IMC :: classifying shadows

Brannan.JP: Classifying Shadows
Most shadows have some level of technology and some level of cultural familiarity with magic. I’m pondering ways that Amberites might compare various worlds that they encounter.


Technology is “free magic” for characters who just decide to state their tech background in their character design. One fix for that is to require ultra-tech characters to pay for “Magic” which they do thru their tech toys, but that’s mighty unsatisfying to many people.


A bit of this, a dash of that.

How do you talk about the weather? Do you say that the winds are usually 5 to 10 mph?
Well, you probably say, “Not much wind—usually.”
This is the system IMC for classifying shadows. It is a coversational system with no hard rules. It starts with the premise that you talk about the unusual things, not the norms. You say, “Yep, a few times a year, we get some real ripping hurricanes that will peel the skin right off a house.”
That being said:
What is it close to? IMC, shadow positions are fluid and may be closer or further away from solid anchors like Amber. But they remain in immense regions unless tampered with, so you can say a shadow is ‘close to the Golden Circle’ or ‘not far past Ygg headed south’. Shadows south of Ygg show less Order and more Pattern resistance. Shadows north of Ygg show less Chaos and more Logrus resistance. Shadows closer to some ‘shadow anchors’ like the Keep of Four Worlds or the island of Darrheabarr show tendancy to be nodes of primal energy.
Primal energy nodes typically make the rules of shadow distort or bias to whatever the primal source is.
So position is the most important info to know about a shadow because it generally describes the large forces at work. Where is it in relation to something else of significance?
Then Control:
What is the dominant control of the shadow? Magic? Tech? Psyche? Something else? Or are controls not evident or not developed?
Typically, the use of Pattern or Logrus can override or destroy native shadow control, but not always. There are cases where a primal energy source has “broken through” to a shadow from Undershadow. Picture this like a volcano or whirlpool manifestation. In these places, refined controls tend to not work at all. Spells and tech may fail. Trump is likely weak or useless. The raw effect ‘jams’ the refined controls.
There are also places where a Pattern adept or Logrus Master has crafted a stable change in local control. These shadows may be stranger still than those listed above. They may be difficult to enter or find.
So control is the next important info to know about a shadow because it generally describes the expertise you need to interact with the local rules. What ability gives you an edge in this shadow?
Finally Identity:
What lives there? What belief holds? What myth? What vision? Is the identity fixed or flexible?
Amberites and Chaosi by nature tend to go to shadows that they can interact with. This is a baseline part of Identity. But this assumption is not the only range of Identity in infinite shadow. Alien worlds might recognize humanoids, or they might mistake them for food. Or gods.
In some shadows, humanoids are the lowest form of sentience. Your tales might never go there. In others, the mindset of the people might be so rigid, so fixed, that learning of the greater universe would destroy the entire culture. Not much fun to visit, either.
So identity is the third important ‘leg’ of info about a shadow because it generally describes the least controllable aspect of shadow: sentience. Who lives there and what do they hope for?



  1. Real technology should, I think, be free. That’s the kind that takes lots of time and thousands to millions of scientist and techie man-hours to invent and refine things, then the industrial background of an entire continent to put it into production. Real tech is also capable of mass production. I’d also expect that high tech doesn’t export to other shadows worth a damn. Random isn’t surprised when his Texorami pistol doesn’t work at Brand’s prison and it’s a fairly simple device.
    Pulp or comic book tech, with lone inventors and off the cuff results is something else entirely. Pretty much Conjuration with weird science FX.

  2. I think the ‘classic’ sort of tech I’m talking about is something that affects Real Things in the Plot.
    So a high-tech ‘knitter’ that can re-assemble flesh of damaged Amberites through an AI interface holding knowledge of a million templates of sentients is something extraordinary.
    If you know how to find one in shadow, or ‘tweak one’ to work on Amber / Chaos folks, you should probably expect to cough up some ‘magic’ points for expertise.

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