Keeping My Hands Off My Deck

… or not. I’m working around the edges of a card-based crawl game. I don’t know all the resolution mechanics yet, but I’m starting to see the shape of it.

  • Probably co-op (adventuring party)
    • Possibly competitive co-op: party has a shared goal, but each PC might have individual goals that score as well.
  • Card-based play. Randomness lies in the draw of the cards, card resolution is deterministic.
  • Hand management: strict limit to number of cards in hand and in play (stacks in play — if one card augments another, they count as a single card for hand purposes). Probably 5 or 7 cards, might get extended by certain powers or at certain levels.
    • You can play more than one card (major and minor actions?) each round.
    • End of each round you can draw up to 2 cards and keep up to your limit (if limit is 7 and you have 6 cards, you can draw 2 and discard any of the 8 you now hold — except curses).
  • Fatigue: if you are required to draw a card and cannot, you are exhausted and can only provide minor support (per Sentinels of the Multiverse hero cards).
    • Deck resets when team leaves a dungeon.
    • Deck resets when team defeats a boss.
  • Wounds: if you take damage you must discard from your hand/equipped or deck (running your cards out faster).
    • Hard mode: bury cards starting from hand/equipped, deck, then discard pile. Buried cards are not available on deck reset, but healing will restore them.
    • Wounds cannot be paid with curse cards.
  • Deck-building: hero decks build up over time.
    • Encounter rewards are added to a player’s deck (discard pile; must reset to be able to use).
    • Probably can spend cards from hand to buy new cards (to discard pile). Might not allow buying new cards in a boss fight.
    • Cannot spend curse cards to buy new cards.
  • Hero cards have two levels (chosen from martial, arcane, divine, skill; both levels do not need to be the same type) and a specific ability (which might be keyed to level and level type). Probably also have a keyword or two.
  • Gaining levels: defeating a boss makes two level cards available.
    • Each level card typically represents ability taken from defeated boss or ability representing defeating boss (defeating the Necromancer might mean you gain Guardian of Life to represent your being champion of the forces of life, or it might mean you gain Dread Arcanist to represent you learning knowledge of death magic).
    • Level cards can be applied any time before leaving the dungeon. You’d likely want to see all options available before assigning.
    • Each hero can gain only one level card per dungeon.
    • Level card increases level in one axis (martial, arcane, divine, skill) and keyword (special ability).
    • Level cards are applied to hero card, not added to draw deck.
  • Equipment cards typically represent objects with persistent effects, such as weapons or armor.
    • May be equipped (placed on table); still count against hand size.
    • May be augmented (other card added to equipped card to increase effect); augmenting cards do not count against hand size (already covered by item being augmented).
  • Spell cards typically represent magical effects.
    • May be immediate or persistent; if immediate may be played directly from hand, if persistent get ‘equipped’ and count against hand size.
    • Effects may depend on or be augmented by arcane or divine level.
    • Availability or usability might be constrained by arcane or divine level.
  • Technique cards are mundane ‘spell cards’.
    • May be immediate or persistent; if immediate may be played directly from hand, if persistent get ‘equipped’ and count against hand size.
    • Effects may depend on or be augmented by martial or skill level.
    • Availability or usability might be constrained by martial or skill level.
  • Might be ‘gish cards’.
    • May be immediate or persistent; if immediate may be played directly from hand, if persistent get ‘equipped’ and count against hand size.
    • Effects may depend on or be augmented by (martial|skill) and (arcane|divine) level, probably using the lower of the two or the sum of the two.
  • Curse cards are added to heroes’ hands under certain circumstances (described below). Added to deck normally and when drawn can be held in hand ‘with no effect’ beyond tying up hand real estate. When played may have immediate effect (and get discarded) or ongoing effect (lasts longer and may tie up an equipment slot as normal). Cannot be discarded or buried for damage.
    • Starting a dungeon but not completing gives each hero a curse card specific to that dungeon.
    • Encountering a boss but running away gives each hero a curse card specific to that boss.
    • Defeating the source of the curse removes the curse,
  • Card effects are deterministic. Play (or activate) card, effect happens.

Initial thoughts, and subject to change. Also, very flow of thought.

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  1. Pingback: Just Decking Around | In My Campaign - Thoughts on RPG design and play

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