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Amber's Intellectual/Social Darwinism

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RPGPundit:
Sun Boy had commented on how Amber was awesome because there was no "IQ" stat, you had to use your own intelligence.  It goes further than that: there's also no social rules; no "diplomacy checks"; in Amber your own abilities as a player are what determines your social abilities.

Amber is what I've previously called an "asperger-proof game", as in, the autistic lawncrappers and social retards of the gaming world would find themselves utterly incapable of participating in Amber and not having their asses handed to them on a plate.  Most of the WW-style "image-over-substance" gamers would, as well; anyone for whom "machiavellian" means "I think up a general idea, spend forty-five minutes talking a lot and trying to strike poses, then roll my dice pool".  These people have no future in the harsh brutal world of Amber, where both at the in-character level and at the OOC level your ability to socially interact with the rest of the group, and especially the GM, is key to your character's success.

Its another reason why certain people hate Amber, and why many others absolutely love Amber; because Charisma is the most important attribute you can have to play it, and you don't get a number for that...

RPGPundit

finarvyn:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---Its another reason why certain people hate Amber, and why many others absolutely love Amber; because Charisma is the most important attribute you can have to play it, and you don't get a number for that...
--- End quote ---

This is an excellent point. Charisma is one of those stats that get ignored in most RPGs; indeed it is considered to be a "dump stat" in many campaigns because it is used so infrequently as to be valueless most of the time.

But in Amber, Charisma is one of the most significant parts of the game. If a person can bluff through a situation it's almost as good as actually having a good attribute. Convincing another player that you are a great swordsman may be better than being a great swordsman.

This is troubling to a large population of gamers who rely on charts and a lucky roll rather than actually playing out a situation.

Arref:
I might suggest that rather than charisma we might talk about imagination.

Giving the NPCs and Family relationships a 'face' is "imagination as system" to me. Providing for shadow creation by Players. Providing for legends surrounding the items/artifacts/creatures that are attached to your PC is another imaginative system use.

A lot of this is seamless with the game system and *very* easy to explain to Players. It is also even easier for the GM to "cost out" elements that Players describe as part of their character. You can carry those rules in your head, just about.

Zelazny's mastery of the character sketch sets up the NPCs. Then Wujcik steps in and gives you three or so versions of those elder NPCs that could make sense to the setting. Again this sets an "imagination system choices" and reinforces the magic of the author's theme of mystery and "peeling an onion" to discover what the family is *really* like and what relationships are *really* important. Every campaign 'Benedict' is supposed to be owned by the PCs as distinct and unique to their relationships. Customization is king.

The GM notes talk about conflicts and significance a bit and how to massage results. Imagination overcomes obstacles. Imagination evens disadvantage in combat. Imagination finds new uses for Attribute skills. Imagination is the secret most important attribute.

Every character is a badass in their own mind.
You can find almost anything you can imagine.

RPGPundit:

--- Quote from: finarvyn ---This is an excellent point. Charisma is one of those stats that get ignored in most RPGs; indeed it is considered to be a "dump stat" in many campaigns because it is used so infrequently as to be valueless most of the time.


This is troubling to a large population of gamers who rely on charts and a lucky roll rather than actually playing out a situation.
--- End quote ---


Precisely, even if Charisma isn't seen as a dump stat, its seen as something you have a number for with your character, and you roll for; not as something you yourself must demonstrate.

RPGPundit

RPGPundit:
I agree that imagination is extremely important for Amber, and that Amber's customization is a HUGE key to its appeal as an RPG.

However, there are a lot of other games that depend on imagination, and almost all RPGs put the onus of imagination on the player himself; he can't just weasel out of it by "rolling" imagination the way he can roll intelligence or charisma.
In Amber, all three of those are dependant on the player's own skills.

As for customization, there's no argument with you there, but its one of the features that makes the game cool, not an "attribute" as such.  Its also more a GM-feature than a player-feature, and therefore beyond the scope of my original argument for this thread.

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