Yesterday I shared the Tarot and Major Arcana from Shatterstone, the location of the first of two games I am running set in Liafa. Today, I am sharing the tarot of Gantis – the island city-state.
The astute among you will realize there are intentional differences here in the main deck, the deck names, and even the alternate variants. Why, you might reasonably ask? Well, good question! The reason is because this setting is set in a different time period than the other game! The tarot reflects the world-state of Liafa, and the major arcana and deck types are there for investigation should people want to dig into it more. If they don’t? I don’t care. It’s fodder for me, and I can continue building upon what I have done here.
This is fairly indicative of how I run games in generally. I like to have lore and setting info ready to go and never force players to interact or engage with it, but it’s there to refer to and learn as the games go on. It’s never required, but it’s there if the players WANT to engage with more. If not? Doesn’t matter to me! That’s what running the game is for!
The Tarot and the Major Arcana
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 Velarisian Deck – Gantis
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 Endless Tower
8: The Green Princess
9: The Builder
11: The Red Knight
12: The Hanged Scholar
13: The Keeper
14: The Scorned Muse
15: The Slug
16: The Citadel
17: The Star
18: The Moon
19: The Sun
20: Grave Hand
Major Arcana Variants – Gantis
The Nazorian Tarot and the MistTarot are the two most well-known variant tarot decks found today.
The Nazorian Tarot – Gantis
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 Mist Tarot – Gantis
This tarot set is the oldest known set of tarot cards on Liafa, though it’s lack of completion prevents it from seeing regular use. Of the major arcana, only the Unscaled, Oracle, Sun, Moon, Stars and Liafa are found. Likewise, only three suits have ever been discovered. These days, most Mist Tarot cards are valued by researchers for their historic value, and by collectors, for their monetary value.
Staves in place of wands, waves in place of stars, and swords.
Only these major arcana have been recovered from this set: