Be careful of your thoughts for your thoughts become your words;
Be careful of your words for your words become your actions;
Be careful of your actions for your actions become your habits;
Be careful of your habits for your habits become your character;
Be careful of your character for your character becomes your destiny.
Character creation is quick and easy in Amber, since itís diceless. You show up for the auction, you bid on stats, and then write them, powers, stuff and items down. Each character has 100 points to spend and can gain more for an awesome background, completing the character quiz, adding things to the Shadows in the game and the like. During the game a character diary or some other contribution can gain even more experience.
Each character should be in the following format:
Strength: points (rank) (focus)
Warfare: points (rank) (focus)
Psyche: points (rank) (focus)
Endurance: points (rank) (focus)
Friends & Family:
Goals for PC:
Winning isn't everything, its the only thing.
- Vince Lombardi
- Strength is basically how strong you are. Hand to hand combat, absorbing punches, exertion and breaking necks or throwing vehicles at someone all come under strength, and there is nothing quite like the sound of someoneís neck snapping as your fingers close around it and begin to squeeze - quite the dramatic effect on other foes as well.
- Warfare covers any form of combat with weapons, and tactics as well. It can serve you as well in cutting someone down with a sword as in playing a game of chess of planning an ambush or even avoiding attacks by pure instinct. Not only that, but itís useful in leadership and letís face it: most conflict will boil down to warfare at some point, and higher warfare wins.
- Psyche is mental strength for your character. Using magic (or most other powers) requires psyche and those with a weaker mind can be dominated - or even killed - by those superior to them. It can be used to sense when someone is lying, the lay of the land, and is very, very useful in sensing emotions and the like.
- Endurance is simply how long you can keep going. Need to heal fast? Go without sleep for a week? Stand and fight someone for over a day? need to beat someone better than you - just drag out the fight and win by exhausting them. Endurance is in many ways the backbone of the other stats.
On the sheet you list your eventual bid after the attribute auction (more on that shortly) and youíre rank, if you know it. A bid of 0 counts as Amber Rank. Then you pick your focus. Is your warfare based on assassination? military matters? tactics? Write it in there and try to be specific and concise - the more focused, the better your edge in that over others, even other people better than you in the stat.
- Amber has no dice, so what is done for randomness? Stuff. Stuff comes in three flavours: Good, Neutral and Bad.
Good stuff is luck - people with it tend to be get all the breaks, things generally go there way and life is fun for them, they are often instantly liked and people give them the benefit of the doubt. (Keep in mind that no amount of good stuff with protect any PC from bone headed decisions - it comes into play when things are left to chance)
Neutral is 0 points in stuff, characters who choose to make their own luck rather than spend points or gain free points with had stuff. Ho hum. Next.
Bad stuff is free points. While good stuff costs you points, taking -5 bad stuff gives you 5 points to spend elsewhere. The catch, of course, is that it is bad. Any time things can be left to chance, you get shafted. When things can go wrong, guess who they pick? When Murphy invented his law, guess which -11 bad stuff character he had in mind? The advantage of bad stuff (besides points to spend elsewhere) is that it gives your character a bad ass aura, the kind of ďdonít mess with meĒ look others will notice and react to. And, letís face it, it will make your life exciting.
A note on Bad Stuff: 10+ = you'll spend your life wishing you were dead. When a dude named Corwin comes and whines about how he lost his eyes and spent 4 years in a dungeon you xan laugh hysterically and say you wish things had been that easy :)
- Starting Points
- This is a record of the total points you begin with (100 + contributions). Experience is kept by the GM but you should be able to guess how yours is going by how many of the things you wanted to buy up have been bought up. Keep in mind that Good Stuff can lower due to bad breaks and personality of the character while bad stuff is harder to buy off. Stuff is to some degree reflected on how your character views the world.
Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
And now, a break from things!
The attribute action works as follows: each player shows at the time of the auction and bids on stats. Weíll do a sample bid beforehand so people get the idea. All bidding is done in msg to the GM (Alcar) and only the high bid is posted in channel for people to beat if they want to. In other words, whoever has 1st rank will know but everyone else will be unsure as to their exact ranking in stats. Once bidding begins, the only way to increase your stat at the time of the auction is to beat the first rank. After it is over, you can buy up stats to a higher rank after you consult with the GM.
The bidding is on Warfare. Player 1 bids 9, Player 2 bids 0, player 3 bids 20 and player 4 bids 30 and an NPC bids 25. The Gm tells the channel the high bid is 30. Player 3 goes for 31 in msg, so the Gm tells the channel the new high is 31. Player 4 ups the ante for 50 and no one else bids. The end result is:
Player 5 (50) (1st rank); Player 3 (31) (2nd rank); NPC (25) (3rd rank); Player 1 (9) (4th rank) and Player 2 (0) (Amber Rank). On the character sheets, Player 4 knows heís first so writes that down. Player 3 can put down second, since they know theyíre second. And Player 2 knows her character is amber rank. Other players can write down a guess as to their rank, if they wish, but do not know it.
Stats can also be bought down to Chaos Rank (+10 points) or Human Rank (+25) for additional points, but this is NOT advisable.
Keep in mind that the 100 pooints are used to buy your stats, powers, items and allies so make sure each point counts.
Powers, Items, & Allies
Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.
And on with the show, to powers! Powers are the abilities that really set PCs apart from everyone else. Some of these powers can be learned in the different shadows and quite a few will be known to others, but they are not of the blood of Amber, so theyíll likely suck compared to you. Right? Right.
So buy powers!
The powers are listed as name (cost (prerequisite(s)). For example, conjuration requires a 16 int and, err, wait, wrong setting....
FYI, the powers are set up into three tiers. The first is simple use of the power, the second basic, and the third advanced. Levels beyond advanced exist for some powers but will not be known to starting PCs.
- Broken Pattern
- Yes, it exists. No, you canít get it yet. Donít even bother to ask.
- Broken Trump
- Yes, it exists. No, you canít get it ever. Donít even bother to ask.
- This is the power to bend the minds of lesser creatures to your will. Itís also good for geases, bindings on places, and convincing people to leave you alone or go and run around naked in the snow screaming ďIím free! Iím free!Ē and the like.
Voice of Authority (5) - You can convince people to do things. This works best for positions of authority/respect and is a must for any drill sergeant in the military.
Compelling (20) - You can make people do things, can even alter memory and instil suggestions right into the minds of people.
High Compelling (40 (prereq: compelling)) - Youíre now a puppet master with lots of slaves. Enjoy :)
- Conjuration (Shadow Weaving)
- Shadow Weaving is the art of crafting objects and creatures from shadow. This power replaces Conjuration from the original ADRPG system. Crafting items is a time-consuming process (the exact time depending on the user's psyche, level of skill in Shadow Weaving, the complexity and size of the object, etc. etc.). All objects created with Shadow Weaving follow the laws of their shadow, and may not survive crossing from one shadow to the next. High psyche can makes item creation speedier, and high endurance helps offset the fatigue that using this power causes. A character with conjuration can start with up to his points in conjuration in conjured items.
Basic Shadow Weave (10) - Simple Shadow Weave, Complex Shadow Weave
Normal Shadow Weave (15 (prereq: basic)) - Empowered Shadow Weave, Hybrid Shadow Weave, Permanent Shadow Weave
Advanced Shadow Weave (15 (prreq: normal)) - Mass Shadow Weave, Combat Shadow Weave, Ephemeral Shadow Wave
Simple Shadow Weave allows the user to create simple, non-living objects. Examples: Sword, chair, cup, a single food or beverage.
Complex Shadow Weave allows the user to create complex, non-living objects, or simple living creatures. Examples: A flower, a worm, a meal (multiple foods and beverages).
Empowered Shadow Weave allows the user to make items empowered item abilities (double damage, regeneration, etc.). This takes an additional 30 minutes per point, halved for each additional 5 points in Shadow Weave (to a minimum of 5 minutes per point). Also allows the user to create complex living creatures. Examples: Cat, bird, horse (a horse would probably take ~2x as long as usual, due to its size).
Hybrid Shadow Weave allows the user to combine other powers with Shadow Weave (e.g. imbue items with power words, sorcerous or trump powers, etc.). This takes an additional hour per point. Also allows the user to create creatures with non-organic parts, objects with living parts, and extremely intricate or complex objects. Examples: Cyberninja, organic computer, flying robot drone.
Permanent Shadow Weave allows the user to make items permanent (they do not decay like other Woven items, and are much more resilient to changes in shadow, and more likely to operate properly in shadows dissimilar to the one from which they were Woven). This process takes ten times as long as creating the item did (this multiplier does not decrease with more points in Shadow Weave). This power can be used to create 'real' items, taking approximately one day per point (the player must also spend the points for the item).
Mass Shadow Weave allows the user to craft multiple objects or creatures (using the named and numbered multipliers).
Combat Shadow Weave allows the user to craft simple and complex items much more rapidly, and with less concentration and strain. This allows these abilities to be used in combat with little or no disadvantage to the user (depending on size and complexity of the objects Woven... a shuriken or knife would take only an instant to weave, a large sword a second, and a handgun maybe 2 seconds). As the user increases his Shadow Weave skill, this skill improves as well, and is quite cool for showing off.
Ephemeral Shadow Weave allows the user to craft empowered items very quickly, in exchange for reduced duration. For example, a deadly damage dagger could be crafted in a few moments, but would only last for a few minutes, or perhaps an hour, depending on the shadow. Items created with this ability are generally limited to a single 4-point power at max, and the use of this ability is considerably more taxing than any other conjuration (it is more psyche-intensive, and far more draining on endurance).
- Dream Weaving
- Dream weaving is a little understood art that was seldom practised by any amberite prior to the Pattern War. Elders believe it is powered by Tir-na nogíth but as that particular place is closed no one is sure. There are rumours of more powerful uses of dream weaving but those are largely myth. As dream weaving is mostly a subtle power it tends to have few adherents beyond the level of dream scrying.
Dream weavers do not summon up any specific sign to access this power but mostly an archetype associated with them that becomes both themself and their guide in the dreaming places. Those with any kind of special sight will see the archetype overlaying the character when the power is in use.
Foretelling (5) - You get basic visions of the future and past from dreams. These tend to be cryptic and not directly useful.
Dream Scrying (15 prereq: foretelling)) -You can sense if someone is dreaming and roughly what it is about. This is good for spying on people or understanding them from the context of their dreams. as well, you can send messages to people in dreams. Since the person dreaming interprets it via their dream or can forget it upon waking, it is not a good method to trust, but a hard one for others to detect at least. Itís generally only effective in the Shadow it is used in.
Dream walking (15 (prereq: dream scrying)) - You can enter others dreams as an observer and talk to them, and the like. You arenít capable of altering dreams in any large sense of making people confuse the waking and dreaming states, though it is rumoured that it has been done before. Dream walking also allows one to scry dreams in adjoining shadows and receive prophecies (basically, to send the future of a Shadow and glimpses of itís Destiny). Dream walkers are sensitive to beings of power, such as the unicorn and serpent.
- Mending [This power needs to be renamed, and to healing. Any ideas will be appreciated and possibly work points :p]
- The power of the largely nomadic Ashenti, mending is taught by them to those judged worthy and sometimes learned by accident by people with a natural bent for healing or fixing things. It is accompanied by a smell of spring and, at the level of basic healing and higher, pale blue nimbus around the mender. No one has been able to use it to harm Shadow but it can be used to disrupt the spells that would harm a Shadow to a certain extent. As very little is known about the Ashenti save that they wish to protect Shadow from Chaos, the actually limits of this power are unknown. There are rumours of Ashenti killing to protect themselves with it, but they are unconfirmed.
Mend (5) - This is the power at itís most basic, and comes upon the user like a smell of fresh spring air that enlivens all who smell it. It is used to heal small cuts and scrapes, especially on those in Shadow and is best at mending things like clothing and broken pans and pans.
Basic Healing (20 (prereq: mend)) - You heal quickly, supernaturally so. You can choose to imbue this power into places and areas to let them heal faster as well. Ashenti-trained menders can sense disruptions in Shadow and, if they can see the cause, wil know what or who it is, if not the how or why of the disruption.
Shadow Mending (20) - The true power of the Ashenti, shadow mending allows them to repair the fabric of Shadow itself, to stop the advance of Chaos and recall Shadows mostly lost. It is used primarily to heal damage done to the basic structure of Shadow (the land, the sky, the laws etc.) as well as buildings, though the latter takes more time. It also can make more paths for the White Road the Ashenti use between Shadows and repair damaged roadways. It also has a detrimental effect on the Black Road. It also allows basic healing to be imbued into people of Shadow.
- Magic, the power to change the world by means of carefully learned skills, a few chants, and the proper application of power learned and cultivated over the years. Sourcery is entirely unReal. Nothing made of it lasts for a long time without being repaired, but it is very versatile and many spells can be made by someone with the proper training and skill. It does take a long time to make the really in depth rituals, and sources of power are hotly contested, but it is power, real power, and with the demise of Real powers, magic is what is left. Note that magic can only be learned in the world of [fantasy setting] and canít be used in the [sci/fi setting] for the most part.
There is an alternative kind of magic, someone born with it in them who uses it without training and spontaneously makes things happen. itís not recommended for PCs at all, and if they have Bad Stuff itís seriously a horrible idea.
Power Words (2 each) - Power words are quick and easy shortcut spells anyone can learn. Typical examples include: sleep, pain, reveal, thunder. They take a fair bit of time to learn, initially, but are extremely useful as minor magic effect and decent in combat. However, they drain energy from you directly each time so be careful.
Basic spellcasting (15) - You can build spells. They only work in the Shadow they were made for. Spells in amber can do practically anything, given enough time to make and a lot of time spent making sure the spell doesnít stop working and your power source is there for you to tap and use. And keep in mind that it takes a long time to create a spell, anywhere from 10 minutes to a few days, and then you rack the spell on an Item and have to spend time each week making sure the spell doesnít just decay, and keeping the smallest amount of lynchpins (words spoken to cast the spell) free to use when actually casting the spell. Itís generally only a viable occupation for anal retentive obsessive compulsives but is extremely powerful when there is no Real powers left to oppose it.
Magician (20 (prereq: basic)) - You can tap sources in shadow for magic outside of you and your own Shadow and imbue items with magic and power. Magicians are the real magic users, the ones with towers and reputations, the ones who can make deals with things outside their Shadow and know something of the nature of other universes. Most of the power of their source of magic in the world is used to maintain their tower or fortress over the source and the sources in other Shadows used for more mundane magics, long rituals, and practically any spell that the magician can learn. Weaker spells are much easier since youíre now adapted to the insane physics behind magic but most of your time is taken up defending your knowledge and place of power from other magicians, and trying to learn more about real powers youíve heard of yet know little about.
Magekin (20) - The spellcaster is one who uses magic, who draws upon the energy and speaks words than hurt the mind, uses knowledge of geometrics and ways of thinking entirely alien to the world to change itís form. Itís a hard kind of magic, and somewhat limited. But there is another. Magekins are born with and of magic. They donít use it so much as are magic, and it is them. they can cast spells in moments, with nothing except desire and need as a focus. Sounds great? Well, there are downsides. Several.
For one, casting a spell that would normally take several hours to prepare for a real magician is costly. However, the magic controls you as well and things can happen based on a wish, a fear, a chance glance, or something you don't even sense at a conscious level. This means something generally impressive happens and you spend the rest of the day either unconscious or with a raging headache and no clue as to what happened. The power wants to preserve itself, to defend you. As a result, you can use magic and never really understand why, or what happened. This is naturally dangerous. Lastly, itís exhausting. Youíre calling up power and pouring it through you like a broken dam: most magekins die very, very young by, oh, wanting a drink of water, calling up a storm and their heart exploding. Amber endurance or better magekins tend to survive longer, but it is still never a sure thing, and not a power you can ever truly control. It is NOT recommended for player characters.
Focus (20 (prereq: magekin and chaos-rank endurance)) - You generate magic now like a small font of power. This is useful but also dangerous since other want it and things just tend to happen and leave you exhausted, even more dangerous things happen, even when youíre sleeping. Most foci spend their time avoiding becoming slaves to magicians and trying not to wish for things. They blaze very bright, but most burn out very fast as well.
- The ability to change your shape. To get this power, talk it over with the GM.
- Items are designed and built by the players. Ashlk's amber page lists the basic costs of making your own items and creatures for your character.
All items must be explained in the characters background. Having more than one when you cannot make items would be rare. Generally, only those who make their own items or learn how to can improve their existing items.
Also, the quality of an item depends on the world it comes from. Fantasy (4 point max quality), Modern (2), and Future (0). And conjured items taken from one setting into another are affected as well. So a 4 point quality item taken from the fantasy world becomes 2 in the modern and 1 in the future. Powers are halved as well, but named and numbers and tranferral is left alone.
- Allies are bought with points. Family members should be written down in the background (depending on the PC, family member and friends can count as free one-point allies at GM discretion) as should allies. They are people who will do favours, look out for your welfare and the like. Cover why they do it in the background (a summary here would be nice for the GM as well) - and keep in mind that they may ask favours in return if you ask for too much down the road. Loyalty unreturned is just service.
It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.
- Kingsley Amis
This is where the real meat of your character should go. All that you know and all that you are should be covered in it. The longer, the better. if you plan to make it rather long, include a timeline at the end to clarify things.
Backgrounds are mandatory! All skills a PC has comes from his, her, or its background. If you do things that aren't in it, the GM is free to mess with the background as much as I want to. Including friends and family is a GOOD idea since, unlike most Amber games, the PCs will spend a lot of time in the 3 main Shadows. PC age is entirely up to the PC. Oh, and your amber parent is known only to the GM (as is how many elders are still around) but you're free to offer a suggestion you think works best for the PC.
Oh, and you must include a pic of your PC to be put on the site along with a good description of the character. Please, no famous people as faces, or jokes. And keep in mind that amberites are all handsome/pretty. [No pictures of the GM allowed - Sparkie]
- This is the background itself. If you have questions about the Shadows, ask the GM. Heís willing to allow a lot of PC input and creation into the Shadow as well.
- Friends & Family
- This is a listing of them, include ages and descriptions if necessary, along with who is living or dead. They can be covered in depth in the background but should be summarized here as well.
- Trigger Event(s)
- These are the events in the characters life (as recorded in the history) that made them aware they were different than everyone else. Just put them down in point form.
- Goals For The PC
- This is what you want to spend experience on. Write each thing in the order you want it, and if youíre willing to take Bad Stuff to get it as well as the amount of points in Bad Stuff youíre willing to take overall.. For example, Graham wants to increase his Psyche from 13 (4th place) to 23 (2nd place) and get Magician. The time comes for experience to be doled out and the he has 27 experience. That means he gets the psyche but canít get the magician since he doesnít have the 20 experience. If he had put willing to take bad stuff beside magician, he might. In scenario two Graham is willing to take up to 5 points in Bad Stuff and has put it beside both. He doesnít need it to get the psyche, but does need to take -3 to get magician. The other -2 arenít used and he is unable to get anything else so the GM stops spending it.
- These are notes for yourself, or whatever. Please, please keep notes during the game as well as they will likely help a lot in figuring out what is going on :)
And then, once your PC is done, you get to write up 3 dreams your character had recently. If you want more points than 100, make your background more in-depth, or write up an interview with the character, or draw him or her or anything else you can come up with.
Lastly, recall that your PC should be something you would love you play. Go ahead, be larger than life, make the character you've always wanted to play. Shadow is the limit so have fun. And pleae, discuss your idea with the GM (and even other players) for additional input, or suggestions, or just to toss thoughts around. It'll be a blast.
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