IMC :: Attribute domains

One thing you will see much of if you are cruising the web for the recent news about GoO taking on the publish of Amber v2 :
Attributes suck.


Endurance is too weak.
Strength is unuseable.
Psyche makes puppets of your fellow Players.
Warfare does everything too well.
Stuff is dumb and shouldn’t affect PC interpretation by others.
IMC, we’ve never had such problems—for in fact—the Attributes do not suck. Attributes are glorious and yet sublime. Any simple system can be abused if you don’t give a damn about the consequences to narrative.
When the game of Amber is run as a ‘zero-sum’ exercise, and the GM cannot tell stories about anything but Warfare, then Attributes except Warfare suck.
I almost think it is that simple. Can you weave in an Endurance theme to your campaign? Can your narrative show the awesome power of Strength? Is the only kind of Psyche story about puppeting characters?
Because as I said once on the AmberMailingList:
“Attributes empower the PC’s ideas and allow realization of plans. Each Attribute has cunning, dexterity, speed, and a plethora of uses both subtle and brash. While the Psyche monster can set out to threaten other characters, so can the Warfare monster or the Strength monster. Even Ms. Endurance monster can get away with this if that is the nature of the narrative—though imagination is stretched to make this use of the most internal Attribute of all.”
I always imagine the five Attributes (including Stuff) to be the axis of conflict for the narrative. Dramatic conflict.
In many game systems, warfare is the only conflict and all other things revolve around it. So these are the stories easily told.
The hard part is balancing the stories between the five so that they seem to have meaning that relates. So that the Strength narrative isn’t constantly ignored in favor of the Warfare narrative.

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4 comments

  1. “I always imagine the five Attributes (including Stuff) to be the axis of conflict for the narrative. Dramatic conflict.”
    Indeed. In my ADRPG game, my prickly teenaged PC is letting another PC — who slightly edges her out in both Psyche and Warfare — “spar” with her psychically (for practice, in case they ever get mentally attacked by someone malicious) even though she knows she can’t beat him. This is a HUGE big deal for her, because Eve doesn’t like to lose.
    In fact, the only reason she is letting him get so close to her is that she knows she could pin him to the wall and rip out his intestines with her bare hands if she needed to. 🙂
    So even though Strength may not ever enter into the scene directly, the mere possibility of its use is what allowed the scene to happen in the first place….

  2. Indirect drama, that is an Excellent example of hidden confidence and consequence.
    At ACUS, I had a PC who used her low Psyche and high Endurance to get the jump on a cousin and bash his forehead in while in the “throes” of a Trump led Psyche assault.
    He went down. She ended the ‘fake’ Trump call.

  3. In my old FTF campaign, Endurance was the stat that the most points were spent on. So one could say the theme of my campaign was ‘putting up with shit.’

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