Monday, February 7, 2011

D&D Fortune Cards for non-4e D&D

So I picked up a couple of packs of D&D fortune cards the other day.

So far I fail to see what the big deal is.  It adds another random element to play that can be fun.  They are really not all that different than say playing with Drama points, except that you don't get choose the effect they have when you use them.

Basically you start with a deck say of 30, 40 or 50 and then you shuffle them and draw a card each round.  You can hold or play your card.  Some have conditions that need to be met (you or an ally make a skill check) or when something happens to you (you are moved or teleported) or in combat.
Some negate some bad effect, other add a +2 to a roll or even say you can have 1/2 damage or extra damage depending on another roll.

So far I have seen a single card that I would say is a balance or game breaker.  There are some that might give a character an undo advantage, but I also see it as a way to help make combats interesting and constantly changing.

I also didn't see a thing in them that screamed "this is for 4e only".  In fact outside of some minor terminology I could see these working in any version of D&D you care to play.  Sure some would need to be tweaked, shifting has a particular meaning in 4e and saving throws mean something different.  But others would be perfectly fine to use in your favorite retro clone.

There have been some images of cards posted by Wizards, so lets look at them.
Here are two.

Get a Grip - Every version of D&D has a Saving Throw.  They might mean something different, but they have them and making them is good, not making them is bad.  If an ally fails their save, then play this card and they get a second chance.  Yeah-yeah you "save or you die" types are squealing, but frankly these cards were never for you to start with.

Grim Determination needs more definition, but not so much if you just say "bloodied mean half your hit points are gone".

While I may never use these cards in my 4e game, I am going to make a point of trying them out in at least one old-school game sometime soon just to see if they work out.


Darius Whiteplume said...

I have a 4e Cleric/Divine Oracle and to add some RP to him I bought Tarot cards. I don't know how to read them, and I don't want it to take an hour, so I do a three card Past/Present/Future layout, then try to see what the cards are supposed to mean. Luckily, the DM likes the idea and will incorporate the reading. Once our future showed uncertainty, and since the cards don't talk about _you_ in particular, when he had a monster with two good courses of action, he had it take no action.

Not totally related, but I could see these adding something if judiciously distributed.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I used to use Tarot cards all the time in C.J. Carella's WitchCraft all the time.

Though what I think is getting a lot of people is the collectible nature of the cards more so than the in-game effects.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Ugh. I can't get into CCGs. You should see the kids who play them at our local shop. They are all that new hybrid douche-nerd.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I play Pokemon with my kids and it is fun. Not as fun as D&D ming you, but the kids like it.

Rhonin84 said...

Hey WOTC how about putting out materials that we can really use, like the damn books you cancelled in favor of this!

I don't have an issue with the cards but not at the expense of books I would rather purchase...

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Greg: Last I read the same material is coming out, just in different places now.

Rhonin84 said...

Indeed, I would very much enjoy seeing where you read this?

I'm very curious about this...

Pun Isaac said...

I dig these cards. They remind me of adventure deck I used the few times I ran Savage Worlds.

I also like the fact that while their are different rarities of cards you won't have the normal CCG, "you have to spend money on the big rares or you're going to get beat" problem.

The Red DM said...

Thanks for offering some insight, and balanced perspective into these cards. I haven't been sure what to make of them since being overwhelmed by the negative attitudes on the internet.

You've got me thinking I should get my hands on a deck.

Rhonin84 said...

Just buy a pack, if you don't mind cards then they will be fine for you BUT for me, it's not DnD.