28 December 2010

Quick mock-up of a Role Playing Card Game card.

I know I said that I wouldn’t play around with my role playing card game (RPCG) until I finished up my revision of In Between, but I just couldn’t help myself.

Here is a mock-up of what one of the Persona Cards might look like.

I think I’ve missed my true calling in life: art. 
Apart from the terrible art and questionable graphic design skills what’s going on here exactly? Well, let’s start from the top and work our way down.

First off you’ll notice that the card is red. Various colors represent different attributes. In this case that attribute is STRENGTH. Don’t worry, I’ve considered colourblind players. You see that tiny little icon at the top? It’s supposed to look like a muscely bicep. It’s there as a secondary way of telling what attribute the card is linked to. I’ll talk more about attributes at some later point in time. For now, just know that they exist.

Next up is the title of the card. That would be Orc Hatred. That’s pretty straightforward, as is the the stick-art below.

Now we reach the good stuff. In the text box you’ll see the bolded word ANCESTRY on the right. That’s to tell us that it is an Ancestry TYPE card. That’s important for random character creation and also for any other cards that might affect Ancestry cards. There are other Types as well. Right now they are limited to 3 types for Persona cards. That is Ancestry, Ability, and Equipment. As an aside, Persona cards are those that make up a player’s character . Character cards just sounded kind of boring so I decided to use Persona instead.

Beneath the TYPE is the RULES TEXT. This is the meat of a card. It has some role playing information which I think is really important to help drive home that this is a RPG and not a competitive card game. Following that is the actual mechanics aspect. In this case it talks about TRUMPS. Trumps are going to be a major part of the resolution system. Everything has a trump, think of it like rock-paper-scissors. Rock trumps paper which trumps scissors which trumps rock. Only in this case everything has a positive and negative trump which for the sake of simplicity we will equate to Critical Success and Critical Failure. Essentially what this card is saying is that if you’re fighting an orc and you roll a 1 you treat it like a 10 OR if you are negotiating with an orc and you roll a 20 then you treat it like a 10. Trumping and resolution is a bit more complicated than that, but this post isn’t about that. I’ll talk about the resolution system some other time.

That’s everything that is on this card. There is room for more information and some of the non-persona cards do have other stuff on them. Monster/NPC/Challenge cards, for example, require attribute information as they aren’t built out of 9 separate cards. This will be represented by colored symbols.

That’s enough about this game for now. If you’ve got a (relevant) opinion I’d love to hear it.

20 December 2010

Combining card games and RPGs

Gamma World relaunched as a D&D 4E based game a couple of months ago. I picked it up since I’ve always been a fan of randomly generated character creation and the wacky universe that Gamma World is set in. We only played it once and it could only be described as a failure. I had intended it as a pickup and play kind of game when our regular games get waylaid for one reason or another; that's how we use Icons. It doesn't work too well for that. 4E is too heavy a ruleset and none of us are particularly familiar with it, which amplified the problem. We did, however, somewhat enjoy playing with the cards.
I didn't really think the cards were used as well as they could have been. They really were not used to any better of an effect than a table in the rulebook. Still, an interesting experiment.

Not long after our disastrous Gamma Worlds game, when I was poking around on the ‘net, I discovered an odd game called Dragon Storm. Dragon Storm is a mashup of RPGs and CCGs. I took a look at some of the cards and art and decided that it wasn't really for me, but it did get me thinking. How would I put together a mashup of RPGs and CCGs?

I’m not really looking to take on another project right now, at least not until In Between has been rewritten, but here are a few ideas I have bouncing around.
  • Character cards are split into 3 types: Ancestry, Ability, and Equipment. For random character creation these are split into 3 seperate piles and 3 from each are drawn.
  • Player Characters are built out of 9 card loadouts. They do not necessarily require 3 of each character card type, but randomly created ones will.
  • Ability cards may be changed through retraining and Equipment cards can be changed at any time.
  • A communal “Hit Deck” is utilized. This deck would consist of numbers on different suits as well as a few other special cards.
  • Cards from this deck are drawn instead of rolling dice.
  • Every card is assigned a suit. This is used when determining critical success and fumbles and may be important for abilities and other things.
  • There should be at least one GM only deck. This could be split into two. One containing monsters/npcs and another containing adventure seeds. These could be drawn from to create random adventures and other such factors, but would be by no means mandatory for play. The GM may or may not utilize their own Hit Deck, although its purpose would be the same.
That's all I’ve got for now. It should make for quick and dirty games right now, but maybe one day I’ll flesh it out some more.

I’m actually aware of two other RPGs that use cards as a core mechanic. The first is the StoryCards system, which is really more of a tarot deck. The second is the 6d6 Fireball RPG in progress. I don’t know much about it yet, but they seem to be playing around with some similar ideas.


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