Learned today that Nobilis will

Learned today that Nobilis will now not be available until at least April. Rats.
This is what the term “vaporware” came from. And I am having shuddering rememberances of the ADRPG promised book on Rebma which never saw the light of day.
Then again, maybe because I am feeling lousy (physically) is just making me cranky. It might even explain why the Black Hole incident got under my skin the other day.
Saw Count of Monte Cristo (dragging myself to the theater to do it). On my popcorn scale (1 to five kernels, five being a Classic Movie), it gets a bare two and a half kernels. For every good piece of cinematography, there was a foot in the mouth, sometimes literally. Poorly written dialogue, a fight scene which was edited rather badly and a couple of glaring logistical flaws in plot. I think of this much like I did the Les Miserables movie done a couple of years ago…definitely not the book, by any stretch of imagination.

Agitated today. I think its

Agitated today.
I think its a reflection of work but it is coloring my perceptions of things.
For example, looking around a bit, reading Djinn the Spazz blog, I see she responded to my Black Hole comment. Her implication irks me somehow, but I think its just my agitation today making me find fault in it.
Iwas speaking from a personal standpoint as far as ACUS goes. Not that the con was destined to be a disaster or anything of the sort…but so far it seems like its going to be somewhat diminished by the absence of friends I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. That’s why I call it a Black Hole. If I really thought that it was going to be bad, I wouldn’t be running a game.
I’ve tentatively decided not to run a second. I co-ran two games and ran an informal one in slot 1, and that was quite a bit for me last year. I think Ad Astra per Amber is enough, for now. I still might get roped into the slot one gambit, depends on what Bridgette, Felicia, Scott and the other friends that do come want to do. Besides, I have no illusions…I know that my games are not precisely clamored over at Ambercon.

Early monday morning. Rams beat

Early monday morning.
Rams beat the Eagles (although the dirty birds made a game of it, more than anyone gave them credit for).
Patriots…shock the Steelers?! Who would have thought? Brady gets hurt, Bledsoe off the bench…and the Steelers can’t take advantage of a QB who hasn’t played in a couple of months. Once again, Pittsburgh goes down in the big game at home.
In the 1990’s, Pittsburgh had three AFC championship games at Three Rivers. In 1994, they were such big favorites over the Chargers, they (as was vogue for the time) made a super bowl rap video. Thing is, they made theirs BEFORE the Chargers game.
Result? Chargers win.
Then came their game against the Indianapolis Colts in 1996, a cinderella team out of the AFC East much like the Patriots this year. The Steelers barely held on, a last minute pass by the Colts JUST falling short
In 1997, the Steelers faced the wildcard Denver Broncos…and were spanked. Those Broncos, if you recall, then went on to defeat the mighty Green Bay Packers in one of the most entertaining Super Bowls ever.
So, 1-2 in the 1990’s. And now, in this season, heavy favorites over the Patriots, the Steelers seemed to learn NOTHING. I’ve read this morning that Pittsburgh actually made their travel plans to New Orleans for the Super Bowl in advance “To avoid the rush.” I’m glad they did so, it means they can go down to Bourbon St. and get drunk while the AFC champion Patriots take on the Rams.
The bookmakers install the Rams as 14 point favorites over the Patriots. The two teams actually played this year, with the Rams winning 24-17. I’d really not like to bet against the Greatest Show on Earth, with Warner, Faulk, Holt, and friends…but “On any given Sunday…” was proved Sunday Afternoon in the Land of Three Rivers. It’s a longshot, but the Patriots have a chance.
Heck, maybe if the Patriots DID beat the Rams, Warner will reveal himself as a space alien in his frustration.
One counter-argument though. This is the third Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots. Ironically, their other two appearances were held in New Orleans. Unfortunately, both of those were failures. They lost to the Bears 46-10 in 1985…and then lost to the Packers 35-21 in 1996.

River And now for

River

And now for something different. I came to an interesting realization as I walk to work. I do get a bunch of good ideas doing it. For the uninitiated, I do take a 30 minute walk to work everyday, unless the weather is bad, when I find alternate means. And today, I got to thinking about Amber and the lack of a River. I don’t just mean a river with a small r, but a big one as well.
It’s proof that Zelazny really did make it up as he went along, to miss one of the big archetypes so easily. There is a Mountain, of course, and all that implies from a mythological standpoint, and a City, and an Ocean (complete with a ‘lost city’ beneath it). Even more noticeable than any of these is Arden, the First Forest, the Greenwood.
But a River is missing! The way I got to thinking about this was reconsidering whether or not I wanted to re-read the Confluence series by Paul McAuley. (First book is Child of the River). The River is the heart of the artificial world Confluence. I also then thought about the Hyperion/Endymion books (First book: Hyperion) by Dan Simmons, and his River that ran from world to world by means of Gates. Another example is the Otherland novels by Tad Williams. (first book: Otherland: City of Golden Shadow). In that milieu, all of the virtual reality worlds are connected by a worlds-spanning River which provides a gate mechanism from world to world. And it was then I realized that Amber lacks such a primal entity.
Rivers are as old as humanity! The first real civilizations grew along the banks of the great rivers of Eurasia-Africa…the Nile, the Tigris/Euphrates, the Indus, and the Yangtze. In fact, straying into Jared Diamond territory, I’ve always thought that one of the handicaps to the Native Americans developing civilizations to anywhere past the Paleolithic is the fact that there are a lack of rivers in warm climates to foster similar circumstances…proto civilizations growing along its banks, fusing to form great cultures. The Aztec are in the mountains of Mexico, the Maya in the jungles of Central America, the Inca in the mountains of South America. The mound builders in the Mississippi valley only started too late.
Anyway, Rivers and man have been together a very long time, and Zelazny missed an opportunity by not having a major River as part of the Amber world. I had a sudden interesting thought of scions of Amber traveling up and down a River much like the one in Hyperion, shifting shadow to other worlds connected by a Great River.
Interesting idea, no?

Hmm. Meera points out that

Hmm.
Meera points out that my archives and such are screwed up something fierce. Going to have to work on this. Or just take the plunge at long last and get myself a domain name and REAL webspace where I do stuff. After I do this post, I’ll try and fix the blog, at least.
In the meantime, its time for MY turn to explain what Trump is. Meera and Arref have had their say, and actually Meera mentions some more on it. Good stuff all around and I suggest you read up on it.
Those who have read my Cosmology of the Amber Universe already know how I think when it comes to such matters. It’s actually somewhat ironic and strange. For a game, for a milieu so open and ready for myth and such as explanations, I veer to the scientific. I guess its my scientific mindset. I may not actually BE like a scientist, but I sure as anything like to think like one.
So what is Trump, then? It’s kind of hard to pin down in a scientific manner, and frankly, it’s easier to follow Meera’s or Arref’s lead and make it mystical in origin and nature. Its not the mark of sentience on the universe in my universe, and its not the fundamental power, either. Instead its a mystical, tangible manifestation of a very strange phenomenon from science called Quantum Entanglement. Basically, you can arrange matters so that linked elementary particles will still have a connection, even if seperated. This connection is a very spooky action at a distance which seems to even work faster than light.
What Trump DOES is establish a quantum connection between the card, and the caller, and the subject. What Trump Artists do, when they learn their art, is to create such connections. This is why Trumps do not have to be portraits, but portraits are far and away the most common–it is far easier to focus on creating the quantum connection in the creation of a portrait than anything else. Yes I do realize I am introducing mystical elements in the fact that Trump Artists can do this, but the thought I have had is that its the power of their mind. Maybe I am closer to Arref’s sentience than I think in that sense…but there is a school of quantum thought which suggests that certain events on the quantum level do not have an outcome until they are observed…again, going back to Sentience. However, my quantum explanation for Trump does explain some things–like why conversations are in real time between the two parties of a trump call, or why stepping through a Trump takes no time at all-its going through a quantum teleportation, and therefore is instantaneous.

Lots of fun over at

Lots of fun over at my fellow Ambloggers. Meera and Arref are discussing the nature of Trump. Meera considers it a Primal power, but on the other hand Arref has a slightly different view. Meera also makes an interesting observation on the Jewel of Judgement and Pattern-drawing.. By the way, I really wish I had a website where I could run cgi and stuff. Moveable type gives Meera a flexibility that I can only envy.
And then there is Turn of a Friendly Die. Ginger (aka Immigration Lass) has a campaign/scenario starter which I mention here because it its first
couple of paragraphs, it has a brilliant idea, even more important, I think, than the rest of her scenario (although I like that too.)
How, with hundreds or thousands of years available to them, have the Amberites NOT managed to fill the multiverse with children like an immortal family of Von Neumann Machines? Especially given that Chaos has its own solution to the problem of overpopulations…the inherent dangerous nature of the other pole of reality.
The answer HAS to be the Pattern. Ginger suggests that the Pattern inhibited fertility in the Amberites. However, with the redraw of the Pattern at the end of Patternfall, this fertility inhibition might be lifted. I like this! It even explains a post second series game where the Amberites suddenly have a bunch of children since Patternfall…which is practically the default setting for an Amber game. Of COURSE they are mostly born since Patternfall, because only since then has the fertility been high enough to ensure a clutch of children.
Arref, in conversations with me, revealed that his thought on the matter was that it was Oberon’s doing, to keep his children from raising substantial numbers of offspring to challenge him…and that the elders had to work around and defeat this reduction in fertility in their own ways.
An alternate idea, if you like sentient Patterns, is that, following the Patternfall War, the Pattern decided of its own accord to increase fertility amongst its scions–to compete with and provide defense against a Courts of Chaos which was now more active on the scene. A peculiar thought occurs to me of Oberon communing with the Pattern (or Dworkin!). “I need a few more children, this time on Faiella. They’d make good fighters, perhaps more rounded than Cymnea’s brood…and perhaps less liable to cause us problems.”

And because its Sunday, Divisional

And because its Sunday, Divisional Playoffs, time for a bit of silliness. On the other hand, this would explain much…
Kurtis

Kurtis, Football Player Amberite

100 point version

Brendan Getzell pointed out that Kurt Warner’s walk-away-from-the-line fake on fourth down against the Niners, however clever-looking, should have drawn a flag because as part of the act, the space alien unbuckled his chin strap. They may allow that on your homeworld, but not here, buddy!
-Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Slate magazine.
It’s an improbable story at best, one that hollywood itself might reject. A complete unknown, at one point working in a supermarket in Iowa, turns out, once given the proper environment and training, to become an NFL Quarterback of such skill, that a sports columnist jokingly refers to him and his team as space aliens.
Perhaps there is more to Kurtis Warner than meets the eye. With Corwin on Earth for so long, is it so odd to think that he might have sired children outside of his knowledge. And that one of them would display his abilities in such a forum?
Current Objectives: Recently learning of his Amber heritage, the sky is the limit for the young son of Corwin. Used to working with a team in the NFL, it is likely that Kurtis will find allies of repute, and make a difference. Once he figures out what he is REALLY capable of.

Attributes

Psyche:5
Endurance 5
Strength: 5
Warfare: 20
Banked for Pattern: 50
Kurtis has not yet walked the Pattern, but it is not likely Random will long refuse him.

Artifacts of Power

Football( 6 pts)
Kurtis is never far away from a football. Useful for physical training, they can also be turned to dangerous weapons. Kurtis is far more dangerous with
these in his hand than a blade…although his father and Gerard will likely correct that deficiency
Extra Hard(1)
Ubiquitous(*6)
Amber Devotee (6)
Good Stuff (3)

Tips for playing Kurtis:

Be Humble. You didn’t expect to be an NFL star, and you never saw this coming, either. Be honest with those around you, and good things will flow from it. Yes, your relatives seem as sneaky as Al Davis on his worst day, but you’ve dealt with the NFL. Amber should be a piece of cake. And never forget where you came from.

This is almost incestuous to

This is almost incestuous to reply and reference it back and forth, but it does look like Meera is having her own thoughts on Primal Powers and what makes one over on her Amber Bits.
Her idea is that Trump is the original, first power, THE original power. Its an interesting thought, and I could see designing a hierarchy of powers based on her concepts (go and see her link for what she is talking about).
In my games, Trumps are Art and aren’t quite so much a power as a reflection of the relation between art and reality. You could argue that I am really saying the same thing as Meera, but I don’t go with her flow about Trump use and the reality of locations.
Her comment about Pattern Ghosts being a tool by a sentient Pattern to figure out things is VERY interesting when you consider the Children of the Jewel Project that Arref, myself and a couple of others experimented with. http://www.fortunecity.com/rivendell/fireforge/407/cotj/.. It’s a similar idea, really.