Monday, November 18, 2019

Tarot Inspiration for 5e D&D

Tarot Inspiration 
As one commentator noted in a reply to this post about using playing cards as an inspiration mechanic, this would also work with more image-based cards. Here's how I would do it with a deck of tarot cards.

The system below gives a mechanical incentive for players to roleplay scenes that reveal more about their characters:

During a period of downtime, a player may nominate themselves to roleplay a tale-telling scene.

That player draws a single card from a standard tarot deck. The card drawn determines the content of the tale, as per the tables below.

The player will then tell a story based on that theme in the voice of their character to the other characters present. The story should reveal something about the character’s backstory or give the other players a greater sense of that character’s past.

After a player completes a tale-telling scene, their character gains inspiration.

Examples

  • A player draws the Six of Wands and tells a tale about their character running into their estranged father in a busy market.
  • A player draws the Hanged Man and tells a tale of how their character was forced to surrender to the opposing side when they were employed as a mercenary soldier.
  • A player draws the Star and tells a tale about the example set by their character’s mentor—whose sacrifice for a great cause gave them hope for the future.
  • A player draws the Two of Pentacles and tells a tale about how their character learned to adapt to a life of poverty on the streets after their noble family’s downfall.
  • A player draws the Ace of Pentacles and tells the tale of why they gave up being a baker to pursue a life of reckless adventure as a picaro.


Major Arcana
The Fool. Innocence
Justice. Truth
The Magician. Power
The Hanged Man. Surrender
The High Priestess. Intuition
Death. Endings
The Empress. Abundance
Temperance. Balance
The Emperor. Authority
The Devil. Addiction
The Heirophant. Spirituality
The Tower. Upheaval
The Lovers. Harmony
The Star. Hope
The Chariot. Determination
The Moon. Fear
Strength. Courage
The Sun. Success
The Hermit. Introspection
Judgment. Rebirth
Wheel of Fortune. Luck
The World. Travel


Minor Arcana

Cups
Pentacles
Swords
Wands
Ace
Love
New career
New ideas
Inspiration
Two
Partnership
Adaptation
Impasse
Planning
Three
Celebration
Teamwork
Heartbreak
Progress
Four
Mediation
Scarcity
Rest
Homecoming
Five
Regret
Financial loss
Conflict
Disagreement
Six
Childhood
Generosity
Transition
Recognition
Seven
Opportunity
Investment
Betrayal
Challenge
Eight
Withdrawal
Mastery
Confinement
Change
Nine
Content
Luxury
Nightmares
Resilience
Ten
Bliss
Wealth
Wounds
Burdens
Page
Curiosity
Development
Knowledge
Discovery
Knight
Creativity
Hard work
Ambition
Passion
Queen
Compassion
Nurture
Freedom
Confidence
King
Diplomacy
Security
Clarity
Leadership

2 comments:

  1. The more I look at this table, the more I'm impressed by it.

    Because in addition to each arcana corresponding to a general type of situation, it seems like each one describes an entire emotional journey as you go up the numbers. So there's a sense of "beginning of something" or "middle of something" or "conclusion of something" depending on how low or high your number is.

    All your examples sound like flashbacks though. I think this would work equally well for contemporary events occurring in-between adventures.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      I mostly followed the basic meanings of those tarot cards, so I guess it makes sense that they represent a kind of journey or path as the numbers ascend.

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