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Nathan Caroland Nathan Caroland

Malifaux tarot

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After seeing the new tarot deck it got me thinking. If you were to represent the various major arcana with masters from malifaux who would you use and why? 

Since I'm currently stuck on a train and have had a few minutes I decided to throw up a quick list and some of my justifications for some of the choices. I'm stuck on a few though and I'm curious what other people think.

The other thing I'm curious about is if I someone were to make an actual tarot deck how would you go about displaying the the 22 major trump cards. In a standard fate deck you've only got twelve face cards and two jokers where you can really show off a bit of art without breaking the theme. I suppose you could dip into the 10's and 9's and maybe put a frame around the art so it matches the other moderate and weak cards. I'm curious what people would think about that though.

Anyways here's the list I've come up with:

0- the fool - the dreamer

The fool is generally represented by someone on the beginning of a journey. Generally holding a stick with a bundle of possessions representing untapped knowledge or abilites. To me this sounds a lot like the dreamer. He's definitely the youngest master in the game and is just now starting to really tap into his power. For the art you could also include a teddy/daydream following him instead of a dog.

1- the magician - Collette or Ramos

The magician is usually represented by someone who's able to wield the classical elements to reshape the world around you. It also generally refers to having the tools at hand to achieve your goals. There's also the connection of being a bridge between the earthly and the Divine. The straight forward answer is Collette since she is the magician of malifaux, but I think Ramos is the better answer. He's mastered his craft and his abilites and is always pushing to achieve his goals.

2- the priestess - Pandora

So this one might not be a perfect fit, but I think works pretty well. So the high priestess often refers to listening to your mind and you're inner instincts. Pandora generally focuses on a lot of the mental aspects of a person. Albeit to generally kill them. The priestess is also ment guide the fool on his journey after meeting the magician, which Pandora is sort of doing for candy. She's also supposed to be the sister of the empress which is...

3- the empress - lillith

The empress is supposed to be heavily connected with nature. As well as showing compassion and nurturing and other maternal instincts. Lillth seems like a dead ringer for the role.

4- the emperor - governor general, Titania, Lucius 

The emperor is an authoritarian leader who represents strength, control, and structure. I don't want to use the gov, mostly because he's not a master. Titania is an option but I'm trying to keep along the gender lines. I think Lucius is the best bet. He's the second in command in malifaux and definitely fits the control and power aspects. One of the symbols in the art of the emperor is that the throne is decorated with Ram heads. Which to me just adds to it. I can easily see the picture being Lucius in his office.

5- heriophant - yan lo

The heriophant is supposed to be the bridge between the earthly world and the spirit world. To me this seems like yan lo. Since he is able to walk between the paths of both worlds.

6- the lovers - Seamus & Molly, the Vik's, kirai

Here's where I start to have some issues. The lovers are supposed to represent well, love, but also an intimate connection between two people. It doesn't have to be romantic in nature. Still I think kirai might be the best choice. I'm still not sure though.

7- the chariot- Marcus, zipp, kaeris,

This one I have no idea. It doesn't have to be a literal chariot. It's supposed to represent an upcoming victory. That when you combine your mind and spirit with your natural drive you can achieve your goal. So Marcus? Maybe?

8- strength - Ironsides

Strength represent strength of fortitude, character and courage. The art also generally depicted as a woman opening up the jaws of a lion. Seems like Ironsides to me.

9- the hermit - zorida, Marcus

The hermit is about withdrawing from society to find answers from within. Since Marcus might be used in the chariot I think he's out of the running for this one. Besides I think zorida might be a better choice.

10- wheel of fate - lynch

The wheel represent a change in state's. Whether it's a change in status, situation, or fortune. Seems like a good pick for the gambler.

11- justice - lady j

Justice is about karma and knowing your choices have consequences. Also it's called justice.

12- the hanged - jack daw

Again this one is pretty straight forward.

13- death- Nico, Reva

Death isn't necessarily about death. It's about things ending and sometimes about new beginnings. For a necromancer death is just the beginning.

14- temperance - misaki(?), Shenlong, Molly, Sandeep, brewmaster

I've got know clue on this one. Temperance is about peace and patience. Taking life as it comes and trying not to force things. Another interpretation is a play on temperance itself. Where one tempers themselves like a metal. The art generally depicts a woman or an angel.

15- the devil - lucius, hamelin

I really want Lucius for this but he fits really well as the emperor. So I think hamelin fills the role nicely. The devil represents a feeling of being powerless, like you have no control. When in reality you are bound only by internal limitations. Also tyrant, devil, same thing.

16- the tower - raspy and temple of December, Sonia

The tower represents a great upheaval or calamity. I think Sonia could fit well. Her ordeal with cherufea and it's lasting effects on her could be a good representation.

17- the star - Collette, perdita, Mei, molly

The star represents hope, healing and inspiration. The art generally depicts a person with one foot on land and another in water. I have some ideas but I'm not sure who. I've got some suggestions but none that stand out.

18- the moon - Seamus, Pandora, zorida

The moon deals with ones dreams and subconscious. It also deals with ones fears and inner doubts. There's also some mention of ones animal instincts. Since Pandora is being used for the priestess maybe Seamus?

19- the sun - I have no idea. Who's happy in malifaux? Mcmourning?

The sun represents joy, happiness, and optimism. It's a sign for things going well, but malifaux is about bad things happening. So I don't know.

20- judgement - Levi

Judgement is about your past and future. Reviewing your actions and making sure they are inline with your end goal. It's also a representation of the final judgement. Since Levi is the Crux upon which malifauxs fate revolves it seems fit for him to represent it.

21- the world - 

The world is the end of a cycle before the beginning of the next. It symbolizes complete understanding of ones self after ones travels. I don't even have a guess for this one.


So what do you guys think? Who should represent which trump?

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For the number fields on the cards I'd go find that chart of how to write a tarot 'shorthand' for taking notes. It was quite sensible for a symbol-language, easy to incorporate.

Lucius for the Emperor and Kaeris for the Chariot are simply inspired. You did very well there.

The World is tricky with the number of masters lying to themselves. Even Zoraida lies to herself. Perdita has learned to see the truth, maybe she will do. Rasputina has completed her hero's journey also.

The Sun may have to go to a gremlin by default. Nellie acts happy, but...No. She is an ill omen to others.

I would give the Moon to Molly, for her early use as an antenna for supernatural events, and she certainly has the doubts Seamus lacks (maybe he, in his cocksure way, is the Sun?).

The Star is Colette, no question. One foot in both worlds indeed.

I think Kaeris was intended for Temperance but I like her much better as the Chariot, so. Besides, I can't resist the pun that is placing Brewmaster here. ;)...Still. Kaeris.

So who was meant to be the Chariot? Ramos? He fits better as the Magician (that, too, was inspired). The Viktorias? I am noting a common name here...

The Lovers...Kirai is singular, for one problem, and for another I think you have hit on something interesting when looking for pairs that were bonded but not necessarily romantic. Maybe the Viktorias go here, but can I be bold and propose Hoffman and Ryle?

The Hierophant is Kirai. The Thunders just don't work for me in this format when I am being serious. But they ought to. The masters of 1.0, 1.5, Storm of Shadows (five Ten Thunders), and either Jack Daw or Tara add up to twenty-two. Probably Daw. He predates her, and as you say, there is no better Hanged Man.

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Thanks, it's amazing what being stuck in a train for two hours will do to you. :P

Perdittia might be a good choice for the world. Another idea I had which might work could be using the breach. It might server better as part of the background art, but it's an idea.

Ya a gremlin might have to be it for the sun, but who? Sommer?

That does sound like a pretty good idea to use molly as the moon. It also really fits in with her character and theme.

I did like the idea of brewy as temperance. If for no other reason than irony. :P

I was originally thinking Marcus for the chariot. He's got a very strong will and natural drive. He also has a lot to do with combining his body and spirit to become an Apex predator.

Hoffman is an interesting idea for the lovers. I hadn't thought about that connection. I was thinking kirai because her story involved her and her fiance. They were star crossed lovers and her need for vengeance came from her fiance being murdered.

Keep in mind yan lo is also a resser. I also liked him for the role since the heriophant is always portrayed as male, but also because he captures both the spirit and the physical world.

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So I decided to take a look at this not only as who would work as the card itself, but also who would work for the Reversed aspect of the card, and I came up with the following:

  1. THE FOOL – The Dreamer / Mei Feng

  2. THE MAGICIAN – Sandeep / Wong

  3. THE PRIESTESS – Perdita / Misaki

  4. THE EMPRESS – Titania / Lilith

  5. THE EMPEROR – Ramos / Lucius

  6. THE HEIROPHANT – Yan Lo / Ophelia

  7. THE LOVERS – Viktorias / Kirai & Lost Love

  8. THE CHARIOT – Zipp / Kaeris

  9. STRENGTH – Ironsides / Asami

  10. THE HERMIT – Zoraida / Ulix

  11. WHEEL OF FATE – Lynch / Hoffman

  12. JUSTICE – Lady J / Parker

  13. THE HANGED – Jack Daw / Sonnia

  14. DEATH – Nicodem / Seamus

  15. TEMPERANCE – Shenlong / Brewmaster

  16. THE DEVIL – Hamelin / Rasputina

  17. THE TOWER –McMourning / Nellie

  18. THE STAR – Molly / Collodi

  19. THE MOON – Colette / Pandora

  20. THE SUN – Mah Tuckett / Tara

  21. JUDGEMENT – Leveticus / Reva

  22. THE WORLD – Marcus / McCabe

Some of them aren't perfect fits (Ulix for example I was basing more on the character's inspiration than the actual character), but overall I'm happy with most of it :)  Plus doing it this way I was able to get all but 2 of the Masters on here (only two spare were Som'er and the Von Schill).

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@retnab I like a lot of your picks. Sandeep for the magician is especially interesting. As well as Hoffman being the reverse of the wheel.

I'm a curious why you put Lucius as the reverse aspect of the emperor though. Not disagreeing with you, I'm just curious. :P

@Viks_Masamune neither do I. I just really like the idea and background of the tarot cards. Especially as a plot device. I've used them a lot when building campaigns for RPGs. It can actually make quite a lot of interesting plot hooks and characters.

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The blurb I read on the cards described the reverse emperor basically as someone who abuses their power and is just generally unpleasant so I figured he'd work for that :P 

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