A number of problems manifested themselves over the
course of the campaign and in retrospect, from many of the players. As a result, this
section is dedicated to all those involved in those many hours of complaining we enjoy so
much. You know who you are.
The Power Craze :
ever-escalating spiral of power for both PCs and NPCs alike produced a heap of power on
both sides (namely "them" and "us"). Foes had to be more and more
powerful to challenge us. A good example is Finndo's children: raised in the world of his
Dark Pattern, trained to be incredibly powerful in their chosen field; most of them were
adequately tough (fighters with Strength and Warfare both at 100 points or more) while
others were just improbably powerful. One daughter called Hel had a Psyche of at least 300
points, while the son known only as Thrud had enough Strength and Warfare to hold off
both Bleys and Corwin by himself unarmed while they had swords.
Forces : In an annoying number of cases, major plots run by Mr. Richards
seemed to have a tendency to revolve around unknown individuals wielding unknown
powers against people for unknown reasons. This happened far too often for some,
especially those whose characters whose powers did not include a "lens" allowing
them to learn anything about the individuals or powers in question. Such players found
themselves shunted into the sidelines, always calling on others to help them investigate
even the most minor clue. Much frustration ensued.
"NPC" Intervention : In several
cases characters would reach a certain point in a plot, just outside the "evil
wizard's castle" or whatever, and find that it would take some time with their
abilities to gain entry past the Shadow barriers/magic wards. Then, quick as a flash, an
NPC would arrive in time to open the way for them in ten seconds flat and then leave them
to do the fighting by themselves. While this might have been vaguely acceptable if an
elder Amberite had come when asked and helped, the fact that it was always Rylan (who had
previously not been seen) who appeared in time to casually solve other people's plots
proved to be quite annoying at times.
The "Courts of Chaos Ring" :
A relic of the first sessions, one was required to wear a ring conferring the four point
shapeshifting power when in Chaos. This was apparently because the inhabitants used their
shapeshifting almost constantly to counteract the changeable nature of the Courts. Never
mind that in the books the Amberites and Julia Barnes, a mere human, walk around quite
freely without needing one. On top of that, this requirement was never truly exploited; no
ring was ever stolen, sabotaged, destroyed or covered in compellings, not until the final
sessions when an NPC, Morgan, was taken to Chaos for help and did not have hers on. She
died, the lack of this vital item the main result. The rest of the time they were
completely redundant items, as everybody had a dozen or so without paying points for them.
Warfare vs. Psyche Imbalance : If an
opponent with a slight advantage in Warfare loosed a magic bolt at you, you could dodge it
a little, avoiding some of the damage at least. However, if they used a Psyche-based spell
and had a slight advantage in Psyche, your mind was like putty to them irrespective of the
size of the advantage.
Pattern Is Only For Going Places :
Despite all the evidence in the books, the only thing basic Pattern was good for was
moving around in Shadow. No one manipulated probability, no one made small changes to
things (like Random altering Corwin's clothing in Nine Princes in Amber). And
Advanced Pattern only gave you three things: a lens (so you could investigate things),
Pattern Teleport (only took a few minutes to envision the Pattern and no effort to
teleport; better than Trump!) and the ability to destroy any Shadow you did not like the
look of (a good way of destroying enemies or their headquarters without a real fight).
This strangely both limited and unrestricted vision of Pattern, in direct opposition to
the abilities shown in the novels and the ADRPG book, is clearly barmy.
More Power! : Higher powers were acquired far too easily and far too quickly.
No real effort was required and some powers were pushed into a secondary slot by the lack
of a lens. Even characters who were not classified as studiers were required to
"work" to get a power lens or be left blind and deaf in a seeing and hearing
world of clue investigators.
Searchlight Of Power : The way to defeat an enemy was to concentrate a vast
beam of power on him until he melts. This left no room for subtlety and the clever use of
tactics and spells; Spikard battles, in particular, were merely a constant conjuring of
shields and bolts. If a bolt destroyed your shield you made another; if your bolt was
wasted destroying your opponent's shield you threw another one at him. As a result both
combatants would stand in place behind a never-ending cascade of shields while throwing a
never-ending volley of bolts at each other until someone else tipped the balance. Very
"How Does He Get Away With It?"
: On at least two occasions a certain Rylan (again) somehow became a pawn of dark
powers, most particularly during the Dark Unicorn Incident. And yet, unlike the vindictive
elder Amberites we all know and fear, no one of the elder generation took it upon
themselves to eliminate someone who was so apparently easy to gain control of, despite his
remarkable amount of ability with Pattern.