Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dave Arneson's Fortune Cards

One of the news to have come out of GenCon this weekend is the planned concept of Fortune Cards for D&D 4E. In the upcoming Gamma World game, mutations will be made available in the form of cards, with randomized booster packs, remniscent of the booster packs from Magic the Gathering being sold to those interested in more mutations. According to Critical hits, on twitter the D&D4E Fortune Cards will follow the same model, though without the mutations:

"Fortune Cards: Cards in booster packs that include random benefits for characters. Adds extra "fun and power" for characters. Not an extra level of powerups, an extra level of chance and randomness."
The Piazza poster, Dulsi, made me aware of this idea of booster packs now being introduced into D&D. I have to say that I am very sceptical about this. I Cyber-Dave's post over at wizards.com sums up my feelings on this concept quite well. Fortune Cards are less problematic than card elements in Gamma World (and possibly also in the upcoming Ravenloft game), since the former can be ignored.

When I heard that WotC were planning to publish Fortune Cards, what first lept to my mind was the concept of Chance Cards, something that Dave Arneson started to use in his D&D Blackmoor Campaign in 1974. This was a rather different concept however. The Blackmoor Chance Cards were randomized story elements that were to be drawn once a year and which are detailed in the First Fantasy Campaign. As Arneson relates, The Great Peasant Revolt and the Raid from the Duchy of Ten were prominent examples of how the Chance Cards affected the campaign. Perhaps something like this would be worth looking into for WotC as well?

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1 comment:

  1. Far More worthwhile than extra powers! The one thing 4e does NOT need is extra powers.