Amber – Advanced Trump II, Virtual Creation, Morphic Resonance, and Psychomancy

   Here we have part II of the series on advanced powers for the Amber Diceless RPG. Given that the last Amber game that I actually got to play in closed up rather a long time ago, some of the notes for research that was ongoing at that time may not be complete enough to bother with – but at the moment there are a lot more left.

   Virtual Creation is possibly the highest form of trump artistry – tapping the creative power of trump to give reality to creations of the imagination. Sadly, making such creations truly real and stable requires practice and specialization (IE, a create (x) power word), virtually limitless raw power, or an infusion of pattern energy. Keeping an object stable otherwise is a massive strain on the users personal energy. Simple energy fields are easier, and can be created quickly, but still represent a considerable drain. As a rule, the simpler the thing created, the easier it is to make and sustain.

  • Illusion Generation is the least draining approach, requiring very little of the users energies. Illusions can even be fed additional energy, allowing a static illusion to persist independently for a considerable period. The major difficulty is that the user needs to be able to fully envision his illusion, in detail, and in a 360oview. This is a major pain. In practice this usually requires that the user have a drawing or model to concentrate on, although a few users have developed the appropriate mental “trick” (a special power word). Using a trump image for a focus makes the envisionment part easy, but wastes vast amounts of energy since the card channels most of it through to whatever the image depicts. Such an approach is rather self-defeating on any large scale.
  • Energy Generation is more draining then crafting an illusion, but is far easier than creating the enormous rest-energy inherent in solid matter. It is simply the direct creation of pure energy, whether in the form of beams, spheres, walls, or whatever the user wants. As a rule the effort required to generate any substantial quantity of energy restricts things to relatively easy forms. You may manage basic AC current, but a symphony broadcast will be beyond you – unless you have special talents in the field (once again, some appropriate power words).
  • Force Fields are merely intense, structured, fields of energy. As such, they are more draining then simple energy generation, but are still relatively easy. They can be either stationary or reshaped at will. The field can be “tuned” to restrain or pass particular things, with time and effort or an appropriate power word. They can also be “charged” with various energies through Trump Tapping or related powers.
  • Matter Generation is the most power-intensive usage of trump energies, a vast drain on the user. Even with appropriate power words such objects usually fade in a few hours unless they remain in contact with the user. Maintaining any creation temporarily reduces the users Strength and/or Endurance. Living things and artifacts of power can’t be created without a link to the real item, whether in the form of having paid for it or through the use of a trump image. This limit can be bypassed in some cases, but only with the special permission of the GM.

   Morphic Resonance taps into the power of “archetypes”, the resonance fields shaped by large groups of similar creatures. Expressions of synchronicity, these fields act to bring things closer to their “ideal” (average?) form – operating through subtle guidance, coincidence, and gently molding developing creatures. In Amber terms, they are “broadcast” fields of trump energy, strongest where the creatures generating them are common, weaker in nearby shadows – and fading below background levels further out. Morphic fields are subconsciously tapped by shapeshifters to guide the millions of tiny changes involved in even a simple shift – but can be tapped on the conscious level by those sufficiently sensitive to trump energies. As they allow the user to tap into and manipulate the forms, powers, and structures of beings of shadow, this can be quite useful.

  • Animal Powers are gained by tapping the morphogenic fields associated with some type of local animal, such as a cheetah, hawk, or dolphin. Unlike a shapeshifters powers, no physical changes are involved. The effects are purely energy-based results of attunement to the field. Also unlike a shapeshifters powers, there is a significant mental impact. The thought-patterns of the creature have a strong influence on the user. Multiple attunement is possible – but requires practice, a high psyche, and considerable tolerance for confusion. This does have the useful side effect of negating the usual shapechangers need for practicing with a forms powers.
  • Formshifting is possible thru allowing the field to override your natural form. This has many limitations. The mental effects are powerful and the shift is limited to general forms, specific people are impossible. As a rule, this is an emergency tactic only. It is possible to force such links on others, Influencing their minds is fairly simple, overriding them requires a consider- able psychic advantage, and forcing a shift requires a massive one. A trump image can be used as a crutch to help single out the desired resonance, but this wastes a great deal of power, transmitting it to the creature depicted rather than using it to shift forms.
  • Adaption is a minor variant on the techniques given above, wherein the user attunes himself to the morphogenic field generated by the local intelligent species – or by the biosphere itself if no such species exists. The effect is to adapt the user to the local environment and culture (if any). This usually involves both mental and physical shifts, although rarely to any extreme degree. You may be able to grow scales, adjust to a higher gravity, and adjust the general conformation of your body – but if you want to visit a shadow with a chlorine/fluorine atmosphere, liquid oxygen seas, and crystalline, dolphin- like natives you’ll want to make other arrangements.
  • Environmental Awareness involves scanning the local fields and extracting an evaluation of what’s “normal” for the area. The flip side of this is the ability to detect things which are abnormal, such as the presence of odd creatures, or the influence of any of the major powers. While fairly crude – “Someone is using pattern power over that way” – this can locate alien creatures or powers anywhere in a shadow. In general, the amount of information gained depends on the users psyche.
  • Aura Shifting is the most subtle application of the morphogenic techniques, attuning the outer levels of the users aura to those of some type of local being. Unless penetrated by a direct active probe, this acts as an effective disguise against psychic investigation or things like pattern or logrus sight.
  • Worldshaping doesn’t actually tap into morphogenic fields, instead the user attempts to manipulate and feed power into them. While this allows the user to control the fields associated with things, as well as those of creatures, the effect tends to spread. This resembles the ability of the logrus to manipulate shadow, but is weaker on the local level while having more widespread effects. Unless the user is very careful his tinkering can affect many shadows. Even with caution it usually affects the entire local shadow. On a practical basis, using this technique normally involves “learning” some special techniques (power words) to restrict is effect to the immediate area.
  • Accelerated Healing is based on pouring trump energy into a beings personal morphogenic field – reinforcing it and him. As this greatly enhances the bodies tendency to return to its natural form, it generally allows the patient to regenerate any “missing pieces” in a week or two – or heal most ordinary injuries in an hour or so. This technique can also be used to return shapeshifted beings to their true forms or to “toughen” a creature, making it resistant to conventional injury.
  • Anchoring is setting up a resonant link between the user or target and the natural fields of the surrounding area. The net effect is to make the being affected an integral part of the area, so that any attempt to move thru shadow, trump out, teleport, etc has to transport the entire area to move the creature affected. In most cases this isn’t practical, leaving the being anchored to the one shadow. If the user anchors himself, he has the additional option of “spreading” energies directed against him across the immediate area – making himself almost immoveable and highly resistant to energy attacks
  • Ionization allows the user to channel energies into his targets (or his own) “personal” morphogenic field. The exact effects depend on what type of energy it is, as well whether the user is attempting to pour it into the targets field or through it into his body. Pouring it into the targets personal field automatically makes it a “natural” part of it, resulting in a being who is “charged” with said energy. This is dramatic and showy, but harmless to the being. Using trump energy this way gives the being a form of trump defense. Channeling it into a targets physical body is a basic energy attack, albeit one that is hard to block.

   Psychomancy deals with the amplification and projection, via local low-level trump links, of the users personal energies. While this effect resembles true psionics in a variety of ways, it is still limited by the wielders personal energies – even amplified and as considerable as these may be in an amberite. The amplification does have the side effect of boosting any psionic potential the user actually does have into operation, but unless he or she makes the effort (IE: spends the points) to develop them, such “powers” will remain minor at best. A major advantage of psychomancy lies in the fact that it can be projected “through” a trump image, to affect the subject or his immediate vicinity. “Tracing” such effects merely leads back to the image, not the user.

  • Strength Projection manifests as psychokinesis, the ability to mentally manipulate matter and energy. This isn’t a creative discipline, its basic forte is moving things around or holding them still. As a rule, whatever the user can sense can be manipulated – hence the range of possible applications is limited by the users senses, psyche, and reaction time.
  • Endurance Projection allows the user to channel and direct his own energies, manifesting them in a wide variety of ways. While personal energies are fairly weak compared to external sources, the exceptional fine control this ability offers usually makes up for the lack. This has a curious use in generating disruptive “vibrations”, a technique sometimes referred to as “exorcism”.
  • Psychic Projection normally manifests as telepathy, especially projective telepathy. This discipline lets the user generate “fast” mindlinks, psychic illusions, and emotional projections, dominate people, and “hurl mental bolts”, among other things.
  • Sympathetic Links are based on the users warfare as a measure of his reflexes and fine control of his body and nervous system. The user simply sets up a resonant link between his own body and that of his targets, using biofeedback effects to attempt to usurp control of his opponents physical processes. The major advantage here is that the user need not succeed in his attempt to be a major hindrance
  • Extended Senses are essentially just clairsentience in a variety of styles, extending and displacing the users natural physical and psychic senses. The only real additions are the ability to adjust for scale (large and small), and the ability to “feel” internal structures by projected tactile senses.
  • Sendings are trump energy constructs – animated and given “life” by an infusion of their creators personal energies. While only quasi-tangible at best, these are otherwise closely related to Creatures of Blood. These can be given more “extensive” or selective portions of the users energies, allowing him to project avatars or cast “shadows” for use as decoys or psychic weapons.

   Psionics are, as noted above, a “minor” side effect of amplifying the users personal energies. Psionic powers include a wide variety of psychic senses, apportion, and astral projection. Sadly, such abilities are usually trivial, unreliable, or take minutes of concentration. Still, they’re useful sometimes; the common application is looking for information… “Sir Kay never touched this bottle! It bears the imprint of an aura, yes – but not his”.

   Amplification is, as noted above, a basic component of psychomancy. Where relevant, such as for the first four, attribute-based, talents, this can be assumed to boost the effective level of the appropriate attribute by (Points in trump/5, maximum 24) points.

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