Using a Tarot Deck for pretty much everything except dice...

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nonefornic
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Using a Tarot Deck for pretty much everything except dice...

#1 Postby nonefornic » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:52 pm

My group decided to use a Tarot deck for our "dark chivalric" game for character creation, combat initiative, beanies, and an adventure deck. When I say "a Tarot Deck" I literally mean one deck on the table for all of that (not really a problem with character creation). Anywho; we came up with some rules that we thought sounded good and worked pretty smoothly in a session. Given that using a Tarot deck comes up every now-and-then, we thought we'd throw them up here for some extra opinion.

Now, Major Arcana are number; but Minor only have numbers from 2-10, so we worked out figures for the numberless minor Arcana as:
Ace = 1
Page = 11
Knight = 12
Queen = 13
King = 14

Using a Tarot Deck to create characters (with a bit of inspiration from Deadlands)
1- Draw seven cards (one for each trait and skills).
2- Discard Lowest.
3- Consult the table below.
4- Each card may be used to assign a starting Trait ranks to an individual trait or retained to gain a number of skill points later.

Card Values/Trait Ranks/Skill Points
18-21/5/17
14-17/4/16
10-13/3/15
6-9/2/14
0-5/1/13

Using a Tarot Deck as Initiative, Adventure Cards & Beanies simultaneously

1- Players are dealt to each Player and the Game Master as per normal with Beanies.
2- Any card can be spent as a Beanie.
3- Major Arcana can be spent to gain an individual bonus, listed below.
4- At the start of each Combat Round every Wild Card (PC or NPC) is dealt a Card. The Game Master is dealt an additional card per group of non-Wild Card antagonists under their control. From their Hands, the Party chooses one card to act as their initiative card. The Game Master chooses one card per Wild Card and group of non-Wild Card antagonists under their control.
5- The order of Initiative is Major Arcana from highest to lowest, followed by Minor Arcana from highest to lowest.

Card Bonus'
Any Card Spend as a Beanie.

The Fool When making an Unskilled Attempt the character may gain a momentary flash of insight by spending this card. Ignore the usual -2 penalty for the Unskilled Attempt.

The Magician
If your character has the Arcane Background (Magic) Edge spend this card to gain a surge of magical energy; activating any purchased Power without roll or spending Power Points.

The High Priestess
If your character has the Arcane Background (Miracles) Edge spend this card to have the will of the High-Father work through you; activating any purchased Power without roll or spending Power Points.

The Empress A character must be a Noble if they spend this card. The character may find their way to a household, if not friendly, then at least not hostile to their family.

The Emperor Spend this card to re-roll or force the GM to re-roll on the Fright table.

The Hierophant Spend this card and a helpful ally happens along.

The Lovers When trying to woo a potential lover spend this card. The character finds a way to make them receptive for the night at least.

The Chariot Spend this card when travelling. Your character knows of a short cut to their destination.

Strength The character gains a second wind when this card is spent, removing one point of Fatigue.

The Hermit When pursued the character which spends this card escapes their pursuers.

Wheel of Fortune Spend this card for your character to happen across of a lost money purse containing $3D10, counting ‘0’ as zero.

Justice Spend this card when searching for find evidence against an antagonist or villain. The character happens across some vital piece of information if it exists.

The Hanged Man This card may be spent to reroll any Damage roll.

Death Spend this card to re-roll or force the GM to re-roll on the injury table.

Temperance Spend this card to re-roll or force the GM to re-roll on the NPC reaction table.

The Devil Play this card when bound, locked away or otherwise restrained. Any reasonable (Game Master’s interpretation) plan or scheme to escape succeeds without roll.

The Tower Play this card on a target currently successfully using their Climbing skill. They must reroll their Climbing at -2.

The Star Spending this card gives the character some clever or witty line, sees them give a grand performance or make a gallant entrance. They gain +2 Charisma for the scene.

The Moon When in combat against a monster and this card is spent, the character counts as having the Beast Master Edge for one round and will not be attacked unless they are the only target or have already attacked the monster this round.

The Sun Spend this card to reduce any lighting Penalty by one type; from Pitch Black to Dark, Dark to Dim or Dim to no Penalty.

Judgment Play this card if your character has the Wanted Hindrance. They are not recognized for one scene.

The World
Spend this card to allow another Player who has no cards. That player may draw a card.
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#2 Postby GreenTongue » Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:09 am

Interesting idea.
=

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#3 Postby 77IM » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:17 am

This is really cool! I like that the player's hand can be used for initiative or spent for benefits.

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#4 Postby Scott A. Woodard » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:00 pm

"Beanies"??? ;)

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#5 Postby drcheckmate » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:45 pm

http://peginc.com/Downloads/Deadlands/DLR_Cards.pdf

This might be handy, too. Thanks for the inspiration! I now have a reason to keep my old Tarot cards around.

In fact... I could use my old rune stones as bennies, and my Norse tarot deck like this... Hmmm....

I mean, my first thought was a pulpy action oriented Savage Mage: the Ascension with my Mage Tarot deck... but, a Ragnarok sort of game has a certain appeal.

Edit: Seriously, this may have broken my writers block on my current setting. Thank you. Got a long couple of nights coming up work wise, and if I have as much down time as I suspect I will, I'm printing this out along with Yuri's stuff and I'm going to see what I can bodge together.

The only problem I anticipate is finding a spot in my already cramped gaming kit bag for one of the decks. :lol:

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#6 Postby supercOntra » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:14 pm

A few questions to clarify.

Do you start with one card and get a bigger selection (hand) as the fight continues?

Do you keep cards between rounds?

If you have the top card what's to stop you from playing it every round or are used cards discarded?

Is initiative individual or group based?
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#7 Postby nonefornic » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:35 pm

supercOntra wrote:A few questions to clarify.

Do you start with one card and get a bigger selection (hand) as the fight continues?


You start the game session with three card (same as *facepalm* Bennies; thanks for pointing my misspelling out Ogma ;P). When combat starts, you get another card. It's added to your hand. From said hand you select one card as an your initiative. It could be the one you just got, one you got at the start of the game, etc...

Into my own revision of the rules, I'm putting in a provision for those Edges which deal two combat cards. Something along the lines of dealing two to the player (or for the NPC with said Edge), selecting one as initiative and discarding another.

supercOntra wrote:Do you keep cards between rounds?


I take that to mean the same initiative card each round? Anywho... At the start of each new round, you're dealt an extra card and from your hand you, once again, select your initiative.

supercOntra wrote:If you have the top card what's to stop you from playing it every round or are used cards discarded?


The latter; though in practice my group recycled the cards back into the deck after use. So, for us to play "top card" every round you'd have to be dealt it each round.

supercOntra wrote:Is initiative individual or group based?


Initiative is individual for Wild Cards, group for "packs" of extras.

Glad you guys are liking this :) If any of you start using it in your games let me know how it goes; I'm curious to see how it stands up to some solid playtesting!
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#8 Postby 77IM » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:39 pm

You should sticky this, or submit it to Shark Bytes or one of the web sites.

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#9 Postby Poor Wandering One » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:57 pm

I would love to see this in Shark Bytes.

My only concern is that it will make edges like quick and level headed less useful. Unless I am misdreading something it looks like at least on the first round the player can act on the best of 4 cards. A young very lucky half-folk could act on best of 7 cards no?

Wait a bit. How are joker edges dealt with?

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#10 Postby nonefornic » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:02 pm

Poor Wandering One wrote:I would love to see this in Shark Bytes.


Hmmm... Maybe...

Poor Wandering One wrote:My only concern is that it will make edges like quick and level headed less useful. Unless I am misdreading something it looks like at least on the first round the player can act on the best of 4 cards. A young very lucky half-folk could act on best of 7 cards no?


Potentially a character could end up with a monsterous amount of cards. But like I said; its not for every setting. Potentially, if a GM had that as a real concern, they could tweak or eliminate such troublesome Edges wholesale. One thing I ended up doing on the fly was having any extra cards you'd get from Edges dealt out all at once at the start of the game, then had to discard down. While not perfect, it made for FFF play.

Poor Wandering One wrote:Wait a bit. How are joker edges dealt with?


Thats something I initially forgot about. What I ended up doing, however, was making each player choose three Arcana- one for past, present and future. Not only did I then weave these into the game as things that had occured in the characters past, present or future but used the three corresonding cards as activators for such edges.
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#11 Postby Poor Wandering One » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:58 am

nonefornic wrote:Thats something I initially forgot about. What I ended up doing, however, was making each player choose three Arcana- one for past, present and future. Not only did I then weave these into the game as things that had occured in the characters past, present or future but used the three corresonding cards as activators for such edges.


So how do the bad guys draw jokers?
~will

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#12 Postby nonefornic » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:24 pm

Poor Wandering One wrote:So how do the bad guys draw jokers?
~will


I gave each major villian (i.e; Wild Card bad-guy) three arcana like the PC's which covered them and their underlings...
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#13 Postby jdpearson » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:36 am

I've been considering using a Tarot deck for our games for quite some time now. Mostly because the cards are large and for flavor. However, I like the idea of the additional rules you presented here. However, I don't want to replace the Adventure Deck so I'm going to try using the deck only during initiative, but with some the Major Arcana having some additional benefits, mostly to traits. Here are my untested house rules thus far:

Deck is used in its entirety as the Action Deck

Minor Arcana behave as the numbered cards do in a regular deck.

Major Arcana:
    Must be played immediately or lost
    Must be discarded immediately after use
    Can be used as initiative where it exceeds Minor Arcana
    Can be turned into a Joker if you spend a benny
    Can be turned into a benny for later use if you go last during your turn
    Can be kept and used later for its special effect if you spend a benny, turn up another card
    Can be traded immediately for a random card from the Adventure Deck if you go last



Special Effects


0 The Fool May make an unskilled roll at d4 instead of d4-2
1 The Magician +2 to Any AB roll
2 The High Priestess +2 to a Smarts roll
3 The Empress +2 to Dodge
4 The Emperor +2 to an Intimidation roll
5 The Hierophant +2 to a Knowledge roll
6 The Lovers +2 to a Charisma Roll
7 The Chariot Acts as Quick or +2 to Running roll
8 The Justice +2 Fighting roll
9 The Hermit +2 to Notice roll
10 The Wheel of Fortune +1d6 any trait roll
11 The Strength +2 to Strength roll
12 The Hanged Man +2 to Spirit roll against damage
13 Death +2 to Vigor roll against damage
14 The Temperance +2 against tests of will (Intimidation or Taunt)
15 The Devil +2 to any shooting roll
16 The Tower +1 d6 to any damage roll
17 The Star +2 to Persuasion roll
18 The Moon +2 to Stealth roll
19 The Sun Darkness penalties are reduced by 1 level
20 The Judgment +2 Shooting roll
21 The World +2 to any trait roll

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#14 Postby jdpearson » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:41 am

I think I might clarify this one:

Can be turned into a Joker if you spend a benny, deck is NOT reshuffled

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#15 Postby HawaiianBrian » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:39 pm

I like this idea, and see how it could also be put to use with just a regular Poker deck.

Let me see if I got this straight:

• All players start the game with three cards -- the "hand" -- which functions as Bennies and as an initiative card pool.
• Luck, Great Luck, Level Headed and Improved Level Headed each increase the player's starting hand by +1 card. Any other Power, Racial Edge, etc. that grants additional cards or bennies works the same way. Quick can be used only during combat draws.
• At any time, cards can be spent from the pool to use as Bennies. It is possible to spend all cards from one's hand this way, but one cannot spend more cards than one has.
• During combat, each player is dealt one card at the beginning of each round which keeps their pool replenished.
• Players select one card from the pool each round for their initiative draw. If their hand is empty, they are stuck with whatever card they got this round (unless they have the Quick Edge).

With this method, yes it is possible that someone could have seven or more cards as their starting hand, and spend all of them as Bennies on actions before combat even begins. But the GM would have to remind them that it will impact their actions in combat.

I like it. There's a certain elegance to it, though I also worry about hidden wrinkles I'm not seeing at the moment.
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#16 Postby nonefornic » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:45 pm

HawaiianBrian wrote:I like it. There's a certain elegance to it, though I also worry about hidden wrinkles I'm not seeing at the moment.


In my experience, the only hidden wrinkle is this system is characterful and really needs to fit the setting. The usual Savage Worlds stuff is nice and generic, so it 90% of settings, where as this looses all signifigance in, say, an "run-of-the-mill" sci-fi, supers or modern game. If you were doing "can't believe its not WoD" or Zatanna/Dr. Strange style supers, then it would be fine... you would throw in notes about omens and other auspicous occurances as the cards come out, playing up the MIGHTY MYSTERIOUS MAGIC! I did just that in a dark chivalric fantasy game I ran (Brettonian Knights meets Ravenloft...)
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Re: Using a Tarot Deck for pretty much everything except dic

#17 Postby Erifnogard » Fri May 18, 2012 6:13 pm

nonefornic wrote:My group decided to use a Tarot deck for our "dark chivalric" game for character creation, combat initiative, beanies, and an adventure deck.


Very cool rules, I think I want to try em out.
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Realms of Cthulhu: Tarot Initiative cards

#18 Postby paddirn » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:33 am

This is what I was planning on doing for a horror-themed, Realms of Cthulhu game for Initiative cards. This hasn't been play-tested yet and is subject to change. Minor arcana act as normal; Major arcana trump the minor arcana and provide the following bonuses (or penalties) for a single turn:

1. The Magician
+1 to all Smarts rolls.

2. The High Priestess
+1 to all Spirit rolls.

3. The Empress
+1 to all Vigor/Healing rolls. Also, if wounded, penalty is treated as one level less, although player is still considered at current Wound level.

4. The Emperor
+1 to Charisma.

5. The Hierophant
+1 to Armor and Sanity.

6. The Lovers
+1 to all rolls made by Extras.

7. The Chariot
+2 to player's Pace.

8. Justice
Any attack rolls made by or against this player are done so without any bonuses or penalties.

9. The Hermit
+1 to all rolls made by the player, but -1 to all rolls made by Extras.

10. The Wheel of Fortune
Roll any dice. On an even roll, the player gets +1 bonus to all rolls for the turn. On an odd roll, the player receives a -1 penalty to all rolls for the turn. [excludes damage rolls]

11. Strength
Player rolls twice for determining damage and picks the larger of the two rolls.

12. The Hanged Man
The player is easier to hit this turn. Any and all attackers receive a +1 bonus to hit the player this turn.

13. Death
-1 to all Vigor/Healing rolls. Also, if wounded, penalty is at an extra -1, although player is still considered at current Wound level.

14. Temperance
Player rolls twice for determining damage and picks the smaller of the two rolls.

15. The Devil
Player must choose one of his fellow players to go last in the Initiative order (must choose a player who isn't already last).

16. The Tower
Simply failing a roll counts as a Critical Failure this turn (in addition to rolling snake eyes).

17. The Star
The player may perform two actions this turn.

18. The Moon
+1 to any Shake rolls.

19. The Sun
Player may ignore any penalties incurred from lighting or any other sight-related conditions.

20. Judgment
Player may roll twice and take the higher of the two when making a Vigor or Spirit check after becoming Incapacitated from either wounds or insanity.

21. The World
Player may switch his place in the Initiative order with any other player who is lower in the Initiative order (including the GM).

0/22. The Fool
+2 to all rolls/damage and player is first in line for Initiative. (counts as The Joker, deck is reshuffled after The Fool is dealt)

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#19 Postby SeeleyOne » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:28 pm

That looks fun. In he past I had toyed a bit with using a Deck of Many Things at the start of each session, but the Adventure Deck came out so I shelved my notes.
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#20 Postby HawaiianBrian » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:08 pm

I thought about something like that once, but finally have up on it because I felt I'd have to look up the major arcana effect every single time, and would probably keep forgetting what I can do with the one in my hand. But if your short-term memory is better than mine, this might work well for you. :wink:

The other possible problem is the ratio of major to minor arcana and the frequency of them turning up throwing off the card pull odds, particularly regarding jokers.

What if, instead, you removed the major arcana and made a separate deck with them, then at the beginning of the session, each player draws one major arcana to hold instead of an adventure deck card. Call it a "fortune card" or something. It would have the effect mentioned in your post, and if used in combat, the arcana number would be used for initiative.
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