I’ve mentioned personae a couple times (personae is the plural of persona) in reference to characters in Norvendae, and I thought I’d take a moment here to explain what I’m on about. The big card games that I played, Magic: the Gathering and Decipher’s Star Wars CCG both have restrictions on certain character cards, to lend a certain uniqueness to those cards in play.

The “legendary” concept seems like a rules patch to me — restricting the number of one or more cards that can be used is a weak way of justifying the existence of cards that are intentionally unbalanced. The “four of a kind rule” that also appears in some CCGs also seems like a rules patch with weak justification.

Norvendae has no need of a “four of a kind” rule simply because cards can’t be repeated under the standard play format. Each deck has to have fifty-two cards: thirteen numbered cards (the ace, jack, queen, and king are one, eleven, twelve, and thirteen, respectively) in four suits. There are no duplicates.

There’s also the problem of “CCG Importance Dissonance,” wherein cards based on the main cast of characters receive so little in terms of card support compared to the supporting cast, walk-ons, and one-shots, that it’s a wonder the protagonists could ever have been considered important.

Personae is intended to fight all these problems at the same time. Each persona reflects an aspect of a character: maybe it’s the face they show when they’re angry, tired, sad, or excited. A persona could reflect one character’s skill in a certain area, their social standing, or their friends.

Each persona is a piece of the puzzle that when combined, creates a three-dimensional character. As such, it’s possible that one persona might be “evil,” even coming from a character that’s normally considered quite good. In that case, the persona might reflect a “moment of weakness” for that character.

Using this system, it should also be possible for different personae of the same character to be used by all players, which might reflect “internal conflict” for the character, or perhaps a situational “conflict of interest.” It’s a proactive measure taken to avoid breaking the game, instead of a reactive rules patch.