Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's all in the (Fortune) cards

Back when I was experimenting with d20 games to play with my son I spent some time with Big Eyes, Small Mouth d20.  In that game there is a character class call Pet Monster Hunter, which is supposed to mimic the anime tropes of various monster fighting shows. Think Pokemon, Yugi-oh! and others.  My son, being a huge Pokemon fan opted for this class right away, and since he was very young at the time most of his pet monsters were various Pokemon critters.  Now I am not sure about you, but I have not run into many stats for cute fuzzy fighting monsters.  To me it was just easier to use Pokemon.  One day my son wanted to bring his actual Pokemon cards and use them in play, sort of a game within the game.  I knew that A. it would work, but B. I needed to limit the cards he brought to the table.  So based on the power level of his character (the book tells you how many monsters you can have) I said he could bring in X number of cards.  It worked out well.
We later discovered that it worked just as well for his small collection of Yugioh cards, some deck of monster cards I got free at a Con sometime back and nearly everything.  The cards did their own damage (as dictated by their own game) to each other it worked great.

When playing C. J. Carella's WitchCraft I have a deck of Tarot cards I use sometimes in place of dice.  The cards are shuffled and drawn instead of rolling a d10.  If a suit card comes up then we play it like the "Rule of 10" plus something extra.  If a Major Arcana comes up then something weird and special happens.

Where am I going with this?

Well WotC has announced that they are going to start implementing a new set of "Fortune Cards" to D&D. And of course people are complaining.

Man, somedays I swear dealing with gamers is worse than dealing with 3-year olds.

Fortune cards, briefly, are sold in packs of 8 for about 4 bucks.  The cards basically detail something that can happen in an encounter.  The example they give is when you or an ally adjacent to you fails a save, you can pull a card for a re-roll.  Game shattering to be sure.

I also should point out that these cards are designed to be used with "Wizards Play Network programs and other D&D organized play games in 2011" and "It's important to point out that Fortune Cards are not a requirement for D&D play".
But that has not stopped the cries of "Oh noes! Its teh death of D&D!  Wizards is ruining it!!"

I hope Wizard's makes an absolute ton of money on these.

I might allow them in my game, I might not.  I'll have to buy a couple packs to be sure (see there, WotC is at least getting 8 bucks from me and I am not even sure I'll use them).  It's just a funky little edition to the game.

Who knows the text on the cards might even be worded generically enough that they can be used with ANY version of D&D.  Miss a saving throw in the Tomb of Horrors?  Not now! I have my "Re-roll a save card" who is to say that save is a D&D4 style death saving throw,  a D&D3 Fortitude save or a Save vs. Poison?

Just like Pokemon, I'd limit the number of cards a player could bring to the table.  And is this such a big deal? I mean who am I talking about here?  My "players" are my kids and I have control what they the rest of the time as well and that includes what they buy and how often they get to the game store.  But even if someone new comes in I can still say "house rules are no Drow and only 1 Fortune card for every 3 levels".

And it is nothing new. Paizo has their Plot Twist Cards and didn't Torg have some sort of fate card as well? And according to some, Dave Arneson even used something very similar.

Much ado about nothing I say.


Joshua Sherrer said...

I don't have a problem with these at all. Like you pointed out, Arneson used something similar. I have considered using the idea some but haven't figured out the hows and whys yet.

I don't get why people who don't like what WOTC is doing just focus on what they like and leave the crying at home.

Anonymous said...

I think the cards are OK if the DM hands them out as rewards or one shot "treasures". But if players start building decks then it begins to feel like MTG and players will feel pressure to buy these cards just to "keep up" with other members of the party who have decks.

Unknown said...

I will be using these (and am actually looking forward to them) but as a DM. I will not allow my players to bring them. Instead I will hand them out as rewards for doing things in-game and out. Bring pizza three weeks in a row for everyone-get a card. Say something so funny it makes me snarf-get a card. Solved the plot in the first 5 minutes-get a card (and my undying hatred). Complete one of my achievements-get a card.

I see these as ways to reward a player with a small perk. I also like the fact it is random. What will the player draw? Let's find out!

As for people complaining about them? My perspective is that they are looking for reasons to validate their dislike of 4E. They are clutching at this straw as "yet another reason 4E blows".

Timothy S. Brannan said...

So sorta like handing out Drama points. Cool idea.

Tim Knight said...

Thank God for a voice of calm and reason ;) I think the whole implosion of the "D&D hardcore" over this is hilarious - it's like, once again, they believe WoTC will be coming into their homes and forcing them at gunpoint to use these cards!

I get the impression that 99% (probably higher) of the moaners aren't even 4e players, yet somehow this latest 'gimmick' (which isn't that new because other games have been doing it for ages) is the end of all life as we know it!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Agreed. It seems like that most of the complaining is coming from people that have admitted that they are not playing 4e anyway.

Tim Knight said...

I admit I've played 4e once, didn't hate it but it wasn't for me, but I love the idea of this kind of card - I first encountered it with Pinnacle's Savage Worlds, but Paizo now does them for Pathfinder (3rd Edition D&D) and no-one went all apocalyptic when they appeared ;)

Personally I prefer the idea that the GM holds the cards and hands them out, rather than players having their own - easily-rigged - decks, but as I don't use them anyway in my games and it's very unlikely we'll ever play 4e as a group, the hubbub is irrelevant to me anyway :D

Tommy Brownell said...

The *only* part that is a remote turnoff for me is the "booster pack" thing. At this point, I wanna know precisely what I'm spending money on.

I'm pretty hardcore about Savage Worlds and I love their Adventure Deck. It's a mainstay in every game that I run.

That said, I'm also ultimately unfazed because D&D is a non-issue for me and, as Josh recommended above, I just focus on what I like...=)

velaran said...

These cards are irrelevant to anything other than WOTC's bottom line, that's kinda the point.
Similarly, TSR came up with an Adventure Design deck that would supposedly allow you to play without a GM.(To be continuously expanded, of course!) These cards aren't quite that ridiculous, but they are equally unnecessary.(Except for WOTC, they need your money!) There are valid reasons to object to this, not just 'haters gonna hate'. And the some days 'gamers are worse than three year olds' comment is hilarious when juxtaposed with the remark about how you want WOTC to make a ton of money off this just to spite the vocal dissenters...(I also wonder at your experience with bunches of pre-teens... You must have a way with them! :-)) These products should be available according to preference, and those who elect not to use them at their table won't care.

'A new edition to the game'-prophetic typo?

Interesting blog.