Set in Amber: Actions and Consequences


What are actions?

  • A PC can do just about anything that is mundane and unopposed. A roll will only be needed if failure is potentially interesting. If you want to go hunting or mountain climbing, there will probably not be a roll for success. If you want to go poaching in the primal forest or climbing the castle walls at night, there probably will be.
  • There is pretty much free play in the world. There are younger and older characters but there is no XP and no advancement by levels, and even a beginning PC can be very powerful. They are designed to get straight into the world, and they can be put in danger from the very first session. However, they can also put other people in danger. It is quite possible to speak with gods, fight vampires, or be insulted by Princes without having to consider challenge levels or difficulty of the 'encounter'. Your reply is up to you, and actions are not forced, but some may be dangerous.
  • Actions that have happened in play are down below.

What are consequences?

  • Consequences are what happen because of actions. You do something, and there are consequences. Sometimes these are very small. Sometimes they are big. The GM will try to flag up, IC or OOC, if you are heading towards massive danger, but works on a 'two strikes and you're fair game' model. You should in general be warned before the second strike.
  • In general, the harder a thing is, the bigger the consequences, and vice versa. An NPC with a target number of 12 will have a lot of sway, while a group of mooks rated at 6 likely have no friends at all. The harder the foe, the greater the risk, but the greater the reward.
  • The system does not have hit points or easy ways of measuring damage. Instead, it can be loosely broken down into decisions and consequences. There are very few randomising factors, but when they occur they are almost always at a point of interest or conflict. Conflicts usually depend on a single die roll, but the framework of the game is very open and all sorts of conflicts are possible. Below are some examples of play, and the mechanics page expands further.

Examples From Play

Alean was in a dangerous land on a mission that could easily kill people, and he was already badly hurt. He was offered the chance to be spared if he would kill others and refused. Brave death.

Graben killed a prisoner in a way that identified him to those in the know, and the prisoner turned out to be a friend of Prince Caine. Graben later went into a situation where he knew Caine was involved, as he had been asked to get in Caine's way. They met, they fought, and Caine won. Graben was captured and retired. A chain of decisions led further and further towards a bad result.

Lord Flash refused to kill someone to obtain an item of great power, preferring to force his way through shadow. This resulted in him gaining the item but it already being attuned to him, and thus not useful for its purpose.

Flash later talked to a death god, and walked away entirely unharmed, and with some information.

Angus is known to talk to the Jaguar God, and is always respectful, and always brings a sacrifice.

A PC who had elected to protect his wounded father, despite being badly wounded himself, was killed. His father survived.

Caine had Angus in chains and promised that if Angus got out, Caine would hurt him. Then he handed Angus the key. Angus did not use it.

Brand, a Prince of Amber, tried to kill Flash after offering to talk, and Flash got away. Later, Brand was killed through Flash's actions, and the decision hinged on the earlier scene.

The monk Shi Fu tried to kill Gerard, who batted away the weapon and laughed away the attempt. Shi Fu tried again and this time Gerard took umbrage and Shi Fu was forced to flee Amber, retiring as a character.

Prince Caine attempted to kill someone he thought was spying on him, only to find out that they were not human and were very very hard to kill. Caine was badly hurt.

What does this mean?

There are very few clean-cut moral decisions, and there is no pre-set force of good or evil in the universe. The game is about consequences, and anyone can fail or succeed. However, the stakes for PCs are that sometimes, the consequence is a horrible death. Sometimes it is tea, medals, and being noticed for your competence and sent out to try that again. Anyone, from the King down, can fuck up. Anyone is in with a chance in most situations, and most power levels are not hugely disparate, but the price for that is PCs being sensible about how often they can cheat the odds.
The general rule is that if you make two stupid mistakes, you can die. However, one stupid mistake or one moment of insane bravery in a dangerous place can sometimes lead to death. If the GM asks 'are you sure?' or gives you a moment to think about things, think about them very hard indeed.