Some common types of gifts are detailed below. You are not limited by any of these categories. The examples below, however, do indicate what we feel are reasonable power levels (given the genre) and prices. Note that some of these examples are just examples — they don't necessarily indicate that there's a character on the game with these abilities.
Please note that the gift descriptions below should never, ever be used to adjudicate what a particular gift in the game is capable of, since the gifts below are examples and generalizations only. Each individual gift has a description stating what it does, and what its particular rules are. Use that gift description as the "official ruling". If someone claims an ability to you, ask them to +declare it so you can read exactly what it is supposed to do. Gifts are carefully written to try to prevent consent abuses, and in no case does a gift ever take away a character's free will. You always have the right to deny OOC consent if a player is not being reasonable, or is trying to use something in an abusive fashion. Please report issues with gift abuse to the staff.
Circumstantial bonuses give you a bonus when you are using +compare, +war, or similar commands that are a comparison based on your stats. All such bonuses apply in specific situations, detailed in the gift's description. When you use a bonus in this way, it's declared to the other players that you're in a conflict against, and they have to agree that it's applicable to the situation.
Bonuses are given in +3 increments (roughly); the first rank of a bonus is a +3, and the second rank of a bonus is +6. Bonuses above +6 are extremely rare, and cannot be obtained during character generation.
Narrow Circumstantial Bonuses
Narrow circumstantial bonuses apply in a specific sort of conflict, in which a specific condition has been met. Each rank costs 5 points.
"Swordsman" is a typical bonus of this type — it helps in a specific sort of conflict (physical fights), in which a specific condition is met (the character is using a sword).
Broad Circumstantial Bonuses
Broad circumstantial bonuses apply either in a specific sort of conflict, or in any conflict where a specific condition has been met. Each rank costs 10 points.
"Strong" is a typical bonus of the first type — it is useful in many physical conflicts.
"Dutiful" is a typical bonus of the second type — it would grant a bonus in any conflict where the character is carrying out orders from someone else.
Transportation abilities are used to get between places, either between shadows or locally.
The ability to shift shadow, or otherwise walk through shadow in a similar way, is a 5-point power. For 5 points, a traveler can find his way through shadow, and can be followed by individual companions, but cannot shadowfind — he can't go to shadows of desire, find objects in shadow, or the like. He also cannot lead an army through shadow. Also, one cannot shift shadow into or out of Amber; the farthest one can go that way is the shadow edge of Arden.
"Add ons" to this basic ability, costing additional points, include:
- Being able to shadowfind.
- Being able to lead an army through shadow.
- Being able to sense people's shadow trails leading into and out of a shadow, and follow them.
The ability to transit between two locations that are in different shadows is usually a 5-point power.
Typically, learning a new location requires the expenditure of a point of Focus, and you must have been to a place in some other fashion first (think: drawing a place Trump). Shadow transit powers may also be attached to communication powers (think: pulling someone through a Trump contact).
There is, however, also a form of this that restricts where you can start from and where you can end, based on specific conditions being met. For instance, being able to step into a storm, travel for a time through a realm of storms, and then come out in another shadow where there is a storm is a reasonable method of 5-point shadow transit.
The ability to transit between two locations within the same shadow is usually a 10-point power. (It may be 5 points if the locations are very restricted; this is particularly true of add-ons to shadow transit powers.) The locations must be limited in some way — for instance, "only locations where there is a mirror large enough for someone to step out of" is a good restriction.
There are normally two additional restrictions on local travel.
First, if you don't know where someone is, you can't go to them; there are no abilities that allow someone's location to be pinpointed in that way.
Second, you cannot transport yourself and instantly attack someone.
The ability to communicate with other players is obviously very useful. Communication powers normally work across shadow.
An ability that enables you to send a message to someone, across shadow — essentially an ability that justifies being able to send IC +mail — is a 5-point power. The bird of desire ability that some Pattern initiates possess is a good example of such an ability. All such abilities normally have some color wrapped around them — a face appears in the flames of a fire, a voice speaks out of the shadows, and so forth.
An ability that enables you to communicate with other people in real time typically costs 5 points. Adding someone to the list of people you can communicate with typically requires expending a point of Focus (think: drawing a Trump of them).
When people speak in this way, they are speaking out loud (so a person's side of the conversation is audible to those around them, and depending on the flavor of the communication, both sides might be audible/visible), and they are visibly engaged in communication of some sort. Speaking to a figure wreathing out of the fire, speaking to someone in a mirror, and so forth are all typical communication forms of this type.
For 5 points, you can speak some unique language that lets you communicate with something that humans can't normally communicate with. For instance, you could speak the language of wolves, or of birds. Note that this doesn't make what you talk to any smarter or more likely to have something useful to say.
Resistance to Physical Harm
Because we view "downtime" — time during which a character is effectively unplayable because they're injured — as largely undesirable, it is fairly inexpensive to purchase abilities that either mitigate physical harm or help characters recover from it more quickly.
For 5 points, you can heal like Corwin. If you're not effectively immediately killed by something, you will recover from it, whether it's a wound, poison, disease, etc. You can shrug off mundane injuries (wounds, broken bones, etc.) in a matter of days, and heal from critical wounds in a week or two. You can also regenerate (over time).
For 5 points, you can be totally immune to physical harm from something specific, such as fire, poison, or falling.
For 5 points, you can't be killed by normally-inflicted physical wounds. However, you must have a vulnerability that is easily taken advantage of — something reasonably common and well-known that can be used to inflict normal wounds upon you. Silver is a typical vulnerability. Also, you are not immune to explosions, acids, or fire. (This ability explicitly cannot be taken in conjunction with a mitigating immunity.)
We do not offer shapeshifting in the traditional Chaos/DRPG sense. We do, however, support shapechanging of a more limited type.
For 5 points, you can change into one other form, such as a wolf.
For 10 points, you can change into one of a range of related forms, such as creatures of the sea.
In general, shapechanging abilities are rare and tied to specific shadows. We won't accept concepts that seem more appropriate for other genres (i.e., we're not a World of Darkness, Anita Blake, or Furry game).
For 5 points, you can be twice as fast as other people — and specifically, you move faster than anyone who doesn't have this gift. This allows you to run away at high speed, chase people down, and so forth.
For 10 points, you have the speed and manueverability of someone like Jackie Chan.
Conjuration is used to manifest objects out of thin air.
For 5 points, you can create a specific item, such as arrows.
For 10 points, you can create a category of items, such as food or weapons.
For 15 points, you can create anything (subject to conjuration's general restrictions).
All conjured objects must be small enough for a normal person to hold by themselves. Such objects are of unremarkable quality, are fundamentally mundane in nature, and must be something commonplace (no gemstones, for instance). These objects can break, be damaged, etc. just like any normal item of that type.
Items function in a way that's essentially similar to any other gift, except that they can be loaned to another person, or even given to another person. (Loaning an item doesn't change yours or the other person's sheet, but giving it away does. Gifting the item refunds the points to you and charges the other person for the item instead.)
Items never directly have bonuses attached, nor can they be power sources. There are items that are backed by power sources (such as the Pattern blade Grayswandir), but this is always implicit in the construction of the item.
Items purchased in this way can never be lost or stolen against your will. Such items always find their way back to you. They also cannot be permanently damaged beyond functioning.
It is possible to imbue physical objects with special capabilities. The color around this can be different — smithing, enchantment, alchemy, etc. are all reasonable types of color.
Note that artificing is entirely distinct from conjuration.
For 5 points, a character can create tokens that represent items that he has made. Such items are color only — they have no specific RPG system effect. These items can be lost, stolen, or destroyed.
Advanced Artificing: Items Granting Temporary Effects
At this level, character can invest a token with Focus, representing an imbued item. Such an item can have story significance a single time, represented by the expenditure of that Focus, consuming the token via use.
If the item has a continuing effect (for instance, a potion that allows the drinker to walk unharmed through flames), the duration of the item's effect is, at maximum, a scene.
As a 10-point ability, an artificer can, for 3 points of Focus, create a token representing an item with a one-time use equivalent to the ability of a 5-point power.
As a 15-point ability, an artificer can, for 6 points of Focus, create a token representing an item with a one-time use equivalent to the ability of a 10-point power.
When an item of this sort is consumed, there is no bonus awarded — these items should be consumed only through the use of the token.
Items created via this type of artificing can be lost, stolen, destroyed, and so forth, just like mundane items can.
Artificers of this sort can also create color items at no Focus cost.
Advanced Artificing: Items Granting Bonuses
As an alternative to temporary-effect items, an artificer may be able to create imbued items with a one-time story significance — a Focus-invested token granting a color effect that leads to a mechanical bonus of a +3 or +6 in a Contest.
As a 10-point ability, an artificer can create item tokens invested with 3 points of Focus.
As a 15-point ability, an artificer can create item tokens invested with either 3 or 6 points of Focus.
Items represented by tokens generally do not grant both a temporary effect and a mechanical bonus.
Items created via this type of artificing can be lost, stolen, destroyed, and so forth, just like mundane items can.
Artificers of this sort can also create color items at no Focus cost.
This level of artificing allows a character to also create RPG Items — new gifts, no different than any other Item gifts. The types of items that can be created are restricted by the particular flavor of the character's artificing, and like all gifts, are subject to approval by the staff.
For a total of 10 points, you can create 5-point RPG Items.
For a total of 15 points, you can create 5-point and 10-point RPG Items.
For a total of 15 points, you can create items invested with 3 Focus, as well as 5-point RPG Items.
For a total of 20 points, you can create items invested with 3 or 6 Focus, as well as 5-point and 10-point RPG Items.
Creating an Item of this sort requires having the points free on your sheet. If you then give the Item away, the points will be refunded to you, just as is true with any Item gift.
The artificing rules can be extended to other kinds of things that require advance preparation. Such things do not have to be physical items. For instance, the Prepared gift allows a character to write a token that details his cunning plan for dealing with a conflict, then consume that token for a bonus during that conflict.
Such gifts generally cost 5 points if a 3-Focus token can be used by someone else, but not by its creator; and 10 points if a 3-Focus token can be used by anyone, including its creator.
Crafting allows the creation of items based on a list of recipes. These items are represented by Focus-invested tokens. Usually, these tokens can be "recharged" once expended, by whoever is holding the token.
For 5 points, an artisan can make high-quality mundane items in a particular craft, such as smithing.
For an additional 10 points, an artisan can gain make mythic items in a particular craft.
For 5 more points beyond that, an artisan can gain access to a particular shadow's crafting secrets.
The recipes that an artisan can learn are dependent upon his lores and gifts.
Magic is divided into two types of abilities: innate abilities, and formal magical systems. In general, innate abilities can't be built upon; they are what they are. By contrast, a formal magical system is something that is learned, and makes it possible for the initiate to learn additional magics over time, thus expanding the repertoire of things he's able to do within that system. Formal magical systems frequently require a heavy up-front investment of points, but in this case, the point investment becomes more and more efficient the more deeply you buy into that gift tree. Many magic-related gift trees have an initiation gift; these are typically color abilities costing 5 points, defining a tie to the secrets of a particular magic, and you must buy that gift in order to gain access to gifts within that branch of magic.
Note that we have no equivalent to the DRPG's Sorcery ability — there is no Swiss army knife generic magic.
The types of magic below are examples only.
For 10 points, you can be immune to an element, and able to either manifest that element (as a weapon, for instance), or perform some specific trick with it. Examples:
- For 10 points, you can be immune to electricity, and able to manifest a sword made out of crackling lightning.
- For 10 points, you can be immune to falling, and able to summon wind, suitable for scattering paper or carrying a ship along.
For an additional 5 points (bringing the total to 15), you can also shape the element in question. For instance:
- For another 5 points, you can toss around lightning.
- For another 5 points, you can direct winds with a gesture, strong as a storm, able to knock around and direct loose debris.
Glamours essentially cover making something which does not exist appear to exist, or change the seeming of something that does exist.
Basic Visual Effects
For 5 points, you can put on a visual display that is clearly magical and illusionary in nature. Summoning a glowing sphere of light, projecting an image on a wall, and the like are possible. This ability is not combat-applicable.
Glamour a Thing
For 10 points, you can change the descriptors on something, but you cannot make it seem like a different type of thing. Basically, if you were to describe the thing with one word — knife, bottle, man, etc. — that word must continue to be true.
For instance, the bottle can look to be any shape, size, color, or material; it can feel like it's a different temperature; it can sound different when it's tapped; it can smell different, etc. But it will still be a bottle. Your plain dagger can look jewel-encrusted, glimmer dramatically, look longer or shorter, etc. Your handful of pennies can look like gold coins; your clothes can look rich and fantastic; your wilted daisy can look like and smell like a beautiful rose.
You cannot hide the harmful nature of an object with this ability. For instance, if a liquid is poisoned, you cannot use a glamour to make the poison any more difficult to detect. If a blade is sharp, you cannot use a glamour to make it seem fuzzy rather than cutting. And so forth. The players involved may negotiate how the glamour manifests itself in these cases.
Iron (or something else similarly applicable and common) can pierce glamours.
This is also a personal ability, so it affects only you, or something that you are holding or which is otherwise in your immediate vicinity. The duration of a glamour is the length of a scene. (If you hand a glamoured dagger to someone, for instance, it loses that glamour at the end of the scene for them. If they walk out of the room and don't come back, for instance, that counts as scene end for them; the glamour will wear off a short time afterwards, but it's not going to expire the moment they step out the door.)
Glamour an Environment
For 15 points, you can increase the scope of the effect, allowing you to change the descriptors on your immediate environment — the room you're in, or the equivalent thereof. For instance, you can make a room in a dirty hovel look like a room in a fantastical mansion.
Ritual magic is used for magics that extend beyond personal scope, or the duration of a single scene. Like regular Magic, all ritual magic must be backed by a power source.
Because of the potency of ritual magic, all rituals are represented by tokens. Rituals are personal to the caster, but they may be cast upon other people or assets. When a ritual spell, as represented by a token, is used, it's consumed — the spell has been cast. However, the duration of the effects can be as long as a day.
Ritual magic gifts are typically priced as follows:
- For 5 points, you can create a token that represents a ritual spell. Such a spell is color only — it has no RPG system effect.
- For 10 points, you can create a spell token invested with 3 points of Focus.
- For 15 points, you can create a spell token invested with 6 points of Focus.
For most ritual magic:
- A spell cast with 3 Focus is equivalent to the potency of a one-shot, 5-point Item.
- A spell cast with 6 Focus is equivalent to the potency of a one-shot, 10-point Item.
War magic is the domain of wizards supporting full-fledged military operations. Because of its scope and application, such magic is considered to be ritual magic.
A war magic spell cast with 3 Focus is considered to be something that can affect an entire unit — something with an impact equivalent to artillery.
A war magic spell cast with 6 Focus can be of battlefield scope.
The precise effects are largely color, given that the mechanical effect of the ability is clearly defined.