Amber Sorcery

by Martin Terman

NOTE: This is a repost of a series of essays which were posted to the Usenet newsgroup in September 1992. The original posts may be available from archives as parts I , II , III , IV , V , Appendix. There is also an introduction, and later comments. Martin Terman also posted a later system which ranks sorcery as a trait itself.
I. Shadow Magic
II. Pattern Powers
III. Shadow Magic
IV. Pattern vs. Logrus
V. Spell Creation
Appendix: Shadow Nature

Amber Sorcery: I. Shadow Magic

         I am working out a new system that captures the books a little better, as well as my own views on the system. There are some inconsistancies with regards to magic use and Amberites. Aside from the redhead trio, it looks fairly obvious that none of the rest of the princes and princesses have any magical abilities. However, Corwin does use magic at one point, and was reputed to be a sorceror when he was in charge of Avalon.

         To balance out these conflicting ideas, there are two breeds of magic. One is Shadow magic, that is, magic that is purely indigenous to that particular Shadow. This magic drawing on the magical energies of that Shadow, is fairly simple to work, especially for someone who is of a higher reality. Unfortunately the magic only works in that particular Shadow and Shadows close by to it. Then there is high sorcery, which works everywhere and is loosely affiliated with the flow of energies between the Logrus and the Pattern. Tapping into these powers at the base level can be done by anyone, but requires some connection to a primal source in order to be a full magician of the art, such as the Pattern, the Logrus or the Broken Pattern.

         In order for a particular effect to work across all Shadow, to the places of Amber and the Courts, a spell or artifact needs a power that works across all Shadow, which means either the Pattern or the Logrus to form the powering effect. In general, its easier to inscribe the Pattern on an object, as its a fixed inscription, than to create an effect that moves and twists on the object like the Logrus. A magic sword may function in Avalon, but it needs the Pattern like Greyswandir if its going to be potent everywhere beyond that of an ordinary sword.

         Corwin, I postulate, was a sorceror of the magic of Avalon. That explains why he used a spell to attempt to drive off a demon, but at no other time ever tried to use magic for anything no matter how trivial. He could use it there, because he was sufficiently close to his Shadow of Avalon for the magic to work. Elsewhere, he knew his magic wouldn't do anything, so he didn't bother using it at all.

         Why was he a sorceror there and not of Pattern magic? Well, Amberite magic is a lot harder than that of magic to a particular Shadow. Corwin threw that spell at a demon by just invoking words from memory, while Merlin when preparing his magic had to work out lynchpins, hang it in his Logrus vision, and worried about the spells going stale. Whenever powers involving the Pattern were invoked, there was generally a nasty drain of energy involved. Presumably Avalon's magic was easier to access. Not to mention the odds that Avalon's magic was less secretly guarded, or at least easier for Corwin to discover. One can intimidate a shadow wizard into giving lessons, but Dworkin or Oberon is another story.

         To this end, if a player has a Shadow that she/he spent points on, then that player can have the option of being a full fledged magician in that realm. After all, if it was a high-tech realm, there'd be no problem of the player using high technology in that realm. Of course, none of this magic will work outside the Shadow, unless you were nearby. (GM options if there are separated Shadows where this magic will work)

         There is evidence that high sorcery is a universal system of magic that works across Shadow, as Julia and Merlin, of the Broken Pattern and the Logrus traditions use the same spell to unstick statues of Sharu and Jasra respectively. Also the magic ritual used on Jurt is the same as the one used on Brand. However I postulate that each spell ultimately takes into effect one of the primal sources, or an echo thereof. Merlin recognized the spell, but it need not have been identical. In a battle its hard to tell.

         The problem with this magic system is that doing anything takes a lot of time and effort and you'd better either have the spell prepared in advance with lynchpins or be out of sword range for a good chunk of it. Out of swordreach a person with prepared spells can take out a swordsman. Within sword range, it works the other way around. Magical items and creatures don't quite have that problem, on the other hand, they have to be created by an expert, which is why there are so few of them.

Amber Sorcery: II. Pattern Powers

         What can a Pattern initiate do? Quite a bit, if the Amberite in question is prepared to pay a little (or a lot) of energy to accomplish the specific result. Walking through Shadow is the simplest uses of power. It takes minimal training to accomplish, and indeed is the simplest of Amber powers.

         The next simplest step is to use the Pattern to disrupt a Logrus based effect, such as Corwin cutting a path across the Black Road by holding the Pattern in his mind and pitting it against the Road. Essentially, that is all there is to the effect. One uses the Pattern as a focus for the mind and throws willpower against the effect until it goes. Its not easy for a well-entrenched effect, but it is possible.

         Going on, bending Shadows over time to ones will is also possible. Longer term the buildup, the stronger the effect can come. Special properties of the Shadow can be bent and exploited spectacularly, but that requires a full knowledge of the Shadow. Oberon bent Tig'n'roth into a time loop intersecting with Amber in this way, using the fact that fragment of Shadow was slightly adrift in time. But that also required exact knowledge of how to bend it, and he isn't around anymore to explain how he did it.

         After that, instruction is required as well as experimentation. Building Trumps is one of the simpler effects. One creates an image of the person or place that one wishes to reach and then inscribes the Pattern on the card in such a way as to connect the card to the target. Inscribing the Pattern is the trick, and while it isn't terribly hard once one has learned how to do it, manipulating Pattern forces is the key.

         An advanced effect of Pattern powers, that can only be learned with a lot of time and study, and requires a good background in Pattern sorcery, is advanced Pattern scrying and movement. These two are where one searches through Shadow while staying in one place, studying through the Pattern. Objects can be fetched to and from the target Shadow. Brand was reputed to have this power, and Oberon used it to send Corwin away at one point. Pattern Sorcery is a prerequisite for this particular power.

         Pattern Sorcery can be learned, but its not as easy as could be liked. As with Logrus magic portrayed in the books, its a long series of gestures and incantations which can be reduced to a few key words. The more key words, the less chance the spell has of accidentally going off on its own. The spell can be hung in the personal vision of the Pattern, to be recalled at a later date. Pattern spells go stale a lot less quickly than Logrus spells. On the other hand, they're a pain to create in the bargain. Additionally, as with the Logrus, one can use the Pattern symbol to see mystic forces around the person.

         Pattern magic is especially good at transportation and at scrying through Shadow, since these are effects that minimally disrupt Shadow and are simple rearrangements of what is. The latter is especially good, as the Pattern is in some ways the epitome of information and collecting information is very simple with it. All spells which are these two effects have minimal energy consumption for that very reason.

         Pattern spells to create objects usually don't operate off of creation. Instead the objects are summoned from Shadow. Since all objects that can be imagined exist in Shadow, and the spell would define such an object, the spell works as a Shadow walk in reverse. Pattern magic is good at summoning things. Destroying things is harder. Usually one summons a destructive effect and hopes it will obliterate the target. Sending someone to a destructive Shadow is also a good possibility.

         Pattern initiates grow in power over time. Being initiated with the Jewel of Judgement will speed the effect up, and allows greater refinement and control of powers. In general, players will rarely hit limits that only Jewel initiation will allow to happen, usually there'll be Dworkin or someone else around to do the effect. There is no Advanced Pattern Initiation, rather as time goes on, the difficulty of wielding Pattern effects, like Shadow walking, becomes easier. The effects also go faster if the same amount of work is invested.

Pattern Powers: (in order of purchase)

      Pattern Initiation
            Shadow Movement
            Chaos Effect Disruption
            Shadow Bending
      Create Trumps
      Pattern Sorcery
      Shadow Scrying, Advanced
      Shadow Movement, Advanced
Indented powers are simple enough that a few minutes instruction is sufficient to tell someone how to use the powers, and naturally derive from the Pattern power above it. Other abilities have to be purchased in the order they are listed, because each new ability rests on the former.

Amber Sorcery: III. Logrus Powers

         Logrus powers outside of magic aren't very well displayed. However they do exist. Logrus powers generally involve the destruction of something, the warping of an existing object, or the creation of something out of primal chaos, using the Logrus as the faucet. Control of the faucet, as well as what you do with the results, is the harder part. Logrus powers are dangerous, and losing control of the effects is quite possible unless you're careful.

         Sorcery in general is a lot safer, though not quite as convenient, which is why sorcerers abound at the Courts. Also, reality is loose enough to make sorcery possible without initiation into a primal force. Reality is tight enough at Amber that you need some sort of connection in order to make it work.

         Logrus powers divide into two segments. One is the summoning of chaos energies to either be unleashed as a destructive force, or molded and warped into some creature or object to be used for something. The other aspect is to take an object and distort it into something else.

         Distortion is the more common usage, generally because primal chaos is rather dangerous stuff. Shadows near the Courts can be altered without any need for Logrus initiation. Away from the Courts, you need to walk the Logrus, though as always, the closer the Shadow is to Amber, the harder it is to manipulate and there will be a fadeback result unless one is extremely close to the Courts. At the Courts, Shadow can be easily manipulated and turned into private dwellings and so forth. There are the technicians that Merlin mentioned who perform this function routinely, and aren't even Logrus initiates. But only a Logrus initiate can summon chaos to mold people and objects or to create or destroy.

         Warping objects and people is possible. Its sort of like Shapeshifting applied to other people, and it is fairly tricky, being a combination of one's own shapeshifting powers and the power of the Logrus. Difficulty is proportional to the resistance of the object, the similarity of the object or person to the target form, and the level of detail required. Resistance is encountered in certain objects, who will naturally recover given time from the effect.

         Anything associated however remotely with the Pattern has this effect. An Amberite would gradually restore over time, partially due to the regenerative powers, but also due to the Pattern image within the Amberite shaking off the chaos. If the Amberite actually formed the image of the Pattern mentally and poured power into it, it could get nigh impossible to make a change in the person. Objects like Greyswandir and Pattern Trumps have similar resistance and bend-back.

         Shadow manipulation/warping is used to allow people of chaos to travel through Shadow. The Black Road is a key example of how this may be done. The black threads that transported Merlin to the Courts are the most common example of how such travel is effected. The threads are ribbons of chaos material which bend and distort the Shadow, allowing travel between different Shadows. Such threads don't last terribly long, especially past the halfway mark between Amber and the Courts, but they aren't too hard to make. Only an expert, a master of the art can create a thread remotely, like laying down track. Most people have to create the threads as they travel through Shadow. Its a lot harder than Shadow walking, and requires more effort.

         Chaos bombs are simple to make. One summons primal chaos and lets it annihilate the area. It requires great effort of will to contain the destruction. Any initiate of the Logrus can also try to contain the destruction or aid to it. An Amberite can also try to contain the destruction by summoning the Pattern. The Pattern initiate actually has the easier time of it. Logrus masters can also try to throw bolts of chaos energy at things, but against an Amberite, this is can be of limited utility. Especially if the Amberite is braced with the Pattern, resistance is possible.

         Creating objects and creatures out of primal chaos is the hardest bit. Usually its just easier to find a demon of the appropriate type and bind it to service. On the other hand, good help is hard to find and occasionally specialized service is needed. Also, the more powerful the servant needed, its easier just to create something loyal to you. Creation is an imperfect art, one never gets exactly what one wants, and so even if the job is successful, the GM can alter details to make the creature more individual.

         All of these effects sound wonderful and great. There is a danger though. If the Logrus magician fails in controlling the chaos, then the chaos turns on the summoner. This could mean that the magician gets warped, or gets blown to pieces by the very chaos bomb they summon, or the creation turns on the creator. Unless you are walking the Pattern, failing in a Pattern power can result in exhaustion and slight injury (not to mention a massive migrane) but not in death. Sorcery is popular because despite the difficulty in setting it up, its less likely to blow up in your face. Considering how dangerous sorcery is when a spell is botched, this says something about the dangers of the Logrus.

         The order in which they are learned isn't terribly difficult. First comes sorcery, or it usually comes first, as its safer and the Logrus isn't needed. After sorcery comes Shadow alteration in the Courts. Since the fabric of reality is so thin there, Logrus initiation isn't needed. Anywhere outside the Courts and you need to walk the Logrus at some point. After the Logrus one can be taught to make chaos bombs, which are simple summoning of chaos without any attempt to control it. Constraining a Logrus bomb is what takes the training. Burning black threads through shadow comes at this point, then the use of primal chaos to create specified objects and things comes next, with alteration of objects, in some way the hardest of the lot, comes last. Progression after that is merely making more complicated effects of the basics.

         Shapeshifting is needed to walk the Logrus, there is no way around that. The thing alters enough that one needs to constantly change in form in order to make it through the thing. The Logrus is also sufficiently disruptive that it has the usual purification effects on the person traversing it, though the walker will also be totally unbalanced when finished walking it. Logrus walking is something done only a few times in one's career, unlike the Pattern.

Logrus Powers:

      Shape Shifting 
      [Logrus] Sorcery[1] 
      Shadow Alteration[2] 
      Logrus Initiation 
            Summon Chaos 
            Create Threads 
      Create Trumps[3] 
      Create Objects/Demons 
      Warp Objects/People
Indented powers are powers that are simple enough to learn that they come automatically with the non-indented power above.
[1] Sorcery isn't required for any of the following powers, but many advanced applications of various Logrus powers require sorcery for full exploitation. Not everyone at the Courts learns sorcery, but its fairly common.
[2] It is possible to walk the Logrus without Shadow Alteration power, but that power is a prerequisite for creating threads to pass through Shadow. Also as noted, sans Logrus, the power works only at the Courts.
[3] Creating Trumps is a post-initiate power, but it isn't required for the following powers. Sufficient instruction is needed that it is a power in its own right, but not uncommon.

Amber Sorcery: IV. Pattern vs. Logrus

         The Pattern is neither a creator or a destroyer. It is a manipulator and rearranger of what is. Additionally, it can act as reinforcement of what already exists. With the Logrus, one is capable of incredible acts of creation and destruction. In contrast, Pattern powers work easiest when altering little as possible. Shadow walking is one of the least draining uses of the Pattern, because nothing is really changing in Shadow except the location of the person doing the walking. Trumps also change little, so they are easy to use. With Logrus powers, often the trick is not to have a warping effect on the environment, or to restrict the effect to only the desired result.

         Both the Logrus and the Pattern have effects of altering what is, but they take completely opposite approaches to how to accomplish the result. While the results may appear similar, the causes are quite different and have important consequences thereof. Where a Logrus magician summons up a storm cloud out of nothing, a Pattern magician would simply alter the weather step by step until a storm cloud appeared. Or would find a storm cloud somewhere in Shadow and bring it in to where it was desired. Pattern initiates can alter the time streams of a Shadow and work subtle manipulations on it as well. Note that they are not creating or destroying anything, they are merely shifting around what is.

         Logrus powers have a warping effect, but that is quite different than what the Pattern does. The Logrus takes the natural pattern of things and forces it into a new alignment. The Pattern alters the natural pattern of things and lets the balancing forces themselves shove everything into a new pattern, or takes the specific effect looked for, and restructures everything so that the desired effect is a natural consequence of the system. This approach has advantages and disadvantages.

         The disadvantage is that its a lot harder. The Logrus magician merely has to create a storm cloud with lightning ready. The Pattern magician has to restructure local weather conditions so that a storm cloud with lightning forms. The Pattern magician has a huge expenditure of forces to achieve the same effects as the Logrus magician. This difficulty explains why Pattern magic isn't all that popular.

         On the other hand, the Logrus magician's cloud can be distrupted easily once the supporting force for it is removed. Or the Pattern magician can try to reimpose order which would demand that the cloud not exist. The Logrus magician has to actually go and suppress the Pattern cloud, and that suppression could be disrupted. The Logrus magician could summon up a major disruption which would mess up the cloud and most things in the area, but the point is Pattern generated effects are a lot harder to destroy than Logrus effects.

         In general, given a Pattern effect versus a Logrus effect, the Pattern effect will generally win, however the Pattern effect will take a lot more energy to create. Unless one has something like the Jewel of Judgement or a spikard for a power supply, effects will be more subtle and less showy than their Logrus counterparts in magic. Logrus magicians in the short term can do quite a bit, but in the long term results, the Pattern magic will last. (unless you've nuked an area with primal chaos....)

Amber Sorcery: V. Spell Creation

         Every spell is broken up into two parts, a power supply and an effect. The power supply tends to be ignored a bit, but is quite important. Unless one has a spikard or some local external power supply, powering a spell from the caster's energy can get quite draining after a while. Especially for an Amberite magician, who has to deal possibly with the draining effects of the Pattern. Chaosite magicians have it slightly easier if their spells deal with Chaos energy, which they can draw from the Logrus, but to manipulate it requires a separate power supply as well.

         The powering of a spell can occur at two times, at spell creation and at spell invocation. In many cases, the two are at the same time, unless the caster stores the spell for later usage. There are advantages and disadvantages to either side. A spell that is pre-powered, ready for casting will decay much faster than a spell that is powered at the time of invocation. On the other hand, the caster doesn't need to worry about tiring out in the middle of a duel of magic. Tiring out and then resting or tapping into a power source to hang powered spells is a good concept, but spell staleness becomes an issue. Batteries fade out if not used in a while. Spells are the same, only faster.

         External power supplies can be used for magic. The Keep of Four Worlds is a good example of something that is used purely for external magical energies. The Keep has the problem that if you aren't at it, you can't tap into the power source. Its a great place to live, but you lose the advantages of the place when leaving it. There are various magical sources in Shadow. Most of these places require some work or attunement in order to tap into them, and the generic rule is that anyone can tap into them, so if you wander to a place to recharge a lot, someone else can discover that place and use it too.

         Magical items can be used to channel power from such places into the bearer. A spikard functions this way on one level, but has a lot of additional help. The creator of a spikard went out and found lots and lots of places like the Keep and created lines to the places that flow into the ring. The advantage is that the source of the magic becomes more secret as you have to have the item in order to seriously trace the line of magic back to its source. The disadvantage is that if you lose the item, you're in trouble.

         The other alternative is to gather up magical power from an area or from a living creature. The latter is sacrifice and the former covers a more generic class of magical ritual. Both of these are rather awkward and aren't used all that much by initiates of the primal powers, who prefer Shadow sources for power supplies. Or using personal energies, as they are much stronger than your average shadow magician.

         A character wishing to have a Shadow power supply must buy a Shadow and then spend additional points to specify that the Shadow has a magical source. More points spent, the stronger the power is. The character need not tell anyone else about the power supply, though it may be hard to conceal the fact if the character uses it a lot. The points may be reduced if the power is specified to be specific to a certain type of magic, such as fire magic, or scrying. The more specific the power gets, the cheaper it becomes.

         In order to have a magic item that taps a Shadow power supply, it is necessary to buy the Shadow as well. Spikards aren't purchasable by players for the reason that they are worth more points than the players can reasonably spend for a single item. Having an item means the character doesn't have to go near the Shadow itself or have a Trump of it or anything similar, making the use of the source by anyone else extremely difficult. It could even have things like a poisonous atmosphere and other properties that would make going to it dangerous. However, it must be reachable by sorcery and Shadow walking and Trump. The blockages needed to stop those powers would also sever any connection between item and its power source.

         In any case, the power supply has to be specified at the time of spell creation, either at time of casting or invocation, where the power is coming from, external or internal. One that's done and the spell is cast, it cannot be altered. Power cannot be fed into an existing spell unless the spell specifically allows/requires power fed into it periodically. Once the power supply is determined, the amount needed is determined from the spell creation process itself.

         Creation of a spell is a lot more complicated than figuring out how to power it. Power can be the more critical problem, but the options are a lot simpler. The system for spell creation works on the principle that given enough time, a magician can be able to create any type of spell, as opposed to being limited to a known grimore of spells. Of course, a magician can't create time travel spells because of a lack of power over time, but would be able to come up with a spell to turn a prince into a frog, to be broken by a kiss, or create a fireball.

         Spells can incorporate primal powers like the Pattern and Logrus, and anything that can be accomplished with those powers can be used in a spell as well. Of course, one needs to be an initiate of those powers in order to invoke them. There are certain limitations. Shadow walking via spell wouldn't be possible, since its a continuous process of visualization, but a spell to duplicate a Trump movement is possible, or a spell to try to bend a Shadow, though the spell would need an incredible power supply to work in any decent amount of time. A spell to gradually alter a Shadow over time would work. Corwin's blood curse helped twist Shadow to let the Black Road through.

         Spells that work across Shadow, or alter the nature of the Shadow they work within, need one of the primal powers in order to function. It can be the Broken Pattern, but still it needs some connection to the generators of Shadow to work.

         Spells are first categorized by their main result, the basic objective of the spell, broken down into one of several categories, listed in order of decreasing Order and increasing Chaos:

Communication scrying, communication, detection
Transportation translocation, shadow-walking
Alteration rearranging the components of one thing
Transformation turning one thing into another thing
Creation/Destruction something into nothing, or vice versa

         In general, the less a spell alters what is going on, such as the transfer of information that the Communication class is, is the easiest for the Amberite, since nothing is changed. Chaosites find it very very hard to do any sort of information magic. Its easier to alter something to a determined quality rather than to determine the innate quality.

         Transportation is less easy, but since it is merely alteration of location, it isn't terribly difficult either for the Amberite, though near the Pattern it gets very very hard. Chaosites have to use the Black Road, which is Transportation via Transformation of a path through Shadow. It gets messy.

         Alteration is merely mass translocations and is of average difficulty for either order or chaos magicians, since the former has to worry about large levels of change, and the latter have to worry about getting all the changes done correctly. A lot of magic falls into this category. For example, most bolts of mystic power are simply alteration of energies from a stored source to a bolt aimed at someone, as are a lot of magical shields as well.

         Transformation is not only where something is rearranged, but transmuted in the process. Chaos people find this sort of magic fairly easy to do, but Amberites find it very very difficult. Of course, the former do shapeshift all the time, so it would seem natural to them. Note that most magical energies being turned into other forms of energies do not fall into this class, transformation of raw magic power into power of another type is a freebie that any magician can do for no cost in complexity.

         Creation/Destruction is extremely difficult for anyone but a full fledged Logrus initiate or someone using chaos derived magics. Amberites find it near impossible. Its easier for them to find what they're looking for in Shadow and simply bring it to them.

         I get around the Logrus tendril search/move effect by claiming that Zelazny wasn't trying to create a unified system, he was trying to tell a story. This system only requires minor mods of the actual events in the stories.

         Spells can combine types, such as the creation of the Black Road, which is Transmutation and Transportation, since it alters a chunk of Shadow, and extends it through different Shadows. The more types, the harder the spell gets.

         A subclass of type is whether the spell is physical or mental. Of course, a spell can be physical and mental, but that's effectively like combining different types. The difference between physical and mental is whether it goes against Constitution/Strength/Warfare (depending on the particular type of physical spell) or against Psyche. Mind control is Transmutation/Mental. Locating Greyswandir in a distant Shadow is Communication/Physical.

         Complexity is another feature of a spell that determines the difficulty in coming up with it and with the base energy cost. For example, transforming something into a lump of granite is a lot easier than turning it into a painting. Transforming it into the Mona Lisa is harder, and making it a perfect copy is harder still. Likewise, detecting iron is easier than detecting iron swords and a lot easier than looking for a specific sword. (Greyswandir would be easily detectable under "Pattern-based objects")

         The last two features of a spell are Range and Area. These affect, of course, the distance that a spell works over. For determining range when working across Shadow, use hellriding time, assuming that the person can move at top speed, and its purely the rate of altering the Shadow around the person.

         Area ranges from point to Shadow. In theory, one could increase the area across all Shadow, but even the Pattern would have a headache on that one, and for the most part, even transforming part of a Shadow drains Chaosites and Amberites. In practical terms even, only the area around the caster is doable in a short period of time. If one cares to spend more time, it becomes easier.

         So a spell designer works out exactly what the spell will do in practical terms. Special effects are a freebie on this one, feel free to make the spell look neat so it can be given an impressive name. Type or types, subtype or subtypes, complexity, range and area. Sum these up to get the basic cost of the spell, and then determine strength of the effect.

         Now some tradeoffs can be made. The power needed to generate the spell and the complexity of the spell can be traded off. That is, one can increase spell efficiency at the price of being more complex to cast, or one can waste power and get the spell castable. Similar results go for casting time. This fact is why a good Psyche is needed for magic. The smarter you are, the sneakier your spells can get. Its also why having a source like the Keep of the Four Worlds is handy, you can get sloppy and just burn power in wasteful magic.

Amber Sorcery: Appendix: Shadow Nature

         Shadows do exist, and they can have unique properties. It is best to view them as images superimposed on a more fundamental reality, with the Pattern and the Logrus residing on two points of this fundamental reality. The Logrus throws out random power, and the Pattern stabilizes it into ordered Shadows, all sitting on top of this more fundamental reality. Few people are actually aware of this more fundamental place, with exceptions like Dworkin and perhaps Suhuy. Merlin has recently become aware of this place, having been dragged in there.

         Shadows can have many properties. There are places where magic does not work, including even the sorcery of the Pattern and the Logrus. It is well known that there are places where Trumps do not operate, where Shadow Walking is impossible due to darkness or chaotic conditions that fail to allow for shifting of the environment.

         There are no primal Shadows, just Shadows closer to a primal power than another, with the exception of the Primal Reality, which, while existing, can be only reached with great difficulty and while there, one is totally cut off from both powers. It also can't be manipulated in any way except the normal sense. All in all, its not a fun place to visit, though it might be a great place to imprison somebody.

         Near Amber, reality settles into fixed patterns and doesn't tolerate disruption of the laws easily. This reason is why Shadow walking is so hard near Amber. The movement of a person through Shadow is minimal disruption, but near Amber, the Pattern holds everything so firmly one must struggle against even it to move from one Shadow to another since that isn't in the natural accordance of things. Logrus initiates have a hard time moving near Amber and are stuck on the Kolvir itself unless they have trump. One can't burn a thread out of there unless the Shadow is malleable to the effect, and Amber isn't.

         Near the Courts, one has the opposite problem. Shadow walking in the Courts is tricky since everything alters too abruptly to allow for shifting. There are no "near but infintesmally different" shadows in the Courts, so you need to trump or walk along special paths. On the other hand a Shadow Technician could make a path through the Courts easily enough. Of course, some people may not want a path built through their areas. All in all, the Courts are confusing.

         Given the way Logrus and Pattern initiates move through Shadow, there are subtle differences. Pattern people in general have it easier, as they can just envisualize their destination and then walk to it. Logrus people burning a path don't have that flexibility. They can burn a path to an established Shadow found or scryed by someone, such as Shadow Earth, but finding a Shadow Earth identical in all ways but slightly different is beyond their control. They'd have to burn a path to a quite different Shadow instead.

         So while an Amberite walks to a Shadow until she or he finds the one wanted, a Logrus initiate goes for a rough approximation, then starts to bend and distort the place. Of course, this is hard anywhere away from the Courts and the neighboring lands, so most of the members of the Courts stay in that area. Also, unless the bending and distortion has been in place for a long time, there will be a tendancy for a Shadow away from the Courts to snap back. So the hapless Shadow Alterer has to put a lot of effort into it and stay there some time.