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May 15, 2006 / jadettman

Focus/Reserve in Amber

I’ve been toying with creating a fifth Attribute in my Revised ADRPG rules-set called Reserve. A character’s Reserve is a measure of their internal energy stores, allowing a character to push themselves harder when tired or in dangerous situations.

How I imagine it would be something like this:

Example 1

Corwin: I drive the wagon across the Black Road while keeping the Pattern fixed in my mind.

GM: Ok. As you enter the Black Road the Pattern begins to waver in your mind as you’re stricken with a blazing headache.

Corwin: I desperately concentrate on the Pattern, trying to keep it in my mind. [Aside]: If I need to, I’ll dip into my reserve to keep going and maintain my concentration on the Pattern.

GM: Right. As you push your way across the road, the Pattern wavers in your mind but holds. The horses are going crazy and the world seems to shatter into a million surrealistic pieces as you forge your way forward. It all feels like it goes on for an eternity but finally you break free of the Road. Looking back, you can see that you’ve etched a path of normality through the Road itself. [Aside]: Temporarily reduce your Reserve by 10.

Alternately, Reserve could be treated as a resource pool, allowing players to spend their Reserve as necessary to accomplish difficult tasks.

The method used would depend a great deal on the Players and GMs involved. Not everyone enjoys ‘fiddly’ system-bits intruding on their roleplaying.



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  1. Britt / May 15 2006 7:06 pm

    Seems like you’d have to keep careful track of the passage of time then, assuming that Reserve regenerates at a constant rate. Or you could just go the meta route and say that you get a point back a session or whatever.

  2. Arref / May 16 2006 8:38 am

    So why would you not do this same system trick for Endurance? Or are you doing away with Endurance in your revised rule set?

  3. J.A. Dettman / May 16 2006 12:27 pm

    Actually, my thinking was that characters would get Reserve back when they made a conscious in game decision to rest or refresh themselves.

    So, the person who remembers to sleep every so often also gets their Reserve back.

    Or, you could give them back Reserve based on the flow of time or a certain amount per session. 🙂

  4. J.A. Dettman / May 17 2006 6:10 am


    I’ve thought of doing this for Endurance; just never got around to it.

    In the new system, though, I’m not going to have an Endurance attribute.

    I also don’t really think of Reserve as endurance. Endurance to me seems more like constitution in a d20 game: it covers overall health. I envision Reserve more as a character’s ability to ‘dig deep’ in tough situations. Sort of a combination between true grit, willpower, and sheer cussedness.

  5. Arref / May 19 2006 12:09 pm

    Endurance to me is the survival trait you pose here with Reserve. But I do like the name. Less confusion with Constitution/Stamina.

  6. JP / May 19 2006 12:29 pm

    For some reason this reminds me of the Marvel Heroes game where one uses a special deck of cards for resolution. I think it’s called the saga system or somesuch. Anyway, the thing that stuck with me was the the highest card in one of the suits (the one tied to perserverance/endurance/resolve etc.) was Captain America. The card simply said, “Never say die.”

    Or to quote Galazy Quest, “Never give up. Never surrender.”

    In a d20 game, it might be built upon the Diehard feat.

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