Monday, May 27, 2013

Some Thoughts about Alignment

I was talking with +Adam Muszkiewicz and the rest of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad crew the other night, and talk drifted to the notion of alignment. We were trying to figure out, using DCC's Turn Unholy rules, whether or not a particular creature could be sent packing by one of our clerics. As it turned out, it could, but the roll was not successful. So, of course they just killed it the old-fashioned way.

Here's the thing: I've never really liked alignment. It's stupid. (Oh, look, now I'm reduced to calling it names like an 8 year old. What does that say about my alignment?) Here's why. We human beings have certain things about ourselves that we like to think of as permanent, intrinsic, and essential elements of our being. One just is a kind person. He just is a fucking bastard. Those things that one does are the things that one is. But that ain't really how it works.

We are what we are... for now. We have elements of personality that are relatively enduring, certainly, but those things don't much matter until they come into relationship with other things that exist in the world, independently of ourselves. So, one's "kindness" isn't something that one is. It's something that becomes consequential because of one's affiliation and interaction with someone else. One is kind to children and animals, for example, but a complete shit to... creatures that are not animals and children. He is a complete bastard, because he loves money more than he loves you.

So, Item the First: Alignment is a process and involves interactions with other people and things. It is about one's dispositions and motivations toward those people and things.

Also, when we speak of alignment (and this is explicit in the cleric and paladin classes), we're talking about culture. My culture. Your culture. That other guy's culture. I love my culture and wish to celebrate and preserve its awesomeness (lawful). I hate your culture and want to see it destroyed (chaotic). I'm not sure about that other guy's culture, but largely don't give a shit (neutral). Cultural belonging comes along with affiliations with other people, groups, and ideologies, taken as a package. It is filled with contradictions and nonsense, ludicrous ideologies asserted to be the bedrock of The Truth of Things.

Item the Second: Alignment is about affiliations with natural groups and ad hoc collections of people, artifacts, ideologies and other various manifestations of Culture.

Very importantly, culture has a past, a present, and pretensions toward a future. Consider that word, "pretensions." Something is poised, waiting, ready to tend toward some particular outcome. Alignment is about pretensions, expressed and/or internalized, that become the stuff of one's motivations. Motivations about the world and the people therein. Motivations concerning groups and people near and distant in geography and time. Motivations concerning one's place in the world, and whether or not that place is desirable and if it might be changed by some agent or agency. For example, if I am oppressed in some way, I am on some level cognizant of that whether as a well-measured and expressible manifesto or as a less expressible sense of well-being or outrage. It's a measure of one's desire to navigate the world, to act in ways that make sense to us and bring us closer to what we seek, for our own purposes.

Item the Third: Alignment is about one's motivations and how they are manifested toward particular ends, over some period of time.

Given that the motivations I reference above may result in words, deeds, or some other happenings in the world, they have the potential to have effects on oneself and on the world itself. Also, the expressions of our motivations tend to put us into relationships with various others in our worlds. What we do will come back to haunt us, for good or for ill or simply by chance. Others will do the same. The result of our actions is culture, as I've said, but it's also a very, very chaotic system, and natually productive of change and transformation. The world doesn't sit still, because we won't let it do so. We're constantly mucking about with it, and with each other, our actions causing waves or ripples or sinking without trace.

Item the Fourth: Alignment is changeable and is affected by things outside of oneself over one's life, to a greater or lesser extent. Much of this is outside of one's direct control.

Finally, alignment means that we are making moral judgments about the world. That thing is good, and that one bad. This makes my happy, and that makes me sad. Because we are positing a set of relationships between ourselves, each other, and the things (philosopical and material) that exist the world, we impose a moral framwork on those people, things, and happenings (and/or our beliefs about them). We work toward particular ends, sometimes with or against others. But we do so in a way that pursues whatever we consider to just, right, correct, or otherwise in sync with our particular outlook and idiom. We seek to express that outlook/idiom upon the world around us in ways that are thought to "improve" it.

Item the Fifth: Alignment concerns the righteous use of power.

Now, I guess it remains to figure out a way to express this as a mechanic. I'm not certain that needs to happen, however. Again, I will, as that's how I'm aligned, put this into the frame of narrative. This is the story of a particular character and his or her relationship to all of that stuff I just said. So, I'll drag one of my favorite theorists into this: Kenneth Burke, and American scholar of language and power. He developed something called the Pentad to unpack various linguistic expressions of what he called "motivations." His project filled several books, and has been subtle and or vague and/or contradictory in its genius to be more philosophy of approach than actual core, mechanical description of how language or psychology work. In the end, I'm not even sure if Burke "finished" that work. Nonetheless, it's useful here.

Burke's Pentad

Act: What happened.
Scene: The situation
Agent: Who did it.
Agency: How it was done.
Purpose: Why it was done.

Burke called this system, "dramatism," and for him it was an attempt to create connection between what was in the mind and how that was expressed in the world. It was his attempt to see how, in some sense, people turn their lives into stories and make sense of the world in the ways that language allows (i.e., by expressing a narrative of some kind with actors, scenes, agents, agencies, and purposes), in ways that are centered on the things that we care about (good or bad): The Neverending Story of the Eternal I.

A teacher of mine, Michael Calvin McGee, once told me that Burke's dramatism, indeed his whole approach to language, was his attempt to reconcile the works of Marx (political economy) and Freud (subjectivity), an intriguing notion and a daunting task. In any case, he did his best to think about how we are consciously/unconsciously motivated to do and express things in the world, and how we do so and think about doing so in ways prefigured by how we use language. Our use of language provides a more or less narrative structure to our understanding of lives and life-worlds.

Witness, for example, tabloid magazines or reality television. They take everyday activities and subject them to scrutiny, unpacking and examining the acts, circumstances, people, means, and purposes of everything from celebrity actors to child-prodigies of incredible redneckery to trophy wife/hosebeasts. Notice, however, these sorts of media not only "document the atrocities," if you will, but also frame them in ways that provoke us to adopt an attitude toward them. Honey Boo-Boo (I want to punch myself in the face for having typed that) is a child-prodigy of incredible redneckery. This is a facsimile of a  person who exists in the world in particular ways. These ways may be similar or dissimilar to my own (Reveal: Not very similar). They may or may not provoke a reaction from me (Vague disgust and desire to become a Canadian citizen instead of living in Georgia). In any case, the depiction of this child (and it's a carefully edited and selective depiction of this child and her particular milieu), provokes a reaction in a lot of people. It may be disgust and anger, or maybe it's a sense of identification with the kid and her family. More importantly, it tells a story. That story provides a moral lesson, the current version of the medieval morality play, forcing each of use to pick a position, even if that position is "I don't give a shit. This stuff is stupid" (an expression of neutral alignment).

Also, it's important to notice how each one of us makes sense of his/her actions and their effects on the world. For example, many people tend to react to everything in the world as if it was specifically targeted at the person in question. That guy cut ME off in traffic! What a dick! Or, maybe we wonder why the weather would ruin OUR plans. Shit doesn't just happen. It happens to me. To make me happy or cause me grief. To afflict my enemies and aid my friends (or vice versa). It's about me, me, me, me, ME!

But how else is a person to view the world. We're all trapped in this awkward meatsacks, separated from each other, longing for connection, and we can only achieve such connection through the intercession of messy, imprecise, and inherently dangerous means of symbolic communication. So we simplify. We cut corners. We narrate order to the world, holding back the uncertainty with hardened ideology and pithy catchphrases, with fashion choices and iconic jargon, with friends and traditions, with all of those things that symbolize US and not THEM.

So, yeah, I think alignment is a bit more complicated than what we usually do with it. I don't have a hard and fast way to put your PCs in their boxes. I don't want one. I'd rather just keep a list. Start with a few things on that list that describe the character and his/her motivations, affiliations and enmities, and so forth. Then let the story make those more or less consequential as they come into play, or get pursued in some way. Keep track of that stuff. It will tell you how your character is aligned.

Oh, and about "alignment language"... *sigh* This makes very clear what I mean when I separate ontological "alignment" from narrative "alignment." Oh, I speak Chaotic Evil. What the fuck is that? Every person of a particular alignment just speaks this language because... what? That doesn't work. I have language because of culture, and subculture affects its particularity of application. For serious, an example: I don't speak with my droogies because of what I am, in terms of alignment. I govreet with these chellovecks because of the particular instance of nadsat culture we are part of. We like to crast pretty polly and engage in a bit of ultraviolence. Cross me, and the red, red kroovy will flow. There's your alignment language. Notice, though, that it's not about belong to an alignment group, but about aligning oneself with a set of particular others, with people, cultural trends, etc. That's what dynamic alignment is.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Make it Brudl

So, during the last session, we had a character death. Klaus the Thief was a promising lad. Klaus was devoured by a giant frog-thing. Sort of like this:

But instead of a mouse, the beast ate our Klaus.

Very sad, but it spurred some conversation. It was the first actual character death we'd had in the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign. Yes, certainly we'd had deaths, but those were 0-level guys. They're supposed to die in job lots. That's what they do, mostly.

But leveled characters hadn't really had any hint of mortality. Except for Vane, of course. He's died like fifty times at this point, but he always manages to keep living. It's his special magic. And, as if to underline that point, Vane Barbute leveled after last session, becoming the first of our guys to reach 3rd level. Congratulations, Vane, now it falls to me to ensure that you have more things in your life that can actually kill you. I'm sure the other guys will understand.

+Wayne Snyder captured what's been wrong with this campaign very succinctly when he said that he expect the campaign to be more... brutal:

Like cartoon violence, but with more blood and guts.

Wayne is absolutely correct. I'm a GM, not a cruise director. My job is to kill you bastards, not to have "fun" or give you room to "express yourselves" or whatever other sparkly bullshit might substitute for the brutality you deserve. So, starting today, my pretties, it's time for a New Way. A brutal way. Dare I say, a brudl way (because proper spelling is for pussies).

Here's what you can expect.

If I throw ponies at you, then the damned ponies are going to be carnivorous, lethal, and filled with murderous intent.

If it's kittens, then they will hug your faces with their wee claws and cutely impregnate you with a litter of Killer Kittens which will then claw their ways out of your stinking, filthy carcasses.


Every rainbow will be a Death Ray.
And it will come from a fucking panda!

Every innocent child may look like this on the outside:

But you will soon realize their true natures.

You will have no safe havens. No places of rest. No joy that doesn't hold a hidden danger. No happiness that isn't on the jagged edge of madness and mayhem.

Because this the FUCKING METAL GODS OF UR-HADAD. It ain't Dragonlance! (not even dirtbag Dragonlance, though that was a really brilliant idea, +Jack Shear )  So none of this shit:

Unicorns? Also carnivorous!

And a whole lot more of this shit:

Sybian the Sexbot has a brutal past, you know.

Because this is Ur-Hadad, and even the butterflies (excuse me... BLOODERFLIES!) are totally fucking metal:

Thank you, and have a very metal day.

All the urchins want to kill you, Vane.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Daughter's First RPG Book

So, my kid cleaned up at her end of year academic awards ceremony. She totally rocked it. As a reward for her hard work, I decided to buy her a copy of the RPG book of her choice. She's only 11 years old, so I figured I'd offer up OSRIC, Swords and Wizardry (Complete or Core Rules), Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperboria, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition.

Yes, that last option is my little joke for you, +James Raggi. And to be truthful, I'm not one of those people who would freak out if my kid was interested in that fine product (which already is in my possession).

We looked at all of them and she decided she wanted the Swords and Wizardry rules. Since this is her first book, I figured the S&W Core Rules were probably the best option.

So, here you go. Lucy's first RPG book:

What? I can't hear you over this excellent retro cover.

Kudos, kiddo! I'm very proud of you and hope you will be as successful an RPG geek as your dear old dad.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Flexible Classes, Part 1: Unpacking Character Classes for DCC--Warrior and Wizard

In two earlier posts, here and here, I proposed an alternate method for conceiving character classes. The system I had in mind while doing this was Dungeon Crawl Classics, but I think this might be applicable to just about any system, fantasy-based or not.

To review briefly my points from those earlier posts: 
  • You really only need two character classes: Fighter and Magic User.
  • Additions to those characters could get you to the other classes simply by bolting on other capabilities.
  • Those capabilities could be sorted into three axes: The Power Axis, the Skill Axis, and the Divinity Axis. These axes are bounded sets with terminal endpoints, and signify where the character gets damage-dealing powers, advanced skills, and connection to the Unseen World of gods, spirits, and so forth.

 So, when we examine the classes in DCC, we should be able (if I am correct) to figure out how to translate that system into these axes. Let's first take the two "basic" classes I suggest are fundamental: The Warrior and the Wizard. We'll examine their powers, their skills, and ability to connect with the Unseen Powers.

The Warrior in DCC isn't particularly versatile, but packs a lot of great stuff into his or her relatively narrow area of expertise. Let's lay it out for easy viewing:

·         d12 for Hit Die—Warriors can take a lot of damage.
·         Attacks: Melee attacks only.
·         Attack Modifier: The Deed Die—The Warrior's deed die adds to the attack and damage rolls, and can be used to invoke an attack with a special effect. The Deed Die increases by one per level, up to d10. After that it gains +1 per level. Warriors do not add their experience level to their attacks, but may add either Strength or Agility modifier to their attacks (melee or missile).
·         Unique Ability: Mighty Deed of Arms—This special attack is invoked with a roll of "3" or better on the Deed Die.
·         Critical Hits: Higher Critical Table & Enhanced Threat Range—The Warrior's critical tables go from III to V and the die rolled on those tables starts at d12 and goes to 2d20; The threat range starts at 19-20, increases at 5th level to 18-20, and plateaus at 17-20 when he or she reaches 9th level).
·         Initiative Bonus: Warrior adds level to initiative rolls
·         Luck bonus: Lucky weapon—The Warrior gets to pick a "lucky weapon" to which to apply his or her Luck attribute modifier. This modifier will not change thereafter, and goes both ways (positive and negative). Nice if you have the Luck for it, but not really that great an ability.
·         Action Dice—Warriors only get to make additional melee attacks using their Action Dice. They get an extra attack with a d14 at 5th level which rises to d20 by 7th level, and add another d14 attack at 10th level.
·         Saving Throws: Fortitude increases the most quickly and Will the least quickly. Average increase is about +0.5per level of experience, and top out with a +6, +4, and +3 among the save categories. Warriors are Physically Tough, Dexterous, and Mentally Tough, in that order.
·         Skills—The Warrior gains no bonuses to common adventuring skills.

Now let's consider the Wizard in very much the same way:

·         d4 for Hit Die—Wizards are very, very squishy.
·         Attacks: Spell casting or melee attacks. Spell Casting: The Wizard can cast a limited number of spells dependent on his/her level, modified by the Intelligence modifier. He or she can learn more spells with additional experience levels. Spells also can go very, very wrong, and are unpredictable in their outcomes. A bad die roll can easily take out the spell caster and other party members. The Mercurial Magic table can also cause particular spells to swing in a positive or negative direction. However, when things go right, the Wizard could be a one-person army, unleashing arcane powers of staggering potential to harm or protect (sometimes at the same time).
·         Attack Modifier—Wizards can add their Caster Level and Intelligence Modifier to spell checks. They get a somewhat limited modifier of +1 to melee attacks at 2nd level, which increases very slowly and tops at +4 at 10th level.
·         Defense—Wizards' spell casting abilities are impeded by heavier armors.
·         Unique Ability—Spell Burn: Wizards can tap into their Strength, Agility, and Stamina attributes to add the "burned" ability score to spell checks. These have a refresh rate of 1 point of Attribute score per day passed.
·         Unique Ability—Supernatural Patrons: Wizards can bond with and call upon demons and other powerful entities to enhance their abilities, to protect themselves and allies, etc. Like spell casting, this ability can have potentially negative results.
·         Unique Ability—Familiar: A Wizard can have a familiar and gain powers from it. However, damage to the familiar damages the Wizard.
·         Luck bonus: Wizards apply Luck modifier to rolls for magical corruption and mercurial magic.
·         Action Dice: Wizards can use first action for either spell or melee rolls, but subsequent action rolls may only be for spell casting. The action dice are exactly the same as the Warrior.
·         Saving Throws: Will saves increase the most quickly and Fortitude the least quickly. Average increase is about +0.5per level of experience, and top out (as the Warrior does) with a +6, +4, and +3 among the save categories. Wizards are Mentally Tough, Dexterous, and Physically Tough, in that order.
·         Skills—The Wizard gains no bonuses to common adventuring skills.


So, what have we learned about these classes, and how do they apply to my proposed triaxial system? I'll do my best to fit what I've learned into the axes. The results should be considered preliminary and incomplete.

Power Axis

When it comes to the ability to do melee damage, the Warrior is supreme. However, the Warrior's attacks are solid but mundane. However, when you add the enhanced critical hit tables to the equation, the Warrior is a monster—on Crit Table V, the d12 is the common bonus die for damage, and that table often adds multiple d12. They are predictable and powerful.

In contrast, at the highest rolls the Wizard's 4th level spell, Control Fire, can create magical fires doing 10d10 damage (or more). At the very highest level of that spell, the range could be 1,000 cubic yards and result in save versus death for any creature caught up in it. That's absolutely devastating.

In comparison, the Warrior's Power tends to be much less chaotic in its outcomes, as well. That might be an "effect" to consider, later.

Also, Warriors tend to wear heavy armor while Wizards wear little or none, making it likelier that a Warrior's fumble will prove disastrous in melee combat. The Wizard's fumble, on the other hand, is usually most disastrous in spell casting, and the results can be profoundly terrible.

Skill Axis

Warriors and Wizards get no bonuses on the Skill axis. While all character classes can attempt to, for example, find traps, only Thieves are granted significant, non-attribute-based bonuses to do so. This is somewhat troubling for my three axes, as the Skill axis may be less useful than I thought it would be, originally. However, if we look at the Unique Skills listed above as "skills," then maybe they should be included here. So what do they have.

Warrior gets the Deed Die. It's a very powerful thing, the Deed Die, and can result in bonuses to attack and damage, and can be used to produce unique, in-game effects. Some of those effects can produce significant advantages in combat.

Wizards get familiars. Familiars are potentially powerful creatures and can provide a variety of in-game bonuses, including hit point bonuses. However, a dead familiar can literally kill a Wizard, who must take double the hit points of his or her familiar in damage if it dies, up to 12 hp total. On analysis, familiars are worth the risk, just barely.

Divinity Axis

The Warrior doesn't have anything on this axis.

Wizards get supernatural patrons. This can produce an enhanced effect like a Deed Die, but (unlike the Deed Die) it cannot be relied upon to function in every case. A missed Deed Die doesn't really have a negative effect, per se. A failed attempt at Invoke Patron, on the other hand, can result in magical corruption and patron "taint." The patron also provides the ability to learn unique and potentially powerful spells.


I don't have enough data at this point to figure out if my triaxial system is useful. I will need to look at the other DCC character classes to be sure. Probably, I'll find that this system will need significant tweaks. More on this later.

I also am starting to realize (actually confirming) that the DCC system is very, very chaotic. The ways dice work, especially with the Wizard class, are, frankly, dangerous. I think this does a great job of modeling their conception of magic, but it makes it harder for me to use the three axes without somehow including "Chaos" and "Predictability" as elements of the proposed system. That needs some thought.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Revised Faction Play System for DCC

Okay, here it is, as promised, the new, improved faction play system for DCC. It's still a little primitive, especially the Dice Game, but I think it's usable. If you use it, I'd been interested in hearing your thoughts, and any suggestions you might have.

Faction Play System for DCC

This rule set governs the development of a stable of "garrisoned" PCs as a faction within the game world. These rules suggest using a combination of player characteristics, dice, and playing cards. The result will include strategic, tactical, and random effects on the faction's in-game story. To be clear, this game is used as a way to drive a background narrative to enhance the game's adventuring core. It might also create opportunities write game session/setting material as elements of faction play unfold in the minigame, creating dramatic tensions between players and setting (including other factions, resources, locales, and so forth).
This sort of faction play should be a feature of DCC from the point where a funnel character levels the very first time. It should be on players' minds for their PCs. It should help to drive the story of the campaign, but from the perspective of the guys who got left behind in garrison. This means it also gives you an excuse to have a “stable” of PCs at various levels, to continue running zero level funnels, and more or less to keep your pipeline of new and developing PCs flowing. Most importantly, it should be fun.
It also requires some outlay on the part of the players on behalf of their respective PCs. Being in a faction requires some payment of dues. Each PC put into garrison will pay 10% of his/her monetary treasure into the Faction Coffers. This money is not the same as money they might spend on establishing a residence or stronghold as part of domain play. It is, however, representative of the money it takes to make things happen in the game world, once one has a place in it. The players should keep track of how much is there. It is spent in the Card Game. Each play in the Card Game requires 10% ante.
The highlights of the system include the following:
1.     Use of the Garrisoned PCs' Dominant Alignment to Determine Which Dice Are Used: Lawful garrisons get 3d4, which provide a very strong central tendency to reflect their conservative nature; Neutral garrisons get 2d6, which is the baseline; and Chaotic garrisons use 1d6 + 1d6! (exploding d6), to represent dynamic change. Idea for Further Development: Set up a way to use character attributes and/or expertise of PC "leaders" and experts/resource personnel.
2.     The Dice Game: Roll the dice that reflect the dominant alignment of the garrisoned PCs. The outcome determines how many cards will be available to the faction in the Card Game.
3.     The Card Game: Would you like to play a game? The GM and a player who represents the faction play a hand of cards. The outcome of the game tells a story about what happened to the Player Faction. It provides options through which they can influence the background narrative.

Factions for DCC

A player faction consists of all garrisoned PCs in a given campaign. Even if a player leaves the campaign for a while, his or her characters could contribute to the faction goals. These characters are considered garrisoned, and thus are "on the shelf" until such time as that player uses them again.
An NPC Faction is used in ways that are mechanically identical to a player faction, but is controlled by the GM in the Faction Game. The Card Game is where that interaction will play out.
All factions start off weak, but (if they persist) grow in power. They add membership. Their ranks swell with veterans and leaders. They add resources and assets. They become both more competent and more visible. This means that they can attract the attention of other factions, for good or for ill. The factions themselves are simply elements in a larger storyline in which the PCs are involved. The GM and players both should develop NPCs, factions, locales or interests as they develop that storyline.
What happens in the Card Game will tell as story about the player faction, and it is up to the GM to scale such outcomes to the faction in question. For example, a group of low-level PCs will be dealing with people who take them seriously, but are not overawed or cowed by them. That means the faction game will concern things that would conceivably affect a group of low-level adventurers—e.g., things happening in their neighborhood, rival factions of roughly similar power, NPCs who conceivably would do business with them as equals, etc. In contrast, a higher level group's faction play would likely deal with matters of consequence—e.g., regional and global politics, nations and groups with which the First City interacts, and NPCs who are very powerful and influential, princes, prominent religious leaders, and mighty wizards. However, that is not to say that very powerful people don't occasionally take notice of low-level types, just that it happens rarely, and the effects of that notice usually play out through intermediaries and catspaws.
The faction game begins with its first subsystem: The Dice Game.

The Dice Game

This short dice game determines how many options the player faction will have in the card game by adding/subtracting a number of cards the base number of 7 cards. The player faction will play with between 5 and 10 cards. The GM always plays with 7.
Alignment Determines Which Dice are Used
The first thing you have to worry about it the dominant alignment of your group. For each character in garrison assign a value based on alignment: Chaos (-1), Neutral, (0), or Law (+1), and add the total. If the total is:
Net Positive (+2 or higher) = Lawful (3d4)
Net Neutral (-1 to +1) = Neutral (2d6)
Net Negative (-2 or lower) = Chaotic (d6+d6!)

The rolls determine whether any additional cards are dealt to (or taken away from) the player faction during the Card Game.

Table 1: Number of Cards Used in Card Game

Again, this is a very simple mechanic, and only based on one attribute of the PCs in garrison. It could certainly be expanded at some point to model other factors, based on class and attributes and so forth. However, there are other options to make things interesting (see below, "Player Character Gifts and Flaws").
Option: Both PCs and GM roll. GM should roll a d3 to determine Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic dice, and then roll on Table 1.
So, now that we know how many cards the PCs will get, we can get straight to the Card Game.

The Card Game


The purpose of this subsystem is to use the information and outcomes generated in the first two subsystems to play out the Faction's "moves" for that turn and, by doing so, to determine "what happened" in a narrative sense during the Faction Turn.
The Card Game simulates the player faction's attempt to use its resources to affect its immediate concerns. Those concerns may be about particular factions and interactions with them, or they may relate to things that are happening in the world that could affect the player faction. It also allows the GM, as needed, to play against the players, assuming the role of various factions and their subtle interactions with the PCs. This interaction is necessarily abstract. If the players want to attack a particular person in a faction that is a part of the role playing experience in the regular DCC adventuring experience, then they have to do it in that game, not this one. The outcomes of the Card Game are used to create the narrative surrounding the faction.
In any given hand of the Card Game, you may play as many cards as the GM has available. However, each time you attempt to take a trick, you must expend 10% of the treasure in the Faction Coffers.

Suits and What They Mean

·         Hearts: The suit represents the clergy and religious factions. It may also signify relationships, emotions, and diplomatic influence. This may take the form of making friends, soothing enmity, advancing one's own political position or undermining that of an enemy faction. It is the exercise of power through personal charisma and established relationships.
·         Spades: The suit represents warriors wisdom and the ability to overcome obstacles. It may signify strength, power and authority, but also responsibility, violence and suffering. These may take the form of your faction's abilities in the art of conflict and its resolution, and their skill at using it in ways that can intimidate or dominate foes. It is the exercise of power through authority and ability to overcome obstacles.
·         Diamonds: The suit represents the bourgeoise (the merchants, artisans, and guildsmen), and worldly matters in general. It may signify material resources, practical matters or obligations. This represents the ability to do a variety of things including monetary investments, ability to engage in mercantilism or trade, ability to secure specific material goods and ensure their quality. It is the exercise of power through playing by the rules as-written.
·         Clubs: The suit represents the common people (laborers, peasants, slaves, and urchins). It may also signify creativity or action, subterfuge, trickery, and the like: The resources of the oppressed. It is the exercise of power by cheating.
·         Jokers: These are wild cards, and when they are drawn they result in a die roll (d22). That roll tells you which trump card comes up.

Card Faces and What They Mean

First, to be very clear about this, the face of a card represents its value, and has an effect in playing the Card Game. The highest card wins any trick.
·         Numbered Cards (2-10): are worth what they say they're worth.
·         Face Cards (Jack, Queen, King): these cards represent the values 11, 12, and 13, respectively, and are all higher than the number cards in value. They also represent specific NPCs, and the ability to establish or call on the favor of some person or group. Once Assumed by a faction, these are called "Assets" (see below, "The Assumption Game"). Face cards are ranked by social class as well as by the suit of the card. The Jack of Clubs could be, for example, a lower-level thug, fence, dealer, pimp, etc. The King of Diamonds could be the richest slaver in Ur-Hadad, and the King of Hearts may be a prominent religious figure. In any case, these are NPCs and playing that card means that you are establishing some sort of relationship or playing one out, if already established. The "classes" represented by the cards are relative to the PCs. 1st Level guys are not going to control Kings. Use this element of the game to tell a story about who those NPCs are and what they do.
·         Aces: Ace beats any other card, and may be played out of suit to beat any other card. This is a defensive maneuver. It stops completely the other faction's move. The Ace valued at 14.

While the cards have mechanical values, they also represent things like character archetypes and narrative tropes. They "tell the fortune" of the faction in ways that enable incorporation of new narrative elements and development of existing storylines. These are explained below ("Outcomes of the Faction Turn").

How to Play the Card Game

The players Ante 10% of the treasure in the Faction Coffers, plus 10% per extra card won in the Dice Game. [Note: The players must contribute 10% of each PC’s monetary treasure each time he or she is put into garrison status. This total is added to the Faction Coffers.
Option: The Ante is doubled and returned if the player faction wins a trick in the suit of Diamonds while playing the Card Game..
Deal a hand of seven cards each to GM and Faction. Based on the outcome of the Dice Game, the players may have more or fewer than seven cards. The other players work together to determine what cards are played and when.
Each side can choose, in addition, to hold and/or play an Asset (i.e., an Assumed NPC) in its hand. These Assets are virtual, in the sense that they exist in the hand, but do not preclude the same card being drawn from the deck. It may be a Queen of Hearts, there's still a Queen of Hearts in play.
Cards must be played in suit, when possible, with the exception of Aces and Jokers, and any card representing an Asset. If it is not possible to play in suit, any card except an Ace or Joker may be played. This card is lost, and cannot win the trick.
All winning cards in a trick should be recorded, and are considered "Active" in the final phase of the Faction Game, when the cards are read.
Normal and Reversed Cards
If the players win a trick, then the card with which they won is Active and should be considered "Normal." If the GM won the trick the GM's card is Active and should be considered "Reversed." Keep track of which card won any trick and make note of whether the result is Normal or Reversed.
Ending the Card Game
Play continues until either the player faction or GM is out of cards.
Some Strategies to Think About
Higher May Not Be Better
While it may seem like "higher is better" in terms of winning the Card Game, it's important to remember that the cards will be given meaning later, after the hand plays out. Lower cards can introduce interesting plot lines and ideas. It may well be that good strategy in the Faction Game means trying to activate a lower face value card. This can be accomplished by using an Asset.
Using Assets
"Assets" are cards "won" in prior Faction Game rounds, and take the form of "court cards" (e.g., Jack, Queen, King) that represent NPCs or other resources. Assets can substitute their own value in favor of another card played, and can be played out of suit. That is, a faction could play a 2 of Clubs (a relatively weak card signifying planning and preparation) and also play the Queen of Hearts (value of 12) which would represent a relatively powerful member of the clergy. This may be an NPC cleric known to the faction. For the endgame, both cards are considered Active, and they are linked to each other (e.g., Maybe the storyline is about how a priestess at the Metal Gods' temple helped in planning something at which the player faction was victorious). Both cards are played at the same time, and treated as one card. The Asset card is "virtual" in the sense that it is imaginary. The same card still exists in the deck and can be drawn normally, and does not necessarily represent that particular Asset.
The GM and Players play their hands against each other, starting with the player faction. After that, the person who won the last hand goes first.
The ace is the most powerful card. It can be used to do the following:
·         To beat any card played. It can be played out of suit to do so.
·         To Assume a court card (e.g., Jack, Queen) in any suit, and a King in its own suit.
·         To cancel another ace. The last ace played counts, and cancels any previous ace.
·         To Reverse a Trump's meaning.
·         In the "reading" phase it represents the ability to introduce a new storyline and/or faction.
The players and GM must play any Jokers held at the start of the first turn.
·         Playing a Joker means that a Trump card will be put in play. Any Trump played is considered Active, just like the winning card in a trick, and will affect the final outcome of the Faction Game.
·         If both players and GM have Jokers, one Trump is played, but the result is considered Reversed in meaning.
·         If the players hold both Jokers, then roll twice for Trumps, as outlined below. One of those Trumps is Normal and one is Reversed. Players choose which is which.
·         A Trump cannot be affected by any other cards. Once it is determined whether the is reversed or not, roll d22 to find out which Trump card has been revealed (see table). An Ace can be sacrificed to Reverse, as well. Any double Reversal reverts to Normal.

The Assumption Game
Whenever a court card is played, it is possible that the card will be Assumed by the player faction or the GM, and become an Asset. By playing an Ace on a face card the players "Assume" the face card played by the GM (or the GM Assumes the card played by the players). However, a King can only be assumed by an Ace in its own suit. So, an Ace of Clubs cannot Assume a King of Diamonds, only an Ace of Diamonds can.
Any NPC gained by Assumption becomes an Asset for the faction that won it.The winner takes that card to name an NPC appropriate to the suit. If an Ace has been used to Assume the card, it becomes an Asset to an existing faction. Otherwise, the player faction or GM use that as an opportunity to create a new faction or NPC. This new figure or faction may be aligned against the players' faction, but may also be neutral toward them (but is nonetheless a new power in their domain).
Determining the Outcomes of Faction Play
After the GM lays down his or her last card, the Card Game is over. At the end of play, all Active cards will be "read" to determine the fortunes of the Faction. Essentially what we're doing here is a stripped down tarot reading. I've included several tables to help you figure out how to read the cards, but there are lots of resources online if you need more.
Reading the Cards
The use of the tarot form for this reading results in a "fortune" of sorts. It is up to the players and GM to make sense of it out of the framework provided by the Active cards. For each of the cards activated by the player faction, the players get to control that storyline. For the cards activated by the GM, he or she gets to develop the storyline. We can assume that, in many cases, the interests of players and GM are opposed, and that the GM uses control of story lines to set up obstacles and threats, or thwart plans, or otherwise to raise the level of dramatic tension. The players, on the other hand, use the story to resolve or modify existing obstacles and threats, to hatch new schemes, to establish new resources or relationships, and otherwise to enhance their power and influence.
However, the story need not be only about the opposition between GM and player. It can also present opportunities for adding things to the game world that are useful, fun, dangerous, weird, or otherwise interesting to players and GM. Don't make it about head to head competition if you don't want to. Cooperate in all cases to establish a story that is fun for the group and helps players to get a better sense of their characters and the campaign world.
The elements of the cards you need to pay attention to are the Suits and the Faces, each of which helps to establish the meaning of the card. The Suits are about the card's domain of power or action (see Table 2).

Table 2: General Meanings of Card Suits
General Meanings
Emotions, feelings, relationships, diplomacy
Thinking, communication, canniness, power
Practicalities, material world, sensibility
Creativity, action, deviousness, cunning

The cards' faces tell you the specific function of the card within each Suit's domain (see Table 3).

Table 3: Values and General Meanings of Card Faces
General Meanings
Ace (14)
Balance/State of Becoming
Jack (11)
Minor NPC (underclasses)
Queen (12)
NPC (working classes)
King (13)
NPC (ruling classes)

These are very general themes that tell us something about what the Suits and Faces of the cards mean, but are very general. Below, there is a more comprehensive (but still simplified) table that combines Suits/Faces (Table 4) At the back of this document, you will find a longer table with all cards (including the Trumps), with both Normal and Reversed meanings of the cards (Table 5). Use these as you please. Sometimes the meanings attached to a card in the different tables are not exactly the same, but that's because of differences in the source material (i.e., whatever I found in a Google search). However, I also discovered that, in many cases, even people who know a lot about the theory of divination still don't agree on exactly what the cards mean. Don't worry. Just pick what makes the most sense and run with it.
Player Character Gifts and Flaws
The storyline development step of the faction game also can be used to create specific ties between the PCs in the player faction and develop their specific connections to the game world. This is a fairly simple matter, and is similar to the Aspects mechanic of the FATE system from Evil Hat Games, and other systems like SFX! (from Joshua Macy) that use story-telling or cinematic "scenes," constructing them from archetypes, tropes, "shticks," or other cinematic/narrative cues for particular varieties of people and the things they do, common situations and topics, etc. By using these the faction game is a tool for developing the meta story of whatever else happens when the PCs are off adventuring, but doesn't have the same kinds of goals or consequences (e.g., killing monsters, getting loot, getting wounded or killed) as the game mechanics used while adventuring. However, the faction game serves to provide players and GM with a sense of the PCs' connection to the game world and the things and people in it, so it's important to develop specific points where those connections can be made. How does that work?
At the very beginning of the faction game (at 1st level, in most cases), each player needs to figure out some character background for each of his or her PCs. Ideally, it will be something that has already occurred in gameplay, but that's not necessary. For each level of the character, he or she will select one Gift and one Flaw. These are narrative elements that add flavor to that PC's story or personality. A gift might be additional background or it might be some unique trait, and could be anything from "He's the eighth son of a minor noble," to "She's good with knives," to "She was a cook in the Grand Vizier's palace before she took up adventuring." It literally could be anything that reflects a potential resource or obstacle. And, at each new level, a PC should choose an additional Gift and Flaw. When the players and GM read the player faction's "fortune" they may attempt, as much as seems reasonable, to make connections between the emerging story line and the PCs' Gifts/Flaws.
Example Gifts/Flaws
Vane Barbute (2nd Level Warrior), one of the characters in the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign, might select, "Never says no to a good time" and "Has a soft spot for street kids," for his flaws. For his gifts, he might have "Balls of Steel" (because he is fearless… and because he cuts off enemies' balls and keeps them as trophies), and "In the thick of things" (because he literally charges into battle without hesitation or forethought).
Such Gifts and Flaws are something that the GM can use in the Card Game to connect the emerging story lines to one or more of the PCs. These emerging storylines are happening because of (not despite) the PCs' backstory. The Gifts/Flaws might also be used by the player faction to alter or subvert the GM's story line. Likewise, the GM also might use the PCs' Gifts/Flaws to create drama between a particular PC and some element of the storyline when he or she controls the narrative.
Example Use of Gifts/Flaws
Let's say that GM or players wish to use Vane Barbute's Gift, "Has a soft spot for street kids." This would make sense if one of the Active cards being read is the Jack of Clubs, which is an lower-class NPC. Perhaps this means that Vane has befriended the members of a local street gang. Now the player faction can draw upon the gang (or its leader) because Vane is in garrison. Option: The NPC could be attached to a particular character and only available when that character is in garrison. Alternately, the NPC becomes universally available to the player faction, regardless of which PCs are in garrison.
In any case, this faction play game is simply a tool. There is no "right" way to use the framework it provides. Compete, cooperate, do both, whatever. Just have fun doing it, and try not to be a dickhead.
Tables follow, below.

Table 4: Simplified Table of Cards and Their Meanings

New friendship, romance
New insights, realizations
New project, job, home, win
New idea, business, action
Deepening attraction
Failure to communicate
Juggling resources, waiting on results
Planning and preparation
Joy in company, friendship, celebration
Miscommunication, misunderstanding
Teamwork, improving skills
Leadership, exploration
Turning inwards, apathy
Recuperation, recovery, contemplation
Miserliness, possessiveness
A goal achieved, rest from action
Loss, despair
Discord, dishonor, hollow victory
Loss of possessions or job or money
Competition, disagreement, irritation
Childhood, nostalgia, good memories, an old friendship resumes
Moving on, travel, mentally getting to a better place
Giving or receiving money, a pay-rise, obtaining resources
Victory, achievement, passing exams
Daydreaming, wishful thinking, choices
Lying, deceitfulness, theft, irresponsibility
Reassessment, turning point, mild dissatisfaction
Defence, conviction, strong belief
Emotional detachment, leaving love behind, making a hard choice
Illusion of being trapped, powerlessness
Paying attention to detail, focus, practice
Organization, moving quickly, pregnancy
Satisfaction, sensual pleasure, spiritual growth
Nightmares, problems, worry, guilt
Independence, self-reliance, increasing wealth
Continuing a battle, endurance, physical strength
Contentment, fulfilment, joy, family
Giving up, victim, martyrdom
Great wealth, family property, inheritance
Carrying burdens, responsibility, debt
Falls in love easily, romantic, chatterbox
Rebel, fights for a cause, intellectual, political
Reliable, hard-working, quiet, hidden depths
Unreliable, hotheaded, risk taker, athletic
Emotional, dependent, empathic
Sharp, intelligent, ruthless, insightful, organized
Practical, warm, dependable, motherhood
Energetic, career-minded, untidy, disorganized
Wise, tolerant, diplomatic, feeling, patient
Introspective, ethical, communicator, stern
Self-made, business owner encouraging, enjoys the fruits of his labors, jolly
Creative, forceful, entrepreneurial charismatic, hot-tempered

Table 5: Extended Table of Cards and Their Meanings (Including Trumps)
Usually predict emotional connection, relationships, etc.

Reversed Meaning
The beginning of love, joy, beauty, or good health, a new relationship.
Hesitancy to accept the things that come from the heart, love under a selfish grasp, egotism
A new romance, a well balanced friendship is beginning, harmony, cooperation
A loss of balance in a relationship, a violent passion, love turning bad, a misunderstanding
A good fortune in love, a happy conclusion, unknown talents are discovered, a sensitive and sympathetic person, hospitality
Pain, gossip, unknown talents remain hidden, overindulgence
Reevaluation, a dissatisfaction with success, kindness may come from others
New relationships possible, new goals, new ambitions, action
Sorrow, loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, disillusionment, vain regret
Return of hope, new relationships are beginning, return of a loved one, courage is summoned from within
A gift from a childhood acquaintance, happiness and pleasure brought from the past, good memories, a new friendship, a gift from an admirer, new opportunities
Living in the past, outworn friendships, disappointment
A long-worked imagination, unable to choose one's direction in life, illusory success
A good use of determination, will-power, a definite path will be chosen
An abandonment of one's current path in life, disappointment in love, misery and repining without cause, desire to leave one's success for something higher
Search for pleasure, seeking joy or success, a new love interest
An assured future, physical well-being, a wish may come true
A lack in money, overindulgence, illness, a wish may not come true
A happy family life, true friendships, lasting happiness
A family quarrel, loss of a friendship, children may turn against their parents, waste
Intelligence, romantic dreamer, the coming or going of an emotional matter
Trickery, fraud, sensuality, idleness, an untruthful person
Imagination out-ways one's common sense, a good wife or loving mother, happiness, gentle, a good natured person
Trickery, fraud, sensuality, idleness, an untruthful person
Imagination out-ways one's common sense, a good wife or loving mother, happiness, gentle, a good natured person
An over-active imagination, perverse, pleasure and happiness may turn bitter

Usually predict aggression, force, ambition, courage, strife, misfortune

Reversed Meaning
Beginning of a victory, ability to love and hate with ardor, a valiant leader may be born
Caution when trying to use power to gain an ending, obstacles, tyranny
Well balanced emotions are needed, indecision, trouble ahead, in need of direction
Release, beware when dealing with the unscrupulous
Affections may experience "stormy weather", lovers separated, possible civil war
Disorder, confusion, loss, sorrow due to loss
Rest after strife, retreat, temporary exile, a change back to the "active life"
Renewed activity, social unrest, labor strikes
Failure, defeat, cowardliness, cruelty, an empty victory
A lesser chance of loss or defeat, an empty victory, unfairness in dealings
A journey, passage away from sorrow, harmony will prevail
Journey will be postponed, no way out of present obstacles or difficulties
An unwise attempt, unreliability, betrayal, insolence, spying, possible failure
Excessive help is given, good advice, counsel, stolen items are returned
Restricted action, indecision, censure, temporary illness, weakness, a prisoner
Relaxation, new beginnings possible, freedom
Suffering, doubt, desolation, illness, injury, death of a loved one, suspicion, cruelty, misery, loss, dishonesty, pitilessness, slander
Healing over time, unselfishness, patience, good news of a loved one
 Sudden misfortune, ruin of plans, defeat, failure, pain and tears
vil forces are overthrown, courage, some success, better health
A headlong rush into life, a strong man, bravery, a skillful and clever person, an unexpected coming or going of a matter
Tyranny, a troublemaker, a crafty and secretive person
A quick and confident decision, a widow, one who can bear their sorrow
Cruelty due to keen observations, a sly and deceitful person, narrowmindedness, a gossip
A judge, a powerful commander, a firm friendship holder but often overcautious, a wise counselor
Evil intentions, an obstinate person, decisions or judgments may seem unfair

Usually predict money, industry, and material gain

Reversed Meaning
A new business venture, the beginning of prosperity, beginning of happiness or pleasure
Possible greed or misery, money may not be everything
The ability to handle multiple situations, harmony is maintained during change, new projects may be difficult, expect a helpful message
Difficulty with handling problems, expect a discouraging message
Reward for skills or abilities, approval, success through effort
Quality in workmanship is neglected, good work is expended due to a preoccupation with money, common place ideals or ambitions
Love of power or money, a lack of give-and-take, miserly or ungenerous nature
Some earthly possessions may be lost, obstacles or delays in business affairs, a spendthrift
Loneliness, destitution, loss of possessions, poor health, despair due to spiritual impoverishment
New employment, revived courage, a new interest
Sharing of prosperity, one will soon receive what is rightfully theirs, charity, gifts, philanthropy, three-fold
Bribes, unfairness, prosperity is threatened, jealousy, miserliness
Effort and hard work will cause growth, a pause during development, reevaluations
Little progress, impatience, anxiety, investments may be unprofitable
Learning a trade or profession, employment is coming soon, skill, handiwork, small money gain
Skills are not being used properly, a dislike of hard work, ambition is void
Well-being, things in life are enjoyed alone, solitude, a green thumb
Loss is possible, danger from thieves, caution
Stable family, gain in wealth, property is acquired
Family misfortune, caution, mind is dull, slothfulness
Trustworthy, a heavy and dull outlook, patience, accepting of responsibilities, an animal lover, a nature lover, the coming/going of a matter
Irresponsible, impatience, timidness, carelessness, a standstill in affairs
Intelligence, thoughtfulness, a creative person, talents are used well, melancholy
Too much dependence, neglected duties, mistrust, suspicion, not a very creative person
A chief of industry or a banker, a reliable person, a married man, solid, steadiness
Materialistic, slow to anger, 'head is on the ground", bribes

Usually predict energy, growth, enterprise, animation, and glory.

Reversed Meaning
A creative beginning, a new business venture, a profitable journey, an inheritance, a new career, a birth in the family
Selfishness may spoil the venture, setbacks for a new enterprise, a journey may be put off, a lack of determination
A kind and generous person, an interest in science, patience, creative ability, courage, good things to come
Caution is advised against impatience, a possible domination by others
A cooperation in business affairs, trade and commerce, success brought by a good partnership, practical help may come from a successful person
A tendency to scatter energies, mistakes are made through carelessness, disappointment, caution against pride and arrogance
The beauty of the harvest home, perfected work, prosperity, peace, celebration after labor, end of romance in marriage, happy holidays to come
Learning to appreciate the little things in life, beauty of nature, peace, harmony
Competition, possibility of a lawsuit or quarrel, obstacles, courage
Harmony, new opportunities, generosity
Good news, victory, success after labor, helpful friends, leadership during journey
Rewards are delayed, postponed trip, bad news, an insolent winner, pride in riches/success
The ability to "hold one's own" against adversaries, stiff competition in business, a fight won, a fight one may have to face soon, victory, energy, courage
The threat will pass by, don't let others take advantage, caution against indecision, patience
A Goal is approaching, new ideas, a journey by air, love will find its mark, love of open air, gardens, meadows
Jealousy, violence, quarrels, domestic disputes, a force of courage or boldness is applied to suddenly
Preparedness, eventual victory, good health, strength in reserve, tendency to obstinacy
Unpreparedness, refusal to fight, weakness in character, ill health, bending over adversity
An oppressive load, pain, all plans or projects ruined, complete failure
Strength, energy, a desire to ruin the happiness of others, a clever person
An impetuous nature, generous friend, a lover, haste, a journey, the coming or going of a matter is of much concern
Discord, work interrupted, jealousy, narrow-mindedness, suspicion, the journey is delayed
A woman, fondness of nature or of the home, attraction, command, someone who is well liked or honorable
Strict, domineering, a jealous and revengeful nature, deceit, infidelity
A gentlemen, father, passionate, generous, noble, a good leader
Severe, unyielding, strict, intolerance, prejudice, quarrels

Roll d22 for Trump Card
Roll d22 for Trump Card, Reversed Meaning
1 (The Magician)
Originality, creativity, skill, will-power, self confidence, dexterity, sleight of hand
Weakness in will, insecurity, delay, no imagination
2 (The High Priestess)
Wisdom, knowledge, learning, intuition, purity, virtue, a lack of patience, a teacher
Ignorance, lack of understanding, selfishness, shallowness
3 (The Empress)
Action, development, accomplishment, mother/sister/wife, evolution
Vacillation, inaction, lack of concentration, indecision, anxiety, infidelity
4 (The Emperor)
Accomplishment, confidence, wealth, stability, leadership, father/brother/husband, achievement, a capable person
Immaturity, indecision, feebleness, petty emotions, lack of strength
5 (The Hierophant)
A need to conform, social approval, bonded to the conventions of society
Unconventionality, unorthodoxy, an inventor
6 (The Lovers)
Love, harmony, trust, honor, the beginning of a romance, optimism, a meaningful relationship/affair
Unreliability, separation, frustration in love, fickleness, untrustworthy
7 (The Chariot)
Perseverance, a journey, a rushed decision, adversity, turmoil, vengeance
Unsuccessful, defeat, failure, last minute loss, vanquishment
8 (Strength)
Strength, courage, conviction, energy, determination, action, heroism, virility
Weakness, pettiness, sickness, tyranny, lack of faith, abuse of power
9 (The Hermit)
Counsel, inner strength, prudence, caution, vigilance, patience, withdrawal, annulment, a loner
Imprudence, hastiness, rashness, foolish acts, immaturity
10 (The Wheel of Fortune)
Destiny, fortune, a special gain, an unusual loss, end of a problem, unexpected events, advancement, progress
Failure, bad luck, interruption, outside influences, bad fate, unexpected events
11 (Justice)
Harmony, balance, equality, righteousness, virtue, honor, advice, a considerate person
Bias, false accusations, intolerance, unfairness, abuse
12 (The Hanged Man)
Suspension, change, reversal, boredom, abandonment, sacrifice, readjustment, improvement, rebirth
Unwillingness to make an effort, false prophecy, useless sacrifice
13 (Death)
Transformation, making way for the new, unexpected change, loss, failure, illness or death, bad luck
Stagnation, immobility, slow changes, a narrow escape, cheating death
14 (Temperance)
Moderation, temperance, patience, harmony, fusion, good influence, confidence
Discord, conflict, disunion, hostility, frustration, impatience
15 (The Devil)
Ravage, weird or strange experience, downfall, unexpected failure, controversy, violence, disaster, an ill-tempered person
Divorce, release, handicaps are overcome, enlightenment
16 (The Tower)
A sudden change, abandonment of past, ending a friendship, unexpected events, disruption, bankruptcy, downfall, loss of money or security
Following old ways, a rut, entrapment, caught in a bad situation, imprisonment
17 (The Star)
Hope, faith, inspiration, optimism, insight, spiritual love, pleasure, balance
Unfulfilled hopes, disappointment, dreams are crushed, bad luck, imbalance
18 (The Moon)
Deception, trickery, disillusionment, error, danger, disgrace, double-dealing
Deception is discovered before damage can be done, trifling mistakes, taking advantage of someone
19 (The Sun)
Satisfaction, accomplishment, success, love, joy, engagement or a happy marriage
Unhappiness, loneliness, canceled plans, broken engagement or marriage, a clouded future, a lack of friends
20 (Judgment)
Atonement, judgment, the need to forgive, rejuvenation, rebirth, improvement, development, promotion, efforts are rewarded
Delay, disappointment, indecision, procrastination, theft, worry
21 (The World)
Completion, perfection, recognition, honors, the end result, success, fulfillment, triumph, eternal life
Imperfection, lack of vision, disappointment
22 (The Fool)
New beginnings, new adventures, new opportunities, unlimited possibilities, pleasure, passion, thoughtlessness, rashness
A bad decision, indecision, apathy, hesitation, a faulty choice


Tarot Cards

How to Read Tarot with Playing Cards