Vestiges of Chaos
Well known Shadows
The best of high-tech and magic in a peaceful society made of primarily scientists, philosophers and artists.
A giant fortress beside a great chasm. The sky is the color of flame there. The people are not quite human, about seven feet in height, with red skins and little hair, and catlike eyes. They have six digited hands and feet, and wear garments of a silk-like material of gray and blue. They bear two curve-tipped swords, and their ears, fingers and toes, are pointed, sharp, and clawed. It is full of foggy valleys and smoke filled craters. The ground is desert-like sand and rock and the nights are icy and the days are hot.
A cold, windy, moonswept place full of broken temples and keening winds. A mournful type of ghost creatures live there and wail in the eternal night.
Cassia is governed by a Senate, which appoints a Marshal to lead the nation in time of war. Right now Cassia is effectively controlled by 4 Senators: Horatius is a young firebrand who seeks to reform the government and stamp out corruption. Julius Armanius is that corruption, a foul and treacherous man of wealth and power. Gallacia Talthrus is a handsome and well-regarded imperialist with high ambition. Daragorus is an old-school conservative who never wants the world to change. Cassia’s main exports are silk and spices.
Technology and culture is that of 19th century England except that women are already seen as equal partners.
Clea is a mystery, it is a blasted and ruined world devoid of life. Rumors abound that it was destroyed in a battle between Osric & Finndo, Oberon’s eldest (and deceased) children.
A pastoral place, rather Arthurian in tone, running to rich, green farmlands and mysterious, tangled forests. The faerie folk dance on the hills in the moonlight; the human folk tend their fields and forges. and ride out to deal with the occasional dragon, robber baron, or rogue wizard. A mighty queen reigns in castle of Tilaine, and the people revere her as a legendary lawgiver.
This is a high magic, high technology Shadow that is slowly fading under the shadow of a guttering red sun. The landscape is mostly icy wastelands, and the inhabitants live in places where there is volcanic heat. The society of Degs is degenerate and jaded.
This lofty mountain range and the tunnels beneath it are ruled by Dwarvish lords. They are extremely xenophobic, and are shadow wise. They are skilled artisans and accomplished artificers/conjurers. They have made magical artifacts for many members of the royal family of Amber, but have a lasting grudge against Chaos.
This entire Shadow is one very large tree thousands of miles across. It is inhabited by a society of large fur-covered humanoids that have high technology (lasers, antigravity flight), but no space travel.
One of the most magically advanced Shadows is ruled by sorcerer-kings. The high rise buildings are held steady by rune-wards and heated by tame fire-elementals. People fly to work on mass-transit carpets, and light their homes with voice activated light spell globes. The wealthy keep tame (or paid) faeries and will’o’wisps for lights.
Ghenesh is a legend. Supposedly this Shadow is filled with terrifying warriors called Moonriders.
A city of adobe and blocks inhabited by shamanic tribes who grow maize and celebrate the turning of seasons with dancing. However Heerat is at the junction of several trade routes, and so it is a large trading station that is used to the influx of many cultures.
Helmwind is governed by a rigid caste system. The ruling caste, the Aristoi, elect three Primes to govern adherence to those virtues prized by Helmwindans. The rulers are always addressed by title, and are called the Primes of Fidelity, Charity, and Peace. Depending upon the electors, the electee, and the times, the Primes’ role may be as much to cover up sin as to prevent it. Helmwind deals in music and musical instruments, leather and tanned hides, livestock, and produce.
This is a completely waterborne society that inhabits a partly frozen sea. Primitive shamans and strong harpoons protect many of the floating cities against ice dragons and ensure good fishing and whaling. The Scales of the World Serpent are the only dry land. Many of the floating towns will send expeditions here to consult with the Hels, powerful female spirits.
An interdimensonal Bazaar of the Bizarre. Several major trade routes pass through a rather unattractive plane that has allergens for almost every mammalian species. However a tent city is more or less permanent here, along with the requisite entertainments. This shadow hosts many different kinds of card games, some of which are actually not rigged.
The entirety of this shadow is a single very large building with no outside doors. This is the best school of magic in all of Shadow. This shadow is extremely ripe in magic potential of all descriptions. Beings with ranked psyche can make magical effects occur on beings of lesser psyche just by thinking about it.
The first thing that one notices are the lack of outside doors. However, there are an abundance of trump paintings in the building. For instance, one typical lecture hall has paintings of several major shadows. The shadow is limited to one building, but it is easily 10 miles on a side square. There are beautifully appointed labs, psyche, noise and magic shielded meditation rooms, small parks, bunkrooms, cafeterias, baths, sealed/warded/reinforced conjuration chambers, scriptoriums, industrial labs, chapels of all descriptions, and an abundance of classrooms. There are even facilities for aquatic water breathing creatures, and non-oxygenated environments for methane or ammonia or phlogiston breathing creatures. There are specialty areas of elemental magic, shamanic magic, hermetic magic, ritual magic, voodoo, witchcraft, crystal scrying and crystal magic, religious miracle-working, summoning of demons, summoning of elementals, summoning of holy creatures, and summoning of regular shadow creatures, chaos theory and fractal imagery, alchemy, astrology, golem creation, astral and ethereal theory, will-and-the-way style magic, santeria, rune magic, computer programming magic, magic item creation, blood magic, conjuration, illusion, necromancy, sun magic, moon magic, wild magic, druidic magic and several others, including a “magical evolution and investigation” unit (often referred to as "E n’ I”). There is also a huge section devoted to trump artistry, it takes up nearly a quarter of Ixaxis.
The society is largely anarchic. Each being has to register, and is accorded seniority only based on amount of time spent within Ixaxis, regardless of talent, specialty or potency. Enrollment is granted to any being who can get to the school, survive the social pressures, and wants to learn or teach. Each being there is called a student, even the mightiest mages. (With the theory, that you can always find something you don’t know or understand.) Beings of all descriptions are welcome, although nearly three quarters of the creatures there are humanoid of some variety. The higher the seniority, the more beings are willing to come to your lectures. Each being who cares to give a lecture or demonstration puts a sign on the “class board” and any students who are aware of the class, and can find the room can come. There are formal classes that meet at specific intervals, classes that meet irregularly, lectures, demonstrations, laboratories, discussion groups, interactive multimedia learning experiences, mindmelding triads, astral exploration teams and so on occurring all of the time. No degrees are awarded, you learn as much as you want.
There are central facilities for holding student paperwork, seniority records, liability waivers, donations, building maintenance, and food production, but no true administration. There are several bunk areas, and you simply sleep when you get tired, until you no longer need it. (Many students put up wards around their resting places.) The beds are double bunks for the most part, and are unremarkable. Other rest facilities cater to students that don’t use beds, or have other physiological needs. Most students are fairly considerate about dampening light, sound, psionics and magic in these areas, but there is no place truly free of these forces. There are magically lockable drawers beneath each bunk, and most beings keep their belongings in these drawers when they rest, and with them when they are awake. (There are storage facilities for spare zombies, spellbooks, artifacts, demon familiars and other items that are large, bulky, expensive or just plain difficult or disgusting to haul around. For a modest fee, of course.) The cafeterias cater to all kinds of digestions, and other forms of growth (photosynthesis, ethereal expansion, crystal growth). Again, all but the most famous are expected to pay for their meals.
Troublemakers are usually bound, disintegrated, cursed, obliterated, given a heart attack, sent to some shadow-hell (or heaven as appropriate), possessed, have their karma re-arranged, polymorphed or crystallized by enough of their peers if the piss a bunch of people off. This doesn’t happen much, because there are very few creatures that are willing to go toe-to-toe in a magical duel in a highly magically potent environment like Ixaxis against several thousand magic-capable beings. Lesser annoyances are given the silent treatment. Many can simply relocate within the school, to a section that has a mostly different group of beings. Anyone is always free to leave.
Janna Jumeirah a trading center among many of the aquatic worlds in shadow, and not that far from Rebma. It consists of massive superstructures that rise from coral reefs in a shallow sea. Building bases are usually within a couple hundred feet of sea-level and many of the buildings rise several stories above sea level into sparkling white and ivory courtyards graced with fountains. The technology is renaissance level and magic is weakly empowered here. The natives are friendly and used to folk from other shadows wandering by, even to the point of maintaining dry areas for their housing and goods. Janna Jumeirah is full of luxury palaces and residences of fantastic opulence, elegant shops, and amusements for the wealthy and bored. Poetry, parties, and marlin racing are all art forms here.
Deep forests and sunny oceans and eldritch glades are the main features of this shadow. It is the home to many races of elves. Although they will trade for fine swords, light armor and woodcrafts, they are Sorcerers without peer in shadow. They have some ties with Amber and with Chaos, but take no sides.
Arden’s sister, greatly estranged. The same great limbs, the leaves green tipped with silver. It is a land untouched by steel. A few shy fauns and nymphs live there. There is a rumor that a Unicorn fawn has been spotted there.
This a medieval Germanic shadow full of the enchantments of man. It is ruled by several courts that are always at battle with each other. Men are second class citizens, and not often allowed out of the Manses and Castles where they are kept in safety.
This shadow is one large battlefield of fantastic futuristic weaponry from self aware cyborg tanks to tactical nuclear weapons. The inhabitants are destroying each other as well as the Shadow.
A world of smoke, flames and rough crevasses. Colors seem to dance and change. The rocks race around, clashing together, backing off, colliding again spinning, arcing across the open spaces, passing among one another. The ground varies from warm to extremely hot underfoot, and along with the jets of smoke and occasional jets of flame, nasty- smelling gases escape from numerous openings in the ground. There is a single black tower that is thick with the stench of power. Creatures of Power that look like glass dragons abound among the skirling rocks.
Prism is a Shadow composed of silicon-based oxygen tolerant life forms, as well as super-intelligent shades of the color blue. It is a wild glassine wilderness where organisms are hunted down for the precious traces of copper, iron, molybdenum, zinc, magnesium and cobalt in their bodies. The glass dragons of Prizm theoretically related to Chaos Serpents.
Quetzalcun is the incarnation the Element of Air. A place of floating islands and great sorcerers.
One child of Chaos once said about this shadow: “I had no sooner popped in than some unpleasant person came weaving out of an alley and deposited his intestines on one of my boots, via an artistic cut in his midsection. Rapture! This place had vacation spot written all over it. Going to need a new pair of boots though…” It is a dark shadow, where technology has run wild and magic is scarce. The city is run by corporate lords and net runners, the streets ruled by the law of the larger gun.
Green hills cover the horizon, with small forests spread across the land as though cast there by some giant hand. Dark clouds billow constantly overhead and the smell of ozone and impending rain are heavy over the forest. On a high hill in a position where it commanded the view for miles around is a fortress of black glass and gray steel, glittering as coldly as the entity it serves. If you are patient, and do not use fire the small ones of the woods will come out, dancing and cajoling, boundless in their curiosity.
Inhabited by short hairy man-like beings.
It is a place of wide desert and secretive people. The Mosque of the One God rules it with an iron hand. There is plenty of metallurgy, and these people produce fine cutlasses an other metalwork both practical and decorative. They are extremely intolerant of strangers.
This is a shadow of grasslands and jungles, with huge mountain ranges and massive deep lakes. The climate is hot, but the rains are very seasonal. There is not any humanoid life, but the larger animals that live there are sentient, and have a society of their own.
These city states are the basis for a strong empire of trade. They are similar to Italy in the time of the Medicis.
This is an immense primeval forest that is prone to intense volcanic activity. It is fairly magic active, and has no intelligent creatures in it, and no creatures larger than a stag.
This icy, hostile shadow holds a complex society based off fishing and all kinds of mining. Most of the society lives underground. This society seems to be winding down, and is becoming degenerate and jaded in every way.
This shadow is full of palm trees and night-blooming wallflowers. It has a lot of good port smells -spices, coffee, tar, salt. Gentlefolk, merchants, peons, sailors and assorted travelers pass in and out constantly.
Tree of Life
These Shadows were found and linked by a master Sorcerer in order to teach his students something about magic and spell casting.
A barren place, surrounded by a featureless but brilliant white fog. Any magic designed to reduce things to a simpler form ought to work very well here.
A place of raw force, with a storm-swept sky overhead. It is very easy to summon raw energy here, especially bolts of lightning.
A gloomy forest clearing designed for sacrifices.
An island of purple grass, next to a blue river, under a violet sky. The river is inhabited by blue river-dragons. Magic causing sleep or immobility is heightened here.
The ground is flat red marble and there is a forever-bloody sunset in the background. Faceless warriors rise to the attack. Combat spells are enhanced here.
Is a throne room built of rose quartz and yellow topaz with a beautiful throne carved from a single rose-pink star ruby. Casting any tutelary or vision-inducing spells while seated on the throne cause wonderful illusions to appear.
A green lawn with hidden snakes that bite all visitors. The venom is not acutely toxic, but rather causes the victims to be overcome with anger. Since it’s difficult to keep calm once affected by the poison, this is a test of how well a student can cast spells after losing self-control.
A barren slope of purple rock under an orange sky. Every few minutes visitors are threatened by some sort of disaster. A wave of lava. A whirling tornado of yellow rocks. An earthquake. These are illusions and the idea is to ignore them and maintain concentration.
Under a star-strewn indigo sky, there is a fantastic party in progress under a graceful pavilion. Food and drink are delicious and abundant. Lovely and willing partners recline on a deep, soft layer of purple cushions. Although one could take advantage of things, the whole point of the exercise is to resist temptations.
A treasure trove. Within black marble rooms, there are golden treasures, beautiful artworks, casks of jewels. Anything taken from this Shadow will turn to dust unless one can figure out the correct spell to lend the items reality in another Shadow.
This is an extremely high magic shadow similar to earth, except Alexandria never burned and the world accepts magic and has discarded most science. Shangri La, Constantinople, and Alexandria are the centers of learning, and mages run the world.
The Principality of Westmere is governed by Princess Minerva, who like all Westmerians is a religious fanatic. Westmere is an outpost of civilization in a barbarous Shadow. Their primary exports are high-quality hard or exotic woods and top-notch printing.
A primeval forest, peopled by a number of primitive races. Technology there has not advanced past the point of ax-, spear-, and arrowheads made from stone and animal bones. The Wilde is home to all manner of vicious creatures and beasts, ranging from ice-age mammals to gigantic, fantastic dragons. It is a savage place, marked by vast expanses of frozen wastes, a huge, mostly unexplored swamp, and an enchanted grove surrounded by the only mountain range.
A Theocracy ruled by the Divine Emperor Kaosiyung, Xianguo’s main exports are gold and other minerals. Xianguo is also well known for its carriages, armor, and other ornate metalworks. Although relations with Amber are good, the Xianguo are easy to offend, so Amber delegates are very careful.