Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tools of Ignorance Cards

The Cards

Before each game session, the GM shuffles a full deck of cards and deals out one card, face down. The consequences of the card *must* be applied to one of the PCs, voluntarily or not. If one of the PCs takes it voluntarily, sight unseen, he will gain a bennie - see below. If no PC volunteers to take the card, sight unseen, a player character is assigned the card by the GM, using random determination.
Half the cards have good consequences, and half have bad consequences. The suits determine what area of the PC’s life the consequenses will apply to - Spades apply to the Media and Public Relations, Hearts apply to Family and Romance, Clubs to relations with the Team, and diamonds apply to the PC’s Health. The rank of the card determines the magnitude of the impact on the player. Odd cards are negative, and even cards are positive.

Optionally, you can treat any suit as diamonds, using the cards for health only.
Apportioning Cards
If any character voluntarily takes the card, the PC gains a Bennie - a token or chip. The bennie can be used in a variety of ways:
As an extra Challenge for all games this session
As an extra die for any situation in each game this session.
As a point of LUCK, valid for this session only.
Aside from healing, all bonuses and penalties given by the card last for the current session only.
The GM can adjudicate the effect of the cards ad hoc, or use the suggestions below:

(Hearts - Romance only showed for space reasons)

Hearts Romance! This result table may used by any player character - single, divorced, or married. You may choose the result under Family instead.

2 - You meet a fascinating woman at a bar who is interested back.
3 - You meet a fascinating woman at a bar - then your S.O. walks in.
4 - You are seeing a starlet!
5 - You are seeing a starlet and your S.O. finds out.
6 - Your current relationship is taking on depth and meaning. +1 TN to any skill.
7 - Your current relationship is in a death spiral. -1 TN to any one skill.
8 - A cool rumor goes around about your current relationship and the press hear it. +2 TN to any one skill.
9 - A rumor goes around about you philandering and your S.O. hears it. -2 TN to any one skill.
10 - Your S.O. moves in with you when you ask. + 1 die to any one skill.
Jack - Your S.O. breaks up with you and moves out. -1 die to any one skill.
Queen - Your S.O. is pregnant! +2 dice to any one skill.
King - Your Ex announces she is pregnant... by you... to the press. -2 dice to any one skill.
Ace - You make your current relationship permanent. +1 die to all skills.


  1. Since cards are always distributed, the players would be stupid not to take them for a benny instead, and because they don't know what a card does before taking it, the best strategy is to just take turns. This system adds zero tension or choice to the game, it's just a cumbersome "roll a die and check a random encounter table" mechanic.

  2. Easily solved! Don't use the cards.


  3. Umm - I meant only use the Diamond cards, as the post suggests as an option. The other categories are not directly health related, so you can do whatever you like, which is why they are entirely optional.

    You could always roll on the diamonds/Health table with a d20, rerolling 15-20, if you dislike using cards. Or heal players by fiat if you prefer. I didn't think I needed to list these last as options.

    I'm interested to see how the cards play out before I make up my mind on them.

  4. I think they sound kinda cool, myself...but it's essentially a random table and I DIG random tables.

  5. I don't dislike using cards. I dislike that there is zero interesting interaction. Optional rules which fix stuff that is fundamentally broken should not be optional.

    And I'm not going to play a baseball game anyway ;)
    I just like to point out glaring faults.

  6. Anonymous:

    There is nothing broken here. It works perfectly well as a random table, which is what it is meant to do. The optional rules do nothing to make it a better - or worse - random table. They're designed to do other things with the cards, and will appeal to some and not others, which is why they are optional.

    If you dislike random tables, then you're not going to like this game, whether it's about baseball, killing orcs, or adolescent first dates. On the other hand, a mechanic you don't like is not broken. It is only broken if it doesn't fulfill the purpose for which it was intended.