Overview of
"Relative Difficulties"

GM : Robin Richards/David Cooke
(GM of first sessions : John Hunt)

The origin of this title is that much of this campaign was spent fighting the plans and schemes of members of the royal family of Amber, usually disaffected family members and their offspring. Sometimes these enemies came via Chaos; sometimes they harnessed strange powers out of Shadow or had discovered new facets of existing powers. We even got caught up in a Spikard War.

But when it came down to it, it always came back to a member of the family who was even more loony than the rest of them, at least at that moment.


This game originated in a number of early sessions run by a certain John Hunt. Most of the players from that time continued on into Relative Difficulties with some more joining in later.

The game uses the Corwin books and a modified version of the Merlin books as the basis for it's history and background. All of what occurred in the first set of books happened, while only some of the events from the second set took place prior to the official start of the campaign. Some characters (Coral, Julia Barnes, Ghostwheel) and some places (Font of Power) never seemed to have existed, while some of the events still occurred; Merlin became king of Chaos, though only after a brief regency by Dara, for example.

We can say unequivocally that Brand certainly never, ever returned.

The somewhat disjointed nature of the campaign was due to two factors.

Firstly, the initial sessions were run by people who were not aware of all the events in the books; this lack of knowledge meant that some things were left out while others were added (Dara being queen before Merlin was king is one such example).

The second reason was that all the later GM-ing was done by two people who were also players; they alternated between one playing and one running depending on who had a good enough plot at the time. The resulting conflict of ideas and concepts had three noticeable effects:

  1. When they switched over, the "new" GM usually had to work out how to integrate the events in the previous sessions into his worldview.

  2. This "split-screen" game promoted the Power Craze.

  3. Their differing views made things complicated for the other players and has been the cause of some other complaints as well.

As a whole, however, the game was actually very enjoyable, except in those instances where it seemed to be impossible to do anything (see the complaints section).

The campaign ended on an unresolved plotline or twenty; some subtle scheme was at work, and any elder Amberite that was approached for assistance responded by saying "it" was "all in hand", even when only grandchildren were murdered. In the end, an argument between the two player-GMs and the frustrations of the other players resulted in the demise of Relative Difficulties.

The game was eventually resurrected in a slightly altered form and with new player-characters as Pressure Which Refines.