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The Holistic Stat System

One of the largest differences between the system used in Overworld and the official Amber rules is the use of the Holistic Stat System, as inspired by Doyce Testerman's system. As he observed, the four stats in the Phage Press rules are stretched way too far, and Warfare and Psyche manage to outweigh Endurance and Strength. No more!

No stat exists in a vacuum. Every activity has one major stat that influences the outcome, and one stat that influences it to a lesser degree. We cover 8 basic activities - if an activity is not listed below then it is not rated by stats. So, yes, dancing is not rated according to any stat - how good you are is determined by your character's background, the role-playing and ultimately the story. The 8 areas holistic stats below represent only the most contended areas in a typical Amber game.

Holistic Stat





Your ability to use and channel raw power. Useful for most destructive forms of sorcery and powers, unleashing Primal Essence, channeling destructive energies away from you, etc.



Your ability to use power in a subtle fashion as well as overall sensitivity to your environment. Useful for manipulating Essence in subtle ways, sensing personal dangers, reading emotions, etc.



Your overall muscle and ability to move things around outside of combat. How much you can lift, pull, push, or carry. A typical human (0 points) can lift 50kg, and the strongest human can lift 150kg. A cyborg at 16 brawn can lift double this (300kg), and a giant at 28 brawn can lift about 2400kg.

Unarmed Combat


Your overall ability to create unarmed mayhem. At maximum human potential, an unarmed combatant is typically able to take on 8 minimally trained combatants (0 points) as equals. At 24 Fisticuffs, a person can handle about 16 such thugs with ease, assuming they could all get to him at once.



Your overall ability to resist temptation, deprivation and discomfort. Useful for resisting sorcery that affects the mind, pushing yourself beyond bodily limits, etc.



Your overall ability to resist physical damage, fatigue, sleep,, illness and poison. At 16 Fortitude, a person is typically immune to most diseases, can sweat-off common toxins, heal a simple broken leg in four weeks, a nasty sword cut in the arm in 8 days, or a lost finger in 2 years. A troll at 24 Fortitude can survive even virulent diseases at points of physical vulnerability, ignore most poisons (fugo would make a troll ill at most), heal a simple broken leg in a week, a nasty sword cut in the arm in 2 days or a lost finger in six months.

Armed Combat


Your overall ability to create armed mayhem (despite the term 'swordplay'). The same standards applied to unarmed combat apply here.

Ranged combat is captured under Swordplay, but don't expect the GMs to make it easy to knock off fellow players from a distance it has poor story value most of the time.



Your overall ability to understand, plan for and execute tactical and strategic decisions, as well as organize a military, play chess, etc. It does not cover stuff like lockpicking, detecting personal danger or your ability to drive a car. 12 points infers the capabilities of great shadow strategists such as Alexandria, Julius Ceasar, Sun Tzu, Napoleon, Rommel and Patton. Someone of 24 strategy is capable of out-thinking these same persons when at a disadvantage or handicapped.

Where P = Psyche, S = Strength, E = Endurance and W = Warfare

More information about Attributes

Attributes in the real world have a normal range of 0-16, with 0 being human norm, and 12 being the peak of human perfection. The ranges from 13-16 can only be attained by some combination of Sciences and Advantages, and are very rare, implying that the peak of human perfection was taken and then amplified by some outside force. When on Overworld, the limit is increased to 24- the introduction of magic increases the maximum attainable, though human norms are still 0-12.

The attribute scale is linear until maximum human potential, i.e. a person with a 6 combat is slightly better than a person with a 5 unarmed combat, and a lot better than a person with a 3 unarmed combat. After 12, differences in score become much more pronounced. Every four points is a doubling of efficiency, i.e. a person with a 16 unarmed combat is twice as good as person with a 12 unarmed combat, a person with a 16 brawn can lift twice as much, etc.

Purchasing Attributes

Each point in one of the base attributes costs one point. The individual sub-attributes can only be raised by raising their primary attribute. Remember that when creating the Actor, there is a limit of 12 in each ability, unless the application of a Science or Advantage takes it beyond this threshold. The maximum for Overworld increases to 24 for the human form- though there are ways to exceed this limit, they will have to be discovered in game, if at all.

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Page last modified on July 08, 2007, at 04:03 PM