Pattern Initiate Abilities
This information is known in-character by those with the basic Pattern initiation "Pattern Walker" (PAT-WA) gift, and is provided here for everyone's OOC reference.
Those who have walked the Pattern have the following abilities.
- Shadow travel. The initiate can travel through shadow, lead armies through shadow, and seek whatever he desires in shadow. He can travel to the far edge of shadow, far beyond where any other non-Pattern shadow-walking power can take a person. If he goes too far, to where the shadows run wild, he can bring the image of the Pattern to mind and maintain enough control to return to safety. By itself, though, Pattern initiation is not sufficient to overcome the Black Road. See Shadow-Walking for additional details on what's possible.
- Probability manipulation. The initiate can alter simple probabilities in shadow (such as whether or not someone answers a door). Within the Golden Circle, such outcomes need to be reasonably likely, though the further out one goes into shadow the more potent this becomes. This ability does not work within Amber.
- Mastery over shadow. The initiate can alter specific elements of shadow, when beyond Amber and the Golden Circle. This allows small tweaks and adjustments in shadow — to subtract out pursuers, to clean up a room, and the like. This allows, on a personal scale, relatively godlike abilities on the part of Pattern initiates. However, such efforts take time, energy, movement, and the ability to perceive the changes being made.
- Shadowfind. The initiate can go into shadow to obtain mundane resources, such as troops and wealth. (This explicitly excludes items with special or magical properties, magical abilities, etc.; brought local to Amber and the Golden Circle, they don't function usefully. Exceptions may be granted by GMs on a case-by-case basis, but such exceptions will generally only be for color/story effect, and function for the duration of a single scene.) He may write tokens with up to 6 Focus representing shadowfound resources. These tokens are valid at a story scale, and can also be consumed for a bonus in scenes of resource scope (such as on the battlefield).
- Lay shadowpath. With the investment of a lengthy amount of time (measuring in the months, years, or even decades), the character can lay down a shadowpath between two shadows. Such paths deteriorate quickly, though. There are ways to lay down more permanent shadowpaths, but the secret of this seems to have been lost.
For the purposes of "do Pattern abilities work", Rebma and Tir are equivalent to Amber proper.
Pattern abilities beyond this are their own separate gifts; if it's not explicitly stated that you can do it, you can't.
Access to the Pattern
We want players to have access to the props of the genre. Consequently, we've put the following policy in place for the Amber Pattern: It is always possible to walk the Pattern without obtaining the OOC or IC permission of anyone, and without notifying anyone OOCly or ICly. While the area may be periodically patrolled, there is no standing guard. If you (the person accessing the Pattern) want to have been noticed, or stopped by, the guard, you are free to do so. If this is not your wish, then your walk is unobserved and unobstructed.
There is similarly open access to Tir-na Nog'th. However, be forewarned that Tir is dangerous, and those unfamiliar with the place will not be able to find the Pattern there. Lore handles this appropriately, and access to the Pattern in Tir is code-mediated.
Clearly, some logic applies to these situations. If you're storming the palace or the steps of Tir with a legion of guards, you're going to be noticed and stopped. In general, big groups, flashy shows, or other big "hey, notice me!" signals are going to get attention. However, if you're a person or three, you can stay unobtrusive if you try.
We recognize that some players may feel that they have a strong need to guard or otherwise block access to the Pattern and/or Tir. Should you feel absolutely compelled to insist upon doing this IC, please do a +submit gm with an explanation, and the GMs can arrange for something suitably awful to happen to you and/or your guard NPCs, so you will have more than sufficient excuse to not try to repeat the situation IC.
Rebma's Pattern may be guarded. From both a gameplay perspective, and the particular conditions and circumstances of this particular Pattern, it is not subject to the issues that prevent guards on Amber's Pattern.
Walking the Pattern
Corwin's walk of the Pattern takes place in Rebma, but to walk it in Amber or Tir is similar, save for the lack of water. The Pattern in Amber is the reverse image of the one in Rebma.
Random took my arm and said, "It's an ordeal, but it's not impossible or we wouldn't be here. Take it very slowly and don't let yourself he distracted. Don't be alarmed by the shower of sparks that will arise with each step. They can't hurt you. You'll feel a mild current passing through you the whole time, and after a while you'll start feeling high. But keep concentrating, and don't forget — keep walking! Don't stop, whatever you do, and don't stray from the path, or it'll probably kill you."
Then we stood at the place where the Pattern began, near to the corner of the room. I moved forward and regarded the line of inlaid fires that started near to the spot where I had placed my right foot. The Pattern constituted the only illumination within the room. The waters were chill about me.
I strode forward, setting my left foot upon the path. It was outlined by blue-white sparks. Then I set my right foot upon it, and I felt the current Random had mentioned. I took another step. There was a crackle and I felt my hair beginning to rise. I took another step.
Then the thing began to curve, abruptly, back upon itself. I took ten more paces, and a certain resistance seemed to arise. It was as if a black barrier had grown up before me, of some substance which pushed back upon me with each effort that I made to pass forward. I fought it. It was the First Veil, I suddenly knew. To get beyond it would be an achievement, a good sign, showing that I was indeed part of the Pattern. Each raising and lowering of my foot suddenly required a terrible effort, and sparks shot forth from my hair. I concentrated on the fiery line. I walked it breathing beavily. Suddenly the pressure was eased. The Veil had parted before me, as abruptly as it had occurred. I had passed beyond it
Corwin continues to walk.
I was well into the Pattern now, and the sparks flashed continually about my feet, reaching to the height of my knees. I no longer knew which direction I faced, or where Random and Deirdre and Moire stood. The currents swept through me and it seemed my eyeballs were vibrating. Then came a pins-and-needle feeling in my cheeks and a coldness on the back of my neck. I clenched my teeth to keep them from chattering.
I took six more rapid steps, reaching the end of an arc and coming to the beginning place of a straight line. I set my foot upon it, and with each step that I took, another barrier began to rise against me. It was the Second Veil. There was a right-angle turn, then another, then another. Another curve began, and it was as though I were walking in glue as I moved slowly along it. One, two, three, four… I raised my fiery boots and let them down again. My head throbbed and my heart felt as though it were fibrillating to pieces. Amber! The going was suddenly easy once more, as I remembered Amber.
Ten paces, then a swirling filigree of fire confronted me, I essayed it, my sweat vanishing into the waters as fast as it sprang forth. It was tricky, so devilish tricky, and it seemed that the waters of the room suddenly moved in great currents which threatened to sweep me from the Pattern. I struggled on, resisting them. Instinctively, I knew that to leave the Pattern before I'd completed it would mean my death. I dared not raise my eyes from the places of light that lay before me, to see how far I had come, how far I had yet to go.
I emerged from the filigree and marched along the Grand Curve. The forces that shape the universe fell upon me and beat me into their image. I walked three more curves, a straight line, and a series of sharp arcs, and I held within me once again a consciousness of the things which I had never really lost: mine was the power over Shadows.
Ten arcs which left me dizzy, another short arc, a straight line, and the Final Veil. It was agony to move. Everything tried to beat me aside. The waters were cold, then boiling. It seemed that they constantly pushed against me. I struggled, putting one foot before the other. The sparks reached as high as my waist at this point, then my breast, my shoulders. They were into my eyes. They were all about me. I could barely see the Pattern itself. Then a short arc, ending in blackness. One, two… And to take the last step was like trying to push through a concrete wall.
I did it. Then I turned slowly and looked back over the course I had come. I would not permit myself the luxury of sagging to my knees.
To walk the Pattern is an exhausting, dangerous ordeal, and never to be undertaken lightly.
The Center of the Pattern
I knew the power of the Pattern now. Going back along it would be no trick at all. But why bother?
I lacked my deck of cards, but the power of the Pattern could serve me just as well…
I closed my eyes and bowed my head. I opened my eyes and I stood in the middle of the same Pattern, in reverse. I was cold, and I was damn tired, but I was in Amber — in the real room, of which the one I had departed was but an image. From the Pattern, I could transfer myself to any point I wished within Amber.
Note that Corwin does that not say that he can transfer himself anywhere. He says he can transfer himself to anywhere within Amber.
In our setting, from the center of a Pattern, you can:
- Transfer yourself to one of the other Patterns.
- Transfer yourself to anywhere you know of in Amber, Rebma, or Tir, from the center of the respective Pattern.
- Transfer yourself to certain places of power, that you know about. (It will be explicit in one of your Lores.)
The Pattern cannot take you to individual people. Efforts made in this direction may have bad results; if you're really pushing it, talk to a staff member.
Walking the Pattern, as well as Pattern teleportation from the center, is directly supported by code. Check +lhelp in the Pattern Chamber or the Center of the Pattern.