Amber: Dynasty

Not quite the Wars of the Roses…

Good Stuff, Bad Stuff

The universe does not treat everyone equally: some people are luckier, more fortunate, or just better-perceived than their peers, while others seem cursed, with ill luck following them. Stuff determines how luck will favor the character, and serves as an indicator of the way the universe (in the form of other people and the great powers) views the character.

Stuff is a value measured in points. Characters are defined as either having Good Stuff (positive points), Bad Stuff (negative points), or Zero Stuff (the character is balanced, with no positive or negative points). When making your character, you can get more points by ‘buying’ Bad Stuff.

Note that during play, if you ‘bank’ experience points, they are treated as Good Stuff; if you gain powers or artefacts without paying for them with experience, they are treated as Bad Stuff.

Good, Bad and Neutral

Characters who have Good Stuff are almost blessed, as if a metaphorical beam of golden sunlight were always shining on them. People who encounter a Good Stuff character will think of them as being nicer, more appealing, and will take comfort or inspiration from their presence. In a group of average people, people will tend to gravitate towards the highest Good Stuff character, making them the center of attention, regardless of any leadership qualities or personality traits. If an event has a potentially random outcome, the Good Stuff character will benefit from it. In person, the Good Stuff character isn’t more attractive than anyone else, but they’ll just look more appealing due to an indefinable quality. Simply put, the universe likes the Good Stuff character better. Enemies will initially want to behave honorably with the character, and the enemy may have a hard time finding allies to oppose them. The character may get compliments from strangers, they will always have exact change, and others will usually give them the benefit of the doubt. Thor is a Good Stuff character.

A character with Zero Stuff is essentially neutral to the rest of the world, judged by their words and actions rather than hunches or initial impressions. They win some, they lose some, and for the most part they’ll have nothing exceptional happen, or a balance of negative and positive events. The rest of the world views a Zero Stuff character without preconceptions, so their behavior may be judged more carefully than their Good or Bad Stuff compatriots. Players might prefer Zero Stuff characters because they aren’t guided towards a particular tone for an encounter, and like to keep their options open. Nonplayer characters meeting the Zero Stuff character may be more guarded, or cautious around them, letting the character show their cards first. Loki is a Neutral Stuff character.

A Bad Stuff character is one that has a slightly sinister or unlucky cast. Think of it as a metaphysical storm cloud following the character. In an average group of people, the Bad Stuff character would be standing on the outside of the group, sulking in a corner, or just avoided by the others. Whenever a situation could take a turn for the worst, it will do so for the Bad Stuff character. Bad Stuff characters get blamed for the misdeeds of others, and their actions are almost always viewed in the least charitable light. They will have random bad luck, and it seems as if their normal gear is always breaking or getting lost. Their enemies will be legion, and will find powerful allies and means to strike at the character. They will be lousy at gambling, and will usually be constantly on the “day late, dollar short” track of life. Frequently, when a Bad Stuff character meets someone for the first time, the other person is suspicious and quick to become antagonistic. Indiana Jones and Han Solo are Bad Stuff characters.

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