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theVoidWatches
2018-12-09, 11:21 PM
I play and enjoy a lot of games with character decks, and I've been wondering what a 5e class that uses a deck of cards as its mechanics would look like. This is just me spit-balling ideas in no particularly order, and hopefully coming up with a very rough outline by the end - feel free to contribute. I'm going to collapse most of it into spoilers if you want to look at my thought process, and have my occasional summations outside.

So, the idea is that you have a hand of cards which each have a power on them. Something like "attack and deal an extra X damage", or "attack with a +X bonus". Maybe even cards that cast spells? After using a card it would have to be discarded until your next rest (long or short?) Or maybe some cards get discarded until a rest, while others get reshuffled back into the deck or put in a discard to be reshuffled later.


Random thought: if there are cards that let you draw extra cards, or choose what you draw, they're probably powerful - that's how card games work. Similarly, cards that let you play more cards than you should be able to, or give you extra actions (which might end up as the same thing) will be strong - that's how DnD works.

Different cards probably have different action costs. Maybe there's a card that lets you dash as a bonus action - it would probably be a card that has a bonus-action cost and lets you dash with no action, I guess. Other cards have an action cost. You can play as many cards as you want, as long as you have the actions to do it.

Random thought: this means you can play two cards on your turn. Do you draw back up to your hand size, or do you draw just one card? Do you do that at the beginning or end of your turn?
Ra
That makes me think about hand size. Depending on what the size of your hand is, the class could be overly strong or overly weak. Maybe your hand size increases at each tier? Levels 1-5 you only have 3 cards in your hand, but at level 6 you get to hold 4. Level 11 gives you a 5 card hand, level 17 gives you 6.


So far what I have is this: your turn starts with you drawing back up to your hand limit. You can play any cards you want, but most cards have an action cost. That means, mostly, you can play three cards in a round - action, bonus action, reaction. That demands that you have appropriate cards to play, though...


Thought - what if you have no cards appropriate to play? You should have cards equivalent to cantrips - that you can play whenever you want and which are essentially your basic attack. My first thought for how that works is that after being played, they get put back into your hand. That means your hand size probably needs to be a little bit larger than my first instinct said, so you have room for a basic attack card in it.

Tangential Thought: if you have multiple cantrip cards, your hand could get filled up and leave no room for anything else. Maybe when you draw a cantrip card, you have to discard any others in your hand? Or rather it specifies that you have to discard a cantrip card when drawn - if you don't like the new one (maybe you drew a utility cantrip card, but you're in combat) you can discard it instead of the one you had already.

Hm. How do you get cards? If you get a new card every level, your deck will be way larger at level 20 than level 1. That generally appeals to me, but larger decks are weaker in some ways that small decks - you get to good cards faster, after all. If you had to opportunity to replace a card each level, your deck probably stays the same size... Maybe every level you get a new card, and every other level you get to drop an old one?

Having your cards be infinite (because they go back into your deck, maybe even straight onto the bottom) would be pretty strong, although not as strong as infinite uses of abilities is generally speaking, since you have a limited subset of them available at any one time. Some cards definitely need to be exiled after playing - those would be cards that come back on a (long/short) rest - not sure which this class would be based around yet.

How are your cards made available? I guess there should be a list of cards you pick from, assuming you qualify for them by being high enough level. Maybe each subclass also gives you access to some other cards. That makes sense - a subclass can a mechanical/flavorful theme for your cards. Maybe there's one that gives you greater choice by having you draw one extra card and discarding one card every turn (which might upgrade as you go) - its cards would similarly be about making sure you get good cards. Another could make things more random by letting you play a random card at no cost every turn. I dunno, that can come later.

Another thought regarding "getting good cards" - the reason to play a cantrip card would be that the other cards in your hand aren't applicable. If the cantrip then goes back into your hand, then your hand hasn't changed. Maybe you can discard a card from your hand whenever your play a cantrip, or maybe your cantrips require discarding another card. Maybe they even work differently depending on what the discarded card was. This is probably made simplest by having each card have a value or tag attached to it - say, a damage type and a number. Your cantrip card requires you to discard another card from your hand, and (depending on the cantrip you're using) either its damage type changes or it gets a numerical bonus depending on what you sacrificed to play it.

That also allows for other cards which need you to sacrifice cards to play.


So, you have cantrip-equivalent cards which return to your hand after you play them. Using those cards requires you to also spend another card from your hand, so that your hand will actually change if none of it was applicable and you needed to use a cantrip card. As part of this, cards will have some sort of numerical and thematic tag which will affect cantrip cards, and possible other cards that require sacrificial play.

Every level you'll get to pick a new card to add to your deck - every other level you can drop a card from your deck if you choose to, so that your deck can be a manageable size but not so small that you only have the best cards. Like warlock invocations, your choices for cards consist of a basic list that's expanded by your subclass.


Back to random musings...

There probably aren't a huge amount of cards, because this isn't a pre-built thing where you have 1 card that deals high damage to 3 cards that deal less damage... unless it can be? Maybe some cards you buy come as multiple cards into your deck. At one level up you could choose between, say... adding a single card that deals 6d6 damage as a spell attack and is exiled after use, or adding two cards that deal 3d6 damage as a spell attack and are exiled after use, or three cards that deal 2d6 damage and go back into your deck after use. Does that make any sense as a trade-off?

I think I'm liking the sound of that. You might end up building a deck that's only cards which exile after use, so you have to pay attention to your resources, like a spellcaster. Or you could build one where you have only cards which are discarded after use, so you'll always have cards to play.

How does this work outside of combat, though? Maybe alongside your deck of combat cards you also get out-of-combat abilities, which would come more as base class features than as cards you get to use. These could work based on rests... or, alternatively, maybe to use them you have to preemptively exile cards, which you wouldn't be able to use in the next combat. I think I like that idea. Since as established earlier, your cards have numerical tags, each ability says "exile cards worth X amount or greater" and then you can use them. That maybe keeps things on an even-ish level whether your deck is a few powerful cards or lots of weak ones, whereas if it was "exile X number of cards" then people with larger decks can use their utility powers more.


Last summation... out-of-combat utility/rp abilities come as class features instead of cards in your deck, and work by exiling cards worth a certain amount.

Potato_Priest
2018-12-09, 11:47 PM
So, first off, I love this basic idea. There's a game called Card Hunter which operates on a sort of similar mechanic, and this is reminding me of that. I'll probably add questions/suggestions/critiques to this post as I think about it, but to start off with I've got this.


So, you have cantrip-equivalent cards which return to your hand after you play them. Using those cards requires you to also spend another card from your hand, so that your hand will actually change if none of it was applicable and you needed to use a cantrip card.

You've already said that some cards get discarded until your next rest, ie the ones that stand in for the more powerful and limited abilities. Couldn't cantrips and their equivalents be not discarded, but just put back in the deck? It'd keep your hand from filling up with them, but also make them useable an unlimited number of times per day. This might mean that you would sometimes get stuck with out a cantrip-level attackk in your hand, but there are also always actions available other than "use my deck of cards to do things". Your character might carry a crossbow for just such occasions. If you don't play a card on your turn you would also be able to put one of them back in the deck.


Last summation... out-of-combat utility/rp abilities come as class features instead of cards in your deck, and work by exiling cards worth a certain amount.

Seems to me it might be easier to have all of your out-of combat abilities be at will, sort of like the rogue. Or failing that, you could just take however many cards, sight unseen, from the top of your deck and put them in the discard for the rest of the day. It'd be more risky and more potentially beneficial for sure, but you don't play a card-based class if you don't want the thrill of the element of chance.

theVoidWatches
2018-12-10, 12:03 AM
Cantrips could definitely go right back into the deck, and that would work fine - but by having them stay in your hand it creates a third tier, underneath both cards that are discarded and cards that are exiled after use. Things that can be used only a few times, things that can be used on a regular basis, and things that can be used whenever you want. On the other hand, chance really is the point of this class, so maybe they should just be cards that you have the most of from any others, and if you don't play then you discard (if you do have a cantrip card you still discard a card with it - discarding instead of playing is your last resort).

You're right, you wouldn't play this unless you have the element of chance. And now that I think about it, boosting the power of a deck of nothing by weak cards is probably for the best anyway.

Vogie
2018-12-10, 01:07 AM
How I'd do it is with a blend of Sorcerer and Warlock style of 5e mechanics and card drafting based on Dominion. You're going to have a decently strong cantrip, and low numbers of spells known. This would be because you have a high potential number of spells known over time, but not all reliably available at any one point. The cards themselves will be a wild combination of the Spells, and class features like feats, Battlemaster maneuvers, Warlock Invocations, and Sorcerous metamagics... I'll allude to them using the Warlock & Sorcerer mechanic names for clarity. For lack of a better name, I'll refer to this class as a Cardmaster.

You start off with a single offensive cantrip, allowing you to throw any card for a small, but reliable amount of damage. It's a combination of Magic Stone and Eldritch Blast - tossing up to one card per action at level 1, 2 at level 5, 3 at level 10 and 4 at level 15.

You start with a preset number of cards, and then you can draft them into a deck over time. You'd create it in a Dominion-style way, with some cards manipulating your existing cards, and each time you make an attack or spell cast, you would toss your entire hand and draw a new hand of cards for your next turn. At early levels, you'll likely go through your deck a couple of times each encounter.

All of your class features would also be cards that enter into your deck. Sometimes they'll be useful in the heat of battle, other times not so much - like the Dominion victory point cards. Even your equipped weapons will provide cards to you, like the game Card Hunter that Potato_Priest mentioned. An equipped sword, for example, may give the cardmaster an "arcing slash" card while an equipped dagger may give a "sly flourish" card.

You'll have a variant of the Ritual Casting ability, allowing you to use any of the cards in your deck, provided you take a full minute to do so.

There will be a small set of cards you can set aside to not have in your deck, but still have - without trashing them. This "sideboard" will become available around level 5 or 6, and get slowly bigger over time.

You'd have a level 3 ability not unlike a Warlock's pact boon, allowing you to further manipulate your cards in a focused way. "Tome" cardmaster might be able to pick up and research other classes' spells, creating cards similar to your teammates, or from scrolls found along the way. A "Chain" cardmaster has a familiar with their own smaller hand of cards they can also use, allowing the cardmaster more potential options. A "Blade" cardmaster has weapon proficiencies and can gish it up a bit, storing their weapon-based cards in their weapons, and using them repeatedly in lieu of the normal cantrip attack.

You have a combination of regular cards and duration cards that hang around for a set period of time, not unlike the concentration mechanic. Some cards that alter how you play cards. A card based on the spell Hex, for example, will persist until you play another lingering card. A Vampiric Touch card, for example, may just increase the damage from your cantrip attack while giving you healing based on damage dealt, as long as you're concentrating on it. An Evil Twin card allows you to strike 2 targets with your next attack... whatever that is. The Agonizing card, which gives +Ability Mod to your cantrip damage for the rest of the encounter, is only available once you've found the thing in your deck during that combat (at the beginning of combat? the end? only the cards will tell).

Having a cardmaster in the party alters how loot is generated. When you take down a sentient NPC, there's a chance that NPC is a cardmaster themselves, and the cardmaster may be able to loot some of the NPC's cards to add to their own deck. It's not guaranteed, but a distinct possibility. Bandits may have Ambush cards, Pirates may have treasure finding, swim speed or water breathing cards, and magic user characters would have cards with their spells or arcane shots on them.

Upon leveling up, you'd receive your class feature cards, and then a small menu of potential new cards to draft in based on things you've seen or what the DM has cooked up. You can draft a number of cards based on your proficiency in the cardhunter class. For example, you're level five, and instead of learning a single spell, which you can play anytime, you get to choose 3 cards and add to your deck... you might take 2 darkness cards and a trip attack card, for example.

sandmote
2018-12-10, 01:16 AM
You could probably add a base ability that says "As an action, put X cards from your hand back into your deck. Draw X cards. You can use this ability 1 + your [primary stat] modifier times per long rest." I think that would be the simplest version to avoid having no useful cards. You can't use it to draw a specific card out of combat, but the punishment in combat isn't the worst.

Also I'd give proficiency with simple weapon/crossbows and a few (weaker) cantrips as a baseline, and discard every card after using it, refilling your deck on the end of a long rest. Give the abilities from the cars more times per long rest than the spellcasters can use equally good abilities, but the card based class can't always use them when they need them most.

I think that's reasonable for the player to handle, instead of three types of cards.

Edit: making a long edit...The Long edit:

If you base the class around long rests, I'm thinking you could have the player have X copies of their Y cards in their deck.

So at 1st level, you have 1 copy of each of 2 cards in your hand of 2. ie. you can cast each of your cards once each long rest whenever you want.

At 2nd level, you have 2 copies of each of 2 cards with your hand of 2. Now you've got a deck, and you're trading flexibility for an extra use of these abilities (compared to full casters).

At 3rd level, you have 2 copies of each of 3 cards with your hand of 3, with one of the cards being a 2nd level card or having the prerequisite of being 3rd level (2nd level cards look better to me: you could specifically allow adding lower level cards to your deck at higher levels).

I'm not sure about higher levels, (where balancing this seems to break down when comparing the total number of cards you have vs. the number of different cards you have), but that might be reasonable for easing the player into the deck mechanic. Yeah, having some cards say "discard this" vs others saying "shuffle this back into your deck," might be more reasonable for the final power level of the character. You can have more total cards than the spellcasters have spell slots, but not all the cards are significantly more powerful.

My only comment on Vogie's suggestion is that it needs the names (if not what the cards do) standardized with existing elements of 5e, and weapons/cantrips/base abilities should probably be used normally rather than grant bonus cards. I enjoy DMs handing out extra spells/skills/abilities to the characters, but there should be a standard progression written out.

Vogie
2018-12-10, 09:17 AM
So at 1st level, you have 1 copy of each of 2 cards in your hand of 2. ie. you can cast each of your cards once each long rest whenever you want.


I really like the idea of abilities that you can scale from occasionally-long rest-short rest-multiple times per rest-at will, just by having the number of cards of that ability.


My only comment on Vogie's suggestion is that it needs the names (if not what the cards do) standardized with existing elements of 5e, and weapons/cantrips/base abilities should probably be used normally rather than grant bonus cards. I enjoy DMs handing out extra spells/skills/abilities to the characters, but there should be a standard progression written out.

I'm sorry for being misunderstood: I wanted them to be a both/and, not either/or. If you have a dagger, you use that dagger like everyone else... but you also get "dagger" cards as part of the deck. When you get the extra attacks class feature with your base attack / class cantrip variant (depending on how you build the class), that's both a class feature AND a card in the deck.

An example would be (if this class has a fighting style feature) the Archery Fighting Style. When you select the class feature for +2 to hit on ranged attacks, you get that, full stop. You ALSO get an "Archery Fighting Style" card that states that, and when you use that card as your base attack you may get a slightly better version that effect, but only for that turn.

You will always have a the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Attack, Help, Hide, Search, Cast Spell & Use Object actions available, as you're still a 5e player character... but you would also have those 9 abilities as cards in the deck. This is similar to TheVoidWatches idea -You can always use your action to Dash, but if you have the "Dash" card, you can Dash as a bonus action that turn. Similarly, the "Expeditious Retreat" card will give you the ability to can make any card a bonus-action-dash for that duration, not just the Dash card, as long as you're concentrating on it.

When you level up, you can also draft cards from your earlier features to make them more common pulls. You could also move class features to your sideboard so the noncombat or passive/ribbon class features are out of the way.

I didn't think about it before, but you could also have cards that just hang around for a long period of time, like the constructs from Ascension or the Artifact/Enchantment cards from Magic: the Gathering. This way you could have more repeatable effects or contingent features that are hanging around.

sandmote
2018-12-10, 02:28 PM
My main concern here is writing things out so that they stay intelligible, and build up both the deck and your abilities at a reasonable pace.


I really like the idea of abilities that you can scale from occasionally-long rest-short rest-multiple times per rest-at will, just by having the number of cards of that ability.
Any suggestions for how to balance that? You'd have multiple cards of wildly different power levels, and then, what, change how often you can use them as you level?



I'm sorry for being misunderstood: I wanted them to be a both/and, not either/or. If you have a dagger, you use that dagger like everyone else... but you also get "dagger" cards as part of the deck. When you get the extra attacks class feature with your base attack / class cantrip variant (depending on how you build the class), that's both a class feature AND a card in the deck.

An example would be (if this class has a fighting style feature) the Archery Fighting Style. When you select the class feature for +2 to hit on ranged attacks, you get that, full stop. You ALSO get an "Archery Fighting Style" card that states that, and when you use that card as your base attack you may get a slightly better version that effect, but only for that turn.

My issue is granting "dagger cards" for holding a dagger, because that can get complicated when you switch weapons. Although you might need to limit "use simple weapon" to a base card so the cards that go back into your deck after being used aren't overly powerful.


You will always have a the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Attack, Help, Hide, Search, Cast Spell & Use Object actions available, as you're still a 5e player character... but you would also have those 9 abilities as cards in the deck. This is similar to TheVoidWatches idea -You can always use your action to Dash, but if you have the "Dash" card, you can Dash as a bonus action that turn. Similarly, the "Expeditious Retreat" card will give you the ability to can make any card a bonus-action-dash for that duration, not just the Dash card, as long as you're concentrating on it.

When you level up, you can also draft cards from your earlier features to make them more common pulls. You could also move class features to your sideboard so the noncombat or passive/ribbon class features are out of the way.

I didn't think about it before, but you could also have cards that just hang around for a long period of time, like the constructs from Ascension or the Artifact/Enchantment cards from Magic: the Gathering. This way you could have more repeatable effects or contingent features that are hanging around.

There's a lot of cool things you can do with the cards, but I'm looking at the basic way the deck operates.

If you discard each card after using it (and get them back after some rest) It's a pain to balance the number of cards against a spellcaster's spell slots.

If you discard some cards and put others back in the deck, you'll eventually end up with nothing but cards that go back in the deck. Although your examples might balance this out (as follows).

"Rapid Dash, Quick Disengage, or Instinctive Dodge (choose 2) are added to your list of cards." Each of those cards lets you use that ability as a bonus action, and then is shuffled back into the deck. Then a bit later you get cards that give the benefit of a fighting style, list when the fighting style applies (for you to play them) and are shuffled back into your deck. Would this pad out the deck enough for it to still be reasonable once the player is down to only the cards that are shuffled back into the deck when used?

By extension, the sideboard could become a high level feature to reduce the size of the deck, where cards are moved from the deck to the sideboard, becoming constant/at will abilities in the process. You'd probably want to limit this to cards that are shuffled back into the deck after being used, thereby giving the player incentive to grab multiple such cards over the course of their leveling.

Vogie
2018-12-10, 03:50 PM
Any suggestions for how to balance that? You'd have multiple cards of wildly different power levels, and then, what, change how often you can use them as you level?

No idea. Just throwing ideas against the wall.

Although, if you've ever played Magic, Hearthstone, or any other CCG, you've probably run into these types of deck. A deck of burn cards that does nothing until they have enough power to sling fireballs, and then they only do that, but if they run out of things to burn, or out of cards, they lose.

In my mind, it'd be somewhat like that. Sure, you can draft a bunch of firebolt-style damage cards, which makes you incredibly powerful... until you need something other than firebolt due to damage immunity. You need some CC, but you can't do anything because all you're drawing is more damage. On the other hand, you can draft a bunch of cards with a serious diversity of utility, and be forced to toss them as cantrips until you dig up your damage cards.


My issue is granting "dagger cards" for holding a dagger, because that can get complicated when you switch weapons. Although you might need to limit "use simple weapon" to a base card so the cards that go back into your deck after being used aren't overly powerful.

That's a good point. I got that concept from Card Hunter, where you can't change weapons in combat.


There's a lot of cool things you can do with the cards, but I'm looking at the basic way the deck operates.

If you discard each card after using it (and get them back after some rest) It's a pain to balance the number of cards against a spellcaster's spell slots.

No, I wanted it to emulate the deckbuilding game Dominion or Ascension rather than Poker or Magic. You are churning through your entire deck all the time, every hand, and when you can't draw any more cards, your discarded cards get shuffled and becomes your deck.


If you discard some cards and put others back in the deck, you'll eventually end up with nothing but cards that go back in the deck.

That is the plan.



"Rapid Dash, Quick Disengage, or Instinctive Dodge (choose 2) are added to your list of cards." Each of those cards lets you use that ability as a bonus action, and then is shuffled back into the deck. Then a bit later you get cards that give the benefit of a fighting style, list when the fighting style applies (for you to play them) and are shuffled back into your deck. Would this pad out the deck enough for it to still be reasonable once the player is down to only the cards that are shuffled back into the deck when used?

Something like that. All of the cards, save those you specifically choose to sacrifice for huge gain, should go back to your deck quickly.


By extension, the sideboard could become a high level feature to reduce the size of the deck, where cards are moved from the deck to the sideboard, becoming constant/at will abilities in the process. You'd probably want to limit this to cards that are shuffled back into the deck after being used, thereby giving the player incentive to grab multiple such cards over the course of their leveling.

No, the Sideboard is for things that you don't want in your deck during combat, or ever. Something like Fighting Styles, or increased healing on rests, or other ribbon features that you already have. Something like Mage Armor, or your water breathing card while you're in the middle of the desert.

This is getting harder to abstract-ualize, and so I'm going to start shopping together a cardmaster class

superninja109
2018-12-10, 07:08 PM
I love this idea. You could flavor it as a rune magician or something like this. You have a ton of different pre-made runes with certain effects, but it is hard to find all of your rune because you have a ton and store them all over your clothes and belongings. Or, to activate the runes, you use a burst of magic energy, but not all of the cards boot up at the same time.

Alternatively, you could flavor this as some sort chaos caster who knows how to manipulate the chaos in all sorts of ways, but the chaos needs to be currently in a certain state in order to do certain effects.

As for getting new cards, you could handle it something like wizards learning spells from spell scrolls. But, you can only have a maximum number of cards in your deck per level (which you can go under by eliminating cards every other level as you suggested), so if you get a cool new card, but your deck is maxed out, you can instead swap it with a card you currently have.

[Out of combat and some in combat abilities should be at will. You can theme these as either permanent runes tatooed on your body or certain chaos manipulations that are easy enough to do.
In order to get into combat mode, perhaps you have a standard bonus action that enables you to surge, releasing the surge of magic/chaos to boot up your effects, thus bringing your deck into play. You can only surge a certain amount of times per day, kinda like the barbarian rage.]

Alternatively, [You could do it, as you mentioned, where you only draw cards to fill up your hand. So, if you go for a long period without using any of your cards (say, out of combat) your hand remains available and the same because you have not expended any cards.]

I think that cards should only be used once per long rest. If you don't want a card to be wasted, you can use a bonus action to return it to your deck. Otherwise, if you use it, you can't use it again for the rest of the day.

This actually reminds me of a board game that a friend and I are making. You are wizards dueling and have a deck of spells. that you don't get all at once.

For subclasses, you could do one focused on more deck control and one focused on more power but also more randomness.

Overall, this sounds really cool, but I think it would be very hard to design well and balance do to all of the different moving parts you have to manage.

sandmote
2018-12-10, 07:42 PM
No, I wanted it to emulate the deckbuilding game Dominion or Ascension rather than Poker or Magic. You are churning through your entire deck all the time, every hand, and when you can't draw any more cards, your discarded cards get shuffled and becomes your deck.
I was comparing the two playstyles. I'm aware you are advocating for cards to be multi-use.


Although, if you've ever played Magic, Hearthstone, or any other CCG, you've probably run into these types of deck. A deck of burn cards that does nothing until they have enough power to sling fireballs, and then they only do that, but if they run out of things to burn, or out of cards, they lose.

In my mind, it'd be somewhat like that. Sure, you can draft a bunch of firebolt-style damage cards, which makes you incredibly powerful... until you need something other than firebolt due to damage immunity. You need some CC, but you can't do anything because all you're drawing is more damage. On the other hand, you can draft a bunch of cards with a serious diversity of utility, and be forced to toss them as cantrips until you dig up your damage cards.
My problem is that you are then saying your discarded cards become your new deck. At which point I don't see how you run out of cards or things to burn. Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Dominion or Ascension, so I might be confused on how that works.


Something like that. All of the cards, save those you specifically choose to sacrifice for huge gain, should go back to your deck quickly.
In which case I think out disagreement is what should constitute "huge gain." I am suggesting stronger cards are then discarded until the end of a long rest, while weaker cards are shuffled directly back in. So that "huge sacrifice" would be using up onw of your strong cards until you can get it back.


No, the Sideboard is for things that you don't want in your deck during combat, or ever. Something like Fighting Styles, or increased healing on rests, or other ribbon features that you already have. Something like Mage Armor, or your water breathing card while you're in the middle of the desert.
Then why not simply drop them from your deck?


I love this idea. You could flavor it as a rune magician or something like this. You have a ton of different pre-made runes with certain effects, but it is hard to find all of your rune because you have a ton and store them all over your clothes and belongings. Or, to activate the runes, you use a burst of magic energy, but not all of the cards boot up at the same time.

Alternatively, you could flavor this as some sort chaos caster who knows how to manipulate the chaos in all sorts of ways, but the chaos needs to be currently in a certain state in order to do certain effects.
I personally like the sound of runes better, although both are fairly good fluff.


As for getting new cards, you could handle it something like wizards learning spells from spell scrolls. But, you can only have a maximum number of cards in your deck per level (which you can go under by eliminating cards every other level as you suggested), so if you get a cool new card, but your deck is maxed out, you can instead swap it with a card you currently have.
Then you'd probably want to prepare runes/ect., so you have a thematic element to explain how this takes place.


I think that cards should only be used once per long rest. If you don't want a card to be wasted, you can use a bonus action to return it to your deck. Otherwise, if you use it, you can't use it again for the rest of the day.
I think it would be easier to manage the moving parts by breaking them into two groups. So you start with all your cards in your deck, and as you use them they're discarded or returned to your deck based on how strong they are. I think that would make it easier to handle the moving parts, as you wouldn't be able to use your bonus action to keep getting your strongest abilities back every time you use them.

theVoidWatches
2018-12-10, 08:55 PM
I think that having some cards which just go into your discard (which is shuffled to become the deck again when you run out of cards in your deck) and others that are lost until a rest is the best way to have a distinction between power levels of card.

The other big thing that seems to be in question atm is whether you play your whole hand every turn a la Dominion or Star Realms, or only cards that you have available actions for, a la games like Sentinels of the Multiverse or Red Dragon Inn. I think that the second makes more sense for something we're pasting into DnD than the first.

sandmote
2018-12-12, 07:26 PM
Okay. If this is still going, I can agree with both separate discard piles and matching cards to actions. I think for main mechanics that leaves how to refresh your hand when you don't have anything useful and how to handle hand size?

For the first one, I think an ability to use some action to discard and then redraw some cards would work better than cantrip cards. You could add cards that let you also discard and draw a card, but I think it would be overly complicated to have such cards as the main mechanic for when you don't have any good cards to play.

For hand size, I would either suggest drawing up to a maximum size at the end of your turn, or starting with a certain hand size at the end of a rest. I think the first works better, as cards could temporarily increase your hand size without the effect being punished by taking a rest. It would also simplify language for cards granting card draw (which would only need to tell you to discard another card from your hand).