Determining Encounter Objectiveson December 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm
Dungeons & Dragons and most roleplaying games by extension, share an background in war games. In a war game, each move you make has to advance the goal of your side, which in most war games, means defeating your opponents. Consider classic games like Risk, Chess, and Go. Build armies, control land, capture enemies.
One of the things that makes war games “easy” by comparison to roleplaying games, is that each move you make has inherent weight, or gravity. If you choose poorly, you lose a bit of territory or a playing piece. If you make really poor decisions, it generally costs you the game. But roleplaying games don’t tend to have that.
Except when it comes to combat.
It’s clear to see when a fight represents a life-or-death situation, but it’s much more difficult to tell when an apparently simple conversation could lead to essentially the same life-or-death scenario (especially when it’s an ally’s life instead of your own). That’s one reason why combat receives so much attention in RPGs.
How do you determine the stakes? When does an encounter become important, and what determines if the encounter is significant? Defining encounter objectives and consequences must be a system unto itself. It has to be simple to use, and it has to have a straightforward analogue to reality that the players can grasp quickly.
…And so we come to the subject of my card game.
I’ve tried to incorporate as many concepts as I thought were unique to strategy games, including ideas like “draw 1 card for taking 3 territories” concept from Risk (included in Restoration), “sacrifice one unit to spare others” from Decipher’s Star Wars CCG (Forfeiture), as well as basic probability and number manipulation.
Here, I’ve incorporated and identified themes of divination, fortune, and destiny, championship and sacrifice, as well as control, entropy, and renewal. The Norvendae card game is extremely heavy when it comes to symbolism, and I hope to carry over many of these concepts to roleplaying games as well, making them easier to “play.”
On that note, I’ve been working on another revision to the card game rules which I should have at some point this month. I will also create a PDF of the basic rules.