Amber: The Next Generation

The Chronicles of Random 5
I call it plan… B

Made it out alive: Recap time.

Pale creature horde charging city, no pattern, no trump out,
leg still broken. Aron appeared to have bugged out some way
he didn’t share with me.

Got one of the farmvillians (farmvilites? farmese?) to evac
all of my cards except Finn’s and Ozzie’s. Got Witold to
concentrate the attacking horde in a semi-contained kill
zone, challenged the creatures from the top of a tower and
threw them Finn’s card in a box as bait. Hoped they’d fight
over it and/or leave, didn’t really work out that way (though
they took the card, so there was that).

Fought off attacking hellcreatures for a bit, they crucified
one of their own and used it as a banner, really not sure why.

Then sudden trump call out of nowhere from Z. Took the opportunity
to bail out. Talked it over with Z, went to go get reinforcements
from Texorami. Got back with troops from the Don but turned out
Ben had stashed his own force here for emergencies, fought off
first wave, then creatures withdrew. Unclear why.

Z tried to contact Aron, but the sphere went hellcreature-blue
instead of the normal colour. Guessed his escape plan went worse
than mine. My trump evac guy turned up, got deck back off him.

Back on other side of veil, talked to Witold and Owyn – Owyn
wanted to go after Aron, asked him to delay as sure it was a
lost cause (for him anyway). Turned out at this point Owyn was
ex-Texorami bigshot.

Called in to Fiona, she insisted on coming in. Said it was a
bad idea but no-one listened. Once far enough from Ozzie’s veil
thingy could shadow shift again. Drove on, no real sign of
Aron. Got stuck in weird gribbly grass-tentacles, Fiona had
to break out the Royal Way.

Tried creature of desire – on second attempt Fiona explained
how to track one and we zoomed in on it – found Aron covered
in blood and cuts, obviously from a fight. Seemed pretty well
healed from Finn’s shot to the leg though.

Headed back for BFC, got there – Ozzie was in the tower when
Z got there (as predicted). Z said they cut a deal – Z could
bring me and Aron out, but not Fiona. Fiona said she could bust
out if necessary. Aron let slip that his contact sphere and
deck were in enemy hands. Fiona expressed displeasure.
Convinced Fiona that Aron more useful alive than dead.

With Aron unconscious, she did a temporary nerve-staple thingy
on my leg and I trumped through to the tower with Aron.
Tried to call Fiona but Ozzie opened fire (pretty much as
expected) – bailed out down the stairs.

Trumped back to camp and had Julian put Aron under arrest,
then explained why he was under arrest. Julian almost
blinked at that one.

Aron came to, remarkable ungrateful at the number of times
I’d saved his life so far in one day.

Fiona blew up BFC and punched through the veil, then came
through. Julian super-upset, said this was Ozzie’s plan all
along. Left in a huff. Then Fiona left.

After some back and forth Julian released Aron into my custody
and Team Expendable headed out to get the deck back.

No time for sleep, so brought a tank and a truckload of coke.
Headed out into shadow, crash course in sorcery for Z.
Despite less than 24 hours of training, Z still much more
useful than Captain Firehorse. Must recommend him for a medal.

Aron let slip he knew something about enemy HQ and had a way
there but we wouldn’t like it. Seemed awfully well informed.

Beefed up tank to tank batallion and helldrove towards Aron’s
pager – arrived to find 3 way battle – hellcreatures, black
riders, and Finn – already underway. Opened with a tank shot
to Finndo’s head. No damage, but did knock him over.

Cried havoc and let slip the tanks of war. Z let loose a spell
that set off a mini-super-storm where the sphere was. Headed
for there, Aron jumped out to head for it while we spread some
artillery based mayhem.

Aron came back with a corpse, black rider stabbed Finn. Impressive.
On way out, offered Finn a way out by trump if he surrendered.
He was quite rude, so shot him again. Z magicked us back to
BFC crater, Finn came along and started hacking up the tank,
Z trumped us out. Not sure what happened after that, passed out.

Came to in camp, apparently everyone still alive, mission a success.
Discussed some intel gained on the mission with Julian and Fiona.

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The diary of Zurehn - Chapter 8

I helped out with some camp duties until my orb started pinging me with green and white.

Which was Brand.

I found a couple of trusted (or least distrusted) people to dissuade me from the call if necessary and Trump called him/them.

I reached a solitary Brand, on the floor, who was then punched and the call dropped, and then no answer.

I am unsure what’s going on with there now only being one Brand, and who’s punching him, so I figure I’ll speak to Fiona.

Fiona’s in hiding but was happy to let me step through and then teleport me to Aron’s city.
Where I ended up in the sniping room, with baited bear traps and a red X on the floor.

Bear traps were baited with trump decks, letters and all sorts of interesting things – looks like Random’s been redecorated.

I called Random, and brought him through.

This was a trap from Osric.

Random lost Aron, so I tried to reach him and the orb went white and blue – Random said that’s the colour of the chaos creatures so Aron’s been captured.

Random decided he was going to get guns.

I suggested Texorami, and he went off to round up some people and guns.

I helped bring the guys and guns through and the chaos army had run away.

I got the guns and men down the rope, through the veil.
And then I helped Random get across by walking through and Trumping him.

Then I had to get him back, the same way.
And then we spoke to Fiona.

We had some discussion.

(we got a tank with Random on cocaine and went to fight)

(and I did some sorcery)

And we got our decks back from Fiona.

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Episode 8
Back of Beyond

A brave plan, and a not quite so brave plan.
Both boil down to “redirect the hellmaidens onto Finndo”
The red prince may be a worthy opponent, but not the apostate they are looking for.
Come in peace, get nailed to a tree by your aunt.
Taunting banners don’t work if the other side doesn’t recognise the taunt.
Under gunfire, there is an impasse in Kalenwic.
The tower is full of bear traps, baited with cake, hand grenades, alarm clocks and other “random” items. Osric likes the personal touch.
Reinforcements from Texorami, Tonies with Tommy-guns
Greek Tony is the Don’s least favourite Tony.
Tony recognised King Owyn, as “kid-face”, a mob boss from Texorami
The hellmaids are withdrawing, despite their advantage.
Zurehn puts two and two together and plans a rescue.
Fiona wants to come along for the hellride.
Her skills are needed to get this car back on the road.
There are factions.
Seed-based metaphor doesn’t work when somebody has never seen a seed.
Hendrake is not a faction, a faction does not obey its Princeps.
When you’re in a hole, time to start digging.
Failing that, claws are good for fighting too.
Strong legs are good for running and leaping.
Black sticky grass that grasps, not the grass you wanted, but the grass you needed.
’Twas a dark and stormy night, when two white cats run and fight neath a swaying willow.
So which faction are you, dear interlocutor?
Finndo liked Texorami so much he made his own. With blackjack and hookers. Those were already there.
Bat of my desire… bat flies off
Cat of my desire… Fiona puts a tracking collar on the cat first
The headlamps of a lavender Cadillac illuminate a battered and bloody Aron alone beneath the tree.

Out of the fire, and into the frying pan

Fiona loses her temper and spills family blood. All the better for blood magic.
Osric knows who Zurehn’s parent is, “You’re my nephew”
Zurehn negotiates for Random and Aron, Osric is more interested in Fiona.
Random immediately breaks the terms of the truce, and gets in a gunfight with somebody who brought a barrier.
Fiona rends the veil. Kalenwic is reduced to rubble. A small price for freedom.
(Also Fiona has put up with enough shit for one day)
Random has Aron arrested, then explains what for.
Zurehn negotiates bail, with Random as bondsman.
Putting Random in charge of this mess means Julian doesn’t have to be.
We need to find a sword that will cut through Finndo’s armour.
No, we need a tank.
In fact we need a tank brigade.
“Sleep or Coke?” “There’s no time for sleep”
Prince Random of Amber is very important and you should listen to what he has to say.
Lightning is not for beginners, storms and teleports and molten lava are much better.

Die Walküre

Another power is interested, armoured cavalry on black horses charge down the hillside
Zurehn unleashes the storm – chaos in the Chaos camp.
Terrible plans do work, indirectly, Finndo is fighting the hellmaidens.
Random gives him a high explosive tank shell to the face – Finndo bounces, but that got his attention.
Random still has a broken ankle, but Aron is fit for running again.
Finndo cuts apart tanks, hellmaidens and a general with equal ease.
But a rider’s spear pierces his shoulder. Not quite a sword, but close enough.
Beneath the fray, Aron grabs the Chaos commander, then goes back for her other half.
Two decks, one of ours and one of theirs.
Random offers to take Finndo prisoner, which goes as well as anyone who hasn’t inhaled a bowl of bolivian marching powder might expect.
Zurehn unleashes extraction protocol – The tank, occupants, and Finndo on the roof, are transported back to the ruins of Kalenwic.
When a sword slices through the roof, Random retaliates with a shotgun. Inside a tank.
Escape to Fiona’s bunker, where Random passed out.
Fiona takes the Chaos Trump for safe keeping. Nobody conscious is surprised by their existence.

Aftermath
Brand, the modern Prometheus? Or does Julian carve his face for fun?

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The Chronicles of Random 4
Nobody ever listens.

Stuck in camp with leg still broken.
Told to sort caterpillars – assumed this was stupid joke but did it anyway.
Eric was telling Corwin NO about something.
Sent adjutant who brought the orders up to Eric with a bogus note,
Eric used it as a distraction to sucker-punch Corwin: That’ll probably come up next accusemas.
Brand popped in and started attacking Eric with some finger-wiggly stuff, Corwin still down.
Sent caterpillar corporal to go find Fiona.
No-one else around and Eric apparently weak versus finger-wiggling so grabbed crutches and hobbled off, called Julian in, he turned up and punched B in the head till unconscious.
Heard scream, hobbled off again, found black-and-white Brand thing attacking Fiona. Turned out this Brand still weak versus a crutch to the head.
Brand-thing dissolved into little black and white pieces then disappeared.
Fiona relatively unharmed. Went to find Eric.
Eric said Corwin wanted to arrest Benedict.
Fiona went into the tent and disappeared with Benedict.
Eric had a little moment about that. Called Bleys in, Bleys said she’d teleported out.
Later talked to Eric about what to do with Brand while Julian was punched Brand more than was strictly necessary. Eric asked who I’d get to put Brand in a bottle and I said “Brand”.
Eric obviously impressed with my Zen-like brilliance so he trumped Brand in then sucker punched him. Must get some sort of face guard for next conversation with Eric. Left both Brands with Julian for supplementary punching.
Brand’s cards all black-and-white, the way Phil used to be. Very strange. Also duplicated, which is supposed to be impossible.
Headed out into shadow Arden to fend off another sortie from Ozzie and Finn,
turned out they’d brought a giant lumbering dangerous armoured creature.
And a cave troll.
Heroically distracted troll, then led it back towards enemy forces – about as successful as you’d think, until Finn killed it. Oh well.
Called it in to Eric from a safe distance. Asked me if I wanted out but I said no, fine, but Finn here. Told to stand off and wait.
Julian’s doggies turned up at this point and turned most of Finn’s troops into dog-chow. Very impressive.
Couldn’t take down Finn though but he did have to bail. On his way out Julian did the standing silhouetted on a hill thing, dropped a gauntlet, and rode off.
Probably very symbolic.
Turned out Finn had shot Aron through the horse. Glad it wasn’t me this time.
Ended up in BF City with Aron again. Can’t remember why, probably seemed important at the time. Oh, right. Went to fetch one Ozzie’s bullets.
Up in the book depository tower, found a giant glass window. Very strange, too modern for the shadow. Also gave view out into the other side of the veil. Tower appears to be some sort of access ramp/trap into Ozzie’s half of this shadow.
Called Bleys – he tried to brush me off but I played the I-know-something-you-want-to-know card. He came through. Said it was a very impressive sell then blew it up. Agreed he would levitate us across as the dimensional ramp was only up in the air, not on the ground. Once he lost the spell and we crashed, he would trump out so he wasn’t in Ozzie’s trap any more. Figured he wouldn’t listen, but good for an I told you so down the line.
Other side of BFC, found weird pale creatures semi-besieging city.
Called back to Bleys from private room, he passed in a spy.
Challenged some of the Pale Creatures. Figured out they seem to be learning from each combat.
Tried to use the Pattern on one of their swords, made it catch fire.
Aron tried to heroically and nobly get himself gutted by the creatures,
had to ride out and save him with some BFC knights.
Back in city, threw grappling hook to tower window, tried to climb across but couldn’t get across the barrier. Aron made it. Found Bleys concussed there.
Told Aron to get Bleys back to the city even if he didn’t want to go.
Met Witold and King O and told them they were doing the right thing by stalling, what the creatures were doing. Talked to KO alone, he got his guys to start building a ski-lift to the tower once I figured I couldn’t shadow-shift here.
KO recognised Ozzie’s trump, but not Finn’s.
Ozzie turned up and cut our line out while I was on it. Managed to hit the ground without dying. Ozzie called in to gloat. Aron misinterpreted the situation and kicked me in the balls. Ozzie laughed, broke call.
Called back to gloat more. Recalled he was standing in a room full of gunpowder while taunting me, so grabbed a lantern and winged it through the window.
Ozzie had to jump out of the window. Took a few shots but don’t think I hit him.
Called back to taunt me some more and feed me a bunch of probably-almost-true stuff designed to make us all turn on one another.
Said the creatures were from “chaos”, and not his.
Made me grovel to throw us a line out of here.
Grovelled, added it to Ozzie’s tally.
Creatures called for “Son of Amber”, brief scuffle amongst themselves.
Looks like they’re looking for Ben.
Tried to tell the creatures he wasn’t here, they decided to rush the city.
Got nowhere to run, so will have to figure out a way to save city. And me.
Here goes plan B.

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GM Notes - Episode 7
No ranting at all

Another pub evening. Two players. I like that number, but I also like the randomness that comes with more. We got some things done that might not have been done with more people, because I had time to think. Good cliff-hanger.

A thing that came up is that I started thinking more about whether IC assumptions that were stated confidently were indeed correct. I don’t know if I’ll be keeping that up when I have more players.

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Episode 7
chaos and Chaos

Brand attacks Fiona, Julian is upset.
Brand shatters into black and white fragments
Eric sucker punches Corwin
Brand steps through a trump gate, and is sucker punched.
Julian attacks Brand and Brand, a bit more than strictly necessary
Fiona absconds with Benedict and stashes him somewhere safe. Probably not a court of chaos, but you never know.
Brand and Brand’s cards have traded colours with Phil.
Eric sends the young pups to lead a cavalry mop up, should be a milk run.
They brought a cave troll. Also Finndo. Also this is the main force.
Finndo has a personal quarrel for Aron, and unsurprisingly good aim.
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of Arden. (Julian has 86 points of dogs)
Julian declines a duel with Finndo, but every dog has its day.
The tower has changed, a window pierces the veil.
Bleys throws a bomb through Osric’s portal, for a change of pace.
How much a 30 foot drop hurts depends mostly on what you land on.
Hellmaids fight all challengers one on one, unless boys play with their swords in front of them.
A rope of hope works less well than one would like.
Bleys gets sucker punched, probably wasn’t Finndo as his skull is mostly intact. Mostly.
Less a siege, more a live-fire training area.
Boy-kings never grow old.
Random asks for a kick in the balls, and gets one again. Osric finds this more amusing than actual brain frying.
Random and Osric discuss dad issues and Dad’s issues. Politely, this time.
If the General isn’t here, there’s nothing more to learn, either that or a bluff is being called.

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The Chronicles of Random 3
When you step into the void, it's a better idea not to

Woke up in hospital. Leg still broken. Ordered up some crutches and hobbled off to see Gerard. Was having a quick chat with him about the Finndo situation when I got a call from Z, something about Phil exploding. A prince’s work is never done.

Turned out they were back in Bensfarmville City. They were poking the scar in the universe with Phil, and he touched it and kind of got wedged into the gap or something. Left behind Phil-shaped-ish two-dimensional black blob.

Pretended to know what the hell was going on for a bit while Aron went off to do something in the not-world on the other side of the rift that the shadows say is still there (For all I know Osric is right on the other side staring at us. Creepy, now that I think on it). Called Brand and asked him if he could find Phil, said to call back in a bit.

Decided not to keep standing next to what could be Osric and hobbled away, which was lucky as someone started shooting at me. Hobbled faster and got to cover with Z. Z went to get soldiers or help or something. Took the opportunity to report in to C. Took
opportunity to report news from Z that pale creatures/white women/blasphemous things had been at Ben’s farm and not immediately hostile. Left call, then waited.

Eventually Z rounded up some local knights and whatnot and took the book depository but the gunman had left. Decorated the place with a ☺ motif in bullets, left lots of unused ammunition behind. Weird.

Called back in to C, he asked for a bullet, passed it through and it exploded. (Must stop handing things to people through Trump, never ends well). Called E to let him know C and B might have exploded a bit. He took it well.

Had discussion with Z about how you interrupt Trump calls. Got call from Brand telling me I hadn’t called back in time. Cut me off. Jackass. Told Z to call him back. Moments later someone tried to fry my brain via Trump. Z eventually noticed and used secret Trump interrupting technique we’d just discussed: Didn’t work, attacker just turned pain back on me – Fortunately this made me pass out.

Woke up on a shield on the ground next to phil-blob and Brand. Brand said that Osric had tried to extarct my super secret knowledge of our plans. Perhaps he’s not as smart as he’s been made out to be. (Osric, that is). Also said I should go through the blob. Said only for a huge favour, and not without my crutches. Brand gave me crutch and tried to throw me through blob (sans favour). Turns out he’s weak vs a crutch to the face.

Brand stepped through the blob and disappeared in a shower of multi-coloured sparks. Told Aron to follow him. Surprised when he did. Of all the days to pick to start following orders.

Quick discussion w Z, then got Z to call Fi. She came through, said there was nothing else she could do here then left. Z said we should go through. Against better judgement said “What the hell” and tried to go through but could not. Tragically upsetting. Built fence around blob with help of Z and local carpenters (the ones that didn’t die on contact with rift, anyway). Put up sign. “Abomination: Do Not Enter”

Decided to hobble off back out of the kill zone. Got Trump call from Brand⁻, said he had cloned himself and not to trust him. Then got call from Brand⁺, who said he had cloned himself, and not to trust him.

Happy enough to oblige both.

Called in new situation to C. Good news: C relatively unexploded. Also took news of Brand² situation as well as could be expected: Moderate face-palming, with a why-me front moving in from the south. Asked if he could execute any and all Brands. While pleased at promotion to legal counsel to the throne in absentia, decided to duck the question on account of not wanting to die horribly.

Came out of call to find Z locked in some sort of mental fugue while gripping Brand’s Trump. Belted him about the head a few times with a heavy stick until he snapped out of it. claimed to be just fine and in control. Hindsight: May have clubbed him too hard about the head.

With abomination-void-gate securely locked away behind rickety wooden fence headed off into shadow with Z to investigate a possible aspect of his background which the communication device Fi gave him may have revealed (possible link with Finndo). Laid destiny on him to find M as she could be key to whether the communications device is accurate.

Destiny led us to Arden anyway, which is confusing. Before we got much further detoured via camp. Got call from Aron, who was apparently alive. Took him to Julian to report (Z waited outside). Aron said phil-blob led directly to Pattern chamber (!). Glad we put up the fence now. Julian said he’d give orders to have it guarded.

Discovered Phil also alive, and now in full colour, and off fighting Finndo’s forces. Left Aron with Julian, headed off to find Phil and relieve him and his troops.

Brief discussion – gate had not taken Phil to Pattern chamber. Took report from Phil, then passed that report and notes from Aron’s report to C. Note did not explode, for a nice change of pace.

Headed off w. Phil and Z to try and find way back to strange shadow he’d gone to but was dead end. Gave Z gun to test cave we found was actually dead end. Z shot cave, shrapnel hit Phil, who bled black and white at first, then colour, then developed a very high fever.

Z called Fi and deposited Phil with her. Rode back out into shadow.

Better day that the last one, anyway.

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The Chronicles of Random 2
Wall and Piece(s)

Noticed the big wall-of-princes was incomplete. Servants wouldn’t talk about it. Mother avoiding me or unavailable. Most of my siblings ducking the issue. Dad absent. Eventually got to talk to Flora, found out some of what happened. Decided to go to Rebma and find out more.

Discussed things in Rebma. Some facts, maybe. No real answers. Decided to stay and have a think, L kindly put me up. Call from Aron. Didn’t seem urgent so brushed him off, not his personal shadow taxi. He can hoof it across the Pattern like the rest of us if he wants the power.

Long walk up the stair, time to think – but got a call in from Fi asking for help. Probably just throwing me a bone but what the hell, was feeling stabby anyway so went through. Bunch of monkeys with spears, easy enough to kill. Called up a car and headed out towards home, but gribbly Osric fingerprints all over it.

Diverted to the capital of Bensfarmville (note: Find out name of place before talking to Ben), found it overrun by weird pale creatures slaughtering the place. Got a real bad vibe off them. Fi did some mystic stuff while we killed them back. They seemed to regenerate or something and their swords burned like dry ice if you touched them. Also one set fire to my face but Fi put it out (magic fire, apparently). Called in Bleys, between us we got
the place sorted out.

Shadow had been cut in half, at least for any real people – the shadows could still see the other side of the city but for us real people just a grey void. The shadows do sometimes die when crossing over though, so I guess Osric did a number on this place.

Captured a creature and threw it to Bleys, got the militias to make sure all the creatures were properly dead, headed off for home. Finndo was there, wrecking up the place. Fi seemed under attack, more mystic gribbly Osric nonsense I guess. Obvious trap, but called it in, Deirdre said we go for it. Deirdre and me and Gerard, that is. Zed wandered off somewhere. Aron was back at Bensfarmville City.

Turns out Finndo is much harder than he looks. Stabbed Deirdre, pummelled Gerard. Got pummelled back, but stupid armour. Had a go anyway, got shoved face first through a wall. Tried to call in help while he was dragging me away but he just crushed my leg. Hurt like a bastard. He didn’t seem all that hell bent on killing anyone of us though, which was kind of surprising.

Ended up in camp with a crushed leg. Gerard’s got some broken bones (which never happens). Deirdre’s going to be out of it for a while. Tried to talk Julian into making Gerard some armour, he said he didn’t like that idea. Nearly told him to suck it up but decided had enough broken bones.

Going to sleep now.

Worst. Day. Ever.

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Episode 6
Divisions and Decisions

Elsewhere in shadow, and beneath…

Phil’s passage has left a black tear in the veil, but on which side?
The white ladies bedevil the north road, but townsfolk are still fool enough to rob what merchants make it through.
There is a sniper in Kalenwic, but only a smiley face in the tower as a calling card.
Random gets a kick in the balls, but he asked for it.
Brand is not in the mood for metaphysical debate or half-baked barriers.
If nobody will volunteer for science, he is not afraid to step up himself.
We see what lies beneath, and choices are made about true natures.
A grandfather’s shadow’s ghost offers advice in exchange for sweet blood
An orb divided is a problem squared.
Orbs don’t offer advice, orbs like sweet thought and savoury memory.
Statues don’t offer advice either, they just ask black and white questions.
A Brand divided is a problem doubled.
Being exploded is just the thing to put a bit of colour in your cheeks.
Failing that, a cup of tuppeny ale and a good nights’ sleep in the hayloft.
Four veils are pierced in the dark, without witnesses.
A free company have the good sense to form a wedge behind the superman.
Eventually, dangerous secrets will out.
Decisions made are choices gone, the hardest part is yet to come…

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GM Notes - Episode 6
Yeah, that went OK

Four players, they mostly kept each other busy, they had enough interaction. The people off on their own did their own stuff – it all seemed to work. I had an IC rage at someone and threw an IC tantrum.

There’s a potential problem that’s IC, that one of the PCs keeps poking the assumptions of all of the major NPCs. This is only an OOC problem in that I will have to work out who betrays his confidence first. Some of the assumptions are definitely wrong. He’s wrong about some of them. I need to keep those clear in my head.

Now the black-and-white PC has settled down to being in colour I need to work out what that means, too. I’ve got a bit of time as Phil’s in a massive fever.

Need to work out various deeper plot points. I know such things as why Osric is doing what he is doing, and I know what he /did/. How he’s dealing with the details like the war with Amber is a different question.

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