Now that a lot of the mechanical stuff is out and about on the blog, I wanted to dive into some of the world-building that resulted from the unique ways this campaign has shaped up. As I’ve mentioned before, the world was built to try and incorporate wildly disparate backgrounds that players came to me with as part of Session 0. Rather than pushback, I said, let’s do it. Liafa is what popped out.
I want to share the tarot of Liafa, because I’m using it as a major source of player-directed information in the game. I have one player who is all-in on the tarot reading concept (came to me pre-game that way), and I’m trying to support it as best I can.
Anyway, enough prattle. I hope you enjoy the tarot being shared as part of the Shatterstone Campaign for Liafa.
The Tarot and the Major Arcana of the Shatterstone Campaign
For the people of Liafa, the tarot represents the insights of the very real beings residing in the astral sea above them. The Major Arcana, as the halflings claim they prefer to be called, have watched Liafa from afar, and are eager to impart their knowledge to better serve those who call it home. Over time, they ceremonially included important beings and figures from Liafa into their ranks, allowing them to be present in their tarot set in order to include them in their insights. It is not entirely clear which of those depicted as major arcana within the cards are truly Major Arcana, and this is not made easier by some sets having differences between them.
The Major Arcana are viewed by halflings as their saviors and second parents, allowing them to be born safely to Liafa through the paths between the stars. For others, they are dispassionate, inscrutable beings that should not be trusted, as they most certainly have their own goals and causes. Others still do not believe they exist at all, save as moral messaging and archetypes within the concept of the tarot itself.
The nature of the minor arcana within the tarot is even less certain, if that is possible. Some tarot decks list individuals and concepts in addition to suits and numbers, but not all. Not to mention the suits themselves change depending on the age and origin of the deck. To those who study the tarot, they say this isn’t that strange, given the changing nature of the heavens themselves. The most common deck found today is the Ardent Deck.
The Ardent Deck – Shatterstone
0: The Fool
1: The Unscaled
2: The Oracle
3: The Silver Prince
4: The Cobalt Queen
5: The Throne
6: The Hippogriff
7: The Hedge
8: The Green Princess
9: The Builder
11: The Red Knight
12: The Hanged Scholar
13: The Keeper
14: The Muse
15: The Slug
16: The Citadel
17: The Star
18: The Moon
19: The Sun
20: Grave Hand
Major Arcana Variants – Shatterstone
The Nazorian Tarot and the Pale Tarot are the two most common variant tarot decks found today.
The Nazorian Tarot – Shatterstone
This tarot set is expressly forbidden by the Church, and is seen as a cursed tool for reading by most practicing cartomancers and diviners. This set was seen most frequently within the confines of Shatterstone, during the height of Nazorius’s war against the Moonworks. It rapidly developed an ill reputation, and was shunned in most divination communities. Most sets are found without many cards, but one of the missing cards is always the Hippogryph. No set currently known contains a Hippogryph, though many other cards are also exceedingly rare to encounter. A full set would offer a prize that few collectors could ignore.
Claws in place of swords
The Blood Moon: In place of the Moon
Curse-Mark: In place of Soulmark
The Black Judge: In place of the Red Knight
The Night Wyrm: In place of the Unscaled
The Citadel: In place of the Throne
The Throne: In place of the Citadel
The Pale Tarot – Shatterstone
This tarot set is relatively new, coming into prominence in the last twenty years. This tarot deck is said to originate from the Duchy of Esteron within the Holy Queen’s Empire. Tarot cards as a whole have been outlawed from the Duchy of Galos, causing a tension between the two duchies as their differences in beliefs regarding the regulation of magic continue to grow.
Coins in place of chalices
The Witch: In the place of the Hedge
The Hobgoblin: In place of the Hippogryph
The Echo: In place of the Citadel