How to Make a D&D Character Deck

D&D Power Card, Dungeons & Dragons, Game Mastery, Item Cards, Paizo Add comments

We recently had a Twitter gamer ask how we make those nifty card decks for our monthly D&D campaign game. A video tutorial seemed appropriate as our blog entries have only touched on certain pieces. Best of all, you can also download many of the materials right here off The Pile.

A Classic RPG Pile Deck contains the following:

We use the following materials and templates to make our cards:

So, why not make a quick player deck for an upcoming game and spice up your D&D life? You’ll be hooked before you know it.

Questions to Ponder: Are you a die-hard-sheet-kinda-guy or would you give the deck a try? Do you play a lot of magic or does the card stuff bore you?

Watch it | NPC Tracker Cards | Customize Your Own Cards | Face Cards

9 Responses to “How to Make a D&D Character Deck”

  1. Alphastream Says:

    Even better, use Magic Set Editor. I talk a little about it here and provide some screenshots:

  2. Steve Pacey Says:

    Character as Deck was a concept I got very excited about around level three. I built my deck exactly as described here(minus the quest cards)and decided I would test drive the concept for a couple levels.

    My thoughts are as follows. Having a visual representation of you powers and consumable items is a very easy way to help you manage resources in combat. Once a power/item was used I flipped it over and was left with my remaining options. I even printed duplicates for powers I could use more than once per encounter(Inspiring Word in my case). In a longer combat this was an excellent way to manage resources. Also, having a visual reminder of all my options, including magical and mundane items, helped me discover new play options I might have otherwise overlooked.

    However, this system has one very noticeable drawback. You need a lot of space to lay out and organize your various cards. Our group plays around a standard sized coffee table which is mostly consumed by the battle mat and the DMs screened off area. I found myself taking up more than my share of table space with my deck. So I started to just hold it in my hands. By the time level five rolled around I was holding a stack of around thirty cards or more and I found that shuffling through it was as, or more, time consuming than refering to a character sheet. Also, if you use a character sheet, you are probably holding three or four pieces of paper at most instead of a deck of cards an inch and a half thick.

    My final analysis is this: the deck is a great idea that will probably add to your enjoyment of the game, aid you in resource management and present you with new tactical options based on item use in combat. If you have a large table to play on I encourage you to experiment with this format of tracking your character. If play space is limited however, stick to your sheet. I always felt like a bit of a jerk spreading my stuff out all over the battle mat in my game. I have personally gone back to the sheet and I am still enjoying the game just as much.

  3. Sully Says:

    I love having a deck. Especially for 4E. I’ve used “magic set editor” to make custom magic: the gathering-type cards for everything. Makes it a lot easier to remember how certain things “stack”..

  4. Weekly Roundup – First Edition | Roving Band of Misfits Says:

    [...] over at Ben’s RPG Pile showed us how to make a deck of cards for our character powers instead of using a character sheet.  Oh, how we love arts and [...]

  5. Rasmus Says:

    Not only are the cards a great idea (thanks for the video), but the list of resources is super useful. Thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Andreas Says:

    How do you make the ultra-sweet pictureside of the itemcards?

  7. bendbuddy Says:

    Oh I love those pics. We use Photoshop template for the nifty photo side. It’s just something we modified from another site. You can snag it from our downloads page. There’s not much to it so don’t worry about it being too complicated.

  8. Andreas Says:

    “You can snag it from our downloads page”
    Sorry but I can’t seem to find it?

  9. shoggothic Says:

    Great idea to use Paizo’s Gamemastery Item Cards for the card faces. For printing MSE created power cards, have you considered or ever heard of someone using a craft cutting machine like Craft Robo? I used to cut my own spell & item cards with a paper cutter, but it is tedious and time consuming.

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