MoonHunter Possible


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Cards, Chips, and the One Shot

"Have you ever needed to get a game started quickly?"

"Have you ever found your group being a bit too random in their character generation and not fitting the campaign you were planning?"

"Have you just wanted to build characters and just go?"

I sure have. For years I was the demostration guy for Tri-Tac West games and a few other companies. I was runnig games for total strangers who knew little about it. I had to find a way to show off character generation, generate a really cool consistant game, and still run the game in under five hours. It is practically impossible to do. This system of cards and chips is what I came up with.

It works really well for game demostrations. One of the problems with demostration games was first, putting the characters together and second, getting a consistant group from randomly generated character from people not only unfamiliar with the game, but unfamiliar with each other.

It is also hard to run characters that you don’t know well.

The cards allow players to make defined choices, but choices that the GM knows about and can work with.

One time, I wanted to run the demo game for my friends, so we use the cards and it was all good. Hoewver, we then continued the campaign using those same character and I found that it helped generate a better campaign.

I tried it again, but this time creating specifically for a campign, rather than a one shot. It worked. It has worked well every time I have tried it. I think it will work for all of you too.

To make this system work you will need
lots of 3x5 cards
many envelopes
some poker chips or other markers
And a few hours of prep work.

The Key to this system is Character Cards
Each character card will add something to a character, either game mechanics (attribute values, gifts, flaws, boons, skills), or story element (bits of their past, personality, relationships to the world, values, memberships, and other conception pieces that tie the character together), or some mix of both.

Each card has a cost of somekind.

What is on each card depends on the category of cards. There are several that I use:

Role Cards
Role Cards define who the character is. Such cards define the character’s identity, give a general idea for the type of primary cards it can take, and any specific things for the character
*Often times, I have split role cards. One has the (public) story and conception elements. Once they choose their role, they can then see the matching card that has all the details and associated mechanics/ story elements.

Primary Cards
These define a character’s focus or primary abilities. This might be general Warrior/warfare, Scholar, Priest, Monk, Noble. However, depending on the campaign and the number of players, there might be variations. In a game where nearly everyone is a warrior, there will be primary cards for Fast Warrior, Skilled Warrior, Strong Warrior, Bow Specialist, and so on. This way every warrior will not be identicle.

: These cards define a minor focus the character has, something besides their primary focus they are good at. These are often similar in categories to the primary abilities, but would include additional things not available: "world traveler", social butterfly, bar crawler, linguist, lover of maps, and so on.

Chrome Cards
: These are various tweaks and quirks that add depth to the character. Each envelope for a card will have a color or one word that implies what the card inside is about. The cards could give you a position on religion, could define if you are wealthy or poor, if you are lucky, if you are secretly a werewolf, if you have magical gifts, and other things that add a touch of chrome to the characters. Usually you can only have one chrome card, but some people will buy more.

Category Cards
: There can be any number of category cards in a game. Each category card defines the characters position, views, or abilities in some aspect of the campaign. So if Religion is a category card, each card defines a religious position and any religion related gifts/ flaws/ skills/ perks associated with that position. Magic Category cards define how the character views magic and often why. The possible categories are endless and based on the campaign/ one shot.

Relationship Cards
: Each character will get two of these. They will define the character’s relationship to the rest of the troupe/ player characters and possibly their relationship to important NPCS as well. Two links to the group or the world ensures the character will be deeply involved in the group and the campaign as they have something to build on. I will cover these here, but there is an entire article on these called, strangely enough, Relationship Cards.

One shot, playtest creation sequence.
Hand the Sheet to each player to explain things

Needs Rewrite
Select a Persona Card (A card with a blue line). A persona card defines a notable role for the story. Every character must have a persona card. The persona card determines the character template for the character. A template is the basic game mechanic bones of the character. If more than one template is available to that persona card, the player chooses which one. Certain templates are marked unique. Only one version of a unique template may be in play at a given time. A persona card may have additional traits and enhancements (game mechanics) on the bottom. The player should add these to the character’s sheet.
Select Bit cards. A bit card adds background material to the character. A character must have one bit card, but can have up to five bits added to the character. In addition to story material, a bit card grants the character additional traits and enhancements (game mechanics). Most bits provide positive things to the character, but a few include some negative aspects.

Why do I have poker chips? A good question. Each poker chip represents bonus points. A player can convert bonus points into experience points, allowing their character to start at a higher level. If more than one player wants a specific persona or bit card, they may start a bidding war or auction for the card. The player that spends the most bonus points wins that card, but has fewer bonus points to purchase extra experience points.

Once a player has selected all its cards and its character template, the GM will walk everyone through creating their characters sheet. In addition to the basics from the characters template, many cards have additional traits and enhancements (game mechanics) for the character. With the GMs permission, most traits can be changed.

Advancing the character:
This section will have to be written for your game system. Each character needs to be balanced. I like to start out with a certain amount of free experience points to move the characters along and allow them to choose any level boons they might recieve. Every card has a cost, usually in these experience points. Cards that are really useful have a big cost deducted from the base amount, while disadvantagous cards add exp to it.

Each character will start with 500 EPs plus 100 EPs per bonus points. Depending on the characters EP MOD, the character will now be between 1st and 4th level. Each level of advancement grants the character one additional trait and adds +1 level to any AoE in the characters CoreFocus.

How to create cards
Develop Setting
Determine General Plot
Create Character Roles and some of the possible Primary and Secondarys
Figure out a more specific plot.
Finsih off cards.

How to manfuacture cards

why 3x5 cards, why not a piece of paper. Players like tangible things they can touch, show, and trade. So it does not have to be 3x5 cards, but they are simple, easy, and of a convient size to use.

Two sets of links
The article for the examples:
Starting Relationship:
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