John's Amber Attributes Page


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

There are four attributes: Each covers a different set of aptitudes and talents, discussed below.  Each is the most important attribute...depending on what you want to do.


This is a measure of your strength of will, your psychic power, your magical aptitude, and your spiritual power.  High psyche people draw others to them, even if they don't want to, and tend to dominate social situations, whether by charisma or by sheer force of personality.

Psyche is often used to determine how well your powers work and how much control you have over them.  It's also used in psychic combat, when minds struggle directly.  It can be intended to cause mental damage or alternately to invade people's minds, stealing their secrets or controlling them.  Psychic combat can be initiated by either touching your opponent, establishing eye contact, by magic, or by Trump contact.  There are other means, but these are the most common.  (For example, in some shadows, you can communicate mind to mind with ease while in different cities or even continents)

High Psyche helps you to:

Your Psyche is:


Warfare measures your ability to fight with weapons, and your strategic, tactical, and organizational skills.  You use it for everything from playing chess to managing a business to leading armies to sword fighting.  It does not, however, cover unarmed combat, which is the realm of Strength.

High Warfare helps you to:

Your Warfare is:


Strength measures how strong you are, how well you can take a punch, and how well you fight unarmed.  People with high Strength aren't hurt easily, especially by blunt attacks.  (Think of it somewhat like armor.)  It also measures your athletic ability, how coordinated you are, and your overall ability to do physical stuff without tools (climbing, acrobatics, jumping, swimming, etc).  A person with high enough strength can punch through armor and does greatly enhanced damage with weapons if he hits [though the hitting itself is determined by warfare].

High Strength helps you to:

Your Strength is:


Endurance measures how long you can go without rest and how much punishment you can take before you snap.  You use it to see who tires first in a struggle, to resist torture and poison, and to see how fast you heal.  People with high Endurance heal faster and can take more damage before they collapse. Fights between closely ranked people often come down to Endurance as to who actually wins.

High Endurance helps you to:

Your Endurance is:

Speed of Attributes

In order of speed, they are, from fastest to slowest under the ideal condition for their use:

  1. Endurance--if it is applicable.
  2. Psyche--if psychic contact has already been established
  3. Strength--if you are touching your opponent
  4. Warfare--if your opponent is close enough to be hit or can be seen to be shot.
In many cases, these conditions won't apply, in which case the GM must engage in some interpretation.

Examples of relative speeds:

Nabiki and Ranma are throwing down with each other, probably for some stupid reason.  Nabiki is first in Psyche, Ranma is first in Strength.  They are about fifteen feet away from each other.  Nabiki decides to cast a spell, Ranma decides to kick Nabiki in the head.  Checking the casting time, the GM rules Ranma gets his kick in before Nabiki finishes her spell, and sends her flying into a wall.  Her spell is wrecked.

Nabiki feigns unconsciousness, deciding to use her superior psyche in a psychic attack once he comes close enough for her to try to touch him.  Ranma falls for it (Her Psyche is superior to his by a landslide, it's easy for her to trick him like this.  If Ranma tried to trick Nabiki, she'd likely be able to sense the deception with her top ranked Psyche).  Ranma bends over to make sure she isn't dead, and when he touches her, she tries to invade his mind.

Unfortunately, Strength is faster if you're touching the person than Psyche is, when Psychic Contact has yet to be established.  So Ranma pulls away from her before she can finish initiating the psychic conflict.  She tries to grab his foot, but his superior strength easily lets him play keep away.  He dances back and pulls a sword off the wall so he can fight her without allowing her to touch him and risking mind control.  His fourth in warfare beats her seventh, after all.

Nabiki grabs another sword and they start fencing while she tries to find some way to get psychic contact.  She fights defensively, then tries to pull a trump and trump out.  But she's within range of Ranma's weapon, and warfare is fastest when you're within weapon reach.  He knocks the trump away before she can activate it.

Nabiki finally remembers her own shapechanging.  She takes on her demon form, which is armored.  She attacks all out, taking several wounds from Ranma in order to get close enough to stare into his eyes.  Psychic contact is intitiated.  Ranma now faces a difficult choice; he can focus his attention on resisting her assault, or he can hope that he can knock her out before she controls his mind by focusing on the physical combat.  He goes that route.  Unfortunately for him, Psyche (once contact is established) is faster than Strength, which means she can clobber him with her first rank Psyche faster than he can clobber her with his Strength or Warfare.  Ranma ends up as her flunky boy.  If Ranma had fought more carefully and not locked eyes with her (which he could easily do with his large Warfare and Strength advantages), she could never have attacked his mind without him being able to disrupt the contact with a nice hard punch, due to the relative speeds.

Warfare vs. Strength

Warfare has a combat advantage over Strength (assuming the person using Warfare has an actual weapon handy).  X points of Warfare will beat X points of Strength in direct confrontation, unless the Strength oriented person has a higher Warfare than the first person.  In which case, he'd probably be using a weapon instead of Strength anyway.  Still, Strength does involve unarmed combat skills as well as raw physical power, and so it is possible for a person whose points in Strength sufficiently exceed the other person's Warfare to block all the Warfare person's assaults and start pummeling them into the ground.

Alternately, if your Strength beats their Strength, but doesn't sufficiently beat their Warfare, you can risk taking a few blows and then close in to grapple, which is pure Strength vs. Strength.  This can work well, but if their Warfare beats yours by enough, you may simply get cut to ribbons in the process, or maybe not even succeed at all.

Power Words like 'Neural Disrupt' are a very useful accessory when trying to pull that stunt.

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Last Update January 29, 2000