Quantity Multipliers for Shadows
“She is Star…Empress of the Twenty Universes.”
–GLORY ROAD, by Robert Heinlein
There is an ecological niche between the single world or shadow, and the Infinity of shadows that Amber allows for. The Glory Road Universe of Heinlein has at least 20 known ones with more implied in Number of the Beast. (which is in itself contains an Infinity of worlds). In Anne Bishop’s Darkness novels, there are three worlds. Even Middle Earth is not a single world, since it is mentioned in The Silmarillion that Valinor, the Uttermost West, no longer exists on Middle Earth per se.
My characters, even outside of Amber, have had dealings with multiple worlds. Just as alternate histories and universes in Science Fiction gets my blood pumping, so do a plethora of worlds in a fantasy novel or fiction. I love the Kelestia Harn setting, with its constellation of worlds around the central one of Harn. In fact some of the ideas contained therein originally come from that setting.
Anyway, if a player wanted to buy the entire Harn group, or even something larger, like Arref Mak’s Empire of the Gleaming Banner, buying shadows one by one would be cost-prohibitive. So if items can have multipliers, why can’t shadows?
|Quantity Multiplier||Cost Name||Number of Shadows||Examples|
|*2||Named and Numbered||~2-8||Cadmus’ Local Group, Harn’s Kelestia; Anne Bishop’s Darkness Worlds|
|*3||Horde||~20-50||The Twenty Universes; Empire of the Gleaming Banner; 3rd Edition D&D Multiverse|
|*4||Region of Shadow||~200-500|
|*5||Province of Shadow||~1000 to 3000|
|*6||Swath of Shadow||Tens of Thousands or More||The Million Sphere, the Worlds of Eon|
Of course, like items, the shadows inherit the points that you spend before the multiplication. So, if you had a Horde of Primal shadows, it would cost you 12 points Too cheap? Perhaps, but a good GM remembers that all of those Shadows means an influence on the story. And can you imagine the “maintenance” the character that even thinks about having a region, province or swath of shadow? To say nothing of the potential of mischief from other players, enemies, and the like.
In practice, it is unlikely a character is going to have more than a Horde of shadows and if you wanted to limit shadow purchases to that level, it certainly would be a defensible position.
Once a character has bought a set of shadows, however, there are two more steps in the tradition of Kelestia. The first is that they can customize individual shadows, paying extra points on a single member at a time. Second, they should establish the links between shadows beforehand. It is implied that the shadows are in the same area of shadow, and thus there is an opportunity for the player to provide means to travel between the worlds they have created.
Depending on the setting, the milieu of the worlds, this can range from magical gates to inter-dimensional wormholes, to even something like having a foggy barrier that, if walked into, leads you to the adjoining world. In some cases, for example, Kelestia, there is a definable map of which worlds can be reached from which worlds. In that setting, Harn, as the center of the wheel can reach any of the worlds, but there is no direct link between Yashain and Terra. The availability of these links can also vary, two worlds can have a “weak link”, with few methods, or stronger links between other members of the family.
An example of putting this all together is a setting I am creating for Cadmus, for Deb Allen’s Rites of Passage. When I created the character, I established with Deb that Cadmus came from a small group of inter-connected worlds. Although we really haven’t explored the setting much as yet, I have had a vision in my mind of how this would all work. I’ve called the family of worlds “The Local Group”
Cadmus’ Local Group of Shadows (6 points)
Personal Shadow (1)
Restricted Access (2)
Named and Numbered (x2)
Cadmus’ Local Group consists of four worlds arranged in a triangle with the fourth
point, Terra, in the center. This central world is the main entry and exit point from the group.
This is much like Earth as we know it, with a history diverging in the 11th century A.D. As a result, the Byzantine Empire survived and lived on to influence much of history, and the colonization of the Americas. Cadmus, for example, lived in New Thessalonica, and speaks Greek as well as English
A space-faring universe, this world is much like an amalgam of space empires, republics and other political associations. It is mainly humans, although there are aliens, the Q’rin, which seem much like the Eldar from the Warhammer Universe and might have links to the Fae of the other worlds
The reverse of the space-faring universe, this world is a fairly typical fantasy based world. Still in development as Deb has “definite ideas” on its nature
This world is the origin and domain of the Fae, and may prove to be the secret to the Faerie found in the other three worlds. Still in development as Deb has “definite ideas” on its nature
Kelestia, from Harn
Chessboards, the Planes of Possibility
Alternity: Tangents, by Bruce Cordell