Card Based Resolution
published: Nov 2, 2018 | last modified: Nov 2, 2018
estimated reading time 4 minutes

Using a deck of standard cards and a table of degrees of success. Based on the No Dice RPG and Powered by the Apocalypse player facing dice with inspiration from HeroQuest.


Conflict Resolution

Degrees of Success

Conflict Resolution

A conflict can be anything where two forces are opposing each other: a guitar and a banjo facing off, gladiators weilding weapons of violence, and a passionate debate over judicial policy are all examples of conflict.

Take a pack of cards and introduce one joker. Shuffle the cards. Whenever a conflict is in need of resolution and the player has a relevant ability the player draws. If the ability is a keyword ability (more general), only one card is drawn. If the ability is a breakout ability beneath a keyword ability, draw 2 cards — one for the keyword ability and one for the breakout ability. Favorable environmental conditions may result in the player drawing additional cards.

Conversely, environmental conditions and character flaws may result in removing cards drawn. For each environmental condition or character flaw, following the fiction, that would adversely affect the conflict resolution, removes a card from those drawn by the player to resolve the conflict. Remove cards from the highest to the lowest.

If it makes sense in the fiction and another character has an applicable ability to help, draw an additional card for the assistance. Note that any success or failure consequences falling out from the conflict resolution may also affect the character helping.

Choose one card for resolving the conflict from those that are left.

After a card has been chosen from those drawn (not a King) and evaluated, it and all other cards drawn for this conflict are placed into a discard pile. When the Joker is drawn the discards and Joker are immediately placed back into the pack and the pack is shuffled. Conflict resolution then continues with the player making the next draw from the top of the freshly shuffled deck.

There are 12 possible conclusive results from every draw. Besides the numerical valued cards, the Queen (lady luck) is a success with style and a Jack (knave) is a proper botch job. Aces are low and 10s are high. Kings are kept by the player and traded for redraws on future tests. When a king is drawn it is placed into the possession of the player who drew it and the test continues with another draw.

Option: If your draw resulted in Yes but, Yes, or Yes and, select another card from those drawn for the effect. If you are determining damage, select a card from the draw for the degree of success you want, then select a second card from the draw for the extent of the effect you want. Note that the card used for determining level of success does not have to be the highest card. If you can only draw one card, the “second card” is considered an Ace (1).

Option: Each suit represents a concept in the game (Based on the flavor of the conflict and what the group has determined each suit of the deck represents (practical rational emotional instinctive, body mind soul chaos, earth air water fire, etc.), the draw and selection of cards for the conflict may require some thought. If the conflict is the flavor of the suit of hearts, and a heart is drawn, the value of the card is the result. If a non-heart is drawn, the value of the card is 1. If muiltiple cards are drawn, the desired card is selected, and if more than one of the cards is in the suit of conflict, for each extra card in suit add 1 to the result.

Example: Drawing three cards for a conflict resolution, in the suit of diamonds, the draw is a 2 of diamonds, a 6 of diamonds, and a 10 of spades. There are three possible results of this draw:

  1. If the 10 of spades is selected, the result is 3 or No (1 for the spade in a diamond conflict, +1 for the 2 of diamonds, and +1 for 6 of diamonds).
  2. If the 2 of diamonds is selected, the result is 3 or No (2 + 1 for the extra 6 of diamonds).
  3. If the 6 of diamonds is selected, the result is 7 or Yes but (6 + 1 for the extra 2 of diamonds).

The difference between the first two would be the reflection of the result in the fiction. Both are No in degree of success, so the desired outcome didn’t happen. However, the narrated result of the roll should take into account the in-suit or not in-suit selection.

Degrees of Success

Draw Result
Jack No and disaster
1 No, and (something extra/annoying)
2, 3 No
4, 5 No, but
6, 7 Yes, but
8, 9 Yes
10 Yes, and (something extra/special)
Queen Yes and exeptional

Card draws are a storytelling aid, not an administration process. They give clues to you as the Host how to pitch someone’s success or failure given all the information you have to hand.

tags:  rules-and-mechanics 
categories:  geek