Don't Box Yourself In

The universe in Amber is a very large and very weird place. There's room for all sorts of unique and bizzare characters, with all sorts of equally unique and bizzarre backgrounds. One temptation is to go out of your way to give yourself a background that demands a certain parentage, either a specific Amberite, or not being from Amber, or something else. But remember, the GM always has final say in who your parents are, so boxing yourself in may only lead to the GM undoing all your careful work. That can be fun, if roleplayed well, but it can also be upsetting. So, in general it's better to leave your options open. With a little thought, it's not hard to leave your options open, while still getting the specifics you want to make your character work.

Here's a transcript of a discussion about how parents for a more offbeat character might be chosen.

DaR: I thought you were going to do BASARA! LISTEN TO MY SONG! :)
Rod: hnnnn.
Rod: Basara.....
Rod: strength, endurance, gutar with properties.
Rod: isn't an amberite, so no pattern for him.
Rod: BP likely
DaR asks, "Why not an Amberite?"
Rod: well, there's an infinite amount of non-amberites. :)
DaR: Yeah.
Rod: and the thought of any canon amberite spawning this idiot is boggling
Rod: LISTEN TO MY SONG!" "This one's yours, isn't it Corwin." "Bloody hell, no. Maybe Brand's.
DaR: Well, remember, most amberites are *ancient*. Corwin's at least 600 years old, closer to 1000. Benedict is probably several thousand years old. That's a lot of time for a one night stand leaving some pretty but stupid girl out in shadow with a bun in the oven.
Rod: and they're all as sterile as irradiated gonads.
DaR: Not really. Oberon had at least 47 kids when he bit it at the end of the first series.
Rod: 47? O.o
Rod: okaaaaay
DaR: Yup. In the second series, Merlin talks to his patternghost. So at the time that Patternghost was made, he had 47.
Rod: really, though, when I came up with the Basara concept, I had in mind he wasn't of The Blood, and was nutty enough to be a product of walking a flawed/broken pattern
DaR: Many of them died, of course, but it's also possible that before they did, they bred too. So someone like Basara could be a 5th or 6th generation descendant of Oberon, rather than a 3rd.
Rod asks, "just an observation but.... it seems like you're pushing for Basara to be of the blood. am I misreading things here?"
DaR: Nope. Just pointing out that you don't have to deliberately give up the blood, just because you're not sure it fits to be the kid of someone.
Rod: I'm deliberately giving up the blood because that's how I wanted the character to be.
DaR: Well, as hypothetical GM, I'd have control of your parentage. You get to offer suggestions, but it's ultimately the GM's call. John's been pretty nice about letting people pick, but that's because he's John. In White Rose, we didn't get to pick at all, though Merc did suggest his parent and Mike took him up on it... sort of.
Rod: aaaah
Rod: forgot that, in a [most] normal amber game you don't get to call the parentals....
Rod: hn.
DaR: Pretty much. So for someone like Basra, it's better to say something like: Basara isn't aware of being related to any Amberites by blood, he's lived his whole life in Shadow, then walked that shadow's broken Pattern after a mystic vision inspired by a late night jam session and a psychodelic mushroom pizza.
Rod: point
DaR: That way, the GM can do interesting things like make you an unknown child of someone important, or an nth generation descendant of someone, or even have the parent be aware, but not the child, watching over them when they have the chance.
Rod nods