Characters are to be built on 200 points, with a maximum of 20 possible contribution points. You may take any power you can justify having, up to the usual limits. You must take at least 20 points of Pattern. You may not start the game with a Construct, although it is possible to build one in game under the right circumstances. You may take items with up to 4-point abilities; you may also, if you want, have your Shining be either one 16-point or two 8-point artifacts. I reserve the right, as with all Shinings, to shoot this down in some cases. I also will refuse some Shinings if they duplicate one already picked by another player, to the detriment of the game. First come first served in this case.
You do not have the right to choose your parentage, although the GM is generally open to suggestions. You should aim for being the spawn of Moins, Adrienne, or Mina, or of one of the siblings. Pitch me an idea, and if it fits with my general plans you can go with it.
I will award flat advancement points to all PCs on a regular basis. I will also give the occasional bonus point here and there for clever thinking or exceptional roleplaying, or just plain because I put you through hell and what does not kill you makes you stronger. The NPCs do not generally gain experience, although they will very rarely get point awards for hitting a milestone.
There will be an attribute auction for eight stats. I do take player rank into consideration in my odds calculations, so this is more than a mere formality. After the auction you will recieve your Player Rank, along with a briefing on how you estimate the rest of the family matches up next to you.
There will be a character questionnaire to fill out. In addition, I STRONGLY SUGGEST you talk your concept and design over with the GM. If I tell you that I think you are going to have problems with X, you should probably give X a serious think-over. I am a decent character designer normally, and more importantly I am the guy who controls the universe, so you might want to seek my input. It's free, after all.
Some specific points to ask about:
*Is my concept going to get me killed?
*Is my concept likely to enrage the other players to the point of homicidal mania?
*Is my Shining likely to be useful to me, or will it just hang out having a beer and cashing unemployment checks?
I will try to be proactive about telling you all three of those even if you don't ask.
I encourage you to look at the Timeline, spot places you could be in, and note them to me. If you want to have taken part in the Civil Wars, that can easily be arranged, as can many other things. What is up right now is the 'bare bones' that the players are the flesh on.
While I understand that characters, especially good characters, require lots of thought, waiting until the night before the campaign begins to submit your final design is a good way to drive me into frothing fits of rage, as it hampers my ability to plan and my ability to inform the other players of things they have a right to know. I would have thought this to be obvious, but past experience has shown me that it is not.
Let me point out something else which should be obvious but apparently isn't: the GM is not your enemy unless you start treating him like one. Getting sneaky and adversarial and cute will maybe work once or twice, but it will eventually bite you in the ass. Do not fight the GM. It's not a fair fight, because I control the universe and you don't. I do not like it when players try to do this, and I kick back. Your best 'trick' for success in Amber is to tell the GM EVERYTHING, work with him, and generally be a partner instead of an obstacle. (Obstacle is for killing!)
Finally, if you experience frustration or problems in-game, tell me. While I cannot promise that I will change things, you will have at least made me aware of the trouble, and it doesn't cost you anything but a bit of your time. This is infinitely preferable to you sitting on a big ball of resentment and assuming that I can pluck the thoughts out of your head from across the modem connection, or assuming that I have motives and ways of thinking that I do not. I try to run a game that people will enjoy, and am capable of change to accomodate this.
What your character knows
Obviously this will vary from player to player, but here are the general outlines.
Jewel of Judgment? What's that?
Spikards. Vague rumors.
Pattern. Pattern is the keystone of Amber, and the most common power among the Royals. Indeed, every Prince of Amber must possess it to be acknowledged as such. Consequently, is is very well understood. There is generally held to be only one true Pattern, the one under Kolvir. As far as is known there is no way to damage it, although the family understandably has not exactly been eager to experiment on this subject.
Emily is the acknowledged master of Pattern, able to do things with it that no-one else has any clue how to duplicate. Senlin may or may not be her equal; he definitely has advanced skills, but nobody sees him much. Sterren has also delved into advanced lore. Other than that, most of the family has the regular 50-point version, occasionally with an advanced trick or two.
Logrus. Everyone knows Logrus exists, that it's the Sign of Chaos, and that it involves tendrils. Other than that, the family knows that it's the 'Chaos Pattern' and not a whole lot else.
If anyone in the family has Logrus, they are hiding it very well.
Trump. Everybody knows what Trumps are and how you use them, and everybody owns a personal deck. Other than that, not much is known about how Trumps work by the general family. Most of the older decks were made by Senlin, who may have created the art. Henri studied with him for a time years ago, and has since taken over the bulk of the family's Trump needs. If anyone else can make them, they aren't telling.
Shapeshifting. Everyone knows that this power exists, and that Chaosians can do it. Most of the family is fairly sure Amberites can do it too, if not sure on how. It can also be found in Shadow fairly frequently.
Various incidents have led people to believe that Anton, Jennahdy, Wren, and Jean have some degree of shapeshifting, although no-one is sure how much.
Magic. Everyone knows Magic exists, and most of you know the basic principles it operates on, if not the details. There are numerous sorcerors resident in the City, and several in Shadow as well. And, of course, the Chaosians can do it.
Anton is the boss sorceror of the family, although Wren and Matthew are both pretty good at it. Jean may or may not be a sorceror; he uses some sort of magical means to make his boat go faster and his weapons bite harder. Probably half the family has a secret Power Word or five squirreled away for a special surprise.
Abyss. What's that? A few of you have heard there's a big deep hole called the Abyss in Chaos. If it has some sort of power attached to it, you're ignorant of it..
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Last Update June 9,2003