Creating the Destiny Deck

The Destiny Deck is a prime example of a pet idea getting entirely out of control. I had originally created the Deck as a prop for Dannae, my Doomsayer character, nothing more. As I played, however, the cards she drew in her readings seemed to reappear, and take on a life of their own. Eventually I was forced, by Dannae, to sit down and write out what cards stood for what, how the cards were organized in the deck, and entirely too many other details. After I had got all the details straight, it seemed a pity to keep it all to myself, and hence these pages. I hope the Destiny Deck will be as fun for you to use as it was for me to create it.

The Destiny Deck is only loosely based of off the real world Tarot deck; there are no real equivalents between the two, at least, none that I know of. The Tarot has a long and convoluted history of its own, and understanding the long road that the Tarot has travelled helped me to create the Deck as well as its backstory. No occult system is without its historical roots.

There are also two references to divinitory cards in Tribe 8: one in Children of Lilith, page 30, and the relic Divinatory cards in the Rulebook, page 138 (these are heavy cards -- a whole deck weighs half a kilogram! ;). Both of these seem to refer to the 'relic' Tarot, although aside from the Hanged Man, I can't puzzle out what other cards Ellem is using. Perhaps, as is likely, she has made up her own meanings for the cards she found.

Aside from the cards that I already 'knew' were included in the Deck because Dannae had drawn them in roleplay, when I set about creating the deck in truth I drew a significant blank. Instead, I went about figuring how the deck was organized, with seven Tribal suits of five cards each, and the Trumps afterwards. All I had to do then was go down the list (One Agnite, Two Agnites, Three Agnites, Four...) and try to envision what that might look like on a card. The Destiny Deck was shortly pouring out my ears as different meanings and subtleties leapt to my mind.

The Destiny Deck is hardly 'finished', and I am sure, especially as I continue to play Dannae, things will slowly change, gain new and deeper meaning, and develop into an intricate and robust occult system of its own. I hope to maintain these pages, adding my new 'insights' as I go. Stay Tuned!

Using the Destiny Deck

There are, roughly, two ways to make use of the Destiny Deck: in the game, and as tool of the game.

Using the Destiny Deck in the Game
The simplest way to use the Deck in your game is to have a Doomsayer (perhaps even Dannae) perform a reading for one or more of the player characters. How will your players react when they are told that they are A Magdalite, and their relationship with their cellmates mimicks The Duel? You can use the images of the Deck later in dreams and omens, and the character might even confront the card in the River of Dream to puzzle out its secrets and learn a little more about their own identity.

Doomsayer player characters might also make use of the Destiny Deck. Giving your players the result of their Fate Synthesis as a series of symbolic cards goes a long way to adding to the mystery of the world, and providing the characters with a tool to puzzle out more or less information based on their own wits. This also opens the door for readings that can be interpreted in multiple ways, allowing the players to argue over the real meaning of the cards, and what their actions should therefore be.

Yet another way to involve the Destiny Deck in your game is to introduce a prophecy that is expressed in the language of the cards. Whether or not the players or player characters are adept in 'speaking' Destiny Deck, they will certainly start learning, especially when they begin to see themselves in the cards, or their dreams tell them that the card at the center of the reading is them.

Destiny Deck as a Tool
You can also use the Destiny Deck as a tool to create your own cycles or spice up the ones you are already playing. If things are running out of steam and the situation looks clear and certain, draw a card and add its elements or aspects into the plotline to complicate things. Are the characters on to the Black Owls? What happens when you draw the Pair of Agnites? Their quarry is aware that they're being followed, and turns the chase into a drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse. Who will be the cat in the end?

Alternately, you can use the Deck to inspire plotlines that are altogetherly new. If your players have already made their characters, perform a reading on each of them and see what is in their futures, and then tie all those destinies together. Voila! Instant plot. Or you can perform a Three Waterfalls reading, and use the events detailed therein as the basis of a plotline you can inflict -- er, involve your players in.


Dannae began as a character for an online game called a MUSH (Multi User Shared Hallucination), and the Destiny Deck as a code toy. Dannae's Destiny Deck allowed her to draw random cards from the deck, and would display to the player what card was picked, what it looked like, and what it meant, so that the player could then pose appropriately.

If you MUSH and would like your own Destiny Deck, you can download the Destiny Deck Decompile. Happy RP!