I have decided to fully embrace the potential for making D&D a fully card-based game. So this morning I fired up my Magic Set Editor and began to make Essentials feat cards.
Since I'm throwing in a healthy serving of Dragonquest into the mix, with static hit points and trading experience points for ranks in skills, it's going to be an interesting process. The math is certainly something I'm going to have a hell of a time wrapping my brain around, but I'm pretty sure I can do it.
First off, Weapons. Weapon Proficiencies, Expertise, and Focus will be by weapon group, ie light blades, heavy blades, axes, bows, etc. Proficiency grants your character the proficiency bonus listed on the weapons chart. Weapon Focus gives you a +1 to hit and to damage for that weapon group, which you must be proficient in. Weapon Focus can be purchased repeatedly for the same weapon group. Weapon Expertise gives you a +1 to hit and another bonus, and requires Proficiency and Focus in the weapon group.
Next, Armor. Armor proficiencies graduate from one another, so you must first get leather, then hide, then chain, then scale, and finally plate. There are also shield proficiencies. There are also feats that can be purchased that allow you to ignore the armor penalties to skills and movements.
I left Toughness in. It gives you 5 extra hit points. You can buy it multiple times. It's going to be expensive.
There are feats that can be bought to upgrade your Fortitude, Reflex and Will defenses.
There are currently 5 different feats that give you Combat Advantage in certain situations.
Similar to Weapon Proficiencies are Implement Proficiencies, with corresponding Expertise and Focus feats, although I still need Expertise in Orbs, Totems, and Rods.
Languages. First you must learn to speak a language, then you can learn to read and write. That's a lot more basic than it could be (Dragonquest has 10 ranks each in Read/Write and Speak, with corresponding levels of literacy/understanding and vocabulary), but I think it will function.
Skills. There's a Skill Training card for each skill, and a generic Skill Focus card. Skill Training grants +5 to a roll on a skill. Skill Focus can only be added on a skill once you have training, and adds +3. You can buy it multiple times.
In Essentials there are a number of "Disciple of..." Feats, which typically have a minimum ability score you must meet, and have wildly different bonuses associated with them.
There are also some random ones thrown in, such as two-weapon fighting, blindfighting, fire and cold resistance. Whenever a feat has a bonus that increases at paragon and epic tier, I made a 2nd and 3rd rank for it that can be purchased.
I did assign Experience Point costs, but did so in a rather arbitrary way as I put things in. Those costs are all up for revision and most likely everything will change between now and the finished project. But for the sake of reference, to start with I'm thinking that killing a monster will generally be worth 15-30 experience points, defeating a boss monster would be from 100-250, accomplishing a side quest 300-500, and completing an adventure nets you 1200. Dragonquest had a system whereby once you had gained X ranks in Y skills and abilities, you started earning more for completed adventures. I'm not sure if that would work for this system. It worked well for Dragonquest because every skill, ability, class, what-have-you had its own chart for experience costs per rank, and the costs grew quite a bit as you ranked up. This system, as yet, being entirely card-based, does not. I want the rules to be concise (about the size of a Magic-the Gathering rulebook, that slips inside a deck), and avoid any charts at all. Everything about your character should be right in front of you on the cards you have earned.
If anyone wants to take a look, I can put the cards up as a PDF file for download.