Amber On-Line is run a little differently than most campiagns. It is actually a very good way of playing Amber. Characters in this game are very rarely all together in one place doing the same thing. In fact, they often can be plotting against one another. Instead of all gathering in one place to play, everyone interfaces through me, the GM. If characters are together, then they mail each other and me what is going on for their respective character. When apart, each player never sees the messages exchanged to other players, since their character would have no idea what other characters might be up to.
You will control your character, and I will control basically everything else. I will tell you what expternal things occur which you observe, and you will respond with thoughts, feelings, and actions your character takes. When your character is around other character(s), messages detailing obvious actions will have to be sent to the other player(s) as well as to myself. As the GM, I will need to know everything, so any Amber message sent anywhere must also be cc:'d to me. Most messages you send will probably be primarily if not exclusively to me anyway.
When your character is in contact with another, you may simply have a talk session with the other player to expediate things. If you ever have a talk session about Amber with me or another player, you must write me a message detailing what happened from your character's perspective. That way I can have totally detailed records for everyone by the end. Never, *ever* tell another player anything about your character that their character shouldn't know. One of your most valuable secrets in the game will be your character's past, powers, and weaknesses. If another player knows anything about you, assume their character will use it against you. That is how an Amberite thinks.
For game purposes, you will start out with 120 points to spend on your character. You will spend these on the following things:
Attributes Powers Artifacts and Creatures Personal Shadows Allies Good Stuff/Bad Stuff
Your attributes are Strength, Warfare, Psyche , and Endurance, as I briefly outlined in my last message. They are important for your character in being able to do things. Most important, how each of your abilities rate compared to other characters is vital, because you might fight them sometime. To give a little perspective, of my original players, the least number of points a player spent in total on attributes was 0, while the most was over 100. If you spend nothing in one, you are at 'amber level,' which just means 'very good.' Pretty much, the best fencer in the world might have Amber level warfare, or maybe a couple of points. You could actually gain 10 points and reduce one attribute to 'chaos level,' which is worse then amber level. If you do, though, it will be a big weakness you don't want anyone to know about. To traverse the Pattern unassisted you would need at least an Amber Psyche, probably. But who knows, it is a difficult thing to do, as the books will describe.
The Powers you can have are as follows, with some details given in the books:
Pattern (50 points): Your character has walked the Pattern and can move through shadow at will. The books give a good idea of how powerful this is. I highly recommend every character have this power from the get-go.
Trump Artistry (45 points): You can create Trumps, given enough time and exposure to the subject of the card. IMPORTANT: You need to have Pattern Power to get Trump Artistry.
Shapeshifting (35 points): You retain from your Chaos blood the ability to shift your physical body into certain other forms.
PowerWords (10 points): This is a limited magical ability which allows you to use secret, magical words to create magical effects of an instantaneous nature.
Sorcery (15 points): A more full blown ability with Magic, requiring much time of study and maintanence, and more elaborate spells.
Conjuration (20 points): The ability to draw items of power from shadow.
Artifacts and Creatures: You can spend points on items or creatures (like a sword, a wolf, a shirt, etc.) to give them extra powers (I will detail these for players later, please contact me about it with any questions). Practically every player spends some point in this category.
Personal Shadows: You can spend a couple points on your favorite shadow(s) to make them hard to get to for others, or to give you more control over them, etc.
Allies: In Amber, allies are everything. If you want to have an elder who looks out for you, you have to spend 6 points.
Good/Bad Stuff: Do you remember how everything just seem to go wrong for Han Solo in Star Wars? He had a couple of points of Bad Stuff, which is basically luck, but also is how you might come off to others, either as charming (Good Stuff), or sinister (Bad Stuff), but role playing has more of an effect on the latter. Good stuff is better for your character, but Bad stuff is more fun. If you get Bad stuff, you gain the number of points you spend in it, whereas if you get good stuff, you lose those points. I wouldn't spend more then 5 point either direction, if you spend any at all.
A *typical* character will spend anywhere from 5-25 points on creatures/artifacts and personal shadows combined. The rest is how you like it. Write any questions you have.