Amber: Why Can't I Quit You


  • Pitcrew

    @helvetian I definitely don't want to seem like I'm slagging on RtA (which of course has its faults, as all games do); that's where I played arguably my favorite RPG character ever, and I have a lot of fond memories both of the game and even, yes, of RP I had with some of the book characters there. It is probably the most enduringly interesting Amber game I've seen (even more so than AmberMUSH ... which lasted longer but was really several different games at various points in its existence, and which anyway had become kind of a self-parody of itself by this point in the lifecycle.



  • Oh, I'm entirely fine with criticisms of the game, so don't worry about that. :-) It's got some great bits, and some bits I want to slam into the wall repeatedly. No game's perfect, as you say. I'm still overall enjoying the story lines I've waded into, so I stick around (I'm Quina and Miriam).


  • Politics

    I've always wanted to set something in the Courts of Chaos. I think that sounds pretty 'new' in terms of Amber while still retaining the same world and vibe.



  • Long ago a friend and I had a thought about a MU* set in the imagined first days of the Courts. Neither of us had the time to build/run something, but we thought there might be interested players.


  • Pitcrew

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

    some bits I want to slam into the wall repeatedly

    Someday Q will snap and make this happen!



  • Someday Q will snap. And it will be spectacular. ;-)


  • Coder

    Long long ago in the days of Before, there was actually an AmberMU that was based out of the Courts. It did not generate much of a playerbase or a following, but back then AmberMUSH was king of Amber.


  • Pitcrew

    I like the Courts of Chaos as a concept ... but the concept is of a place so alien to my way of thinking that I have trouble wrapping my head around it, and when I can't get my head around something I have trouble playing it. It feels wrong to not play Chaos as something so truly, deeply, fundamentally weird that I can't comprehend it. Playing Chaos as "Amber, but with bizarre scenery and a bigger SFX budget" feels like a copout.

    You could go the other way round and make a more Chaos-y Amber: skip forward in time a few thousand years to when Amber is an ancient, glorious, and decadent imperial culture ruling over uncountable reflections of itself, and the royal family has gotten so large that it's organized itself into noble houses.


  • Coder

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

    You could go the other way round and make a more Chaos-y Amber: skip forward in time a few thousand years to when Amber is an ancient, glorious, and decadent imperial culture ruling over uncountable reflections of itself, and the royal family has gotten so large that it's organized itself into noble houses.

    Here's my take on that: It's already been thousands of years that Amber has been a thing. The royals are hundreds of years old. If not thousands. Each.


  • Pitcrew

    @lithium Yes ... but it never really has the feel of an ancient and glorious empire. It's one guy's invention and he's in charge for almost all of its history. Amber feels more like a very stretched out version of Henry VIII's England than it does like the eastern Roman Empire at or after its apogee. You'd need to go far enough forward that not only is Oberon a semi-mythical figure, but even his sons and daughters have been gone for long enough that people argue over what they did or didn't do like academics discussing whether Shakespeare was really Anglican or a secret Catholic.

    Or you could go completely the other way, and have an Amber that's basically that of the books, only all of Oberon's still-living children have up and vanished one bright morning, and it's up to the players to figure out why. Or to not figure out why, and instead get straight to the important business of who's going to sit in the big chair next.

    Or you could do an Amber that shares only the basic concept of the Pattern and Shadow with the original, and comes with a whole new geography, history, royal family, etc. (I'm partial to an Amber City that's vaguely Venetian, so people can get thrown into canals at the end of duels, or wax anxious about how hard it's going to be to walk the Pattern if the water's four inches deep in its chamber.) To me this is kind of the most fun direction, but it's also the hardest creative job, and it asks a lot of the players in terms of unlearning what they already know and learning different things.

    I don't really have a strong attachment to a particular setting, or I'd probably be working on a game -- I just know that when I think about the standard Amber game approach of "let's throw a dart at the known timeline of Amber history and set our game there; now, everyone get your feature apps ready, aaaaaand GO!" I feel a tremendous disinterest.


  • Coder

    I played the Amber DRPG in college and the premise was that everyone was a child of the original FCs. It allowed for people to be original and influential while also not being involved at the highest level. The FCs were occasional guest star NPCs. (Quest givers,basically.)

    With long lived royal family members and including Shadow-born illegitimate heirs and stuff there was plenty of opportunity for PCs to slot themselves into the story. And it was interesting when everyone was cousins. Food for thought.


  • Pitcrew

    @helvetian When Q snaps, Rae will be there in the shadows, howling in delight.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday The usual MUSH/MUX scheme is actually a fair bit like that, except that the original FCs are usually active PCs.

    The very earliest Amber games were a lot like the early Vampire games, in that being Someone Special (a member of the royal family or an actual supernatural creature, respectively) was pretty restricted. More recently the style in both genres is to accommodate whoever wants to play whatever, although the last few generations of Amber games have also been pretty good about making characters who aren't royals be able to operate on a mostly equal plane with them, in case someone doesn't want to be part of this lunatic family.

    Unfortunately, the early genre was heavily influenced by Erick Wujcik's vision of the book characters as people you Did Not Get To Beat (there's a particular notorious story about Morgenstern and a PC's magic dog), and so they tended to get a lot of stuff that other PCs simply did not get. That has softened some over time, so that, for instance, RtA's Benedict, Corwin, and Eric are actually beatable in swordfights by nonbook characters (something that was literally impossible on AmberMUSH), but even the most liberal game visions tend to place the book characters, or at least some of them, as special in ways that are difficult or impossible for others to equal.

    I understand the reasoning behind this, because what's the point of having Benedict as a character at all if any random yobbo out of chargen can whup his ass? But I don't really like the effect it seems to have when those characters are PCs (see sentiments expressed by various people above).