||[Feb. 6th, 2007|05:34 pm]
Zelazny's Amber - Diceless Roleplay
Very quick recap, then a more extended discussion, then a bit of a manifesto.|
Anju and Niku conduct an assassination and fight off a warrior female on behalf of Lady Rosamond of House Hendrake. On the way going home they are summoned into the Harpy fight, see below:
The rest of the party make their passage to Amber, in search of a quiet place to prepare to attack Lord I’m-a-ponce on his white charge. Cormac is doing this because he’s been slighted by his Uncle. Kaelth is doing this because Cormac is paying him. Fae is following Kaelth because it freaks Ed out. Vishan is following us because it means an act of war on Amber. I think.
After prepping some spells we’re attacked by an infinite number of Harpies, eventually overwhelmed and wake up in a crystal dungeon somewhere in Chaos but cut off from the rest of the Shadows. Cormac blows the walls up, and as Anju pulls us to the House of Hendrake with her Logrus mastery. On the way out we see the three snake demons that are maintaining the dungeon. At the gate to the House of Hendrake Yari, Cormac and Kaelth head off to a bar, whilst Fae and Anju collect payment from Lord Damon of Hendrake for a severed head.
Did I miss anything? Other contributions welcome.
We discussed the system at length. Magic seems to have thrown people a lot, I have an edge here in that I don’t have any. In particular, conjuration seems obsolete if one has Logrus, sorcery seems to take too long for fire and forget magic, and power words seem to be really limited if you go with the examples, and really powerful if it’s just a word that you can use whenever. I guess the issue here is relevance, and I think that’s a really hard thing for the group to adjust. So much so I’m not going to go into it here.
We had two combats, a balanced one on one match of the sort that are touch and go, and the fight with the Harpies that was weird. What’s interesting in the fight with the harpies is that once you identify what the fight was for, that it was not about actually beating the harpies because we couldn’t, but an opportunity to portray our characters, that the significant actions show through. Basically Becki achieved a lot more in the fight by roleplaying her switch to Yari and the ensuing panic, because she got to reinforce her character aspects, than those of us (me) who were trying to win abstractly did.
See me link this to current developments in RPG theory, what we have here is a system designed for what Mo would call impassioned play. If there are rules-ey mechanics deciding whether we win or loose, we as players don’t know what they are. (As I said to Sarah, I couldn't even spot them. All we can do is act as our characters and see if we succeed or fail accordingly. Which means Sarah has to slap us with pain until we learn, no prisoners, no compromises, no being nice, because we need to hurt when we fail in order to get the payoff.
Now what I’ve come to realise about this game is that it’s a celebration of character and world. You can’t be good at a game where the mechanism for victory is obscured. Presumably an Amber geek could get off on just meeting the NPC’s, and being in the world, but I’m not feeling that. Getting off on Amber for me means getting off on being Fae.
Ready for mission statement? Fae is a really submissive character, she is a follower. She was meant to be receptive, to follow the plot but not drive the party. She was just a way for me to watch the game.
But that isn’t actually helping the game. In fact that’s hindering the game, because we’re sitting in bars getting drunk, and it really isn’t interesting to play fae sitting in bars drinking.
So here’s the manifesto. Fae is going to drive play. She is going to get an agenda and some interests and push the story.