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1. INTRODUCTIONJanuary, 2024. Twenty-six years ago, half the world population was decimated by heathen gods, their Ragnarok stopped only by the brave self-sacrifice of all paranormal talents on Earth. The world is slowly recovering from the ashes of this conflagration as a new generation of heroes and villains come into their own.
But New York City today is a shadow of its former glory. Paranormal gangs - Paragangs - overrun Manhattan, drawn to the ghost city by the promise of excitement. They war constantly over turf, making it impossible to revitalize the metropolis. Many new factions also covet the naked city.
All that stands in the way of total anarchy is one, lone vigilante: the Warden, an eyeless martial artist who commands the senses of others. The Paragangs live in constant fear of him.
But you have your own plans for Manhattan. It is only a matter of time before the slow burn ends and tempers flare into a bonfire that will consume the city...so your utopia can rise like a phoenix from the flames.
Slow Burn is a fast-paced 2-deck card game based on the Rook's Edge card game system. Players take the roles of Masterminds trying to gain dominance in a dystopian Manhattan, 2024, amid super-powered Paragang warfare. All that stands between you and total control may be a lone vigilante named Warden.... Advanced Rules (called Bonfire) are included at the end.
2. GAME SET-UP
2.1 Number of Players: 2-4
Players begin by choosing a different Mastermind, each. The Mastermind is associated with a specific Suit. Each intends to manipulate the factions into an alliance that benefits their own plans.
|Spades||Rex Umbrae, Khadamite genetic superman. Intends to turn New York City into a haven of crime and port-of-call for unscrupulous alien traders.|
|Hearts||Colonel Richard Hendrick, co-leader of S.T.R.A.F.E. Intends to establish peace in NYC for the N.A.C. government.|
|Diamonds||The Eye of Horus, a.k.a. Devlin Marx, head of a secret bounty hunter group. Intends to contain the rampant paranormal populace.|
|Clubs||Mr. Strings, psychic puppeteer with a vendetta against Paragangs. He/she intends to establish peace by any means necessary.|
2.5 Paras and Warden
Each Player receives 3 Paras initially. Paras are recruited and sacrificed as pawns in the Paragang war. During Game Set-Up, no one controls Warden.
Each Player receives two initial 'Hoods, dealt randomly. Place 'Hoods in your Turf face-up. A Player may have five 'Hoods at most; others are discarded. Discarded 'Hoods always go to the bottom of the 'Hoods Deck.
A Faction power may allow a 'Hood to be Guarded. Guarded 'Hoods (Sanctuaries) are turned face-down, and cannot be attacked. Unguarded 'Hoods are face-up.
Each Faction is associated with a 'Hood of Manhattan, for role-playing color.
World Trade Center
Lower East Side
Upper East Side
Conclave of Super-Villains, first supervillains of the era
Snow Leopards, Bathory's lycanthropic paragang
Cyber-Nostra, Sister Christian's cybernetic Mafiosi
Boys of Pain, Harlem paragang
MetaPsych, government psionics agency
New York Macoute, Dr. Jacky's voodoo posse
Cyanide Blues, Cockatrice's paragang
Fifth Ave. Snakeaters, Mountain's paragang
S.T.R.A.F.E., secret government agency
The Onyx Eye Brotherhood, Chinese tong
Peregryn of the Academy of Super-Heroes, mage
N.Y.P.D., to serve and protect
Anchors, bounty hunters that suppress paranormal powers
Burnout, fire-loving femme fatale with a vendetta
Players receive one Faction to start. Players may hold at most 4 Factions in their Hand. While Factions are kept secret, the number of Factions in a Hand is not. Extra Factions are discarded into The Tombs (incarceration). Always keep the last Faction played as top card of The Tombs.
2.8 Victory Conditions
The first Player with a Flush or Straight in his Turf at the end of his Turn wins, symbolizing that he has created an invincible alliance that leads to Truce, his way. A Straight Flush or Royal Flush also wins. No other combinations constitute a win. For longer games, choose Straight Flush as victory conditions. A Hierarchy of poker hands is given below.
Royal Flush (best)|
4 of a Kind
3 of a Kind
High Card (weakest)
3. SEQUENCE OF PLAY
|A Round consists of:||
Each Player receives a Para during this Phase.
The Warden now goes to the Player with the highest current Paras total. If there is a tie, Warden remains with the Player who last owned it. Warden allows the Player to Spy or Shuffle at any time, even interrupting other Player's Turns, by sacrificing one Para per Action taken.
Any Players with Guarded 'Hoods must turn at least one back into Unguarded.
Turfs are used to determine the order that Players take their Rounds, with highest poker hand showing going first. In case of ties, use the following hierarchy:
Players takes Turns according to the Initiatives calculated, until all Players have gone.
3.4 Gang War
The top card of the Faction Deck determines the outcome of Gang War.
The Defender may choose to sacrifice one Para to Shuffle the Faction Deck before the top card is turned over.
Turn over the top card of the Faction Deck. This is the Decider. Match the card Rank with Unguarded 'Hoods in both Attacker and Defender Turfs. After War, return the Decider to the bottom of the Fortune Deck.
4. PLAYING FACTIONS
Instead of standard Overt Actions, the Player may activate (play) as many
Factions as he desires. Sacrifice a Para to activate each Faction, unless
the Suit is your Mastermind's (i.e., free). A Mastermind's free control
over their Suit represents a Player having found an irresistible bait....
Activated Factions go into the Tombs.
To Annex, pick a suit or a rank then deal face-up from the 'Hoods Deck, until a Joker appears (One hood is Lost, as per Expand above), or the named Suit or Rank. If no Joker appears, the Player adds the named 'Hood to his Turf. Shuffle the 'Hoods Deck. So, for example, if given the choice of Annex by suit, you could pick Spades, then deal until you get either a Joker or a Spade. If your Mastermind is Spades, then you can do this for free as your action.
4.2 Special Cards
Anchors (2s) and Burnout (Jokers) are immune to other Factions (esp. 10,5,4,2), and are the only Factions playable at any time, with no Para cost. 2s cannot negate another 2 or Jokers.
4.3 Faction Powers
If a power depends on the number of 'Hoods you control, it will refer to that number as H. If a faction mentions N in it, then you have to spend N Paras in addition to the one spent to activate the card in order to get the effect. So, if a faction lets you Guard N 'Hoods, you want to Guard 3 'Hoods and the suit doesn't match your Mastermind, then it costs you 4 Paras.
|A||CSV||Annex a 'Hood by Suit. "The CSV tends to force their way into a 'Hood by sheer force."|
|K||Snow Leopards||Choose Suit. Factions of that Suit are free until end of Turn. "Lycanthropy spreads to members of other Factions."|
|Q||Cyber-Nostra||Add H Paras. "Posergangs like the Rust Brothers are always eager to serve the Machine."|
|J||Boys of Pain||Annex a 'Hood by Rank. "Brute force take-over of a 'Hood. Less raw power than the CSV, but more warm bodies."|
|10||MetaPsych||Place a Faction from The Tombs on top of the Faction Deck. "They know what you're going to do before you do."|
|9||New York Macoute||Take all Factions from foe; return an equal number of Factions (always returning 2s), not necessarily the same ones. "Technoloas let the Macoute make others work for them."|
|8||Cyanide Blues||Demand H Paras total from any combination of foes. "Extortion is Cockatrice's second best weapon - her gaze turns flesh to ice."|
|7||5th Ave Snakeaters||Draw H new Factions. If this brings you over 4 Factions, discard until you have 4. "No matter how often Warden beats them down, there's always more."|
|6||S.T.R.A.F.E.||Guard N 'Hoods (yours) or Unguard N 'Hoods (foes'). "Trained in all manners of defense and espionage, S.T.R.A.F.E. stands for Superhuman Tactical Resources and Affiliated-Field Experts."|
|5||Onyx Eye||Place any Faction from The Tombs into Hand. "The Onyx Eye Tong can 'vanish' people, even from the Tombs."|
|4||Peregryn||Duplicate the effect of the last Faction played, paying any costs yourself (likewise, H now is your value). "His magic, though mostly elemental, can bend all Five Laws of Reality."|
|3||N.Y.P.D.||Summon Warden. You now control Warden. "The NYPD signals Warden with a high-frequency alarm."|
|2||Anchors||Nullify a Faction power (except 2s and Jokers) that has been just been played. Free, may be used at any time, not just on your action. "Anchor bounty hunters nullify any Paranormal power. Eyes of Horus."|
|Joker||Burnout||Shuffle The Tombs into Faction Deck, any time. Free. "Sometimes, Burnout kills all the scum in the Tombs."|
5. CONTACT INFORMATION
Questions and comments? Email Tony Pi (email@example.com, http://www.eyrie.org/~pi) or David Dalgleish (firstname.lastname@example.org). Many thanks to Dave Van Domelen, Matt Rossi III, and Marc Singer.
A Rook's Edge Milieu Variant based on Dave Van Domelen's Academy of Super-Heroes world
design by Tony Pi & David Dalgleish © 1999
Advanced Rules: Warden's Nemesis/Ally
During the Warden Phase, the Player who controls Warden must choose a Nemesis/Ally by placing Warden on an Unguarded 'Hood in his Turf, on the 'Hoods Deck, the Faction Deck, or The Tombs. The Nemesis or Ally activated (powers below) affects all Players as long as it is in effect. A Nemesis/Ally is immediately deactivated (and not restored until the next Warden Phase), if you: