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Bouncing off of this post

I think my “best” freeze ever was in the first actual campaign game I played in. We were playing Changeling, and I was playing a Pooka. I’d established the character as not so much a liar as an obscurer of the truth under lots of long, rambling, circular-to-pointless exposition. We got into a situation where my character and an NPC had to run back to our patron, the Duke of Boston, to get help to rescue the rest of the party. We broke for the night when we’d reached the Duke’s house, and I spent the intervening week working up a lengthy explanation of exactly what my character was going to say.

We got to the session. It came around to me. The GM knew I’d worked up what I was going to say, and gave me a chance… but I completely froze up at that point. My mind went blank. The only thing – I mean, the only thing – to spring to mind was a single sentence:

“There is absolutely nothing wrong.”

It worked out well in the end, but that was a horrifying moment. The best part of it, honestly, was the fact that we all had a good laugh about it – then, and later.

Anyway, stories aside… I find I’m very much in the category of on-the-spot freezer. I can make decisions just fine – ask my current group about the night the GM phoned me when I was home sick and doped up on Nyquil and asked whether the paladin or the rogue was going to die – it’s just speaking that makes my blood run cold.

This is why I don’t play the Face, and why I’m not the party leader, ever. Inter-party banter, I can do. But put me in front of someone that needs speaking to that isn’t in the party, particularly some sort of official/noble, and my mind goes completely blank.

How many of you use the Damage and Armor system as written?

I see plenty of justification for Extra Hard in the books but nothing beyond that. Greyswandir does not shatter swords or plate armor or, if it does, Corwin doesn’t bother to mention it. He does bisect a tiger-sized Chaosian with one stroke but he’s superhumanly strong. Julian’s armor and Morgenstern are proof against medium-sized handguns. That’s about it.

-rtrimmer, Amber Diceless RPG Yahoo!Group

I have always kind of suspected that Wujick conflated the silver properties of Grayswandir – which I assume from the fact that Random and Deirdre had him kill the weir – with pure damage output.

It’s not correct, and it’s another thing that the item and creature creation system cannot actually handle. There’s no provisio in the rules for silver affecting werewolves, cold iron affecting fae, or any other variation of material X affecting thing or species Y but otherwise having no particular affect on anything or anyone else.

Well, crap

You can tell I don’t get many comments on this blog: I just accidentally deleted a couple of legitimate ones on a spam clean-out. And of course they were made today, so I can’t go to a backup and get them back.

Genius, I tell you. Genius.

So… umm… Christian C.? I would love to see what you said the first time, if you’d be willing to say it again. I promise I’ll be more careful this time…

Inspired by a recent post on a forum I freqent.

There’s this subset of gamers that I always imagine are the ones that make “the customer is always right” the most painful policy to maintain.

These are the guys (and girls) that don’t seem to understand that creating any gaming material – books, miniatures, whatever – takes time and effort. These are the folks that post to forums of companies they like with things like “You don’t want my money!!” when an item they want is coming out in June, in one of two releases, and it’s mid-month and they haven’t seen it yet.

I won’t disagree that it’s important to let gaming companies know you enjoy their products. Yes, giving them money is nice, but in an industry that’s still – on the whole – built of small companies, it’s equally nice to get feedback.

Feedback does not entail being a whiny bitch when something you want isn’t out yet.

Feedback is “hey, I like this thing you do,” or “hey, I didn’t like this particular thing.”

Feedback should not involve melodrama or your sense of entitlement.

Sometimes, I wonder why I visit some of these forums…

Inspired by a brief discussion with the former GM of Take 2.

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Just recently, I had a character try to find Brand out in shadow by simply willing their Logrus tendrils to search him out and bring her to him. However, she chose very specific instructions to ensure she was getting the real Brand. This meant, the filaments had to go shadow by shadow seeking a person that matched brand’s description AND had the blood of Amber. After several fruitless hours, she started to realize how slow a process this could be (searching infinite shadows for a specific item or person can take an infinite amount of time). She got the picture and changed her tactics. Searching shadow via Pattern is the same, otherwise it would have been a simple matter for Eric to relocate Corwin after the latter’s escape. Benedict would have been equally easy to find during his self-imposed exile to Avalon. Sure, a seeker could easily walk to a shadow where ‘a’ Benedict or Corwin was, but it is doubtful that it would turn out to be the ‘real’ Benedict or Corwin. The same holds true for specific items out in shadow.

-ChiefsFan, Amber Diceless RPG Yahoo!Group

OK, silly question.

How does this idea of “it’s hard to find someone in Shadow” work with the separate idea that the extended presence of an Amberite in a Shadow creates a sort of “sinkhole”?

And where did I get that latter idea anyway?

I have to admit that I love both ideas in equal measure. Hard to find someone specific, and easy to make mistakes. Easy to find the orbit of the Family, hard to nail down who and exactly where.

There are a lot of places Item and Creature Creation falls apart in the ADRPG, but there are a few key points that always stand out to me.

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I could go with the permanent creation of items and creatures as its own power – let’s call it Artificing.

Point number 1:
I do not think of Julian as a mage.

I don’t think of Julian as a lot of things, granted, and – as I noted to myself with amusement at a recent discussion on someone’s Livejoural – I’ll cast Viggo as Julian in a heartbeat without it ever even entering my mind that he should be an Aragorn-style scruffy ranger type. But to my mind, Julian’s the type that gets his hands exactly as dirty as they need to be to get the job done right, and not a bit more.

Learning sorcery would be overkill.

Conjuration implies a temporariness to my mind. Temporary isn’t Julian’s style either, IMO – I mean, we are talking about someone who commands fortifications along mountain passes and is not particularly bothered by nephews magically digging graves in Arden. Morganstern wasn’t created to just last a few days, either.

Artificing seems to fit the bill for Julian perfectly.

Point number 2:
I don’t see Brand building items and creatures.

Brand is a mage and, possibly, a power-collector. But I don’t see that he would have any reason to know how to make items and creatures. Break them, sure, but make them? Brand seems like someone who depends a lot more on things he carries within himself – Pattern, sorcery, maybe Logrus, maybe Living Trump – than he does someone that depends on things.

Of course, I’ve also been known to say, “Hey, there had to be something special about Brand’s horse,” so using the idea of Artificing as the only way to end up with something you’ve spent points on isn’t reasonable either.

Looking back at my last set of thoughts on Conjuration, I have another.

Conjuration as illusion.

Not that I don’t think there needs to be a way to create permanent, Powered or powerful items and creatures – but conjuration as an illusion power is much more compelling to me. After all – Pattern use is canonically highly based on sight.

Here’s a question I do have for you. (Well, one question with several subordinate questions.) In your game, if a player says their character is looking for an item of power, how does that actually work? Do they say “My character is searching through Shadow for a Deadly Damage sword with Confer Invulnerable Armor and Confer Regeneration”? Or do they need to use more of a narrative description? And what do you do at that point? “Okay, that’s a 27 point Artifact, so after Hellriding for four weeks, you’ve got it.”

In the games I’ve been in where it’s even come up, just finding the artifact is the easy part. Stormbringer isn’t just lying around waiting for someone to pick it up; Elric is wielding it (or vice versa.) And he isn’t inclined to just hand it over. If the player decides to get smart and say “An artifact with these qualities that I can just pick up off the ground without dealing with owners or traps or anything annoying like that,” well, that’s a heck of a lot more specific than just “an artifact with these qualities”, so it’s going to take longer to find. And despite Amberites being effectively immortal, in most campaigns I’ve been in vanishing into Shadow for a year basically takes that character out of the game.

No house rules involved there, no GM trying to screw over the players. Just logical consequences of actions.

-Tommy Tanaka, Amber Diceless RPG Yahoo!Group

I think there’s several directions I want to go with a reply to this.

One is the huge assumption that’s being made here. All parties involved – and there were three of them in total for this discussion – are assuming that we’re talking about items gained in actual course of play, not simply by XP expenditure, and/or that we’re adhering tightly to the ADRPG advancement schema.

Well, hmm.

Every time I’ve seen something like this come up, it’s gone something like this:

GM: OK, we have some downtime. Here’s your points; how do you want to spend them?
Player: I want X and Y. Hmm. I have enough for X.
GM: Great! The downtime is long enough to cover that, so it’s yours.

Or:

GM: OK, we have some downtime. Here’s your points; how do you want to spend them?
Player: I want X and Y. Hmm. I have enough for X.
GM: Great! I’ll keep that in mind, but I think you’ll know it when you see it in the game.

The amount of time it takes to find something isn’t a tool that I’ve seen used very often. Then again, most of the games I’ve been in are online games, played over email – where it seems to me that some of the challenge in GMing is to keep the players’ attention over the course of months or years. There’s an intended story, and to keep that story moving, it seems sometimes that the more personal stories are the first thing to fall by the wayside.

Not always, mind you. And given the attention span of some of the folks I game with face-to-face, it’s not always online where that’s a problem!

My POV is always that XP spent must be spent in a visible way. Even as a player, I look for things to spend my points on that are reasonable, given the way the game has gone; if I really want some Warfare, then I need to either set up training time immediately upon spending the points, or I need to have used that ability at least a few times over the course of the XP period – or I’m just not happy. (This doesn’t tend to hold true for me in games like D&D, where the RP often falls second to the combat mechanism; there, it’s a case of “what helps me the most,” always.) As a GM, I want to see the same: either something has been done, or will be done, to earn that advancement. Items and creatures either need to have been created or acquired, or have a clear path to acquisition (even if it’s not an easy one).

And then there’s the “logical consequences” line. That ties back to something I see all the time in posts on Bad RPers Suck: ICA = ICC. In Character Actions mean In Character Consequences.

This is something that, at least in my experience, the Amber community as a whole is very good at. (There are individuals – but that’s best not discussed…) It’s something that my particular face-to-face group is also pretty good at. I’m not sure sometimes if I’m blessed in that regard, or just set up for a nasty surprise when I forge out into the wider scheme of online gaming… :)