Episode 07: Roger Zelazny’s Amber

Episode 07: Roger Zelazny's Amber

Ralph and Becky spend an extra-long episode dissecting Roger Zelazny’s Amber, and consider different systems for running an Amberite game

Show Notes

The Amber series by Roger Zelazny

Ralph Lovegrove and Becky Annison

Synopsis 00:15 // World-building 8:10 // RPGs start with Amber Diceless at 19:10 // Lords of Gossamer and Shadow 24:50 // Hillfolk 40:00 // Malandros 41:40 // Everway 50:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

(chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

5 thoughts on “Episode 07: Roger Zelazny’s Amber

  1. What is the slang meaning of marmite? I know about the spread. I’m guessing via context it means something like a “gross topping,” as in a distasteful and unnecessary addition. How close am I?

  2. Hi All,

    A friend of our just pointed me to this entry. I’ve been running an Everway/Amber hybrid since 2001 as a PbEM game.

    My wife was a player in Fred Wolke’s original Amberway campaign, preserved for posterity here: http://www.highclearing.com/amberway/. After Fred’s campaign died down, Jim Henley continued it here:http://www.highclearing.com/amberway2/

    We have been running “House of Cards” continually since 2001 via email, and information about it, including our rules, can be found here: http://www.whiterose.org/houseofcards/misc/index.html

    I think you hit it on the head about the family relations being vital to how Amber is different, both as fiction and as an RPG source, from most other games. By making the only people who matter family, there’s a lot of attachment that just happens naturally. “I want her dead, but I can’t kill her because she’s my best friend’s mother” was a key revelation from one of our players. This keeps the villains (or antagonists) from becoming faceless, replaceable entities.

    Everway was sold by Wizards of the Coast and (last I know) ended up with Gaslight Press, which has suspended operations but doesn’t seem to be totally dead. I don’t know if Jonathan can recover the rights, but I’d like to think so.

    Thanks for your podcast on our favorite setting, and for mentioning our little variant.

    Michael Croft

    • Hi Michael

      Great to hear from you — I’m familiar with the original Amberway site. Great to see that it’s carried on! Unfortunately not all old Everway links have persisted. I think Rob Barrett’s Everweb is no longer available.

      And I remember now — Gaslight Press were promising a new Everway and it never happened, which is a shame.


  3. Aside from the family bond, the pre-game mechanic that set the stage was secrets. Who is his parent? What are her real stats? What powers is she taking and what is she planning to do with them that I need to be aware of? We had jealous little secrets before the game even started that fed into the myopic view that makes only your peers important. The auction feeds that as well. Even those of us who mathed out the points prior were unsatisfied with the results and had small. Petty scores to settle against each other. In other words, we were scheming family by the end of session zero. I agree that experienced players rarely repeat the auction, for all the reasons you stated, as an introductory mechanic, it did its job. So my recommendation for the family feel of Amber is to generate player secrets prior to game start.
    We even homebrewed a small rule that an apology transfered a point, making another thematic Petty conflict.
    Also, Amberway. Wow. I read that whole campaign on line and loved that whole concept and story. Great stuff!

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