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5E What info should be on a D&D Card?

MytosBR

Villager
Hi,

I am creating some cards for my D&D campaign. Since we play over Fantasy Grounds there is no need to print the cards. Nonetheless, I wish to give my players both a gift to remember, and try to make things more real. I do believe that when you can see your sword, and "take it in your hands" you create a relation with it. I remember on my old Magic and Vampire card games to really care about them. That is what I am going for.

The problem: I am having some issues to find out what are the most important information that must be on the cards. I think less is more, but I would like that my monsters, items, and characters cards could be used by the players to look at them and actually get information from it. So instead of give just a picture, should I show de AC, Hit Points and damage? But monsters rarely have only one attack type. Should I put their attributes? Should I put Race, Size, and features like Darkvision, or should I let the picture show it's an elf, and so every elf feature is implied?

The real issue is that there is too much information, and that won't fit into a card. So I came for help, to hear from you, what would you like to have on a card. Remember this is a gift - I am actually printing and sending the cards through mail to my players. The idea is that they will hold dear to them as something both to show and to remember, but also as reference during game session. We've being playing together for more than 25 years, but nowadays each one lives in a different city.

What do you think?
 

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Great idea.

What size are the printed cards? I would be tempted to write everything on the card but at least for monsters it would be difficult to fit.

So having to choose what goes on the card, would you rather let your players know the stats of a monster? Some DMs absolutely don't want to share such info, but you might want to actually use it as a reward. In that case, I would print the whole stat block.

Otherwise if you don't want to share stats or want the card to be edition-neutral, you can write numberless details like "High strength, good perception, fights with spears, multiple attacks...". Or you can instead print the narrative description.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
I get the purpose of the item cards, but what is the purpose of the monster cards? Are they trophies of defeated foes? If so, then I like Li Shenron's suggestion about providing details without numbers. It seems like the most immersive approach, describing the monster in ways the PC would likely talk about them within the game world. It also means that you have space on the card for both a picture and a short description.
 


MytosBR

Villager
Great idea.

What size are the printed cards? I would be tempted to write everything on the card but at least for monsters it would be difficult to fit.

So having to choose what goes on the card, would you rather let your players know the stats of a monster? Some DMs absolutely don't want to share such info, but you might want to actually use it as a reward. In that case, I would print the whole stat block.

Otherwise if you don't want to share stats or want the card to be edition-neutral, you can write numberless details like "High strength, good perception, fights with spears, multiple attacks...". Or you can instead print the narrative description.
That's part of the problem. I haven't decided on a size yet. I started with Magic size (2.5x3.5 inchs or 63.5x 89.9mm) but I quickly dismissed that idea and went for a tarot (3.15x472 - 80x120mm), which is current what I am using. I am tempted to go a full Cosmic Encounter Creature Size (cosmic encounter alien card - Google Search) card (4.3x5.9 - 110x150mm), but I am not sure it's too big. I will probably make those extra big size cards for the PCs and will go with tarot sized for everything else.

Besides homebrewed content, there is no monster that is not known to us, so there is little point in hiding monster stats. Personally, what I do is to not tell my players AC, to hit, nothing, but I also let them figure those things out if possible. If they face a kind of monster in many situations I let them gain knowledge on it. I also let my players roll for the terrain, or general knowledge around a particular creature. Finally, every now and than I want them to know they are facing something very dangerous, so yeah, I open up the stats.

I like the idea of put some narrative description, but looking at how I am struggling with what to cut out, I am inclined to go with stats only.
 
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MytosBR

Villager
I get the purpose of the item cards, but what is the purpose of the monster cards? Are they trophies of defeated foes? If so, then I like Li Shenron's suggestion about providing details without numbers. It seems like the most immersive approach, describing the monster in ways the PC would likely talk about them within the game world. It also means that you have space on the card for both a picture and a short description.
Most of the card will be a picture. It is the most important part of it.

There are two purposes about monster cards. Since I use Fantasy Grounds (FG) I create my monsters in a way where they have one or two features, and sometimes I let players roll on a table to give monsters another one or two features, so every monster is unique. Let's say they are facing a Sahuagin with the counterattack feature, they roll on the table and "pick a card" with the reckless feature, and now the Sahuagin is also reckless. I most use this for bosses and sub-bosses, but you get the idea. Well, if they will have a deck with monster features in it, they should probably have monster too!

The second and most important reason is that instead of giving them only 10-20 cards I would be giving them 100-200 cards. That is a gift. It's a full deck, a memorabilia from our long history as a group of players together. What kind of card game doesn't have monsters? So you see I am kind of going for a card game in a way. It will never become one, but the idea is that if we were playing in a table together at the same location, everyone would be able to use the cards in the game. They would be able to show their armors and magic items, but also play with the cards in the game. It will never be a card game, only a support material.

I really like your idea of trophies though. I will make sure they will only get to see a card or get the real one if they "conquer" it. So, they wouldn't have only the option of defeat, but maybe also if they successfully negotiated an agreement with the creature, or if they completed a task for it.
 
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MytosBR

Villager
I did, but I think it would be more elegant if the back of the card is a standard cover image so they all look the same instead of a color spray without identity. As a gift it should be pretty.
 

Nytmare

Adventurer
Fantasy Grounds allows you to resize cards, doesn't it? I ran a 4E game partially online ages ago, and the cards I designed for the online player had the pertinent information written on the top part of the card at an easily readable size, but then absolutely everything else they could possibly need in the teeniest tiniest readable font on the bottom half of the card. I don't know if you have that kind of control over card resolution though.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Name, birthday, class. Insurance status. (I use Orc R Us), Height before rocks fall and everyone dies, Blood type (vlad ask for that). Lootable or not.
 

I would not put stats. But, you might put a list of traits (Pack Tactics, Amphibious, etc) though honestly I like the description Li Shenron mentioned. I could see the top half of the card a picture and the bottom half a description of their abilities. Actual stats are not important, that they have this ability or that ability is.

When it comes to items, you can keep a similar theme; name at the top with a picture, then below perhaps stats, but more importantly the description, though I would include any special abilities (flaming, sheds light, etc)

For PC cards, I don't think I would do stats, because those change. But class, sub-class, race, personality, background and any memorable saying / quotes / tactics or defining moments would be awesome. Could even put the quote on the edge of the image or such in italics so it's like speech.
 

Eltab

Hero
More or less use Magic Cards as your base template.

This is an awesome idea, and printing a full deck for everybody if you finish the campaign would be an excellent memento.
 

Eltab

Hero
any memorable saying / quotes / tactics or defining moments would be awesome.
Remember that time Conan* was surrounded three-deep in a mob, so he pulled out a 6-pack of Potions of Healing, chugged them all, and mowed down every last kobold?

* The player brought in a barbarian but he wasn't feeling very creative that first evening. The name stuck.
 

MytosBR

Villager
Fantasy Grounds allows you to resize cards, doesn't it? I ran a 4E game partially online ages ago, and the cards I designed for the online player had the pertinent information written on the top part of the card at an easily readable size, but then absolutely everything else they could possibly need in the teeniest tiniest readable font on the bottom half of the card. I don't know if you have that kind of control over card resolution though.
Yes, FG let me resize images, so it wouldn't be a problem there. The issue would only come up when I print. I am well versed (well enough at least) in the arts of card creation and the resolution issue. My problem exactly is to filter what is pertinent information and what is everything else. Not that I have no clue, but it's hard to trace a line, and that's what I am trying to find here, some imput besides mine.
 
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MytosBR

Villager
Name, birthday, class. Insurance status. (I use Orc R Us), Height before rocks fall and everyone dies, Blood type (vlad ask for that). Lootable or not.
You are joking, but you know, I like the idea to do a special joke card with this kind of stuff.

Noted!
 

MytosBR

Villager
I would not put stats. But, you might put a list of traits (Pack Tactics, Amphibious, etc) though honestly I like the description Li Shenron mentioned. I could see the top half of the card a picture and the bottom half a description of their abilities. Actual stats are not important, that they have this ability or that ability is.

When it comes to items, you can keep a similar theme; name at the top with a picture, then below perhaps stats, but more importantly the description, though I would include any special abilities (flaming, sheds light, etc)

For PC cards, I don't think I would do stats, because those change. But class, sub-class, race, personality, background and any memorable saying / quotes / tactics or defining moments would be awesome. Could even put the quote on the edge of the image or such in italics so it's like speech.
Are you LordEntrails from FG forums by any chance?

Anyway, that's what I am driving myself towards right now. I've made some cards with a lot of info and numbers, moved to icons and an Icon legend pdf, so instead of write elf I had a pointy-ear icon and a reference table to let people know what that icon means, and now I am moving over to a more non-stats whatsoever.

What I have until now:

1. NPCs Cards - By now I am inclined to go with NPC cards without Stats, only some info that they would know about the character either previously the first encounter, or in a few ones. Here I will take the advice from users here to focus on the abilities and traits.
2. Item Cards - those are easy, just put what the item does, any item is a tool of sort after all. There is plenty of space here.
3. Landscape and city cards - only the name and at most a very brief description. an Image tells more than words here. No point to show that amazing artwork about a city on the waterfals if you can't actually appreciate it because there is a lot of text on it.
4. Condition cards - those are the easiest ones, since they just tell one effect there is a lot of room.
5. Character Cards - Those I will probably go for Cosmic Encounter Big Cards, but here lies most of my doubts. Not sure if I should go for Stats so they could substitute their sheets (well, not totally, but at least 80% of times), or if I should go full description trying to get an emotional reaction. Maybe just a plain demographic description. Not really sure what to do here.

I love the idea of putting some memorable sayings by the players. I will have to find room for that.
 
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aco175

Hero
A 300 year old 1/2elf that still looks like that. That must be a good story or the artist was getting paid a lot.

The cards are good, but most of the words are hard to read. Not sure if you can enlarge the wording by taking the bottom 1/3 of the page, even if it overlaps the picture. Maybe a bit of border in a whitish color to offset the black
 

Are you LordEntrails from FG forums by any chance?
Yep :)
5. Character Cards - Those I will probably go for Cosmic Encounter Big Cards, but here lies most of my doubts. Not sure if I should go for Stats so they could substitute their sheets (well, not totally, but at least 80% of times), or if I should go full description trying to get an emotional reaction. Maybe just a plain demographic description. Not really sure what to do here.
Up to you, but I would avoid stats since those change. But if you do go that route, then I would try to pick a moment in time. i.e. the stats when they defeated some big adversary or completed some milestone.
 

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