View Full Version : Card Resolution in RPGs

2013-05-12, 11:08 PM
I'm bouncing around a lot of mechanics in my brain lately, trying to settle on something to build out a new system on. I've played with d20 variations a little, and some savage worlds variation. My setting takes a lot of flavor off of Magic: The Gathering though it's become heavily modified - but the thought occurred to me, could cards work?

I went back and read the rules of the only card RPG I know of - Saga for Dragonlance 5th Age. I came away from that feeling that this won't be a simple task. Saga has, problems - not the least of which was using the cards to generate the characters.

But first, a deck. If I'm keeping MtG like flavor there are to be 5 suits - Abora (Green), Valra (Yellow), Balcra (Blue), Sodra (Violet), and Shunra (Red).

The composition of the deck: 56 cards. 5 aces, 15 cards with 2 mana symbols and 35 cards with 3 mana symbols. One wildcard.

I have room for others - http://www.makeplayingcards.com/ next sheet size up from 56 is 72, so 16 holes exist.

Since the 3 mana cards comprise more than half the deck, they'll be worth 1 point when played for an action. The 2 mana cards will be worth 2 points, and the aces 3. Actions will be aligned, so if you play a card of the correct alignment for the action, they'll be worth double: 2, 4 and 6 respectively. If you are performing an action matching your own alignment you also double, and if you play the correct card you treble - so 3, 6, 9.

Some statistics. Each color appears on 22 cards, so a given draw will have a 2 in 5 chance of being on color, not including the 56th wild card. If players are granted a hand of 5 cards at the start of a combat then two of their cards will be on color for them.

That's about as far as I've gone - basic deck composition. Thoughts?

2013-05-12, 11:39 PM
I think you need answer one very important question: "What's the point?"

What would this mechanic offer that dice can't? How would it work in the context of an RPG, where player agency is paramount? What would it contribute to the game outside of combat?

It's an interesting idea. It just sounds more like the basis for a card game than an RPG right now.

2013-05-13, 04:54 AM
I think you need answer one very important question: "What's the point?"

The same can be asked of all games.

2013-05-14, 03:08 AM
The primary benefits of using cards over using dice are:

You can hold cards in your hand, so you can reserve good numbers for later.
The probability of later actions is dependent on previous actions. Unless you reshuffle the deck between every draw.
You can tie different effects to different suits.