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:
- 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.
- 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.