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A powerful mystic tool for predicting the future!
Tarot of Future Portents
Effects: Upon first being gained, this tarot deck is completely normal to the user in every way. It's effects are no more predictive of the future than any other deck of tarot cards -- except, perhaps, for the cards being strangely meaningful and symbolic to the users eyes (giving him a +10% shift to any tarot reading roll). However, the deck does not come with any kind of instructions or self-help book on how to get started, and some knowledge of how to read Tarot is necessary for the successful use of the Tarot of Future Portents. This is because, in order to unlock the higher mystick powers of the deck, it must first be attuned to the reader.
Attunement is a long drawn out process, easily requiring an hour or more. The holder of the deck must perform a massive forty-card spread on his own fate, making a detailed reading of the cards drawn -- individually (each card in itself, relative to its position in the draw), after each draw (how each individual card changes the entire spread to date), and in completion (the message being conveyed by the entire 40-card spread). This requires a "Read Tarot" (or related skill; Occult will work) check, with a minimum roll of 20 due to the complexity of the spread. The +10% shift does apply to this roll, though it doesn't offset the minimum.
Once you've attuned to the Tarot, they cease to be wholely a normal deck to your eyes. Every card seems to be bursting with occult significance, and occasionally the images on specific cards will even change to better reflect what is being shown. The shift for reading Tarot increases to +20%, but this is the least of the capabilities gained!
When first attuned to the Tarot, you gain the "Future Portents" soul-skill at 30%, which can be increased with experience when used like any other skill. In order to use this skill, you must set up a spread on the subject that you wish to learn about. The purpose for your spread must be clearly stated before the deck is cut or shuffled, and the spread picked for the reading should be appropriate. The spread itself requires a Read Tarot roll, merely as a formality, with the full +20% shift. If the attuned owner gains a critical or matched success, he takes the +20% shift on his Future Portents skill as well. A failure means that the reading is a mundane one, with no use of Future Portents possible. Matched failures have no effect, but a critical failure means that a dire and unavoidable doom is predicted upon the bearer of the deck.
Assuming a failure (other than a critical failure; you DO roll this for the double zeros to see how much of your doom you see coming, unable to prevent it. Take the +20% shift, too) was not rolled, the GM now rolls his Future Portent skill for him. A failure at this point produces a result similar to that of a normal tarot reading -- except that it's correct! If the reading says that your fortunes are looking up and you should pull through with your planned buisness venture, then you most definately should! If you roll a success, however, more detail is possible -- you might learn that your planned project with GeneTech is going to go fine, and you should watch out for Matthews as he's the biggest threat to the situation. A matched or critical success gets /very/ specific!; "Be sure to wear your blue tie when you first meet GeneTech's CEO. He doesn't like black." A matched failure or critical failure means that you misinterpret the portents revealed, and get a false result.
The futures read by the tarot are not always good, or helpful. Sometimes the tarot will tell you that your fate is on a downward spiral, and perhaps give you advice on how to improve things or minimize the damage. Even so, it's best not to put too much faith in the portents of the future revealed by the tarot. The future is not set in stone, and much like the Invisible Clergy the Tarot of Future Portents only reads the probabilities and trends of the future. It does so with a great amount of precision, but no more power to control the results. Indeed, much less -- for the deck only reads the future, and the Clergy manipulates it. Many things can change the futures revealed by the cards, so he that recieves ill news should not be too discouraged.
Unless you rolled the critical failure on your read tarot roll, in any event. The doom predicted therein is unavoidable, no matter how hard you should fight against it.
Description: A fairly unassuming tarot deck, somewhat old and tattered, the cards a bit faded and the edges perhaps a bit marked and bent in places while still being quite servicable. When fully laid out in a detailed spread, the aged quality of the cards adds somewhat to the effect -- even people that are normally dismissive of tarot find it a little harder to take these cards for granted.
The design of the cards faithfully follows the Thoth theme, identical to that created by Aleister Crowley and some have in fact posited that this might have been his favored deck. If so, the connection has long since been lost to time.