From DivNull RPG
Revision as of 18:29, 5 February 2015 by Wordman
- 1 Adding the Deck to a Campaign
- 2 Card Influence
- 3 Deck Moves
- 4 Cards
- 4.1 Author
- 4.2 Bard
- 4.3 Battle
- 4.4 Betrayal
- 4.5 Borderland
- 4.6 Calamity
- 4.7 Castle
- 4.8 Cave
- 4.9 Chance Meeting
- 4.10 Consul
- 4.11 Darkness
- 4.12 Desert
- 4.13 Diplomat
- 4.14 Discovery
- 4.15 End
- 4.16 Excuse
- 4.17 Forest
- 4.18 Harvest
- 4.19 Huntress
- 4.20 Island
- 4.21 Journey
- 4.22 Knot
- 4.23 Leaves
- 4.24 Light Keeper
- 4.25 Lunatic
- 4.26 Market
- 4.27 Merchant
- 4.28 Mill
- 4.29 Moon
- 4.30 Mountain
- 4.31 Origin
- 4.32 Pact
- 4.33 Painter
- 4.34 Penitent
- 4.35 Rite
- 4.36 Sailor
- 4.37 Savage
- 4.38 Sea
- 4.39 Soldier
- 4.40 Sun
- 4.41 Watchman
- 4.42 Wave
- 4.43 Windfall
- 4.44 Window
- 4.45 Wyrm
- 5 Destruction
- 6 Design Notes
This worn fortune-teller’s (and gambler’s) deck bears an evocative image upon each of its forty-five cards. The deck contains six suits (in order: moons, suns, waves, leaves, wyrms and knots) with a complex structure. For each suit, there is an Ace and a Crown. Ranked between them are other cards numbered 2 through 9, each with two suits. Four Courts each have three suits and are ranked beneath Crowns. Four Pawns each have three suits as well, ranked below Courts. The Excuse has no suit or rank. Suit combinations do not occur with equal frequency. All cards also have a theme or meaning, written on the face of the card (one third represent people, one third represent places and one third represent events). Some cards appear the same when upside down, some do not.
Adding the Deck to a Campaign
The Bedlam Deck should not be found intact. Rather, its cards should be scattered and, at least at first, discovered individually. By itself, a card provides some benefit to its holder, but need not become anything more involved than that. If and when the players focus on locating more of the cards, play may suggest fronts, or even whole campaigns revolving around various groups intent on assembling the deck for themselves.
Should the players decide to walk this road and succeed in assembling the deck, a big ritual becomes possible, during which cards drawn from the deck can radically alter the character’s situation, even their world itself. Should such a ritual occur, often the deck will divide or scatter afterward, launching the cycle anew.
When adding the deck to a game, also consider that, having been created to spread chaos, the deck possesses a rudimentary consciousness which helps further that aim. This consciousness wants the cards to be found and used, so whenever cards transfer to new locations, they will never wind up anywhere too obscure or unaccessible (e.g. surrounded by solid rock, the bottom of unclimbable ravine, etc.). Instead, they tend to appear in places where they might get found eventually (e.g. the bottom of a chest in an attic, the pocket of a rarely used coat, tucked into a library book, a family crypt, etc.). The deck is most content when its presence sows discord or upsets the status quo, and favors getting cards into the hands of destabilizing forces (like your average group of PCs).
The sections below detail a number of moves that players may gain access to as they assemble the Bedlam Deck, but there is one special rule added to games making use of the deck: card influence. It is meant to represent how the deck influences the world to further its own chaotic ends and assumes you have an actual Decktet deck on hand (if not, you should be able to figure out some reasonable alternative).
At the start of each session, the GM gathers any cards in proximity to the PCs. This would include cards they have claimed as their own, cards that nearby NPCs might have, cards hidden near where the PCs are at the start of the session and so on. Any cards that might influence immediate events. One of those cards is then selected at random and shown to the table. That card is said to influence the session.
The GM will then read (or otherwise disseminate) the influence move associated with that card. For the rest of that session, all players may trigger that move and gain its benefits. The GM, likewise, can incorporate the influence of the card (using the influence move as a guide) when making moves during that session.
The following moves can be triggered when dealing with the deck or its cards; however, the players need not be made aware of all these moves at first. Certainly, if a player has the ability to trigger one of the moves, they should know they can, but some moves are not even possible until multiple cards are gathered in one place. The GM may want to hide such moves until the PC’s have the cards they need or have done research into the deck.
When you hold a card of the Bedlam Deck in your hand and focus on it for a few minutes, you lay claim to that card as being “yours”. Unless and until someone else claims that card, your claim remains, no matter where the card actually is.
When you start the day with a claim on at least one of the cards of the Bedlam Deck, at a point of your choosing during that day, after you have made a roll, you may further adjust that roll by +1d4-1d4. This choice may only be made once per day and does not accumulate.
Individual cards are no more or less durable than mundane cards. When a card of the Bedlam Deck becomes seriously damaged, it turns to dust and any claim on it is relinquished. A new copy of the card forms in some random location in the world.
Cards of a Feather
When you claim at least six cards of the Bedlam Deck, take +1 on any attempt to aid or hinder someone who claims a card of the Bedlam Deck.
Packing the Deck
When you claim at least a third of the Bedlam Deck (15 cards), everyone who sees you senses, at least subconsciously, that you control some chaotic mojo. Any who have come in contact with cards from the deck before will recognise this specifically as stemming from the deck.
Walking the Walk
When you claim more than half of the Bedlam Deck (23 cards), change your alignment to chaotic.
Spreading the Word
When you claim at least one card of each rank and the excuse and concentrate on “broadcasting” a short spoken message, all who claim at least six cards of the Bedlam Deck will hear your words as if you were standing next to them, no matter where they are. Each who hears may respond with one short message of their own, which is also heard by everyone who claims at least six cards.
Bedlam the Gathering
When you claim at least two thirds of the Bedlam Deck (30 cards) and spend several minutes concentrating on a card you do not yet claim, you immediately gain knowledge of the exact location of that card, no matter where it is, even if protected by magic that otherwise would obscure or conceal it. You may use this move only once each day.
sympathetic: three moons + three suns, three waves + three leaves, three wyrms + three knots
discordant: three moons + three wyrms, three suns + three leaves, three waves + three knots
four pawns, four courts, six aces, six crowns
moons of each rank, suns of each rank, waves of each rank, leaves of each rank, wyrms of each rank, knots of each rank
All 11 personalities, All 11 locations, all 11 events
When you claim all the cards in the Bedlam Deck and perform an elaborate ritual, you become the reader. Designate someone willing (other than yourself) to be the querent, who will draw from the deck and be the target of the ritual. All others present for the ritual are witnesses.
At the climax of the ritual, the querent draws cards from the deck. If lawful, the querent may draw only one card. If chaotic, the querent may draw up to three cards. Otherwise the the querent may draw up to two cards. Once the cards are drawn, you (as the reader) choose one of the drawn cards, and the ritual result listed for that card activates, targeting the querent. Ritual results are permanent and cannot be eliminated without powerful magic.
Afterwords, each card drawn turns to dust (triggering Just Paper). You immediately become aware of the new location of the card that was activated (but not the other cards drawn, if any). No longer able to claim the complete deck, you must track down the lost cards in order to complete the deck and draw again.
Some ritual effects also cause additional cards from the deck to vanish and reappear elsewhere. This may happen in one of three ways:
- When the deck divides, undrawn cards are placed at random into four separate piles, as evenly as possible. Unless the effect says otherwise, one pile, chosen at random, remains where it is. The other piles teleport to different random locations within 100 miles.
- When the deck is distributed to a specific group, undrawn cards are randomly allocated to the creatures in the group mentioned in the text, as evenly as possible.
- When the deck scatters, all undrawn cards teleport to different random locations within 2,000 miles.
If the entire deck is assembled and then the cards ordered (first by rank, then by the first suit on the card), a dispel chaos spell will cause the deck to disintegrate forever.
The influence effects are not intended to be balanced with each other; some are clearly better than others. Cards with numeric ranks tend to be on par with second level spell effects. Pawns, Courts and Crowns tend to match third level spell effects. Aces are a bit stronger. Since these effects abandon you when the icon moves, their design choices tend to err on the side of being stronger. Unlike the major effects, influence effects are always constructed as a benefit; however, since the icon will move at random, this does not necessarily translate into a benefit for the card’s owner or her allies.
In some cases, suits are linked to abilities (moons=wis, suns=cha, waves=dex, leaves=con, wyrms=str, knots=int).
Major effects were designed to have an even mix of “good”, “bad” and “neutral” for the querent, 15 effects of each kind. This is somewhat subjective, however, so your mileage may vary, particularly since even the good effects come with some Notoriety. Wyrms are almost always bad. Cards with what the author of Decktet calls “sympathetic combinations” are almost always good. Generally, “neutral” effects mix things that are good and bad for you, but are almost always more good than bad. The “bad” in some effects (particularly the drawbacks of the neutral effects) involve reactions of others to the effect and/or providing knowledge about the effect to others. This is completely intentional. The main design idea is that life for you might get better or it might worse, but it will always get more complicated, often by pointing the agendas of other people at you.