Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Buiding a Fate Deck

One of the overlooked superhero RPG's out there is the Marvel SAGA game, which came out in between the FASERIP game and the weird diceless game that used beads.  It was released by TSR at a time when they were trying to find a way to rejuvenate the stagnating 2nd Ed. AD&D, and the SAGA system represented a huge break from the mold.  TSR did a Dragonlance version, then a Marvel version of the game.

What made it interesting what it required a deck of special playing cards, which was both an innovation and a huge hindrance for people wanting to get into the game.  Games with specialized dice or cards or something you NEED to play the game other than a gaming book seem to be a hard sell to the general public (there's some exceptions out there that I don't need to get into).

Anyways, the game also didn't have a point-buy system but rather went with a more "just think about what the character is like, and assign stats accordingly" which again for its time wasn't the norm and I think a turn-off for a lot of people who were used to game balance or random PC generation.

So the deck.  Five suites: Strength, Agility, Intellect, Willpower, and Doom, all ranked 1 through 10 (only the Doom suite had a 10 value).  Each player would have several cards in their hand and then could play a card when attempting an action.  If the suite matched the nature of the action (an Intellect card for trying to do something involving scientific inquiry, or an Agility card when dodging an attack), it would count as a "trump" and you could draw a card from the deck and add it to the total.

In addition to the suite and the numerical value, the card would also list one of the 24 callings in the game.  Callings are motivations for PC's or NPC's, like "idealist," "outcast," or "responsibility of power."   Beyond that, it also had a random event listed, like "Never Say Die," "Wild Ride," "Aliens Exposed," or "The Impossible Occurs."  These could serve as little story cues to move the game in an unexpected direction.

An example of a homemade one
So, I own the game and most of the sourcebooks, but lost the deck in a flood.  And, for whatever reason this game is super-expensive on eBay.  What's a creative, intelligent guy to do?

Make his own cards, like this guy did.  Or this guy.  Thanks to this guy giving a rough breakdown of the cards, I was able to reconstruct the deck in terms of suites and numbers.  I've got the callings from the rulebook.  Now all I need are two things:

One hundred superheroes and villains to put on the cards' faces.
One hundred random plot twists.

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