There is one true city on one true world, and it is called Amber. Founded by Oberon and ruled by his family, Amber stands where the slope of Mount Kolvir sweeps to the sea, on the edge of the Forest of Arden. It has stood since time immemorial, and it will remain eternal. Reflected from Amber is infinite Shadow, where all possible worlds can be found and created. All it takes is sufficient power and will to walk among Shadow, and among it find whatever it is that your heart desires. As far as any may wander, however, they cannot escape the pull of destiny and the machinations of their family….
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The Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game is a role-playing game created and written by Erick Wujcik , set in the fictional universe created by author Roger Zelazny for his Chronicles of Amber. The game is unusual in that no dice are used in resolving conflicts or player actions; instead a simple diceless system of comparative ability, and narrative description of the action by the players and gamemaster , is used to determine how situations are resolved.
Amber DRPG was created in the s, and is much more focused on relationships and roleplaying than most of the roleplaying games of that era. This often means that the only individuals who are capable of opposing a character are from his or her family, a fact that leads to much suspicion and intrigue. Erick Wujcik offered to design an Amber role-playing game for West End Games , who agreed to look at his work.
Wujcik intended to integrate the feel of the Amber setting from the novels into a role-playing game, and playtested his system for a few months at the Michigan Gaming Center where he decided to try it out as a diceless game. Talsorian Games , until he withdrew over creative differences. The original page game book  was published in by Phage Press, covering material from the first five novels the " Corwin Cycle " and some details — sorcery and the Logrus — from the remaining five novels the " Merlin Cycle " , in order to allow players to roleplay characters from the Courts of Chaos.
Some details were changed slightly to allow more player choice — for example, players can be full Trump Artists without having walked the Pattern or the Logrus, which Merlin says is impossible; and players' psychic abilities are far greater than those shown in the books.
A page companion volume, Shadow Knight ,  was published in This supplemental rule book includes the remaining elements from the Merlin novels, such as Broken Patterns, and allows players to create Constructs such as Merlin's Ghostwheel. The book presents the second series of novels not as additions to the series' continuity but as an example of a roleplaying campaign with Merlin, Luke, Julia, Jurt and Coral as the PCs.
The remainder of the book is a collection of essays on the game, statistics for the new characters and an update of the older ones in light of their appearance in the second series, and perhaps most usefully for GMs plot summaries of each of the ten books.
The book includes some material from the short story "The Salesman's Tale," and some unpublished material cut from Prince of Chaos , [ citation needed ] notably Coral's pregnancy by Merlin. Both books were translated into French and published by Jeux Descartes in and A third book, Rebma , was promised.
Cover art was commissioned  and pre-orders were taken, but it was never published. Wujcik also expressed a desire to create a book giving greater detail to the Courts of Chaos. However, no new edition was released before Guardians of Order went out of business in The two existing books are now out-of-print , but they have been made available as PDF downloads.
The new company is named Diceless by Design. In May , Rite Publishing secured a license from Diceless by Design to use the rules system with a new setting in the creation of a new product to be written by industry and system veteran Jason Durall.
The game is set in the multiverse described in Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. The first book assumes that gamemasters will set their campaigns after the Patternfall war; that is, after the end of the fifth book in the series, The Courts of Chaos , but uses material from the following books to describe those parts of Zelazny's cosmology that were featured there in more detail.
The Amber multiverse consists of Amber , a city at one pole of the universe wherein is found the Pattern , the symbol of Order ; The Courts of Chaos , an assembly of worlds at the other pole where can be found the Logrus , the manifestation of Chaos , and the Abyss, the source or end of all reality; and Shadow , the collection of all possible universes shadows between and around them.
Inhabitants of either pole can use one or both of the Pattern and the Logrus to travel through Shadow. It is assumed that players will portray the children of the main characters from the books — the ruling family of Amber, known as the Elder Amberites — or a resident of the Courts.
However, since some feel that being the children of the main characters is too limiting, it is fairly common to either start with King Oberon's death before the book begins and roleplay the Elder Amberites as they vie for the throne; or to populate Amber from scratch with a different set of Elder Amberites.
The former option is one presented in the book; the latter is known in the Amber community as an " Amethyst " game. A third option is to have the players portray Corwin 's children, in an Amber-like city built around Corwin's pattern; this is sometimes called an " Argent " game, since one of Corwin's heraldic colours is Silver. 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. All else being equal, a character with a higher rank in an attribute will always win a contest based on that attribute.
A character's ability scores are purchased during character creation in an auction ; players get character points , and bid on each attribute in turn. The character who bids the most for an attribute is "ranked" first and is considered superior to all other characters in that attribute.
Unlike conventional auctions, bids are non-refundable; if one player bids 65 for psyche and another wins with a bid of 66, then the character with 66 is "superior" to the character with 65 even though there is only one bid difference. Instead, lower bidding characters are ranked in ascending order according to how much they have bid, the characters becoming progressively weaker in that attribute as they pay less for it.
After the auction, players can secretly pay extra points to raise their ranks, but they can only pay to raise their scores to an existing rank. Further, a character with a bid-for rank is considered to have a slight advantage over character with a bought-up rank. The Auction simulates a 'history' of competition between the descendants of Oberon for player characters who have not had dozens of decades to get to know each other. Through the competitive Auction, characters may begin the game vying for standings.
The auction serves to introduce some unpredictability into character creation without the need to resort to dice, cards, or other randomizing devices. A player may intend, for example, to create a character who is a strong, mighty warrior, but being "outplayed" in the auction may result in lower attribute scores than anticipated, therefore necessitating a change of character concept.
Since a player cannot control another player's bids, and since all bids are non-refundable, the auction involves a considerable amount of strategizing and prioritization by players. A willingness to spend as many points as possible on an attribute may improve your chances of a high ranking, but too reckless a spending strategy could leave a player with few points to spend on powers and objects.
In a hotly contested auction, such as for the important attribute of warfare, the most valuable skill is the ability to force one's opponents to back down. With two or more equally determined players, this can result in a "bidding war" where the attribute is driven up by increments to large sums. An alternative strategy is to try to cow other players into submission with a high opening bid. Most players bid low amounts between one and ten points in an initial bid in order to feel out the competition and to save points for other uses.
A high enough opening bid could signal a player's determination to be first ranked in that attribute, thereby dissuading others from competing. Characters with high psyche are presented as having strong telepathic abilities, being able to hypnotise and even mentally dominate any character with lesser psyche with whom they can make eye-contact. This is likely due to three scenes in the Chronicles : first, when Eric paralyzes Corwin with an attack across the Trump and refuses to desist because one or the other would be dominated; second, when Corwin faces the demon Strygalldwir, it is able to wrestle mentally with him when their gazes meet; and third, when Fiona is able to keep Brand immobile in the final battle at the Courts of Chaos.
Shadow Knight does address this inconsistency somewhat, by presenting the "living trump" abilities as somewhat limited. While a character with Pattern, Logrus or Conjuration can acquire virtually any object, players can choose to spend character points to obtain objects with particular virtues — unbreakability, or a mind of their own.
Since they have paid points for the items, they are a part of the character's legend, and cannot lightly be destroyed. Similarly, a character can find any possible universe, but they can spend character points to know of or inhabit shadows which are in some sense "real" and therefore useful.
The expansion, Shadow Knight , adds Constructs — artifacts with connections to shadows. Unspent character points become good stuff — a good luck for the character. Players are also allowed to overspend in moderation , with the points becoming bad stuff — bad luck which the Gamemaster should inflict on the character. Stuff governs how non-player characters perceive and respond to the character: characters with good stuff will often receive friendly or helpful reactions, while characters with bad stuff are often treated with suspicion or hostility.
As well as representing luck, stuff can be seen as representing a character's outlook on the universe : characters with good stuff seeing the multiverse as a cheerful place, while characters with bad stuff see it as hostile. In any given fair conflict between two characters, the character with the higher score in the relevant attribute will eventually win. The key words here are fair and eventually — if characters' ranks are close, and the weaker character has obtained some advantage, then the weaker character can escape defeat or perhaps prevail.
Close ranks result in longer contests while greater difference between ranks result in fast resolution.
Alternatively, if characters' attribute ranks are close, the weaker character can try to change the relevant attribute by changing the nature of the conflict. For example, if two characters are wrestling the relevant attribute is Strength; a character could reveal a weapon, changing it to Warfare; they could try to overcome the other character's mind using a power, changing it to Psyche; or they could concentrate their strength on defense, changing it to Endurance.
If there is a substantial difference between characters' ranks, the conflict is generally over before the weaker character can react. Amber DRPG advises gamemasters to change rules as they see fit — even to the point of adding or removing powers or attributes. For gamers who have an aspiring actor or actress lurking within their breast, or for someone running a campaign via electronic mail or message base, Amber should be given serious consideration.
Despite the game's out-of-print status, a thriving convention scene exists supporting the game. Some Amberzine issues are still available from Phage Press. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: The Chronicles of Amber. Retrieved In Lowder, James ed. Hobby Games: The Best. Green Ronin Publishing. Evil Hat Productions. Retrieved 19 August Retrieved 27 November TSR, Inc.
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Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game
When I was at university — so many years ago — a game was released based on the works of Roger Zelazny. Called Amber Diceless Roleplaying, it cast the player characters as the sons and daughters of an immortal, immensely powerful family, who were basically gods. The purest expression of this came during the game known as a Throne War. In that, the characters were vying for the throne of Amber. Whoever ended up on the throne was the winner of the game. Not the case in a Throne War. There was definitely a winner in that game!
Amber Diceless RPG
The Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game is a role-playing game created and written by Erick Wujcik , set in the fictional universe created by author Roger Zelazny for his Chronicles of Amber. The game is unusual in that no dice are used in resolving conflicts or player actions; instead a simple diceless system of comparative ability, and narrative description of the action by the players and gamemaster , is used to determine how situations are resolved. Amber DRPG was created in the s, and is much more focused on relationships and roleplaying than most of the roleplaying games of that era. This often means that the only individuals who are capable of opposing a character are from his or her family, a fact that leads to much suspicion and intrigue. Erick Wujcik offered to design an Amber role-playing game for West End Games , who agreed to look at his work. Wujcik intended to integrate the feel of the Amber setting from the novels into a role-playing game, and playtested his system for a few months at the Michigan Gaming Center where he decided to try it out as a diceless game. Talsorian Games , until he withdrew over creative differences.
Things I learnt from Amber Diceless Roleplaying
Amber Diceless Roleplaying is considered the granddaddy of diceless RPGs, even if it wasn't the first, and even if the mechanics were never re-used again. Really, I don't know why people think of Amber first when they think diceless; must be a marketing thing. The book is page after page about character generation, a chapter about setting, and like three sentences on conflict resolution. It's all based on Roger Zelazny's "Chronicles of Amber," where everyone is immortal and have reality-hoppng solipsist powers like the Post Bros. Everyone is also related to each other; your worst enemies are probably your aunts, uncles and parents, or maybe it only LOOKS like they're trying to kill you so that they can secretly help you when your REAL enemy tries to take you out The Amber family makes Eldrad and Creed look like amateurs because those guys have only had a single lifetime to learn how to be total dicks.