This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: A few questions  (Read 6978 times)

jibbajibba

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9096
A few questions
« Reply #105 on: April 07, 2010, 09:23:11 AM »
Quote from: warp9;372089
Quite possibly.


Yes, that is basically what I'm suggesting.


The spells themselves have to be taken in the proper context. I would tend to place both spells and sorcery in the realm of "window-dressing."


Going with this view of things, those shadow-beings have no real power, and can't have an impact on a real battle. Corwin might as well attack with an army of imaginary friends.




I would assume that such a game would almost require a that the PCs be "real" meaning they would all either be Princes of Amber, or Lords of Chaos.



The best analogy I can think of to another RPG is the way character function in the virtual reality of the matrix in Shadowrun (at least in earlier editions of the game). The matrix persona and weapons the character carries are symbolic of deeper abilities. A character with a rating 6 attack program loaded up may be symbolized by an avatar with a sword, or a gun, or an axe. But that is only a reflection (or shadow) of the real power of the attack algorithm. An elaborate looking weapon is only window dressing, and no matter how impressive it looks, it actually means nothing.


In many ways, this set-up comes fairly close to what I'm describing for the Amber game.



In the situation I'm suggesting, finding an army of Black Bolts is no harder than finding an army of purple chihuahuas.



I thought that was about it.
That would be a very differnt game. Different from the ADRPG and different from the books. I think to a large extent you would be 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water' . For me one of the keys to Amber is that the characters are very real and for al their powers very grounded. I also think that what you describe comes close to what I understand Nobilis is about and moves you a long way from some of the basics of the Amberverse.
No longer living in Singapore
Method Actor-92% :Tactician-75% :Storyteller-67%:
Specialist-67% :Power Gamer-42% :Butt-Kicker-33% :
Casual Gamer-8%


GAMERS Profile
Jibbajibba
9AA788 -- Age 45 -- Academia 1 term, civilian 4 terms -- $15,000

Cult&Hist-1 (Anthropology); Computing-1; Admin-1; Research-1;
Diplomacy-1; Speech-2; Writing-1; Deceit-1;
Brawl-1 (martial Arts); Wrestling-1; Edged-1;

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #106 on: April 07, 2010, 10:48:38 AM »
Quote from: jibbajibba;372096
I thought that was about it.
That would be a very differnt game. Different from the ADRPG and different from the books. I think to a large extent you would be 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water' . For me one of the keys to Amber is that the characters are very real and for al their powers very grounded. I also think that what you describe comes close to what I understand Nobilis is about and moves you a long way from some of the basics of the Amberverse.

I agree. It does go a ways from the ADRPG and from the books.

Croaker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 616
A few questions
« Reply #107 on: April 08, 2010, 01:15:19 PM »
Quote from: jibbajibba;371858
But equally saying okay a world with dragons is fine , dragons are inherrent so are free however free dragons can't travel to Amber and keep their powers, doesn't feel right either as asking for 'meta' stuff like gunpowder that works in Amber or a dragon that works in Amber doesn't fit the books and why does a dragon from shadow loose its power when a horse from shadow is fine. :)

I don't see why.

A gun's abilities are a function of local shadow laws. So is a dragon's breath. Take these away, and both gun and dragon lose their powers.

So you'll say, what about the flight? Yeah, what about it. Do you really think a creature as massive could fly? This is supported by magic (and thus, local shadow laws). Take that away, it won't fly.
You've also got the question of a dragon's life. If it requires local magic to live, it will sicken and die outside of its home shadow.
If you want a dragon that don't conform to these (like, he's his own magical generator), this already becomes far more improbable, and then, you use the points to determine the time it takes, just as wujcik said.

Thing is, again, Amber defines the standard, what you'll find in most shadows. But there'll be shadows where local laws just don't allow oxygen to be breathable, for exemple, but people will be able to "breathe" magic. A horse would die there, while a dragon could be fine.

I really, really, don't see the problem here, at least so long as no one is trying to be a jerk and munchkinny about it (but you can have these players, with similar effects, in any system, this is not a flaw of Amber)
Quote from: Evermasterx;371899
15 days to find him and to convince him to be your dragon via roleplaying of course. I don't think it's too much time, if you include the time to interact with him.

This is really, really important.

The more powerfull something will be, the more rare it'll be, the more difficult it'll be to find one that's naturally well-disposed towards you.
I mean, if 1/1000 human finds you naturally great, no problem. There are lots of these in shadow, so, statistically, you're sure there are some. But exceptionnal humans? Say, how many Bruce Lee did we see? And he was just a 1-point creature. Let's be generous and say 2. You get the idea.
Quote from: jibbajibba;371906
I totlaly beleive that in the books Corwin could have got to a Pern like shadow from Amber in far less than 2 weeks. I suspect once outside the limits of Arden he would have been there in a day and that isn't one dragon that is a horde (or maybe even shadow wide) of Dragon ( for a x3/4 multiplier = 6 - 8 weeks ) .

I can cross my town very center in about 15 minutes.

There's a guy I know which lives in it. I don't know where. If I look at each house, I'll find him. But it'll take me far more time than to simply cross the town center.
On the other hand, if I just want someone, anyone, I only have to ring the next door.

In Amber? This is like finding an exceptionnal army (which no one does) vs finding an army (which corwin does). You'll notice he just seeks out men loyal to him, he doesn't even specify their appearance (which could have been a problem if he wanted them to become spies).

Even admitting he went to Pern, this'd have been useless if:
- They didn't want to follow him. He'd need a Pern with people loyal to him. This already becomes less probable
- Their dragons just fell outside their own shadow, deprived of the local laws that allowed their unconscious psychic power/magic/unobtainium bones to support them.
Quote from: warp9;372058
I can imagine having a GM decide to go by the points, and have one PC take forever to find an iron golem out in shadow. And then later have a different PC easily find a D&D type shadow, where the character then uses his vast wealth (pretty much a given for Amberites) to buy an iron golem from some powerful wizard. That would not make any sense, and be unfair to the guy who spent forever looking for the iron golem.

Absolutely not.

That first golem would be, say, directly powered by his home shadow (like a construct's manifestation), or whatever, allowing him to work a long time.
That second would rely on D&D-specific spells and enchantments that'd soon fail him.
Quote from: warp9;372062
But there is a difference between explanations which actually make a fair amount of sense, and techno-babble.

Throwing out scientific sounding explanations, which only make sense if you don't think about them, is in the realm of tech-babble.

Then, you're denying one of Zelazny's basic tenets of Amber, which is that shadows have different physical laws and may vary widely in this.

Fine by you, but then, it is no longer Amber.

And if I may? I'm not knowledgeable enough about the universe and Physics to say this isn't possible. Are you? Really? I remind you again, the existence of Ether was scientific knowledge, saying anything else was "wrong". Even if you're knowledgeable enough, why would this be different with shadow laws and you couldn't be wrong?
And even if, really, sure, it's impossble, what's to say this isn't imposed by the Pattern/logrus? This is "magic-babble", of course

Sigh... I'm sorry, but it seems to me you're the only one creating your problems here, by searching a kind of scientific caution for Amber. I don't think you'll find it. Even Azimov, who was a real scientist, happened to be proven wrong at times by reality.
If I may, when playing Star Wars RPG, do you deny FTL travel and space dogfight as tech-babble and impossible? This is similar. You'd be ruining your game and fun there, and you are now.
Quote from: warp9;372062
Here the difference is between accepting the existence of unknown forces, powers (trumps and magic), vs dealing with things which seem to contradict what I know (guns are dependent on physical laws, where as horses are not).

There are definitely some other possible explanations for why horses work in Amber but guns do not, but there is some baggage which goes along with those explanations.

Well, you know that this'd require these unknown forces to locally modify physics around each gun that fired?

How difficult is that to believed compared to something like "in this universe, sulfur atoms gain 1 more electron, which changes them enough so that gunpowder don't explode"?

And I'm asking you AGAIN.
Are you absolutely, positively, 100% sure (at least, as far as today's science can be) that it is impossible for any physical constant whatsoever (be it atomic mass, electric charge, gravity, planck constant, conductivity, those unseen dimensions, the cords too, quantum physics, whatever... There are an awful lot of these) to be different enough so that horses will be fine while gunpowder won't explode?
Quote from: warp9;372064
I'll go to a place where I have cosmic genie powers, and create archangels.

Sure, although you're already exanding the bounds of what is possible for you to do.
But just as your cosmic genie powers, these won't be real. And thus won't exist outside that shadow.

What bugger me, though is, I was trying to explain to you, not give a perfect exemple, but knew I'd have that kind of reply instead
Quote from: warp9;372064
Since everything exists, I'll find a magic potion, which gives anybody who drinks it the power of flight, and fly that way.

lol funny.
You do realize, of course, that this is casuistics? You're in fact searching for a magic power, the potion is just a special effect. In both cases, you're trying to "screw the DM".

I'm not trying to provide perfect exemple, just to explain to you the difference between being able to do anything you wanna do and to find any thing you wanna find.
Even IRL, you have this difference. But, well, I'm talking to the wind.
Quote from: warp9;372066
My problem is more with a T-rex, or an electric eel, losing their abilities.

My problem is also with the idea that Amberites can specifically search for things which are "universal." Other than with some very specific instances (like cars, or gun-powder), this issue really isn't dealt with very much in the books.

Oh, that?

Of the 2, the eel is probably the most tricky, because of it's electric abilities. A T-Rex could probably live in Amber. I don't have any problem with it. The eel, I'm not sure, IIRC, there's a problem in Amber with electricty, so it might lose its powers at least somewhat.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean (In fact, I don't thing I understand it at all), but if it's such a problem, disallow it! I've told you before: In your game, you're not constrained to follow any of amber rules and tropes. Even if it has nothing to do with Amber in the end, this is your game, and what's important is for you and your players to have fun.
Quote from: jibbajibba;372081
Now I note that you throw up obstacles but you aren't really laying down many solutions. How you you cost that red dragon? An army of Angels?

Yes, I've noticed that too, which has induced me to become angry and unnerved in my replies, even if I'm trying not to be :(.

Warp, you may not have realized it, but this attitude sounds very antagonistic.
Quote from: jibbajibba;372081
The inherent natural abilities of a creature are free. Natural abilities include -

    * Intelligence
    * Strength due to size - so a horse is as strong as a horse and a T-Rex is as strong as a 50 feet giant lizard, but superman's strength is not natural as it goes beyond the strength for a mansized creature
    * Movement - as based on a natural thing, so a hawk can fly at engine speed becuase they can, a dragon can fly , a horse can gallop etc

Sounds fine by me, although I base their "natural abilities" under what they'd get in Amber, the real world.
Quote from: warp9;372086
All creatures and items are free.

A Prince of Amber is kind of like an iceberg, in that he has a shadow part of him (analogous to the part of the iceberg which is above water), and the greater part, (which is the real part that is like the part of the iceberg hidden below the water)

Princes of Amber, and Lords of Chaos, are real, but all their shadow toys are irrelevant, except as expressions of personal style (basically window dressing).

A shadow person only sees the shadow part of a Prince of Amber's body, not the Prince's true essence. And his description of a battle between two princes of Amber would mistakenly focus on the reflections/shadows of the battle, along with their shadow toys. But the shadow person would not see the real/actual conflict, which takes place on a deeper level of reality.

A prince's toys will often be reflections of his true nature. For example, Gerard might ride into a battle mounted on a HUGE war elephant, or commanding a HUGE star-ship. Even his shadow body is very large. But his true power doesn't come from these things, they are merely reflections of the principle of strength which is Gerard.

That is one option I've been considering. It is not all that consistent with the books. But it would solve a number of problems.

I like this a lot, and think this might make a great, probably very memorable and epic game.
In fact, this'd be a great idea for that "amber-like game" in the other thread. I'll quote you there.

But, well, what if one player wanted a Huge creature? or any other huge toy? What would you do if, say, a a high-strenght player has a very big gun, and another search for a laser bazooka?
If the players went along, this's be fine, but an antagonist/munchkin one could really bother you

The only solution I'd see to this would be to say this is just special effects, appearance, so that laser bazooka would do less damage than the big gun. But then, he'd get antagonistic again and search for a laser gatling. You get the idea. So you'd need to base damage purely on a character. Like a "weapons" attribute which determine the damage of any weapon he might use, from a slingshot to a deathstar, the appearance being just fluff. You'd still have problem with that player, but, frankly, at a stage, if he didn't accept the base premise, I don't think he'd be worth it.

Of course, as you said, it wouldn't be Amber: In such a game, corwin and bleys wouldn't need an army to attack Amber, save from the "cool" factor. Similarly, guns would give them no edge.
 

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #108 on: April 12, 2010, 08:25:48 AM »
Quote from: Croaker;372331

Quote from: jibbajibba

Now I note that you throw up obstacles but you aren't really laying down many solutions. How you you cost that red dragon? An army of Angels?

Yes, I've noticed that too, which has induced me to become angry and unnerved in my replies, even if I'm trying not to be :(.

Warp, you may not have realized it, but this attitude sounds very antagonistic.

In terms of "throwing up obstacles," there is no point in looking for new ways to do things if the old ways work fine. So my very first order of business is to show why I think that the old ways don't work. In order to do that, I have to play the devil's advocate.

However it was never my intent to make anybody angry or unnerved. In fact that is one of the reasons I've been slow to reply, I wanted to think about how to continue. . . . It troubles me that the conversation is making anybody feel bad.

Yet, if we go on, I do have some other suggestions for alternative solutions, which I plan on getting to in subsequent posts.


Quote from: Croaker;372331

I like this a lot, and think this might make a great, probably very memorable and epic game.
In fact, this'd be a great idea for that "amber-like game" in the other thread. I'll quote you there.

Thanks! :)

Quote from: Croaker;372331

But, well, what if one player wanted a Huge creature? or any other huge toy? What would you do if, say, a a high-strenght player has a very big gun, and another search for a laser bazooka?
If the players went along, this's be fine, but an antagonist/munchkin one could really bother you

The only solution I'd see to this would be to say this is just special effects, appearance, so that laser bazooka would do less damage than the big gun. But then, he'd get antagonistic again and search for a laser gatling. You get the idea. So you'd need to base damage purely on a character. Like a "weapons" attribute which determine the damage of any weapon he might use, from a slingshot to a deathstar, the appearance being just fluff. You'd still have problem with that player, but, frankly, at a stage, if he didn't accept the base premise, I don't think he'd be worth it.

Of course, as you said, it wouldn't be Amber: In such a game, corwin and bleys wouldn't need an army to attack Amber, save from the "cool" factor. Similarly, guns would give them no edge.

The "just special effects" answer you suggest above is pretty much the solution I had in mind.




To get to some of your other questions. . . .




Quote from: Croaker;372331

And I'm asking you AGAIN.
Are you absolutely, positively, 100% sure (at least, as far as today's science can be) that it is impossible for any physical constant whatsoever (be it atomic mass, electric charge, gravity, planck constant, conductivity, those unseen dimensions, the cords too, quantum physics, whatever... There are an awful lot of these) to be different enough so that horses will be fine while gunpowder won't explode?

But it is not just gunpowder. It is cars and electricity, etc, none of those things work.

And it is specifically stated in the ADRPG book that the more sophisticated something is, the more likely it is to fail if you take it outside of its home shadow. If that is true, it should have consequences for living things as well. Clearly, your horse is more complex than a .44 magnum.

For example, if electricity doesn't work in Amber, then how do the impulses travel along the nerves in a living creature?


Quote from: Croaker;372331

Sure, although you're already exanding the bounds of what is possible for you to do.
But just as your cosmic genie powers, these won't be real. And thus won't exist outside that shadow.

What bugger me, though is, I was trying to explain to you, not give a perfect exemple, but knew I'd have that kind of reply instead

Quote
Since everything exists, I'll find a magic potion, which gives anybody who drinks it the power of flight, and fly that way.

lol funny.
You do realize, of course, that this is casuistics? You're in fact searching for a magic power, the potion is just a special effect. In both cases, you're trying to "screw the DM".

I'm not trying to provide perfect exemple, just to explain to you the difference between being able to do anything you wanna do and to find any thing you wanna find.
Even IRL, you have this difference. But, well, I'm talking to the wind.

The whole point I'm making is that IMO, there is no difference between being able to do anything you wanna do and to find any thing you wanna find.

Being able to do anything includes being able to create those things you couldn't find.

And being able to find anything means finding some item which has the ability to confer the powers you want to have. A potion which confers powers is an object which might, or might not, exist. If everything exists, then that potion also exists.

But it seems like you are trying to make some other point here, and I'm not fully sure what you are getting at.



Quote from: Croaker;372331

Quote
My problem is more with a T-rex, or an electric eel, losing their abilities.

Oh, that?

Of the 2, the eel is probably the most tricky, because of it's electric abilities. A T-Rex could probably live in Amber. I don't have any problem with it. The eel, I'm not sure, IIRC, there's a problem in Amber with electricty, so it might lose its powers at least somewhat.

But this gets right back to some very basic issues. Since nerve impulses are electric. If electricity doesn't work, then how do nerve impulses work? And if an electric eel works, then it implies that you could have other variations on this type of creature.


Quote from: Croaker;372331

Quote

My problem is also with the idea that Amberites can specifically search for things which are "universal." Other than with some very specific instances (like cars, or gun-powder), this issue really isn't dealt with very much in the books.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean (In fact, I don't thing I understand it at all), but if it's such a problem, disallow it! I've told you before: In your game, you're not constrained to follow any of amber rules and tropes. Even if it has nothing to do with Amber in the end, this is your game, and what's important is for you and your players to have fun.

What do I mean? I'm talking about the idea that a character fully knows the difference between searching for a dragon, and a "real dragon."  ("real"meaning in this context "costs points")

Now I totally agree that this perspective of "universal" vs "local" follows from the rules in the ADRPG books. In the rule books, I would agree that it seems like there is a difference between finding items/creatures that have their own inherent abilities, and items/creatures that cost points. There is clearly a difference between finding something which is naturally stronger than Gerard, and finding something which has the special quality: "Exalted Vitality." The books suggests it would be easy to find a bulldozer (or even a bull) which is stronger than Gerard, yet "Exalted Vitality" is actually banned from access to the PCs.

But what I'm saying is that we really don't see this come up in the Zelazny books. We don't hear Corwin ever say: "that is a great dragon you found, but is it real enough to function in Amber?"

Sure, we see that gun-powder, and cars, and electricity, don't work in Amber, but we don't really see the issue in regard to other things. We can infer that perhaps the same effect would apply to gods or super-beings, but we don't really see it. And if we actually follow that line of logic, in terms of applying issues of changing physical laws to living creatures, it leads us to question stuff like the working of bio-electric never impulses.

The Yann Waters

  • Doesn\'t Hate
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • T
  • Posts: 2691
A few questions
« Reply #109 on: April 13, 2010, 11:29:05 AM »
Quote from: jibbajibba;372096
I also think that what you describe comes close to what I understand Nobilis is about and moves you a long way from some of the basics of the Amberverse.

Not exactly. In Nobilis, there's a distinction between the miraculous and the mundane: the things that have a singular independent existence of their own (for example, Nobles), and the things whose existence only reflects the most fundamental concepts in the universe (for example, humans). However, all things mundane are still quite real and can interact with miraculous beings of their own free will. Armies of mortals can conceivably kill gods in the setting, and actually have done so at least three times during the course of the recorded history.
Previously known by the name of "GrimGent".

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #110 on: April 14, 2010, 02:24:56 PM »
Quote from: jibbajibba;372096
I thought that was about it.
That would be a very differnt game. Different from the ADRPG and different from the books. I think to a large extent you would be 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water' . For me one of the keys to Amber is that the characters are very real and for al their powers very grounded. I also think that what you describe comes close to what I understand Nobilis is about and moves you a long way from some of the basics of the Amberverse.

I'll add a bit to what I've already said about this matter. . . .

In the Shadowrun Matrix analogy, you have two different levels. There is a deeper level of what is going on with attack/defense programs. And then you have a more superficial level which is a reflection of that combat that is represents in terms of the virtual reality of the matrix as some kind of "physical combat" with weapons and the like. Yet, even though this "physical combat" is only a shadow/refection of the actual events, it can still seem realistic, if it is handled correctly.  

Or, to put it in another way, there is nothing which prohibits characters in the virtual reality to have abilities that feel "very real and very grounded," but that is an illusion one has to craft.

In fact, it is not much different from the work of an author who plans the general plot out, and then fits the details of the story to match his design. With a bad author, the story seems wooden, but a good author can probably make the process flow naturally, even though the details were actually made to fit from the top down.

What I'm suggesting is in some ways similar to the discussion about playing out a game of chess in the ADRPG book. Rather than focusing on the minutia of the game and the specific moves on the board, you let more abstract principles guide the outcome of the chess match. However, a good GM can still make the conflict in the game seem grounded and realistic.

In this sort of situation the army of angels could represent the manifestation of some deeper advantage that a character might have (just like a bigger weapon in the Shadowrun Matrix might represent a better attack program), rather than the other way around.

Again, things can still seem real and grounded from the shadow person's point of view, it's just important to have the details of the battle in shadow reality accurately reflect the underlying reality.

To sum things up: this manner of looking at things which I'm describing doesn't have to be as far from Zelazny's work as you might think.

Croaker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 616
A few questions
« Reply #111 on: April 14, 2010, 04:09:01 PM »
Quote from: warp9;373086
In terms of "throwing up obstacles," there is no point in looking for new ways to do things if the old ways work fine. So my very first order of business is to show why I think that the old ways don't work. In order to do that, I have to play the devil's advocate.

Thing is, problem is that it feels to me like your arguments are heavily depending on requisites you tell us, like "no limited shadow", or "I want a amber that is a science book, not a litterary book". We follow your rules, which gives you a great leaway to say "no, no, no, no", thus being frustating.
Like, your "weapons are fluff" setting poses you absolutely no problem of "science", yet you are very nitpicky about it in the base setting. I just wanna reap my hairs but, sadly, I don't have them anymore.

I disagree very much that things don't work if you play them by the book, if you allow yourself the same kind of suspension of disbelief you give to Zelazny's works.
Quote from: warp9;373086
For example, if electricity doesn't work in Amber, then how do the impulses travel along the nerves in a living creature?

IIRC, it works (You've got lightning bolts, after all), but differently enough that most electric-based things are useless.
If, for exemple, metals are less conductive, you can very well have electrical impulses work and not computers.
Or maybe they're reduced in intensity/voltage. Or difficult to impossible to store.
Maybe this si stupid, maybe not. This is just what a writer would do: Provide a pseudo-scientific explanation that allows him to tell te story he wants to tell. If this wasn't possible, we wouldn't have the AMber books as they are.

This may perfectly be impossible and all. Yet, this is right there, in the books of zelazny. So what'll you do about it if you feel so bad about this?
IMO, you have 2 solutions:
- Do not play Amber as Zelazny wrote it, with its bizarre physical laws
- Magic it away, like "The pattern sustains life, so it works either I think it shouldn't". Better yet: "It works that way, yet no one has managed to find why", and spins a story out of it.

You're your only and worst ennemy, not the books or rules. I don't want to be offensive, but, if this is such a big issue for you, I wonder of you could take pleasure to the books, since this exists in both corwin and merlin's sagas.
Quote from: warp9;373086
But what I'm saying is that we really don't see this come up in the Zelazny books. We don't hear Corwin ever say: "that is a great dragon you found, but is it real enough to function in Amber?"

Sure, we see that gun-powder, and cars, and electricity, don't work in Amber, but we don't really see the issue in regard to other things. We can infer that perhaps the same effect would apply to gods or super-beings, but we don't really see it. And if we actually follow that line of logic, in terms of applying issues of changing physical laws to living creatures, it leads us to question stuff like the working of bio-electric never impulses.

Maybe we don't see it exactly because of this.

You're corwin. You want to attack Amber. What will you do? Spend a couple days to search for a trained and faithfull army, or spend a month to search for a dragon you might not be able to control?
Likewise, you don't see merlin search shadows for spikards and pattern swords.

Most of the time, when amberites search for something, they search for something mundane. Maybe you don't see them search for super heroes because they know that:
- They'd be useless in Amber
- A usefull one would take a very long time to find, and pose its own problems.

To me, the absence of this kind of things can as easily prove the whole point. In fact, I think it's actually more coherent that way.

Also, about physical laws and superbeings: Are such things actually possible here?
Let me take the superman exemple. To you, you may find Superman in shadow, with strength enough to lift planes. No problem with that, right?
Put him here, with his strenght, the whole "lift a plane" trick he performs lots and times becomes impossible. Because the plane would just break in half.
Here you have it. Comic book physics being different from RL physics, which happens a lot of times.

If you accept comic book physics out there in shadow, different from "Shadow Earth" physics, where is the problem with other, variant physics? I'll tell you. Comic book physics, just as Amber physics, are not science. They're not supposed to be logical or explain every little detail. They're supposed to be a literrary device and a tool. No one question the effects of superman's strength (not the fact that he can control his strenght to such a degree. Think about it, I can't even understand how he does it), because then, it would be a very different story, one superman fans don't want to read.
Quote from: warp9;373563
To sum things up: this manner of looking at things which I'm describing doesn't have to be as far from Zelazny's work as you might think.

For an Amber games, problems as I see them:
- Shadow, as a place to find ressources and allies, becomes useless. The princes have no reasons to get there, everything that matters is your own personnal power in Amber
- Why raises armies to attack Amber?
- Why do the gunpowder gives so much of an advantage?

What I'd do is maybe something like this:
- Have an "artifacts" rating, like human/chaos/amber/ranked
- Have some levels of battle, like individual (me and my weapon), squad (me and my names and numbered fellows), battle (me and my horde) and War (me and my army)
- This rating defines the efficiency of your shadow findings, in their category. Like, your gun's power, your squad skill, your army's strenght
- If you search for a weapon, it performs at your artifacts rating. If you take more time and search for a squad, same thing. Thus, your Amber weapon and you may face your opponent and his Chaos Squad.
- That way, it seems to me you can both use your "fluff" idea and yet have shadows be a usefull ressource. Likewise, you get a reason for Corwin and Bleys raising armies instead of just attacking Amber with their bare fists.

What do you think of it? It might be what you're seeking
 

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #112 on: April 15, 2010, 12:02:04 PM »
Quote from: Croaker;373591

Thing is, problem is that it feels to me like your arguments are heavily depending on requisites you tell us, like "no limited shadow", or "I want a amber that is a science book, not a litterary book". We follow your rules, which gives you a great leaway to say "no, no, no, no", thus being frustating.
Like, your "weapons are fluff" setting poses you absolutely no problem of "science", yet you are very nitpicky about it in the base setting. I just wanna reap my hairs but, sadly, I don't have them anymore.

It is about the underlying concepts involved. . . . I want something that holds up to deeper inspection.

Limited Shadow is a valid option, just not one that I like. For example, I know of one GM who stated that there was no technology anywhere in Shadow beyond 1970s Shadow Earth tech. That option is not to my personal taste, but it is one way you might do things.

In terms of my "weapons are fluff" concept, the "fluff" part goes beyond weapons. It is like the line from the Matrix : "there is no spoon." In my a world based on my concept, there is no spoon, there is no sword, and there is no science. All these things are just shadows and illusions. But that is a different view of the fundamentals than most GM's take. If you assume that there is a spoon, and there is a sword, and that molecules exist, and that scientific laws exist, then you need to follow that assumption to its logical conclusions.  






Quote from: Croaker;373591

I disagree very much that things don't work if you play them by the book, if you allow yourself the same kind of suspension of disbelief you give to Zelazny's works.

IIRC, it works (You've got lightning bolts, after all), but differently enough that most electric-based things are useless.
If, for exemple, metals are less conductive, you can very well have electrical impulses work and not computers.
Or maybe they're reduced in intensity/voltage. Or difficult to impossible to store.
Maybe this si stupid, maybe not. This is just what a writer would do: Provide a pseudo-scientific explanation that allows him to tell te story he wants to tell. If this wasn't possible, we wouldn't have the AMber books as they are.

This may perfectly be impossible and all. Yet, this is right there, in the books of zelazny. So what'll you do about it if you feel so bad about this?
IMO, you have 2 solutions:
- Do not play Amber as Zelazny wrote it, with its bizarre physical laws
- Magic it away, like "The pattern sustains life, so it works either I think it shouldn't". Better yet: "It works that way, yet no one has managed to find why", and spins a story out of it.

You're your only and worst ennemy, not the books or rules. I don't want to be offensive, but, if this is such a big issue for you, I wonder of you could take pleasure to the books, since this exists in both corwin and merlin's sagas.

The difference between the author Zelazny and a GM is simple. Zelazny's characters don't ask questions he doesn't want them to ask. On the other hand, a GM may have to deal with PCs that do ask these kinds of questions.

When I'm  running a character in an Amber game, it is very possibly that my character would try to push the limits, and ask those questions.

My character might bring an army of scientists to Amber and try to find out specifically how things are different. He might want to look into why living creatures, like horses, work, but other things do not. And he might explore specifically how technology can be adapted to work in Amber. If metals are not good conductors of electricity, then what substances might be good substitutes? My character might try to bring in various genetically modified creatures, and find the limits of what will work in Amber. Do carbon fiber bones work in Amber? What kinds of muscle augmentations will work in Amber? How far can I enhance a creature's nervous system and have it function in Amber?

Once I had that data, my character would prepare the way for his clone army of master ninjas, which are all genetically altered with stuff like carbon-fiber bones, augmented muscles, enhanced reflexes, and the genetic code from electric eels that lets them shock people. These clones wouldn't have to be kryptonians, but they'd push the limits of whatever physical laws exist in Amber.

If my character was doing this sort of stuff, then it would force the GM to deal with these issues, or throw me out of his game.


Quote from: Croaker;373591

You're corwin. You want to attack Amber. What will you do? Spend a couple days to search for a trained and faithfull army, or spend a month to search for a dragon you might not be able to control?

It didn't take Random long to find a place with no sun, where the rocks glide across the landscape. And I'll add, that he was not searching just any such shadow, but the specific one where Brand was being held. It is hard for me to believe that a dragon is more exotic than that.

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #113 on: April 15, 2010, 12:25:08 PM »
Quote from: Croaker;373591

For an Amber games, problems as I see them:
- Shadow, as a place to find ressources and allies, becomes useless. The princes have no reasons to get there, everything that matters is your own personnal power in Amber
- Why raises armies to attack Amber?
- Why do the gunpowder gives so much of an advantage?

What I'd do is maybe something like this:
- Have an "artifacts" rating, like human/chaos/amber/ranked
- Have some levels of battle, like individual (me and my weapon), squad (me and my names and numbered fellows), battle (me and my horde) and War (me and my army)
- This rating defines the efficiency of your shadow findings, in their category. Like, your gun's power, your squad skill, your army's strenght
- If you search for a weapon, it performs at your artifacts rating. If you take more time and search for a squad, same thing. Thus, your Amber weapon and you may face your opponent and his Chaos Squad.
- That way, it seems to me you can both use your "fluff" idea and yet have shadows be a usefull ressource. Likewise, you get a reason for Corwin and Bleys raising armies instead of just attacking Amber with their bare fists.

What do you think of it? It might be what you're seeking

That is an interesting idea, I'll have to give it some consideration (I'm not fully sure I understand exactly what you have in mind, and I may have some more questions about it).

However, I'll also add the following. . . .

One thing to keep in mind here are that the details of the physical battle can be a reflection of the underlying forces.

The resolution of the battle happens at a deeper (real) level, the resulting description of the battle (weapons and armies) happens as a reflection of the true battle.

For example, at a deeper level, we know that character A has a big advantage over character B. This advantage at the primal level is reflected into the resulting battle-narrative as the victor having an army of angels.

Thus you didn't win because you were aided by an army of angels, instead you won, and then the resulting victory manifested as being assisted by an army of angels.

Or to put in a different way, you don't worry about the specifics of attacking with an army of angels, or with bare hands, etc, instead you let the narrative concerning the specifics at this level follow from the deeper realities of the conflict. Which is not to say that you wouldn't have a big say in the specifics of the physical manifestation of the battle. It is just that these things would follow later, as a matter of personal style and taste.

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #114 on: April 15, 2010, 01:39:17 PM »
Quote from: weilide;371571
Third, most of what we're shown of shadow travel, especially in the first series, seems to suggest it is an imperfect process and a lot of valuable shadow stuff seems to be gotten at simply by way meandering around awaiting serendipity. Corwin's "gunpowder" is a case in point. Evidently it doesn't work to simply walk toward "a shadow with gunpowder that ignites in Amber" or everyone would have done it long ago. Instead chance seems to play a major role. I like to think of this in terms of the Borges story "The Library of Babel," concerning an infinitely large library, filled with bound volumes containing ever possible configuration of letters. Among these, most are gibberish but a small portion are intelligible, and among them, an even tinier portion say something useful. The library is full of itinerant librarians who spend their lives seeking out those precious view volumes that actually say something useful. I sometimes think of the situation in Shadow as something analogous.
As I've already indicated, I'd tend to say that a character can find what he can visualize. And while a character can visualize gunpowder, and seek it, the "ignites in Amber" part is a totally abstract concept.

A character off in Shadow wouldn't know if the gunpowder in front of him worked in Amber or not. He'd have to take it there and try it out. I'd have the same problems if the PCs wanted to "search for a kindly old hermit who happens to have the correct answers to all mysteries currently facing our characters." I'd let them find the hermit, but I'd have problems when what they are searching for gets to abstract. Of course that is just my opinion about Shadow seeking, and YMMV.

In any case, I quoted the text above because of the "Library of Babel" reference. And while, as I said before on that topic, I don't think that the process of searching through Shadow was all that random in the books, this still might be an interesting alternative method to handle things in the game.

This concept goes in the opposite direction from the "shadow fluff" concept, I was suggesting earlier. Instead, with this alternative, Shadow is all too real.

In this alternative, the realm of Shadow is much more mysterious, and dangerous. This set up could use the ripple shadow-geography suggested by jibbajibba in the Historical Amber thread, rather than the more standard Amber-Chaos geography. Amber would be a "point of light" that slowly faded off into the unknown darkness of Shadow. The characters would have to feel their way around and explore the unknown.

A character's personal shadow would more likely be some place that the character found and made their own, rather than something which was really their "perfect dream shadow."

A character's army would probably consist of what ever creatures he could happen to find, rather than the "perfect dream army."

These things would violate the description of the control Amberites had over their Shadow destinations in the books, but I think it might lead to an interesting result in terms of a game.

Added on edit: one difference from the "The Library of Babel" concept is that in the library situation, most of the books are filled with gibberish. The analogous situation in terms of Shadows would probably be totally barren worlds; however, I wouldn't like think that most worlds would be totally barren---that could get a bit boring.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 01:47:26 PM by warp9 »

downeymb

  • Newbie
  • *
  • d
  • Posts: 16
A few questions
« Reply #115 on: April 16, 2010, 02:42:17 PM »
Part of the source behind all of this is that ADRP is a game and hence, should be fairly balanced.  It's not much fun for everyone if one player finds an army of supermen in 5 minutes and compeltely takes over Amber and executes all of his siblings.  Might be the shrotest Throne War in existence.

At any rate, the books don't have to have things be balanced.

Also, a reason that no one in the books did any of this is clearly detailed in the Merlin series from two instances.

First is Ghostwheel.  When Random finds out about it, he orders Merlin to shut it down.  It's simply too dangerous for anyone to mess around with it.

Second is LSD.  Merlin talks about how he spoke with Fiona about LSD and Acid Trips.  She mentions how she considered weaponizing it, but decided it just wasn't worth it.  I forget her specific reason, whether it be practicality or too dangerous for what someone might Shadow into existence.

Now that I think about it, Brand is another good example.  When confronting Benedict at the Pattern in the sky, he talks about dark pacts to get secret information that gave his great power for great price.  All of the other Amberites think he's crazy to be messing around with it.

Anyway, when it comes down to it, the characters didn't pull this kind of stuff in the books because it was too unpredictable.  Those who did were considered unhinged.  Yes, Zelazney wrote it and it was convenient not to have somone pull a nuclear bomb out in Amber that actually works (talk about your Deus Ex Machina).

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #116 on: April 17, 2010, 10:37:45 AM »
Quote from: downeymb;374067

Part of the source behind all of this is that ADRP is a game and hence, should be fairly balanced.  It's not much fun for everyone if one player finds an army of supermen in 5 minutes and compeltely takes over Amber and executes all of his siblings.  Might be the shrotest Throne War in existence.

At any rate, the books don't have to have things be balanced.

That is true.

But I don't think it is too much to ask that a world based on them makes sense. If anybody could have easily found gunpowder that works in Amber, or some force that would have made gunpowder irrelevant, then the "Guns of Avalon" are nothing special, and the events in the books don't make that much sense.

What I'm after is an explanation of how things work that makes sense, and doesn't allow a smart PC to take too much advantage of the situation. I'd prefer to retro-fit the events in the books, if such a re-vision would allow for a more consistent view of the world which will also stand up to devious PCs during the game.


Quote from: downeymb;374067

Also, a reason that no one in the books did any of this is clearly detailed in the Merlin series from two instances.

First is Ghostwheel.  When Random finds out about it, he orders Merlin to shut it down.  It's simply too dangerous for anyone to mess around with it.

Second is LSD.  Merlin talks about how he spoke with Fiona about LSD and Acid Trips.  She mentions how she considered weaponizing it, but decided it just wasn't worth it.  I forget her specific reason, whether it be practicality or too dangerous for what someone might Shadow into existence.

Now that I think about it, Brand is another good example.  When confronting Benedict at the Pattern in the sky, he talks about dark pacts to get secret information that gave his great power for great price.  All of the other Amberites think he's crazy to be messing around with it.

Anyway, when it comes down to it, the characters didn't pull this kind of stuff in the books because it was too unpredictable.  Those who did were considered unhinged.  Yes, Zelazney wrote it and it was convenient not to have somone pull a nuclear bomb out in Amber that actually works (talk about your Deus Ex Machina).

I agree with most of that too.

And this explanation of things will work fine if it is handled right between the GM and the PCs. However, it is my personal experience with PCs that having something be "unpredictable and dangerous" is often not enough to stop them from taking the risk.

Of course, having them act "unhinged," take the risks, and having it blow up in their faces, makes for some interesting gaming. ;)

Croaker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 616
A few questions
« Reply #117 on: April 18, 2010, 04:11:09 PM »
Quote from: warp9;373749
The difference between the author Zelazny and a GM is simple. Zelazny's characters don't ask questions he doesn't want them to ask. On the other hand, a GM may have to deal with PCs that do ask these kinds of questions.

When I'm running a character in an Amber game, it is very possibly that my character would try to push the limits, and ask those questions.

We keep coming up to this, yet I don't manage to explain it clearly, it seems.
You're saying that the world doesn't make sense, based on real-world physics. This is true. I'm just saying real-world physics don't apply in any way, and physics can be as whacky as you want them to be. If you can't accept this premise, sure, it doesn't work, and you'll never be happy with the setting as written by zelazny.

How to put it in another way?

Say, you're playing Marvel RPG, or Star Wars RPG, with all those super-scientists type. It is much more likely and realistic that one of these would notice physics behaving strangely, and some things, like the plane trick, optic blasts or hearing spaceships in space, being just plain "impossible".
Likewise, they could just as well push up the limits.
Yet not only would most players never do that, but, as long as they're good enough players, they'll accept that "pseudo-science" of comics to make sense, even though it "doesn't".

I'm not saying your players shoudn't make scientist-type characters. Just that if you say "yes, it's scientific and normal", they should not bring to you their flawed shadow physics and tell you "this ain't possible", but instead work within what you tell them about the world.
For exemple, in Ars Magica, the Humors (choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic...) are real. I'm sure this can be proven as stupid and inconsistent if you're nitpicky and knowleadgeable enough. But a good player will accept this as part of the game world, and have his surgeon search for better ways to balance humors instead of trying to invent penicilin and prove the setting wrong.
 
Similarly, in Amber, guns don't work, horses do, and yes, it's "scientific". Given that framework, your player is free to work, search and all, but if he's trying to undermine this (which is one of the basic rules of Amber books and games) by using "real world arguments", he's just being a jerk, IMO
Quote from: warp9;373749
My character might bring an army of scientists to Amber and try to find out specifically how things are different. He might want to look into why living creatures, like horses, work, but other things do not. And he might explore specifically how technology can be adapted to work in Amber. If metals are not good conductors of electricity, then what substances might be good substitutes? My character might try to bring in various genetically modified creatures, and find the limits of what will work in Amber. Do carbon fiber bones work in Amber? What kinds of muscle augmentations will work in Amber? How far can I enhance a creature's nervous system and have it function in Amber?

- How things are different: First, these scientists would have a HARD time, since most to all of their tools wouldn't work. But, say that manage it. They conclusion? It's different because of the lenght of some superstring in Nth dimension. Of something similar. Yes, this is pseudo-science. Like super-science. Like magic in RPGs. Like non-euclidian creatures in Call of Cthulhu. If he sees a problem with this, why is he playing RPGs/reading books? anyway, he doesn't understand what his scientits tell him, but they assure him it's OK and normal.
- Why living creatures...: Similar answer.
- Metals: Great!!! Let him work, and, based on what you want, find, or not, solutions. This is the reverse of him accepting pseudo-science: Given that different framework, let him work and have fun.
- Same things for the rest: Try to stay coherent, let him have fun, give him rewards for him trying and working on this.

In game terms, how I'd do it? He's building a construct, or a C&A.
Any time/roleplay spend on this is "similar" to a shadow search, and points earned go towards buying the thingie, just like, in Shadow Knight (RPG), Martin has pattern-powered cyber implants that work in Amber. I'd throw problems and ennemies at him, too (since they don't want him to complete his project, they're not suicidal)
If he wants an army, going behind 1st stage will be very difficult and costy (like IRL), requiring items in various dangerous shadows (and thus stories, which, btw, earn him points to buy his army), maybe even to inscribe Pattern on his construct.

I see it as a give-give: You let him earn the fruits of his work and roleplay, and he trusts you, accepts your rulings, and doesn't act as a jerk. This is, IMO, valable for any RPG ruling. If one or both don't do this, the game ain't fun, and there's a problem.
Quote from: warp9;373749
It didn't take Random long to find a place with no sun, where the rocks glide across the landscape. And I'll add, that he was not searching just any such shadow, but the specific one where Brand was being held. It is hard for me to believe that a dragon is more exotic than that.

Well, he was searching for Brand, which, being real, is rather easy to find in Shadow, unless he conceals himself into a rare and precious thing like the Blue Cave.
Quote from: warp9;373753
For example, at a deeper level, we know that character A has a big advantage over character B. This advantage at the primal level is reflected into the resulting battle-narrative as the victor having an army of angels.

The problem is see with this is that, aside from rendering Shadow utterly useless, you rob the player of some freedom: What if he wants to go naked bare-handed against an inferior player who wants to go all "army of angels" and death stars?

That's why I'm proposing this rating: It is still usefull for Corwin and Bleys to go in Shadow and search an army instead of attacking Amber naked (and winning against the entire Arden guard + morgenstern + julian in armor + hellhounds), since War > Battle.
Yet, at the same time, what they find in Shadow is a reflection of their inner strenght. All they can do is find more of it, and thus "up the scale".
Quote from: warp9;373753
Or to put in a different way, you don't worry about the specifics of attacking with an army of angels, or with bare hands, etc, instead you let the narrative concerning the specifics at this level follow from the deeper realities of the conflict. Which is not to say that you wouldn't have a big say in the specifics of the physical manifestation of the battle. It is just that these things would follow later, as a matter of personal style and taste.

The problem is see with this is that, like in Shadowrun, this means you concentrate more on mechanics and attributes than on descriptions and roleplay, unless you go all superheroic, with bullets being parried bare-handed (which is what happens in the matrix, where bullets and hands are fluff)

In the aforementionned "naked guy vs army of angels", trying to describe and roleplay the fight between the two players can be difficult and bothersome since you can't rely on mechanics like shadowrun does. And if it's irrelevant, it becomes like psyche battles, the whole fluff is pushed away, unless the naked guy suddenly has hyperspeed and strenght.

That's why, IMO, giving at least some reality to shadow helps, by giving similar conflicts while still letting some freedom to the PC descriptions: Even if it's an army of elves vs an army of terminators, at least it's 2 armies, and you can describe strategies/roleplay the battle, like ambushes and counterattacks and have something at least somewhat barely believable, like the Navis beating up some marines in battle armor.

Hum... Not sure I'm clear there.
 

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #118 on: April 18, 2010, 07:49:18 PM »
Quote from: Croaker;374518

We keep coming up to this, yet I don't manage to explain it clearly, it seems.
You're saying that the world doesn't make sense, based on real-world physics. This is true. I'm just saying real-world physics don't apply in any way, and physics can be as whacky as you want them to be. If you can't accept this premise, sure, it doesn't work, and you'll never be happy with the setting as written by zelazny.

How to put it in another way?

Say, you're playing Marvel RPG, or Star Wars RPG, with all those super-scientists type. It is much more likely and realistic that one of these would notice physics behaving strangely, and some things, like the plane trick, optic blasts or hearing spaceships in space, being just plain "impossible".
Likewise, they could just as well push up the limits.
Yet not only would most players never do that, but, as long as they're good enough players, they'll accept that "pseudo-science" of comics to make sense, even though it "doesn't".

There is a HUGE difference between things which require me to believe in some new factors, and things which actually contradict (or at least seem to contradict) what I know about the world.

Does magic exist in the real world? I haven't seen any evidence that it does, but I can't prove it doesn't either.

Is there such a thing as "hyper-space" where the speed of light is much higher than in normal space? Maybe, I don't know. But the existence of hyper-space doesn't specifically contradict what I know about reality.

On the other hand, sound effects in space does seem to contradict what I know about reality.

Do you see the difference here?

I have a lot easier time believing in the existence of some unknown factor (magic or hyper-space) than I do in believing in sound effects in space.


However, I would be open to some sort of alternative explanation which deals with the contradiction. For example, maybe the sounds we're hearing are supposed to be some other kind of waves that are being translated into sound-waves for the audience to hear.

Which brings us to the next point, concerning the means of dealing with those apparent contradictions. . . .

Quote from: Croaker;374518

I'm not saying your players shoudn't make scientist-type characters. Just that if you say "yes, it's scientific and normal", they should not bring to you their flawed shadow physics and tell you "this ain't possible", but instead work within what you tell them about the world.


In other words your point is that comic book characters shouldn't see a super-strong character lifting a building, and say: "that shouldn't be possible!"

However, consider this fact. . . .

In the Fantastic Four, issue 249, Reed Richards (Mr Fantastic) sees the character Gladiator lift the Baxter Building and says: "That costumed man. . . he's uprooted the whole baxter building! But that's impossible! Even with the reinforced superstructure. . . the building should crumble under its own weight!"

Hopefully the fact that this kind of question could be asked in a comic is not too mind blowing, because asking that question led Mr Fantastic to an important realization: Gladiator's strength is at least partially based on mental powers (specifically a type of telekinesis which is applied to the building as a whole, rather than having all that lifting power focused at a specific tiny point, which would crumble the building).

This is totally relevant to the point at hand because it means that you don't have to say: "Comic Book Physics!" or say: "A Wizard did It!" every time somebody points out a contradiction in your world.

It is totally possible to come up with a good explanation of why Super-man can lift that building, instead of telling the players to stop asking questions.

warp9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
A few questions
« Reply #119 on: April 22, 2010, 08:16:45 PM »
Quote from: Croaker;374518

Well, he was searching for Brand, which, being real, is rather easy to find in Shadow, unless he conceals himself into a rare and precious thing like the Blue Cave.

I know I didn't deal with every point you raised in your previous post. I was sort of hoping that we could focus on one thing at a time. And I thought the point about in-game contradictions was something we should get out of the way before dealing with the other matters, still. . . .

I guess I'll move on to the point above about Brand.

The problem is that your theory about finding Brand doesn't fit with what Random said in the books. It was not Brand which keyed the search, it was clearly the specific landscape Random was searching for.

From Sign of the Unicorn (where Brand contacts Random):

   I asked how I could locate him.

"Look very closely," he said. "Remember every feature. I may only be able to show you once. Come armed, too. . . ."


Note, Random doesn't just say "Oh well, given that Brand is real he should be rather easy to locate in Shadow." He apparently can't even hellride to Brand. He'd be helpless to act without an image of the world he wants to find.

I'm not saying that you couldn't re-imagine Amber so that it was easy to shadow-walk to something real (like an Amberite), but it apparently didn't work that way in the books.

Quote from: Croaker;374518

The problem is see with this is that, aside from rendering Shadow utterly useless, you rob the player of some freedom: What if he wants to go naked bare-handed against an inferior player who wants to go all "army of angels" and death stars?

To some extent that is the same as the situation described in the chess game between Amberites. You don't actually get the freedom to choose your specific moves.

Still you could do things in other ways, depending on the effect you want.

For example, you could let the player describe things anyway they want, whether it makes sense or not. OK, so my character defeats the army of 1 million Death-stars, armed only with his tooth brush and aided only by his trusty pet gerbil.