[RPG] A game with a combat system based on standard playing cards?


I am searching for a combat system based on standard playing cards (aka the French 52-card deck) instead of dice. The system should include melee combat and modern firearms, so that it can be used for a post-apocalyptic scenario.

To be more precise, this system should use standard playing cards for these game features:

  • Using firearms
  • Using melee weapons
  • Unarmed combat
  • Performing Maneuvers, in the event a PC possesses knowledge of particular fighting style
  • Determining the hit location and the damage suffered

The game should also include:

  • A range of firearms, from simple pistols to sniper rifles
  • Modifiers that increase or decrease the chance to hit:

    • based on the PC's skill with the weapon
    • environmental conditions
    • the physical condition of the attacker (injury, hunger, radiation poisoning, etc.)
  • Injury should have significant effects on those who suffer them

The system need not include all of these features, but must be able to handle at least the fighting with firearms.

Best Answer

A Playing Card Based RPG

The No Dice system uses playing cards as it's core randomiser. To be specific, it uses a standard 52-card deck with one added joker.

The core system is a 'universal' one, meaning that it can easily handle most of the bullet-points you mention, however you would have to come up with the specifics for the crunchier of your items.

To be Specific:

  • Fire arms and close combat options; trivial to implement with base rules
  • Fighting styles; simple-to-moderate, you'll have to invent them, though the core rule book has some interesting examples that may help (page 164)
  • Combat modifiers; trivial with base rules
  • Significant damage; simple to implement, you may want to come up with wounding/crippling rules that work with the combat modifiers and hit locations (below)
  • Hit locations; simple; the system introduces using different card suits to create extra flavor for draw results that should fit (page 79).

    Here's a hit location example off the top of my head:

    Set each suit to represent a body location, such as: Spades — Head, Hearts & Diamonds — Torso, Clubs — Limbs. For regular attacks these can be used to determine where the attack hits on a success. Called shots would require the player to draw the correct suit. If it's right the player does extra damage or other special effect, if it isn't the attack simply missed. Queens could mean hitting a vital area in the location (heart/eyes) or crippling a limb. Salt to taste.

The core rules are free and can be found on the No Dice RPG website (very hard to find with Google). It's a quick read, but in particular check out page 79 on randomisers to see if you like it.

Thanks for asking something I can answer! :]