Rewards cards - how to balance them for players and DM?

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In the 11-14 mods I run the players have 5 rewards cards (not including quests) in their stack. This has made some encounters trivial. When the mods get to epic they will have 8 or 9 cards in their stack. I think some changes to the card implemtation would help the game.

No multiple copies of cards in a stack
2 cards at heroic (plus quest cards)
3 at paragon (plus quest cards)
4 at epic (plus quest cards)

At the cons I go to the cards are DM rewards only. And to get them you have to run at least three events. Wizards is having problems with their schedule of releasing two sets of cards on PDF each year. What is the alternative for players that do not want to buy them off e-bay?
Overall i think fewer cards is best.  (Heck, i quite frequently forget my cards... and have played at many card-less tables)  Allpow one creation card and one quest card that don't count towards your stack and then allow 2 or 3 cards max.  Ever.
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At this point part of me would be fine with just getting rid of the cards, but failing that...

How about two cards. They have to be different cards. Move right along.

That way there's an actual choice. As opposed to me throwing two Snaps in my paragon character's stack cause why not, and That'll Do in every character's, etc.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
At this point part of me would be fine with just getting rid of the cards, but failing that...

How about two cards. They have to be different cards. Move right along.

That way there's an actual choice. As opposed to me throwing two Snaps in my paragon character's stack cause why not, and That'll Do in every character's, etc.



I'll second this. Get rid of them altogether.

Or two cards only which must be different.

The more of them there are the more they skew the game.
I'd normally be in favor of ditching them, but many players seem to really like them, so I would be reluctant to take away something people like. I would be in favor of severely restricting the number you can have in your stack: two or three at most, as others have suggested.

I'd also like to see more clarity on the cards as to how and when they function; i.e., do some of them function as Immediate Reactions? If so, they should explicitly say so.

And finally, to avoid card bloat, why not just make one generic card that allows any power source to re-roll its at-will attacks?

I do like the cards but, would have to agree there are too many per game. Fewer cards and no repeats sounds like a good compromise. My suggestion would be:

  1-8  -   2 cards
10-18 -  3 cards
20-28 -  4 cards
29-30 -  5 cards

I have seen them going to players and DMs at the cons I have been attending.

My suggestion: If you don't like them don't use them. Talk to your group and if all agree it's fine. If there's no agreement you have a problem with conflicting playstyle preferences and you're not automatically the most entitled only because you actually want things to be more difficult.

I like them very much and I'd like to continue using them like until now.
At the cons I go to the cards are DM rewards only. And to get them you have to run at least three events.

Which not something that WoTC decided.

It's entirely up to the Con organizers how to distribute the cards WotC sends them. If they want to only give them out to GMs it's their decision. If they want to give one to every player, its their decision. If they want to randomly give them every d20th person walking past one of their tables it's also their decision.

So if you're unhappy with how the cards are distributed at your local con, talk the the con organizers
It would be really nice to see the number of cards toned down. 5 at Paragon... crazy.

I would also like to see future cards toned down. More flavor, more fun-enabling, less cakewalk-inducing.

I kind of like the following:

Quest cards are free.
Up to one creation card.

1st       1 card      Total:1+Creation
6th:      +1           Total:2+Creation
11th:    +1           Total:3+Creation
21st:    +1           Total:4+Creation
26th:    +1           Total:5+Creation
This is a net loss of 4 cards, though just three cards if you would have used a creation card. It is still much more reasonable.

Ideally, I would take this further, by creating a new type of card, called something like "Flavor" or "Utility", which would be more along the lines of flavor and fun. I wrote about this in another thread: grant minor effects that would be too weak to be an actual utility power but cool enough to be fun. Emphasis on fun vs. mechanical benefit. For example, a card that increases your move by one. Maybe a card that lets you do something under 'things the rules don't cover' in the DMG, such as swinging on a chandelier, more easily. Maybe the ability to hurl your weapon, but count as melee one, at a distance of two squares (your weapon lands on the ground). The concept being to not mess up the 4E balance. I'm not being very clever here, but I bet you could get pretty clever in having fun cards that let you had fun without messing with the encounter balance.
These weaker but still fun cards could replace several of the levels in the original chart, allowing for more cards:
1st       2 cards        Total:2 General, 1 Creation
6th:      +1 Utility     Total:2 General, 1 Utility, 1 Creation
11th:    +1               Total:3 General, 1 Utility, 1 Creation
16th:    +Utility        Total:3 General, 2 Utility, 1 Creation
21st:    +1               Total:4 General, 2 Utility, 1 Creation
26th:    +1               Total:4 General, 3 Utility, 1 Creation

This way, you still have reason to enjoy cards and you want/have more of them. But, the overall effect is lower, since half your cards are not uber cards. You end up with the same number of cards at most stages but roughly half are of lower power/impact.


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OUT-OF-THE-BOX THOUGHT

How about some "DM Rewards Cards" to use for the monsters?

Wouldn't it bring some balance to the table if the Monsters also got to use some rewards cards?

I'd love to re-roll a 1 attack roll, add to a saving throw I just rolled, gain temp hp when I become bloodied, get a bonus when a minion bloodies/drops a PC, last-chance action when reduced to 0, extra damage on a crit, bonus to initiative etc.  (I'd avoid Snap-Out type cards, as auto-undoing a PCs action seems uncool.) I'd also avoid the +1 bump mechanic - I don't want to keep track of that!

Now, we certainly don't want the monsters getting an "unfair" or "added" advantage to the PCs. So, presuming we can get some rewards-cards-for-monsters-to-use . . .

The DM may put one card (per tier) in his stack for each player using rewards cards.

Think about that - if the players forgo rewards cards, the DM doesn't get any. If 3 players want to use cards, the DM gets 3 heroic/6 paragon/9 epic cards in his stack.

Some careful thought needs to be put in to what the DM cards would actually do, but the idea would be to balance (not cancel) the use of PC rewards cards.  (i.e. Less powerful versions.)

Some card cuggestions:
• Spend when a monster rolls a 1 on an attack roll. Reroll the attack.
• Spend when you become bloodied; gain 2x monster level temp hp.
• Spend when a minion bloodies and enemey or reduces them to 0 hp; all minions gain +2 to hit, damage, and defenses until the end of the encounter.
• Spend when a monster is reduced to 0 hp. That monster can take a basic attack as a free action before dying.
• Spend when you roll an initiative roll less than 5 on the die. Gain +10 to that initiative roll.
• Spend when a nonminon scores a critical hit. The monster deals extra damage equal to its level.

Again, the point of this idea is to do exactly two thing:
(1) NOT to take away players' reward toys, if they enjoy using them
(2) maintain a little game balance, since reward cards boost the characters' power level

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

OUT-OF-THE-BOX THOUGHT

How about some "DM Rewards Cards" to use for the monsters?

Wouldn't it bring some balance to the table if the Monsters also got to use some rewards cards?




It would! An easy (immediate) way to turn this on would be to employ a system similar to Spycraft. In Spycraft, each player has Action Dice. These are somewhat similar to Action Points. Whenever a player enables/gains one, the DM gets a token. The token can then be spent in the same way, or even to do other things (add to an attack, add to defense, etc.). Several tokens can be combined. Spycraft GMs use these to good effect, doing things like landing that really important blow, keeping the mastermind alive another round, forcing the combat to have cool effects (explosions get bigger in radius, etc.). It works really well. As the players enable them, they see the stack of poker chips or tokens the DM has grow and they get a bit more worried.

A way this could work simply: Every time a card is enabled, the DM gets a token for each plus on the card. So, if a player uses That'll Do, the DM gets one token. Whenever a plus on a card is used, the DM gets another token. So, when the spent That'll Do card is flipped over to give a PC a +1 to a roll, the DM gets a second token. Tokens can be spent for a +1 to attack, defense, or saves. Tokens can be combined. Whether the tokens can be spent before or after a roll is debatable. (I lean towards before to keep some suspense). One important rule would be that the tokens are gained after the PC's use of the card is completed. This prevents the card being canceled.

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I do sort of like the exclusivity that occurs by requiring card races to use one less card. It helps keep races that should be rare more rare and seems to reduce how much they are picked as a powergaming platform. It also takes one more card out of the stacks.
While I like some of those, I wonder if it would turn the game into more of a us vs. them situation than is strictly necessary. I think LFR should be as little adversarial as possible (between GM and players) and while a little bit of it is necessary, I think adding tools like this make it more so.

As for reduced cardage - yes,  I think that 5 at Paragon is too much. 4? 3? probably plenty.

I'd like to see cards more like "Gain a minor action for one round while dazed" instead of "Snap out of it!". Cards that negate monster abilities, or seriously enhance your own, are too powerful for something that isn't a core mechanic. D&D wasn't built with the assumption that players are going to be able to ignore certain rules, so why do the cards do that? Even the re-roll cards are too powerful I think. Adding a +X (5?) in certain circumstances would be plenty of benefit. Re-rolling on a 1 sort of kills the whole point of missing on a 1 (likewise I'm not sure how I feel about Lucky Shot). Cards that add a bit of move, or quick drawing something, or allowing a jump in certain circumstances aren't game breakers but can add a lot of fun and flavor.

Unlocking races: Meh. I think, (so far) either the races are two cheesy and there's a reason they aren't core, or they are too weak.

Keep the +1/2 benefit for a spent card to allies only. It encourages sharing and tactical thinking. GM's don't need it for their monsters ;)

No multiple copies of cards in a stack
2 cards at heroic (plus quest cards)
3 at paragon (plus quest cards)
4 at epic (plus quest cards)



This sounds about right... Smile
I'll repeat my suggestion:

Using an RPGA reward card during play reduces the XP and base gold for the mod by 1% for all players. There's still a benefit to having many cards and, indeed, getting new ones: in the face of a TPK or failed skill challenge you have more options to pull it out.

However, if every player in your group uses all of their cards willy-nilly, they could lose up to 30% of the rewards for the mod at paragon tier.
I'll repeat my suggestion:

Using an RPGA reward card during play reduces the XP and base gold for the mod by 1% for all players. There's still a benefit to having many cards and, indeed, getting new ones: in the face of a TPK or failed skill challenge you have more options to pull it out.

However, if every player in your group uses all of their cards willy-nilly, they could lose up to 30% of the rewards for the mod at paragon tier.



Not that I'm opposed to the suggestion, but reducing base gold and XP by using cards could have a couple of unintended consequences.

1) Players who want to use cards will still use them, and some animosity at the table might occur.

2) Some players might actually want to reduce their xp (at the cost of a little less gold) in order to keep their characters at a play level longer in order to fill in quests.  Whether or not this a good or bad thing, I don't have an opionion on.  Just remarking that it might occur.

Some great ideas have been posted.

How about when a player uses a card the DM can reroll an attack against that character or reroll a save versus an effect that character caused?

Or give the DM a generic +1 to use per card played.
Why the need to increase the number of cards as you increase in level or tier, anyhow?
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I'd honestly be happy with stack size of 2/3/4 heroic/paragon/epic, but I'd almost like to see them categorized.

You can have

any number of quest cards
1 creation card at level 1 only
1/3/5 expansion cards (at 5/15/25)
2/3/4 effect cards at 1/11/21 

Something like that keeps the number allowed close to what it is now bu 
Blah blah blah
Some great ideas have been posted.

How about when a player uses a card the DM can reroll an attack against that character or reroll a save versus an effect that character caused?



Oh yeah, so when he finally rolls a 1 and it looks like my character will just be dazed, slowed, and prone instead of dominated or restrained, that tiny speck of false hope can vanish too? I'd rather not have cards at all than have that kind of mechanic. (Of couse, I'd favor "no cards at all" but that's beside the point).

Or give the DM a generic +1 to use per card played.



That would be better but still not a very equitable trade. The DM knows all of the PCs defenses or can ask. PCs don't get to know the monsters' defenses unless they're writing down what hits and misses as they go and it still takes a while to find the right number. At the tables I play, probably 30-50% of the bonuses from cards end up being wasted because we have to take a gamble and it doesn't always pay off. Now the card does have an initial benefit so it would still be better to have the cards than not to have them, but that doesn't mean it would be a good idea.

The bottom line on cards is that most of them are situational or worthless (turn the tide, for instance is something that may not trigger at all and almost certainly won't trigger when you need it) but a few of them are really powerful (re-rolls, lucky shot, snap out of it, that'll do, etc). Now, D&D players on the whole are reasonably smart and tend to take the ones that are powerful and ignore the ones that are useless.

Now, you could change them by making them less inherently attractive, but that would only make things worse. You could reduce xp (which would actually increase the gold/xp ratio and thereby marginally increase character power over time), reduce gold (which would essentially reduce them to consumables), give the DM some kind of mechanical benefit if the players use them (depending on what it was, it might do anything from making them wholly worthless to not doing anything)--but in the end, players would adjust to their cost/benefit analysis and, if it did anything, you would be faced with either a worse situation. If you made them unattractive enough, no-one would use them and they become just a big waste of time, cardstock, and postage. If you make them less attractive without making them all unattractive, you would simply reduce the variety of cards people used. If it's no longer worth the price to, for example, get a shift during a run and grant a +2 bonus to an ally, or to get a shift when you are bloodied, but it is still worth the price to get out of daze, rather than seeing people with a quick getaway, a scramble to safety, and a snap out of it, they'd just take three snap out of its. Neither of those situations would be an improvement to the card system.

Now, if you reduce the number of cards people get, you would reduce their impact on the game. If you agree with me that they probably have too much impact at the moment, that would be an improvement.
The DM knows all of the PCs defenses or can ask. PCs don't get to know the monsters' defenses unless they're writing down what hits and misses as they go and it still takes a while to find the right number.


 
This is not always true. Some DMs follow the advice Andy Collins gave in his article Game Transparency, which suggests letting players clue in on defenses as they interact with the monsters. Even with the ones that don't, it usually isn't a big deal. To be honest, I seldom know PC defenses better than players know monster defenses, or vice-versa. And I don't see DMs generally memorizing my defenses. There are 4 defenses per player, 4-6 players... my brain might recall the defender's AC, but tends to flush just about everything else.

On the card ideas, most tables of players with all the rewards choose just about the same rewards over the same tier spread. There is some minor variation by build/role. As they reach paragon they start taking a few more situational cards for fun or to cover new possibilities (like the shift away card or the run one just to trigger +2). Card choices seems predictably optimized to me, and I doubt any strategy will change that - it really can't get much more optimal, just smaller in breadth. At low levels, At-Will re-roll and That'll Do shines. Snap Out of it as you gain some levels. Around 7-10, depending on build, drop 1-2 At-Wills for others depending on role, plus take more Snap Out of It. If you do damage, Lucky Strike is a big one.

Anything that voids all current cards would likely be met with resistance. The likely solution is to limit the number of current cards. Then, add more cards of a more reasonable sort so that you can still have the fun element and the collectible side (encouraging con attendance, especially the big cons), but without breaking the system. A slight lowering of total numbers may or may not be needed depending on the ratio of current cards to less powerful ones. I've had a couple of reward card discussions for home games, with the idea being to make play more fun and interesting, not predictable and too easy. The ideas from Savage Worlds comes to mind, though they are more open-ended (and often more powerful) than I would use here. An example of a cool one for the Deadlands weird west setting is a card that suddenly brings a traveling merchant into a scene. You could use it for cover or to get away in combat, for supplies in the wilderness, etc. This is too much, but shows the extent of what a gaming system can allow. For LFR, I keep going to the idea of something weaker than a utility power but in that vein.

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The rewards cards are a nice edition, as a player they add a nice additional strategic element.  However, their wide spread use has destabilized the mod environment. 

The cards were a nice concept, the implementation has simply not worke out as intended.  That does not mean they need to be removed, but they should definitely be reworked.

I definitely like the token idea - it adds a risk/reward element to using the cards.

The current card set could be removed from play, and a new (lower powered) card set introduced in its place.

Reducing the number of cards available would help, but some of the cards (looking at you Snap Out of It!) need to go either way. 

Guidelines need to be established for the mod writers to take card use into account for their playtesting if the cards are going to remain.  If the mods were designed to deal with card use that would help, but then players without the cards are 'playing up' without necessarily knowing they are 'playing up'.

There are a number of possible solutions, and clearly the RPGA is aware of the problem - the lack of the 'June' PDF demonstrates that the PTB are aware of the issues and are working on implementing some type of fix.  Expanding the card pool would only exacerbate the current situation. 

Perhaps DnDXP will have some type of announcment regarding the cards - it would be the ideal forum to do so.
When people talk about retiring, phasing out, or banning current cards in favor of hypothetical new cards that will be less powerful, the elephant in the room is this: what do you think cards should be?

There are cards that everyone agrees are powerful (such as snap out of it--though I'd point out that it would be a lot less popular if we didn't have so many modules where the writers seem to think it will be fun if the whole party spends the entirety of one or more combats dazed (Core 1-11, Bald 1-2, and Bald 1-3 come to mind and there are quite a few more that will just effect most of the party most of the time). If daze wasn't as over-used as it is, snap out of it wouldn't be so common). And, though there has been no discussion of this, there are quite a few cards that no-one thinks useful enough to put in their stacks (turn the tide, one shot one kill, second chance, forgotten lore, etc). If those were all there were, I'm not sure I'd bother printing or carrying them. So, if snap out of it is too good, what, if any, cards do you think are at the right power level?

Example cards that are lower in Power: (these are not edited for rules-speak)
Snap Out of It: Play on your turn to ignore the daze condition until your turn ends. You do not make a save against the daze this turn. Or, grant the ability to use a minor action in addition to a standard action while dazed (let's you mark, curse, etc.). Or, grant a bonus to the save.

Re-rolls: Change to be that when you miss with an at-will, your next attack roll with an at-will gets a +2 bonus. This still keeps the miss but helps prevent two rapid misses (which is less fun). The power drops over time, making it less popular a card even in mid and late heroic for most builds.

Lucky Shot: Change to be that when you have a 19, there is a chance of a crit. Or change to let you apply brutal 1 to one or more crit dice when you crit. Both are weaker than the current card. But, ideally, I would remove this entirely and go with something non-damaging, such as that when you crit, you get to shift 1 after the crit. Or, change the current card to something like this: When you roll a 19, you may make it a crit. Your next d20 roll that would be a crit is not considered a crit. This moves a crit up in time, essentially, at the cost of a future crit. This still is strong, but isn't so strong for builds that really feast on critting.

Example new cards:
When you are flanked, lower the bonus to attack to +1 until start of your turn.
When you make a skill to improvise an attack as part of things the rules don't cover, gain +2 to the skill. (Swing from Chandelier, etc.)
When a foe provokes an OA, instead of attack make bluff to gain +1 AC until start of your turn.
Friends in High and Low Places: In urban skill challenge and have time, call on some organization listed in an LFR reward you have that is from this region or an adjoining region to provide a hint for the challenge. DM's discretion, and +1 on next SC roll.
Crazy Leap: When you jump and would end one square short, gain one more square of movement as part of the jump.

Just ideas. You could also drastically change the slant on the cards. You could make them really wacky (like the Deadlands example, introducing scenery). You could make them fate-based, in that they might only have a chance to work. You could make them work like wild magic, usually beneficial but sometimes not (each card having a die roll to determine exact effect).

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You could indeed make the cards differently flavored, but I will observe that applying a +1 (or even a +2) bonus to a roll before it is made is not very good. 95% (90% of the time with a +2) of the time, it won't make any difference at all as the attack would hit or miss anyway without (or even with) the bonus. Packing a card that has a 5% (or even a 10%) chance of making a difference in a situation that might not come up is not likely to appeal to players--especially not if there are actually useful options available. At that point, I suspect players would just pack easily triggered bonuses (I attack, then I run and use quick getaway--now I've got a +2 on the table, or I know the wizard made a DC 30 knowledge check on these paragon monsters, but I rolled too and since I failed, I use that'll do--I still fail, but now there's a +1 out) and treat them as old school die bumps as soon as they can trigger them.

(If you combined it with some kind of monster token, I suspect it wouldn't be worth bothering at all, but you would see some animosity at tables where player A cavalierly uses his card to get +2 on a stunt that doesn't help the party and at the same time generates a +2 for the DM who will use it wisely and will use it to hurt someone other than the goof-off who is not contributing).
I'd put in a rule that only one card of any particular type is allowed per stack.

In a paragon mod the other day, virtually every encounter had dazing in it, yet it wasn't until the final fight that any PC actually remained dazed for the duration listed, rather than using a 'Snap out of it' card to ignore the effect.
I'd put in a rule that only one card of any particular type is allowed per stack.

In a paragon mod the other day, virtually every encounter had dazing in it, yet it wasn't until the final fight that any PC actually remained dazed for the duration listed, rather than using a 'Snap out of it' card to ignore the effect.



So does this tell us that dazing is too prevalent or that snap out of it is too prevalent?
I'd put in a rule that only one card of any particular type is allowed per stack.

In a paragon mod the other day, virtually every encounter had dazing in it, yet it wasn't until the final fight that any PC actually remained dazed for the duration listed, rather than using a 'Snap out of it' card to ignore the effect.



So does this tell us that dazing is too prevalent or that snap out of it is too prevalent?



Well, I'm sure there's some cause and effect going on.

Of course, equally it is possible to have three snaps in your stack and not use one, because of the mod.
I'd put in a rule that only one card of any particular type is allowed per stack.

In a paragon mod the other day, virtually every encounter had dazing in it, yet it wasn't until the final fight that any PC actually remained dazed for the duration listed, rather than using a 'Snap out of it' card to ignore the effect.



So does this tell us that dazing is too prevalent or that snap out of it is too prevalent?



Well, I'm sure there's some cause and effect going on.

Of course, equally it is possible to have three snaps in your stack and not use one, because of the mod.



That's why I've never taken more than two snaps (and generally take 1 or none). But if the "no daze" module were more frequent and the "all daze/all the time" module were less frequent, I doubt we'd see hordes of snap out of its in peoples' stacks.
So does this tell us that dazing is too prevalent or that snap out of it is too prevalent?

Definately the former. Authors should NEVER try to preventively make up for such things as reward cards or optimized PCs. Adventures should always be written for standard PCs without reward cards being taken into account. Then it's up to each table to agree upon how much of a challenge they prefer and accordingly bring weaker PCs and less/no reward cards as appropriate.

My prefered official RPGA reaction to everything that has been suggested in this thread would be completly ignoring it. No personal slight intended, but it just seems that because you, a small circle of people, want to have more of a challenge in LFR you want the RPGA to just up the challenge for everyone.

If you as a player or a DM feel that too easy mods are no fun for you, then openly talk about your problem at the current table and see whether or not the other players and the DM are going to agree with you.

I am fine with the mods and the reward cards as they are, as are many others.

If those who are not just make a gentlemen's agreement to not use them in the ways they consider unfun they are helped and the people liking the current status quo are also helped.

If those who are not convinve the RPGA to change the status quo they are happy at the expense of the people liking the current status quo who are henceforth unhappy (and might just start their own lobbying to convince RPGA that the change was a misstake and to bring back the old way)
So does this tell us that dazing is too prevalent or that snap out of it is too prevalent?



Alot of players really hate having their characters dazed. I know players that will take 3 at paragon because they personally hate the effect.

Giving the DM any sort of "counters" to the cards or equivalent bonuses does run the risk raising tension between players and DMs and only add another level of decisions and complexity that would slow play down. Likewise, I'd hate to pit disagreeing players against one another by giving a player an addtional to impact the gold, xp or incoming attacks/NPC difficulty for the rest of the party.

Reducing the total size of the stacks and limiting each to one copy would likely reduce the problem quite a bit. I'd even bet that the time spent picking and playing the cards would be reduced by a minute or two which wouldn't be unwelcome. Some players might not like being limited in this way but, it would meet alot less resistance than invalidating cards people already own and may have spent time, effort and/or money acquiring.

I'm not at all surprised that dazed is overused by module designers. It's not like they have much of a choice in the matter.

There are only twelve conditions that can be inflicted in the PHB. Of those twelve conditions, two have a neglegible effect almost all of the time (deafened and slowed). Five are usually irrelevant to entire groups of characters (ranged or reach characters don't overly mind being prone, immobilized or restrained, characters with area effects don't care about blinded, and anyone who isn't a striker isn't overly affected by weakened). By this I mean that the condition doesn't usually change strategy: a character would usually take the same action even if the condition wasn't there.

Yes, there are always exceptions. But usually when you're slowed or prone, there's still something within easy charge range, and most of the time when you're weakened, you would do the same thing as when you weren't weakened. In essence, you grit your character's teeth, ignore the condition, and keep playing.

The remaining five conditions seriously hamper you and that you can't ignore: dazed lets you skip most of your turn, and the four others (petrified, stunned, unconscious, and dominated) make you skip all of it. All of these except dazing are pretty rare in the heroic tier. Again with a few exceptions, e.g. a barbarian can still charge and do heavy damage when dazed.

So there is a wide gap between the seven nuisance conditions, and the five disabling conditions. Because this gap is so wide, the first disabled condition is used often, and is very noticeable when used.

Forced movement is vastly underused as far as I can tell. Also, conditions don't actually need to be that common. Zones, blocking or punishing actions, teleportation, vulnerability to damage - all kinds of things that aren't damage.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
As much as being Dazed stinks, it really isn't usually a game-breaking status.  I would think that one "Snap Out of It" isn't really that over-powered.  A free re-roll of an At-Will has never felt that overpowered to me, either - but I'm still in the 1-4 level range for LFR.  I tend to go with those two cards, and the re-roll has been about 50% effective - the Daze card seems to go unused in nearly half my adventures, but so be it.

It seems like the next set of rules should include no more than 1 copy of any given card, and limiting the number of cards to 2/3/4 per tier.

One thought that I had was that maybe the use of a card counts as a Daily Magic Item usage?  It would really force people to weigh card usage against their magic items: "Do I re-roll Enfeebling Strike, or will I need my Dwarven Armor power before the next Action Point?"
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
Oh yeah, it seems that everyone uses at-will rerolls, That'll Do, and Snap, and occasionally see that crit-on-a-19 card, and that pretty much every other card might as well not exist.

Exception: there's a card that boosts movement, which is sometimes used for no reason because it gives an ally +2 bonus later on. That's... probably not what the designers intended.

Overall it is a clunky system, and it's certainly not a "reward" for anything considering everybody can just download them. They're more like "player entitlement" cards, in that some players feel entitled to having moar bonus.
There's Second Chance, and folks do use cards like Elemental Fury, One-Shot One-Kill and Minion Slayer too.

But you're not wrong about those other cards being common. I just don't think it is as absolute as you make it out.
There's Second Chance, and folks do use cards like Elemental Fury, One-Shot One-Kill and Minion Slayer too.


I don't even know what elemental fury does, that's how common it is here

I've seen players take SC for a while, but it very rarely comes up and eventually they tend to realize that That'll Do is just flat-out better. OSOK and MS I've also seen players take but very rarely actually use, because their triggers are pretty rare, and never seem to come up when you actually need them.
[i]t's certainly not a "reward" for anything, considering everybody can just download them. They're more like "player entitlement" cards, in that some players feel entitled to having moar bonus.


I can see that point of view, but my take has always been that these are part of putting up with the rules of LFR.  I had gotten the password, and so had access to the PDF without google.  So when I started organizing LFR games in my area (Worcester), I would bring a set of cards printed out.  It gave people a reason to sign up for the RPGA, play with the rules in place, and give them a little extra "oomph" at the table.  I mistakenly told people that they could only use one copy of each card at first, and no one complained.  Since then I have corrected that, but no one is doubling up on any of the cards.  Everyone grabs the reroll (and I only have 2 per power source with 4 arcane players) and the rest is a toss up.  Minion Slayer seems pretty popular around here.
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
I don't even know what elemental fury does, that's how common it is here

I've seen players take SC for a while, but it very rarely comes up and eventually they tend to realize that That'll Do is just flat-out better. OSOK and MS I've also seen players take but very rarely actually use, because their triggers are pretty rare, and never seem to come up when you actually need them.



Since you were commenting in the general "these cards might as well not exist", I was offering commentary from a different point of view. I can't help it if your players don't use these cards. ;)

As for SC versus That'll Do: it depends on when and where you think you'll use it. That'll Do is great for your trained skills, when you know that if you take a 10, you'll probably succeed. But re-rolling is a better choice if you know you can't succeed on a 10 (usually if you're untrained) and really want to deal with the possibility of having a failure in a Skill Challenge. I'd go with SC for those times when we had a relatively unbalanced party and skill coverage was likely to suck. In that case, someone is going to be rolling untrained skills and SC is better in that case (IMO).
To summarize the thread to this point:

• Issue: Player rewards cards give enough of an extra "bump" as to unbalance the game, sometimes to the point of it being less fun. (A bad thing.)

Proposed solutions so far:

• Reduce the number of cards in the stack (5 at early paragon seems very high for most players)
• "Type" the cards, and limit the number of each "type"
• Disallow using dupliates. (In other threads, the feeling is that this rule should be restricted for magic items as well.)
• Give the DM a minimal "balancing" effect each time a card is used. (Perhaps +1 bumps that can be used before a die roll, bonus to saves, etc.)
• Give the DM a power/effect that can be used only against the player who "triggered" the card. (i.e. You use a card, I get a reroll/bonus vs. an attack vs. you.)
• Penalize players with GP/XP for using cards. (I am personally not a fan of this solution, but include it for completeness. Why should someone be punished for using "earned rewards.")
• Issue erratta for "overpowered" cards.

Most popular ideas:
(1) Reduce the number of cards, and do not allow duplicates.
(2) Have a minimal consequence for using cards, such as was done in ADCP1-1. (Note: Personally, I do not agree with the idea of removing XP/GP when a player "activates a reward. A pile of +2 counters that the DM may spend before a die roll though . . . .)

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

My friends and I stopped using rewards cards. I'm a big fan - I enjoy the game a great deal more than I did when I snapped out of everything.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com