Amber: Something Wicked
100 points to play with. Basic Pattern (most of what Corwin could do on his own) is free.
Attributes Background Quirks Artifacts & Creatures Shadows
Allies Stuff Powers
There is a hard max of Rank 7 in any Attribute at chargen.
RANKS Instead of the usual system Ranks go from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. Ranks cost the square of the Rank number:
1=1, 2 = 4, 3=9, 4=16, 5=25, 6=36, 7=49, 8=64, 9=81, 10=100
Benedict might be a 10 in Warfare, nobody else hits 10 in anything. No bidding, just buy the Ranks you want and can afford.
A 1 rank advantage is minor (win ugly), a 2 rank advantage is significant (win but hurt), a 4 rank advantage is no contest at all.
Superior weapons, numbers, types of troops, and so on give rank advantages in suitable situations. (A sword is usually better than a knife, but if you are fighting in a closet the knife is better.)
(Primary Attribute, Secondary Attribute: 2 Ranks of superiority in a Secondary Attribute give a 1 Rank advantage.)
Hand to hand: Strength, Warfare
Knives: best of Strength or Warfare, secondary is the other
Melee weapons: Warfare, Strength
Close combat using large implements (tables, people, motorcycles…): Strength, Warfare
Thrown & muscle power missiles: Warfare, Strength
Attacking with Firearms: Warfare, no secondary
Attacking with Spells: Warfare, Psyche is secondary
Avoiding Missiles: best of Warfare or Strength whether you dodge or deflect
Avoiding bullets: best of 1/2 Warfare or Strength, what you want is cover Avoiding Spells: Best of 1/2 Warfare or Strength, or full W or St if you can deflect them.
Armies, fleets: Warfare (no secondary)
Mobs: best of 1/2 Str or War, secondary is the other; maybe less
Wounds, psychic damage & heavy bruising lower your effective Attributes — all of them.
It is force of will (which drives most Powers) and psychic sensitivity.
Social component: Strong Psyche lets project a scary, spooky or strangely attractive aura — Rasputin to Svengali to Gandalf. Strong psyche lets you sense emotions without opening yourself wide open.
How super is it? Not so much. The greatest human Psyche in a given world = Rank 6 (36 points). Elders: mostly 3-5
Telepathy: Look into your targetʼs eyes at close range or touch them skin to skin and open yourself wide open, become one with your target, set yourself up for that mental kick to the nads… Mental Domination: Force answers out of them by beating the crap out of their psyche or squeezing it until the pain makes them geek. Relatives tend to hold a grudge. Powering Spells: Damage is roughly equal to damage done with equal Strength and a weapon. Note that you aim most attack powers with Warfare.
Rank 1 (1) apprentice mage
Rank 2 (4) professional wizard, psychic
Rank 3 (9)
Rank 4 (16) world class, wizard Olympian
Rank 5 (25) top 10 in a world
Rank 6 (36) best in a world
Rank 7 (49) best in a dozen worlds
Strength is muscle power, physical toughness, general athleticism and hand to hand combat (and with very short weapons like knives)— it powers the damage done by melee weapons. In armed combat a 2 Rank Strength superiority gives a 1 Rank advantage.
Social component: Strength also gives ʻanimal awarenessʼ of other people around you and their body language. It also lets you project physical dominance and that sexy beast thing.
Strength is a superpower — thereʼs more than flesh and bone involved here.
How super is it? Very. A world class powerlifter might be Rank 1. Elders: mostly 3-5
Rank 0 lift 400 lbs overhead
Rank 1 (1) lift 600 lbs overhead
Rank 2 (4) lift 800 lbs
Rank 3 (9) lift 1200 lbs
Rank 4 (16) lift 1600 lbs
Rank 5 (25) lift 2400 lbs
Rank 6 (36) lift 1.6 tons
Rank 7 (49) lift 2.4 tons
Endurance is stamina and speed of healing and regeneration.
Very super. Healthy infants have Endurance (healing only) of R0 or maybe R1. Elders: mostly 3-5
Below: heal = x as fast as a normal person, run miles = how many miles you can run at a ~ 15 mph, sprint for = how long you can run full out — 30 mph or more.
Rank* heal* run miles* sprint for
1 8x 75 45 seconds
2 12x 100 1 minute
3 16x 150 90 secs
4 24x 200 2 minutes
5 32x 300 3 m
6 48x 400 4 m
7 64x 600 6 m
WARFARE Warfare is the use of weapons (including armies). It is not burglary, code breaking, piloting… Those are skills, free as background or bought as Quirks.
Social component: Warfare gives you warrior presence, combat awareness, the ability to size up other fighters and soldiers, to evaluate military personnel. Troopsʼ and armiesʼ performance depends on a lot of things besides the commanderʼs skill: motivation in this particular battle, vs this particular foe, morale, specific training, experience…
How super is it? Not as much. Elders: 3+, warrior types are 5-10
R1 professional/ good lieutanant
R3 high end elite/ good captain
R4 world class
R5 top 10 in a world/ good colonel
R6 Miyamoto Musashi
R7 unbelievable/ good general
R8 2x Musashi
R9 3x Musashi/ great general
Great commanders rely heavily on great soldiers/sailors. Training, morale, unit pride, gear and so on matter a lot. Think Miles Vorkosigan or young Napoleon.
If you want to be a better commander than your Warfare accounts for: Subtract your Warfare points from the Warfare rating you want. Divide by 3 for general command ability or by 5 for one of Army, Navy or Guerilla warfare. Round up. Max is R9 (high end great). So Napoleon, if I bothered to do the math, would be maybe R1 Warfare, R7 Commander (potentially), R8 General, 1+ (48/3) + (15/5) = 20 pts. Most worlds will have a R8 commander or three. As minions, Napoleon level generals will need considerable training/experience to translate their full capabilities to different technologies, types of troops, etc. Also they tend to be arrogant and/or ambitious as hell.
BACKGROUND: Skills are free up to the professional level, so long as you have some sort of backstory for how you acquired them. (By back story I mean: “3 years working as a circus acrobat”.) World class skills not covered by Attributes are bought as Quirks.
good captain good colonel good general
QUIRKS: World-class skills and inherent advantages like beauty, ʻfast sprinterʼ, Rebman (at home in water indefinitely — aside from breathing there — and fast swimming) or ʻalways immaculateʼ cost 1 or 2 points. A fairly narrow World Class skill set not covered by an Attrribute costs 1 point. A wide or particularly useful skill set costs 2. Examples: World Class Pianist (includes showmanship, writing piano music and business aspects) is 1 point. Musical Genius does the same for several instruments, for 2 points. Florimel has Quirks for Hostess, Beauty, Style, forex.
The ʻmakes a good first impressionʼ function of Good Stuff is a Quirk in this game: Charming, Winsome or something like that.
ARTIFACTS AND CREATURES are available minus most of the 4-point effects, minus most Transferral effects and minus cheese, please. Spandex armor is cheese. If you want some cool effect not listed or allowed, ask me about it.
Bought A&Cs can be nearly always be ʻfoundʼ by shadowwalking for a few minutes.
Pets, in my experience, are annoying and frequently forgotten. No pets unless itʼs very cool or fun. For me. Mounts, OTOH, are fine and half cost (round up) if they canʼt be with you indoors. If, for example, your valet Jeeves can shapechange into a charger you get no discount.
1 point defines a normal shadow.
2 points: shadow is very useful, like Earth.
4 points: shadow has some extraordinarily useful feature or power.
+1 point: Control of Contents — you win any contest of powers there. You can also change the shadow… but a changed shadow is a different shadow and the things you can carry over are limited to your personal knowledge and concentration/Psyche.
+2 points: Control Over Relative Time Flow. Anything over 5x or 1/5 Amberʼs is unstable.
+4 points: Control of Shadow Destiny. Put it in the path of some shadow traveler/s or make it unfindable.
ALLIES: 1 point- Ally: someone useful in Amber or quite useful locally in Shadow, like a king or an archmage. Can be named later. 2 points- Family Friend: a member of the family really likes you. (Only available at chargen.)
STUFF, GOOD or BAD
Is Luck. Basically, a Lucky Break per point, per session. Burn multiple points for greater effect. Limited to plus or minus 5 points.
RUNNING, JUMPING, SWIMMING, THROWING
Base sprint speed = 30 mph
Base long distance speed = 15 mph
Standing long jump = 20ʼ
Running long jump = 50ʼ
Swimming sprint = 8 mph
Swimming long distance = 4mph
Throwing distance, handy weights = 400ʼ
1 point Quirk = add a third to one kind of speed.
POWERS: World-Walking, Pattern, Shapeshifting, Trump Artistry and Magic (Power Words, Sorcery and Conjuration), Elemental Affinities.
WORLD WALKING is for Patternless people
PATTERN Available in game play for free
Not-Free Pattern Tricks
..2 pts Send Objects through shadow (objects movable by wind, water…)
5 pts Expert Star-road Travel (like Night, but her Affinity boosts it and her Psyche is high)
0 pts Train Shadow Navigators Train people with Ranked Psyche to sense and use Shadow Paths. Amber’s cross shadow trade depends on these people. Other things you haven’t even heard of…
5 pts Combat Form — sharp, hard teeth and claws, tougher hide. More than that should balance out. Forex: werewolf — wolf senses, twice as fast but no hands.
1 pt 1 alternate animal form
..1 pt unlimited animal forms
2 pts 1 alternate human form (clothing does not shift 0
..2 pts unlimited alt human forms
3 pts 1 Avatar form (elemental forms, wings on forms that shouldn’t have them, forms with innate magical powers, things like that; drawbacks should keep the form from being too unbalancing. You can define an Avatar form as, say, your Combat Form + wings.)
..5 pts Shift Organs (move things around, heal faster with rest, food and concentration)
….5 pts SS Others (via your blood)
3 pts Sense Trump
..5 pts Make Trumps of people on site
…5 pts Make place Trumps
…..2 pts ea. for first 5, then 1:1 Memorized Trump Image: you need no Trump. Also, if you are somewhere you can mentally/magically control paint, you can duplicate that image in a couple of minutes. Also needs Trump ID.
+2 pts Trump Block or Jam — either make Trumps unusable in an area or block one
person from using or receiving Trump calls. Requires Sense Trump.
+2 pts Trump Gate — someone Trumps you and you hold a portal (a bright shining
portal) open. Quite tiring — like running a marathon every ten minutes. Prerequistes Sense Trump, and a Trump of the place you are gating.
MAGIC: POWER WORDS, CHANTS AND RUNES
2 pts each for the first 5, then 1 pt each.
To clear up a common misconception, these do NOT have to be words, per se.
Process Surge momentarily doubles the energy of a mechanical (not Psychic) effect
Process Snuff halves it.
Thunder allows you to make a REALLY LOUD noise.
Shield — parry as with an invisible shield
Deflect Missile — one you can see, one at a time
CHANTS take some seconds to go into effect and last as long as you keep chanting. Figure you are at least minus 1 St, En and War while chanting. (Needn’t be vocal, could be series of hand gestures, or a dance.)
Help — grants target relief from pain, sorrow, frenzy, etc.
Diagnosis — grants detailed knowledge of one subject’s wounds and health.
Loose Bonds — knots untie themselves, locks open, chains break if you’re Psyche or End is high enough and you’ve the time.
Quench — suppresses or snuffs fires, size based on Psyche
Calm Warriors — will stop a brawl, not a planned murder
Calm Waves — this is hard to do.
Inspire Warriors — buffs your friends +1 End and War
Scatter Fell Spirits — angry ghosts and such
- one person, mind goes blank (if you’re powerful enough) pursuers don’t notice you
What Cold? — immune to cold while chanting, can be extended to cover others
RUNES are written in your blood with an intense effort, take about a minute, variable durations and triggers
Curse Ward — triggered, one shot protection from curses
Lust Charm — lasts until washed off
Love Charm — infatuation lasts until washed off
Speak With Dead — for one scene
Cold Ward — triggered, lasts one day
Situational Eloquence — baffle a designated class of people with bullshit, lasts one scene. Say, hostile warriors or riddling giants.
5 pts: you know one spell
..5 pts: you know lots of spells and can make up more
For 2 additional points you can get a 12-spell rack. This will be a ‘permanent’ rack that you can always find in shadow.
A useful power, but it requires a lot of upkeep. Spells take time. Anywhere from minutes to several hours, most of which is spent gathering energy. Fortunately, they can be prepared in advance! Of course, there are limits. YOU can only hold one spell at a time…and that only as long as you can concentrate on it. So you’ll need something you can “hang” them from. The second restriction is that spells are VERY specific. If you know exactly what, where, when, and how you’ll cast it, you can have the whole thing ready and drop it in an instant. Attack spell damage is based on Psyche, doing damage equal to what the same Rank of Strength would do with a weapon.
MAGIC: CONJURATION Waking, shaping and commanding spirits.
5 pts Basic Conjuration
..5 pts Empowerment
….+5 pts Master Conjuration
Basic Conjuration takes 10 seconds per point of the item/creature Conjured (2 seconds for zero point items) and is really only good for making temporary mundane items or creatures. Such creations can be dispelled by the touch of a Ranked Psyche, PW Negate Magic or nearly any spell and must be maintained by mild concentration. Can’t be moved through shadow.
Conjuration takes 1 minute per point,10 seconds for zero point items. Such creations can be dispelled by a Psyche greater than the conjuror’s, by PW Negate Magic = to the conjuror’s or an attack or antimagic spell. Lasts indefinitely in one shadow, can’t be moved cross-shadow.
Empowerment takes ten minutes per point and can enhance existing objects or creatures (including yourself). Empowerments are permanent unless dispelled or moved through shadow. They are easily dispelled by spells designed to do so. Spending 5x to 10x the normal conjuring time makes such creations immune to shadow movement — and they become real after a time: creatures can procreate.
Master Conjuration takes an hour per point. Creations last until destroyed, creatures may procreate. Dispelling requires a Rank greater than the conjuror’s. Making permanent items/creatures takes 2x-3x time.
MAGIC: ELEMENTAL AFFINITIES
5 pts, one Elemental Affinity per customer. Some shadow folk have bloodlines, associations, curses, blessings, etc. that are tied to an element: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Wood (growing things), Death (corpses, ghosts) and maybe others. Such people can do small tricks directly and can considerably enhance other powers if their element is involved. Figure a single 2-Rank benefit (faster casting/ conjuring time, greater effect, faster shadowshifting) to Sorcery, Conjuration or Pattern use involving the element.