Conquest of the Golden Circle
A Throne War hosted by Franklin W. Cain | )
Synopsis   |   Introduction   |   Templates   |   Post-Auction
Attributes - "Stuff" - "Home Shadow"   |   Powers - Prohibited - Permitted
Corwin's Gunpowder   |   Constructs


Shadow-folk characters carve their own personal empires out of the Golden Circle during the turmoil immediately following the end of the PatternFall War.

Here are the "rules", in brief:


Oberon is dead!

Oberon, the mighty tyrant of Amber, has fallen! After repulsing the invading hordes of Chaos, the counter-attacking forces of Amber have become trapped at the far ends of the Universe. Only Gerard -- the faithful defender of Amber -- stands in the Eternal City, serving as Regent.

Oberon, the domineering force that united the Golden Circle, is no more! Now, the Kings and Potentates of the member nations of the Golden Circle are free! Free to pursue their own agendas, and not those of Amber's! Free to wreak long-delayed vengence on their enemies. And free to carve their own empires out of the rotting carcass of the Golden Circle.

Oberon, wielder of the mystic powers of the Grand Pattern of Amber, forger of the pathways through Shadow permitting travel, trade, and conquest between the realms of Reality, is gone! But his "shadow-paths" remain! These roads of conquest are open to all! But, during your quest for glory, be ever vigilant that these pathways not be unguarded, lest some petty conqueror disrupt your own plans by invading your homeland.

Oh. . . .

By the way. . . .

Did I mention that Oberon is dead?

A Brief Recap of Recent Events

Several years ago, Oberon disappeared.

A few years thereafter, the long-absent Corwin returned to Amber, in the company of Bleys (and a million or so troops) in an attempt to seize Amber from the soon-to-be-crowned Eric. Bleys fell off a cliff, and the invading forces were destroyed. Corwin was captured, blinded, and imprisoned, but he eventually escaped.

Weird things started attacking Amber, and a strange black road appeared, stretching from Mount Kolvir outward through Shadow.

Corwin returned to Amber, leading another army, this one much smaller than the last, and armed with strange weapons. Corwin and his army arrived just in time to save Amber from another attacking army, this other comprised of the strange things that had been attacking Amber and the Golden Circle for the past several years. During this conflict, Eric died.

Shortly thereafter, Oberon reappeared and commanded the forces of Amber to march out into Shadow, to attack the alien realm from which the strange invaders had emerged. Only Gerard, in command of Corwin's troops, was to remain in Amber.

Then came word that Oberon had died during some mystic ceremony, and a Shadow-Storm appeared out of nowhere, apparently destroying the entire Universe beyond Amber and the Golden Circle.

So, in brief, Oberon's dead, Gerard's in Amber with some alien troops armed with strange weapons, the armies of Amber, along with all the other Princes and Princesses of Amber, that would ordinarily be keeping the peace in the Golden Circle are gone and apparently dead.

Do I really need to say anything more? . . .

Attributes and Psuedo-Attributes

In addition to the four standard Attributes (Psyche, Strength, Endurance, and Warfare), I will be auctioning off two additional "pseudo Attributes": "Stuff" and "Home Shadow".

Standard Attributes

These Attributes start at "Human" Rank. Thus, a value of "15 points" is equivalent to "Chaos" Rank, and a value of "25 points" is the same as "Amber" Rank.

For convenience, during the auction, all bids will be made using the absolute value (i.e., the actual, total number of points), and not the relative value. Thus, a bid of "Chaos plus five" will be called "20 points" during the auction.

After the auction, "rungs" will be inserted into the resulting Rank Structure for the values "15 points" (Chaos Rank) and "25 points" (Amber Rank), for each of the four standard Attributes, whether or not there are any actual final bids at these values. Furthermore, anyone secretly "buying up" to one of these ranks will be at the "half rank" position (e.g., "Rank 4.5" instead of "4th Rank"), just as with secretly buying up to any other Rank.


A value of "no bid" for this pseudo-Attribute will be treated, at best, as "No Stuff", and will probably be treated as "Bad Stuff", depending on the actual bidding by the other players.


If the players are unanimous in their opposition to the treating of "Stuff" as a pseudo-Attribute, I will treat "Stuff" in the usual manner, and limit it to a maximum of ten [10] points, in either direction. But, bear in mind, ten points of "Bad Stuff" is more than enough for the "Et tu, Brute?" scenario.

"Home Shadow"

This is a relative measure of the value or worth of your character's home Shadow. It can be used to determine the size and strength of any armies you can muster from there, it can be used to determine the scope and value of any natural resources or other economic trade factors, and so on. Of course, in the case of armies, a character's Warfare will determine the maximum size of the army he can effectively command in the field (the rest of the Shadow's armies are assumed to be reserved for the Shadow's defense).

Anyone with "no bid" for this pseudo-Attribute is considered to not have a Shadow under their own control. On the other hand, players may have more than one Shadow, but only by using one (and only one) of the two options listed below (exception: see Templates below).

Option #1 (default):

In addition to tracking your current bid, the GM will also track your most recent previous bid. At the end of the auction, the GM will build the resulting Rank Structure using these two bids -- "current" and "most recent previous" -- from each of the players. Thus, there will be, at most, two "ranks" per player.

You may, at your option, buy one (but only one) additional Shadow at this lower Rank for the associated cost. This does not have to be done publicly. This is not an instance of "secretly buying up"; this extra Rank is automatically available to you, and is available only to you (you are not required to buy it, however).

If you really wanted to, you could in fact out-bid yourself. For example, if the current high bid is "20 points", there's nothing at all wrong with you bidding "21, then 22 points". (Of course, the other players might get annoyed, but don't let a little thing like that stop you... :-)

Option #2:

You may, starting with your Initial Bid for this pseudo-Attribute, declare a multiple number of bids of your "base" bid amount (for example, you could declare "four bids of 20 points each"), provided that all such bids are the same individual value, and that the number of such bids is no greater than your previous number of bids.

Thus, if you start with an Initial Bid of "four bids at 20 points each", you could not later declare five (or more) bids of any value. (You could always reduce the number, though, but you cannot then later increase the number back.)

However, be advised that you are obligated for the whole amount (i.e., the total number of points). For instance, in the above example of declaring "four bids at 20 points each", your obligation is 80 points (4×20). If you want to decrease the number of bids (to free up some points), you must submit a new bid, and, of course, the "base" amount for this new bid must be higher than the current high bid.


Let's say that your current bid is "four bids at 20 points each". and the current high bid for Home Shadow is 39 points. If you submit a new bid, the base amount must be at least 40 points (because the new base amount, 40, must be higher than the current high bid, 39, that it's replacing).

Thus, assuming you want to decrease the total number of points that you're obligated to spend, you must bid "only one bid of 40 points". (Of course, since you're freeing up points anyway by doing this, you could actually set your one little bid at more than just 40 points...)

Character Templates

If you want your character to rule one of the Golden Circle Shadows mentioned in Zelazny's stories, I have prepared some templates for the rulers of these Shadows. You must use the template that I've provided for the Shadow, if you want that specific Shadow.

You may also choose one of these templates if you're uncertain of how you'd like to build your character and would like a few hints. Each of the templates has a few Pre-Requisites which you will be required to do. Usually, these will be minimum bids for two or three Attributes, and may list one or two required Powers. In the case of the Merlin Shadows, there are also some Special Options that may allow you to control more than one of these Shadows.

Here are the Shadows for which I have provided templates:


Prohibited Powers

The following Powers are prohibited.

  • Pattern Imprint and Advanced Pattern Imprint
  • Logrus Mastery and Advanced Logrus Mastery
  • Advanced Trump Artistry
  • Advanced Shape Shifting
  • Adept of a Broken Pattern
    (i.e., Advanced Mastery of a Broken Pattern)

Permitted Powers

The following Powers are permitted, assuming that your character pays the associated cost, and meets the associated pre-requisites.

Trump Artistry

  • cost is 40 points
  • must have at least "Chaos"-Rank Psyche

Shape Shifting

  • cost is 30 points
  • must have at least "Chaos"-Rank Psyche and "Chaos"-Rank Endurance
  • the sum of Psyche, Strength, and Endurance must be at least 50 points

Power Words

  • cost is by-the-book
    (ten [10] points for the first five [5] Power Words;
    +1 point for every +1 Power Word beyond this)
  • no pre-reqs

Sorcery / Advanced Sorcery

  • cost is 15 points, or 25 points for Advanced
  • no pre-reqs
    (however, must have at least "Chaos"-Rank Endurance for marathon castings)

Conjuration / Advanced Conjuration

  • cost is 20 points, or 35 points for Advanced
  • no pre-reqs
    (however, must have at least "Chaos"-Rank Endurance for marathon castings)

Initiate of a Broken Pattern
(i.e., Mastery of a Broken Pattern)

  • cost is ten (10) points
  • must have at least "Chaos"-Rank Psyche and "Chaos"-Rank Endurance
  • the sum of Psyche, Endurance, and "Stuff" must be at least 50 points
    (Note: If using the Alternatitve for "Stuff", this can become a more expensive pre-req.)


In order to have a Construct, the following pre-requisistes must be met:

  1. Must have a Ranking in "Home Shadow"
  2. Must have Advanced Sorcery
  3. Must have Advanced Conjuration
  4. Must purchase a Manifestation (as per Shadow Knight)

Corwin's Gunpowder

I'd like to thank Jennifer Jerlstrom (, who posted a suggestion to the Amber email mailing list ( that this item be included in someone's Throne War scenario. . . . Thanks!  ;-)

This part of the auction is winner take all. Either you have it, or you don't. (And if you don't, then may the Unicorn have mercy upon you. . . . )

Of course, it would be a real shame if you couldn't make proper use of this secret by not having access to an industrialized society out in Shadow (way beyond the reach of the Golden Circle). If your character does have some Power permitting this (let's talk about that), then you can say that your character has planned ahead and stockpiled a small arsenal (for "contingencies").

However, you can forget about having "...enough assault rifles for for a battalion, with ammo for six months of heavy operations... and grenades... lots of 'em." (I'm generous, but not quite that generous. ;-)


After the auction, I'll need a name and description for your character and for any Shadow(s) your character has. Please do not use any names that Zelazny used; I'm reserving those Shadows for myself (and for various NPCs).

Also, each Shadow must have a "strategic objective" that can be reached by sea. Usually, this will be the capital of your kingdom, but if you come up with something more interesting, I'll let you choose that instead.

All of these Shadows can reach each other by sea. (Gerard and Caine spent centuries weaving these shadow-paths with the oceans of Amber.) You may decide whether or not your Shadow has an overland shadow-path connecting with Arden. Note that all such Shadows with land routes to Arden can reach each other via these same land-based shadow-paths.

"Home Shadow" Questionnaire

  1. What is the name of:

    1. Your Home Shadow?
    2. The capital city of your Home Shadow?
    3. The other major cities (if any) in your Home Shadow?

  2. What is the "strategic objective" of your Home Shadow?

  3. How would your Home Shadow most likely be described?
    (Please include geography / topography, climate, major exports, etc.)

  4. Does your Home Shadow permit the use of:

    1. Magic?
    2. Normal gunpowder?
    3. Industrial-era technology?
      (This usually requires either steam engines and/or internal combustion, and will therefore usually allow "normal" gunpowder as well.)

  5. To which of the two sea routes does your Home Shadow have a shadow-path?

    1. The Northern Sea Routes?
    2. The Southern Sea Routes?
    3. (Both?)

  6. Does your Home Shadow have an overland shadow-path to Arden?