When Wizards first announced Fortune Cards, I got really angry, seeing it as the beginning of the end. I love CCG's , and Magic the Gathering is my fave, but damn it, I didn't want cards getting messed up with my D&D.
Of course, being a hopeless drone, I bought some cards, and at once began to think of how we could use them in our games. I hated (and still hate) the official rules, which favour those able to buy cards over those who cannot, and wanted to come up with a way in which they could get used, but which would benefit every player. I also didn't want them to create a new breed of super-PC, which, given some of the more potent card's benefits, could easily occur.
So, we experimented, and after some trials and tribulations have come up with some alternate rules for using the cards which we find both balanced, and at times, very useful. These are our house rules for Fortune Cards.
- The cards are sorted out into three separate decks; Attack cards, Defence cards and Tactics cards.
- At the start of each encounter, the group draw one card for each character (including intelligent NPC's) taking part.
- The group decide how many of each type of card to draw for their “party deck”. They can choose all cards of one type, or a mix.
- The cards are a pooled resource that any character can dip into when needed. They follow the usual rules for use.
- At the end of the encounter, all cards are put back in the decks and shuffled ready for the next battle.
- Some magical items or boons may allow for additional cards to be drawn for the party deck (see below).
And that's it. Works really well too. There is a nice pool of tricks for use if and when they are needed, but no single character gets all the power or gets stiffed. This has not caused any issues for me as GM either, so everyone wins - the players get a nice bit of extra umph, and I get to throw meaner things at them sometimes just to see what happens.
(Level 11 Uncommon Wondrous Item)