Non-Diceless Roleplaying in Limitless Shadows Copyright 1996 by By Joshua 'Khan' Kubli E-mail me at: email@example.com This document is copyright Joshua Kubli, 1996. Use and distribute freely, so long as I get full credit, and no money is made. Amber Diceless Roleplaying and Phage Press are copyright Eric Wujcik, and are used only for illustrative purposes. Thanks to Jeff 'Dr. Doom' Keown, who motivated me (and sometimes kicked my ass' to get this thing finished. Many thanks to my gaming group: Avalon 'Yes, that's my name!' Eckardt, Curby 'Yes, that's my name!' Dickens, Donna 'Barbarian Woman' Schmale, Jesse 'Marmot King' Williamson, Chris 'KinDread' Kuntz, and Maia 'Kree' Potter. Based on the Chronicles of Amber novels by Roger Zelazny. Long live Amber. =========================================================================== Recommended GURPS Books include (of course) the Basic Set 3/E, Compendium I. Also useful, but not necessary, are Magic 2/E, Grimoire, Time Travel, and Martial Arts 2/E. 'Honor Most Criminal', on Elizabethan fencing, from Pyramid #18, might also come in handy, as might the Mass Combat rules from Roleplayer, which will re-appear in Compendium II. A copy of 'Roger Zelazny's Visual Guide to Castle Amber' is highly recommended. D.C. Comics is currently producing an excellent series based on the Amber novels, which comes highly recommended. Sunset Productions has the first seven (I believe) of the novels on audio tape, read by Roger himself, with music and sound effects. The first five, which I own, are excellent. =========================================================================== "'I've pissed on my own grave.' he announced. 'Can't pass up the pleasure of lighting a candle to myself in my own shrine.'" --Corwin, _Prince of Chaos_. I have vastly enjoyed the Amber books, and although the Amber diceless system works well (in the hands of an experienced GM, that is), I like packing and throwing around those dice. Plus, Amber is perfect for facilitating interdimensional crossover scenarios within the already-intruiging GURPS line. You'll notice that, although I have translation rules for Phage Press-to-GURPS, the emphasis is on creating and playing new PCs with Amberite attributes. For those with access to the Phage Press books, which I recommend (if only for the GMing advice and Character Quizzes), I have onversion rules, but I have interpreted things in my way. If this perturbs you, feel free to modify it to your heart's delight. Also: Many times throughout the rules I say Amberites, when often I mean Amberites _and_ Chaosites. My true meaning should be clear enough in most cases, however. =========================================================================== AMBER: THE SETTING For those who have not read the books, and are wondering what the ?!@#$@$*% all this is about, a brief summary is in order. In the beginning was Chaos. Nothing and everything. Madness, with nothing extant to dream the mad dreams that were. Then, somehow, there came to be life. And later, there were the Courts of Chaos, on the shores of the Abyss, swarming with demons. The demons were shapeshifting creatures, animals sometimes, humanoids others, and others indescribable in human terms. The Chaosites themselves were shapeshifters, and formed into Houses and families and grew a deep and ancient art and culture, which included sorcery. The symbol of the great families was their emblem of power, greater and deeper than any other magic: the Logrus, symbol of the Primal Chaos. Then, one day, Dworkin of the House of Barimen discovered The Unicorn. (NOTE: There are other Unicorns written of in the books [See Visual Guide, Entry on Bleys' room], but only one 'THE' Unicorn). He obtained from it a mystical pendant which became known as the Jewel of Judgement, in which was contained a new Power: Order. Persecuted for his retention of the stone, Dworkin fled to a 'small sudden island', where he inscribed the Pattern onto a flat rock on a mountain called Kolvir with his own burning blood. His enemies were defeated by the power they could not undertand nor control. And in the tension between the Powers of Chaos and Order, infinite numbers of new worlds sprang into being, Shadows of the Pattern's brilliance, bright flecks in the eternal night of Chaos. Each one was a new reality, a separate world with different laws, people, and circumstances, and all were but dim reflections of Amber and Chaos. Dworkin somehow mated with the Unicron (how many here present can claim THAT distinction?) and it bore a child, a man who would become known as Oberon. Together, they created a kingdom among the Shadows, Amber, named for the city, named for the castle, built atop the Pattern on the shoulder of Kolvir's heights. To any of Dworkin's blood, the Pattern could be walked, like an enormous maze, which gradually recreated the walker as they traversed the deadly maze, inscribing it on their soul and giving them the ability to walk through Shadow. They were to concentrate on, and then bring into being, differences from their current location and their destination. By effort, outside of Amber, one could walk to any imaginable realm. Oberon took wives from among the Shadows surrounding Amber, and they bore him children, who also could walk the Pattern. The sons were Benedict, Corwin, Julian, Eric, Caine, Gerard, Osric, Finndo, Delwin, Bleys, Brand, and Random. The daughters were Llewella, Fiona, Flora, Dierdre, and Sand. Dworkin, the castle servants, and, less so, Oberon himself, raised them all into their immortal adulthood. One day, Dworkin devised the Trumps, Tarot-like card which would serve as a means of instantaneous communication and travel (and, inadvertently, combat) between the royal children. Unfortunately, Dworkin fell out of favor with Oberon, and was not seen or heard from by anyone for many years. The Amberites grew strong, and the children of Oberon bickered constantly. The succession was confused by Oberon's sometimes paradoxical statements and acts (both as king and otherwise), and each child dreamed of being ruler of the immortal city, going so far as to attempt murder ... Then, one day, Oberon simply disappeared ... And hideous creatures of the long-forgotten Chaos began to appear once more. For the rest of that story, I'm afraid Corwin tells it best in the Chronicles of Amber, the ten-book series which includes: Nine Princes In Amber Trumps of Doom The Guns of Avalon Blood of Amber The Sign of the Unicorn Sign of Chaos The Hand of Oberon Knight of Shadows The Courts of Chaos Prince of Chaos Also excellent is Roger Zelazny's Visual Guide to Castle Amber, by Neil Randall and the Old Master, Roger himself. =========================================================================== CHARACTER CREATION The PCs should be built on about 750 points, for young Amberites or Chaosites, with a limit of 100 points in Disadvantages. Of course, any 50-pt. mortal mage or gadgeteer could find a way to blunder through Shadow, but they are not likely to last long in the court intrigues surrounding the One True City. Elder Amberites might be from 800 to 1800 points. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statistics Maximums: ST, DX, IQ, HT, Extra HP, Will, Hard to Kill 100, 30, 30, 30, 10, 8, 5, --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Amberite Package (165 pts): Blood of Amber (+130), Unaging (+15) and Slow Regeneration (+10), Mana Enhancer (+25), and Regrowth (+5). The low point cost on Regrowth is due to the fact that regeneration times are _tripled_ (for each die rolled, use HT/10 instead). Amberites all have the Disadvantages Paranoia and Unluckiness (both of which _may_ be bought off with GM approval). Chaosite Package (170 pts): Blood of Chaos, Morph, Mana Enhancer, and also the Disadvantages Paranoia and Unluckiness. Demon PCs are possible, but should be limited to 500 points. They may or may not have the Disadvantage No Physical Body (such as the Ty'iga have), worth -100 points (from Psionics or Compendium I). If so, they are likely to want Mind Control spells or psionics, to possess a body. All that have their original demon bodies will also have Morph. Demons are often employed as servants of the Lords of Chaos, and would thus have a Duty to them. Any other PC type imaginable is possible, given GM's approval. This is Amber, where it's not a matter of _if_ something is possible, but _where_. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- OLD ADVANTAGES Ally: A necessity for any member of either of the royal families. Since alliegances can shift so rapidly (and to avoid having to pay incredible costs for Allies), they may be bought at 1/3 cost. A 750-point Ally is worth 23 pts base. Ambidexterity: Benedict had this (good thing, too!) Cultural Adaptability: This is very common among any Amberite or Chaosite, particularly elders, who do a lot of Shadow walking. Divination (+5): This Advantage is available to anyone with the Trump Use skill. This allows the character to use the cards to cast their own futures. Spellcasters may instead wish to take the Cartomancy spell. High Pain Threshhold: Very common advantage. Magery: Many of the Amberites have this, and Merlin mentions that in Chaos it was considered one of the 'gentlemanly arts', along with riding, dancing, and poisons (great place, the Courts are...). Merlin probably had 3 levels. Dworkin and Suhuy might even have MORE (Player: "But that's impossible! Uh ... isn't it ... ?"). Magic operates a little differently for Amberites than for most folks. See Magic, below, for details. Note that Magery is NOT a prerequisite for Amber, Logrus, Broken Pattern, or Trump magic (except Enchantment using these Powers). Morph (+40): This is standard for members of the Courts of Chaos. Additionally, for ([X points]+50%), the PC can spend X points (to a maximum of 70 points) on advantages and powers that they may shapeshift into. Patron: For a young Amberite, this becomes a must. Any parent is likely a Patron. Second Sight (+5): An initiate of the Pattern or Logrus has this power, and is able to perceive magical auras at will. Status: Shows the character's position in the family hierarchy, and their relation to the throne. This gets very confusing, but can be generalized as follows. Note also that this can change rapidly in or against your favor (as it did for Random and for Merlin). (While this advantage is useful for _justifying_ your claim to the throne, it is _not_ likely to be useful in repelling a coup! Thus the low point value). Current King (Queen), +4 Elder Child, +3 Middle Child, +2 Youngest Child, +1 Not in line of succession (or very far away), +-0 Offspring of Current King, or _known_ chosen successor, additional +2 Unusual powers which would make a coup easy (Benedict) additional +1. Snatcher (+80): This power is automatically granted to any who walk the Logrus. Strong Will: Fiona has about 7 levels of this. BRAND was afraid of her! Trained by a Master: Anyone trained by Borel or Benedict MUST take this Martial Arts Advantage. In fact, most Amberites (male ones for sure) will almost always have travelled through Shadow to pick up this Advantage. Weapon Master: Most Amberite males (and Dierdre) have this, at the general level, along with high levels of sword skill, and Elizabethan, Italian Rapier, or French Fencing. World-Jumper (+200, or +100): This Advantage is granted to any who walk the Pattern or Logrus. Note that, instead of memorizing individual M/E worlds, however, they gain the M/H Shadow Knowledge skill (available only to them, as part of the Pattern initiation), which defaults at -2 to ALL worlds. World-Jumping as practiced by Amberites has one massive advantage, in that as long as anyone or anything follows them closely, they will be transported as well. This includes vehicles, carts, or even entire armies; ignore all Encumberance! This is considered to be a +100% modifier; a Chaosite who had not mastered controlling Black Roads would buy this at the lesser, 100 point level. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW ADVANTAGES Note: From time to time in this text, I will refer to 'the Powers'. This does not mean the 'super-powers' of GURPS Supers; this is a reference to Pattern, Logrus, the Broken Patterns, and Trump (although Trump is not an Advantage, it is a Power). Blood of Amber or Chaos (130 points): This is a prerequisite to walking either the Pattern or the Logrus. It also includes Filthy Rich, Substance 20, and the ability to cast a Blood Curse. The Curse may only be cast when the PC is at -3 x HT (not counting Hard to Kill). It may, for game purposes, be treated as a 'Hung' (as per the spell in Grimoire) Great Wish. The Curse _will_ come true. (Note: Should the PC survive the experience, they will _always_ suffer from the effects of their own Curse in one way or another, and an enormous sacrifice will be required to expunge it). This is a powerful tool to take campaigns in new directions, and GMs shouldn't be afraid to use it, or go with an unexpected Curse. Broken Pattern Initiation (35 points). Subtract 3 from the cost of this Power for every Shadow 'out' from Amber the Shadow is where the Pattern was that they were initiated, to a minimum cost of 5 points for Broken Pattern. This allows the recipient to learn Pattern spells, with the following limitation: for each Shadow 'out', all spells are cast at -1. Also, all results are treated as one less: successes are treated as failures, etc. As for Critical Failures, well ... treat it as Bad Luck; you can't kill them _outright_, but anything less is OK! Almost the only advantages to Broken Pattern are that, yes, you can move with a little safety through Shadow, and you can hang spells on it (carefully). Fount of Power Immersal (20 points/level) Each level includes Teleport 2, 1 Extra HP, and Hard to Kill 1. _However_, the PC must balance out all points taken with Mental Disads, in this order: Bad Temper, Bully, Bloodlust, Sadism, and Delusions. Jewel of Judgement Initiation (20 points): This allows one to use the Jewel of Judgement, the traditional symbol of Amberite royalty, and a powerful and dangerous talisman of weather control. Logrus Initiation (65 pts): This is the Power of the Courts of Chaos, and traversing it allows the walker to learn Chaos spells and to wield their power. Without Morph, however, all the walker will do is most likely buy a most interesting, painful death. Logrus is more expensive than Pattern, but it has several important advantages over it (and not a few drawbacks). One drawback is that after walking the Logrus, the Chaosite must immediately take 2d6*5 points worth of insanity-type mental Disadvantages. These may be bought off as though costing 1/5 their normal cost, but this should still take no less than a week. Also, Spells may be 'hung' on the Logrus, unlike with the Pattern. Pattern Initiation (50 pts): It may be important at some time to note, and should on the character sheet, where the character took Pattern, at T'ir-na Nogth, Rebma, Castle Amber, True Amber, or Corwin's Pattern. Substance (5 pts/level): This is the equivalent of Magic Resistance that only functions against the Amberite Gate College spells. It allows a Shadow-Dweller to resist the effects of Shadow Editing on themselves, and is usually gained by a long association with another object of 'Substance'. The maximum level that may be bought is level 20; GMs may restrict Shadow-Dwellers to lesser levels, perhaps to 15 maximum. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- OLD DISADVANTAGES Blind: Like when your hated brother becomes king, puts out your eyes, and locks you in a dungeon to rot... Gigantism: Gerard might have this, being such a big, well-muscled guy. Other Physical Disadvantages: A few are seen in the books (Benedict's severed arm, Corwin's Bad Sight on recovering from Blindness), but are always the result of battle wounds, not physical deformity. Social Disadvantages: Only Odious Personal Habits and maybe a bad Reputation are really appropriate. Amberites are too jet-setting among Shadows to be Primitive, and they're royalty among royalty, and so have no Stigma, Poverty, or bad Status. Secret: A PC who is an Amberite or Chaosite masquerading as a Shadow-Dweller may take this Disad, but it's worth 1/3 the normal cost, since they can find almost an identical Shadow elsewhere, should their cover be exposed. Mental Disadvantages such as Code of Honor (especially 'Loyalty to the Family' [-10], AKA 'Gerard's Folly'), Bad Temper, Bully (Julian), Gluttony, Impulsiveness, Intolerance, Shyness (Llewella), Stubbornness, and Vows are appropriate. Hemophilia (BWA-HAHAHA-HAHAHHHHAAAA!!!!) Enemies: VERY appropriate, and almost always a secret enemy, too. Dependents: Possible ... if the child is acknowledged. Duties: Not really, but a Sense of Duty might be appropriate. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DISADVANTAGES Pattern/Logrus Ghost (Total -90). This includes Social Stigma: Dead -4, worth -20 points. People treat you funny when you're the walking dead ... Also, a new Ghost has a Dependency on blood, similar to Vampires, which is Infrequent Daily (-60 [loses 1 HT/minute, but, if allowed to drain 5 HP of blood, allowed to suspend this Disad, as long as they buy it off quickly]), and a L2 Vulnerability to the opposite Power (Rare, -10) until the Dependency is bought off, at which point they are normal, 'living' beings again (and they must buy off the Vulnerability). =========================================================================== SKILLS Group Skill Bonus: Since the Amberites have been around for centuries, the GM may find it easier to simply allow Amberite PCs to use the Group Skill bonuses from Fantasy Folk and Compendium I. This costs 6 points for most skill groups, and 15 points for Combat/Weapon and Thief/Spy skills, added to the skill defaults (to a maximum of +8 to any group). For additional specialization, the skill itself may be bought, as well. Psionic and Magic skills are not applicable bonus groups. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- OLD SKILLS Animal Skills: These are commonly seen in the books. Riding: Horse is almost required. Animal Training may be desirable for the Riding Default, to reflect a large variety of animal-riding experiences. Artistic skills: Most Amberites have an art they favor; Corwin was a master songwriter, Random a great drummer, Brand a painter, Vialle a sculptress. Note that Artist is a Prerequisite for Trump Artist spell. Athletic skills: A few points in these never hurts, particularly Throwing, for a good Default with all thrown weapons. Combat/Weapon Skills: All of these at high levels, particularly Fencing and Sword! Craft skills: Not much evidence of these in the Chronicles, although Blacksmith: Swords or the like would make an interesting alternative to an Artistic skill. Hobby skills: Martin -- 'Dead Kennedys, anyone?' Language skills: The language of City Amber is Thari (M/A). The farther out from Amber the less Thari-like the 'dialect' may be, but adjacent Shadows are likely to have very similar dialects. Medical skills: Corwin states that over the centuries most of his siblings have had extensive medical training. Diagnosis, Physician, and Surgery are naturals. Outdoor skills: Most of the Amberites seem to be canny with the outdoors, part of their vigilant, military nature. Naturalist is desirable for the default to Survival, to show experience with hundreds of climates. Professional skills: Heraldry would be likely. Scientific skills: A smattering of these skills is to be expected, particularly History and Occultism. Computer Programming is useless with Ghostwheel! Social skills: Administration and Leadership are likely, Carousing very likely (ask Flora about Random). Corwin is a bard of great talent, and Bill Roth and Random are both fair Diplomats. Fast-Talk would be very common. As for Gambling, Random (perhaps only half-jokingly) suggested to Julian to cut cards for the throne after Oberon disappeared. Savior-Faire is very important, and Flora beats everyone on this skill. Thief/Spy skills: For most, one word: indispensible. A silver-tongued lie, a silvery flashing blade, both are useless against the Lie-Detector and the Stealthy. Vehicle skills: A variety of these would be very good in widely differing Shadows. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW SKILLS Tracking-Shadows. Note that it is not always necessary to have Shadow Walking to follow another through Shadow. Area Knowledge-Amber. There are many specialties for this skill (Amber Town, Castle Amber, Golden Circle shadows) Area Knowledge-Chaos. Again, many specialties (Courts of Chaos, vavious Ways, Black Circle shadows) Area Knowledge-Specific Shadow (M/E). This allows the character to use World-Jumper to come to the particular world, as well as the most important features of that world. Note that for knowledge of a large number of Shadows it is far more cost-effective to buy Shadowlore, for its default. Language: Thari. This is Mental/Average, the language of Amber and, presumably, the Courts as well. Shadowlore. (M/VH) This is not truly an Area Knowledge -- to know everything about every Shadow is by definition impossible. This skill covers the important types, features, and parallels of different areas of Shadow. For example, a Shadowlore-master would know the 'location' of the Golden Circle Shadows, The Black Zone Shadows, the Broken Pattern Shadows, and other 'regions', such as high-science low-magic, the opposite, high in both, etc. A character with a high level of Shadow Knowledge can find a specific Shadow with relatively vague criteria; each Area Lore- Specific Shadow defaults to Shadowlore at -1 to -4. =========================================================================== MAGIC There are 3 new Colleges, each with an edited spell list: Pattern, Logrus, and Trump. Broken Pattern operates in much the same manner as Pattern, with a few modifications. Note: I have tried, as much as possible, to remain true to the standard GURPS magic system. There were mutual modifications; if the GM hates what I have done, they may invent something new, or wing it. I am interested in any alterations made, naturally! Abbreviations: PQ: Prerequisite All Colleges: Spell Hanging. ---PATTERN COLLEGE--- 1. Bane: Puissance vs. Logrus. PQ: 6, Enchantment. ---LOGRUS COLLEGE--- 1. Primal Chaos. (n) PQ: 6. 2. Bane: Puissance vs. Pattern. PQ: 5, Enchantment. PQ: 6, Enchantment. ---TRUMP COLLEGE--- 1. Trump Use. (n) 2. Divination: Cartomancy. PQ: 1. 3. Plane Shift. PQ: 1. 4. Create Gate. PQ: 3. 5. Trump Spying. (n) PQ: 4. 6. Trump Bypass. (n) PQ: 4. 7. Trump Artistry. (n) PQ: 3, Enchantment, Art: Painting at level 17+. 8. Trump Enchantment. (n) PQ: 7, any Craft skill appropriate to the item being enchanted at level 18+. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW SPELL DESCRIPTIONS Primal Chaos: This is a deadly spell, that essentially summons an implacable force of elemental, total entropy to devour an area as large as an entire Shadow. It may take as long as a half-hour, but it does basically infinite damage. VERY IMPORTANT: GMs should enforce this spell as the double-edged sword that it is! Once summoned, Primal Chaos can _NOT_ be done away with. This is a force older than Pattern or Logrus themselves!! Trump Use: This spell allows the user to communicate between Shadows, with anyone else who is on a Trump the character holds. Trump contact is at least slightly telepathic, and one may skim the thoughts of the other contactee with a Trump Use roll (this is at -3 for each additional party in on the contact). Either party may initiate a Long or Short Contest of Wills. Each roll takes 30 seconds. No damage is done by failure or success, but it does allow each other to accurately guage (+- 1) the level of Will of the other, as well as to inflict mental discomfort. A critical failure by one party, or a critical success by the other, results in an instant loss of control, and intense pain (treat as a mental stun). The GM may even allow the winner to scan the memories of the other, or, by destroying their sanity, force random Quirks on them. It takes a Trump Use roll at -3 to sever contact suddenly and escape when you have lost. Trump Spying: This allows the character to 'tap into' conversations between others by laying the cards flat, emptying one's mind, and lightly touching the cards. It also allows one to notice when one's card is touched or regarded by another, unless they are steeped in Concentration at the time. Trump Bypass: This allows one to use Trump Use skill without the actual Trumps themselves. It is difficult, and requires intense concentration, but _can_ be done. Trump Artistry: This allows one to create new Trump Cards. Trump Enchantment: This allows one to create items and invest them with Trump images. To create a Trump image costs 100. Creating an item for a subject which is not present (but is described in detail) costs double. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- OLD SPELL MODIFICATIONS Any Power Words, from a character being converted directly from the Phage Press game, may be considered to be a spell of instantaneous casting time and comparable effect. (No, I haven't gone too far into this, since, near as I can tell, there were no 'Power Words', per se, in the original books). Bane: Puissance, applies to all weapons enchanted with a portion of the Patternm and applies to all Logrus creatures. Likely the reverse is true, but the weapon would be as Frakir, a shapechanging weapon. A portion of the Pattern itself must be engraved in the weapon to allow the spell to be cast. Banish: Includes Demons of Chaos. Create Gate: This spell is used to create a Trump Gate, using a Trump card. It does not allow time travel. Divination: Cartomancy applies to the Trumps. Plane Shift: Trump Plane Shift only works for one person at a time, only if one of them is using or Bypassing Trump and has the other contacted. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW NON-POWER SPELLS (Note: some of the descriptions of these spells are fairly arbitrary; feel free to modify them as needed, GMs). Astral Club. This is one of Mandor's spells he used on Merlin. As the name implies, the club is intangible until just before it strikes, giving a -4 to parry (but can be dodged normally, though cover is no good). Duration: Until it strikes the opponent, or 3 rounds. Base Cost: 3 Time to Cast: 3 seconds. Chains of Deliverance: A spell of Mandor's. This spell binds the target with ST 10 + the Will of the caster. A critical success on a Will roll will free one from the spell (only one with Magery or Intuition could guess this) -- but a failed Will roll extends the duration of bondage for 15 minutes. Duration: 1 hour, plus 15 minutes per failed Will roll to escape. Base Cost: 5 Time to Cast: 5 seconds Prerequisites: 6 Making and Breaking spells Concerto for Cuisinart and Microwave: One of Merlin's more entertainingly-named spells, this one simultaneously fries the opponent with microwave energy and shish-kebobs the opponent with dozens of whirling knives. Each of the 1d+3 blades will do 1d-3 cutting damage, and the radiation damage does 2d damage, or 1d plus 1d electrical damage to anyone wearing a large amount of metal. Duration: 1 round Base Cost: 5 Time to Cast: 3 rounds Prerequisites: Irradiate, Dancing Blade. Confusion Storm: One of Dara' spells, that subjects the target to blurred sensations and thoughts. The subject must make a Will roll, or be, effectively, Mentally Stunned. A critical failure on this roll doubles the duration and renders the target incapable of any actions at all. The Confusion Storm has an area effect as well, of 12' in diameter. Duration: 1 minute Base Cost: 4 Time to Cast: 3 seconds Prerequisites: Emotion Control. Curtain of Chaos: This spell creates a Disintegration field, that does damage as per the Disintegration spell to anything that enters the area (just large enough to cloak 2 people uncomfortably). Duration: 4 rounds Base Cost: 4 Time to Cast: 3 seconds Prerequisite: Primal Chaos, Disintegration, Utter Wall. Diamond Bubble: This spell creates the equivalent of an Utterwall, but of diamond, around the target. The Diamond Bubble weighs 2 tons, has PD 5, DR 75, HT 500. Once broken, the individual diamond pieces dissolve within seconds. Duration: 2 minutes. Base Cost: 15 Time to Cast: 6 seconds Envenom: This spell will coat a single weapon with a poison, venom, or toxin. B132 has details on a couple of common types. Whatever type it is, the caster of the spell must possess a basic knowledge of the poison to be created (i.e. Poison skill, or a roll on the Poisons skill default of IQ-6, Chemistry-5, or Physician-3). Duration: 10 minutes or until the poison is injected into the victim; there the poison will have its normal effect, as though permanent. Metabolized poison disintegrates. Base Cost: 5 Time to Cast: 4 seconds Fantasia for Six Acetalyne Torches: This cruel spell of Merlin's creates six points of flame, whirling around an opponent, broiling them in their own juices. Each of the 6 points inflicts 1d-2 damage; for the rules on flame and armor, see B130. Duration: 10 rounds. Base Cost: 4 Time to Cast: 6 rounds Prerequisites: Fireball, Dancing Weapon. Floral Delivery: A very simple spell of Mask's, that creates dozens of flowers, showering on the opponent. It does no damage, but is great as a Trademark. Duration: Instantaneous; the flowers created are permanent. Base Cost: 1 Time to Cast: 1 Prerequisites: Rain of Nuts (one of its prereqs must be Plant Growth). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- AMBERITES CASTING 'CONVENTIONAL' MAGIC Amberite and Chaosite magic, other than the above 3 colleges, operates a bit differently than other beings' magic. To cast normal magic, an Amberite uses the Improvised Magic rules, with the following exceptions: (1) Amberites and Chaosites must draw on an extradimensional source to cast magic; it does not come from the local area. This is why they get the Mana Enhancer Advantage. It also means that for each second it would normally take to cast a spell, they must take 3d _minutes_. (2) To balance out this effect, Amberites and Chaosites may take up to 5 levels of Magery. The eldest Amberites (Dworkin, Oberon) may possibly take even more. (3) Amberites and Chaosites, once a spell is almost totally cast, may use the Meta-Spell Hang-Spell (learned by mages free of conventional Prerequisites), leaving it attached to some special object with the 'Spell Hanger' Enchantment (500 ST per spell), or, for Broken Pattern and Logrus adepts, on their Power sign (any number). It will last for roughly a day per minute spent casting before the spell begins to degrade (-1/day to finally cast), and those minutes must be made up 'refreshing' the spell. =========================================================================== CHARACTER CONVERSION Amber GURPS Statistic Strength Warfare Endurance Psyche = ST = DX = HT = Strong Will ------------------------------------------------------------------ Ranked Points+40 Points+25 Points+30 L(Points/20)+3 Amber 31-40 21-25 21-30 L2-3 Chaos 16-30 16-20 16-20 L1 Human 1-15 1-15 1-15 None IN: Amber has no "Intelligence" attribute (seems almost like a game having no Strength attribute ... !). My recommendation is to use the Endurance table above for Psyche, and modify it a bit (say +-20%), according to your interpretation of the character. All Amberites have Regrowth, but I would only charge 5 points for it, since it takes at least 4 times as long for Corwin to regrow his eyes as predicted for an 'average' possessor of that power by Supers (and remember, Corwin had the most stamina and healing power of any adult Amberite). There is evidence that Amberites of high mental prowess (say, Ranked in Psyche) may possess psychic powers. They can have no more TOTAL levels in psionics than they have in Will. 'Stuff': Each point of Amber 'Stuff' can be traded for one level of Charisma; 3 points may buy a level of Luck. 1-3 Bad Stuff buys Unluck; 4-5 buys Cursed, and 6+ buys Cursed and Jinxed. =========================================================================== CHARACTER STATS These are based on my own figuring, and are _not_ direct conversions from the Phage Press game. Yes, there are optimization schemes that could be applied to them, but remember the words of GURPS netrep Dr. Kromm, "Character creation is not an exercise in accounting." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lord Corwin of Amber (Total Points = 1534) STATS (Total=+688) ST = 66 (+178). Assuming that Corwin was medium-encumbered when carrying Lancelot (a big guy, in full plate mail) to the Keep of Ganelon (which was a good 5+ miles), at that point he had ST 50. If we assume in the training in the weeks to follow he could increase his strength by 30% (from his emaciated condition), he would have ST 66. This allows him to do thr7d+1, sw9d+2. DX = 17 (+100). Corwin is an accomplished warrior and athlete; he fought for a _long_ while up the narrow stair of Kolvir, and didn't slip. IQ = 15 (+60). Corwin is an accomplished schemer and strategist (unlike Merlin!). Plus, although he doesn't do a lot of _actual_ scheming, he's magnificent at thinking up dirty tricks out of thin air. HT = 27 (+350). Corwin is pretty much the toughest of the Elder Amberites. He can be hurt, but he _always_ comes back. Move = 13. Will = 17. ADVANTAGES (Total=+575) Alertness 2 (+10) Allies: Random, 15- (+46) Merlin, 9- (+23) Amberite Package (+165): Blood of Amber Regrowth (Slow) Slow Regeneration Mana Enhancer Unaging Combat Reflexes (+15) Cultural Adaptability (+25) Extra HP 5 (+25) Handsome (+15) Hard To Kill 4 (+20) Jewel Of Judgement Initiation (+20) Magery 3 (+35) Mana Enhancer (+25) Musical Ability 5 (+5) Pattern Imprint (+50) Second Sight (+5) Strong Will 3 (-12) Tougness 2 (+25) Trained By A Master (+50) Status 4: Elder Child (extra level due to crowning himself King of Amber at Eric's coronation, and saving Amber with his troops and guns) (+20) Weapon Master (+45) World-Jumper: Amberite (+200) Other Advantages Corwin had from time to time in the Chronicles include: Ally: Dierdre, 6- (+12) QUIRKS (Total=-5) Favors black and silver clothing, with a silver rose Dislikes letting Shadow-dwellers suffer unnecessarily, but does it anyway Nostalgic and bitter about the loss of Shadow Avalon Secretly in love with Dierdre (and mourns her loss) Irreverant but philosophical DISADVANTAGES (Total=-100) Amberite Package: Unluckiness Paranoia Enemy Group: Chaosite Worshipers, 9- (-80) Flashbacks (-5) Secret: Amberite, Utter Rejection (-1/3) (-6) Stubbornness (-5) Other Disadvantages Corwin had at various points in the Chronicles include: Enemies: Brand, Benedict, Gerard, Caine, the Black Road, and the whole of the Courts of Chaos. Secret: That jeweler's rouge from Avalon was explosive in Amber. Blindness, of course. SKILLS (Total=+372) --Category Group Bonus Special Skills Animal Skills +3 (+18) Riding Horses+2 (+1) Artistic Skills +2 (+12) Bard+5 (+12), Dancing+2 (+8) Athletic Skills +2 (+12) Combat/Weapon Skills +6 (+90) Fencing+2 (+8), Broadsword +2 (+2), Shield+1 (+2), Guns+1 (+2) Martial Arts Skills +3 (+45) Craft Skills +1 (+6) Language Skills +5 (+30) Medical Skills +3 (+18) Outdoor Skills +3 (+18) Professional Skills +1 (+6) 'Hard' Science Skills +1 (+6) 'Soft' Science Skills +2 (+12) Social Skills +1 (+6) Area Knowldege (Castle Amber)+2 (+4), (City of Amber)+1 (+2), (Shadow)+1 (+1) Thief/Spy Skills +3 (+45) Vehicle Skills +1 (+6) SPELLS (Total=-4) All are at 16. Trump Use Create Gate, Trump Divination: Cartomancy, Trump Banish WEAPONS Greyswandir: (see below). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Merlin, King of Chaos (Total Points = 1525). STATS (Total= +325) ST = 30 (+160). Merlin is strong, but not as strong as Corwin. We don't see him doing a lot of physical stunts to compare with, though. This allows Merlin to do thr3d and sw5d+2. DX = 15 (+60). Merlin is a fairly athletic and dextrous guy. IQ = 14 (+45). Although maybe not as experienced and perceptive as Corwin, Merlin is still pretty sharp. HT = 15 (+60). Merlin is well-toned and fit. Will = 17. Move = 7.5 ADVANTAGES (Total = +785 pts) Allies: The demon Gryll (Kergma doesn't really help out Merlin in the books, and Glait is weak enough to be a mere Dependent). Assumed 300 pts, appears 9- (+25) Amberite Package (+165): Amber (AND Chaos!) Blood Slow Regeneration Regrowth (Slow) Mana Enhancer(+25) Unaging Cultural Adaptability (+25) Hard to Kill 3 (+15) Jewel of Judgement Initiation (+20) Logrus Initiation (+65) Magery 5 (+55) Morph (+40, +60 [*1.5] points for form alterations, total +130) Pattern Imprint (+50) Second Sight (+5) Strong Will 2 (+8) Toughness 1 (+25) Trained by a Master (+40) Weapon Master (+45) World-Jumper: Pattern/Logrus (+200) Other Advantages -- Until about the time of Knight of Shadows, Merlin was fairly naive ... consider him at that time to have bought off Paranoia (he was not so bad as to have Gullibility, though!) QUIRKS Difficulty trusting or revealing too much of himself (but not fully Paranoid). Dedicated to preserving his status as a member of both Amber and Chaos (until he became King of Chaos, that is ... ) DISADVANTAGES (Total= -25 points) Unluckiness(-10) Curious (-5) Indecisive (-10) Secret: Amberite/Chaosite, Utter Rejection (-1/3) (-6) Other Disadvantages Merlin had during the books include Enemies (Jasra, Jurt, Julia Barnes, and Luke). SKILLS (Total= +372 points) --Category Group Bonus Special Skills Animal Skills +1 (+6) Riding Horses+2 (+1) Artistic Skills +6 (+36) Artist (Painting)+3 (+10) Athletic Skills +3 (+18) Running+1 (+8) Combat/Weapon Skills +4 (+60) Fencing+2 (+8), Broadsword +2 (+2), Shield+1 (+2) Martial Arts Skills +2 (+30) Craft Skills +1 (+6) Language Skills +4 (+24) Medical Skills +2 (+12) Outdoor Skills +3 (+18) Professional Skills +1 (+6) Computer Operations+2 (+4) 'Hard' Science Skills +3 (+18) Occultism+2 (+4), Thaumatology+1 (+8), Computer Programming+2 (+8) 'Soft' Science Skills +2 (+12) Social Skills +2 (+12) Area Knowldege (Castle Amber)+2 (+4), (City of Amber)+1 (+2), (Shadow)+1 (+1) Thief/Spy Skills +2 (+30) Vehicle Skills +1 (+6) SPELLS (Total= -70). All are at 17. Note: Without a doubt, Merlin has at least fifty more spells like this. I added 50 points to the point cost totals of his spells to reflect this. Anyone playing Merlin should define any spells to be used before they are, however. Awaken Computer Animation Light Continual Light Cool Banish Poltergeist Shape Earth Irradiate Dancing Blade Enchantment Primal Chaos Utterwall Fireball Concerto for Cuisinart and Microwave Curtain of Chaos Envenom Fantasia for Six Acetalyne Torches Floral Delivery Fireball WEAPONS Frakir: (see below). =========================================================================== MAGICAL ITEMS Note: Most of these should be considered to have Substance of at least 18. The Gunpowder would have far less, but the Jewel should have infinite Substance. The Cabbalah Trump Painting: This is a painting of the Cabbalistic tree of life (for those of you who do not know what the cabbalah is, check out gopher.//wiretap.spies.com/00/Library/Fringe/Occult/cabalah.cln, which is the best introduction to this mystical Jewish philosophical system I have found). A capsule summary: each of the 'sephiroth' correspond to aspects of God, angelic order, magical powers, psychic states, physical forces, stages of creation, ... aspects of reality, in short (and shadows, as well). The painting was likely destroyed in the fire that obliterated Melman's home in Brutus Storage, but some enterprising thief could have rescued it, or it could have been re-created. What would be interesting is if the original still contained a Trump link to the Binah shadow (especially since Merlin destroyed that shadow with Primal Chaos) ... Corwin's Gunpowder: Although perhaps not TRULY magical in the traditional sense (although perhaps in a converse sense), it served the same sort of ace-in-the-hole role for Corwin when he was able to turn the tide of the Patternfall War (and, it seems, is as much a pain in the ass to deal with). Simply treat it as with ordinary guns. The Jewel of Judgement. This large blood-red gem possesses the power of weather control (treat as being enchanted with all Weather spells, Lightening, Ball Lightening, and Spark Storm, all at level 20, at no cost to the wielder. It also has the unique power to inscribe a new Pattern, and is said to itself contain a 3-dimensional version of the Pattern. To be used, its user must walk the Pattern, and then let themselves be drawn into contemplation of the 3-d Pattern within. It is currently residing in Coral's eyesocket. After being worn for x hours (there is no set number, the point is the thing's dangerous!) the wearer gains the Enhanced Time Sense advantage. However, for every X*1.2 time they wear it, they lose HT/10 (but don't notice it, as from radiation). It also grants the powers of Weather Control. Frakir: This is a strangling cord, customarily wrapped about Merlin's hand, enchanted with a variation on Dancing Weapon: it can move and attack on its own (speed 6, skill 18), but must crawl, i.e. it cannot 'fly' through the air like a normal Dancing Sword. It also possesses Sense Danger, in that it tightens about Merlin's wrist when it senses trouble. For a short while, it possessed a limited sentience, but that was likely the interference of the Powers while Merlin was in Undershadow. Ghostwheel: More a sentient being than an artifact, Ghostwheel is a computer created by Merlin to allow instantaneous transportation through Shadow by the creation of 'virtual' Trumps. It appears as a circle of glowing energy, and can alter this appearance more-or-less at will, and has stood up to both Pattern and Logrus and come away unscathed. It is fully sentient now, although Merlin had some problems with its obedience early in his Chronicles. Greyswandir: Corwin's sword (used a bit by Merlin), which possesses Bane: Puissance, vs. Chaos creatures (engraved with a portion of the Pattern), and Ghost Weapon (vs. dwellers in T'ir Na Nogth). Said to have been forged on the first rock that leads to T'ir Na Nogth, it also allows communications between 'normal' folk and the people of that realm when laid crosswise between them, or touching them. Mandor's Spheres: Essentially, these seem to be 'special effects' of Mandor's spells -- Mandor is one of those guys you'd expect to do everything with a certain style. The Spikards: These rings possess phenomenal magical powers. Basically, to any mage of Magery 2+, they grant Improvised spellcasting in all Colleges at level 25+. They seem to do for sources of mystical power what Ghostwheel does for Trumps, create or maintain a link to every source of useful mystical power in Shadow. The Tragoliths: These are small, blue stones that were discovered by Jasra and given to her son Luke. Basically, they allow a person without any Powers to walk through shadow, because for some reason a strange magnetism draws the stones to each other through Shadow. Anyone held in long contact with the stones also becomes 'attuned', treating him as a Tragolith, and only time or walking the Pattern or Logrus will erase the influence. The Trumps: A Tarot card deck that typically has several extra cards, representing (usually) the family of some Amberite or Chaosite. For those who know nothing of the Tarot, check out http://hops.wharton.upenn.edu/~loren/links/grass/tarot.rules. Usually necessary to communicate and transport instantaneously through Shadow, the chillness of their touch when the card is closely examined is the sign of their function. Werewindle. This was Brand's sword, which eventually fell to Luke -- spoken of as Greyswandir's sister sword, possessing, also, another portion of the Pattern (giving it, also, Bane of Puissance against Chaos creatures). An interesting adventure (or campaign) could be organized around the smith who forged such wondrous blades, perhaps a disciple from Chaos of Dworkin's? =========================================================================== TIPS ON ROLEPLAYING AMBERITES (1) Evasiveness. This doesn't mean just deception. It means never telling all of the story, on the off-chance that some bit of it might prove useful to you someday. The families of Oberon and Swayvill are chock-full of ambition and treachery, and a smart young player will realize quickly that not only is information _a_ power, it is _the_ power. (2) Experience. It's difficult to roleplay a people who have lived for millenia and visited any conceivable world they wished during that time. The Amberites know not just a little of everything, but a lot of it. The Amberites know the virtues of patience, of staying well-informed, not just of plotting, but of looking for opportunities ... and they all know their syblings know this. (3) Superiority. Face it. When you have the power of an Amberite, the Shadow dwellers are going to seem pretty inferior to you after a while. Little that happens in Shadow is going to be taken seriously by an Amberite; after all, there are infinitely more Shadows almost just like this one, and as many more duplicates of any one Shadowdweller. They just don't take it all seriously. Over and over in the books, Shadowfolk are used with far more facility than pawns in the chess-games of these gods -- an important thing for any mortals wandering the worlds to remember. The few who do gain notice are usually those who become a threat of sorts -- who usually end up eliminated. =========================================================================== CROSSOVERS: Amber characters are too unbalanced to have as permanent regulars in any normal, 100-point-starting-PC-value campaign (a high-level Supers game might accomodate them well), but for short-term encounters and one-shots, it presents zillions of fascinating opportunities. These are merely the books I am familar with or have. GURPS BUNNIES AND BURROWS: OK, maybe not ... GURPS CALLAHAN'S CROSSTIME SALOON: I wonder if Spider Robinson ever met Roger Zelazny? Most likely would be a one-shot where some Amberites happen by the little upstate New York bar, or it could be even that the Earth on which Callahan's resides is the favorite Shadow of some character (I can easily envision Random showing up on Punday and gambling Doc and the others out of their cash). GURPS CAMELOT: You'll notice that, as mentioned before, Corwin knew Sir Lancelot du Lac in Avalon (that book contains his stats). Perhaps there are others of the Round Table in Avalon as well, not to mention the possibility of a Camelot Shadow. GURPS CELTIC MYTH: You'll notice a lot of the Amberite's names are of Celtic derivation, (Corwin: 'raven', Merlin: 'from the hill by the beach', Fiona: 'the fair', Dierdre, a Celtic goddess). Also, there are lots of Celtic overtones in the Amber stories; Hugi, the raven messenger of doom; the drunken leprachauns; the Pattern itself; half-descent from an evil bloodline (i.e. Lugh Lamfada and the Fomor), etc. Perhaps the Amberites inspired the myths of the Sidhe? Or they ARE the Sidhe? Is there an Otherworld Shadow, elsewhere? GURPS CHINA, JAPAN, AZTECS, RUSSIA, ICE AGE, MEDIEVAL AGES: Why not? Most of the Amberites are knowledgable about Shadow Earth from way back in the old days, or duplicates of it. GURPS CTHULHUPUNK: This might be the hardest possible crossover to pull off, but has great possibilities. Imagine the incredible might and magic and evil of the Old Ones ... against our favorite family of scheming, near-omnipotent dimension-travellers! GURPS CYBERPUNK: This is perhaps the best worldbook to describe Martin's favorite Shadow. After all, a 'hawked Amberite with an interface jack has to have somewhere to call his own, right? GURPS DINOSAURS: "A tyrannosaurus leaped before us, hesitated for a moment, then went on his way, off to the left. Three more pterodactyls passed overhead." Of course. --Corwin, Nine Princes in Amber GURPS DOOM: Why not? Chaosites could be on the side of the Demons, and, if so, the Marines are likely to get their asses kicked by the Logrus. Imagine BEING those marines! "Pop quiz: You're holding a BFG-9000, and your opponent has ... Primal Chaos! What do you do?" GURPS FANTASY I/II: Yrth could actually be the personal Shadow of some Amberite or Chaosite. Perhaps the Banestorm was one of them reshaping the Shadow to their specifications. Or maybe it was a Shadowstorm that was controlled by or collided with the Dark Elves' Banestorm spell. Also, the Blackwoods, in the Megalan county of Hyrnan, sounds a lot like an extension of the Black Road/Circle. The Madlands sound congruent with the lands of Chaos ... GURPS ILLUMINATI UNIVERSITY: The mood would be strange, as the dry (but omnipresent) humor of the Amber books collides with the silliness of IOU. It could be done, though, especially if the GM were concentrating on the 'Wierd' or 'Darkly Illuminated' campaign. Doubtful that Merlin's college years were anything like _this_ ... ! GURPS PSIONICS: I think Psionics is the only book which we see no direct evidence for in the Chronicles. Lorraine's second sight might have been Telepathy or Clairvoyance, but was probably a Knack. However, we do see hints that Amberites of great mental prowess have certain mental abilities other than spells at their disposal ... GURPS RELIGION: Although clerical magic is not indicated in the books, the Unicorn did bestow the Jewel on Dworkin, and thus is likely to have other powers to give as well. There are the religons of the Unicorn and of the Amberites themselves. GURPS ROBOTS/VEHICLES: "Eighty-six hundred gone as they moved through a valley of suddenly militant machines that rolled forward on treads and fired fires ... " --Corwin, Nine Princes in Amber. Robots, or flamethrower tanks? A Terminator-style 'bot with a Mana Generator (and/or Co-Processor) would make a great assassin in the plotting surrounding Amber or the Courts. GURPS SPACE: Since everything is true somewhere in Shadow, this provides the perfect mechanism to bring in Star Trek, Star Wars, or some other setting that PCs might otherwise have thought imaginary. Star Trek deals a lot with pocket dimensions ... not to mention that everything Q does could be accomplished by some well-skilled shadow-shifting. GURPS SUPERS: Although most Supers are likely to be creampuffs next to someone like Bleys or Brand, their unique powers will undoubtedly make them very useful pawns in the struggle of the royal family. Conversely, demons and other creatures of Chaos are nifty super-villains! Also, as above with space, this provides a great explanation for crossovers where your heroes meet the 'fictional' heroes of comics and novels (after all, the Amberites are just characters in a novel in your Shadow, aren't they?) GURPS TIME TRAVEL: An interesting crossover, where the Amberites stumble upon an entire culture of time- and dimension-travellers. Opinions are likely to be very divided as to what to do with these upstart Shadow-dwellers ... and how Centrum and Timepiece alike will panic, knowing of immortal, sorcerous Timejumpers! GURPS WAR AGAINST THE CHTORR: Maybe the Chtorrans are Demons themselves? Or was the Earth Shadow-shaped from without? GURPS WORLD OF DARKNESS/BLOODTYPES/HORROR: For Vampires, one of Merlin's childhood friends turned out to secretly be a vampire, remember? Maybe the Masquerade reaches across Shadow, and the Antediluvians can walk between worlds ... In Nine Princes, we do see a bunch of wolflike creatures, called Weir, in Eric's service. Note carefully that Dierdre picked one up and broke its back like a dry stick. And what if the Umbra were but an adjacent Shadow? Another interesting crossover possibility is Mage: The Ascension. What if some Marauders are deranged Chaosites (perhaps armed with Spikards)? If they had a home Shadow, PCs might eliminate them by using Primal Chaos. Note that Amberites need not contend with Paradox, and so have an important counterbalancing advantage to their long casting time for spells. Another interesting idea is to adapt a few more of Roger Zelazny's books, and introduce the characters to each other (I understand Heinlein did something similar). For example, Corwin or Merlin could meet Jack the Ripper from _A Night in the Lonesome October_, Pol Detson from _Wizard World_ (a.k.a. _Changeling_ and _Madwand_), _Jack of Shadows_, Red Dorakeen from _Roadmarks_, or even the Buddha from his excellent _Lords of Light_. Enjoy, fellow GURPSers. May the blessings of the Unicorn go with you always!