Nine Princes in Electrum

v. 1.0

...He sucked in a deep breath and heaved himself into a sitting position, eyes rolling wildly.

"Acquit yourself as well as I have-bastard!" he said, then fell into my arms and heaved out his final, bloody breath as his daemon beside him faded from view.

-The Guns of Arcadia

What This Is

This is a variant Amber setting inspired by Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. One of the worlds portrayed in his books is a steampunk-ish setting, in which zeppelins are the only form of air transportation, but yet electricity and nuclear power are actively utilized, and the Church's experimental theologians research all science. One of the most glaring differences between this world and our world is the fact that a portion of each person's spirit is physically manifested in what is called a "daemon". It is an animal representation of that person's personality, and is tied to that person more deeply than anything else.

In this other world, etymology takes a bit of a flip in places. The word "amber" in our world comes from the Arabic word, "anbar." In Latin the word for amber is "electrum," likely related to the Greek "electron." It was apparently discovered in ancient Greece that if you rub wool against amber, you generate static electricity. This is where we get the word "electricity" from. In this other world, electricity is referred to as "anbaric power".


Nine Princes in Electrum is set at the beginning of what would normally be The Hand of Oberon (here re-titled The Hand of Auberon). Demonic forces are attacking the city, Corwin escaped from his cell, fled to a shadow he spent a good deal of time in, fought off demonic forces in shadow, collected a mysterious substance to fuel his weapons, and returned to the One True City in order to take it from Eric. Instead he ended up rescuing it.


All characters are pregenerated. Players will have the option of tailoring the personality to suit their tastes, and as such will be able to define the appearance of their daemon. The characters available are:


Caine, Eric, Bleys, Osric and Finndo are dead. Brand, Martin and Auberon are missing and presumed dead. No one has ever heard of Merlin, Delwin, or Sand.


Your daemon is a physical manifestation of an aspect of your soul that takes the form of an animal. This animal is supposed to be a symbolic representation of your personality. You may not be happy with this representation, but this just means that you're dissatisfied with yourself.

There are no hard-fast rules for what a person's daemon will look like. In His Dark Materials, the only generalization they make is that servants typically have dogs for daemons. This tended to also include soldiers. Leaders, especially those of strong will, guile and cunning, tended to have felines for daemons, such as leopards or domestic cats. Those of a magical or scholarly bent tended to have birds.

Other daemons included a lizard for a high ranking priest, a butterfly for a reporter, a seagull for a sailor, a dolphin for another sailor, a beetle for an assassin, and a golden monkey for a woman who was very beautiful, but very cruel.

Aside from appearance, there are some general rules which daemons are subject to:

  • Daemons are typically of the opposite gender of their person. There are some people who have daemons of the same gender but they are very rare.
  • Daemons cannot travel a great length from their person. Ten feet is standard, twenty feet is pushing it. If they are forced to travel farther than that, both the daemon and the person usually die.
  • When a person dies, their daemon disappears.
  • It is not only rude, but also uncomfortable, to touch another persons daemon. People may touch people; daemons may touch daemons, but no crossing of these lines. It feels incredibly unnatural to do so. Some people, however, are so warped and twisted that they don't care.
  • Children's daemons can change shape, but around puberty they settle into a single form and stay that way for the rest of their life.
  • For game purposes, if a person goes through a trump, then his daemon also goes through the trump. It makes life easier that way.
  • Also, for game purposes, your daemon has the same statistics and powers that you have.


Electrum is a steampunk version of Amber, and we're not talking in the Wild, Wild West sense of the term. It's a dark and nasty locale with its Victorian ideals slightly caked over by a thin layer of grime from the smog.

In fact, it's just at the end of the its Steam Age. Electricity and fossil fuel is on the rise. Gunpowder is known of but a suitable agent, until Corwin's recent arrival with machine guns, was not known of in Electrum. Steamships ply the shipping lines while zeppelins transport the nobility in style.

Electrum is the principle city in the nation of the same name, and has many colonies and shadows with which it has commerce. Until recently it has been ruled over by King Auberon for time out of mind, but due to treachery in the family he has not been seen for some time and his children squabble over the throne.

The people of Electrum do not age as quickly as those farther removed from the True City, and this is especially true of the royal family. Not only have they all (even young Random) lived for longer than many can remember, but they are possessing of superhuman strength and stamina.

Murtcele (murt-KAY-lay)

Murtcele is the reflection of Electrum beneath the waves. While occasional steam-powered submersibles visit from the worlds above, Murtcele does not embrace its sister city in the pursuit of technology. Instead they work to enhance that which the sea already has to offer. Many genetically conditioned sea creatures serve the city in a number of utilitarian functions.

Among the other striking differences is the fact that the women of Murtcele not only share the Electrumite royal family's longevity, but they also possess strange powers. These powers allow them to perform strange mentalist feats and send their daemons far from their bodies, among other things.

Tir na nÓg

The reflection of Electrum in the sky, this city appears under only under the light of the moon. Visions come to those who visit this strange, dreamy city. The merit of such visions is rather dubious, however.

The Witches of the North

The "witches" are a band of women who share the Murtcelean women's resistance to age and ability to separate themselves from their daemons. Also, they seem resistant to the elements of the arctic north, flying about on cloud pine branches wearing merely scraps of black silk.

The Armored Bears

The panserbjørnen or "armored bears" are essentially sentient polar bears that dwell in the far north. The bears are master metal workers who craft thick and sturdy armor from meteoric iron, hence their name. They are also notoriously mercenary, and will hire their services out en masse to anyone willing to pay their steep price. There is currently a contingent in Electrum, originally hired by Eric to aid in the protection of the city.

The Church of the Unicorn

Unlike in Amber, the Unicorn of Electrum is male, and the church dedicated to Him is a vast and sprawling bureaucracy with no central authority. However, certain factions of the Church have risen in power and seem to be a force to be reckoned with, even for the Royal Family.

The Black Road

The Black Road created by Corwin's curse stretches across shadow, through Arden, and up to the base of Kolvir. Some of the creatures come close to appearing human, with palid skin and bone white hair. Most seem inhuman, like the minions of the Enemy described in the Book of the Unicorn. What's most disturbing about these attackers is that they all have daemons, and their daemons can change shape. Granted, all of the shapes are monstrous and malefic, but it's still disconcerting.


Sorcery in Electrum is more like the sort of power wielded in the Corwin series than it is in the Merlin series. It relies more on manipulation of probability, calling upon the elements, and occasional mental illusions. You cannot throw a fireball, but with time and patience you can summon up a thunder storm and rain lightning down upon opponents. You might even hit. You cannot turn yourself invisible, but you can cloud men's minds into not noticing you. They'll even walk around you without realizing that they are doing it.

More on this will be covered on the character sheets of those who have Sorcery.

Disclaimer: Okay, so I belatedly put this up, and have not put all the information intended on it. If you are playing in this game at ACUS '02, be sure to check back periodically.