Intro Family F.A.Q. Rules Letter Games

In the Shadow of Greatness
concept and graphics by Arref Mak
Welcome Shadow traveler.

This is information needed to participate in the experimental Broken Pattern game "In the Shadow of Greatness". Thanks for stopping by. If you have comments or questions, please eTrump me.

Game Starting Point

The Story so far:

Nine Princesses in Umbra

A woman awakens in a hospital in upstate New York with vague memories of a car crash, but no memory of who she is. Somehow miraculously healed, she finds that the records list her as being "Carla Corey", but upon encountering her "alleged relatives", they all refer to her as 'Corvidae' and associate her with a far-off place known only as Umbra. Thus begins Corvie's search for her identity, followed by her war for the Throne of Umbra.

Guns of Amazonia

Corvie travels deep into the shadows to find a land similar to one she knew in her youth in order to locate weapons that will tilt the odds in favor of her planned assault on the Realm of Umbra. Along the way she discovers that she mistakenly gave power to certain forces that are bent on the destruction of the One True Realm of Night.

Sign of the Night Raven

Following a key battle, Corvie finds herself to be the Regent of the forces of Umbra-- fighting to keep the Eternal Realm from falling to the forces of the Host in the absence of the lost Queen Odessa. With the blood of two sisters now believed to be on her hands, her regency is an unsteady one. Princess Break is Trump-rescued from imprisonment by the Family. Corvie ascends to the Silver City of Th'gin and brings back a blackened silver arm for Beneficent. In the end, Corvie discovers elements of the true reason for the Realm of Umbra's woes.

Hand of Odessa

Corvie finds herself pitted against her brilliant younger sister in an effort to prevent Princess Break from gaining control of the Blade of Night, needed to remake the Universe in her own image. Break gains the Night Blade, but later loses it to Beneficent in a battle in the Silver City. Along the way, Corvie comes to realize that she's become an agent to a higher power, though not necessarily divine.

Courts of the Host

Queen Odessa returns from Shadow imprisonment. Corvie's Regency ends. Corvie races from one end of reality to the other, as the One True Realm tries one last, desperate attempt to stop the Courts of the Host from destroying the Realm of Umbra forever.

The Game begins at Caer Umbra months after the end of the Host War for the Night Blade. Events of the first five Roger Zelazny books are reported as history by Princess Corvidae with some "odd differences". Corvie arrived at the Courts of the Host in time to help stop Princess Break from using the Night Blade to remake the Universe. Queen Odessa died in repairing the Blade. The Night Raven has returned the Blade and chosen Rakshasa as Queen of Umbra.

Meanwhile as our game starts, Maleficent is the young daughter of Corvie by the Host Lord Darmon. Riot is the younger daughter of Break by the Sorceror Jurgen. Reef is the young son of Ambassador Kintak of Beggar from the Moonlight Circle of Shadows. Out in Shadow, Saint Dally, the High Prelate of Ainozama, plans to destroy the Blade of Night and commands a vast fighting force of holy warriors. Her father, Dealt, was terribly wronged by Queen Odessa (according to her doctrine).

Experiment with Zelazny's Amber 'canon'

This game is a black mirror of the 'canon' characters of Roger Zelazny's "Chronicles of Amber". Major NPC's are matriarchal reflections of Zelazny's characters. The atmosphere of Umbra is a shadowy storm of night banes and haunts.

I'd like the stories of this weave to carry a greater threat from Outside than from internal Family matters. The Family is smaller because of the War. Eerie, Beneficent, Carnage, Break, and Daedalus are all gone. I'm thinking your Characters are dark heroes who manage to find common spirit in spite of their burdens. A Family that Amber might learn something from. I'm thinking of a kind of dark humor not unlike the Addams Family.

Characters should be of the Realm of Umbra and will be assigned parents from that immortal family. You should account for your actions in the Host War with a back-story. You may "suggest" preferred parents for your Character. The Family is hard-pressed on a number of fronts and tends to be "closer" and more dependant because of recent events, though still contentious. There are many Elders already dead, including Princess Beneficent, the greatest Marshal the Realm of Umbra has ever had. Characters will build for 50 points with the Night Blade initiation free. Initiation to the Night Blade is worth 25 points and gives the power to Cut through Shadow. The other Powers available without GM input are Fae Rites (3 to 30 pts) and Lesser Trump (20 pts).

Story - Day One

Day One and morning at Caer Umbra. Queen Rakshasa has called the Family home to discuss important matters. It appears that the Host prepares itself to fault the Treaty signed at the Battle of Break's Fall.

Campaign Setting

Other References

Those not familiar with my GMing style and other campaigns might review Amber Stats at a minimum to get a feel for character design. Review "Faster than a speeding . . ." to see how I like to resolve conflict/combat. Checking out other links below will provide flavor to other campaigns I've run and powers as I've handled them, especially the "Shadow and Substance" section of Empire of the Gleaming Banner.


I must thank Jeremy "Bolthy" Zimmerman for his succinct summaries (link broken) of Zelazny's first five books in the series. Apologies to all writers, both living and dead for the "mirror twist" of these stories at my hand and the pun implied in the title of the campaign.