Featured image is Dark Rain Shinobi by Evgeniy Shaluhin
Thanks to some great input from a friend and published game designer (thanks Doug!), I’m rethinking a lot about my basic mechanic. So… here’s what’s not changing:
- Still using a standard deck of cards w/ jokers 🃏
- Black ♠️♣️ means good 👍🏾, red ♦️♥️ means bad 👎🏾
- Black and red still cancel each other out
- Whichever has more cards in the draw, black or red, determines positive (Benefit) or negative (Drawback) effect
- Jokers still mean a critical success
But I’m now looking at changing everything else (again thanks Doug) …
- Success based on hitting target number 10 with number of cards equal to the difficulty.
- The Difficulty of the action is the number of successes you need: easy is 1 success, average is 2 successes, hard is 3 successes, extreme is 4 successes, and so on…
- Skills decrease the target number: basic Skill needs 9 or higher, advanced Skill needs 8 or higher, expert Skill needs 7 or higher, master Skill needs 6 or higher.
- Ace is a 1 again
- Royal cards provide access to special abilities called Powers*
- All number cards (not royals) now provide possible Benefit or Drawback effects dependent on color, in addition to their number being used to compare to target number for success.
- The number of cards you draw is based on the PC’s Aspect (sub-attribute) that best pertains to the test.
- Attributes allow you to draw additional cards that discard and replace cards drawn with the Aspect. But the card to be replaced must be chosen before any Attribute cards are drawn. Attribute 1 means draw & replace 1, Attribute 2 means 2, Attribute 3 means 3, etc…
- Powers* are triggered by royal cards.
- Jokers are one automatic success, a Power* trigger (as if you drew a black 10 and a black royal card), and reshuffle the deck after the action is done.**
- Jokers can not be cancelled out. (But if there are more red than black cards showing a Drawback can still happen.)
Alright here’s an example of play…
A player decides they want to do something and declares their Action. It is a non-combat action. The difficulty is easy, i.e. the player only needs 1 success. Normally a success is needing to draw a 10 (or Joker), but the PC has a pertinent basic Skill, which means the player can now draw a 9 or 10 (or Joker, of course) to succeed at the action. The PC’s pertinent Aspect is 3 which means the player will draw 3 cards. The PC’s pertinent Attribute is 2 which allows them to draw & replace 2 additional cards. The player draws a J♥️, A♣️, 4❤️, which means they got no cards at 9 or higher, so the action is a failure with a Drawback right now. But luckily they can choose to replace 2 of the cards because the PC’s Attribute is 2. So they choose to do that and replace the A♣️ and 4♥️ hoping to cancel out the ♥️ in the J but keep it to trigger a Power. The player then draws a 10♠️ and a 5♣️, so the player get’s their success with the 10 and now there are more black cards than red, so there is a positive Benefit. And with the J♥️ still showing the player has a “J” slot Power* that triggers. Which in this case the “J” slot is a combat Power* and since this was a non-combat Action, the Power* has no effect. Now roleplay the success and the positive Benefit, then the action is done.
*Updated 11-12-2018 to replace Talent with Power*
**Updated 11-12-2018 to include wording about Jokers reshuffling the deck when they are drawn**