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After all these years, which are your thoughts about the action cards?


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#1 Yepesnopes

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:06 AM

 Hello all,

I hope the title is self explanatory, but just in case I want to do a few clarifications. I do not try to bring a discussion over the action card mechanics (i.e. recharging tokens, or opposed checks, difficulties, game balance etc), but more about the amount of action cards and their diversity, do they bring something extra to your table?

I will post my experience.

During the first sessions, all of us were really excited with the amount of action cards. We felt the there was a big choice and that these meant that the fun was assured. For once, not only spellcasters will had a big list of tricks.  As the sessions were passing by and we were playing more and more, we realized that the choice was a bit of an illusion. At the end of the day, from the myriad of available cards (spells aside), there is only a 10% or so which are used at our table, with different players having repeated action cards (like rapid fire or winning smile). Of course, my players use the 10% which composes the "best" action cards, i.e. the more lethal (melee, raged) or efficient (support).

I have to say that I am happy with the idea brought by with the action cards. Especially I like the possibility they offer to use skills out of their standard frame such as a WS(Fel) test. On the other hand now, a posteriori, I think that a more restricted number of cards but better play tested would have been a better choice.

As I final note, I have noticed that action cards, contrary to what I expected at the beginning, they do not promote role play at my table, they rather tend to put my players in a more "lazy mode", with sentences like -I do "action card name" to the shop keeper-, at the moment I have to remember them we are play a role play game.

These are all personal experiences, therefore in my opinion, I think the idea behind the action cards is good (the mechanics which are horrible are something else), but if in a future we are to see a new version of wfrpg (in the line of SW EotE) I would yet like to have actions (in cards or in a list), just fewer and better play tested.

Which is your experience?

Cheers,

Yepes 


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#2 thePREdiger

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:42 AM

 Like you said - at first you think you think there are many choices to make, but soon we realized that some action cards are similar and you just go for the stronger version (some of them just came with a later expansion).

In the end it boils down to a similar action card deck with every character you because you know this odd 3 action cards that will pwn the **** out of every stuff the GM is throwing at you.

 

 

 



#3 Emirikol

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:08 AM

I've eliminated them for monsters and npcs.  best thing i ever did.

 

For PCs, spells matter.  The rest are junk just for accounting.  There needs to be one that causes each condition(or combat/social), something for dual weapon, something for social(conditions), and thats it.

 

i'd like t see a review of these cards so we can finalize once and for all which cards are "good/bad".

 

One of my players doesnt bother b/c hes realized all this already..plus he can barely read bc of dyslexia.

 Also, I dont like that theyre called "cards".  WTF is this?  Some anime cartoon show for kids?

 

The universal effect of accounting for accounting sake also is lame.

 

It really doesnt bug me much, but the above is what i'd fix if it really mattered.

jh



#4 valvorik

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:23 AM

I like the action cards and still like the (a) rule there in front of you not in book; (b) recharge mechanic as way of controlling repeat use; © ability to mix 'em up when creating monsters and NPCs.

They are not "the answer for roleplaying".  Yes, a player can end up "playing them as if pushing a button for x damage and y condition".  Still takes a GM saying, "but what do you actually do"?  Or just slapping some misfortune dice on "obviously not trying very hard though" for no description (I don't do that but am tempted, do give fortune dice for good description).

They also require creating a sorting/indexing system for them to keep them straight, something you want to do early rather than later.

There are ways they could be improved (e.g., more like the improved defences tree where you swap out better versions of the action).



#5 k7e9

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:35 AM

I like them, my players like them (all 10 in total I've played the game with).

I don't allow players to be "lazy" in their roleplaying. If they want to play, say a social card, they have to roleplay it first, then they get to use it and roll for results. I.e. no "I play the flirt card". Roleplay flirting first, then use your card (if you do not have the card, you roll straight up charm instead to flirt, but with lesser effect than a player actually using the card).

I don't allow two players to have the same action cards either, it promotes diversity among the group and eliminates "problems", such as all players going for purchasing a few specific cards. Also my players usually thinks about what's right for their characters (which is more in the name of the card, than in it's effects) and picks that way.

Some actions seem better than others, in combat there are quite a few which deal more damage than others, but we could care less. We aren't playing an MMO, so why worry about "DPS". ;)



#6 Veteres

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 10:36 AM

I like your method of motivating the PCs to roleplay the action cards. Could you elaborate on it or could you guide me to a forum entry where this approach was formerly discussed? hopefully with some examples?

 

 



#7 k7e9

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:17 AM

Veteres said:

I like your method of motivating the PCs to roleplay the action cards. Could you elaborate on it or could you guide me to a forum entry where this approach was formerly discussed? hopefully with some examples?

 

Well, all groups roleplay differently. But the difficulty of lazy roleplaying isn't unique to WFRP, and I don't feel that the action cards reinforce lazy roleplaying. But they can be used to promote good roleplaying.

A simple example on how you could roleplay in a lazy fashion:
In WFRP: I play the "Flirt" card to flirt with the noble.
In D&D: I use CHA to flirt with the noble.

The action card isn't to blame for lazy roleplaying, you could play it lazy it in more or less any system.

 

So here's an example about using the flirt card:

To use an action card you must first roleplay the action you intend to take (in this case flirting). By describing what you your character does, conversing, acting etc. All the 'normal' roleplaying/acting stuff.

After roleplaying it for a while, you get to use the flirt card. You roll and look at the results (which is quite quick and easy to do in WFRP).

Depending on how the roll goes you see how the flirtation is recieved by the target character.
If you rolled a success you've managed to flirt well with the target character, how well depends on successes, boons, comets etc.
If you fail, you obviously did something wrong during your flirting, maybe you insulted the character by accident, or maybe he/she isn't interested in you and so on.

After the roll you go on to roleplay the effects of the roll,
A successful roll might mean you've been on a great date and you escort the lady home, maybe get a kiss good night, maybe you get another date, or maybe you end up in bed (it all depends on the situation, results of the roll and the goal of the acting character).
If you fail, you get to roleplay what went wrong instead, maybe you get a drink flung in your face (chaos star), or maybe you say something inappropriate that ends the date, or maybe you just don't klick and both go home feeling that this wasn't the love of their lives. A fail with banes might mean that you had a string of bad luck during the date.
I encourage my players to participate (and often drive) the interpretation of the results. The result is decided by the dice, but the why and the how is very much decided by the player. For example if rolling a failure with banes, they get to roleplay mistakes they make, what their character does or says to ruin the date and obviously I respond to their roleplaying by playing the NPC they are flirting with.

Good roleplaying awards fortune dice to the roll, so there's incentive for the player(s) to prepare, think it through and roleplay well. Bad roleplaying might result in misfortune (or even challenge) dice beeing added to the roll, which further increases the incentive to roleplay and not be lazy. Just saying "I play the flirt card" will mostly 'award' you with at least a couple of extra misfortune dice to the pool. So preparing and putting effort into the roleplaying has an impact on success rate (which is fine by me as it encourages roleplaying your character).

Roleplaying a card before rolling might only take a minute or two (sometimes more), same goes for the roleplaying of the results. But that minute of roleplaying adds a lot to the shared experience of the players and GM at the table.

Obviously, sometimes we just make the roll, all rolls aren't worth roleplaying, sometimes it's ok to be lazy so that we can keep the plot moving forward. In those cases I don't add extra misfortune dice to the roll.

As the player has all the information about what dice to use on the action card (except modifiers and difficulty from the GM), so while preparing he/she can gather the dice pool, get the difficulty and modifiers, and then roll when asked to roll and get the results.

A short summary of the process for the player:

  • State what you intend to do (in the example flirting with a lady by using the flirt card)
  • Roleplay what you do, say, think etc.
  • Use the card, roll and interpret results.
  • Roleplay results.

 

In the end, it's all about what the players and the GM wants. The players and the GM should decide together how they like to play the game.

 

This is applicable to tasks that are not social as well. Roleplaying how you use education to learn some fact can obviously award fortune dice. For example going to the temple of Verena, talking to priests there (and roleplaying the conversation obviously) and so on.

In combat we do this less, but a sentence or two about what you do and how may award fortune dice. This encourages clever use of the environment and keeps the fights more interesting.

I don't have a good forum entry on hand, but I believe it's been discussed before.

 

EDIT:

This, obviously, can also be done using any other roleplaying system. In D&D you roleplay, roll CHA, roleplay.

But the system, dice mechanics and action cards makes it easy for the players to prepare rolls, easy to interpret interesting results which at least in our opinion gives more inspiration to roleplaying than most systems. Finally, the action cards gives more juicy success, boon, bane, chaos star lines. Which further aids roleplaying (in our oppinion).

For example, my character succeeded but got stressed in the process, this raises the question "Why did he get stressed?" one answer could be: He almost said something inappropriate during the date but managed to cover it up. And then the player roleplays that almost slip of the tounge (which could be very memorable).


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#8 Yepesnopes

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:20 AM

k7e9 said:

Veteres said:

I like your method of motivating the PCs to roleplay the action cards. Could you elaborate on it or could you guide me to a forum entry where this approach was formerly discussed? hopefully with some examples?

 

Well, all groups roleplay differently. But the difficulty of lazy roleplaying isn't unique to WFRP, and I don't feel that the action cards reinforce lazy roleplaying. But they can be used to promote good roleplaying.

A simple example on how you could roleplay in a lazy fashion:
In WFRP: I play the "Flirt" card to flirt with the noble.
In D&D: I use CHA to flirt with the noble.

The action card isn't to blame for lazy roleplaying, you could play it lazy it in more or less any system.

I agree 100% with you but…there is a but.

In the example you give with the Flirt; mechanically in wfrpg 3 all you need is an "influence" result in a social encounter to move your tracker up (or down), or to inflictt shame (roughly "influence" works like wounding in a combat). Then there are cards like Winning Smile or Staring Contest which grant you an "influence" result with no role playing effort whatsoever. Therefore they promote laziness.

Of course that you can house rule this, but this is a bit one of my concerns I was trying to bring in this post, too many cards for similar results, ones are easier, deadlier or more effective than other, then as per RAW why will you want to have Flirt instead of say Staring Contest?

Things like this make me wonder than less cards, more differentiated and better play tested would be a better option, just my opinion. 


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#9 willmanx

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:32 AM

To put rules on cards was a really great idea, but they should have focus on important one instead of producing them like a collectible card game. Too bad.

The special dices is the real greatest idea !



#10 gruntl

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:22 AM

Yepesnopes said:

Of course that you can house rule this, but this is a bit one of my concerns I was trying to bring in this post, too many cards for similar results, ones are easier, deadlier or more effective than other, then as per RAW why will you want to have Flirt instead of say Staring Contest?

Because you're playing a role? You're not optimizing a pwning DPS build for the next Onyxia raid (or Shame per second build in this case). The cards add incredible amounts of actions that make it possible to mechanically perform stuff that fits your roleplaying concept. I think this is awesome and is one of the things that really makes 3ed great.

Otherwise I agree with k7e9 completely, and use the actions in a similar way. A great write-up on how the actions can be used to improve the roleplaying. 

 



#11 Yepesnopes

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:45 AM

gruntl said:

Yepesnopes said:

 

Of course that you can house rule this, but this is a bit one of my concerns I was trying to bring in this post, too many cards for similar results, ones are easier, deadlier or more effective than other, then as per RAW why will you want to have Flirt instead of say Staring Contest?

 

 

Because you're playing a role? You're not optimizing a pwning DPS build for the next Onyxia raid (or Shame per second build in this case). The cards add incredible amounts of actions that make it possible to mechanically perform stuff that fits your roleplaying concept. I think this is awesome and is one of the things that really makes 3ed great.

Otherwise I agree with k7e9 completely, and use the actions in a similar way. A great write-up on how the actions can be used to improve the roleplaying. 

I agree, we are playing a role. Then we should discuss why there is a card (for example) called Flirt, which a player can use to flirt with a NPC. Why not just interpret the role and roll for Charm? Which is the point on spending 1xp to have the card? Besides, mechanically, if I have to spend the xp, I prefer to spend it in Winning Smile (for example) which gives me the "influence" result under any situation, not only when I flirt. Then when I want to flirt with a NPC I use my Winning Smile card and afterwards I can role play my flirting scene. See? There is no loss on role play, yet there is no point on having Flirt over Winning Smile or Staring Contest.

Again, I am not saying the cards are bad, just many of them are a bit pointless (or some of them are better).

 


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#12 GoblynKing

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:43 AM

I'm noticing a trend on these forums. It seems as if the game tends to fail when it comes to guiding new GM's and players on HOW to use the components successfully (i.e. so that everyone has fun). A common complaint is, "the Action Cards/components/bits and bobbles promote lazy roleplaying", or "my players just use the cards like they're playing a videogame/boardgame". As was said above, this is simply a case of players not being motivated enough to roleplay or being uncomfortable with roleplaying. This type of rp-gaming is common when the roleplaying aspect of the games mechanics aren't as obvious (see every editon of D&D), though it could be argued that the dice pool system DOES incourage roleplaying, though the "interpreting the dice pool results as story driven ques" just isn't as intuitive to some folks as it is to others, this is further complicated by the fact that most action cards give very specific mechanical results for dice pool rolls as opposed to detailed roleplay suggestions.

The point is…the GM's guide/or Tome of Adventure, should have been much more specific regarding HOW to run a game and use the components to better promote roleplaying.

In other words, this is definitley not a great game for those that have NEVER played a tabletop rpg before in.



#13 gruntl

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:09 PM

Yepesnopes said:

I agree, we are playing a role. Then we should discuss why there is a card (for example) called Flirt, which a player can use to flirt with a NPC. Why not just interpret the role and roll for Charm? Which is the point on spending 1xp to have the card? Besides, mechanically, if I have to spend the xp, I prefer to spend it in Winning Smile (for example) which gives me the "influence" result under any situation, not only when I flirt. Then when I want to flirt with a NPC I use my Winning Smile card and afterwards I can role play my flirting scene. See? There is no loss on role play, yet there is no point on having Flirt over Winning Smile or Staring Contest.

Again, I am not saying the cards are bad, just many of them are a bit pointless (or some of them are better). 

Sure, you have a point there. I do agree that there are a bit too many cards and that they overlap too much at times (the Flirt vs Staring contest comparison in the earlier post were a bit too far apart to really show this I think).

When I'm a player I tend to get the actions that fit my concept, regardless of whether there are similar actions that are better. I mean, Flirt and Winning smile may be overlapping too much, but they really simulate two very different approaches to trying to get someone to like you. For a given character concept and/or situation one of them may fit better than the other. Sure you could roleplay them to provide very similar effects, but to me having a card that really fits makes it easier to roleplay the action.

I also think it was a miss to not include more examples of play and advice on how to use the actions/talents/dice results to improve the roleplaying aspect in the rulebooks. 

 

 



#14 willmanx

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:27 PM

1) There are too many cards, and those card often offers a small effect that a simple dice roll interpretation or roleplaying could provide (i.e : almost all the social cards only gives a white dice, or such a city bravado, winning smile, flirt).

2) There are a lot of actions that anybody should be able to attempt (catch someone, seduce, break with a music instrument on someone - do you remember that card ?).

So what ?

I know EMIRIKOL allow anyone to use any card by adding 1 challenge dice but, once again, the card effect is too weak to justify it for us.

 

In our game, those cards are considered like basic cards, rule remembering, all players have access to. The GM keeps them by himself to rule those action everybody may attempt. Players may only acquire action cards with a major effect.I'll soon report you the liste of action cards considered basic.

 

What do you think of it ?



#15 Yepesnopes

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:05 PM

willmanx said:

In our game, those cards are considered like basic cards, rule remembering, all players have access to. The GM keeps them by himself to rule those action everybody may attempt. Players may only acquire action cards with a major effect.I'll soon report you the liste of action cards considered basic.

 

What do you think of it ?

Sounds an interesting approach, I have been tempted to do it more than once. Nevertheless, I finally never did it because in the character evolution process, it is expected that the PC will spend xp to gain access to action cards to get better. I was afraid to alter the delicate equilibrium of the game by doing such a change, since in wfrpg 3 PC are already very capable (or powerful whatever term you prefer), if they have to invest less in action cards they will evolve even faster.

That was my fear, said that, I will love to see your list. An action card to grapple that is not basic? I always wondered why. 


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#16 willmanx

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:12 PM

Yepesnopes said:

That was my fear, said that, I will love to see your list. An action card to grapple that is not basic? I always wondered why. 

yup, by RAW one would answer you may "perform a stunt" instead.

Another idea is : why buying a weak action card giving you a white dice when you can buy a yellow dice to massively increase your character for the SAME cost.



#17 Yepesnopes

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:46 PM

willmanx said:

 

 

yup, by RAW one would answer you may "perform a stunt" instead.

Another idea is : why buying a weak action card giving you a white dice when you can buy a yellow dice to massively increase your character for the SAME cost.

I totally agree.


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#18 willmanx

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:11 AM

Yepesnopes said:

willmanx said:

 

 

 

 

 

yup, by RAW one would answer you may "perform a stunt" instead.

Another idea is : why buying a weak action card giving you a white dice when you can buy a yellow dice to massively increase your character for the SAME cost.

 

 

I totally agree.

By the way, the lady playing an rank4 elf (front/left) in our game is totally thanking you for that amazing fanmade supplements, as the lady playing a rank3 dwarf here (bottom/left), and the lady playing a rank 4 witchhuntress (right). Here in early games in winter 2009… and still playing now through epic careers.

http://narf4.free.fr/willmanx/warhammerdesfilles20090228.JPG



#19 Yepesnopes

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 02:05 AM

willmanx said:

 

 

By the way, the lady playing an rank4 elf (front/left) in our game is totally thanking you for that amazing fanmade supplements, as the lady playing a rank3 dwarf here (bottom/left), and the lady playing a rank 4 witchhuntress (right). Here in early games in winter 2009… and still playing now through epic careers.

http://narf4.free.fr/willmanx/warhammerdesfilles20090228.JPG

ooooooh, Duvel; with no doubt is one of my favorite beers!


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#20 willmanx

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 02:16 AM

why do RPGers always notice the beers ??! :-D






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