In Amber, attributes are not bought in the normal manner of simply spending points or rolling dice. Rather, in Amber, the players determine the attribute scale by having an auction for each of the four attributes.
Human: -25 points
You are as good at this attribute as an ordinary human from Earth. In Amber or the Courts of Chaos, you're a hopeless cripple, who can be pimpslapped at will by almost anyone. But if you're desperate for points...and don't mind near certain annhilation...this option is there.
Chaos: -10 points
You have the peak potential of most real people in this attribute. This is the average level of skill of people from the Courts of Chaos. You're still weak compared to the average Amberite.
Amberite: 0 points
On Earth, you would be the best that ever was in your attribute, a person whose aptitude was legendary. In Chaos, you'd be considered good. In Amber, you're average. Anyone who has Amber or higher in an attribute is very hard to take down in that area with 'one blow', even by a highly ranked person.
1 or more points:
You are now entering the realm of things that only anime characters and other fictional beings can do. Even in Amber, you're considered pretty good, and the higher you go, the better you are. The sky's the limit...
During character creation, the gamemaster runs an auction for each attribute, in which the players bid on that attribute. Highest bidder gets 1st rank. Second highest gets second rank, and so on. Because when all other things are equal, a higher rank will always beat a lower rank, it's important to bid for as high a rank as you can get in the attributes you care about. Just don't forget that all things often aren't equal, and that if you try to get first rank in everything, you won't have points for any of the other goodies available.
How Auctions Work
One: The Secret Opening Bid
Everyone makes a secret opening bid on the attribute, writing it on a piece of paper and passing it to the GM. You can choose to not bid at all at this point, but you then start with 0 points in the attribute ("Amber Rank") You must bid at least 1 point if you want to continue bidding during the public phase.
Two: High Bid Announced
The GM will now announce the highest bid, but not who made it.
Three: Open Bidding
Public bidding now begins. All bids must be publically announced. Bidding continues until someone reaches the number one slot and no one else is willing to go over them.
Four: Point Expenditure and Rank Assignment
All points bid must be spent. Each player spends points equal to his last bid made, and the GM then determines the relative ranking of each player. Each player is then informed by the GM of his rank in that attribute.
Five: Selling Down and Buying Up
Players who bid nothing in step 1 can now spend points to buy their attribute up to one of the now established ranks. However, they only actually reach an intermediate rank below the one they just bought up to. Example: The Psyche auction results in the following. Rank 1--50 points, Rank 2--49 points, Rank 3--32 points, Rank 4-12 points, Rank 5--6 points. Player Six decides to spend 32 points to buy up to Rank 3. But because he's buying up after the auction, he only actually gets to be Rank 3.5. Still better than the Rank 4 person, but inferior to the person who earned his rank 3 in the auction.)
People who are desperate for points can also choose to 'sell down' an
attribute. Amber Rank--0--is equivalent to an ordinary slob from Amber
City. If you lower your rank to Chaos Rank--that of a ordinary slob from
Chaos--you get 10 extra points. Lower your rank to Human--that of an ordinary
Earth human--and you get 25 extra points. But you're taking a big risk,
because it'll make you really flimsy in that attribute.
An Example Auction
Kyle [The GM]: Okay, this next attribute auction is for Psyche. Now, I can attest from experience that...
Players in Unison: Psyche is the most important stat.
Kyle: (Flustered) Right. Okay, everyone do your secret bids.
Dinah: I thought your character was going to be a wastrel surfer, not mind king.
Kyle: You don't have to raise your own bid, Wally.
Wally: Didn't she just bid 34?
Dinah: I bid 36.
Arthur: You surface dwellers are all crazy.
Diana: (impulsively) 40.
Everyone else stares in shock.
Kyle: Hmm, first in Warfare and Psyche would position you ideally to slaughter your siblings. Do I hear 41?
John: Assuming she has any points left to buy a power so she can actually get out of Amber to catch us.
Kyle: When she sits in Amber with a trump and eats your brain because you didn't get adequate defenses, you won't be laughing so hard, John.
John: It's gone too high for me to afford it.
Diana: Wally, don't bid on impulse!
Wally: Look who's talking!
They glare intensely at each other.
Clark: I give.
Diana: Hmm, if we stop now, I'm stuck down at fourth rank, after Dinah, Clark, and Wally, right?
Diana: 51, then.
Dinah: Aaaargh! 52!
Kyle: Anyone want to top that?
Arthur: You're all VERY crazy.
Clark: (thinking) Blast it, now I'm down to third. I need at least second. (speaking) 53.
Kyle: That's the spirit! 55 anyone?
Dinah: Seventy, Dammit!!!!!
Clark: Too high for me.
Diana: And me.
Wally: (thoughtfully) Hmmm...
Kyle: Going to throw caution and all hope of bidding in the other two auctions to the wind, Wally? You could be third in warfare and first in psyche, a strong combo...
Dinah: If you bid, you die, Wally.
Wally: Well, if you put it that way...71.
Wally: Okay, it's yours.
Arthur: (to John) At least we're sane.
Kyle now sits down and computes the ranks of everyone involved, then secretly informs them, although they all can compute each other's ranks pretty easily, except for Arthur and John's ranks, as neither bid publically.
Kyle: Okay, now let's get the strength auction rolling...
We'll leave our merry band of gamers here to have a fatal knife fight during the next auction...
Don't be afraid to bid high if you must, but be careful about overdoing it; there's a lot of other goodies you may be wanting to acquire, after all... You've still got to buy powers, shadows, point items, and have auctions for things like 'Marshal of the Armies of Amber', as well.
Other Links on this Site