Mechanics

Attributes and Rankings

There are four attributes: Strength, Psyche, Endurance and Warfare. Each may be assigned points which will correspond to various rankings/tiers:

+8 Legendary 130 points High Amber Rank
+7 Epic 105 points High Amber Rank
+6 Fantastic 80 points High Amber Rank
+5 Superb 60 points Medium Amber Rank
+4 Great 40 points Medium Amber Rank
+3 Good 30 points Low Amber Rank
+2 Fair 20 points Low Amber Rank
+1 Average 10 points Low Amber Rank
0 Mediocre 0 points Base Amber Rank
-1 Poor -10 points Chaos Rank
-2 Terrible -25 points Human Rank

Attributes can be purchased at an intermediate point level (e.g 45 points); you will be slightly better than the next rank lower than you, but still far inferior to the next highest rank. However, this is both a way to get an edge and also a way to ‘bank points’.

Powers

Pattern Imprint (50 pts)

Trump Artistry (40 pts)

Shapeshifting (35 pts)

A Note on Magic

In this campaign, magic will be somewhat more potent than in the ADRPG rules, so I am inflating the cost somewhat of the basic powers. Sorcery is incredibly slow and taxing, but can create powerful enchantments that can challenge or manipulate even Pattern or Trump, especially if such other Sources are incorporated in the workings. Conjuration can craft items or summon creatures without needing to ride across Shadow and these creations, although not as personal as Artifacts, can still be very formidable. Power Words, while relatively minor in scope, can still provide a significant edge through just a quick utterance.

Sorcery (25 pts)

Conjuration (25 pts)

Power Words (10 pts)

Advanced Powers

There are advanced versions of the above as well as some other powers (Jewel Attunement, Logrus), but they are not initially available to PCs.

Artifacts, Creatures, Resources, Shadows

These represent something you have invested points into to make them Real/Permanent. They represent various boons or edges and will also help define your PC’s style and presence and include items, beasts, people (benefactors or agents), personal Shadows where you might rule or raise armies, places of Power, etc.

Investment in a blade like Grayswandir will grant you various abilities when you wield it (improved combat prowess and damage, mortal damage against certain Chaos/Shadow creatures, ability to interact with Tir Na Nog’th, etc.) as well as an affinity to it which makes it extremely difficult to lose.
Of course, you could just walk in Shadow and find a weapon of your desire, but it would not be yours – it could break, be stolen, have a fatal flaw, be intelligent and try to control you, etc. Moreover, such things are ephemeral and meaningless – they are simple tools that do not define your character.
In contrast, all the land knows that Julian rides Morganstern, a great locomotive of a horse that will run down pretty much anything out of Shadow.

Partial Powers

As with Attributes, you can apply more or less points to a particular power to have greater or lesser expertise in that area of study. Someone with 45 points in Pattern Imprint, for example, might be able to use all Pattern Imprint abilities but at a much greater cost/difficulty. Someone with 25 points in Trump Artistry may not yet have learned the secrets to drawing Trumps, but have mastered certain aspects of Trump control such as Sensing Trump or Trump Identification.

Similarly, Artifacts/Creatures/etc. can be purchased at lesser or greater cost, incorporating flaws and enhancements that inherently affect their value. Benedict’s Silver Arm may have been something like this, a formidable prosthesis yet not always entirely under his control – and possibly at risk of controlling him…

Aspects

Aspects are a way of enhancing or emphasizing a given skill or power in situational circumstances. They add flavor to the character and can be a way for someone to exceed their ranking or ability given the proper conditions.
All players start with 5-10 Aspects and can gain more through role-playing and advancement.
Of course, some Aspects may have negative connotations as well (though they need not).
Examples:
Stubborn as a Mule – you are set in your ways and it can be difficult to change your mind. You may get a bonus against manipulation and in psychic combat. On the other hand, your narrow perspective may keep you from noticing certain subtleties.
Crack Shot – You are a master of ranged weapons, especially under pressure of the quick draw or duels. On the other hand, a trained sniper may still get the better of you given time and patience…

Flaws

You can take a couple character flaws that give you a significant disadvantage. These can be worth 5 or 10 ‘bonus points’ each, giving you more points to work with initially. However:

  • They must give flavor to the character (much like Aspects)
  • They must be exploitable and not just flaws in name (i.e. these are real disadvantages that could cost you something)
  • They will not simply go away by buying them off at a later point; to overcome these Flaws, you must overcome them in the course of role-play, possibly even requiring some sort of major quest or challenge.

Stuff

When all is said and done, you can have up to 3 points “Stuff” – positive or negative – representing your characters’ fortune/luck. “Good Stuff” means you are blessed by fortune, whereas “Bad Stuff” evokes a cloud of misfortune hanging around you.
“Stuff” need not reflect your PCs’ outlook – you can be an optimist that just seems to have bad things happen to you. Or you may be a dark and brooding outlaw who miraculously always stays a few steps ahead of consequence of your actions.
If you choose not to take any “Stuff”, you are a master of your own destiny, make your own luck, whatever the cliché…

Mechanics

A Shadow Across Amber Dreamline