Saturday, April 13, 2013

tarot's take on some nerdiness

So recently, some friends have drawn me into the nerdy cliche that is the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Very unsurprisingly, I quite like it. Due to difficulty (different cities, conflicting schedules) of playing in person, I've recently joined a game online. Character building, story telling, writing, lots of fun and silly dice...whats not to love?

The idea of using tarot to help flesh out a fictional character is one that's been floating around my head for a while, and this seems to be a perfect opportunity to do so, using the one I've made for this roleplay game, so.

Shedding some light on Iara Carnagos, Tiefling Wizard (Mage)

I. Crux of the character's strengths:

Restriction, restraint, interference: the woman in this image is tied up and held still, both by her physical bindings and by constraints of her mind - the self-doubt, or fear, or hopeless resignation.

One does not necessarily think of this card as a source of strength, but if can be. Restraint, restraint. So many things that you could do if you were willing to pick up one of those swords... In the D&D universe, in this edition at least, Tieflings are of a demonic heritage, their ancestors having made some kind of pact with demons. They can make things burns, have tails and variously shaped horns. Many are known for being all kinds of destructive and evil.

This character of mine...she had a twin brother once, who chose to go down that path. She did not, and ended up killing him in what was mostly self-defense...a pivotal moment for her. She is chaotic, random, capricious, but she is not evil - there is a line she will not let herself cross, though she could; there are actions she simply will not take, even when refusing puts her in a quite difficult situation. She will even, on the rare occasion, actively refuse to let someone else do so.

In the everyday too...she puts up the facade of being impatient and impulsive, and do some degree that may be true, but...anything of real importance, she does consider, weigh, wait if she must. Restraint, restriction, a much bigger part of how she interacts with the world than most would realize, than she would like anyone to know and...a vital part of what could be called her better nature.

II. Crux of the character's weaknesses:

The juggler hops around, foot to foot, two coins to balance, two boats on two waves to choose between - always moving, juggling, flitting about.

The character too. Class-wise, she is a mage that focuses on both pyromancy and illusion, both blasting attacks and controlling/debuffing powers. A focus on purely one of the other could potentially be more powerful, but how could she commit herself like that?

Otherwise too - she flits from group to group, short relationship to one even shorter, job to job, town to town. Tries this and that, grows bored, moves onto something else. Worked mercenary jobs involving use of knives even though that does nothing to advance her primary abilities. Studied under several wizards even though these kinds of arrangements are not ideal - some wizards only acquiescing to idea of temporary apprentice for cold hard cash.

This lack of commitment, lack of focus and attention, in so many aspects of her life...certainly it is limiting, in many ways.

III. The character's fears:

The queen sits comfortably in her domain, with her wand, her flower, her cat. She is self-possessed and confident in her place. What could one fear here?

Iara does not have or want any of these things. She has not stayed in one place for any significant amount of time since she was sixteen. She does not keep pets, or gardens, does not care for fancy robes and does not hold onto many possessions at all - in fact, one could almost call her an ascetic in the latter regard. Keep few things you do not need, be willing to let those go and start anew too, if you must.

Her friendships and flings do not last more than a few months or weeks, nor do her working partnerships and teams. And why is that?

Fear of that kind of domestication, of a place where you feel safe and things that comfort you and people you trust and feel close to. The more you have the more of a shock it is when the world starts to spin and shake and everything starts falling apart around you. The more you have, the more there is that you cannot control. If you have nothing, just your physical body, your skills, your knowledge and magic...there is so much less that can be taken from you, so much less of a chance to feel helpless.

IV. The character's hopes:

The Hanged Man rest upside down, in some ways resembling a butterfly in its cocoon, waiting in stasis as it develops and transforms. In other ways he can be seen as a mirror of Odin, hanging in sacrifice, losing something to gain more. Perhaps a useless sacrifice, needless waiting around when movement is needed.

This character certainly hopes that all of her work will be a worthwhile sacrifice, that all the hours studying and reading dusty tomes, and all the times and gold she spent with her various masters will pay off.

She hates reading, only went to school as long as she did because her twin hated it even more and quit it - she wanted to show that she had more self-control, or something. She never reads but for the magic books, for what other way is there of learning, always learning and it is just a task sometimes, flipping through so many pages as her mind wonders, another job or adventure tempts... there were other paths to magic, ones that would have been easier for someone of her temperament but she chose this one and yes, she hopes it will be worthwhile, utterly so.

IV. Crux of the character, a snapshot:

The man in the eight works, creates, engraves and molds with care for his work, though it may not be easy at times, is his craft, and his love, and his calling.

Perhaps a compulsive wanderer, perhaps not the biggest fan of the book learning to which she is obliged, perhaps a lot of things but what it comes down to: love of this lifestyle. Love of uncertainty and risk, love of seeing new places to explore, new people to work with or fuck or taunt, without the 'burden' of knowing you might know them long enough to get attached. Love of adventure and jobs and quests.

Most of all, though, the love of magic. Wonder - she can still remember the day as I child, when she first saw magic being done. Her and her brother both, a rare moment of utter unison. Pure, sheer, stunned wonder because what could be more beautiful, more awesome, than magic? She knew from her first glimpse at it that magic is what she wanted to do, her calling as it were, and though attention to it may have wavered, that certainty never did. For all that may change and all the tedious work learning might involve, nothing can touch the feeling of pure inner joy she gets when she summons a fireball, makes something change color, uses a trick to get someone to say yes where otherwise the answer would certainly be a no.


thesycamoretree said...

That is amazing how you fleshed out the character for the game - well done! It's like getting a peek into the dim corners of someone's mind. I always thought I'd enjoy D&D, just never had the time or opportunity to learn.

Tarot Novice said...

Quite the description you put into this character. Needless to say, also an interesting way to come up with the back story. Out of curiosity, did you use the cards to see into her future as well, or will that remain a mystery to everyone?

Bonkers said...

no, didn't seem much of a point to using tarot in a predictive manner here - just analysis, insight, a different perspective.

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