On my Google Plus page I posted a while back about the card types that will be in Uttarakuru. I cleaned up the post a little bit and added some stuff about other kinds of cards that’ll be in it. Cards aren’t exactly integral to the game. However I’ve found them to be a really handy presentation method for rules texts. You don’t need all of a character’s sheet all the time in an RPG. In D&D for example, the “status” portion of your sheet with your defenses, saving throws and health has to share space with stuff like the name space, a character portrait block, your gear, your skills, that might not be immediately relevant right there. Instead what I want to do is divided those individual elements into cards with big titles so you pick up what you want immediately. It’s not necessary to present the information as cards, but on the table I’ve found it’s a lot more handy than a sheet.
So anyway, on to the card types and what they’re gonna do for you.
Story Cards: Story Cards is a catch-all for the resolution cards used in Interaction Scenes. Interaction Scenes happen in phases that guide and structure roleplay – how a Scene is built up, when motivations are laid bare and thoughts cast, and when action is taken, clear guidelines are provided so nobody feels lost when they pick up the book. As part of this structure, characters use Story Cards to resolve situations. Many are fairly open ended so after using one, you have to tie everything up in the narrative, but they still provide clear effects. Some Story Cards have specific effects – for example, seizing a character’s attention so he or she must converse with you while, say, your allies sneak on by – but others are more vague, so you can use them in any situation. The GM has his or her own Story cards, known as Plots and Obstacles, to help guide play as well.
Disciplines: Disciplines are Uttaran martial arts. Since the Intolerable War, the need to defend themselves was impressed upon every Uttaran villager who was not already doing so. Martial Arts is a part of nearly every child’s development now – it’s a sport that Uttarans love and practice. However, these cards model more than a child kicking at a dummy. Those who truly master martial arts know of the breath of life within them, Prana, and can turn this spiritual power outward, gathering it with precise movements of their bodies and releasing it in a mighty blow. Disciplines involve the use of powerful martial arts in close quarters combat, using the four iconic Uttaran weapons: blades, maces, spears or claws (natural or otherwise). Some Disciplines require you to build up into a certain Stance, before you can use them. Stance is achieved by using a lesser Discipline.
Tactics: Tactics represent military training in Uttarakuru. Since the Intolerable War, some aspect of tactical thinking has reverberated throughout all of Uttaran thought. Even the most secluded villagers know of some great general or other who marched through their lands hundreds of years ago during the devastating war – either to teach, or to destroy. Those in the military are even more involved with this knowledge and know very advanced tactics using the most advanced weapons. Tactics are the only one of the card types that can be used while you’re decked out in Auto-Gear, such as the Sentinel Armor, or piloting an Auto-Carrier (mecha) like the Andhran Kasowari, or a Landship (battle tank). Ranged weapons use Tactics: the four ranged weapons are Rifles, Pistols, Lances (cannons/rockets) and Casters (flame/lasers). Tactics often require you to achieve an Opportunity, which is built up through using lesser Tactics first and baiting the opponent into better ones.
Hymnody: Hymnody is the use of divine hymns, chants and songs to perform divine magic. It is the magic used by Spirits, and that Uttaran Oblates often learn, though common people might be blessed with the ability as well. All people know the songs – these are part of religious pageantry and festivals that are common to every Uttaran habitation. But only some of these people can truly sing them with the breath of the spirits, and create a magical effect. Hymnody, unlike the other cards, doesn’t cost anything much to cast except your time. Every other card type drains some resource or other, but Hymnody only needs you to build it up. You begin a song in its first Verse, and can then sing increasingly powerful Verses each turn. However, if you switch Hymns you must begin at the first Verse again – you’ve interrupted the other. There are also Chorus cards that can be sung without interrupting a Hymn, but they do temporarily stall the progression of the hymn to its next Verse.
Rotes: Rote cards represent arcane magic, which is learned in the arcane colleges such as the Points of Light Academy in Oomash. Unlike the other Cards, Rotes can only be learned if the character has a specific background offering training in them – it’s simply not possible for them to be picked up through cultural Osmosis, because their secrets are often guarded between masters and apprentices. Rotes build up mental fatigue on a character, which limits their use, but they can be very powerful and tricky if performed correctly. They’re the most resource-intensive card type, but powerful.
Gear: Gear Cards are important pieces of equipment. Food and bullets and whatnot is kept in a catch-all “Supplies” card. More important Gear Cards are Weapons and Auto-Gear. Auto-Gear is the Uttaran’s catch-all phrase for advanced technology, which they believe will kill them unless they take religious precaution when using it. As such, piloting an Auto-Carrier or even dressing up in protective Auto-Armor or turning on a radio is a religious ritual, and even a pistol commands respect. Uttarans don’t ever carry more than a few pieces of equipment at a time – they would rather rely on their own skills and bodies wherever possible. So a character’s Gear Card amount is restricted by an attribute at character generation. Some Auto-Gear also requires special Auto-Gear Training. You can’t pilot a Kasowari mecha without being taught how to do so.
Twists: Twist cards are one of the rewards you can buy or earn while playing. You can use a Twist Card to instantly have something happen, like a specific special scene, or to gain a special buff.