Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Guns, Alcohol, Tobacco/Swords and Coins

So I was working on a system recently. It was supposed to be aligned to the classic elements and was supposed to rework the classic symbols of the standard American card deck. It was mapped thusly:

Clubs -> Time -> Fire -> Guns
Heart -> Life -> Water -> Alcohol
Spades -> Death -> Air -> Tobacco/Swords
Diamonds -> Space -> Earth -> Coins

It was really hard for a fantasy fan like me to separate the original symbol of swords from spades, especially as I'd left a commonly used symbol of coins with diamonds. So it kinda is still stuck in the plan. I'd never determined how I was going to use this other than making descriptions of escalated actions taken by characters based on the suit to require one of the symbols. I'd also added some Jungian psychological representations, but I don't have my notes right now, and all of this is from memory. I think the system was going to be dice and cards, with a hand that would literally modify dice rolls, with suits being the influencing factor (like Face of Angels by Clinton R. Nixon). I can't remember if I came up with this before or after reading his playtest rules, so I'm just going to give him credit (which he richly deserves anyway!)


Anonymous JoE said...

Very interesting

Are you aware that the playing cards are derived from the tarot deck which comprises of four suits, each affiliated to one of the elements?
Wands -> Fire -> Clubs
Cups -> Water -> Hearts
Swords -> Air -> Spades
Coins -> Earth -> Diamonds

I hope not, it'd be really cool if you got there independently! Plus more support to the old Jungian collective unconscious...

6:06 PM, February 08, 2006

Blogger Mark Causey said...

No, unfortunately, I did some research before I made those connections. I've been trying to do something with those things (elements and cards) for a long time (seemingly).

7:44 AM, February 09, 2006

Blogger Dotan said...

I loved the mapping of the 4 suits to alcohol/tobacco/firearms/cash and yesterday I decided I want to use it; did it come from somewhere, or is it an original idea?

11:39 AM, November 14, 2006

Blogger Mark Causey said...

So far as I know, it's my idea. It's loosely based off of the elemental associations of the suits.

The way you put it, though, would be great for an ATF kind of game. :)

12:33 PM, November 14, 2006

Blogger Dotan said...

When I first read this, I got an immediate Unknown Armies vibe from the mapping. Or maybe Delta Green (I played one session of Delta Green, and my character was an ATF agent).
Now I want to use these debased modern associations as inspiration for a dark take on "royal family" of bizzaro Amber (this is for fiction and a potential game setting).

7:04 PM, November 14, 2006

Blogger Mark Causey said...

As for Unknown Armies or Amber, I'm too unfamiliar with them to make good comments. RE: Delta Green, I could see it working okay, if not lacking in a more horrific sense. If you're looking for permission or whatever, feel free to use whatever. I wouldn't post stuff on a blog that I was afraid would be stolen.

12:46 PM, November 15, 2006


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