All Roads Lead to Amber
For the uninitiated, Trumps are only ever, at best, a means of easy communication and transportation. In the hands of a Trump artist, however, they can become so much more. An art more ancient than both Pattern and Logrus, some sages have even speculated that it is the root from which both of the other Powers draw their ability to differentiate themselves, while others claim Trump to simply be the power of Shadow itself, defining all that is by its simple existence. Even the greatest masters of Trump might not even know the truth to the questions of Trump, but they do know the intricacy of its uses. Learning Trump requires at least an Amber level Psyche, and a means of visual artistic expression. Trump is as much an art form as it is a Power, and all Trump artists are as unique as their style.
- Tier 1: Trump Sketch
You have begun the path of the Trump artist, and have developed the slightest knack of ability. As with all initial level of Trumps, you must take a psychic impression of a person or place before you begin creating a Trump. Once you have done that, you may begin the process of drawing the Trump. At this level, your skills can only create a one use Trump, known as a Trump sketch. The power fades from it nearly instantly after use, and unlike most Trumps, it is not indestructible. Additionally, you can sense Trump calls in your vicinity, whether it is the person calling or being called. Finally, you can identify a Trump simply by looking at it, as well as identify the style if you have seen the artist’s work before. More information than that, however, is not possible at this level.
- Tier 2: Trump Artist
You have practiced and practiced the art of drawing Trumps, and have finally developed the ability to create permanent, reusable Trumps of your own. Your own style has matured, and is now identifiable by other artists. As with a Trump sketch, you must still study your subject extensively, taking a psychic impression of them. The process of creating a Trump requires hours of work, though characters with greater proficiency of Trump and higher Psyche can complete a Trump quicker than others. Once you have created a Trump of the subject, though, the Trump is indestructible and can be used by anyone. Additionally, you have mastered the trick of identifying incoming Trump calls, provided you possess a Trump of the person calling you. You run your fingers over your Trumps, until you feel a slight tingle from the card of the person calling you. You may then choose whether or not to answer.
- Tier 3: Trump Adept
With time and practice comes skill, and your artistry has matured into true power by this point. You have begun to understand that Trumps are more than merely an image of a person or a place, but are a defining factor of the universe itself. It is a legitimate philosophic question as to whether anything that is not observed even exists, beyond Amber itself. You have answered the question by creating a permanent observation, a definition of what that person or place is. This sense of definition can be a source of strength. By touching a Trump of yourself and focusing upon, a Trump adept can call upon that sense of definition to grant themselves immunity to nearly all mental and physical influences. Like using the Sign of the Pattern for defense, this requires the entirety of the adept’s attention to maintain. While it is maintained, however, they are virtually invulnerable. As an added benefit of this level of proficiency, no Trump you have created ever truly leaves your mind. You can recreate any Trump you have ever drawn, from memory, provided you have the proper materials to do so. Doing so requires twice as much time as the original Trump, though the product is a true Trump and is as indestructible as any Trump.
- Tier 4: Trump Master
You have mastered the art of creating Trumps, and your artistic skill is the envy of all of Shadow. At this level of proficiency, you need not even take a psychic impression of a subject before creating a Trump of it. You can create Trumps of anything you desire, though a detailed description at very least is needed for specific persons and locations in Shadow, such as Amber or its denizens. With as many Shadows of Amber that exist, it is hard to get the precision necessary for it. You have also mastered the art of spying upon Trump conversations, a useful tactic when combined with sensing Trump, and identifying the caller. You must hold the card of the speaker you are eavesdropping on, and focus. You’ll be able to hear both sides of the conversation, though someone with a significant Psyche advantage may be able to sense someone is listening in.
- Tier 5: Trump Savant
With insight and cunning, you have brought your mastery of Trump beyond that of simple artistry. You have reached beyond the image, and straight into the Power behind it, and possibly behind all of Shadow itself. As such, you have discovered the ability to create false Trumps, known as Trump traps. Such traps may appear as a Trump of anything, with no actual connection to what or where the Trump is actually connected to. In addition, you may create Trumps capable of being activated by merely touching or close inspection, whether the person intended to activate it or not. Additionally, you are capable of using a Trump in order to create a gateway from one part of Shadow to another. To do this, you must possess a Trump of the location you are opening a gate to, and you can only do this with a Trump of a location. Focusing your Psyche, you establish a contact, and then extend that contact into the air surrounding you. You create a gateway from the spot you are standing to the location of the Trump image. Doing this is extremely draining, however, and nearly as dangerous as teleporting via a Pattern lens.