I’m a long-time gamer. Over the years, I’ve sat at a lot of gaming tables, as both a player and gamemaster. And if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize it’s that combat is a lot better when it’s vivid and descriptive, rather than being just, “You hit for 17 points of damage.”
But all too often, rote statements of numbers is what we get.
I’d been wanting to tackle that issue for some time, and I’d been kicking around the idea of having some kind of list ready-to-hand that people could consult whenever they needed something interesting and fresh to say during a combat.
There was one major issue, though. How do you get the words to people in a quick and simple manner that doesn’t involve consulting books and lists? How do you get those words to them in a way that doesn’t break the flow of ideas?
Then I had an epiphany – cards. Quick, simple, ready-to-hand, and with just a touch of randomness to keep things always fresh and new. And thus Combat Description Cards was born.
However, “cards”, that’s just a concept. The concept still had to be made to work. And to that end, I called up Rafal Dorsz and AJ Kenning, the artist and the writer who both did such great work for me on Conflict PvP: Tactics and Tournaments.
Together we started hammering out the shape and format the cards were going to have. There were a few key elements that were always at the forefront of our discussions.
1) The cards had to be system neutral, ready to be used for use in any game or story that people wanted to use them for
2) People had to be able to grab just the sort of word they wanted as quickly as possible, so as not to disrupt the flow of their thoughts
3) The words and phrases we used would have to be adaptable to any creature or battleground that might occur, from a historical medieval battlefield to a battle in the sky between two giant oozes
There were a lot of great ideas produced in those sessions, and I hope to be able to make use of all of them. Eventually, we settled on the format for the Combat Description Cards, and then it was time to actually make the cards. However, I wanted to do a truly professional print run.
And that is what brought us to Kickstarter.
We have been blessed by the initial response to the project, and we are really thankful for the support people have shown for our ideas so far. We smashed through stretch goal after stretch goal, such as increasing not only the number of the cards (to 120), the size of the cards (they’ll now be as large as Tarot cards), and have been able to get thicker cardstock with a protective coating. In fact, we unlocked so many that we had to add Tier 1 and Tier 2 Stretch Goals. Oh- there’s also going to be a Web App + API with an offline App possibly coming. More on that later.
So every backer benefits from our stretch goal as the increased content will be added to the PDF and writer’s grid/screen, all across the board.
STRETCH 2 ($17,000) Cards of Ill Intent- UNLOCKED!
In the base CDC deck, there are a large number of vivid action words to describe combat. However, we left words out because they conveyed nefariousness. For example, we didn’t want to a character filled with goodness to be described by the Storyteller as murderous. Instead, we ended up with a separate list of these strong words.
But sometimes a Storyteller needs to describe the attacks of the bad folk, or even of player characters who aren’t so good themselves. And that is where the ‘Cards of Ill Intent’ comes in – a booster pack that are much like the set of regular Combat Description Cards, but that have action words to describe all of the cold-hearted and murderous bastards out there.
In addition to this booster, we also Unlocked packs for:
- ‘Character Expressions’
- ‘Environments: Smells & Sounds’
- ‘Environments: The Labyrinth’
- ‘Character Distinctions’
All of these booster cards will be included on the PDF, the Web App, and, if raise a little more, included in a native App so it all can be accessed offline. How cool is that?
But hurry- the drive ends Wed, Apr 16 2014 12:10 AM EDT.
Mark M. Scott