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[Amber] How do you compare NPCs with stats above Amber to PCs?

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In Amber, the players create a hierarchy for each stat by bidding character points for ranking.  Supposedly the amount paid is irrelevant.  However, the stats of NPCs with stats higher than Amber level are given in terms of point values rather than ranking.  I cannot imagine that anyone would play this game without this coming up and being resolved in short order, so what is the community accepted solution?  Is there one?

(My own thoughts:
The most obvious way of handling this is treating the point value of an NPC stat as its bid, and putting it wherever that would place it in the ranking.  However, this would have the effect of shortchanging the players if the initial attribute bidding didn't run high, while supposedly there should be no advantage or disadvantage to that.  My next thought was to "scale" the point value of the attribute by comparing the points spent on it by the first-ranked person to what you would "expect" to be spent on it -- so if the highest Warfare is 20 but the expected highest Warfare is 30, then all NPC Warfare values should be multiplied by 2/3 before being compared with the PCs.  The problem with that is that I lack the play experience to judge what reasonable expected values are.)

Every game I've known that uses the points from the book has compared the raw points bid for the PC's attribute to the NPC's raw point value.  "Ranking" rarely comes into use, even between PC's.

What I usually do is have two different "scales" of ranking.

First is the ranks among the player's generation; the PCs and perhaps select (younger) NPCs.

Then the ranks among the Elders.

So there's two different set of ranks.
But the players can be put on either scale. Someone who ranks 1st among the younger generation might only end up being 4th or 5th or 11th among the Elders.

This, incidentally, resolves the problem of "how to figure out advancement costs for a 1st ranked player".  The cost for his next rung on the ladder is actually the cost for his rank to advance on the Elder scale.


I typically give Elders more points to work with, but then compare raw totals without bothering with a ranking. The higher point totals gives Elders an edge, but a determined PC can work his way up the ladder if he so chooses.

One thing I had considered was to enter all of my PCs and major NPCs onto a huge Excel spreadsheet, where I could sort my data. (I figure that there are a somewhat limited number of Elders from Amber and/or the Courts, plus I can always add a few extras.) What I could do, then, is to annouce to players their rank among the entire list instead of just within the party. This may be a dumb idea since characters wouldn't actually know if they were the 37th strongest person in the universe or whatever, but it does eliminate the compare-to-Elders problem.

Just a thought.... :D

As a follow-up, I should mention that the biggest problem I have is when I try to mix Demons (from Shadow Knight) with everyone else.

Looking in SK I see that Demons have their own chart and I could never decide how those points should compare to character points for PC or NPC. I assume that the idea is that there are various ranks in between Chaos and Amber, but I could never quite decide on how to make the numbers work out the best.


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