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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