Saturday, August 29, 2009

Simplifying Resource Management

My original idea for simplifying resource management was to buy Magic: The Gathering Cards, and use those as approximate substitutes for mundane items, treasure, skills, spells and even characters.

The difficulty with this approach was both the time and expense of obtaining the right Magic cards, and the relative approximation of the cards and their accompanying descriptions. I spent several hours, searching through stack after stack of common cards at my local FLGS, The Sentry Box. I did this because they were being sold for $0.10 a piece, which made this solution economical.

The Sentry Box had many boxes of those common cards collecting dust. 99% of those cards were completely unsuitable (being monsters, or in-game effects that had no D&D equivalent). The other 1% were often only barely proximate to the item that I was seeking to match the card to. The flavor text on those cards also differed from the D&D ability or item of similar name. The only thing these cards had going for them was the artwork: you must admit that Magic employs excellent artists.

After explaining my difficulty to one of The Sentry Box employees, he put me on to the Paizo GameMastery Item Cards. These seemed to be a more satisfactory solution, as the cards were precise representations of various adventuring items and treasures that you might find in a typical fantasy role-playing game. The artwork is beautiful. The front of the card has the item description, and there is some flavor text on the back, along with space to writes notes about the item. On that basis, I purchased both Adventure Gear packs, and three treasure packs.

Now that I have had the chance to play with those cards, I have concluded they are not the solution to old-school resource management. I still think they are excellent cards. However, having given this more thought, the cards seem better suited to Pathfinder, or perhaps a 4E game. I will post why I came to that conclusion shortly.


Jay said...

I have a few decks of the Paizo cards and have had some luck implementing them. I'm curious what your challenges were in your games. So far, the only thing I've run into is that if I continue to use them I'll need several more decks to have enough for 'everyone' to have some basic items. Was this the case for you?

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Nail on the head.

There's more though. Sorry i'm taking so long to get to this, but I keep getting distracted by work and family priorities.