20 September, 2011

Tarot City

Yep, it's another grey, rainy day.  I spent some time last week and again last night playing with Zak's tarot card random city builder thing.  I'm not sure of the shape of Illi Pesch, but I laid out my cards and let their positions and artwork tell me a story.  I'm not using a Rider-Waite deck (the deck most people think of when they think of a tarot deck), so some of my cards are a bit different.  The guide that came with the book tells which of the Major Arcana relate to those in the Rider-Waite deck, so I had no trouble following along.

Last week I had done a quick spread of seven cards by four before heading out for some errands.  One of the most interesting things that unfolded was the relationship between the Queen of Pentacles (Coins) and the King of Pentacles.  The Queen was reversed (upside-down), an orientation which usually means a reversal of the standard meaning in a regular tarot reading.  Here I decided it meant something unfortunate had just happened, was in the process of happening, or would soon happen.  So the Queen of Pentacles, who I decided was the head of one of the most powerful merchant guilds in the city, was in for some trouble.

Then I dealt the King of Pentacles, upright. The King was to be the head of one of the other most powerful merchant guilds in the city.  The artwork on the cards was telling: both King and Queen are depicted with a large pentacle cupped in the crook of their arm.  But when reversed, the gesture looks more like a protecting one.  The Queen, worried about losing her wealth or holdings, is clutching the pentacle to her chest.  Her gaze goes directly to the face of the King opposite.  His gaze, by contrast, goes right to her pentacle.  So she's afraid of losing something, and he knows it, and he wants it.

Yesterday I set about fleshing out these characters and found out some very interesting things indeed about the state of trade and commerce in the city, as well as the relationship between the characters themselves.  I left a handful of loose ends, which I'll either tie down or leave in places where the player characters can bump into them.

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