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Amber System Resources.

Posted by JhaelFor group 0
GM, 49 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 11:16
  • msg #1

amber system resources

For Amber diceless roleplay.
This message was last edited by admin at 10:36, Sat 26 Apr 2003.
player, 4 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:44
player, 5 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 16:56
  • msg #3

Amber Tutorial - Part 1

What is Amber Diceless Roleplaying?

Well, it's a RPG (obviously) published by Phage Press in 1991, ISBN# 1-880494-00-0.  The game was designed and written by Eric Wujcick, who did a lot of work for Palladium, notably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its various supplements.
Amber itself had only one supplement: Shadow Knights, again published by Phage, in 1993,
ISBN# 1-880494-01-9.

So what's it about then?

The game is based on the writings of Roger Zelazney (who is himself credited as co-author of the game with Wujcick).  In the Amber novels, plus some subsequent short stories, Zelazney recounts a saga of betrayal, intrigue, betrayal, vengeance, and more betrayal which spans the whole infinite range of possible Universes.  Characters lie, cheat, and switch sides and tactics more times than you can keep count of.

There are ten novels, divided into two distinct series:-

The Amber Series:
Nine Princes in Amber
The Guns of Avalon
Sign of the Unicorn
The Hand of Oberon
The Courts of Chaos

The Merlin Series:
Trumps of Doom
Blood of Amber
Sign of Chaos
Knight of Shadows
Prince of Chaos

The first five deal with the events of the Patternfall War, and the struggle for succession to the throne of Amber.  The second five, set about five years later, deal with a plot against the the son of Prince Corwin (one of the royal family of Amber) and the implications of that plot.
The characters are so powerful that they would be considered gods on most worlds, and can lift (and carry) cars, regrow lost body parts, fight non-stop for days, and walk between worlds.  Yet against each other their powers and abilities balance out, so it all comes down to cunning plots and dirty tricks in the end.
Deaths are faked, sides switched, assassinations planned and foiled... and remember most of these people are related to each other!
I cannot recommend these novels highly enough, they are simply superb, and should give any GM worthy of the name plenty of inspiration for plots.

At one end of reality is the city of Amber, with its castle and its bitterly feuding royal family, beneath the castle is the Pattern, the main force of order in the Universe.  At the far end can be found the Courts of Chaos, populated by shapeshifters and demons, and the Logrus, the embodiment of disorder.  Those who can master the Pattern or the Logrus gain great power over the "reality" of the worlds that exist between the two extremes.  These Shadows, as they are called, are worlds influenced by the Pattern and the Logrus to infinitely varying degrees, causing them to run the entire gamut of infinite possibilities.  Near Amber itself, the Pattern is dominant, but the Logrus becomes more powerful as you get nearer to the Courts of Chaos.  People with an attunement to the Pattern or Logrus can wander between these Shadows, and can actually influence them and change them.  After all, these places are only real to their inhabitants.

So how can I play?

Well firstly you need a character.  Characters have just four Attributes:

     PSYCHE:     Mental strength, important for using many powers.
     STRENGTH:   Raw physical strength, used in wrestling or lifting.
     ENDURANCE:  How long can you keep going for, and how well do you heal?
     WARFARE:    Tactical knowledge, and combat ability.

These Attributes are ranked, in ascending order:

     Human:   The ability level of the majority of humans and Shadow dwellers.
     Chaos:    The ability level of the majority of Chaosites, or a small
             proportion of humans.
     Amber:    The ability level of most Amberites, gifted Chaosites, and the
             pinnacle of normal human ability (World Champion athletes, etc).

Above Amber level, the Attributes are given numeric ratings starting at 1, with no upper limit.  So a character might have PSYCHE: 25, STRENGTH: Amber, ENDURANCE: Chaos, and WARFARE: 40.
Note that under this system there would be no real difference in strength between say Sly Stallone and that weedy little nerd who lives down the street from you.  We know there's a big difference, but to the typical Amber character they're both so weak it's not worth differentiating between them:  they're both just Human.

So, how to get your Attributes.  First off the GM will assign you a certain number of Character Points, depending on how powerful he wants the characters to be.  I usually give 100 or 150 points.
All characters start with a ranking of Amber in all Attributes.  Dropping down to Chaos rank in an Attribute will gain you 10 points, while dropping it to Human rank will earn a total of 25 points, but I would seriously NOT go down to Human rank in anything.
Going up above Amber costs you points, and this is resolved in the Attribute Auction. You secretly tell the GM how many points you want to spend, and when all the bids are in, he tells you the order that you are lying in based on your bid.  There then follows the opportunity to up your bid.  Once you have bid on an Attribute, you cannot cancel your bid.  At the end of the auction the points for your highest bid in each Attribute are spent.

An example:  A GM is running a game with 100 point PCs.  He has three players, Ulf, Skuli, and Dag.  The bidding is going on for PSYCHE, and the bids come in as follows:- Ulf:0 (he has decided to save his points for WARFARE), Skuli:15,  Dag:20.  The GM announces that only Skuli and Dag have bid, and that Dag is ranked first in PSYCHE, with Skuli second.
A second round of secret bids sees Skuli up his bid to 30, while Dag goes up to 25.  Now Skuli is first, and Dag is ranked second.
The third round Dag decides he REALLY wants to be top in PSYCHE, so he ups his bid to 50, while Skuli goes to 40.  Dag is first in PSYCHE again.  Skuli decides to pull out, he wants to keep some points for other Attributes and powers.
So at the end of the PSYCHE auction: Ulf is ranked Amber, Skuli is ranked 2nd (40 points), and Dag is ranked 1st (50 points).  Even though he pulled out of the auction Skuli still spends his 40 points, and he's not happy with Dag for beating him.  Thus are inter-character conflicts and jealousies born.

Note that Skuli (and all of them) will earn more Character Points during play, but if Skuli wants to improve his PSYCHE he will have to spend enough points in one go to overtake Dag,  he could not boost his PSYCHE by 5 for instance, he would have to increase it by 10 to become ranked 1.5, or by 11 to knock Dag into 2nd rank and take first rank for himself.

You shouldn't try to spend all your points in the Attribute Auctions though, because there are other goodies you can buy with them, which we'll look at later.  Next time I'll explain the sort of things you can do with your Attributes.
This message was last edited by the player at 16:56, Wed 16 Oct 2002.
player, 6 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:01
  • msg #4

Amber Tutorial - Part 2

So you've spent a fortune in points on your Attributes, and you're now wondering why?  Well, there are reasons to pump points into Attributes.  Those points, as well as determining your position in the rankings, also measure your ability in the Attributes.
So, for instance, somebody who puts 30 points into WARFARE will cut somebody with a mere 5 points into thin slices in about 10 seconds flat.  The closer the scores are, the longer the confrontation will last.

Now we come to what you can do with the Attributes...

PSYCHE: In the Amber novels, Fiona had about the highest Psyche of any character.  Her Psyche lets her do all of the following, some of which PC's might aspire to:-

+  When travelling through Shadow Fiona can detect other travellers nearby and track them.
+  She has a basic feel for Shadow paths, and can tell if one has been blocked or interfered with.
+  She can tell when somebody nearby is preparing to cast a spell, even if she can't see the person, and she can make a good guess at the target.
+  She can detect invisible opponents just by feeling the presence of a mind nearby.
+  She can spot anybody using the Logrus nearby.
+  She can spot weaknesses in others, such as pain or concealed injuries.
+  She can spot objects of power, in other words she recognises "magic items" instantly.
+  She can open up her mind and detect danger in her environment.
+  If somebody with a Trump deck touches the card representing Fiona, she knows about it.
+  She can detect moods and emotions in a group.
+  In mental communication she knows certain basic facts about the other person, even if they try to hide it.
+  In any Shadow, Fiona can read the composition of the place, and find out a lot about it.
+  She can spot the effects of other powerful people on a Shadow.
+  She can spot if somebody has an affinity for the Pattern or Logrus, even if that affinity hasn't been activated yet.  In other words she can spot those with the blood of Amber or Chaos.
+  She can spot if somebody is evading the truth.
+  She can, given time and a mental contact, tell the true identity of a shapeshifter.

In addition Psyche lets you overpower weaker minds, tear information from them, stun them, or force them to do your bidding.  Pretty nasty really, just don't try that stuff on Fiona, because she'll turn your skull inside out.
Why bid on Psyche?:  Mental strength is what drives all the Powers.

STRENGTH:  Strength measures your physical power, and your ability in unarmed combat.  Gerard is the strongest character in the novels:-

+  Gerard is unbeatable in unarmed combat.  An obscure move from some esoteric combat style might catch him out... once.  After that he'll know it, and won't get caught again.
+  He can bend bars, snap chains and ropes, and crush bricks or cinder blocks with his hands.
+  He can tear the armour off an opponent by yanking at it so hard hat the straps snap.  He can also pull car doors off, and tear down ordinary doors with ease.
+  Given time to exert his full strength he can topple castle walls, or turn a solidly built structure on it's side.
+  He can punch holes in brick walls, imagine what his fists do to flesh and blood.
+  He can snap manacles and other bonds, and if holding something solid he can pound solid rock to rubble.
+  Gerard can uproot any tree small enough that he can encircle the trunk with his hands.
+  Gerard can ignore blows from anybody of Amber Rank Strength or less.
+  He ignores falls of less than thirty feet, or any impact at less than twenty miles per hour.
+  With time to brace himself he can take the full impact of a fully armoured knight charging on a heavy warhorse, without being knocked over.
+  In armed combat he can hit, block or parry with enough force to break swords, or smash plate armour.

Obviously you can't hope to match that sort of performance straight away, but with a few points of STRENGTH you would seem similarly powerful to characters of Chaos Rank or lower.
Why bid on Strength?:  Many things in Amber are uncertain, but once you have your hands around somebody's throat it's all over.

ENDURANCE:  This will let you keep going when all else fails.  Corwin was top in ENDURANCE in the novels.  Very little could stop him:-

+  He heals from serious wounds in under a day, something that you or me would need a month's bed rest to recover from.
+  Small cuts, scratches and bruises heal in less than an hour.
+  Corwin could keep going for days without rest, even in combat.  A character with Amber Rank Endurance could keep going for about twenty four hours.
+  Corwin can regrow any part of his body, even his eyes, in under four years.  An Amber Rank character could do the same in about twenty years.

High ENDURANCE will let you travel for days without tiring, or recover faster from injuries.
Why bid on Endurance?:  Between closely matched opponents, Endurance will be the ultimate tie-breaker.  If you can keep going when your opponent tires, you will win.

WARFARE:  Weakness in WARFARE will get you killed faster than anything else in Amber.  It is a measure of tactical knowledge, reflexes, and combat skill.  In the novels Benedict was the pinnacle of WARFARE.  It was a hobby with him:-

+  Benedict's tactical knowledge makes him hard to surprise, because he always seems to know where an attack is most likely to come from, and what would be the most likely time for it to happen.  This even works with invisible opponents.
+  He always expects trouble, so even if somebody does manage to surprise him, he will react much faster than anybody else could.
+  He instantly knows an opponent's fighting style, just from looking at the stance he takes in combat.
+  In one on one combat, he can look at an opponent and size him up, including if the opponent might rely on a hidden weapon or secret power of some sort.
+  By observing an army he can tell if it is commanded by somebody he knows, just from the way the troops are organised.
+  He can watch an army on the battlefield, and make a good guess at any secret weapons or forces held in reserve, and their likely effectiveness.  With secret weapons he can even make a fair guess at what they would do if used.
+  Benedict is a good leader.  He can make speeches to troops that will boost their morale, to the extent that they're combat effectiveness can be tripled.
+  He can also destroy the morale of an opposing force by use of clever psychology and tactics.
+  He can raise an army in a matter of days, and instinctively knows who to select as trainers and officers.
+  He knows how to use every weapon that ever existed.
+  Anything becomes a weapon in his hands.  Even a piece of paper can be used to put a paper cut across an opponent's eyes.
+  He can easily see the weapons potential of any new technology he encounters.
+  Unless restrained, Benedict's reactions are so fast that he cannot be hit by any ranged weapon, and he can interrupt the casting of any spell, as long as he is within attack range of the caster.
+  A chess grand master might be able to beat Benedict, but only once.  Same thing goes for any other game that relies on tactics or strategy.
+  He is a master of military intelligence, both the gathering of information, and the prevention of enemy information gathering.

Now obviously you aren't ever gonna be that good... Benedict goes out looking for wars, joins the side that's losing, and keeps fighting until they win.  It's what he does for fun.
Why bid on Warfare?:  Because quite simply, good reflexes and a ready blade can get you out of all kinds of trouble.

So now you know a bit more about the Attributes, and you've seen what the top people can do with them.
Each Attribute is important in a different way.  All are useful, but you need to think about what you want before you bid.
If you want to use spells or powers a lot, then go for PSYCHE.
If you want to be able to put up a good fight, even if unarmed, the STRENGTH is for you.
If you want to be able to ignore injuries and exhaustion then ENDURANCE it is.
Swords are always popular in Amber, so if you want to look really flash, and have reflexes like a cockroach, then bid big in WARFARE.

But don't spend all your points in the Auctions, because there are other goodies you can buy, and they have fixed prices.
Next time I'll start to look at them.
player, 7 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:07
  • msg #5

Amber Tutorial - Part 3

So what can I do with left-over Character Points?

Well, assuming you didn't blow all your Points in the Auctions, there are a number of things you can buy with the left-overs.  I'll explain more about each later, but for now here's a basic list:-

          Pattern Imprint (50 Points)
          Advanced Pattern Imprint (75 Points, or 25 if you have Pattern Imprint)
          Broken Pattern Initiate (10 Points)
          Adept of Broken Pattern (25 Points, or 15 if you have Broken Pattern Imprint)
          Logrus Mastery (45 Points)
          Advanced Logrus Mastery (70 Points, or 25 if you have Logrus Mastery)
          Trump Artistry (40 Points)
          Advanced Trump Artistry (60 Points, or 20 if you have Trump Artistry)
          Shape Shifting (35 Points)
          Advanced Shape Shifting (65 Points, or 30 if you have Shape Shifting)
          Conjuration (20 Points)
          High Compelling (25 Points, or 5 if you have Conjuration)
          Sorcery (15 Points)
          Power Words (10 Points)
Artifacts and Creatures.
Personal Shadows
Player Contribution*
Good Stuff
Bad Stuff*

All the items other than Powers have highly variable costs.
* Player Contributions and Bad Stuff actually have negative costs, and will get you more Character Points to spend.
player, 8 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:12
  • msg #6

Amber Tutorial - Part 4

Pattern Imprint - 50 Character Points

Even at a cost of 50 Points, this is a bargain.  It is, quite simply, the best Power in the game in terms of what you can do with it.
There are only six places where you can gain this Power during the course of the game, all are guarded at all times:
1)  Walk the Pattern in the dungeons below Castle Amber.
2)  Walk the mirrored Pattern in the undersea city of Rebma.
3)  Walk the copy of the Pattern in the spectral city of Tir-na Nog'th.
4)  The Jewel of Judgement contains a 3D version of the Pattern, studying it is as good as walking the Pattern.
5)  Corwin drew his own Pattern, out in Shadow.  This one will only be available in games set after the first five novels.
6)  If you can find it, you could walk the Primal Pattern.  This is the true Pattern that all others (including Amber's) are diminished versions of.

To walk the Pattern, you must have at least Amber Rank Endurance, and be in good shape.  Trying to walk it while seriously injured, tired, or with an Endurance below Amber Rank will be fatal.

So, what can you do with it that makes it so useful?
Well, it allows you to travel through Shadow for a start.  Just making it to the centre of the Pattern allows you to instantly teleport from there to anywhere in all of infinite Shadow.
After that, as long as you are able to move, you can slide almost effortlessly from one Shadow to the next.  The only restriction on this is that it gets harder as you move closer to Amber itself, until eventually you cannot shift any longer.
Shadow Walking: This is easy to do.  You just move along and gradually imagine changes to individual details of your environment.  Eventually all the details will have changed to match the destination you are looking for, and you will have arrived.
The Royal Way: This is a way of travelling where every detail of every Shadow you pass through is to your liking.  For instance, if you want to travel by train you can ensure that you only pass through Shadows with railway tracks.
Hellriding: This is the fast way of travelling, and the most exhausting. You focus on a single detail, and change everything else around it.  So you could concentrate on a particular mountain, and force yourself directly to another Shadow where everything is different, but where an identical mountain stands on the horizon.

Other things you can do are:-

Lead others through Shadow: Whether it's just a handful of companions or an army of thousands, they'll be able to follow you, even if they have no Shadow walking ability.
Affect Shadows:  Short of money?  Walk around the room thinking of what you want, and after a while you find a loose board, and below it is a box full of cash.  Well that was lucky.  You should be aware though that what you have done is moved very slightly through Shadow by doing this, you must be careful not to move too far from where you want to be.
Affect Probability:  Need some pocket change?  Well in your pocket you find the exact amount you need.  Of course you've now emptied your pocket so it won't work again because you know the pocket is empty, so there's no chance of finding more money in there.  Basically if there's a slight chance of something happening you can make it happen.
Shadows of Desire: By travelling through Shadow you can find a place that exactly fits your needs.  If you need a place to heal or hide out, this is the way to find it.
Pattern Defense:  Imagine the Pattern, picture it in your mind.  This may take a few minutes, depending on your Psyche and how easy it is to concentrate.  Once you have that image though you will be pretty much immune to Logrus and many types of magic.  Only problem is you probably won't be able to do much else while you're trying to hold the image in mind.
Blood Curse:  You can invoke your personal relationship with the Pattern to inflict a curse on another person.  If you survive after the curse is bestowed (ie: you aren't cursing somebody with your dying breath) then you too will be affected.  It is also theoretically possible to bestow a blessing on somebody instead.

Advanced Pattern Imprint - 75 Character Points

If you already have Pattern Imprint, then this Power only costs 25 Points.

This gives all the abilities of  Pattern Imprint, plus some additional powers:-

Pattern Mindwalking:  When you call the Pattern to mind, you can use it as a kind of lens, allowing you to see into other Shadows.  You can simply say to yourself "I want to see what Merlin is doing..." and you will be able to see him.  If you wanted to you could then reach across Shadow to touch him, physically or mentally.  Problem is it can take a long time to search all of Shadow unless you have a really good Psyche, or have some idea where to look.
You can also open up Shadows from a distance, allowing others to move through the openings, even if they have no Shadow walking ability.  This capability can also be used to sidetrack and obstruct other Shadow travellers by twisting the route they are taking and putting dangers in their way.
Alter the Rules of Shadow:  By focusing on the Pattern it is possible for the Advanced Initiate to change the rules governing a Shadow, or part of a Shadow.  Gravity could be changed.  Magic could be made to work in magically-dead Shadows.  Technology could be made to fail in places where it normally works.
Create Shadow Pockets:  Shadow pockets are effectively permanent gates between Shadows which are normally not connected.  They are fragile, and can be destroyed by other Advanced Pattern users, or Advance Logrus Initiates.
Pattern Recognition:  You can detect Pattern Imprint in a person by simply touching them, and spot Advanced Pattern from across the room.  You can also tell which versions of the Pattern they are imprinted with.
Disguise Pattern Traces:  With experience (ie: for 5 extra Points after you have Advanced Pattern Imprint) you can learn to conceal your connection to the Pattern, so that other characters cannot detect it using the above ability.
Pattern Travel:  By imagining the Pattern and holding the image in mind, you can then mentally "walk" it.  When you reach the centre, you will be able to teleport just as if you had walked a real Pattern.  You can move instantly to any place in Amber or Shadow.  This process takes a few minutes, longer if you are distracted, and you will be unable to do anything else in the meantime.

Finally, two things you can do, but probably shouldn't:-

Pattern Editing:  You can use Advanced Pattern to change the relationships between various Shadows, and permanently change specific Shadows.  However, doing so can have bad effects in other Shadows, and is detrimental to the Pattern if not done carefully.
Erasing Shadows:  This is frighteningly easy, and can be done by accident.  It can cause Shadow Storms, disruption of Shadow boundaries and established pathways, and will almost always attract unwanted attention from some seriously powerful individuals.
player, 9 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:16
  • msg #7

Amber Tutorial - Part 5

Broken Pattern Initiate - 10 Character Points

In every Shadow there exists, somewhere, an image of the Pattern.  Most are so badly distorted and flawed that they are useless.  The few nearest to Amber are almost perfect, but only almost.
People can traverse these Patterns, not by following the lines, but by following the gaps.  When you reach the centre, you immediately gain power.  Unlike the Pattern, even an ordinary mortal (Human Rank Endurance) can walk a Broken Pattern, but somebody that weak should rest for several days before hand and make sure they are healthy before they start.
If you make it to the centre you can teleport anywhere.  Don't.  Broken Patterns can distort your wishes.  Ask to be teleported to Castle Amber, and you might end up in a cell in the dungeons, or three miles up in the air above the battlements.
A Broken Pattern Initiate can detect breaks in Shadow, faults and flaws that run across Shadows, and will always know where these flaws are.  The Broken pattern Initiate can do many of the same things as a normal Pattern Initiate, with the following differences:-

Travel through Shadow:  By following the cracks and flaws the Initiate can travel almost anywhere in Shadow (after all, only Amber is perfect, everything else is a flawed reflection of it).  Unfortunately this is not a pleasant experience, and the route will always lead through the "bad neighbourhoods".  Get used to travelling through disease-ridden swamps, ruined cities filled with feral humans, regions blighted by plague, battlefields where the dead lie rotting...
There is no Royal Way for the Broken Pattern Initiate.  Hellriding is however all-too possible, but not recommended.  It's just too risky.
Lead others through Shadow:  Likewise, this is very risky for the followers, but it can be done.  Just expect to lose most of your army to sickness and wild beasts along the way, and have the remainder laid up by disease and madness for days afterwards.

All the other abilities of a Pattern Initiate can be used, but the Break will always be there, causing unexpected difficulties.

Adept of Broken Pattern - 25 Character Points

If you already have Broken Pattern, then this Power costs only 15 Points.

As with Advanced Pattern Imprint, this is a more powerful attunement, this time to a particular Broken Pattern.  The Adept has all the abilities of the Initiate, with the usual unpleasant side-effects, plus:-

Evoke the Dark Well:  The Adept can call the image of the Broken Pattern to mind, becoming able to detect magical energies in the immediate area.  It might not pierce illusion, but the Adept will know there is a spell of some sort in operation.  Pattern, Logrus, and Trump use will also become obvious.
Broken Pattern Tendrils:  Unlike Logrus tendrils (see next lesson), Broken Pattern tendrils cannot be used to manipulate physical objects, and are restricted in range.  They can however detect or conduct magical energies, and if they touch a person can be used to initiate mental contact.
player, 10 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:26
  • msg #8

Amber Tutorial - Part 6

Logrus Mastery - 45 Character Points

If the Pattern is the embodiment of order, then the Logrus is the embodiment of pure Chaos.  It is similar in form to the Pattern, except that it changes constantly.  Walking the Logrus is, in many ways, even more dangerous than walking the Pattern.  For a start the Pattern doesn't make you insane.
Those who walk the Logrus go temporarily mad as they do so, and in many cases this can produce long-lasting effects, years after the initial event; personality problems, occasional halucinations, black outs...

Walking the Logrus requires an Endurance of at least Chaos Rank, and a Psyche Rank of at least Amber will be useful in using it.  You must also be able to Shape Shift before you can even think of taking the Logrus, because conditions on the Logrus change drastically and unpredictably as you traverse it.  Only a shape shifter can adapt to the changing conditions quickly enough to survive the experience.

The Logrus reacts badly to Pattern.  If the Logrus, or a tendril of it, touches a Pattern the backlash can prove fatal to the user.  If the blood of a Logrus user touches something containing the power of Pattern, the blood bursts into flame, which means that a Logrus Master wounded by a Pattern-based weapon runs the risk of burning alive.  Using the Logrus tendril to touch a creature or object charged with the Pattern  will give the user a stunning shock, a severe headache, and may disrupt any spells hung on the Logrus.

So, why would anybody want to use a Power with so many drawbacks?

Logrus Summoning:  You can send a Logrus tendril out into Shadow to search for an object or person, and then bring it to you.  Alteratively you can pull yourself to where it is located, which is how Logrus users travel through Shadow.
Searching with tendrils can take quite some time, depending on how specific the item you are looking for is;  obviously sending out a tendril to find you a "hot meal" will be quicker than sending one to search for "the sword Stragwylcrr which once belonged to my father", simply because hot meals are a lot mor common in Shadow than a unique weapon is.
You can also direct the search, or just let the Logrus search for you, but the Logrus can sometimes make mistakes, bringing the first thing that fits your mental image.  Obviously the more detailed the image is, the less likely it is that this will happen.

Logrus Combat and Manipulation:  Extensions of the Logrus can be shaped into tentacles or tendrils which can be used to hold objects or creatures.  Few creatures of Shadow can break loose from the grip of a Logrus tentacle.  Against other creatures the tendrils are considered to have a Strength equal to the user's Psyche.

Logrus Sight:  The Logrus can be brought to mind with a few minutes of concentration and used as a lens to view your surroundings.  You can immediately tell whether an object or creature is associated with Chaos, or Amber, or is just a normal part of Shadow.  You can also spot attunements to Pattern or Logrus, and any magical effects in operation.  A gentle touch with a tendril can tell you whether a creature has any magic prepared for use, such as Power Words, and a rough estimate of its Psyche.

Logrus Defence:  You can use the Logrus to defend yourself in two ways.  Firstly you can fill yourself with the Logrus, making yourself resstant to Psyche, Pattern, Magic and other forces, but not physical attacks.
Secondly, you can use the Logrus as a shield, blocking physical attacks, magic, and energy such as electricity, but it cannot defend against Pattern, Logrus, Trumps or Psyche.

Advanced Logrus Mastery - 70 Character Points

If you already have Logrus Mastery, this only costs 25 Points.

If you have Pattern you can find the Perfect Shadow to use as your home.  The advanced Logrus Master works differently.  He finds a Shadow and then changes it to what he wants.  It is shaped and maintained by a combination of Logrus and Chaos creature servants.  These personal realms are unstable though, and if left unattended for long will revert to their original form.  Very few Chaos Lords bother with more than one of these realms, and those that do guard them jealously.

Other things you can use Advanced Mastery for, in addition to all the functions of Logrus Mastery, are as follows:-

Manipulate Shadow:  By using the Logrus to work with the traces of Chaos present in almost all Shadows, you can change the conditions to suit youself.  You can alter weather, change physical laws, mutate creatures into new forms, or simply boil a cup of water.  As noted above, things will tend to drift back to their original state if the changes are not maintained.  Shadows nearer to Chaos are easier to manipulate than those nearer to Amber.

Summon and Control Creatures of Chaos:  Near the Courts of Chaos are an infinite number of Shadows and fragments of Shadows inhabited by an infinite variety of powerful and dangerous creatures.  Advanced Logrus Masters can recognise, summon, and control these creatures to do their bidding.  Doing so is not a speedy process however, and can take hours.

Shape Logrus Servants:  Logrus servants are fragments of the Logrus itself, brought to life and given form by the Advanced Logrus Master.  They persist only as long as their creator concentrates on them.  They have a Psyche and Strength of Chaos Rank, Warfare is Human Rank, and they have no Endurance.  Instead they are tireless, but can only heal from injuries in a place where the Logrus is strong.

In the category of things you can do but probably shouldn't:-

Summon Primal Chaos:  This opens a link to the heart of the uncontrolled Chaos at the centre of the Courts.  If summoned to a Shadow, that Shadow will very likely be destroyed.  The Master should only summon Primal Chaos if he is sure he can dispel it again almost immediately.  It makes an awesome weapon, which can be used to destroy entire armies of Shadow creatures, as well as the land they stand on.
Very little can stand in the way of Primal Chaos, although an Advanced Pattern Initiate might like to try.  Once released, unless dispelled again, Primal Chaos will destroy entire Shadows.
Do NOT summon Primal Chaos when near to Amber, because you will have no control over it there.
player, 11 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:35
  • msg #9

Amber Tutorial - Part 7

Trump Artistry - 40 Character Points

Trump Artistry gives you the ability to create images of people, creatures, things and places which provide a direct link to the original.  Trumps allow communication or transportation across infinite Shadow.  The images may be any size, but are usually created as packs of tarot-like cards for ease of storage and use.
To use a Trump, the user holds the card and concentrates on it.  This establishes a link with the subject of the image.  If the subject is a person or creature, then the user can establish two-way communication with that person, unless the person chooses to block the contact and has a higher Psyche.  The user will also get a general idea of the subject's current situation, but without much detail; for instance, if the subject is travelling by ship then the user will get an impression of shouted commands, a smell of salt, the creaking of timbers...  The subject can also be touched and pulled through to the user's location, or the user can travel to the subject's location.
If the subject is a place, then the user can step through to the location shown, taking others with him if he wants to.  Locating an object via its Trump image allows the user to reach through and fetch it to his location, or to move to the object's location.
Trump decks are not common, and only a Trump Artist can start the game owning any  Trumps.

Psyche  is the most important Attribute for the Trump Artist.

Creating Trumps:  This involves producing a card with the Trump image upon it, and takes two or more days.  Creating the Trump from memory can increase that to as much as six days.  It is possible to create a Trump from a desription only, but that has a large chance of producing a link to a shadow of the person or object instead of to the true subject.
Fully created Trumps become immune to any conventional forces, and are effectively indestructible.  They are also immune to attacks by Pattern or Logrus.  Attempting to snatch a Trump from somebody by using a Logrus Tendril can be very painful for the Logrus user.

Trump Sketches:  A Trump Artist can create a sketch from memory in as little as thirty or forty minutes.  The sketch has all the powers of a fully created Trump, but is not permanent, and requires more concentration to use.  If the subject changes form, or moves through Shadow away from its original position, then the sketch will no longer be able to contact it.
Trump sketches are not invulnerable in the same way as permanent Trumps.

Trump Identification:  A Trump Artist can often identify a caller without allowing the contact to be opened.  This is done by sorting through a deck of Trump cards.  If the caller's image is present in the deck, then that Trump will be detectable as an active link.

Trump Defence:  By concentrating on any Trump image (your own card works best) attacks from Logrus, Pattern, Psyche and most Magic can be blocked.

Sensing Trump:  A Trump Artist can detect the power of a Trump in any object, such as a painting which is actually a Trump image.

Advanced Trump Artistry - 60 Character Points

If you already have Trump Artistry, then this only costs 20 Points.

This gives you all the capabilities of the lesser form, plus the following:-

Trump Memory:  When creating a Trump, either making a new one or redrawing an old one, the image is imprinted on the Artist's mind, and can be used from memory.  The Artist effectively carries a personal Trump deck in his mind, and no longer requires the physical image that he created.

Trump Spying:  If you know two people are in contact, and you have Trumps for both of them, then you can listen in on their conversation.  If you only have a Trump of one of the participants, then you will hear only their side of the conversation.

Trump Jamming:  Advanced Trump Artists, due to their enhanced understanding of the nature of Trump contacts, can block those contacts.  By concentrating on several cards, the subjects of those cards will not be able to receive any incoming contacts.  If a single image is selected, then the subject will not be able to send or receive any Trump contact.  The victim or victims of this activity can attempt to break through the barrier by strength of Psyche.

Trump Gates:  Creating and maintaining a Trump Gate takes a great deal of power.  A Trump image of the destination is created and is empowered to remain permanently open.

Trump Traps:  A Trump Trap can project a person to some place against their will.  Some can be set to function automatically, or at a touch, or the merest glance.  Some are designed to trigger only when somebody activates the Trump in the usual manner.  The Artist can also disguise a Trump, so that the image on the card is not the location where the victim ends up.
player, 12 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:39
  • msg #10

Amber Tutorial - Part 8

Shape Shifting - 35 Character Points

Warning: Most Shape Shifting is done at leisure, carefully and without undue difficulty.  However, under pressure, or when the character is tired, things can get more dangerous.  Many things can go wrong with a Shape Shift, the least of which is finding yourself trapped in a form that you can no longer remember how to change back from...

Shape Shifting is the ability to manipulate the tissues of your own body, within certain limits.  You cannot change the overall mass of your body.  Shape Shifting can be a very tiring process, depending on your Endurance;  Human Rank Endurance will leave you exhausted after a single change, Chaos Rank Endurance allows you to change two or three times a day (although more than that can give problems), Amber Rank Endurance and above lets you change at will, as long as you are well fed and not seriously injured.
The change itself can take anywhere from ten to fifteen seconds for a minor change, such as growing claws or toughening your skin, to a couple of minutes to make a complete transformation to a familiar form, or as much as ten minutes to change to a form you have never taken before.  In all cases the fastest, and easiest changes are to one of the three "basic" forms (see below).  This assumes of course that the character is in good shape and well-fed, otherwise it can take much longer.

Endurance is important for Shape Shifting, since it controls your ability to  withstand the stresses of changing form, but a good Psyche score can be important too, for helping you remember who you are when you're in the wrong body, and to enable you to maintain your own personality through a change.

Natural Forms:  Every Shape Shifting character has three basic forms, all of which have the same Attribute scores:-
Human Form:  The primary form for any character, and the easiest to adopt.  There are no advantages, and no particular drawbacks to this form, although Chaos Lords in Human Form find they are more resistant to the effects of Pattern.
Chaos Form:  Sometimes called Demon Form, or Combat Form.  This is the equivalent of putting on armour.  The form varies from one individual to another, but normally has a scaly hide, bone plates over vital organs, claws, fangs, horns, and has a lot of sharp edges in general that can be used in a fight.  Some may even have wings, although these will only be functional if the character has a Strength of Amber Rank or higher.  Even Amberite Shape Shifters will have a Chaos Form, although not all will know it.
Avatar Form:  For Amberites the Avatar Form will generally be an animal of fairly human size, such as a large wolf, or a leopard.  For Chaosites the Avatar is more dramatic, and easier to maintain in the Shadows near to Chaos, usually transforming the body into one of living earth, air, fire, or water.  Near to Amber these elemental Avatars are harder to maintain, but they are ideal for use near the Courts, where there are Shadows which are composed of single elements.
All characters with Shape Shifting should describe their Natural Forms.

Other things you can do are:-

Shape Shift Wounds:  You can actually patch up damage to your body by force of will.  Wounds can be closed quickly, to stop blood loss for instance, but actual healing takes longer.  Shape Shifting reduces the time taken to heal, but you will need to rest and eat plenty.  Lost body parts will regenerate slowest of all, and will be missing in whatever form you take.

Shape Body Parts:  This allows you to grow claws or make other changes to individual body parts.  Soft tissue is easiest to change, then cartilage, then bone.  Hardest to change is nerve tissue.  Concentration is required to maintain the change.

Shape Facial Features:  With some effort, and a mirror, you can change your face enough to imitate somebody or disguise yourself.  This requires constant concentration, and any distraction will cause you to slide back to your true face.

Shape Shift Animal Form:  You can transform into any animal you are familiar with, bearing in mind the requirement that you cannot change your body mass.  Only characters with Amber Rank Strength or higher will be able to fly in, even in the form of a bird or bat.  You adopt the full physical form of your chosen subject, but may have problems with some of the abilities; flight for instance can be difficult to master if you've never flown before.

Automatic Shape Shift:  In the Courts the environment can change rapidly and unpredictably.  Chaosites learn to just let go and let their bodies adapt themselves to the conditions without any conscious thought.
But Chaosites aren't the only ones who can use this trick to their advantage:  the body can adapt quickly to protect you from falling, drowning, poisoning, mortal wounds, pursuit, combat and burning.
This can be dangerous in some cases, as it can be hard to stop once it starts.  Typically you will need to force your own personality back into a position of dominance.  Sometimes your brain changes, which makes it even harder to establish control.

Finally, one trick you can do, but really, really, really shouldn't:-

Primal Form:  You can shift into a form which is basically nothing but the raw ability to Shape Shift.  It can automatically and instantly adapt to any situation to protect itself.  Biggest problem is that your personality goes out of the window in Primal Form.  You have no control over it, and no way to find your way back until it feels safe enough to relax and let you back in.

So, what else can go wrong?

Loss of Personality:  Sometimes you just forget who you are, especially while trying to impersonate somebody, or if you spend a lot of time in a form other than one of your three Natural Forms.

Loss of Shape Shifting:  This is usually the result of excessive use of the Shape Shifting ability.  Either you become so tired that you can no longer remember how to change form, or (more seriously) your cells lose the power to change.  Either of these conditions can be helped by time and rest.

Involuntary Shape Shifting:  Sometimes you can become so attuned to the power to Shape Shift that you don't realise you're doing it.  In some cases this can be useful as you react quickly to danger by shifting.  In other cases it can be embarassing as you change in response to inappropriate circumstances.

Infection by Primal Chaos:  Every creature has a little Chaos in them, otherwise they could not grow and change.  The Shape Shifter has a bit more, and has learned to control it.
Sometimes a Shape Shifter will push himself too far, and find that some of his cells are no longer under his control.  Typically the character will feel constantly drained as his body attempts to contain the rogue cells.
In extreme cases the entire body degenerates, until each cell effectively becomes an individual Shape Shifter, each trying to do it's own thing.  All that remains is an amorphous mass, with no mind.  Even the brain cells have gone their separate ways, and there are no neural connections left.
There are cures for this condition, including specialists in the Courts, but the cures are not pleasant.

Advanced Shape Shifting - 65 Character Points

If you already have Shape Shifting, then this costs only 30 Points.

This is why somebody would choose to be a Shape Shifter in the first place, even with the dangers involved.  As well as all the abilities of the lesser Shape Shifter you can:-

Shape Shift Aura:  This changes the structure of your mind, so that even if somebody use a Trump or other form of mental contact, your thoughts will feel like those of somebody else.

Shape Shift Persona:  This allows you to assume the personality of another person, so that you will act exactly as they would, and even gain a certain measure of their abilities.
So, for instance, say you need to fight against an opponent you know outclasses you.  You just turn into Benedict.  You won't be quite as good as the real Benedict, but against most opponents the difference won't matter.
The downside is that sometimes, in the case of powerful personalities, your own mind can be submerged.  Usually you can get control again when the other personality sleeps.

Shape Shift Internal Structures:  This lets you move organs about, change their structure, and duplicate them.  So you can have a second heart, or a sub-brain that controls certain abilities while you concentrate on other things.  It also means that you can regrow lost body parts in about a week, although you'll need to eat a lot to replace the missing mass.

Shape Shift to Creatures of Power:  Some creatures, such as dragons and powerful demons, have their own powers.  This ability lets you shift into such a form and have access to their special powers.

Shape Shift to Animal Abilities:  This lets you gain the abilities of an animal without adopting its form.  So you can alter the internal structure of your nostrils and gain the tracking ability of a bloodhound, without changing into a dog yourself.

Shape Shift Others:  Once you have had mental contact with another person, you can impose a Shape shift on them, although you must have a higher Psyche if they are unwilling victims.

Shape Shift Blood:  Cut yourself, bleed a few drops, and you can shape the blood into a living creature which has a tiny bit of your own powers.  If you have walked the Pattern, then the creature will also have the ability to use Pattern.  It will generally do your bidding, although it operates as an NPC.  You could for instance send a few drops of blood in the form of an insect to spy on somebody, or in bird form to deliver a message.
player, 13 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:43
  • msg #11

Amber Tutorial - Part 9.1

Magic in Amber takes several different forms, none of them quite as powerful as any of the Powers listed previously:-

Conjuration - 20 Character Points

Conjuration is the ability to use Magic to create objects or creatures.  It can also be used give a small amount of power to people, places and things.  It is using spells to shape Shadow and give the thing created a bit of "reality", at least for a little while.
Basically you can create an object or creature out of the material of Shadow, building it using the rules for creating personal Artifacts (I'll explain later).  These items do not cost you any Points to create, but the normal Points cost is used to measure roughly how long the item takes to create.

Conjuration requires a good Psyche, and a reasonable Endurance can be handy since some spells can take a while to cast.

Basic Conjuration:  You can use magic to create any object or creature from Shadow.  You could for instance summon up a weapon, or a horse, seemingly out of thin air.  This is fairly quick, but the created item will have no special qualities or powers to distinguish it from any others of that type.

Conjure Shadow Shape:  You can build any Artifact or Creature to your specifications.  This can even include magical blades, or animals of a fantastical nature.  This takes roughly an hour, but the item is only temporary.  It will fade away in mere hours in places where magic is weak, days or weeks in magic-rich environments, or years in the Shadows near the Courts of Chaos.

Empowerment: You can implant a little magic into a normal mundane object or creature which already exists in your current Shadow.  It takes about thirty minutes to prepare the subject, but the total time varies depending on the qualities and powers you want to implant.  These powers will last as long as the subject remains in or near its own Shadow, only fading if the item is moved through Shadow.  Making the implant permanent can extend the conjuration time to several days, but allows the item to be moved across Shadow and still retain its powers

Complex Conjuration:  You can create magical objects or creatures which will last until destroyed, or until moved to another Shadow.  Within their own Shadow such items are as "real" as anything from Amber or the Courts, although somebody could find a way to nullify their powers.

Conjuration can also be combined with other Powers to produce various effects:-

Conjuration and Shape Shifting:  This allows you, even with only ordinary Shape Shifting, to create creatures from your own blood.  If you have Advanced Shape Shifting then you can use Conjuration to create creatures from the blood of others.

Conjuration and Power Words:  This allows you to implant a Power Word that you know into a conjured object or creature.  A living creature can use the Power Word itself, but an object allows its holder to cast a Power Word.

Conjuration and Sorcery:  Conjuration can take hours to perform.  With access to Sorcery you can prepare the conjuration in advance as a spell and leave it "hanging".  Then when you need it you can conjure the specified item in minutes by completing the spell.
So if you want to be able to conjure a weapon quickly you can create a spell which takes hours to prepare, but which can be cast in a couple of minutes when required.
The other thing you can do with this combination is conjure objects or creatures containing spells.  For instance, you could conjure a ring which held a prepared defensive spell, ready to be triggered as required.

High Compelling - 25 Character Points

If you already have Conjuration, then High Compelling costs only 5 Points.

High Compelling can be considered as an advanced form of Conjuration.  Whereas Conjuration deals with creating things, High Compelling deals with the creation of ideas and thoughts.  It allows you to do all of the things associated with Conjuration, plus the following:-

Geas:  You can implant an overwhelming desire to perform a particular task in a creature's mind.  The longer you take implanting the geas, and the nearer it is to the creature's normal behaviour, then the longer the geas will last.
For instance, taking an hour to implant a geas to kill Corwin into a manticore, which enjoys killing, will produce a geas which will last for years.  Taking a few minutes to implant the same geas in Merlin (Corwin's son) will result in the geas fading as soon as Merlin wonders why he suddenly wants to kill his dad.  Implanting a geas to eat ice-cream into Merlin would be a different matter...  :)

False Memory:  You can implant a memory, either created or taken from the mind of somebody else, into the victim.  You can also put a blank memory in place, masking whatever was there before and creating a zone of amnesia within the creature's mind.
The more remote the memory, and the less it clashes with actual events, the more likely it becomes that the victim will not question it.  For instance, a memory of something which happened in childhood is less likely to be questioned than a memory of what the victim did yesterday.

False Personality:  You can map an entire personality onto a mind.  This can either be a complete fabrication, or (much better) it can be a copy of a personality taken via a psychic link of some sort.
Once again, the quality and durability of the Compelling depends on how long you take about implanting it, and how close it is to the original personality of the victim.

High Compelling and Sorcery:  This combination allows you to create spells which can then be used to implant a Compelling in a matter of minutes (although the spells will take a lot longer than that to prepare).

Conjuring Items with High Compelling:  It is possible to conjure an inanimate item which can project a Compelling into a victim.  For instance you could conjure up a ring which, when worn, implanted a geas to never remove this ring - it brings good luck and then implanted a false memory.  The memory would be unlikely to be discovered as false, since the ring would constantly reinforce it.
player, 14 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:46
  • msg #12

Amber Tutorial - Part 9.2

Sorcery - 15 Character Points

Psyche can be important for certain spells (those intended to affect another's mind), but Endurance is more important, as spells can take time and concetration to cast and use.

Conjuration uses what are almost rituals to complete tasks, rituals which can take hours or even days to perform.  Conjuration is of little use in combat situations; by the time you've conjured up a ten foot troll to fight for you, the fight will be over.  In combat you need Sorcery.
Sorcery allows you to create and cast spells.  You know how it works; the sorcerer stands up, waves a staff over his head, chants a few words, and the enemy is blasted into a million pieces...  Well, forget all that, it's not that easy.  Except maybe in a few magic-rich Shadows near the Courts of Chaos, and if magic is that easy to use there then everybody has it, including the assorted monsters that live there.  You don't want to go near places like that...

Spells take time to cast, sometimes hours.  You also need to specify things like range, target, duration, etc... but you can't know those things in advance.  So how do you use spells in combat?
Simple, cast the spell before hand, but leave out the range, target, duration, etc.  When you need the spell you use it by filling in the missing instructions, or lynchpins, to complete the casting.  The spell then triggers and has the desired effect.  Once used the spell is gone.
You can hold a single spell in mind like that, as long as you can concentrate on it.  Fall asleep, get knocked out, or work on another spell, and you'll lose the magic you have memorized.
A sorcerer with only one spell isn't much of a sorcerer, but there are ways around that limitation.  If you have access to Pattern, Logrus, or Broken Pattern then you can "hang" spells on them.  You can also hang spells in certain magic items.  Spells hung in this way need regular maintainance to make sure they won't fail when you try to use them.  The chances of a spell failing are highest for Broken Pattern users, and lowest for those who have access to the Pattern itself.  If you have about a dozen spells prepared and hung, this maintainance can amount to twenty or more hours a week, which is why few Amberites bother with sorcery, they have better things to do with their time.
Logrus users can actually use tendrils to channel their spells, so if, for example, you wanted to assassinate somebody with a well timed blast of Pressurised Lava you could seek them out with a logrus tendril and then cast the spell from several Shadows away, without all that tedious sneaking past guards and stuff.  Of course almost anybody worth killing in this way has defences against it.  :^)

If you have a mental link to somebody (by Trump, through a Logrus tendril, or by other means) you can use them to channel a spell.  You can either cast the spell upon them, or cast it through them, in which case the spell will then take effect as if they had cast it.

Lynchpins:  Lynchpins make spells more flexible.  They allow you to tailor a spell to a specific environment and set of requirements.  The most common lynchpin is Magic of Shadow which describes the magical environment in which you are trying to unleash the spell.  Without it a spell designed for use near the Courts of Chaos will fizzle out in the entirely different magical environment of near Amber.  Some other common lynchpins define target, range, duration, area of effect or a dispel word command (which sets up a command word or phrase that will end the spell).  There are also other lynchpins required for certain spells.
While lynchpins make spells useable, they do have disadvantages.  Each lynchpin adds time to the initial casting, and to the time it takes to use the spell.

Building Spells:  As well as the basic spells listed below, it is possible to create new spells.  There are a number of "microspells" which can be combined in  various ways to create these new spells.
Total casting time for the new spell is thirty minutes for each Microspell used in the creation, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Researching a new spell takes about a week for each Microspell required to build it.
When you want to create a new spell, work out which Microspells would be needed to achieve the effect, and which lynchpins are required (if a lynchpin is duplicated because of the Microspells involved, then discard the duplicates).

Magic Rule Number 1:  No spell can invoke a Power (Pattern, Logrus, Broken Pattern, Trump, Shape Shifting) unless the caster also has the Power.  So you can't cast a spell that invokes the Pattern unless you have access to the Pattern.

Magic Rule Number 2:  No spell can be combined with a Power unless you have the Advanced version of the Power.  For instance you might have a spell which allows you to fly in a Shape Shifted form even if your Strength is not high enough to allow it. The spell could not function if you did not have Advanced Shape Shift.

Microspell - Shadow Opening:  This opens a gate between one Shadow and another.  This is the basis of Teleport spells, and spells which summon things from other Shadows.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Name of Shadow, Name of Destination Shadow, Name of Location in Destination Shadow, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Microspell - Shadow Manipulation:  This spell alters or changes the stuff of Shadow.  It can be used to change the form of an object, prepare an object or area to hold Magical Energy, or define a channel for Energy to travel along.  Each of the functions requires a separate microspell.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Name of Shadow, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Microspell - Magical Energy:  This charges an area or object with raw magical energy, which acts to power a spell that you want to run for a while.  Objects can generally hold enough energy to power them for an hour or so, while magical fields and barriers can be sustained for up to twelve hours.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Name of Shadow, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Microspell - Mind Touch:  This creates a Trump-like mental link between two creatures, and is the basis of any spell which can affect any creature directly.  You need to overcome the Psyche of the target, unless he willingly submits.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Name/Description of Subject, Name of Subject's Current  Shadow, Name of Subject's Location in Shadow, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Basic Spells:  These are the spells which almost every sorcerer knows, they represent the "common knowledge" of sorcery.  There may be slight variations, due to personal style or preferences, but they are generally easily recognised by anybody who knows a bit about magic.

Invasive Spells:  These are magics designed to affect others.  You will usually need to defeat them in a Psyche battle for these spells to work.  Knowing the target's name can make a big difference to your chances of success...

Mind Link:  This establishes a telepathic link with the target, similar to a Trump contact.  You must know the target's exact location in Shadow for this spell to work, and an unwilling target can resist with Psyche.  The contact lasts as long as you want to maintain the contact.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target, User's Location in Shadow, Target's Location in Shadow, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Quell:  This spell will affect the target's nervous system, putting him into a deep sleep, as long as you can overpower his Psyche.  Duration will be affected if anything disturbs the target.  Variations on this spell can affect other bodily functions, such as digestion, or metabolism.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Cardiac Arrest:  This spell does not require a Psyche contest to succeed.  Basically it stops the target's heart.  The actual effect depends on the target's Endurance.  Human Rank characters will die instantly, Chaos Rank characters will be incapacitated and need a week or so of bed rest, Amber Rank characters and above will suffer a disturbing and unpleasant shock, causing them to black out for the duration of the spell, or for a few minutes if no duration is specified..
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target,  Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Stone Binding:  If you can overcome the target's Psyche, this spell will turn him into a statue.  He will be unable to move for as long as the spell lasts, but negating it is fairly easy; a touch of Pattern or Logrus will do it, as will moving the statue through Shadow.  If you're feeling cruel you can use the victim as a coat-rack.
Basic Casting Time:  One and a half hours, plus fifteen minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Invisibility:  This spell will turn the subject invisible, or at least partly transparent.  The problem with invisibility is that light passes straight through an invisible creatures retina, making him blind.  The solution is to become only partially invisible, so that enough light is stopped by the retina to allow you to see.  In bright light, 95% transparency will still leave you enough light to see by, but at night you will need to make do with only 50% transparency, which will still make you impossible to see in the gloom.  You can turn another person fully invisible to incapacitate them.
Variations of this spell might turn you insubstantial instead of invisible, but a totally insubstantial character would be deaf, and would sink into the ground.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Subject, Degree of Invisibility,  Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Strength Drain:  If you can overcome the target's Psyche, this spell will drop his Strength down to Human Rank, but negating it is fairly easy; a touch of Pattern or Logrus will do it, as will moving the victim through Shadow.  Within any particular Shadow the duration is indefinite.
Basic Casting Time:  Two hours, plus twenty minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Defensive Spells:  These are spells of protection and defence.

Bodily Defence:  This spell fills the subject's body with magical energy, which acts to protect him against external threats, such as Pattern, Logrus, Trump, or magic.  Those are the most common forces protected against, but others could be specified, such as cold or heat.  It does not protect against physical attacks.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name/Description of Target, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional), Protection Range(name the force or forces protected against, each requiring a separate lynchpin - optional).

Defensive Shield:  This spell produces an immobile, invisible barrier across a doorway or passageway.  The basic spell is proof against physical force, fire, heat, lightning, wind, rain, and harsh weather.  A determined person (Amber Strength or better) or a large moving object (a bulldozer or a dragon) can push through the barrier.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Placement of Shield, Dimensions of Shield, Shape of Shield(optional), Limits of Effectiveness(which forces are blocked - optional), Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Magical Drain:  This spell produces a "hole" through which all magic within up to one mile is drained.  Spells cannot be prepared or used within the area and negates any spells already in effect.  The drain can be made self sustaining, feeding from the magic it drains.  That way it will stay in operation as long as there is any magic nearby.
Where the magic is drained to must be specified by the caster, and the spell can be used to feed magical energy into a storage device.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Placement of Hole, Drain Exit(can be into the ground, into another Shadow location, or just dispersed), Area of Draining Effect(optional), Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Defensive Psyche Ward:  Placed on a wall, a door, or simply as a circle drawn on the floor, this spell will create a barrier which prevents a creature passing unless it has a Psyche capable of overcoming the effective Psyche of the barrier itself.  If unattended the barrier has an effective Psyche of Amber Rank, and will last for about 24 hours.
The Ward can be linked to the mind of any selected individual, and will have a Psyche equal to that person.  In addition, anybody trying to pass such a linked barrier will be placed in direct mental contact with the person it is linked to.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Line of Ward(touch, the caster must draw the outline with a finger tip or pointer), Unattended(optional), Linked(optional), Name of Link(optional), Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Defensive Material:  This spell gives a single object the quality of being Invulnerable against Conventional Weapons.  The object becomes invulnerable to blades, missile weapons, and "natural" energies (such as fire or electricity).  It can only be cast on a single distinct object made of a single material (a cotton shirt, a wooden shield, a rock wall).  It can be dispelled by magic, Pattern, Logrus, Trump, moving through Shadow, or even by a touch of Psyche, otherwise it will last indefinitely.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name of Object, Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Summoning Magic Spells:  These spells deal with the movement of objects or forces through Shadow.

Lightning Bolt:  This spell actually opens a conductive channel between some highly charged place in Shadow, and a target area.  Duration is instantaneous, but the channel must be created first, before the opening to the charged Shadow is made, otherwise you will electrocute yourself.  Unfortunately this produces a slight lag time, and targets who are Psyche sensitive may be able to dodge.  Compare your Warfare to the target's to see if you can hit him.
Basic Casting Time:  One hour, plus ten minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Direction of Channel, Distance(optional), Trigger.

Pressurised Lava:  This spell opens a portal to some place in shadow where molten rock is under high pressure, which causes a chunk of lava to spurt out in the desired direction, inflicting impact and heat damage.  Range depends on the size of the chunk (smaller pieces travel further), and hitting the target comes down to Warfare.
This spell doesn't require the conductive conduit that the Lightning Bolt uses, so the target has less chance of detecting it before it takes effect.
Any high pressure fluid can be substituted for the lava in this spell; water from the ocean depths, rain or wind from a Shadow with an extremely dense atmosphere, liquid sulphur, or even molten metal.  Opening a portal from the core of a star would also work, but would be equally dangerous to the caster, you probably don't want to do that, except as an  extreme last resort.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Hand Motions(used to show the direction of flight for the lava), Size of Chunk, Trigger.

Replicate Shadow Object:  Forms a duplicate of any object or creature out of the fabric of Shadow.  If copying a creature the caster can decide if he wants it alive or dead.  The duplicate does not have any of the Powers or magic of the original.  The duplicate will last until dispelled, or until it is moved through Shadow.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Name of Object/Creature, Living or Dead(optional), Duration(optional), Dispel Word(optional).

Self-Teleport:  This spell can be cast in two versions, determined by the lynchpins.  The first version will transport you to a desired location empty-handed and totally naked - you cannot carry anything with you that isn't part of your body.  However, if you are chained up, or otherwise restrained by some physical object or creature, then you will leave that behind too.  You can even teleport out of the grip of an enemy.
The second version lets you move to your destination with your clothes and possessions intact.  Any restraints will be taken with you, unless they are fastened to some large object (eg: a wall) or you are in the grip of some strong creature, in which case the spell will fail.
Basic Casting Time:  Thirty minutes, plus five minutes per lynchpin.
Lynchpins:  Magic of Shadow, Destination(optional), Teleport with Possessions(optional), Teleport without Possessions(optional).
player, 15 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:50
  • msg #13

Amber Tutorial - Part 9.3

Power Words - 10 Character Points

Characters of Human or Chaos Rank Endurance will find Power Words to be exhausting to use.  Characters with higher Endurance will have no problem, unless they are doing something else tiring at the same time.
Psyche powers the Power Word, so the higher that is, the better your chances of success.

For 10 Points you get the ability to use Power Words, and you learn five Words, which cannot be changed once selected.  Later you can learn more Words, at a cost of 1 Point each.

Power Words are the simplest form of magic to use.  They are quick, easy, and don't need to be prepared in advance.  They are also not very powerful.  Each is a simple word (or even a gesture, such as a snap of the fingers), which produces a short-lived magical effect with very little power.  When using one against a living target, you can improve the chances of it working by knowing the target's personal name;  "Merlin Askiir!" Has a better chance of working than merely saying "Askiir!"
If you have a high enough Endurance, then you can use a Word repeatedly against the same target.  However (you were expecting the "however" weren't you?) the target will build up a resistance to it, and will be affected less each time.
The main drawback with Power Words is that, providing somebody is fast enough, they are easy to counter because of their low power.  This usually means a defence already in place against specific Power Words.

There follows a list of well-known Power Words.  Others certainly exist, and players can come up with new ones for their characters.

NOGTZ! - Magic Negation:  This disrupts magical energies.  As a sorcerer prepares a spell, or tries to use it by reciting the lynchpins, the Power Word unravels its structure.  It can also be used to cancel already active magic.

POLRZ! - Chaos Negation:  To be used only on yourself, it provides a defence against changes to your body that might be worked by contact with Chaos forces such as the Logrus.

SHAGSK! - Psychic Defence:  Will break any sort of mental contact, such as Trump, and will block an attempt to break into your mind unless the person trying it has a much higher Psyche than you.

ASKIIR! - Psychic Disrupt:  Can disrupt the concentration of the target, especially if his name is known, otherwise your Psyche must be higher than his.  If he has the Pattern or Logrus in mind, or is working a spell or conjuration, then his concentration will be broken, and he'll need to start over.

KROLAK! - Neural Disrupt:  Causes the target to momentarily twitch or flinch as it disrupts their coordination.  Can be useful in combat if used at a critical moment.  Naming the target guarantees effectiveness, otherwise your Psyche must be higher than his.

LIEVZ! - Lifeforce:  Produces a brief surge of energy in a living target.  Not enough to heal somebody, but will disrupt destructive "anti-life" energies or wake a sleeping or comatose person.  Can also kickstart a stopped heart or similar condition if applied quickly before the target is truly dead.  Keeping the revived heart beating after the initial jolt may be a different matter.

SCHANG! - Resume True Form:  Forces a creature or thing to take their true form.  If used against a living creature, you must have a superior Psyche, unless you know the creature's name.

FORTZ! - Defensive Luck:  Can only be used once in any given combat situation.  Causes a brief burst of luck, and is best used at a point where a situation seems to depend on chance.  For instance, using this just as your opponent steps onto a patch of ice will cause him to slip for a moment, giving you a slight advantage.

LEGANT! - Pattern Negation:  As with Chaos Negation, this is something you use on yourself to disrupt the influence of Pattern on your body.

VOILE! - Pain Attack:  Causes a brief burst of pain without doing any actual damage.  If you know the victim's name then the  attack will always work, otherwise you must have a superior Psyche.  This functions as a surprise distraction, so repeated use against a strong opponent is pointless.  Against a wimp or coward though, repeated use might cause him to run off.

JASK! - Trump Disrupt:  Cast against a Trump Card that you can see, even if it's held by somebody else within visual range, this will instantly sever a Trump connection.  It can also be used against somebody who tries to contact you via Trump, as long as you have a better Psyche than them.

MAGIQUE! - Process Surge:  Gives an extra burst of power to any process.  For instance, using it on a car engine would give a momentary increase in power (perhaps just enough to enable the car to get across a rail crossing before the train arrives, or to jump across a gap in a broken bridge).  A campfire would flare up for a moment, or a spell would be given a boost to it's strength.

QUIMK! - Process Snuff:  The opposite of Process Surge, this will cause engines to lose power or even stall, it will dim a large campfire or extinguish a candle flame entirely.  It will also lessen the power of a spell if used as lynchpins were being spoken.

OMBRE! - Shade:  Increases the darkness of all shadows in an area.  Makes the area more gloomy and spooky, but has no other real effect.  Can be used to intimidate the weak or easily impressed.

LUUM! - Light Strobe: Produces a flash-bulb type burst of light.  Useless for illumination, but can dazzle an opponent, making it harder for him to hit you for a little while.  The light can emit from you, or from an object you are touching - your choice.  (In my old campaign, one character used this against an opponent who promptly fell to the floor screaming.  It was only afterwards that they found out that the creatures they were fighting were from a Shadow where the sun was so dim that they had to wear tinted goggles on a moonless night on Shadow:Earth.  Starlight was almost intolerably bright to them!)

AFLAK! - Spark:  Creates a single spark, which lasts only a moment, but is enough to ignite flammable materials, light a fire, or inflict a slight burn on a victim.  The spark must be generated at a fingertip, or somewhere else on your body.

HURG! - Burst of Magic:  Generates a pulse of magical energy, either inside your body or somewhere on the surface of your skin (fingertips for example).  Can be used to trigger magical devices, and is visible to anybody with any sort of mystical sight.

MARSK! - Weaken Structure:  Temporarily weakens the molecular structure of an object.  Works best on rigid objects of metal, stone, glass, or hard plastic.  Will not work on flesh, bone, cloth, rope, wood, or most organic matter.  The effect lasts only a moment, so timing is everything.  Best used at the moment of impact, when it can cause an opponent's weapon or armour to shatter, or allow you to punch through a wall.

HAGGK! - Thunder:  As spoken this word becomes a clap of thunder, which comes from your own mouth.  Very loud, with a sound that carries a long way.  Can be used to impress/intimidate the locals.  Whisper it in somebody's ear to temporarily deafen them.

ZZAAQ! - Burst of Psyche:  Boosts your Psyche for an instant.  Can be used to force a Trump call through, or to give you an edge at the critical point of a battle of wills.  Also makes you stand out in a crowd, even to somebody who does not have any sort of psychic sensitivity or mystical sight.

Those are the twenty most-common Power Words.  Very few people know all of them, and quite a few people know others instead.  They are best used sparingly, because a Power Word can only be defended against if it is known in advance.  If you use AFLAK! every time you want to light a cigarette, or FORTZ! In every fight, then soon everybody will know you can do that.  Enemies will find ways to counter those words, and before you know it your Power Words will be useless.
player, 16 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:54
  • msg #14

Amber Tutorial - Part 10

So you've got all your Attributes built up nicely, and you've got some interesting Powers, and you're all ready to take on the world.  Then the first time you get into a scrape, you try to parry the other guy's sword, and his blade cuts through yours like a hot knife through butter, then does the same to your arm without even slowing down...

A thing like that can spoil your whole day.

So... how do you stop this happening?  Simple.  You spend some of your Character Points on Artifacts and Creatures.  You can have a sword that'll cut through the engine block of a car or chop an anvil in half, or a horse that can outrun a Ford.  What about a tattoo of a Trump that  can be used to take you to a safe place, or an attack dog capable of ripping the doors off a Cadillac?
By spending Points on these items, then they become yours:  they are reliable, and they will always find their way back to you if stolen or lost.  If you Conjure them, or find them in Shadow then they'll cost you no Points, but the real owner might come looking for you!

But before we get into the details... a note on weapons and transport.  Gunpowder doesn't always work in different Shadows.  Electricity can be an inconstant ally, as can the internal combustion engine.  Take Amber for instance; no guns, no electricity, no cars.  None of them will work there (some have speculated that this was a deliberate decision by Dworkin when he created Amber by drawing the Pattern).  However, even if a car won't work, a horse normally will, and even if your gun fails you'll generally find that a heavy lump of steel with a sharp edge will do some damage if it's got enough muscle behind it.  So for somebody who wants to travel through Shadow, primitive is better.  Which is why most characters in the novels (and the game) stick to horses and swords:- they're reliable across the length and breadth of Shadow.

Item Building in Five Easy Steps

You can build Personal Items when you first create your character, or later in the game by spending Points earned during play.  For Items created during play, the GM might require you to play through a sjort adventure describing how you obtainrd that Item.

Step One - Start with a normal item:  Any normal artifact or creature will do.  Artifacts are typically rings, swords, armour, amulets, or daggers.  Creatures are most commonly horses, dogs, or cats, but can be anything from humans to vultures to elephants.
The basic artifact or creature is free, no matter how weird or exotic.

Step Two - Add in Qualities (see below):  Qualities are the Item equivalents of Attributes.  Inanimate objects can be given Qualities, which will bring them to life, while creatures can be augmented physically and mentally.

Step Three - Add in Powers (see below):  Powers give the Artifact or Creature control over Shadow, or over its own substance.  Some Powers can only be given if the character already has the same Power.

Step Four - Transferals (see below):  Some Items work by passing their abilities onto the holder, while others are actually implanted in the character so they are part of him.  Each Quality and Power which can be Transferred is paid for with Points.

Step Five - Quantity Multiplier (see below):  How many of this item do you want?  Is it unique, or do you have hundreds of them?  How many there are will affect the Points cost of getting them.


Vitality:  This is a measure of both the physical strength of a creature, and of the Life Force contained within it.
Animal Vitality - 1 Point:  This level of Vitality is not normally used for living creatures, since it gives them no benefits.  Instead it is used to bring a normally inanimate object to life.
Double Vitality - 2 Points:  Ordinary animals will be able to jump, leap, or carry double their usual limits.  For a human this would be Chaos Rank Strength, and other animals would be proportional to that.
Immense Vitality - 4 Points:  Animals are able to leap phenomenal distances, and exert forces far beyond normal for their kind.  In a human this would be Amber Rank Strength.

Movement:  This is a measure of how fast an Artifact or Creature can travel, especially over long distances.
Mobility - 1 Point:  Gives a normally immobile object the ability to move under its own power.  If the object has wheels or legs it can achieve a speed about as fast as a walking human.  If the item has no locomotory equipment, then it will crawl or slither.  If it doesn't also have Animal Vitality, the object will be unable to push, pull, or otherwise exert any force.
Double Speed - 2 Points:  For most animals, this will enable them to reach speeds of around double what they could normally manage (say 30 mph for a horse or dog, faster for a cheetah...).  Objects with legs or wheels will reach similar speeds, while those which can only slither will move at about normal running speed for a human.
Engine Speed - 4 Points:  This will push animals and other mobile objects up to a speed where they can keep up with many vehicles.  Dogs and wolves will reach about 60 mph, while horses will manage 75 mph.  A cheetah would reach about 120 mph in a short burst.  Items with no means of locomotion will slither along at about 20 mph.

Stamina:  This is similar to Endurance in that it measures how long the Artifact or Creature can keep going without a break, but it does not give any extraordinary healing abilities.  Creatures will start with the normal Stamina of their species, while Objects brought ot life with Vitality or Movement start with a very feeble Stamina, and tire quickly.
Double Normal Stamina - 1 Point:  The Item will be able to perform arduous tasks for twice the normal time.  Roughly equivalent to Chaos Rank Endurance
Amber Stamina - 2 Points:  The Item will be able to perform arduous tasks or combat for hours.  Roughly equivalent to Amber Rank Endurance.
Tireless, Supernatural Stamina - 4 Points:  The Artifact or Creature will quite simply never ever tire, no matter how long it has to work or fight.

Aggression:  This is similar to the Warfare Attribute, except that it relates only to the normal combat tactics of a Creature or living Artifact.  A dog with Combat Reflexes for instance could fight with its teeth as if it had Amber Rank Warfare, but it would know nothing about guns, swords, chess, or military strategy.
Combat Training - 1 Point:  This represents a general level of combat ability a little higher than Human Rank Warfare.  In its own specialised field the Creature will be equal to Chaos Rank Warfare.
Combat Reflexes - 2 Points:   This represents a general combat ability  equivalent to Chaos Rank Warfare, while specialised combat techniques will be equal to Amber Rank Warfare.
Combat Mastery - 4 Points:  This gives a combat ability roughly equivalent  to Amber Rank Warfare.  If the Creature or Artifact has any kind of specialist technique, then it will even surpass Amber Rank somewhat.

Resistance to Damage: This is the Amber equivalent to an Armour Class, making both animate and inanimate items resistant to damage from various sources.
Resistant to Normal Weapons - 1 Point: Normal weapons such as swords, spears, arrows, etc, will be deflected from the surface of the item.  Even weapons which penetrate will do reduced damage.
Resistant to Firearms - 2 Points: In addition to deflecting bladed and pointed weapons, the object is also resistant to gunshots, explosions and fire.
Invulnerable to All Conventional Weapons - 4 Points:  The item cannot be damaged by edged or pointed weapons, guns, fire, or energy-based attacks (such as lightning).

Weapon Damage: This represents the damage done by a weapon, or by the claws, teeth, or other natural attacks of a creature.
Extra Hard - 1 Point:  For a weapon this represents the ability to inflict extremely hard blows without being damaged.  Applied to a creature, it would give claws which could scratch grooves in concrete, or teeth which could bite through a housebrick.
Double Damage - 2 Points:  As with Extra Hardness, this gives improved penetration and durability, and items with this quality will do more damage than would be normal for their type.  Double Damage weapons will easily penetrate armour which is Resistant to Normal Weapons, and can even break through armour which is Resistant to Firearms, given time and skill.
Deadly Damage - 4 Points:  The weapon or creature inflicts massive damage.  Wounds are often crippling, or even fatal.  This also allows penetration of armour which is "Invulnerable to All Conventional Weapons.

Intelligence and Communication:  Most items, including both Artifacts and Creatures, can be given some measure of intelligence.
Able to Speak - 1 Point:  The item can speak the language of its owner, and has a level of intelligence equivalent to a smart dog.  It is able to understand  and obey commands to the best of its capabilities.
Able to Speak and Sing - 2 Points:  The item can speak, sing, hum, whistle and express itself vocally in any way it wants to.  It can understand complex orders, and operate independently towards a predetermined goal.  It has a good memory, and can handle numbers, logic, and literacy, if trained to do so.
Able to Speak in Tongues and Voices - 4 Points:  The item is as clever as a normal human, can learn a number of languages in addition to that of its owner, and can mimic the speech of others.

Psychic Quality:  Confers a limited form of the Psyche Attribute, but only the part dealing with the sensing of phenomena.  It does not give any way to defend against those phenomena.  Psychic Sensitivity does not give the item any extra intelligence, for that you need to add Intelligence and Communication Skills.
Psychic Sensitivity - 1 Point:  Equivalent to Chaos Rank Psyche.  The item can communicate mentally with anybody who touches it.  Even inanimate objects which have been given no form of intelligence can understand and obey specific commands.
Sensitivity to Danger - 2 Points:  The item can pick up the general distance and direction of hostile thoughts and emotions.  It cannot detect inanimate traps or threats.  It also includes the same abilities and limitations as Psychic Sensitivity.
Extraordinary Psychic Sense - 4 Points:  The item has occasional flashes of precognition, and will always know if its owner is in danger, regardless of distance.  It can also reach across Shadow to make contact with any mind that it knows.  This is slower and less reliable than Trump, and does not allow transportation.

Psychic Defence:  Confers a limited form of the Psyche Attribute, but only to defend against Psyche-based attacks.  It does not grant any attack capability, or any means of communication.
Psychic Resistance - 1 Point:  Equivalent to Chaos Rank Psyche, the item becomes resistant to most forms of Psychic attack or tampering.
Psychic Neutrality - 2 Points:  The item can mask itself so that it becomes "invisible" to Psychic senses.  This masking can be overcome, and is the equivalent to Amber Rank Psyche.  Of course the person trying to break down the mask needs to be aware that there is something there to break down.
Psychic Barrier - 4 Points:  The item is immune to all Psychic attacks, but cannot use any Psychic Qualities or Powers.  A character protected by such a Psychic Barrier will be unable to use any form of Psychic power or Trump.  The Barrier will be obvious to anybody with any form of Psychic ability, even if they cannot break through it.


Whereas Qualities represent the most basic features of an item (ie: its physical and mental capabilities), Powers are the more impressive abilities that might be built into an item.

Item Movement Through Shadow:  This is not the same as Pattern or Logrus.  Instead it represents a limited ability to move through Shadow, using some intrinsic magical ability.
Shadow Trail - 1 Point:  The Artifact or Creature can follow a path or trail left by somebody else moving through Shadow.
Shadow Path - 2 Points:  The Artifact or Creature can find a route to any Shadow it knows well.  Speed of travel depends on how often the item has travelled the particular route.
Shadow Seek - 4 Points:  The item can find its way through Shadow to find a specific object, place, or  living creature.  If the desired destination is one of a kind, with a specific name, then the item will be more likely to find the exact one that you want.  The journey will often be circuitous, as the item tries to find a way by trial and error.

Item Control of Shadow:  The Artifact or Creature can exercise a certain amount of control over the substance of Shadow, able to make changes to its surroundings.  Each level of this Power includes the abilities of the previous level.
Able to "Mold" Shadow Stuff - 1 Point:  The Artifact or Creature can change simple Shadow items and features.  For instance coins can be changed to match local currency.
Able to "Mold" Shadow Creatures - 2 Points:  The Artifact or Creature can affect living creatures and inhabitants of Shadow.  For example a dog can be made friendly instead of hostile, or a person can be made more helpful.
Able to "Mold" Shadow Reality - 4 Points:  The item can change some of the features of a Shadow.  It can manipulate the odds of events happening, or even make slight adjustments to the natural laws of the Shadow, perhaps making life difficult for local sorcerers.

Item Healing:  This Power allows an Artifact or Creature to repair damage to itself.  For Creatures this will give accelerated healing as long as they are still alive.  Artifacts will be able to repair themselves, even if totally destroyed.
Self Healing - 1 Point:  Creatures will heal at about twice the normal rate, while Artifacts will repair themselves slowly.
Rapid Healing - 2 Points:  Allows Creatures to heal as if they had an Endurance equal to Amber Rank, recovering from even severe damage in a matter of weeks.  Artifacts will repair themselves at a similarly fast rate.
Regeneration - 4 Points:  The Artifact or Creature can heal or repair any damage in a period measurable in minutes.  Even missing parts will be replaced in about an hour.

Item Shape Shifting:  The item can change shape.  For any shape that the item takes it will have all the instincts and abilities of that shape.  So if it becomes a flying creature, the item will be able to fly as if it had been doing it all its life.
Also, any Qualities and Powers possessed by the item will be carried over into any of its shapes.  So for example, if a Deadly Damage sword changes into a cat, the cat will do Deadly Damage with its claws and teeth.
Exotic Shape Shifts allow items to gain strange or seemingly magical powers.  For example it could change itself  to a form made of a transparent material, it would become effectively invisible.
Alternate Form - 1 Point:  The Artifact or Creature has a single alternate form which it can change into.  The alternate form must be specified when the item is first created.
Alternate Named and Numbered Forms - 2 Points:  The Artifact or Creature has several different forms (not more than twelve) which must be specified when the item is first created.
Limited Shape Shift - 4 Points:  The item can take on any form it wishes which is of comparable mass.  Initially this will be restricted to forms that the item has practiced, but it can learn new forms.  Unlike character Shape Shifting, this Power is useless for healing, nor can it grant new Powers.  For instance, a Creature transformed into the likeness of a character with Pattern Imprint will not gain Pattern Imprint itself.

Item Trump Images:  Artifacts and Creatures can contain Trump Images with onr proviso: the character who created such items must have the Trump Artistry Power!  Such items are never found in Shadow or Conjured, they can only be obtained through Trump Artistry.
Contains a Trump Image - 1 Point:  The Artifact (this can not be built into a living Creature) doubles as a Trump.  The image can be painted, embroidered, or engraved on the item.  The item gains the durability of a Trump, and becomes somewhat resistant to manipulation by Pattern, Logrus, or Magic.
Personal Trump Deck - 2 Points:  This is a special class of Artifact.  It is a Trump Deck containing only those Trumps created by the owner.  Once the deck is created, further Trumps can be added to it using the Trump Artistry Power without any further cost.  The deck, like other Artifacts, is personally attuned to the character, and if he loses it he can find it in Shadow fairly easily.  If you make several decks, you can distribute the spares as you see fit.
Powered by Trump - 4 Points:  The Artifact or Creature is considered to be a Trump, even if it does not actually contain an Image.  This means that it will be resistant to Pattern, Logrus, and Magic.  Such items can contain a Trump Image (tattooed onto a living Creature for example), but they often don't.  The value of such an item without an Image is the fact that it becomes resistant to various forces and Powers.

Power Words in Items:  Artifacts and Creatures can contain Power Words, but they can only contain Power Words that their creator knows.  Creatures and living Artifacts can use their own Power Words at will.  Power Words in inanimate Artifacts are triggered at the will of the holder.
The item is always counted as the caster of a Power Word, so defensive words will protect the item, not the owner, unless the item has the ability to Confer Power for the Power Words.
Contains a Power Word - 1 Point:  The Artifact or Creature contains a single Power Word, specified when the item is created.
Contains Named and Numbered Power Words - 2 Points:  This item holds several Power Words.  The maximum number of Words is equal to the number of Power Words known by the item's owner.

Spell Storage in Items:  Artifacts and Creatures can contain Spells, but the person putting the Spells into the item must have both Conjuration and Sorcery.  Some items simply Rack the Spells, and the owner must use the appropriate Lynchpins to activate the magic, other items have the ability to insert appropriate Lynchpins into the Spells they hold, so the user need not put any effort into the casting.
Once a Spell stored in an item is used, it is gone and must be replaced (not necessarily with the same spell).
Capable of Racking a Spell - 1 Point:  The Artifact or Creature can hold a single incomplete Spell. The user must be capable of using Sorcery, and must speak the Lynchpins to use the Spell.
Can Rack Named and Numbered Spells - 2 Points:  The Artifact or Creature can hold up to a dozen incomplete Spells. The user must be capable of using Sorcery, and must speak the Lynchpins to use the Spells.
Rack and Use Named and Numbered Spells - 4 Points:  The Artifact or Creature can hold up to a dozen Spells, and can cast them itself. Creatures and living Artifacts (with a Psyche or Intelligence) can cast the Spells at their own discretion.  Inanimate items allow the user to cast the Spells without having to speak the Lynchpins himself (handy if you've been silenced in some way).


Some items are intended to give Qualities or Powers to their user.  For instance: say you sold down your Warfare to Human Rank, you could design a sword with Combat Mastery (4 Points) and Confer Quality (5 Points).  This would give you the equivalent of Amber Rank Warfare, but only while you use that Sword.  You gain 25 Points for the sell down, and only spend 9 to get back up to a reasonable level again.
Note that the effects of Transferals are not added to the users own abilities, but replace them.  With the above-mentioned sword, if your Warfare Rank was higher than Amber, then you would be worse off if you tried to use it.
Confer Quality on Wearer/Owner/User - 5 Points Each:  This gives the character who owns or uses an item the benefits of one Quality.  For example, 7 Points would buy you a dagger which is Resistant to Firearms (2 Points) and Confers that Quality (5 Points).  While you wield the dagger you are also resistant to bullets.
Confer Power on Wearer/Owner/User - 10 Points Each:  As with Qualities, each Power to be lent to the character needs to paid for seperately.


This is an alternative type of Transferal.  Some items (usually Artifacts, but occasionally Creatures) can be Implanted in their owner.  This makes the item very difficult to lose, and acts as a type of Transferal.  Each Quality or Power intended to be used on the owner must be paid for seperately.  If the Implanted item also has Transferal, then the owner can decide whether the Quality or Power will be transferred to him or to somebody else.
Implant Quality on Wearer/Owner/User - 10 Points Each:  This gives the character who owns or uses an item the benefits of one Quality.  For example, 12 Points would buy you a tattoo which is Resistant to Firearms (2 Points) and has Implant Quality (10 Points).  As long as nobody finds a way to remove the tattoo you will be resistant to bullets.  For a further 5 Points you coud give the tattoo Confer Quality, which would enable you to make one person that you are touching resistant to firearms too.
Implant Power on Wearer/Owner/User - 15 Points Each:  As with Qualities, each Power to be lent to the character needs to paid for seperately.

Implants could include tattoos, subdermal armour, cybernetics, parasites which grant abilities to the host, etc, etc...


The final Points Cost of each Artifact or Creature depends on how many you want.  Multiply the total Points spent previously by the Quantity Multiplier shown below.  This will give you a number of identical items.

Unique - Quantity Multiplier x1:  There is only one of that Artifact or Creature.  Note that this does not increase the cost.
Named and Numbered - Quantity Multiplier x2:  If you want a set of identical items, for instance three matching throwing knives, simply double the cost of a single item. This x2 Multiplier will get you up to a dozen or so of the same item.
Horde - Quantity Multiplier x3:  In a particular location, in one particular Shadow, there are large numbers of this item.  An example from the novels would be Julian's Hellhounds in the forest of Arden.  In the right place the character could maybe find fifty or so of these items at short notice; maybe 100 in an hour, 200 in eight hours, and perhaps 400 in a whole day.
Shadow Wide - Quantity Multiplier x4:  In one particular Shadow the item is everywhere.  No matter where the character goes in that Shadow he will be able to gather a Horde of these items.
Cross-Shadow Environmental - Quantity Multiplier x5:  This Artifact or Creature can be found wherever a particular environment exists in any Shadow.  An example could be a Creature which lives in warm swamps (such as an alligator); whenever a Shadow contains warm swamplands, then a Named and Numbered quantity of the Creature will live in that Shadow.  The item in question must be able to blend in with normal items of its type, so the alligator mentioned above would have to look just like the local alligators (so maybe it will have more toes, or an extra eye in certain Shadows where such things are normal for the natives).
Ubiquitous in Shadow - Quantity Multiplier x6:  The Artifact or Creature is everywhere, in all Shadows (except Amber and the Courts).  No matter where you are you will be able to find one of these things in just a few minutes.  As above the item's exact appearance might vary to blend in with local examples.

And that's it for Artifacts and Creatures, next I'll talk about Personal Shadows.  Yes, your own private world is just waiting for you to come and claim it!
player, 17 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 17:58
  • msg #15

Amber Tutorial - Part 11

This is one of the most fun things you can do in Amber:  you can rule the Universe.  Well, you can rule a Universe.
Take Shadow Earth for example.  It's a Shadow that contains the Earth (as we know it), the Moon, the rest of the Solar System, the Milky Way, and all those countless other galaxies, globular clusters, black holes, pulsars...  You could own all that territory for a measley 1 Point.  Yep.  I did say 1 Point.
Of course, with the physical laws and current technology of Shadow Earth, most of that real estate (or unreal estate, it is only a Shadow after all) is out of reach, but you could easily get yourself a Shadow where a vast empire exists, ruling the galaxy with FTL capable warships, and where heroes and villains duel with swords made of pure energy... Or a Shadow where the dinosaurs never died out...  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
When I said this would cost you 1 Point, I lied.
It is possible to get such a place for free.  Travel to any Shadow that meets your requirements during the game, then just decide that's where you'll live or hide out, or spend your holidays, whatever...  Of course, the GM would be perfectly within his rights to have somebody come and take it off you.  After all, if the place is that desirable...
Spending Points during character creation will make the Shadow yours on a more permanent basis, and allow you to control some of the features.

Basic Shadow Type:  This lets you decide on what sort of place you want your Shadow to be.

Personal Shadow - 1 Point:  This buys you one Shadow, set to your personal tastes.  Any combination of terrain, inhabitants, technology, magic, rate of time flow, physical laws, etc, etc.
Shadow of the Realm - 2 Points:  This is similar to the above, except that the Shadow is located very close to Amber or the Courts of Chaos, and may even be part of the Golden Circle or the Black Zone (these are the Shadows which have direct connections to Amber and the Courts respectively, and have political and economic relations with them).
Such a place would be quick and easy to get to, but would be close enough to Amber or the Courts that the royalty of those places would take an interest in it.  Internal politics would probably keep them from trying to snatch the place, but a cruel GM might decide to stage an attempted land grab every so often...
Primal Plane - 4 Points:  As above, but this Shadow contains a bit of Reality.  Something left over from the creation of the Pattern, or which existed before the Logrus.  Examples would include the Shadows which contain Broken Patterns.
Such a place would be very resistant to manipulation by characters with Pattern or Logrus.

And that's all it costs to get a place in Shadow.  But the Shadow you now own is fixed, you can't change it later.  Not only that, but there's nothing stopping somebody from coming in the same way you did and trying to take over.  Or a Shadow Storm could come along and wreck the place, and you'd just have to put up with the damage.
You might want to put some Points into the following extra features:-

Shadow Barriers:  A sanctuary is pretty useless if anybody can come and go as they please.  Restricting access makes your Shadow a better hiding place.  Select one of the following options.  Each level can optionally include the features of the previous one.

Communication Barrier - 1 Point:  The Shadow is barred against methods of reaching into it from elsewhere.  Select one or all of the following: Pattern, Logrus, Trump, Magic, and Psyche.  The barrier can be designed to block incoming calls, outgoing calls, or both.  It still costs only 1 Point, however many methods you want to block, and in whatever direction you select.
Note that a barrier is all-inclusive:  you can't say that "it will block all Trumps except mine" for instance, if it blocks any Trump it will block them all.
Restricted Access - 2 Points  As above, plus the Shadow can only be entered at a specific location, type of location, or after performing a certain act.
Examples:  You could decide that the only way into the Shadow is through a cave located deep underwater (a nasty shock for somebody not expecting it).  Or you could decide that the Shadow can only be entered through any church, or that a character wishing to enter your domain must perform a back somersault with his left index finger stuck in his right ear while whistling "Swing Low Sweet Chariot".
Note that the same restrictions on access apply to you.
Guarded - 4 Points:  As above, plus some guardian or group of guardians will intercept anybody who enters the Shadow.  For instance you could decide that the only entrance is through a particular cathedral, which is guarded by a group of knights dedicated to you as their god.
The instructions you give these guards is up to you.

Degree of Control Over Shadow:  Any Shadow that is owned by a character can potentially be changed by the characters relationship with it.  This allows you to change things from the original settings that you had in place.  Select one of the following possibilities.  Each level contains the features of the previous ones.

Control of Contents - 1 Point:  You can manipulate the Shadow's material, creatures, society, history, reality, and physical laws.  You could decide that magic no longer works there, or that a certain person never existed.
Control of Time Flow - 2 Points:  You can manipulate the Shadow's rate of time in comparison to the rest of the Universe.  If you need time to heal, you could accelerate the clock so that you spend hours in your Shadow while only minutes pass elsewhere, or if you want to hide out without being bored then you can slow it down so that you spend an hour in your Shadow while weeks pass outside.
Control of Shadow Destiny - 4 Points:  A Shadow can have an influence that extends even beyond its own borders, and affecting those who walk through the infinite Shadows.  You can make your Shadow put itself in the path of an individual or group of creatures, so that the next time they try to move through Shadow, they will find themselves entering your Shadow.
This makes a great trap.  Decide that the next time Corwin tries to move through Shadow he will end up in your Shadow, then set things up so that it's difficult for him to escape or communicate with the outside world.  Of course you then have to figure out what to do with an angry Corwin, and he can be a difficult bastard when he puts his mind to it.

Shadow Paths:  There are lots of ways to move through Shadow: Pattern, Logrus, Trump, Advanced Shape Shift, Magic, etc...  But what if you can't do any of them?
Well, there are permanent paths through Shadow.  For instance, all the Golden Circle Shadows have permanent trade routes to each other, and to Amber itself, so that merchant ships and caravans can travel freely between them without having to use any sort of Power to do so.
When designing your Personal Shadow, be sure to specify any permanent routes that might exist, especially if you have no way of moving through Shadow yourself, or if you anticipate that you might want creatures from your Shadow to travel elsewhere on missions for you.  You can have lots of these routes, and they are free!  Their only drawbacks are that they are fixed, and that your enemies can use them too.  There is however nothing stopping you setting up Shadow Barriers, so that all of those routes enter your Shadow at specific locations where Guards will be on duty.
player, 18 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:06
  • msg #16

Amber Tutorial - Part 12

Constructs are similar to Items of Power (as described earlier), but are an entirely different order of magnitude.  At it's most basic, a Construct consists of an Item and a power source out in Shadow that drives it.
Examples of Constructs from the Amber novels include:-

Ghostwheel - Merlin's sentient Trump computer.  Merlin selected a Shadow where the Laws of Physics were very different from our own, and then built a machine that could never have worked on Shadow Earth.
The Fount of Power - Located in the Keep of Four Worlds, and drawing its energy from the four surrounding Shadows, the Fount could basically charge up any person with vast amounts of Power in a very short time.
Spikards - These are rings which are connected to countless sources of energy in numerous Shadows, and may have Power almost as great as the Logrus or the Pattern.

When designing a Construct, you must remember the following two rules:-

Construct Rule #1:  Construct Powers are limited to Character Powers.   In other words, if you want a Construct that uses Trump in some way, then you must be a Trump Artist.
Construct Rule #2:  All Constructs are controlled by the GM. Constructs are treated as NPCs.  So why spend the Points?  Because a Construct is enormously powerful, and investing the Points means you make it less likely that it will be taken over by somebody else.  As with Artifacts and Creatures, it is possible to obtain a Construct for free, by riding out into Shadow and simply finding it.  Trouble with that is, it'll probably belong to somebody else.


So how do I build a Construct?

1.  Imagine the Construct.
2.  Build the Basic Shadow(s).
3.  Build the Basic Manifestation.(s)
4.  Decide on the Connections.
5.  Select the Construct Psyche.
6.  Sit Back, Enjoy Your Construct.


Okay, so let's look at that in more detail.

1.  Imagine the Construct:  First of all, think about it for a while.  Decide what you want the Construct to do.  Subject to Rule #1, a Construct can do just about anything.  Decide where it draws its energy from.  Decide if you need to use it from the location where it is, or can it manifest itself in other locations?  How smart is it?

Some examples of Construct Powers follow.  The Shadow Requirement note indicates the minimum requirement for the Shadow which will house the Construct, if the Construct uses multiple Shadows only one of them needs to meet the requirement.  The Creator Requirement shows which Powers the creator of the Construct must have to build it.  A named Power also includes the Advanced version.

Pattern:  The Construct contains a part of the Pattern.  It has the potential to enhance itself infinitely and can absorb other versions of the Pattern.  Such a Construct would be able to manipulate Shadow.
Shadow Requirement: Shadow of the Realm (Amber).  Creator Requirement: Pattern.

Broken Pattern:  Similar to the Pattern-based Construct, but somewhat less powerful.  One interesting idea would be to build the Construct on the site of the Broken Pattern itself, allowing it to tap the Power directly.
Shadow Requirement: Primal Plane.  Creator Requirement: Pattern or Broken Pattern.

Jewel of Judgement:  Any Pattern-based Construct which comes into contact with the Jewel will have its abilities greatly enhanced.  If you are attuned to the Jewel (it could happen during a campaign, but don't hold your breath) then you can build a Construct that uses the Jewel of Judgement as its Power.

Logrus:  It is possible to trap a Logrus tendril in a Construct, giving it a little bit of Logrus power.  A Construct can also be built to summon an image of the Logrus, but such Constructs are prone to bouts of madness.
Sometimes an existing Construct will gain access to the Logrus, but this is dangerous for the Construct, and may require some intervention from powerful allies.
Shadow Requirement:  Shadow of the Realm (Chaos).  Creator Requirement: Logrus.

Trump: The Construct contains a Trump image, or is capable of creating them for itself.  Trump is a natural for Construct building, since the Power itself is based on an Artifact (the Trump deck).
Shadow Requirement:  Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirement:  Trump Artistry.

Shape Shifting:  The simplest example of a Shape Shifting Construct is when a character creates a creature from his own blood.  Such a creature placed in the correct Shadow would be capable of potentially unlimited development.
Shape Shift based Constructs are very adaptable within their own Shadow, and can readily alter themselves to take advantage of new Powers that they discover.
Shadow Requirement:  Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirements:  Advanced Shape Shift.

Magic: The Construct can use Conjuration, Sorcery, and/or Power Words.  While there is no real requirement for the Shadow, obviously it'd be best to use one where the general background level of magic in the environment is high.
Constructs with Conjuration can do anything that a character can do with it.
Constructs with Sorcery can rack spells, and if given Psyche can use spells, and even create new ones.
If the creator also has Power Words, then they can be installed in the Construct.
Shadow Requirement: Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirements:  Conjuration or Sorcery.

Innate Shadow Power:  The Construct is designed to use local sources of Power within the Shadow.  Such Powers are usually restricted to their own Shadow, but may have unlimited scope within that Shadow.  They also tend to be similar to Constructs in their hunger for expansion and augmentation.
The exact nature and scope of such Powers is limited only by the imagination of the player who runs the creating character, subject to GM approval.
Shadow Requirement:  Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirements:  None.

Innate Shadow Technology:  The Construct is built in a Shadow which supports high technology levels.  Such Constructs could include super-computers, nanotech, high energy generators, AIs, and similar oddities.
The exact nature and scope of such Constructs is limited only by the imagination of the player who runs the creating character, subject to GM approval.
Shadow Requirement:  Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirements:  None.

Innate Shadow Magic:  In some Shadows there are practioners of Magic which do not fit into the standard Conjuration/Sorcery/Power Words framework.  Constructs which tap into these strange Magics are often very powerful within their own Shadow, but their influence is usually limited beyond that Shadow.
The exact nature and scope of such Constructs is limited only by the imagination of the player who runs the creating character, subject to GM approval, and the very strangeness of their abilities can often provide an advantage big enough to offset their restricted abilities outside their own Shadow.
Shadow Requirement:  Personal Shadow.  Creator Requirements:  None.

Shadow Convergence:  Some Constructs (such as the Fount of Power) are designed to tap into several Shadows, and gain their Power from the intermixing of those Shadows.  Only multi-Shadow Constructs can take advantage of Shadow Convergence.
Shadow Requirement:  Multiple Personal Shadows.  Creator Requirements:  None.

2.  Build the Basic Shadow(s):  Use the system given earlier to design the Shadow or Shadows that will house and drive your Construct.  Specify the type of Shadow, the Degree of Control, and any Shadow Barriers.

If you use more than one Shadow, use the following method to figure the cost:

If the Shadows are not all identical (in game terms, not in their specific features), then apply the Cost Multiplier to the most expensive one.  If two or more of the different Shadows have the same Points value, but different features, then calculate the cost of a Shadow that has all the required features, and apply the Multiplier to that.

Cost Multiplier:  After calculating the basic cost, multiply it as follows to determine the total cost of the Shadows used:

Unique (x1 Points):  The Construct only uses a single Shadow.
Named and Numbered (x2 Points):  The Construct is distributed over a few specific Shadows, or is located in a central Shadow and draws on sources in neighboring Shadows.  Each Shadow must be described individually.  An example would be the group of Shadows that  contribute to the Keep of the Four Worlds.
Countless (x3 Points):  The Construct draws on numerous Shadows, all of which are defined by some common characteristic.  For instance, Countless Shadows might be all those that contain variations of a particular Power source.

3.  Build the Basic Manifestation(s):  Use the rules for creating Artifacts and Creatures to design the Manifestation.  The Manifestation is the part of the Construct that moves in Shadow, a remote terminal if you like.  This could be a ring, an animal, a circle of golden light... It depends on what you want it to look like.
As long as there is an active link, the Manifestation can use any Power that the Construct has access to, so you don't have to pay to put them in the Manifestation.  Usually it's a good idea to put some defensive abilities into the Manifestation, just in case the link gets broken, and have it rely on the Consruct for most of its functions
A Construct does not always have a Manifestation, sometimes you have to travel to it to use it, or access it using a Trump or some other means.

4.  Decide on the Connections:  If a Construct has one or more Manifestations, you will need to think about what sort of link it has to them.  This acts as a Cost Multiplier to the Manifestation.  You can also set up links between different Manifestations of the same Construct (like the blue crystal Tragoliths, which were all connected to each other).

Connection Multiplier:  This applies only to the cost of the Manifestation:

Innate Connection (x1 Points):  The Construct has a permanently open link to its Manifestation.  Such a link, while cheap, can also be easilt traced back to the Construct.  If broken by some force, then the Manifestation might need to be brought back to the Construct's Shadow to reestablish the link.
Shadow Conduit (x2 Points):  This is usually based on the Construct Power, so that a Trump Construct would use a Trump link.  The link can still be traced when active, but can be switched off.  Either end can attempt to reopen the link.
Flux Pin Connection (x3 Points):  This is a sophisticated link that can be switched on and off instantly, and is very difficult to trace.

5.  Select the Construct Psyche:  Every Construct has the ability to develop into a fully independent personality.  The initial Psyche determines how far up the development ladder it starts.  The Psyche basically gives a measure of intelligence to the Construct:

No Psyche - 0 Points:  The Construct is basically a non-sentient machine.  The one big drawback of a No Psyche Construct is that it will have no loyalty to its creator.  There is nothing to stop a No Psyche Construct developing a Psyche.
Psychic Sensitive - 1 Point:  The Construct has a minimal personality, knows its creator, and can exercise a certain degree of autonomy.
Power Driven Psyche - 2 Points:  The Construct can use its own Power to increase its Psyche.  This can result in incredibly high Psyche levels for such Constructs, making them effectively immune to many attacks, and able to perform truly amazing feats.
They can however, especially when immature, be very dangerous (imagine a grumpy two year old child with all the strength of the Pattern backing up his tantrums - scary thought!).

6.  Sit Back, Enjoy Your Construct:  The easy part.  Use the Construct as much as you can.  If you lose it you might get the Points back eventually, if you don't use it then the Points are all tied up for nothing.  ALL Constructs eventually decide they're better than their builders.  You're going to lose it one day, maybe tomorrow, maybe in a hundred years.  Make sure you use the thing lots, so that you get plenty of value for your Points.

The total Points Cost for your Construct is:-

(Basic Shadow Cost x Quantity Multiplier) + (Manifestation Cost x Connection Multiplier) + Psyche Cost.

Now the smarter ones among you will notice that if you choose a single Personal Shadow, no Manifestation, and No Psyche, you can get a Construct for 1 Point!  Of course, later on the Construct might develop some Psyche and build its own Manifestation, and it might decide that it owes you nothing...

Example Construct:  Trump Observatory - a device capable of generating and using Trumps to view locations in Shadow.

Basic Shadow -   Personal Shadow (1 Point)
                 Control of Time Flow (2 Points)
                 Communication Barrier (1 Point)
                 Unique (x1) = 4 Points.
Manifestation -  None.
Psyche        -  Power Driven Psyche (3 Points).

Total Cost =     7 Points.

So this Construct stands in a single Shadow, selected for the fact that it's out of the way.  The Control of Time Flow allows the Construct to undertake complex tasks in a very short time (as measured outside the Shadow).  The Communication Barrier is set up so that the Shadow can only be communicated with via Trump.  This is reasonably safe, since it is unlikely that anybody will discover the Construct by accident using a Trump.
The owner can either travel to the Shadow to use the Observatory, or contact it via Trump, so no Manifestation is required.
The Construct's Psyche can effectivly surpass anybody's, and allows the Construct to look into places that would be barred to anything with a lower Psyche.  It can also force a contact with an unwilling subject if it needs to.

So that's it for Constructs, next thing is Allies...
player, 19 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:13
  • msg #17

Amber Tutorial - Part 13

Allies can be very useful to have.  Imagine being in trouble and able to call in a favour from Fiona or Corwin, or even King Random.  It could happen, if you spend a handful of Points.  The more powerful Allies could even turn out to be your parents, but there is a snag with that.  As in Real Life you can't choose your parents...

Ally in Amber - 1 Point:  The character knows somebody with a degree of influence in Amber.  Examples could include a court retainer, military officer, or rich merchant.  Other options might include nobles, or even royalty from one of the Golden Circle lands.
The ally will always be loyal to the character, offering sanctuary, advice, and political support.The player can choose who the ally is.

Demon Friends - 1 Point:  The Chaos equivalent of the servants, military, and other folk of Amber.  One or more demons are obliged to provide the character with Lifetime Servitude, either through bargains made by the character or from inherited pacts.
The player gets full control over who the demon or demons are.

Court Friend - 2 Points:  The character has a degree of support and friendship from one of the high and mighty.  This will be either one of the elder Amberites or one of the ranking Lords of Chaos.
These friends will attempt to provide the character with information and support, as long as it doesn't clash with their own interests.  The player can select a friend from either the Courts of Chaos or from Amber, but the GM will decide exactly who the friend is.  The character (and the player) might never even find out who it is.  All they will know is that somebody is watching over them.
(A smart idea here is for an Amberite  to select a Chaosite friend, and vice versa.  That way, if you ever find yourself at  the wrong end of the Universe, you can be sure that at least one of the locals isn't trying to kill you).

House Support - 3 Points:   The character has the support of one of the Noble Houses of the Courts of Chaos.  If the character comes from the Courts, he might be related to the House, while an Amberite might cultivate such a contact to provide him with support if ever he finds himself in the Courts.  House Support for an Amberite could also indicate that the House has a shrine to that character, in which case he might never know who is providing him with aid.
The GM decides which House supports the character, and whether the character even knows which House it is.

Chaos Court Devotee - 4 Points:  One of the Lords of Chaos has taken a keen interest in the character.  The Devotee will arrange for last-minute rescues whenever possible, and may even take extreme risks to help his protegĂ©.  The character may even be an illegitemate child of the Devotee.
The GM will decide who this person is, and the character will only be aware that somebody powerful is looking out for him.

Amber Devotee - 6 Points:  As with the Chaos Court Devotee, somebody in Amber's Royal Family is very interested in the character.  The political situation in Amber means that the Devotee will take extreme measures not to be discovered, since he will have powerful enemies who might seek to harm the character if news of the relationship was leaked.
The GM will decide who this person is, and the character will only be aware that somebody powerful is looking out for him.

Phew!  That was simple enough.  Next time I'll look at all the little odds and ends that finalise character creation, including ways to grab some extra Points...
player, 20 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:19
  • msg #18

Amber Tutorial - Part 14

Okay, finally we're on to the last part of this marathon.  There's just a couple of little bits and pieces to cover, and then I think it'll be about finished for Character Creation.

Right, so first up some good news.  There are ways to get extra Points to buy things with.  Any one of the following things is worth 10 Points each, to a maximum of 20 Points.  They all fall under the heading of Player Contributions.

Diary:  This is a write up of events in the game, done as an IC diary.  This can be anything from a few notes, to a major epic.  As well as the Points it can help you to focus on details that you might otherwise overlook.

Campaign Log:  This is simply an account of campaign events, distributed to all parties concerned.  In an online game it would probably involve copying and tidying up the game posts, taking out links and OOC comments, correcting major spelling errors, etc.

Trumps:  For those with an artistic bent, create a "Trump" image of each of the PCs, major NPC's, and interesting locations.  In a face to face game the player should produce about one per game session (ie: produce one before each session).  Online you should look to produce one per week or fortnight (depending on what you agree with the GM).

Amber Stories:  If you are of a more literary inclination, you can create some fiction concerning the PCs.  Either a short story, or a chapter of a longer tale, would be required for each session (one to two weeks for online games).

Poetry:  Poems, based on events in the campaign, or on the quirks and personalities of the PCs.  Each should be about twenty lines or a single page, and you should produce one for each session (again one to two weeks of online play).

Good Stuff / Bad Stuff

Stuff is a basic measure of how the Universe looks at your character.  If you have Points invested in Good Stuff, then things will tend to go your way, you will be likeable, lucky, positive.  Rack up some Bad Stuff though, and everything starts to fall apart.

Good Stuff:  If you have Points left over at the end of Character Creation, you can invest them in Good Stuff on a one for one basis.  Good Stuff acts as a kind of universal bonus for your character.
You will get lucky in combat, the opposite sex will throw themselves at you, if bad things are going to happen to somebody in a group they will tend to happen to other people rather than you.

Bad Stuff:If you need extra Points, you can go over the limit set by the GM, but each extra Point taken gives you a point of Bad Stuff.  Personally I wouldn't recommend it.  Bad Stuff will make wounds worse; if a monster picks a random target from a group to attack from ambush, guess who will get picked every time; if a bullet strikes a rock near the group, guess where the ricochet will go...
Not only that, but Bad Stuff affects how you are seen by others.  They won't know why but they'll take an instant dislike to you.

You cannot have Good Stuff and Bad Stuff at the same time, and you don't have to have either.  You can keep them both at zero if you want to.


So that's it for Character Creation.  I have about two more posts to make, one for Character Development, and one with some tips and hints, and then you'll have just about everything you need to know to be able to play the game.
player, 21 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:27
  • msg #19

Amber Tutorial - Part 15

Character Improvement

So you've got your perfect character, and you send him out to face all manner of dangers, and suddenly you realise he's not as tough as you thought.  So how can you make him tougher?

Well the GM will award more Character Points as the game goes on, which can be spent upping Attributes, buying new Powers, new toys, new Shadows, buying off Bad Stuff, getting Good Stuff, anything you want, including improving things you already have..

Here's the snag (now come on, you've been around long enough to know there's always a snag).  He won't tell you how many Points you've been awarded.
You won't know how fast you're improving.

It works like this:-  You give the GM a Wish List for Character Improvements.  You list the things you want to achieve, in the order you'd like to get them.  For each item you say if you're prepared to take Bad Stuff or not, and at the bottom of the list you tell the GM what is the MAXIMUM amount of Bad Stuff you're prepared to take to get any one item.  You cannot give each Item a different maximum for Bad Stuff, if you're prepared to take Bad Stuff for several items they will all have the same maximum.

For example, your list might look like this:-

1.  Improve Warfare   - Bad Stuff: No
2.  Trump Artistry    - Bad Stuff: No
3.  Improve Psyche    - Bad Stuff: No
4.  Improve Psyche    - Bad Stuff: No
5.  Improve Strength  - Bad Stuff: No
6.  Adv. Shape Shift  - Bad Stuff: Yes
7.  Improve Warfare   - Bad Stuff: No
8.  Buy off Bad Stuff - Bad Stuff: No

Maximum Bad Stuff = 5 Points.

The list can be as long as you want, and you can change it if you decide you have new priorities.  The
GM will then work through the list, assigning Points to the improvements in the order you have specified.  Once you have enough Points you will get the next item on the list, and the GM will move on to the one after that.

Some GM's won't even tell you if you have a new Power, or an Attribute increase, or whatever.  They'll leave it up to you to find out.  The hard way; ie: by trial and error.

For many improvements things are pretty straight-forward, they have fixed Costs.  For Attribute increases though, things are a little different.  You can only improve an Attribute if you are able to go up enough to match the next person up the "ladder".  For instance if you are 4th in Warfare, you can only improve  if you are able to spend enough Points to equal 3rd.  To go further you must then spend the Points to reach 2nd.  That's why items 3 and 4 in the above list are both  Improve Psyche - the player wants his character to go up by quite a bit.  If you are already Ranked 1st in an Attribute the next rung will match you against NPC's, such as the Princes of Amber.  Trouble is you don't know just how far away that next rung is...

The GM will only let you take Bad Stuff in exchange for an individual improvement if you've told him he can, and he will not go over your limit for any item, although if you aren't careful your total Bad Stuff might get quite high.

Some things you will get automatically, such as Attribute increases (after all, if you've been playing then you've been exercising your Attributes) and Advanced versions of Powers that you already have.  Other things you might gain, but must roleplay how you get them.  Nobody just wakes up one day with Pattern Imprint, Logrus, or Trump Artistry for instance.
The Points spent to gain Pattern Imprint during play represent being given the opportunity to walk the Pattern - the GM will probably set up some sort of mini-adventure that sees you somehow gaining access to a Pattern.  You walk it, and then you have Pattern Imprint.  You probably also attract a certain amount of attention.
The same goes for the Logrus.
The Points spent on Trump Artistry assume you are practising your artistic skills and trying to learn the Power, so you should be sketching everything and everyone you see, and working on portraits in your spare time, until one day...

You can also try for new Powers... things not covered in the rules.  Discuss the idea with the GM, thrash out the abilities and limitations, and a cost.
An example might be Lycanthropy, a sort of Shape Shifting Lite that only allows you to take one alternate form (which must be an animal), or make partial changes towards that form, does not grant healing abilities, and would cost just 10 Points.
player, 22 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 18:32
  • msg #20

Amber Tutorial - Part 16

Tips for playing an Amber character

Most of this stuff is fairly straight-forward, but it's worth re-stating it.

Love you character:  You have a character who would be considered a god in many places, and who probably doesn't think that anything he ever does might be considered wrong by others.  Not that he really cares what they think.  Love him like he loves himself.

Never admit (IC) that you are wrong:  Amberites are never wrong.  If they make a mistake it's always because somebody else didn't give them all the right information.  In other words: if you foul up, blame somebody else.  Preferably somebody who's not in a position to defend himself.

Keep your secrets:  Don't tell others what you can do.  Not the other PCs, not even their players!  Keep your Powers, Artifacts, Personal Shadows and Allies secret until you absolutely have to reveal them.  You never know who might be listening in, and that supposed PC might be a Shape Shifter.
Abilities kept secret are more of a surprise when you do reveal them.

Try to find new advantages:  Always keep a look out for anything that might give you a bit of an edge.  Remember how much trouble Merlin had with the blue crystals (Tragoliths), simply because they were unfamiliar and he didn't know how to deal with them.

It's only unfair if you get caught out:  Dirty tricks are the norm in Amber.  Take any advantage you can get in combat.  Remember, fair play is often whatever the winner says it is.

Protect your Allies:  If you have Allies, and you know who they are, try not to reveal their identities.  Only get them involved if you have no choice.  Only take as much help as you need.  Remember that they probably have enemies too, and a soft-spot for you could be just the chink in their armour that those enemies are looking for.
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