The nice thing about being on the Amber mailing list is that sometimes people say what you think more clearly than you would be able to yourself. Here's a collection of some of my favorites, things that clearly define what I think and I'm trying to do.
"Knowledge of the first series - Events, but mostly style. Larger than life, complex dysfunctional family, whole bit. Those of you that think plain boring Amber is overdone, stupid, boring, whatever and want to explore variations, probably will not like this. Mark MacKinnon (a fellow first series purist :) will, at least I'd hope he would." Chris Bickford
"Throw out the second series. Really, forget you read it. Almost every game I run, someone asks the Pattern to take them (a) where they need to be, (b) to an item of power that will help, etc. This is just not going to be the case in this game (as it always is not). I'll let you know that up front. Pattern will take you anywhere you visualize, no more, no less." Chris Bickford
"Epic to me means larger than life, mythic -- I want my PC's to have the chance to be Hamlet, not the attendant lords. Of course, if somebody wants to play Rosencrantz, that's all right." Sarah Bear
"What I have a problem with are wuss Amberites -- the proper flavor of an Amber game, in my opinion, requires that the players (for their characters) think large, act heroically, and go balls-out for what they want. There is a place for caution in an Amber game, but it is Caine's brand of caution. There is a place for cowardice, but it is of Brand's variety.
"Amber is a world of epic scale: Zelazny really is a mythologist, and what he presents us with in Amber (and just about everything else he writes) is an alternate mythology, gods for today.
"But they are precisely that: gods. Heroes. Titans. And if you don't want to play a god, a hero, a titan (or a demon), then Amber is the wrong game for you. Their actions and emotions should be archetypal, awesome... Amberites should NEVER be small. Wrong, yes. Evil, yes. Destructive, creative, loyal, loving, YES! But not small.
"There are no pansy Amberites. There are no Walter Mittys of Amber. There are NO LIVING SISSIES IN THE ETERNAL REALM." Sarah Bear
"Most importantly, no one saw Oberon die. We are mythic creatures, Roland, all of us, for better or worse. Creatures of myth and legend don't die in the wings or off stage. If we die at all." Chorovius, played by Chris Dentel
(Which should not be taken to imply Oberon isn't dead. I'm planning on everyone thought dead at the end of the first series to be truly dead. -Sol)
"Portraying the elders as gods deigning to honor the PCs with their mere presence is one of the most common GM error I hear about on this list. They aren't gods. They're fallible, they're trickable, and they're beatable." Valdrax
"I use the theory that the so-called Game of Amber is a matter of status and face more than anything else, quite frankly. Killing someone is a good way to get a vendetta aimed at you. The family keeps track of points scored in terms of humilations, right answers, and clever comebacks. There's a lot of pretending not to care..." Sarah Bear
"Anything an Elder can do, IMC, a PC can learn to do. There are no unreachable stats, no unassailable positions.
"Come on, we all know the sappy old saw about the bittersweet moment when the son beats his father at basketball for the very first time. Give the kids a chance to grow up. Give the characters a chance to truly be the next, bright generation - the new hope." Sarah Bear
"I use Amber rank as absolute best of human. If you figure that Merlin and Luke were both Chaos-ranked, and they were questionable olympic material...
"Human rank is defined as 'About as good as the GM,' frankly -- that is, competent human, but nothing extraordinary.
"Corwin and Random never do anything that is beyond the abilities of the absolute strongest humans. I mean, really, if you saw a scene in a movie in which, just to pull some names out of a hat, Arnold Scwarzenegger and Andre the Giant picked up a car -- would your suspension of disbelief be hanged by the neck until dead? What about Michael Dorn throwing a chair across the room? You could buy it, right? Grace Jones or Linda Hamilton (in her Sarah Connors madwoman guise) breaking a werewolf over her knee? Sylvester Stallone picking up a 400-pound rock with casual ease? Sure, no problem..." Sarah Bear
"Regarding the post about 'what I can get out of it' being the prime Amberite motivator....
"That's a surface reading. That's what Amberites are programmed to say. When Caine asks Corwin in so many words, 'What's in it for me?' He's playing the expected Amberite role. There is a hell of a lot more going on here than that -- involving honor, family relationships, tangled emotions, and what have you.
"These guys go to almost obscene lengths to keep each other alive, even in the depths of conflict. They'll humiliate, torture, imprison, and tease... but they don't kill. Otherwise, there would be a hell of a lot less of them...
"Realistically, they can't kill each other. As Brand puts it, 'Who else could appreciate my triumph?'" Sarah Bear
"What is important is that life is precious. And precious short.
"And it is up to us to spend our lives and deaths as well as possible." Sarah Bear
Hmmm... It appears I need to work on getting quotes from people other than Sarah....