Amber Alive
The RGB System for Live-Action Amber

[NOTE:  The rules, as shown, are still in a state of flux, although the basic concepts have been worked out.  If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, please send mail to]

    I.  Basic Premise -- We wax poetic
    II.  Attributes and Color Bands -- The basics about your character
    III. Hit Points -- We commit blasphemy
    IV.  Resolution -- Kicking ass and reading minds
    V.  Modifiers -- Skills, Wounds, Items, and other bits
    VI.  Powers -- Pattern, Logrus, Trump and much, much more
    VI.  FAQ -- How Dare you Question the perfection that are these rules!?!?

I. Basic Premise

The rules contained herein utilize the basic concepts presented in the Amber Diceless Role-playing Game as the groundwork for a set of Live Action Role-playing rule set.  Readers should be familiar with the Amber series of books by Roger Zelazny and the Amber DRPG by Erick Wujcik.  Unlike most other RGP to LRPG conversions, we hope that the translation will retain the basic flavor of the tabletop game while meeting the unique challenges of a LRPG environment.

II. Attributes and Color Bands

As in the DRGP, the game uses the four basic attributes:

    1. Psyche – The raw mental power of a character
    2. Strength – The raw physical power of a character
    3. Endurance – The ability of a character to “keep going”
    4. Warfare – The strategic and tactical ability of a character

Unlike the DRPG, the abilities under the RGB System do not run numerically from lowest to highest.  Instead, a character’s ability will fall within a range or band.  These bands have been color coded in the following way:

    1. Red – Amber High – this level of ability rivals the very best Amberites.  Benedict’s Warfare or Corwin’s Endurance are classic examples of Red Level Attributes.
    2. Green – Amber Medium – this level of ability rivals those Amberites who have developed, but don’t excel in, the Ability.  Julian’s Warfare probably falls within the Green Level.
    3. Blue – Amber Low – this level of ability is the baseline level of Amber Level attributes.  Gerard’s Psyche is a classic example of a Blue Level Attribute.

Additionally, there are two other classifications for non-Amberites:

    4. Black – Chaos Level – this level of ability rivals the best Chaos Lords.
    5. White – Human Level – this level of ability rivals the best humans in the world.

These color Bands will be marked on a player’s nametag so that other players will have a general (although not specific) idea of each other’s capabilities.

Each Color Band has a Rating from 1-9.  Characters within a Color Band will be given a card for each attribute that has one of these Ratings.  Unlike the DRPG, these Ratings can change -- so a character may find his Red Level Psyche changing from 7 to 3 to 5 to 8 and so on.  There are only two exceptions:

    1. For any particular Attribute, there will be ONE character who will possess a Red King.  The Red King means that the character is the absolute best in this ability.  The Red King beats everyone else and is considered to be a Red Level Attribute with a numeric Rating of 10.  Benedict’s Warfare is a Red King.
    2. For any particular Attribute, there will be ONE character who will possess a Blue Joker.  The Blue Joker means that the character is the absolute worst in this ability.  The Blue Joker loses to everyone else Blue Level or higher and is considered to be a Blue Level Attribute with a numeric Rating of 0.  Gerard’s Psyche is a Blue Joker.

In the game, the Attribute cards will be represented by regular playing cards.  The color on the back of the playing card will determine the Band of the Attribute (Red, Green, or Blue) and the suit will represent the actual Attribute being used:

    Diamonds = Psyche
    Spades = Strength
    Hearts = Endurance
    Clubs = Warfare

The King in each Attribute will be of the respective suit.  The jokers will have their particular suit marked on them for easy identification.
III. Hit Points

In a radical departure from the DRPG, players will have hit points.  Players have body Hit Points (for how much damage they can take) and mental Hit Points (for how much mental fortitude they have).  Amberites have 3 Hit Points (physical and mental).  Chaosites have 2 Hit Points (physical and mental). Humans have 1 Hit Point (physical and mental).
IV. Resolution

So how do we use the Attributes to resolve conflicts?  You follow these simple steps:

    1. Decide what kind of contest it is:  Psyche/Strength/Endurance/Warfare.  In most cases, this should be fairly straight-forward.  If one person wants to use Strength and another Warfare, that’s a special case we’ll cover a bit later.  Also, most serious challenges (i.e. unfriendly contests to injure/kill someone) are fairly obvious to everyone in the same room.  This also includes Psyche challenges (other characters can feel the mental surges around them).  Players should be a bit vocal in announcing to any potentially interested witnesses what they’re about to do.

    2. Both characters pull out their Rating card for that Attribute and they compare Band/Ratings.

    3. If one player is in a higher Color Band than the other (Red vs. Green or Blue vs. White) then the Ratings are not revealed.  The higher color Band automatically wins the contest and inflicts damage equal to the difference between color bands.  This is shown on the table below (attacker reads down, defender across):

Red Green Blue Black White
Red Tie 1 Point 2 Points 3 Points 4 Points
Green Can't Hurt Tie 1 Point 2 Points 3 Points
Blue Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Tie 1 Point 2 Points
Black Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Tie 1 Point
White Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Can't Hurt Tie

So in this case, Red vs. Green – Red wins and does 1 Hit Point of Damage to Green, Blue vs. White – Blue wins and does 2 Hit Points of Damage to White.  The victor can moderate the damage if he/she chooses in order avoid killing or mentally crushing his opponent (Blue vs. White – White only has 1 Hit Point because he’s a human so Blue chooses to knock him unconscious instead).

    4. If both players are in the same Color Band, then the player with the higher Rating wins and does 1 Hit Point of damage (Green-8 vs. Green-5 – Green-5 wins and does 1 Hit Point of damage).  The players then exchange cards for that Attribute (i.e. their Ratings flip so Green-8 becomes Green-5 and vice versa).

    5. If both players are in the same Color Band and their Ratings tie OR their combined Ratings equal 10, then the contest ends in a tie and the characters must immediately conduct a second test based off their Endurance to determine a winner (Blue-3 vs. Blue-7 – The combined Ratings equal 10 so they pull out their Endurance cards to determine a winner.  In this case it’s Red-2 vs. Green-8 so Red-2 (originally Blue-3 in the first test) wins).  If the contest is in Endurance to begin with, then the higher ranking character wins as in 4 above if the Ratings equaled 10 or simply a standoff if both Ratings were the same.

    6. In any event, a character holding the Red King always wins (and never exchanges the card even if he competes against another Red Level  character) and a character holding the Blue Joker always loses (and never exchanges the card even if he competes against another Blue Level character). Note that even a Blue Joker will win against a charcter with a lower color band (black or white).

And that’s it.  There are some modifiers to your Rating which we will discuss below, but they don’t change how the resolution is handled.

But perhaps you’d like a demonstration?

V. Modifiers

As we mentioned above there are a couple of modifiers to the basic method of resolution.  These include:

    Skills – Every Amberite has some special skill or body of knowledge that they've become extremely experienced in over the years. Anytime the player could reasonably use their skill in a situation (and skills are fairly broad), then they can boost their Attribute for that challenge by one color band unless they're already Red-Level, in which case they add +5 to their current Rating. We hope that situations for which skills will be applicable will be self-evident to all the players involved but by way of example:

In general, skills do have a fairly wide coverage, but they can't grant you mystic power or help you in a fight unless that's precisely the area the skill falls under.

    Wounds – If an Amberite is suffering from 1 Wound (mental or physical) their Rating in an Attribute is reduced by 5.  If this would take a Rating below 0, it is equal to 0.  An Amberite suffering from 2 Wounds drops his Color Band in an Attribute by 1 (So a Green-6 becomes a Blue-6).  If this would drop a Color Band below Human Level, it remains at Human Level.  An Amberite suffering from 3 physical wounds is dead or unconscious (victor’s choice). An Amberite suffering 3 mental wounds is either dead, insane, or they may be asked one question which must be answered truthfully (again, victor's choice).

 Characters recover from their wounds at the following rate:
Red Level Endurance 1 Wound / 15 Min.
Green Level Endurance 1 Wound / 30 Min.
Blue Level Endurance 1 Wound / hour

Characters can recover from both physical and mental wounds at the same time.

    Multiple Attackers/Defenders – If a group of Amberites is working together (to attack, defend or resolve a problem) use the following method to determine the Group’s final Color Band and Rating:

    1. The character with the highest Color Band is the “main” character in the group and it’s his card that will be used in the upcoming challenge.  If more than one character is in the same Color Band, then the character with the highest Rating is “main”.  In the rare event of a tie, pick one of the eligible characters.

    2. All characters working with the “main” character who are in a lower Color Band add 1 to the Rating of the “main” character.  Characters who are working with the “main” character who are equal in Color Band add 1 Color Band to the “main” character.  If this would take the “main” character beyond Red, the extra characters add 5 to the Rating of the “main” character. The "main" character's Band can only go up by 1 no matter how many additional helpers of his Color Band there are. Additional helpers who are at the "main" character's Color Band past the first one simply add +5 to the "main" characters Rank. (See the FAQ) Compare the final, adjusted Color Level and Rating between the “main” character and the group’s opponent (who may also be a “main” character if two groups are squaring off).  The “main” character and the opponent exchange cards as normal after the task is resolved.

    3. If the opposing character holds the Red King, he/she is counted as holding a Red-10 card (plus any bonuses, from other characters helping out as normal).

    Switching Attributes in Combat -- Characters may want to switch from Warfare to Strength to Psyche in a fight in order to gain an advantage.  Doing so means that the non-switching character gets one free shot at you.  You’re counted as playing a card of Rank 0 for that round of combat. If your Band is lower than your opponent, they do the normal amount of damage to you. If your Band is equal to or higher than your opponent, they inflict 1 Wound of the appropriate type. (See the FAQ for details)  On the next round you may pursue the combat in the new Attribute you’ve switched to.  The only restrictions are as follows:

    1.) When combat begins, if the two opponents aren’t within arm’s reach of each other, they must use either Warfare or Psyche.  If one combatant wants to use Psyche and the other player does not have a missile weapon, then the combat starts with Psyche, otherwise, it starts with Warfare.
    2.) Once a combat has switched to Strength, it cannot switch to anything else.  You can’t concentrate while being punched up and you can’t effectively employ your weapon while being grappled.

    Artifacts and Creatures -- Artifacts and creatures are item cards carried by the character which will usually either boost the character’s Rating or the actual Color Band of his/her Attribute.  They can be used in any appropriate challenge and are kept by the character.  If a character is rendered unconscious or helpless, his items may be taken from him, but the cards should be immediately turned over to a GM, artifacts and creatures are unique to a character they cannot be used by anyone else, although they can be hidden or destroyed (tough feat).
VI. Powers

Powers, like Attributes have a Band and a Rating to help make comparisons between them easier.  Unlike Attributes for characters, the Ratings will never switch for Powers of the same Band, and a higher Band or Rating doesn’t mean the power is useless against someone who possesses the better power.  Blue level power words will work on someone with Red level Pattern.  The Band/Ratings merely decide the outcome in direct power-on-power contests.  If both players use the same power against each other, it becomes a Psyche battle.

Aside from the inherent dangers of wielding the power cosmic, the biggest problem with using most powers is that using them will take a lot of time, a lot of uninterrupted concentration, or both.  Below we describe how the various powers work:

    Pattern (Red King):  Pattern can do two things for you.  First, when the Pattern is “called to mind” (something which needs to be done outside of combat and requires a fair bit of concentration to maintain), you’ll effectively be immune to mental attack by lesser powers (although not physical attack).  Second, you can use Pattern to walk through Shadow.  When you want to do this, come see a GM and we’ll toss you into the Shadow box.  While in the Shadow box, you are travelling to the Shadow you desire.  If anyone else is in the Shadow box, you can’t talk to them unless you’re all traveling to the same destination together.  When the GM returns to the Shadow box and calls you out, you’ve arrived at your destination and can do whatever you want.  Note – it takes awhile to get far enough away from Amber to even start shifting through Shadow, let alone travel time to actually reach your destination.  And once you arrive it will take just as long to get back.  So be prepared to be out-of-game for awhile (15 minutes or more) if you decide to take off.

    Logrus (Red 5):  No one will have this power in the game (you hope!).

     Trump (Red 1):  Everyone can use Trumps but this power gives you some added perks:  You can actually create Trumps or Trump sketches (again, this will take awhile to accomplish in-game).  You can spend a few moments to bring Trump to mind and as long as you hold it, all Psyche-based attacks must either switch to an Endurance contest or give up.  Finally, if you receive a Trump call, you can identify the caller if you have their card.

    Advanced Trump (Red 3):  A few extra add-ons for you basic Trump power.  You can now memorize Trumps and use them without the cards in your hand.  You can spy on a person if you hold their Trump (using the classic “I’m not here, go on about your business” method of LARP spying).  You can hold open a fairly large gateway from one Shadow to another through a Trump gate.  Finally, you can concentrate and jam one or more people from using Trumps if you hold their card.  All of these effects require an intense amount of concentration and can’t do much else while using these effects.

    Shape-Shifting (Green 5):  This power provides 3 basic benefits.  First, characters receive an extra Wound Point to reflect the advanced healing abilities of this power.  Second, characters can Shape-shift to any form they can imagine although they don’t gain any special bonuses to their Attributes while doing so (so you can change into a lion, but you don’t get any bonuses for having claws – the copy isn’t that good).  Finally, when things look grim you can invoke your Auto-Shift.  Find a GM and let him know what you’re doing.  He’ll do something to save your sorry ass, but you’ll be out of play for an indeterminate amount of time, while your out-of-control body goes off on its own.

    Sorcery (Green 3):  Characters with Sorcery will be given a short list of spells that they can cast.  These spells will require a set number of rounds to cast.  Unless done from some distance, Sorcery is a fairly “noisy” power and anyone with a Psyche of Blue Level or higher will know what’s going on.  Unless the spell is beneficial to the target, this will probably set off a flurry of activity so wizards are advised to be careful.  Creating a new effect is possible, but will require time and consultation with a GM.

    Conjuration (Blue 8):  A nice simple power.  Tell a GM you want to conjure up some item or creature and he’ll tell you when you have it in your hot little hands.  Go sit down and concentrate while you conjure it up.  Conjured items will only exist in the Shadow they were created in, they can’t be taken anywhere else.

    Power Words (Blue Joker):  Another nice simple power.  You’ll receive a list of 10 words, most of which give you small +1 boosts to your Rating in an Attribute.  You can play one of these words in addition to your normal card during combat to receive the bonus.  You can only use a particular card against a particular opponent once.

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 Last modified on 02-14-99 by