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$22.95 $12.00
Publisher: Diceless by Design
by Cliff S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2009 03:14:10

First of all, DO NOT assume this is a game about some chick named "Amber" because of the picture on the front cover. That's the mistake I made some twenty years ago when I first passed this in the gaming store, and I passed by it dozens of times before I ever picked it up. It wasn't until a year or two later that friends introduced me to this game and the novels it was based on, and I realized this is one of the great role-playing games ever. The game system is still the most brilliant I've encountered. But let's get to the story.

Amber is about a family of gods who live in a golden city named Amber (as in gold). This family has the birthright to control "Pattern" magic, which is a magic aligned with the pole of order in the universe. Located at the other pole of reality is the Courts of Chaos, and the Chaosians are the only true rivals to the Amberites in the universe. Between these two poles of reality are an infinite number of worlds, called "shadows", and lords of Amber and Chaos have magics that allow them to travel these worlds, build fiefdoms in these worlds or even destroy the worlds as they see fit. Yes, Amber is a cosmic game where a player character can destroy an entire plane of existence with a shrug of the shoulder, and the next minute travel to an exact copy of that same world.

When becoming a king or god among the shadow-dwellers is mere simplicity, the only thing that has any meaning in the universe is the constant balance-of-power back in Amber. You're essentially ageless and used to getting your way, and the only people you really consider your equals or rivals are the members of your own family (and maybe the Lords of Chaos), so your interactions with these people are what gives your life meaning. Amber is meant to pit one player against another, or induce you to form alliances against other potential enemies in the family. And if you're playing it right, you'll probably end up loving half the other PCs and hating - really, really hating - the other half.

Because a prince of Amber has access to any world they can imagine, you can pretty much any type of character you can imagine. Generally speaking, these will be among your most memorable and favorite characters you'll ever play.

The game system of the Amber RPG is brilliant, using a diceless system to make the action fast and decisive, because whoever is higher at a statistic (Psyche, Strength, Endurance, Warfare) wins. Still, the system is flexible enough to leave more wiggle room than you would imagine with something so straightforward, due to tactics, minions, hidden allies or just plain luck.

If you love role-playing, you and your gaming group have to give Amber a try. I cannot recommend this game highly enough.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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