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Laurellien
2016-05-16, 07:31 AM
Put simply, a deck of many things using the major arcana from a tarot deck.

Why: In my campaign world, many of the cues and imagery from a standard deck don't apply everywhere. The PCs currently find themselves in somewhere based on India, so I wanted to use a deck with Indian-style art - hence using an Indian tarot (This one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sacred-Indian-Tarot-Rai-Kiren/dp/9380070128/ref=sr_1_1_twi_car_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463401186&sr=8-1&keywords=sacred+indian+tarot).

How: I've combined card effects from different sources - the original deck, the tarot deck presented in Dragon 77, and the Harrow deck presented in Curse of the Crimson Throne. Also, I'm intrigued by the idea that Tarot cards have different meanings with different orientations, so I have given each card two effects, depending on whether it is drawn face up or face down. Generally, cards have a positive effect if drawn one way, and a negative effect if drawn the other way, but the card's positivity/negativity and effect are matched to the traditional meaning of the card. There are an equal number of positive and negative effects, and 4 neutral effects (that vary on whether they are good or evil based on alignment or character choice).

What do you think?

0. The Fool:
Upright: The drawer gains 10,000 XP and may draw up to two more cards.
Reversed: The drawer loses 10,000 XP and must draw again.

1. The Magician:
Upright: The drawer's Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores each increase by 2.
Reversed: The drawer's Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores each decrease by 2.

2. The High Priestess:
Upright: The drawer may choose to avoid any one situation, even an instantaneous one that is occurring or has just occurred. The fabric of reality is unravelled and respun. Note that it does not enable something to happen. It can only stop something from happening or reverse a past occurrence.
Reversed: The drawer gains a -3 penalty on Will saves and Intelligence and Wisdom-based skill checks.

3. The Empress:
Upright: The drawer gains a randomly generated major magic item. If possible, this is one of her mundane possessions gaining magic power.
Reversed: All charged or limited-use magic items owned by the drawer are exhausted.

4. The Emperor:
Upright: The drawer inherits a noble title dependant on level (1-2 esquire, 3-4 hereditary knight, 5-6 baron, 7-8 viscount, 9-10 earl/count, 11-12 marquess/margrave/landgrave, 13-14 prince (non-royal), 15-16 duke, 17-18 grand prince, 19-20 grand duke, 21+ archduke), 5,000 GP/level, and a keep, castle, or estate appropriate to the rank.
Reversed: The drawer becomes insane and either contracts manic depression, schizophrenia, or dementia.

5. The Hierophant:
Upright: The drawer gains the favour of the dominant religion in the area. If the drawer is a priest, then he advances in rank within his religion. The drawer gains a cohort 2 levels below his own. This cohort is from either his own religion or the dominant religion.
Reversed: The drawer suffers a -3 penalty on all saves against mind-affecting effects, and a -5 penalty on Sense Motive checks.

6. The Lovers:
Upright: The drawer gains a +5 bonus on Diplomacy checks towards those to whom he might be attracted/attractive. If he has a partner, then their union is strengthened.
Reversed: A comely genie of the user's preferred gender appears and proposes marriage. Should the character accept, then he must organise a lavish marriage ceremony within the week and forever after be bound to the exotic outsider. If the drawer declines, then the heartbroken genie returns to the their home plane, provoking the ire of their associated elemental court. Genie type is determined by the DM or randomly (1d8) (1 djinni, 2 efreeti, 3 marid, 4 qorrashi, 5 dao, 6 khayal, 7-8 janni)

7. The Chariot:
Upright: If the drawer bests the next enemy in combat alone, then he gains enough experience points to advance to the next level.
Reversed: The drawer must defeat the next enemy in combat alone or else lose a level (if he is helped or loses).

8. Strength:
Upright: The drawer gains a +4 bonus on Will saves. If the drawer is in need of atonement, this also acts as an atonement spell.
Reversed: The drawer gains a -4 penalty on Will saves. If the drawer draws power from a god or divine force, then he falls from grace and must seek an atonement to regain his powers.

9. The Hermit:
Upright: The drawer is empowered with the one-time ability to call upon a source of wisdom to solve any single problem or answer fully any question upon his request.
Reversed: The drawer loses half of the ranks he has in each skill, and forever treats every skill as cross class.

10. The Wheel of Fortune:
Upright: The drawer gains a +1 luck bonus on all rolls. This lasts until the next time the drawer is ever reduced to below -10 hit points, when he instead stabilises and is restored to half of his hit points; however, he thereafter loses the +1 luck bonus. Finally, the drawer discovers a medium magic item.
Reversed: The drawer suffers a -1 luck penalty on all rolls. This lasts until the next time the drawer is ever reduced to below 0 hit points, when he instead dies immediately. Should he be later returned to life, he loses thereafter loses the -1 luck penalty. Finally, one random magic item in the possession of the drawer loses its powers.

11. Justice:
Upright: A drawer of good alignment gains 20,000 XP. A drawer of neutral alignment may change to a good alignment and gain 10,000 XP. A drawer of evil alignment must change to a good alignment or lose 10,000 XP.
Reversed: A drawer of evil alignment gains 20,000 XP. A drawer of neutral alignment may change to an evil alignment and gain 10,000 XP. A drawer of good alignment must change to an evil alignment or lose 10,000 XP.

12. The Hanged Man:
Upright: The drawer gains the following spell-like abilities: 1/month legend lore, 1/week contact other plane, 1/day augury. The drawer need not use any components for the spell-like abilities, and the caster level is considered 20th.
Reversed: The drawer's divination spells (either cast by, for, or concerning) always produce incorrect results.

13. Death:
Upright: The drawer may never again take levels in any class in which he currently has levels.
Reversed: The drawer may never again take levels in any class in which he does not currently have levels.

14. Temperance:
Upright: One of the drawer's enemies has a complete change of heart and becomes his friend.
Reversed: The drawer's animal companion, cohort, or other NPC ally is alienated and forever after hostile. If the character has no such allies, the enmity of some powerful personage, community, or organisation is gained instead.

15. The Devil:
Upright: A powerful outsider of a type and alignment opposed to the drawer takes notice of the drawer and plans to destroy him, probably seeking out and aiding the drawer's existing enemies.
Reversed: The drawer gains the friendship and aid of a powerful outsider of a type and alignment apposed to the drawer. The outsider may be called for up to an hour each day.

16. The Tower:
Upright: The drawer loses all non-magical possessions, wealth, and real property.
Reversed: The drawer is imprisoned, either by the imprisonment spell or by some powerful being. He is stripped of all material possessions.

17. The Moon:
Upright: The drawer becomes a lycanthrope of a type opposed to his own alignment.
Reversed: The drawer's best magic item is drained of all power.

18. The Sun:
Upright: The drawer gains a useful medium wondrous item (roll until something useful is attained), and 50,000 XP
Reversed: The drawer's cohort, followers, animal companion(s) etc. all desert him. He gains the 'failure' modifier to his leadership score.

19. The Star:
Upright: The drawer gains 1d4 wishes. The card sometimes depicts the number of wishes as the number of stars visible, or the number of arcs of light from the star.
Reversed: The drawer gains 1d4 limited wishes.

20. Judgement:
Upright: The drawer's body becomes that of a young adult, losing any ageing differences to physical ability scores, but retaining any bonuses to mental ability scores. The drawer also gains the effect of an atonement spell if in need of one.
Reversed: The drawer chooses an ally, and then draws three cards face up. The ally picks one card for themselves, then the drawer picks another. The third has no effect.

21. The World:
Upright: Each of the drawer's three lowest ability scores increase to the same amount as the third-highest.
Reversed: A slain enemy returns to life and seeks revenge upon the drawer.

Laurellien
2016-05-19, 03:28 PM
Minor Arcana

In the original article in Dragon 77, the suited cards Ace-10 had regular effects (or as regular as a deck of many things gets...), and the court cards (page, knight, queen, king etc.) had the effect of summoning the specific character on them, who was a low-level character who either provided aid or fought the drawer (depending on if the card is upright or reversed).

In my opinion, that was the wrong approach, because it made nearly a quarter of the cards into summoning cards. Instead, I'm going to give the page, queen, and king of each suit an effect based on their meaning.

The Knights, however, seem to fit the idea of summoning the figure on the card. So, I want to build stat progressions for each of the four knights. What can people recommend for these builds? All four are wearing full plate armour, but a straight fighter or knight build seems a little boring. Additionally, they have to help people of any alignment - so no paladins.

I was thinking that the Knight of Wands should have associations with fire and nature. He wears metal armour, so druid is out though.

The Knight of Pentacles has a large orb with a pentagram on it. Spellsword maybe?

The Knight of Chalices has a huge grail.

The Knight of Swords is charging into battle.