in the Shadow of Greatness


August 19, 2005

retribution served watery cold

OK, since we do requests here, I've been asked to comment about Corbin, son of Moire, son of Corwin, heir of Rebma.

Which means bending the rule about not yakking up a campaign structure still unfurling: Age of Retribution. A bit of background: the GM of AoR decided to spin a take on Amber first-series, namely what happens when the old choices come home to roost on those who did and did not make them? Oberon dies and what comes unglued? Oberon is gone. Is something going to wake up and be pissed?

It's a basic first-series question not addressed so much by Zelazny until deep into his five Amber short stories.

Structure-wise, this is a suprisingly young cast with many of the PCs in teens or twenties with just a few who are "old hands" to whom the Elders have given some stamp of approval. The pbem clock, like most such, moves like molasses in january (I called this 'Glacier Time' when G & M were visiting)—so the game will not see PCs change a lot or resolve the issues of such a large question.

And the youngest royals are hardly in a position to deal with the Large Question as stand-alones.

Which brings us back to Corbin.

My assessment of Corbin the PC:

The war vets come home after seven years plus. Corbin was part of the home front, too young to be sent away from Rebma. That bugs him. More than a little.

Post-war Rebma seems to be everything that holds him back or keeps him safe.
You guessed it, teen-age Corbin is ready to 'bust loose'.

And it is a ragged thing this breaking free of childhood. One scene finds a situation where Corbin is commanding, but the very next will show him just how much he doesn't know. He's something of an overachiever sorceror-warrior, but that's perfectly right for such a son of such a place and time.

And the women of Rebma are very capable and throw a long shadow.

The GM is fiendishly ready to exploit this PC concept to the max. When something unravels near Corbin, and he tugs it free to look at 'it'. When 'it' stings, bites, and slaps him silly, Corbin grabs his training and machismo before he grabs his friends and advisors (those folks just would try and protect him.) He is an ernest fellow who really thinks he's going to be a hero.

But then, as played so well by B.C., Corbin comes smack up against the reality: a hero's job is creepy, unhappy, and full of things that never quite go right. A hero flounders on the journey and must pick himself up again and again.

Corbin isn't thick-headed so much as he is going to keep going and not let setbacks blunt his intentions.

It will be interesting to see how Corbin takes to the shaking up he's already had. The Player has done a great job of showing the kid behind the man who would be hero.

Many Players would never show that vulnerability, especially in the Amber genre where competancy is such an assumed part of the game. I look for those little glimmers that define the human capacity of the protagonist.

Good luck, Corbin.

Filed under : Amber at 19.08.2005