Shadows in the Lee of Empire

Session 4
Helping

Amara met with the Seneschal. She asked if she was needed to look into the attack on Caine, and told no. The Seneschal also asked her not to investigate the chemical composition of the ammunition used in the dirigible attacks, and the accelerant used in the dirigible yard fire.

Kate did her rounds of the patients in the infirmary. She was reminded by Amara of her conversation with Saif about moving Caine. She Trumped Saif, who then Trumped Tyber to ask if he was willing to participate. Tyber agreed, so Saif maintained a Trump connection with him. Kate brought Tyber to Caine’s room, telling the guards that she might need him to restrain Caine. They gathered some supplies from the room, and Tyber carried Caine and the supplies through to Saif in Cauldron. Kate stayed behind to gather more supplies and preserve the illusion that Caine was still present. [Strike 1!]

The guards noticed Tyber and Caine’s absence almost immediately. Kate was able to shift suspicion entirely to Tyber, and a highly secretive alert and search began.

Saif and Tyber moved Caine into Forge. Saif set time’s passage to be very fast in relation to Amber [Strike 2!], then stepped out into Cauldron to communicate with subordinates and Kate [Strike 3!]. While Tyber was alone with Caine, Caine entered cardiac arrest. Despite heroic efforts on Tyber’s part, Caine died. From Tyber’s perspective, it was some 11 hours before Saif returned.

Saif returned to Forge to find Caine dead, and his body slightly mauled by Tyber’s attempts at resuscitation. Panic and hysteria ensued. Kate was brought in at some point. Saif set time on Forge to be extremely slow relative to Amber, to preserve the body.

As they bandied about various (mostly ridiculous) responses and plans, Tyber had another conversation with his invisible cloaked friend, who suggested using the Jewel of Judgement to make a Pattern Ghost. The invisible friend had fairly detailed knowledge of the Jewel’s location, not to mention the inner workings of the Jewel and Pattern Ghosts.

Kate decided her best option was throwing herself on her mother’s mercy. She Trumped back to Amber, and confessed everything to Flora. Kate suggested blaming the Children of the New Year. Flora preferred blaming Saif. Kate then suggested blaming Kayleb. Flora still preferred Saif.

Saif and Tyber meanwhile took a Hellride to someplace out of the way. En route, Tyber was contacted by an unknown person (Caine’s agent Blue). At their destination, Saif mentioned his preferred option was to talk to the Children of the New Year, and see if they were involved in Project Harmony, and if not, take refuge with them. His plan to contact them was to attempt to repair a Way. Tyber was disinclined to contact the Children, Trumped back to Amber, and turned himself in.

Tyber confided Saif’s plan to Flora in his (quite polite) interrogation. Flora suggested that Tyber could also testify that Saif was responsible for several other incidents, including the dirigible yard fire, the attacks on the dirigibles, and the murder of the Pontifex. Tyber agreed to testify.

Saif picked a random Way to repair, and made a half-assed start on it. The masked fellow first encountered, the one with the Pattern blade, appeared. He introduced himself as Gentle April. Saif asked about the aims of the Children; April said their primary focus was curtailing Imperial aggression, especially Project Harmony. Discussion to establish trust followed, but the clincher was a sudden attack by Imperial forces on Saif. April used a different-Pattern power to transport Saif and himself away.

Kate sought comfort in food, but Flora was able to lure her back into court life before her dress size was seriously threatened.

Amara reached Telluria, and reported on her observation of Amber. The establishment there is generally dismissive of the “witch doctors” of Amber and their tiny even if cross-dimensional Empire. Amara asked about a civilian project to build Shadow-travelling troop transports, which was funded by multi-planetary financiers; officially the project was not illegal, though odd.

Gentle April took Saif to a country estate of a Lord Amarand, located on Argent, ruled by King Corwin. April also revealed himself to be Corwin.

A tribunal was convened in Amber to try Saif in absentia. Tyber testified, but declined to follow Flora’s script, testifying only as to events he witnessed. Flora was disappointed; Tyber returned to imprisonment.

Kate dithered about helping Tyber, but eventually managed to slip him a Trump sketch of Central Park on Earth. Tyber used the sketch, and hid out in the park.

Flora asked Kate about the possibility of Amara’s involvement in Tyber’s disappearance. Kate didn’t support the proposition, but did give Flora a Trump of Amara.

Flora Trumped Amara, and (rather delicately!) asked if she had been involved in Tyber’s disappearance or Caine’s disappearance. Given Amara’s entirely credible denial, nothing much came of it.

April and November visited Saif to discuss their common interests, and establish a basis of trust. Unfortunately, this took the form of allowing November (Fiona) to make mental contact and impose a simple restriction against discussing the Children. With that, Saif was welcomed into the Children under the name Reluctant March.

The details of Project Harmony were discussed. The Children understand it to be a plan to use the Jewel to restructure the nature of the Pattern’s interaction with Shadow, so that all Shadows would more accurately reflect Amber. In effect, this would cause existing Shadows to be erased, and impose conditions that would allow Amber to take over Shadows much more easily.

Kate gave Tyber a new set of Trumps, but other responsibilities (ie parties) prevented her from helping further.

Tyber Trumped Saif, and they discussed events in Amber (the trial) and shared interests with the Children. Tyber agreed to consider working with them.

Amara also Trumped Saif, and discussed making common cause with the Children. Fiona listened in, and agreed to consider it. Fiona admitted the Children had connections with Telluria already.

Amara was contacted by a Barren August, and they discussed more details of the Children. The Children are responsible for the project to build the Shadow-travelling troop transports. Various interests are represented in the group, with the primary shared goal being stopping Project Harmony. Some of the Children also want Random dethroned. Some want the Logrus restored. August gave Amara her Tellurian contact info, where she goes by Samantha Santone.

Corwin transported Saif and Tyber to Telluria, and left Saif with an Argent-based Trump of himself.

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Session 3
Typical Day In The Office For Caine

Kayleb passed along some details of his conversation with The Guisel, including the rhyme.

Amara shared some details about her home Shadow, Telluria, including their possession of a technological means to travel between Shadows, and that much of their technology functions across Shadow.

Dr. Kate received a message from the Cathedral inquiring if her investigation into the Pontifex’s death might have used sorcery, as their wards had been triggered. This prompted a visit to the Cathedral, where Pattern sight and Amara’s tricorder scan could not pick out any energy signature from the background. Kayleb’s painter’s eye determined that the scene had been composed by someone with a particular flair for the dramatic. Kate noticed some new scuffs in some dried blood, where someone had recently stood to perhaps view the crime scene. There did not seem to be any attempt to alter the evidence. The use of sorcery for concealment in the Cathedral seemed odd, given that detection of the sorcery would be expected; perhaps the sorcerer did not particularly fear the consequences of eventual discovery. There was a brief sense of a trace of Logrus, perhaps from the shapeshifter who had emerged from the Bishop’s body still following.

There was an alarming attack on the Castle, where a number of people with concealed weapons rushed from the public areas to Caine’s office. Many guards were killed, and Caine was badly wounded. The attackers appeared to be lower-class residents of the city, but acted with no regard for personal safety, and with singular focus on reaching the goal without appearing to coordinate after beginning the attack. Many of the attackers showed signs of poorly-maintained health.

Kate took charge of Caine’s surgery and treatment. He appeared likely to survive, but be incapacitated for a considerable time.

Kayleb scanned the mind of the sole surviving attacker, and found his mind to have been emptied, with some residual traces of a Trump-like effect.

An Inquisitor at the scene questioned Kayleb about why he involved Amara in the investigation of the attack.

Speculating on a connection with the attack, Saif, Amara, and Kayleb went to investigate the dock offices of Murdoch Craven, as Caine had requested. They observed an active private building with very ordinary workers, with little public-facing facilities.

At the end of the work day, Saif and Amara ventured inside, with Kayleb observing from the street. While Kayleb was concealed as a street person, a mysterious stranger approached him to point out some errors in the disguise. The stranger claimed to be a member of Caine’s network, Agent Blue. This agent was interested in a particular energy signature associated with the attack on Caine, the murder of the Pontifex, and Kayleb himself. Kayleb suggested that this energy was associated with Tir-na Nog’th and the Hall of Mirrors, and established a method for further communication.

Inside the office, Saif and Amara were stymied by a loyal and conscientious employee of Murdoch Craven. Amara was able to surprise and overcome the guard, allowing Saif to scan his mind, which revealed little of interest. The contents of the conference rooms and offices revealed some theoretical logistics plans, oddly devoid of details that would indicate their purpose. Documents outlined a plan for large-scale management of resource distribution, developed in an oddly compartmentalized way. Apart from the frustratingly obvious benefits of security, the compartmentalization of the plans could lend itself to implementation by a collection of agents who did not need to coordinate with each other, much like the attackers sent against Caine.

Kate joined in a further investigation of Craven’s public offices. With Kayleb again on watch, Kate opened the door to the building. Amara broke an interior door, making complete secrecy impossible. Some consideration was given to using arson to conceal the break-in, but this plan was discarded. In the offices, more strangely compartmentalized plans were found. In the largest office, a secret compartment contained a file labeled “Project Harmony” which confirmed that the various plans were aimed at replacing Empire-wide transport and logistics in the case of some unspecified interruption, particularly with shipping but still utilizing Ways and dirigibles. Saif took this file and a small selection of others.

Saif discussed these findings with Flora, who asked Amara to delete her images of the plans. Flora stated that these were an internal Imperial matter, and emphasized that they should be disregarded. In the morning, Kayleb and Kate were separately called in by Flora, asking them to ignore this “personal matter of Random’s.”

Saif subsequently brought Kate to Cauldron to discuss the possibility of moving Caine from the Castle infirmary to Forge, to speed his recovery.

Kayleb supplied Amara with a set of Trumps. They discussed Flora’s instructions, but also the oddity of the Empire outsourcing such a task.

Saif invited Amara to Cauldron as well, to seek her help in moving Caine. Amara was resistant, unwilling to risk Telluria by an act of apparent disloyalty.

Saif was unable to contact Kayleb by Trump.

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Session 2
Obligatory shitstorm on Earth

Amara investigated a dirigible crash site on Caradoc. She found evidence suggestive of some sort of artillery attack, originating somewhere within a 3mile by 3mile zone, which included a section of coastline.

Kate spoke with Flora about Amara, and Random’s interest in Telluria. Flora wasn’t able to shed any light on the Emperor’s interest in the Shadow, which is quite remote from the Empire, but did confirm his trust in the emissary. Kate also mentioned her dissatisfaction with Kayleb’s preoccupation with personal matters during the early stage of the dirigible yard disaster… the phrase “whoring while the dirigibles burn” was used.

Tyber, in the castle infirmary dealing with his wounds from the masked figure’s Pattern blade, encountered a mysterious cloaked figure. The figure seemed confused as to its own identity, or even objective existence separate from Tyber, but claimed to have attempted to help in the fight, and mentioned a secret passage to the firearms armory. Tyber confirmed the existence of the passage, and had a conversation with Flora about the visitation and passage. Flora advised caution, and suggested maybe speaking with Bleys.

Saif met with the Pendragon Onslow to discuss the damaged Ways, and evidence suggesting his involvement in the dirigible yard attack. Onlsow seemed genuinely ignorant of the attack, and could think of no unusual overtures made to him regarding the Empire.

The Seneschal passed on some details on disruptions to other Ways throughout the Empire. They are widespread, and do not immediately suggest a pattern of targeting specific provinces. Response has been somewhat casual, various family members contributing to repairs as available, particularly Bleys. The dirigible attacks have followed a similar (lack of) pattern.

Saif set out to repair a damaged Way in Cassia, one of the larger affected provinces. It had been conquered by Bleys, in IY35. While in the stables preparing to depart, several mysterious persons clad in trench coats and fedoras apprehended him. They spoke with an odd speech impediment, and attempted to abduct him. Trump access was blocked, and they used darts to attempt to subdue him (though they seemed willing to do more lasting harm as well). He was drugged and knocked out attempting to escape, but the abduction was prevented. The assailants vanished without being apprehended.

Amara analyzed the scene of the abduction attempt, and recorded the signature of the toxin on the darts, and the footprints of the abductors (who apparently wore manufactured dress shoes). There were no signs indicating how they arrived or departed. Several guards and a stable hand were found knocked out. There was no trace evident to Pattern-sight of what blocked Trump, or how the assailants escaped.

Amara received a request from an Archbishop Marcus (no relation?) of The Church of the Unicorn for a meeting. She elected to defer until after the trip to Cassia to repair the Way. First, an older dirigible attack site was examined, which showed evidence of similar artillery attack, indicating a launch area that included a river.

While Saif was repairing the Way, a rabbit-suited masked man confronted them. He was joined by a second figure, a small female in a purple and gold mask. She addressed him as “Brilliant May” and he addressed her as “November.” They claimed to represent the Children of the New Year. “November” shunted Amara away through some Pattern-based power, stranding her in a featureless white room-sized space that her technology assessed as being the boundaries of the universe. Tyber was trumped in to help. “May” employed levitation sorcery to neutralize Saif. “November” blocked subsequent use of Trump. With no way to counter “November’s” abilities, they agreed to abandon that Way. Moving on to another, they were eventually able to repair it.

Kayleb found himself facing difficulties using Trump powers, which seemed to be based in his own inhibitions. He attributed this to failing to meet the terms of his agreement to provide The Guisel with a lock of Flora’s hair. He consulted with Saif on the feasibility of using Trump gates to supplement damaged Ways, concluding that it would probably be prohibitive, given the personal power required to maintain gates. He also recalled something about 12 masks (details?)

Flora agreed that “November” was likely Fiona in disguise: small, arrogant female skilled in Pattern. Flora suggested that her assistants could be Fiona’s children, explaining their Pattern abilities. Flora also warned Kate about the cloaked figure possibly influencing Tyber.

Saif reported on the repair efforts to the Seneschal, Flora, and Caine. Caine had a personal request for him to investigate the waterfront offices of a merchant named Murdoch Craven. Saif’s sources indicate that Craven is known to be a supporter of the Empire, a noble landholder with mercantile interests on the side. He has no holdings in Caradoc particularly, and his waterfront office for his shipping interest is not his primary focus.

Amara had a meeting with the Archbishop Marcus, a scholarly older fellow. Marcus claimed to have an issue best examined by an outsider: a message from a Bishop Manchester in Caradoc, that something possibly treasonous was going on there, possibly military mobilization in the castle. Amara agreed to look into it.

Kayleb manipulated some servants to retrieve some of Flora’s hair from a hairbrush in her chamber. He confirmed that the hair had the type of connection to Flora required for the Trump-related magic he had been investigating. He offered the hair to the portrait from which The Guisel appeared to him, and the hair disappeared. He found that his self-interference in his Trump powers was relieved.

Kate had a dream of a stealthy assassin stalking through the Cathedral of Amber, and slaughtering Pontifex Alexander on the altar. After the murder, the assassin seemed to change behavior as if becoming a different person, removed their mask, revealing Flora. Awaking alarmed, Kate travelled to the Cathedral and learned that the Pontifex had in fact just been murdered in the manner she dreamed. The crime scene appeared to have been cleaned by someone knowledgeable in forensics. She was able to find some bits of black wool consistent with the assassin’s garb from her dream. There was a faint unusual scent in the bedroom. The church staff were shaken by the murder, especially the overtones of a dark rite, but reassured that Kate was taking the matter seriously.

Kate planned a trip to Shadow Earth to analyze the evidence. First she discussed the dream and murder with Flora, who was dismissive of the dream’s significance, and asked to be kept in the loop about the evidence.

Amara travelled to Caradoc to speak with Bishop Manchester, but was informed that the Bishop had died that night in his sleep. Her scan of the body indicated a toxin present which could have induced cardiac arrest. After bringing Kate (with Saif and Tyber) in to help investigate, they decided to take the body to Earth for further examination at Mass. General.

Kate commandeered an autopsy theater at the hospital, and sent samples off for analysis. The results, indicating non-(Earth)human origin, triggered some alarm. The tests did confirm the presence of a toxin that could trigger cardiac arrest.

Kayleb received some guidance (source? Missing from notes!) that he should go to Earth as well, eventually arriving at the same hospital at a highly coincidental juncture.

Kate’s autopsy was interrupted by an explosion at the hospital, which cut power in the operating theater. Persons claiming to be security attempted to apprehend those in the theater, but Kate determined they were impostors. Kayleb Trumped them (with the Bishop’s body) to the hospital entrance. Complications ensued with genuine security personnel. They escaped via Trump to the Tir-Na Nog’th stair.

A stream of matter emerged from the Bishop’s body, transforming into a fancy fellow in a mask, who emitted a faint trace of Logrus. Before the masked person could remonstrate, Tyber attacked him. The masked shapeshifter became insubstantial and fled.

[edited for spelling of Guisel]

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Session 1

Our story begins with a party, celebrating the Province of Cauldron’s centennial of joining the Empire. Present were various lesser luminaries of the Court, including Julian’s son Duke Balor. Balor kicked the evening off by questioning Amara as to why Telluria would want to join the Empire.

The desultory celebration was interrupted by a distant explosion, which appeared to be from the direction of the dirigible works. Tyber departed for the site immediately. Amara, Kate, and Saif followed shortly, at the request of the Emperor (via the seneschal).

The entire dirigible yard had been devastated by the explosion, and was a raging inferno. Tyber investigated the site quickly, and surmised that the cause was unlikely to be accident. He located a bunker that might have been used for shelter. Once the others arrived, they were able to help open the bunker, and discovered an unconscious occupant.

Kate coordinated rescue efforts for those who had survived on the outskirts, and Kayleb was brought in to make a Trump gate to Rebma, to extinguish the fire. Between that and what little the fire brigade could do, the blaze was contained.

Amara noticed an anomalous substance in the bunker, and also on the survivor’s hands. Kate was able to awaken the survivor, and superficial questioning revealed duplicity on his part. Very little interrogation was required to get him to reveal responsibility for the explosion, along with assertions of the inevitable triumph of Caradoc (a Province) and the Pendragon Onslow (its governor). The prisoner was handed over to the Inquisition.

After updating the seneschal, our protagonists were tasked with investigating the cause of the incident. They requested further information about ships known to be at the yards, personnel records, and other background.

In the evening, Kayleb experienced an odd visitation from someone called The Guisel, accompanied by animated paintings. There was a cryptic offer of knowledge in the form of a rhyme, and the offer of further insight for a price.

The Inquisition’s interrogation of the prisoner, Bael, showed him eager to volunteer information about the plot of Caradoc to militarize, and form alliances with other Shadows. He had clear memories of being instructed on these plans by the Pendragon Onslow himself. The anomalous substance detected at the site and on his hands was an explosive/accelerant used to trigger simultaneous explosions via varied fuse lengths. Kate enjoined Flora to treat the patient as humanely as possible.

The investigation moved to surviving personnel of the dirigible works, starting with the off-shift supervisor. Mr. Tanner was very nervous at the attention, and did not seem to be concealing guilt about the incident. Trump surveillance of Tanner supported his innocence but not his peace of mind.

Tanner mentioned a colleague who had been out sick, Humphries. He turned out to be genuinely ill, and ignorant of the sabotage. Trump surveillance of Humphries speaking to Tanner also supported their innocence.

Bael’s residence had already been searched by the Inquisition. It was formerly tidy, perhaps obsessively so, and revealed little apart from traces of the mysterious substance Amara had detected at the site.

The investigation moved to Caradoc, via a roundabout route which resulted in their carriage shadowshifting into a ballroom in the palace. A brief survey of the capitol and palace revealed no signs of military buildup. Ruffled feathers were soothed, and the Pendragon indicated that the Ways to Amber were being disrupted.

Saif and Tyber moved to a nearby closed Way to investigate that, while Kate and Amara returned to the Pendragon to further unruffle, and get more background.

While Saif attempted to repair the Way, a masked individual appeared, and began using Pattern very expertly to undo the repair. Tyber engaged the masked man, who also displayed considerable martial skill, and that his sword was infused with Pattern. The masked man escaped Tyber’s onslaught by Trump, and work was resumed on the Way.

The Pendragon Onslow discussed the current crisis with Kate, revealing that several Ways had closed recently, and that other Provinces were experiencing issues as well. Messages to the Empire had gone unanswered, and some dirigibles had been shot down.

Kayleb experimented with sympathetic magic, with several Inquisition prisoners as subjects.

[edited for spelling of Guisel]

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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