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[Migrated] Emperor's Tarot (Compiled Threads)


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#1 Wu Ming

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 04:54 AM

 Magus-Illuminatus Peter Accoming Has Recorded: Over the millennia since His Ascension to the Golden Throne, the Emperor’s Tarot has gone by many names and many incarnations in the uncounted worlds of our vast and eternal Imperium. In the High Gothic, it is known as Cartae Imperatoris Illuminas; the desert nomads of Tallarn refer to the Qarta’an-nafs, or “soul map”; the Necromundan Redemptionists speak of the Will Incarnate. And to the scholar of the Tarot it seems sometimes that there are at least as many variations and manifestations of the Tarot as there are names for it.

Some versions of the Tarot comprise only the Major Arcana. Some include cards such as the Betrayer, the Missile or the Galaxy. Some have alternate names for well-known cards, or divide the properties of a single card into two. Some have the traditional Minor Arcana of bolters, novas, thrones and shields. Others have swords, stars, trees and helms. Yet others may have a mix of these or yet another derivation. Whilst scholars may argue over the merits and pedigrees of different versions, the student is best advised to find the Tarot that suits him best. For if we are of a faithful and pious mind, focussed intently upon His Divine Purpose, then surely He will guide our hand in whatever form our devotions take.

The lowly guardsman must make do with a common set of plastinated wafers, cheaply printed, often in a single colour. Such a set can double as both a focus of pious adoration and a welcome distraction in times of tedious anticipation – literally thousands of different games of skill and chance can be played with the cards of the minor arcana. Note, however, that it is widely considered bad luck to include any of the major arcana in a game.

On more technologically blessed worlds, simple divination engines can be purchased that will generate a basic spread of three, five or even as many as nine cards. More expensive versions can be found that will even supply an automated reading, but those who have even a passing understanding of the subtleties of the Tarot will reject such gadgets as no more than an amusing toy without any of the true spiritual value of the spread interpreted by the faithful human mind.

Only the wealthiest and most enlightened of students will be able to acquire the truest manifestation – that is, the psycho-crystal wafer. Individually attuned to the owner, each set can be manufactured only by the Divisio Cognoscenti of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and the method of creation is a most holy secret. The truly pious student of the Emperor’s Tarot can aspire no further than to possess a set of such matchless efficacy, and to manipulate and engage with such a Tarot is to come as close as a mortal can to touching the very mind of the Immortal Emperor Himself. My own set was a reward for services in divination rendered to an esteemed member of the Holy Orders of the Emperor’s Inquisition – who must, perforce remain nameless - and in the fifty years from that day to this I have used it but once, at the earnest request of another in the same Order.A list of useful sources I have come across relating tot he Emperor's Tarot:

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The Threads:

Gingerwerewolf

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Through the various fiction and the Main Rulebook, there are made mention to the Emperors Tarot. Notably in Inquisition War, the Ian Watson Novel.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Tarot

Its been explained that by using the Emperors Tarot a psyker can devine what the Emperor wants and what the future might bring. It is also said that the Emperor designed them himself. All good for our Psykers.

Divination via cards is also mentioned in the short clips from the Audiobook The Lightning Tower. In it, Konrad devines the future, but it mentions that the cards are based on anchient terran cards. So the card, The Lightning Tower, is possibly based upon the Tarot Card, the Tower.

However, if the Emperor didnt believe in superstition, magic and sorcery, why would he design Tarot Cards? Could it be that the Emperors Tarot was designed by the Ecclesiarchy or the Scholastia Psykana, to help keep rogue Psykers in line, or is there a more nefarious purpose?

This would be in keeping with the fact that Konrad uses older cards at the end of the Heresy.

So do any of you have the Emperors Tarot in your games, how do you use them, and are they any good as a plot device? Have any of you come up with the names for other cards? Im aware of their use in Dark Heresy Im talking outside the rules / stories in there.

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Gingerwerewolf wrote:However, if the Emperor didnt believe in superstition, magic and sorcery, why would he design Tarot Cards? Could it be that the Emperors Tarot was designed by the Ecclesiarchy or the Scholastia Psykana, to help keep rogue Psykers in line, or is there a more nefarious purpose?


I feel I need to make an important correction here. The Emperor didn't necessarily not believe in superstition, magic, and sorcery. He didn't want anyone ELSE to believe in it... why? Well, because the warp lost much power, since it operates on the emotions and beliefs of the creatures of real space.

The emperor was (and still is) the most powerful human psyker ever to grace the universe, and if its rumored that he invented the Emperor's tarot, then I wouldn't be in the least surprised considering his role in the galaxy. From what I understand the tarot actually does work (as opposed to the cold reading version we have today) when used by a trained psyker.

I believe that the divination chart at character creation is likened to as if your characters life has been read to him via the tarot.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Tue, 2008 Jul 22, 4:09 PM (CDT)

 
weaver95


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who's to say that someone else invented the Tarot and just gave the emperor the credit? Seems like something Malcador the Sigilite might have done. Or Magnus, primarch of the 1000 sons chapter (prior to the heresy of course).
 
Gingerwerewolf

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Skibbles wrote:
I feel I need to make an important correction here. The Emperor didn't necessarily not believe in superstition, magic, and sorcery. He didn't want anyone ELSE to believe in it... why? Well, because the warp lost much power, since it operates on the emotions and beliefs of the creatures of real space.


Good point, I hadnt thought of it that way. However if he didnt want anyone else to believe in it, why would he create a divination method that relied on the warp and hand it out?

The only reason I can think of is that he invented it when he was interred in the golden throne, as he knew it was going to be harder and hard to communicate with him as the centuries went by.

weaver95 wrote:
who's to say that someone else invented the Tarot and just gave the emperor the credit? Seems like something Malcador the Sigilite might have done. Or Magnus, primarch of the 1000 sons chapter (prior to the heresy of course).


Another good point and that was along the lines of my thoughts, though the idea of Magnus designing them is brilliant. Magnus has always been a favorite of the Primarchs as he was genuinely a good guy who tried to help his Emperor and the help was thrown back in his face.

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Skibbles


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I believe it is impossible to really make a well supported argument on who originally designed the tarot, but I think all sources would agree that they seem to have some mystic property to them in the works of divination.

Magnus is a really good idea, but then again many others could be responsible... best leave it to the ancient past that will never be known...
   
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It is said doesn't necessarily mean he actually did. Might be a case of people just saying so, so that it won't wiff of heresy and witchcraft so much. The original inventor might be Steve from the accounting department of the Ecclesiarchy. It was long, long ago and far, far away.

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Questions About the Emperor's Tarot

   
Gaudy Scabbard


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This is something i'm interested in introducing into my game but I know virtually nothing about it. Here goes:

1) What cards make up the Emperor's Tarot? Are they based on real Tarot decks?

2) Who can use the Emperor's Tarot? Psykers only, warp seers, anybody else?

3) Is the E.T. used for divination or for other uses?

4) Does the E.T. use the Warp in any way?

Feel free to tell me everything you know, it will all be greatly appreciated.

Since I actually use the Tarot myself in real life, the idea of the Emperor's Tarot as some kind of central plot device is very appealing.

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evilscary

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I love the ET, but haven't used it in games yet. I'll try and answer to the best of my knowledge.

1) What cards make up the Emperor's Tarot? Are they based on real Tarot decks?

- It's got 78 cards (unlike real tarot which has 72). The suits named so far are: Discordia (representing enemies of mankind), Adeptio (representing servants of the Imperium) and Mandatio (also seem to be Imperial servants).

2) Who can use the Emperor's Tarot? Psykers only, warp seers, anybody else?

It seems to be usable by anyone (anyone with training and access to a deck that is). Psykers may well have a higher chance of actual divination while using the ET though.

3) Is the E.T. used for divination or for other uses?

Divination alone I think. Although it's worth pointing out that ET readings are made almost all the time for things such as naming a titan, starting a military campaign, naming a child or even plotting a starship course.

4) Does the E.T. use the Warp in any way?

Who knows! A non-psyker using ET may be just drawing random cards, with no real divination occuring at all. The Emperor himself may well influence ET divinations!
Of course a psyker using ET probably IS using the warp... as long as the psyker has any divination powers, that is.

More info here: http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Tarot

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Mon, 2008 Oct 13, 1:16 PM (CDT)


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Kage2020

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Gaudy Scabbard wrote:1) What cards make up the Emperor's Tarot? Are they based on real Tarot decks?

Well, it appears to share a number of similarities with it, though there isn't enough information to be able to suggest too many links. There are, for example, 78 cards, 4 suits (Adeptio [Heroes], Discordia [Enemies], Mandatio [government, wealth], and Excuteria [unknown, exploration]). We have some names for cards from the original article (WD210, IIRC) but beyond that...? Who knows.

There are a number of fan interpretations out there, most notably Tigers Heart (find her on Deviantart), and CELS (well, CELS as the primary with others contributing) over at Anargo. Their fan interpretations, so take with a pinch of salt.

Gaudy Scabbard wrote:2) Who can use the Emperor's Tarot? Psykers only, warp seers, anybody else?

The article in questions says that the deck is used by "...his [the Emperor's] loyal followers to divine his will..." Erm, that's about it.

Personally I would argue that there is a difference between an adept (who would be a psyker) and a lay practitioner, who would be anyone that managed to get their hands on a deck. This last might be an insurmountable problem in terms of "official decks" ("...each scribe labours his entire lifetime lavishly illuminating a single precious card.").

Gaudy Scabbard wrote:3) Is the E.T. used for divination or for other uses?

The article mentions divination. One finds it harder to imagine that decks of such purported value are being used in card games. Of course, not all decks need to be "official" so...

Gaudy Scabbard wrote:4) Does the E.T. use the Warp in any way?

Depends on which of the numerous possibilities that the article mentions that you prefer. One suggestion is that they represent the Emperor's Will, while another is that the reader themselves control the cards, while another one is that they are controlled by the Chaos Gods.

As with the real tarot, take your pick of what you believe.

Gaudy Scabbard wrote:Since I actually use the Tarot myself in real life, the idea of the Emperor's Tarot as some kind of central plot device is very appealing.

Same here, though I probably have a less serious desire to use them (adventure and NPC creation, indicators of the "sense" of chapters of a book... that kind of thing).

Edit: evilscary beat me to it.

Kage

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Mon, 2008 Oct 13, 1:22 PM (CDT)


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Cifer


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4) Does the E.T. use the Warp in any way?

IMO, that depends on the specific set of cards - there are simple cardboard ones that are powerful only in the hands of a psyker focusing his powers through them and there are others (likely extremely valuable) that may use technology or other ways to fulfill their use. Archaeotech or Eldar Wraithbone may yield unexpected results...

A set of cards with such effects can be seen in Illumination .
 
Kage2020

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For me that is one of the attributes of adept vs. lay partitioners. The majority of lay practitioners use fakes. Some, of course, us official versions, but the majority are at the fake level.

With that said? I prefer to remove the whole religion angle and put Tarot use as moderated by the individual (the Adept). But there we go.

YMMV.

Kage

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Lord Kruge


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I would treat the use of the Tarot much like today's psychics talk about using a Ouija board or some other divination devices, namely DON'T unless you're a professional.

Opening the door is easy, making sure what comes through is what you want is something else entirely.

So...

A sanctioned Psyker or one who has been trained in special techniques can possibly divine the will of the Emperor.

Others who mess with the Tarot may get nothing or may contact the Empyrean instead, with all kinds of possible nastiness.

I also think there would be ordinary Tarot decks that did nothing and other decks made of special psychically active material that were used for real divination, with the majority of the Imperium not being able to tell the difference.

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Gregorius21778


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Kage2020 wrote:We have some names for cards from the original article (WD210, IIRC) but beyond that...? Who knows.


Does someone has a link? Is the article available somehow?

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#2 Tiger''s Heart

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 06:13 PM

Having just joined (again) the FFG forums, I'd like to give the links to the work done so far on my Emperor's Tarot Project - based on DeviantArt.

You can find my Gallery here inquisitorminmi.deviantart.com/ and a complete list of the cards I have complied (including as many mentioned in source material as possible) here www.nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au/tarot.htm together with links to the cards and the image creators.   Other links to the background discussions can be found on the DeviantArt homepage as well - if you are interested in the why's and wherefore's.

There is still a way to go and we need more art, but I hope to have all the interpretations up on the webpage in the next couple of weeks.

If you are interested in helping with art or have constructive contributions please join up!

May the Emperor Guide Your Hands

Inquisitor Minmi

 

aka   Tiger's Heart






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