Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Let's Build an Adventure Using My New GM Tarot Cards

So I received my GM Tarot Cards in the mail today. It was a Kickstarter that met two of its stretch goals. So I in addition to receiving the general deck, I also received the urban and wilderness decks. 

My only gripe is the font is tiny and the background images interfere. They are nice looking cards, great cases, and useful...but there is only one way to prove how useful. 

Let's make an adventure!

Let's keep the first one simple. A dungeon. We'll need a map. Oh look, here's one.

Six numbered encounters in a straight forward underground, dungeon, cellar, or sewer. CARD TIME!

The GM Tarot Cards, I'm using the general deck, has three different type of cards; locations, encounters, and hooks. Location cards have a compass. 

So our little dungeon is neither dungeon, cellar, or sewer. Tis, a crypt of the family variety. Wafting in the air are the scented memories of births, celebrations, rivalries, love, and deaths. Shared experiences of the Covenington family. Stuffed in expensive vases around the crypt are now dead lilacs and lilies sitting on well crafted wood tables. On the floors are fanciful rugs you would find layered in a parlor. The appearance is unsettling because of the attempt to duplicate a room for the living.

The young house maids gossip about the wealth that is no longer within the house. Rooms that were once filled with gold and silver items of exquisite craftsmanship are missing. They whisper that the lords and ladies must have been buried with their treasures. The older servants smack them for their idle gossip and make them return to their duties. Things still need cleaned, repaired, and kept in order until the next lord visits. 

A Bit of Mystery
During the burial of the late Lady Gwen, one of the pall bearers, Gibson, noticed one of the crypts remained unmarked. Strange. He thought it empty, but the crypt was sealed, the lid was secured with what looked like silver spikes. But consider the source, Gibson gets his nickname, Red Nose, for a reason. He never met an ale he didn't like. He's the one who thought he saw a short ghost in the forest. It ended up being Miss Gladiola's dog tangled in a bed sheet.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to use one or all, but I'm developing all of them just to have in my hip pocket. You never know when the party is going to turn left, right, take flight, or decide to leave the area completely. 

 Let's grab a hook card.

Very appropriate card. I am pulling these out at random. I swear. So let's see what kind of hooks we can create.

Unwelcome Guests
The Covington family has always been secretive. They are no different in death. With the scuffling of booted feet, not even the silent pads of a halfling will escape their notice. 

What the Hell was that?
Anderson, the caretaker of the manor, said he nearly died of fright. He saw a thing. Like human, but broken. Its back and limbs bent at odd angles. For a moment, the edge of his lantern light caught features between the darkness. The gaping mouth was pitch black and hung open. The creature bolted into the darkness.

Call of the Quiet
The Covington crypt claimed a victim recently. The miller's boy, no one remembers his name, disappeared months ago. Tracks led to the crypt entrance. A servant found a sack of flour the boy intended to deliver at the bottom of the stairs.

The last card is encounters. I think we've covered that with the previous cards. But do you think I'm not going to use one. I so am. 

Unseen Hoard
At first you think it's rain. A steady tapping noise. But as it continues it gets louder, stranger. From the other side of the walls you hear the sound of hundreds of thunderous footsteps charging your location. At any moment you expect the walls to explode and an army to pour into the room. 

The Grotesque 
It was Anderson who spoke of a creature of grotesque countenance. Such a creature stands half in light, half in the dark, its features continue to shift. It seems to struggle with the changes. What one would consider hands, holds its bent head and its body trembles. It looks more pathetic than terrifying. Any approach, the creature shifts, flickers into view for brief moments then vanishes. 

What...who is that?
The torchlight flickers. It fights the veils of darkness that flutter between the light and the things in the crypt. Between the veils, you see hunched creature with elongated arms that end in large, curled spikes. When the torchlight hits it, the veil moves and the creature disappears. A moment later, the creature is upon you.

Now I have all this information to build an adventure. More than I'll need. I can use some of it to build the lore around the crypt. I have NPCs to carry the storyline, some creditable, some not so much. I also have a creature, or more than one, ready to inflict horrible things upon the party. 

Doing this exercise, I see different avenues to develop the adventure and to get the party involved. Especially if they do multiple visits. This could be a place that evolves. Develops. The first visit doesn't necessarily mean the creature in the dark will reveal itself. Other strange happenings can occur. Who knows. 

One of the concepts I like to use, is the developing adventure. Not everything happens or is revealed at once. Through play and discovery, the site/adventure comes alive to reveal a horrible truth hidden beneath the veneer of rumors and distraction. 

Cool. I'm done. This was fun. 


  1. The maps look great and the adventures sound fun.

  2. The publisher didn't catch the hoard typo?

  3. That's pretty darned cool -- nice conversion from card to adventure.

  4. So would you use these? At the table if you were out of ideas or away from the table or what?

    1. I would probably use them ahead of a game. For some game prep of alternatives.

  5. So where do we get these cards from and how much are they going to set us back?

  6. http://trinityknotstudio.com/
    Is the website. I'm not sure they have a retail version yet or what the price will be.