Trump Laws: Proposed

[from MaBarry’s notebook]

I don’t know exactly what I was doing with this list, but there’s some interesting thoughts in it. Written below it is the word, “Alexithymia” meaning, “able to only poorly differentiate between emotions.”

1. Tarot requires knowledge of images. The questions are irrelevant.

2. Requires a patron totem (can be a card image) or power.

3. Can be used to ‘remember’ a Shadow.

4. Images can be blended: will warp an original image.

5. The cards can be used to spy on peoples’ thoughts.

6. The order the cards are in is important.

7. There is a secret set of ‘master’ cards that relate to archetypes.

8. Each card is individually made and ‘spelled’.

9. Communication through the cards cannot be false.

10. Using them backwards can be dangerous.

11. Each card has a special meaning.

12. Cards cannot be duplicated exactly.

13. Cards are ‘sealed’ by the Artist to prevent changes after they are drawn.

Cymnea and Oberon

I actually don’t really care for the Amber children (or teenager) games. Admittedly, I ran one, but it was inspired to actually be a game FOR children should I try to get my little sisters into Amber gaming.

(“Look, the chocolate on my hand looks like a slug!” says Chatterbox, all happy. She’s warped already, but is she warped ENOUGH?)

Or do some community service, such as it is.

The idea of Oberon as a teenager, however, amuses me greatly.

[the Chaos version]

“Go to your Ways! And no talking with this Cymnea girl!”

“I never asked to be born!” [slams door with Logrus tendril]

Of course, while writing the first sentence, I had this whole “Romeo and Juliet Gone Horribly Wrong” idea about Oberon and Cymnea…

Cymnea and Oberon: ala R&J


Two households, both alike in dignity,

In blackened Thelbane, where we lay our scene,

Source of ancient grudge to Brand’s mutiny,

Where civil blood makes Amber hands unclean.

From forth immortal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross’d lovers make their fight;

Whose misadventured and Eye-stealing overthrows

Do with their actions create Shadow’d night.

The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,

And the continuance of all Swayville’s rage,

Which, with Amber’s creation, could not remove,

Is now the amused mutterings of our sage;

The which if you generously attend,

What here shall miss, our laughter should to mend.

The scary thing is that I think I could do it…

Good Campaigns

I have a list of my top twenty favourite Amber campaign sites. A lot of what I like about them is in the webpage design, or sheer reading pleasure, or other reasons for admiration. I recently plugged a couple of games here on the blog and felt I ought to clearly support my choices.

What does a good game have (and for what should someone strive)?

1) Consistency.

Like it or not, that’s the bread and butter of a game. Players need consistency. They need to know that there are rules that will apply across the board, and if for some reason there is an exception, that exception has a REASON. They need adequate response times, with adequate responses. NPCs should talk the same way each time you come across them, landmarks should be solid and any changes maintained and described.

2) Knowledge.

Write what you know, skirt around and study what you do not. You can really get in trouble when you fudge a dessert (so to speak) and find out one of your players is a gourmet chef who knows -that- isn’t going to work. Yes, we’re playing out fantasy here, but I’ve heard of murder mysteries that lowered the GM’s credibility because the fatal injuries couldn’t have occurred that way. Also, keep track of who knows what — unless your game is populated with mysterious oracles who can spout important clues when asked the right question.

3) Quality.

Quality of response and quality of materials are a very important piece of a good game. A definite knack for improvisation will carry you far, but why stress yourself when you don’t have to? Put in the little details; they make the difference.

Those are probably the top three things I look for in a game…but they are of little importance when you don’t have the fourth piece:

4) Character-Specific Entertainment

There’s probably a better way of putting it, but really, I want to be entertained. I want my character to have a role that reflects how much energy I put into my gaming, and probably a little bit extra. I want to be the star, the hero for my fair share of the on-screen time. It’s a combination of fun, and importance… because, after all, why else am I gaming?

So, when I say a game is good, that’s because it’s fulfilling those needs. And yes, I have seen horrible examples of games where the exact opposite was done…

Comments: Rikibeth Stein on 2001-Dec-18:

Murder mysteries that lowered the GM’s credibility because the fatal injuries couldn’t have happened that way?

You wouldn’t maybe be thinking of the time I quoted the Ripper autopsy reports to a FTF GM to prove how hard beheadings were?

I should talk, though. I just read through one of my old gamelogs and realized how badly I’d screwed up the description of a foxhunt. And I don’t have the energy and intensity that it takes to sustain a huge PBeM as GM, either. I had to learn the hard way.

Beheadings, especially. [shaking head] I don’t know how so many GMs screw that one up. (I’ve heard about six different stories…)

I am LEARNING what it takes… and I’m HOPING I have “it”. [grin]

A Sentence on Sentience

At that, I’ve never really appreciated the idea of talking Patterns and Logrus.

I am not a first-series purist. I’m not saying that I’m happy with the Merlin part of the series, ’cause I’m not. Merlin’s an idiot sometimes, especially with his inability to ask for directionsadvice, and his stumbling about to find an answer.

At that, I’ve never really appreciated the idea of talking Patterns and Logrus. If they needed to talk, they could have used someone as a Voice. That’s always been my approach to it. Ghostwheel was designed to learn. The Pattern, however, connects to so many Shadows that at some level the processing it does may apply to itself. I see it capable of making limited “decisions” as an analysis of what is required of it. I don’t think it’s at any level where it can 

communicate or desire anything in the way of human concepts.

The fun idea with it, however, is to imagine it something like “The Blob,” wherein it is hungry to grow its connections. What does it devour to do so? Does it grow with Dworkin? Does Dworkin have to be a shapeshifter in order to contain the effects of Pattern? (Is that what is meant by having to be a shifter for Logrus?) (Being a shifter in the Courts, where as Merlin says sometimes Shadow is loosely woven together and you could fall into unhealthy environments makes sense. But is it different shapeshifting that that of Power?)

If you don’t have Logrus, does Ygg root into the same connections and perhaps limits Pattern’s effectiveness? (There might be an interesting reason for this.) (Ygg says he marks a boundary…not maintains it…but who knows. He’s a talking tree.)

My First Time

It was the Shadowrun game to end all Shadowrun games. I mean, we had everything. Vampires, kender, ancient Aztec gods, feathered serpents, crazy riggers, a three-eyed troll, a toothbrush salesman, and it ended with a bang, as the house exploded.

Somewhere in there, my main NPC, a burned-out mage, and Maxi, the rigger, fell into something more, something…different. A burned-out mage who discovered her real feelings, something to ease the eternal ache…

…and the first gaming erotica to which I was ever exposed.

Oh, I suppose in retrospect it was like most good first times, kind of clumsy, and messy. I remember it with a fond, sentimental smile. Just an e-mail I ran across after school, I never associated it with the fellow behind it as a flirt. It felt so much like a part of the story, just another scene, even if I hadn’t written it as GM. I never even questioned its appropriateness.

A few months later, the same fellow introduced me to Amber.