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Thread: Dice plus cards

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Jun 2010

    Default Dice plus cards

    I was playing spades with my friend the other day,
    and some other friends were playing dice nearby,
    and it got me thinking.

    Is there any way to combine a deck of standard
    playing cards with dice for a fantasy system?

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    I think, though I don't know for sure, that Deadlands used to use cards for its magic system. The magicians were called "Hucksters", and the whole thing had a Wild West theme. They did magic using poker hands.

    One good use of cards would be to represent some sort of resource you can draw upon during your adventure. You play cards to get a benefit, and maybe get another benefit for matching cards with other players or by playing down a set of cards (say, all the same rank, or a straight) all at once.

    Actually, that seems pretty cool.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Dsurion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I think, though I don't know for sure, that Deadlands used to use cards for its magic system. The magicians were called "Hucksters", and the whole thing had a Wild West theme. They did magic using poker hands.
    You are correct, sir. Deadlands is actually a really fun system for this if you can get a group together who likes its style. As stated, it is VERY Wild West, plus magic.
    Last edited by Dsurion; 2011-01-11 at 03:25 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    I would want a more high fantasy feel.
    I'll take a look at it though.

    I was going to design my own,
    but my experience with homebrew is pretty limited (i.e. none)
    I did want something that is just a basic skeleton
    with fluff that you can change to suit your setting or game type.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Well... there already are spell cards, and you could just do something like 'two of spades = shield of faith' or something like that.

    Wait! Homebrew your own (safer) version of the Deck of Many Things! That could be pretty cool.

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    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Or a class inspired by Fax Celestis' unfinished Cartomancer. That could end up pretty cool.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    I wasn't talking about specifically for spells,
    but more for a general flexible mechanic.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Torg used its own cards as part of play.

    They were used to track who went first in a round (heros or villians), what actions could be performed as part of skill challenges and also set up special situations for a round.

    e.g.

    Heros are up (roll your D20 twice and add)
    Villians setback (GM thinks of something suitable for the situation)

    The cards also contained plot powers (players were dealt 5 cards at the start of the session) not sure what most were its been a long time. One I do remember is Martyr card. Any resonable action you try to succeed at with no roll, then you die.

    It was a interesting system promoting heroic play.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I think, though I don't know for sure, that Deadlands used to use cards for its magic system. The magicians were called "Hucksters", and the whole thing had a Wild West theme. They did magic using poker hands.
    They also used the same poker hands for mad science blueprint "rolls". Your skills let you draw more cards, and the best hand you could make was the level of the power/the quality of the blueprint. However, drawing a black Joker meant any one of a number of particularly bad things was going to happen.

    The initiative system also used the cards, and Jokers were either very good or very bad. So did the system for determining if a dead character
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    came back as a zombie animated by a demon with whom it would then mentally battle for control.


    Really, there are two related ways to use the cards: either you adjust the hand size and try to amass some specific combination of cards (in which case it works like a dice pool) or a group of characters draw from the same deck and iterate through them in some order of priority, in which case it's simply a way of ordering a list that ensures no ties.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Quote Originally Posted by Earthwalker View Post
    The cards also contained plot powers (players were dealt 5 cards at the start of the session) not sure what most were its been a long time. One I do remember is Martyr card. Any resonable action you try to succeed at with no roll, then you die.

    It was a interesting system promoting heroic play.
    I like the idea of plot powers,
    and my main design philosophy would be the bolded part.

    Trekkin, you make some good points, but the puzzling part to me is how you combine the dice rolls and cards and still end up somewhat coherent.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Dice plus cards

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    I like the idea of plot powers,
    and my main design philosophy would be the bolded part.

    Trekkin, you make some good points, but the puzzling part to me is how you combine the dice rolls and cards and still end up somewhat coherent.
    Well, if you'll excuse my horrific mangling of probability, they're essentially the same thing, so you're just adding randomness by combining them. The thing that makes cards different is that every result is unique unless you add duplicate cards; assuming a standard deck, no two people drawing from the same deck are going to get any of the same cards. This is why Deadlands initative order determination worked the way it did; there weren't ever ties because you couldn't get the same cards as anyone else.

    If you wanted to do something like Gamma World's card-based power determination (and it sounds like you do) you could do something like this thing I just made up, with the 4 being arbitrary:

    roll [some stat for plot powers] d6s, and draw one card for every 5 or 6. If you have fewer than 4 cards, draw from the deck until you have 4; if you have more than 4 cards, choose which cards to discard until you have 4.

    This gives every player an equal number of power cards, but lets the players that have invested more in whatever stat potentially have more control over what they get. Perhaps you could vary the number represented by the 4 according to some narrative-related variable; it occurs to me that this would work well for magic powers in a system that uses some version of magical background count, in that the more powers you get, the less control over them you have.

    Obviously, the more random elements you stack into a single action, the longer it's going to take and the more variable it's going to be, and some of the most infamous RPG systems got that way by making you roll over and over and over to do anything. That said, cards, or some virtual equivalent, are good for adding mutual exclusivity.

    Here's another example that occurred to me: take a standard deck and remove the jokers, aces, and face cards. Call it the Luck Deck or something, and deal every player some number of cards every session or day. Assume the system rolls d10s. In play, any time they roll, they can play one of their cards to have the value on the card replace the value of the roll.
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2011-01-11 at 09:27 AM.

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