"Pressure Which Refines" Characters

Many of the characters from the Merlin Series that appeared in Relative Difficulties are present in this list as well, as are those unique to Relative Difficulties. This is due to Pressure Which Refines being a "parallel universe sequel" to Relative Difficulties; many of the characters and situations from that game may have occurred in the past of Pressure Which Refines, and thus so may the characters involved in them. It is unknown which actually do and which do not as the author is unaware as to the actual amount of correlation between the two games; only the GM knows for sure.

The images used on this page are result of hours of painstaking work by David Cooke, who scanned and altered them where needed so we could make use of them. Thanks must be given to those players who sought high and low to find just the right image for their character, and to Rachel Poxon who almost single-handedly printed out, cut out, glued together and plastic-covered every single "card" numerous times over to provide all the players with Trump props, bleeding for the cause on several occasions.
No, we do not keep them in the fridge to make them cool.

Of course, all images used on this page are the copyright and property of whoever they belong to. They are not used for profit or anything like that; we just liked the look of them and made them into Trump images and physical props. So if you see one of your images on this screen, thanks a bunch for creating such a lovely piece of artwork.
If you wish either to complain about me using your artwork or to send me some kind of copyright message you want me to put on this page, contact me.



Old Ones and Elders


Dworkin remains the mysterious and slightly peculiar mentor of the family. His actions during the War were restricted fairly severely; any help in overcoming Eric and holding back the slowly approaching forces of the Courts of Chaos would be seen in Chaos as justification for an all out holy war against Amber. This did not stop him helping in minor, internal matters however, such as helping exiled family members get in contact with a besieged Corwin.


A figure of legend, the original king of Amber remains either very quiet or very dead.
But never forgotten.



Benedict remains the master of strategy in Amber. Driven out of Amber by the return of Eric following the loss of a hand, Benedict remained hidden in Shadow until he had gathered enough forces to make retaking Amber a real possibility, if not a certainty. He took Eric's actions rather personally and was probably responsible for the majority of the planning that led to the end of the War. He appears quite unaffected by the arrival of a son in the form of Ulrich.


Bleys, as ever, worked closely with his sister Fiona during the War. He also spent a lot of time planning with Andreas, much to their mutual displeasure. The exact nature of their enmity remains unknown. Since then he has probably been involved in investigating the activities of the unidentified agency/agencies in Shadow.


Brand is thankfully dead and lost forever.

We have the GM's assurances of that too.


Caine was another member of the family who was driven out of Amber and yet left a part of himself behind. The discovery of a son, Joe, has not mellowed him; there is no small amount of friction between them. He was missing for quite some time until, at a ball celebrating the arrival of the engineers who had been brought in to remove the mines from Arden and the land routes into Amber, he was unceremoniously deposited in the middle of the ball by an enigmatic cloaked figure. He has since been in the care of Gerard and, surprisingly, Joe, having suffered some terrible injuries.


The world of Corwin's Pattern, a kind of idealised nineteenth century France, was a popular retreat during the War. Being outside the influence of Eric or his forces made it an ideal base of operations. Corwin, with Bleys, led the attack up the well defended western mountain road to Amber, timed to coincide with Benedict's attack up the famous Eastern Stair.


Dalt put in an appearance just long enough to receive the undying enmity of Victor. He probably beat him in a fight.


Delwin is currently an unknown. His name has been mentioned, regarding whether he would be putting in an appearance at a family get-together during the War; this suggests that not only does he still live, but that he is not hostile to Amber. However, his sister, Sand, refused to comment on his whereabouts; the question may have been intended to be some kind of hurtful remark.


To date, Deirdre appears to remain a sorry loss to the family.


Somehow, he survived being killed at the height of the Patternfall War to return to take Amber by force. His strategy suggested a mere holding action, however, with purely defensive tactics used to hold his vengeful family at bay until his true plans came to fruition. These plans appeared to involve devices for focusing energy, though only some of the family appear to have guessed what they were to actually be used for. Eric is now a guest of Amber, in the dungeons.


Finndo remains a long dead mystery. It is currently unknown if he and his descendants ever put in an appearance.


For a time, Fiona was one of the driving forces of the Resistance formed by the exiled family members. With her brother, Bleys, she directed much of the early activities of the younger generation, once even going as far to say that anyone who was not with them was against them. Faced with this apparent threat, many who had no real loyalties to the family chose to join the Resistance.


Flora spent her time during the War under house arrest in Amber, probably because Eric remembered how helpful she had been to him in the past. Besides which, she seems to have the knack for being useful to just about everybody. Since the War it has since come to light that she is the mother of Morianna.


Much of Amber's fleet fled into Shadow under Gerard's banner when Eric returned. Since then Gerard kept them back, saving them for the return to Amber. Once normality was restored Gerard eventually found himself caring for the severely injured Caine.


Julian was terribly wounded and left in Arden when the other members of the family evacuated Amber. He recovered and organised the Rangers into a guerrilla force that harassed Eric's supply lines as they entered Amber. He is in a relationship with Morianna at present, one that has survived many (subjective) months of separation.


Llewella remains a powerful figure in Rebma as well as being Andreas' beloved 'granny'. Andreas' wife Yvonne was in her care in Rebma, where they both remained for the duration of the War.


Osric, like his brother Finndo, remains an unknown at this time. It is not even known if he is still Bethal's father.


Although he was deposed by Eric apparently without direct bloodshed, Random retained enough of the respect of his family to make them fight to get him back on the throne.

Though they may have been doing it just to get Eric off it.

He has since got back into the swing of being king of Amber, issuing orders and the like.


A face not often seen in Amber, Sand appears only rarely. She is Andreas' mother by Martin. Whether there was a Spikard War for her to be involved in is unknown at this time.


Younger Amberites

This Trump image is a
personal one, created
by Intruder


Raised in Rebma by 'Granny' Llewella, Andreas walked a Broken Pattern and went into Shadow. Eventually he walked the real Pattern. He developed a friendship with Intruder that has made them an excellent team. The surprise son of Sand and Martin and something of a Rebman throwback (he hides his green-tinged skin under a tan), Andreas has also trained under Benedict, becoming one of his most trusted lieutenants. During a visit to Chaos he met Yvonne of House Channicut; after a brief courtship they married.
During the War he was lost on a mission with Zatharuss; it is unknown whether he survived.

(Andreas used to be played by David Cooke; now he is an NPC)


Despite being from Chaos, Bethal preferred to spend much of her time with her Amber relatives before her studies into Logrus with Suhuy caused her to be named as a Sage, a Logrus and magic advisor in the Courts Of Chaos. She appeared only rarely during the war, as offering any overt assistance to those from the Amber side of her family would get herself declared traitor in Chaos. She has never married and has not had any children.

(Bethal used to be played by Rachel Poxon; now she is an NPC)


Known as a master of Trump, Intruder remains Andreas' staunch comrade and team-mate. Sneaky and a little bit psycho, Intruder also created the construct known as 'Orthorian' before it was forcibly evolved into Guinevere. His parentage remains a mystery.

(Intruder used to be played by Karl Fordham; now he is an NPC)


Luke is a complete unknown, as he has yet to put in an appearance.


Martin, Random's son and Andreas' father, seemed to stay out if the way for much of the War, only making a couple of appearances.


Merlin is said to still be king in Chaos.


Michael, a big native American, has turned up on at least one occasion, but appears to have stayed out of the War.


Rylan remains a dark figure in Amber, a rather ruthless fellow who no one trusts and is not liked by anyone.

(Rylan used to be played by Robin Richards; now he is an NPC)


Tim is well known for his unluckiness; he always seems to come off the worst in any encounter. He is a skilled sorcerer, though, and has been helpful on a number of occasions.



(played by Mat Henry)

Achilles remains a name not heard for a great many years, if he ever existed at all.

(played by Robin Richards)

Ansalom has so far done little to endear himself to his peers. The fact that he was a god or demigod of some kind before arriving in Amber may have something to do with it. He seems to spend much of his time in his rooms or off in Shadow.

(Robin Richards began to play Ansalom after discarding Tristan)

(played by Karl Fordham)

Danan was an elite mercenary in his home Shadow. He found his way to Amber mostly by accident. He became friendly with Andreas and even more friendly with Bill Roth's daughter, Fiona. He remained out of sight during the War, probably involved in commando raids with his comrades from back home.

(Karl Fordham played Danan before pushing him aside in favour of Ulrich von Bek)

(played by Chris Duke)

Helkin of House Hendrake is an unknown quantity, as is whether nor not there was a Saron Incident for him to be involved in.

Joe McClane
(played by Chris Tomkinson)

A one-time fighter against the minions of the Great Old Ones in his Shadow, Joe was taken to Amber by Julian. He later got on Julian's bad side; only Morianna's joking insistence that he not kill Joe saved his life. Not long after arriving in Amber he began courting Florence, a member of one of Amber's noble families. They married a few months later, but he was forced to leave her behind when he fled Amber when Eric returned. When she was rescued from Amber during a reconnaissance mission he elected to remain out of the War by training medical personnel in Corwin's Paris. He has since returned to Amber.

(Chris Tomkinson first played Joe, then Zatharuss, and then Joe again)

(played by James Rose)

Lyasin, son of Corwin's daughter Elizabeth and Julian, is another face not seen in Amber for a long time.

(played by Chris Duke)

The shapeshifter known as Lomax has not been heard from for a long time.

(played by Rachel Poxon)

Morianna has been a scholar in her time, as well as a tracker and a hunter. Since arriving in Amber she has become involved with Julian and has all but joined the Rangers. She is known to be a highly skilled shapeshifter and Florimel's daughter. She is accompanied almost everywhere by Bernard.

(played by Glen Elliot)

Syrex is another figure from legend; he may even have existed once.

(played by Robin Richards)

Tristan had lived many lifetimes before going to Amber. He displayed a tendency towards unnecessarily extreme actions. He is most well known for the sudden appearance of his supposedly dead wife; she was apparently resurrected somehow. Fortunately for them both, no one knew this act of apparent necromancy had occurred.

Ulrich von Bek
(played by Karl Fordham)

A member of the Revolutionary movement in 1790s France, Ulrich fled the country when it became clear all their ideals had been brought down by hatred and greed. He encountered Andreas, Intruder and Guinevere on his way to Switzerland, and thus was caught up in the War. He walked the Pattern in Rebma after the Defence of Rebma. It was later revealed that his father was Benedict. He is a surprisingly pleasant gentleman, given to worrying people by making social Trump calls; they keep expecting him to want something from them.

(Karl Fordham dumped Danan to play Ulrich)

(played by Justin Parker)

Victor is a loyal, reliable, stalwart warrior. Sometimes he can be impetuous; he frequently charges into a fight without any forethought. He is, however, a steadfast friend to those who do not abuse his friendship. He recently got engaged to Julie.

Zatharuss Jones
(played by Chris Tomkinson)

Zatharuss was a mercenary and occasional raider of tombs. He joined up with Ulrich, Morianna and  Victor while they were investigating a strange disturbance in Shadow. Ulrich hired him for the duration of the War, hoping to convince him in the meantime that he really was a member of their family. Zatharuss refused to believe it, however, was disappeared into Shadow after the conclusion of the War.

(Chris Tomkinson played Zatharuss after leaving Joe in Corwin's Paris, before abandoning Zatharuss and bringing back Joe)


Other Characters


Bernard is Morianna's faithful and almost constant companion. He is a hellhound, given to her by Julian for her protection. He has proved to be helpful almost as often as he has been a hindrance.

Bill Roth

Bill Roth appears to act as something akin to 'personal legal advisor and secretary to the crown'. He frequently acts as a buffer between Random and those who would speak with him, passing information and messages both ways. He has remarried and has one daughter, Fiona, who is involved with Danan.


Florence belongs to an important noble family in Amber. They have been favoured by the royal family for many years, especially since the time Florence's sister was involved with Gerard. Since then the family's standing has been improved further by Florence's marriage to Joe.


Guinevere is the final incarnation of a Trump construct created by Intruder using a computer based on his own neural patterns. It was enhanced and modified on a number of occasions and for a time went by the name 'Orthorian'. After a brief shutdown period, during which much of it's autonomic routines were stripped from it, it returned in female guise as 'Guinevere'. Some time later the source of the construct was destroyed. It is rumoured Dworkin was responsible; he destroyed it because it was getting too powerful, or so they say. However, it's mentality lived on the 'Guinevere' manifestation. She retains some of its powers, though limited to 'Trump-like' teleportation to any place she can see or has been to. Her greatest achievement was moving two floors of a hotel to another Shadow to save those with her from attack, though she was out for days afterwards.


The mother of Rinaldo and wife of the infamous Brand, Jasra has remained out of the limelight to date.


Julie is a scion of one of Amber's noble families. They have been in a slight decline since the last years of Oberon's rule, but since Julie got engaged to  Victor their prospects have no doubt been improving.


Marcus is a Ranger officer, known as red coats because of the red waistcoats they wear under their cloaks. He had the difficult task of training Morianna in Ranger skills. He has a wife, Susan, and a young son rather unsurprisingly called Julian.


Mossy is an Ent, a form of sentient, walking tree. They 'farm' Arden's trees and also act as another of the forest's defences. Several Rangers spend their time among them and are typically referred to as 'Ent farmers', despite the fact that they look after themselves very well. Mossy is the most well known of the Ents; how such a massive creature (he is as big as a very old oak) can move so soundlessly is a mystery.


"Muffin" was the child name of one of the Dragonfolk. A very young blue dragon, she was put into the care of Bethal after she did such a good job with " Swampy".


"Swampy" was the child name of a red dragon who happened to be one of the Dragonfolk. Being a red dragon, he was also royalty. He spent much of his early years as Bethal's pet, running around like a Labrador in a dragon's body, chasing small coloured balls and the like. When he eventually matured he grew from dog sized up to full size (a good six hundred yards long or more) practically overnight (actually it was about a week), becoming fully sentient in the process.


Trix was a talking 'prism cat' sent to act as a kind of bodyguard for Bethal after " Swampy" left her care. She was a fair-sized black housecat with white feet and appeared to be generally useless except for good conversation until the prism cat ability of absorbing and redirecting energy saved Bethal's life.


Random's wife and Queen of Amber, Vialle is a quiet, gentle woman who is usually held responsible for the mellowing of her husband in recent years.


William is an intelligent, talking cat, possibly a prism cat (see Trix) or similar breed. He acted as a scout for the Dragonfolk during the War of Usurpation.


Yvonne is the daughter of the head of House Channicut in the Courts of Chaos. She met Andreas and Intruder during an official Amber visit to Chaos; Yvonne and Andreas became close during this time; they announced their wedding sometime later. Her parents in Chaos retain control over their House; it is unknown at what point in the line of succession to the position of House head Yvonne is. She and Andreas have yet to have children, something that has worried them for some time. Since her husband was lost she has taken to residing in Rebma in the company of Llewella.



The Dragonfolk

The Dragonfolk of "Wildshadow" are creatures from that part of Shadow where the 'normal' laws begin to break down and matter and energy run riot. They somehow feed in this rampant source of energy. They have two forms; their natural form is a massive dragon (usually six hundred yards or more long) while they can also take on human form. Long ago Oberon signed a treaty with them; Amber would not encroach on their domain as long as the Dragonfolk did not violate Amber's territory illegally. Since then the two groups have remained on cordial terms, their alliance strengthened by occasional meetings in Amber or a more neutral location.
Their old king now leaves much of the governing of their people to his eldest son, the plainly named Colin, who is known as one of the few entities capable of beating Gerard in an arm-wrestling contest.
They start off life as small, unintelligent dragons the size of a dog, until they rapidly increase in size upon reaching maturity.

The Rangers

The Rangers of Arden are, in effect, Julian's personal army; they guard the main land route into Amber. Some have other responsibilities; they oversee the breeding of the hellhounds and the more normal hawks and eagles used as Julian's eyes throughout Arden, while others may serve as scouts and spies for the regular army.
There are several Rangers of note, including Marcus and Big Bob (a large fellow who cares for Arden's Ents and drinks the infamously potent 'Ent Juice' neat).
During the War they spent much of their time attacking the supply convoys entering Amber and harrying Eric's troops. They may also have provided a great deal of useful intelligence used by the forces gathering to retake Amber.


The Courts of Chaos

Much of the information regarding Chaos is supposition, as there has been little contact with that part of the universe as yet.

Dara, House Sawall

Dara was at one time some kind of queen in Chaos, though most histories describe her as a regent, holding the throne until the ascendance of her son, Merlin. These days she appears to live in seclusion, possibly acting from behind the scenes and manipulating the players of the political game in Chaos.

Despil, House Sawall

The youngest of Dara's sons by Lord Gramble, the previous lord of Sawall, Despil is said to be a face not seen much on the political scene in Chaos.

Gilbert, House Gilgamesh

House Gilgamesh is a 'Mercenary House, one that sells the services of it's soldiers to other Houses (and possibly to others as well). Gilbert is a relatively member of the House, and one of Joe's contacts in Chaos.

Gilva, House Hendrake

A warrior maiden of this most martial of Houses, Gilva is a childhood friend of Merlin. She is rumoured to be a close friend of Chaos' king.

House Barimen

It is said that House Barimen was Dworkin's House before he created the Pattern.

Whether the House has been reformed since the Purge is currently unknown.


Incertes is a 'professional duellist'. That is to say that he picks fights or acts as a champion for people who want someone dead. He appears to have no affiliation with a particular House, though no one would own up to him being in their House. He is said to be on good terms with Andreas.

Jurt, House Sawall

Once said to be the dire enemy of his older brother Merlin, Jurt has not been seen in Chaos or anywhere else for a long time.

Mandor, House Sawall

Mandor is presumed to still be the primary political force in Sawall, rivalled only by Dara, his step-mother.

Morris, House Nalveer

Morris is alleged to have been responsible for a major coup in his House. By arranging to be protected from his rivals by Rylan he was able to bring his schemes to fruition while appearing to have nothing to do with them.

Naomi, House Channicut

Naomi may or may not be Yvonne's older sister. As such this would put her before Yvonne in the line of succession within the House.

Pavell, House Sawall

Pavell could be politely described as personal secretary to King Merlin. Most of the time he seems to be little more than an over-worked and neurotic 'gopher'.

Suhuy, Keeper of the Logrus

Suhuy is the head of the Sages of Chaos as well as Keeper of the Logrus. He advises Merlin on important matters regarding the Powers and spends much of his 'spare' time on personal projects. Bethal is said to be his personal assistant.