Amber DRPG
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Basic Information

Amber is a Diceless RPG, written by Erick Wujcik, and based on the ten Amber novels by Roger Zelazny.

Amber is the one true world, the shining Center of the Universe, even if the rest of the Universe hasn't figured that out yet. It's a fantasy world, where gunpowder and automobile engines don't work. The Royal Family of Amber has the ability to walk the Parallel Worlds of the Universe, and seek out anything they desire. They accomplish this by means of magical design (or maybe Alien Geometry) known as The Pattern, the prime manifestation of which is a glowing tracery on the floor of a chamber in the dungeons of Castle Amber. The Pattern, and their royal blood, so empowers the Amberites to mold reality that they regard the rest of the universe as merely Shadows cast by Amber, semi-real shadow-stuff which will distort itself to match their whims.

At the opposite end of the universe lies The Courts Of Chaos, the ancient enemy of Amber. The first five books, after a good deal of meandering and several red herrings, are eventually revealed to be the tale of an attempt by Chaos to overthrow Amber and boil away the universe. Prior to that revelation, the story (especially the first two books) was one of vengeance and sibling rivalry. The main character wakes up in a hospital with amnesia, and strives to figure out how he got there, and what to do to the dastardly relative who put him there.

"I am going to tell you something Benedict should have told you long ago," I said. "Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe."

"You really mean that, don't you?"


"Yourself included?"

I smiled.

"Of course it does not apply to me. I am the soul of honor, kindness, mercy, and goodness. Trust me in all things."

- Exchange between Corwin and Dara, in The Guns Of Avalon by Roger Zelazny

The second five books detail the next generation of the Royal Family, and the various elements of fall-out from the first tale. They are told from the point of view of a character whose background lies at the other end of the universe, so the perspective is rather different. These later tales are also "higher" fantasy, with more prominently positioned magic and technology.

Tropes appropriate to Amber:

The first five books provide examples of :

To that already complicated tropescape, books 6-10 (the Merlin series) add the following:

In addition, just about any Fantasy, Otherworld Tropes, Betrayal Tropes, and Royalty And Nobility Tropes fit the setting. Since the game involves parallel worlds and dimension-hopping, you could probably justify the inclusion of any trope you had your eye on.

The main thing to remember is that the majority of the universe is "merely shadow", and that the only thing that can really compete with an Amberite is another Amberite. As illustrated by the quote above, the Royal Family is constantly plotting, scheming, backstabbing and besting one another. Character Creation is set up to capture this feel - you compete (in what's known as the "Attribute Auction") with the other players to be The Best in four different fields, establishing rivalries before the first scene. It's a fairly high-powered game, in that being an olympic medalist, nobel-winning scientist, qualified surgeon, and career military officer, are all free - character points are spent for real power. The game tends to be less "party" oriented than the typical RPG, and more about pursuing individual goals (often at cross-purposes) and power.

Amber, Amethyst, Argent, Dark Amber

Not all Amber campaigns take place in the default Amber universe. A campaign based in a radically different version of the universe with no (or a significantly different) Royal Family of Amber is often referred to as an Amethyst campaign, sometimes even featuring a Royal Family of Amethyst. A campaign that revolves around Corwin's Universe, where the PCs are the sons and daughters of the main character of the first five books, living in the other reality that was created when Corwin drew his own Pattern in book 5, is often called Argent, after Corwin's silver heraldry. A sinister or corrupted version of the setting, where Brand and/or Chaos won the war, is sometimes called Dark Amber.

Because of the variation in tone (Chaos is no longer alien)] and physical laws (Logrus, Living Trump, Undershadow, etc)] between the first five and second five novels, some Amber campaigns draw more heavily from one set of the other. In fact, some campaigns go so far as to label Merlin's tale non-canonical, or brand Corwin a liar. This is perfectly natural and in keeping with the setting, as the books are full of lies, manipulation, and big reveals of the true nature of the cosmos - it sometimes feels like every 50 pages the laws of reality have changed. The main rulebook makes great use of this Unreliable Narrator notion to posit several different versions of each of the major NPCs.


1. RPG: Amber DRPG by Erick Wujcik
2. Sourcebook: Shadow Knight
3. Novels: The Chronicles Of Amber by Roger Zelazny. Start with Nine Princes In Amber.
5. TV Tropes Wiki - Their version of the above trope list indicates which books, scenes, or characters utilize which tropes.

Game and Story Use

  • Since Amberites can walk between worlds and find anything they desire, Amber can serve as a meta-setting for a campaign. When the players have reached the pinnacle of power in their own little world, you can open them up to something much grander in their heritage than they'd previously imagined.
  • Or a single Amber NPC can crash their world. Amber has some great established NPCs, royal bastards the whole lot of them, with complex motivations, tons of power, and very little sympathy.
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