Through a Mirror Darkly

Character Creation Page

Table of Contents

The Five Rules of Amber:

  1. If the GM tells you something is a bad idea, unless someone is controlling your mind to make you believe that, it usually is the GM's desperate effort to keep you away from suicide.
  2. Rule #2 is knowing when to take the risk anyway.
  3. Trust no one.
  4. You have to trust some people, because going it alone is usually suicide.
  5. If you're even slightly unsure about if you can do something or what's going on, ask me, as incorrect assumptions are a quick road to annihilation.

Character Creation

All players will recieve 100 character points.   This link jumps to the Contribution rules, which can get you extra points.  You can sell down attributes, if you're feeling suicidal.

All players must be Amberites, although you can buy Chaos connections or Chaos blood if you really want it. You don't have to buy Pattern, but I'd rather strongly suggest it.

If you haven't played Amber before, I suggest you check out my auction page before continuing.

Amber uses four basic attributes, which are discussed in detail on my Attributes Page.

The Attributes

In the Amber RPG, Attributes start at Human (-25), and go up from there without limit.  They are ranked by:


Maximum of 30 points for Contributions plus Enemies (detailed in the Allies section).

Ten Point Contributions:

Variable Contributions:

The Powers

A brief introduction to the major powers can be found here.

Pattern (50 points)

Pattern is the fundamental power of the Royal House of Amber.  It is the heritage of King Gendo.  Anyone who buys Pattern is automatically an heir to the throne and a child of Gendo by one of his wives or mistresses.   Pattern gives you several nifty benefits:

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Pattern (aka Pattern 2.0):  Pattern + 25 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Pattern to learn some of the more obscure arts of Pattern.  This enables you to:

Broken Pattern (10 points)

The Pattern casts reflections of itself through Shadow.  Those reflections gradually become imperfect, enabling those not of the blood of Amber to walk them...but they also don't work as well as the real thing.  Broken Pattern gives you several nifty benefits:

But it does have some flaws: Broken Pattern Adept:  Broken Pattern + 15 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Broken Pattern.  This enables you to:

Shapeshifting (35 points)

Shapechanging can be learned by any PC, Amber or Chaos, although it's rare in Amber and common as rocks in Chaos.  It is a prerequisite for learning Logrus.  It enables you to:

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Shapeshifting (aka Shapeshifting 2.0):  Shapeshifting + 25 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of shapeshifting as well.  This enables you to:

Logrus: (45 points) + Shapeshifting

Those who have the Blood of Chaos (Free at character creation if you buy Logrus at that time) can walk the Logrus.  Those who also possess Shapeshifting actually survive walking the Logrus.  The eternally shifting Logrus grants powers to those who walk it:

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Logrus (aka Logrus pi):  Logrus + 30 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Logrus as well.  This enables you to:

Trump Artistry: 40 points

Trump Artistry is the knowledge of how to create Trumps and use them most effectively.  Trump Artists are rare but powerful.  To create Trumps which reach across Shadow, once must either have Logrus or Pattern, or must have the Blood of Amber or Chaos.

But it does have some flaws: Advanced Trump (aka Trump 2.0):  Trump Artistry + 20 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Trump as well.  This enables you to:

The Magickal Powers:
Several Magickal Powers bought in combination with each other are slightly cheaper.  Check out the Partial Powers system for Magick on the Magick Page or consult with the GM.

Power Words: 10+ points

Power Words are words of power which produce simple magical effects fueled by the user's Endurance.  They work anywhere, but using too many of them will tire you out.

But it does have some flaws: Sorcery: 15 points

Sorcery is the art of creating and casting spells.  More details can be found on my sorcery page.

Conjuration: 20 points

You can create something from nothing, molding Shadow into the forms you desire.  This level of conjuration allows you to create items with any of the 1-4 point values on the Throne War Items Page.

But it does have some flaws:

High Compelling (aka Conjuration 1.5):  Conjuration + 5 points

High Compelling enables you to 'conjure' geases and compulsions into beings, in order to try to control their minds.  You can also plant geases on objects, which will then compel whoever meets some set condition.  This requires a victory in a psyche battle to succeed.

Advanced Conjuration (aka Conjuration 2.0):  High Compelling + 15 points

You can upgrade your knowledge of Conjuration as well.  This enables you to:

Buying Allies and Blood Ties

Blood of Amber: 6 points

You are a child of Gendo, but you have yet to walk the Pattern.  This gives you a claim on the throne without the need to spend the full 50 points for Pattern.  You can walk the Pattern during the game if need be.  If you buy Pattern at character creation, it comes along for free.

Blood of Chaos: 2 points

You have the heritage of Chaos in your veins.  You can learn Shapeshifting and walk the Logrus, but Pattern Blades will do bad, evil, nasty things to you.

Minor Noble or Merchant Ally: 1 point

A major merchant or a minor noble has taken a liking to you and will generally help you.

Amber City Contact Network: 3 points

Instead of one big ally, you have a network of contacts all over the City of Amber.  None of them are very important, but collectively, they add up and they know what's going down in the most real, most important city in all of creation.

Court Ally: 3 points

One of the Court Officials or major Court Servants likes you and will support your plotting.

Chaos Ties: 5 points

A House of Chaos thinks you're just cool and will tend to support your plots, but keep in mind that most Amberites react adversely to Chaosians and their friends...  This does not convey Blood of Chaos; they can like Amberites too, even if it's rare.

Golden Circle Ally: 3 points

One of the Golden Circle kingdoms supports you and your plots. They're not so powerful as a house of Chaos, but they're also less likely to alienate the population of Amber if you come to power with their backing.

Cousin Alliance: 4 points

One of your NPC cousins has taken a liking to you and generally is willing to support you in your plots, plans, and intrigues.

Amber Devotee: 6 points

One of the Elders really, really likes you and will do his or her best to protect and guide you.  Of course, the nature of Amber being what it is, this may or may not be your actual Amber father or mother, and they may act like they hate you publically, so that no one can tell they like you, but having an Elder watching out for you rarely hurts.


Any of the Allies can be reversed to become an enemy, which gives you points.  You can take up to ten points of enemies.

Bob is creating a character named Allistaire.  He wants nine points of enemies, so he takes:

This gives him 9 more points, but now an entire kingdom hates him and one of the Elders is gunning for his head.  This is never a fun thing.

Item Purchase Costs

The system for constructing nifty widgets, magic weapons, servitors, horses and everything else has its own section.

You will find those rules here on the Items Page.

Items bought with Character Points become virtually indestructible.  Even if the Pattern and the Logrus team up and eat the item, you will eventually be able to either duplicate it or get it back.  Only your death can lead to its permanent destruction.  It is possible to have it stolen, though.

You can have lots of stuff not paid for with points, subject to GM approval.  Such items will tend to be ephemeral in one's life, however.  Still, it's easy for Amberites to get money and buy nifty toys.

Shadow Purchase Costs

You can purchase an entire universe of your own design if you so desire.  By spending points on a shadow, you gain control over it and can define it to your liking.  It can be your playground, your refuge, your fortress, or your prison for your enemies. Spending points on a shadow also makes it more Real, thus making it harder for your enemies to tinker with it, and makes it part of your legend, and thus nearly impossible to permanently destroy without killing you first.

Shadows have three aspects you can buy up. The first one is obligatory (Location), while the other two are optional.  Taking the most expensive property for Defenses and Communications Barriers properties gives you all the benefits of the cheaper options as well.


Defenses Control of Contents Example of Shadow Design:

Patty decides she wants to have her own Shadow.  She decides to model it after seventeenth century France as seen in the Three Musketeers.  She names it Aquitania.  After considering her choices, she decides it's a place her character mostly goes to for fun, so she doesn't want to sink a lot of points into it.  She spends a single point, making it a Personal Shadow.

Melvin is creating a prison shadow used by his Amberite, Mandrake.  He takes the following properties:

The shadow will cost him 7 points. He decides it is a shadow of zero gravity breathable wine.  Anyone who enters it will swiftly become drunk.  It is guarded by a horde of mermen who prevent people coming in and out freely without his permission (Guarded), and it can only be entered through a great coral archway (Restricted Access).  Magic does not work in it, nor does high technology.  Logrus cannot get in or out (Communications Barrier).  He has altered the time flow so that a year passes in Amber for every day a person spends trapped in it.


I am not allowing constructs during character creation because I'm still trying to really figure out how to properly moderate them.  If you try to build one in play, we'll work something out.

Determining Parentage:

The GM will determine who your Amber parent was, depending on your abilities, appearance, and amount of good or bad stuff, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Example Characters and Examples of Play

For some examples of what can be done with 200 points, you can find some sample characters on my Throne War Sample Characters Page.  For some examples of how various things are played out in practice:

Other Links on this Site

Last Update January 14, 2000