Based on some of the comments from my previous post, "D&D Flushed Down the Toilet by Wizards of the Coast," I felt like I should really clear up some of the confusion.
1. D&D has offered these types of cards before.
|Spellfire was introduced in 1994|
There have been cards that have been released and had the name D&D slapped on them. For example, D&D tried to capitalize on the success of Magic: The Gathering by releasing what is widely considered to be among the worst collectible card games in history, Spellfire. It was a flop and didn't hang around too long. However, Spellfire was a stand alone game. These were not cards that you used within your D&D games to give your characters extra powers.
Spell cards for Wizards and Priests were for use in a D&D game, but they were just easy reference cards. Much like those people who wrote the spell info down on an index card, these cards offered no advantage short of easy access to the information presented in the Player's Handbook.
2. These New Fortune Cards are just like the various Game Mastery Decks available
No. Paizo offers many different decks, including a critical hit deck. That is not a CCG being driven into an rpg. It is a single deck that everyone draws from when scoring a critical hit. Honestly, when we played with them most people just felt that they would rather have the double damage. That sad fact, along with the fact that the DM also draws from the deck means that everyone is on a level playing field.
3. Buying those cards to increase character power is just like buying a new supplement book
Uh, no. If one buys a splat book to increase character power then they are buying it for a new feat, skill, or spell. If the DM allows access to the book then he allows access for everyone, not just the person who bought the book. If a DM only allows you to choose things from books that you physically own, leave the game. With D&D Insider and the character builder there is little to no reason to own all of these supplemental books as it pertains to making characters. Players have access to all the feats from the various books through that program.
4. D&D is not Changing
People for some reason (probably because they didn't actually read what I wrote) accused me of saying that, "D&D is dying." I never said that, and that certainly isn't what I meant. What I said is that D&D is changing, and changing into something that isn't much like what it was.
It is changing like it or not. I don't like it, some people no doubt will. I'm not saying that this product will be a failure, far from it. I think it will make a ton of money. I just don't think it is good for the game. D&D will continue, it just probably won't be D&D the way many people know it, like it, and/or play it.
5. You have no idea what the cards are like
I do, actually. They have sample cards posted online. I posted one of them in the original article and I've posted two below in the Card Comparison section.
To help people who believe that these cards are the same as those that have been offered before I've posted five different cards below for people to look at.
The first is a critical hit card from GameMastery's critical hit deck. As you can see there is a real give and take to these cards. If you are using them you may end up doing half the damage that you would with your only compensation that your target is sickened for one round. It's happened to me folks, and it sucks.
The second card is a spell reference card. As you can see it gives no advantage short of you not having to look the spell up. Handy? Yes. Power increasing? No.
The third card is a Spellfire card. It's a bad CCG, a Magic: The Gathering rip off, and has nothing to do with D&D save the fact that they slapped the brand name on it to aid sales.
|A Card from the GameMastery Critical Hit Deck|
|A 3rd Edition Spell Reference Card|
|A Spellfire Card|
|One of the new Fortune Cards|
|One of the new Fortune Cards|
The final two cards are these new fortune cards. As you can see all advantage, no disadvantage. The only disadvantage you'll encounter with these cards is not having a deck when everyone else does. I've seen people say draw from someone else's deck, but right away I see a few issues there.
- What is just one player buys them and everyone wants to draw from his deck? How would he feel basically being the one to supply the entire group with cards? I'm sure some people would be fine with that, but I could see it being a problem for others. Especially when playing in games where the Players don't know each other.
- People are encouraged to build a deck that has been tailored to their specific character. If a wizard filled his deck with magic boosting cards to maximize his potential, what good would it be for the fighter to draw from his deck?
- Does the DM also draw from the deck? These are player cards and don't seem to be meant for the DM, but 4th edition is the ultimate edition of Game Balance. I'd say the game is almost perfectly balanced, but with these cards the balance get's thrown out of wack. Even if the DM does draw, the added flexibility of being able to play the cards on any of the monsters in the game makes the cards more powerful in his hands than in the hands of the players. I'm sure it won't be long before we see DM cards..
So in conclusion, these cards are indeed a new thing. This new thing is changing the what D&D is, with more changes likely to come in the near future. Finally, this is not the end of D&D. It will survive, though perhaps not in a form that is appealing to many.
I Repeat, the sky is not falling (unless the sky is general respect for Wizards of the Coast's integrity).