"Is the glass half-full or empty?" I ask her as I fill it

She says "it doesn't really matter, pretty soon you're going to spill it..."

So, you've put your character pretty much together. The math, however, didn't come out quite right. Maybe you spent a few too many points. Maybe you have a few points left over, and either don't really want the items you could buy with them or you have already hit the item limit.
Now what? Are the extra points wasted? Do you have to redo the character because of a measly three or four points you just don't have?
The answer to both questions is "No!"
Those points become what is called "stuff". There is good stuff (spent fewer points), bad stuff (spent extra points) and neutral stuff (spent exactly the allowed number of points). These impact how the world looks and interacts with your character. In a Throne War, it comes out in timing and close contests.

The amount of stuff matters. It can range from -10 to +10.

Neutral Stuff

No impact. Your stuff neither helps nor hurts you. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't, and it pretty much comes down to your own skills.

Good Stuff

"All things work together for good". In general, things go your way. If getting to the ramparts a minute later would be a disaster, you'll probably make it. If you need that trump call to go through before the shadow's trump locks go up, it probably will.

Bad Stuff

"The world is out to get me." In general, things never go quite right. You won't quite make it to the ramparts. If there is an ice patch on the stairs, you'll step in it. The person you are trumping is asleep.
While some people take a point of stuff as "flavor" do note that the personality of the character is not set by stuff. While some bad stuff character probably have gotten rather sour since anything not carefully tended goes wrong, others will be the bumbling but lovable idiot.

How much Stuff?

A couple points in either direction is merely flavor. If two people are evenly matched in everything in a competition it will tilt the balance, but it has mild effects. Two points of bad stuff means be careful, but not paranoid.
A middling amount starts to have an impact. Good stuff characters can take slight risks and hope the good stuff will eke them by, especially for things not involving other character. Bad stuff folks need to start watching themselves carefully.
High amounts of stuff, in the 8-10 range, will have an impact. Bad stuff characters need to be VERY careful. Try to never have timing matter, and be careful with those trump calls. Good stuff characters--don't get cocky but 10 good stuff has saved more than one character.


Joan is a 8 bad stuff character. She's friendly enough, as much as is possible among Amberites, and she is well liked. No one will ever help her, though, since nothing ever goes right. She tried to plan a state dinner once and the wine had turned to vinegar and she ripped her dress coming into the room. Now she's in the middle of a throne war, and despite hiding in a trump locked shadow, the moment she steps out to make a quick call to her ally she is trumped by their enemies!

Wren is a 10 good stuff character. She's an absolute witch and no one wants to be in the same room as her. However, if you want something to get done, she's invaluable. She always seems to be in the right place at the right time. If she's out to get someone, she just happens to trump them the moment they leave their personal shadow. If a maid is about to knock over her favorite vase she walks in just in time to catch it. When a sibling sets lava loose she is the closest to the stairs to escape.

Mark and Paul are twins. Mark has 2 good stuff, Paul has 2 bad stuff. They are nearly identical, except Paul has a slightly spiffier shadow. Sometimes things go their way, sometimes they don't. If Mark and Paul get into a sword fight, the breaks will go Mark's way.

But I have Good Stuff!

In a competition, if there is a clear winner, stuff doesn't matter. If someone is ranked 12th in Warfare and is staring down his sword at 1st, even if the former has 10 good stuff, they are going to get impaled.