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[GenCon '11 - sorta] 'House of Cards' RPG: anyone' played in any of the demos?

Yo! Master

"Delicious"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
'House of Cards' RPG: info on the game?

(This would most likely get lost in the more general GenCon threads so it gets a new one by itself.)

There is this upcoming RPG (written by ParadoxBoy of hereabouts), House of Cards, about stories more in the type of fairytales (from what i have gathered) & using a deck of cards / a Tarot deck for its game system.

The game's design blog (the link provided above) has some nice info into it that i have read through & it mentions some of the experiences from the demos of it ran at GenCon this year.

Did anyone around here play in said demos? Would be interested in hearing stuff from your side & whatever other info you have on the game. :)
 
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ParadoxBoy

Retired User
It was interesting playing two demos back-to-back on Thursday that showed me how flexible the system is for resolution: the two groups approached the main conflict in completely different ways and yet both got satisfactory results. I think that's because the suits you have in hand steer you to either be adaptable or creative in applying your cards so you can get them back.

I'm working on clarifying how the action resolution system works (there'll be a blog post up about it either today or tomorrow): the design centers around what I call "booms" rather than "pops". In fairy tales, we don't need to have every swing of the prince's sword documented, whether it hit the dragon or not, how deep the wound was, etc. The sword is drawn, and the dragon either goes down in a sentence or two, or the prince is wounded and now the story is complicated. In either case, you act, the situation is changed, the story moves forward. That was the most intriguing thing to the second group, who stuck around a bit after the session to talk about it with me (mainly because it was new and different to them; I even found myself narrating a fight with them in a more traditional manner because that was how they chose to approach it).

Also, one of the first group apparently spent the White Wolf party telling people about my game, but I don't know how to reach him to verify this. :D
 

Tokezo Hime

Screw the Roses
Oh hey, I played in a demo! :)

(disclaimer: I am ParadoxBoy's girlfriend and do some PR work for Parenthesis Press, so I'm not unbiased, and, having checked with the mods, have to be a bit careful about what I say on the subject. But I can tell you about the demo I played in!)

The one I was in was a lot of fun. A cool thing about character generation is that there's a random element to it -- you can draw a random card from the Major Arcana to choose your archetype -- but then there's pretty much infinite room for interpretation. By coincidence, two of the cards that were drawn among our four players were the same as those drawn by my ongoing playtest group. So The Hanged Man went from a withdrawn Chinese-American university student to an angry far-left street activist, and The Empress went from a school counselor to a drag queen "house mother." :) I was playing the drag queen. So that was fun. We also had The Fool as an adorable folk-singing busker and The Sun as a gruff, physically intimidating steelworker.

It was fun seeing the difference between my playtest group -- which is composed of three ladies who are in the same Pagan circle and have a long history of practicing divination and discussing metaphysical stuff together -- and the GenCon demo group, which contained a couple of tarot buffs and a couple of relative newbies. I was happy to see that the newbies had just as much fun with it and caught on pretty quickly to the general principles of the game. There's a kind of sleight-of-hand that goes into it where you have to be able to justify an action as, essentially, in-character for your archetype, and the more in accordance with your archetype it is, the more juice you get for it. So you can either try to creatively interpret your archetype to justify doing what *you* want to do, or you can go with the flow and choose to act in-character in ways that you probably wouldn't in a more traditional system. Our climactic scene became a high-stakes negotiation when the bearer of the Hanged Man (a card representing sacrifice and wisdom gained at cost) offered to sacrifice himself to save the people of his city, and the rest of the party stepped in to try to save him from the fate he'd willingly offered himself up to.
 

ParadoxBoy

Retired User
I will point out that character generation doesn't have to be random, but, yes, each group was given the option to either choose or draw their Archetype randomly, and all of them chose random selection.
 

Yo! Master

"Delicious"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I will point out that character generation doesn't have to be random, but, yes, each group was given the option to either choose or draw their Archetype randomly, and all of them chose random selection.
I presume by not-random you mean the very simple: pick the Tarot card you like, right?
 

ParadoxBoy

Retired User
I presume by not-random you mean the very simple: pick the Tarot card you like, right?
You got it. If you come to the table with a really strong concept for one of the Archetypes, you're free to just select it.

(Unless it's the World. That one's off-limits for in-universe reasons. The Bearer of the World disappeared around the start of the 20th century, and nobody has managed to turn up any clues.)
 

Yo! Master

"Delicious"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
You got it. If you come to the table with a really strong concept for one of the Archetypes, you're free to just select it.

(Unless it's the World. That one's off-limits for in-universe reasons. The Bearer of the World disappeared around the start of the 20th century, and nobody has managed to turn up any clues.)
What does The World symbolize?
 

ParadoxBoy

Retired User
In the most direct sense, the GM. :)

The card has traditionally been interpreted as the end of the Fool's journey by returning to the starting point, coming full circle but having learned a lesson, and everything being unified in the process. This raises questions among the most esoterically-minded Bearers and occult scholars: is the World-Bearer's disappearance related to the breach in the mirror barriers between Here and Beyond? And is it a symptom, or a cause?
 
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