she's massacring them.

Brian (Nabiki):  While she's busy, I unload with Edison's Elegant Electrocution.  Lightning bolt to Nanami, who's holding that nice metal lightning rod right now...

BA (GM):  Didn't you hear?  She dispelled your bracers.  Your racked spells evaporate.

Brian (Nabiki):  Good point.  Well, if she can use her sword, I can use my wand of lightning bolts.  Ker-zap!

BA (GM):  You draw and fire, hitting Nanami thanks to the long metal sword she's holding, which acts as a lightning rod, and thanks to the distraction caused by the brownies.  Nanami screams and collapses, slaying the last two brownies with a final stroke as she falls.

Brian (Nabiki):  Any surviving brownies?

BA (GM):  A single unconscious one.

Brian (Nabiki):  He must be the toughest.  I'll keep him as an assistant.  Then I bow to the crowds.

BA (GM):  The one-legged dwarf you immolated before now opens fire on you with a crossbow.  Due to his highly injured state, he misses, but you have the feeling he'll eventually focus through the pain and hit you.  "No one messes with Knuckles the Mighty!" he croaks out.

Bob (Ranma):  What's Knuckles doing in Amber?  How'd he get off Garweeze World?

BA (GM):  He's making a cameo.

Bob (Ranma):  Waste her with your crossbow, Knuckles!

Brian (Nabiki):  Another Gordo's Pixie Lights in the dwarf's face, then I call on the judge of the duel to intervene.

BA (GM):  You get it off without a hitch, then Usagi steps in and declares you the winner.  The guards suppress the dwarf and haul him off to the dungeons. Nanami's goon squad carry her off to patch her up.

Brian (Nabiki):  I head back to my chambers to conjure more bracers and rack a fresh set of spells.

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Last Update January 14, 2000