Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Short Order Heroes

I've met some interesting people around Google Plus, a lot of people who are doing more than just talking about gaming...they're doing things and making the games that they want to have out there. One of these people is +Jesse Butler. He's got a Kickstarter coming up for what he's calling a hybrid of card games and RPGs. Short Order Heroes is sort of what he says it is, and what it is isn't half bad.

Obligatory Crappy Phone Picture
I received a promo deck of the cards in the mail from Jesse. What you get is a deck of 50-some (I admit that my phone rang while I was counting the deck and I lost count) playing card-sized cards, each with a quirky and evocative piece of art, an adjective (tied in to the piece of art) and a number. The number is there so that the cards can be used with a task resolution system (there are very brief rules enclosed with the deck). I really like the style of the artist (billed as Eleanor Ferron). I like quirky art. It reminds me a lot of the art of Jana Christy from Very Vicky, a favorite indie comic of mine from the 90s. The art in conjunction with the adjectives can very quickly give you some personality hooks for a character, or NPC.

Now, the idea of these cards is that you "make" a character by drawing three cards and using the adjectives on the cards describe your character. I can see this as a starting point for a character, but I do think that it would definitely need more meat (even for me). The idea of the adjective-based character creation would mesh well with a game like Fudge, where adjectives are already a part of the system. I can also see these cards as a way to come up with a personality for Generic NPC #5 that the GM is recycling a writeup of another NPC and wants a quick way to differentiate the two characters. I'm not saying that this approach isn't without merit, or use, but I think that it just needs a little more meat on its bones. And this is coming from someone who likes rules light games.

I can definitely see using this as a part of my next Fudge-based or PDQ-based game. It is a very cool tool, and GMs can always use a new tool in their toolboxes. The Kickstarter will definitely be worth a look when it starts up.