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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 91 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [Polaris] Amber hack?  (Read 6308 times)
Filip Luszczyk

Posts: 746


« on: November 26, 2008, 11:03:11 AM »

In every group I've played with so far there was at most a single other player who knew Zelazny's books (and one would think he's a popular author). So far it was making it impossible for me to play Amber, whenever such an option was considered. However, it recently turned out that there's a third Amber savvy player among my current regular groups, and it opens interesting possibilities.

Now, I definitely don't want to use the original system. As I'm considering which of the reliable games available to me could work for the setting, I have this gut feeling that Polaris might fit pretty well. We've been thinking about eventually starting a campaign with some different setting anyway, and so far it seems the only other promising option would be to use the game for Hot Chicks: the RPG. But then, who knows when there's an opportunity to play Amber again?

Have anyone tried Amber setting hack for Polaris before? If so, how did it go?

I'm thinking about having as little mechanical changes as possible. Obviously, the introductory and closing phrases need some adjustment. I'm also tempted to use "I trust you like a brother" instead of one of the conflict phrases, but I'm not sure neither which nor whether it would be a good idea.

Blood of Amber/Chaos, Pattern Imprint/Logrus initiation and a deck of Trumps seem like fitting automatic Aspects to substitute the default ones.

I guess experience rolls are triggered by acting against the family, especially opposing the parent's will. Betrayal of the People pretty much translates to Betrayal of Amber. Possibly some endgame condition that wouldn't involve everyone's death or corruption could be useful.

Ben Lehman
Posts: 2094


« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2008, 10:45:36 AM »

I don't really think Polaris is appropriate for the Amber setting, actually.


Filip Luszczyk

Posts: 746


« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 06:33:15 PM »

Actually, I really think Polaris is appropriate for the Amber setting.

Either way, here goes our full hack:



For an Amberite:

* Pattern is Heart.
* Amber is Full Moon.
* Shadow is New Moon.
* Chaos is Mistaken.

For a Chaosite:

* Write the protagonist's name anywhere in the space surrounding the Chaos circle.
* Chaos is Full Moon.
* Shadow is New Moon.
* Amber is Mistaken.
* Cross out the Pattern.


Power substitutes Ice.
Psyche substitutes Light.
Zeal and Weariness stay the same.


An Amberite receives the following automatic Aspects:

* Office - Blood of Amber (Son/Daughter of X)
* Blessing - Trumps Deck
* Ability - Pattern Imprint

A Chaosite receives the following automatic Aspects:

* Office - Blood of Chaos (Son/Daughter of X)
* Ability - Logrus Initiate
* Ability - Shape-shifting

For a mixed blood character, choose your side. Then, take an additional Blood Aspect as one of your free ones.


General key phrases are as follows:

* Long ago, the balance of the universes faced an unknown threat.
* But hope was not yet lost, for [protagonist's name] still walked the Shadow.
* And so it was...
* But all that happened long ago, and their story has been lost in Shadow.

The remaining phrases do not change.


In this hack, it's likely that more interaction between the protagonists than usually in Polaris will be needed. Every player is free to start scenes focusing on his or her own protagonist's encounter with another player character. It's possible for a direct conflict between both protagonists to arise in such scenes. If so happens, play the conflict as normal, with the following changes:

* Whoever has framed the scene is treated as effectively guiding the antagonist and his or her Values are ignored. Always use the Values of the other character only.
* Both players can exhaust only their own Themes.
* In case of a die roll, the losing side checks for Experience.

Note that acting against a member of the family is most likely enough to trigger an Experience check in many cases.


Experience check triggers listed on page 82 change as follows:

For an Amberite, substitute "Chaosite" for "demon", "Chaos" for "demons as a whole", "Amberite" for "person" and "Amber" for "people as a whole".
For a Chaosite, substitute "Amberite" for "demon", "Amber" for "demons as a whole", "Chaosite" for "person" and "Chaos" for "people as a whole".

When the protagonist becomes a Veteran, add Aspect "Betrayal of Amber" to the Amberite's Fate Theme or Aspect "Preservation of Amber" to the Chaosite's Fate Theme. In the next scene the character must encounter some big fish (e.g. Oberon, Dworkin, the Unicorn, the Serpent or who have you) and learn of his or her place in the intrigue that leads to the Fate.

From now on, the player can use "But only if..." to permanently remove protagonists from play (and escape the intrigue), through one of the following options:

* Death.
* Exile (voluntary or not).
* Taking a new office (including, but not limited to, the crown) and becoming tied to it for the rest of the life. The character becomes an NPC, though still guided by his or her former player.

Otherwise, if Weariness hits 5, the protagonist resigns to the Fate and becomes an antagonist, though still guided by his or her former player.

Darren Hill

Posts: 861

« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 03:18:19 AM »

Filip, did you ever play this? How did it go?

Filip Luszczyk

Posts: 746


« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 02:59:13 PM »

Yes, we did play it. Two sessions back in December, I think? However, one of the players lacked good enough understanding of the setting/genre conventions, so we wrapped things up after some silliness ensued. Haven't tried it since then, as Amber-literate gamers are a rather scarce resource in this country.

I have no idea how would this hack work over an entire campaign. Those two sessions weren't enough to notice any potential issues - but then, we've barely moved beyond some initial context/situation build-up, with just a few scenes that actually contained any serious conflict.

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