There’s a long history of genre cross overs into fantasy RPGs. My 1st edition copy of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide has rules for “sixguns and sorcery”, or how to incorporate characters from the wild west into a D&D game.
The classic D&D module Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had a fiendish set of flow charts that were to be used when characters tried to figure out high-tech weaponry. Possible results included wasted charges, damage or even destruction of the item. You could go round in circles in the flow chart, damaging yourself over and over again!
Inspired by this sort of material, we wanted to create cards and items for Expedition to the Sky Citadel that reflected the theme of characters from an essentially medieval world trying to figure out how to user laser rifles, plasma guns and other stuff that would seem like magic to them. Two things came to mind immediately: making mistakes that cause problems and not having exact control over the outcome of an attempt to fire a weapon.
Card Hunter already has drawback cards, so it would be easy to just add them to an item’s card suite. That wouldn’t feel very different though, so we decided to build these drawbacks into a card itself. What if, we thought, you could get one of these drawbacks just from playing a card? And, then, what if we combined that with the notion of a random element to the damage the item does? Those two ideas together led to the notion of Erratic Damage:
Erratic damage comes in two flavors: minor and major. For major erratic damage, you roll a die and add that much damage to the card’s effect. For minor erratic damage, you add half of what you roll (rounded up). If you roll a one or two though, you must also draw a random Laser Malfunction Card. As you might think, these are generally not good things – though they can be helpful in the right situations.
A well timed Laser Spray can actually be a huge advantage – particularly when you are staring down a room full of mutant spiders.
Meltdown can also be helpful if you have kept some move cards in your hand. And, Battery Explosion is not a problem if you are well armoured and are standing in the middle of a group of enemies. So careful positioning and hand management can mitigate many of the worst consequences of a malfunction.
But we wanted even more of that random experimentation flavor to Sky Citadel. That’s why we also came up with these two cards:
For us, these cards really do capture the feeling of picking up a strange artifact and experimenting. What does this thing do? Will you get a Scatter Laser that lets you pick off a host of writing grubs or a Mega Laser that lets you bring down a hulking Security Robot? Only one way to find out: push that button (or pull that trigger)!