Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Progress day

And for once I use an image  that is not scribbles.

I'm taking the rest of the day to spruce up some projects I have been lacking on, and I have quite a few so this will be a short post. I have the Combat Test project that I'm going to work on later, some planing for a possible instance in a game tomorrow, and a stack of homebrew that could use my cold hearted and fun destroying eyes look over. Since those would take too long I'll go on about what I was doing when I realized it was about time for me to start this up, and it relates to the picture even.

For a while I have been designing a sandboxish horror investigation game for my group. Using basic d20 resolution and systems via Mutants & Masterminds I'm not giving my players much to work with, the system chosen is basically for me to have a good hold on running the game and making monsters with it. Since it was a sandbox game I decided I need a huge cast of non playing characters to mess with. Not being one to actually have off the cuff creative ideas had some inspiration and the entire concept of how I'm making this game came from it. I generated all my NPCs from tarot cards. An Arcane Major for their 'fate' and a variation on the 5 card spread for who they are and went from there. I didn't even own tarot cards so I made a virtual deck in python that allowed me to test this out in rapid progression. The result, some unexpected and wonderful created poor souls for my Players to befriend before the problems start to sprout up.

Tarot cards are some old things that were primarily for card games. In fact dropping the Arcane Major and the knight will give you a standard playing card deck of sorts. More commonly we know it for fortune telling purposes. Mostly it's cold reading. The majority of the cards are based around mundane everyday things that can easily be cold read into being important. Major Arcane like The Tower pictured are generally more important, more focused, while somehow being more ambiguous than the minor arcane. Taking The Tower for example means generally bad things, it's one of the bad cards to draw. It's things not working out, being beyond your control, and just bad things happening. It was originally the fire at some point as the picture suggests, as in the old days if you were in a tower or castle and the bottom floors caught on fire you were generally unable to do anything beyond jump out. While it is a grim card it can be applied mildly to situations, you pull up the tower card and ask if anything out of the persons control has been making you feel down or causing unneeded worry and you'll get something. In whatever spread you just make attention to it and move on.

I don't believe in the divination properties of such cards. I do however believe using their piece-mailed ideas to create characters or events is quite interesting and rewarding. It has been saving me a lot of time when coming up with a 25+ list of npcs the players will regularly have a chance to interact with. It has also given me quite a few good starting points for event ideas. I'm not the most creative but somehow I can take things and wrap them into something applicable to an idea so it's been a good discovery for me. Maybe I could even start up some tarot posts on this blog later but for now I'm going to focus on making at least a dozen more events for my players.


  1. Tarot divination's from around the 18th century, despite what some people may think, there's really no magic to them, but that amount of time has built a great foundation for using them as a detailed random thing generator based around aspects of real people.

    Now if only I could figure out what cursed my drawings for determining my own character in that horror game to get the bad cards last...

  2. Wow man, sounds like you got alot on your plate. Those cards are interesting! Followed

  3. Seems like a very interesting concept for characters. Reminds me of the Shin Megami Tensai series that makes use of tarrot card symbolism. They also base a lot of their characters on literal interpretations of jungian archetypes.

  4. I've always been interested in the cards.

  5. Good luck with the game and everything, I'm going to have to follow you because you're not only a gamer, but you're also creating them. It's interesting how you came up with the idea for how to randomly generate NPC's, but while I can kind of agree with you about tarot possibly being cold reading, I am going to have to say there is probably some power behind them, I have a deck myself, and not all the cards can be applied to mundane things, and they all generally mean something different, it's not like with "regular" cold reading. If there is such a thing...wait yeah, it's called John Edwards.

  6. Wow this is good stuff, you have my interest