How have you used the various card decks? (But wait... There's more.)


Accessories


What have they done for your game? What didn't they do for your game? What do you wish they did for your game?

I'm new to Pathfinder but not table-top RPGs. The item decks seem useful as my youngest child isn't quite writing yet. So having her keep track of her character's items with cards seems like a great idea. But I'm trying to keep our gaming purchases in budget.

Thanks for your opinions!

Take care,

Harry


I only have the Plot Twist cards and the Chase cards.

The Chase rules are a subsystem for presenting a dynamic fast-paced chase through an environment. They mostly use skill checks and saves.
These rules were introduced in Curse of The Crimson Throne (I believe in the second book of that AP). They were reprinted in the GameMastery Guide and are available online in the PRD.

The cards make implementing the Chase rules much easier to run.

The Plot Twist cards present options to alter the story or have a mechanical effect on an encounter. I use them instead of Action Points.

There is a second deck of Plot Twist cards out that I have not gotten yet.

I highly recommend either of these products, but with a child that young, you may get more use out of the Chase cards.


I have some of the character portraits.

They have been useful for me to generate random NPCs. I needed a bunch of party guests, so I grabbed a bunch or random ones out of decks and then assigned a few personality traits and alliegences. It made it much easier to track that encounter, and when the fighting broke out I had something to work with. They weren't necessary, but I found them useful.

I don't understand the use for the item cards. They would get dissassociated from my character sheet way too easily.

Sczarni

I have a deck of the face cards, and the condition card deck. Let me tell you, that Condition deck is useful! No more having to remember who has what conditions. Get the card out, had it to them, if it lasts x number of rounds maybe set a die on top of it so that you can roll it down.

I think they would help even a non-reading player significantly.

The face cards are also nice; I just wish I had a ton more of 'em! They're quite varied, but somehow I always seem to find myself using the same few ones.


I use the Face Cards quite often while DMing, and my players seem to really like the portraits, too.

Just started using the Condition deck, which has already proven to be quite useful, if for no other reason that keeping people from having to ask, "OK, so what does being sickened do to me again????"

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I have the critical hit and fumble decks, and I just recently got the condition deck (and I hope I remember where I put it...).

Anyway, I like the way the crit hit and fumble decks vary things up a bit, especially since some of the events often do reflect a weapon attack or spell's massive boons and failures more nicely than just double damage (or determining whether a character fumbles or not and what to do when that happens--all optional rules but can make things interesting).

We do have to remember to pull them out and use them. They can slow the game down in that manner--though the entertaining results can be well worth it.

Haven't used the condition deck much YET but it is very handy.

I have a couple GMs that use the plot twist cards. I love the idea of them, but I know I myself often find myself trying to decide whether I want to use it or just hold on in case I need it later. I don't think ANYONE has actually played a plot twist card yet. I don't know if it's us or the mechanic--being afraid to spend the resource, yes that should be a challenge of it. But if no one ever uses them at all, is it worth it?

A GM has also used the Face Cards which seem neat. Helps give an image in the head but personally I'd rather just describe the character -- or put a mini on the table, if I have one. For me I don't think I'd consider them worth the money -- heck, if I really want a visual image, I run with my laptop and could probably find tons of character art for free. But to each his own, I'm sure they can be very useful tools.

ETA
Finally, I used to own item cards, and then failed to really get much use out of them. I tried to hand them out, but it's hard to have cards that have everything, and 3 out of 4 of my players weren't interested in them as actual tools (they found ridiculous combos of items and liked the art, but to them it was just one more thing to track that wasn't useful).

One of my GMs has also tried to use item cards (I gave him all the ones I owned as I stopped using them). At the beginning of the game, he even made us a little paper "backpack" that held all the cards representing the items we possessed at the start of game, which was really neat. The idea was that we could pull out a card instead of always reference our character sheet, and note special abilities and so on.

Problem is that the GM hasn't had time to always find or make cards for items that we acquire in the game and hand them out (he's a teacher so I really can't blame him for not having a lot of time--I'm certain he puts every bit of free time he can get into the campaign). So we've ended up writing our equipment on our character sheets anyway. And then we have equipment lists and card "backpacks" that don't match and it all gets confusing.

Summary problems of Item Cards:
- Increases GM prep time (need to make sure you have cards for the important items)
- Not cards for every item (and/or you need to buy every set to feel like you have as much as possible--that gets very expensive very fast)
- Some players just not into them
- Have to make sure you/players don't lose them
- You can't write on them very well. It's nice cardstock, but the print/gloss on it means pencil barely shows up. And if you write on it in pen.... well, you write on it in pen. Annoying particularly if you want to use a card to track ammo or something.

Now, if you've got the time to work with them, and you're working with a little kid--yeah, the visual aid probably can be very helpful. But you also might want to consider just making your own item cards--that way you know you have the items you need. Find nice clip art/stock art online, print it on cardstock. (Plus you can write on the cardstock more easily than the printed cards)

I'd actually forgotten about the item cards--including that I'd actually bought some--when I first hit submit; obviously I'm not very impressed with them. The other card sets I think are much better.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the item cards are a nice visual aid for unusual items - instead of everybody searching through the rulebooks when somebody says "just what *is* a whackyzacky (sic), anyway?", they look at the card the GM has dropped onto the table.

I don't think they work for everyday items, though. Even if you're only trying to kit out a single player, you'd need an awful lot of cards.

I've got the condition cards, and have my order in for the buff cards. I've also got the Skulls & Shackles item cards, and will be getting the new version of the Rise of the RuneLords Adventure Path cards, because I anticipate running at least one (and possibly both) of those campaigns.


I have used the condition cards, Harrow deck, and plot twist cards. I think they all add a lot to the game. My DM just bought the Jade Regent treasure cards but we haven't used them yet.

Condition cards- super awesome! The pictures are hilarious and they are a fast and convenient way to remember who has what conditions as well as what each condition means. I highly recommend them.

Harrow deck- It's interesting, and the special boons you get from them do come in handy. It does require looking up and remembering what each card does. I like them, but they add complexity to the game and with young players, that might not be a great idea.

Plot twist cards- I feel about them about how I feel about the Harrow deck. Interesting and fun but not really awesome. For someone who probably doesn't read terribly well yet, definitely not a good buy.

Treasure cards- These should work really well for a pre-reader. The pictures of armor, weapons, and various other things work very well to give an idea of what the items look like. They definitely don't cover various common adventuring items, but for the slightly more unusual ones I think they'd work really well.


I use the Critical Hit Deck regularly. I like the spice it brings to combat. It also has a way of making things like undead and constructs a bit more resistant to critical hits, as many of the effects caused do not apply to them. I rather like that.

Liberty's Edge

Shadowborn wrote:
I use the Critical Hit Deck regularly. I like the spice it brings to combat. It also has a way of making things like undead and constructs a bit more resistant to critical hits, as many of the effects caused do not apply to them. I rather like that.

We use both the crit hit and fumble decks. The only REAL problem I've encountered is where it regards single big monsters. For example, my Level 9 party ran into a froghemoth (CR 13) in the swamps. The opening dagger-toss of the half-orc dagger fighter resulted in a crit hit. The result was a stunned froghemoth, who suffred another crit round two that limited him to move or partial actions. It died in three rounds, getting one attack (when it would normally get 5 devastating blows each round). Beware of too-good results vs solo monsters (there are Fort saves for SOME critical hit/fumble effects, but many have no save).


Starfinder Superscriber

My group and I use the conditions cards as it's SO MUCH EASIER than digging through the main book or hitting the d20pfsrd to find them. Plus the pictures really sell them. I'm ordering the buff cards as we've been using those a ton as well and it'd be helpful for the group to have. I have the NPC deck and most of the item decks, but they don't seem to be used as much. I may need to change that...

Scarab Sages

I have used the face cards. Combine those with a note card with the NPC's name and brief description and your players (especially your young daughter) will start to recognize them on sight.

After a little while, you will be able to say, "you walk into a tavern and see these five people", lay out 5 face cards, and hear your players say "Hey, that is so-and-so, the local information broker! Let's question them."

They can help the players get immersed in the world.


I've used the Crit and Fumble cards for a while and I love them. The Condition deck is a must have as well. These make every game much easier. One GM friend of mine had a creature that he created that gave out random status effects, Condition cards made that fight super fun and mildly ridiculous.

I have the item cards and I agree that they add a lot of time and not having the right card for everything does effect the ability to really use them. I went out and got a baseball card holder that you would put in a binder and had all the potions I needed which helped for a while. In the end I stopped caring and stopped using them.

The chase cards are awesome, but limited to only the moments when you have a chase. But my players really had fun with this. So much that I added a few extra chases just to use the deck. It's like a fun minigame in the middle of the story.

I've never used the Face cards, but they seem like they would be helpful.

The Exchange

After reading this, I might pick up the face card deck. I have the JR deck for the group I'm running, and so far Its been "kind of cool" but after five minutes or so, the novelty wears off.
The Condition deck has been used in games I've played and has proven useful. But honestly, I don't get into card props for the sake of props. If I wanted to play Descent, I'd play Descent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've got a lot of the cards.
I like the item cards and it can help with immersion. They tend to get disassociated from sheets though.
The condition cards are a neat way to look up and ref conditions. I'll definitely get the buff card deck.
The Face cards were awesome. The first deck was the best, the second deck was a bit rarer and the quality was not as good. Still, I would happily pick up any new face card decks again. I just wish that when they released the item cards for an AP they would release the face cards as well! I have noticed PCs actually seem to get attached to any NPC with a face card (good or bad).
If there were monster cards I would happily buy them as well.

I've got the Harrow deck, and it's neat I guess but has seen little use. The crit hit/fumble decks a friend has, and I don't think they add much to the game. The plot twist cards are interesting.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:


I have a couple GMs that use the plot twist cards. I love the idea of them, but I know I myself often find myself trying to decide whether I want to use it or just hold on in case I need it later. I don't think ANYONE has actually played a plot twist card yet. I don't know if it's us or the mechanic--being afraid to spend the resource, yes that should be a challenge of it. But if no one ever uses them at all, is it worth it?

Plot Twist Cards are pretty popular in my group. To encourage their use over hoarding/saving them, I implemented this rule: players get one card at each level, but they can never have more than 2 cards at a time. Works out pretty well, essentially taking the place of the Hero or Action Point systems.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I used the critical hit / fumble deck and chase decks last week with great fun and success! The young female archeologist critically punched an eavesdropper in the head through a tent wall. The effect was reduced DX and some other condition on the bad guy which in turn made the chase much more interesting--within a round I think the PC was able to chase down and grapple the bad guy. It all fit together perfectly.

What I would really like to see is a deck for the Skulls & Shackles AP's mass navel combat and other "skill challenge" and "mass combat" type stuff.


For my personal experience, the Critical Hit and Critical Fumble decks have seen the most use, and have made for some very memorable criticals. I was using the Critical Hits deck in a 3.5e game where the party was fighting a large anthropomorphic crocodile outsider. The barbarian went up the stairs first, unsure what to expect, and the croc-man surprised the barbarian, snapping up the barbarian in his jaws with his Improved Grab ability on attack so the barbarian was grappled. (At this point I thought "Oh crap, without the barb, the party is going to die.") The ranger fired at the crocodile guy with his composite longbow and got a critical hit. He drew two cards because it was an x3 weapon, and selected the one that did normal damage and stunned. His arrow hit the crocodile guy so hard that it stunned him and he dropped what he was holding (the barbarian). The fight lasted several rounds but the guy finally fell to the might of the barbarian's obscene Power Attack.

I initially allowed players to decide if they wanted to draw a card or do normal damage, but eventually ruled that crits always use the Critical Hit cards because the barbarian's player would always opt to roll the regular dice instead, and I think generally the critical cards are weaker but more flavorful than just rolling the damage so I wanted everyone on the same footing.

The barbarian in that campaign really hated the Critical Fumble deck. He fumbled more than he criticaled, but he had Weapon Focus so always got to draw two Fumble cards and pick which result he got. I liked to watch him try to pick between the lesser of two evils.

I used Face Cards in that campaign too, mainly just for the NPCs that were rescued by the party and traveled with them, so I could hold up a card and the party could know who was talking, especially if the NPCs were talking to each other.

I used the Face Cards just the other day. I looked through all three decks of face cards and assigned faces to the NPCs I'd already created for my campaign, then I looked through them some more and picked out cards for NPCs I hadn't created yet, using them as inspiration for additional NPCs. I like most of the Face Cards, but I noticed three of the face cards by the same artist look very similar. One's a young woman, one's an older woman, and one's an older woman with a veil, but they all look like the same woman to me. My least favorite deck of Face Cards is the Enemies deck, but not because of the faces, but because of the cards themselves. Their edges are beveled differently than the other cards, and their material feels thicker and cheaper. But that's the middle deck of the three, so whatever they changed to make that deck that way, I think they changed it back to the previous way for the Urban NPCs deck.

The cards I've gotten the least use out of has been the Item Cards. I buy three sets of each deck (one in subscription and two later, generally) and I put them in three-ring binders by item type, but I can't imagine how to actually use them without a logistical nightmare. I mean it's great as long as I have the card for an item, but what if I don't? And even if I do have it, does that mean I need to look through all those cards to pick out weapons all the time? And surely there's a better way to do it than keeping them in three-ring binders. I might look into getting some cardboard card holders (the ones that look like troughs), like Magic collectors hold their collections in. It might be easier to go through the cards that way. I'd like to figure out how to use them well, but so far I've only used them for a handful of loot drops of that aforementioned 3.5e game.

I like the Conditions cards and look forward to using them in my upcoming Pathfinder campaign. Looking forward to the Buff deck too.

I used the first deck of Plot Twist cards in my 3.5e game but only in the last couple sessions, so the players didn't really get much chance to use them. One player spent one and had someone slip and fall down some stairs in the dark, but the others held theirs like poker cards, looking for opportunities to spend them. One nice thing about them though? Since they can be used outside of the player's turn, they kept the players better engaged when it wasn't their turn.

I've shuffled the original Plot Twist cards and the Plot Twist: Flashbacks cards into a combined deck for use in my next campaign.

Haven't used the Chase cards yet.


Achilles wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
I use the Critical Hit Deck regularly. I like the spice it brings to combat. It also has a way of making things like undead and constructs a bit more resistant to critical hits, as many of the effects caused do not apply to them. I rather like that.
We use both the crit hit and fumble decks. The only REAL problem I've encountered is where it regards single big monsters. For example, my Level 9 party ran into a froghemoth (CR 13) in the swamps. The opening dagger-toss of the half-orc dagger fighter resulted in a crit hit. The result was a stunned froghemoth, who suffred another crit round two that limited him to move or partial actions. It died in three rounds, getting one attack (when it would normally get 5 devastating blows each round). Beware of too-good results vs solo monsters (there are Fort saves for SOME critical hit/fumble effects, but many have no save).

That's why I stopped letting my players see the card before I do. :)

I draw the card face-down and toss it is its not applicable or trivializes the encounter too much. They know I do it in the name of keeping things fun for them; and you know what? If there's a night where the fights were hard and they're tense, I'd probably let them stun the froghemoth. But if they're plowing on through, then nah. I'll either pick a new crit card or simply tell them that the card wasn't applicable, so just do their normal x2 damage. Players like big numbers, so it works out :).

For all the people who have mentioned them though, as a teacher myself I don't think the OP's younglings are going to get anything special out of a Critical Hit deck or a Critical Fumble deck. Its all words and no pictures, after all. The Chase cards might be pushing it a little bit too. I would only truly consider the Face cards and the Item cards honestly, as those are good for remembering NPCs and whatnot.

As for the item cards, get a pack of sticky notes or a kind of tape that you can easily peel off the cards and write on that instead of the card.


Wolf Munroe wrote:
Haven't used the Chase cards yet.

The first time I tried to use them right out of the box, I failed miserably to the point where the Chase cards were literally a joke at my table, and I haven't tried using them again in months.

Last Friday I pulled them out again for the first time and sat down to make a fairly in-depth vehicle chase scenario. Basically, my players' caravan broke down in the middle of a Goblin-infested forest, and after the players angered the goblins and alerted the whole forest to their presence by trying steal back the medicine that the goblins stole from them (a PC who couldn't make it got sick with a mysterious illness). So basically, you have three heavy wagons racing along through this forest with goblins jumping from cart to cart trying to kill the driver and the horses while the players try to protect them. All the while, the Chase cards reflected the scenery of the forest they were plowing through.

Don't know if that would work for everyone, but the quality of the encounter is enough that at the end, everyone commented on how much they enjoyed the fight so far (we're only about halfway through it) and ultimately how much fun the Chase cards have been.


I use the critical hit deck, the critical fumble deck, and the plot twists decks. In my games, if you get a critical hit or fumble in combat, or roll a natural 20 or a natural 1 when using a diplomacy, bluff, or sense motive check, you must draw a card from the appropriate deck, and the cards are worth either 25 XP(normal games) or 50 XP(easy games). I'm thinking of normalizing them and making them 25 XP overall, but that idea has not met with much success.

Grand Lodge

We have been using the critical fumble deck. It adds a bit of humor to the game, my kids love it. Need crit hit next, and then maybe the condition cards.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I use the critical hit deck and the condition cards. I have the chase cards but haven't had a reason to use them yet. I plan on getting the buff cards as soon as I can.

By the way, we also use the Harrow deck. One player has a gnome witch who runs an herbalist/fortune telling business. We've incorporated readings into game sessions before.

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