This a work in progress by several members of the TML to design an Imperial Tarot Deck for use in Traveller.
This started with a post I made to the TML on 2/28/03 about a Traveller Tarot
Leslie Bates has used the really cool Traveller book cover generator to make this:

tarot book cover

Here is what our collective rambling have produced so far, unless otherwise stated, the ramblings are probably mine, and Joy Richards put a fair amount of the original card definations.
The Fool: A Young Man standing on Scout (or Free Trader) boarding ramp.
Sketch by Leslie Bates.

The personality in the primal state, the willful child in all of us. Instinct. Innocence. Impulsive actions. Setting off in a new direction in life. Liberation of the impulses. Insight and wit from instinct rather than instruction.

Collective Wisdom so far likes this image.

The Magician :  The Magician could be a Scientist or Psionist. Heck Different sections of space may have substitute cards.

The Psionist would be more popular Spinward, with the Zhodani influence.

Mastery of words and of matter. Eloquence, including eloquent silence and Hermetic wisdom. Mediator, messenger, and communicator. The Magician may be a sage or just a quick talker. He is a master-manipulator of the material world, but the miracles he effects may be true physical and metaphysical transformation of mere illusion and technical tricks. With Hermes, one never knows; he is the god of orators and liars, merchants and thieves, trickery and arcane science.

Oh good Ghodess, We have to have a Hiver in the background... Perhaps with the Magician is in an Imperial Navy uniform with Intelligence branch insignia.
Leslie Bates: How about Yaskodray?
Kevin Clement: Considering there's a monkey in two of the three Thoth version, definitely a Hiver. And symbols of Traveller Science in the background.

Stylized items from the four suites, perhaps held by four different races (Human, Vargr, Aslan, K'kree)

The High Priestess :

The abstract, spiritual and intellectual face of the anima, which is the feminine nature of the soul. Primordial feminine wisdom. The cyclic and balancing forces of nature. The ancient underground tradition of healing arts, magic, and spiritual mystery.

LB: Female Psion.

KC: The Empress Wave? That's what it looks like on the Thoth deck. Or a doctor.

The Empress :

Feminine fertility and power. Civilization. Domestic tradition. Family and childrearing. The active, fecund aspect of the anima. The mother and the queen, on earth and in heaven.

LB: Arbellatra.

Emperor ThumbThe Emperor:
Sketch by Leslie Bates.

Admiral Hiroshi Estigarribia for really old, "classic" decks. More modern Emperors for newer decks. Heck, during the Rebellion, this card (and the Empress card) get swapped out for whatever faction you support.

LB: Cleon I.

KC: Warships and the Imperial palace in the background. As many symbols of authority as you can fit on the card. (do the Emperors have anything like scepters?)

Worldly authority. Professional success. Social power. The life of action and decision, especially in politics and business. Patriarch, clan leader, and pater familias.

The Hierophant :

The abstract, spiritual and intellectual side of the animus, or masculine nature of the soul. Spiritual authority. Religious tradition. Avuncular wisdom. The old order and the old school.

Oh my...A Vilani Shugilii

LB: Male Psion.

The Lovers :

Romantic passion. Amorous attachment. The stages of love: discovery, attraction, pursuit, flirtation, courtship and consummation. The gifts of Aphrodite: beauty, youth, dalliance and delight.

As for the inter-xenologic pairing, time to dig out that old Mike Metlay doc... :-)

Two young sophs staring into each others eyes, details can vary...

The Charioteer : War-Chariot driven by Angry Penguin in Battledress

Victory. Triumph over opposition. New order. Change by force. The chariot of the soul pulled to one side by the force of vigilance and restraint, or drawn to the other side by the force of passions.

There is a lot to be said for the Penguin...perhaps have the Chariot drawn by grav tanks?

Ohhh...have it pulled by two warrior class K'kree...

KC: A grav tank pulled by four warrior class K'kree. Top hatch is open and a Imperial Marine in Battledress with the biggest gun he can carry at the ready.

Strength :

Strength and fortitude. Moral resolve. Triumph over base instincts. Mens sana in corpore sana (Sound mind in a sound body)

A Marine NCO wrestling down a hexapuma...

The Hermit :

Introspection. Retreat. Pilgrimage. Spiritual quest. The search in oneself and in the world for the "Honest Man" of Diogenes the philosopher. Meditation on the passage of time and the dissolution of matter.

A Traveller booking a working passage....

The Wheel of Fortune : Axial view of Spiral Galaxy

The intrusion of chance into affairs. Unlikely coincidence. "What goes up, must come down." The intercession of good fortune in life. A sudden opportunity that must be exploited deftly and promptly;

A lot to be said for the proposed symbolism.

Justice : Imperial Courtroom setting

The vindication of the just and the punishment of the unjust. Rule of reason. Balance of power.

I'd go with the traditional and just update the background and clothing.

The Hanged Man :

Sacrifice. Vigilance. Martyrlike forbearance. Suspension or paralysis of the soul. A mind divided and undecided. Stasis and constraint.

I'm seeing a soph in a vacc suit, hanging upside down against an empty field of starts with a cut umbilical drifting upwards past his feet.

LB: Man in vacc-suit appearing to be upside-down from the perspective of the card face. The helmet is backlit by the local star or it's binary companion.

KC: A nearby star blazing at the top of the card, above his outstretched left foot. Part of the umbilical cord is wrapped around the left foot.

Death : Battle Dress, helmet on hip, death's head (or empty)

Death. Loss. Death and rebirth. End of an old situation and the beginning of a new one.

I'd go with a young Solomani human in combat armor with the helmet off.

The armor would have the markings of the Terran Confederation Navy and the rank tabs of an Ensign.

Behind him would be the Vilani masses he's now in charge of.

Classic Tarot symbolism updated. The new RoM planetary ruler symbolisms the change brought on by the nth Interstellar Wars,

and the widespread destruction of the Long Night that follows the RoM.

LB: Death could wear the tank crew uniform and helmet and be shown standing in the commander's cupola on a G-tank.

Temperance : Diplomats/royalty in social setting

Balance: Moderation. Harmony. "Nothing in excess." Blending of opposites. Androgyny.

Hmmm...why am I seeing a Zhodani Noble with several identical black faced proles?
Jeff Zeitlin suggests Bwaps.

The Devil : Starport Authority

Wickedness and danger. Darkness and licentiousness. Slavery to the senses. Imprisonment by baser instincts. Temptation. Selfishness.

Nah...a Startown bartender...with the chains of drink and drugs holding two sophs to the bar.

KC: I'd add a drunk Vargr in there.

The Tower : Beanstalk

Comeuppance. Setback. Disaster. Arrogance of pride cast down by Providence. Unforeseen event. Calamity.

A beanstalk falling....

LB: The Tower is a structure that should be under going some damage. An Ancient site could also work.

LB: If you'll pardon me for being a bit literal minded, we could go with a fusion gun or particle beam turret (visible beams) on an elevated mount on a tower (a la Star Wars) on a vacuum world or asterroid firing into space.
There could some visible evidence of return fire, damage to the tower or the surrounding planetary surface.

The Star : Representation of Sol

Blessedness. Tranquility. Beauty.

I'd go with bright stars in a night sky showing a lovely female human with a partial undone vac suit undersuit.

The Moon : Europa/Luna/Titan/Io/something

Mystery. Changeability. Unseen and unknown forces of the night, and unpredictable transformations from the mutable moon. Young womanhood. Feminine beauty. Ordeal and honor of childbearing.

A large Moon or Moons shining down on female sophs.

KC: Of various ages.

Emperor ThumbThe Sun : Imperial Sun Insig.
Image by Leslie Bates

Glory and rejoicing. The light of reason. The flower of manhood. Inspiration in poetry and music.

The Imperial Sun over a garden world.

KC: While in the foreground a trader completes a deal to a noble working on musical score.

Judgement : Commodities Trading Room

Resurrection and rebirth. Perfection of the body and soul. Final reward or punishment.

A Megacorp board room holding trial or an Imperial Navy Courts Martial board.

The World : Capital

Completion and perfection. Focus. Synthesis. Interweaving. The vast design of nature. The interconnecting patterns of experience. Fulfillment and success.

Capital with the Imperial Palace prominent

The Suites: Swords, Cups, Wands & Coyns

Ace is the purest card, degrading down as the cards in the suit multiply

Swords still would be swords. The Marine Cutlass, the Noble small sword,the neo-barb great sword. Which one would depend on the meaning behind the individual card.

The other suites are pentagrams (or coins, which lead the obvious coyns substitution), staves (or wands) and cups.

There are plenty of symbolism in the individual cards that we can substitute high tech/Traveller symbols while keeping the original symbols.

Wands (Fire): political emotions, power
suit starts with K'kree, second half is Vargr
Cups (Water): social/intimate emotions


Swords (Air) : ideas, martial emotions (and the result of)

Dennis Sterling is the Page of Swords.

Possible fodder for the Sword Suite from Mark.
This is all stuff I've come up with myself.
"Formal Vilani Fencing is more a dance than a fight, but it is interesting to watch."

Also known as Vilani Sword Dancing.
I'm seeing a very long, two handed double edged sword, but light and well balanced.
Like a two handed Gim sword but with an ornate bell guard.
This would be the standard weapon, supplemented by the formal cloak and several large blades worn on the duelist's person.
These would range from medium sized throwing blades to a main gauche.
The mailed off hand glove is light mesh in modern times. In the old days, it was heavier, with spikes or small blades on the knuckles.
Still used by purists.

Seen mostly as a performance art in the Third Imperium, you can still find a school that teaches the Old Ways.

Ace of Swords: An upright Imperial Marine Cutlass in front of an Imperial Sunburst. Black starfield background. Perhaps a hand gripping the hilt. The hand and what's visible of the arm should be in combat armor.

Two of Swords: I like the classic image, seated woman with blindfold, forearms crossed over her chest, hands at shoulder level each holding a sword.
Perhaps make one a Marine Cultass, the other a Noble small sword.

Knight of Swords: Grand Duke Norris (perhaps the King of Swords)

Queen of Swords: In Survival Margin we learn that Strephon has an advisor/henchperson named "Pentacost".

Pentacles/Disks/Coins (Earth): work, survival


Queen of Pentacles/Coins/Coyns: Duchess Margaret of Delphi.

®1996. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises.
All rights reserved. Portions of this material are © Copyright 1977 Far Future Enterprises.
Portions of original material © Copyright 1995 Mark Urbin, Leslie Bates, Joy Richards and Kevin Clement

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