One of the design choices for Norvendae I’ve mentioned here and there but haven’t really expounded upon is the division of labor between the odd- and even-numbered cards. Using a standard fifty-two deck of playing cards, it’s impossible to sponsor a king for your Reserves. To reserve a card, you must commit a card of greater value, and no card is more valuable than a king. (He’s worth thirteen.)

Maybe a couple weeks ago (maybe longer, I don’t recall), it occurred to me that if the king couldn’t be normally played, then he shouldn’t be a cool character that you would want to play. That would just be mean. Maybe the thirteen could do something cool from your Resources? If you can’t reserve it, it has to have some other cool schtick, otherwise, why bother having it in your deck at all?

There is some balance in the values of the cards. Though the numbers game played with Banishment makes it the most powerful method of “decking” your opponent and is geared toward more valuable cards, Depletion doesn’t care about the value of the reserved card. Forfeiting a single reserve might prevent the card loss imposed by Banishment, but you can only stop up to five cards worth of Depletion at once.

The ace (worth “one”) is the universal actor — it can be activated by more than 90% of the cards in the deck. The king (worth “thirteen”) is the universal activator — it can activate every card in the deck, including the queens on down to the aces, with the exception of the other kings (which means it activates more than 90% of the deck).

Now, considering the fact that you can only have up to five cards (less than 10% of the deck) in your Reserves at once, I thought it’d be mean to saddle the player with too many choices for what to put in the Reserves — I mean cards that would excel when placed in the Reserves. (Norvendae is going to be based around these characters, places, artifacts, and powerful magic, but it’s going to be propelled by actions.)

So I figured that even-numbered cards would be made up of characters and monsters, locations, lairs, and environments, weapons, armor, and magic spells. Odd-numbered cards would be composed of trained skills and natural talents, feats of bravery, daring, and brilliance, tactical maneuvers like surges, ambushes, and counterattacks, and all manner of tricks, traps, plans, contingencies, and cunning gambits.

So it works out that at a given time, twenty-four cards (the 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s, 10s, and 12s, a little less than 50% of the cards in your deck) are intended for the Reserves, while the rest are intended to activate those reserved cards. You can still technically reserve any card in your deck, which owes to the game’s “anything can be played” attitude.