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dascarletm
2016-02-02, 06:26 PM
Are there any games out there that primarily use a card based mechanics?

Arbane
2016-02-02, 09:20 PM
A few. I've seen one named "A Turn of the Cards" or similar, plus Marvel SAGA, Castle Falkenstein, Everway...

Some use cards as an extra mechanic. Deadlands Classic uses cards to determine the results of spellcasting. (The more powerful you are, the more cards you get to draw. But if you draw a joker, Bad Things happen). TORG had a Drama Deck that set the pace of combat and gave PCs some extra options.

8BitNinja
2016-02-02, 09:31 PM
In D&D there is a Deck of Many Things (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/artifacts.htm)

Arbane
2016-02-02, 11:30 PM
In D&D there is a Deck of Many Things (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/artifacts.htm)

"That artifact EATS campaigns." (https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/06/28)

8BitNinja
2016-02-03, 01:32 PM
"That artifact EATS campaigns." (https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/06/28)

On The Spoony Experiment subseries Counter Monkey, there is a whole episode on a deck of many things, I don't remember what episode it was

Mark Hall
2016-02-03, 01:41 PM
Back in the late 90s, early 00s, WotC came out with Dragonlance SAGA and Marvel SAGA, which used specialized, non-collectible card decks for character generation and actions. I'm not as familiar with Marvel, but Dragonlance had a semi-solid core system that got sorta stupid and wonky in some ways as power levels increased (i.e. once you got away from human-scale enemies), and didn't balance races or character creation very well (elves got a bonus for any action with a sword! Minotaurs got bonuses when... sailing).

I made some alterations to their core system and created ODE (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2013/08/ode-one-deck-engine.html), which uses a standard deck of cards instead of their specialized deck. It's a bare-bones system right now, with only one supplemental post (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2014/09/ode-metagame-mechanics.html), but I have some ideas on the back burner to expand and clarify some ideas from it.

dascarletm
2016-02-03, 02:24 PM
thanks for the responses



I made some alterations to their core system and created ODE (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2013/08/ode-one-deck-engine.html), which uses a standard deck of cards instead of their specialized deck. It's a bare-bones system right now, with only one supplemental post (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2014/09/ode-metagame-mechanics.html), but I have some ideas on the back burner to expand and clarify some ideas from it.

I'm sadly blocked from the site at work, but I'll look into it when I get home. It sounds interesting, and the fact you can use any ol' deck of cards is a big plus.

8BitNinja
2016-02-03, 02:32 PM
Give them a deck of many things, I dare you

dascarletm
2016-02-03, 02:49 PM
Give them a deck of many things, I dare you

Oh, I've done many a game with the fabled deck.:smallamused:

I've had both positive and negative experiences:smallwink:

Vitruviansquid
2016-02-03, 03:00 PM
Ah, if the Deck of Many Things eats campaigns, DnD has a way of eating forum threads.

The most card-using TTRPG I have played is Savage Worlds, where playing cards is used to determine initiative in combat. I believe the game Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade is developing is going to be a fully deck-building TTRPG, but it is not yet out.

I think it might be hard to put out an actual card game TTRPG because accessibility is a huge factor in getting people to play the games. If a game demanded everyone own the book, I'm already going to have logistical issues getting a group. If it further demanded cards specific to the game and especially if every player was expected to go out an buy their own deck, it would be very hard to actually play this game.

Geddy2112
2016-02-03, 03:11 PM
Malifaux has a great card based ttRPG calledthrough the breach (http://www.wyrd-games.net/through-the-breach/). My group did a one shot of it a couple weeks ago and it was a lot of fun.

veti
2016-02-03, 05:05 PM
Back in the 1990s there was a game called Torg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torg), which I've never played but always kinda wanted to give a go. Among its (to me) novel mechanics - it explicitly dropped the pretense of using the same rules for PCs and Everyone Else, and gave the PCs their own attack and defence tables, and stuff called "possibility points" (which will feel oddly familiar to anyone who's played FATE) to make them more heroic.

It's a multi-setting game combining medieval/magic, weird science/steampunk, Cthulhoid horror, modern, cyberpunk and more in a single campaign.

Among its novel features were a deck of cards specifically for use in combat and other time-critical situations. I forget exactly how they were played - I think the GM turns a card each round which determines initiative and advantage for that round, and the players could modify it by playing their own cards. Or something like that.

The cards would apply a wide variety of conditions that affect actions. For instance, there's a condition that prevents your dice from 'exploding' in that round. IIRC there are even worse conditions that basically translate to 'lose a round', but it's been a long time since I looked at it. They also set a specific action for that round (e.g. "Defend", "Move" etc.) that will be rewarded with bonus possibility energy. The stated aim is to encourage a "cinematic" playstyle with lots of movement, rapidly changing tactics and conditions, rather than just "keep hitting the enemy until they fall over".

GnollOfErathis
2016-02-03, 06:04 PM
Toward the end of the 3.5 era, WotC published Three Dragon Ante, a card game which could be played by either D&D players or their characters (including bonuses determined by the characters' skills). The rulebook is still available for download. (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ante/welcome)

Dragon #346 included a method for using the cards for character generation (which amounted to a random point buy), with a variant using regular playing cards.

Mark Hall
2016-02-03, 07:51 PM
Toward the end of the 3.5 era, WotC published Three Dragon Ante, a card game which could be played by either D&D players or their characters (including bonuses determined by the characters' skills). The rulebook is still available for download. (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ante/welcome)

Dragon #346 included a method for using the cards for character generation (which amounted to a random point buy), with a variant using regular playing cards.

Oh, in that case, can I introduce you to Three Ranger Limit (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2014/09/three-ranger-limit.html)?

Mark Hall
2016-02-03, 07:52 PM
thanks for the responses



I'm sadly blocked from the site at work, but I'll look into it when I get home. It sounds interesting, and the fact you can use any ol' deck of cards is a big plus.

If you do, feel free to comment with any questions you have; I might need to tweak that system a bit.

dascarletm
2016-02-03, 09:21 PM
If you do, feel free to comment with any questions you have; I might need to tweak that system a bit.

I really like the idea of it. It is interesting that how well you will do on an action is already known to the player (aside from trump drawing). That gives the player a bit of agency on the random element, which is the one thing I'd think about.

Also the last sentence is a bit confusing regarding leveling up.

" Trumps do apply to this draw, including face card trumps, but non-trump Aces reduce their related attribute by 1."

Does this mean when you go to upgrade if you hit an Ace you can lose stat points? If so I'd say that wouldn't be a great idea.:smalltongue:

Mark Hall
2016-02-04, 11:43 AM
I really like the idea of it. It is interesting that how well you will do on an action is already known to the player (aside from trump drawing). That gives the player a bit of agency on the random element, which is the one thing I'd think about.

Also the last sentence is a bit confusing regarding leveling up.

" Trumps do apply to this draw, including face card trumps, but non-trump Aces reduce their related attribute by 1."

Does this mean when you go to upgrade if you hit an Ace you can lose stat points? If so I'd say that wouldn't be a great idea.:smalltongue:

Yep. If you go to level, you have a 5% chance (3 in 52) of losing a stat point.

8BitNinja
2016-02-04, 01:28 PM
Get a 52 card deck, assign a meaning to each number, suit, and face

for example, I drew a king of hearts after getting the "magic deck" item and I summoned a fighter of the same level as me, who has 500 gp

Grinner
2016-02-04, 04:09 PM
Frankenstein Atomic Frontier (http://www.rpgnow.com/product/154922/Frankenstein-Atomic-Frontier-Revised-Edition?manufacturers_id=3722) uses card-based mechanics. I've never actually had the chance to play it, but I can at least vouch that the adventure modules are pretty entertaining in their own right. It's got a definite kitchen-sink sci-fi thing going.

CarpeGuitarrem
2016-02-04, 06:19 PM
Primetime Adventures has this as well; as I recall, you're trying to get more red cards than the GM, and you want your highest card to be higher than the GM's. This is because there's two aspects to a scene: whether a character gets what they want, and whether they stay in control of themselves. Which aspect gets assigned to which factor depends on what type of scene it is--if it's a Plot Scene, then the scene outcome is tied to who gets more red cards and the emotional control is tied to the highest card...and if it's a Character scene, you reverse that (so that emotional control is tied to red cards, etc.).

So you could wind up with a scene where your character (who has an emotional Impulse of "loud fits of anger") succeeds in having things go the way they want, but they explode in a tantrum, for instance.

8BitNinja
2016-02-05, 09:41 AM
Make an Apples to Apples side quest at the next tavern

Dimers
2016-02-05, 10:43 AM
Deadlands Classic uses cards to determine the results of spellcasting. (The more powerful you are, the more cards you get to draw. But if you draw a joker, Bad Things happen).

I haven't tried any Deadlands other than the original, but that used a standard deck of playing cards for all kinds of stuff. Its handling of initiative was particularly elegant.

8BitNinja
2016-02-05, 01:25 PM
Card based encounters

Run into a fight, draw as many cards as you want monsters, and that's a battle

CharonsHelper
2016-02-05, 01:41 PM
Maybe just me - but it seems like most TTRPGs which use cards as the primary mechanic are a bit lighter (not an inherently bad thing). Likely because the cards, as drawn, alter the chances of drawing the next card and therefore makes the random results so much harder to calculate from a design perspective so that they can balance things through math.

Airk
2016-02-05, 04:20 PM
...why is a post about RPGs with card based mechanics full of posts about the Deck of Many Things? x.x

Anyway, yes, there are. The ones that leap to mind beyond the already mentioned ones are Beat to Quarters and its companion game, Duty & Honor. They use two decks of standard playing cards. To resolve an action, the GM draws a "card of fate" from his deck, and then the player draws cards from their own deck according to their character's capabilities. Cards which match the suit of the Card of Fate are successes, cards which match the Number of the Card of Fate are criticals, and drawing the card that exactly matches the Card of Fate is a "Perfect Success."; If the opponent is an NPC instead of just a task, then the GM draws cards for the NPC in a similar fashion - but cannot get a Perfect Success because that card is already out of their deck.

Geostationary
2016-02-05, 06:37 PM
Mystic Empyrean (http://www.mysticempyrean.com/) actually uses several decks to represent the nature of your character and the world at large in a clever way- there are seven elements and a auto succeed and auto fail, and each element is tied to a particular sort of action; acting in particular ways could change your personal balance (the card deck specific to your character) and give you more powerful powers, at the cost of limiting your effectiveness to particular sorts of actions. Different environments could then have their own balances, reflecting that in some places certain actions were inherently more effective

Pluto!
2016-02-06, 05:14 PM
Dust Devils uses poker hands to determine success in a scene, giving narration to the player with the high card, and baiting players to submit to their characters' inner demons in exchange for additional cards.

nyjastul69
2016-02-06, 06:18 PM
Kenzer's Aces & Eights RPG uses a standard deck of cards as part of the hit location mechanic as well as the chase scene mini-game mechanic. There may be some other uses for a deck of cards in that game as well. It doesn't use a deck of cards as it's primary task resolution mechanic though.

MrStabby
2016-02-06, 08:48 PM
I would be interested in trying some of these.

I tried making one a few years ago with some friends - leveling up by deck building. It was kind of fun but combat became very, very complicated. It was kind of fun but it was an abstraction and in practice at the table it wasn't an RPG anymore.

Arbane
2016-02-07, 07:39 PM
I would be interested in trying some of these.

I tried making one a few years ago with some friends - leveling up by deck building. It was kind of fun but combat became very, very complicated. It was kind of fun but it was an abstraction and in practice at the table it wasn't an RPG anymore.

Yeah, I've heard somewhere that that's a common problem with card-based RPGs - the card tricks end up overshadowing the RPG part.

1of3
2016-02-08, 06:25 AM
With Great Power - A game for silver age super heroes. Fits the genre quite well. Heroes have to juggle their private lifes and the super villains. The GM can play pretty hard, as she is limited by her cards.

8BitNinja
2016-02-08, 09:39 AM
With Great Power - A game for silver age super heroes. Fits the genre quite well. Heroes have to juggle their private lifes and the super villains. The GM can play pretty hard, as she is limited by her cards.

Correction to this statement

the plural of life is lives

1of3
2016-02-08, 09:51 AM
jɛə̯ θŋks, juː ɡaɪz ʃʊd ˈɹɪəli duː ˈsʌmθɪŋ əˈbaʊt jʊə ɔːˈθɒɡ.ɹə.fi :smallcool:

AMFV
2016-02-08, 02:53 PM
This is something I hadn't thought of earlier. Cards are easier to hide the results of. Which is why card games often involve bluffing or trickery. Whereas dice games most often involve specific numbers. Bluffing (in the metagame sense), is rarely a part of RPGs, although it would be really interesting to see that worked into one. It would move a lot more of the focus onto player skill though, which might not always be a good choice.

Mark Hall
2016-02-08, 03:15 PM
This is something I hadn't thought of earlier. Cards are easier to hide the results of. Which is why card games often involve bluffing or trickery. Whereas dice games most often involve specific numbers. Bluffing (in the metagame sense), is rarely a part of RPGs, although it would be really interesting to see that worked into one. It would move a lot more of the focus onto player skill though, which might not always be a good choice.

It really depends on how the cards are played, though. If the cards have to be laid down to be played, then you can't really hide them, unless you're going to play an explicitly bluffing game (like Bull****).

However, that then gets into player skill and, more importantly, the imbalances between GM and players. You might have 4 players and 1 GM, meaning the GM has to bluff 4 people, and the players only have to bluff one (at least, in a traditional TTRPG set-up), unless they're involved in PVP.

AMFV
2016-02-08, 03:18 PM
It really depends on how the cards are played, though. If the cards have to be laid down to be played, then you can't really hide them, unless you're going to play an explicitly bluffing game (like Bull****).

However, that then gets into player skill and, more importantly, the imbalances between GM and players. You might have 4 players and 1 GM, meaning the GM has to bluff 4 people, and the players only have to bluff one (at least, in a traditional TTRPG set-up), unless they're involved in PVP.

True, and there are games where one bluffs with rolling dice (liar's dice for example).

You could have a game that's not exactly PvP in-game, but where there are some PvP aspects to the metagame. For example, the players might be competing to gain the advantage for their respective characters while the characters are working towards the same objective. So essentially there's PvP at the player level, but none at the character level. I don't think I've ever seen a game structured like that, it would either be amazingly fun and tense to play, or you'd lose all your friends. I'm not sure which.

Mark Hall
2016-02-08, 04:37 PM
True, and there are games where one bluffs with rolling dice (liar's dice for example).

You could have a game that's not exactly PvP in-game, but where there are some PvP aspects to the metagame. For example, the players might be competing to gain the advantage for their respective characters while the characters are working towards the same objective. So essentially there's PvP at the player level, but none at the character level. I don't think I've ever seen a game structured like that, it would either be amazingly fun and tense to play, or you'd lose all your friends. I'm not sure which.

Sounds actually like Dread... you're working a Jenga tower together, so every easy one you take makes it more likely that someone else is going to have a hard one.

8BitNinja
2016-02-09, 10:12 AM
For an espionage RPG, have cards to determine what faction you are in

You can hand out cards that say things such as CIA, KGB, Interpol, etc. and no enemies of your organization can know who you really are

creating tension within the party, what fun

Mark Hall
2016-02-09, 03:41 PM
For an espionage RPG, have cards to determine what faction you are in

You can hand out cards that say things such as CIA, KGB, Interpol, etc. and no enemies of your organization can know who you really are

creating tension within the party, what fun

Hmmm... or, perhaps, using a regular deck of cards, assign each suit to an intelligence agency... Say, Spades is CIA, Clubs is MI-6, Hearts is KGB and Diamonds is MSS (Chinese security). Each player has someone they're representing, and they're trying to build up a strong hand, while preventing others from getting a useful hand... so the CIA agent might burn a 9 of Hearts, taking it out of play for the KGB player, but they might trade some low-value Diamonds to MSS for a Spade they need, and hope the Chinese Player can't turn those diamonds into a straight or something.

8BitNinja
2016-02-10, 02:19 PM
Hmmm... or, perhaps, using a regular deck of cards, assign each suit to an intelligence agency... Say, Spades is CIA, Clubs is MI-6, Hearts is KGB and Diamonds is MSS (Chinese security). Each player has someone they're representing, and they're trying to build up a strong hand, while preventing others from getting a useful hand... so the CIA agent might burn a 9 of Hearts, taking it out of play for the KGB player, but they might trade some low-value Diamonds to MSS for a Spade they need, and hope the Chinese Player can't turn those diamonds into a straight or something.

This is a really good idea, you could make a game out of this one mechanic