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Amber Diceless Role Playing Games (DRPG)

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Intra-national Man of Leisure of this modest tribute site.

What is Amber?

Amber is a Diceless Role Playing Game System based upon the two series of five books that are commonly referred to by the same name: the Amber series by Roger Zelazny (or The Chronicles of Amber). The first five were the Corwin Chronicles and the second five were the Merlin Chronicles (Corwin's son). There were a few short stories about Amber published later.

Erick Wujcik liked the books so much, that he didn't want them to end and designed a diceless role-playing game system in the Amber setting, and simply called it "Amber". He adds to the game only what is needed, and decided that he didn't need dice. Unfortunately no gaming company agreed with him, so he established his own company for only Amber items: Phage Press.

A second game book was published based upon the Merlin Chronicles, called "Shadow Knight" and a magazine, called "Amberzine", had twelve issues so far. A new sourcebook called "Rebma", has been anticipated, as well as a book on Sorcery. It is uncertain if they will be released.

Aside from publishing, Phage Press organized AmberCon, every year near spring break in Livonia, Michigan. It's a small convention, with a family feel to it, playing the game sessions in people's hotel suites. It is a wonderful convention if you like role-playing. AmberCon, of course, is exclusively Amber gaming. 

Ambercon 2011 will be happening in Livonia, Michigan: April 14 - 17! Please visit the website for more information.

There are other annual Amber conventions. Check the site to see the schedules and places.

There is a mailing list run by Sol Foster that I subscribe to. To subscribe to the Amber mailing list, send e-mail to majordomo@logrus.org with 'subscribe amber firstname lastname' in the body of the e-mail.

It was a sad day:
Erick Wujcik Passes Quietly

Beloved role-playing game designer, Erick Wujcik, passed away Saturday evening, June 7, 2008. He died from complications related to pancreatic and liver cancer. Kathryn Kozora, his sweetheart of nearly 30 years, and other loved ones were at his side. (more)

My Amber History:

My gaming history goes back to July 1980 (I was 27), when I was camping with several families (all very good friends). The kids were playing a game called Dungeons and Dragons. I was intrigued at the intelligence and imagination of these young lads: Brian, Kevin, Dan, and Steve. I asked if I could join in and after rolling up a Winged-folk fighter/magic-user named Katar Hol (Yes I know, it isn't an original name. I liked that DC character, otherwise known as Hawkman! And the name fitted the character very well.) Katar specialized in aerial reconnaissance and diving attacks or raining magical attacks from above. We gamed together for over five years (often while camping - the atmosphere for gaming in the woods was great!) and I watched the gamers grow up into adulthood, and moving on to their own lives.

Left to my own devices, I needed my gaming fix. I met with friends of friends of friends and continued AD&D, until I was introduced to some alternate games. Some were fun and others were boring. We play tested a newly released game called "Amber". The first thing that impressed me was that there were no dice involved! Cool! I didn't need to carry around a ton of books, a bag of dice, and a box-full of figurines. No more Monty haul! That in itself sold me. Then I learned that the focus was on the story, the plot, the characters, and the: why, where, when and how! You didn't just walk through a dungeon, encounter some poor unsuspecting creature, kill it, take it's treasure, and gain experience points. You learned to 'care' about your character's motivations, desires, and dreams. You adventured to solve problems, collect information, determine the motivation of others, enhance your abilities, and survive. If you killed, it was for a 'reason'. (Well, your character's reason, not particularly someone else's accepted reason.) But it's not just senseless 'hack and slash'.

I wasn't able to find anyone to game with in the Dayton, Ohio area. To be frank, many established 'Amber' groups at that time were seen as: snobbish, elitist, or cliquish and didn't want new gamers. This was the perception by many gamers in other games, however unfair. I wanted to change that perception.

I know that attracting and keeping gamers in the group was difficult. If you were to be accepted into an established group, it was expected to be a serious commitment. Attendance is very important. People drifting in and out of the group was a nuisance to the players, because it may have affected their established rankings in the group. Think of any team who was constantly looking for a person to fill a position. How inconvenient was it to constantly have to deal with the absentees. Well, it is kind of like that. So, the group was careful who was invited in. I would like to think (very kindly) that they just had as many players as their GM could handle at one time - a full team. And as far as I am concerned, that is an 'acceptable' reason.

So, I posted notes on boards at local gaming houses like the "Tin Soldier"; and "Cathartic Dreams" and tried to start my own group. It was slow and often frustrating until I met Rain Donaldson and Jack Gulick. For three years, Rain GM-ed Esprit de Corps and Dressed To Kill and I played Steed. We met in a dozen locations, trying to accommodate as many people as possible. Our little group of adventurers were constantly on the run and often in several directions at once. I really enjoyed the company of our group and I was saddened when we ended it. Ambercon gives me the opportunity to see them again, if even for only a very short time.

However, life goes on and people move on. Gaming opportunities have dried up once again. One day, something will open up and I will jump in with all fours. But till then, Ambercon is my annual fix and the Embassy Suites in Detroit-Livonia IS my Castle Amber - until something else comes along.

I Attended Ambercon 2001 sessions.

Sadly, I missed several Ambercons in the last decade, but I hope to see everyone again in 2011!

Amber is the one true city, the center of all things. All roads lead to Amber, if you can find your way through Shadow. Amber is a realm that is very special and very real to me. Tap on the Amber buttons to follow links to my characters, their journals, and links to sites where they live and play.

The Royal family's artifact is the Pattern, inscribed by Dworkin. We of the blood of Amber, after walking the Pattern, gain power over Shadow and can travel through it.


Labyrinth as a design of the Pattern of Amber

Only those of the blood can walk the Pattern and survive, but you can follow the links into the realm of Amber. . .

There are many concepts for a design of Castle Amber. This is one that was designed and contributed by Jo Ann Spencer:
Amber Castle Level 1
Amber Castle Level 2
Amber Castle Level 3
Amber Castle Level 4
Amber Castle Level X
Thanks, Jo Ann!

The Amber DRPG and Shadow Knight are now available as PDF documents!

Get them at www.DriveThruRPG.com!

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R. Cal Westray, Jr.
Revised: September 18, 2013.

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