in the Shadow of Greatness


May 30, 2003

GMing Immortals

Death versus Time :: Gming Immortals To Dice or not to Dice, that really isn't the question. In most games, the dice (or game mechanic) are telling you your fate, how you might succeed, how you might be hurt. In Amber, the GM reacts to your own actions and tells you the consequence, for you are an immortal, a legend, and the dice have no power over you. Time has power over you. Yes, you are a timeless legend. Yes, your life will be told and re-told and misunderstood in a thousand million shadows. But when the GM tells you how hurt you are because of your choices, it is time that is the penalty. You will survive, but how long will it be before you are restored? Or will you be restored even within the chronicle of the campaign? Will you make a decision that changes your life for a hundred years? While others in the land of Amber are still at their full prowess? Your choices echo through time. Your actions are significant, as is sitting on the sidelines. Immortality means your suffering is longer and felt deeply. Time and Immortality are twin cutting edges of the same blade: choice.

Amber is a great game for diceless play, because the Characters survive nearly everything. As a game, the combined challenge to GM and Players is that adventure choices don't completely tear one Character away from the Others (such as a Player being locked up for two decades, or a Player being crippled for twenty years, or someone losing their mind for a century.) Few Players are happy if this sort of "out of play" event comes along —- even as it makes for nice drama. Character death? That's for other sorts of games. I'll reinvent a quote.

"Death? Where we're going, we don't fear death."

Filed under : Amber at 30.05.2003