This file is very far from complete. It is, however, useful if you are already familiar with the setting.
Bertie and Jeeves, associated characters and settings are © to someone or other. No challenge, to the rights of whoever that is, is intended.
Amber Diceless Roleplaying is © Phage Press.
No challenge to the rights of Phage Press intended.
This file is intended as a fan work, such as Phage has encouraged in the past, and will be removed on request.
“Gentlemen and Players” is an expansion for the “Amber” Diceless Roleplaying Game. You need the Amber rulebook to use this supplement to its full effect.
“Gentlemen and Players” is a supplement designed to help you roleplay in the world created by P.G. Wodehouse.
Wodehouse’s books are comedies, based on situation and language.
Wodehouse’s Britain is a romanticised place.
Wodehouse’s characters are almost always young men.
Creating Player Characters, an Overview.
Characters designed for this game go through the same five-step creation process as those for “Amber” games.
Characters in this system have far fewer options in regard to how they can look, dress and behave than Amberites. This is a challenge. You should try to find a way of distinguishing your character from the hordes of other beans, eggs and crumpets that fill Wodehousian London. What do you do that makes you distictive?
This system has four Attributes, just like “Amber”, but they are called Eccentricity, Sport, Tenacity and Money. These are more important than in the “Amber” game, as the powers in this game are weaker than usual. As per usual, you have 100 points to spend in character design.
Buy some of the powers in the game. These tend to give you social status, which gives you broader avenues of action. There are many powers, the most significant being Nobleman, Clubman and @@
This game contains items, “digs” (apartments and manor houses) and allies (including servants) which you can either find or purchase.
In this stage you consult with your Gamesmaster to balance out your character, leaving your spare points in Stuff, which acts similarly in this game to in “Amber”.
Choose your looks, schools, what your read, your skills and personality.
The Attributes in this game are auctioned in precisely the same way as in “Amber”, but the names of the ranks, and what each rank allows, differs.
“Gentleman” is the basic rank, like “Amber” in the parent game. It represents a level of general competence equal to anyone of your lower aristocratic social class. This is distinctly superior to the Common People, but is below the level of skill of those who have to work at something for a living, or do something professionally. Most of the members of the Drones Club have “Gentleman” rank in their attributes.
The rank ten points below “Gentleman” is “Commoner”, which represents the general level of competence or skill demonstrated by the average member of the middle class. Your tobacconist, for example, is probably a Commoner. Rich members of the middle class, or those who might marry up, tend to have higher statistics.
Fifteen points below “Commoner” is “Lower Class”, which is the level of skill or competence demonstrated by the average member of the population of London. Your dustman probably has “Commoner” stats in all areas, for example.
Those ranks above “Gentleman” are called “Player” ranks and demonstrates skills equal to those of someone who either does something for a living, or makes it a favoured recreation in a life of liesure. “Player” is a social distiction in cricket, where changing rooms separated the “Gentlemen” who had class but not necessarily skill, from the “Players” who lacked class but were necessarily good at what they did. As such, it’s insulting if used in-character.
Dominant and Secret Ranks are just as per “Amber”.
The auction serves the same functions in this game as in “Amber”. It sets the rankings for the player-characters. It creates rivalries that can be played out during the campaign. It encourages overspending, Contributions and Bad Stuff. It differs in that the merchandise has changed.
The rules for the Auction are the same as in “Amber”.
Eccentricity replaces Psyche, and the higher it is, the more addled your mind. The highly eccentric usually get their own way in battles of psychological fortitude, because increasing eccentricity grants enhanced ability to ignore the real world. True eccentrics tend to get their own way because the unprepared are easy victims when taken by suprise. Toad of Toad Hall’s stealing of automobiles, for example is an example of an eccentric winning mental battles against first his victims, then his guardians.
The Potential of the Eccentric
Characters who are profoundly eccentric can force less eccentric characters into all sorts of compromises through sheer willpower. Bertie Wooster, for example, is forced into any number of compromising situations by Madeline Basset, because she is more eccentric than he.
Each character with an eccentricity score higher than “Gentleman” should chose one field in which they are known to be eccentric. For example, Bertie’s uncle’s has an obsession with silverware. In this field, they are even more eccentric than usual, which allows them to attack with a greater than usual passion, but leaves them defencesless at other times. Tom, for example can argue down even his wife when in pursuit of the Silver Cow-Creamer, yet, when offered it in exchange for the Peerless Chef Anatole, is psychologically defenceless
Some few characters, usually aunts or servants, have the eccentricity that they have Psyche. Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, she who is rumoured to eat broken bottles, and the inestimable butler Jeeves both have Psyche as their Eccentricity, which makes them seem utterly uneccentric. Player characters should usually not have this trait. If a person with Psyche is challenging an Eccentric in a field other than that upon which their eccentricity is focused, the defender’s Eccentricity is halved. Eccentricity is not a measure of intelligence, although since the truly eccentric usually feel they have won all of their arguments, it sometimes, to them, appears so.
Characters in this game cannot kill each other through sheer willpower, nor can those without Psyche read minds.
Sport replaces both strength and warfare, and governs most movements of the body. It determines how well you drive, if you can ride, how well you shoot, how well you judge horseflesh, if you are good in a fist-fight, if you have rippling muscles and if you can play rugger. Chaps who have been in the army sometimes have a Warfare score in place of their Sport Score, but can use Warfare for sport, since most English sports involve either killing something (fox-hunting, fishing, coursing, shooting), hitting something (tennis, cricket), hitting other people (boxing, rugby) or kicking things.
All sorts of other quick and nimble things are covered by this score, including rowing and pinching policemen’s helmets. The Water Rat from “The Wind in the Willows” has an obviously-high Sport score, since he’s so excellent at boating and so useful when fighting weasels.
Tenacity is the ability to continue a task when common sense dictates that you should stop. In this it replaces Endurance. Bertie has a quite high tenacity score, which is why he so rarely packs up and goes home when events start to turn against him. His offer to go to prison to save for the family the services of the peerless Anatole demonstrates a true grit that even his family are amazed at. This is Bertie’s Tenacity, his lack of ability to see that this is a Very Bad Idea Indeed. Villains seem to have quite high Tenacity scores, which is why they keep trying to conquer the world, instead of going off and trying some other hobby. Tenacious characters can be single-minded, which is why Spode is probably quite tenacious.
Money is one’s capacity to spend far too much cash on things. It represents how many servants you have, what sort of car you drive, where you go on holiday, how excellent one’s tailor is and wether you are in a good club or not. Bertie has the usual level of cash when the stories first start, which allows him to swan about London, purchase passing banjos as they take his fancy and take a trip every so often, but leaves him short of cash at moments useful for the plot. Like all basic “Gentlemen”, Bertie derives an allowance from his family, which lets his family order him about.
The fellow with the most cash has the nicest car, apartment, footman’s uniforms and wine cellar, if he wishes to.
Offy Prosser is the Drone with the most cash. He is however “tight” with his cash, which means he lives well below his means. Toad of Toad Hall is a character well-known for his money.
Good, Bad and Zero Stuff
Stuff plays a slightly different role in this game to others, since there is so little combat between Gentlemen. Characters with Good Stuff tend to come away better for their escapades, while those with Bad tend to come away worse. Bertie has mildly Bad Stuff in the first few stories, tending to end up being engaged to women who want to read him Nietzsche. This turns slowly to Good Stuff over the seventy or so years that his author is running him, until, finally it gets so Good that he can barricade himself in his American digs and ignore Aunts entirely, or that his uncle dies and he becomes Duke of Worcestershire, depending on which ending to the stories you prefer.
How you look:
Your character must be, at least, in his early twenties. Since no-one ever seems to die of old age in Wodehousian Britian, you may be as old as you wish, but the older you are, the more diginfied or eccentric you are expected to be.
You may be assumed to have most of the skills of an average young gentleman of the pre-war period. That is, you can drive, are literate and so on. How good you are in many of your physical skills is determined by you Sport score. Mental skills are dependant upon your education. You should choose if you read Arts or Sciences at university, and what Arts or Sciences these were. Try not to be too practical here. Bertie’s an Arts man, and speaks French apparently, Gussie’s a Science man, and knows enormous amounts about newts. These skills are far more useful to the gamesmaster than a firm grounding in General Studies would be.
Out of your control:
The number and disposition of your aunts
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Nor may you select how your aunts feel about you, save by buying sufficient allies to shield yourself from their wrath.
Your source of funds
Being short of cash is essential as a plot hook for many characters. You almost certainly get your cash by way of an allowance from your Uncle. Even characters who are landed nobility may find all of their assets in trust so that they cannot liquidate them. A millionare in “Money in the Bank” cannot pay his debts of honour because his wife holds the chequebook for their joint account. Your gamesmaster chooses where your money comes from, and may use this hook to drag you mercilessly about.
The effects of your good stuff
You can’t choose in which way Heaven shines upon you. That’s your gamesmaster’s job.
Persons or things of power
If a character you design as an NPC ever develops sufficient stature to be independantly wealthy, then you loose control of that character to the G.M. If, for example, you had created @@, the homicidal, Communist valet, then you would have lost him when he became Lord @@.
Powers in “Amber” allow you to change Shadow. Powers in “Gentlemen and Players” allow you to alter society. They let you bring influence to bear in unexpected ways, suprising your enemies with cunning strategems.
For example, Bertie has a money score of 5, but an heir score of 20, representing the Wooster millions. When on a mission for his Uncle Tom, trustee of the Millions, he can sometimes pull off the sorts of feats that a person with a money score of 110 could get away with. Although he spends his time sneaking away on milk cars and so on, if he really and truly needed to catch the next flight to Australia, Uncle Tom would let him.
Really Useful Skill:
Virtually every character is a member of one of the many quite comical Brotherhoods that seem to plauge English comedic literature. You almost certainly have a funny name, an odd uniform, a bizarre club terminology and a special handshake. Clubs for which you pay points are those that have real influence, beyond having a circle of rich, if miserly, wastrel pals.
Old School Tie:
Allies are people you can depend upon to be present in every story to aid you in times of trouble.
Justice of the Peace:
Minister of Religion:
Servants Without (or With) Peer:
“Digs” are rather like Shadows in “Amber” play. They are places to which you can go to muster resources, elude enemies, or restore yourself after trying times. Digs have three characteristics; Place; Size; Control. Each is bought separately. Characters may have multiple digs, and most do.
This characteristic reflects where one’s digs are.
Your digs are outside London, which means that certain resources are not available here, and that many of one’s chums may be elsewhere. The lucky thing about places in the country is that everyone knows who is coming and going, which allows you to clarify situations that the bustle of London makes confusing. You need to specify which part of the country your digs are in. If you can’t think of anywhere, or really aren’t fussed, then they are in Kent.
Your digs are very far away indeed. They may be in France or America, although other places are both possible and rare. Getting to your digs may be either difficult or expensive, but your enemies are very, very far away indeed, most of the time.
London is the centre of the world, in Wodehouse’s books, and all manner of odd things and useful people can be found in it’s streets. London’s more dangerous, because all of the powerful characters have agents there, but at the same time, London’s filled with little niches where you can restore your resources, or find just that right person to fix the little problem you have.
Size describes how big your digs are, and how many servants you have.
You have a standard gent’s apartment, or family home, in London. You have few servants. Bertie, for example, seems only to have Jeeves. Others may have a maid of all work instead, if they lack Money. Rich people, or those with families, may have a nanny, a maid of all work, or a pair of footmen, but these aren’t always necessary.
You have a small place out in the country to which you retreat when the bustle of city life becomes excessive. This may vary in size from a fisherman’s hut to a mansion. You have a servant of two that you take with you, or that maintain the place, and some of the locals are sufficiently friendly that they will aid you.
Estates are huge places, including a mansion, some wood and some of the local village. Larger estates are possible, but player-characters cannot begin as landed nobles.
Those with control of props can change the inanimate objects in a place without annoying those around them. For example, if you don’t like the throw-rugs, you can burn them and choose new ones without anyone being too annoyed at you.
Those with control of staff can alter the people in the digs who are not personal staff of their guests. For example, if you own the local public house, you can fire the publican.
Those with control of a place’s nature can alter its function. For example, if you control the nature of a mansion, you can declare that henceforth it will be a health spa.
Some chaps share digs, for example, they room at their club. These chaps may divide the cost of the digs between themselves, but no member may pay for more than they can use. For example, only Basset at Totlegih Towers can pay the last two points for the “Estates” quality, since he is the only one with the right to excercise the priveledges of a landlord over the villagers.
Berite’s Pad (4/1/1)
Bertie’s Pad is in London. It’s an apartment, but since his only staff member is Jeeves, and since Jeeves would be held in place by Agatha if Bertie tried to fire him, he only has Control of Props. Since Brinkley Court is either owned by someone else, or zoned residential, Berite couldn’t make it, for example, a coffee house, so he lacks Control of its Nature.
Lord Sidcup and Totleigh Towers.
Lord Sidcup -may- pay for Totleigh Towers, forming a cabal with Bassett. If he does, then the most he can pay is (1/2/-). Totleigh Towers is in the Country and is a mansion, but since Sidcup doesn’t use the estate, just a few rooms, he only gets charged for a summer house. He can’t change the props without Basset’s approval.
The Angler’s Arms:
If Mr Mulliner was paying for the Angler’s Arms, he’d pay (1/1/-). It’s in the Country, the parts he uses are about the size of an apartment and he can’t change anything without the permission of the landlord.
One story that wraps up the Jeeves Canon states that Bertie inherits the Angler’s Arms as part of the estate of the Duchy of Worchestire. In this case, it comes as part of the “Estates” characteristic. This story also states that Jeeves retires to become the landlord of the Arms. For him, the tavern would cost (1/2/2). It’s in the country, and the bits he can use are about the size of a summer house. He can exclude clients, but can’t change the place to another business without the nods from the proprietor, Bertie.
Most of the items you have are a reflection of your Money trait. There are a few items which you can pay for…Bertie’s family have two servants without peer. The first is Jeeves, butler without peer, the second Anotole, chef par excellence. Characters may not wish to have these paragons of virtue as companions, but even lesser servants ensure one’s kit is tidy, ones meals are warm, and so on. The brilliant thing about being chummy with a chap in holy orders is that you can do thoughroughly stupid things in the name of God. If, for example, you accidentally set the tablecloth on fire, your pal can point out that this is in rememberence of the Martyrdom Of Saint Caridoc the Evengelical, and some religious persons will not think ill of you. You have a pet who loves you dearly, but which others find slightly offensive. A small terrier with the teeth of a crocodille, for example, or a pet anaconda. The best part about having a loony doctor about is that people are of the mistaken impression that loony doctors are emminetly sane. This allows you to get out of all sorts of spots of bother, either by having your friend attest to your loopiness, or by having your friend convince your victims that you are thouroughly normal, and it is they who are deranged. Your ally has, in Berite’s world, several quite important, if inexplicable powers, such as the right to have the constables lock a person up overnight to stop them getting up to any funny business. They can fine people fivers for doing silly things. You have embraced Bingo Little’s strategy to prevent young women chasing you for your money. To wit, you have found one you like and read the bans. Fortunately for you, she’s not like your aunts at all, except occassionally to your nieces and nephews.: You are a member of a club with influence, such as the Diogenes, the Junior Ganymede or the local Masonic Lodge. This power allows a player to fabricate minor, useful acquaintances on the spot, representing old school chums one has not seen in years, but can nonetheless call on in times of need. For example, a character going to Stoke-on-Trent to get back a hankerchief given one’s best friend by one’s best friend’s fiancee, then given by one’s old chum to a second girl to get the dust out of her eye, may happen to know a chap who has a house near there used only for the fishing season and hence empty and awaiting occupation by hero and valet. Costs 10 points. Costs 1/5th of the Bonus to one’s skill. Costs 1/5th of the true score. Heirs will have a huge wad of cash descend to them eventually, but they don’t have it quite yet. Bertie, for example, is in line for the Wooster millions, which makes people take him a touch more seriously than usual, and lets him spend a great deal more than he should when on “family business”. The “Heir” power costs a variable number of points, and when the gamesmaster allows its use, temporarily boosts the character’s Money Trait by five times the Heir score, for a single action.: You have all those things that a person with your level of Money can expect to have. You have digs somewhere, a car, servants, clothes of dubious taste, membership of a club and all that sort of thing.Human lifespans being far shorter than those of Amberites, characters in this game have far fewer skills. This lack of skill, coupled with a desire for free time, is why they have servants, like Jeeves, in the first place.How you look is your free choice, to begin with, but should you dress in a persistently unfashionable manner, eventually an embarrassed Aunt will track you down and have your clothes selected for you by a trusted valet or butler. If you persist, beyond even this, eventually you’ll be Sent Away To The Country, because you’ll be considered a loony.The author of this book is an historian, and wants to give his comrades-in-arms a free kick. Players who wish to research short articles that make play easier by describing the game world to the group can use these as a contribution.Artisist can draw places, people or props from the game, if they wish, to give the other players some idea of how they see these parts of the game world.: One character should keep track of what the servants are writing about the player characters in the Junior Ganymede Club Book. Even if no servant is actually a member, the Junior Ganymedeans listen to gossip and rumours, recording them for future club member use.: A log is written to help refresh the memories of the players concerning the role of NPCs in past stories. It should also be useful to new players as a “spin-up guide”, a book that brings them up to date with the story so far.A diary is a record of events from your character’s point of view. “World of Jeeves” can be read as Bertie’s diary, for the most part. Your diary entries can be both shorter and less funny than Bertie’s if you wish.