Amber Underworld

Amber's underworld is a vast web of gangs, conspiracies, families and interests both foreign and domestic, but for all that, it runs very tidily. It's not generally known that any one person "runs" it all, as it seems to run itself via various factions. This page explains how the prop works, and some of the established families and ways PCs can get involved.

Caine and the Underworld

The Prince's relationship with the criminal powers in Amber is one of deals and, if needed, manipulation. The law of self-interest is strong with the families and groups that make up the Amber underworld, and anything Caine tries to do with them must go up against that force. While he has his hooks and appeals to each of them and holds quite a bit of sway, that influence is in either convincing them to do something or baldly manipulating them into it. He has great resources, being a Prince of Amber, and that factors in greatly, but he holds no fiat with them. Indeed, in most cases it is the Prince finding the coin to pay for what he wants them to do, as few will step out of their way on credit.

While this translates to Caine being able to do quite a bit with the prop as a whole, it comes with a degree of uncertainty. The prop follows its own interests. Sometimes, things don't happen the way Caine ICly wants them to, and sometimes things change as the IC situation does. The prop owner ultimately controls the prop in the interests of broad story richness and not always for Caine's specific goals. Take that as you will.

History of Crime on the Game (OOC Info)

About two years ago in game, Amber City was invaded by the forces of the Black Road, mostly in the form of vicious swarms of bugs that ate everything in their path. These bugs chewed through most of the lower city area, and laid waste to the docks. Everyone in the city, including the criminal families, suffered from the siege, and Caine worked with them to ship food and supplies in through the small port town of Ennisport down the coast; it had intact docks. After the forces of the Road were defeated, the crime families temporarily relocated to Ennisport to direct the rebuilding efforts. They also poured money (mostly via Caine) into taking over and building up Ennisport for their own, including deepening the harbor for larger ships. This put them beyond the reach of Amber's port authority, turning the sleepy little town into a smuggling center for blackmarket trade.

Over the next year and some, Caine helped shadowfind a people who had lost their lands and homes, and brought them to settle the blighted lands around Ennisport. The bargain was a farm and home for every family in exchange for armed defense of Ennisport if needed. It was enthusiastically accepted. After a particularly deft economic trade war involving coins distributed by Bleys and a whole lot of raw gold traded between Amber and the Golden Circle markets, Caine gathered enough funding to bring armies into Amber, again through Ennisport, for the purpose of arming the Wartow and Bregari crime families. Based in Ennisport, the families hold shares of the city, and cycle their forces through Amber City, where the fighters make money for themselves and their employers doing much of the labor jobs. In this way, the Amber underworld has amassed about thirty thousand armed troops in Amber. Adding to that a warning system of cowbells distributed to tithe-paying residents of the City has given the underworld an enormous hidden clout in Amber's affairs.

The power of this hidden-in-plain-sight army came to startling application during a coup against the reigning King Benedict by Corwin, Eric and Deirdre. After shooting Benedict and whisking him away, the three siblings took control of the Palace. Caine, who supported Benedict, called up some of his own forces in addition to some of the Bregari troops and, within 24 hours of the coup, retook the palace with 12,000 strong and kicked his brothers and sister out in a counter-coup that largely went uncontested. They occupied the palace for three weeks, and finally left, taking much of the silverware with them. Since then, a sizable number of Bregari have seen that as a sign of their power and pushed for taking more of a direct hand in political affairs, leading to a rogue element within the Bregari clan. This brings us to the current fight/plot: annihilating the rogue Bregari.

The Crime Families

While there are many groups with their own slice of the big pie that is all things illicit in Amber, a few organizations hold and influence the lion's share of business and dealings. Most of the minor groups hold some kind of allegiance to one of these three, whether they know it or not, and to oppose some sort of respect and tithe to them is to invite being thrown under the proverbial bus by someone more powerful than you. Each has their turf, each has their quirk, but none of them can be ignored. New criminal groups are encouraged, though if you're planning on getting involved in crime in Amber, know that there is a played and established IC situation that needs to be taken into account. This page is to help new players interested in crime get acquainted. Any link of Caine to any of this, unless mentioned specifically in some IC source, is unknown.

The Wartow Family

One of the oldest in the business, the Wartows are very old school organized crime. Like the Italian Mafia of Earth, they have their own code of honor that revolves around the Family and loyalty to that family. Outsiders are tolerated, but never reach the inside circle, and betrayal is dealt with very harshly in nearly ritualized punishments, usually made public. It is common for the families of the guilty to be included in the dragnet, until the message is clear: betray Wartow at your peril.

Josef Wartow is the head of the family. An elderly man with a dry sense of humor, Josef is as shrewd as they come. He is known to be kind and attentive, generous in reward and swift with punishment. Rumors about a Feldane link in the Wartow genetic past have grown louder with Josef, as they say he shows some of that Great House in his face. He has never known to display any other of the Feldane characteristics. His eldest son, Marino, is a spitting image, and takes an active part in his father's business.

Wartow is known to hold turf in the smuggling trade in Amber, as well as the seas, and seems to have the most business contacts in the Golden Circle of the other groups. They specialize in mercenaries, mostly out of their smuggling, property and non-slave prostitution. He also has a 40% stake in Ennisport, with the most troops available to him.

Recent history: It's rumored that Josef is on good terms with Prince Benedict, that he thinks very little of Bleys, and that he had a hand in the counter-coup against the palace.

Character hooks: mafioso, minor members of the Wartow family. Think Mario Puzo. Rebels alright. Outsiders not related to the Wartow family by blood or marriage will be less trusted. Applications for PCs to take on Josef or Marino welcome; send to Caine in +mail.

Wartow Characters



There is less known about Bregari, though their stamp on the underworld is much darker and filled with swift violence. Known to be an organization held together more with codes of silence and secrecy, Bregari are the assassins and silent killers. Their skill lies more in combat arts and sneakiness, and they care little for the Wartow brand of family loyalty. Their members are heavily vetted, going through quests and tests of skill and strength, reliability and a sort of loyalty only found in cults. Rumors abound in the criminal circles about Bregari; many say they worship dark gods of old, that their origins lie in the ninja of Penglai or the savage of Cibola. They are a little of all of these.

The current leader is a man named Khayal Bregari, about whom there is little known; it's common for the leader and trusted advisers on an inner council to take on the name Bregari without having blood ties to the name. The original Bregari is shrouded in mystery and legend, some thousand years ago. Since then, the leaders are always picked by contest leading to a mortal wound, and the weaker almost always dies in the ritualized fight. The exact workings of the challenge are, as anything Bregari, kept out of the common knowledge.

The Bregari control the much darker side of crime in Amber. They control much of the slavery into Amber and have contacts in Cibola, where Wartow will not tread. They also have a heavy hand in the drug trade, forced prostitution, and the hard vices. Weapons have recently become a business, where they trade with limited Golden Circle contacts and, really, anyone they can make a deal with. They are second only to Yyevs in the variety of smaller groups they will do business with; if you deal in the uglier side of the underworld, you might find an ally with Bregari. On top of their businesses, they hold a 30% stake in Ennisport, and are known to control most of the criminally-controlled armed forces in Amber. That they are less afraid to get involved in politics has many in the underworld very worried.

Recent History: While Wartow is merely rumored to have had a hand in the counter-coup, Bregari makes no secret that it was their troops that took and held the palace, and that they have more than they showed. They have also taken up the role of ad hoc courts of justice, called the Kangaroo Court, hearing cases where the Crown of Amber will not or cannot, and, of course, killing off legitimate magistrates to discourage legal competition into this business. They also have a major problem with a sizable rogue group wanting a much larger portion of power in the city than is wise.

Character Hooks: Assassins, tough guys, ninja types, people who are sharp and not afraid to use a blade. Vicious criminal types welcome. Political links, business agreements, alliances also very welcome.

Bregari Characters:

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