I’m seeing an awful lot of hate for stiff cardstock on the intertubes lately, and little of it makes sense. Ok, none of it makes sense. What, pray tell, has stiff cardstock ever done to you?
I’m talking about the announcement that WoTC have released the D&D Fortune Cards and therefore wiped out humanity, begun World War IV and killed all the fluffy bunnies, all at the same time. At least, that’s how it seems. Of all the things WoTC have done (including relaunching the Character Builder as a web app, publishing enough errata to fill the Smithsonian and still somehow managing to have the worst laid-out website known to man), you’d have thought that releasing a set of collectible cards for 4e D&D would be way down the list of things to hate.
And you’d be wrong.
Me, I don’t get it. If you don’t like ’em, don’t buy ’em. Personally I think they’re pretty neat and plan to get a few sets to give as GM rewards for my games. Players like tangible stuff to fiddle with, and that’s exactly what these are. Perhaps I’ll stick a couple of them in a treasure horde as a boon, or let the players draw one at random one a Milestone point. I dunno yet, but I do see the possibilities for their use in-game.
Do they imbalance the game and make players who have them somehow “superior” to players who don’t? Nah, not really. No moreso, I’m willing to bet, than characters who were generated using powers from the Arcane/Martial/Divine Powers books are more powerful. In comparison to the excesses of Third Edition Supplement escalation, 4e has done a commendably good job of keeping a lid on things with no one class outshining any other in terms of ability.
The great thing about the Fortune Cards is they are low cost, and that’s always a Good Thing for your FLGS. Folks are more likely to pick up a booster pack of Fortune Cards while they’re there, and anything which puts coffers in your FLGS’ till is allright by me.
D&D has flirted with cards (collectible and otherwise) throughout its long history. We had AD&D Wizard and Priest Spell Cards and I still have my pristine 1991 Collector Cards Factory Set (worth a small fortune on eBay dontchya know). The D&D Fortune Cards are nothing new.
In my opinion, Wizards of The Coast haven’t gone far enough into the collectible card market with these Fortune Cards. They should finally man up and release the Magic: The Gathering Campaign Setting and finally give D&D the kickass setting it deserves. The world of Magic is every bit as exciting and dynamic as that of the Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun or Eberron, and has a history and backstory that is tailor made for role-playing. It’s about time the two teams at WoTC finally buried the hatchet and got around to milking the cash cow we want them to milk rather than skirting around it by releasing good-but-half-hearted collectible cards for D&D. Unite the two brands, and everyone wins.
What say you?