Toys encompass Items that you keep on your person, and Personal Shadows where you (probably) rule.

General Notes

Items are the associated paraphernalia that your character cares about, owns, and usually travels with. They can be equipment, creatures, or even people. As with Personal Shadows, you get to define exactly what they are and what they do-- the range of possibilities is infinite.

Describing Your Item

All items begin with a mundane template: the basic thing which is used to describe what it looks like and what it normally does. Most of the time the template is free, although some items naturally have characteristics powerful enough that they must be paid for in points. In general items do what you describe them as doing in the way that you describe them doing it. This is bounded by logic and common sense; if you want your item to have a magical or unusual effect, you probably need to pay points for it.
By default items function as well as they logically can under normal circumstances: machines don't break, animals don't get sick, and people won't betray you. Items can still be suborned, depleted, or broken, but this never occurs during normal use.
All items must be described and approved by the GMs before game begins.

Part of You

Items paid for with character creation points are not merely equipment; they are a part of your legend, granted a degree of inevitable reality by their association with you. Corwin can always find another sword in Shadow, but Greyswandir is his sword and his life wouldn't be the same without it.
You can start with any mundane equipment that you want in a Throne War for free, but it's the same kind of equipment anyone could get in the right Shadow. Items are unique entities in the universe, important through you if not in their own right.

Damaged and Misplaced Items

Accidents happen-- as do theft and sabotage. Fortunately since purchased items are part of your character they can always be repaired or recovered.
Items normally cannot heal or repair themselves within the framework of the Throne War unless they have the Vitality Quality. However, any item can be restored to full health and operational status in two delays if logical measures are taken. This process can be sped up to one delay with use of a fast-time Shadow. Organic items can be taken to hospitals, scientists, or druids; technical items can be repaired by mechanics; magical items can be recharged at ley lines, etc. If an item is totally destroyed, a replacement can be easily found in Shadow either in its place of origin or a similar world.
Lost items can theoretically be found in the same way; regardless of where they were originally misplaced, they tend to turn up in the Shadows their owner looks for them. However, this is complicated if the item is currently in the possession of another Amberite. Seeking such an item in Shadow using Pattern or Logrus still functions normally, but merely moving through an appropriate Shadow is normally not sufficient to make your item appear. Characters with Bad Stuff may misplace a stolen item if their owner is looking for it, however...

Paying for It

Personal items cost character build points. To determine the cost, simply add up all the relevant Attributes, Qualities, and Powers. If you want multiple copies of the item, apply one of the Quantity multipliers afterwards. That's it.
For the purposes of Throne Wars, characters are limited to 40 points of Toys, including any bonus points you may get to spend only on Toys.


Item Attributes are more limited subsets of player Attributes. Within their specified areas, they function as follows:
  • 1 pt - The object functions at Human rank.
  • 2 pt - The object functions at Chaos rank.
  • 4 pt - The object functions at Amber rank.
Many items will possess 1-pt Attributes naturally. If these are normally inherent to the item, these Attributes are free. If the Attribute is not standard to the item it must be paid for in points. For example, it's unnecessary to pay for 1-pt Intelligence for a human butler, but it is necessary to pay for 1-pt Intelligence on your sword. 2- and 4-pt Attributes must always be paid for since they factor meaningfully into contests.


Vitality covers the force an item can exert, its ability to sustain exceptional effort, its healing capacity, and its inherent mobility. Vitality explicitly does not grant any special resistance to damage, combat skill, or reaction speed. The stamina portion of Vitality is only applied to adjudicate use outside of the item's normal operating parameters.
When applied to an inanimate object, Vitality gives the item life. An object with an apparent means of locomotion may use it freely; this explicitly includes forms like statues that appear functional but aren't. Objects without apparent mobility may still tilt, roll, and hop short distances-- making them fly requires purchasing Movement (see below).


Aggression covers the item's ability to fight using its own body and natural weapons. It includes reaction speed but does not grant the higher-level strategic and tactical thinking of Warfare.
The ability to use tools requires at least 1-pt Intelligence, although how well the item uses weapons in combat is still covered under Aggression.


Intelligence covers the strength of the item's mind. It grants sentience, charisma, resistance to Psychic intrusion, and a grasp of strategy and tactics. Intelligence also gives the ability to communicate non-telepathically to any item that normally would not possess that quality.
Intelligent items cannot make Psychic attacks even with Psychic Sensitivity (see below).


These are the strange--but potentially natural--abilities items can have. They either do not compare directly to player Attributes or they produce a very specific but much more powerful result.


This Quality covers any rapid or unusual movement modes of the item. Any item with a speed greater than an Olympic sprinter (i.e. 2- or 4-pt) must be purchased with this Quality. Movement can also grant abnormal movement abilities to items; flying carpets and submersible cars are possible. Strange movement modes must still have some explanation to determine which shadows they work in, however-- even if it’s just “by magic.” Items can have multiple movement abilities either by stacking this Quality onto the movement provided by Vitality or by buying this Quality multiple times.
Movement does not improve combat abilities or reaction time at all, barring the ability to retreat.
  • 1 pt “Mobile” - The item can move independently at about the speed of a running human.
  • 2 pt “Powered” - This means speed equivalent to really booking on a bicycle, or traveling in a car on a commute.
  • 4 pt “Turbocharged” - This means speed equivalent to a fast car, or a high-speed train.

Psychic Sensitivity

This Quality grants the item increasing levels of Psychic sensory and communication abilities. If the item is Intelligent it may both send and receive thoughts; if the item has no Intelligence it can only relay information gained through this Quality and accept simple Psychic commands.
  • 1 pt “Sensitive” - The item is sensitive to simple psychic auras. It can determine what things are touched by magic or a power, but not much more. It can also communicate Psychically through physical contact.
  • 2 pt “Empathic” - The item is aware of hostile intent in the general area. This is a simple presence or absence of danger; it does not specify if the hostile intent is directed at you or someone else, nor what sort of hostilities it represents. It also cannot detect dangers that do not have a mind such as simple mechanical traps or Trump Traps. The item may now communicate Psychically within line of sight to a few dozen yards.
  • 4 pt “Telepathic” - The item receives brief precognitive images of danger which is about to occur, including hazards without minds. However, the visions occur at most a few seconds before the event actually happens and are not 100% reliable. The item's telepathic range is effectively infinite but dependent on time and familiarity with the subject. Communication within the same Shadow takes about a minute for an unfamiliar subject or a few seconds for the item's owner. Communication between Shadows is possible but requires at least some familiarity with the subject and takes between a few minutes and several delays.

Psychic Defense

This Quality features additional ways to hide your items from examination or defend them against Psychic assault. Higher-point versions can include any lower-point ability at the player's option.
Psychic Defense abilities may be switched on and off if an appropriate mechanism is present-- items with Psychic Sensitivity can respond directly to the thoughts of their owners, and items with Intelligence can activate themselves. Being physically inside an item with Psychic Defense may dampen or confuse your own aura but does not disguise it entirely, particularly from Powers.
  • 1 pt “Hidden” - The item’s mystic/special qualities are cloaked and it looks like a normal item to casual observation. This will not fool direct study by a Conjurer, the Pattern Lens, or Logrus vision; but a quick glance by any of those Powers will reveal only a mundane item.
  • 2 pt “Masked” - The item’s aura reads like something else. You can make a powerful item look weak, a weak item look powerful, or show different features than the true ones (e.g. a Trump-powered item look like it actually possesses shape-shifting qualities.) Extended study with Conjuration or a moderate Power rank reveals the existence of a Mask but not the truth behind it; given sufficient time or a high enough rank the truth behind a Mask can also be known.
  • 4 pt “Barbed” - The item reacts against Psychic energy that interacts with it, creating Psychic surges that cause damage and disrupt concentration. Barbs react to both actual Psychic contact and any direct scan of the item via Pattern or Logrus, creating backlash which causes an immediate surface wound and disrupts concentration for the duration of the contact. Any subject with at least Amber rank Psyche has the opportunity to drop contact before the wound is dealt. Low-ranked targets who do not voluntarily drop may subsequently be forced to drop contact with the item or lose their constructs entirely; higher-ranked targets still suffer a penalty to most other actions while dealing with the Barb. No further wounds are dealt. Analyzing an item with Conjuration does not provoke a Psychic Barb, nor does simply touching it without engaging it Psychically. A Barb affects all parties involved in Psychic contact with it, or with the person scanning it with Logrus Spying or Pattern Lens. Items cannot use Psychic Sensitivity and Psychic Barb simultaneously.


These are abilities that mimic the players’ own Powers. Some item Powers have restrictions on their usage, and are noted as such.
Items may use each of their Powers a number of times per scene equal to the amount of points paid for that Power. Item Powers will always be defeated by any player in a direct contest.

Shadow Movement

This Power allows a limited capability to move through Shadow, similar to Pattern's Seek in Shadow abilities.
  • 1 pt "Shadow Trail" - The item can follow the path left by someone else moving through Shadow.
  • 2 pt "Shadow Path" - The item can find and utilize Shadow Paths to get to most Shadows. This is generally much slower than player Shadow shifting unless the item is using Paths it's already familiar with.
  • 4 pt "Shadow Seek" - The item can move through Shadow toward a person or item. This is almost as fast as player Shadow shifting, but tends to hit the worst routes and may require a lot of hit-and-miss tries crossing difficult Shadows. The target must be either known to the item or well-described, and in the latter case the journey is much slower.

Shadow Control

Items with this Power can alter Shadow in their immediate vicinity with a variety of effects similar to Pattern and Logrus' Shadow Manipulation. They always perform one function or one closely related suite of functions-- you can't have a Mold Shadow Reality item that changes probability one second and ambient temperature the next. Each level may include the abilities of the lesser forms at the player's option.
Shadow Control abilities may be switched on and off if an appropriate mechanism is present-- items with Psychic Sensitivity can respond directly to the thoughts of their owners, and items with Intelligence can activate themselves.
  • 1 pt "Mold Shadow Stuff" - The item can change simple Shadow items and features. For example, coins can be shifted to match the current environment.
  • 2 pt "Mold Shadow Creatures" - The item can affect creatures and inhabitants of Shadow. For example, a dog can be friendly rather than hostile, or a person could be informative instead of mercenary.
  • 4 pt "Mold Shadow Reality" - The item can change some of the natural laws of the Shadow, including altering probability. For example, the magical environment of the Shadow could change slightly, making it difficult for the resident Sorcerers. This has limited effects against Personal Shadows, Amber, or the Golden Circle Nations. It also takes time for this to override the effects of Logrus or Pattern users, and cannot override them if they actively oppose the toy.

Shape Shifting

Restricted: Power cannot be Conjured or Shaped into.
This ability allows the item to assume a single alternate form as with Shapeshifting. It may be purchased multiple times to create an item with multiple forms. Item Shape Shifting is fairly rapid, usually taking no more than a single combat round. However, item Shape Shifting is useless for healing or repairing damage and no item may assume insubstantial forms or change their auras.
  • 1 pt "Mundane Shape" - The item's alternate form is a functional mundane object or creature. The form may vary up to three size categories from the original as per Size Shift. Inorganic forms have no inherent locomotion or perception even if the base item is alive, but can still be detected and attacked Psychically.
  • 2 pt "Transitional Shape" - The item retains some aspects of their standard form while Shifted. Partial Shifts are now possible, as are animate inorganic forms. The item may also retain purchased Vitality and Movement in other forms.
  • 4 pt "Empowered Shape" - The alternate form can assume the powers of mythical beasts and objects as per the Creatures of Power ability. Other item Qualities and Powers may not be reproduced in this way.

Spell Casting

Restricted: Power cannot be Conjured or Shaped into.
This ability allows the item to cast spells as per a Sorcerer with Chaos Rank Psyche. Each Spell contained in an item can be cast numerous times and it takes the full concentration of either the user (or the item if it is Intelligent). If the Spell has a multiple mode or open ended Lynchpin, there must be some mechanism to do choose-- commonly by pointing or manually entering the desired outcome. Items with Psychic Sensitivity can respond directly to the thoughts of their wielders, and items with Intelligence can cast the Spell themselves. Intelligent items casting for themselves take a corresponding amount of time to cast their spells based on their Intelligence.
  • 1 pt "Contains a Spell" - The item can cast a single Spell with fewer than or equal to 3 Lynchpins. The spell is chosen when the item is created.
  • 2 pt "Contains Named & Numbered Spells" - The item can cast a named & numbered amount of spells with no more than 10 Lynchpins between them. This is chosen when the item is created.
  • 4 pt "Abracadabra" - The item can cast a single Spell with fewer than or equal to 3 Lynchpins. This spell can be cast in one Combat Round as per Prestidigitation. The spell is chosen when the item is created.

Spell Racking

Restricted: Can only be created by players with Sorcery. Cannot be purchased in Quantity. Power cannot be Conjured or Shaped into.
Casting a spell from a spell racking item removes the spell from a rack. You must rerack the spell, can be done so when you rerack your own spells or as a seperate action.
  • 1 pt. "Shelf" - The item can rack an extra spell for it's owner, chosen when the Sorcerer chooses to rack her spells.
  • 2 pt. "Armoire" - Allows the user to partially rerack mid combat by spending a combat round in full concentration and spending 1 Endurance for each spell slot she wishes to either fill or change. This ability does not directly increase the size of the Spell Rack. The Sorcerer can benefit from this ability even if she does not have Combat Casting.
  • 4 pt. "Library" - The item can rack a named and numbered amount of spells, chosen when the Sorcerer chooses to rack her spells.

Trump Images

Restricted: Can only be created by players with Trump. Cannot be purchased in Quantity. Power cannot be Conjured or Shaped into.
Items can be created by Artists with built-in Trump images. These function identically to normal Trumps and must be constructed using the same rules. Creatures may contain Trump images.
  • 1 pt "Contains Trump Image" - The item includes a single Trump image.
  • 2 pt "Contains Named & Numbered Trump Images" - The item includes up to twelve Trump images. It may take the form of a deck or collection which can be separated into the individual Trumps.
  • 4 pt "Trump Powered" - The item uses the power of Trump in a non-standard way. This includes all Trump abilities the Artist knows except Trumps of Desire and explicitly includes Trump Traps. However, Trump Powered can also be used to produce Trump-like effects not covered in the player abilities. Trump Powered items may contain Named and Numbered Trump images.

Power Words

Restricted: Can only be created by players with Power Words. Cannot be purchased in Quantity. Power cannot be Conjured or Shaped into.
The item can use one or more Power Words that the creator knows as if it had Chaos rank Psyche. Each Power Word contained in an item can be cast numerous times, although they decay in combination with the owner's own Power Words. Power Words used by items are generally still verbal, although the item may produce the sound by magic; alternate activation methods may be approved under the usual Power Word rules. If a Power Word requires targeting, there must be some mechanism to do so-- commonly by pointing or manually entering the name of the target. Items with Psychic Sensitivity can respond directly to the thoughts of their wielders, and items with Intelligence can target themselves.
  • 1 pt "Contains Power Word" - The item has a single Power Word.
  • 2 pt "Contains Named & Numbered Power Words" - The item contains up to twelve Power Words.


Any item may also be purchased in bulk to give you multiple functionally identical items, each of which can work independently of the others. Doing so multiplies the total cost of the item after all Attributes, Qualities, and Powers are calculated.
Items in a set may have cosmetic differences and individual names. You may not add additional un-multiplied Attributes, Qualities, or Powers to an individual item from a set. If items must be used together to manifest their pointed Attributes, Qualities, and Powers (such as a matched set of magical gloves that don't work separately), they may be bought as a single item.
  • x2 "Named & Numbered" - By doubling the cost of the item, you gain up to twelve copies of it. Traditionally each individual item is identified by a unique name or number.
  • x3 "Horde" - By tripling the cost of the item, you gain a large number of copies. Generally Hordes range from a few dozen to the low hundreds; you need to be able to gather all of the individual items together in one place with relative ease.


Standardized Attributes

One of the issues that the original Amber rules has is that the Item Qualities range wildly in scope when compared to players; for the same price you could buy an ability that was infinitely better than an Attribute, one that was at least in the same league, or one that was demonstrably worse. For consistency (and our own sanity), we decided to unify them.
We settled on Human/Chaos/Amber for the point levels because items should never be that good. As it stands, the best an item can do is compete with what a player gets for free-- which means that players need to deal with each other rather than sending their toys to do it.

Deadly Damage and Armor

We've made a lot of changes over the years, but hands-down the most popular thing we've ever done is removing those two Item Qualities. Before we did, it had essentially become mandatory for every player to have 4 pt. weapons and armor-- their impact on player combat was simply too big to ignore. And if everyone has to have it, why should people pay points for it? So we took them out, and Warfare and Strength became the deciding factors in combat again.
If you want your item to be made of a tougher-than-normal material, just say that in the description. If you want a creature that can really take some punishment, animate a sufficiently hard object instead. But things can only be realistically tough now, not magically so.

What happened to Stamina?

In our experience most item use didn't ever extend over a long enough period to even check an item's stamina rating. Items tend to be used in bursts (particularly in combat) and it didn't seem like any item should lose its core functionality in just a few minutes. Really the only thing that seemed like it should have limited usage was Powers, and it wasn't fair to ask people to pay for stamina just for that. So we removed the Quality and limited item Power use inherently instead.

Wait, what about Conferral?

Conferral is an enormous pain in the ass for both rules consistency and adjudication, and adds little to gameplay itself. Most of the time the item doesn't have to confer to be logically useful (the horse of shadow seeking that you ride as opposed to the magical ring that makes you shadow seeking), and most of the item abilities can be replicated with player Powers and Attributes anyway. If you absolutely must have an item ability applied to you personally, you can still do it with Conjuration.

Will other people's Toys work for me with no problems?

Usually, the answer to this question is yes. Someone's pair of Flying Underpants will still let you fly when you wear them. But troops do not always listen to the murderer of their commander, particularly if that murderer has a much lower Warfare rank. So you can totally steal your Sibling's Toys, the worst thing that can happen is that they may try and hurt you back.