in the Shadow of Greatness


April 4, 2006

AmberconUS 2006 :: 4 Days in Castle Amber

Claimh Solais: ACUS 2006- 4 Days of fun, gaming and sleep deprivation review

Oh, did I have butterflies and expectations!

Eight shots at firing my creative juices for a whole year. My personal theme this year was chart a course outside the box. It was a big success for me as I designed games to emphasize shadow instead of Amber or Chaos and chose games by GMs I didn't know.

Five Sides to Every Story : GMing

Never the same, always a twisty mystery. This year, yet another solution to the puzzle. Wow. I'll probably try this one again next year.

Changing Hands : GMing
Chaos has retreated south of Ygg. What have they left behind?

The Elders are poised outside the Courts while the younger amberites ride into shadow to look in on "key shadows" hidden beyond the Golden Circle. Too much to do. Shadow as an infinite game of chess.

While I suspected we wouldn't finish this in a 4 hour slot, I didn't realize how much I'd get caught up by the PC interactions. I also permitted too much 'side chatter'. End result, great game that didn't finish and report back to Random. Everything I could have wished for. Very nice.

Sin City: Vialle's Tale
surreal game within a shadow of Random's trail of cards, drinking and wenching, weird fun. A change of pace, these were 200 pt characters. I really liked the odd mesh of PCs nothing like each other. My PC design played out well for me, and I got some good smash-em-up at the end.

Silver Spires
avalon is falling without Corwin, the Dark Tower sends its power against a smaller circle of royals, mistrust and metaphysics. It was clear that the Players enjoyed themselves. I played a dying shaper pregen and had good fun. I also got killed halfway through the slot. The GM improvised some clever parallels for me to enjoy.

Clandestine Chronicles of the Cobalt Charter : GMing
Too much fun.
A surprise initiate joined the group, was sworn in (and had to fade out again.) The problems brought to the charter house were quite delightful and interesting. This game cries out to be a series. We shall see how I might swing that.

Each PC got a lot of love and attention from the Players. Very sticky premise which proved itself from word one.

The problems presented by the members:

  1. a dead god's dreams might be stalking men and oppressing women
  2. two shadows have been 'stitched together' and two cultures make slaves of each other in a minor war across the veil
  3. a young female is being slowly poisoned by a steady diet of virgins from a frightened town. Save the dragon or the town?
  4. the four horsemen of doom are loose and riding across shadow tearing down the worlds as they go
  5. a golden circle shadow has started a luxury trade in 'young domestic companions'
  6. someone is supplying the Courts of Chaos' shadowy underculture with permutations of Princess Florimel

The GM expected the team might take on one problem. They actually took strides to solve three of them and completely vanquished one. Very neat.

Who dares act under the gaze of Amber and Chaos? The Clandestine Cobalt Charter.

Contemporary SF in grand style, not what I expected but very exciting. Extremely smooth GM. My jaw dropped a few times.

Shadow Solstice : GMing
I planned the opposition fairly heavy for this one, with four possible villains. The PCs might have Trumped in Elders for short bits, or combined into a five way team to track down and defeat the menace which was ripping the skies of shadow.

And then one player didn't make the game.

So we went on. The GM wondered if he could delete a villain or two as things went along. As it turned out, the 4 PCs were a good energetic mix and got into the job with great focus. A single side Trump to Bleys for a bit of gossip and advice, and they were off again to solve problems in a succession of shadows.

Then they zero'd in on the real culprits and talked them out of 'final solution'.

House of Cards : meet and greet
a social of folks associated with the game and their SO's that was a fun break

Several games used themes that I enjoyed and haven't seen much at Ambercons:

  • trouble-shooting in infinite shadow
  • quick adaptation of amberites to shadow cultures
  • negotiating treaty offstage with Chaosi
  • Random's fresh return to Amber, the family waiting for the other boot to drop
  • redheaded pardon, impact on younger members of the family
  • use of Pattern abilities to control conflicts during shadow travel
  • clearing shadow and Arden of dangers left from Chaos attacks

Perhaps this con was the most fun yet. Thanks to all GMs and players.

Filed under : Amber, Events at 04.04.2006
Paul says...

Aram had a blast.

Posted April 4, 2006 9:39 PM
Arref says...

Thanks for taking the lead (and challenging Random) with Aram in 'Shadow Solstice'. You made the whole thing click quite nicely.

And 'sucker punching' Jasra with the quell magic was a great turning point.

Posted April 5, 2006 9:46 AM