Big Trouble in Little Amber

The following is material for the tournament event "Big Trouble in Little Amber" as run at AmberCon NorthWest 2007. The Spirit of the Century character sheets for the six PCs are:

This was an event that I had come up with for AmberCon NorthWest. It was an intersection of three inspirations: (1) the Amber setting and gaming tradition of intricate backstory and plotting; (2) the 1986 film "Big Trouble in Little China"; and (3) the Spirit of the Century system and neo-pulp gaming advice. Here was the description I gave for sign-up:

In Jidrash, the capital of Kashfa, there is a neighborhood known to locals as "Little Amber". It is a little piece of the great empire of Amber, where people of Amber congregate within this foreign land. However, mysterious events go on within the bowels of this neighborhood that none of the Kashfans fathom. Solemn oaths are sworn, deals brokers, and wars carried out without any of the local Kashfans understanding.

All of that is about to explode when a local tradesman happens on a mysterious crime, and heroes within Little Amber must rescue the kidnapped victims.

This is a Spirit of the Century game set in Kashfa before the first Amber series, with pulp action and spirit.

         My idea was to have all of the PCs have backgrounds tied into Amber and for them to have various secret knowledge... except one. That one PC is the "Jack" character -- not necessarily exactly Jack Burton of the movie, but a parallel of someone who knows nothing of Amber or the background. My plan was to work out characters by email, and give all the players except the Jack character detailed background. However, many of the players were slow to respond by email, and other things happened, so I didn't have the characters complete until just before the con. They were pregenerated characters based on mostly general requests from the players.

Overall, I think the game went very well. There was a lot of fun pulpish action that mixed Amber tropes with schticks from the movie. It was set a while before the first Amber series. I started with a big action scene where Lady Jasra -- an innocent noblewomen to all knowledge -- was kidnapped by strange shadow men. They then tracked down the source, found an illegal cage match of bizarre creatures in caverns below the city, and eventually took on the mystically superpowered culprit.

There were a lot of great lines in it, like when an Amberite prince throws a sword from a football field away to kill a creature with them, and Jack then shouts out to him "Bet you can't do that again" and the inevitable follow-up. This perfectly mirrored the attitude of the movie, while still being distinctly Amber.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue May 18 16:23:52 2010