The Elders as Represented in the ADRPG
Parrying invisible attackers that he knows "have to be there" because of some omniscient tactical sense? Identifying the admittedly basic characteristics of the concealed weapon someone is carrying by the way they walk, whether he knows what it is or not?
Not really very likely, is it?
Being somehow constantly aware of the tactical possibilities of every situation automatically is just stupid, let alone beyond the 'human' mind to cope with. Yes, I know he's not human, but he is not a god either (at least not in that regard).
As for the concealed weapon/special trick detection ability, there is an example from the Corwin books that defeats both that AND the Super Awareness: Corwin's 'fight' with Benedict after leaving Avalon.
Corwin, knowing he can not take him on, retreats towards that handy piece of grass he knows about, hopping over it at the last moment so that Benedict gets trapped and slowed down.
The problem? Super Aware Benedict sees the retreat and immediately KNOWS there is some kind of ambush ahead. If he can KNOW when an invisible attacker will strike, that would be child's play. A normal human could figure it out. I don't care if he is angry; he was never really that much out of control. Besides, as soon as Corwin inexplicably hops backwards for no reason that Super Awareness should ring like an alarm bell. Benedict steps backwards and waits, cold fury incarnate.
If he can identify the basic characteristics of a weapon he has never seen before when it is concealed, such a trick would never work.
The only other complaint is that Benedict is frequently happy to see people, gets angry, shouts, gestures, makes sarcastic comments, takes part in conversations and makes long speeches; and yet he is supposed to be the "man of few words". The only times he does speak curtly and without much in the way of explanations (about twice) he is usually very busy seeing to the defence of Amber. So one would expect him to be too busy to talk.
Bleys really does so little that he is difficult to quantify. He may or may not be better than Corwin in combat; it depends how you read it.
One of the better ideas I have heard on how to use Bleys as an effective NPC (since we have little information there either) is as a trouble-shooter; he gets sent in to a situation to assess it before he either sorts it out or tells the king who would be best suited to doing it (I would imagine he would let the king give orders rather than appear to be asking for help).
It is one of our GM's ideas, and it's actually a good one!
Brand gets around a lot. Why can't he just stay dead?
His amazing "Return from the Abyss" been repeated so often as to become tiresome to have to read about; on top of that surely if everyone thought falling in the Abyss was final why does he keep getting back out?
It has been said quite a few times by a large number of people that his so-called "Living Trump" is nothing more than Logrus. After all, the term Living Trump was first used by Julian, who is not the most knowledgeable of the family with regards to the Powers. In fact, those who would know best would be Fiona, Bleys and, of course, Brand, since all three had studied under Dworkin.
Does this mean he has shapeshifting?
Beyond that, do you really need shapeshifting to take Logrus? Can you be helped through it the same way someone can somehow guide you around the Pattern if your Endurance is not high enough? Since Logrus was created in the Merlin books and seems to describe his abilities so perfectly, it has always been a surprise that he does not have Logrus. But that is a discussion for another time.
Caine gets a lot of bad press. Just because he tried to kill Corwin people don't like him. Never mind that he thought Corwin was The Enemy Of Amber.
Admittedly, though, it does take a certain cold-bloodedness to kill your own double. And Amberites are very good at justifying their actions.
Caine also raises what seems to be a major problem with Trump Artistry. He used the Advanced ability of Trump spying to listen in on conversations, yet appears to have no ability at creating them. Or so it seems at least. Of all the Powers, Trump Artistry and Shapeshifting seem to be badly put together. In the case of Caine and his spying, it appears that practice and possibly a high Psyche will allow anyone to do Caine's Trick. And as far as we know, that is even supported in the Merlin books too, as both Fiona (the classic Psyche monster) and Merlin (the amazing Power Boy) use it. If this is true, what can be done with "Trump Artistry"?
Another point: when does it say that his mother is Rilga, the same as with Julian and Gerard? At the end of Sign of the Unicorn Corwin describes the birth order as Eric, himself, Caine and Deirdre; if he had been the result of another affair (like Eric and Llewella) and thus was born illegitimate, he would have been mentioned as such in that same conversation. Yet he is not. Corwin would not have forgotten, since he would have had a bastard born on either side of him. So when did the change take place? Answers on a Trump card please...
Remarkably, Corwin is very simple to quantify. And yet one must beware of extra baggage. "Sorcerer of Avalon"? Just 'simply' being superhuman could get him characterised as a sorcerer; moreover, his enemies and detractors could refer to him as a sorcerer and mean that he is in league with Dark Powers. The 'spell' he cast on Strygwalldir (I think that is how it is spelt) could have merely been a piece of 'local magic', a charm said to work on demons.
So little is known about her. If she were not dead, she would probably be the only combative, openly assertive female in Amber, a distinct contrast to the more politically-oriented Fiona and Florimel (Llewella barely counts).
Unfortunately, she only ever seems to come back with Brand, and then almost always as his slave.
Then there are Strength-related problems regarding her and Brand on the rim of the Abyss, discussed in the Attributes section.
Why is he always mad?
He was mad because the Pattern was damaged. While he had suggested destroying it long before that happened that does not necessarily mean he is mad.
Some make him out to be still mad and more than a little senile. Perhaps he is just too strange to comprehend. But he is certainly not mad; just the sanest person you could ever meet.
Additionally, the Pattern does not need to "suddenly" become sentient and have a voice; it has a voice already, and it is called Dworkin. They are effectively one and the same, remember?
FINNDO and OSRIC
Both Finndo and Osric are nothing but names. Most people forget that the characters in the gamebook are entirely a creation of the author of the book. Almost everyone misses out on the opportunity to make two completely fresh and unknown characters instead of just copying someone else's ideas.
Flora always appears to be a bit of a lightweight. That means either she really is, or that she is more than she appears. How does she stay in everyone's good books anyway? It is not like she is the youngest and thus the weakest; Random is the youngest, and he is not a weakling.
My GM says it is because she stays in Amber a lot and does not have the breadth of experience the others got. That seems like a good idea.
And no, having a grenade in her purse does not justify putting her Warfare up by a load of points.
Julian gets a really bad deal. Not only does being surprised by Corwin (getting dragged off his horse and bundled into a car) get him relegated to the lowest reaches of both Strength AND Warfare, but the need to spend almost forty points on his hounds and another thirty on his hawks depletes his points somewhat. Why does he need to spend points on them? Does Random, as king, have to pay points for his army? Does Gerard have to pay for his ships and sailors?
[Don't go there.....]
So why should Julian pay for his dogs and hawks? If they never leave Arden they do not need to be endowed with that much of his personal energy (points), freeing up some points for other things.
Also, just because someone can be surprised by a brother who reacts differently to normal because of amnesia does not mean that he is useless with Strength; all the versions of Julian give him a really wimpy Strength, just to justify him losing to Corwin. He is usually beaten by Corwin, who himself is beaten in all versions by Deirdre! Corwin has always been classified as one of the strong characters, along with Bleys and, of course, Gerard. His Warfare tends to be rather inferior as well. Oberon would not have put such a person in charge of the defence of Amber's main land routes if there were so many better alternatives.
We know he is fairly close to Corwin in Warfare and Endurance; we know what sort of person he is and the kind of king he becomes; but there are still many holes in his character to be filled. Some might say he is too easy-going to become the paranoid king version given in the gamebook; then again, maybe not. Maybe he rules like a Mafia don, with trusted lieutenants and devoted soldiers bullying people into line.