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boulet
11-06-2008, 01:28 AM
I'd be interested in running Amber on PenAndPaperGames. I know that a few members have some experience with the game. I wonder if I can gather a group of players though.

In term of setting I consider Corwin's cycle as canon. Not that Corwin wouldn't lie or omit facts but the story would start some time after the Patternfall war. Merlin's cycle is good material but I feel free to discard many concepts exposed in it. For instance I'm no fan of the Pattern and the Logrus as sentient entities.

I might tweak some aspects of the game (toy with traits or change powers costs) but I'm quite happy with it in general.

I have a few ideas about the story but I'd like to ask potential players about the style they're interested in and try to accommodate them..

Webhead
11-06-2008, 10:25 AM
I've never read or played Amber but I hear many people who have good things to say about it. I would be interested in participating in a PbP game, though I know nothing about the game system or the setting.

MortonStromgal
11-06-2008, 12:29 PM
I've never read or played Amber but I hear many people who have good things to say about it. I would be interested in participating in a PbP game, though I know nothing about the game system or the setting.

Its diceless, you make bids with some points somehow IIRC. I've never read the novels though. My wife loves them however. I wouldn't mind playing as Ive never played or ran it (just read parts of the rpg book). Heck I've never pbp before. So count me in

boulet
11-07-2008, 09:34 AM
Excellent ! I relate very much to your posts on the forum, and we seem to have a lot of common experiences RPG wise. it makes me very enthusiastic :)

My objective is three characters : the auctions wouldn't make much sense below that number. More than three characters might be a little too much to handle in PbP. So what I hope is that the third player would have some experience with Amber. This way I would have a collaborator for the "in genre" aspect of the game.

I'll start posting about my game soon, and ask questions about the style of game you'd be interested in. Right now my 3 years old daughter is treated at Hartford hospital and I can't devolve the time I would need to do it seriously. So probably tomorrow...

Thank you guys.

MortonStromgal
11-07-2008, 10:42 AM
I have the novels and the rpg (rather my wife has them but I may persuade her to let me borrow them) Is it better for me to read them, not read them, read certain parts?

boulet
11-07-2008, 11:37 AM
The priority in my opinion would be : Corwin cycle first. The Merlin cycle is less important though very enjoyable. The game book is a good read too, but considering :


its main purpose is to emulate the style of story of the series
we play PbP so narration style is even more crucial than for face to face games
the accent of the game is on examples/advices rather than complicated rules, and there are many customization options

reading it isn't a must. Actually most of my players in the past only read the series (I only owned the English version of the game and was the only English savvy guy).

On the specific case of conflict resolution, the game use different combat scenes from the book to provide an idea how the system propose to emulate Zelazny's books style. So if you could ask your wife to point at the famous fight between Corwin and Benedict on the black road, and read how Erick Wujcik proposed to illustrate this case with his game, you would probably understand a good third of the game concept ;)

Mirina
11-07-2008, 11:42 AM
This sounds like a great idea for a PbP, and I'd love to play Amber again. I'd gladly take the third spot if it is still available. It's been a few years since I last played, but I have the RPG book and the entire Amber series, so I suspect it won't take me long to get well-versed in the setting again.

boulet
11-07-2008, 06:24 PM
Mirina, you're in ! I'm glad you want to try this. PbP is fairly new to me too and I've never run a game this way. It will be interesting.

I have to gather my thoughts about how I want shape the game, starting with character creation. I want the process to involve you (the players) and my past experience with this RPG. For instance Amber diceless quite encourages or at least suggests Player vs Player confrontations. What are your feelings about this ? (doesn't have to be fights till death but you know...)

When time will be up for auctions I would be partial for a different way to play. Auctions on forum won't be fun and/or very slow. The ideal IMO would be one hour or two all together on an IRC channel, or some conference call/VoIP equivalent. The game would then resume on the forum. Let me know what you think. The wikipedia article about Amber Diceless RPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Diceless_Roleplaying_Game) sums up the auction mini game quite well.

More material soon.

boulet
11-09-2008, 01:20 AM
Let's sum up the character creation :
Background story and character concept can intervene before the traits auction. Or you could wait and see the result of the auction, and then build a character concept around the very "gamist" choices made during the auctions (Psyche, Endurance, Strength, Warfare and Shadow Crafting) and purchase of further empowerment.

Substract the total cost of the auctions out of the 100 creation points, and you've got your budget for powers, possessions, items of power, relationships with NPCs, personal shadows. You can be as knowledgeable as can be legitimate considering the age in any number of competences (denizens of Amber or Chaos can live centuries).

About auctions remember :

The attributes run from -25 (normal shadow dweller level), through -10 (normal level for a typical low rank demon) and 0 (normal level for an inhabitant of Amber), upwards without limit. Scores above 0 are "ranked", with the highest score being ranked 1st, the next-highest 2nd, and so on. The character with 1st rank in each attribute is considered "superior" in that attribute, being considered to be substantially better than the character with 2nd rank even if the difference in scores is small.
And remember bids are committing, no refunds. The cost of powers are (think auction strategy) :


Pattern imprint (50) : you are necessarily a descendant of Oberon (1st or second generation) and you must have at least an Amber rank in Endurance. Undergoing the walk of a pattern is a mystical experience with no equivalent. It unlocks the full Amberite ability of moving across shadow and even shaping the substance of it. The closer to the court of Chaos, the less efficient this power gets though.
Advanced pattern imprint (+25 = 75) : Next octave of the same power, it implies your character has been studying, travelling or even received a complementary training by an elder. Ability to summon the pattern mentally enabling numerous tricks and protection from chaos. It's the more creative form of Pattern power, you can experiment with the laws of reality and shadow..
Trump artistry (40): necessitate Pattern imprint, Logrus mastery, Sorcery, Conjuration, Broken pattern imprint or to be a Chaos shadow craftman in order to power the trump card. Decent darwing/painting mastery is necessary too. Your trumps act as communication/transport devices toward people/places you met/have been to. The fastest travel type, though it's notable that Amber isn't accessible from the court of chaos, and vice versa, underlining that even trumps have a maximum transmission range.
Advanced trump artistry (+20 = 60) : extermely knowleadgeable with trumps, knows how to spy on others communication, ability to craft trump based magic (if sorcery adept), mental invocation of trumps for protection... Be imaginative.
Shape shifting (30) : character is related to the courts of Chaos one way or another (yeah Dworkin and Oberon are technically members of the court of chaos, though no one displayed any shape shifting abilities so far but who knows ?). Must have at least a demonic rank in Endurance. Character dispose of three natural shapes. One is demonic, one is human and one is elemental. Other spontaneous transformations are possible but drain. Risk of lost of control in case of several fast transformations.
Advanced Shape shifting (+ 30 = 60) : Perfection in term of imitation. Capacity of absorbing matter. You can invoke primal form : superior ability but comparable to a WoD frenzy. Breed creatures out of your blood. Be creative...
Logrus mastery (40): Your character must have at least an Amber rank in Psyche and be a shape shifter. You're a superior denizen of chaos, you have been prepared by Suwy or another experienced Logrus master. Adepts of Logrus can mentaly invoke the ever changing snakelike 3D labyrinth. It's a powerful way to prepare and empower sorcery spells. Logrus master are significantly superior sorcerers. Logrus powers are usable even in the depth of castle Amber though it would be quite suicidal. With the logrus summoned in your mind you can use Logrus tendrils seek common objects or traveling accross shadows. You dispose of magical vision too : capacity of investigating remnants of sorcery, identification/deciphering of spells, preload spells for later use...
Advance Logrus mastery (+30 = 70) : You add extra evening courses and initiation. You know how to invoke primordial chaos. You can create shadows domains or shape existing ones to perfection, but not near Amber though. Capacity to summon/control creatures of chaos, even breed shadow servants out of Logrus tendrils. Be creative...
Path of the broken pattern (20): using the power of a broken pattern is achievable even buy a mere human in terms of attribute. It's kind of the retarded version of the Pattern imprint. Every movement through shadow is potentially dangerous since this power focus on the defects of a imperfect Pattern reflection. Adepts can summon the broken pattern in a similar way the Logrus masters can. One can load spells with it. This power is very limited close to Amber or the Court of Chaos.
Chaos shadow crafter (20) : You're a member of the shadow crafters corporation. In the Chaos zone of influence you're the equivalent of an engineer, an architect or a mason. You can create portals, even weird ones, and build amazing/mind boggling settings (think Escher) at the interface of several shadows.
Sorcery (20): requires at least a demonic rank (-10) (think best of his generation kind of guy among shadow dwellers) in Psyche. Chose up to a dozen spells you've practiced significantly. Still possible to improvise brand new spells but it's time consumming. Some shadows are particularly weak in magic power to tap. Shadow Earth is neither a very magical shadow, neither is it devoid of powers to tap.
Conjuration (20) : very narrow focused form of sorcery, ability to conjure objects and creatures. These artefacts tend to dissipate fast around Amber(matter of hours). Less so in a common shadow (matter of weeks). And almost doesn't dissipate in the court of Chaos (matter of generations). Really best associated with Sorcery, which provides control spells, crucial when conjuring potent creatures (Godzilla, Cthulhu, demons anyone) ?

Ask for our special prices on personal shadows, power artifacts, shadow traveling creatures, mystical shadow computers, name it we've got it. The more points you invest the more this item is important for the narrative. There's also social bonds with pre-existing NPCs (son of Benedict anyone ?). Can work from scratch too. I personally consider those Player creations welcome and I want you to enjoy describing things and persons that are and will be explored in play. It's perfectly kosher to not buy anything but powers. It's kosher to talk meta-game with other players any time . Just please provide your characters with at least a minor shadow traveling way of locomotion. (Sure we can let you ride a manticora across shadows, just try and not be cheesy :)).

I hope it inspires the geek in you !

boulet
11-09-2008, 03:01 AM
I will let you define among players what is the dynamic of your group. We talk general attitude, core motivations, the whole shebang. But I thought I would provide few suggestions to pick from. My personal preference would be for you to invent reasons to be associated or even friends,

You're siblings. Each of you are the sons and daughters of a single eminent prince or princess of Amber or some influential Chaos Duke.A nice canvas for deep relationships : rivalries, affinities, implicit hierarchies, personal proximity to the parent. Advantage : you all reveal who your personal link to a the family is. Consequently he/she's probably going to help and introduce you inside your family. As much helpful this person may be she might be an attention whore (Fiona anyone ?) or a cold parent (Julian). A super protective one (Gerard come on !). Or someone so powerful she's outright spooky (Fiona, Bleys, Mandor, Dara...). Your parent may be needy or bossy !

A less family committed group type is possible. You all shared college years on Shadow Earth. This shadow is revered as one of the most elegant and treated like a commodity by many Amber heirs. Academic training, professional paths, arts, sports. Many of Zelazny's character have "grown" there and reciprocally they reinforced the shadow's reality (Amber blood do that). Chaos breed is welcome to the party too. Earth is quite far from both Amber and and the Chaos court. All of you are surely superior to the best competitors Earth has to offer. So you could have play pretend to be shadow dwellers, while winning gymnastic Olympics and finishing your ph D in micro-biology as a side job. Yeah you're that kind of amazing. At first all that gathered you is this all out competition. But soon you discover that both others are able to mess up with reality. How could this encounter happen by coincidence? What agenda are you serving ?

Oh and also we've got discuss what level of transparency you're comfortable with. You could play with completely secret character sheets as far as I know. Up to you, but I repeat meta-game is welcome. Surprise me with your awesomeness ! :)

MortonStromgal
11-10-2008, 02:27 PM
I have to gather my thoughts about how I want shape the game, starting with character creation. I want the process to involve you (the players) and my past experience with this RPG. For instance Amber diceless quite encourages or at least suggests Player vs Player confrontations. What are your feelings about this ? (doesn't have to be fights till death but you know...)


I'm ok with PvP. It will take me some time however to digest everything else you posted.


When time will be up for auctions I would be partial for a different way to play. Auctions on forum won't be fun and/or very slow. The ideal IMO would be one hour or two all together on an IRC channel, or some conference call/VoIP equivalent. The game would then resume on the forum. Let me know what you think. The wikipedia article about Amber Diceless RPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Diceless_Roleplaying_Game) sums up the auction mini game quite well.

PnP has a chat room... just a thought...

*will edit with more replies later*

boulet
11-10-2008, 05:42 PM
PnP has a chat room... just a thought...

Yes, it's an option. I like myself a good old IRC channel just for the logging :)

boulet
11-11-2008, 09:37 PM
We have our own forum (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=125) ! See you there.

amardolem
11-13-2008, 11:18 AM
It appears your at 3 already....I'm always down for something new, but have neither the rpg or the books....I know I have read some back in the mists of time.:( I'll keep an eye on this anyway...one never knows

boulet
11-13-2008, 12:38 PM
I'm not sure what's the status of the game for now. I haven't much feedback from the first three candidates. I wouldn't mind expanding the group size from 3 PCs to 5 PCs so to include Amardolem and Nijineko. It's just my personal experience with Amber that makes me cautious with group size : the number of plots grows exponentially with the number of players :)

Could every member who showed interest confirm they're still on the boat ? And maybe ask questions about what's not clear ? I'd like to get the auction going some time soon, so we can proceed with character creation.

For those of you who never played nor read Amber stuff, I'd say that character place in the world is comparable with a mage in WoD : you are a extraordinary character in a mundane world (well maybe not so mundane). Here are a few examples of what you could explore with your character concepts (hope it can help start ideas):
- godlike complex : tremenduous powers, ability to shape reality with your very will and general superiority to common people could lead anyone into thinking they're divine. Even Corwin thought along these lines sometimes.
- family relations : being a member of a reigning family is probably the same as being part of any family. Or is it ? What about your responsibility as a prince ? How do you deal with patronizing uncles and aunts who have been playing this game for centuries already ? What type of parent are you looking for your character ? Do your character actually know his place in the universe ? Or did he just discover that he's able to do stuff other people can't ?
- color and style : many of Zelazny's characters are all about the fluff and the color. Maybe it's superficial, maybe it's the "wannabe cool kid start smoking and join the band" syndrom. But if you don't want to be treated like prince number 42, maybe you should develop a style ?

Other aspects of character creation aren't going to be very different from other RPGs : motivation in life, idiosyncracies, personal history...

I suggest PCs start on shadow Earth because a familiar setting would help shape their images just by showing how they integrate (or don't) with Earth's society.

Please feel free to throw half baked ideas about your character at me. I'll help you polish them and make them fit inside the Amber canvas. A pretty wide canvas since every possible worlds are to be found in it :)

MortonStromgal
11-13-2008, 01:03 PM
Ready to sail captain ;) seriously I plan on reading the RPG book parts over the weekend and hopefully diving into the books next week. Just been terribly busy and reading other things... Bad Morton no biscet. As for IRC... I get home around 5pm PST M-F but I'm out of town Wednesday and have no plans for the weekend.

Mirina
11-13-2008, 02:00 PM
I'm still interested. I finally read through all of your posts in thorough detail, though I might have some questions as I progress through character creation.

I'll make sure to check this thread more often so as to find out when the auction is and any deadlines that might come up.

Webhead
11-13-2008, 03:07 PM
I think...and this is hard for me to say...that I will bow out of this round and just take the opportunity to observe. It looks like it will be very interesting, but I'm thinking that someone who has more standing knowledge of the mythos and/or game might be able to bring something more to the game than I could. It was a tough decision, but in the end I think I want to allow a chance for other interested parties to jump in.

boulet
11-13-2008, 05:12 PM
No problem Webhead, I prefer you have this revelation early than later :)

nijineko
11-13-2008, 11:15 PM
still interested, still can't commit. ^^

boulet
11-14-2008, 08:19 AM
OK, so now I'm back to three players. That is, if Amardolem is still interested !

I wonder if people enjoy PbP for the content of the story they create or if just the sheer thrill of the meta-game (like gathering players) is a substitute for role playing. This is a rhetoric question, don't bother answering guys :)

amardolem
11-17-2008, 04:18 PM
I'm still here! I seem to recall reading at least one of the originals (well at least the titles struck a chord somewhere in the back of the ol' brainstem)

I picked up the Amber collection and started at the beginning but I think I can proceed on intuition for a while. The premise is in some ways similar to the Jerry Cornelius books by Moorcock where people are civil and tied together even when on the verge of killing each other.

A very interesting collective story I think it will make. So what'll it be? Amberites or the Court of Chaos? The goth poseur in me cries for chaos (in the Moorcock sense) but the Amber side seems quite flamboyant as well (I haven't got to where the Chaos comes in yet in the books) so if you all have a preference I'll defer, as I don't want to be off the deep end (at least not initially):biggrin:

boulet
11-17-2008, 04:51 PM
A very interesting collective story I think it will make. So what'll it be? Amberites or the Court of Chaos? The goth poseur in me cries for chaos (in the Moorcock sense) but the Amber side seems quite flamboyant as well (I haven't got to where the Chaos comes in yet in the books) so if you all have a preference I'll defer, as I don't want to be off the deep end (at least not initially):biggrin:
It's not a black or white choice for the group. There's possibility for a mixed group in a context of détente between Amber and Chaos. A bit like if KGB and CIA agents had to cooperate during the cold war. The Cold War analogy is probably a bit extreme but not stupid. If I push the analogy a little further, then why not double agent or sth ? :)

[Edit]Amber diceless RPG is usually played with a high level of secrecy (and one of the questions I had for you guys was about it btw). It doesn't have to be this way. We could play a very "story game" version where all PCs secrets are open. It just means that everybody is disciplined and don't mix OOC and IC knowledge. The benefit being someone could make suggestions like "And what if your PC knew about my PC's secret shadow and we had tense first encounter before the game even begins ?". It's all about being comfortable with actor stance or author stance. I won't force one or the other on you guys. But I need to know your preference.

boulet
11-17-2008, 05:02 PM
And please post any reply to the Character Creation thread (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8160) from now on. I'd rather have all discussions happening in our sub-forum.

boulet
02-05-2009, 09:36 AM
There's room for other players, so feel free to knock at the door :)

nijineko
08-26-2009, 05:47 PM
soooo, what's the posting schedule like? once a day... week... month? or are you trying for real-time via chat/irc?

mnemenoi
08-27-2009, 06:00 PM
I am still interested as well if its still something that you would like to run...