Aha!

Do Rebmans have cats?

Well, you had to poke and prod.  Consider that you brought this on yourselves.
soft

softs

 

As you land dwellers do not call your familiars and domestics ‘air dog’ or ‘air cow’, please do not refer to the Softs of Rebma as ‘aqua cats’.
Generally, the cats of Amber are deficient of voices and do not sing. They have territorial manners similar to Softs, but a cat’s claws can always be found on its paws and Amber cats do not walk in and out of mirrors.
In Amber, misunderstandings with cats are said to lead to bad luck or scratches. Indeed, in the shadows there are reflected some serious supernatural powers associated with Amber cats, including in some parts that women need not marry a husband, or might fly a broom if a cat is so inclined.
In Rebma, speaking to a Soft often precludes any misunderstandings. Befriending a Soft, can lead to a life-long drinking companion and you may be invited to sing-a-longs, for which Softs gather on almost a weekly basis. Whales often swim in to add their voices to the Soft Choir, especially those holiday times of year. Softs do not fly, but they are excellent swimmers, of course. Softs do not marry, and honestly why should they? Brooms are stupid and no Soft would tolerate one in the house.
While you can never find a Soft’s claws, they are extremely potent, and capable of rending all metal, except for gold and silver. A Soft in a fury may actually manifest hidden claws larger than the entire size of the Soft. There is no truth to the folklore that Softs can become invisible or wield magic (though again, in the shadows the rules are very different) but Softs are known to read futures, and drag the occasional dead guisel home from a mirror adventure.
Best information on Softs, including the care and friendship of, can be found in consultation with the Navigator Guild of Rebma, which history informs, was founded by the Soft Klepto, once beloved of Lir.

Broken Logrus is…. what?

You could take the hints of Logrus failures, imperfect Logrus, and various strangenesses of the Abyss and mash them together.LoGaS
Add tobasco sauce…  sorry, copying from Dworkin’s notes here.
We already know there is a pile of skulls outside the entry to the Logrus (I blame Zelazny) and so we can imagine that most forms of imperfect Logrus are even more lethal than Logrus itself. (Red wire? NO BLUE!) After all, even successful Logrus initiates deal with insanity for a long time afterwards.
So cross the streams a bit, look at Umbra from the Lords of Gossamer and Shadows… a power that is guaranteed to make you insane, reveal the flaws in everthing, rewrite you if you receive a near fatal injury, and lose control of your shapeshifting.  That sounds like screwed up Logrus to me.
And also, it is so weak that while it looks powerful to all those shadowfolks, it can be dismissed by Logrus or Pattern.
And it cannot even bring you a pizza.
Of course, if you can find a pizza shop, Broken Logrus Masters never have to PAY for pizza.

as befitting a Prince of Amber…

Sergeant Oddball: “These engines are the fastest in any tanks in the European Theater of Operations, forwards or backwards. You see, man, we like to feel we can get out of trouble, quicker than we got into it.” ‘Kelly’s Heroes’
If you were a Prince/Princess of Amber walking the worlds… the above casual comment from Sgt. Oddball is a worthy bit of experience. It is my guiding principle is answering questions from experienced family members for those younger or more impatient.
The first threshold of immortal experience might be, “why do I care?”
The second threshold might be, “how likely am I to be treated ill-fitting a scion of Amber?”
For the large range of shadow walking adventure, your own innate doubt and caution will influence your shadow travel in a safe fashion. The Rule of Three applies. But there is always the arrogance of “I know what I am doing” or the impatient of “I want it now”.
The best rule of thumb for all this is, “ask for what you know” …much like a strange restaurant in a new town.
If you’ve never had pickled Cthulhu…why you don’t know what you are missing. But Fiona does.
oh, btw, comments on the front page are broken again. Not to worry…you can comment on any individual entry just by clicking through to it.

Rank the elders! Warfare

Rank the elders! Warfare
Leaving out the dead folks…. because that would get into a long story about who trained Benedict and the scions of Oberon that everyone has forgotten.
Oberon (no one’s trickier)
Benedict (undisputed)
–gap
Eric (holds Amber against external enemies as well as Corwin AND Bleys, fighting as well as Corwin)
Corwin (even better one on one, this style being developed for a couple Earth centuries, as Eric finds out, dirty tricks specialist)
Dierdre (better with social warfare than all the men above, even Oberon)
Bleys (Master of Armies)
Julian (Master of Constructs, monster fighting specialist)
–gap
Caine (Fleet Commander, unconventional warfare specialist)
Florimel (political warfare specialist)
Gerard (Fleet Commander, political warfare specialist)
Llewella (exotic environ warfare specialist)
–gap
Random (demonstrates enough endurance, strength, and magical talent in the canon that he can’t be really tough on warfare)
So we go from several thousand years of a King in Amber who is total Warfare savvy to a King in Amber who is least among his sibs in Warfare.
Across the range of shadow civilizations, we watch the King is a Badass become, the President is the Face of State.

the Great Book of Amber, re-read, immortal dating and pickup lines

wandering thoughts…all started in this series here

… the older a misogynist gets, the more difficult it is for him to tell a 30 year old from a 15 year old female.
–me being flip in comments of blog above

Set aside for a moment, that Oberon, King of Amber, is so old that any wife he takes is lucky if she is a tenth his age. (It is easy in canon text to believe Oberon is ten thousand years old. If he marries a 100 year old woman from some slow maturing race, he’s considerably robbing the cradle. Of course, she should have some clue as to what she is getting into…. right?)
In our fantasy stories, what do we make of mature immortals who fall in love with other people much younger?
Whether we say that twenty-one years is mature, or thirty, or even fifteen years…none of those ‘ages of maturity’ compares to some vampire, demi-god, or amberite who has walked the worlds for five centuries. But we get this often in our contemporary fantasy.
OK, so we know that thirty year olds are seldom attracted to ninety year olds in Real Life. But we also know that the physical form of our fictional immortals is not usually subject to time and often not a clue to the young protagonist that they are getting involved with a person who has forgotten more about life than the younger has been exposed to.
Is that right? Is it very very wrong?
Why do we read that stuff? Why do they write it? Is it only: ‘celebrity picked me in all the world’ love? Or is it the tragic side of relationship: ‘we want this but it cannot work and that conflict will drag across at least three books’.
What the hell is the immortal really thinking? Let’s apply the minimum amount of ‘real life’ experience to the issue: relationships separated by decades stumble and fall on the baggage of self growth and common understanding.
Don’t they?
Or is it really just a horrible manipulation on a dozen different levels?
Or is it a one-year stand?
Or does it only look like a relationship because we readers are not immortal. It is really only casual sex?
Hard to find 900 year old lady friends?
Why is it often an immortal guy and a fresh young twenty-something?
Just about any story in Greek myth regarding seduction is straight out creepy and tragic.
Why does Angel feel attracted to Buffy? She’s in high school. That’s totally….odd.
Why does Corwin fall for Dara? He believes her to be 17 (or so).
Edward and Bella?
Is it just the trend in young romance fiction? Er, no. Don’t think so.
Y’know, when women do this in fiction, they are often clearly painted as monsters.
Once Bitten (1985) or The Hunger (1983)
So, in your Amber rpg gaming, have the PCs ever raised the issue? In the Amber fanfic ranks, is Benedict romancing a warrior queen from shadow considered normal stuff? Because canon text explains Benedict is oldest on-screen sib and that 1500 Amber years extended through shadow adventures easily makes Benedict some 4500 years old.
* * *
IMC, this issue has come up from several levels and directions.
Time sliding around as loose as it does, Amber royals just mostly seem to ignore the age of the person they are sleeping with. One might say, they neglect the consequences as much as they neglect impacts of entering and leaving shadow lives at various points in the canon.
And not to get into second series deeply, but the consequence of bumping a life off-track and then just walking out results in the Julia Barnes plot.
I haven’t got a conclusion on this one.
I don’t have my fingers around it yet. Perhaps because the entire thing seems tilted at a crazy angle that you just accept if you immerse in the concept of Amber.
By all means, comment.

Kim: pacing, balance and additive play

Not everybody is hooked into LiveJournal, but Mr. Kim always has interesting links and comments. Recently:

jhkimrpg: Additive vs. Negational, and Blocking
Additive Play
So I discussed some about what additive play is in the Additive/Negational post. So, additive play is play where there is no negative input. If someone suggests something, that thing is accepted as truth. Everyone else accepts that and goes on to add other things to the fiction.
Taken broadly, this applies even to questions. For example, if in an improv scene, I were to ask you “Are you on your way to the Chesterfield meat market?” — then the non-blocking thing to do is to say “Yes.” By saying no, you would be shooting down my idea. By asking that question, I introduced the element of the Chesterfield meat market — and additive play is based on the idea that each element should be used and built upon. In comic improv, you might respond with an elaboration like “Yes, I’m taking this ostrich there to be slaughtered.” This accepts the meat market, and adds the ostrich.
In Paul’s podcast, he expressed that one of the problems of blocking in improv was that it can turn into a status clash — where the actors are trying to put down or deny other actors’ input. I think that is true, but there is also plenty of room for status clash within additive play. Actors vie to dominate the scene by jumping in first to define more. By keeping a steady stream of output, a fast-talking improv actor can easily dominate others in the scene.
This rewards aggressiveness and speed of judgement in terms of the social discourse. This is a good thing in many ways. It means that you have fast pacing, and that you will likely get through any resolution quickly.

To those who have been in F2F Amber games, this may sound quite familiar or put words to something you have felt in play. Kim’s comments briefly touch on ‘Push/Pull’ (one of my favorite little gems from Mo, who is now here rather than there.)

(more…)