You know what this hobby needs more of? Cards.
There’s been a few thoughts floating around recently that have slowly condensed into an idea.
The old question of why D&D and Magic don’t collaborate on a setting has been raised.
I’ve been playing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.
I haven’t been finishing Numenera, or Blue Planet, or Iron Kingdoms, or…. Etc.
Fate and ARU got me heavily into index cards.
I like pretty pictures.
I learn really well from cards. When I did my law degree it was all about cards, with cases and precedents on them. It’s the same for most people trying to cram info. While at University I also played a bunch of CCGs, and I remember the stats of a Serra Angel more readily that the salient facts of Donaghue v. Stevenson.
Similarly with game prep. Getting my notes onto cards makes me concentrate my info into digestible chunks. I can riff away on them, and not take up too much real estate on the table. I’ve gotten great mileage out of Paizo’s various card offerings, for items and especially NPCs. A picture tells a thousand words after all.
Where I struggle now is finding the time to digest a 300+ page setting encyclopaedia, and goodness knows RPG publishers love them. Even shorter works, like adventure, I have to revise and make notes just like when I was studying. It’s work, enjoyable to an extent, but work nonetheless.
So why can’t I get a card deck that shows me a setting rather than a hard back book? This goes back to the Magic/D&D question. I don’t actually want a Magic setting book, I can get all the knowledge I want from the cards themselves. Now, I’d like them to be reformatted for the purpose of writing and presenting adventures from, but that’s no more difficult than formatting them for their current purpose.
Take Numenera. No please, take it. It’s doing my head in. The setting is big, and unwieldy and I’ve tried to plough through it more than once. Everyone tells me about the lovely art, so let’s make that even more of a feature. Give me the Numenera setting presented as a deck of cards, with places, people and plots in abundance.
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game has already shown it works the other way round. You can get damn close to a traditional RPG game using cards. I was never ever going to play through Rise of the Runelords RPG in this lifetime, but in the next weeks I’ll finish it in its excellent card game format. Yeah, I’m sure I’ve lost a little nuance, but I know all the main points, and I had a great time, and I actually finished it! Not nothing is it?
So what I want now is a card set that gives me a D&D adventure as a DM. No book, just cards. All the bits are easy enough, monsters, loot, NPCs scenes. I actually don’t think it’s beyond the wit of WotC (or whoever) to get the plot down on cards either. Just think of the flexibility! Maybe I’ll have a go with a classic module and see if I can distill it into a deck. Bet I can.