IMC :: Ghostwheel

Young Merlin was something of an idiot savant IMC. His artificial son, Ghostwheel, is even more so. Like most artificial constructs, Ghostwheel has an easy time of coming up with answers, but a difficult time with solutions.
One might say Ghostwheel has a feeble Social Attribute and stop there, but there are few clues to Ghost’s limits in canon. Those limits are essential to running a canon campaign that includes PC actions that might call Merlin’s son into play.
First Series Purists get off easy on this one.
A recent IRE involved engineering disasters, and I chose to speculate about needing to evacuate Rebma.
Could Ghostwheel take an immense task like this and render it less dramatic?

No. Not in my campaign.
Ghostwheel is limited by his perceptions. Perceptions gifted—rather installed—by his creator, Merlin. In Zelazny’s text we see Ghostwheel baffled by a mathematical shadow his percpetions cannot interpolate. He is trapped there until contacted by Merlin.
While it is possible for Ghost to some day have perceptions better than Merlin it isn’t likely. Two reasons:

  1. That is the way all constructs work, based on the creative, and more importantly, perceptive limits of their builders. If the builder didn’t realize Trump existed, the construct isn’t likely to become a Trump Artist.
  2. Zelazny’s theme of Amber involves tremendous power limited by human grasp of events. Wherever possible, this theme is maintained or enhanced IMC.

So why can’t Ghostwheel evacuate Rebma? Can’t he become a ring of light that just settles over the city and vanishes everyone in it? No. He can’t. One significant element of Trump is visual connection. Can Ghost see everyone in Rebma? No.
IMC, Ghost cannot be any size he wishes, either. He can control his own presence field as long as he can ‘feel’ it, which means he ‘stretches’ his size to fit things he needs to move. Merlin did not build in infinite size to the field. Ghost would have to find some additional powers to even temporarily enhance his ability to stretch size.
And a city is a very big stretch.
Ghost could aid in holding a Trump Gate open for the Very Long Time that would involve getting 70,000 scared folks out of the city. Ghost could even make it seem effortless by comparison to things other Trump Artists might do. Ghost’s endurance is quite deep.
If some Elders or PCs were willing to act as batteries for Ghost, he might even be able to create a very large Gate of himself that would cut the time to evacuate down by a lot. Of course, most royal folks would not ‘connect’ themselves to Ghost willingly—even to save thousands.
Here is the real kicker IMC for calling Ghostwheel in to solve problems. Only Merlin has the card—and for many years now—Ghostwheel hasn’t been answering. Ghost has moved into the young adult years of his personal development and he doesn’t think being called by Dad for interruptions of his own life is fun and games.
After a hundred years, Merlin has gotten the message. Finally.
So now maybe Ghost and Merlin can work out some sort of ‘normal’ routine of contact, but that will never be: at Dad’s beck and call.
And hence the PCs do not have Ghostwheel to solve their problems for them.



  1. While there are a number of second-series artifacts you could find in HOC if you dug deeply enough, Ghostwheel is not and will not be one of them.

  2. there’s a huge box of worms that comes in bringing Ghostwheel into any campaign the first being is He (it?) a proto-power or a construct? Magical or scientific? Omniscient or limited? Most people decide to sidestep this by just removing Ghost from the picture, a not altogether undesirable result as Ghost can be extremely unbalalncing in the hands of unimaginitive or inexperienced GM’s. On the other hand if Ghost is eliminated (or never existed at all in some campaigns) then you still get the problem of two Patterns v. one Logrus…

  3. bah Michael you know that won’t do…anyone who looks can plainly see it’s right there…wait,no there…or perhaps over there…bloody thing won’t stay still 😉 but, seriously this isn’t the place to get into an extensive discussion about what is and isn’t “canon” even if you don’t incorporate [i]any[/i] of the later books you still have an imbalance possibly an even greater imbalance than there being no manifestation of chaos at all…

  4. Hey, you’re the one who put the kibosh on Ghostwheel. Without Ghostwheel, what’s the problem with Logrusless Chaos? The existence of a candle and darkness without does not necessarily require the existence of an uncandle producing darkons.
    OK, everyone have their parts? It’s time for a snooty first series singalong:

    Imagine there’s no Logrus,
    It’s easy if you try,
    No Suhuy to teach us,
    No filmies in sky,
    Imagine all the people
    living without ‘ways’…
    Imagine there’s no Ghostwheel,
    It isnt hard to do,
    Nothing to kill or die for,
    No sentient patterns, too,
    Imagine Amber’s people
    living life in peace…
    Imagine no undershadow,
    I wonder if you can,
    No need for Serpent Eyegems,
    A brotherhood of man,
    Imagine shadow people
    Sharing all the worlds…
    You may say I’m a dreamer,
    but I’m not the only one,
    I hope some day you’ll join us,
    And the world will live as one.

  5. okay thats just too clever; it’s not going to turn me into a first series purist but it’s quite pithy…all I said was Ghost can be unbalancing/dangerous in the hands of an untalented GM…not that he’s not keen and full of interesting philosophical quandries and plot points (sort of like that other 2nd series super construct The Spikards)

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