Last night, before my internet went out, I was exposed to a very cool RPG mechanism that really struck home for me. The game I was playing was a playtest (not for public discussion yet) and the mechanism in question was the use of Tarot cards for narrative elements and conflict resolution. I know other games have fully utilized Tarot cards as the basis of the game, but never having played any of these other games, I cannot make any direct comparisons.
I thoroughly enjoyed using the cards as prompts for answering narrative questions. We were provided with a list of the cards and with each card we were provided three traditional triggers/prompts classically associate with each card, regardless of deck theme. These triggers or prompts were to be our inspiration for defining very fundamental narrative questions that defined our characters.
At a time in my past, I was intimately knowledge about Tarot cards and regularly read cards for myself or for others. The art of the cards, regardless of deck theme, is rich with symbology that can trigger thoughts in your mind. Taking traditional meanings of the cards and applying them to an RPG, both at a narrative level and as a resolution mechanic really resonated with me.
I need to research the use of Tarot cards in my gaming, if for nothing else than for story prompts or inspiration. So many beautiful decks out there and if like me, you’re considering using a Tarot deck, consider the following.
- Find an art style that speaks to you
- Find a deck in your price range
- Learn what the suits and symbology means
I found one book over at Amazon, Tarot for Writers, that might be of interest to others. I think my friend Andrea recommended this or a similar book to me in the past.
Now, where did I pack away my Tarot decks? The hunt is on!