Resources are the mundane, yet important, things that characters have control over and can draw upon in order to accomplish their goals. Resources include various forms of portable and non-portable wealth (a farm, a business, a stash of gold, etc.), as well as assets such as organizations.
A Resource is a special form of a Prop. All resources are formally-chartered props. In addition to the usual prop attributes, a Resource also has:
- A Potency, indicating the depth of assets the prop has available, and its importance to the setting
- A pool of Capacity, indicating the prop's current level of assets (the equivalent of Focus for characters)
- Optionally, one or more Strengths, indicating the areas in which this prop excels above props of the same Potency
- An IC leader, who has in-character authority over that prop
- Optionally, one or more IC delegates at each level, who have the IC ability to draw on a portion of that prop’s assets
(For clarity, throughout this page, the word "Resource", capital R, is used to refer to an RPG Resource, while the word "assets" is used to refer to resources, lowercase R, such as wealth, property, people, and the like.)
Because a Resource is a prop, it represents all the diverse assets that are associated with that prop. Those assets are explicitly spelled out as part of the prop's description and charter.
The key traits of a Resource include:
- It represents specific assets. A Resource is not generic. It represents particular holdings. A Resource can only be used to claim assets that are associated with those holdings. For instance, a Resource that represents a cloth-weaving business can't be used to claim access to extra-fast horses, but it can be used to claim access to particularly good fabric, cash on hand, and connections to tailors.
- It is finite. When a Resource is drawn down upon, assets — whether in tangible form such as money, or intangible form such as effort ad goodwill — are being spent. These assets can be exhausted, if they are not replaced.
- It has ongoing production. A Resource replenishes itself, effectively. This is most frequently in the form of something which brings in a regular income, such as a farm, a ranch, a mine, or a business. Such replacement of assets need not be completely automatic in an IC sense, but if it is not, then the resource needs to have appropriate color to explain how the assets are replaced when used, in a way that does not require active attention from characters.
- It has story scope. Use of a Resource is appropriate to things which have story scope. This typically includes flagpole issues, War, and other conflicts that go beyond the scope of a scene and immediate character interaction. For instance, if a character owns an armory, it's appropriate to use that Resource to equip troops for a war; it's not appropriate to use that Resource to create a singular special sword. With a Resource, the assets are "many of something ordinary", rather than "one of something extraordinary".
Resources come in five "levels", representing their scope, their breadth and depth of assets, and their importance to the setting. The level specifically reflects the resource's prominence within, and impact upon, Amber, as the core of the setting and the core of play.
A Resource's level is referred to as its Potency. From most important to least important, the levels are:
- Level 5: Props that shape the setting. These are the things that are essentially impossible to ignore; they are central to the setting. Initially, only two such props exist — the Throne of Amber, and the Black Road.
- Level 4: Key props in Amber. These are critical props that are key setting components and major movers and shakers, such as the Regency of Amber, and Amber's wealthiest Great Houses. It is possible for a Golden Circle shadow to strengthen to this level, but none have currently reached this level of influence.
- Level 3: Important props. These are major setting props, but of smaller scope. Important props include the more important Golden Circle nations, Arden, Amber's Navy, and Amber Great Houses in decline or lesser houses on the rise.
- Level 2: Lesser props. These are props that have broader significance in the setting, but have limited scope. Such props include major organizations within Amber and the Golden Circle such as significant orders of knighthood, and the larger Lesser Houses of Amber.
- Level 1: Personal props. These props have significance within a small arena, but limited impact upon the broader setting. In general, such props are within the ability of an individual to manage. This includes significant businesses, significant organizations, the personal assets of the children of Oberon, and small Lesser Houses of Amber.
(Implicitly, potency 0 is "no Resource" — assets that are personal to the individual.)
Every Resource can have particular Strengths. A Strength is a particular arena in which that Resource excels, compared to Resources of the same Potency. The core available Strengths (which can be hiearchical) are as follows:
- keywords for specific magics, such as Gates, Healing, and Necromancy
- keywords for all of the major trade commodities
- keywords for each realm, including Order, Chaos, and Dreams
- Individual GC Shadows
There are gifts that allow players to augment the Strengths of a Resource when they create a token utilizing that Resource. Not every Resource necessarily has a strength, and they grow less common as Resources become more potent.
Obtaining a Resource
Resources come from a few places. First, the Resources which are part of the game have been created by the staff, and are granted to players at no cost, to better support the game as a whole. These include the throne and other props of Amber herself, as well as the golden circle shadows and regencies.
Second, Resources may be created out of existing Resources. For example, an army may create smaller units or a kingdom might create duchies. These are IC extensions of the larger prop, and in addition to whatever IC restrictions are placed upon the relationship, the patron prop has the ability to withdraw support on a whim. These have certain advantages - they can be potent and cost nothing - but this dependancy means they may not appeal to all players.
The third option is purely personal Resources. These are gained by purchasing a gift (RES-PR) to represent the Resource, which will then be set up with the player as propco. These are among the least potent of props (with a potency of 1, though often with a single strength) but they are much more strongly in the hands of the player behind them. Such a prop must still be discussed with the staff to make sure it fits into the game.
Lastly, resources may be created in play through flagpole actions. These will be handled on a case by case basis.
Creating Prop-Based Resource Tokens
A Resource token is a Focus-invested, bonus-granting, story-scope token. It's used just like any other token. It is specifically intended to support a flagpole action. The assets associated with the Resource must be applicable to the situation, of course. Furthermore, as with all tokens, Resource tokens are always subject to negotiation and consent.
To create a Resource token using a prop, do the following:
1. Decide which Resource to use. To see a list of the Resources available to you, type +resources. This will show you a list of prop IDs. Obviously, the Resource you pick needs to be relevant to what you're trying to accomplish. If your only Resource is a fishing fleet, you're not going to be supplying prime warhorses to Amber's cavalry.
2. Decide what level (Potency) to use the Resource at. The level being used sets the Potency of the token, and determines how heavily this token creation draws from the Resource's asset pool. By default, a Resource token is created at the full Potency of the Resource. However, if you have been delegated the Resource at a lower level, or you just want to create a token at a lower Potency, you can specify a lower level.
3. Create the token. The command to do this is:
+token/resource prop-id in title
You can create a resource token at lower Potency (rather than the full maximum Potency), with:
+token/resource prop-id/potency in title
If you have a relevant gift that can add a keyword to a resource token, create the token with:
+token/resource prop-id/potency with gifts in title
These commands will invoke the editor, allowing you to describe the token. Your description should explain how you are using the Resource's assets.
Note that any gifts used with the token do not change what the token can do. They exist for the purposes of adding keywords (used on the flagpole). You cannot give your own powers to a resource token, for instance.
You will personally pay 3 Focus when you create a Resource token. This represents the effort that you've put into using the assets of that Resource.
Creating a Resource token puts a strain on the Resource itself. Creating a Resource token represents the gathering, organizing, and potential expenditure of assets, and drains from a Resource's pool of Capacity. The amount of this drain is dependent upon the Potency of the token — the higher the Potency, the greater the drain. Note that no distinction is made between creation and consumption of the token; the drain occurs strictly at the time of creation.
Resource tokens decline in potency over time. The implicit Potency of a resource token, as measured in its effectiveness on the flagpole, in +token/battle, and in +token/risk, declines as months pass; a year after their creation, they are at minimum potency (but still useful). This represents the fact that resources require upkeep and continued expenditure, balances the fact that large resources can create very potent tokens very cheaply, and encourages the use of newer tokens in play.
The IC leader of a Resource (along with its owner and propcos) can create awards that are granted by that resource. Such awards are designated by prop-ID/award-ID and have no direct RPG system effect upon those who have them, but they are publicly visible, ICly known, and can be used as part of a pre-requisite.
An award is an abstraction whose exact meaning is dependent upon its description and the desires of its creator. It might be used to convey a title, favor, authority, or anything else that would be of public significance.
To create an award, use +award/create title for prop-ID
To describe what is known about that award, use +award/desc prop-ID/award-ID
This will invoke the editor.
To give an award to one or more people, use +award/give prop-ID/award-ID to people
To revoke an award from one or more people, use +award/revoke prop-ID/award-ID from people
Both giving and revoking awards drain Capacity from the resource — a bit for every person getting a reward (or having one revoked). This Capacity drain is the same regardless of the Resource's level. This drain represents the effort and assets put into making the award meaningful.
A Resource naturally recovers from expenditures. It's assumed that a Resource's assets have a certain degree of return on investment and gradual replacement of spent assets, allowing a Resource whose assets have been spent down to recover its value. This is represented by the Resource's daily recovery rate. This is a static amount.
Resource Capacity pools are described as follows:
- Full. The Resource's assets are at full capacity, or close to it.
- Healthy. Some of the Resource's assets have been spent, and the Resource is in need of replenishment. It is still in a healthy state, however.
- Tapped. Enough of the Resource's assets have been spent that the drain upon the Resource is noticeable, and care must be taken with further expenditures.
- Depleted. The Resource's assets are significantly depleted, and caution must be exercised in tapping this Resource further.
- Exhausted. The Resource's assets are so low that great caution must be used. The maximum Potency of new tokens written using this Resource is reduced by 1.
- Dangerous. The Resource's assets have dropped to the level where it may be permanently harmed. A flagpole issue may be raised at this stage, allowing active mechanical opposition to recovery.
You can attempt to improve a Resource, increasing its level. This is done much like creating a new Resource. It should first be discussed with the staff, and then a token should be placed on the flagpole, representing the issue. Advancing a Resource should always involve a significant story, and is always subject to staff approval.
Broadly, you can think of the importance of a resource, and its worthiness of advancement, in terms of the degree to which one could expect to delegate the resource. For instance, a single ship is clearly a rank 1 resource belonging to a single captain. An entire fleet and the cross-shadow merchant trading company to go with it, however, might potentially be a rank 2 resource, with multiple rank 1 resources under it representing multiple ships.
It is highly unlikely that the staff will approve resource level-ups for props where there are not already significant active sub-props and (for resources of rank 2 or higher) delegations to active PCs.
Prop-Based Resources vs. Shadowfinding
The assets of a Resource are fixed, and normally located in Amber or the Golden Circle. Because the assets are spelled out in the prop description and charter, a Resource token cannot be used to justify bringing in something arbitrary — it's limited to just what's reasonable given those assets.
Shadowfinding, by contrast, involves going outside of the near-Amber environs, seeking out assets deeper in shadow and bringing them back. It can be used to find anything mundane, as many times as the character wants and has the Focus (time and effort) available for. Shadowfinding is, of course, limited to those who have a shadowfinding gift, and all tokens that use shadowfinding abilities should be written using that gift.
In both cases, of course, the color matters. Bringing in knights of Amber and bringing in strange blue guys from shadow may be mechanically quite similar, but the color and associated story is entirely different. If you have both shadowfinding and a Resource, which you choose to utilize will probably depend heavily upon the particular color you want.