Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Deck of Cards and Pair of Dice

A while ago I was trying to come up with an RPG that used simple playing cards (and naturally a fancy deck of tarot cards) instead of dice. Simply, a set of cards can be found anywhere (I've seen them in gas stations and novelty stores), and with minor work, tarot cards can easily be used too (and since they come in tons of "themes", lots of flavor can enhance the game-o-sphere). Recently I've seen a few attempts at using these readily available game tools for RPGing, it piqued my interest. But the other day, while fiddling with a deck of cards (I think we were playing Tonk) I came to realize that if you remove the face cards (and Major Arcana, if using Tarot), you have a simple 1d10 and 1d20 generator. Add a pair of dice (also readily available in the same places, or stolen from American family games) you have all you need to play OD&D or Swords & Wizardry Whitebox (and naturally White Star!). Why re-invent the wheel when you have perfectly fine games that only use d20s and d6s! 

[I see this being handy in the prison system...]

Rolling a d20 with a deck of cards is simple, remove the face cards (and Major Arcana) and designate red cards as either high or low, and draw a card. Add 10 if the color indicates "high", then you got a random number from 1-20. Done. Technically, to retain "true" randomness, you should re-shuffle the deck after each draw, but I'd argue that it'd be fine to reshuffle after every 2-4 draws (or whatever). Obviously d10 and d% can be "rolled" by ignoring the colors/suits. Using suits, I guess, you could go 1-40, and 1d4 with just the suits... (but that might be too fiddly...)

Not sure what to do with the face cards or Major Arcana cards (though I guess the Major Arcana cards can double as a Deck of Many Things...)