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Author Topic: [d8 system] Using a playing card pool instead of dice  (Read 1265 times)
Immunis
Member

Posts: 11


« on: June 20, 2006, 12:41:12 AM »

I am in the process of writing my own ‘Universal Heartbreaker’, it’s a system that is trying to provide enough flexibility for any ‘age of gun’ background, i.e. from 1800 to 2100ish. The system was originally planned around using attribute + skill + d8 for almost every test in the game, thus aiding consistency and quick play.

I have got around the attribute tests not scaling with attribute + skill tests by having skills ranging from –4 (untrained) to +4 (master), with 0 being skilled. Thus everybody is automatically skilled with his or her basic attributes. Attributes range from 1 to 8.

The light bulb that pinged in my head yesterday however went along the lines of ‘Get rid of the dice for all skill tests, and give the players a pool of playing cards from 1 to 8, they must use all 8 cards before getting the pool refreshed’. This would add a level of control for the players on how much ‘effort’ the character was going to put into each skill test. Also with the addition of a few extra rules the card pool will support good role-play. I have come up with these extra card management rules.

You may burn a card without needing a test every time you play to one of your flaws
You may play a card as that card + 2 if you spend extra time over the action (3 times normal?)
You may give a card to a team mate as that card –1 if you describe how you are helping that team mate
The GM may give extra cards including 9’s and 10’s for good play, especially in a ’pulp adventure’ session
The GM may remove cards from the player’s pool to show the effects of terror or injury
The card pool is refreshed at the beginning of every session (3 hours for my group)
The GM will give clues but not a fixed value on the target for the skill test i.e. an easy test can be from 2 to 4 in value and a moderate test from 4 to 6.
The GM could pull a card and have the suit decide the exact test target within the target range. (I’m really not sure about this one)

Other dice rolls in the game such as weapon damage or NPC actions would still use the normal d8 based rolls for speed.

My knowledge of modern RPG systems is rather hit and miss but does any other system currently use a fixed value dice or card pool system? I would like to review them for ideas on making the card pool work smoothly. Any other feedback and suggestions are also welcomed, also do you have any ideas on using picture cards or aces, possibly more as a narrative mechanic.

Thanks

Julian
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2006, 01:09:07 PM »

Quote
My knowledge of modern RPG systems is rather hit and miss but does any other system currently use a fixed value dice or card pool system? I would like to review them for ideas on making the card pool work smoothly. Any other feedback and suggestions are also welcomed, also do you have any ideas on using picture cards or aces, possibly more as a narrative mechanic.

First of all, I'd like to say that this is something I like !! I don't know of any rpg using this kind of system, but it reminds me of the card system of a game of throne, the boardgame. Just to make long story short, when two forces oppose each other, players don't throw dices, but choose a card from their hand, and add its strength to the total forces. Each player begins the game with a set of seven cards, each having a different value (some stronger than others). You don't get your cards back until you have played all of them. This mechanic is very fun. Not only does it remove the random effect, but the management of the cards is very important.

Maybe, just a couple of ideas that come to my mind :
- since you don't use dices, why limit yourself to numbers on the cards ? Why not add abilities to them ?
- Do the DM would have some cards too ? That could be fun. If the DM uses his strongest cards on a challenge, then the players know that for the next one, if he still have cards in his hands, that the DM won't be able to push very far.

I believe one of the nice things about those kind of systems is that you always need to evaluate any conflict. Is it worth it ? And maybe the most important aspect is knowing when to lose...
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Immunis
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2006, 01:59:47 PM »

Thanks for the feedback pells

Quote
it reminds me of the card system of a game of throne, the boardgame

It's board games like a Game of Thrones, San Juan and Torres that my mind was reacting to when I had the idea. Board game mechanics have moved on massively in the past five years and can provide loads of inspiration for RPG rules. The only problem I see is that they tend to be competative rules while I play RPGs for their co-operative nature.

Quote
why limit yourself to numbers on the cards ? Why not add abilities to them ?

I have been thinking about this today and the first fruits of this line was in using the aces. They could be used as a straight value 1 card or the player can take the 'do or die' option, a straight 50/50 chance on a critical hit or miss.
I am not sure that I want special plays for all the cards but to allow an alternative way of playing the weaker ones would be good.

Quote
Do the DM would have some cards too ? That could be fun. If the DM uses his strongest cards on a challenge, then the players know that for the next one, if he still have cards in his hands, that the DM won't be able to push very far.

For the GM I am thinking that most NPCs will use d8 but the boss monsters will get a card hand to use as the players will.

I need to keep this fairly simple to start with so that we can revert back to d8 play if the card play doesn't work out, I don't want to waste all the development time I have done so far on the campaign and mechanics. 
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Aaron
Member

Posts: 102


« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2006, 10:43:33 PM »

I like the idea of the card system as well.  I can see it being a very cool mechanic providing the possibility of a game within a game.

Now for hopefully helpful feedback

Giving a card to a team mate.  Your probably going to have to work on this one a bit to make sure players don't just "throw away" their low cards on pointless help attempts.
Same goes for the loosing cards to injury or terror.  How are you going to inflict an injury on a character who only holds 1 card and it is a 1?

I think you could definately use cards for all NPC's actions as well.  In fact I think it would be unfair not to.  The PC's have no real chance of getting two 8's in a row using cards but NPC's have.  Vise versa with 1's.
Solution?  Well how about a deck of cards for the NPC's to draw on?  With a deck you could weight it one way or the other.  Put fewer 8's and 1's in, have more 4's and 5's so that the average comes out.  Then as an NPC does something, flip a card.
This could work well for opposed tests too.  GM hints at NPCs skill value(as per tests) PC chooses his card and GM flips the top of the deck. Could be fun.

Some quick ideas I was having.  I realy do like the idea.
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Altharis
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2006, 04:59:02 PM »

I like it, It sounds like "The Pool of Lady Luck" system my GM once used. People could opt to take a stone out of the bag and see what colour it was, black they failed at whatever they where doing. White, they succeeded. One thing I liked about it was that luck payed itself back threefold. You got a White stone and it was more likely to draw black stones. You got black and you've helped the rest of the team by clearing up some bad luck.

I reckon this could be a bit like that, use your good luck too quick and you'll be stuffed later.

I think it should emphasise on that.
Altharis
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