Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gaming Gadgets - Cast of Cards for Savage Worlds

I ran across these on DTRPG last week and didn't think they made much sense as a PDF, then I realized they could be ordered as physical cards and got more interested.

There are 17 cards to a deck. They are normal playing-card sized. The set above is the "Dread Pirates" deck. Each one represents an NPC (or a vehicle in the case of the pirate ship here).

The barkeep is from the "Typical Tavern" deck. The cards are also double-sided, with stats on one side (above) and background details and some names on the reverse.

Now NPC cards alone might not be revolutionary - although these do look very nice - but these are also printed on a sort of plastic or with a plastic coating that means dry erase markers work on them just like they do on a whiteboard. This ups the utility considerably. Besides the obvious uses for combat, it is also handy for noting things like reactions, modifiers, magic effects, or just monkeying with the stats.  Maybe there are two "ladies of the night" in the bar - use two different colors of marker to keep notes on both of them on one card!

I'm a big believer that when you're actually running games you can never have too many NPC's at the ready. Going back to 3E D&D I printed out a set of monster stats on index cards and kept that little card file on the table for my entire run with that system. Savage Worlds is easier to run than a lot of games, but it is definitely a "GM Enhancer" to have complete stats for a pirate ship and crew, or a tavern and all of its patrons, or a set of fire cultists right there, ready to go with no work on the GM's part. This is very much a "zero-prep" kind of product.

I picked up the pirates (for our eventual Pirates or 50 Fathoms game), the tavern set (for a lot of potential games), and the wild west archetypes set (for Deadlands). They are each an interesting mix of "standards" and some unusual types, like the character in the wild west set that dual-wields cavalry sabers. I like a sprinkling of the unusual and these hit the mark really well.

There are a lot of different sets - here's the link to their list on DTRPG.

Here's the company site too though there's not a lot there.

A few final thoughts:

  • It would be really nice if they could work out some kind of licensing deal with Pinnacle and create campaign-specific sets. What if you could get a pack that covered every NPC in 50 Fathoms or Slipstream? I'd pay for that.
  • Vehicle cards would be nice too, say for a Weird Wars campaign. Tanks, jeeps, aircraft can come up quite a bit in that kind of game.
  • How about some other games? I'm pretty sure ICONS characters would fit on a card like this ... maybe. Traveller characters could (and vehicles! and spacecraft!). Heck GURPS characters might be able to fit on here. Old school D&D monsters certainly would. There is a lot of potential here.

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