You can have your own universe!

The Basics

For just a few measly points your character can start the game with an entire world of their own. It can be a safe harbor, a launching point, a trap, or just a vacation spot. Adding a Personal Shadow to your character introduces a wealth of play options, not least being an entirely new battlefield for the Throne. Personal Shadows are considered Toys.

Defining Your World

Regardless of how many points you put into it, the first and best attribute of a Personal Shadow is that you get to define it down to the last detail. You get to make up the history and cultures of the population, describe the landscape and the wildlife, and determine the natural laws and time flow. In a very real sense this Shadow is your character's dream, so let your imagination run wild. Pretty much the only limitation is that your character has to be able to live there.
In a Throne War the description of your Shadow is probably going to be a paragraph to a page long-- it's as much time as you and the GMs are going to have to spare on it. So choose your details carefully, focusing particularly on things that you think will come up in gameplay. 99% of the time you're not going to need an elaborate description of the genealogy of the royal family... but a working description of the palace guard might just come in handy.
Getting to Your Shadow
Since the majority of a Throne War happens in Amber Shadow, it's important to know how to get back and forth between the two worlds.
Every unprotected Shadow is reachable via any of the Great Powers. Frequently you will start the game with a Trump of Amber and to a Shadow of your choice, and this provides easy transit. Alternately Hellriding, Patternport, and Logrus Transit make it easy to get back and forth between the two. Pointed items with Shadow Seek can traverse the distance more slowly, as can Shapeshifters who can assume that same ability.
It is also possible to get to some Shadows without any powers at all. Shadows are often connected by Shadow Paths-- roads or gateways that lead from one world to another. The higher the Primality of a plane (see below), the more Shadow Paths it can have. By default Shadow Paths are utilized simply by physically moving through them, but Shadows with Restricted Access (see below) can add other requirements to the crossing. Primal Planes can even have Shadow Paths that are accessible from a class of location as opposed to a specific one: from the bottom of any swimming pool, or from any hill under a full moon. However, no Shadow can have Paths through a ubiquitous locale-- you can't have a Shadow that you can get to from anywhere with a breathable atmosphere or anywhere you recite the national anthem. All Shadow Paths are also somewhat restricted by relativity. You cannot bridge Shadow Earth with the One-Dimensional Emerald Anti-Matter Universe of Quorox, the "distance" between the Shadows is simply too great.
Primal Planes can have Shadow Paths directly to Amber Shadow. Many of the most important Golden Circle nations possess such paths, and almost all of the rest at least have paths to the worlds that do. Shadow Paths that lead into Amber cannot arrive closer to the Pattern than the Forest of Arden; Kolvir, Rebma, Tir na Nog, Amber Town, and Amber Castle are all kept inviolate by the Pattern's power.



This category is for defining how "real" your Shadow is. The more real it is, the harder it is for other players to mess with and the closer it will be to other Shadows. The descriptions below assume that the Shadow draws its reality from Amber itself, but it is possible for the Shadow to be linked instead to the Courts of Chaos (or other more obscure sources of Power) if the GM approves. By definition, every Personal Shadow has at least the one-point version of this quality.

Personal Shadow (1 pt)

Your extended presence in the Shadow has granted it a smidgen of reality. It's somewhere off in deep Shadow, requiring at least a moderately long Hellride to reach from Amber and connected by at most one Shadow Path to a single neighboring world. It is slightly resistant to interference; a Personal Shadow will likely remain undisturbed by natural forces but can still be easily damaged by Pattern and Logrus Masters and Shadow Storms. However, given sufficient time a Personal Shadow will always return to its desired state-- even if it seems to be totally destroyed.

Shadow of the Realm (2 pts)

This Shadow is close enough to Amber to provide both resistance and access. A Shadow of the Realm can have Shadow Paths to several other nearby Shadows, including the Golden Circle, and its inhabitants can utilize the Paths without requiring your personal attention. Otherwise, your Shadow is a short Hellride from Amber. This type of Shadow is difficult for external forces to change and will resume its natural state in a single play block, but a determined Pattern or Logrus master can still wreak havoc if unchecked.

Primal Plane (4 pts)

This Shadow is a bright reflection of Amber, as real as any Shadow can get without having a true Pattern in it. It is likely one of the most important Golden Circle nations, a leader in commerce and diplomacy possessing Shadow Paths to numerous other worlds including Amber itself. A Primal Plane is impractical to modify using Pattern or Logrus and stands firm against Shadow Storms. If changed, a Primal Plane will revert to form shortly after the Initiate or Master stops paying attention.


This quality defines your level of dynamic control over your Shadow. You get to describe your Personal Shadow for free, but this quality allows you to actively change your Shadow during the course of the game. Altering your own Shadow requires no special powers but requires your presence within the Shadow itself and costs Endurance and time.

Control of Contents (1 pt)

This level of control allows you to adjust the gross contents of your Shadow. If you're tired of blue skies, you can make them silver; if you don't wish to walk to the mountains, they can be next door; and if you need an army, one will appear. You can also control the history of the Shadow, making any changes retroactive in the minds of its inhabitants if you so wish. Altering the contents of your Shadow costs no Endurance and takes a short action.

Control of Natural Laws (2 pt)

With this level of control, you can not only alter the contents of the Shadow but how it works. Alterations to the function of physics, magic, time, and space are now possible; you may turn gravity up, turn magic off, or speed the flow of time at your discretion. You can even invent your own natural laws-- a Shadow where everything that makes noise of a certain decibel level automatically turns bright pink for a day is entirely possible. The natural laws of your Shadow may vary from location to location, but they must function the same way for you as they do for anyone else. Changing the laws of your Shadow costs 1 Endurance and takes a single delay. You may also change Contents during this process without paying any additional fee.

Shadow of Destiny (4 pt)

This level of control gives your Shadow a certain amount of autonomy, allowing it to alter its own characteristics without your intervention.
A Shadow of Destiny always changes itself in subtle ways and never while someone is looking. It cannot make a door in front of an intruder vanish, but it can make it jam; it cannot make it rain instantly but it can cause storm clouds to start heading in from the horizon. Changes take twice as long as they would if you were making them yourself, but they also generally cost you no Endurance.
One of the aspects a Shadow of Destiny can change is how it interacts with surrounding Shadow; it can create, destroy, and alter Shadow Paths on the fly. The classical use of this ability is to put a Shadow of Destiny "in the way" of someone who is Hellriding. Essentially the Shadow of Destiny creates a Shadow Path across the Hellriding route to divert the rider into itself. Used in reverse this ability can be used to delay Hellriders seeking the Shadow by obscuring its own shadow paths. However, Shadow of Destiny does not allow the creation of more Shadow Paths than the world's Primality would normally provide, nor does it allow the Shadow to extend Paths to worlds it could not normally reach.
Without any commands from you, a Shadow of Destiny will automatically arrange itself in your best interests. If other Amberites have set a trap in your Shadow, you'll arrive at a different location than usual. If you're Hellriding through something particularly unpleasant, your Shadow will be on the route. If you're in desperate need of medical attention, it will be there when you arrive. If someone picks the lock of your Shadow, it will even change the lock (while still allowing you entry, of course). Shadows of Destiny lack sentience and are not really useful predictive tools-- it's more like your Shadow has a massive dose of Good Stuff focused on you personally.
However, a Shadows of Destiny also can take commands from you; you tell the Shadow what changes to make under what circumstances and it executes those changes as described. Unfortunately, since a Shadow of Destiny is non-sentient there is no simple way to change its orders. Reprogramming your Shadow of Destiny requires 2 Endurance and two delays. You may also change Contents and Laws during this process without paying any additional fee. If an alteration is already programmed, you can pre-pay the Endurance cost of the change to speed up the process when it occurs. Such changes are effected only slightly slower than if you were there personally to make them.
A Shadows of Destiny actively (if weakly) resists alterations from unfriendly Pattern or Logrus users, causing large delays and forcing the intruders to spend additional Endurance to reinforce the changes. If the Shadow of Destiny is also a Primal Plane, making any undesired changes to it will be an intense fight... and one which the Pattern or Logrus Master could very well lose.


Barriers allow you to protect your Shadow in various ways-- particularly from your own siblings. It is possible to alter the nature of the barriers on your Shadow during play (and without Control of Contents), but doing so takes time, Endurance, and your presence in the Shadow.
Higher levels of protection include the lower levels if you desire them; if you pay for Guardians you can also define Access Restrictions and Communications Barriers for free.

Communication Barrier (1 pt)

Communication Barriers prevent communication and information-gathering across the border of the Shadow. You can select any or all of Trump, Pattern, and Logrus; and for each type you can define whether you want to block incoming, outgoing, or both. Barriers cover the whole Shadow and affect you just as much as anyone else, so choose carefully. Blocked calls simply do not connect; attempts to use Logrus tendrils, Pattern Lenses, or other remote spying methods only reveal an impenetrable haze within the Shadow.
Communication Barriers do not prevent travel access to the Shadow in any way, shape, or form. You can location Trump, Hellride, Patternport, or Logrus transit your way to a Shadow with Communication Barriers just fine with an expenditure of an extra Endurance-- you just can't see what you're getting into. This still effectively blocks Trumps to people, in a way that cannot be broken without Pattern or Logrus or the owner of the Shadow changing the barrier.
Changing the Communication Barriers on your Shadow costs no Endurance and takes a short action.
Restricted Access (2 pts)
Restricted Access allows you to control the entry and exit points for your Shadow. You cannot completely sever the Shadow from all surrounding worlds; there must be at least one path available in and out. But you get to define the paths, including both the circumstances from which a person leaves for your Shadow and in which they arrive. As with Communications Barriers, whatever restrictions exist apply to you as well as anyone else trying to make the crossing. It is not possible to restrict a Shadow with this Quality against specific persons, although Guardians can certainly be warned against certain intruders.
There is an infinite variety of possible restrictions based on Power, location, and circumstance. Some examples:
  • To get to Fiona's Shadow you must have the key to a particular door in the basement of one particular library in Zurich on Shadow Earth. Exiting her Shadow requires another key in a different door, which leads to the Phoenix Gates in Shadow Ambrolam.
  • Brand's Shadow is only accessible by Trumps of a particular cathedral within it, but can be exited by any Trump.
  • Deidre wants her Shadow to be accessible from any great chasm via a narrow and windblown path leading down to a cave. Inside the cave is a diamond gargoyle who only lets you pass if you speak the password. People leaving the Shadow must take the same path in reverse, although it doesn't always lead to the same chasm.
  • Caine's Shadow is only accessible by Hellriding through a specific series of circumstances: a circus, a rain of blood, and a crowded shopping mall (in that order). Entrants of exactly his height find themselves in a luxurious palace; all other entrants find themselves locked in a dungeon. All methods of exit work as long as the traveler shouts "Caine is great!" at the top of their lungs.
  • Mandor's Shadow is not nice to wimpy Sorcerers, and if they wish to exit the Shadow through Journey they must first be holding a large boulder with only one hand. When they enter the Shadow with Journey, Mandor has them conveniently dropped off at the bottom of a continuos avalanche of boulders. All they have to do is catch one to leave at their leisure.
As mentioned above, Shadows must be Primal Planes to have a class of access points rather than a set of specific ones-- Deidre's Shadow must be a Primal Plane. If Caine's Shadow is restricted to a particular circus, rain, and shopping mall it does not need to be Primal; if Hellriding through any circus, rain, and mall will get you there, it must be Primal.
It is not possible to block a Shadow entirely from any of the Great Powers; you can only redirect them to the beginning of one of your paths. Said path can however be ridiculously dangerous and complicated, and merely arriving does not give the traveler any insight into how it works. Using the examples above, someone attempting to access those Shadows would end up in the library basement for Fiona, the top of any chasm for Deidre, and a circus in Shadow for Caine. If the entry point to the path isn't obvious, as in Brand's Shadow, then the Powers approximate it as best they can. Attempts to break into his Shadow would arrive at cathedrals in Shadow practically identical to the one in Brand's, while trying to break out of Brand's Shadow would keep taking you to the location of physical Trumps within it.
Entrances to paths can be deciphered given time and luck. Pattern lenses and Logrus tendrils can analyze the location to try and determine how exactly it is linked to the destination. Trump Artists with Extrapolate may iteratively re-sketch their Trumps into the Shadow to try and adjust for the interference, although this method does run the risk of Trumping the Artist somewhere unpleasant. Stuff is almost always a factor in attempting to break through an Access Restriction, and a character with sufficient Good Stuff may be able to deduce the nature of the path without any advanced Powers at all.
Changing the Access Restrictions on your Shadow costs 1 Endurance and takes a single delay. You may also change Communications Barriers during this process without paying any additional fee. You cannot change your Shadow to have a path to another player's Personal Shadow without their permission or use of Shadow Manipulation.

Guardians (4 pts)

Restricted Access and Communications Barriers are passive defenses; Guardians allows you to define some force which actively polices your borders. They are totally loyal to you and follow your commands without question. They can be singular or many; biological, mechanical, or magical. And when they fall they are automatically replaced.
Guardians are explicitly designed to make trouble for Amberites. As such, they operate as if they are at least Amber ranked in appropriate Attributes and are intelligent enough to improvise without your direct involvement. They can also have weird powers and abilities, including limited reflections of your own Powers. In general the fewer Guardians you have the more powerful they are; if your Shadow has a single Guardian, that entity is going to be far stronger than most Amberites in some respects. On the other hand, with one Guardian your Shadow becomes vulnerable to multiple intruders.
Pattern and Logrus Masters have an extremely difficult time altering or unmaking Guardians even in Shadows with low Primality ratings, and the Guardians will reset to their natural state within minutes without continuing intervention from the Pattern or Logrus Master. The speed of this process is slightly affected by the degree of changes made, but heavily affected by the Primality of the Shadow. Guardians of a Primal Plane can be utterly destroyed and reconstitute themselves in the blink of an eye if they are not being actively suppressed.
Giving new orders to your Guardians is free and can be done remotely. Changing the nature of your Guardians requires your physical presence, costs 2 Endurance and two delays. You may also change Communications Barriers and Access Restrictions during this process without paying any additional fee.

Shadow Manipulation

Altering Shadows without ownership can be accomplished by the Lesser and Greater Shadow Manipulation powers in Pattern and Logrus. The base cost of any Shadow Manipulation is the Primality of the Shadow in question. Primality of the Shadow also affects how long any changes take and last.
If a player is using Shadow Manipulation to alter their own Personal Shadow (One they bought with points before the Throne War) they ignore the Primality and use the "Your Shadow" row below. Primal Planes that you don't personally own may only be modified by Greater Shadow Manipulation.
Base Cost
Action Time
Random Shadow
Your Shadow (any primality)
Personal Shadow
1 delay
Entire Throne War
Shadow of the Realm
1 delay
1 play block
Primal Plane
2 delays
1 scene
Changes made via Shadow Manipulation fall into the same broad categories as the Personal Shadow rules above. Different types of changes can apply additional time and Endurance surcharges to the alterations. Changes to Destiny or Guardians requires Greater Shadow Manipulation unless you own the Shadow and it has those qualities.
Action Modifier
Cost Modifier
Control of Contents
Control of Natural Laws
Shadow of Destiny
+1 delay
Communication Barrier
Restricted Access
+1 delay
Total cost and time for any change can be figured out by adding the two charts. This does not include any additional fees for keeping the Pattern or Logrus up while the change is happening. Note that it is significantly faster to edit your own Shadow with Shadow Manipulation than it is to do so without using a Power. Multiple Masters and/or Initiates may participate in the same Shadow Manipulation as long as they have their sigils up-- otherwise they cannot perceive precisely what each other are doing and tend to overwrite their partners' work. Sharing duties can reduce the time required, and the cost of the Shadow Manipulation can be split between participants however they see fit as long as each pays at least one Endurance. To reduce the time taken, extra Endurance can be spent as normal.
Be aware that attempting to edit Shadows with higher-level Qualities may result in conflict between you and the shadow itself, as described in the sections above. The owner can actively defend against any changes with just their Psyche rank, but doing so grants the Shadow Manipulator Advantage.

Breaking and Entering

It is possible to "break the door down" of a Shadow with Barriers using Shadow Manipulation rather than trying to analyze and work within the "door." Doing so can be accomplished from either inside the Shadow itself or from any Shadow Paths leading into it, and can be done either in person or remotely via Pattern Lens and Logrus Spying. The nature of the Barriers may render some of these combinations impractical; a Shadow with a Communications Barrier to Pattern cannot be hacked from inside by a intruding Lens, but must be approached from a path. "Breaking the door down" otherwise follows the time and cost chart above.

Adding Qualities

It is possible to adjust the Qualities of a Shadow even if the owner does not possess them, up to a point: you can throw a Communications Barrier onto a Shadow that does not naturally have one, or change the timeflow of an otherwise static Shadow. Doing this follows the chart above. However, Destiny and Guardians cannot be added to Shadows that do not possess them even with Greater Shadow Manipulation.

Destroying a Shadow
Instead of changing a Shadow, an Initiate or Master can choose to destroy it utterly. This is possible even for Primal Planes, and the Shadow will remain destroyed for the remainder of the Throne War barring player intervention.
Destroying a Shadow takes at least two delays for 1st rank Pattern or Logrus and costs triple the Primality of the Shadow plus the value of any Barriers or Control in Endurance. Random shadows with no pointed qualities cost 2 Endurance to destroy. If the Manipulator is destroying the Shadow remotely, they must pay to keep their sigil up as usual. Amber and the central Courts of Chaos are immune to destruction, even with the Pattern in Amber ability.
Destroying Shadows always runs the risk of creating Shadow Storms which can reach out to nearby Shadows as well. Destroyed Shadows cannot be reassembled by anyone other than their owner. Doing so requires their physical presence in the fragments of the Shadow. The base time required is 3 delays; this is reduced by one delay for every 4-pt Quality the Shadow possessed, to a minimum of a short action. The process requires an Endurance expenditure equal to half the Shadow's value in points, rounded up.