"What's a tough guy?...A guy with an edge...A gun or a knife, a nightstick, or a razor, somethin' the other guy ain't got. Yeah, a little extra reach on a punch, a set of brass knuckles, a stripe on the sleeve, a badge that says cop on it, a rock in your hand, or a bankroll in your pocket. That's an edge, brother. Without an edge, there ain't no tough guy." From movie The Lady From Shanghai (1948).
Ace cards are a simple method of adding some extra edge to player characters to encourage them to try out some truly outstanding (stupid) stunts in your campaign. They suit also quite well to Gear Krieg role-playing game campaigns in general although there is no reason why you could not slip such a concept to more Heavy Gear or Jovian Chronicles setting either.
Before every session, GM should present a shuffled pack of cards. GM should then allow each player to draw one card from the pack. The three players who draw the highest card will then be chosen as Ace Card holders. Next GM separates three cards: Ace of Hearts, Ace of Clubs and Ace of Diamonds. Three Ace Card holders will then select randomly one. However, GM can always give each player a card based on her selection too. In any case, GM will always hold down one card, Ace of Spades, for her own use.
Each card is related to particular sphere and can be used once in a game session:
Ace of Hearts is connected to love. Player holding one can have her player character to ask for help or get something done to do character's bidding. This should be somehow connected to love or lust. For example, a woman working for the enemy might change sides.
Ace of Diamonds is connected to protection, aid and honour. Player holding one can have her player character to ask for or get help or make any one character sees during game to do character's bidding. This should be somehow connected to honour, competition and strength of mind or possibly pity. For example, a man could change one's mind to trust what character is saying or doing or help player character who asks for help.
Ace of Clubs is connected to Battle. Player holding one can have her player character to ask or get help or make anything happen in a struggle. This should be somehow connected to fighting. For example, a deadly bullet misses, unexpected rescue arrives, enemy reinforcements are delayed or things just happen right.
It does not matter if they are "tough guys" (someone who gets into a trouble) or "hard boiled" (someone who has a job takes her into a trouble) but their position allows character to be "a guy with an edge." After all, all true heroes always have that one last ace up in their sleeve.
Thus at any time during a game session, a card holding player use it for her own advantage. This should be used in a way that further advantages the session and adventure considerably and GM could refuse it if edge seems to be expended too frivolously or in a manner that does not suit character or game style.
In any way, GM will also hold one card, Ace of Spades, for her own use. It is a death card. Whenever a player uses one's card, GM can overrule it immediately by using this card. After all, even heroes run out of luck...
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