Game Sparks

convention-al gaming meme

Yes, there is a meme going around where you name 10 bands you’ve seen in concert except one is a false flag. Or you name 10 RPGs you’ve played and one isn’t true.
So here you go, somehow when I woke this morning, I had a list of games I’ve offered at Ambercons. But which one is fake? How many have you enjoyed?

House of Justice and Doom
House of Intrigue and Foxes
House of Midnight and Fire
To Gran Ma Mare’s House we go…
Changing Hands
The Pendrad
House of Shroudlings: a Farewell to Spikards
House of Daring and Laughter
The Black Watch Must Die!
StairWay Perilous!
The Dead Tell ‘Know Tales’
When you have Illuminated the Impossible
Empire of the Gleaming Banner
Bloody Grievance
Five Sides to Every Story
Agents of the Argent Rose
Clandestine Chronicles of the Cobalt Charter
The Soft Cimmerian

Oh… well ten or eighteen the list size does not matter. Have fun!

No, there is not a prize for finding the fake one.

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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.

Again.
Again.
Again.

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.

Ready.
Set.
Go.

 

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.

Unthinkable.

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 Pilgrimage

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.

Ambercon US 2015 after action report

Ambercon US 2015
after action notes

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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.

GMs
R.F. McCaughey

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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.

GMs
J.P. Brannan

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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.

GMs
Erik Florentz
Kit Kindred
David A McCreless
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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.

GMs
R.F. McCaughey

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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.

GMs
R.F. McCaughey

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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?’

GMs
Anne Delekta

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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.

GMs

Tara Kunkel
Kris Kunkel

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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.

GMs

R.F. McCaughey

ambercon 2010 : final games

Slot 1) Agents of the Argent Rose: “City of Ghosts” (gm – arref)
France. The year is 1923. An age of wonder and contentment has come upon the world. The modern vision of great bards like Jules Verne has begun to see realization. The world hub for artistry, genius, and innovation is the banks of the river Seine. Paris.
You have been asked to oversee the journey home of the Chin Emperor’s daughter as she returns the embassy to China. Private orders, insure that Stigmatist radicals do not interfere with this event and thereby breach a long-standing alliance between China and France.
But along the way there is a new mission from a Family Ghost!
Your mission, keep the peace and support the Great Republic. The Argent Alliance, the honor of your family and innocent lives may hang in the balance.
Slot 2) playing something
Slot 3) playing something
Slot 4) House of Midnight and Fire (gm – arref)
Every player is a scion of the late King of Amber. Every player has access to the secret resources your father, Eric, passed on to you to use in case of his death, for the enemies of Amber are many. But a usurper named Random sits on the throne now. Your father’s advisers believe the time is right to reinstate the true blood.
Will you make war on Random or find another way? Can you get your sibs to support your plan?
Soon the House of Midnight and Fire shall reclaim the throne of Amber!
Slot 5) Clandestine Chronicles of the Cobalt Charter (gm – arref)
Once more the secret order of shadow rogues tries to hold the universe a more just place.
returning players first choice
The Cobalt Charter binds them in Blood. It is a group of women that meets in a masked and hidden place under the turnings of a broken sky. Born in many Shadows, they come together under the Very Watch of great kingdoms to work their Secret Will upon Shadow. Having agreed to their Will, they act and suffer no man or god to stand in their way.
Slot 6) playing something
Slot 7) Changing Hands (gm – arref)
King Random needs the shadows searched for signs of Chaos perfidy. You get the job.
Slot 8) The Soft Cimmerian: ‘Mirror Teeth’ (gm – arref)
Special game exploring Rebma’s secrets and the Gallants of the Glass. Returning players only…and perhaps One new Player.
Having rescued Mad Alyse from the interior of the Afanc Looking Glass, the Rebman Aoife shall use the information the Sea hag has learned to recover the Bones of Lir from the Plundering Chaosi in the Land Where Shadows Lie.
Beware the Guisels of the Great Ones of R’lyeh.
Once more, the clever Aoife act to save the foundations of Rebma! Prior reading of ‘Alyse through the Afanc Glass’ by Llewes Carroll is not required. Zelazny canon game.
lewis carrollalice in wonderland

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ambercon 2010 – first draft

Not sure where to put this…and if anyone is reading it. However, since we are at the 12th hour and I just started thinking about it… well, yes, I’m planning on Ambercon 2010 and here are the games (first draft):
Slot 1) Agents of the Argent Rose: “City of Ghosts” (gm – arref)
Paris, 1923, and Corwin‘s descendants hold the brighter world safe
returning players first choice
Slot 2) playing something
Slot 3) playing something
Slot 4) A Full House (gm – arref)
Every player is a scion of the late King of Amber. Every player has access to the secret resources your father, Eric, passed on to you to use in case of his death, for the enemies of Amber are many. But a usurper named Random sits on the throne now. Your father’s advisers believe the time is right to reinstate the true blood. Will you make war on Random or find another way? Can you get your sibs to support your plan?
Slot 5) Clandestine Chronicles of the Cobalt Charter (gm – arref)
Once more the secret order of shadow rogues tries to makeover the universe as a more just place.
returning players first choice
Slot 6) playing something
Slot 7) Changing Hands (gm – arref)
King Random needs the shadows searched for signs of Chaos perfidy. You get the job.
Slot 8) The Soft Cimmerian: ‘Mirror Teeth’ (gm – arref)
Special game exploring Rebma’s secrets and the Gallants of the Glass. Returning players only…and perhaps One new Player.

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The Soft Cimmerian: ‘Go Ask Alyse’

Possible Rebman game for next year’s ACUS!
A group of the Aoife enter the Afanc Glass to question Alyse, find the resting place of Lir’s bones, desecrated by the Chaosi several centuries past and steal back the Vorpal Blade from a cunning guisel.
Once in the Labyrinth, the Aoife find the Cheshire Puss in the midst of exploring R’lyeh to wake the Great Ones to destroy the Fomoire, but this act may undo a balance 1600 years old.
Will the foundations of Rebma be saved?

(more…)