Nine Princes in Juniper

"Nine princes of Chaos, all torn asunder;
Six princesses of Chaos, where do they wander?
Fly falcon, stout hart, and unicorn brave;
Between the Shadows, to escape your grave."
-Freda, citing an old nursery rhyme

"Look There's one more thing I should tell you about your family. We're all on our best behavior now, with war coming. But it won't last. It never does. You'll (sic) going to have to choose sides, and choose soon."


This game, as you've likely deduced, is set in the world described by John Gregory Betancourt in his apocryphal prequel, The Dawn of Amber. More specifically it is centered around Dworkin's Shadow of Juniper where he has gathered together all of his children.

Someone from the Courts of Chaos wants Dworkin and all his family dead. Dworkin's sons Mattus, Alanar and Taine are already missing and presumed dead. The theories vary as to why someone would want to kill Dworkin's line. Some suspect it's because of the curse on his bloodline. When he walked the Logrus the experience nearly killed him. During his illness he had visions of another sigil of power, one similar yet different from the Logrus. He talked about it heavily shortly thereafter and it may be that some may not like his ideas regarding other powers besides the Logrus.

There's also the fact that Dworkin abandoned his wife Valeria, a member of a powerful House of Chaos, and took his son Locke with him. There's the fact that he seduced the youngest daughter of King Uthor of Chaos, and got her with child before scampering off into Shadow. There are the 10,000 year-long blood feuds between families and any of the scads of other enemies that Dworkin has. All could be possible sources of enemies.

Dworkin has commissioned his sons Locke and Davin with the recruitment of an army to protect the remainder of his family and has since disappeared off into Shadow to gather up his remaining children that he hasn't bothered telling anyone about. He's been gone nearly a month Juniper time, tensions are running high, and a traitor is believed to be in the midst of Dworkin's children.


"It is nothing like the Courts of Chaos, but for a Shadow, it is really quite lovely. Or used to be."

"No, Juniper is about as far from the Courts of Chaos as you can get."


"Freda scooped up her deck of Trumps and sorted through them, finally pulling out a card that showed a sleepy, moss-draped castle atop a distant hill. She passed the card across to me In front of the hill sat a small, peaceful looking village, with perhaps seventy or so brick-and-mortar buildings with yellow-thatched roofs. Before and beyond stretched verdant acres of farmland and rich pastures, dotted with houses and barns, small ponds and even a broad blue stream."

Juniper is Dworkin's personal Shadow. It is a pastoral place turned ugly by the encamped tens-of-thousands of soldiers stationed about its countryside. Dworkin's home is a castle in the center that small kingdom. It is large and labyrinthine, with one secret door in all its expanse. Unfortunately, the servants commonly use this "secret" door. By virtue of such things as a blue sky, a sun that rises and sets and consistent laws of gravity, Juniper is well removed from The Courts.

The Courts of Chaos

The Courts are much as they appear in the Merlin series, except none of the well-known personalities are there. Uthor, not Swayville, is king. The Houses of Hendrake, Helgram Sawall and such are all in existence but have none of the usually recognizable characters. This even predates the old Rim-Duke Gramble Sawall.

Some Notes on Cosmology

This game follows the cosmology of Dawn of Amber, which is subtly different from what those used to the canon are used to. Plus, I follow different approaches to attributes than are standard in ADRPG. The following things are of note:
  • Shadow, despite the lack of a Pattern, is much like Shadow encountered in the books. In fact, you can pretty much do many of the same Shadow-manipulation stuff with Logrus that you can do with Pattern.
  • You can still, however, summon items with Logrus tendrils. However, they don't appear to ever be used in a combat sense.
  • Shapeshifting, while it does exist, is not the swanky, every-Chaosian-possesses-it ability that you see in the Zelazny books. While there is some variation in appearance that allows some to look like snake men and such, Chaosians are not, by default, shapeshifters. In fact, most of Dworkin's brood appears completely ignorant of the possibility.
  • Since shapeshifting is not well known, it can be inferred that it is not required for walking the Logrus.
  • While the four attributes are still the same, there is one attribute that I'm dealing with differently from textbook: Psyche. I am absolutely deleting any of ADRPG's notions about psychic contact and mental manipulation/domination. Psyche provides characters instead with the following:
    • Empathy, the ability to read body language, and manipulate people's emotions.
    • Charisma, social talent and grace.
    • Subtlety. Warfare is good for stabbing people from in front, Psyche is good for stabbing people in the back.
    • Power Battery. This is the only thing from ADRPG that survives.


"It was a stranger, a thin little man of perhaps forty with long black hair tied behind his head and a sharp gleam in his eye ... I towered a good head and a half over him, but that didn't matter. He had a powerful presence ... the sort of man you instinctively looked at whenever he entered a room, or listened to whenever he spoke. He was clean-shaven, dressed in red-and-gold silks with a strange rampant-lion stitched in gold and silver thread on the blouse, and I caught the scents of dressing powder and lavender."
A master swordsman, a mystic, a sorcerer and a visionary. There's a lot going on in Dworkin's head that few know but many suspect. He holds a lot of secrets and doles them out only carefully. He's also good at beating each of his children at their own games.

The Curse on Dworkin's Line

Dworkin apparently is not a good match for the Logrus. He claims because there exists a "distorted Logrus" in his composition that means he's a bit of a square peg facing the round hole of Logrus. All of his children, with the exception of Locke, have this same problem to some degree. The Curse killed Dworkin's brother, Darr, and has nearly killed those of his children who have assayed the Logrus.

From a mechanistic point of view, most of Dworkin's children are slightly less adept with Logrus compared to other Chaosians of similar experience.

Player Characters

Below are the six characters selected to be player characters. They were chosen based off of a mixture of prominence in the book and needs for diversity.


"Locke was a disagreeable-looking, puffed-up man on one of the other Trumps I had drawn."

"Locke, of course, tall and stout, with a full black beard and a brooding expression."


"...he grew up in the Courts, where fighting and treachery are a way of life. His rivals never lasted long."


"He has been playing general long enough, he is bound to be good at it."

The eldest son of Prince Dworkin, from his marriage to the Lady Valeria of Chaos. He is entirely devoid of the curse that other members of Dworkin's line carry. He has been named commander of Dworkin's armies and has been preparing the forces for war.

Known Abilities: Highest Warfare. Non-cursed Logrus.


"My fellow passenger was strikingly beautiful, I found, with long dark hair and a wide, almost familiar face. Thin nose, full lips, strong chin— ... She was dressed in a gold-and-red silk dress, with a round red hat perched atop her head. Heavy gold rings set with large diamonds and larger rubies, if I was any judge, covered her slender fingers."
Freda, for lack of a better term, is the family fortune-teller. While lacking Aber's ability at creating Trumps, she has instead focused on their use. It is known that she is closely allied with Aber and her full-sister Pella.

Known Abilities: Highest Psyche, some Trump-related abilities.


"That left Isadora and Syara, as alike as two peas in a pod: reddish hair, pale complexions, broad cheeks and eyes, and the slender figures of goddesses."

"The boors stick together. Yes. Lock and Davin—and also Fenn and Isadora, the warrior-bitch from hell."

Isadora, contrasting sharply from her sisters, has chosen to study combat instead of etiquette and manners. Though close to her full sister, she has largely thrown her lot in with the other militant types: Locke, Davin and Fenn.

Known Stats: High Warfare


"She wore a low-cut gown of shimmering white, showing off ample cleavage. She was younger, a tad shorter, and far more attractive than either Pella or Freda. She wore her dark brown hair up, and makeup accentuated her high cheekbones, pale complexion, and perfect white teeth. She was beautiful and she knew it."

"...Blaise is the true master when it comes to intrigue. Nothing happens in Juniper without her hearing about it Don't let her fool you She's got a regular network of spies. Half the staff is in her pay. [The other half is s]leeping with her."

The de facto spy-mistress of Juniper, Blaise and her sisters Syarra and Leona have spent their time in Juniper building up their power base among the soldiers and castle staff.

Known Stats: High Psyche, significant number of allies and spies.


"Titus and Conner, clearly identical twins, both as short as our father and both with his eyes and wary expressions."
Though not exactly adept with the sword, both the twins are well known for their physical strength and brawling techniques. While Titus is more the pugilist, Conner is a wrestler to his core.

Known Stats: Highest Strength


"He was ruggedly handsome—at least as portrayed on the card—and he dressed all in deep reds, from his leggings to his tunic, from his gloves to his long flowing cape. It was hard to tell, but I thought we looked about the same age. He had short brown hair, a close-cropped brown beard, and steady gray-green eyes. In his portrait he struck a valiant pose, but instead of a sword, he held a long paint brush."

"Aber made these cards for me. Everyone knows he's a bit of a prankster."

The youngest of Dworkin's children in Juniper, he is also the most traveled and the most artistically bent. Dworkin has not drawn Trumps in year, so Aber has become the default family Trump artist.

Known Stats: High Psyche, Trump Artistry

Other Characters

Other Children of Dworkin in Juniper:

Pella: Freda's full sister.
Syarra: Isadora's full sister.
Leona: Blaise's full sister.
Davin: Locke's second-in-command.
Fenn: A militant ally of Locke's.

Other Notable Characters from the Book:

Anari: Chief of the Domestics.
Ivinius: The barber.
d'Darjan: A captain in Locke's army.
Master Berushk: The castle's weapons master.

As the curtain opens...

Dworkin has left Juniper to try and seek out other missing children that he's stashed out in Shadow. It has been nearly a month since he left, and suspicions are growing stronger whether he'll ever return. Toss in the fact that one of the siblings is a spy for Dworkin's enemies, and it could turn ugly any day now.