Rules Primer Conflict Resolution

Here is the first “rules primer”, a page intended to help newbies understand Amber DRPG.

Conflict Resolution
Since there are no dice in the Amber Diceless Roleplaying System, most Combat is resolved quite simply, using the following two steps.

Step 1. Compare the Attribute Ranks of the participant’s Attributes.

If there are weapons involved, or troops, or strategy, then use the characters’ Warfare Attributes. If the combatants are in a hand-to-hand fight, actually grabbing each other, then use their Strength Attributes. If the battle is one of the mind alone, through Trump, or some other means, then use Psyche

Step 2. The character with the larger Attribute Rank wins.
That’s it. Everything else is just a matter of adding details, figuring things out when it’s a close call, and making things seem realistic.

Winning When You’re Not Higher Ranked
When two or more characters come into direct conflict things are usually resolved by comparing the two Attribute ranks. Then, the one with the higher rank usually wins. For instance, if two characters sit down to play a game of chess, the one with the highest Warfare usually wins.

Not always, just usually.

For instance, chess is a game of pure thought. No luck, no chance, just pure strategy. Every one of the billions of people in the world can be ranked in the hierarchy of chess players. You the player, are probably ranked rather low in the scheme of chess masters. Maybe you don’t know how to play at all, in which case you’d be much meat for anyone who knows the rules. Or maybe, like many people, you’ve just played for fun with friends and relatives. From the point of view of serious chess players, somebody who just plays for fun, who doesn’t participate in the tournament circuit, is unranked.

Once you get in the chess world, things get more formal. Moving up the ranks, the higher the number, the better the player. Players ranked close together, say a couple of people ranked 1150 and 1170, are so close it’s hard to tell which will win any particular game. However, take any two people with a spread of a couple of hundred points, and you can bet hard money the person with the higher ranking is going to win. Masters, (ranked over 2000) can cream everybody else, Grand Masters (ranked over 2500) are even better, and they can do tricks like play forty people, all at the same time, while wearing a blindfold. The 30 or so people that have ranks above 2700 (called Great Grand Masters) devote their whole lives to the game.

What if you, you the player, had to play a Great Grand Master? Not for fun, but for something serious, like the fate of the world, and, as side bet, your life.
Do you think you should play fair?

We’ll call your opponent Veselin Topalov. Flat out, the best there is (rank 2804). Here’s what you might do.

First, you make few arrangements. Like learning the game, but also getting a team of the finest chess coaches money can buy (let’s say you have an infinite amount of money), and a earbud and a microphone so they can advise you during the game. Then, you set up the room where the game is going to take place. Figure out everything Topalov hates, heat, loud colors, Polo cologne, rock music, whatever. Give him the works, but only at critical moments, on and off.

And if that isn’t enough?

Then you go for some real equalizers. Have his wife call, mid-game, threatening divorce, madness, and/or suicide if he wins.

Then you have an intimidating Bulgarian mobster come in and inform Topalov that the mob has bet on you and that if Topalov wins… well, then some very bad things are going to happen to Mr. Topalov, and his family, and his pets, and everyone he’s ever said hello to on the street.

Still not enough?

When Topalov’s back is turned, steal pieces from the board. Drug him, and move twice for every move he makes. At least once, during some critical move, just as Topalov reaches for a piece, have someone put a gun to his head and offer to blow his brains out if he makes that particular move.

Now could you win?

Depends. Frankly, if you’re a total novice at chess, even all these advantages may not assure you of victory. On the other hand, if you’re a master rank player yourself, you ought to be able to take him out. And, if you’re the second ranked player in the world you should have no problem whatsoever.

Silly? Yeah, but it’s the way things work in combat.

Armies spend a lot of time and money on military intelligence to pull exactly the same things that you were trying on Topalov. Psychological warfare, dirty tricks, surprise attacks, and quick flanking maneuvers are what it takes to score victories out of proportion to the strengths of the forces involved. When you own the air, and the other guy doesn’t, you bomb the spit out of him. Not exactly “fair,” sort of on the level of stealing the other chess pieces, but it’s pretty effective.

Rules Primer Conflict Resolution

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