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  • paulbaalham

A Table-Top Role Playing Game Using Cards

This is only to do with Spaceship 47 because I need to get this idea out of my head, so that I can go back to working on Spaceship 47. If I were to go forward with this idea, I would probably use a Cyberpunk setting as I feel this system seems to suit a cyberpunk setting. However, I am using generic fantasy for the examples below.

First off, each player chooses their class and receives a deck of standard sized cards (6.3cm x 8.8cm) and a larger player card (8.8cm x 8.8cm) based on what class they chose. Below is an example of three of the standard sized cards for the Warrior and three of the standard sized cards for the Wizard.

Each card has a combat section (top row) and a skill section (bottom section). The skills are split into five different skills - Physique (humanoid figure holding their arms up), Perception (eye with arrow coming out of it), Dexterity (person walking on a tightrope), Intelligence (brain) and Talking (person talking into another person's ear).

Below are the larger cards for the Warrior and the Wizard, which contain the maximum health, backgrounds and defences for the character. The defences and maximum health would be pre-printed onto the card and are different depending on what class the player chose. The player writes their backgrounds onto the card and how many of their skill points that they wish to assign to each background (this is stolen from 13th Age).

Every time that the player wants their character to perform an action that has the potential to fail, the DM tells the player to draw cards. If one of the character's backgrounds is relevant to the skill check, then the player draws a number of cards equal to the skill points assigned to that background. For example, if the Warrior is in a tavern and wants to know where the local gang boss is, they could use their Barman background and therefore they would draw two cards when making the skill check. The DM would probably say it is a Talking check and if either of the two drawn cards had a Talking icon on it, then the player succeeded the check. If no Talking icon is drawn, then the player failed the check. If none of the character's backgrounds are relevant to the skill check, then the player draws one card.

Combat is done differently. When a combat starts, each player draws a card, the number inside the bracket next to the class name is their initiative - the decks would be constructed so that there would never be ties between any participants in the combat.

The monsters are written on 8.8cm x 8.8cm cards. Below are two examples of monster cards: a Dragon and a Goblin. The Dragon has two sides to it as it is a tougher opponent.

When attacking a monster, a player draws a card from their deck and lines the card up with the monster card. If their attack symbol matches a gap in the monster's defence, then they have hit. The example below on the left is a successful hit as the Warrior's sword icon lines up with a blank portion of the Dragon's defence. The example on the right is a failed attack because the Wizard's cast magic symbol lines up with a shield.

Once an attack hits, the player covers up that row of the monster's card with their card to show that the players are on to the next line of defence. This can be seen below. The players then need to match up an attack symbol with a gap in the next line of defence.

The Goblin is weaker and only requires two successful hits which is why there are only two lines of defence on their card. The Dragon requires four successful attacks to get it bloodied and for the card to flip over to the other side, where another four successful attacks will kill it.

There would be one attack deck for each monster role: Artillery., Brutes, Controllers, Lurkers and Skirmishers. Special creatures like Dragons would have extra cards shuffled into the attack deck to present an additional challenge.

When the player gets hit they reduce their current health by 1. When they get to 0, they die.

And that is pretty much it. I have no idea about how the race that the player chooses influences the card drawing system. Perhaps there are cards added to your deck which have text on them that give you abilities . For example, a Dwarf might be "If you are making an attack with an axe or hammer, draw two cards and use which ever card you want. If you are making a Physique skill check related to being poisoned then you pass the skill check.".

There are lots of drawbacks (and ones that I don't even know of yet), but the biggest one is that there is less scope for customising your character than in other Table-top RPGs, which is an appeal of RPGs over board games.

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