The Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game is a role-playing game created and written by Erick Wujcik, set in the fictional universe created by author Roger Zelazny for his Chronicles of Amber. The game is unusual in that no dice are used in resolving conflicts or player actions; instead a simple diceless system of comparative ability, and narrative description of the action by the players and gamemaster/mistress, is used to determine how situations are resolved.
Amber DRPG was created in the 1980s, and is much more focused on relationships and roleplaying than most of the roleplaying games of that era. Most Amber characters are members of the two ruling classes in the Amber multiverse, and are much more advanced in matters of strength, endurance, psyche, warfare and sorcery than ordinary beings. This often means that the only individuals who are capable of opposing a character are from his or her family, a fact that leads to much suspicion and intrigue.
That being said, there is room for a variety of characters and situations within this universe – and the Amber setting is often “mashed” with other settings in Con games.
So, as well as throne wars between the Elder Amberites, many games will be based around the children of that generation, allowing players greater freedom to create their own characters, with the Elder Amberites being NPCs played by the gamesmaster/mistress.
But the players can also be servants in Amber, or residents of Shadows. There have been popular Mouseguard where the players are mice who are protecting Castle Amber. Another series of games has equated Castle Amber with PG Wodehouse’s Blandings.
In addition, at AmberCon UK, there are popular games that run on other diceless systems, often featuring steampunk universes.
Erick A. Wujcik (January 26, 1951 – June 7, 2008) was an American designer of both pen-and-paper and computer role-playing games, and co-founder of Palladium Books.
While working at West End Games, Wujcik discovered that the company held a license for Roger Zelazny’s Amber novels, which were among Wujcik’s favorites, and he offered to design an Amber RPG game even through West End would not guarantee to publish it.
As he was playtesting the game, Wujcik found that it worked better without dice, but West End did not agree, so he acquired the RPG rights to Amber. He founded Phage Press, and Amber Diceless Roleplaying was finally published in November 1991 by Phage Press, followed by the supplement Shadow Knight in 1993.
Wujcik was also a founder of the gaming conventions known as Ambercons.
Wujcik served as chief editor of Amberzine, a fanzine for the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game, publishing the work of such notables as Ray Bradbury, Henry Kuttner, and Roger Zelazny. He was also an editorial contractor for the Detroit Historical Museum, and gave seminars on a wide range of topics related to the writing, design and development of role-playing games.
Throughout his life he enjoyed playing and gm’ing (i.e. acting as gamesmaster) for Amber games, and many people around the world recall his pleasure and enthusiasm, and the excitement of the games he ran.