The Amber Mailing List FAQ, February 4, 1998

  This is the unofficial FAQ (frequently asked questions) list for the
  Amber Mailing List.  This FAQ is derived from Brian Moore's
  ( original unofficial Amber FAQ.  It was further adapted
  by Lisa Leutheuser (  The current FAQ maintainer
  is Bernard Hsiung (

  Other contributors include Steven Kaye (, Peter Miller
  ( and Sarah Wishnevsky (

  This FAQ will be posted occasionally, and is also available via FTP at
  the Amber FTP site:, in the directory /users/kbremer/amber.
  Or, if you're using the WWW,

  The FAQ is on the WWW at and

  Mail suggestions/corrections/additions to me,
  Changes in future releases will be marked with change bars | on the left.

  WARNING:  this FAQ is chock full of spoilers for the Amber series.
  Proceed with caution.  Better yet, read the books first.  The general
  section of the FAQ is relatively safe except for question G12.


                        Table of Contents:

  G1) What is this list about?
  G2) What sort of etiquette should I use here?
  G3) What is Amber? (with a list of Amber books)
  G4) What is the Amber Diceless Role-Playing Game (DRPG)?
  G5) What other Phage Press stuff is there?
  G6) What non-Phage Press stuff is there?
  G7) Is there an anonymous FTP site for this list?
  G8) How about a mail server for those without internet access?
  G9) How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to this list?
  G10) What are all those funny acronyms?
  G11) What is this "second series canon" stuff?
  G12) Are there any conflicting statements in the books?
  G13) What/Where is AmberMUSH?
  G14) Should this list be a newsgroup instead?
  G15) What's important to know about copyright for the list?

  N1) What are all these new powers?

  P1) How many Patterns are there?
  P2) What is the Broken Pattern?
  P3) Is the Pattern or Logrus stronger?
  P4) How many generations removed from Dworkin can you be, and still
      be able to walk the Pattern?  What does it take to have one's
      blood be capable of erasing the Pattern?

  L1) What is the plural of Logrus?  Answer: Logri. :)
  L2) How many Logri are there?
  L3) What is the Fixed Logrus?
  L4) Are there "Logrus weapons" that make Amberites burn up?
  L5) What is the origin of the Logrus?

  T1) Is there a Power (Pattern or Logrus) behind Trump?
  T2) What form can Trump take?

  I1) Are items really as powerful as they seem?
  I2) What about that "Tireless, Supernatural Stamina"?
  I3) What about "Invulnerable to all Conventional Weapons"?
  I4) What about "Psychic barrier"?
  I5) What about conferred regeneration?

  A1) Can I kill Benedict with warfare?
  A2) How many children does Oberon have?
  A3) How many other Amberites are there?
  A4) Is anything stronger than Gerard?
  A5) Is it spelled Dierdre or Deirdre?
  A6) Does Coral become pregnant in the second series?
  A7) What's the deal with Caine's parentage anyway?
  A8) What color is Florimel's hair?
  A9) How can Dara be born in a week after Lintra died?  How can she
      be ancient and powerful in the Merlin series?
  A10) What makes some Amberites older than others?  Are they immortal?
  A11) What was Julian's favorite game?

  B1) What's the time differential between Amber and Chaos?

  R1) How do people handle Good Stuff and advancement?
  R2) Can the first-ranked in a stat be surpassed through advancement?
  R3) Does Stuff equal "Alignment"?

  O1) I want to run a game, what should I do?
  O2) What has been discussed on the list?
  O3) Who's that "Carmen" that Corwin mentions at the end of _CoC_?
  O4) How do the Elder Amberites match up with the Tarot deck?
  O5) What is good music for Amber gaming/inspiration? / What is the
      Amber Theme Song? / What music might Corwin have composed while
      he was trapped on Shadow Earth?
  O6) What is the effect on an unborn baby if the mother walks the
      Pattern or Logrus while pregnant?
  O7) Since Shadows can have different timerates, how do you explain the
      fact that Trump has no time lapse in the books?



  G1) What is this list about?

  This list is for discussing the Amber novels and role-playing game.
  As long as a topic relates to the game or novels in any way, it is fine.

  G2) What sort of etiquette should I use here?

       Try to follow Usenet etiquette.  Ignore spelling errors.  Keep
  flames to a minimum.  Include smileys :) when you are joking.  (It
  is sometimes difficult to tell, no matter how clear you think you
  are being.)  Only quote relevant portions of a message you reply to;
  especially avoid repeating a long message only to add a short comment.
       Always include AMBER in the subject of your messages: this
  allows people with mail filters to separate out these postings.
       Don't ask for people to send you electronic copies of Zelazny's
  works; such distribution of copyrighted material is illegal.
       Messages which are not related to Amber don't belong on the list.
  We understand that warnings are sent out with the best intentions, but
  if everyone sent out the latest virus, scam, or bad policy warnings,
  we'd be swamped with more non-Amber mail than Amber mail.

  G3) What is Amber? (list of Amber books)

  The Amber universe was created by Roger Zelazny in his very popular
  fantasy/sci-fi series: _Nine Princes in Amber_, _The Guns of Avalon_,
  _Sign of the Unicorn_, _The Hand of Oberon_, _The Courts of Chaos_,
  _Trumps of Doom_, _Blood of Amber_, _Sign of Chaos_, _Knight of
  Shadows_, and _Prince of Chaos_.  The first five books deal with
  Corwin; the second five with Merlin, Corwin's son.

  The little-known "Prologue" to his novel _Trumps of Doom_, which
  briefly describes Merlin's traversal of the Logrus, was republished
  in Amberzine #4. (Aug '93)

  Roger Zelazny also wrote five Amber short stories:
    "A Salesman's Tale", published in Amberzine #6. (Feb '94) (see G4 for
  more about Amberzine).  Rinaldo's POV.
    "The Shrouding and the Guisel", published in the premiere issue of
  "Realms of Fantasy" magazine (Oct '94), as well as Amberzine #8.
  Merlin's POV.
    "Coming to a Cord", published in Pirate Writings (Summer '95).
  Frakir(!)'s POV.
    "Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains", in the anthology "Wheel of Fortune",
  edited by Roger Zelazny, ISBN 0-380-77423-2. (Dec '96)  Corwin's POV.
    "Hall of Mirrors", in the anthology "Castle Fantastic", edited by
  John DeChancie and Martin H. Greenburg, ISBN 0-88677-686-4. (Mar '96)
  Corwin's POV.

  Although I haven't tried this myself, I have heard it said that one
  can get Roger Zelazny's books on-line.  e.g.:

  G4) What is the Amber Diceless Role-Playing Game (DRPG)?

  It is a game designed by Erick Wujcik and published by Phage Press in
  Nov '91.  It contains a set of rules and background for running a role-
  playing game in the Amber universe.  It heavily emphasizes role-playing,
  and uses NO dice at all.  For anything.  Ever.  It costs $22.95 US,
  and you can order it directly from Phage Press, PO Box 519, Detroit,
  MI USA, 48231-0519.  It costs $25.00 US with shipping and handling.

  The supplement _Shadow Knight_ came out Dec 1993, after being delayed
  for a few years.  It mostly covers the Merlin series (which was not
  in the core rules) and sells for $23.95 US. 

  The other promised supplements have been not yet materialized, but
  the Rebman source book should be published "soon." (as of Apr '96)

  G5) What other Phage Press stuff is there?

  Phage Press also publishes the fanzine "Amberzine," which has a limited
  print run of 1000 copies per issue.  It largely carries gaming fiction
  (i.e., other people's campaign logs, with all that implies) and a small
  sprinkling of essays and miscellaneous things.  There are 9 issues now out.

  Issues or back issues cost $10 US apiece.  A subscription to Amberzine
  is $40 US for 5 issues; release dates are erratic.  As far as I know,
  all issues are still available from Phage Press; write them to order back
  issues or request a subscription.

  G6) What non-Phage Press stuff is there?

  There used to be several non-Phage press Amber fanzines which were
  dedicated to the Amber DRPG.  Among these were _Hellrider_, from
  the UK, and _Trump Call_, edited by Cort Odekirk.  Unfortunately,
  they have all since died out to the best of my knowledge.

  There is, however, a WWW fanzine, "A Pattern in the WEB", at

  Other potential sources include _Roger Zelazny's Visual Guide to Castle
  Amber_, co-authored by Neil Randall, who is also the author of two
  choose-your-own adventure style books called _Seven No Trump_ and _The
  Black Road War_ (ISBN 0-441-11537-3, published by Ace Books, 1988).
  The first casts you in the role of Random; the second places you in the
  shoes of Derek, son of Eric; they are both out of print.  The _Visual
  Guide_ is somewhat reviled on the list, as it not only contains art which
  charitably may be said to be not particularly inspiring, but it also
  suggests the Amberites were extremely influenced by Earth, of all places.

  _The Complete Amber Sourcebook_, by Theodore Krulik,
  ISBN 0-380-75409-6 (Jan '96).
  This has some uses as a book where one can find various parts of the
  series summarized, but the author's extensions of Zelanzy's universe
  (e.g., his treatment of the Moonriders) read like something out of
  someone's personal campaign, and an uninteresting campaign at that.

  In 1985, a graphical computer adventure game called, unsurprisingly,
  "Nine Princes in Amber" was published in 1985 by Telarium Software.
  It was based on the first two books; you took the part of Corwin.
  It was available on the Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari ST (possibly
  the Amiga), and IBM, but is presently out of print.

  There was supposed to be an Amber boardgame which was worked on by
  some people at Eon Games.  Unfortunately, it was never released.

  DC Comics has an adaptation of NPiA in three parts; the first part was
  out in late May '96.  It has also published a complete adaptation of
  GoA illustrated by Christopher Schenck, also in three parts; the first
  part shipped in late August '96. is in touch with the
  GoA artist and has volunteered to field questions regarding it.

  G7) Is there an anonymous FTP site for this list?

  The Amber list FTP site is run on a volunteer basis by Kevin Bremer.
  It is at, and the directory is /users/kbremer/amber.  If
  you're using the WWW,

  Older archives of the list starting from 92-06 and recent archives
  are preserved there; there is a gap from 95-03 to 95-12 for which
  no archives exist.

  G8) How about a mail server for those without internet access?

  There are some alternatives.  The best way is to try the ftpmail
  server run by DEC.  Just send a message containing "help" in the
  body to  You should get back a message
  telling you how to use it.  

  G9) How to I subscribe/unsubscribe to this list?

  The list is administered by Lisa Leutheuser.  To subscribe or
  unsubscribe, send e-mail to with:

  [subscribe/unsubscribe] amber [your e-mail address here]

  in the *body* of the e-mail message.  You can also go to the URL  If you
  have questions about or problems with the the functioning of the
  list itself, send e-mail to (not to Lisa).

  G10) What are all those funny acronyms or words?

  Book abbreviations:
  NPiA - _Nine Princes in Amber_         ToD - _Trumps of Doom_
  GoA  - _Guns of Avalon_                BoA - _Blood of Amber_
  HoO  - _Hand of Oberon_                SoC - _Sign of Chaos_
  SotU - _Sign of the Unicorn_           KoS - _Knight of Shadows_
  CoC  - _The Courts of Chaos_           PoC - _Prince of Chaos_

  :-) or :) - a sideways smiley face, meant to indicate a joke
  AFAIK - As Far As I Know
  BTW - By The Way
  FAQ - Frequently Asked Question
  flame - verb.  To violently vocally disagree.
  FTF - Face-to-Face (as opposed to PBEM)
  IIRC - If I Recall Correctly
  IMC - In My Campaign
  IMHO - In My Humble Opinion (there are variants)
  IMOC - In My Other Campaign
  IOC - In Our Campaign
  LOL - Laughs Out Loud
  OTOH - On The Other Hand
  PBEM - Play by E-Mail
  ROFL - Rolling On the Floor Laughing
  YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary

  G11) What is this "second series canon" stuff?

  Quite a few people on this list disagree with things in the second
  series (_Trumps of Doom_ through _Prince of Chaos_).  As such, they
  simply ignore it as not canonical, usually starting their games at
  the end of CoC.  This is a stylistic preference.

  G12) Are there any conflicting statements in the books?

  Yes!  There are comments about family relationships and other things
  which are contradicted in other books or in the visual guide.  Zelazny
  claims some contradictions are due to Corwin's amnesia.  Perhaps the
  rest are outright lies by the Amberites.  If people want to tell me
  about them, I'll add them to the list.  Here's a few:

  a.) Corwin states that Random is his full brother in NPiA, but this is
  contradicted everywhere else (including by Corwin).  This is probably
  the result of wishful thinking by Corwin or his subconscious.
  b.) When Corwin and Benedict are fighting, Ganelon is casually brushed
  aside.  Yet Ganelon managed to take Gerard down in a fist fight when
  even Corwin couldn't.
  c.) Corwin mentions wildly different numbers when counting relatives in
  NPiA and GoA.
  d.) Caine's parentage is controversial.  (See A7 for full details.)

  G13) What/Where is AmberMUSH?

  AmberMUSH is a MUSH (multi-user quasi-realtime virtual reality) based
  on Amber.  You play by telnetting into, port 5150.
  You need to send mail to in order to
  request a character.  You can find the new player guide through the WWW
  at (preferred), or via
  FTP from in /pub/lwl/amber/amberguide.  It also has
  a homepage:

  Then you wander around talking with other people and generally
  having fun.  For more information on Mushes, Muds, and the like,
  see the newsgroups.

  G14) Should this list be a newsgroup instead?

  The activity level of the list varies from several dozen messages daily
  to less than one a week.  This question generally arises when the list
  is in one of its busier phases.  There are several reasons why the list
  has not become a newsgroup:  1) a newsgroup would produce a lower
  'signal to noise' ratio due to things like spamming and an increase in
  the number of 'dice vs diceless' and 'is Zelazny a good writer'-type
  conversations (which while sometimes interesting aren't really on topic
  and are the sort of thing some people can get very fanatical about) and
  2) any newsgroup would have to be an alt.* group which a good proportion
  of the list does not have access to.  In my opinion, if someone would
  like to start a newsgroup on this topic, fine.  I'd probably read it.
  I'd also continue to subscribe to this list, though, because I feel
  that it offers a much higher ratio of "interesting stuff" to "things
  I'm tired of seeing" than any newsgroup ever will.

  G15) What's important to know about copyright for the list?

  Adapted from a message from the list admin:
  - Don't ask for electronic copies of RZ's or any copyrighted material
  on the list.  It's bad.  It's wrong.  It causes people to detonate.
  - Don't propagate electronic copies of RZ's stories or any copyrighted
  material (including other people's unpublished Amber stories and diaries)
  without permission.  If you do have such permission, attribute the author.
  - Formal copyright notice (i.e., Copyright Name Year) has not been
  necessary in the US since 1989, but it can help in court cases.
  - If you're not from the US, this doesn't mean you can copy at will.
  It's likely your country honors US copyrights, and the US honors yours.



  N1) What are all these new powers?

  Many people have posted unofficial new powers to this mailing list.
  All of these and more are available at the FTP site.  For example:

  Frank T Sronce, Advanced & Exalted Sorcery & Conjuration, new Power
  Words, and Novice Pattern Imprint: much as they sound.

  Dave Martin, Broken Pattern: This is a game description of the
  Broken Pattern powers described in the second series.  Normal humans
  can walk the broken Pattern.  It is cheaper, less powerful, and more
  dangerous than regular Pattern Imprint.  The break in the Pattern
  manifests in almost every use of this power.  This predates the
  version of the power described in _Shadow Knight_.

  Allan Lawrence Shampine, Fixed Logrus: This is equivalent to the
  Broken Pattern, similar in cost, danger, and power to the Broken
  Pattern.  It is based on a comment by Merlin, specifically that some
  Trump artists near the Courts have walked imperfect reflections of
  the Logrus, and that their Trump are somewhat dangerous to use.

  Kenn Crook: New Powers, Partial Point System

  Peter Miller and Marc Reynolds: New Powers; a ranked point system
  where characters have a variable number of points in powers which
  roughly mirror the standard set, and are allowed to specialise
  some of these points in specific areas of a power.  There are
  also different stats, no bidding rules, a treatment of Warfare as
  a "Power" and no items or stuff rules.  (available at



  P1) How many Patterns are there?

  According to the books, there are at least 15.  There is the Primal
  Pattern, created by Dworkin.  There are 3 perfect reflections, one in
  the dungeon of Castle Amber, one in Rebma, and one in Tir-na Nog'th.
  In the second series, Jasra mentions that there are many more which
  are broken reflections of the above 3.  However, they are more flawed
  and dangerous the further one goes from Amber, so that only the first
  9 are somewhat safe to use.  Note that one broken Pattern was absorbed
  in the Primal Pattern after Merlin walked it to rescue Coral, and this
  may have been one of the safe 9.  Add in Corwin's Primal Pattern, and
  possibly the first reflection.

  P2) What is the Broken Pattern?

  The broken Patterns are imperfect reflections of the known perfect
  Patterns.  Anyone can walk these by following the gaps between the
  broken sections to get to the middle, thus gaining limited power over
  shadow.  Jasra in the second series is a broken Pattern initiate.  It
  is included in _Shadow Knight_.  Dave Martin also posted a game
  description of the Broken Pattern power a while ago.

  P3) Is the Pattern or Logrus stronger?

  The answer varies, depending on whether or not you believe the second
  series.  According to the second series, the Pattern was weakened by
  the blood stain, allowing the Logrus to gain the upper hand.  Corwin's
  Pattern is an outside force, with varying effect on the battle between
  Dworkin's Pattern and the Logrus.  Dworkin's Pattern grew in power
  when it absorbed the Broken Pattern it had Merlin fix.  As usual, the
  final answer is up to the GM.

  P4) How many generations removed from Dworkin can you be, and still
      be able to walk the Pattern?  What does it take to have one's
      blood be capable of erasing the Pattern?

  Dworkin at one point suggests that the blood of his descendants unto
  the third generation is capable of destroying the Pattern; Martin's
  fate is evidence that this is so.  On the other hand, Dara also
  succeeds in walking the Pattern, which raises several questions
  about the validity of Dworkin's assertion.  There are many plausible
  explanations; here are some starters for who can walk the Pattern
  (note that some or even all of these could be true simultaneously!):

  a.) Dara is lying, and she is actually Benedict's daughter.  (What,
  Dara lie, like an Amberite?  You must be joking. :)

  b.) Dara is descended from another Amberite as well.  (Brand spent
  some time in the Courts, after all.)

  c.) Dworkin is wrong, lying, or not telling the whole story.
    i) Anyone who can trace their ancestry back to Dworkin, no matter
    how remotely, can walk his Pattern.
    ii) Anyone Dworkin wants can walk his Pattern.
    iii) Anyone Dworkin's Pattern wants can walk it.  (Possibly,
    although not necessarily, equivalent to option ii.)
    iv) Anyone of sufficiently strong will can essay the Pattern.
    v) Anyone with blood "sufficiently close" to Dworkin's can essay
    the Pattern.  (Here's where those vampires recently gorged on
    Amberite blood and advanced shapeshifters might fit in.  Or not.)

  d.) Dara is pregnant with Corwin's son when she walks the Pattern, and
  this gives her the extra support she needs to survive it.  (See O6.)

  e.) Anyone who is within three generations of a Pattern initiate can
  walk it (Dara is three generations from Benedict).

  f.) Anyone who is within three generations of someone who is attuned
  to the Jewel of Judgment can walk it.  (This has two interesting
  implications: one, that Benedict was attuned to the Jewel, which
  seems unlikely, or Brand wouldn't have so easily blindsided him with
  it, and two, that there is no suggestion in the books that one must
  be of the blood of Amber to attune the Jewel, as one can be attuned
  by someone else who is attuned, and Dworkin must have attuned it
  before he created the Pattern.  This could give you an entire cast
  of non-Amberite Pattern initiates...)

  Here are some ideas for how blood can damage the Pattern:
  a.) Only the blood of someone who could walk the Pattern can be
  used to efface it.

  b.) Only the blood of anyone who has actually walked the Pattern
  can be used to damage it.  There is vague evidence for this:
  Brand selected Martin, who had already walked the Pattern, over an
  Amberite (or a specially raised sacrificial child) who had not.

  c.) Only the blood of those descended of Dworkin (perhaps to the
  third generation from him, or to the third generation from a Pattern
  initiate, or to the third generation from a Jewel initiate, etc.)
  can damage the Pattern.  a) or b) are possibilities along with this.

  d.) Perhaps only the Primal Pattern is vulnerable to Amberite blood.
  Given all the opportunities for spilled blood in a Pattern Chamber
  before Patternfall and the fact that the damage to the Primal Pattern
  was apparently not reflected in any of the other Patterns directly,
  this is a possibility.  On the other hand, it is suggested that the
  images of the Broken Patterns were the reflections in Shadow of the
  damage to the Primal Pattern: it could be that bleeding on a reflection
  of the Pattern would transform that reflection into a broken image.



  L1) What is the plural of Logrus?

  Answer: Logri. :)
  This isn't definitive, of course, since in the series only one
  Logrus is ever mentioned.

  L2) How many Logri are there?

  The books only mention one Logrus.  However, Merlin does make a
  passing reference that some Trump artists use bastardized versions
  of Pattern or Logrus, and that such Trump are dangerous to use.

  L3) What is the Fixed Logrus?

  The fixed Logrus is a hypothetical analogue of the broken Pattern.
  Just as the Pattern has 3 perfect reflections and 9 safe broken ones,
  there may be reflections of the Logrus which are broken.  A broken
  Logrus could have a flawed fixed section which does not change.  Allan
  Lawrence Shampine posted his version of the Fixed Logrus power to
  the list a long time ago.  If you want a copy, check the FTP site.

  L4) Are there "Logrus weapons" that make Amberites burn up?

  Merlin acquires a "Chaos dagger" at one point in his journeys, but
  he doesn't use it on any Amberites, so nobody knows.  Some people
  have suggested that Chaos daggers might come in all sizes; others
  think that a whip or flail would be more in keeping with the Logrus.
  Maybe they make Amberites freeze solid.  Maybe they infect Amberites
  with Primal Chaos or Chaos Cancer.  Maybe Chaos has nothing of the
  sort.  They lost the Patternfall War, after all, and they didn't
  kill a single Amberite of Royal blood directly.

  L5) What is the origin of the Logrus?

  Nobody knows.  (i.e., your GM gets to make it up)  The Logrus could be:
  a.) created by the Serpent or a consequence or side-effect of the
  Serpent's existence.
  b.) created by one or more persons under the influence or direction
  of the Serpent (or someone or something else).
  c.) a natural phenomenon (or maybe the Serpent is a force of nature).
  d.) an anti-Pattern.
  e.) a prototype Pattern.
  f.) torn from the Unicorn's mane.



  T1) Is there a Power (Pattern or Logrus) behind Trump?

  Fiona suggests in one of the books that you can see part of the
  Pattern in Dworkin's Trumps.  People from the Courts of Chaos can
  draw Trump.  Trump may just be an extension of the main two Powers,
  or it may be a Power unto itself.  The rulebook suggests many
  different possibilities in the game master section on Trump
  Artistry.  However, the rulebook doesn't list any required powers
  for Trump Artistry.

  T2) What form can Trump take?

  Depends on the GM.  Larger paintings are reasonable.  Most people
  think any fixed media representing the subject will do, including
  sculptures, carvings, even voodoo dolls.  Performance art Trump
  (drama, music, poetry) are less common, although some GMs allow
  them.  Abstract art may work, depending on the GM and level of skill
  of the Trump artist.  Some GMs may even allow computer images.



  I1) Are items really as powerful as they seem?

  Yes and no.  Almost anyone can find or create any item they want.
  Such items can easily be lost, stolen, destroyed, or subverted.
  Paid for items are more permanent, but there are no guarantees.
  Also, you may be better off buying better stats rather than, say,
  a magic weapon or armor.

  I2) What about that "Tireless, Supernatural Stamina"?

  Some people have discussed it on this list, and some recommend
  following the Aggression or Vitality patterns.  Specifically, an
  item with 4 points of Stamina would have Amber level endurance.
  For 8 points, you could get low ranked endurance, 16 for high or
  elder level.  Alternatively, 4 points may give you an item that
  requires refueling or recharging in some manner after a day or so.

  I3) What about "Invulnerable to all Conventional Weapons"?

  This hasn't been discussed (that I know of), but some GMs tone
  this down also.  For example, your 4 point armor may not protect
  you from a nuke, or the #1 in warfare, but normal humans might
  beat on you all day and you probably wouldn't have to worry.

  I4) What about "Psychic barrier"?

  Also discussed here, some suggest that Fiona, Brand, or a group
  of people should be able to break down a Psychic Barrier.  After
  all, a group of the elders do it in the first series when they
  try to rescue Brand.  Maybe this should follow the same progression
  as the other stat oriented qualities.

  I5) What about conferred regeneration?

  Based on the rules, almost anyone can find or create an item that
  confers fast regeneration (regrowing limbs in less than an hour).
  Does this unbalance the game if allowed?  Depends on the GM.  Could
  Benedict have regrown his lost arm this way?  Maybe, but he didn't.
  He was glad that Corwin regenerated his eyes, as it gave him
  hope for his arm.

  One way to limit conferred regeneration would be to specify that the
  fast regeneration would only regrow portions of a body as "shadow";
  thus, any portion of the body replaced in this way would be less
  flexible and less durable than normal regrowth.



  A1) Can I kill Benedict with warfare?

  This is up to the GM.  According to the rules, Benedict has the
  highest Warfare there is.  He is The Best, so good the other elder
  Amberites won't even try to beat him in warfare.  Can he shadow
  shift away from weapons of mass destruction (nukes, bobbles, and the
  like) fast enough to survive?  Will he always spot snipers?  Can he
  dodge bullets?  Lasers?  Does he always avoid such circumstances by
  using his spies and patrols or shadowshifting so well?  After all,
  he doesn't need to dodge bullets if no one can ever get close enough
  to fire one at him or they never work near him.

  On the other hand, no one has a heart attack when Corwin beats
  Benedict by the side of the Black Road, lucky fluke or not.

  IMHO, the most reliable way to kill Benedict is through treachery.
  Just make sure you don't miss, because he won't when he gets his turn.

  A2) How many children does Oberon have?

  In the second series, a Pattern ghost of Oberon mentions that he
  had 47 children.  If this is correct (who knows), then there are
  a number unaccounted for.  There are the ones seen in the first
  series: Benedict, Eric, Corwin, Deirdre, Fiona, Bleys, Brand, Caine,
  Julian, Gerard, Llewella, Random, and Flora.  There are some extras
  in the second series: Dalt and Coral.  Corwin mentions Osric and
  Finndo, dead brothers of Benedict.  Merlin mentions Delwin and Sand.
  Mirelle is listed as Random's sister in the _Visual Guide_, and is
  supposedly a character in one of the choose-your-own-adventures.
  That totals 20.  Corwin mentions different numbers in NPiA and GoA.

  A3) How many other Amberites are there?

  In the first series, we see Dara (descended from Benedict), Martin
  (Random's son), and Merlin (Corwin and Dara's son).  According to
  Dara, she is a few generations removed from Benedict, so there may
  be other unnamed descendants of Benedict in the Courts.  The second
  series introduces Rinaldo (Brand and Jasra's son), and two half-
  brothers of Merlin, Despil and Jurt, who at least are likely to
  have Amberite blood from being Dara's children.

  A4) Is anything stronger than Gerard?

  That depends on the GM, just like everything else.  Maybe all of
  shadow is just a pale reflection of Amber, so no human can be
  stronger.  Maybe someone in the Courts can beat Gerard, as the
  Courts aren't a reflection of Amber.  Maybe it is possible to find
  the Marvel Universe, where the Hulk is stronger than Gerard.  But
  perhaps the Hulk would lose his strength if he left, while Gerard
  would retain his strength everywhere.  Maybe Gerard would grow in
  strength to equal the Hulk in the same Shadow.  In any case, no one
  seemed shocked when Ganelon beat Gerard in a fight, so perhaps he
  doesn't have the same reputation as Benedict.  _Shadow Knight_
  mentions it is possible to find a bull stronger than Gerard.

  A5) Is it spelled Dierdre or Deirdre?

  Roger Zelazny spells it Deirdre, but Wujcik misspells it Dierdre in
  the Amber DRPG book.

  A6) Does Coral become pregnant in the second series?

  Possibly.  Several quotes in _Shadow Knight_ supposedly taken from
  _Prince of Chaos_ indicate that she is pregnant.  However the quotes
  in _Prince of Chaos_ don't match.  Apparently the _Shadow Knight_
  quotes were taken from an original draft of _Prince of Chaos_.
  Zelazny removed the quotes stating that Coral was pregnant from the
  final (published) copy.

  A7) What's the deal with Caine's parentage anyway?

  According to Corwin, Caine is just after him in the succession, yet
  Merlin says Caine, Julian, and Gerard are full brothers.  That should
  put Bleys and Brand ahead of Caine, unless Caine is illegitimate, but
  Corwin never mentions that.  An evaluation of the situation:

  a.) Both Corwin and Merlin are correct.
    i) Caine may be the illegitimate son of Rilga.  This may be the
    most popular explanation.  It's certainly the simplest.
    ii) Caine may be legitimate, and Oberon was involved in (yet
    another) bigamous marriage, knowingly or not, and/or some (more)
    strange timeflow problems.
    iii) Julian and Gerard should have been directly after Caine in
    the succession but have been delayed for unspecified reasons.
    (One might imagine Gerard accepting this without a fuss, but
    Julian would seem a different matter...)

  b.) Corwin is wrong but Merlin is correct.  It seems unlikely for
  Corwin to miss a small detail like who is right behind him in the
  succession (then again, at an earlier point, he thinks of himself
  and Random as full brothers).  This would imply Caine is somewhere
  else in the succession, perhaps immediately before Julian.

  c.) Merlin is wrong but Corwin is correct.  In this case, Caine is
  the son of an unnamed woman, whether legitimate or not, born sometime
  between Corwin and Fiona.  (The _Complete Amber Sourcebook_ takes the
  view that Caine is Corwin's full brother, born after him and before
  Deirdre, but hardly anyone else does.)

  d.) Both Corwin and Merlin are wrong.  Anything goes.  Make up your
  own thing.

  A8) What color is Florimel's hair?

  NPiA, Chapter 2:  "The woman behind the desk wore a wide-collared,
  V-necked dress of blue-green, had long-haired low bangs, all of a
  cross between sunset clouds and the outer edge of a candle flame in
  an otherwise dark room, and natural I somehow knew, and her eyes
  behind glasses I didn't think she needed were as blue as lake Erie
  at three o'clock on a cloudless summer afternoon; and the color of
  her compressed smile matched her hair."

  SotU, Chapter 4:  "Pale gold, her hair.  She had cut it, but retained
  the bangs.  I could not decide whether I liked it that way or not.
  She had very lovely hair."

  Sunset clouds are seldom yellow, and it's doubtful that Florimel wears
  blonde lipstick (though one never knows).  While the second quote is
  unambiguous, from the first quote, it appears as if Florimel is a natural
  redhead.  Even if Corwin's memory was failing him when he said he knew it
  was natural, you'd think he might have said something if Flora's Trump
  representation had blonde hair.  So what's going on?  Some possibilities:

  a.) Zelazny made a mistake and gave Florimel different hair colors.  It's
  possible, although not terribly likely.  He mentions a change in her
  bangs; it seems odd that he would say something like that and then get
  her hair color wrong.  On the other hand, Delwin's Trump has reddish hair
  but when Merlin sees him in the hall of mirrors, he has blondish hair.

  b.) Florimel's hair actually changes color between NPiA and SotU.
  Corwin's "I could not decide whether I liked it that way or not" easily
  could be referring to the change in hair color as well as styling.
  Perhaps Florimel (gasp) dyes her hair from time to time, or her hair
  color fluctuates naturally.  Maybe she's a shapeshifter. :)

  c.) Chris Doherty ( has spent some time
  staring at sunset clouds (pale orange, he claims) and a candle's flame in a
  dark room (which he says is bright yellow).  Seizing on the word "cross", he
  believes the first passage is an artistic attempt to describe gold-colored
  hair.  He also says pale orange or peach lipstick was not uncommon in the
  early 70's when NPiA was set so the compressed smile works out alright.

  A9) How can Dara be born in a week after Lintra died?  How can she be
      ancient and powerful in the Merlin series?

  Corwin's impression of Dara on first meeting her and Merlin's impression
  of his mother are at odds.  Corwin sees Dara as young and naive; Merlin
  sees her as someone who negotiates with the Logrus on an equal basis and
  who is powerful enough to scheme for control of the Courts.  Furthermore,
  the obvious way for Dara to be Lintra's great-granddaughter (through
  Benedict's liaison with Lintra in Avalon) would require very rapid
  timeflow for her to be ancient and powerful by the time she raised Merlin.

  Very clearly, Dara lies to Corwin about some things, since she claims
  knowledge of Benedict when he insists he knows nothing of her.  It's
  not inconceivable that she in fact deceives Corwin about many things,
  which could easily include the specifics of her heritage and her age.

  Some possible explanations:  Dara and Merlin spent a good deal of time
  in extremely fast time Shadows; Dara lied about her heritage and is not
  descended from Benedict or Lintra (yes, Corwin saw confirmation of Dara's
  heritage in Tir -- but doesn't Tir show you things you think are true?);
  Dara was descended of a liaison of Benedict and Lintra that happened
  before their encounter in Avalon (perhaps even before Amber was founded).

  A10) What makes some Amberites older than others?  Are they immortal?

  Corwin says he appears to be in his mid-thirties, and then says that the
  Shadows will lie for him.  The appearance of all the family on the Trumps
  seems to be young mature adulthood, with the possible exception of Benedict
  and the definite exception of Oberon.  There are several frequently
  advanced theories.  One is that an Amberite is literally only as old as
  he or she feels.  In the course of the first series, Random advances from
  "asthmatic teenaged hood" and "homicidal little fink" to being described
  as having a regal cast to his features.  This could be merely an effect of
  Corwin's changing perceptions, or it could be an actual change brought on
  by maturity and Random's new self-image as husband, father, and king.
  Another theory is that the Pattern freezes you at the age you are when you
  walk it.  Or perhaps the exercise of Real power ages Amberites.

  As for Amberite immortality:  some suggest is that it's the effect of the
  Pattern.  Others point out that Swayvill, Moire, Roger-the-guard and others
  appear to have extremely elongated life spans.  Corwin himself spent some
  number of centuries on Shadow Earth, and did not age excessively in that
  time.  Corwin also tells Ganelon that Benedict has enjoyed a lifetime
  measured in terms of millenia.  On the other hand, in the second series,
  Swayvill of Chaos ostensibly dies of old age.  So a GM has the option of
  giving the average Amberite either a very long lifespan with the possibility
  of death from old age in some distant future -- or functional immortality.
  Some have found that the elongated lifespan helps to curb the PC tendency
  to spend a thousand years in a fast time shadow learning macrame.

  A11) What was Julian's favorite game?

  There's no answer for this in the books.  However, Judd M. Goswick
  ( regaled the list with the following tale, which
  speaks for itself:

  Julian's self-control slipped only once, when Corwin kissed his cheek.
  In that single moment, Julian's hand strayed and "BZZZT!" the nose of
  the Oberon Trump shone red and Julian looked down to see that in
  attempting to remove the Jewel of Judgment from the card, he had hit
  the edge of the card with the Tweezers.

  Corwin then drew the "Crown" card, took the tweezers and fetched it with
  no problem, as Julian was still shocked.  He then laid claim to the
  throne until Oberon sent him to his room.  Just before he was taken away,
  Julian threw his tumbler of "Juicy-rific Kool-Aid" at Corwin's face.

  "I'll have your eyes for this, Corwin!"  He had spoken too soon and
  the disappointment on Overon's face was apparent.  He had lost his
  self-control twice in one sitting.

  All Dworkin could do was look up from his paper and ask Julian, "How
  do you know about the eye thing?"



  B1) What's the time differential between Amber and Chaos?

  Apparently immensely variable.  In fact, it may vary from one part of
  Chaos to another, especially if you treat Merlin's explanations from
  the second series as canon and consider Chaos a series of loosely woven
  Shadows, the "veils" between having become frayed and torn.  The fact
  that years can pass in Amber while hours pass in Chaos, and yet on
  other occasions the effect can be reversed, gives a GM immense latitude
  in making decisions about relative time.  Chaos is like Faerie in that
  respect:  a night spent there can be moments or lifetimes in the outside
  world.  Other GMs chose to ignore this as too messy to keep track of,
  and just run Chaos time as roughly parallel to that in Amber.


  RULES (the answer is *always* "it depends on your GM" :)

  R1) How do people handle Good Stuff and advancement?

  Many people on the list recommend altering the standard good stuff
  and advancement rules.  Specifically, according to the rules,
  someone saving up for Pattern may go from 49 points of good stuff,
  to 0 good stuff and Pattern Initiation.  There is rarely a good
  reason in the game for such an enormous change in luck/outlook/
  whatever.  Some recommend using partial powers, and charging only
  10 points or so for walking the Pattern, with other Pattern abilities
  are developed and purchased over time, with appropriate roleplaying.
  Other people recommend keeping 'stuff' points and advancement points
  separate.  Some people don't charge for powers gained "in game".

  R2) Can the first-ranked in a stat be surpassed through advancement?

  Some people find it fits their campaign to not allow the first-ranked
  stat to be surpassed: no one can buy up until the first-ranked
  character does (or dies, perhaps of a surfeit of ambitious, impatient
  second-rankers).  Others create NPC ranks or allow a lesser ranked
  character to buy past a first-ranked character who has not continued
  to invest in their stat.

  R3) Does Stuff equal "Alignment"?

  In other words, can an evil person have Good Stuff?  (And vice versa.)
  Many game masters see Stuff in a very karmic fashion:  it reflects the
  way the universe treats you, and the way you treat the universe.  If
  you are basically good, then you will be protected by the goodness of
  your own actions.  If you are evil, evil will find you.  "Those who
  live by the sword will die by the sword," "You will reap what you sow,"
  and "Whatsoever thou doest, returns unto thee threefold" and all that.
  Others see "stuff" simply as a combination of luck and charisma, and
  explain that there are many evil, lucky, charming people in the world.



  O1) I want to run a game, what should I do?

  Read both series by Zelazny, you really need the background.  Note
  that you don't have to follow everything in them.

  Buy the rules, read the rules, throw the rules away (it even says
  to do that on p. 234 :).

  Decide what to do with the elders.  Are Caine, Oberon, Brand, and
  Deirdre really gone?  Are you going to use one of the suggested
  versions in the book, or will you design your own?

  Decide what to do with the Powers.  Will you allow Broken Pattern
  or Fixed Logrus?  Can starting characters buy advanced powers?
  Do you have any new powers you want to introduce?

  O2) What has been discussed on the list?

  Tons of stuff.  Some archives are available at the FTP site, and
  there is an outdated timeline with some of the major topics.
  Example topics (these are also the recurrent topics on the list):
  vampires in Amber, the supremacy of Amberites (can anyone kill
  Benedict with warfare?  Is Gerard stronger than the Hulk?  Can
  Fiona toast Mark Remillard?), the Amber theme song, the Amber
  movie (no, there isn't one), matching Tarot major arcana with the
  Amberites, walking the Pattern/Logrus while pregnant, etc., etc.

  O3) Who's that "Carmen" that Corwin mentions at the end of _CoC_?

  "Voulez-vous venir avec moi, Carmen?" = "Would you like to come with
  me, Carmen?"  This an allusion to Bizet's _Carmen_, an opera about a
  strong-willed, flirtatious woman who makes a choice between two men who
  desire her.  In the context given, it is clearly a reference to Dara.
  Vladimir Nabakov also uses this phrase in his book _Lolita_, about a
  middle-aged man who is obsessed with a teenaged girl.

  O4) How do the Elder Amberites match up with the Tarot deck?

  There are many interpretations of this, stemming from the difficulty
  that what Zelazny means by "Greater Trumps" is never made exactly clear.
  Many people try to match the elders up with the Major Arcana: Jennifer
  Jerlstrom's well-argued treatment of this is available at the FTP site.
  One problem here is in numbering -- while the people Corwin names
  (Oberon, Benedict, Osric, Finndo, Eric, Corwin, Deirdre, Caine, Fiona,
  Bleys, Llewella, Brand, Florimel, Julian, Gerard, and Random) number 16
  in all, well within the range of the standard 21 numbered and one
  numberless major arcana, Corwin at one point states there were fifteen
  brothers and eight sisters, which leaves one too many children of Oberon
  to fit into the deck.  And no cards for Oberon, or Dworkin.

  On the other hand, using just the elders Corwin names, including Oberon
  but not including Dworkin (whom Corwin never claims to have seen a card
  for), gives a convenient count of sixteen, which fits neatly into the
  number of the court cards: The Kings, Queens, Knights (Princes), and
  Pages (Princesses).  In fact, this is also tidy in that Corwin names
  just enough sisters to fill out the Queens.

  The problem here is in trying to assign suits.  Some of the Elders are
  obvious:  Benedict, with a staff, must be a Wand.  Llewella is a pretty
  blatant choice as the Queen of Cups.  Corwin and Eric are undoubtedly
  Swords.  The problem comes in what to do with, say, Bleys, who carries
  a sword and a cup, and wears several rings (diamonds/pentacles?).  As
  usual, the solution is for the game master to do as he or she pleases,
  up to and including ruling that there is no correlation at all.  (And,
  of course, our Tarot is surely but a Shadow of the Amber Tarot.)

  O5) What is good music for Amber gaming/inspiration? / What is the
      Amber Theme Song? / What music might Corwin have composed while
      he was trapped on Shadow Earth?

  "Princes of the Universe" is the frequently heard cry.  Several rather
  exhaustive discussions have been carried out on the topic.  The answer
  seems to derive strongly from the musical taste of the person doing the
  arguing.  Everything from Vivaldi to Simon & Garfunkle to Nine Inch
  Nails to Frank Sinatra has been suggested, and argued to death.  Like
  many things, it is a matter of personal taste, and the theme and nature
  of the campaign in question.

  The only real information we have on the topic of Corwin's music is
  Corwin's own admission that he composed the words and music to many
  popular songs, whistled the tune to "Aupres de ma Blonde" while marching
  under Napoleon, and the comments (of others) indicating that "Ballad of
  the Water Crossers" is a terribly catchy tune.  This would seem to
  indicate that Corwin's strength as a songwriter is in ditties -- pretty,
  unforgettable tunes.  Given his love for France, "Je ne Regrette Rien,"
  and "La Vie en Rose" could be pretty likely choices.  On the other hand,
  given his basically dark and brooding nature, he might be writing baroque
  chamber music, goth rock and Joni Mitchell.

  O6) What is the effect on an unborn baby if the mother walks the Pattern
      or Logrus while pregnant?

  The answer, as always, depends on the universe in which the game is set,
  and the way the GM has decided to handle the powers.  Pick any, all, or
  none of the following, or make up your own answer:

  a.) Nothing untoward: the child is born and grows up normally.  This
  argument is supported by the possibility that Dara may have been
  pregnant with Merlin when she walked the Pattern.

  b.) Brain damage or other injury to the child: the child is retarded,
  physically deformed, unable to control spontaneous shapeshifting
  (Logrus) or unable to ever change/grow (Pattern).  (Some might claim
  that this is also supported by Dara's possible pregnancy while walking
  the Pattern, and the way Merlin later turned out... :)

  c.) Pregnancy mishap: abortion, miscarriage, spontaneous reabsorption,
  or the mother (in the case of the Pattern) gets stuck like that.

  d.) Abomination.  The child is born with adult powers/abilities/mentation,
  like Alia in _Dune_.  This can lead to babies shadowcrawling, or the
  dreams of the unborn manifesting as reality around the mother.  Other
  possibilities include: gifts of prophecy, insight, weird psyche or power
  effects, and anything else you can imagine.  It can also lead to *very
  interesting* problems for player characters.  Also, the children being
  somehow linked to/puppets of the powers involved is a possibility...

  Another interesting variant is the idea of a mother of shadow blood being
  able to walk the Pattern while pregnant with a child of Amber.  (Who says
  that Dara was really Benedict's great-granddaughter?)

  O7) Since Shadows can have different timerates, how do you explain the
      fact that Trump has no time lapse in the books?

  Handwaving.  A great deal of it.  Various theories have been postulated
  that Trump contact tends to equalize time rates between Shadows, that
  Trumps do a lot of fancy footwork to make time differences unnoticable,
  that Trump contact is primarily mental contact and the actual muttering
  into cards is a peculiar side-effect, that Trump has power over time,
  or that time is an illusion.  It's safest to say that it's up to the GM.


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Last Modified: 6 February 1998

Lisa A. Leutheuser, eal @