in the Shadow of Greatness


May 29, 2003

Homebrew or Prefab?

HomeBrew or Pre-Fab A lot of my gaming is scratch-built. What I think most call "homebrew" backgrounds. It has a lot to do with when I got into gaming in the early (mumble-cough) when there were no provided campaign backgrounds. As a result, my perspective on homebrew vs prefab campaigns is a little biased. I enjoy giving the players something unique, even if inspired by popular media. Having said that, what can one make of Amber, where despite fifteen published stories of canon text, every game is startlingly different, even to portrayal of significant NPCs? Even the rulebook doesn't give you "canon Elders" but multiple versions of each (an inspiration, I think.)

When I first started Amber gaming, the Players balked at the Elders as described in the rulebook. The rulebook even colored their view of Zelazny's stories (they read the rules first.) So I didn't change the Elders, but I did change the style a tad. I told them we'd do Amber as brought to the Silver Screen by Hollywood. The cutthroat intrigue would be overshadowed (ha) by the swashbuckling adventure. This is what they accepted, and because I had a good track record, we got to start a good game.
So is Amber a prefab world or a shadow of the novels? Or do most GMs actually think of their prefab campaigns as worlds shared with other GMs? My point of view is that I'd never think much about a shared prefab —- I'd figure it was my world to portray as soon as I touched it. I go for fun either way.

Filed under : Amber at 29.05.2003