25 years ago, Phage Press (Erick Wujcik) published Amber Diceless Role-Playing. Our group was one of the first in Germany who got it. This game changed everything. And by everything, I mean, everything.
We had been playing traditional rpgs since 1984. In October 1991, I discovered this ad in Dragon magazine #174:
The accompanying text said:
„AMBER is the most character intensive game ever!
It takes hours, plus a whole gaming session, just to create a new group of Amber player characters.
Amber Characters start out with the strength to lift a car, the endurance to fight a whole day without tiring, a mind trained to psychic combat, and the battle skills of a master. Better yet, they start out as fully rounded people.
Character building starts with players competing in an Attribute Auction, using their character’s points to vie for dominance in psyche, strength, endurance and warfare.
Then players use their points to get Powers.
Pattern is the ticket to immortality, the birthright of any Amberite, and the ultimate key to controlling worlds.
You see, our Earth is but one of an infinite number of Shadows, cast by the light of the only true world, Amber. Player characters with Pattern have the blood of Amber’s ruling family. This means being able to walk among infinite alternate reality, shaping or destroying, to toy with destiny.
The flip side of Pattern, it’s opposite, is the power of the Logrus, symbol of Amber’s great foe, the Courts of Chaos. Between these two powers are the lesser abilities of Magic, Shape Shifting and Trump.
When we say no dice we mean it. No dice, coin flips, cards, yarrow sticks, computer chips or any randomness! Here’s how we can do that:
1. Characters are made with points, bidding in an Attribute Auction where the players compete for Rank.
2. Combat is resolved by comparing each combatant’s Rank and specific actions. The best character wins!
3. Players choose their own „LUCK,“ spending points to be lucky, or borrowing point against bad luck.
4. Ever been frustrated with a bad dice roll? In Amber, if your character can do it, consider it done!
5. No Random encounters! Instead, each character is part of a story, and encounters are planned by the GM! NO DICE!“
I was hooked. A short time later, we started our first Amber campaign. And we started playing diceless. Everything. Diceless Shadowrun. Diceless Cyberpunk. Diceless Kung Fu Action. Diceless X-Files. Diceless everything.
If I was forced to keep only one rpg-related thing and give everything away, I’d choose to keep Amber Diceless. Okay, and Everyway and Theatrix. So, three things.
I’d keep the three oldest commercial diceless games. And give away every other roleplaying book I have. That’s how important Amber is to me. Thank you, Roger. Thank you, Erick. Celebrate, whereever you are.