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An approach to developing stories & session [PEACH]

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  • An approach to developing stories & session [PEACH]

    Over an extended period of time I've been writing down a process I sometimes use for using tarot cards to devise game ideas including individual session stories.

    I've written it as a series of blog posts, and would appreciate some critical feedback, first on the writing itself (procedural writing is not my strong suit) and secondly on the model and examples.

    The series of posts begins here:

    https://bragrman.com/2016/06/11/the-...t-1-why-tarot/


    Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

    "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

  • #2
    I can see that a fair few people have clicked through and read at least half the relevant posts. I appreciate that providing feedback may not be the easiest request, but if anyone is interested, I'd be happy to have a go at devising some session outlines for other people's game. Just let me know the general concept of your game.


    Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

    "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

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    • #3
      Mage: The Awakening - Keys to the Supernal Tarot did something similar and I love it (bought the Mage tarot card set and everything)

      It goes with 2 possible spreads for character generation - the arrow of time (5 cards) for past, awakening, goals, virtue, vice; and the Celtic cross for a more in-depth reading of the character.
      They also propose ways of using the Celtic Cross spread for generating stories.

      I find it to be a great trick to get the creative engine going.


      Edit: as an aside, they also have a Merit where you can draw a card when casting a spell, and interpretation of that card affects the casting.
      Which gives me ideas for Sidereal Astrology.
      Last edited by Fata-Ku; 04-09-2017, 09:45 AM.


      Former bearer of the legacy of Trauma Bear
      Need a dice-roller? Check out Dicemat.

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      • #4
        I'm really interested in this use of tarot cards. And I really would like to use it for the NPC my players would meet wherever they go. Not main NPC but the kind of NPC to populate a place. I was often restricted by the main NPC in my stories and my players found it easy to know if a NPC is important or not just by asking few question about him. With this kind of process I could manage to surprise them and also making place more "lively"

        Do you wrote archetype or goals for every major arcana ?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gaara View Post
          Do you wrote archetype or goals for every major arcana ?
          Strictly speaking, each card is already associated to an archetype (notably the "symbolism" and "Divination" sections of each arcana).
          Unless you meant a more specific story-generator type system, with ready-made NPCs and story hooks?


          Former bearer of the legacy of Trauma Bear
          Need a dice-roller? Check out Dicemat.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gaara View Post
            I'm really interested in this use of tarot cards. And I really would like to use it for the NPC my players would meet wherever they go. Not main NPC but the kind of NPC to populate a place. I was often restricted by the main NPC in my stories and my players found it easy to know if a NPC is important or not just by asking few question about him. With this kind of process I could manage to surprise them and also making place more "lively"

            Do you wrote archetype or goals for every major arcana ?

            I interpret cards in context rather than have predefined meanings for them, but once a Major Arcana is associated with an NPC within a particular game, I will always link the two - that way NPCs plots can manifest unexpected connections and involvements with other parts of the story. There's nothing to stop you from prescribing NPCs to those cards before you start drawing card, but that means you're developing 22 significant NPCs before the game event begins, which is way more than you'll initially need to use, and so that isn't the way I approach it.


            Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

            "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

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            • #7
              Also - while I have no association to these companies or products whatsoever - two tarot decks I find particularly fun to use for Exalted games are the Manga and Epic tarot decks, both here

              http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/manga-minetti/
              http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/epic-tarot/


              Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

              "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                Strictly speaking, each card is already associated to an archetype (notably the "symbolism" and "Divination" sections of each arcana).
                Unless you meant a more specific story-generator type system, with ready-made NPCs and story hooks?

                First, sorry for my very bad English... I should have wrote "Did you write" not "Do you wrote"

                Then, Yes I meant an Exalted specific NPC's system. With some Exalted specific stuff for each Arcana (ex: The Sun Card should be a Sun priest or a Cult of Illuminated members or someone always smiling with a shining aura, etc...)

                It should be nice that for each Arcana you could choose for 4-5 archetype specially made for Exalted.

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                • #9
                  I've used tarot cards for in-character prophecies and the like before, but I never found a good way to use them to randomly generate NPCs or games. I love what you came up with! It's particularly clever to suggest that you begin with a pretty solid idea of what kind of game you're aiming for- my flailing attempts at doing something similar usually fell down because the cards seemed like a random mess without that structure.

                  I also like how you use more than one major arcana to represent each major NPC. I think it adds a good amount of depth to them, fleshing them out beyond the archetypes.

                  I'm definitely bookmarking this! If you're still up for it, I'd love to hear what your system can come up with for the game I'm currently planning.

                  It's going to be a campaign about the Realm civil war beginning in An-Teng with a conflict between Tepet Ejava's Vermillion Legion (the PC faction), the satrap and their local Ragara interests, and General Shuri the Scarlet representing House Ledaal. Of course, other factions like the Tengese Princes, the Lintha, and the First and Forsaken Lion will be causing trouble as well. I'm in the middle of trying to come up with a rough timeline of events for this mini civil war, sort of like the guide in Return of the Scarlet Empress. Could this system handle something like that?

                  PS. As a random comment, in the second post looks like you're missing a space between "backwards" and "in" in the Hierophant entry in your table. Just a typo, I'm sure.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gaara View Post
                    It should be nice that for each Arcana you could choose for 4-5 archetype specially made for Exalted.
                    Ouf, that's a tall order. 22 Major Arcana -> 88 - 110 characters

                    Although this could make for an interesting Forum-Game thread, using a random card picker or something.

                    (i.e. similar to this thread)


                    Former bearer of the legacy of Trauma Bear
                    Need a dice-roller? Check out Dicemat.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cytherea View Post
                      I'm definitely bookmarking this! If you're still up for it, I'd love to hear what your system can come up with for the game I'm currently planning.

                      It's going to be a campaign about the Realm civil war beginning in An-Teng with a conflict between Tepet Ejava's Vermillion Legion (the PC faction), the satrap and their local Ragara interests, and General Shuri the Scarlet representing House Ledaal. Of course, other factions like the Tengese Princes, the Lintha, and the First and Forsaken Lion will be causing trouble as well. I'm in the middle of trying to come up with a rough timeline of events for this mini civil war, sort of like the guide in Return of the Scarlet Empress. Could this system handle something like that?
                      I'm definitely willing to give it a try - though it sounds like you've already got something quite grand in mind. Over this weekend I'll have a go at devising a satellite scenario that involves several of the factions. A more contained context that might either provide a catalyst for the longer war storyline, or that could be the PC's initial microcosm of conflict representative of the broader one.

                      I'll write it up and send you links when i'm done.

                      Originally posted by Cytherea View Post
                      PS. As a random comment, in the second post looks like you're missing a space between "backwards" and "in" in the Hierophant entry in your table. Just a typo, I'm sure.
                      Thanks. While I did post that blog under a different username... this username still applies to most things.


                      Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

                      "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

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                      • #12
                        Wow, thank you! No need to get too complicated with the scenario, I'm just curious to see what the cards can come up with.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cytherea View Post
                          Wow, thank you! No need to get too complicated with the scenario, I'm just curious to see what the cards can come up with.
                          No worries. It'll be a fun challenge


                          Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

                          "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cytherea - this is still coming, just didn't get as much time to write over the weekend as I hoped, and I also had to do a bit more reading up on Ang-Teng (not a location I've used a lot in my games).

                            FYI, here's the initial NPC card draw
                            Card Motivation Cards
                            02 – The Priest 16 – The Tower (inverted) + The Hanged Woman (inverted)
                            08 – Justice 19 – The Sun
                            11 – Strength 13 – Death
                            12 – The Hanged Woman 14 – Temperance (inverted) + 20 – Judgement
                            16 – The Tower 8 – Justice
                            18 – The Moon 15 – The Devil
                            19 – The Sun 0 – The Fool (inverted) + 11 – Strength
                            21 – The World 21 – The World
                            There are a lot of 'righteous' images associated with the NPC cards, but then some sneaky motivations coming through. I've interpreted The Sun and The Moon NPCs as Gold and Silver faction Sidereals who have decided that it's time to make a serious push for the return of the Celestial Exalted, and the best way they see to push that along is to trigger an Imperial civil war to hurry the collapse of the Empire and the reign of the Terrestrials. There's a demonic pirate captain in there with multiple plots at play, and a couple of assertive Terrestrial imperials vying for influence over the region, engaged in a bit of an arms-race to intimidate the locals and each other. AN undecided local ruler provides the lynch-pin of the situation, while some as-yet unknown elements bring the match to this powder keg.

                            One thing I didn't get clearly from your summary what how you intended to position the Vermillion legion in all of this. As they don't represent a single family, per se, they don't exactly have a strong basis to kick off a civil war. Could they perhaps be intruders into the tensions that trigger conflict between two other houses? Or do you have a vision for how they represent a particular house in this conflict and function as proxies for a sponsoring house in whatever conflict arises?


                            Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

                            "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CapitanTypo View Post
                              Cytherea - this is still coming, just didn't get as much time to write over the weekend as I hoped, and I also had to do a bit more reading up on Ang-Teng (not a location I've used a lot in my games).

                              FYI, here's the initial NPC card draw
                              Card Motivation Cards
                              02 – The Priest 16 – The Tower (inverted) + The Hanged Woman (inverted)
                              08 – Justice 19 – The Sun
                              11 – Strength 13 – Death
                              12 – The Hanged Woman 14 – Temperance (inverted) + 20 – Judgement
                              16 – The Tower 8 – Justice
                              18 – The Moon 15 – The Devil
                              19 – The Sun 0 – The Fool (inverted) + 11 – Strength
                              21 – The World 21 – The World
                              There are a lot of 'righteous' images associated with the NPC cards, but then some sneaky motivations coming through. I've interpreted The Sun and The Moon NPCs as Gold and Silver faction Sidereals who have decided that it's time to make a serious push for the return of the Celestial Exalted, and the best way they see to push that along is to trigger an Imperial civil war to hurry the collapse of the Empire and the reign of the Terrestrials. There's a demonic pirate captain in there with multiple plots at play, and a couple of assertive Terrestrial imperials vying for influence over the region, engaged in a bit of an arms-race to intimidate the locals and each other. AN undecided local ruler provides the lynch-pin of the situation, while some as-yet unknown elements bring the match to this powder keg.

                              One thing I didn't get clearly from your summary what how you intended to position the Vermillion legion in all of this. As they don't represent a single family, per se, they don't exactly have a strong basis to kick off a civil war. Could they perhaps be intruders into the tensions that trigger conflict between two other houses? Or do you have a vision for how they represent a particular house in this conflict and function as proxies for a sponsoring house in whatever conflict arises?
                              Wow, that's incredible! Thank you very much, that will make my planning so much easier. It even works very well with ideas I had for a race to find a First Age superweapon and a Lintha demonblooded trader who exalts as a Lunar. Did you read my mind? :P

                              As for the Vermillion Legion, I'm doing something a little non-canonical with it. Because I have a PC who is a secret Solar advisor to Tepet Ejava, the Vermillion Legion has come entirely under the sway of House Tepet and essentially is functioning as another Great House in this conflict, albeit a smaller and more desperate one.

                              Thank you again, I really appreciate your hard work with this!

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