Interesting story decks

While investigating on tarot, other decks and games that uses them I foun two really interesting things and I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with them, tried out or found something better.

First one is the Archetype Cards by Caroline Myss.
It's a deck of types of characters brought from mythology, that I think it may work better for story weaving than tarot, but it's just a hunch. No idea how to get my hands on it so far, still looking for a copy here -in spanish if possible (seems it has been translated or at least the book does)

The second one is a mixed media RPG called Weave that works both with a deck of it's own and an app. You pick and scan the cards with your smartphone to get a few choices to make a character, which are then sent to the Narrator's phone to create the story. They even programmed four different settings: a cyberpunk, there's a Goonies-like one, a flash-gordon like one and the last is a high-school. I also like that you play with the app open in your smartphone, so no more it's a distraction from to game but actually part of the game. Here's a video for more clarifications.


  • Everway ♥♥♥
  • Interesting! Heard about it once before but never found a copy or enough info about it. I think somebody just mentioned it when discussing diceless games. I just found a video explaining a bit of the game, a pdf guide for the cards and somebody made cards of their own with stock pics. I also found an old SG thread where people discuss why it doesn't work for them, but here there's a lot of lessons to be learned and a lots of potential too. Thanks a lot Sandra!
  • There's the "Fate Deck" that underpins Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game (and Dragonlance Fifth Age, but I've not played that one). There are five suits, four of which correspond to the games four ability scores and the fifth, Doom, which when the PCs play them the GM can hoard and use against them later on.

    It's a fairly simple target number system; each card has a numerical value, added to your score, and if the suit matches the ability for a specific action you add the top card of the deck as well.

    Each card also has an Event (like Hazmat Leak, Achilles Heal, Compromising Information), a Calling (in the superhero sense: Mentor, Protector, Soldier, and cetera), a famous Marvel universe character that appears on the card, and an Aura (I can't remember what Aura actually does). In the group I learned the game from, we routinely were throwing out cards to invoke their Events, Callings, and Characters and introduce those elements to the game, or to add extra oomph to a negation with the GM when we wanted to pull something off (for example, if the Calling on a card matched the intent of a player's action).
  • Great! Still checking in that one. Meanwhile, I'm wondering about the average player skills to relate images to different concepts and connect those to create a premise or otherwise advance an story. I mean, these games are great but didn't seem to have the impact I would have expected. Were the images too complex? Does it still generate blank page syndrome? Was it the procedures to use the deck the actual problem?

    Some common problems seem to be that the cost of producing these decks made the game too expensive, or that the game concept sounded too unfamiliar for an audience expecting more of a trad game. Some other opinions mentioned the procedure not clicking for them, hence my guess of the images not being clear enough, and often requiring a guide book to interpret the card meanings.
  • In Everway play (both from our long running games and observations of others) it's easy to play lazy. This is both from the design of the game and probably something about player nature.

    Most often the tarot card gets used in it's binary mode (success/failure). That's the least interesting thing you can do with it.
  • In Everway [...] Most often the tarot card gets used in it's binary mode (success/failure). That's the least interesting thing you can do with it.
    Been working with that a lot last year. Basically, using the cards in a non-lazy way happens easily as soon as you shift from task to conflict resolution, with wide open conflicts (also, sometimes you mix in a quick, lazy yes/no read and that's OK too).

    @WarriorMonk Witch Quest also has its own tarot and, while it doesn't do as much with it as it could, it does use cards to suggest PC personality.
  • While Rafu is right about the fortune cards, I had the vision cards in mind which aren't binary at all.

    Ps even a binary reading of the fortune cards are evocative -- "drowning in armor" oh we failed because we were too cautious, what happened?
  • "drowning in armor" oh we failed because we were too cautious, what happened?
    Definitely! <3
  • Oddly enough, I just saw the Archetype Cards yesterday at a new-agey bookstore. I looked through the deck, and the text is interesting but I found the art and design a turn-off.

    I had never heard of Weave, but I’m fascinated, both by the deck and by the companion app. The rules are downloadable for free on the site, and I’m about to go read them before deciding whether to buy.
  • (oh, and the Archetype Cards are available from Amazon, at least in the US.)
  • Weave looks cool but there is zero chance I will spend that amount on a game I can’t try out first!

    I’ve been working on a tarot game (currently in the third round of playtesting), and have consistently found players are intrigued by the fact it uses tarot. I think tarot has a mythos to it that a custom deck could never have. Or a brand recognition, if you want to be cynical!
  • Also, that you can buy Tarot decks of varying price and quality, but most of them are still strictly better quality than your typical boardgame cards or any do-it-yourself crafting project?
  • With a bit of searching you can find Tarot cards themed for various types of games, not just medieval fantasy or [whatever genre nu-age fairies and goddesses are]. Some examples are the Urban Tarot (perfect for urban fantasy), the Ghetto Tarot (voudun or other Afrocentric spirituality), and the Wild Unknown Tarot (um, not sure what genre, something with animals...)
  • My particular problem with using tarot as it is is that it requires some knowledge of the meaning of some of the cards, something less likable to happen if all players are supposed to use them. That's why I was looking for something a bit more like a rorschachlike deck, something that would suggest themes and characters more related to the game theme.

    Like, Archetype Cards work quite fine for fantasy, especially if you combine any two to make a character. Vision Cards from Everway seem great too, I'm used to look for images in pinterest to spark my inspiration. Plus, I'd really like to get more ideas for powerful engaging stories. There's still a few cards of the tarot that are hard to interpret as really dramatic stuff unless you're used to it.
  • The decks based on the Rider-Waite deck all have pretty standard interpretations that you can use alongside/instead of interpreting the images. I ran a game of Nobilis once where, since I couldn't live without a randomizer, I used an online tarot card website to help me come up with content, NPC reactions, etc. That was handy because it shows the picture of the card as well as the standard interpretation. It was a lot of fun!
  • Dixit has a lot of beautiful cards that could help. There’s even multiple kinds of decks. You gonna have to interpret a lot though.
  • Lenormande cards are another type of divination deck that could be useful. They’re 36 cards that show fairly straightforward symbols like a man, a ring, a flower, a letter, a house. The meanings are mostly pretty literal. Much less deep than tarot, but also less ambiguous. (tif anyone here has read John Crowley, they remind me of the Least Trumps from “Little, Big”.)
Sign In or Register to comment.