The lands surrounding Amber...


Leader: Vinni Retafog, a mob boss, cares very much about playing games without cheating and following through on bets (claiming and paying out)
People: Dealers, bartenders, waits, cardsharks, security forces
Shadow: Tennore is a giant casino filled with gambling of all sorts, it is a place where night and day do not exist, only the game and the bet, the win and the loss. Reached from Balescrest and Xin, you arrive to a Shadow with only the primary building of Tennore, where the riches never stop changing hands. Greeted at the door by a couple of serious mobsters, you must exchange wealth in some form (and they will take currency from any Golden Circle Nation, Amber, or precious items) at the door for Tennore gambling currency (unless you have previous winnings banked with them) or be rejected, perhaps violently, from the Shadow. Upon leaving, you may exchange your winnings (or remaining money) for whatever currency or items they have on hand that Retafog doesn’t want to keep.
Theme: Gambling, money laundering
Love: Winning bets, big spenders, gambling addicts, money laundering
Hate: Cheaters, people who renege on bets, games without a house edge
Access: Baylescrest, Xin
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech On

Leader: Count Krong Damu and Countess Lantu Damu, rocky nobility that rule from an obsidian palace floating in the magma of the active volcano, Lokravu
People: Stone men, lava creatures, artisans, miners
Shadow: In this Golden Circle nation, which is entered from Amber by the Fields of Ash, the volcano Lokravu dominates the landscape and the culture. Obsidian fortresses and stone towns dot the side of the often erupting volcano and the surrounding desolate countryside; they are populated by a variety of stony creatures. Amkro trades obsidian, gems, and rocks with the surrounding shadows. Extensive mining operations and magma wells generate a culture of industry and a strong work ethic among the hardy peoples of Amkro.
Theme: Volcano and Rock
Love: Honesty, Practical Design, Large Weapons
Hate: Politics, Squishy people, liquid water
Access: Fields of Ash, A’nok
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech Off

Leader: The Pirate Mother, the toughest pirate who fought a honorable bloody battle to be the top captain of the main pirate fleet and has a tenuous grip on the leadership
People: Pirates of the mighty seas, tough sailors used to roughing it out on the waves
Shadow: Made of the sea and the night sky above it, it is always night in Domder; sail into the sunset and you will find your way there. The pirates consistently use the stars to navigate, as the sky is nearly always clear, despite frequent harsh waves. The sea is full of rich treasure, fish, and sea monsters, and is both dangerous and bountiful. They have formed an Alliance, led by the best captain in the fleet, although some boats have forgone the Alliance and rebel on their own, and attempt to raid Alliance ships on occasion, though their efforts are mostly thwarted by the larger numbers of the Alliance fleet.
Theme: Night Pirates
Love: Treasure, grog, a good raid on another ship (especially trade vessels not trading with the Alliance), sea chants
Hate: Hard work that’s not on a ship, daytime, sea monsters, swimming (low person on the totem pole has to dive for the treasure), traitors/mutineers
Access: Sea of Rebma, Rast, Quest
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech Off

Leader: The Stars of Rast, a trio of peaceful, calm flyers who hold star rock based jewels that they believe to be powerful items
People: Many species of flying creatures. Some are like pterodactyls, some fairies, others appear to levitate without thinking and will be confused if you ask them how they fly. They are generally quite peaceful and appear to be governed easily without much dissent or exertion.
Shadow: An atmosphere on the edge of space with no ground and with weak gravity (you fall, but not so fast). Well-known for trading in star dust and other precious things that fall into their sky, everyone in this shadow flies or eventually falls into the heavy, crushing gas that is below the the livable space occupied by the people of Rast. Plant life also seems to fly here and you aren’t sure whether or not it is sentient, but it does have tasty fruit.
Theme: Everyone Flies Because There is No Ground
Love: Stars, shiny objects, fascinated by the concept of ground
Hate: People who do not trade fairly for stars dust, violence
Access: Sea of Rebma, Domber, Quest
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech Off

Gar Arb No
Leader: Many and countless. Factional leaders are referred to as Baron or Baroness. They have an informal council referred to as “The House of Eight” that consists of the Eight most powerful Barons on Gar Arb No. They are constantly squabbling.
People: Trained soldiers, career generals, spies, bystanders
Shadow: Gar Arb No is a dense and thick forest filled with trees hundreds of feet tall. It is populated by constantly warring Barons and Baronesses who constantly vie for power and to sit in The House of Eight. Many people die each day in the many pitched battles and more also die in back deals in the Tree-Towns of Gar Arb No. It is a place where one kills or is killed to get ahead. The many armies of Gar Arb No are often contracted by other Golden Circle Nations, who often provide them with assistance back in Gar Arb No installing their Baron/ess into the House of Eight as payment.
Theme: Unending War
Love: Any sort of fight, Power, Dedication to one’s leader...but not too dedicated
Hate: Not getting ahead, Cowardice, Baths
Access: Forest Arden, Plag
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech Off

Leader: Grand High Aesthete Lin Fu Jin
People: Slavers, Money Counters, Entertainers, Slaves
Shadow: The Xinnish people are separated into multiple castes that are also geographically separate. The outlying lands of this shadow are rolling hills and plains where the lowest class, Slaves bought and sold in Xin, all toil in fields and mills. The northern edge of the Shadow, the section farthest from Amber, is dominated by a large city, Xin City, from where the Shadow gets its name. Circling it is a large market where one could buy or sell anything one might desire, for the right price. The market is mainly free-men of the Kansha merchant class and slaves. The city itself is filled with the Aesthete class and is a hedonistic whirlwind of gold and pleasure. The walls are high and thick and entrance into it is very exclusive. The tallest building in Xin City is the Golden Palace, where the Grand High Asthete Lin Fu Jin lives and plays. The Go Ra soldier caste patrol throughout the Shadow as his army and secret police, enforcing the laws of the Golden Palace. Xin is a rich agrarian Shadow and feeds many other Golden Circle nations, some who only begrudgingly deal with the Xinnish merchant caravans.
Theme: Opulence
Love: Parties, slavery, alcohol, more alcohol, and more parties
Hate: Boredom, bland food, inartistic violence
Access: Baylescrest, Tennore
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech Off

Leader: Mayor Yuji Q. Pamela. Practically the mayor for life, as he has won the last 17 elections in a landslide. He and his aldermen squabble over spending and public works projects frequently.
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Shadow: A vast city filled with technological marvels, immense wealth, and crushing poverty. Long ago, the City of Quest expanded so far that it ran out of land, and quickly developed the ability to build floating buildings. The island chain under the city collapsed under its immense weight soon after, but most citizens of Quest didn’t even notice. Life is spent in towers and in flying vehicles zooming between them. Like any major city, it contains wealthy elite, middle-class families dreaming of more, and homeless begging for cyber credits on floating sidewalks.
Theme: High-tech, glistening city over the ocean
Love: Science, technology, incorporating new cultures into its melting pot, expansion, the future and all its promises, having hopes and dreams, capitalism, “democracy”
Hate: Wide, open spaces; being without a phone charger; slow Internet
Access: Sea of Rebma, Rast, Domder
Natural Laws: Magic On, Tech On

(“Excuse me?! Our shadow is called ‘The Federated Kingdoms of Zenod,’ good sir!”)
Leader: Some dude named King Hector de la Segray or Segway or something dumb like that. He’s got a funny looking mustache and seems to be all uppity about something or other all the time. (“We have a plag! My citizens need help! Please!”)
People: I dunno, normal and stuff? Merchants and blacksmiths and knights and junk. There don’t seem to be as many of them lately. Maybe they’re all busy preparing for some festival with big turkey legs or something. Mmm, turkey legs. (“They are all dying of the plag! We don’t have a cure! Please, help us!”)
Shadow: Kinda a normalish fedual type place with farms and forests and castles and junk. It’s kinda pretty, I guess. Like I said, pretty normal medievel looking place. (“Oh god, look at my arm! I have the spoots! Curse this foul plag!”)
Theme: Really, a pretty much boring medieval place with people who pronounce words funny sometime. (“DEAR GOD, WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. THERE IS A PLAG RAVAGING OUR PEOPLE.”)
Love: Looking for a cure for their plague, saying the word plague funny
Hate: Not being taken seriously
Access: Forest Arden, Gar Arb No
Natural Laws: Magic Off, Tech Off

Leader: Ashea, a wizened and seemingly-ancient ascetic. The only person capable of swaying the opinions of all of the tribal leaders.
People: Hidebound, pragmatic survivalists. Never weak, never soft, never unprepared. Among them can be found the finest assasins, hunters, and warriors. Only the strongest survive. Tight-knit nomadic groups travel the desert, at one with their surroundings.
Shadow: A vast, harsh desert, practically devoid of life. A mighty fortress city which is somehow always far, far away. Rock outcroppings dot the landscape, some containing springs filled with fresh water which draw small animals. Any person who has lived to adulthood in A’nok would be considered a master survivalist in any other shadow. Indeed, many Golden Nations send their best and bravest to A’nok to learn their ways. Those who earn the trust of A’nokites, upon return to their home shadow, find themselves stronger, keener, and yearning for a cool glass of water.
Theme: Desert
Love: Living with the land, a willingness to learn, harsh winds, killing unworthy outsiders, honesty, loyalty
Hate: Weakness, laziness, serving oneself before others
Access: Fields of Ash, Amkro
Natural Laws: Magic Off, Tech On