Attributes-Based Abilities

     Something always bugged me with in the Amber DRPG: We were given samples of what individuals with high ranks in an attribute could do, but, not only there was no guide as to how a character would gain these abilities (aside from the indication that these were linked to your rank in the corresponding attribute), but we were given the indication (with Warfare) that some characters could develop these abilities while increasing their attributes, while others would not. This was unfair, as they gave a great advantage to their possessor. So the one with it should have paid for it. So, inspired by a system of Mind Magic develloped for the Strange Bedfellows Campain and by the Amber DRPG, I created a system of Attributes-Based Abilities.

     The Basic abilities require at least a Ranked Attribute. The Advanced abilities require at least a Low-Ranked Attribute. And, finally, the Exalted abilities require at least a Mid-Ranked Attribute.
     Note that the Expertise rules DOESN'T apply to these. However, for these campaigns where one rank grants more than 1 Conflict Point, every time you see “+ 01 CP”, you can replace it by “+ xx CPs”, xx being the number of CPs granted by one rank.

     Now available:
          -Warfare-based Abilities.
          -Strength-based Abilities.
          -NEW!!! At long last, here comes the first Psyche-based Abilities.

Warfare-Based Abilities
V 1.3

B-[05] Veteran
A-------[10] Adaptable Fighter
A-------[05] Strategist
E-------------[10] Warlord
A-------[05] Duelist
E-------------[10] Weapon Master

Veteran (05 points)
     You've got a greater mastery of your weapons, which gives you one more Conflict Point when fighting with a weapon you're used to. You've also become an expert in small units tactics, which also gives you one more CP when using the Tactics sub-attribute with small units.

Adaptable Fighter (10 points)
     You're used to fight bizarre opponents, and so are never surprised by an adversary with an unusual form. But you're also used to all kind of combat environments (be it in the water, in zero gravity, in close quarters...), and know how to use it to your advantage: you receive a +1 CP bonus in individual combat, due to your clever use of your surroundings as well as when commanding armies. More so, a life of dangers and unusual threats as given you a kind of resistance to surprise: you can react without pause or surprise to any menace, even if it was well hidden. Wherever the danger comes from, you're ready to face it.

Strategist (05 points)
     Based upon recon of the enemy’s forces, their deployment and logistics, you can recognize a familiar opponent, see the strengths and weaknesses of the army, and guess precisely what will it do and how it will react. You can also analyze your opponent’s tactics, which allows you to guess what secret weapons may be in reserve, their likely effect, where they are kept, where and when they are more likely to be used, and how they might affect your enemy’s strategy. Aside from these benefits, you also gain a bonus of one CP with your Tactics sub-attribute.

Warlord (10 points)
     You’ve so deep in strategy and tactics that you’ve taken the habit of envisioning EVERY situation as a potential combat situation, always seeing your position from a tactical viewpoint. In effect, this works as a resistance to surprise: you live by looking around you and being wary of everything, from ambushes to snipers… Consecutively, you react without pause or surprise to any threat, and are always ready to confront threats comings from anywhere around you, be it the ground or even the air. A side-effect from this is that you can, theorically speaking, seek out invisible or even intangibles opponents. In practice, you’re constantly adapting for virtual enemies, parrying and blocking when it seems “right”, even if there’s no one around you.
     Recruiting an army is second nature for you. You can recruit troops almost instantaneously, diffusing your propaganda among a population, and, if sufficient candidates are available, build up an army of any size. And you know how to choose and train the best instructors, so all of your troops are battle-ready in only a few days.
     You’re also a master when it comes to manipulating an army’s morals: you can triple or more the efficiency of any troop by playing with their loyalty and group dynamics. You can do great speeches, convincing your men of their (your, actually) cause’s superiority and righteousness, and even throw back into the fields armies that have suffered serious throwbacks. But you can also play with enemy forces, just as you manipulate your own troops: You know how to break an army’s morale, and how to make it leave the battlefield by using psychological tricks, playing with its fears and timing your advances and attacks. So, you can break down the battle plans of any opponent, receiving better information than him, encircling his troops, surprising them and, in a more general fashion, having the better morale. In effect, this allows you to beat armies far bigger than yours: You receive a +3 bonus to your Tactics sub-attribute.
     As a side-effect of all your strategic training, you’ve mastered almost every game of strategy, and can quickly master any new game you come across, which gives you the same bonus to Tactics.

Duelist (05 points)
     You only need to see someone’s posture or silhouette to recognize someone familiar to you, or the fighting style of an enemy, which is very useful to recognize someone shapeshifted. But that’s not all you can do: in any individual fight, you can instantaneously gauge a stranger, divining his moves and reactions, and even his hidden weapons or special tricks. This doesn’t mean that you’ll know he’s wearing a .45, but you’ll know he possess a ranged weapon, probably used with the right hand, with an effective range of about 3 to 15 meters. This gives you + 1 CP in all individual fights.

Weapon Master (10 points)
     You're used to all kind of combat environments (be it in the water, in zero gravity, in close quarters...), and know how to use it to your advantage: you receive a +1 CP bonus in individual combat, due to your clever use of your surroundings. You're also used to aggression by invisible or even intangibles opponents. Consecutively, you’re constantly adapting for virtual enemies, parrying and blocking when it seems “right”, even if there’s no one around you. Usually, however, you’re right to do this. And you're so trained up in all kind of weapons that you know perfectly almost all existing weapons in the universe, and can adapt quickly to any new weapon, or imagine any possible weapon. So, you're never surprised, or never impaired, by a new technology.
     You can also transform anything into a lethal weapon: a pencil, a sheet of paper, anything can be used to strike, everything can be used to pierce, reap, crush, wound or kill an enemy. You’re also much more proficient in “standard” weapons, receiving a bonus of 1 CP in any personal fight.
     But that is not all there is to know about your talents: You’re also gifted with incredible reflexes, and are too fast to be affected by any spell whose casting requires more than an instant. In other words, if the spell requires be it one lynchpin, you can, if the sorcerer is sufficiently close to be struck a blow or thrown something, stop his casting (unless he can incant with a knife in his throat). You’re also so fast that, unless immobilized or under heavy fire, you can dodge any long-range shoot you’re conscious of.

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Strength-Based Abilities
By SilverSylvain, with some adds by The Fixer. Bad jokes are from both of us.
V 2.5

     A piece of advice: every player interested in strength and Hand-to-Hand combat should REALLY read the excellent GURPS Martial Arts for inspiration.

     Well, while being less adaptable than those created by our All-Father Fixer for Warfare (Bof... I say we've done a pretty good work -The Fixer-), I hope that these Strength-based abilities will help reintroduce in your game a kind of balance in favor of this often ill-considered Attribute in the Amber DRPG. At least they will permit to create little surprises for the overconfident warfare-based characters (Take this, you monster! 'slash', 'slash'. Fear my blade! Now you're down! I said "you're down"... eh guys, why is Monjo NOT down?).

B-[05] Very Fit
A-------[10] Skillfull Fighter
A-------[10] Off-limit Champion
A-------[05] Salt-Of-The-Earth (aka Charles Ingalls)
E-------------[15] Strongest One There Is (aka Green Giant, or Norwegian Bodybuilder)
A-------[10] Martial Artist
E-------------[15] Master of the Way

Very Fit (05 points)
     You become a very skillfull athlete, wich gives you one more Conflict Point when acomplishing athletics performances (including some challenges of stamina such as a marathon or a Brutal Death concert). You are also very efficient when fighting with your bare hands, wich also gives you one CP bonus in a Hand to Hand or Grapple conflict.

Skillfull Fighter (10 points)
     You've spend decades training against various foes, studying every known (and most unknown) martial arts, from Wrestling to Bando, and are now a living encyclopedia on how to fight something with your bare hands. Whatever your form (if you're Shapeshifted), whatever the form of your foe, you know how you must fight. And, even if you can still be surprised by a special technique from a particular martial art, this will only happen once, as you'll counter it in every subsequent encounter. You receive +1 CP if you've got a Minimal Advantage over your foe (i.e. more CPs than him), +2 CP if you've got a Modest Advantage (i.e. 1,5 times his conflict points), +3 if you've got a Definite Advantage (2 times his CPs), +4 for a Superior Advantage (3 times his CPs) and +5 for a Murderous Advantage (4 times his CPs) due to your superior (and sometimes overwhelming) knowledge.

Off-limits Champion (10 points)
     At this level, you're a perfectly accomplished athlete, trained in almost any kind of sports or contests: You gain a bonus of 02 CPs when accomplishing an athletic performance or trying to do a Strength trick (you know, it's all about scottish or basque traditionnal contests: lifting things and so on). More so, athletes are well-known for their ability to push up their inner limits, thus you can now ignore all the effects from the Tired level of Exertion. So, while being effectively Tired, you shall be considered as Fresh, a capacity wich will work in any type of situation including combat. In effects, you'll be Fresh till you reach the Strained level, the contrast representing the backlash from your so-intensive exertion: you're good, you're good, you're good, and then, you're nothing.

Salt-Of-The-Earth (aka Charles Ingalls) (05 points)
     You're one of the Big Guys in town. At least, this is how everyday people will look at you. You're starting to have a very impressive body with the whole package of consequences (from "'scuse me sir, but I won't fight this guy, the situation looks a bit too hard for my skills" to "Hey, Biggie, do you copy me when I speak S-L-O-W-L-Y?" and so on...). In a more relevant way, you're now able to deliver very destructive blows even when using your bare hands. In game terms, all the damage you can inflict is upgraded to the upper level (i.e from nothing to Extra-hard and so on...), with a maximum of Serious Damage [4]. For these purposes, remember that Hand-to-Hand damage is considered level -1 and "normal" weapons level 0. Note that this ability and the next are really powerful and so should always remain under careful GM control, who'll have to remember that the whole stuff is intrinsically linked to the fitness of the would-be Hulk. So any kind of situation ( such as a damage, exertion,...) that could affect the character's health should also affect his/her (ohhh, such a shame!, the back of Helga, the world-famous Eastern German wrestling champion...) abilities.

Strongest One There Is (aka Green Giant, or Norwegian Bodybuilder) (15 points)
     Welcome in the Gerard-league. You're now a perfect example of what state-of-the-art intensive body building can do. Even according to Amberite standard, you've become a very impressive guy, the Amber variation on the "red-haired irish wall" theme. At this level, your first sentence in every type of situation should be "Sarah Connor?", you should always strike saying "have at thee!", and finish your fights with a loud & clear "#insert your name# is the strongest one there is". Now all the damage you can inflict is upgraded to the upper level, and YES, this is cumulative with the "Salt Of The Earth" capacity, with a maximum of Deadly Damage [8]. Also, normal weapons, when used to strike at full strength, may very well break is you're striking something very hard. Do you remember? according to the Core Rulebook, Gerard is soo strong that he only needed an Extra-hard sword to inflict Serious damage: at this level, the basic damage rating of such an item only means how much raw power it can channel before breaking up.
     More so, your body has become so muscled that you can take on much more powerful blows than normal people could do (A lot like all these action movie heroes. Yes, you can make a remake of DieHard). In game terms, you're considered to have an intrinsic Resistant to normal weapons armor (01 point level) which is cumulative with any personal armor you could also be wearing. This is called the 'Ouch' ability. As a side effect of this exceptionnal toughness, you take NO Hand-to-Hand damage from anyone over whom you have a Superior Advantage (i.e. three times his Conflict Points): this is the 'grumph' effect.
     You can also push back the limits of your body through adrenaline, training and sheer force of will: increase your strength by one rank per karma point you're spending (Maximum limit is twice your CPs). This lasts for a given task (crushing someone's brains, for example), and half (round up) of these karma points will be definitively lost once it is complete (hey, everything's got a price!). The rest will be recuperated at the start of the next game session.
     In the end, the unique real cool effect is your inner ability to take on any food or alcohol excess. You now can spend your whole night drinking and stand still in the morning (drinking your first beer, champion's lunch!).

Martial Artist (20 points)
     Seeesh! The less funny side of the Strength-based abilities, but probably the more attractive to power-hungry players and other "martial arts are cool" guys. Yeah, right, it's true, you've become a deadly foe only needing your bare hands to manage a fight to a victorious end. You have mastered almost any kind of martial traditions created by man, humanoid and less-humanoid lifeform, are very quick when landing a blow (and maybe to land a blow?), also using various combinations of strikes. More important, you've dropped karate, judo and aïkido for Bando. This grants you an additional CP in individual fights of all sorts, barehanded or not, as most martial arts (such as bando) include either the use of various weapons or how to deal with them while being bare-handed.
     Note that even if you're able to recognize a style you studied or that you can figure, this ability doesn't include the gauging of a perfect stranger nor does it permit you to spot hidden weapons or the like of it, which is a part of the Warfare-based abilities: It simply means that you're trained to face a broad scale of threats, so even if it's difficult to surprise you, it's not so impossible. On the other hand, cause you've mainly studied moves instead of weapons, you'll surely be more adaptable than a duelist would be.
     You're also an expert in locks, throws and sadistic moves: If you've got at least a Modest Advantage (1,5 times your opponent's CPs), you can quickly immobilise him wherever you want: shift the advantage categories two columns in your favor for this purpose. But you can also throw him up or better yet, break his limbs! All that is required is a Definite Advantage (twice your opponent's CPs), and, in a very short time (as if the advantage categories were shifted one column in your favor), Crack! Of course, you can do these without this ability, but with it, you can do it much more quickly: he strikes, you parry and break his arm. And as they say: "No arms, no chocolate!".

Master of the Way (15 points)
     Welcome in the Wu-Tang moutain training club! You're now stated among the living legends of Kung-Fu (hum... at least among the people that don't know that "Kung Fu" does not exist per se. See the excellent GURPS Martial Arts for info). Styles have become pure conveniences for training pupils purposes, only remains the perfect understanding of your surroundings and the purity of your moves, flowing like a tide: this grants you one additionnal CP bonus in individual fights, which could be applied to both physical and mental conflicts as you have now mastered how to focus your mind to achieve the Way. More so, you're able to jump into action without a second thought as you're perfectly attuned with the flow of the universe. Unlike the Warfare-based abilities, you won't know the potential nature of the threat you're facing, but you'll react correctly. So, you can no more be surprised (unfazeabilitity... Is the typical British butler secretly a Martial Arts Master?). This "harmony with the universe" SOMETIMES grants you clues about what you should do (duck! go there!) or how to do something (hit the computer to put it off!), depending on the GM, the situation and how is "appropriate" (hum... this is a difficult one. As a very rough and subjective guideline, no more than 2 + 1/5 Good Karma or -1/2 bad karma per game session)
     Another side of the Force (easy joke! in french, force means also strength) is the fact that you have so studied the body that you've mastered its language: you can now recognize any familiar adversary even when shapeshifted, you'll be able to predict his/her next move, and so on. You're also able to guess the general mood of someone by spotting him/her and to tell the truth from the lies by looking at the person while he or she's speaking.
     Finally, you know preciselly how to hurt someone (here we go! the pressure points! Next stop: Hand of Death!), paralyse her... which, aside from being REALLY useful in... social encounters, allows you to "bypass" the Tired level of exertion of your opponent. That is, your opponent is considered to be at least tired, and all exertion counts for him during this fight begins from here (you cannot usually use this against opponents with 4 times your CPs, as they won't let you touch them. Of course, dirty tricks are always possible...). Moreso, if you've got a Definite Advantage over someone, you can paralyse him very quickly (as soon as he reaches "really" the Tired level of Exertion), for as long as you want to.

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Psyche-Based Abilities
By a very tired and sick of it Fixer.
V 3.2

     This should be the only abilities available for a looooong time, so try to enjoy it!

B-[05] Mentalist
A-------[10] Empath
E-------------[10] Medium
A-------[10] Cosmic Senses

Mentalist (05 points)
     You've greatly improved your mind (Hum... Well, in theory at least), which allows you to sense Shadow Passages up to (Psyche CPs - 5) times 20 meters, and can easily tell if one of these has been changed or artificially bloqued. You can also tell if someone has reached or not the limits of his Endurance, and if he is tired, hungry, or in need of anything, so long as you see him or as he is no farther than Psyche CPs times 5 meters. But as you expanded your consciousness, you also learned to protect it by projecting a crude Mental Screen which blocks any passive Psyche-Based ability (i.e. most of the abilities of that list), but also impedes your own Psychic Sensibility. Of course, it doesn't work against someone you're mentally linked with, as against someone with a Minimal Advantage in Psyche Finesse over you (that is, more Psyche Finesse CPs than you).

Empath (10 points)
     Your ability to perceive the presence and feelings of other beings is unsurpassed. You can know the physical condition of anyone in a radius of twice your Psyche CPs meters, perceiving any physical weakness, pain or wound, even if well hidden. But you can also perceive emotions around you, which allows you to know the state of mind of those around you (in a radius of 2 times your Psyche CPs meters) or with whom you're in Mental Link. So, as a natural and logical devellopement of these abilities, you've become able to sense any psychic presence in the aforementioned radius, even if the target is invisible or hidden (but you can only pinpoint her if she is in a radius less than Psyche CPs meters).
     But your empathy can also apply to Trumps! For instance, your sensibility is so great that you always know when someone is touching your Trump. If you also know the Trump Caller Identification trick and a Superior (3 times your opponent's) Psyche Finesse + Expertise, you can determine who did it (if you've got his or her trump, of course).
     And when you're mentally linked to someone, what do you do? Well, you begin to peer into the other's secrets, of course (of course, this is not an obligation)! You can obtain basic informations such as name, gender, origin (Amber, Courts, Otherwise...), gaining more and more information as the contact endures. However, if your target is sensitive (At least Amber Psyche) and unless you've got a superior advantage in Psyche Finesse over him (i.e. 3 times his CPs), he will be aware of the transferal, and can try to stop it, which will usually bring either a Psyche Finesse (if he's trying to just stop the data flow) or Brute Psyche (If he's trying to stop you from ever trying again) Conflict.

Medium (10 points)
     Your sensibility to emotions and psychic residue become so great that you have become able to sense danger: when you open your mind to your surroundings (which, unlike the above abilities, requires a conscious thought, and thus cannot be always on, but is nonetheless easy to maintain, so long as you think about it), you can sense almost any risk or danger. If someone is plotting against you or is preparing to attack you, the source of these hostile thoughts will appear evident to you. Traps or dangerous situations will arise uneasy feelings (due to residual negative emotion and a little 6th sense), but nothing more: you've just an impression of hostility. This works up to five times your Psyche CPs meters. You can also sense psychic residue in a place (i.e. if it has been home to joy, sorrow, anger...) if it is strong enough: Some places just don't have much psychic residue, and it does fade over time, although stronger residue tend to perdure proportionnally longer. This works best by touch, giving you abilities akin to psychometry: by touching an item, you can see who possessed it (yes, this also fades over time), its creator, and have some insights on its history and uses (ex: this has been created by Max, and used in anger to destroy by fire).
     Without a psyche conflict, you can sense the truth. If a person lies, you will know it intuitively, unless the target is taking some measures to prevent it (i.e. has at least a crude Mental Screen raised). However, you will always know two things: whether or not the target is resisting (i.e. has a Mental Screen raised), and if the target is not resisting, then whether or not the target is telling the truth. Stronger masters of the mind (those with at least twice the Brute Psyche of their target) can force targets to reveal what they know. The master merely gazes into the subject's eyes (or touches the subject flesh to flesh) and asks a question. The subject has to answer literally and directly, though if the control is loosened a bit, the victim can converse normally (though on topic and truthfully).

Cosmic Senses (10 points)
     Like all those Great Psychic Masters (or like some alien superheroes with blue eyes and blond hair...), you've become so attuned to the Universe that you can perceive just about any energy. You can perceive the accumulation of Magical Energy when a spell is cast, which warns you of its imminent usage, even if the caster is out of sight (but range is limited to five times your Psyche CPs meters). You will also roughly sense the area a spell is affecting. But you're much more sensitive to the Heavier use of Major Powers, able to sense their invocation up to 20 times your Psyche CPs meters (unless otherwise hidden). Likewise, their intensive use in order to invoque items, transverse or manipulate Shadow, will be known to you. This also detects Black Roads, as well as powerful Creatures or Artefacts who draw their power from the Pattern, Logrus, Trumps... In short, any item created through a Create (Power Type) Artifact ability, as well as the JoJ.
     In fact, sensing the composition and resonance of a Shadow is second nature to you, which gives you precious informations about it, such as its technological and magical level, the difference between its temporal rate and the "basic" (understand Amber) rate, and the degree to which the Pattern and Logrus are present in it.
     But that is not all! You've got Cosmic senseS, remember? So, your mind is so sensitive that you're also able to perceive when someone is touching your Trump. If you also know the Trump Caller Identification trick and a Superior (3 times your opponent's) Psyche Finesse + Expertise, you can determine who did it (if you've got his or her trump, of course).
     Last, but not least, when you open your mind to the Universe (which requires a conscious thought, and thus cannot be always on, but is nonetheless easy to maintain, so long as you think about it), you can sense almost any risk or danger. If someone is plotting against you or is preparing to attack you, the source of these hostile vibes will appear evident to you. Traps or dangerous situations will arise uneasy feelings (like all those haunted houses: there's nothing apparent, but still...), but nothing more: you've just an impression of danger, as your Cosmic Senses warn you. This works up to five times your Psyche CPs meters.

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