Amber: Why Can't I Quit You


  • Pitcrew

    I have realized two things over the past week:

    1. I miss playing Amber (you know, the Roger Zelazny hard-boiled Lords and Ladies setting) more than I had thought I did.

    2. I am pretty much done with the canonical Amber royal family as PCs.

    I kind of want to see what other characters will do with the setting. Heck, I want to see the setting itself taken in different directions. When I log in to an Amber game after seven years and it's still Corwin and Eric squabbling over the throne ... I know that there are people for whom this is the essence of Amber and therefore there will always be an audience for it. I'm just not that person any more.


  • Pitcrew

    @autumn said in Amber: Why Can't I Quit You:

    I am pretty much done with the canonical Amber royal family as PCs.

    Agreed. I figure i can guess the Amber game you're referring to and a common complaint is that it is difficult to get players to engage in what passes for the metaplot. The biggest hurdle to that in my opinion is the PC canonical royal family. Maybe it's really good for people that like playing support characters in the background, but if you want to actually do something.. probably not.


  • Pitcrew

    There are reasons that I stopped playing on the only currently active Amber game a few years ago.

    That would be one.
    The second would be feeling like my hands were tied, even when playing one of the feature characters.


  • Tutorialist

    I've always been interested in it but I've never read the books, and only stepped my toes in on @Sunny's OTT game. What draws you to the game?


  • Politics

    @autumn

    I miss playing with you, so I will gleefully follow wherever you may go, if invited to do so.

    sad cat

    I do like the concept of Amber.


  • Pitcrew

    Man, I never had so much fun running anything as I did with my Amber game. It really has to be one of my favorite things to run, ever. I don't really think it works as well as it could in a full-blown mush environment, but it made for pretty much the best OTT ever.

    ETA: Damn I miss that shit now.


  • Pitcrew

    Amber, as a setting, is magnificent. And the DRPG is probably the most brilliant example of making character generation a part of the game I have ever seen. I have so many fond memories of running/playing in various games of it.


  • Pitcrew

    What are peoples' thoughts on how you could handle the DRPG character creation with #1/etc in a persistent mush environment? Or system stuff in general? I know how I managed it for an OTT, but if someone were going to put together something a little more mushlike in scope? This is the conundrum I run into when I think about it.


  • Pitcrew

    @sunny Could you just have people silently assign their points, and have some kind of coded check in place so that if PCs need to know what their comparison is, the code tells them who is higher/lower without stating the specific number? You lose the fun of the active auction, but there is something kinda great about having to make a blind stab at the things you really want without knowing how high they are going to go.


  • Politics

    @brunocerous said in Amber: Why Can't I Quit You:

    Could you just have people silently assign their points, and have some kind of coded check in place so that if PCs need to know what their comparison is, the code tells them who is higher/lower without stating the specific number?

    I think this is a good way to do it. I'd suggest adding something like an +appraise command, which would allow you to get a general impression if someone is better, worse, or about the same as your PC at a certain stat.


  • Pitcrew

    @brunocerous

    The problem with going at it that way is that it loses the whole point of what #1 is supposed to represent: you are the best at the thing in all of existence. Everyone Knows Who The Best Is, so to speak. Not that this is necessarily a terrible thing to just ditch. It's an iconic Amber thing, but maybe it's not one of the most iconic things.


  • Coder

    @brunocerous said in Amber: Why Can't I Quit You:

    @sunny Could you just have people silently assign their points, and have some kind of coded check in place so that if PCs need to know what their comparison is, the code tells them who is higher/lower without stating the specific number? You lose the fun of the active auction, but there is something kinda great about having to make a blind stab at the things you really want without knowing how high they are going to go.

    This is how the original AmberMUSH did it back in the early 90's.


  • Coder

    @sunny said in Amber: Why Can't I Quit You:

    @brunocerous

    The problem with going at it that way is that it loses the whole point of what #1 is supposed to represent: you are the best at the thing in all of existence. Everyone Knows Who The Best Is, so to speak. Not that this is necessarily a terrible thing to just ditch. It's an iconic Amber thing, but maybe it's not one of the most iconic things.

    That idea only works in a fixed group though, which is why it’s well suited to the tabletop auction. If someone can join the game tomorrow, then suddenly the person “everyone knows is the best” might have never been the best at all (ICly).


  • Pitcrew

    @sunny Totally fair.

    I think in that case you would want to ditch the idea of the 'known best', yeah. Among other things there is going to be an issue with only four PCs getting that honor (unless you just set the 'best' as a constant -- an NPC -- and have the players rank only relative to one another).

    There is something kind of Amber-like, however, in the idea of always silently spending points to jockey for the top slot, or deciding that the race for a stat is too heated and to try another route to power. The way I see it, its like the aucition is taking place throughout the play of the game rather than only at the start, if that makes sense.


  • Pitcrew

    @brunocerous

    It does make sense. Something for me to chew on. Remind me I want to kick that can around with you.


  • Pitcrew

    @Cobaltasaurus: I like Lords and Ladies, and I like that the setting opens up such a huge amount of imaginative possibilities. I also like the extended family feel of the setting, which (and this will sound funny to anyone who knows the books) I think works to soften some of the hostility that can crop up in L&L games about less familial groups of people.

    @Ganymede: d'awwwww!

    @Sunny: I think it would be extraordinarily hard to do DRPG-style character creation in a persistent environment. But I think you could do something to indicate who is "the best", or at least who's among the best. Here's what I have in mind ...

    I'm going to take RtA's mechanics -- which I actually prefer to the DRPG for a large-scale game -- as an example; for those who don't know them, there are four stats (Force, Grace, Wits, Resolve) and then a large number of possible powers that may add to your stats in a particular situation (e.g., being a badass swordsperson). When you get in a conflict, you pick a stat, your opponent picks a stat, and you both total up your stats and add appropriate bonuses (plus a random factor), then see who has a bigger total. If you both pick the same stat, then yes, you add the same number twice.

    So if you have a character whose high stat + bonuses in one of a variety of areas is in the top X% of the game, that character gets a little tag in his or her +finger that says "this character is renowned as one of the greatest swordspersons alive." Doesn't matter if it's primarily stat or primarily bonus -- although if you wanted to you could have little secondary tags that say 'this person is renowned for their legendary Resolve' or 'this person is widely known to be a skilled swordfighter', when they have a high-level bonus or a very high stat but the combined total doesn't push them into the stratosphere.

    This allows the rankings to evolve organically, keeps the number of people ranked as "one of the best ever" in rough proportion to the game's total population, and allows people to be informed about who's good and who's GREAT ... while still allowing players to keep /some/ secrets. Even if people know you're one of the greatest swordfighters alive, they might not know your preferred style (i.e., what your high stat is); and even if you're renowned for your razor wit, people may not know whether you focus more on being a dangerous duelist or an expert in cutting remarks.

    You could even have an additional power that you can buy to lower your "effective" ranking, if you want to be one of those people who trains in secret until they're the best in the world: you can do that, but it costs something to keep your actual skill level a secret. The default is that once you reach a certain point, the general public is aware that you're a badass.


  • Pitcrew

    @autumn

    That sounds a good way to handle/manage it. I've only ever played w/ the DRPG.


  • Pitcrew

    @sunny There's no reason it wouldn't work just fine with straight DRPG stats also ... but I've gotten somewhat disenchanted with DRPG stats. Part of what I like about RtA's scheme is that it allows characters like Flora and Llewella -- who in the DRPG tend to get fuck-all -- to be powerful and effective characters in their own right via high stats, and yet still not threaten (sardonic eyeroll) the supremacy of the boys in swordsmanship because of the lack of bonuses.

    RtA Flora is actually someone you care about having on your team. AmberMUSH Flora was ... not, except inasmuch as people gave her more rope from name value. But this is a part of my much longer and more cranky rant about what worked on AmberMUSH and what didn't.


  • Pitcrew

    @autumn

    Yeah, I have no real mush-history experience with any of the Amber games, I played on them both briefly and could never stick. I've run it extensively tabletop though, both online and offline, using the DRPG.



  • I do still really enjoy most of my RP on RtA, though there are certainly things that bug me about the game. It definitely has the feel of something that's maybe gone on longer than original staff planned/wanted, though there's been a bit of a resurgence of interest the last few years and some efforts by non-features to do cosmology-level things. If someone else were to build one I'd certainly check it out, but there don't seem to be many with the desire to build and staff their own.