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Hey, You Got Your CCG in my RPG! (part 1)*

So let me see a show of hands. How many of you have decks of collectible card games (CCGs) lying about the house? Just one? Two or three? Half a dozen or more?

Off the top of my head I can think of 7th Sea, Sailor Moon, Dark Age, Doom Trooper, Card Captors, Legend of the Five Rings, Dark Eden, and Legend of the Burning Sands filling various sized boxes back in my game room (and I know I have at least half a dozen others). Some of those are only one or two decks while others are nearly complete collections . . . and they spend most of their time just taking up space.

Yeah, I know, I could just get rid of them, but A) they’re good games and B) I always find it difficult getting rid of something that can be used for something else or that I’d like to play again at some point down the road.

Thus bringing me to an idea I had awhile back using CCGs as a Drama Deck (or Plot Cards or Power -Ups or some other player and/or GM aid) for a roleplaying game. There are a few discussions banging around and other forums about hybrids or systems designed with card decks involved. There are a few RPG-CCG hybrids that have surfaced over the years—Dragon Storm, SAGA Dragonlance and SAGA Marvel, Untold, and Dark Legacy—but I’m more interested in using all those card games gathering dust and somehow jiggering them into whatever RPG my group happens to be playing at the time.2

This all ties in with a project I’ve jumped into recently . . . Gamer Lifestyle Bootcamp, an online course designed to get the participants up-and-running with at least one published RPG product by the end of the month. While I know people who have, I’ve never jumped through the writer-publisher hoops myself. Any writing I’ve done has been turned over to someone else who did layout and so on. So I figured I’d bite a d20, cross my fingers, and take the plunge.

More on that and the inclusion of CCGs into RPGs next time.


*Forgive any lack of coherence, I’m still recovering from the week away as a parent counselor for my son’s class at a YMCA camp. It was a fun but thoroughly exhausting week.

2OK, so I don’t have a regular group currently. Maybe I’ll need to go back to my old group, RPG books under one arm, beggar’s cup in one hand, wearing a sandwich board reading: Have Dice will Game. Now, that being said, Sundered Epoch does have a short article on using Magic the Gathering cards to build encounters in a fantasy campaign.












Ever had one of those days (weeks? months? years?) where everything you write seems like nothing but last week’s garbage? Where everything you do just seems to fall flat? Where everything you touch just doesn’t work like it’s supposed to? (Yeah, I’m looking at you, computer, and you, too, printer.*)

That’s kind of how my whole month has felt.

Way Back in the Saddle, I’d just returned from vacation and, despite dealing with the hassle of airports and driving around a gridlocked east-coast city, felt reasonably relaxed and ready to get back into writing regularly again.

Ha! Silly me, thinking things would work out that way.

I allowed the remainder of the summer to pass, spending time with my kids before they had to go back to school and figured that once they did, my days would be devoted to nothing but writing and voiceover projects. I’d get back to my semi-regular schedule of posting the odd comment on Tuesdays and Menagerie on Thursdays with occasional posts throughout the week.

The kids went back to school a little over two weeks ago and aside from a couple of hitches, the space opera has run steadily on both my site and Nathan’s over at Speaking Out. The Tuesday posts, though, haven’t made it past their offscreen beginnings. I have three or four posts (maybe five, I’d have to check the files but don’t want to right now) that I’d begun, written between 300 – 500 words, looked them over and thought, well, “Bleh.” And “Gotta get the Pepto.” Ditto the feelings toward every other piece of writing I’ve done, whether novel, short story, game rules during that same period.**

I know, I know. As a writer, one who strives for professionalism in everything I do, I should sit back down and keep writing anyway.

But Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning or Batman: Arkham City  or Dungeon Siege III*** calls to me. Or a book (one of many I have half-finished sitting around the house) wants to be read. Or I just have to track down a recipe that makes use of a handful of ingredients that I have in the fridge and/or freezer. Or some show on TV looks too interesting to pass up.**** Or some blog I stumble across has caught my attention and—where’d the time go?

Menagerie has been clicking fairly well, but even the last few weeks have been a strain to put together for some reason. I find myself staring at the screen on Thursday afternoon, forcing droplets of blood from my temples, trying to get Liishi and company into/out of their next predicament. Having a co-writer on the project helps. Nathan dumps something on them, I figure out how to get them out and vice-versa. If neither of us has an idea, introduce a new character (expect more of that anyway over the next few weeks—I feel the need for more players in the game).

But even my gaming has been rather bleh lately.

I’ve run a few one-shot games over the last handful of months, including a playtest of D&DNext, Icons (a superhero RPG), SUPERS! (another superhero RPG), and I’ve downloaded and/or purchased several other role-playing rules all with the idea of finding something to run semi-regularly. While I found SUPERS! to be a very good, easy-to-run superhero system, nothing has really grabbed my attention to run every week (or every other week, as the case may be). I’d actually planned to run a playtest of the second packet of rules for D&DNext this last weekend then decided against it and opted for board/card games. No one showed up anyway. Ah, well. My son and I wound up playing video games instead while my daughter sat by and pointed out where the bad guys were at the edge of the screen. We had fun for a few hours that evening before they headed off to bed.

Maybe bleh isn’t so bad.


*The computer for awhile now (since about two updates back) on both Firefox and Opera browsers has had significant memory problems. Run the browser for more than two minutes, it’s likely to suck up so much memory that everything grinds to a halt while FreeRAM tries to release enough memory for the computer to run again. And lately, I’ve had the odd day where the computer freezes for no apparent reason and requires a forced shutdown by turning off the power. All my antivirus programs tell me things are OK. Checkdisk tells me the hard drive is fine. Ehh, the motherboard might be a culprit—the computer is almost twelve years old (see Dino-Computer Smash!)—thus I’ve been trying to pull everything important off the hard drive, well, looking at it and deciding if it’s important enough to save or just go ahead and delete it. But I keep adding to the stack to go through by surfing the ‘net, finding rules for print-and-play games that look really cool, and downloading them. Sheesh, give myself more work, why don’t I?

Then, over the weekend my printer started acting up. Won’t print black. I replace the ink. It prints fine for two jobs, then starts streaking, acting like it’s running low on ink. The blasted thing is only a year old and already acting at least thrice its age.

I hate technology.

**Well, the only exception (aside from Menagerie) is a quasi-Nordic-inspired piece of poetry I wrote for a game company a month ago.

***Kingdom of Amalur I’ve enjoyed for about six months now and logged some ninety hours on. I’ve had Dungeon Siege III for a year and love the game. It’s been awhile since I played it, but my son wanted to tackle it two-player the other night and it’s a heck of a lot more fun with a second person controlling the other character in the party. I just recently purchased Batman: Arkham City but think it’ll be another amusing game.

****Too many shows, really. The USA network is my enemy during summer. Most of their shows I’ve become addicted to.

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