7:39 PM +JasonLBlair: Hello, everyone! I’m Jason L Blair. I’ve been a tabletop game designer for almost twenty years and I’ve worked in video games since 2005. My best known games are Little Fears, the game of childhood terror, and Streets of Bedlam, a setting for Savage Worlds. My latest game is Full Deck Roleplaying, a story-focused game system that is currently out
7:39 PM +JasonLBlair: in playtest format. You can grab the Playtest Document for free over at DriveThruRPG (or you can chip in a few bucks, if you like): (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314006/Full-Deck-Roleplaying-Playtest-Document)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314006/Full-Deck-Roleplaying-Playtest-Document
7:40 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
7:40 PM ~Dan: Thanks, JasonLBlair! The floor is open to questions!
7:41 PM +TadK: So Jason. What is the inspiration for using cards vice dice like in most other systems…..
7:43 PM ~Dan: (I assume JasonLBlair is typing. 🙂 )
7:44 PM +JasonLBlair: So, first off, like most gamers, I’m a huge fan of dice. And I’ve used them in tons of designs. But the inspiration for Full Deck Roleplaying came from the idea of the players have a limited stack of options that would cycle in and out during play, which cards were perfect for. I also liked that most cards have two axes you can pivot on,
7:44 PM +JasonLBlair: design-wise, the suit and the rank. I also liked that you could assign special properties to the Jokers, which are unique cards in a playing deck. Everything sprang forth from that. As I worked on the system more and more, the more I loved what using standard playing cards had to offer.
7:44 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
7:44 PM +TadK: Thank You
7:45 PM ~Dan: Does the game have a setting, and if not, does it lend itself to any particular types of settings?
7:47 PM +JasonLBlair: The core rulebook will not have a setting, though it will contain micro-settings that use the Setting Creation tools to give players some ideas of how to use the system. I will be releasing setting books that use the Full Deck Roleplaying system, though. I have multiple in development, and I talk about three of them on that blog update you posted:
7:47 PM +JasonLBlair: Seven Thunders, No Mere Mortals, and a new edition of Wyrd is Bond.
7:47 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
7:48 PM ~Dan: Excellent.
7:48 PM ~Dan: To rephrase my earlier question, does the system lend itself to any particular playstyle?
7:52 PM +JasonLBlair: Full Deck Roleplaying falls fully under “theater of the mind” roleplaying. There are no minis or mats. Everything happens in the story that players and the Dealer are telling each other, as guided by the cards. There’s a light tactical element, in that you have the cards you have and you know how they interact with your character aspects so you can
7:52 PM +JasonLBlair: choose to play a card now or hold onto for later, but it’s not what you’d consider a tactical game. I think if you have a group who is into the experience of shared storytelling, but want something that guides and informs that story, then Full Deck Roleplaying is a good fit.
7:52 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
7:53 PM ~Dan: Does the game use character sheets, and if so, can we see one?
7:55 PM +JasonLBlair: It does! There is a sheet included in the back of the Playtest Document. I don’t have a separate character sheet link to share though, unfortunately.
7:55 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
7:56 PM ~Dan: No problem! Just give me a minute to pull that up here…
7:57 PM ~Dan: Downloading…
7:58 PM ~Dan: Okay, here we go…
7:59 PM ~Dan: Interesting… So I see what could be called attributes and personality traits, but no skills. Am I missing anything in that regard?
8:01 PM +JasonLBlair: That’s right. A character has four Aspects: Focus, Motivation, Light, and Darkness which all have an associate card suit. The cards themselves are your skills, and if the suit of the card aligns with one of your Aspects then you apply special rules.
8:02 PM ~Dan: Hmm… I don’t think I’m quite following that, so let’s go with our usual task resolution example in here: Jumping over a gap. How would that play out using this system?
8:02 PM +JasonLBlair: The basic idea being that everyone, especially characters in a story, can do all the basic stuff–evade, emote, think, and attack–and it’s the Aspects, who we are and why we do things, that makes us better or worse.
8:05 PM +JasonLBlair: In Full Deck Roleplaying, Spades are the suit of movement. So, if there was a gap you’d need to jump then you’d have to play a Spade. If you don’t have a Spade, you could potentially use Diamonds, which is the suit of intelligence to figure out a way over. You could use Hearts, which is feelings, to convince someone to help you. Or you could use
8:05 PM +JasonLBlair: Clubs, the suit of fighting, to leap over the gap to attack someone.
8:05 PM +JasonLBlair: So it’s not just about the thing you need to do, it’s about how you’re going to do it.
8:05 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:06 PM ~Dan: I see… And what determines success or failure? The number of the card played?
8:07 PM +JasonLBlair: That’s right. The Dealer has a couple options. One, if something or someone is directly opposing you, the Dealer plays a card out of their hand. You need to beat that. Two, if something isn’t opposing you, then the Dealer can set a value you need to meet or beat.
8:07 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:08 PM +JasonLBlair: I’
8:08 PM +JasonLBlair: I’M USING (DONE) AFTER EVERY POST DAN
8:08 PM +JasonLBlair: 😉
8:08 PM ~Dan: (Not totally necessary, but appreciated! 😀 )
8:09 PM ~Dan: Is Strength in this context actual physical strength, or strength of character?
8:12 PM +JasonLBlair: Strength, as a term, only appears in Full Deck Roleplaying as a potential Focus, which is kinda the defining trait of your character. Clubs is Strength. If your Focus is Strength then your character is defined by their physical capability. They might be a barbarian, a Mafia heavy, an assassin, or something like that.
8:12 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:13 PM +Joel: When you’ve playtested this, have you found the “round” structure of play intrusive, or does everything have a good flow? It seems like the structure might stifle some of the natural (and desirable!) “spill” that roleplaying sometimes generates (currently leafing through the document; it’s succinct!)
8:13 PM ~Dan: I see… So is it a sort of holistic physical stat?
8:15 PM +JasonLBlair: Dan: That’s right. Your Focus is the Big Thing that defines you. In the rules, I say “If someone asked what your character is, you’d use their Focus.” Now, not every character is going to have Strength as their Focus. They can have Wisdom, Empathy, Intelligence, or Strength. But that doesn’t mean the person doesn’t have physical strength, it’s just
8:15 PM +JasonLBlair: not their Focus.
8:16 PM +JasonLBlair: Joel: The round structure has been really smooth in playtests. The Dealer presents the Situation and play happens. Players take turns but they use cards in their hands to help other players (called Bolstering) so you still get that dynamic spill you’re talking about.
8:16 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:17 PM +Joel: I always worry about the structure necessary to make good, solid play happen… I like that it maps a bit to a hand of poker! I’d assume that makes it pretty intuitive for newbies
8:19 PM ~Dan: How is Bolstering handled? Are players allowed to share their cards freely?
8:19 PM +JasonLBlair: Joel: It does! People naturally intuit how a round of cards is played. And your actions being limited to what’s in your hand narrows the field of options so play is more direct.
8:20 PM +JasonLBlair: Dan: Bolstering is when one player uses a card in their hand to help another. So the player taking an action plays a card, but it might not be enough to succeed. Another player can then play one of their cards to help, describing how the action of the card suit is helping.
8:21 PM +JasonLBlair: So you’re not sharing cards–your cards remain your cards–but you’re using one of your cards to help another player succeed.
8:21 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:22 PM ~Dan: Ah, I see. That’s an interesting approach to show cooperation.
8:23 PM ~Dan: How is combat handled?
8:23 PM +JasonLBlair: And because you’re limited each situation to the cards in your hand, you’re helping someone at the cost of doing something for yourself. I think it creates really cool moments.
8:23 PM * ~Dan nods
8:23 PM ~Dan: I can see that.
8:24 PM +TadK: In the playtest there are limited options in the settings and character generation. With the full version will there be other options, like if we draw a card vice the suits in the generation…..
8:26 PM +JasonLBlair: So, combat is done by playing and comparing cards, same as any other tasks. As I mentioned earlier, Clubs is the suit of Attack. Spades is the suit of Evade. Those are the most common cards used in a typical combat. The participants in the combat play their cards and values are compared. Higher value wins. But you’re not limited to Clubs and
8:26 PM +JasonLBlair: Spades. You can use Hearts to Emote–to bed for mercy or maybe distract them to create an opening–or use Diamonds for Think to maybe use the environment to your advantage or figure out the opponent’s pattern.
8:27 PM ~Dan: How is damage resolved?
8:28 PM +JasonLBlair: TadK: The final core rulebook will include a lot more options. In the Playtest Document, the options are all broad: Clubs is this, Hearts is that which no regard to the value or rank of the card. In the full version, all the ranks will be broken down into more specific options that fit within the main option determined by the suit.
8:29 PM +TadK: Thanks Jason……I was already about to start houseruling using setting stuff to flesh out characters and reverse.
8:30 PM +JasonLBlair: Dan: Damage comes from Complications. Dealer introduce Complications when they want to ramp up the tension and create a MOMENT. Every Complication has a cost, which is the thing that will be affected if the Complication isn’t resolved. The rank of the card drawn for the Complication is how severe that outcome will be. That’s how players get
8:30 PM +JasonLBlair: damaged.
8:31 PM +JasonLBlair: In Complications, Clubs are the suit of Health. So if the Dealer draws a Club when they add a Complication that means the players will get affected. If the rank of the Club drawn is high enough, they can get severely hurt.
8:31 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:32 PM ~Dan: I see… So what happens, for example, if the PC slugs someone and the Dealer draws a Heart?
8:35 PM +JasonLBlair: Well, first the Dealer would need to add the Complication, narratively. They need to say “You punch the head of the Thieve’s Guild and his underlings charge you. Then he draws a card to see what will happen if the players can’t deal with this Complication. In the case, he drew a Heart–for Complications, Hearts of the suit of Innocents. The rank is
8:35 PM +JasonLBlair: how severe the outcome will be. Let’s say he drew the Queen of Hearts, a face card. That’s high enough to say “If the player don’t deal with this Complication, then an innocent will suffer irreparable damage.”
8:36 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:37 PM ~Dan: What would have happened to the head of the Thieve’s Guild, though?
8:38 PM +JasonLBlair: Sorry, had to let my dog in. 😉
8:38 PM ~Dan: No problem. 🙂
8:40 PM +JasonLBlair: So, damage is narrative until a player decides they want to go for the killing blow. Then the Dealer would either use the cards in their hand to try to defend or set a minimum value that the player needs to beat.
8:40 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:40 PM +TadK: Hi Lainey
8:40 PM ~Dan: 🙂
8:41 PM +JasonLBlair: TadK: Lainey, my Beagle, says hello.
8:41 PM ~Dan: She’s adorable. 🙂
8:42 PM ~Dan: (But then, I’m a sucker for dogs.)
8:43 PM ~Dan: Going back to Strength for a moment — just to be clear, that would cover things like agility as well?
8:45 PM +JasonLBlair: I’m not sure I understand the question.
8:46 PM ~Dan: Well, you mentioned that Strength covers all things physical about the character. I was just wondering if you meant that literally.
8:50 PM +JasonLBlair: Keep in mind that “Strength” isn’t an attribute that every character has. In Full Deck Roleplaying, some characters have “Strength” as their Focus, just like other characters might have Wisdom, Empathy, or Intelligence. When dealing or picking your Focus, you just get one of those. As an action, you use Spades when you want to do something
8:50 PM +JasonLBlair: physically or intellectually agile.
8:51 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:52 PM ~Dan: Do the core rules make any allowances for unusual powers?
8:54 PM +JasonLBlair: Yes! Which I explore in all three of the announced settings, in different ways. The powers would be how a player would contextualize the action they are taking.
8:54 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:55 PM ~Dan: How would the rules handle superhuman levels of ability?
8:57 PM +JasonLBlair: I’m still developing the particulars of that. I have some different systems in the works. The real challenge, design-wise, is how someone with superhuman powers and someone with regular old human powers interact, especially in combat. So, I have some ideas but I haven’t decided which mechanics to go with.
8:57 PM * ~Dan nods
8:57 PM +JasonLBlair: I am hoping to get lots of feedback though to help guide that decision.
8:57 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
8:58 PM ~Dan: Now, you said that powers would contextualize PC actions. Does that imply that their effects would be strictly narrative?
9:00 PM ~Dan: (wb, Silverlion!)
9:01 PM +JasonLBlair: That’s part of what I’m working through. If you think of Savage Worlds or Mutants & Masterminds, you see that a lot: Trappings. Same action–shooting a blast–but a different contextualization: laser beams, concussive psychic force, sonic waves. Same mechanics, different wrapper. Similar deal here.
9:02 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:02 PM ~Dan: On a related note, do weapons have any effect?
9:04 PM +JasonLBlair: For the most part, weapons are narrative. You don’t have an inventory or anything. But if your character is a cop or a hitman, they probably have a gun which would allow them to attack from a distance. Wherein, someone who is hacker, probably wouldn’t have a gun–unless it’s a known part of the setting–so they could only attack up close, probably
9:04 PM +JasonLBlair: with an improvised weapon.
9:04 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:05 PM ~Dan: Can you say a bit about the three settings you mentioned?
9:07 PM +JasonLBlair: Sure! SEVEN THUNDERS is a post-Rapture, though technically mid-Rapture, apocalyptic setting where Angels and Demons are fighting openly across the globe. Bands of humans are trying to find a way to end the war and close out the Apocalypse. Very gritty, magic, survival-focused setting.
9:07 PM +JasonLBlair: NO MERE MORTALS is inspired by comics (and show) like Umbrella Academy, Doom Patrol, and Justice League Dark. Offbeat superheroes who have to take on a reality-eating menace before our entire dimension goes poof.
9:08 PM ~Dan: Looks like you’ll really have to figure out that superhuman issue!
9:09 PM +JasonLBlair: WYRD IS BOND is a new edition of a game I released back in 2004 about a world in which magic is in the mainstream, informing our culture. You have brands based on magic, songs about spellcasting, and people using magic out in the streets. The original Wyrd is Bond was set in the 90s. This new edition brings it to the modern day.
9:09 PM +JasonLBlair: Ha! I will indeed. 😉
9:10 PM +JasonLBlair: I also just today signed the contract to develop a Full Deck Roleplaying setting based on a really cool comic. More details to come.
9:10 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:10 PM ~Dan: Oh, very nice! Congrats on that.
9:10 PM +JasonLBlair: Thank you.
9:11 PM ~Dan: Do NPCs have the same stats as do PCs?
9:12 PM +JasonLBlair: They do! Though you only need to stats if they’re an NPC who will be around a while. Nobodies and other mooks, like in the Thieve’s Guild example, are probably just Complications.
9:12 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:13 PM ~Dan: I suppose this ties into the superhuman question, but how would you go about representing beasts that are primarily physical threats?
9:16 PM +JasonLBlair: Well, their Focus would be Clubs. They’re defined by their physicality. Then I’d give them the Motivation of Justice which, in this case, justice is “I eat, I survive.” That will give me what I need to make this beast a physical threat.
9:17 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:17 PM ~Dan: Okay! It’s time for danhunsaker’s favorite questions. Are you here, danhunsaker?
9:18 PM ~Dan: Doesn’t look like it. Okay, I’ll do the honors!
9:18 PM ~Dan: What is your LEAST favorite aspect of Full Deck Roleplaying?
9:18 PM +JasonLBlair: It’
9:19 PM +JasonLBlair: Sorry! Clipped the Enter key.
9:19 PM ~Dan: No worries!
9:21 PM +JasonLBlair: My least favorite aspect is that it’s still new. It’s been played, it’s been tested, it’s been enjoyed, but I know it’s 100% done yet. Which is exactly why I released the Full Deck Roleplaying Playtest Document, to get people who *aren’t me* playing with people who aren’t in my group and putting it through its paces. This ties into still haven’t to
9:21 PM +JasonLBlair: figure out stuff like superpowers. I have options in front of me, and I don’t know yet which is the right call. There are still undefined elements. I wish I knew the answers already. 😉
9:21 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:21 PM ~Dan: A very fair answer!
9:22 PM ~Dan: In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
9:23 PM +JasonLBlair: Not to get too promotion-y, but I really hope people check out the Playtest Document, read it, play it, and give me feedback. I sincerely and truly want to hear from people who have played the game and have thoughts and real-play examples of situations where the rules weren’t there. I want to hear from folks.
9:24 PM +JasonLBlair: And anyone who sends me feedback will receive 25% off the final PDF. So, please, send me that feedback!
9:24 PM +JasonLBlair: (done)
9:24 PM ~Dan: Very cool!
9:25 PM ~Dan: Thanks very much for joining us, JasonLBlair!
9:25 PM +JasonLBlair: Thank you for having me!
9:25 PM ~Dan: Usual reminder: If you’ve enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe . Anything’s appreciated! 🙂
9:25 PM ~Dan: Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!