The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a group of Shadows connected to Amber and each other by a series of Shadow Paths. It was established early in the development of the Kingdom of Amber and formally constituted as a political alliance among it's sovereign members around one hundred years after the founding of Amber.
The Golden Circle is linked primarily by Sea Paths, the only land routes being from Kashfa to Abbasidia and Cabra to Greenhouse. Normally passage of a Sea Path takes about 7 days for a medium ship with reasonable crew and navigator. 4 days would be regarded as a prodigious feat of sailing, Pattern Users would expect to do it in 2. Land paths take about 14 days for a caravan, largish marching formation or wandering pilgrim. Express messengers could do it in about 5 days, Pattern Users in 3.
Since the end of the Patternfall War, shortly after the Elders left for the final Battle with Chaos, the Shadow Paths have been closed, meaning that only those of Royal Blood can move between the Golden Circle Shadows.
Unlike the majority of Shadow the Golden Circle exists as a set of distinct and separate places, with nothing in between them except the Shadow Paths. Even those capable of cross Shadow movement will find themselves restricted to the known Paths and Shadows.
Travel between the 3 major Patterns is still possible without Pattern Imprint. The routes to Corwengia can be sailed in one week or marched in two. Rebma's above sea level entrance, about half a weeks sail from Amber, is now on a smallish island, that is being rapidly developed with the addition of docks, a light house and customs and defensive buildings.
Agenton, Corwin's capital, is about 3 days sail up river from the sea. The newly renamed town of Kingsport at the mouth of the river is undergoing a considerable upgrade in it's docking and other facilities. These links appear to be stable and safe, although they haven't been well charted as yet and could still pose problems for those unfamiliar with them.
Travel from Amber to Cabra via the sea path past the Lighthouse is still possible. Travel on the two land paths Cabra to Greenhouse and Kashfa to Abbasidia is still possible.
In addition to the Shadows of the Golden Circle there are Shadow Paths to a number of Outer Shadows that are lesser trading partners or just areas containing some sort of interesting resources. These Paths too have failed and little has been done to maintain contact or trade with the Outer Shadows.
Outside the Golden Circle, about at the point where the Outer Shadows exist, the smoother flow of contiguous Shadow starts and freer Shadow Travel becomes possible. Shadow outside the GC zone is more mixed up than it use to be, but there are still basic axes of classification that run across it. North tends to be higher magic and South higher technology. East tends to be modern eras and West more ancient ones. Note these directions are named on a purely arbitrary basis and are unlikely to confirm to their counterparts inside any particular Shadow.
Shadows real enough to have names and be destinations that can be travelled to will tend to be surrounded by about a zone of similar and lesser Shadows which can be quickly crossed. The distribution of these major Shadows is not as uniform as it previously was, there are gaps and voids, and major Shadows next to each other are not always all that similar.
Golden Circle – Players Gazette first draft.
These are being developed as we go along, please ask questions, they will prompt me to make sure I have the answers when your characters are in a position to discover them.
North Golden Circle.
Begma, Kashfa, Eregnor. Three sovereign nations on a single landmass all in one Shadow. Sea Paths from the sea near Begma to Amber, Darkhold and Genesh. Land Shadow path from Kashfa to Abbasidia.
Begma in the north is an advanced and stable feudal kingdom with some independent cities, size and climate like France. Magic is taught in medieval style universities, along with other subjects. Power is divided between the Monarch and the nobles, generally in proportion to the competence of the Monarch.
Kasfha in the south is similar to Moorish Spain. Once a more European style feudal culture similar to Begma but conquered by adventurers from a neighbouring Shadow around the time of contact with Amber. Centres of learning teach wide range of subjects, including magic. Caliphs and Emirs of Kashfa have familial and traditional ties to noble families in Abbasidia, but are independent.
Eregnor land locked in between the two larger kingdoms is a region of fertile mountains with magic nodes (9), geographically much like Switzerland. Magic jealously guarded by nobility and taught only to 3rd or 4th children and mostly sons. Noble families and the general population have ties to both Kashfa and Eregnor, but are also fiercely proud of their independence. Exports - minerals (Eregnor); fruit, spices, artworks (Kashfa); wine, some agricultural produce (Begma).
Genesh – an occupied zone. Once a great matriarchal power it was smashed in retaliation for failure to capitulate to Amber and then resettled by Amber for security purposes. Resettled with land holdings given to Amber nobility as livestock exporting Shadow. The Order of Knight Wardens of the Moon Temple set up to guard and protect remaining dangerous Moon Rider sites. Sea Shadow paths to Begma and Abbasidia. Exports - land livestock for food, fibre and cloth.
Darkhold - Sovereign Germanic Feudal Kingdom. The Emperor is overlord, elected for life by Princes and Dukes, but must be ratified by Amber. Nobles are very independent and fractious. Power is there to be grabbed, secular, material, spiritual or mystical. Magic is despised and desired, witches burnt and sought for spells, curses and talismans. Sea Shadow path to Begma. Exports - timber, minerals.
Abbasidia - Sovereign fantastic Islam style Shadow, legendary Baghdad, Ali Barbar, Sinbad the Sailor et al. Spices and jewels and high quality artistic works, a slightly higher technology level than the rest of the Golden Circle. Well developed magic system passed on by apprenticeship structure. Some Dervishes and Wise Women have odd magical abilities. Also magical creatures; Sphinxes, Djinns, etc. Has a Land Shadow path to Kashfa and a Sea Shadow Path to Genesh. The Grand Sultan of Baghdad can order the obedience of all Caliphs, Emirs, Sultans, other nobles and members of the Faithful, but generally regional rulers are left to themselves.
South Golden Circle.
Cabra - a feudal holding of Amber, linked to Amber via the Lighthouse Sea Shadow Path. Ruled by Nobles under a Regent appointed by Amber it was developed as a place to settle an expanding nobility and to gather resources to build Amber's Navy and as a bridgehead for take over of, ahem, contact with, other South Golden Circle Shadows. Norman England with Greek Orthodox style Unicorn Church. About the size of Sri Lanka. Temperate climate, very fertile. Functionally if not excitingly self sufficient. Sea Shadow paths to Amber, Valesante and Katanga. Exports - timber and ships, spices.
Valesante – Sovereign Monarchy with powerful nobles, sort of Romanised Celtic Britain. Sea Shadow paths to Weirheim and Cabra. Exports - grain of all types and secondary products.
Weirheim - once home to a great kingdom. Weirmonken (shapeshifting martial artist soldier priests) fought with Amber and lost, suffering the usual penalty. Now the population is broken up into small villages and confined to specified areas. Rule is by a Governor directly appointed by Amber. All positions of power are held by foreigners, but not all by Amberites. Also all previous religion and culture is outlawed on pain of death, in practise only cultural events officiated at by priests and the practise of martial arts is punished. Sea Shadow path to Valesante. Exports - minerals, some livestock and agricultural produce.
Katanga – very large rich and varied continent, explored and charted coast and mysterious interior, resource rich, much untamed magic and powerful spirits. Two Amberite colonies, in the Riverina and the Cape. Riverina is a large river valley with many magnificent and mysterious ruins in the north of the continent. Cape is a fertile area on the southern tip of the continent. Other areas are the homes of tribes and a few more organised native political units (Sheba, kwa Zulu, Masai, Berbers) of African and Moorish styles. Has Sea Shadow paths to Cabra and Greenhouse (both near Riverina colony). Exports - lots; livestock, minerals, spices, agricultural produce.
Greenhouse - home of great gardeners and agriculturalists. Sovereign government is based on regional growers cooperatives (Land Councils) who send representatives to elect a Grand Land Council. Grand Council has powers restricted by tradition. Has a Land Shadow path to Cabra and a Sea Shadow path to Katanga (Riverina). Exports – agricultural produce of all types.
On to Recent History.
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