View Full Version : Martial Arts Card Game character injuries and impairments - Ideas Welcome

Ya Ta Hey!
2013-02-17, 04:42 PM
What's going down, playground?

Do you have an idea for randomly drawn injuries/impairments that you've always wanted to see enacted in a tabletop RPG? Have any horror stories about how random injury tables are the tops/worst thing ever? Share it, the more creative and in character, the better.


So here's the deal, I'm making a martial-arts themed system that plays like a tabletop rpg, but resolves combat using a card game mechanic rather than dice. The deck is just a bunch of standard Bicycle(TM) playing cards, with the various values and suits having a certain interpretation under the rules. As you win and level up, you can draw a larger hand, expand your deck, alter the proportions of cards you want or don't want, and so on.

[Edit]: At the end of the day, the object of this game is to limit your opponent's options until they lose the means or will to fight or otherwise stop you from your goal. These injuries and complications play a big part of that, which is why I'm soliciting ideas.

Injuries and impairments works as follows:

As you take "hits", cards are moved from your deck or hand to your spent pile ('graveyard' as some systems call it). This represents your character becoming overwhelmed as they fail to keep up with the onslaught, their options rapidly vanishing.

Naturally, your deck will run out after enough of this. Your character is now beaten and heaving for air, their leaden defenses no match for the incoming barrage. If you chose to continue fighting, you must draw any needed cards from your spent pile, as though taking a loan. Each one of these transactions is commemorated with an Ace card.

These Ace cards are called "Complications", and represent the fallout from all these hits you've taken. They are like the Chance or Community Chest cards in Monopoly, except they work against you.

Here is a sampling of some ideas I have:


"Whether your sleeve is pinned by a knife, your wrist locked in someone's grasp, or you got stuck in a jar, one of your hands is out of commission. For the rest of the encounter, do not use a diamonds or clubs card higher than 5." (Possible alternative: "Play the game one-handed.")

All Over the Place

"Your footing is compromised. You might be seeing double and the world spins crazily as your balance fails. Or maybe you've spilled something slick and are treading furiously to stay upright. For the rest of the encounter, an opponent may move you one square after their turn"

The Ugly Stick Strikes Again

"You look terrible. Perhaps your nose is beet red and pointing the wrong direction, or your smile has a few new gaps in it. Until treated, do not use any face cards or numbered card greater than 5 for actions keyed to your attractiveness."

My Precious!

"Amid the violence, your belongings spill onto the ground. Every character and opponent on the map may use their turn to recover one item from your inventory. Hope you have good friends!"

Note: If your character has no possessions or prudently laid them aside before fighting, return this card and draw another one.

Blasting off Again

"You are thrown into the air, sailing helplessly for a full second before you drop with an unceremonious thud. Or you took a dive, hoping some unseen referee would give your opponent a red card. Move your character 5 squares away in the direction chosen by the opponent. Draw another complication if you were thrown off any kind of elevation or collide with any object midflight."

The Thighbone's Connected to the...Oh...

"You have suffered a dislocated joint. One of your limbs or digits is bent grotesquely, plunging you into stomach churning pain. Your opponent may choose to forbid you from using either the clubs or spades suit until your limb is returned to position."

The Gauntlet is Down

Was it something you said? Or several things you did? Whatever the case, you have now earned the enmity of a group to which your opponent belongs. This might be their family, friends, a trade association, or worse. Whatever the case, they will use any means possible to bring you down.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

"Your character crumples to the ground, dead. If you have a King or Joker card, you may spend it now to exchange this outcome and instead simply lose a turn while you black out or play possum."


As you can see, these complications vary in scope and severity. The idea is that Complications would be grouped by severity and with each successive complication you take, you would have to draw from the next more dangerous/debilitating pile.

Although I'm more interested in in-character or role play complications, the significance of restricting a certain suit of cards is this: Red colored suits are for single, calculated or powerful blows that damage an enemy by removing cards from their hand/ Black colored suits are for blistering torrents of rapid fire strikes that damage an enemy by removing cards from their deck, where there is much more to lose.

I'm looking for ideas that are general enough to apply in any backdrop ("you are hit by a Ferrari" might not work in a remote Himalayan temple), but still have a distinctive effect on the character. The final goal of all this is that the effects of combat become plot hooks in and of themselves, hence the name "Complications".

Thanks! Now go forth and be fruitful.

2013-02-17, 04:51 PM
So... how do you win? Are you just trying to force your opponent to a point where all of his cards are in his discard pile before he does the same to you? From your description, it sounds like you've replaced hp with having bigger hands, so I'm guessing there's no damage assignment to individual cards. Is it something like a game of war where you play your card against his, and whoever has the higher one wins that round?

It's an interesting concept, but at this point, I'm more interested in learning about the basic framework than I am with coming up with additional complications to tie in to your cards.

Ya Ta Hey!
2013-02-17, 06:36 PM
Good question.

In the literal sense, you win by depleting the opponent's deck and then piling on enough more complications than they can work around, effectively making it pointless for them to continue.

You know how in online Starcraft play, most games end in one guy hitting GG? Imagine if Starcraft was a persistent-army style game, where the losses you took in one match affected your resources in a later match? Nobody would wait for their huge bio-ball to get annihilated, they would GG out as soon as the tide turned against them.

That's the mentality I want to create here, with a person's character being the 'persistent army' in that example. This was heavily inspired by Legends of the Wulin (http://www.nuklearpower.com/2012/01/11/nerding-it-up-with-legends-of-the-wulin/)

As an aside, I will be adding a way for beleaguered characters to replenish their decks so that it doesn't become a straight damage race, but I haven't decided how yet. Also, decks will not be as huge as in some card games, because otherwise battles will take a long time and accomplish little.