Azrael Rising

This game ran at Ambercon UK 2007. It is only here for nostalgic reasons.

It was two years ago…

In six days, they say, the world was created.
In three days it died.
One day for society to crumble.
Two days for TV, Radio and government to fall silent.
Three days for everyone you know to die.

And on the fourth morning the birds were singing but the roads were silent; their only occupants wrecked cars and decaying bodies. The cities vast charnel houses; their houses tombs…

Except for you. For you no coughing; no paralysing weakness; no delirium; no death. For you the infinitely harder course — to live on, and, perchance, to found a new age of Humanity.

The moving finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on; nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
— Omar Khayyam

The Story So Far

Six people met in dream at the crowning of King Arthur and set out to reclaim the Dragon Power before the forces against them succeeded in destroying all mankind. They collected the symbols of Kingship and were enthroned on Glastonbury Tor, commiting themselves to the defence of the Land and gaining the Dragon power in time to defend themselves against the forces of Amber. In the subsiquent parley they discovered that the name of mankind's nemesis was Florimel, although Prince Regent Eric may not have been as blameless as he tried to portray himself…

[Few shadow-dwellers can claim to have defeated an Amberite in battle, and you can be sure Prince Eric will not let Princess Flora forget that, or that she opened a second front while Pattern-fall threatened the realm.]

A year passed peacefully. A year of frantic activity making the Earth safe; disposing of six billion corpses, closing down nuclear reactors and securing resources against the ravages of nature. Finally you have a chance to investigate the dragon paths that lead out of Earth shadow to other universes, and you found they went nowhere.

There was a Door to which I found no Key;
There was a Veil past which I could not see;
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed — and then no more of Thee and Me.
— Ibid

Your few exploratory steps led to a hundred other worlds, but nowhere did you find any sign of Prince Eric, or the forces he fights. Finally you located a single tortuous path, that led through seven worlds, and in following it you repaired the Dragon Paths throughout Shadow. Finally you met with Oberon, the true King of Amber, who again entreated you not to press your complaint at this time.

Before Time

An ancient tale from the Courts of Chaos.

Before the Outcast engraved the pattern, before the Logrus slithered out of the Abyss, still there were shadows without end. But these shadows were unlike those we know today. They were fleeting and gossamer things, easily created, easily destroyed. Out of these shadows rose the first of the shadow-walkers. They rose in ones and twos throughout all the myriad worlds. They met and conversed. From their meeting arose the first nobility within the universe, and in their nobility they wrought a base of power. Eight potent shadows were linked one with the other in a vast rosette of power. On this foundation all of shadow hung, so that the shadows stabilised and had more strength and longevity. And so it was for many long ages.

When the Abyss retched forth the serpent, a new power was born in the Universe. A new nobility arose along with it. The two nobilities warred, and the younger out-fought the decadent elder. Many shadows were wiped from existence. The rosette was broken and its secrets lost; the elder lords no longer danced through shadow. Now shadow founded itself on a new base centred around the Abyss and the Serpent. And so it has been for many long ages, until the coming of the Outcast.

And so now the Rosette is restored, and once more the Dragon Paths thread their way through all of Shadow. The Crane Dancers have returned to Shadow to reclaim their birthright. But Shadow is a very different place from how it was when the Rosette was maimed. A new power has arisen, and your old enemies war with your new. The Rosette stands between them, breaking the Black Road and marring the Pattern. Still finding your feet, can you afford a war on two fronts?

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose, as where some buried Caeser bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears,
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch — for whom?

Alas! that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
Remould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?
— Ibid

Finally now you can go wherever you want, do whatever you want. But with both Amber and Chaos aware of your existence and the pivotal role you hold in their war, are you going to be allowed to? And if you come to terms with one side or the other, can you trust them to keep their word? Or is there a third choice?

So… Where are you, and what are you doing?

New Characters

The worlds of the Rosette are as follows:

  • Alcyone — Medieaval tech and tall ships.
  • Asterope — The void, unpeopled realm of thought.
  • Celaeno — The Wild-Wood of Celtic myth.
  • Electra — A storm lashed primeaval wilderness.
  • Maia — The Greece of ancient legend.
  • Merope — A desert world as in 1,001 Nights.
  • Taygete — Modern tech. Everyone is in military service.
  • Gaia — Earth

Any character from one of these worlds will be able to acquire Dragon power. Although you wont be from Earth itself, Earth had many shadows. The massacre on Earth shadow has been reflected elsewhere among the several shadows that Earth casts. As mankind was extinguished from each, the shadows have merged with Earth, adding to its power and supplying a handful of refugees. They arrive in ones and twos, sole survivors of their particular catastrophy. That event can be similar to what happened on Earth prime or totally different, generally the further shadows will differ more in that way and others. The only fact that remains unchanged is that mankind was wiped out — very quickly. Your shadow has merged with Earth prime unless you buy it with points. It costs 2 points, plus any access barriers etc. You don't get control of shadow — that comes with Dragon power. Just to be clear, there was no massacre on the other worlds of the Rosette, only Earth.

This year I will be allowing Chaos and Amber characters with the right sort of character concept. You may have been drawn to the Rosette out of curiosity or out of a need for a safe hiding place. For whatever reason, your sympathies lie with Earth.

It is barely possible to have a character from elsewhere in shadow. You would have had to be brought in to Taygete by Geronek of House Hendrake, or to Earth by Flora of Amber. You can walk between the worlds of the Rosette, once you have been shown the path, but not as easily as those with Dragon power.

Dragon Power

You can see dragon paths. Actually there is no visual component, but the feel of the path is sort of overlayed on vision. It extends beyond vision -– depending on Psyche, but is difficult to interpret without the visual component.

Some dragon paths lead off-shadow, and there is enough of a hint of their direction that even low psyches can use them for travelling shadow.

You have an attachment to the Earth. The Earth talks to you and tells you things, helps you out. Not as words, but deep into your mind. If you need a hiding place you just know that there is a hidden cave a short distance that way.

The Crane Dance

The Dragon Paths are fractal. Twelve inches beyond your left foot there is a Dragon Path that will transport you ten feet. Ten feet behind you is a path that will take you a hundred feet. A hundred feet to the right there is a path leading a thousand feet, and so on. So to move any distance only requires a succession of small steps, but in randomly varying directions. When performed by an expert, the result is an elegant and beautiful dance through space and shadow known as the Crane Dance.

The Crane Dance was remembered in the mythology of every major civilisation on Earth. For example: this one is from Korean TV (and a little slow to get started.), this one is from Africa


These artifacts are part of the legend of Earth. You cannot buy them, but you can use them.

  • The Sword — Anyone wounded by the sword dies, if it is wielded in battle.
  • The Grail — Drinking from the grail gives further but temporary effects: You can talk back to the earth and it will respond. Plants will ensnare soldiers, the dragons will arise, crevasses will open under soldier's feet.
  • The Throne — Seated on the Throne, which is the Stone of Scone set on Glastonbury Tor, you can see vast distances. High Psyches can even see into other shadows. It is not movable.

Matters Arising

This is an Amber game, set somewhere early within the books' sequence, although I've obviously changed things somewhat.

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