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Card-Driven Roleplay

posted Sep 23, 2014, 6:44 PM by Good Idea Games   [ updated Sep 24, 2014, 7:13 AM ]
A new genere of card-driven RPGs has popped up in the past year, and it's given me a bee in my bonnet.
Games like the Pathfinder Adventure Cardgame, and Penny -Arcade's Thornwatch offer an alternative to Roleplaying game combat through the introduction of a card system designed to reduce logistical burden on the GM, while giving players interesting choices to make while their characters confront physical adversity.

It's an intriguing approach, and I'm going to explore this further.

Thornwatch isn't releasing until next year, and it sounds like brilliant fun, but it handles minion damage in an unconventional way that (I suspect) will make it an inappropriate replacement for traditional objective-driven RPG Combat.

I know a little less about Pathfinder ACG, but I've got a copy coming this week, so I'll get some more research in.

The problem I have is that combat isn't the point of Evil High. The players are villains, trying to accomplish some nefarious objective, and the Super High Super Team tries to stop them at every turn. Generally speaking, the players are more brains than brawn, and combat typically plays out with heroes trying to smash face, and the villains trying to survive the encounter long enough to sneak off with the enchanted codpiece. 

It's not really the kind of heroic encounter RPG combat was designed to play.

My solution is to leverage the Ingenero Narrative Combat rules to give players plenty of non-combat actions to take in response to the blunt application of force, and build a card game out of it to give my players more interesting choices to make than "which is my best attack?" The cards will also have symbols and imagery that can help inspire a creative narrative as they are played.

I've got some research to do before I know the space well enough to solve this problem, but I think this is a problem worth solving, with applications beyond Evil High. It's a good idea.