Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I love my new Amberites!

Ran the first session of my new Amber campaign tonight. I love my players! They're really engaged and give a damn about the NPCs already. They've got developed personalities, and some solid back stories, and they just all feel like bonafide Amber characters: several of them are cagey, nearly all of them have oversized egos, and the players have taken to the setting like fish to the River Oisen. Only 3 of the 7 players have read any of the novels before, and only 1 of the 7 has played the game, so I'm blessedly lucky that they've picked up the feel and the tone so quickly. 

I will claim a tiny bit of assisted credit there, as I did handle the Attribute Auction very differently this game (and will do so likewise for all Amber campaigns going forward). We did Powers first, so people were all-but-guaranteed to have enough points available for Pattern if they wanted it, and I really leaned into how great Pattern is for first-time players, instead of trying to "trick" them into overbidding on Attributes like the rules encourage. So this is the highest number/percentage of genuine Amberites I've ever had in a campaign. It seems like every Amber campaign I've run before has always had at least two players who wanted to be Shadow Sorcerors with zero links to Amber or Chaos, at least one player with Advanced Shapeshifting but no other links to Amber or Chaos, and at least one character (usually one of the previous three) with zero ability to move through worlds (not even Trump Artistry). It's a pretty serious stumbling block to getting the plot going if half the player base has no reason to interact with the NPCs or each other. This time, we avoided that better than ever before, and I think it's playing out really well.

But I can only a tiny thimble-full of the credit for helping set that up, because my players are just generally awesome and all I did was not screw them over during the Auction. The rest is all them.  Everyone already has their 1st session's Pledges up on the site. All the journal entries, campaign log, and quotes page are top-notch. (I want to share some of those here, but should probably check with the players first to get permission.) My players are doing great work, and really diving in head-first. I cannot sing their praises loudly enough. Great job, folks!

The plot is off to a rollicking start, with a couple good fights already, and lots of scheming plots and mysteries. I got most of the characters to meet each other in the first session, in a way that's got a little tension going between various parties, but not got any PCs gun for each other just yet. 5 of the 7 characters ended up in the middle of the city of Amber during a bit of diplomacy gone bad. 

The 2 that didn't get involved in that each got their own interesting mystery subplot, which show some signs of being interwoven with each other, and also possibly with what was happening with one of the characters.

Here's some other random plot points:

Uncle Caine is up to something nefarious, and faced a bad setback already when the envoy from chaos escaped what sure seems to have been an attempted ambush.

Aunt Fiona is feeding clues to one PC that all seem to be pointing towards some sort of presumably-unrelated doppleganger mystery. She refused to talk directly about it, but the clues would have been really hard to miss.

Strange birds have arrived at two characters worlds, one bearing a message from dead Aunt Deidre, the other possibly pursued by a cat-monster.

A black unicorn arrived in a different characters world, definitely pursued by two cat-monsters. After the monsters were slain by the PCs, the unicorn fled.

And just to add a little more complexity, Eric's weir have been stirring up trouble in Arden. 

I was very pleased to pack all that in to a single session. I am incredibly excited for the rest of this game!

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