Animated Spell Cards Might Just Be Perfect for LARPs

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Game Masters Hall is our series to where different storytellers share their experiences and discuss various topics revolving around the art of being a Game Master.

The Deck of Many is a tool used to assist Game Masters in their role-playing campaigns. Last time, we covered a random encounter that could be generated from pulling cards from their decks. This time, we look at ways to incorporate their cards (particularly their animated spell cards) for other uses besides the printed text on the back. Understandably, 5E is all the gaming rage these days, so most accessories and game content launching on Kickstarter is somewhere within that orbit.

Pathfinder, Dystopia Rising, Vampire: The Masquerade, Shadowrun, Deadlands, and many more are other roleplaying games that bring their own flair to the table, and if you play one of them—5th edition D&D accessories might seem pretty useless to you at first glance. The animated decks were created with the purpose of creating more immersion at the table; a cute visual reference that ties you to your character’s action. I’m a bloody wizard when it comes to Post-It errata’s on my players spell cards already, so altering the animated deck to suit different rules sets wouldn’t be hard. The more I’ve thought about the best use for these cards as a Storyteller has left me with one conclusion:

I’m Stealing These For LARP

Deck of Many Void

(Click the above image to see their animations if the internet hates us)

Creating setting immersion is what storytellers in LARPs aim for. Even your MES and OWBN Vampire: The Masquerade LARPs aim for set dressing and encourage costuming. At the higher end, blockbuster LARP’s like Otherworld Theaters and Dragon Thrones are a perfect fit for a fortune teller using animated spell cards. The text and rules are basically irrelevant to what was created, and there are enough graphics to fit any scenario.

Their Kickstarter reached enough of the stretch goals that they funded the Deck of Animated Things. A much-needed supplement that doesn’t have any text or 5E rules on it, allowing it to become system agnostic and used for any game you are running. In order to animate the spell or thing, you’ve got to move your wrist and flick the card around—an act in LARP that only adds to the theatrics (even if I get flashbacks of someone throwing bags of bird seed yelling FIREBALL!). Mostly, I’d use them for scavenger hunts or in the hands of NPC’s as gifts with quests on the back.

Ultimately, I think we need to convince the team behind Deck of Many to make an animated game Tarot Deck.

What kind of animated deck would you want? Let us know in the comments below!


This post is sponsored by The Deck of Many.

Featured Image by: The Deck of Many

Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age Series, Dread Adventures, and a storyteller with a focus on D&D For Kids, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and an overdose of LARPs. You can follow the game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook or reach out for writing at [email protected]

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