Where We Began: Something is Rotten in the State of Amber…
Chaos has attacked and been repelled by the guns of Avalon, but Amber's rule, claimed by Corwin, remains in contention. Dara has walked the Pattern and proclaimed that "Amber will be destroyed!" And though a Death Curse remains poised to strike, Eric has not delivered it; spending his life force, leaching it away into the Jewel of Judgment, he is a shattered man, bedridden and soon to die — a state's hero in repose. The reconciliation between Eric and Corwin, if it exists, is not a public affair — yet. Speculation abounds, and the Regency still technically remains in Eric's name, though Corwin carries out its duties as fits the popular consensus. It is rumored Eric seeks to name an Heir before he passes with his Curse on his lips — and at any rate it is certain that that heir is not yet his brother Corwin, for we would have heard of it by now.
And what of Amber herself — the city, the lands, and Arden beyond? In many places it is a smoking ruin, a warzone gone dormant. Civil unrest is common, and fear touches the eyes of those who walk the streets. War is not a clean thing, and Chaos was not repelled cleanly; agents within the city abound, cloaked and daggered, while fresh horrors worse than any of shadow now stalk the wilds. Julian's armor tarnishes further each day with a new ichor of some dire Chaotic beast.
But even with the uniting influence of a common foe, Amber's native politics remain heated as always. The fresh ravages of war have put strains on Amber's noble Houses like none other in recent memory; in some cases, Houses squabble viciously over the scraps of once-whole things. And with the Regency in quiet contention, the old balance of power — once respected by Eric (though some would say he played it like a fiddle) — is poised for an upset in the face of Corwin's brash, fresh, unconventional ideas.
We live in interesting times.
Where We've Been
Canonical references can be looked up on the Google book search for the Great Book of Amber (all 10 books in a single omnibus).
The closing lines of Roger Zelazny's The Guns of Avalon:
The laughter ceased. Dara's altered voice rang out. "Lord Corwin, are you liege of Amber now?"
From somewhere, I managed a reply. "For all practical purposes," I said.
"Good! Then behold your nemesis!"
"Who are you? What are you?"
"You will never know," she said. "It is just exactly too late now."
"I do not understand. What do you mean?"
"Amber," she said, "will be destroyed." And she vanished.
"What the hell," said Random then, "was that?"
I shook my head. "I do not know. I really do not know. And I feel that it is the most important thing in the world that we find out."
He gripped my arm. "Corwin," he said. "She — it — meant it. And it may be possible, you know."
I nodded. "I know."
"What are we going to do now?"
I resheathed Grayswandir and turned back toward the door. "Pick up the pieces," I said. "I have what I thought I always wanted within my grasp now, and I must secure it. And I cannot wait for what is to come. I must seek it out and stop it before it ever reaches Amber."
"Do you know where to seek it?" he asked.
We turned up the tunnel.
"I believe it lies at the other end of the black road," I said.
What's Happened Since
This is deliberately very brief, focusing solely on salient facts that a new player might need to know about how our setting differs from our jumping-off point from the novels.
- Eric, alive but comatose, was removed from the battlefield, and returned to his chambers. Heavily guarded by a variety of factions, he nonetheless was watched by Gerard day and night.
- Corwin laid claim to the Regency, in Oberon's name, in a meeting of his siblings and the Dukes of Amber that somehow turned into an event that drew not only the rest of the royal family but much of the nobility of Amber as well.
- Gerard arrived late to that meeting, and announced that, while he was away changing for the event, Eric disappeared from his quarters. A hunt ensued. Corwin found and fought Eric in shadow, but Eric had been transformed by the power of Order. It's not known whether Eric still lives.
- Corwin granted Letters of Patent, officially recognizing some of Oberon's grandchildren.
- Damage from the defense of Amber, versus the last deadly push of the forces of Chaos, has been cleaned up; the main pass between Arden and Garnath has been cleared of a landslide, and the bridge across the Oisen has been rebuilt.
- Corwin was crowned by general acclamation. Time passed.
- An opportunistic invasion by the ancient enemies of House Karm coincided with an aggressive Black Road push. In the ensuing mayhem, significant portions of Amber City (the Lower City) were damaged or destroyed, although much of the damage has since been repaired.
- Corwin left Amber, taking his gunmen with him, but leaving no clear instructions. In his absence first Brand then Julian became Regent.
- Julian was crowned King of Amber, and had several months of relatively stable rule.
- Julian went into shadow to try to hunt down Dara, leaving Llewella as regent. His absence was turbulent, and marked by the destruction of the Rebman Pattern, followed by a coup that eventually settled out with Benedict crowning himself as King.
- Benedict stepped down, making Bleys his Regent. Bleys declared himself a Regent for King Oberon.
- Random, with Caine's aid, staged a coup against Bleys and took over as King of Amber. Time passed. Random recognized some of Oberon's grandchildren.
- Random stepped down with no heir named. Caine mustered enough support to declare himself Regent for King Oberon.
What's Happening Now
As of December 14th, 2009, here's a sample of some of the global-level plot threads that are currently active. The information given here is deliberately extremely vague. If you haven't been told about it on-screen or in a gossip, you don't know about it IC. Much of what's given here is not staff plot — it's either player-generated, or an element introduced by the staff or GMs in response to a specific player request.
- The forces of the Black Road continue to assault Amber and its allies, although mysteriously, the power of the Road has been lessening of late, and much of the struggle in the Golden Circle is focused upon dealing with internal strife caused by those allied with the Road or who have used the turmoil to further their own agendas.
- Corwin has recently made his presence felt again. He has claimed to be building his own realm at the edge of shadow, and that he is discovering vital secrets of the universe from Dara. He has been gifting others with black, Chaos-tainted swords, and is himself marked by Chaos, but he claims that all he is doing is to the good of Amber.
- There has been a major earthquake in Rebma, caused by the destruction of the Rebma Pattern, which now lies dull and dead, a deep crack running from its edge to its center. A spiral of repercussions is resulting, which may be in part the culmination of Rebma's efforts to free itself of Amber's reflective influence.
- Benedict has recently become King, but not everyone is content to see him hold the throne. Moreover, it has been said that there have been past omens that having Benedict on the throne will lead in time to the destruction of Amber. There are continued arguments about the metaphysical importance of the King, or the lack thereof.
- The Great Houses of Amber all struggle with their Duties. Chantris deals with the escape of the Words that it is bound to guard. Feldane recently fought a Blight placed upon the city by a necromancer from Alhambra. Karm defends itself against the cracking of the ancient seals that lock away powerful enemies from the world. Mandrake seeks to restore that in its care which has become corrupted.
- The shadows of the Golden Circle have their own difficulties, from the rise of a Black Road sorceror in Pathi who is corrupting its mages, to an independence movement in Weirmonken, to the struggle to raise dead gods in Alhambra.
See the timeline for more information.