all of your ‘game sparks’ belong to us

So for my own brainstorm, I’m collecting all unrealized Game Sparks from the 15 years of this blog to see if I’m going to run a new game in slots at Ambercon US. For many of these ideas, they became ACUS games, so they will not appear on this list.

Please consult your Doctor before using Game Sparks.


Asskickers of the Fantastic

Once you were a mortal. Not anymore. Not since you died. The world however is becoming overrun with Fantastic Abberations like the one that killed you. Isis doesn’t like the direction things are taking. She’s pulled strings. Now you’re back in the land of the living, your one geas: kick ass! Your only comrades: Asskickers of the Fantastic!


the League of Extraordinary GentleMonsters

The darkness in the world was almost gone.

A few noble souls around the globe toiled for decades and succeeded in cutting low the masterminds of evil. Now a new generation inherits a better world…. until an improbable series of events starts a war that engulfs all of civilization. France and Germany are the center of the battlefield. Most of the world is taking sides. Weapons of this new war are taking lives at unimagined levels—What single event triggered it? Brought the darkness roaring up out of the trenches of the Bloody World War? Now France is a wasteland with a few scattered souls hiding from the dark. Germany is largely uninhabited except by the undead. Holmes is an old man now, but he knows many things. From his wheelchair, he telegrams to distant corners of the globe for those few Gentle Monsters that were never trusted enough to join the side of Good.

He has sent for you.


The Dire Tower

Up they go. It is a climb after a night’s search, but they are close to goal and quick up the height of the tower. Above now, they see beyond the railings not just the castle laid out below, but an overlay of colored mist that soon shows them a figure in battle. The mist rolls rapidly and the scene moves in slippery jumps until the figure dies, bravely tossing off a curse to his enemies.

This mist changes into a different figure, another man. In a narrow lane of a dark city, he fights like a dervish and dies speaking a vigorous curse upon his foes.

Again, the mist becomes a woman on an orange horse surrounded by a hundred foes. She cuts into them like wheat, but is dragged down in slippery moments, her mouth silently screaming their doom.


As our cousins realize they are seeing the complete roster of the Blood of Oberon gone down into death. Men and women not even remembered now.

Time to leave, perhaps.


Pawn to Queen’s One

What do you get the fellow who has everything? Who takes the throne of Chaos by surviving assassinations? Who wears a spikard and keeps another one nearby in a vault?

The Chaos Elders get King Merlin a bride.

Merlin makes it through his ‘gauntlet’ fifty-years as Heir and becomes King of Chaos. Now he has to guide some poor gal through the same process. He needs a queen.

The PCs are the best candidates from every House of Chaos. The assassins are primed. The fifty-year period of courting has begun.



The Lessima Protocols

Forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by House leaders are called House Protocols. This also means the code of correct conduct—including the secret methods by which Chaosi Houses handle their internal justice, resources, and ecology.

There is nothing more sacred than the House Protocol. It is the accumulated secrets of success for a House. It is worth your life and/or career to leak protocol secrets to another House. An anonymous offer has reached a few Chaosi Houses of a complete set of House Protocols that are available for barter.


And the exchange desired is even more unthinkable. The Protocols are for the vanished House Lessima. And the asking barter is one of the two known spikards held by the Houses of Chaos.

PCs are Chaosi who are asked to find and recover the Lessima Protocols before someone takes the awful step of trying to steal a spikard from Thelbane. If any of your team are caught or killed, your House will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

May the Serpent watch over your soul.


Ambassador ExtraOrdinary

The other PCs notice the Ambassador-Extraordinary to the Fae Court is much distracted of late. Sometimes the A-E seems to be in a fog, or tired, or generally not themselves. Food is being ignored—always a bad sign with amberite appetites.

Perhaps the A-E is looking a bit pale.

The Khan of the Zhan Zi is known as Shi-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. Shi has taken a shine to the A-E and there are long ‘diplomatic’ sessions in the Black Palace of the Zhan Zi through the prolonged nights there.

Direct questions to the A-E often only garner an enigmatic smile. A very good friend of the PC may find in confidence that there is an affair in progress between Shi and the PC.

Any actions here need to move carefully. The Fae are very different than Amber and have strange magics. One certainly cannot forget that some of the Fae are worshipped by the warrior culture of Ghenesh. The King would not be pleased to be confronted with diplomatic fury as a result from actions of the PCs.

Is some sort of tax being charged of your Cousin? Does the A-E know about it or is she/he fogged by glamour?


A Farewell to Spikards

And how do you verify that weapons put down are really gone? When does a forbidden tactic become viable again? Who watches the watchmen? When the consequences are so far in the past that the present needs to re-learn the lesson, those weapons come back.

IMC, the spikards are forgotten and forbidden. There are very good reasons for not opening the vault and bringing them back into use.

But they are used. In canon.

Would Chaos continue to restrain itself if Corwin and Merlin and Rinaldo use spikards routinely? Would Darrheabarr? Would Glantri?

Is there no way to put the terror of spikard misuse to bed once and for all?

The Lords of the Living Void invite the PCs to go on a surreal journey to un-make the spikards and remove this threat against the future of civilization once and for all.

Volunteers take one step forward.


Chaosi Pilgrammage

Six Chaosi arrive in Amber. They are secret cabalists who (despite Swayville’s outlawing the cult celebration of amberites centuries ago) have made their way, at great cost, to Amber. Now they have a chance to see the Worthies and perhaps take home some exalted experiences.


the Demmed Few!
Restrictions: PC’s must be from Chaos built for 70 pts. Characters submitted to GM prior to convention can be built for 100 pts. No Logrus, no Pattern. Note special costs for powers at web site.

Before your eyes your Chaos Elders incandesced in Logrus-spun fires as the Wavefront passed. Now younger cousins gather your remaining troops and beasts. The Black Road remains yet, but sorcery fails and your flyers have fallen sickened from the horrid blue skies above. Trump does not work. All your Chaser and Guardian demons are black bones but a few Chine survive.Scouting suggests you outnumber the remaining enemy eleven to one. Your allied House commanders confirm none of their Logrus wielders survived the Wavefront. What foul weapons have the Amber madmen loosed? Can you rally before they strike so again?

It falls to you! For your fallen blood! For your House! For Fidelis!

Gerard and his skirmish forces are all that remain between the ragged strength of Chaos and the castle on Kolvir. Your honor demands the enemy shall surrender or perish. What are your orders? Will inexperienced allied officers support you? Can you convince Amber to surrender? The Black Road War shall be won or lost by the Demmed Few.

Broken Logrus is…. what?

You could take the hints of Logrus failures, imperfect Logrus, and various strangenesses of the Abyss and mash them together.LoGaS
Add tobasco sauce…  sorry, copying from Dworkin’s notes here.
We already know there is a pile of skulls outside the entry to the Logrus (I blame Zelazny) and so we can imagine that most forms of imperfect Logrus are even more lethal than Logrus itself. (Red wire? NO BLUE!) After all, even successful Logrus initiates deal with insanity for a long time afterwards.
So cross the streams a bit, look at Umbra from the Lords of Gossamer and Shadows… a power that is guaranteed to make you insane, reveal the flaws in everthing, rewrite you if you receive a near fatal injury, and lose control of your shapeshifting.  That sounds like screwed up Logrus to me.
And also, it is so weak that while it looks powerful to all those shadowfolks, it can be dismissed by Logrus or Pattern.
And it cannot even bring you a pizza.
Of course, if you can find a pizza shop, Broken Logrus Masters never have to PAY for pizza.

LoGaS the powers of gossamer, control of contents


From the community google+
Control of Contents is narrative driven.
Changes follow the flow of powers or disruption results.
Order powers require more context support.
Chaos/Sorcery powers require less context support.
Deletion or Cosmic changes disrupt context.
Context disruption leans to Entropy.
Context is crucial to Order changes and scale requires:

* small changes happen using world pieces in place already
* medium changes build from many small changes or may require the addition of a new world components that facilitate the change–else most folks will know something unique changed. Unless the world is full of unobservant folk (gossamer for dummies).
* large changes build from many medium changes or may require the addition of many new components to facilitate the change.
* cosmic changes guarantee some confusion and chaos. The world may be unrecognizable.

I think each GM would then handle where on the scale the PC proposed change would be.

Netflix Premieres “Daredevil” to Superhero Junkies Everywhere


Watched episode one and it is very good.

Originally posted on The Collective:


I opened my email to the glorious news that all 13 episodes of Daredevil are available to watch now on Netflix and suddenly, I have my weekend all planned out.

Marvel’s Daredevil is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is the first in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. The series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, a lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk as well as Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, Ayelet Zurer, Bob Gunton, Toby Leonard Moore, and Vondie Curtis-Hall.

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Ambercon US 2015 after action report

Ambercon US 2015
after action notes

1 : Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 7pm to midnight

Agents of the Argent Rose: City of Hope

A wide ranging exercise in hurry up and talk to each other. Attacks from last year’s game had only seemed over, but a bigger threat rolled out of the night. The family is big enough and events were busy enough that not everyone was in one place until the end.

Corwin’s secrets are almost all put on the table. Almost.
The Muse Queen appears in Paris to remind Corwin of his obligations.

Next year could be very interesting.
Simone has a birthday. Parties will be everywhere.

R.F. McCaughey

2 : Friday, April 11, 2014 – 9am to 1pm

Infinite Amber: Strange Roads

First time ever game. New faces and old and reworked a PC of mine to work in the wide universe of JP’s Infinite Ambers. Lots of complexity here. Lots of possible enemies and counter forces.

This will be hard to track as a serial game unless I manage to join it consistently. Liked the way it played very much.

J.P. Brannan


3 : Friday, April 11, 2014 – 2pm to 6pm

An Unkindness of Ravens

Low power game where a bit of daring kicks a lot of ass.

This year the team seemed to gel very fast and we just tore into our tasks. Doormen not around, and so we just moved from point to point, ratcheting up the mission points.

Well, we did set ourselves up for some future crunch time with a momma Dragon. Nothing’s perfect.

Erik Florentz
Kit Kindred
David A McCreless

4 : Friday, April 11, 2014 – 8pm to midnight

House of Justice and Doom

Benedict is dead. But the only people who believe it in their hearts are Ben’s kids, who felt him die.

This was very intense roleplay and the scions of Ben challenged the Big Bad straight off head to head. They did not prevail, but they brought a bunch of good intel back to Amber with them.

Then they promptly dared the king’s displeasure, the silver city in the sky, and also the idea that they might be too valuable to be used in pressing Amber’s response on the Big Bad.

Lots of face time, discussing the weaknesses of Amber’s order, lots of context between the kids. Very nice game. While these games are always one shots, this game had serious legs and could be an excellent warfare campaign. I really loved where the Players went with their characters.

R.F. McCaughey

5 : Saturday, April 12, 2014 – 10am to 5pm

The Pendrad: Shining Liquid Universe, Discovery!

Good team. Lots of exploration. Lots of magic and discovery of the possible weaknesses of the Lords of the Gossamer worlds.

And some tricky Fae politics also.

This year the players really did up the arcane weirdness of the Fae really well.

I hope to bring this back again next year.

R.F. McCaughey

6 : Saturday, April 12, 2014 – 7pm to midnight

Lost in Amber

Experiment in time, place, and memory. Players at an Ambercon get walked into the Chronicles of Amber just at the narrative point where Corwin is confronted by Eric in the library.

Hijinks ensue as Players interfere.

Selfies with the Pattern Room are just some of the highlights we got to.
Corwin is very manly, 24/7.
Lots of fun.

You’d be surprised how many important items your memory of the books plays false when you have to figure out ‘what comes next?’

Anne Delekta


7 : Sunday, April 13, 2014 – 11am to 4pm

The Company: Youth Eternal

LOGAS game with the Josiah Company, searching for a lost exploratory team that vanished 2 centuries ago on the Grand Stair.

I made a new PC and was very pleased with the way it worked. The Prof isn’t someone who says a lot or makes a lot of splash, but I felt he was right on target for the scenario.

What helped with that was a really good cast and double GM strength to match the six Players. We had a very sweet team on the stair experience.
This game is a keeper.


Tara Kunkel
Kris Kunkel


8 : Sunday, April 12, 2014 – 7pm to midnight

The Soft Cimmerian: DeathGlass

Anyone who has been following this Rebma game since 2008 knows this is a very eccentric bit of RP. The Amber/Rebma characters are not center stage, but the Knights of the Afanc Glass are.

We started early, opening the game at 6PM. We ran a whole bunch of Gallant family RPing until about 1220AM until we struck the plot square on. In that six hours, we covered kids, politics, inheritance, ancient history, marriage, love, and we invented a new “most important attribute” for the character sheets. Much of the theme danced with Rebma’s true relationship with Amber instead of the one that gets glossed over in the novels.

We also demonstrated that Llewella and Moire do things very differently and advice from one does not work with plans of the other.

At the point where some serious treason talk was being thrown around, the Gallants sat down with the Queen and talked her through a new approach to diplomacy with Amber. And it worked very well. It also kept Bleys out of the story, which saved the GM about 2 hours of hijinks.

And then Random wants to know what Queen Moire is doing attacking Chaos with a ‘DeathGlass’ when there is a peace treaty. Oops!

Fantastic group of Players. I must consider closing this game to new faces, as this year was the first time I bent reality (the original premise) to allow an extra spouse in the poly-marriage. No end game in sight here. I’ll run this as long as the original players want to see it.


R.F. McCaughey

Doors and doors, LoGaS

From the kickstarter page for Lords of Gossamer and Shadow


Jason Durall pointed out.

Bridging Doors. While Wardens are limited to Doors that lead to-and-from the Grand Stair, Masters know how to connect two doors in a single Gossamer world together so that they are directly linked, opening from one to another. To do this, the Master must be physically present at one of the doors to be linked (which must be closed) and concentrates on the other door to be linked. This can take a few minutes, less so with a strong mental impression of the other door, and even less with a direct psychic or magic link to the other place. These doors only open from one door within a Gossamer world to another place on the same Gossamer world. They can never bridge worlds.

Bridged doors lack the invulnerability of Doors on the Grand Stair, and they can be accessed and affected by any Warden or Master. These bridged doors are rarely permanent, and the duration will last only so long as the Master desires, usually a matter of days. Making a permanent bridge between two mundane doors takes considerably longer, a process measured in days rather than minutes.

This ability needs some thought, it can be powerful enough to break a lot of scenarios a GM might normally organize.

More later