Tim & Trish's House Amber DRPG* Character Creation System

Characters are based on 100pts plus either 25pt basic Pattern or 25pts of Shapeshift. These can be spent in one of four areas: attributes, powers, items and mundane skills. In addition, non-family allies are available at 1pt per ally. Stuff is limited to +/-5pts.

Players can choose either their Amber or their Chaos parent - the other will be chosen for you.

Powers Items Mundane Skills

Powers Available

Detailed below are the basic partial powers available within the system (advanced powers need to be devised in consultation with the GM). You must always take the basic value in any power you wish to study, but beyond that, the choice of which individual items above and beyond that basic level is up to you - you can take as many or as few of them as you wish.

It is possible that you may have learned or developed individual skills over and above these. These will be available at either 5pts or 10pts per additional item, and are allowed at the GMs' discretion.

The main restriction on buying powers, is that you cannot take both Pattern and Logrus. As the two powers are anathema to each other, walking the one will erase the imprint of the other.

Pattern Logrus Trump Shapeshift Sorcery Power Words Return to Top

Items are handled by specific house rules, so Conjuration does not exist.


The Pattern is available to all members of the family in good standing with the King (whomever that may be at the time).

The following basic powers exist:

Item Cost Comments
Basic Shadow Walk & Pattern Defence 25

This is the power which results from one's first Pattern walk. It is necessary to have bought this before any other abilities can be bought, and as part of the package you gain the basic ability to walk in Shadow (albeit not too quickly) and use the Pattern as an active defence.

Find Objects & Places of Desire 5 The ability to search for something in shadow, the exact location of which is not yet known.
Follow Trail through Shadow 5 This lets you follow someone who has been moving through shadow.
Hellriding 5 It takes that bit of extra ability to manage to Hellride, but allows for faster travel through Shadow than simple walking. You have to be careful not to lose anyone travelling with you.
Lead Others Through Shadow 5 If you try and take more than two or three people with you when you walk through shadow, you will eventually lose them, unless you have this ability.
Manipulate Local Probability 5 That handy knack of being able to make things happen the way you want in Shadow: the right horse, the right small change, the convenient turning in the road, etc.
Timesense 5 This is the ability to sense the time flow of shadows. Without it, fast or slow time shadows cannot be found.

To buy all the options costs 55pts, but once you have bought the basic Shadow walk you can choose to take any or all of the rest. 

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The Logrus is available to all the Chaos nobility in good standing with the King. However, shapeshift of some kind is a necessity to survive initiation. 

Endurance is particularly important in many of the Logrus abilities, and the following basic powers exist:

Item Cost Comments
Basic Logrus Initiation & Defence 20

This means that you have walked into the Logrus, had the particularly individual experience that was your initiation, and survived to find your way back out again. Doing this confers the ability to use the Logrus as an active defence, and enables you to learn the abilities below.

Arcane Shield 5 The Logrus can be used as a shield against all kinds of arcane attack (e.g. Sorcery, Trump, other Logrus or Pattern), with the amount of damage the shield can take is limited by the wielder's endurance. Relative psyches and endurance of the wielders are the key factors in a Pattern/Logrus clash.
Combat Tendrils 5 The ability to make physical attacks in proximity to your current position, using Logrus tendrils. The resulting attacks are as though made with a strength equal to the initiate's psyche, and such attacks may be kept up for a time governed by the initiate's endurance.
Locate in Shadow 5 A tendril of the Logrus can be sent forth through Shadow to locate a person, item or place which is specified by the initiate, in a similar way to casting a fishing line. When it finds its target, the initiate will feel a tug on the line.
Physical Shield 5 The Logrus can also be used as a shield against physical attacks. This can be flat, curved, even spherical, but its overall size is limited by the psyche of the wielder, and its eventual toughness by the endurance of the wielder.
Transport Tendrils 5 When the initiate has sent a tendril to some place or thing, using this ability he has the option to either transport the thing to himself, or to transport himself to it. The transportation is extremely fast, and the initiate can take with him anything he could physically carry.
Vision Tendrils 5 The initiate can bring the Logrus to mind and extend forth a tendril of it through which he can see. The tendril can go forth across shadow boundaries, but cannot instantly jump to a point. It must travel out over the distance. 

To buy all the options costs 50pts, but once you have bought the basic initiation you can choose to take any or all of the rest. It should be noted that Logrus users can use more than one of these abilities at once, although - of course - this is more tiring. Also, dividing your effort like that means that the psyche power behind any one action is less. 

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Trump is less common and Pattern, Logrus or shapeshift, and to have it either means that someone must have taught you. Bearing in mind that far from all of your relatives, on either side, have the ability to draw Trumps, if you wish to take Trump you need to specify your teacher (subject to GM agreement) or come from a House which specialises in that area. 

The following basic powers exist:

Item Cost Comments
Basic Draw People Trumps 20

This is the basis of all Trump ability. Without this, nothing else can be done, however, as the title says, it only covers drawing people, and then only after a proper sitting.

Caller ID 5 Lets you check through your deck to see who's calling you.
Place Trumps 5 The ability to draw places as well as people.
Trump Defence 5 Speaks for itself. It requires a Trump of one's self to do this.
Trump Scrying 5 The ability to attempt to interpret a scrying of cards done in the manner of a Tarot reading
Trump Sketches 5 The ability to draw a quick one-shot Trump sketch of a person or place.

In addition, there are two options for the kind of Trump Artist you wish to be. You can be either or neither, but you cannot be both.

Artistic Genius 5 This is an extension of the Trump drawing ability, which produces better than average Trumps, but the improvement comes through the artistry - you cannot draw the same person twice without gaining some new inspiration about them for the second picture. All  your Trumps are unique artworks.
Mechanical Artist 5 This is an extension of the Trump drawing ability, which is in opposition to Artistic Genius - you can't have both. This ability produces slightly substandard Trumps, but the artist can produce any number of copies of his Trump from just one sitting with his subject. The Trumps all look alike, usually with a standard background scene, just a different person in the foreground. 

To buy all the options costs 50pts - as Artistic Genius and Mechanical Artist  are mutually exclusive - but once you have bought the basic ability to draw people, you can choose to take any or all of the other Trump abilities. 

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Shapeshift is very common in the Courts, being a necessary precursor to Logrus initiation, although less so in Amber. 

The following basic powers exist:

Item Cost Comments
Inherent Crisis Management 10 This is the most basic level of shapeshift , and the user has no control over their ability whatsoever (for example, if it was acquired through trauma, but is untrained). However, it will ensure that you survive injuries and hostile environments, with the proviso that it takes about one minute for this to kick in and work. So you need to avoid situations which will get you dead faster than that, or you will still die. Also, even with this, the body can only cope with so much injury and stress, before it packs up anyway - watch those endurance levels folks. This level of shapeshift is enough to allow you to survive walking the Logrus, although your recovery time is likely to be slower than if you choose to take the basic four forms (see below) or better.
Basic 4 forms + autoshapeshift 15 (or 5+ ICM) The lowest degree of controlled shapeshift. This lets the user switch between his human, animal, demon, and elemental forms, and provides the auto-shapeshift ability for coping with rapidly changing environmental conditions (or injuries). Remember autoshapeshifting is not a conscious thing. You just let go, and hope for the best.
Additional Forms 5 This ability lets you assume the forms of additional creatures, over and above the basic four, but of about the same mass as you were to start with. This is specifically a transformation into looking like another creature - not adding parts of other creatures to any of your basic forms, which are covered below, or being able to use the abilities of those creatures without practise.
Modify Extremities 5 Do you want a claw instead of a finger, or longer arms, shorter legs, wings? This is the one for that (although you'll need practice with wings!).
Shapeshift Wounds 5 This is a conscious self-healing exercise. It can keep going till you run out of endurance. Bear in mind that wound shifting is not instant - it takes up to a minute to stabilise critical wounds.
Shift Facial Features 5 Want to change what you face looks like? Here we go. It is risky to let this one loose without a mirror available - unless you have practiced a particular shift before, it might not come out perfect first time.

When you move up from ICM to the basic four forms, the 10pts for ICM is refunded. Basic shapeshifting (15pts) is necessary before any of the other powers can be taken. To take them all will cost 35pts. 

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The Hart House sorcery system is a variant of the Sable Magic System, by Trish Hart. A mage does not have specific spells, and lynchpins as per the ADRPG system do not exist. Instead, a mage will usually have a basic grounding in magic of all kinds, but will have specialised in one, two or three specific areas, for example offensive magic, defensive magic or healing.

Full details of the system are available at http://www.fugue.org/Sable/05Magic. Details of what abilities a mage has at which level of skill are available at  http://www.fugue.org/Sable/05Magic/12_costs.htm

Equivalent costings by ability level  are as follows:

Item Cost Comments
Basic Sorcery 20 Equates to the 20pt version of Sable sorcery. 
Advanced Sorcery 40 Equates to the 25pt version within the Sable system.

The lowest and highest levels of magic within the Sable system (15pt, 30pt) are not available in other Hart Amber games. 

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Power Words

Power words are handled differently to the ADRPG rules.10pts buys the ability to form Power Words, but does not give you specific "words". Instead, you'll have two or three phrases or concepts, which may be added to later, if circumstances allow - for example, a desperate situation, where you end up using the power of your mind to dominate the surroundings to make something happen. Once you have formed a Power Word, you always have it for the future - however, GM agreement is needed to add new words to the list.

Examples of Power Words are:

"Don't die!" A shout of desperation to stop someone or something you care about dying.
"Dammit, I was supposed to look perfect!" For when you really need to look your best, but fate is conspiring to stop that happening. 
"Get away from me!" The person you shout at gets somehow pushed away - for example, by a gust of wind.
"Work, damn you!" A way of getting something which isn't working, to start working there and then.

(With acknowledgement to Justin Parsler for the concept)

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Items and Allies

Items are also handled somewhat differently, as Conjuration does not exist in its ADRPG form. Items are available in two kinds: Personal Items and Items of Power.

Item Cost Comments
Personal Items 5

This covers items of significance to the character, but without actual Power. Examples would include swords, parasols, armour, magical gadgets. Details of what they can do must be agreed with the GMs. Living creatures cannot be bought as items.

Items of Power 10 Items such as Greyswandir and Werewindle - with real Power in them. These are only available with GM consent, and young PCs are highly unlikely to have them. 

In addition, non-family allies are available at 1pt per ally. If there is someone particularly important to your character's background then feel free to write up details of that person and your relationship to them. However, please note that family/noble Chaos allies cannot be bought. After all, you can choose your friends, you can't choose your family. 

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Mundane Skills

A PC can buy one or more skill for 1pt per skill. The benefit this gives is that they will be exceptionally good at a particular skill or in a particular field.  Had they been trained in Shadow, they would probably be considered the best on the Shadow at what they do. Within Amber or Thelbane, taking a skill means that you have studied that skill to the highest level available, and that you are considered enough of an expert that if people find out about your ability, they may wish for your advice and assistance in that field.

Suggestions for skills include: medicine, investigation, tracking, weapons master, acting, administration, gambling, business knowledge, diplomat, etc. Powers-related skills such as magic or a specific Pattern ability cannot be bought as skills in this way.

(With acknowledgement to Justin Parsler for the concept)

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* The Amber DRPG is and published by Phage Press.

This Page Tim & Trish Hart 2002