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It's True - I'm Planning to Play Amber

You may have read some scurrilous lie over on Salidar's LiveJournal about me - Rob Farquhar, of all people - being interested in playing the Amber Diceless Role Playing Game via Skype. This is the same me who has long expressed disinterest in this whole "diceless" shit, who read all ten of Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber and thought, "So... what, that's it? That's all the shouting's been abut all this time?", who passed up an opportunity to buy the RPG in an eBay auction.

(Admittedly, the top bid skyrocketed to around $70, but still.)

But yeah, the bastard sends me this PDF of the book and damned if it's not got me interested and intrigued.

So, as Gav's going to tour Middle Earth (ahem) New Zealand in a couple of months, and his sister has kicked him out of the house in the meantime, our Primetime Adventures campaign is on hiatus, and Vickie, Salidar and I have been kicking ideas around of what to do in the meantime. As Salidar wrote, I suggested Dogs in the Vineyard, but he's not entirely thrilled by the idea. (I didn't know that he was actually raised Mormon!) I'm not sure whether Vickie's particularly interested in Amber, though; she's never been keen on reading the stories and what little she knows thus far hasn't thrilled her. (Then again, it hadn't really thrilled me, anyway...)

The ultimate question is, I suppose, what sort of character would I like to play? "Develop your dream character," the book reads, "the one you have always wanted to play - the one you have always wanted to be." Which is great, thank you very much, book, but it's not necessarily helpful. I mean, it could quite easily be said that my dream character is our old pal Slamdance, but I really think I ought to be writing him instead of playing him.

On one had, I feel like I ought to be plying something other than my dream, "Big Hero" character - it doesnt seem quite fitting for the immortal politicking that characterises an Amber Throne War.

On the other hand... both the RPG ("Two Great Characters", p.35) and Salidar's post extol the virtues of character growth, and feature "pure and noble" characters who go through very interesting and dramatic change and growth, and I'd really like a shot at that.

I wonder if being able to have a character from anywhere would draw Vickie in?

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I recommend discussing what sort of game of Amber you plan to have before getting too far into things. The ADRPG system is basically best suited to a Throne War game, with player vs. player conflict, everyone trying to grab the throne, and the GM fostering the inter-player competition and rivalry, and screwing with the players. If you like that, it can be good fun. However, people often want to play different sorts of stories in the Amber setting. ADRPG can be used for non-Throne Wars, but it really doesn't support them as well. And I speak as a long time player of ADRPG who doesn't like Throne Wars at all. But have fun!

All the Amber games I've played are about saving the universe...
The one thing i like about it is the flexibility. What you can do is only limited to your imagination (and the pliability/bribability of the GM)
As for characters, if you dont' want to play Slamdance, play someone from Callahans, or even play yourself!

I would probably quibble that the ADRPG system cannot support a long running campaign. Eric Wujick, the author, had a game running over 14 years with the system he developed, and Roger Zelazny signed off on. One continuous campaign of Amber for 14 years? I think that moves it far beyond the Throne War dynamic. Throne War was put in to give some players an introduction to Amber. It was written for doing at a Con, or getting your feet wet. It's the kind of mad race that keeps the action flowing and everyone involved in some way or other. And I think it serves as a great intro to Amber, becuase it's not all high-mindedness from the center of Order in the multi-verse. It's cutthroat, backstabbing, maliciousness bred deep into the bone as well. And when players get that idea firmly set in their heads, it makes a longer running game that much sweeter and opens the possibilities even more.

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