The game is one of mystery, discovery and intrigue, so little is known yet by the player characters about the greater universe. Knowledge (and therefore, further specifics for this page) will have to be found or bargained for. Each character must make his or her own way toward their own heritage and destiny.
This is a game based on the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game (ADRPG) by Phage Press. It, in turn, is based on a wonderful set of novels by the late Roger Zelazny. They follow the adventures of a man who recovers his lost memories, only to find that he is a member of the royal family of Amber, the great city of which all other cities are only shadows.
If you'd like to see more Amber-related pages, try MaBarry's Amber Links
"I'd get what I needed and take what I wanted, and I'd remember who helped me and step on the rest. For this, I knew, was the law by which our family lived, and I was a true son of my father."
"It is as if there is something dead inside them all. Their voices lack the thrust and dip of men chewing over their words and tasting them. They seldom do much with their faces, but wear them like death masks."
"...A Prince of Amber is part and parcel to all the rottenness that is in the world, which is why whenever I do speak of my conscience, something else within me must answer "Ha!" In the mirrors of many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I am a part of the evil which exists to oppose other evils."
"As I understood it, our family had always possessed special powers, but it was he who analyzed them and formalized their functions by means of the Pattern and the Tarots."
"Despite our major hatreds and petty animosities, we Amberites are a very family-conscious bunch, always eager for news of one another, desirous to know everyone's position in the changing picture. A pause for gossip has doubtless stayed a few death blows among us."
"'No, I'm not going to give you my death curse. I've reserved that for the enemies of Amber - out there.' He pronounced it then , in a whisper, and I shuddered to hear it."
"Not bad," I said, "but I can't spare any more brothers at the moment. Not even Julian. Anyhow, he's the least frameable."
"It need not be family," he said. "Plenty of noble Amberites around with possible motives. Take Sir Reginald-"
"I have no idea, but it is possible. You know how secretive he is about some things."
"No," Julian said, "it doesn't hold up. He would have given some operating instructions, somewhere along the line."
"Could it be that I had manufactured that whole business? A lot had happened since. The price of being an Amberite, I suppose, is that you cannot even trust yourself."
"We are all impressarios by temprement, and we treat one another accordingly."
"Personality is the one thing we cannot control in our manipulations of Shadow."
"I mean, does good triumph and hero bed heroine? Or do you kill everybody off?"
"That's hardly fair."
"Our darker natures came forth strongly in them. It must be that they are too close to the chaos from which we sprang, growing without the exercises of will we endured in defeating it."
"It is just that I never trust anyone if there is an alternative available."
"You know me well enough to know that I will want to rub your noses in it. I want to you as witnesses to what I do."
"It is my understanding," Bleys said, "from things that Dworkin told me, that two distinct Patterns could not exist in the same universe."
"I was taught the usual things a gentleman should know - magic, weapons, poisons, riding, dancing."
Flora rose suddenly, her face contorted, the scented lavender sheet falling away as she drove a fist forward with surprising speed.
"You bitch!" She cried. "Remember me?"
"I don't like leaving you - though I'm not anxious to stay, either. Care to take along a hand grenade?"
She lifted her purse and began to open it.
That would explain Luke's strange abilities to summon me to him as by a massive Trump sending, when in actuality there was no Trump: His drug-enhanced abilities of visualization must have been so intense that he card's physical representation of me was unnecessary.
"There was your uncle Osric, who took on the whole House of Karm over the death of a relative on his mother's side. Oberon was particularly friendly with Karm in those days, and Osric offed three of them. Oberon acquitted him at hearing, though, basing his decision on earlier cases. He even went further by stating a kind of general rule-"
"Oberon also sent him off to the front lines in a particularly nasty war," I interrupted, "from which he did not return."
"Grandson," he said levelly, a ruddy light entering his eyes, "even dead, none of my spawn may address me so. I come for thee now in a less than friendly fashion. I come for thee now, and this journey shall I hale thee amid fires."
"No need to take it personally..." I began.
Could my own creation be playing games with me? Might Ghost have imprisoned me in a stark and distant shadow, blocked all my efforts at communication, and set about playing an elaborate game with me?
This campaign uses the "Holistic Stat System" developed by Doyce Testerman:
Every activity has one primary characteristic on which it relies, and one secondary characteristic that modifies it. Examples are:
Swordfighting - Warfare + (Strength/2)
Directing a Battle - Warfare + (Psyche/2)
Mental Combat or Games of Strategy- Psyche + (Warfare/2)
Unarmed Combat - Strength + (Warfare/2)
Running a Race - Endurance + (Strength/2)
The characters do not have access to Pattern, Logrus or Trump powers, but they do have access to a variety of other powers. Indented powers require the previous non-indented power as a prerequisite.
Shapeshifting - This power can be bought incrementally. Starting character are limited to 35 points.
Power Words - This power can also be bought incrementally. There is no limit to the initial number of points in Power Words. All power words in the ADRPG sourcebook are allowed. All others must be approved by the GM. If the Power Word is too powerful for 1 point, it becomes a spell and requires Sorcery. Power Words are always faster than any type of Sorcery, and as such, are more fit to combat and emergencies. Without Sorcery, the character can only use Power Words created by someone else (i.e., the ones in the sourcebook). It requires Sorcery to create and perfect one's own Power Words.
Sorcery - Sorcery is somewhat different from the version presented in the ADRPG sourcebook. Clicking on the incremental power will bring you to a description. Complex Sorcery is the initial limit for characters. Sorcery can be far more powerful and complex than Power Words or Conjuration.
Conjuration - Can be bought incrementally.
Shadow Travel - For reasons not yet explained, some characters have learned the ability to travel through shadow. This process is slow and laborious, although it is made easier by following well-travelled shadow paths. It is almost always easier to use Sorcery for this purpose.
Personalized Artifacts and Creatures - I've found these to be the most unbalancing things in the ADRPG. So in an attempt to curb the insanity without forbidding interesting ideas, I've decided to go with a compromise system. You tell me what you want, and I'll tell you whether you can have it and how much it will cost. Please Don't send me ADRPG stats for these items. Just tell me what you want them to do. As a general rule, invulnerabilities and anything which would cost 4 points in the ADRPG will be disallowed.
Constructs - I won't say 'no' out of hand, but I will be more picky than it's worth...
Unique Powers - More than anything else, I want this game to be fun. This means that I am giving you, the player, the opportunity to create your own power. Now, I'm not going to approve anything on the order of the Pattern or 'Abyss Powers', but I am willing to work with you on creating a unique power all your own. Something along the lines of "Powers of Faerie", or "Initiate of the Stone Circle" sounds about right. You tell me what it is, what it does, and what it costs. I've rejected all powers dealing with precognition or truth-telling.
The Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth campaign disallows a few things found in the standard Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game handbook. They are:
1. Allies. You can't buy your friends.
2. Shadows. You can pay one point for your shadow, but you can't buy any of the higher shadow attributes.
I will try to post at least once a day. But this is as much your responsibility as mine. If you want to be involved, get involved.
Pick anything that entertains you, but make it a character with some problems. Something to motivate, inspire and move the character. The more interesting characters will naturally get more interesting play!
Power, to me, is far less interesting than personality. You will find that the most powerful characters are only a little above the realm of human power. Really strong characters might lift a motorcycle over their heads, but not a Mack truck. Really good swordsmen might beat Miyamoto Musashi, but they might not.
By the same token, the most powerful player characters will find that they are at least in the same league as the most powerful non-player characters.
Shadow v. Substance
This division, so important in so many Amber games, is far less important here. Shadows can be powerful and very real.
What is true and what is false, and what works and what doesn't are all part of the game. Find out the hard way, and remember - hearing doesn't make it so. Even the powerful have some misconceptions.
And anyone caught spelling it 'cannon' will be fired out of one.
In this campaign, Stuff is a measure of the importance the universe attaches to you. Characters with more stuff will find that things go their way just a little more often (Bad things can and will happen to characters with Good Stuff!). The practical limit is 5 points of Stuff, good or bad.