Monday, November 4, 2013

D&D is Amber and All Other RPGs Are Shadows

I had asked At What Point Do Houserules Become Their Own Ruleset which +Joseph Bloch followed with What is D&D?

I submit to you that Dungeons & Dragons, The Original Boxed Set, is Amber from The Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny and all other RPGs are shadows of this original. Some shadows are closer to the original than others, but all can trace out their heritage to the OBS.

The question than becomes: If D&D is Amber, than what is the RPG based on the Chronicles of Amber. Is "Amber the RPG" itself The Courts of Chaos?

(posts that spawn a post that spawn a post that...)


  1. Primal Pattern is the White Box, from ancient times, now rarely seen
    Amber AD&D/2nd ed/3.5 ed, the most popular, best understood
    Rebma is Basic/Expert/Master D&D, was important in the past, now sidelined
    Tir-na Nog'th is D&D-next, ephemeral, hard to tell what parts of it are real
    4th ed is some corrupted broken pattern, can give you great powers or kill you
    Pathfinder is Corwin's new pattern, not connected to the original, but performing the same function
    And yes, Amber Diceless is the Courts of Chaos/Logrus, the opposite of everything the Pattern/D&D is

    Crap, that makes my gaming group, which has played ADRPG, D&D, and Pathfinder, Merlin from the new series.

  2. I wrote an article accusing everything after Gygax left TSR as a "Fantasy Heartbreaker". http://daggerarts.blogspot.com/2013/10/d-has-become-typical-fantasy.html

  3. Does this mean that the Shadowcaster is your favorite class?


  4. If that's true, then this would be "Amber's" orginal map, and the Greyhawk and Blackmoor that we know would be the first shadows: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-44ulGOCzJh4/UCSF7CMRviI/AAAAAAAAAjQ/xn3vYmlplPM/s640/Great+Kingdom+map+2.png

    While I happily enjoy playing B/X D&D these days--and regard it as closer to the original LBB than AD&D--I do have to admit that there's an appeal to thinking of OD&D as being the Primal Pattern and AD&D being Amber, as MrFred suggests. By pouring so much detail into the DM's Guide especially, Gary gave us all a shared world without a map. Characters moving from one campaign to another felt less like travelers between dimensions and more like Conan moving from country to country as he adventured.

    But having said that, AD&D's deliberate lock-out of the rules and world that actually gave us RPGs in the first place--Dave's Blackmoor--would seem to argue against it being the original Amber. In that regard, B/X would be a closer shadow than even AD&D, since it's basically a codification of OD&D that actually has fewer departures (other than race-as-class).

  5. Hey, you had me at "Amber"! Love the books and the diceless RPG, so I'm sold on this whole analogy you've constructed right here! However, I'm not sure Amber DRPG is totally analagous with the Courts of Chaos. I don't think ADRPG is the "opposite" of D&D, per se. That just seems too harsh, too dualistic, too black & white.

  6. I love this thread so very, very much.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition