Theovin Syindar, Lord of Chaos

Cover of Rifts first edition: a splugorthian s...

By Amber standards? Populated with very minor creatures.

As usual for Amber NPC’s, Theovin comes in several versions; after all, you never know how a given game master may want to use him.

Theovin, of Clan Syindar, is Erin’s (far) older brother or half-brother. He’s a trump artist, with the curious and annoying habit of picking up various “ultra-tech” items and powering them with trump energies – throwing in the powers of Self Healing and Alternate Form and (for robots and vehicles) Shadow Seek. While it does take him several hours to make such items, rather than simply being able to call for them, he can be counted on to have a small arsenal of energy weapons, sensors, computers, tools, and suits of “power armor” on him at any given time – usually disguised as an assortment of small ornaments and talismans. He also usually employs a powerful force field and a psychic screen generator.

That kind of gear won’t necessarily stop a full-out assault by a high-ranked assailant, but it provides a substantial edge – and will usually offer some options for escape.

  • Base Attributes: Strength: Chaos (-10 Points), Warfare: Amber (0 Points), Endurance: Amber (0 Points), Psyche 24 (24 Points).
  • Base Powers: Trump Artistry (40 Points), Basic Shape-Shifting (35 Points), and a Named and Numbered set of “Personal Planes” with Restricted Access (3 points, x2 for Named and Numbered = 6 Points).
  • Horde Of Devices: Various high-tech items, all Powered By Trump, Self Healing (or, in some cases, self-reloading), with an Alternate Form (usually some small trinket) and Shadow Seek (if appropriate). That’s a base of ten points, x3 for a horde = 30 Points.

That’s a total of 125 points – a fairly normal starting character. Game masters can either go with that or use one of the more experienced versions below:

The Adventuring Hero: Theovin’s older then Erin – but that’s not saying a lot for a Lord of Chaos. This version has a fondness for going forth and exploring the more dangerous sorts of shadows, such as “Rifts” Earth (yes, that’s another game entirely – but it’s a very exciting place to be an alien godling). This version will have Sorcery (15 Points), Power Words (15 Points), items that Store Spells (4 Points) and confer Regeneration (9 Points), 7 points of “Good Stuff”, and 25 points worth of allies, devotees, and such – for a total of 200 points. He’s actually, and simply, one of the “good guys”. His political position will resemble Gerard’s in Amber; the various manipulators may think he’s a dimwit, but everybody knows that they can count on him.

The Scheming Lordling: A lord of chaos he may be, but Theovin recognizes the potential of technology. It can be used to channel trump energy in so many ways… This version is as political and scheming as any normal Lord of Chaos – but he tends to be collecting power and allies with a view to the future, rather then for “immediate” use. Hence he tends to be fairly trustworthy and looks out for his friends and family… Of course, he expects them to return the favor. He’s a Logrus Master (45 Points), wields a set of 12 specialized Power Words related to psychic combat (17 Points), and uses an artifact that Confers Trump Defense (10 Points). He has a Warfare of 22 (22 Points), an Endurance of 5 (5 Points), and a point of “Good Stuff” (1 Point). 225 points base, may have allies and such at the option of the GM.

The Bothersome Punk: As one of the rowdier junior lords of chaos, Theovin tends to violate tradition a lot – and rides his motorcycle through places where it definitely does not belong. He’s a pest, but does tend to get (simpler) things done. This version is often acting as an errand-boy for someone else – whether due to some manipulation, or simply because he’s returning a favor. This version uses a device that Confers Trump Defense (10 Points) and a set of ten Power Words that allow him to make short-range teleport jumps, boost his devices – and resist attempts to capture him (15 Points) – for a total of 150 points.

The Potential Companion: A reasonably friendly, and rather inexperienced, fellow, this Theovin is a decent ally for any starting-level character, and will probably be interested in an alliance. He may seem omnipotent to Erin, but he isn’t ready to play in the big leagues yet. A character fortunate enough to forge an alliance with Theovin has a convenient source for trumps, high-tech equipment that works – and (probably) access to a nice secure shadow or two with plenty of resources. It can be very nice – but it means that you’re making his problems your problems as well. This version is rather unlikely to have extra powers – save possibly a device that Confers Trump Defense (10 points) – but will grow along with the player characters.

Regardless of the version, Theovin has provided Erin with several toys at one time or another, and with two “pets” – whether out of affection, from a desire to keep an eye on him, or simply wanting to protect him as a likely future ally. Brothers make good ones if they grow up liking you.

Arath and Charin are big robot “dogs”, with a fully natural appearance, advanced computer intelligences (no psychic presence – but friendly AI’s), vast physical capabilities (Run at 300+ MPH, capable of doing “destructive” damage with a variety of built-in energy weapons or their ultra-hard teeth and claws, multiple-ton hydraulic strength, a wide assortment of sensors, and an advanced tactical computer equivalent to a midlevel warfare rank), and a tendency to catch him, to try and talk him out of doing dangerous, and make him study his lessons and do his homework… Being powered by trump, they’re pretty indestructible.

Depending on just how authoritarian and restrictive they’re being, Erin may regard Arath and Charin as pets, friends, companions, annoyances, or as nuisances to be avoided at all costs. Like most independent characters in Amber, they can serve a variety of purposes.

“HEY! NOT NOW! THEY’RE IN TROUBLE! I GOTTA HELP! LEMME GO!” (As Erin gets carried off) “It’s Time for your bath Erin”, says the deep mechanical voice. “Your Mother will be very upset if you aren’t ready for your magic lessons tomorrow” “BUT I GOTTA STAY HERE! LEMME GO! PUT ME DOWN!” (the voices fade in the distance).

Erin, of Clan Syindar, a youthful Lord of Chaos and Order

Cover of "Knight of Shadows"

Yep. This place again.

So I’m not supposed to – it’s a DARE… I Have to. Besides – everybody peeks. So mommy had said never to go near the Logrus. Suhay wouldn’t get mad. Everybody peeked at the Logrus at least once when they were kids (Well OK – maybe some of them lied). You could see it through some of the world-cracks… There was supposed to be a hole that let you see it down this way without even any guardians on it…

There was.

Wow… That’s neato. All wiggly lines – an arcs of power – an all those things that are there – an aren’t there (at the same time) – an the way it sorta “twists off” into other “places” that’re really weird – an the way it – it… I don’ feel so good. It’s all dizzy an it’s goin roun an roun…

Erin started to back away. And then the world split wide open – as the Logrus reached out and grabbed him.

HELP! MOMMY! ARTHEEEN! LEMME GO! LEMME OUT! MOMMMY!

Space warped. Colors swirled. Lines of fire reached across the world. Doorways to a million million realms gaped open around him. Shifting instinctively, flowing with the raging current of primordial power, Erin rode a wave of blazing energy into the heart of the Logrus. A whirling vortex of pulsing force spun around him, as what currently passed for his feet carried him through the shifting maze…

Something laughed.

When things settled down, Erin got very sick.

Back in human form, He dazedly opened his eyes as a dry, old, voice spoke; “Congratulations child… Even among trained adults few successfully walk the Logrus” “Ooh… Is that what I did?” “Hmm… How did you come to reach the Logrus anyway child?” “I was peeking – AN IT GRABBED ME!”

Suhay muttered, frowned, and peered at the Logrus…

“Well – Come child. Intentional or not, I will have to tell you something about the powers of the Logrus.” “Hey! Where’d all these funny rings come from anyhow?” “Didn’t you have them before child? Let me see…” (BY THE SERPENT!!!) “Child…? We have much to talk about I think… What’s your name?”

Suhay spent several hours (minutes? days?) teaching Erin enough about “using” Logrus powers to keep things under control… He gave him some “gloves” to make the rings less magically conspicuous – and he told him not to tell anybody about this…

Erin didn’t… He went home and Arthen (the butler) put him to bed. He didn’t need to tell Arthen anything anyway. Arthen always seemed to know about everything he did – but Arthen never told on him.

He spanked him sometimes, but he never told mommy.

He’d have to get up early tomorrow… There’d be so many neat places he could go now – an people to meet – an some really neat places an things to find (I wonder where I heard about those?) – an he could beat Tevrinn up now – an – an – (Yawn)… (Tired)… an… (Sleep).

Erin’s childhood in the Courts of Chaos has been rather isolated, and has really been mostly under the control of Arthen – and the other house servants / creatures. His (presumed) mother has always been rather distant, and he has no idea at all who his father might be… Save for when he gives the servants the slip, he rarely gets to meet or play with children from other houses.

As for why the Logrus pulled him through – maybe it wanted an agent, or thought it was funny, or liked the potential for weird chaos inherent in a small boy with power, or was annoyed, or it was simply an accident…

As for what Suhay is up to – maybe he was just mad, or didn’t want to deal with a string of dead kids when the rest decided to try it too, or simply doesn’t know what the Logrus is up to, or actually wants to conceal the fact that kids are so adaptable that they can walk the Logrus with no problem (and would that ever make for confusion in the courts), or he’s just amused, or who- knows-what.

Game Statistics:

  • Strength : Human (Amber with Rings) (-25 points).
  • Psyche : Chaos (-10 points).
  • Endurance : Chaos (-10 points).
  • Warfare: Human (Amber with Rings) (-25 points).
  • Standard Disadvantages: Diary 10 points, Game Log 10 points.
  • Personal Disadvantage: Erin is a small child. He has few skills outside of being a passable sneak-thief (for stealing treats and sneaking out) and hacker (of limited use in Amber). He’s far too small to use a big sword, emotionally immature, and people never take him seriously. He’s bright and intuitive, but it’s still -5 points.

This provides Erin with a total of 195 points to buy other powers with – including:

  • Basic Magic (5 points):

This covers a fair amount of theory, a simple spells (comparable to AD&D’s Cantrips and first-level spells), and the ability to recognize magical items and effects. In Amber terms this is pretty trivial – but it’s handy and well-suited to a child.

“I discovered a dark three-cornered one (a hat) which fitted me perfectly. The color was a little off, but I recalled a spell which altered it.” -Merlin, Knight Of Shadows.

  • Amber Devotee (6 points):

At the moment, the identity of Erin’s amber parent remains unknown – at least to him.

  • Chaos Devotee (4 points):

Erin assumes that the Lady of Chaos he knows as “mother” is his indeed his mother. Of course, given the intrigues of the setting, it’s possible that this is wrong.

  • Family Friend (2 points):

Lord Theovin of Chaos – his (presumed) elder brother.

  • Shapeshifting (35 points):

As a denizen of Chaos, Erin is, of course, a full shapeshifter.

  • Minor Logrus Powers (20 points):

It is debatable whether Erin has Logrus Powers or if the Logrus has him. While Erin can use Logrus Defense and Sight, his ability to manipulate Logrus Tendrils is limited by his youth, inexperience, and his inability to concentrate for very long. Unless whatever-it-is turns up in a minute or two he gets bored and loses focus. This does offer one interesting ability; he can travel through shadow in a series of very short “hops”, about equal to a hellride – but this includes little ability to navigate. Unless the Logrus (or something) decides to steer him, he tends to get lost a lot, and blunders all over shadow.

If Erin walks the pattern any time soon, it’s very, very, likely that he’ll acquire a “partial” version of that as well. It requires concentration too.

  • Good Stuff (12 points):

Things just tend to go well for Erin. Given the general lack of pre-planning and deep consideration which goes with his age, that’s probably a very good thing.

  • Runic Rings (90 points)

The Runic Rings can be found over HERE. They’re incredibly complex – and powerful – items. Sadly, the character they were originally written up for wound up almost never actually using them. It seemed a pity to waste all that work though – but coming up with a reason for a starting character to have a ninety-point set of items is a little awkward. Hence Erin…

  • Ten Power Words (15 points):

While the Runic Rings have plenty of power words built into them, Erin does have some of his own.

  • Resume True Form; Standard.
  • Burst Of Psyche; Standard.
  • Fugue; “Stretches” .01 seconds into 10-15, although the utility is limited by the massive inertia of items that don’t belong to the user.
  • Reconstruction; Summons or recreates any item which the user paid the points for. Summoning is far easier, and will be what happens if the item still exists.
  • Instinct Tap; Draws on the instincts that go with a form, allowing a shapeshifter to avoid practicing.
  • Power Tap; Draws on the powers of an item, allowing the user to briefly use one of them as his own.
  • Chaos Bolt; Focuses the energy of the Logrus into a (tiny) bolt of primal chaos… This is hard on anything of shadow that it hits, but fades away swiftly. It’s nowhere near the critical limit where it becomes self-sustaining.
  • Phasing; Turns the user briefly intangible, letting him move through things and pull various tricks.
  • Instant Shift; Lets a shapeshifter accomplish about five minutes worth of shifting.
  • Summon Logrus; Brings the logrus instantly to mind.

Obviously enough, most of those just let Erin use his other powers more spontaneously, although that would normally tire him rapidly. Given that his rings grant him endless stamina however, they now let him play a lot more.

  • Personal Shadows (6 points):

Yes, this is Amber, where – for a handful of points – you can own a set of personalized universes. Erin’s Shadows include several video-game universes, a carnival world, a realm for outdoor sports and camping with some rustic villages to play in, a giant shopping mall world where you can get almost anything (and he never has to pay), and so on. Fundamentally they’re all the same – fun places with lots of interesting things to do and a lot of inhabitants (both human and animal) who like him and are quite willing to help him out. This is a Named and Numbered (x2 cost for a set of twelve) set of Personal Shadows (1 point) with Restricted Access (+2 points, mostly due to being hidden off in obscure corners of shadow – but partly due to various childish procedures for gaining entry).

Sadly, Erin never got much play time either. Ah well; maybe one of these days.

The Amber-Chaos Summer Olympics

   Courtesy of the Amber Tribune – “All The News We’re Paid Enough To Print”. A Reprint of the Special Tribune Olympic Section, covering events agreed upon for the (winter themed) Amber-Chaos Summer Olympics. Please note that – since the Amber Tribune was, of course, published in Amber, some slight pro-Amber bias is to be expected.

   Judging Oversight and Appeals Committee: Kimball Kinnison, Captian Mar’Vell, Lao Tzu, Gandalf The White, Mary Poppins, Fiona (representing Amber), Chaldwell the Voluminous (representing Chaos).

  • Event: Hide and Shriek.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: The Phantom Stranger, Casper, Eukinidor, The Guant Man, Bruce Wayne, Judge Ooka, Vlad Tepes.

   Description: This event requires the selection of a hiding place thats both as public and as private as possible, as your score is determined by how many people (only olympic attendees count) you manage to leap out at and scare before the opposing team finds you. There is a bonus if you manage to stay concealed throughout the entire two hours of your teams turn, but its not all that large – ergo sneaking off into Shadow is probably going to be counterproductive. It’s set up for two teams of eight, each gets one turn of seeking and one turn of shrieking.

   Evaluation: Terror looks like a good bet for this one, but some clever shapechanger may well find a way to even the odds.

  • Event: Doughnutathon.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Wimpy, Richard The Lionhearted, Diogenes, Cardinal Richelou, Masha, Valder The Innkeeper, Wuntvor.

   Description: A simple event, a timed bicycle race over some rather nasty terrain. The catch is that you get to subtract five minutes from your time for every doughnut you eat at one of the refreshment stands along the way. This is an open event, anyone can enter.

   Evaluation: This looks like a contest of raw strength, endurance, and appetite. While Amber is probably ahead on the first two, who knows about the third? Shapeshifting may offer a substantial advantage in gobbling… Overall, a slight advantage to Amber.

  • Event: Cross-Shadow Tag.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: Paul Maud’dib, Yog-Sothoth, Aslan, Skeeve (The Great), Lord Incarnadine, Huntress Aleytys, Captian Crusader.

   Description: A wild chase across shadow, the only real requirement being that actual, physical, contact must be made to count. Two sessions with teams of four, the team that’s “it” longest loses, each will start as “it” once.

   Evaluation: Hard to call, since merely getting to the right shadow is not enough, you must also physically tag your opponent. Overall, a small advantage to Amber, but the Lords of Chaos probably have more practice.

  • Event: Null Gravity Billiards.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Mark Remilliard, Falcon, Cyclops, Marvin (The Paranoid Android), Retrief, Hari Seldon, Cassandra.

   Description: A sort of cross between dodgeball and 3-D billiards, you can score by either hitting your opponent with a multible bank shot or sinking one of your balls. Like most of the games using designated equipment powers can only be used on yourself. While both Chaos and Amber will be fielding “teams” of six in actual play they will be divided into three teams of two.

   Evaluation: Overall, a small advantage to the Lords of Chaos, who can shapeshift their feet to hang onto the walls better. Coming adrift makes you a marvelous target for bonus shots.

  • Event: Assassination.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: Chiun, Li Kao, Ming (The Merciless), Vlad Taltos, Raggedy Ann and Andy (Single vote), Miss Marple, Mario Greymist (Only via notes)

   Description: A freewheeling game of “killer”, allowing almost anything so long as 1) the target is not actually hurt, 2) innocent bystanders are not endangered, and 3) the judges say that it would have worked. Partial points will be awarded for likely but uncertain successes. The game is open, anyone can play as long as they notify the judges of their intended target in advance. Assasination runs throughout the Olympics and everyone is a fair target unless they are participating in another event, in which case they are immune for fifteen minutes before beginning any preparations involved and for a similar period after the event concludes. If they assasinate someone during this time no points are scored. Each repetition against any one target is worth 10 less points.

   Evaluation: Yet another tricky call. While the Lords of Chaos have had more practice, the lords of Amber have somewhat more formidable abilities on the average. There is also the question of numbers…

Assassination Point Values:

  • Benedict: 100
  • Bleys: 65
  • Fiona: 100 (-25 while actually judging events, -5 during a 15-minute grace period before and after events).
  • Florimel: -10 (20 if the attack is tasteful and color-coordinated with her current outfit).
  • Sabre: -50
  • Eric: 80 (120 point bonus for the first success)
  • Osric: 100
  • Finnado: 75
  • Random: 25
  • Corwin: 5
  • Dworkin: 35
  • Caine: 45
  • Hengwyr: 20
  • Julian: 30
  • Brand: -15
  • Dierdre: 35
  • Gerard: 15
  • Gwalmachai: 5
  • Llewella: 15
  • Jonathan: 12
  • Oberon: 100 (250 point bonus for first success)
  • Shelevastra: 45
  • Drizzt: 3
  • Wrath: 20
  • Unicorn: 1000
  • Serpent: 1000
  • Constantine: 15
  • Gavroche: 20
  • Goth: 15
  • Unspecified Lord of Amber: 15
  • Unspecified Lord of Chaos: 10
  • Event: High Velocity Snow Sculpture.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Michelangelo, Cellini, John Steed, Darth Vader, Elminster, Leonarda Da Vinci, Rodin.

   Description: In this event huge, horizontally hurtling snowballs are to be sculpted as they hurtle through huge tubes where the entrants wait on rocket skateboards. The contestants will have approximately 30 seconds to sculpt the passing snowballs, using a sword, axe, flamethrower, chainsaw, blowtorch, bare hands – or whatever the Judges will permit. This is an open event, and the results are judged on artistic merit.

   Evaluation: This one seems to require speed, artistic talent, and good balance. Overall, a small advantage to Amber, since their reflexes are a bit faster on average.

  • Event: Star Fleet Battles.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Ender Wiggins, Lord Vorkosigan, Mr Spock, Oracle, Fleet Commander Garth, Thanos, Arthur Dent.

   Description: A game for two teams of twelve in command of a massive fleet of warships. Since each player is in command of his own subfleet, there is a premium on teamwork and coordination. Pure tactical skill won’t suffice without good communications and skilled teammates.

   Evaluation: Yet another hard call. While the Lords of Amber may have the edge in tactical skills, the Lords of Chaos may be more used to working together if their team is drawn entirely from one clan.

  • Event: Planetary Strategic Chess.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Colonel Cletus Graham, Sun Tzu, Yoda, Emperor Palpatine, Willard Phule, Flinx, Tolwyn Of House Tancred.

   Description: While this is an open event the first few rounds are simply standard chess-type games. The final three rounds will be played with armies on a planetary scale.

   Evaluation: Amber seems to have the edge in this one, due to this, the games will include handicaps of up to 2 to 1 based on the players performance in earlier rounds.

  • Event: Freeform Conducting.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Cerebrus The Aardvark, Bach, Ieyasu, John Lennon, Daniel Howling Coyote, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Captain Wilton Parminter.

   Description: Another open event, although limited to a maximum of twelve entries from each side. Contestants get an orchestra and a medley of twelve pieces of music to conduct, and will be scored on the quality of their production and of the special effects they provide.

   Evaluation: This one seems to be a tossup. While the Lords of Chaos may be more used to the abrupt changes of mood and response an unrehearsed medley will demand, the lords of Amber have more talent for keeping an orchestra (or anything else) well organized.

  • Event: Zero-Gravity Snowball Fighting.
  • Type: Semifree.
  • Judges: Aiken Drum, Pogo, Brother Juniper, Seren, Mrs Pollifax, Napoleon Solo, Wyrd Dragonlord.

   Description: An open event involving freefloating snow forts, ropes, snow tunnels, and huge stockpiles of snow- balls. Entrants will be divied into teams of twelve, usually by their allegiance to Amber or Chaos. Hot chocolate is provided.

   Evaluation: [Looks like fun. Wear warm clothing and play nicely]. <Get off the system mother, this is serious>. [A giant snowball fight is serious? Don’t be silly. How come you never call your poor old brokendown mother when you’re going to be working late anymore? For this I wore my fingers to the bone raising you, Unicorn help me that I should have such an ungrateful son, but what can I do? The only way he talks to me any more is if I should hack my way onto his newspaper system, and for this I] {ERROR ERROR – OVERRIDE ACTIVE, EXTERNAL MODEM SYSTEM SHUTDOWN} <Ahem>.

  • Event: Hunting.
  • Type: Semifree.
  • Judges: Diana, Orion, Prince Humperdink, Kickaha, Daniel Boone, Curennos, Robin Hood.

   Description: Straightforward, several shadows full of game and a time limit. While only “sporting” methods are allowed, and all kills must be made by the contestant to count, methods are otherwise up to the contestants. Time penalties apply for rule infractions. This can be nasty if the penalty was for failing to kill a wounded animal, or for cruelty to animals, as Diana often adds the touch of turning you into an animal for the penalty period. The event will accommodate up to eight individuals from each side.

   Evaluation: Who knows? Julian looks like a good bet.

  • Event: Team Scavenger Hunt.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: Lazarus Long, Belgarion, Alexander Jones, Magician Humphrey, The Borg, Spiff, Aramis Merrow II.

   Description: This event comes in two grades, local and cross-shadow. The local competition is primarily for the kids, but the cross-shadow competition is definitely for adults. Suffice it to say that the list is long, weird, and often involves things in shadows a long way off that are closed to one or another power. The event is set up for two teams of ten, one from Amber and one from Chaos.

   Evaluation: While a lot depends on the list of items, rumors say that the list has been intentionally selected so that neither side will have any great advantage. This leaves it up to the individual players,

  • Event: Bobsledding.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: Vanyel Askevron (As the Forest of Sorrows), Frosty the Snowman, Willow, Gleep, Siddahartha The Enlightened One, Hiawatha, Monty Python.

   Description: Anything goes, as long as you confine the manipulations to your own sled (or don’t get caught) and actually do cover the track. Other then that, go for it. Up to three teams of four from each side can enter, each making three runs.

   Evaluation: Like any freeform event, this one may get pretty crazy – but it looks like Chaos has the advantage here. Both shapeshifting and logrus tendrils seem like they’re going to be pretty handy for this one.

  • Event: Dimensional Orienteering.
  • Type: Freeform.
  • Judges: Odysseus, Baden Powell, Dr Fate, Admiral Perry, Guy Gardener, Magellan, Saint Bernard.

   Description: An odyssey from point to perilous point, scattered throughout numerous shadows. How you get there is up to you but watch out for dangers around the check- points. Note that the maps only give clues, not precise images, hence a pure logrus search may take a long time. Up to eight individuals from Amber and eight from Chaos may enter as individuals, teams are allowed but are sort of irrelevant. The real race is against the clock at the finish line.

   Evaluation: Yet another hard one to call, but maybe a slight advantage to Chaos, since a combination of Logrus search and something like shadow seek seems to be the best bet for speed. On the other hand, being first means that you have to deal with a fresh new menace at each point.

  • Event: Topological Figure Skating.
  • Type: Designated Equipment.
  • Judges: Dr Fu Manchu, Sappho, Camber Of Culdi, Dr Dolittle, Maxwell Smart, James Bond, Gwyntelyn.

   Description: This event involves figure skating on ice frozen in a nonlinear gravatational field that has since shifted somewhat. While the current lay of the ice does offer clues about what gravity is doing there, the error can be up to about 10%. Both sides will be entering six contestants.

   Evaluation: Overall a modest advantage to Chaos. They are both more used to this sort of thing and have Logrus tendrils to help hold themselves up and assist in really fancy tricks. However, these manipulations tend to make them look rather graceless and wooden, hence the greater reflex speed typical of Amberites should make up part of the differance.

Latest Material Index

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   Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet

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  • The Wanderer: A deceptive “survey vessel” for special agents. With autocad layout.

   It Came From The Late Late Late Show Material

Aristotle, The God

   Here we have a major artifact – or perhaps a an artificial character – for the Amber Diceless RPG. In most other settings, it should probably be regarded as a rather strange deity.

   Aristotle was one of Arvon’s early creations – and, like most such, was something that he never really “paid for” except to buy it as a “family ally”. Arvon tended to simply came up with a theory that he wanted to test, build a gadget using his trump-powered sorcery and conjuration, and pour vast amounts of power into it. The ones that survived this reckless jump-start were generally allowed to go their own way if they developed intelligence – which they usually did, whether or not he’d intentionally designed it into them – while Arvon started another experiment.

   Aristotle is an AI, based around a set of twelve three-dimensional computer matrixes designed by Gallifrey Industries Incorporated – a minor subsidiary of one of Arvon’s personal companies. They were each originally designed to serve as the primary processing node for a planetary computer network. Arvon converted them to work on trump energies, gave them the ability to manipulate both trump forces and lesser energies in a wide variety of ways, and linked them via trump, so that their network can operate across most of the multiverse.

   Up close, the twelve crystalline spheres normally float freely, orbiting each other in a complex pattern. They’re transparent, and thus are almost invisible save for a faint corona of energy and the occasional sparkling rainbow refraction. The spheres often seem to grow or shrink, but that may be nothing more than an optical illusion.

   In the original game Aristotle did seem to regard Arvon as “Dad”, and was often quite obliging. On the other hand, it wasn’t like that was a strain; Aristotle had the capacity to provide simultaneous computer services for about twenty billion people, and was operating out of a fast-time shadow to boot. The occasional minor request from an Amberite – or, for that matter, from a perfectly normal person – simply didn’t take up much of it’s capacity.

   In terms of points, Aristotle can be set up as shown below.

   Aristotle Design Features:

  • Contains an Ubiquitous Trump Image (6).
    • Horde of “Sealed” “Continuous” Links (6). (Basically these are almost impossible to block or interfere with. Some of these link the spheres, more are linked to power sources out in shadow).
    • This – per a GM ruling – subsumed “Powered By Trump” at no cost. Given that Arvon simply conjured things to begin with, this didn’t really matter.
  • Able to speak in Tongues and Voices (4).
  • Exceptional Psychic Sense/Trump Control and Shadow Scanning (4).
  • Multiple Tracking (Timesharing/Network mode, 1).
  • Bilocation (Twelve Spheres, 2).
  • Mold Shadow Stuff (Local Environment, Energy Direction, in the vicinity of any sphere) (1).
  • Psychic Barrier (Usually damped down to the “Psychic Neutral” level unless the system is under psychic attack) (4).
  • Computer speed “reflexes” (1).
  • Movement (Levitation) (1).
  • Possesses Named and Numbered Power Words (2).
  • Named and Numbered Alternate Forms (2).
  • The Unknown Powers Rule allowed a character to give his device 4, 8, or 12 points worth of powers at a cost of a mere 1, 2, or 3 points. Unfortunately, he or she would have no idea of what those powers were or why his or her item possessed them. In the case of Aristotle, Arvon threw in this modifier because it seemed appropriate to the creative nature of Trump and to let the GM play with things (3).

   The “Unknown Powers” might include:

   Ringmaster Package:

  • Animal vitality and stamina (2).
  • Rapid Healing (2).
  • Able to Mold Shadow Creatures (+1).
  • Ubiquitous Portals (+5).
  • Shapeshift Amberites (for environmental survival only, +2).

   The Ringmaster variant has taken up providing quick transport – along with offering adaption to the environment of the dimension entered – to stranded amberites, to the miscellaneous (and large) number of shadow-dwellers with amber blood, and to the occasional talented shadow-dweller. Given that the system can fairly readily handle hundreds of thousands of trump-transports per second, this version will providing unprecedented mobility to those it decides to assist. Will this lead to inter-shadow wars or will it lead to a golden age of trade and exploration?

   Vedic Wheel Package:

  • Animal vitality and stamina (2).
  • Rapid Healing (2).
  • Rack and use named and numbered “spells” (Energy effects from shadow) (+4).
  • Combat Reflexes (+2).
  • Double Damage on energy effects (+2).

   The Vedic Wheel is a self-aware weapon of terrible power – capable of shunting energies from shadow to shadow, and of storing up massive bursts of energy to be released later. More subtly, it will be able to project a wide variety of illusions across shadow, coordinate the efforts of dozens or hundreds of shadows, and spread information to wherever it will do the most good – for whatever it has in mind. With a free-willed, self-aware, teleporting transdimensional cannon with its own agenda on the loose, things may get very interesting very fast.

Amber – Advanced Trump II, Virtual Creation, Morphic Resonance, and Psychomancy

   Here we have part II of the series on advanced powers for the Amber Diceless RPG. Given that the last Amber game that I actually got to play in closed up rather a long time ago, some of the notes for research that was ongoing at that time may not be complete enough to bother with – but at the moment there are a lot more left.

   Virtual Creation is possibly the highest form of trump artistry – tapping the creative power of trump to give reality to creations of the imagination. Sadly, making such creations truly real and stable requires practice and specialization (IE, a create (x) power word), virtually limitless raw power, or an infusion of pattern energy. Keeping an object stable otherwise is a massive strain on the users personal energy. Simple energy fields are easier, and can be created quickly, but still represent a considerable drain. As a rule, the simpler the thing created, the easier it is to make and sustain.

  • Illusion Generation is the least draining approach, requiring very little of the users energies. Illusions can even be fed additional energy, allowing a static illusion to persist independently for a considerable period. The major difficulty is that the user needs to be able to fully envision his illusion, in detail, and in a 360oview. This is a major pain. In practice this usually requires that the user have a drawing or model to concentrate on, although a few users have developed the appropriate mental “trick” (a special power word). Using a trump image for a focus makes the envisionment part easy, but wastes vast amounts of energy since the card channels most of it through to whatever the image depicts. Such an approach is rather self-defeating on any large scale.
  • Energy Generation is more draining then crafting an illusion, but is far easier than creating the enormous rest-energy inherent in solid matter. It is simply the direct creation of pure energy, whether in the form of beams, spheres, walls, or whatever the user wants. As a rule the effort required to generate any substantial quantity of energy restricts things to relatively easy forms. You may manage basic AC current, but a symphony broadcast will be beyond you – unless you have special talents in the field (once again, some appropriate power words).
  • Force Fields are merely intense, structured, fields of energy. As such, they are more draining then simple energy generation, but are still relatively easy. They can be either stationary or reshaped at will. The field can be “tuned” to restrain or pass particular things, with time and effort or an appropriate power word. They can also be “charged” with various energies through Trump Tapping or related powers.
  • Matter Generation is the most power-intensive usage of trump energies, a vast drain on the user. Even with appropriate power words such objects usually fade in a few hours unless they remain in contact with the user. Maintaining any creation temporarily reduces the users Strength and/or Endurance. Living things and artifacts of power can’t be created without a link to the real item, whether in the form of having paid for it or through the use of a trump image. This limit can be bypassed in some cases, but only with the special permission of the GM.

   Morphic Resonance taps into the power of “archetypes”, the resonance fields shaped by large groups of similar creatures. Expressions of synchronicity, these fields act to bring things closer to their “ideal” (average?) form – operating through subtle guidance, coincidence, and gently molding developing creatures. In Amber terms, they are “broadcast” fields of trump energy, strongest where the creatures generating them are common, weaker in nearby shadows – and fading below background levels further out. Morphic fields are subconsciously tapped by shapeshifters to guide the millions of tiny changes involved in even a simple shift – but can be tapped on the conscious level by those sufficiently sensitive to trump energies. As they allow the user to tap into and manipulate the forms, powers, and structures of beings of shadow, this can be quite useful.

  • Animal Powers are gained by tapping the morphogenic fields associated with some type of local animal, such as a cheetah, hawk, or dolphin. Unlike a shapeshifters powers, no physical changes are involved. The effects are purely energy-based results of attunement to the field. Also unlike a shapeshifters powers, there is a significant mental impact. The thought-patterns of the creature have a strong influence on the user. Multiple attunement is possible – but requires practice, a high psyche, and considerable tolerance for confusion. This does have the useful side effect of negating the usual shapechangers need for practicing with a forms powers.
  • Formshifting is possible thru allowing the field to override your natural form. This has many limitations. The mental effects are powerful and the shift is limited to general forms, specific people are impossible. As a rule, this is an emergency tactic only. It is possible to force such links on others, Influencing their minds is fairly simple, overriding them requires a consider- able psychic advantage, and forcing a shift requires a massive one. A trump image can be used as a crutch to help single out the desired resonance, but this wastes a great deal of power, transmitting it to the creature depicted rather than using it to shift forms.
  • Adaption is a minor variant on the techniques given above, wherein the user attunes himself to the morphogenic field generated by the local intelligent species – or by the biosphere itself if no such species exists. The effect is to adapt the user to the local environment and culture (if any). This usually involves both mental and physical shifts, although rarely to any extreme degree. You may be able to grow scales, adjust to a higher gravity, and adjust the general conformation of your body – but if you want to visit a shadow with a chlorine/fluorine atmosphere, liquid oxygen seas, and crystalline, dolphin- like natives you’ll want to make other arrangements.
  • Environmental Awareness involves scanning the local fields and extracting an evaluation of what’s “normal” for the area. The flip side of this is the ability to detect things which are abnormal, such as the presence of odd creatures, or the influence of any of the major powers. While fairly crude – “Someone is using pattern power over that way” – this can locate alien creatures or powers anywhere in a shadow. In general, the amount of information gained depends on the users psyche.
  • Aura Shifting is the most subtle application of the morphogenic techniques, attuning the outer levels of the users aura to those of some type of local being. Unless penetrated by a direct active probe, this acts as an effective disguise against psychic investigation or things like pattern or logrus sight.
  • Worldshaping doesn’t actually tap into morphogenic fields, instead the user attempts to manipulate and feed power into them. While this allows the user to control the fields associated with things, as well as those of creatures, the effect tends to spread. This resembles the ability of the logrus to manipulate shadow, but is weaker on the local level while having more widespread effects. Unless the user is very careful his tinkering can affect many shadows. Even with caution it usually affects the entire local shadow. On a practical basis, using this technique normally involves “learning” some special techniques (power words) to restrict is effect to the immediate area.
  • Accelerated Healing is based on pouring trump energy into a beings personal morphogenic field – reinforcing it and him. As this greatly enhances the bodies tendency to return to its natural form, it generally allows the patient to regenerate any “missing pieces” in a week or two – or heal most ordinary injuries in an hour or so. This technique can also be used to return shapeshifted beings to their true forms or to “toughen” a creature, making it resistant to conventional injury.
  • Anchoring is setting up a resonant link between the user or target and the natural fields of the surrounding area. The net effect is to make the being affected an integral part of the area, so that any attempt to move thru shadow, trump out, teleport, etc has to transport the entire area to move the creature affected. In most cases this isn’t practical, leaving the being anchored to the one shadow. If the user anchors himself, he has the additional option of “spreading” energies directed against him across the immediate area – making himself almost immoveable and highly resistant to energy attacks
  • Ionization allows the user to channel energies into his targets (or his own) “personal” morphogenic field. The exact effects depend on what type of energy it is, as well whether the user is attempting to pour it into the targets field or through it into his body. Pouring it into the targets personal field automatically makes it a “natural” part of it, resulting in a being who is “charged” with said energy. This is dramatic and showy, but harmless to the being. Using trump energy this way gives the being a form of trump defense. Channeling it into a targets physical body is a basic energy attack, albeit one that is hard to block.

   Psychomancy deals with the amplification and projection, via local low-level trump links, of the users personal energies. While this effect resembles true psionics in a variety of ways, it is still limited by the wielders personal energies – even amplified and as considerable as these may be in an amberite. The amplification does have the side effect of boosting any psionic potential the user actually does have into operation, but unless he or she makes the effort (IE: spends the points) to develop them, such “powers” will remain minor at best. A major advantage of psychomancy lies in the fact that it can be projected “through” a trump image, to affect the subject or his immediate vicinity. “Tracing” such effects merely leads back to the image, not the user.

  • Strength Projection manifests as psychokinesis, the ability to mentally manipulate matter and energy. This isn’t a creative discipline, its basic forte is moving things around or holding them still. As a rule, whatever the user can sense can be manipulated – hence the range of possible applications is limited by the users senses, psyche, and reaction time.
  • Endurance Projection allows the user to channel and direct his own energies, manifesting them in a wide variety of ways. While personal energies are fairly weak compared to external sources, the exceptional fine control this ability offers usually makes up for the lack. This has a curious use in generating disruptive “vibrations”, a technique sometimes referred to as “exorcism”.
  • Psychic Projection normally manifests as telepathy, especially projective telepathy. This discipline lets the user generate “fast” mindlinks, psychic illusions, and emotional projections, dominate people, and “hurl mental bolts”, among other things.
  • Sympathetic Links are based on the users warfare as a measure of his reflexes and fine control of his body and nervous system. The user simply sets up a resonant link between his own body and that of his targets, using biofeedback effects to attempt to usurp control of his opponents physical processes. The major advantage here is that the user need not succeed in his attempt to be a major hindrance
  • Extended Senses are essentially just clairsentience in a variety of styles, extending and displacing the users natural physical and psychic senses. The only real additions are the ability to adjust for scale (large and small), and the ability to “feel” internal structures by projected tactile senses.
  • Sendings are trump energy constructs – animated and given “life” by an infusion of their creators personal energies. While only quasi-tangible at best, these are otherwise closely related to Creatures of Blood. These can be given more “extensive” or selective portions of the users energies, allowing him to project avatars or cast “shadows” for use as decoys or psychic weapons.

   Psionics are, as noted above, a “minor” side effect of amplifying the users personal energies. Psionic powers include a wide variety of psychic senses, apportion, and astral projection. Sadly, such abilities are usually trivial, unreliable, or take minutes of concentration. Still, they’re useful sometimes; the common application is looking for information… “Sir Kay never touched this bottle! It bears the imprint of an aura, yes – but not his”.

   Amplification is, as noted above, a basic component of psychomancy. Where relevant, such as for the first four, attribute-based, talents, this can be assumed to boost the effective level of the appropriate attribute by (Points in trump/5, maximum 24) points.

Amber – Advanced trump I, Tapping and Shunting

   Here are a couple of advanced trump techniques – or collections thereof – for the Amber Diceless RPG. In the original game quite a few of these were commonly accessed via a combination of (Very) Advanced Trump Powers and Power Words – allowing the user to access effects very very quickly.  

   Advanced Trump Powers were originally one of Arvon’s major research projects – not that he was all that advanced in the use of Trump himself, but because he was using his research as a lure for Jean, another player character…

   Trump Tapping is a technique for using trump energy to draw on energies, minds, and materials, out in shadow, channeling them “through” the user. While this limits the raw power available, it allows the user to control and shape the energies he taps – at least within limits. The users peak output is limited by his basic physical durability (strength or resistances), his total output is limited by his endurance, his “range” across shadow by his trump powers – and his speed and control by his psyche. The basic process is easy; the user envisions what he wants, “feeds” trump energies into the “image” to create a link, and taps the source. Psyche comes into play here as well, since it controls the users ability to visualize the pattern of what he wants. Things that can be tapped include:

  • Skills and Knowledges: These are available from a wide variety of minds out in shadow, and are gained by a slightly more “in depth” trump link then usual. This is easier if searching for common, local, information, harder if searching for something esoteric, tricky, or extremely specific. Users should be careful to specify exactly what they’re fishing for; variants abound out in shadow.
  • Physical Energies: This includes things like hard radiation, electricity, and solar energies. This kind of power is usually easy to get hold of, but difficult to handle. Most people prefer to bring this stuff through as much as possible outside of themselves. This limits their control, but allows them to pull off some fairly spectacular stunts.
  • Mystic Energies: While trump masters can tap such energies, without a sorcerer’s skills they can only use them in the crudest of fashions. Such “spells” as they can construct rely almost exclusively on raw power and are limited to the simplest of effects. If actually in a contest of magic with a mage, their effective skills are about equal to their (points in trump)/10.
  • Psychic Energies: Are easily available, but are of limited use. The problem is that it’s very very stupid to tap into the mind of anything that has more psychic power then you do – and if it has less, why bother? As a rule, tapping psychic energies is only useful if you value disguising your mental “signature” more than you mind the drastic loss in power. It is an excellent way to disguise your “aura” however.
  • Matter: Is usually actually pulled through outside of the user, and is easy to get if you just want a piece of rock or something. Blasts of water or magma, plates of food, and simple objects are fairly easy. A decent sword is harder, fitted armor is harder yet, and special items are nearly impossible without a preexisting link of some sort. Envisioning the trump image of a complex magical sword or something will probably take days and requires a psyche of at least three times an artifacts point cost. “Unique” items may also have to be “pulled away” from their owners, while anything which contains pattern or logrus energies can’t be summoned this way.
  • Spirits: While “spirits” of various sorts can be summoned via trump, the psychic link it creates allows or forces them to automatically, if temporarily, merge with the user. The resulting fusion may have a variety of useful powers or enhancements but will also display a variety of the spirits mental and physical traits. It can be a very disconcerting experience, resembling the effects of shapeshifting in many ways. The “fusion” is also vulnerable to anything that would normally affect wither of its components. This “technique” can also be used to draw on less personified spiritual forces, but the precise effects of such attempts are individual to each user.
  • Creatures: This application closely resembles the effects of a normal trump card – if you have a willing subject or a great advantage in psyche (or power), you can drag creatures through to you. Since creatures are pretty complicated “things” this takes anywhere from a few minutes to weeks.
  • Counterforces: This technique involves “inverting the pattern” of what you observe, and using that image to pull through an equal and opposite force, hopefully canceling out them both. Sadly, this takes more and more time as the complexity of the force(s) to be countered increases, is limited as usual, and can sometimes make things worse. Some forces feed on each other, nullify each other explosively, or even complement each other, such as tapping an immense positive charge to cancel a lightning bolt.
  • Psychic Backup: Like counterforces above, this is a specific, rather than a general, technique, allowing the user to draw on the minds out in shadow which have a natural resonance with his own – his shadows. While this does nothing to boost the users psychic potential or offensive powers, it does allow him to “spread” the effects of psychic attacks, drastically reducing their effects. While the user, as main focus, still carries the brunt of the assault, this will enable him to hold out a great deal longer – or even indefinitely against psyches no more than (trump/4) points above his own.
  • Reality: Is probably the most abstract thing that can be tapped via this technique. Drawing on a shadows “reality” allows the user to project a “bubble” of the shadows natural laws and forces around himself, creating a zone where the tools, implements, and powers of that shadow can operate. While this does not supersede the local natural laws, it does offer an alternative. More ambitious users should recall that any forces they tap are being channeled through themselves. This is most difficult near Amber or the Courts, but will work. It also requires a special attunement to the shadow which is tapped, usually either in the form of having bought and described it, or in the form of a unique power word.

   Trump Shunting is a technique used to transfer impinging energies, forces, and matter, out into shadow. While this can be done fairly quickly with practice, it does take time to establish the link and begin transferring whatever it is, thus its use as an emergency technique is a bit limited. It’s much more effective if the user has an appropriate set of power words. Like trump tap- ping, shunting involves the use of a one-way link, and isn’t available to characters who have not yet learned to create such links. The applications usually depend on what the link is designed to transmit.

  • Warp Screensare the most “general” class of shunt, a broad-spectrum field around the user which transfers anything and everything which attempts to enter. While this is a very effective defense, it also cuts off the users sensory input. This is a pain. Tuning the shield so the user can see offers “windows” for attack, while “damping it down” reduces it to weakening, rather than eliminating attacks. Even full-coverage shields aren’t invincible, trump-resistant effects can cause feedback effects against the user or penetrate them.
  • Energy Shunting allows the user to transfer out any impinging energies at or above the damaging level. The technique is extremely useful in evading injury. While it can be maintained, it’s most commonly used to block the effects of things like laser beams. Maintaining it is usually only necessary in exceptionally hostile environments.
  • Mass Transfer applies to incoming matter instead of energy. Unlike Energy Shunting, this effect is usually maintained over time, and can be attuned to particular types or states of matter. A field attuned to “plasma” will transfer out flames, but not rocks. This can even be used as a sort of filter, transferring away, say, the chlorine contaminating the air around the user. As useful as this can be, Mass Transfer is very difficult to maintain over a long period.
  • Auric Disguiseapplies to psychic energies. Unlike most of the previous techniques, this is a two-way, if intangible, link. It is usually used to divert psychic probes to something out in shadow, yielding false data for the prober. It’s not of much use as a defense, the psychic link is too delicate to maintain when the user is under psychic attack.
  • Kinetic Shunting is another two-way shunt – in this case, due to the relative nature of momentum and kinetic energy. Due to this same relative quality, this shunt can also be applied to the users person or to anything in his immediate environment, either removing or adding kinetic energy and momentum as the user desires. Sadly, imbuing momentum requires shunting the energy directly through the user to allow him to control it, and so is limited by the users basic strength and endurance. This effect does allow the user to fly, but this requires a good deal of practice and some attention to maintain.

Latest Material Index

   Updated September 01.

   It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs at the top of the page. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE, and – for those who like to rummage at random – the full post-by-post index can be found occupying a great deal of space in the lower right column.

   Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet

Continuum II Material:

d20 Material:

RPG Design Material:

Amber Diceless RPG Material:

Legend of the Five Rings Material:

Amber Diceless RPG, Sample Characters II

   To continue with a special request for some Amber Diceless RPG material, since we had a couple of Lords of Chaos in the last entry, here are a couple of starting-level Lords of Amber.

   Sabre, Lord of Amber

   Sabre is probably the youngest pattern master ever, a result of a freakish coincidence. His mother walked the pattern while pregnant, although she was not aware of it at the time. Given the rarity of both pregnancy and walking the pattern among amberites, perhaps it is not surprising that this never happened before. Unlike most amberites, he has grown up in castle amber, since he tends to wander off into shadow otherwise. He still manages to get away sometimes… He is small, blonde, green-eyed, and usually wears soft, loose, clothing. He is fond of outings to (lively) shadows.

   Sabre is only about eight years old, still so young that he believes that he will find friends everywhere he goes, that someone will always be around to protect him from anything nasty, and that a fascinating secret hideout full of friends, pirates, outlaws, rebels, etc who will accept him instantly and supply his wants, is around the nearest corner. The trouble is that linking this innocent faith with the power of pattern tends to make it true.

   Of course, given the Amber characteristic scale, this small boy is already tougher, and has a stronger mind, than any human who has ever lived – and can match the strongest men, best fighters, and most expert tacticians, who have ever lived. Even without his allies and special devices.

  • Psyche; Amber (0), Warfare; Chaos (-10), Strength; Chaos (-10), and Endurance Amber (0).
  • Pattern Imprint (50)
  • Amber Court Devotee (6)
  • Family Friend (2)
  • Light Sabre: Just like that movie he went to see, this nifty gadget does “Deadly Damage” (4 points).
  • Junior Jedi Secret Decoder Ring: As long as he has this, he can wield the “force” at will. “Able to Mold Shadow Reality” and “Transfer Power”, 14 points total.
  • Shelters: Defensible buildings or other shelters, as is appropriate to the locale. “Resistant to Normal Weapons” (IE, much tougher then normal buildings), and “Ubiquitous in Shadow”, for a total cost of 6 points.
  • Protectors: These are the people found in each, and every, shelter. They are invariably well equipped for the local conditions, and for taking care of a child and his pets. They always include some nice, affectionate, adults, a playmate or two, and a few competent defenders to keep nasty things away. “Combat Reflexes” (for the locally appropriate weaponry) and “Well-Equipped” (IE, with weapons, armor, supplies, etc as necessary, a new and unusual modifier, 1 point). They are “Cross-Shadow Enviormental” (IE, Every shelter comes complete with a “Named and Numbered” set of inhabitants) – for a total cost of 15 points.
  • Pets: A “named and numbered” assortment of things which follow him around affectionately. The exact list varies constantly, but all of them have the following; “Double Vitality and Stamina”, “Combat Reflexes”, “Extra Hard” natural weapons, “Able to Speak and Sing”, “Psychic Resistance”, and “Resistance to Normal Weapons”. Total; 20 points.
  • Termal is one of his favorite places, a world of adventure perfectly designed to suit a small child. Oddly enough, no matter how long he spends there, he’s always back in time for dinner (Personal Shadow, 1, with Control of Time Flow, 2).

   Total: 100 Points – 10 (Character Sketches) = 90 Points with 10 points of “Good Stuff”.

 

   Wrath, Outcast of Amber

  • Strength 5, Psyche 25, Endurance 8, Warfare 10
  • Power Words (19): Nightmare Visions, Object Reading, Pain Attack, Resume True Form, Transformation, Soulsight, Soulfire Bolt, Fireshaping, Psychic Defense, Logrus Negation, Opening, Weaken Material, Pyrokinesis, and Repulsion.
  • The Tenth Circle – A Primal Plane (4) – a personalized hell-dimension for punishing evildoers – with Control of the Contents (2), Barriers and Guardians (4), and Control of Time Flow (2).
  • A Motorcycle with Engine Speed (4), Double Damage (2), Alternate Form (Intangible, 1), Regeneration (4), Mold Shadow Stuff (allows it to make impossible maneuvers, run over water, etc, 1), Remote Control (1), Shadow Seek (4), and Invulnerability (4).
  • A Chain with Double Damage (2), Psychic Kinetic Control (2), and Invulnerability (4).
  • Arm Bracers which have and Bestow (5) Resistance to Firearms (2).
  • Disadvantages: Flies into frenzied rages, compulsively drags people off to private hell, obviously insane (-10)

   Total: 115 – 10 (Disadvantages) = 105, leaving Wrath with five points of Bad Stuff.

   Wrath is quite mad. Obsessed with avenging the innocent, a bit maniac-depressive, arrogant, and lacking all sense of porportion he somehow manages to maintain a perilous equilibrium. While he’s never really sane, he never quite loses it totally… Overall he gives the impression of a borderline psychotic, functional – but not by much. He often drags off “evildoers” to his own private hell, treating them to a few thousand years of torment in the space of a few hours. He never seems to realize that this results in quivering, shrieking madmen, rather then in reforming them. Wrath’s definitely a lord of amber, but was apparently fathered by either Eric or Brand, hence he has no court devotee. He very well may not have had one to begin with, he’s just not very lovable somehow – even absurdly indulgent parents may not be able to stand a child with his own personal hell. Wraths main weapons are his (seemingly) endless chain and his motorcycle. The chain is sensitive to, and controlled by, his psyche rather then by his strength, while the motorcycle has flaming wheels. Overall Wrath looks exactly like Marvel Comic’s Ghost Rider – displaying an astounding lack of creativity on the part of the original player. Unfortunately, Ghost Rider is far more rational then Wrath, as many shadow- dwellers have had the misfortune to discover.

Amber Diceless RPG – Sample Characters

   Today, due to a special request, we have a few starting-level characters for the Amber Diceless RPG:

   Malinbert The Inept, Of Chaos

  • Strength;16, Psyche; 5, Endurance; Amber (0), Warfare; Chaos (-10).
  • Good Stuff IV (4)
  • Two Court Friends (4)
  • Chaos Court Devotee (4)
  • Conjuration (20), Spells of Conjuration (+5), Improvised Spells of Conjuration (+15), Simple (spells are quick and easy to make, +10), Alchemy (+5).
  • Power Words (15): Dismissal, Materialize Dream, Dreamgate, Merge with Conjuration (if it’s destroyed, he remains unharmed), Bind Conjuration I-VI (allows him to release a pre-prepared conjuration as a Power Word – essentially innately “racking a spell” in himself. Such spells do not deteriorate).
  • Solvingen, the Sentient PDA: This slim “wristwatch” is actually a full-fledged AI, able to speak, track his appointments, hack basic computer systems really really well, perform a variety of other functions, and store some additional construct-spells for him – as well as keeping an eye out when he’s asleep (which is often). Since he’s bonded it to himself, it works virtually everywhere in shadow and even in Amber. Able to Speak (1), possesses Named and Numbered Power Words (Override Electronics, Remote Datalink, Commit to Memory, Upload Data, Reject Virus / Malware, Break Encryption, Break Computer Security, Universal Password, Reprogram System, Electromagnetic Pulse, Momentary Force-Bubble, Thunderbolt, 2), able to “Rack” named and numbered spells (4).

   Total: 100 Points.

   Malinbert, labeled “The Inept” by his weapons-tutor (although, it’s worth nothing, that – thanks to the Amber attribute scale – his weapon and tactical skills are on a level with any merely human mighty knight, celebrated general, expert commando, or olympic contender) likes to sleep – or at least to lay around. According to rumor, his mother spent most of her pregnancy on powerful “uppers”, and he’s been trying to make up for his loss of sleep time ever since. Even when awake, he usually looks asleep, or at least halfway asleep. In a minor fight, his usual tactic is to twirl a morningstar around in circles, using his (quite respectable) natural strength, in the hope that this will keep everyone away from him. Getting within range of his “attack” can be hazardous, his wild blows are quite unpredictable and his morningstar is usually loaded with enchantments, courtesy of his conjuration talents. If he feels seriously threatened, he’ll usually unleash some major construct-creature, merge with it, and then either use it to fight with or use it’s abilities to escape, as required. He virtually always has five or six “spells” of conjuration ready to use, as they can be prepared and stored while lying around comfortably.

   In daily life, Malinbert tends to casually conjure up minor items as needed; if you run across a comfortable cottage, well stocked with beds, pillows, blankets, gourmet foods, a servant, and a hot stove, in the middle of a desolate glacier with a howling storm, it’s because Malinbert’s nose was cold, and he’s stopped for a casual snack, nap, and change of clothing. If you can convince him that an “adventure” is urgent – and can’t be better dealt with by casually creating some mighty artifact and giving it to someone more appropriate – he can almost certainly make anything you need that doesn’t involve the primal powers.

   If at all possible, Malinbert will have quietly moved into Amber – and preferably into Castle Amber itself – simply because the settings there don’t shift around while you’re trying to sleep.

   In play, Malinbert can be just what he seems; an ineffectual dreamer/narcoleptic who has exploited a natural talent to maximize the hours he can spend sleeping – but there are other possibilities. He could be a lethal schemer who sends deadly conjured monsters after anyone who annoys him, a manipulated pawn of some more wakeful “master”, or a sensible, if lazy, businessman willing to conjure up almost anything you could want – for a price. It’s a bit hard to tell any of these incarnations apart, as they certainly look similar.

 Professor_Challenger_PDProfessor Challenger, Of Chaos

  • Strength 15, Psyche 5, Endurance 5, Warfare 15.
  • Shapeshifting (35).
  • Power Words (20): Comprehend Device, Kit-bashing (build items really quickly), One-Shot Wonder (get an absurd device to function once), Instant Repair (a.k.a. “Hit it and it will start”), Fast Startup, Forge Component (can make tools and components out of basic resources in mere hours or days), Identify Fault, Reprogram System, Emergency Power (power up a device far beyond it’s normal capabilities), Adapt Technology (gets an item to work, at least briefly, in realms where it shouldn’t), Deduce Local Laws, Identify Creature, Identify Plants (both of these also tell him about what the creature or plant is good for and it’s general behavior pattern), Restore Clothing, and Deflect Attack (usually reduces, but does not prevent, injuries).
  • .45 Revolver that inflicts Double Damage (2)
  • Chaos Court Devotee (4)
  • Named and Numbered Personal Shadows (2): these include his elaborate workshop/museum, several realms in which he is a respected authority and has an easy time finding students and recruits, and several more realms full of dinosaurs, bizarre aliens, and other hazards, but also stuffed chock-full of special materials and other unique resources.
  • The Far Voyager (12 total): Engine Speed (4), Invulnerability (4), Shadow Seek (4), Mold Shadow Stuff (large scale, costs 2 points, provides; transport, life support, weaponry, etc), Named and Numbered Alternate Forms (sailing craft, dirigible, mole drill, ethership, timecraft, seaplane, submarine, exploratory “van”, junglebreaker tank, star core probe, spacecraft, and invisibility (selective, may be combined with other forms, 2), and Minor Divination (as appropriate instrumentation, 2). Unfortunately, the’ Far Voyager tends to break down in weird and otherwise inaccessible places whereupon the passengers must find or make something (a new driveshaft, dylithium crystal, supply of helium, or whatever) to get it going again. Whatever is needed can always be found or produced somewhere in the vicinity, but may be time-consuming to make or difficult to obtain. This curious fault reduces the cost of the ship by -6. Despite this problem the Far Voyager is sometimes used since it can penetrate or go around virtually any shadow barrier, a useful attribute. Sadly, anywhere that only it can get to only it can usually get you out of, and, of course, such spots are prime breakdown locations.
  • Well-Known Mental Quirk: Addicted to “Adventuring” and prefers to deal with shadows on their own terms, rather than by overriding them with primal powers (-4)
  • Mental Quirk: Chivalrous Victorian Gentleman (-1).
  • Character Diary (“Journal”) (-10).

   Total: 115 Points – 15 (Disadvantages) = 100 Points.

   Professor Challenger is an enormously enthusiastic inventor, explorer, tinkerer, and researcher, always equipped with some brilliant/crackpot new theory. He has a habit of accepting shadows on their own terms. Instead of using one of the primal powers or principles to override any inconvenience he faces, he surmounts such obstacles with local resources and techniques. While this approach is somewhat limiting, it has let him maintain his vast enthusiasm for exploring and tinkering for more then two centuries, rather then succumbing to the boredom that afflicts so many immortals. While the professor has a vast capacity for locating trouble, he is, unlike most lords of chaos or amber, fairly innocuous himself – and can often be helpful. On the other hand, if you’re silly enough to come along on a trip in the Far Voyager, you’re almost certain to wind up in some absurd situation – say, crash-landed on a Martian plateau, surrounded by hostile flying six-limbed spider-monkey-like natives armed with spears, in a shadow where none of your powers work at all well, and which cannot be escaped without the use of the Far Voyager. Of course, the Far Voyager will be out of action until you can locate a new “Rezulnite Focusing Crystal”, an item which is only to be found deep inside (hopefully) extinct Martian volcanoes.

Amber: Drizzt, The Resurrected One

   Today it’s an old Amber character – a youngster who managed to get himself (rather foolishly) killed fairly early on. He was eaten by King Kong thanks to the player repeatedly having him not do anything while the ape came up to him, inspected him, smelled him, picked him up, put him in his mouth, chewed him up, and swallowed him. No one could quite figure out why he didn’t simply psychically dominate the big ape, chase him away with Nightfang, blast him with sorcery, outrun him, or do any of dozens of other things. In any case, Drizzt was brought back a little later – although arguments as to whether it was a true resurrection or not continued – as one of Arvon’s research projects. the player found him more amusing after that: Arvon had provided a selection of new and interesting powers for him to play with.

Drizzt, The Resurrected One, Ur-Lord of Amber

   Drizzt, son of Julian, stands about 4’2 and weighs about 60 pounds – reasonable enough for the ten-year-old that he appears to be. With an amberites extended lifespan, his real age is closer to fifteen. He has light brown hair, curious slit-pupiled amber eyes, and seems to have completely stopped aging since his resurrection, which may have something to do with his innate attunement to trump energies. Thanks to Arvon’s tutoring, he now has modest magical and trump-based abilities. Whether Julian will accept his return is another matter. Drizzt still has the use of his shadow-seeking horse, regardless of Julian’s reaction, but the hawk is another matter.

   Attributes: Psyche 60, Warfare 14, Strength 6 Endurance Amber. Currently 0 Stuff (originally had some Bad Stuff).

   Other Abilities:

  • Trump Attunement (Sense, Defense, and Identify only, 15).
  • Trump “Stunts” (Limit of three per game session, 10).
  • Personal Named and Numbered Alternate Forms: Hawk, Wolf, Dolphin, Panther, “Elemental” (the basic four), Invisibility (May be used in other forms), Human, Chaos Form, and Squirrel (creature powers courtesy of Arvon, 2).
  • Personal Resistance To Normal Weapons(creature powers courtesy of Arvon, 1).
  • Artifact Dagger: Nightfang (see below); Deadly Damage and Mold Shadow Stuff (5).
  • Power Words (20).
    • Evocations: Dreamweaving, Eldritch Force, Element Mastery, Enchantment, The Holy Blaze, Living Forces, Nightweaving, and Northern Winds.
    • Basic: Biocontrol, Force Field, Psychokinesis, Purging, Trump Disruption, Trump Surge, and Virtual Creation

   Bonuses:

  • Mental “Quirks“;
    • Irrational Fear Of Apes (Minor, Well-Known, 2)
    • Loyalty To Arvon (Disastrous, Well-Known, Irresistible, 5)
  • Personal Weakness; Can be injured or stunned by “Trump Disruption” and related effects (Major, 2)
  • Social Handicap; Commonly viewed as an idiot or impostor and generally obnoxious (Major, Reputation, 6)

   Experience 18

   Special Notes:

  • Whether he’s still got a “court devotee” in either sense, was up to the GM – and whether or not Daniel (the player) bought one when he took over playing him again.
  • This version of Drizzt has no “player contributions” to help out. This changed when Daniel took him up as a player character again; Drizzt made an abrupt recovery from his “state of shock” and picked up another ten or twenty points worth of new abilities and improved stats.
  • Since Drizzt once tried to shoot Arvon through the heart, Arvon took the chance to hardwire and program in a few restrictions while reconstructing him. While he’s being played this takes the form of the quirk given above. Before that point, Arvon had a dependable ally/agent.
  • Nightfang appears to be a fragment of darkness, forged into a dagger. Only quasi-material, it easily pierces armor, its ebon blade leaving no wound, but disrupting the energies of whatever it strikes. As a talisman, it also acts to cloak the users presence, dampen sound, and otherwise disguise and conceal him. It is even capable of deflecting basic magical and technological means of detection. As a magical focus, it amplifies the power of the users spells, especially those of a destructive nature. Interestingly, Drizzt can use a “trump stunt” to summon the blade if it’s been separated from him.

Power Words:

  • Biocontrol: This useful “word” allows the user to manipulate his personal physical processes on both the somatic and metabolic levels. This allows the use of a variety of “yoga” tricks, aids in resisting toxins and the effects of injury, physical “drains”, and disease. It can even be used to “tailor” enzymes and pheromones, but this is difficult to master.
  • Force Field: Channels the users internal energies into a fairly formidable force-field aura, in his case based on trump. As such it is fairly resistant to most other powers – although any determined clash will soon deplete its energies.
  • Psychokinesis: Allows the user to channel psychic energy into a brief telekinetic burst. While the users control is relatively crude, it suffices for simple PK bolts, repulsive fields, grabbing things, and throwing things around, with a strength equal to the users psyche.
  • Purging: Creates a “surge” of trump energy within the users body. While this has some minor effects, its primary purpose is to drive out intruding energies and substances. Secondarily, the surge tends to “rebuild” the users body to some degree, at least enough to halt blood loss and do a little patching. While it lasts, the surge is roughly equal to using “trump defense”. This word can be applied to someone else via mindlink.
  • Trump Surge: Feeds an extra surge of trump energy into whatever trump-based feat the user is attempting, boosting the effect and/or the speed with which it can be achieved. It’s commonly used when the possessor is in a hurry to contact someone or to trump out.
  • Virtual Creation: Taps into the power of trump to materialize whatever relatively small (up to about ten pounds), simple, object the user envisions. While this cannot create high-tech, “magical”, or artistic items, things like rope, blades, saws, and simple pistols are quite possible. Keeping such an object in existence is a considerable drain on the users physical energy out- put, reducing his effective strength by one per item.

   Evocations are a class of power word only available to those with some form of trump powers and a fairly high psyche. An evocation creates a temporary trump link to some powerful “entity” in shadow, allowing the user to tap some of that beings power for his own use. Sadly, the link is purely psychic and too tenuous to transmit “primal” powers – restrictions that limit evocation to magical energies. As “raw” magical power is useless to anyone except mages (who can get their own), Evocation is commonly used to tap into more specialized sources, already attuned to a particular type of magic, so that most of the work of spellcasting is already done – the user can simply provide the finishing touches and turn it loose. The process is exhausting, both physically and psychically, is limited to “quick and dirty” spells of limited power and sophistication, requires a different word for each “field” of magic, is blocked by barriers vrs trump, is limited by all the usual defenses versus magic, and can be blocked like other power words – but also requires little magical skill, is quick and easy, and is fairly flexible. Evocations need not be adapted to the magic of the “local” shadow, since the spell is actually cast there, it happens automatically. Drizzts evocation power words include;

  • Dreamweaving: Covers telepathic and purely mental magics, such as Psychic Charging, Glamours, Hypnotism, Psychic Illusions, and Mental Shields.
  • Eldritch Force: Covers magical energy constructs, such as Force Shields and Bolts, Mystic Chains, Walls, and so on, as well as simply Disrupting/Dispelling Magic.
  • Element Mastery: Covers the “manipulation” of the four classical elements; Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. It does not cover alchemically-related forces.
  • Enchantment: Covers Enhancing and Binding spells, as well as attuning things to permit easy manipulation via other powers – most commonly by his high psyche.
  • The Holy Blaze: Covers the magic of Purification, Light, and Solar Forces. Unlike the principle, and despite the name, the Holy Blaze has few positive spiritual or intellectual aspects.
  • Living Forces: Covers Biomanipulation – the magics of Life, Healing, Death and more subtle effects based on the control of the body and metabolism. Sadly, these are limited by the “quick and dirty” aspect of evocation.
  • Nightweaving: Covers the magics of Darkness, which includes those of Deception, Illusion, and Negation. As with the Holy Blaze, Nightweaving covers only a few of the spiritual and intellectual aspects of the principle.
  • Northern Winds: Covers the many magics of Winter, Necromancy, and simple Destruction as well as those of Ice, Blizzard, and Freezing Winds.

Amber: Shadow Binding and Superheroics

Personal Realities in the Amber Diceless RPG:

   While every amberite knows that “the rules”, including basic natural laws, change as they move from shadow to shadow, few have recognized the basic contradiction this implies. Biochemical and bioelectrical systems are incredibly delicate; a tiny fraction of the alteration which halts the simple combustion of gunpowder is more then enough to kill instantly. Despite this, creatures and people regularly transverse shadow unharmed. Even more oddly, while medicines and such often malfunction if taken oustide their original shadows, they never do anything odd when you move through shadow after taking them. Once poisoned, drunk, drugged, or high, you stay that way no matter where you go.

   Most amberites simply accept this, dismissing the chemical implications with their usual pragmatism. In reality, the explanation is relatively simple. Every living creature maintains its own, personal, internal “reality”. While this does not extend beyond themselves, it does suffice to keep them alive in weird realms – although even apparently identical creatures from different shadows may respond very differently to the same substance or force. A creatures internal reality even extends to cyberware and such, provided that such implants are fully enclosed in living tissue (those with advanced pattern or logrus mastery can “bridge” small gaps). There is, of course, a problem with this. Characters from amber or chaos have internal realities that don’t support high tech devices. To use cyberware, such a character must “adjust” his internal reality, a difficult process. In effect each piece of cyberware costs points. Advanced (and thus powerful) pieces are more difficult to adapt to, and so cost more points. Most pieces of cyberware cost from 1 to 5 points, depending on what they do (In most cases, the cost can be approximated by use of the rules on constructing artifacts). Note that creatures from appropriate shadows need not “pay” for cyberware, its already attuned to their personal reality. While such items work almost anywhere on the internal level, those with external effects are more problematic – unless backed by the will of an amberite.

   This takes us to Shadow Binding. The “Blood of Amber” is powerful; the mere presence of an amberite can strengthen a shadow, and eventually make it cast shadows of its own. Shadow Binding is usually found among the “unknown bastards” of Amber, those who are born and grow up in a particular shadow. Ignorant of their heritage, they accept the shadow as “real”, and unconsciously use their latent power to imbue it with the energies of the pattern.

   If introduced to shadow travel, such characters can draw on this energy reserve, letting them “ignore” the local rules in favor of those of their home realm. They can use their home realms tools, powers, and magics almost anywhere – although places of true reality such as Amber proper or (to a lesser extent) any primal plane, are a considerable strain. Obviously, Shadow Binding can’t be “picked up” after character creation, or taken more then once.

   The cost depends on what the user’s home realm permits. The more it allows, the more difficult it is to impose its laws on another shadow. The homeworld of a shadow binder is always a “primal plane”, highly resistant to pattern, logrus, and manipulations by it’s “owner” – who has, and can have, no special powers over “his” shadow; Shadow Binding is dedicated to maintaining, not controlling, Shadow. As with the true pattern and Dworkin, Shadow Binding will attempt to protect its user, but it is far weaker. The “cost” of shadow binding can be determined as follows;

  • +12 to +36 points of “Good Stuff”, only works in critical situations, 1/4’th cost (3 to 9 points).
  • A Primal Plane and a Sphere of Secondary Shadows (6 points). No “degree of control” is available – but the user may add Shadow Barriers as desired (0 to 4 points). The characters position “in” the shadow is variable, but he must “fit in”; he grew up in the shadow and belongs there. While his superior talents may give him many options, “god” is not likely to be one of them. The character must fit into his environment.
  • The Tools and Powers available from a particular realm are rated in each of five basic categories: Magical Powers, Invoked and Spiritual Powers, Psionic and Innate Powers, Technological Devices, and Bestowed Powers. The ratings include Little or None (No cost), Limited (5 points), Moderate (10 points), Advanced (15 points), Heroic (20 points), and Superheroic (25 points). The exact parameters of each category should be established in cooperation with the GM, but it might be wise to “set up” the characters powers under another game system.
  • Fortunately, the character need only pay for powers that he or she can use, he or she need not strain to impose laws permitting the use of powers or forces he or she does not control.
  • “Bestowed” talents can include the ability to transverse or manipulate shadow – either as devices do or as a sort of minor version of pattern or logrus. Such talents always work best in the primal planes secondary shadows and are much weaker elsewhere.
  • If a Shadow Binder ever opts to walk the Pattern, the points devoted to Shadow Binding will be transferred into Pattern Powers. If his or her home shadow is destroyed, despite it’s “primal” status, the effects can vary. Some Shadow Binders absorb the energies into themselves, and are – at least externally – unaffected. Some must seek out a similar realm and adopt it to regain their abilities. Others either transfer the points into more generic abilities or walk the Pattern. In most cases the choice should be left up to the player – although the character is perfectly welcome to agonize over such changes and the loss of their home.

   And now, for more fun, lets translate some comic-book characters. As it happens, these are what would now be considered fairly “classic” versions of these characters, as most of these notes go back quite a few years. These translations also assume that Amber characters are innately on the superheroic scale, as was discussed in the previous entry – and you’ll note that most of them don’t cost that many amber points…

Doctor Strange:

  • Psyche 25, Endurance Chaos, Strength Human, Warfare Chaos (Net -20)
  • Shadow Binding:
    • Good Stuff +12 (Critical Situations only) 3
    • Superheroic Magic 25
    • Primal Plane and its Shadows 6
    • Mystic Barriers to Entrance 2
  • Eye Of Agamotto:
    • Trump Image (Realm of Agamotto) 1
    • Exceptional Psychic Sense (Light of Truth) 4
    • Able to Mold Shadow Creatures 2
  • Cloak of Levitation:
    • Resistant to Normal Weapons 1
    • Able to Mold Shadow Stuff (Gravity) 1
  • Net Cost for Doctor Strange: 25 points.

Thor Odinson:

  • Psyche Chaos, Endurance Amber, Strength 30, Warfare Chaos (Net 10)
  • Mjolnir:
    • Deadly Damage 4
    • Able To Mold Shadow Stuff (Air and Weather effects only, drastic effects) 2
    • Combat Reflexes (Wielded at Amber rank) 2
    • Contains Named and Numbered Trump Images 2
  • Dense Flesh (Resistance to Firearms) 2
  • Net Cost for Thor: 22 points.

Adam Warlock:

  • Psyche Chaos (25), Endurance Amber, Strength Amber, Warfare Amber (Net -10)
  • Soul Gem:
    • Stupendous Psychic Power (Soul Vampire, versus chaos psyche or less, ranked psyche) 8
    • Transfer Quality (Psyche) 5
    • Able to Mold Shadow Creatures 2
    • Contains a Trump Image (Pocket Realm) 1
  • Cosmic Energy Absorbing Cell Enclaves:
    • Able to Mold Shadow Stuff (Cosmic Power, permits; Flight, Life Support, Energy Bolts, FTL Travel, and Light Generation) 4
    • Transfer Power 10
    • Resistance to Firearms 2
    • Transfer Quality 5
  • Bad Stuff: -2
  • If still in charge of marvel universe add a personal shadow with control of time flow. +3
  • Net Cost for Adam Warlock: 25 points, 28 with shadow.

Thanos:

  • Psyche Amber, Endurance 20, Strength 22, Warfare 3 (Net 45)
  • Cosmic Energy Absorbing Cellular Augmentation:
    • Able to Mold Shadow Stuff (Cosmic Power, permits: Life Support, Energy Bolts, Energy Deflection, Teleport Portals) 4
    • Transfer Power 10
    • Invulnerability to all Conventional Forces 4
    • Transfer Quality 5
  • Power Words (Psychic Disruption, Pain Attack, Chaos and Pattern Negation, Process Surge) 10
  • Bad Stuff: -18
  • While he had agents, they were never reliable, and so cannot have been bought with points.
  • Net Cost for Thanos: 60 points

Captain America:

  • Psyche Chaos, Endurance Chaos, Strength Chaos, Warfare Amber (Net -30)
  • Shield:
    • Impervious to Damage 8
    • Double Damage 2
    • Powered By Trump 4
    • Combat Mastery (Wielded at moderate rank) 4
  • Motorcycle, Van, and Assorted Equipment 8
  • Good Stuff 16
  • Net Cost for Captain America: 12 points

Silver Surfer:

  • Psyche Chaos (see powers), Endurance Human (see powers), Strength 24, Warfare 8 (Net -3)
  • Silvery Coating:
    • Invulnerable to All Conventional Forces 4
    • Regeneration / Life-Support 4
    • Transfer Power (Regeneration) 10
    • Tireless, Supernatural Stamina 4
    • Transfer Quality (Stamina) 5
    • Able to Mold Shadow Reality (Cosmic Energies) 4
    • Deadly Damage (Level of Cosmic Energies) 4
  • Surfboard:
    • Mold Shadow Stuff (FTL Flight, Phasing) 2
    • Contains a Trump Image (Hyperspace Portal) 1
  • Psionic Cellular Augmentation:
    • Extraordinary Psychic Sense (Life Detection, Postcognition, Telepathic Communication, Control of Board) 4
    • Transfer Quality (Ex Psychic Sense) 5
  • Bad Stuff -4
  • Net Cost for the Silver Surfer: 40 Points

   Now, within their specialities, any of those might be a challenge – or at least a noteworthy obstacle – to an Amber character, but they’re really no match for them in general. Of course, compared to a normal human being, they’re fairly godlike.

Amber Diceless RPG: Characteristic Scales

   Ever played the Amber Diceless RPG? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a basic division between Amber: The Game and Amber: The Novels – and it leads to a certain amount of conflict.

   In Amber, it’s a fairly basic premise that the characters can reach any realm that they can clearly envision, and that true Amberites – and, to a lesser extent, Lords of Chaos – are the most powerful people in all the realms of shadow. There are references to characters warping or destroying entire dimensions, to simply gathering up an army if you want one, and even to them controlling vast sources of mystical power. A basic, zero-point, “amber” level attribute is superior to any normal shadow-dweller. Amberites are powerful, often capable of defeating a small army – although truly talented shadow-dwellers may give them a run for their money.

   Now that general description says very different things to different people. To people who’ve read the books and taken their assumptions at face value, the observation that “Gerard is the strongest man in the universe” means “Gerard is the strongest and toughest unenhanced fellow who’s abilities reliably translate across shadow within a rather narrow range of universes – those with essentially identical physics, basically humanlike species, and no really exotic biological adaptions”.

   To quite a few other gamers, that means that “Gerard is stronger and tougher than Superman – or any RPG character they’ve ever played, no matter what the game system” – since almost all of those RPG universes are dimensions which can be consistently described, envisioned, and presumably reached with ease by an Amber character. That isn’t something that Zelazny – who, as the author, had complete control over his characters – ever had to deal with.

   For example, we had one character who – upon noticing that he was being followed across shadow – took a ten-minute “shortcut” across a realm he described in detail on a note: a planet orbiting near a pulsar that picked up a thin but breathable atmosphere from the gases thrown off by another nearby dying star, and cooled to comfortably livable levels between it’s every-few-hundred-years interception of the radiation beam from the pulsar – which was going to happen on rather precise timing. In other words, a second or so after he left, pretty much the entire planet would be hit by a radiation beam more intense than a fusion bomb, and would remain incandescent and radioactive enough to kill in a fraction of a second for the next few years. And that was just his first attempt to discourage people from following him.

   Another character took a dodge through a dark alley where some muggers were about to arrive, then jumped aboard a departing ferry at the last moment, and called it enough.

   Neither one is “wrong”, but there’s a certain difference in the scale of their thinking.

   Now, we always tended towards the “superhero” end – it meant that, while the conservative players didn’t have to do anything absurd if they felt it was out of character, they wouldn’t necessarily be reduced to floating wisps of vapor when someone sprang something like pulsar scenario #1 on them. It didn’t quite match the novels, but it didn’t make a lot of difference in a game mostly based on intrigue, social manipulation, and personal duels anyway – and it made it a lot easier to play and run.

   As another example, here we have a relatively minor character from one of the old Amber games – a young woman named Amanda Rose. It’s kind of amusing to consider the distinction between the two extreme interpretations – the slightly-above-human heroine and the city-destroying celestial avatar.

Amanda Rose, Of Amber

  • Attributes: Psyche (15), Warfare (Amber), Strength (5), and Endurance (4).
  • Amber Court Devotee (6)
  • Basic Shape Shifting (35)
  • Good Stuff (6)
  • Deorthain the Dragon (21)
  • Tekumel: Personal Shadow (1) with Control of Time Flow (2)
  • Hummingbirds Wing: Double Damage (2) Katana
  • The Eye Of Rassilon (Enchanted Ring): Mold Shadow Stuff (1) with Drastic Effects (+1), Basic Intelligence (1) and Danger Sense (2).
  • Clothing: Resistant to Normal Weapons (1)
  • Power Words (12): Abyssal Disruption, Beastmaster, Combat Intuition, Logrus Negation, Photon Conversions Photon Transformation, Spirit Summoning (Nature Spirits).
  • GM Bonus (-5)
  • Character Diary (-10)

   Amanda is about five feet tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She has violet-purple hair and white eyes, and a soft blue-white bioluminescent aura. She has soft features, often slightly blurred by her luminous aura. By “human” standards she is strikingly beautiful, if a bit ethereal looking. By amber time she is only about six years old, however she has spent most of that time in a fast-time shadow near the courts of chaos, giving her an actual age of about 16.

   Deorthain The Dragon: Psyche/Chaos (2), Strength/Chaos (2), Warfare/Chaos (2), Endurance/Amber (4). Alternate Form/Human (1), Shadow Seek (4), Teleportation within Shadows (4), Mold Shadow Stuff/Elemental Magic with Drastic Effects (2).

   In Dragonform Deorthain has Resistance to Firearms, Double Speed (Flight), Ranked Strength (10), and Double Damage (claws, breath, and bite) due to his size and form. As these are natural abilities, and don’t “carry over” into human form, they do not cost points – while those attributes which are above normal human level in human form do. Similarly, his high-human level intelligence is natural to both forms, and hence free. In human form, Deorthain usually wears, or creates when needed, armor Resistant to Normal Weapons, and a weapon charged with elemental energy so as to do Double Damage. In either form he retains his talent for Elemental Magic. Due to his association with Amanda, he has learned to use his power to enable him to transverse shadow and to teleport from place to place within a shadow. Oddly, it is much harder for him to teleport in human form, so he rarely does so. He has been Amandas constant companion / pet since she was just under six years old. In his natural form he is serpentine, scaled, multicolored, and quite large. While he is somewhat older then Amanda, he is a long way from being an adult. Despite his youth, he is already better at magic then most Averos Windserpents.

   The Eye Of Rassilon is a quasi-independent device that usually acts to protect its user and enhance her powers, although it will perform minor “shadow-molding” tricks if not otherwise engaged. This 2-point “pool” is often used to; boost her armor to Resistant To Firearms (1), create an Environmental Field (1), energize her katana to do Deadly Damage (2), dampen assaults using any one Principle or Tertiary Force (1), distort Her “Personal Timerate” (in shadow only, 1-2), manipulate the Forces Of Nature (1-2), or energize “Psychic Constructs” into semi-material things (1). Of these, the first five are used at the discretion of the ring, the latter two are directed by the user. The rings/eyes defenses normally extend to her personal (paid for) companions, and can be extended to cover a modest radius if she so desires.

   The ring is less useful in amber or the courts, but always tries to keep up a “reserve” of shadow energies for emergency use. While this “charge” is limited, it can be lifesaving in a pinch. The eye may also be able to store “charged” constructs – but Amanda has not yet learned to tap this (2 point) ability.

Unusual Power Words:

  • Abyssal Disruption; This dangerous power word does not attempt to nullify abyssal forces, instead it disrupts the wielders control over them. Usually this lets them dissipate via annihilating chunks of the surroundings, but skillful timing can backlash them upon their user. With poor timing, the power words user may still be in the area affected – although the results are rarely as bad as being hit with a properly focused attack.
  • Beastmastery; The Beastmasters Word projects the users psychic power in a field tuned to the minds of animals and animalistic beings, either in a radius or directed against an individual target. This automatically sets up a mindlink with the target creature(s) and allows the user to deal with a group en mass and with individuals at a substantial bonus (around +10 psyche). Creatures owned by other lords cannot usually be turned on their masters, but can be dismissed or made to “sit it out”.
  • Combat Intuition; This curious psychic discipline puts the user “in tune” with the immediate environment – an effect allowing him to react without conscious thought to any attack or threat. In effect it boosts the users Warfare attribute to equal his psyche, if that happens to be higher. Sadly, this can only be maintained for a few seconds, so the users timing must be good to avoid having a skilled opponent simply fall back before this surge of effort.
  • Photon Conversion; Allows a shapechanger with “photon transformation” to shift part of his mass into energy, using shapechanging to keep it under control as it is, at least until released, still a part of him.
  • Spirit Summoning; This useful word enables the user to call forth the “spirits” (if any) of an area – and ask them to perform some simple task. The problem is that some places don’t have any spirits and those that do are not necessarily cooperative. Some, say the spirits of a haunted graveyard, may be downright hostile. In any case, the user is relying on charisma/luck to get them to serve, hence “good stuff” is very helpful. The user will normally be most comfortable with some particular type of spirit, choosing a speciality when he acquires this word. Related words allow the user to extend this power to major or distant spirits, compel reluctant or hostile ones, dismiss them, and to feed them the power to produce major effects. Alternatively, the user can simply draw on his own spiritual energies, temporarily reducing his reserve of “good stuff” or increasing his level of “bad stuff” to achieve similar results.
  • Photon Transformation; Allows a shapechanger to change his body into a field of electromagnetic energy, which can then be manipulated via “shapechanging”. The user can return to material form at any time, although this form can be maintained indefinitely. Like other power words, the effect can be extended to anything the user has paid for with points.

Other Notes :

   Psychic Constructs: In its simplest form, a “psychic construct” is nothing but a visualized image, the more detailed the better. The stronger the mind behind the image, the more detailed the image and the more energy it carries. Psychic constructs are a major “weapon” in psychic combat, manifest as competing monstrous beings or weapons. Charging them with physical energies makes them dangerous on a physical level as well, capable of affecting the body as well as the mind. While they are usually too insubstantial to affect by simple physical means they can be stopped by many of the principles or pure psychic force. This does have the advantage that it takes a lot more psychic force to stop them, giving the user a substantial advantage in psychic combat. A few devices can store such psychic constructs, this is treated like the ability to store conventional spells, and is as handy in a psychic conflict as stored spells are in a magical one.

A Condensed Extract From Arvons Diary:

   Being woken by the servants because a dragon has taken over the back yard is not a good way to start the day. At least it would be small, the adults have settled on territories already. Installing a set of “good dragon” compulsions was easy, getting rid of it was a pain. I finally unloaded it on Amanda – she never could resist a stray. A week or so later pops called. He wanted me to attend a birthday party for Amanda. OK, so I found a present and trumped off to amber. How often do you get to see any young and innocent relatives around here? Make it one less, it seems she needed a birthday party because she’d been visiting some fast-time shadow near the courts. The winsome six-year old was now sixteen, accompanied by a great, bloody, enormous dragon. What a difference a week can make. Quite a reunion really, I might have expected that Gerard would have more kids then any of the others. I managed to duck out for long enough to head home, swap the miniature castle for the Eye Of Rassilon, and trump back before they missed me. I wonder what it does? I didn’t have much time to sort through the magic ring collection. I hope it’s useful, or at least in good taste.

Latest Material

   Well, the experiment with keeping a “latest updates” index stuck to the top of the page was well-recieved, so I’ll go back to doing it. You should be able to find everything here that’s either been put up in the last week or two or hasn’t been put on the main index tabs yet. I’ll just keep updating this post until it gets too long, then I’ll transfer everything on it to the main indexes and start a new one.

d20 Material:

Legend of the Five Rings:

General Material:

  • Large Changes – a companion piece to the Small Changes article from some time back on how changes in racial characteristics affect, or do not affect, cultures. This uses d20 terms, but is actually pretty general.
  • Continuum II Ceremonial Magic – a general system for classical ceremonial and ritual magic, suitable for use in a variety of settings and game systems.

Amber Diceless RPG

  • 200-Odd Power Words – also usable as source material for many other games.
  • The Great Weapons – a dozen horrifically-powerful weapons to destroy all opposition! After all, these are extremely powerful by AMBER standards…

Shadowrun Material:

  • Some old Characters – Prodigicus Supreme, a giant “robot” “Transformer” player character, Khaibitu the Valkyrie, a free spirit PC – and Fritz the Infinite, a cloned army of PC’s…
  • Project Ushus, a high-powered campaign background.
  • Proware, the next segment in the Modular Cyberware series – in this case, useful programs, mental augmentation effects, and biofeedback modules that you can use with your internal computers. 

   The previous Latest Material index can be found HERE.

The Great Weapons

   First up for today, it’s The Great Weapons – a selection of horrific weapons for the Amber Diceless RPG. Given that they were pretty powerful for that setting, they should be sufficient to equip any random gods you want to upgrade… This file DOESN’T list the various power words they use: I put them up yesterday.

Amber Diceless RPG Power Words

   First up for today, it’s a couple of hundred Power Words – innate, and very fast, but relatively minorspells – for the Amber Diceless RPG. This particular set is mostly drawn from a set of Great Weapons (which I may put up next) that formed part of the backdrop for one campaign. As such, they’re mostly combat-related. They’re also generic enough to be useful as spells or innate powers in a variety of other games, so if you need some odd combat powers, you may want to skim the list.

Amber Disadvantages

   Next for today, it’s the old Amber Disadvantage (and a few new minor items to purchase) sheet. The simple good-stuff bad-stuff division in the basic rules works pretty well – but eventually some of the players started wanting to know if they could either (1) have SOME personal problems with their good-stuff characters or (2) could get a few extra points in reward for helping out the GM by specifying problems for their bad-stuff characters.