Characters earn tarot cards in the arena. Perform better in the arena and earn more and better cards. These cards provide various benefits such as extra powers, feats, skills, background elements (some negative), gear, etc.
- The major arcana cards provide the strongest, most unique benefits and often some flexibility in the award.
- The court cards provide powerful benefits.
- The minor cards provide minor benefits such as a small skill mod.
Performance in the arena determines the number of major, court and minor cards for each arena team. At the end of the evening, after all teams have fought, the players select the best two teams and the tarot cards for those teams are distributed.
Rules for Using the Cards
Interprete the cards creatively. For instance, the crime referenced in the Justice card might be a crime in the eyes of the elves but not in the eyes of the humans.
NPCs and Organizations
When choosing NPCs and organization for major arcana cards, they need to matter. For instance, if you have the Lovers card, your lover is a significant noble, leader of a holy grove, perhaps even a particular spirit, and not the local milkmaid or a shepherd. An enemy king cannot be in some distant land. NPCs for court cards can be lower rank and NPCs referenced in minor cards can be of any rank.
NOTE: XP awards cannot be combined. If you have cards with multiple XP awards, you must select a single XP award to use. You can still use all the non-XP awards of all your cards.
You may have several cards with seemingly contradictory effects but with some clever thought and some assistance from the referee you can almost always combine the elements in your history. For instance, if you have Strength and Justice you might be a human who is renown in human lands for a feat that also made you persona non grata in elvish lands where they will slay you on sight.
If you cannot reconcile the two cards' roleplaying elements in a sensible manner then you most forgo all effects of one of the cards so consider this when picking your tarot cards.
Demands on Time
For cards that demand your time, for instance the lover in the Lovers card or the organization you serve in the Hanged Man card, you cannot play your character more than 60% of the time. You must swap to your other character periodically.
Any companions referenced by the card are companions per the 4E rules (or equivalent if we go with 3.5). Although they have level appropriate hit points, defenses, etc, these NPCs do not have a full class and typically just have one power they can use. Nonetheless, they are very useful to have around.
For major arcana cards that provide a companion, the companion is the primary benefit of the card and you can expect to be able to use the companion frequently unless you somehow deeply offend the companion or power providing it. The card will indicate whether the companion is a one time companion, recurring but not constant, or a constant companion.
Companion characters are described in DMG2 page 30. They are similar to NPCs described in the DMG if you do not have DMG2. They are meant to be much easier to run then a full PC with all of a PC's powers and abilities.
If given a choice of feats, unless explicitly stated otherwise, you must choose feats for which you qualify, including level qualification.
You may gain no more than three feats from tarot cards.
For cards that provide a specific feat, you do not need to meet the qualifications of that feat.
You may have no more than a +2 defense bonus in any given defense. This applies only to bonuses from the tarot cards, not class, ability, race or other bonuses.
You may have no more than a +5 skill bonus in any given skill. The referee may allow certain of the situation specific bonuses to apply to +7. This applies only to bonuses from the tarot cards, not class, ability, race or other bonuses.
Saving Throw Bonuses
You may have no more than a +2 bonus to saving throws from tarot card effects.
Adventure tools allows you to create non-standard feats and powers. Use this capability to describe tarot card effects in a way that the tool can comprehend. Unfortunately it will not allow you to add extra feats or powers (even if they are standard ones) but you can add anything as a "magic item" and check the "print card" option so that you have a card for it to help you remember its affects. For affects that affect others, you should mark up the other powers in pen when you print them to avoid forgetting the bonus.