A Clockwork Dreaming is based upon the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game, designed by Erick Wujick, but uses a number of customized rules. The variations from the Amber DRPG are listed below.

  • General Rule Changes
    • No Shadowknight rules. As this game is inspired only by the first series, nothing from Shadowknight is being used. This means no Broken Patterns, no spikards, and no Keep of Four Worlds. Of course, these things could still exist, but if so it isn't public information.
    • No shadow barrier is impenetrable.
    • Elders in this game are generally less powerful than described in the Amber DRPG. Perhaps 1/2 the points. The highest ranked PC is likely ranked among the Elders. Of course this isn't guaranteed, but in general the Elders aren't all godlike in comparison to the PCs. You should still expect most Elders to be tougher than most PCs.
  • Attribute Rule Changes
    • Attributes are Weaker. Amberites are not Gods, just really good. If Corwin fights a couple of guards, he will work up a sweat. The difference between Human and Amber rank is much smaller in this game. Strength and Endurance tend to be the only superhuman attributes, and that is just in comparison to Shadow Earth. They may not be superhuman compared with many other shadows.
    • Warfare is now split into two separate attributes: Prowess and Strategy. The personal combat aspects of Warfare are captured by Prowess, and the planning and tactical aspects of Warfare are captured by Strategy. Martial arts skills are also part of Prowess now, though grappling and wrestling (to a certain extent) are governed by Strength.
    • Psychic contact via eye contact is only possible for the most highly ranked characters, and even then it is very difficult. Psychic contact via skin contact is possible, with a good deal of effort, if you have a good psyche (this also depends on who you are trying to contact). The 'preferred method' for psychic contact is still trump contact. It can also be accomplished using Blood Magic, and possibly by other, unknown, techniques of other powers.
    • There is no attribute auction. Just spend as many points as you like in each attribute.
  • Power Rule Changes
    • No Logrus. The Logrus is an invention of the second series, and it may or may not exist in this game. In either case, players may not start with Logrus, and should not assume any knowledge of the existence of the Logrus. If a player really wants to be from Chaos, we can talk about it.
    • Advanced Powers are different from the books, and players wishing to start with such abilities should contact the GM.
    • There is now a much cheaper version of Pattern available. See below.
    • Sorcery and Conjuration no longer work as presented in the Amber DRPG. See Blood Magic below. Power words are still the same as presented in the Amber DRPG.
    • Shapeshifting is slightly different. See below.
    • Basic Trump Artistry is unchanged from the Amber DRPG. The advanced version is probably different (see above).
    • There is no power for being a Guild Artificer. This is just a skill that you have to justify in your background.
  • Artifact Rule Changes
    • All bought items have a special connection to a character and are part of a character's legend. Things such as Flora's dogs or Eric's gloves are not appropiate items, whereas Morgenstern and Grayswandir are. See the explanation below for more information on this.
    • There are no magic racking artifacts, as Blood Magic cannot be racked.
    • You can purchase Guild Artifacts as Artifacts. Anyone wishing to do this can work out details with the GM individually.
    • There is a new Blood Magic Power ability for Items and Creatures.


Initiate of the Pattern [15 points]

This is the ability gained immediately upon walking the Pattern. It would be appropriate for a character who has walked the Pattern who has never received any but the most basic training in the use of the Pattern. The character can only manipulate shadow by visualizing changes one at a time. They cannot shadow seek, manipulate probability, or even hellride. This limits travel to the "shadow walking" aspect of Pattern Imprint. You must know exactly what the place you are traveling to looks like in order to reach it, though some "real" shadows, such as Amber, tend to draw shadow walkers in. Those with this ability are generally slower at making changes than those who are more skilled with the Pattern.

You can lead a small number of people though shadow, but there is a tendancy to lose them as you travel, so leading huge armies becomes impractical.

The character can still walk the physical Pattern and then teleport upon reaching the center, and can also use a Blood Curse.

Adept of the Pattern [50 points]

This conveys the abilities normally associated with the Pattern. This is the appropriate ability for any seasoned Amberite who has spent a good deal of time traveling through shadow. The only difference from the Pattern Imprint described in the Amber DRPG, is that Pattern Defense is slightly less useful (don't count on it as an all purpose protection).

Master of the Pattern [?? points]

This advanced ability varies from individual to individual. Any player wishing to begin the game with Mastery of the Pattern should contact the GM to decide exactly what the player can do with the ability and how much it costs, as well as how they gained this knowledge.

Blood Magic

Blood Magic is the one true magic (that is known to the PCs... there may be others). It works in all shadows, though the effects of the magic may take on different aspects in different shadows. In addition to Blood Magic, there is also local shadow magic, but such things are much weaker and easily disrupted by those with Power. Unlike Sorcery and Conjuration in the ADRPG, Blood Magic is a real power, and its effects are not easilly dispelled by Pattern or Trump.

Basic Blood Sorcery [20 points]

Blood Magic is powered by the essence of an individual, though not specifically by the blood as the name implies (though this is often the case). This essence is a metaphysical entity but is normally captured in some physical medium. The precious the physical medium, the powerful the essence will be and therefore the more powerful the magic will be. Listed below are some example physical mediums ordered in increasing rank of power.

  1. Spit
  2. Hair
  3. Blood or Sexual Fluids
  4. Flesh
  5. Less important internal organs
  6. Bone
  7. Limbs or important organs (such as an eye)
  8. Vital organs (heart, brain) (For an Amberite, this may not be fatal)
  9. One's life (obviously you can't do this more than once)

Typically the essence used to power the magic is that of the spellcaster, though it is possible to fuel one's magic using the essence of others. If this essence is stolen, then it will be weaker and the nature of the theft will be reflected in the magic. Even freely given essence is diminshed in power compared to that of the spellcaster. The strength of the individual whose essence was used is also a factor. The blood of an Amberite contains more powerful essence than a bone from your average shadow dweller. Even when the essence of another is used, a tiny bit of the spellcaster's essence tends to be captured in the magic as well, allowing a skilled observer to identify the spellcaster.

Only the essence of a real individual is powerful enough to create cross shadow effects (such as shadow travel), and even then it is very difficult.

Because the taint of the essence is always with the magic the identity of the spellcaster is made clear to any other blood sorcerers who witness the effect. If the witnesses to the magic meet the blood sorceror (or whoever's essence was used) the connection will quickly become clear. Many effects from other Powers can also be read by those with an understanding of Blood Magic. For example, sorcerors can identify a caster from a Trump, and can identify the utterer of a blood curse (such as Corwin used to help open the way for the Black Road).

Blood Magic is very ritualistic and takes time to cast (though in some instances faster effects can be generated). Spells can range from hours to days to months in preparation time, based upon the power and complexity of the spell. In addition spells cannot be racked or stored for later casting. The only exception to this brewing of potions or the enchantment of objects. Such enchantments are very difficult and often generate weaker effects. They also take a long time to prepare.

Because of the time limitations, combat spells are not practical using blood sorcery.

Advanced Blood Sorcery [?? points]

This represents knowledge of the deepest magics, capable of almost unimaginable feats. Such masters of the art are few and far between, and they do not often pass along their secrets.


Basic Shapeshifting [30 points]

This ability is less controllable in A Clockwork Dreaming. In addition shapeshifters only have one native form. In the case of Amberites this form is (almost) always human, and in the case of Lords of Chaos, the native form is almost never fully human. Remaining in an alternate form for prolonged periods of time is very draining. The farther away from one's true form that one shifts, the more difficult the process. It should also be noted that using shapeshifting within the castle grounds of Amber is looked upon with extreme disfavor by the Queen.

Advanced Shapeshifting [?? points]

Mastery of this ability tends to be limited to Lords of Chaos. It is thought that, among other things, masters of shapeshifting can remain in alternate forms for longer periods of time with less effort.

Notes on Items

The question should be asked of an artifact/creature: Is this item 'special' in some way? Will others remember it? Do people identify you and the item together? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and spend the points on it. If the answer is no then you might want to reconsider buying the item.

It isn't about the points, its about the meaning behind it. Any paid artifact should have some real connection to the character. The item must be important to the character... be part of who the character is. It could even be a one point item for all I care (though that might be odd, but maybe not), it isn't about the points.

If somebody takes the item from you, it is as if they are taking a piece of you. When people think of you, they will often think of your item (unless it is somehow a great secret). When they think of the item, they will think of you. The connection between you and the item is more than just symbolic, it is something real, though this doesn't have to have a story behind it.

Corwin has Grayswandir. He can always find it. When people see the sword, they know who is wielding it. Julian has Morgenstern. Nobody imagines the steed without Julian, and when they think of Julian, they often think of Morgenstern.

I just want to avoid having people buying extra hard weapons or armor for the sake of having them. Items aren't trival things that everyone have. If you just want a tough sword or great armor, you can get it without spending points. Spending points in an item symbolizes a real investment of your character in that item.

Item and Creature Rule Additions

Essence Storage and Use (Blood Magic Power)

Blood Sorcerors can create items which are natural storage containers for Essence. These tools can be used to harvest and store the essence that resides in physical mediums such as blood and bones and can even be used to store all of the essence from the lifeforce of a person. These containers are not good as the original physical medium, and there is a substanial loss in power when the essence is stored in this way. Harvesting essence requires a minimal ritual with the tool, wherein the item or creature pierces the thing whose essence one wishes to extract. To take the lifeforce of a person, the tool must be used to kill the person. This is not an instant absorbtion, and thus is not suitable for combat, (at least, not until you render your opponent immobile).

Such devices are also leaky. Over a long period of time (months to years, depending on the Essence), the Essence will leak away and get weaker.

Note: Available only to characters with Blood Magic.

  • Store and Harvest a Single Essence - The item is capable of storing the essence of a single person at a given time. Once that essence is released or used up, then a new essence can be harvested. Costs 1 Point.
  • Store and Harvest Named & Numbered Essences - The item is capable or storing the essences of up to a dozen people at a given time. Costs 2 Points.
  • Store, Harvest, and Use Named & Numbered Essences - In addition to storing essence, the item or creature can use the essence to work Blood Magic. This requires some level of Psyche or Intelligence for the creature or item to cast Blood Magic spells using the stored essence, and takes just as long (or longer) as casting the spell oneself. Unintelligent objects cannot cast Blood Magic. This ability is intended more for creatures than for items. Costs 4 Points.
Unique Shadow Walkers