Conflicts, and avoiding vs. facing them

Any foe of significance in House of Cards has a hand, and can use cards to take or contest actions. This means that, despite the awesome power a Bearer has at his or her fingertips, one can’t afford to be careless with crossing even a lowly dream-eaten Commoner; a starting Bearer’s hand of five cards goes quickly when a Commoner can throw three cards in defiance (and use Dreamthief to steal the enemy’s cards as well). A poorly-handled skirmish could leave a Bearer with an empty hand, vulnerable to more dangerous foes.

Bearers can avoid this scenario in several ways, fortunately. Rather than the brute force approach of burning cards on empowered actions, Greater Powers give their users ways to affect multiple characters or a location over a span of time. Not only is this often far more efficient than direct action, but such Powers often change the parameters of the encounter, allowing Bearers to take actions they normally wouldn’t or preventing others from acting against them. Judicious use of a Greater Power can shut down a potentially dangerous foe with minimal effort (as the short fiction in the second preview demonstrates).

Bearers are heroes, however, and should not shy away from facing down their nightmare foes. A referee is likely to confront a group with an unavoidable foe at dramatic moments, leading to a pitched combat. When facing a truly dangerous enemy, like a venerable Chimera or a Comte in its own domain, a player can expect to have to expend a number of cards – and lose them to the blows of the opponent as damage. The Archetypes continually reward those who act in character, however, so a Bearer hewing to his or her Archetype closely can mitigate the toll of a heated battle with the card replenishment that comes with staying in-character.