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Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

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Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby Oddball » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:07 pm

Has anyone used divination items to develop plots/characters for a story instead? Is this a good idea or is it insulting to the cards?
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:06 pm

I think that's a creative idea. There are Storey Cubes, dice with pictures, precisely for this, & even Tarot dice, so why not use the cards? Tarot decks are pieces of machine printed card stock. Any animation is within the mind of the user. I'm not saying decks can't have spiritual "presence" and ambiance. Just that the only insult or praise possible is within the mind of the user, the symbolic connections being made and the attachments one has.
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby Oddball » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:31 pm

Just wanted to thank you (very belatedly) for the advice! I've seen a few books on tarot for character creation, although I felt kind of limited by them. Oracle cards work better for me so far. And holy crow, The Faerytale Oracle is SO GOOD for determining character motivation. I was really surprised. Now I need to figure out what to do for worldbuilding!
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby planewalker » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:24 pm

You could always call on an expert who works cheap { like for free} to either create a world to order or help you become conversant with the process. I don't know if you have ever heard of "Dungeons and Dragons". I learned to GM the old way. When it first came out it was very basic and a lot was imagined by the GM not generated by % die rolls on extensive charts. The game now has hard bound rule books that, last I knew, ran out to 40 few volumes. When I first started we used 6 booklets. Soft bound, 5" X7", 20 few pages and for the first couple years we had to have trools instead of trolls because of a misprint. Yes I have a set autographed by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume. They created the game and those mint edition originals are in my safe deposit box. When the game was first out, it was played mostly on college campuses and Army bases. Sounds strange, especially since this was early 70's {just out of 'Nam}. ROTC and the fact that for a pound weight, the size of a couple note books, you could adventure in Middle Earth."Lord of the Rings" was HUGE. The players were mobile and your character was "everything" when you were a player. There were lots of those. They needed imaginative people who could create worlds to adventure in and they had to be consistent so people could bring their characters from GM's world to GM's world { you've spent 3 yrs of spare time at Yale and now that your at Berkley you need a new character. Not if there are licensed GM's}. I've been coming up with worlds with villages, towns and cities { both land locked and ports}, farm lands with serfs and freeholders, all landforms, different places to adventure in. I've used,run, and made habitations for - men, elves, dwarves, kobolds, goblins, hob-goblins, orcs, urik-hai, ghosts, spirits, wights, wraiths, vampires ... were animal/human .....Lammasu, chimera, hydra...dragons, nazgul, giant animals ...dinosaurs. and you get the idea. I'd be happy to help. Just co-author or footnote me depending on how much I do for you.
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby barker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:44 am

All your characters would end up enlightened if you used tarot to define them. That's true every story does, except don't call them all good! What is an enlightened bad person? Unlucky... certain misery actually...

The thing about being unlucky is that people learn from it. Good will prevail but how? Are you doing a book about vicarious learning or about adventure? You might find all the tarot in the world can only stage a single twist of the plot, for if the whole book were about a sad master and wiser students it wouldn't be all that outgoing. Complex matter indeed...
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby planewalker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:43 am

I believe that Oddball is looking to the cards for character development, but not all of the plot development and devices. Some will be character driven to keep the story psychologically valid. Most can be externally driven to give the environment the characters will operate within.
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby Oddball » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:18 am

That's true, barkee, and that's why I ending up struggling when trying to define characters with tarot. It's too black & white. Most of the spreads I found asked me about my characters' negative and positive attributes. Well, how is the 10 of Swords supposed to be positive?! And what if the cards are reversed? Oracle cards were the opposite - too vague. Let's say you've got a character who's loyal, for example. Good trait, in theory...but what if they were loyal to a criminal organization, or a tyrant? Too vague and subjective, in my opinion.

So far, I've found it's best to keep the questions open. Instead of mapping out my characters from the get-go, life story and all, it's easier for me to ask questions like: "What does this character want?" "Why?" Or sometimes, "How do they view themselves?" "How does the world/a particular person react to them?" It helps to have a world established first, though, to frame these questions a little better. So far I've been using established universes (i.e., ripping off canon, writing fanfiction for myself :P ), but I do want to start defining my own worlds in more detail.

Although plotting is the hardest part, I swear. I even tried using Lenormand cards, but there's not enough conflict in them for me. And I DO like me some story conflict.

And ey, Planewalker, didn't know you used to play D&D! I've always wanted to do RP but I suck at improv and I get nervous around strangers. Iiiiiit's a work in progress. I think I have every RP book EXCEPT D&D. I should've started with the classics, methinks.
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Re: Storytelling with Oracle Cards/Tarot?

Postby SpiritTalker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:39 am

A negative card could represent a lesson learned, or an experience that drives the person to be different. Even a fear that controls their fight or flight response.
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