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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Am I really sticking with this terrible name? Well, I challenge anyone else to come up with a better one (come on, it can't be that hard) and I'll take it.

Anyway, recapping the basics.

*Each player has a full deck of playing cards, jokers included (they're wild cards).

*Each suit has a purpose. Clubs are for brute force, Spades for finesse, Diamonds for intellect, Hearts for fortitude. Using a suit for something other than the intended purpose makes an action Difficult (see below).

*There are two situations where a player might play a card. Tasks involve a simple, unopposed challenge. Struggles are turn-by-turn situations involving other characters and inflicting damage. Tasks involve a set target number, Struggles involve opposed playing cards.

*Difficult actions require you to play two cards of the same suit and both must beat the minimum target number. Only the highest counts for determining the value of the card played.


So, lets try and hammer out a few more basic mechanics. As stated before, every PC gets a deck of cards. At the start of the game they each draw a hand of 5. When attempting an action the PC must play one or more cards. Unless a special ability is used only the highest card is counted, determining the Card Value of the action. This must meet or beat the Target Number of a Task or the opponent's Card Value in a Struggle. Ties in a Struggle will go to the PC (or to the defender in PVP).

The GM gets a deck as well, but that's going to work differently. I'll deal with that a bit later.

Anyway, so player's get their deck and their hand. Cards played are discarded and the player immediately draws enough cards to bring themselves back up to 5. Once a player draws their entire deck then they become disabled (unconscious, exhausted, stunned or whatever). If a player is forced to discard every card (deck and hand both) then they're dead.



So, Tasks are pretty self-explanatory. It's any situation that a player must spend significant effort to try and resolve. Since a Task will consume some of a player's energy and fortitude (by whittling down their deck), there should never be any "easy" or "average" Tasks. Things like lifting a heavy bag or breaking a window are not things you should be expending cards for. Likewise, if a player could just keep trying over and over until they manage to succeed then don't bother making it a Task. Breaking down a door in one kick because you have to get into the room to stop an evil arcane ritual is a Task, battering a door to pieces over several rounds with your axe isn't. Here's some examples of suitable Tasks.

*2: Hurl a heavy object (50+ pounds).
*3: Break down a wooden door.
*4: Topple a man-sized boulder.
*5: Break down a reinforced door.
*6: Bring a galloping horse to a stop.
*7: Hurl a large person (250+ lbs) over a chasm.
*8: Break down a stone door.
*9: Topple a stone statue.
*10: Break down an iron door.
*Jack: Topple a giant statue
*Queen: Keep a dragon from flying off by holding it by the tail.
*King: Break down castle gates.
*Ace: Topple a stone tower.

*2: Cheat at cards
*3: sneak past your average guards.
*4: Climb a smooth stone wall.
*5: Rob a merchant blind.
*6: Pass yourself off as a well known public figure.
*7: Run across a tightrope
*8: Sneak past a pack of guard-dogs.
*9: Steal from the king's vault.
*10: Steal something that someone is currently holding without them noticing.
*Jack: Sneak past a sleeping dragon.
*Queen: Sneak past an alert dragon!
*King: Run safely through a trapped corridor, blindfolded.
*Ace: Impersonate a god.

*2: Recall a useful, obscure fact.
*3: Spot an ambush
*4: Solve a complicated puzzle. Win a riddle contest.
*5: Identify an obscure spell or artifact.
*6: Win a court case.
*7: Interpret ancient runes.
*8: Memorize the contents of a large book.
*9: Outsmart an ancient intellect.
*10: Win a needle-in-a-haystack finding contest.
*Jack: Invent a new concept or device.
*Queen: Mentally reconstruct a situation or environment from it's remnants.
*King: Memorize an entire library of information.
*Ace: With time, invent a world-changing concept or tool.

*2: Drink all night and awake bright and alert.
*3: Take a punch without flinching
*4: Consume rotten food and tainted water with no ill effects.
*5: Snort hot chili powder.
*6: Resist the effects of snake venom
*7: Resist torture without breaking.
*8: Touch a red-hot poker without flinching.
*9: Walk all night through a blizzard, naked.
*10: Survive an avalanche.
*Jack: Chug  a mug of hemlock.
*Queen: Chug a jug of dwarven moonshine.
*King: Shake off the black plague.
*Ace: Resist the curse of a vengeful god.



 Obviously, most struggles are going to be fights. Battling a horde of orcs, wrestling a minotaur, slaying the Rock-Beast of Blood Mountain, etc. However, it can be used for pretty much any extended contest: a wizard's battle of wills with a summoned demon, a drinking contest, or a spirited debate. But let's be honest...mostly fighting.

In a struggle each character involved takes turns acting. During your character's turn you may take one action that requires playing a card (an attack for instance or a Task) and one action that doesn't (such as running to reach an enemy or closing a door). Of course you can also yell to your comrades, scream a battle cry or what have you at the same time. In most Struggles a turn is just a few seconds long, so any actions have to be something that could be accomplished in that amount of time (so you could break a door or jam a trap but not write a letter). Remember, once you've played your card(s) you need to draw enough to bring yourself back up to 5.

When a character is the target of an action during another character's turn they may play cards in response to the action to attempt to defend against or overcome the action. If the defending character has the highest Card Value then the action has failed and there is no effect. If the acting character has the highest Card Value then the action has succeeded. If the action is an attack of some sort then the defender suffers damage equal to the difference in the CV.

When you suffer damage you must discard cards from your hand or blindly from the top of your deck, one card for each point of damage inflicted. This works a bit differently for NPCs who don't have their own individual decks

Once everyone has had a turn a new round will begin. To determine turn order (assuming it's not obvious in the case of an ambush or sucker punch) everyone plays a card before combat begins. Turn order is based on suit (Spades, then Diamonds, then Clubs and last Hearts) and two or more character's with the same suit will act based on the card value. Ties will be broken by rock-paper-scissors. Keep these initiative cards out while the Struggle is going on so everyone remembers what order they're going in, they'll be discarded at the end of the Struggle. At the start of a new round any character may choose to play a new card to replace their current initiative card, discarding the old one.

That seems to pretty well cover the basic PC rules. Next I think I'll start tackling the classes. Since this is meant to be a simple game I'll stick with the basics: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, Priest. 

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