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Cards and RPGs


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Ok, since Badcat has posted about Solomon Kane and Savage Worlds, I checked out their free quickstart rules.

It's interesting. The use of different die sizes has been around for a while. Sovereign Stone and Serenity are a couple off the top of my head that use this as well. I can live with that approach.

Savage Worlds also uses a deck of cards in play, and has some mechanics that are named off of card terms.

There are several systems that utilize cards in the game mechanics. Torg, Lace & Steel, Masterbook, etc.

I like West End's Masterbook approach where it is an optional rule.

I am not a fan of cards or any other play aid that is not a die or dice. I guess I am just colored by my first experiences of roleplaying, and see these additions as extraneous.

What do others think of using cards as a game mechanic in a RPG system?

BRP Ze 32/420

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THe most obvious examples to me are Castle Falkenstien and the SAGA rules used by TSR in Dragonlance and MArvel Super Heroes.

In all three cases, I liked the use of cards. If the rumors that Falkenstien was originally designed to be an Amber RPG are true, then card definitely would have been the way to go.

I played MArvel SAGA the most out of the three, and for the most part cards worked as agood as dice, andin some cases batter. In Marvel each power an d skill was tied to an attribute (like Strength skills, Agility skills, etc.) and the deck was broken down into suits that were tied to the attributes. If you played a card that matched the suit for the action you were attempting, it was "trump" and you got to add another card from the deck. This allowed for the longshot percentages. Also, as character got good, they could master a skill, given them more trump cards.

One thing that was nice about the SAGA system was that, much like HERO Points, players could hold an important card in their hand for reserve. And while someone was holding onto a card, the other players couldn't draw it out of the deck.

Another neat thing was that cards were used much like hit points. As you got injured you paid off the damage in cards. So if you took 5 points of damage you had to discard 5 points worth of cards. This meant that as you got hurt your had fewer cards in your hand, limiting your options and impairing your ability to act. A neat way of handling injury.

Also, more experienced characters could would have larger hand size, and there was a rule for letting them play low value point cards as a freebie.

So yeah, I like cards, when the are done right.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Our GM is a mad Harn-fiend and a keen rules-tinkerer. We're currently playing a game set (intrenched?) in Harn but using the new Savage Worlds rules. It's really sped up the combat resolution and general play - we've whipped through a chapter a week lately, and squeezing in sometimes two combat sequences in a single session (we began the game using a hybrid combat system drawn from Harn (2nd ed. I think) and Maelstrom.

I like the card-draw system for sorting initiative in combat. It means that the dedicated fighters or superior opponents don't always get the first attack in, and the joker rule adds an extra degree of randomness to the mix. And it keeps everyone engaged. I don't think it would work as a drop-in for just any set of rules, but it does fit the "fast-furious-fun" ethos of SW.


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