Design For Living - Powers - Attributes
Attributes So what's an attribute? It's an artificial way of measuring things that the characters might be able to do.
For example, the attribute Strength determines how strong the character is. Which means it's a way of figuring out how big an object the character can pick up, or how much damage they can do with a punch.
The other three attributes are Warfare, fighting ability, Psyche, mental power, and Endurance.
Attributes are what decide the outcome of conflict in Amber. If you go up against a Noble of Chaos in a mind-to-mind Psyche battle, whoever has the best Psyche will win. Unless the other person cheats, of course. Ranks Attributes are measured in Ranks. The higher the rank, the better the attribute. If your rank is better than theirs, you win.
Everyone starts off with Real Rank in every Attribute. If you want a better rank, you have to spend points, usually by bidding in the Auction.
Points can later be spent to raise an Attribute to match rankings declared in the Auction. Or, if a character has made no bid in an Attribute, extra points can be collected by selling down that Attribute to Partial or Shadow Rank.
Ranks are bought with points, but the point difference between two ranks means nothing. Only the difference in rank counts. Shadow Rank Wimp out. Shadow Rank means the Amber equivalent of a couch potato, which means something equivalent to a normal person of Shadow Earth. You become one of the uncountable masses of inferior Shadow folk. Taking any Shadow rank Attributes makes a character very vulnerable. Selling an Attribute down to Shadow Rank is worth 25 points. Partial Rank The common level of servants, advisors, and hangers on to Reality. Equals the very high end of the human spectrum. Shadow Earth's strongest weight lifter, of the world's best fencer. Pretty respectable by Shadow standards, but no match for any of Real Rank. Selling down to Partial is good for an extra 10 points. Real Rank You don't bid, and you don't sell the Attribute down. Which means you end up with a Real level Attribute. That's great, because Amberites are so much better than those wimps out there in Shadow. A Real Rank means you have no weaknesses. Real Strength makes you stronger than the world's strongest weight lifter. But not as strong as your relatives. Ranked When it's not enough to be better than mere Shadow mortals, you spend points on an Attribute, and you enter into a contest with other Amberites and Chaosites. Any kind of ranking, even one point, puts you way ahead of the do-nothings with Real level. Dominant Rank First place holders in the auction hold a very special place in the rankings. Even if they're only a point ahead, even if somebody buys enough points to almost pull even with them, they're still way out in front when it comes to any kind of contest. Those with a first place Rank aren't just better, they're superior. Secret Rank You don't have to settle for Real, or for your last Auction bid, you can spend even more points on any Attribute. This is a secret advancement, one that the other players will not know about. However, remember that when you match points with someone who made an official bid, say 3rd Rank, you'll always be slightly behind: what we'll call '3.5 Rank'. Better than 4th, but inferior to 3rd Rank.