First off: Big announcement! After years of searching, testing, nodding, and writing things down we now have settled on 6 very special role-playing games to be supported here on the Embassy. 1974 Style, QAGS, FUDGE, Savage Worlds, True20, and Mini Six made the cut. Congratulations to all around. As for other material, like BFRPG? Well the stuff I have will no longer vanish, but when writing stuff that is kind of OSR-centric, I'm writing for 1974 Style and you can try to extrapolate from there.
Now... card based initiative.
I've done this post before, which is basically replacing die rolls for initiative with card draws. True20 has a rule already in place thanks to their Warrior's Handbook option and Savage World has it as a core facet, but what about the other games I mentioned above? Well, let's go ahead and add it in.
Some common features.
-This assumes you are playing with a standard playing card deck that has four suits.
-The card's value ranges from Ace to 2, with Ace being the highest card besides a Joker that a player can draw.
-Black Suits > Red Suits and two players holding the same number and same color are acting simultaneously. Thus two characters with the 8 of Clubs and Spades will act at the same time, while either character will act a step ahead of a person with the 8 of Hearts.
-Any game that has Feats / Edges / Gifts can take such an item called 'Improved Initiative' to draw 2 cards in a round and take the better of the two.
-Jokers are Wild! Jokers go first and a little bit extra is added. That extra is what varies from game to game. Let's see a sample of what each rules-lite game could bring.
On a joker...
1974 Style: All d20 rolls are rolled with the Advantage (roll 2d20 and take the higher of the two rolls). Damage is upgraded by 1 die step. So, during a Joker, a d4 dagger will deal 1d6 damage or a d8 polearm will deal d10 damage.
QAGS: Character gains +2 to all rolls and modifiers to the round. This includes rolls for doing stuff, +2 bonus damage on top of normal weapon damage, and etc. When a Joker is drawn every player gets an immediate YY for drawing the card.
Mini-Six: The character who drew a Joker gains a bonus d6. This d6 could be treated as a second wild die for truly over the top chances. All characters in the party receive a Hero Point.
FUDGE: Player who drew receives a +1 bonus to actions rolled for the duration of the round. Each player at the table receives a free Fudge point.