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Like I said, this is the rules page for Amber, and it is for those of you who are interested in diceless role-playing, or simply curious as to how it works. Either way, I made it for those who don't know the rules. (I also added a bit of humor for those who already do.)


The first thing that happens, after the GM gathers together those who will be playing, is the GM asks the players to think of the character they've always wanted to play. Any kind of character. Mage, fighter, theif, cyberpunk, vampire; anything. Then the GM gives each player 100 points, (some GMs, like myself, give more), to build their character with. After "giving out" the 100 points, the GM starts the Attribute Auction. There are four attributes in Amber: Psyche, Strength, Endurance, and Warfare. In a nutshell, this is what the attributes are: Psyche is the amount of damage you can do with your mind, Strength is the amount of damage you can do with your muscles, Endurance is how much damage you can keep doing, and Warfare is the amount of damage you can do with an army. There are, of course, other things that one can do with the attributes.

Psyche Not only can you do a lot of damage with a high Psyche, but you can also do some other nifty things. Take Shadow folk (anyone who isn't from Amber or Chaos) for instance. You can easily overwhelm their minds and make them do whatever you want. Psyche is also helpful in Trump contacts, where two Amberites are in a direct mental contact. If you have a higher Psyche than someone who is trying to attack you via Psyche, you can block them out. You can also prevent Trump contacts easier with a higher Psyche. It also makes manipulating Shadow with Pattern much easier. (Fiona is highest in Psyche.)
Strength This seems pretty obvious, but there's other stuff as well. Corwin and Random, two guys who are pretty average when it comes to Strength, were easily able to lift a Mercedes out of the mud when it was stuck. Yes, lift. They picked it up, one at each bumper, and carried it back onto the road. Also with a higher Strength comes more muscle mass, which allows you to take more damage. Say there's this really skinny Shadow guy, and you swing a baseball bat at his arm. You're probably going to hit him, and break his arm as well. Then try doing the same thing to Gérard, the strongest of the Amberites, and see what happens. You're going to miss, and he's going to snap you in half. But if he did let you hit him, he'd suffer only a bruise.
Endurance This is the battery behind all the other Attributes. This basically tells you how long you can keep going non-stop before you fall flat on your face. The Energizer Bunny, depending on the GM, probably has either Chaos level Endurance, or Amber level Endurance (Chaos is below Amber). (That was a joke, BTW.) This also tells you how fast you regenerate any lost body parts, heads and hearts excluded. Look at Corwin, the one with the highest Endurance. When his brother Eric took the throne and threw Corwin in the dungeon, he made sure to burn Corwin's eyes out with sharp, pointy, hot pokers before he was imprisoned. It took Corwin four years to regrow two eyeballs, eyes being a very delicate organ. Nobody would've been able to come even close to matching his time. There's another example of Corwin's Endurance, but this is already long enough.
Warfare Basically, this is your skill in strategy. Benedict rules in Warfare, and nobody ever wants to fight him. As the book says when talking about him, "Don't bother betting on whether Benedict will win or lose. The only interesting question, the only safe bet, is how fast." Not only does this Attribute cover one-on-one fighting, it also covers army-vs.-army, (pluralize if you feel like it), fighting, as well as strategy games like chess, go, Risk, etc. The better your Warfare, the quicker you can take out your opponnent, (so long as it doesn't get into wrestling style, 'cause then the fight moves into Strength), and the more style you can put into it.

Okay, yeah, like I said before, then the Attribute Auction begins. The GM says what attribute is being bid on, and all the players hand him a piece of paper telling him what their opening bid is. Mind you, whatever you bid, those points are gone. You cannot get them back. Once a particular attribute is finished, the players will be organized by their skill in that attribute. Skill levels go like this: Human Level, Chaos Level, Amber Level, Amber 1-???. All players automatically start out at Amber Level in attributes, and by paying points, they become better at that attribute. A player can sell down to Chaos Level for an extra 10 points, or down to Human Level for another 15 points, for a total of 25. This is ill advised, as that means that your relatives, the other players, are by far better than you in that attribute.

Once the Attribute Auction is over, then the players decide what powers they want to give their character. Pattern is almost a neccessity if you're an Amberite, as it proves your heritage, as well as allows you to move through Shadow, (alternate dimensions). Pattern costs 50 points, which means if you don't want to go into point debt, (Bad Stuff), you only have 50 points left to give to attributes. Logrus is the Pattern equivalent to those in the Courts of Chaos. It's this funky little, thing, that is always changing. Think of the traditional symbol of chaos, the 8 arms radiating from a center point, but always moving, and has an eye at the center. That's the Logrus. It costs 45 points. To traverse the Logrus, one must also have Shape-Shifting, (my personal favorite), which costs 35 points. Then there's Trump Artistry. The closest equivalent to Trumps in our Shadow is the Tarot deck. An interesting addition to Trumps, though, is that there are Trumps of the family members, and you can use these as a kind of inter-Shadow cell phone. You use these, and no matter where the other party is in Shadow, you can talk to them. (Unless the GM says otherwise.) They're audio as well as visual. Other Powers are Sorcery, magic that can work in any Shadow, (15); Power Words, kind of like instant spells, (10); and Conjuration, which is like summoning things, (20). Advanced forms of these Powers are: Pattern, 75 points; Logrus, 70 points; Shape-Shifting, 65 points; and Trump, 60 points.

Players can also do other things during this time, such as buy personal Shadows, a character's own personal alternate reality; they can buy creatures or artifacts, and once this is done, those things become part of that character's personal reality, making it impossible for those things to be permanently lost or destroyed, or the player can buy an ally or friend in either Amber or the Courts of Chaos. With the exception of the ally and friend, (A1, A6; C2, C4), the point values of these things can vary.

A player can earn extra points many different ways. As I said before, the player can sell down in Attributes, but that is not advised. Other options are doing a character diary for 10 points, which is basically a log of what happend to your character in the course of the game; a game log of each session for 10 points; or for those skilled with a pen or pencil, draw a Trump of something that happened every session, also for 10 points. There are, of course, other things that the GM could allow, if the GM so decreed.

Now, since there is only a limited number of points, you may be wondering what happens if there are extra points left over, or if one uses more than the number of points given. Well, that's where Stuff comes in. This is kind of like a combination of a character's luck, as well as how the universe sees that person. If you have five points left over after everything's said and done, you have five points of Good Stuff. This basically means that you're really lucky, and 99.44% of the new people your character meets will think your character is a very good person. If you used one more point than you were given, and are one point in debt, than you have one point of Bad Stuff. This means your character will occasionally have slightly bad luck, and your character will be seen by others as a scoundrel.

After the whole character creation process is finished, then the fun begins. The GM starts the story, (and that's the important part about A:DRPG- the story), and the players become their characters. But what about combat, you may ask? If there's no dice, or any kind of random factor, (sans the king ^_^ ), how do you know who wins? Well, read on, comrade.

Remember the Attribute Auction? Well, that's how it's determined. Say you're in a Trump contact with someone, mind-to-mind, and they get pissed at you and decide to kill you. whoever has the higher Psyche will win the fight. If you're in a swordfight with someone, whoever has the higher Warfare will win. Running a race? Endurance decides it. Wrestling? Strength. Now, say two people are fighting with swords, and their Warfare is about equal. Stuff could be a factor, but most likely it will be Endurance that is the deciding factor. Swordfighting someone with a higher Warfare, but you know your Strength is higher? Figure out a way to get the swords out of the way, and go for hand-to-hand. So combat is basically decided by the GM with two factors in mind: the Attributes of those involved, and how it would affect the story if it happened this way, or that way.

So, in a very large nutshell, them's the basics of Amber:DRPG's rules. Go read the books by Roger Zelazny, and then go play the game. Or vice versa. It'll work either way. In case you're curious, here's the titles, in the correct order: Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon, The Courts of Chaos. That was the Corwin saga. Here's the Merlin saga: Trumps of Doom, Blood of Amber, Sign of Chaos, Knight of Shadows, Prince of Chaos. Enjoy the books. I know I did. ^_^


This page last updated on Saturday, 08-Mar-2003 09:57:59 EST | webmaster @ infiniteshadow . net