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Egyptoid

Luck System: Whimsy Cards

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Two players in my game have the Luck Power.

(No-one has Unluck disad, but if they did

it would be the reverse of this system.)

Here's how I handle it.

At the beginning of the play session they roll

their Luck Dice, and count the body.

 

Then I hand them that many Cards from a special deck.

 

 

In addition, when I as the GM want to really get a character,

or its inappropriate for the villain to miss, I hand the target player

(any one, not just players with the luck power)

a card, and then I give the villain a re-roll.

This card is for future use, and cannot be used

in this particular scrape.

 

The cards may be used for several purposes:

- Re-Roll any failed dice roll.

- Force a re-roll on an enemy.

- nudge a success into a critical success.

- nudge an enemie's simple failure into a blunder (critical failure)

- Character may abort their phase to protect/help a desperate team-mate.

- use the flavor text on the card to alter flow of events.

 

For example, the players are in jail, without weapons.

they cannot defeat the tough guards.

Lucky Player hands me the "Misplaced Trust" card,

and voila, on the next shift, the guards are rank newbies.

Guards are beat up and players escape. (of course they're

still in prison garb and have no equipment)

 

Once in a fantasy hero game, the players wanted to

get in the fabled library of Alexandria.

But the permit to enter is a costly thing

(yes its a Library Card for Alexandria)

 

Rich Character ponies up the cash.

Religious Character gets a writ from his church.

Noble Character calls in a Favor.

Wizard Character trades in a magic bauble in trade for his card.

Thieving Character picks pockets to pay for his card.

Then we get to the dumb brick fighter.

Player plays the Pity card. So the clerk

just stamps out a free card for the poor semi-literate slob.

 

Cards can affect combat, role-play, storylines, and skills.

I pretty much ignore the "luck levels" in the Hero rulebook

unless the player hands me TWO cards at a time, when

they desperately want something to happen their way

 

Unused cards are handed back to GM at end of session,

unless very special circumstances in effect.

 

Players seem happy with it.

They control their luck, don't have to wait

on me to remember they are lucky.

 

And most all of them are good sports to play along

when I "screw them with a villain" but hand them a

luck card for later usage.

 

 

 

 

Here's some samples of the cards:

 

Abrupt Change of Events

Suddenly things are not happening the way they were a moment ago. Alliances switch, secrets are revealed, and new information surfaces.

 

Added Animosity

The ill-will between characters grows past current levels. This animosity can be openly expressed or harbored secretly in the heart.

 

Bad Tidings

Someone gets bad news. It might affect play or it might be news of distant and still important events.

 

Bizarre Coincidence

Two or more things come together against incredible odds. Old friends (and enemies) run into you in the supermarket, you just happen to have the rare item you need in your closet, etc.

 

Pity

Sympathetic sorrow for another person affects a character's actions. This pity might provoke action or merely set a mood.

 

Change of Heart

A character's feelings change and alter a decision. Pirates spare prisoners and hassled innkeepers decide to make room for you after all.

 

The cards are long out of print and I have made my own set,

even adding some of my own devising.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

I like them. My group has been searching for something to do with luck - OK, I have been looking for something to do with luck since the rest of the group ignores it and the GM pretends I don't have it, unless it's unluck. 1 point of unluck can mean that your warrior-priest loses all of his equipment in a fire, including his holy symbol which he needs to cast spells or even prove he's a priest (happened), while two points of luck are required to find a few dropped coppers in the bar to pay for a beer.

What are the cards you made up yourself, and what do you use to represent them? I think I could get at least two of my group interested in using regular playing cards to represent luck, or we might just use Munchkin cards - The monster ones would be fun.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

I don't care if they are knock-offs or from what, I like them. Althought it does still put some extra responsibility on the GM to see to it that situations arise where characters with Luck may still make use of whatever cards they have drawn.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

This sort of device makes for an interesting game, but you need the right players and the right GM to make it work. It does mean the GM abdicating some of the control of the scenario, or being very quick on his (mental) feet. Mind you it is sometimes useful to have a mechanic for giving the PCs a break without it seeming too contrived.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

plus I don't feel bad as a GM backing my players into corners,

surrounding them, and inundating them with problems.

 

Because the lucky players can usually pull a break out of their hat

with judicious application of a card or a re-roll.

 

Plus they dare greatly. They will attempt a death-defying skill

or high jump a building knowing that a re-roll may save their

butts. and that's in genre IMHO.

 

A re-roll is just a re-roll, but I do require the players to be creative when

they use the flavor text on the cards.

Plus they have limits: The Pity card won't affect Doc Doom.

The Love card won't affect Ultron.

 

I'm thankful you all liked the idea.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Well below is the original post. That is 90% of it.

 

the text for making your own cards would be here:

 

http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/systemdesign/cards/whimsycards.html

 

Plus I've written up specific cards Like:

"Activate a Hunter"

"Oops. Someone rolled an 18"

"Wow. Someone rolled a natural 3"

"Something Less Tragic Please"

 

At the beginning of the session when I'm checking

other disads that depend on dice rolls, the lucky player

rolls his luck dice...

 

And its Trap-Door, so its one less thing for him to whine about,

since application and timing of Luck is now in his hands,

not in my forgetful ones.

 

But it does up the power level of the whole game one more

notch, because I'm not shy about putting real killer situations

out there because of all the "Get Out of Jail Free" cards

now floating around.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

I think my problem with this idea is that you either allow villains to have whimsey cards too - in which case it is often simply a matter of who has the best hand - or you don't, in which case there is the creeping feeling that the players have a substantial advantage and can't loose.

 

I like Deadlands, which has a similar although less defined mechanic, and I think that it is good for some genres, but by no means all.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

I think my problem with this idea is that you either allow villains to have whimsey cards too - in which case it is often simply a matter of who has the best hand - or you don't, in which case there is the creeping feeling that the players have a substantial advantage and can't loose.

 

Do the villains have Luck? If so, let them have the cards.

 

I'll be trying this system out in my games. We'll see how well it works for us.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Whimsy Cards predate TORG.

I guess I can imagine that, though these sure read like the TORG deck. The system-specific game effects aren't there, of course. When did Whimsy Cards initially come out?

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Meh.

 

I really don't want HERO to end up like that system that uses dice, cards, poker chips, other dice, astrological charts, and the flip of a coin to resolve things.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

I guess I can imagine that' date=' though these sure read like the TORG deck. The system-specific game effects aren't there, of course. When did Whimsy Cards initially come out?[/quote']

 

I looked that one up - it is not quite clear but here's a link:

 

http://www.erzo.org/~shannon/gaming/indices/white-wolf.txt

 

It appears they were reviewed in issue 8 of White Wolf, which started in 1986, so around early 1987 they must have definitely been published.

 

Here's a link to a bit of history on Lion Rampant and Ars magica:

 

http://redcap.org/FAQ/FAQ1b.html

 

Torg came out in 1990, from memory. It is possible that this was coincident development, or possibly an homage. One never knows :D

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Meh.

 

I really don't want HERO to end up like that system that uses dice, cards, poker chips, other dice, astrological charts, and the flip of a coin to resolve things.

 

Well broadly I agree, but those mechanisms are interesting and for the right genre and game (and, of course, Hero is a very adaptive system) I think they can add a lot - like I say I really like DeadLands, and Torg and - what's that other one - well there's quite a lot of others actually.

 

I like the purity of Hero, but let me relate this little tale.

 

When we were at University someone got given a set of tarot cards. We followed the instructions and had a go and it was, by and large, as we suspected (BECAUSE we suspected, some might say) a load of hogwash, but I'll tell you what they were really good for: if instead of asking about your past you asked about a decision or a plan or something indefinite in the future, whilst the cards have no predictive ability at all, they did provide a very useful framework for THINKING about these problems - often suggesting - entirely randomly - approaches that we just would not have come up with.

 

I think these 'interesting' mechanics are a bit like that: they do not add anything that you COULDN'T have included yourself, just with decent GMing and role playing, BUT they do tend to shake up the box and provide ideas that you probably WOULDN'T have come up with without this as a 'thinking tool'.

 

That's the potential value of ideas like this, IMO.

 

By and large I wouldn't want them in superhero games or even most fantasy games, but I can see a place in pulp games and some of the wackier fantasy stuff (any emulation of anything by Michael Moorcock, for instance).

 

I'd be interested to know, if anyone does use them, what genre they are used in and how that pans out.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Its creative and I like the idea.

 

The cards could be tailored to each genre.

 

But...

 

I don't like the word "whimsy."

 

It just doesn't do it for me.

 

I'm not getting a naughty vibe from it.

 

Could you call it something else?

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Torg came out in 1990' date=' from memory. It is possible that this was coincident development, or possibly an homage. One never knows :D[/quote']

Actually, I can find out. I was on one of the original system playtest teams, did some other test/minor contributor work for the line (It's vaguely kicky to be listed among the "Mages of the Seven Towers" in a grimoire product :)), and the designer is a FOAF. I'll make a mental note to ask when the opportunity arises.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Meh.

 

I really don't want HERO to end up like that system that uses dice, cards, poker chips, other dice, astrological charts, and the flip of a coin to resolve things.

 

It depends on the genre. For some, especially pulp, these kinds of cards could add a great deal. They would have to be tailored for the genre and style of play. For other genres and some groups, it would be, well... meh.

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Actually' date=' I can find out. I was on one of the original system playtest teams, did some other test/minor contributor work for the line (It's vaguely kicky to be listed among the "Mages of the Seven Towers" in a grimoire product :)), and the designer is a FOAF. I'll make a mental note to ask when the opportunity arises.[/quote']

 

 

How very cool. :thumbup:

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Its creative and I like the idea.

 

The cards could be tailored to each genre.

 

But...

 

I don't like the word "whimsy."

 

It just doesn't do it for me.

 

I'm not getting a naughty vibe from it.

 

Could you call it something else?

 

Crisis Cards?

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Re: Luck System: Whimsy Cards

 

Do the villains have Luck? If so, let them have the cards.

 

I'll be trying this system out in my games. We'll see how well it works for us.

 

Agreed. I'll be trying it out in my game as well, will keep updated.

 

From my point of view, these cards take the story and make it more of a collective ideal than just having the GM run the game. Should be fantastic if you have great players.

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