Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tarot Card Sandbox Toys

So in the last post I wrote about how I had my group create a home village for a post-apocalyptic DCC game. Part of that process was to record all their answers on separate note cards. In addition to helping keep things manageable, it also lends itself to this goofy idea I've had for a while to incorporate tarot into my games. On the off chance Nick, Marty, Rob, Kim or Denny are reading this, you should probably stop.

My original plan was to try and tie elements of the game to tarot cards which had a similar meaning. This quickly became way to big a hassle. So I took all the elements we came up with and assigned each to a card. I did this by shuffling the tarot deck and placing one card on each notecard. If the note card had a couple of different elements, I dealt out however many extra ones, so that at least for now, each card has a discrete element. A couple of things might be tied to multiple cards, but I'm figuring this out as I go.

To record the information, I gave each tarot card a notecard. On the notecard I wrote down the associated word from the deck's Little White Book, and underneath that I wrote down the campaign element. There were some weird synchronicities, like here we have Bill from the General Store being the Page of Coins, and that dude looks a lot like the way I bet Bill does. And Ace of Cups represents emotion, and it's tied to the prior safety of the town that was partially due to Whiskey Know How. And there's a canteen! WITCHY!!!

To get ready for our next game I did a six card spread as outlined in this deck's Little White Book. I'm using Omegaland an apocalypse themed deck, so the language used to describe the spread works pretty good with my game.

1 = Location (Present situation)
2 = Food (How to sustain oneself)
3 = Weapons (state of mind and strategies)
4 = Fuel (what you need to move ahead)
5 = Drink (Feelings)
6 = Stockpile (Planning ahead)

So for Location, I got the 2 of Coins, which corresponds to Ophelia Up, a village debutante, and zero level who survived, but isn't going to keep adventuring.

Food card was the Queen of Wands, which corresponds with Diane, the mother of Alistair a zero level kid that made it through and is turning into a First Level Halfling, sorta like CUBM, but not feral. The Player of Alistair, Denny got hockey game tickets, so she is bailing on the game. So with this, I'm figuring Alistair needs his mom, and the session will start off with the absent Alistair and Ophelia Up heading back to the town which was attacked and likely overrun our first session.

Weapons, or strategies I pulled the High Priestess, which corresponds with "What Happens in the Fog Area." The fog area is an area of radioactive fog where "deviants" from the town are sent. So I'm thinking this will mean I'll drop some clues that the solution to the coordinated attack from the Boat People, Honey Badger Cult, (did I write about the Honey Badger Cult? There's a Tea Totalling Honey Badger Cult that is an sorta underground opposition movement that coordinated an attack with the alien looking Boat People Others) might be found in the fog area.

Fuel, or what is needed to move ahead pulled the Page of Coins, corresponds to Bill from the General Store, the witness to the band's looting and attacking of town guards. This might be that Bill is leading a posse to retrieve the stolen goods and exact justice on the cowardly deserters, or maybe it will be something bad happens to Bill and their crimes are forgotten.

Drink, the feelings, is the Ace of Cups, the town's prior safety which was a result of their whiskey know how, and the fog among other things. These are all coming together in a weird way. Divination! Witchiness!

The Planning card was the 10 of Wands, that thus far does not have an associated game element.

So with these things I have an idea of how I'm going to run the session, and if I get to doing some prep, I'll stat out Diane, make some notes about Ophelia, to make the start of the session about her departure, figure out some rumor tables and who exactly will be spouting these rumors about the Fog Area, and maybe throw some radiation suits in for treasure. Bill and his posse will get statted up, and maybe I'll put some "feelings and ruminations" on the encounter table. Reflections of the way life used to be, reflections of the love you took from me. Like China Beach.

When we play, I'm going to have these tarot cards sitting out. This might just be for psychological effect, but I might also do some sort of luck point spending on certain cards for certain effects. Each spend will somehow "boost" the card. The intent is that the players will slowly figure out first that these cards are influencing the background events, and then which cards correspond to who.

Last week I saw Card Based Mission Generator by Jens D posted on Google Plus, and it's coming at this from a sorta similar direction, but the specifics are quite different. Last summer I read a post from Scott Kellogg about using the tarot for story elements and NPCs. I think our three approaches sort of exist on a spectrum of ways to use cards to create game ideas, and if any of this that I wrote seems the tiniest bit useful, you may want to check out these posts as well.

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