Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tarot Rooms

-A tarot reading always implies the immediate proximity of rooms corresponding to the cards in the reading.

-The advice represented by the cards will offer the key to finding those rooms.

-With one exception (The Fool Room), these tarot rooms always appear inside a structure—-a castle, a tower, a tomb, a labyrinth, catacomb, etc. --in other words, in a dungeon. It will be a dungeon with other kinds of rooms and occupants in it, often an otherwise quite vanilla dungeon. They can exist parasitically within any dungeon of sufficient size and complexity.

-If one room appears inside the structure, all other tarot rooms will be in the same structure—and in a specific relation to that room.

-“Major Arcana” rooms (i.e. rooms matching cards without suits) will always be behind secret doors or otherwise hidden.

-Each room has many correspondences and sympathies, not all are known. What is known is that each kind of room corresponds to a kind of individual, and if one of these sympathetic entities is present, the effect of visiting a tarot room is altered.

-Rooms of the various suits are sympathetic to individuals of a level and class corresponding to the room's suit and number:

All rooms of the suit of Swords are sympathetic to fighters (or rangers, paladins, barbarians, etc) of the matching level.
Cups are sympathetic to clerics (or druids, etc) of the matching level.
Coins/Pentacles are sympathetic to thieves (or rogues, specialists, acrobats, etc) of the matching level.
Wands are sympathetic to wizards (or witches, warlocks, illusionists, etc) of the matching level.

-Relative to the center of the structure:
Coin rooms are always south,
Cup rooms always east,
Wand rooms always west,
and Sword rooms always north.

-Each room generally contains life-sized, jointed, painted, wooden mannequins, set out in a tableau with painted backdrops and stages matching the design of the card matching the room. In some circumstances, the figures will animate and act--they are called Tarot Golems. They usually cannot speak but can understand any humanoid language. Their stats are scalable to however hard the adventure is supposed to be unless otherwise noted.

-The order of the rooms corresponds to dungeon "levels" or fortress "levels" depending on the structure, so, for example, if the rooms were in a maze below ground, the 4 of cups would be 4 levels beneath the earth, but if the rooms were in a tower, the 4 of cups would be 4 levels above--that is, on the 4th floor of the structure.

The first few rooms are as follows:

The Fool Room -- These secret rooms can normally only be found on a fumble roll (any fumbled task in the right area might uncover it, not just a fumbled search roll), though an idiot (Int 4 or less or Wis 4 or less) can find one on a proper search in the right area.

Entering the room creates a new soul which then appears in the Fool Golem. As soon as the threshold is crossed, the jester or idiot mannequin in the tableau will animate, completely naive about the world. It will be fascinated by everything, and immediately seek to learn (wordlessly) about the world, experimenting with every object it sees. Its Intelligence and Wisdom are 3, its other stats are generated as a standard peasant. It will in all likelihood leave the room as soon as it has learned all it can and start to explore outside.

Note that a new soul and golem is still generated when the door is opened even if one has already left the room, so repeated visits (including by the Fool Golem itself) can result in any number of moronic, inquisitive golems wandering the countryside (they may be dressed differently, just as various tarot decks are done in different styles). Once outside, the golem will trade almost any service for more information (much of which it will promptly forget), and intimations of this fact will appear in the heads of any ambitious person it encounters. 

If any idiots (anyone of Int 4 or less or Wis 4 or less) are present when the Fool Room is opened, the fool mannequin will not animate. Instead, the mannequin of the Fool's cat will animate and wave to the stupid character(s) and take their hand(s) in its paw. It will silently offer to trade any pieces of adventuring gear the idiot(s) has/have for any brand new item extant in the setting of equal value. The items will be of high quality, fit for the coming adventure and will be brought out by the cat from behind the wooden curtains of the tableau. Only the cat can bring things from behind the curtain and only if the space behind the curtain is unobserved. Looking behind it reveals nothing. 


Ace of Wands Room--The Tarot Golem in this room is a crawling hand of ordinary size like Thing in the Addams family or one of those wooden articulated artist's model hands and it is infused with energy and creativity. It can cast any 1st level spell that the GM invents on the spot once per round, and will do so in order to protect its spellbook, which contains 20 unheard-of first level spells.

If any first level wizards (or witches, or warlocks, etc) are present, they will immediately receive a wordless instruction that they must invent a 1st level spell on the spot. They have 14 seconds to do so. If the GM does not approve the spell, they may try twice more. If they successfully invent a spell, the golem will give the PC (s) its spellbook.
Ace of Cups Room--A vast iron cup fills the room, seething with the energies of generosity. It will fill with 1-10 doses of healing nectar (d4 hp per dose) precisely proportional to the amount of love that enters the room when the door opens (0 being the door opening on a combat of all against all, 10 being an ecstatic polyamorous orgy).

The first time any first-level clerics (druids, etc) are present when the door is opened, the cup will be of perfectly ordinary size and empty, but will immediately seem special to the cleric. It cannot be moved unless holy liquid is poured into it by the cleric or clerics. If it is, the cup will then be movable by the clergyindividual(s) in question and will possess magic properties: neither it nor whatever is poured into it can ever be taken from the cleric(s) or from any member of their faith it is gifted to.

Ace of Coins Room-- The handlike Tarot Golem here sits inside a large pentagram of gold-dust that nearly fills the room. Upon being discovered it will immediately crawl toward the nearest source of wealth and drag it back inside the pentagram. "Wealth" is here defined as any hoard of coins larger than the one currently inside the pentagram (which begins with nothing inside). If they do not stand in the pentagram, it's possible the nearest "hoard" will be the PCs' purses. The golem has one hit die and if the PCs do not handle the situation carefully they may not realize the vast potential of the treasure-finding device they've stumbled upon--though the golem will regenerate inside the pentagram if the room is empty and it is unobserved.

If any first-level thieves (or rogues or specialists, etc) are present when the door is opened then the hand will crawl over to them and open, palm up. If a coin is placed in the palm by such a thief, the hand will then draw for the thief a map indicating the largest source of other coins of that metal within one mile. It will do nothing else.

Ace of Swords Room -- The Tarot Golem in this room, consisting of a sword held in a slithering and snakelike armature, will immediately attack making use of radical insight. It knows each of its enemies' greatest weaknesses due to unfailing revelation. Any successful hit will be a critical.

The first time any first level fighters (or rangers, or barbarians, etc) are present when the room is opened, the golem will only attack them and will have hit points equal to the combined hp of all 1st level fighters present (at the start of the fight). If the golem is defeated by the first level fighter(s) without aid from anyone else, it will offer them its sword. The sword will (only under these conditions) allow the bearer to sense a single enemy within line-of-sight's greatest weakness once per week.
The Magician's Room-- The invisible door to this secret room can only be detected using magic. The Tarot Golem inside has stats as a wizard of a level equal to the combined hd of the creatures in the room+1, though it will only use spells of the transmutation type. When the door is opened, it will nod politely and then begin to follow the party. It is delighted by transformations--if the party should transform anything in its presence, the excited golem will use magic or guile to transform something else, more or less at random.  It will otherwise be quite neutral.

Transformations for this purpose generally exclude mere destruction--the alteration must be something which changes a thing to a way it never was before while not appreciably decreasing its level of complexity and organization. Living to dead doesn't count as a transformation, but cleric-to-lich or enemy-to-ally would.

If any wizards (etc) are present when the room is opened, the Magician will go to work demonstrating its abilities, lifting the objects off its mountebank table (cups, coins, knives, wands) and changing them one into the next. It will then enthusiastically gesture to the wizard. If the wizard then transforms something, the golem will bow and hold out its hand. If the wizard places any object into the golem's hand, the golem will change it into an object which will come in handy to the wizard in the future, though the wizard will not realize it at the time. It will not follow the party as described above.


The Two of Wands Room--As soon as the door to this room is opened, the golem will push forward through the door, intent on moving directly toward the most powerful magic-using creature in the entire structure and striking up a mutually beneficial relationship with them. It has abilities as a second-level wizard and will use them to banish any impediments in the most direct way possible.

If any wizards of 2nd level are present when the door is opened the golem will take them by the hand and, using signs, describe the location of some nearby, as yet undiscovered, place of interest (a treasure hoard, a magic library, etc) and gesture that they go seek it. It will attempt to bar any non-2nd-level-wizards from following. If the wizard(s) go alone and return successful (and the golem is still alive), the golem will allow the wizard to copy the golem's spellbook. The spellbook will contain at least one useful spell the wizard would not otherwise be able to access.

Two of Cups Room--The two figures will briefly acknowledge anyone entering and then go back to drinking. As soon as they are, the GM should add another entry to the random encounter table: an NPC party precisely like the PC party aside from two things:

-They will be associated with the opposite god
-They will be erotic counterparts of the PCs and find them immediately attractive

If second level clerics are present when the room is found then one of the golems will offer the cleric a drink. If they take the cup and drink from it without suspicion, one of the golems will be revealed to be a 2nd level cleric of the same god and will, in its golem way, go about attempting to found a church of that god within the structure in an attempt to curry favor with the cleric. The NPC party will still be added to the random encounter table.
Two of Coins Room--This juggling golem juggles under any circumstances. It begins by juggling two coins. The coins are clearly worth 200gp each (go ahead and add zeroes to that figure if 200gp isn't enough to entice your party). If either of the coins are taken (it's easy) it will immediately begin looking for other things to juggle, seizing on the first cup/container, bladed weapon or wand/staff/rod/stick it can find to replace the lost coin and begin juggling again. It cannot be damaged in any way but otherwise has stats as a 2nd level thief.

When the coin or coins are replaced, the rest of the dungeon/structure will change: for each coin missing, half the coins in the place will be replaced with their weight in cups, (useless) wands or swords, as appropriate. So if, for example, one of the coins is replaced with a blade, half the coins in the entire dungeon (including any on the party) will be replaced with their weight in swords, if the other coin is replaced with a stick, the other half of the coins in the dungeon will be replaced with wands. If both coins are replaced with swords, all the coins in the dungeon turn to swords. In any event, putting a coin back returns that half of the dungeon's collective hoard to normal.

If a second-level thief steals one of the coins then the golem can replace the coin with the nearest convenient noncoin object, and the coins in the dungeon will be replaced with an equivalent weight's worth of second-level thieves of various races. These thieves will immediately scatter throughout the dungeon.

Two of Swords Room--There will always be another room on the far side of this one, accessible only this way--and that room will always clearly contain something of value. The Two of Swords Golem will defend that room with her life, but if no-one attempts to pass she will simply meditate quietly. She will also defend anyone who peacefully occupies her room.

Her stats are as a second-level fighter with two exceptions: her starting hit points equal the combined hit points of whoever she faces (at the moment the fight begins) and she has two actions per round--the first unfailing parries the first attack against her (even magic) and the second unfailingly strikes a target.

If a second-level fighter joins her in meditation for eight hours (while, for example, the rest of the party sleeps) they will learn the secrets of either blind-fighting or dual-wielding. Mechanics depend on the system, but generally both are still done at some kind of penalty, just not at the usual, big, one.
The High Priestess Room--This room cannot be found by looking for it--the entrance to this secret room can only be found via passive perception checks. The priestess herself is exquisitely carved and articulated, a perfect golem cleric of the structure's original architect culture and faith with stats equivalent to a cleric two levels higher than the combined hit dice of everyone in the room.

The Priestess Golem will answer questions with oblique gestures. If a PC can manage to do absolutely nothing in her presence for 2 minutes, she will hand them a small box carved from a mysterious blue stone. In the box will be a tool which will allow the creature to overcome their greatest weakness one time. A spindly wizard might receive a potion of strength, an illiterate barbarian might be given an earring which whispers a text, etc The boon only works on the character in question.

Once the door is opened for the first time, it will remain open, the High Priestess will begin collecting recruits for her faith, drawing recruits from whoever wanders in. She will give them each a boon, slowly turning wandering monsters into more dangerous and zealous wandering monsters--each time the GM rolls a random encounter, mark a tick next to the next creature down on the table--that creature (or one of them) has been converted and now has a boon.

If female clerics of any faith are present when the door is open, the High Priestess will gesture to the ground before her, offering them the opportunity to kneel at her feet and be converted. If they refuse, she will draw for them a map directly to the nearest exit. If the clerics leave, she will station several of her new recruits at that exit so they can never come back.

To be continued...


Jesús Chavero said...

Tarot as a dungeon, brilliant! For 5E classes, which suit would be sympathetic for bards?

Zak Sabbath said...

No-one is sympathetic to bards

Jesús Chavero said...

Ha! Good one! But I think I'll rule that bards get sympathy in rooms that suit depending on which stat is higher: strength for swords, dexterity for coins, wisdom for cups and intelligence for wands. And roll a dice for ties.

Every Comment A Poem said...

Bast said...

Ooooo, yes. I finally got around to reading this and like it so much.