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Amber (the setting) for Nine Worlds (the system)

Started by Ben Lehman, December 28, 2005, 06:11:11 AM

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Ben Lehman

The themes of Amber and Nine Worlds are so painfully close it is a damned shame if they were not brought together.  Plus, it seems traditional to try to amber-mod any given system that you're in love with, so I want to try it out w/ Nine Worlds, which is my current crush.

(There are spoilers for the books below.  If you care, don't read.)

To whit: Amber in Nine Worlds.  This is just a pile of notes, and not fleshed out.  Particularly, it assumes a basic familiarity with the books, at least the first few.

Basic Attributes:

Hubris becomes Pattern.  A choice to use Pattern indicates that you're solving your problem by manipulating or moving through Shadow.  You cannot use Pattern to resolve conflicts in Amber unless you are standing on the Pattern.  (Although you can use Shadow-spawned Talismans.)  Pattern usage generates Shadow, a resource which can be spent to give you cool Shadows and friends and artifacts from Shadow (Talismans in Nine Worlds parlance.)

Arete becomes Puissance.  A choice to use Puissance indicates that you are using your own personal ability to resolve the conflict at hand.  This limits your narration to what a normal, skilled human could achieve.  Puissance usage generates Experience, which can be spent to increase attributes.

Secondary attributes:
I think I might rename them Manipulation, Conservatism, Destruction and Pluck, based on the basic personal styles presented in the book.  (Fiona is all Manipulation and Pluck, Brand is Manipulation and Destruction, Corwin is Pluck and Destruction, Benedict is Conservatism and Destruction, Eric is Conservatism and Pluck, Random is pure Pluck, Gerard is pure Conservatism, Caine is pure Manipulation.)  The basic idea is that they are not your tools for approaching conflict (that's Pattern and Puissance) but your approach to life in general, which seems to be core to the Amber books.

I'd reinterpret the manipulations and locks and so on as basically the power-plays between family members: "I won that fight, and that gives me a leg up on that bastard, Corwin."

Odds and Ends

Muses become simply Goals, and are otherwise identical to 9W.  Talismans, likewise, are totally unchanged.

The Throne of Amber, The Jewel of Judgement, and the True Pattern are all large, powerful Talismans, much like the planets in Nine Worlds.   To challenge for the Jewel or the True Pattern requires use of Shadow.  Either the Throne and Jewel start in the possession of Oberon, and the Pattern with Dworkin, and must be challenged from them, or the players divide them amongst themselves as they see fit.

How I would do magic:  Magic works entirely through Talismans.  This is contrary to how it is presented in the RPG, but not really contrary to the book.  Brand, Fiona, et. al don't tend to do magic without some contact / connection / artifact to make it happen.  Consider that Martin is a Talisman of Random's, which Brand stole and used for his un-making Magic.

How I would do trump:  Trump Decks are Talismans with (initially) 3 power and no styles.  All starting characters get one.

Other members of the Amber family have Pattern and Puissance.  Chaosites have Logrus instead of Pattern, but the attribute is mechanically identically (folks like Merlin get both under one attribute.)  Anything not-Amber or Chaos affiliated only has Puissance, not Pattern.




"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker


Very nice. Not sure I like Conservativism and Pluck as attribute names, but as I can't come up with anything better at the moment I suppose that means I must bow to them.

My question would be: what does the Choice represent in Amber? When you go with Pattern over Pussiance what are you really chosing?

Could it be that Pussiance is the choice to move yourself away from the games of the family and the power of Amber/Chaos, while Pattern is the choice to fight for control of the universe? Characters with more emphasis on Pussiance tend to stay farther away from the fight (Benidict), or to find a specific place and fill it (Gerard). Those with more Pattern, otoh, are always pushing at each other for control (Fiona) or just trying to put the universe into their personal blender (Brand).

Corwin, of course, uses both.
- Brand Robins

Lee Short

Quote from: Brand_Robins on December 28, 2005, 02:53:40 PM
Very nice. Not sure I like Conservativism and Pluck as attribute names, but as I can't come up with anything better at the moment I suppose that means I must bow to them.

How about Duty instead of Conservatism? 

Ben Lehman

Note: I am skeptical about all the secondary attribute names.

I did some tricks with regard to the premise and The Choice, actually.  The choice to use Pattern or Puissance is, essentially, a matter of personal taste and tactics.  I suppose, if you wanted to focus game-play on the humanity of Shadow-people (like Bill in the books), you could say that it has to do with that.  But, given that I think the core of the Amber books is about dysfunctional families, that's not the core of the game.  Rather, I shunted off the premise decision-making to *after* the deal, when you decide what style to use, which is the real heart of the setting: How do you deal with your family?  By lying and manipulating the people you know best?  By sticking with the family come hell or high water?  By going off and doing your own thing?  By throwing tantrums and breaking things?



Quote from: Ben Lehman on December 28, 2005, 06:46:32 PM
Rather, I shunted off the premise decision-making to *after* the deal, when you decide what style to use, which is the real heart of the setting: How do you deal with your family?  By lying and manipulating the people you know best?  By sticking with the family come hell or high water?  By going off and doing your own thing?  By throwing tantrums and breaking things?

Sure, that's the heart of the setting -- but I don't see how the current dynamic reinforces it clearly.

In Nine Worlds when you use Hubris you defy the gods. When you use Arete you reinforce the gods. This makes sense as in a very real sense it is game about chosing when, where, and how to defy and/or reinforce the gods. (At times this does get squishy, but the whole Assuming/Championing thing makes it pretty damn real in the end.)

However, in Amber NW we've got a game that is about dealing with your family and if you chose to deal with them sqaure or chose to fuck with them. But the traits do not equate to "deal fair" or "fuck." You can fuck with Pussiance as easily as you can deal square with it, and ditto with Pattern. Because you can chose to make either choice with either attribute, which attribute you use doesn't have any real effect other than color.

So what am I missing here Ben, cause I feel like you're talking past my (admitedly limited) field of vision here.
- Brand Robins

Andrew Norris

I've been thinking about this, too, and I have to admit my attribute names are pretty melodramatic compared to yours.

I was considering Blood and Shadow for Arete and Hubris, respectively. (As in "Who I am" versus "What I can do to Shadow". Gerard would be high Blood, Brand high Shadow.) I was thinking about Love/Hate/Fear/Dream for Cosmos/Chaos/Stasis/Metamorphosis.

I wanted to use names like that as a way of bringing the Choice back in to how the stats operate, like Matt did in the original game. I've been considering 9W for a continuation of an Amber campaign we ran before, and it was very much about family and romantic relationships, and the tradeoffs between those relationships and the "big picture" personal goals each character had. (Hence the touchy-feely attribute names.) 

Ben Lehman

Brand and Andrew --

The "how will you treat your family" is lurking in the Styles.  Does that make things more clear?

The important decision isn't Pattern/Puissance.  It's between Pluck/Conservatism/Manipulation/Destruction.  For those of you who haven't read Nine Worlds: This choice is made after the cards are drawn, but before they are revealed.