in the Shadow of Greatness


March 19, 2003


Frequently Asked Questions Amber DRPG
How the heck do I get around this problem?

0. Where is everything about Amber DRPG online?

Right here at MaBarry's Amber Links— all others are but shadows.

1. Is there a good web reference to read about the quirks and abuses of the Amber DRPG system?
Yes. Techniques differ, but there is an excellent reference online to abuses of the game. M Sullivan's Amber Tips This site goes in to much more detail than you will find here and makes good suggestions for character creation and other game facets.

2. The game makes Characters so powerful. How do I deal with abuse of:
a. fast-time shadows?
There is no reason you can't put a "cap" on fast-time shadows. Degree of difficulty in finding such resources is in the hands of the GM.

b. artifacts of power?
Put a "cap" on values in your game. See how that works, and only open up more points for artifacts after you have a better feel for play.

c. constructs?
Don't allow the knowledge of construct creation — perhaps Characters will learn of it later in the game.

d. shadowfolk?
Pattern and Trump don't allow altering shadowfolk, but re-visualizing them and going to that new place. If you want a friendly king, you have to find him in shadow and shadow is infinite so there is the needle and haystack problem. And how do you visualize "friendly"?

3. Characters are tough, but they aren't bullet-proof. How do I deal with the lethal innovations of high-tech and high-magic?
Yes, royals are tough. Yet they get broken limbs, get stabbed, get shot, and need to sleep and eat. And they know this, so they are careful. Stay out of High-danger shadows. That stuff can't threaten you in Amber.

4. Shadows of desire. How do I answer Characters who just shadowshift to find an answer instead of working out an answer to a conflict?
Yes, imagination is a wonderful part of Amber. Yet almost all of the Pattern skills are dependent on visual imagination. You can visualize a ship, but how do you visualize a starship if you've never seen one? How do you visualize a murderer? And then, have you found a murderer, or *the* murderer you're looking for?

5. Attributes. They aren't equal and everyone wants Warfare to be supreme. How can anything compete with a single attribute that wins every fight?
Yes, the attributes are both the best part and most daunting element of GM arbitration. Modify them if it makes it clearer in your own mind. Or realize that roleplaying up to and through conflict counts as much as simple rankings and points. Amber royals prefer not to confront those opponents they aren't sure they can beat. Call your time and place for confrontation.

6. The rulebook. I just read it and I'll never be able to portray the Elder Amberites. What now?
Yes, you can. The secret is that they aren't infallible at all. As written in the rulebook, no one mortal could portray the Elders, so don't sweat it. They don't have eyes in the back of their heads or spies in the Characters' closets. They make serious mistakes. Judicious use of what is NOT said by NPC Elders is a very effective cover for the experience that you lack. Look for GM guile to get suspension of disbelief from your crew of Players. Go for it and remember the GM has many tricks that the Characters don't. Remember that the game should be about the Player Characters anyway, not the Elders.

7. Player Character in-fighting. How can I keep a group together?
Do you have to? Part of the challenge of the game is strong minded people with their own agendas. They are one family, but they may not always be "buds". Let them follow their own projects and stories, but provide an overall story of Amber taking place in the background. When the PCs are interested in the "common story" they will get together themselves.

8. Game reputation. I've heard this game is one where PCs are supposed to betray each other, that even the GM "lies" to the Players. I'd love to play but how can I get Players to try it?
Yes, the rulebook provides examples of the GM 'humorously' misleading the Players in a very obvious fashion. IOW, don't take the reputation of Amber DRPG as a 'backstabbing' game too seriously. It's a game. The meta-game concept of a group of Characters working together to combine strengths is much weaker or non-existent in Amber. This can be changed by the GM. The rulebook is a guide, and many examples in the rules are exaggerations for effect or to make a point. Play a style that is comfortable for you and tell the Players how you want the mood and style of the game to come into focus. Then they can help you.

Filed under : Amber, zdiw tips at 19.03.2003