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 How the Cards Work

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PostHow the Cards Work

CARDS
The Dark Seattle Live-Action Game replaces the dice of traditional roleplaying with a hand of 10 cards. We use a custom designed set of cards which you can acquire at the following link: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/delux-deck. These cards are used to determine the whims of fate. Anytime a character performs an action under adverse conditions or when the outcome is unclear, his player draws a card to see if the task succeeds.

Each player should normally have his cards on them while playing. Sometimes, the Storytellers, Narrators and considerate players might carry extra sets in order to cover players who forget or do not have costume space to carry their own. Players should replace their cards when they acquire bent corners or other telltale marks due to the regular wear and tear of play. Alternatively, players have the option of laminating their cards or using card sleeves to avoid having their cards marked by regular wear and tear. If issues of card marking become a problem, the Storyteller can insist that players obtain new cards, that they rotate cards with other players at random, or even that cards must be submitted for inspection before play begins.

Draw Etiquette
Generally, players are required to display their cards to opponents before drawing begins, to show that they have a proper set of cards from 1 to 10. Any time a card is drawn from a hand, the hand must be shuffled before another draw is made. To avoid potential allegations of abuse when drawing for a test, instead of drawing from their own cards, players are expected to draw from an opponent’s hand (or the hand of a Narrator or nearby player, if the test is not directly opposed). Provided it is not done solely as a delaying tactic, players are within their rights to ask for any of the following at any time: an opponent to shuffle his hand, an opponent to display his hand again to ensure that it’s still stacked correctly, to pick from a different player’s hand, or even for a new set of cards to be obtained from a Narrator or another player before continuing with a test.
Players may also request that a Storyteller or Narrator be the one to provide cards or even make a critical draw on behalf of either side if ensuring an impartial outcome is absolutely essential. Storyteller or Narrator involvement is essential in the most major instances, such as resolving a test that could result in one character’s death or decide the outcome of a key plotline.
Remember that an opponent asking you to display your cards, perform a shuffle or otherwise make a draw request is not accusing you of cheating. Quite the opposite, these are simply quick ways of ensuring that both parties are relaxed and confident that the test is honest, so no one has to worry about second-guessing the outcome. Should the worst happen and a player suspect that another is cheating, he should not be confronted directly, but be brought to the Storyteller’s attention, who in turn takes any appropriate disciplinary measures.

Players who attempt to abuse any of these guidelines for their own benefit may face disciplinary action by the Storyteller.
Note: It is a fact of life that a small but potentially significant number of players are skilled at card tricks, either from training in sleight of hand and stage magic, or simply many nights spent playing cards. While the vast majority of such players are honest, players with such skills are advised to alert the Storytelling staff and other players before play begins to avoid unfounded suspicions if their talents are discovered. These individuals should not take it personally if other players are strict with them regarding card etiquette and hand checks. In return, opponents should remember that knowing card tricks does not automatically mean every draw a player makes is suspect, and to make any hand requests politely and reasonably.

TRAITS
Characters possess a variety of traits that describe their innate capabilities, trained skills and even how many wounds they can suffer before dying. These traits are fully described in the game books. Two types of traits are especially important: Attributes and Skills.

Each of these traits is rated in dots, ranging from 1 to 5, much like the “five-star” system many critics use to rate movies. For example, a character might have a Dexterity Attribute of 3 dots and a Firearms Skill of 2 dots. (Note that characters with a Blood Potency of 6 or higher may have Attributes and/or Skills above 5.)
Whenever your character performs an action that calls for a card draw, you most often determine your test pool by adding the most appropriate Attribute dots to the most appropriate Skill dots. When your character shoots a gun, you add his Dexterity 3 to his Firearms 2 for a total of five.

MODIFIERS
Various conditions and circumstances can greatly improve or hinder your character’s efforts, represented by bonuses and/or penalties to your test pool (not your hand size). Quality tools might give him a bonus to repair a car, or a Stradivarius violin might give him a bonus to play a symphony. Or a thunderstorm might impose hazardous driving conditions, levying a penalty on any driving tests, or a distant target is hard to hit with a gun, represented by range penalties. For example, when shooting a target at medium range with his pistol, your character suffers a –2 penalty. That gives you a modified test pool of three (5 – 2).
The Storyteller determines whether or not any circumstance imposes test-pool modifiers and how great those modifiers are.

TEST POOL
So, we can say that a test pool is determined like so:
Attribute + Skill + equipment modifier
+/– Storyteller-determined modifiers (if any)
In general, bonuses to your test pools are always added before penalties are applied (before points are taken away).
There are a few other complications, but you can read about them in the World of Darkness core book.

DRAWING CARDS
Now that you know what your draw will be based on, let’s see how to read the results. Draw one card at random, and reference your test pool on the left-hand column of the card where there are numbers from 0 to 15. The number in the box immediately to the right of your test pool is the number of successes you receive for that test. So, if your test pool is 6 and you draw an 8, you look up the 6 on the left-hand column of the card which shows that you got 2 successes.
Multiple successes generally mean your character does better than he hoped, perhaps completing a task early or coaxing a bit more performance out of a piece of hardware. Storytelling doesn’t just tell you whether your character succeeds or fails, it shows you how well he does.

If you receive 0 successes on your draw, your action fails. This is rarely fatal. It’s most often simply a setback, and your character can usually try the action again (or again and again in the case of combat). If an action using mental or social traits against another character fails, you usually have to wait for a scene (by default an hour) to attempt the same action against the same character again.

Obviously, the more dots and bonuses you have in your test pool, the better your character’s chances of success and the greater your odds of gaining multiple successes. It’s often easy to get at least a single success so long as your character isn’t under extreme pressure or facing heavy odds. Getting multiple successes is progressively more difficult.
If your character draws a 1 and your test pool is 5 or lower, your character suffers a failure beyond the norm called a botch (or dramatic failure). The Storyteller or Narrator will describe the effects of the botch to you, but you can read examples for most botches on the 2, 3, and 4 cards of your card set.
In addition, there is a special rule called “10 Again.” Whenever you draw a 10, you may draw an additional card. If the second card drawn is an 8, 9, or 10, you add one success to your initial successes and draw again. Repeat this process each time until you do not draw an 8, 9, or 10.
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