Project: Redcap; the crossroads of the Order

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Whimsy Cards

From Project: Redcap

Whimsy Cards were an innovative play aid for Ars Magica. They were a deck of cards that invited players to influence the plot of a story, making early Ars Magica game sessions more of a collaborative exercise than traditional role-playing games.

Availability[edit]

Whimsy Cards are long out of print. No digital version is available for sale. They should be considered rare and collectible.

Whimsy Cards were mentioned in ArM1[1] and ArM2[2], but not in ArM3. They must have gone out of print by or around 1992.

Someone has uploaded the full text of the original Whimsy Cards to the Web.

A printable pdf of the cards is available with Sub Rosa #7.

Whimsy Cards as a Product[edit]

Whimsy Cards were sold as a game accessory by Lion Rampant. The last page of Ars Magica Revised Edition contains a list of Lion Rampant products; the product listing for Whimsy Cards is[3]:

Whimsy Cards

Players use Whimsy Cards to influence the plot of an adventure, allowing them 
to add their creativity and ideas to the story. Usable with any game. $3.95

Using Whimsy Cards[edit]

The ArM1 rule book explained how to use Whimsy Cards. The following is the full text of the section from the ArM1 rule book:[1]

We recommend that you either buy or make Whimsy Cards and use them in your sagas. With Whimsy Cards, the players can intervene in the storyline and affect the plot at any time during the game (subject to storyguide veto). Like anything that gives you more freedom, these cards demand more responsibility. The Number One Rule for using Whimsy Cards is: "Make the story better." As long as you do what makes the story more enjoyable, you are using them correctly.

Botch rolls and magic are excellent places for your Whimsy Cards to have an effect because both can produce unpredictable results. Also, be sure to take into account reputation and personality traits when using your cards. The structure of the personality rules and the freedom of the Whimsy Cards make a dynamic combination.

If you are sometimes a storyguide, you can use Whimsies as a player to hint at future adventures you will run or to bring into the world something you have been working on privately.

The storyguide decides how many cards the players get. Our standard has been to give one to each magus, two to each companion, and three to each player of grogs.

If you want to make your own Whimsy Cards simply write the following Whimsies on some index cards:

Unexpected Aid           Pity          Turn for the Worse
Unexplained Event        Malice        Parting of Ways
Abrupt Change in Events  Greed         Erratic Behavior
Sudden Reversion         New Role      Ominous Omen
Error of Judgment        Bad Tidings   Misguided Love
Moral Dilemma            Vivid Detail  Misplaced Trust
Personality Clash        Sloth         Second Chance

Opinion and Commentary[edit]

I had a lot of fun with Whimsy Cards back in the good old days (college). We made our own deck and kept adding new ideas to it. Some of our favorites were "Meeting an enchanted commoner" (which usually turned out to be someone with Supernatural Abilities) and "Bizarre local holiday" (which was just hilarious) -- Andrew Gronosky

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ars Magica (First Edition), p. 145, "Using Whimsy Cards"
  2. Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 149, "Using Whimsy Cards"
  3. Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 156, "Other Products"