Guide to Campaign Stats

How many Amberites can scheme on the head of a pin?

mortal chaos amber item
mortal sickly     0.50 -45 0.50
mortal feeble     0.75 -35 0.75
mortal chaos sickly   1 -25 1
mortal notable chaos feeble   1.5 -15 1.5
mortal luminary chaos amber sickly 2 -10 2
mortal legend chaos notable amber feeble 3 -5 3
mortal paramount chaos luminary amber 4 0 4
    amber notable 8 15 6
    amber luminary 16 30 8
    amber legend 32 60 12
    amber paramount 64 120 16

The table above is an attempt to answer several questions at once, with the GM always having to make story judgments on the fly. This is not about numbers, this is about story consistency and logic. Feedback is welcome.

How superior are Amberites to human norms?

We see many examples of Amberite reactions to conflict in the stories, but we can rationalize many interpretations to what Zelazny lets us see. This table suggests a working scale for story purposes. Mortal Feeble would represent most RPG'ers or others who do not exercise. Mortal would represent a fit Shadow person who expects to live the kind of life that could be described as occasionally adventurous or professionally athletic. Mortal Notable would represent a person who excels and is known for that expertise.

What about a 'Mortal' attribute better than 'Amber' rank? Is that possible?

Yes. Mortal Paramount is a better rank than Amber Feeble. You may continue the chart in that fashion. Your GM might judge Sherlock Holmes or Indiana Jones to be such an example. This is why the chart cascades with overlap between Mortal, Chaos, and Amber. The players should expect that an amazing Mortal might exceed them in some abilities, if that Mortal is known for their skill and expertise. Of course, however skilled mortals might be, the system is weighted to Amber supremacy.

So an Amber rank is twice as good as a Chaos rank?

Yes. Based on my own campaign, this is a value that works for me. Your mileage may vary, (I've tried the system with other logical multiples). In the same fashion, a base line Chaosian is twice as good as a base line Mortal. You can change this progression of values, but there should always be overlap between the different scales.

In the ADRPG rule book, Erick Wujcik provides rule examples that speculate that an Amberite may be as much as five times better than a Chaosian, likewise a Chaosian that much better than mortal. Note the relationship between an Amberite regenerating a limb (twenty years) and a Chaosian doing the same (one hundred years).

Wujcik is close to the mark if you use the "canon" example from the books: the combined strength of Random and Corwin in lifting four thousand pounds of automobile. This suggests their combined strength is ten times their combined weight. (I'm being generous with shrimpy Random's weight.) Corwin states he's over 200 pounds, and Random must be under 200 by quite a bit. If Amberites are five times better than Chaosians (who are five times better than mortals), then the automobile example is easy with Wujcik's factor of five. Corwin could lift five thousand pounds by himself even if he had only Amber(0) strength-- (230 lbs. x 25 = 5750).

Using my factors, Random and Corwin would both have to be high on the scale of strength to pull this off. Certainly that's possible, Random and Corwin as High Strength guys isn't denied by "canon" text.

If in your campaign, you want a lot of people stronger than Random, you'll have to use ranks more like Wujcik's. This gives you more room on the high end of the chart. In my campaign, I want the Amberites to be closer to mortal folk, so my factor is smaller.

The Amber Mailing List has questioned the Wujcik "step factors". Many folk feel that this leads to "god-like" differences between ordinary Shadowfolk and Amberites. The supporting validation of this argument against such a "wide spread" of power is that Amberites can be mistaken for Shadows of themselves, indicating that it can be difficult to prove they have Amber quality-- even by other Amberites who know them well. This is not as logical if Amberites are constructed to support strength 25 times greater than human.

Your GM may wish to assume that any Reflected Shadow of a person has one half to one quarter the ability of the original. Important note! This means dropping two or four steps on the chart. Half the Stat points is not half the ability!

Could a Mortal have a Reflected Shadow?

Exactly why the chart is set up the way it is. A Mortal Notable could certainly have a Mortal Feeble Shadow. If it has story value, it is not prohibited. My players dealt with a Reflected Shadow of a particular sorcerer, only to later realize that the 'real' person was still alive, not their enemy, and more capable! Chaosians might have Reflected Shadows in the Black Zone. A Shadow of Corwin or Gerard might still be more formidable than the PC's or some Elders in certain ways. With this system, Fiona might have a Reflected Shadow of a Reflected Shadow, because of how 'real' she is. The limit is when halving the individual's Stats reduces the 'lowest' below Mortal Sickly or your own GM's tweaked chart of Attributes.

So how many Chaosians does it take to put down Gerard?

This is unanswerable without a story line to analyze. I have set Mortal to a value of One for convenience (I can get lots of data on mortal skills). While the chart might suggest that eight (8x2) average Chaosians could match Gerard (16), in my experience, it ain't that easy. Coordination of effort (the plan) is a big consideration with me.

I'll also point out that this system makes quick judgments about Strength working in the physical world very easy. If a mortal can lift and control his own weight, then a Chaosian can do twice that. What's more, it paints a vivid picture to realize that Fiona may only weigh a hundred pounds but be able to shift four hundred pounds of weight.

OTOH, if you have another idea I'd like to hear it. eTrump

Group tactics are not simply additive?

Skip this part if you are comfortable making rulings on the fly. This section deals with cooperative assaults (such as the Library Trump scene).

No, not in my "vision". I don't know how most GM's handle this, but I find it to be quite a puzzle. One that needs careful thought. I use an analogy for "group assault", then apply it to the stat contest in play. Let's use the Gerard example above: assume Gerard is attacked hand-to-hand by a half-dozen Chaosians in close quarters. The first question to ask is 'who leads the Chaosians?'. Important because while Strength will determine the contest of stats, Warfare will determine the leadership of a group. Assume now that our Chaosian leader has a Warfare of 30. Easy to see that this fellow can plan and coordinate his 5 companions. His companions will be effective to the limits of available space and Strength stats.

This is the crux of the issue for me. As long as you are a collection of individuals, you have no cumulative Stat. IOW, Gerard will devastate this group if they attack him as individuals. As GM, I would expect Gerard to flatten two of them on first contact. But, if the attack is coordinated, with individuals timing their actions to account for each other, and Gerard, then I will allow a cumulative Stat attack.

The rule of thumb in a case like this, first establish the Warfare (plan) stat. My quick assumptions, all things being equal, is that a mortal rank in Warfare can coordinate two things at once. Chaos would double that. Amber would double it again. The example Leader here could plan for 16 independent actions within the same attack, which is why I would allow full coordination of the attack.

If attack facing matters, and in hand-to-hand it certainly does, then no more than 6 men can attack something of Gerard's size at the same time. Again, in the example, this means that Gerard has to deal with a Story Value attack of 12 (6 Chaosians[2]).

Quickly change the example, by saying the Leader is Warfare -10. Now he can plan 4 independent actions. Since he has to plan for 6, he doesn't pass the threshold test for full cumulative Stats. Only the Leader gets to use his full Strength stat (let's say all the Chaosians are -10 Strength), because only the Leader will take initiative-- the other five are following a plan. Following a plan that didn't pass the test for independent actions. Each of the other 5 participants is counted at half value. The Story Value of this example attack is 7 (1 Chaosian[2] and 5 Chaosian[1]).

Gestalt actions and attacks all follow this formula.

In field actions, where hundreds of men are being directed, the scale of units changes, but not the intent. A field commander can plan for the actions of squads, companies, brigades, or ships, flotillas, and fleets.

Benedict can plan 32 independent actions within a coordinated attack based on my theories laid forth here. That means, for example, Benedict will delegate when the engaged units he commands go beyond 32 because he would not let his units lose their full effectiveness.

Another way of saying this: Benedict can lend (delegate) his Warfare planning to over two dozen officers who trust his direction.

And how does this relate to Creatures, Items, and smArtifacts?

I think it relates quite well. Why not take a look?

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