17 canon attrib

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

Amber revised :: coup

Story Games for everybody! – Designing a social combat system that doesn’t suck
If you have membership to the forum, you might have an interest in the above.
As it relates to Amber diceless revised? Social conflicts can be cool. How do you support a PC with in-game resources to explore social conflict? In my revised version, PCs have an attribute call Coup.


Amber Diceless: niche protection

Amber Diceless as designed provides four parallel lines for attribute conflicts. As we’ve discussed here a few times, in actual play it seems that this usually comes out as one attribute (Warfare) for conflict and two for ‘also rans’ and Endurance being a sometimes tie-breaker (but mostly not in actual play.)
…anecdotes being the usual analysis.


Amber DRPG :: revised :: 17 canon attributes playtested

Thoughts acquired by running my ‘revised ADRPG’ at the con:

  • it seemed to work as well as the base version
  • it seemed the Players understood the attributes (the questions were the expected, mirror, binding, secrets, discovery and other.)
  • it seemed the PCs tried new competent acts based on the attributes
  • The last being perhaps the most significant. If Players have a gut reaction to advantage and use, then I’ve done the right thing.

Here’s the card the ‘Stairway Perilous!’ game used:
The canon elder pictured on the front of each card had ‘five legend words’ and a picture. I noticed that after 15 to 30 minutes of play, no one really had to consult their character card.
The GM had a master sheet of values and I needed to check it several times during events. This all worked well for me.
I broke up the first card design based on visual cues, trying to highlight the ‘new’ stuff. I also wanted to put attributes that would usually be blank on the right side of the card where they were visually out of the way. Jewel attunement doesn’t come up often. Logrus is rare in most games, etc.

Ambercon US 2007 :: the games

slot one: The Summer Queen
Arnoldi / Zimmerman
Two GMs take on the notion that the complete health of a supernatural couple is also tangled in the meaning of seasons, bounty of the fae realms and well being in the mortal lands.
The Summer Queen, Titania, is ailing. Can you make a difference?
The best part here for me was the mix of a mortal to play off the fairies. Unexpectedly, my PC, Powll, was assigned to bring the mortal to court. (Last minute, I also learned there was another Phouka in the cast.) So I “tamped down” the wildness associated with Phouka’s and acted responsibly (for Fae) as court messenger.
So Lord Powll got the girl, led the princess to court and started to earn her trust.
It became a verbal challenge for me to keep Princess Tribute (not her real name, you have to be careful with names) informed about events beyond her understanding. So my PC kept a light banter with the mortal through many scenes, acting as mentor.
Tribute (Jill) turned this into huge fun by blinking, pausing and asking for more explanations. Which this humble player then turned all twisty by revealing more ludicrous complexity.
The cast was terrific, with plenty of sexy interactions with plot. Cool start to the con. I’d love to see more mature games where personal interactions and imperfect solutions are involved like this game.
I realized once at the game that my first slot has been with Mr. Arnoldi through several years. He does a good setup and blurb. I was jokingly labeled ‘a stalker.’


Amber DRPG :: revised expansion Warfare

In reference to my previous ideas about Amber v2, I’ve recently read the persuasive comments about flaws in the original Amber Diceless by Mike Sullivan.
He’s right on target.
One thing that jumped out at me about Mike’s comments (and he just sticks to the original elements and doesn’t propose new elements as I’ve done) is that Warfare takes up a huge amount of the book narrative in all ten books, while the game choices for Warfare PCs are spare compared to arcane powers.
Mike recommends ‘specialization’ and I’ve added some of those options in convention games, such as a PC is allowed to buy a point or more of expertise to up-rank themselves (“I’m the best with ‘fast draw’.”) But in the new expansion I’m thinking of, I haven’t noted expertise rules.
So here are those ideas expanded now.