in the Shadow of Greatness


April 17, 2003

Combat Boredom

Is combat in an Amber game boring? Conflict in Amber rping is more immersive and less "game-like". For the reasons that Epoch describes: there are fewer "mechanical" clues and markers to what is or isn't going to work. Factors are hidden, language of the conflicts portrayed is imprecise, and most gamers are not conflict experts who might share a common set of "wisdom" about these things. And not all of the rules are used as written, to add to the blur about conflict. Except for the one who *really knows* that they are the best of their generation —- conflict is more guess than glory. And yet this is the tension and consequence for me in an action Amber game. I have to *think* my character through a conflict, no mechanic is going to help me get there. You can't even really count on it if you are first rank. There is no dice roll that will tell me a trap awaits, or a critical hit is scored. There are passing few expert skills my character has that someone else might not counter with forethought. In fact, this vague sense of impending doom seems to taint every combat, because most of our characters aren't first rank. Most of us play somewhere in the middle. And the middle means we know we are going to get a lickin' unless we are sharp, quick, and more determined than the other guy. There is more satisfaction to it when all is done. I didn't just "roll" a good fight, or win because I'm first rank.

Filed under : Amber at 17.04.2003