IMC :: innate shadow travel

Mr. Trimmer (inspired by Sol) asked a nice question over at the GoO Forum:

Originally Posted by Sol
And some of my best characters have had no innate means of Shadow travel….

How has that worked out for people? Thus far in my games half-assed Pattern (25 points) has been free so I haven’t had to deal with it as a GM. Does the GM end up having to bend over backwards to keep the shadow-lame from being stuck and bored?

The general answers that stay on topic discuss shadow sorcerors, Trump artists without Pattern, and face-offs with Pattern users.
Sol contributes some clear alternatives to Patternwalkers and why they work pretty well.
Setting aside how much the thread indicates that experienced Players/GMs have little common understanding for many facets of Amber canon, I’ll just poke around in my campaign vibe.

IMC, I don’t insist folks walk the Pattern. But if you don’t allocate points for it, I strongly encourage the Player to buy 5 points of ‘Blood of Amber’ as a placemark for a future walk. This means the PC really is of the family.
If you walk it without having ‘Blood of Amber’ as part of the storyline, you can expect it will kill your PC. Having the ‘Blood’ means the PC will survive and spend the next year of the campaign learning how to make 5 points of Pattern work anything like 50 points worth. That last is usually good for recurring drama and comedy. That’s not without merit.
I allow partial powers obviously.
Whether it is a Chaos trait or not, there is shadow travel in the canon without Logrus or Pattern. Random discusses a childhood game the royals played:

“So I let the rock grind to a halt, climbed down when it did, and continued on up the slope, hiking. As I went, I played the Shadow game we all learned as children. Pass some obstruction—a scrawny tree, a stand of stone—and have the sky be different from one side to the other. Gradually I restored familiar constellations. I knew that I would be climbing down a different mountain from the one I ascended.”

I take Random at his word. He isn’t talking about a game played in his early adult years. He isn’t implying that the Pattern is walked by nine-year olds.
Where in the Courts shadows may be so thin that you can force a step between them without using Logrus—somehow the royals of Amber can do this with average shadows, even as children.
Based on this, I draw a distinction in-game between those who take the Broken Pattern and an amberite, like DoBlique from my own Eternal City game, who has only walked the Broken design. In effect, ‘Blood of Amber’ gives you 5 points of talent with shadows before you invest in Pattern, Broken or otherwise. IOW, DoBlique can handle shadow better from day one than a mortal who has studied the Broken Pattern for months.



  1. In the SB Universe, Clarissa proves this adage, since with Blood of Amber she did manage to walk to Amber from shadow.
    ‘Course, it took her about a century of personal time to do it.

  2. I love the cheap blood of Amber, too.
    Beyond the Random game, there’s also Dara drawing the Pattern and claiming to have used it somewhat to shift, even without having walked it.
    Her testimony is considerably more suspect, of course, but when one is the GM, lies mean what one wants them to.

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