‘Emergence’… exactly how do you walk out of the shadows?

From the Wujcik Forum at therpgsite.com

Originally Posted by Doughdee222
Here’s a subject I haven’t seen covered before but I’ve been wondering how a seasoned Amber GM handles it. For lack of a better term lets call it “emergence.”
Let’s say my character is in Amber and needs to ride to shadow Earth, specifically New York City. When he arrives at Earth do I just say he emerges in NYC, say Central Park?
How about a month later my guy is back in Amber and again needs to go to Earth to interrogate someone in Chicago. He takes the same route to Earth but then… what? I just say I emerge in Chicago at the foot of the Sears Tower?
What if after a quick search I learn the guy I’m looking for took a plane to Paris, France. Which would be faster: get a passport and ticket and fly to Paris or leave the shadow, wander around for an hour and return emerging in Paris? Going from Chicago to Paris in an hour (on horseback!) via other shadows just seems wrong and odd to me. What if the guy is still on the airplane, or even a yacht, on his way to France. It seems really odd to emerge on Earth on the plane or boat (particularly if I’m on a horse.)
If it was a direct Teleport spell or Advanced Pattern travel I wouldn’t have a problem with emergence. But shadow walking seems different to me.
What if the NPC I’m looking for is hiding in a castle surrounded by guards. The GM intends for me, or the group, to assault or sneak into the castle to get the guy. But one player gets the idea to go to a nearby shadow where the castle is abandoned, casually walk into the Grand Dining Hall, then shift/emerge into the target shadow’s castle’s dining hall. This sounds like cheating, somehow, to me. But theoretically it could work.
Have any of you GMs encountered these sorts of dilemmas?
(Then this gets into the whole question of what a shadow represents. It’s a whole planet really. Even after emerging on the desired shadow how does one know where to begin to search for the wanted person or item or place? I’m guessing a whole lotta fudging goes on. Else you’re going to get: “Yay, I’m on Earth, in New York City! Count Orlok is buried in a pyramid, now I just gotta find one. You, sir! Where’s the nearest pyramid?”)

Great question!
The books give some very good “flavor bits” for doing these sort of arrivals or ’emergence’ moments.
Zelazny shows Random using an airplane flight to try and lose trackers on his way to Corwin. Obviously then you can move in and out of a shadow in making a long speedy trip to visit a friend, especially if you know the destination well.
Also Zelazny comments about ‘sparkle’ and ‘ghost riders’ for some faster sequences of moving in and out of shadow.
Random also uses nearby shadows to get around ‘obstacles’ that he thinks Eric has put in his path to Amber. Sometimes this fails, because Random believes that Eric has managed the obstacle right into a “choke point” where it is easier to go through it than around it.
Your own flavor of shadow topography will become part of your own GM-ing chores.
If the PC has never been to shadow Earth NYC, then odds of finding it on the first go are slim. Possibly even difficult depending on if what you seek is Important or if the action is Opposed. You could search a thousand New Yorks before you found the defining element that needs you to be in NYC. Or, Family could already be near to there and you are drawn off course into a meeting with that Family member.
General rule of thumb: ’emergence’ is safe and natural.
Reason?: because skill with Pattern keeps the Amber PC safe unless they are actively doing something risky or desperate.
So you do not arrive in a flash of light in NYC while cops are searching the block for criminals. Instead, you arrive in a suit, carry a briefcase, with nothing to call attention to your arrival because that alley you walked out of was shadowed by buildings and a large dumpster.
In fact, you have a wallet in your jacket with plenty of papers that make your presence very very normal. ?Never been to NYC before? Well, that doesn’t matter. It is probable that you will not draw attention if you have some basic experience with Pattern.
What if you find the guy you’re looking for used to be in NYC, but went to Paris a couple years ago? Your information seems to be out of date. But wait…. you are doing well because you seem to have the right shadow!
Now it is up to the PC. Do they chance losing this guy again by walking back into shadow? Do they go with the sure thing and buy the plane trip to Paris? What if there are only steamships to Paris? Players might balk if the GM tells them it is a month to Paris.
But the month trip may not mean anything compared to losing the stalk by not being able to find the ‘right Paris’ if you move back into shadow.
Experienced PC’s can indeed use the ’empty castle in the next shadow’ gambit in my games. However, they have to be canny about it.
As your question shows, ’emergence’ can help you….or it can trip you up so you do not find what you want. Let the PCs define what degree of safety and what degree of overt pursuit they want as flavor. That gives you (the GM) a handle on the risk to express in results.


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