It’s been a while since I posted a blog, and I did promise that I would finish the two-part piece looking at a new RPG (roleplaying game, tabletop variety) system called “Renaissance” that I briefly created a few months ago, which uses Tarot for the character creation process. (Read the first part here.) This second and final part explores how to choose skills for your character and how to resolve skill checks or challenges in the game itself using the cards.
The four suits of the Tarot represent the four aspects of the self:
- Cups – Social/Emotional self
- Coins – Physical/Mundane self
- Wands – Magical/Energetic self
- Swords – Intellectual self
They are also associated with different types of skills in Renaissance. Every character must start by ranking the suit they wish to be highest in their character’s personality. For instance, if you want to create a charlatan and confidence trickster, you may wish to place Cups as your highest ranking aspect, followed by Swords, then Wands, then Coins; alternatively, if you wish to have a knowledgeable, intellectual character, you may wish to place Swords as highest ranking, followed by Coins, then Wands, then Cups.
When you have assigned a rank to the four aspects, you assign starting skill points as follows:
- Highest – 20 points
- Second Highest – 16 points
- Third Highest – 12 points
- Lowest – 8 points
Any skill cannot be raised higher than 9 (1 point = 1 rank in the skill). You may have as many skills as you like at the start of the game, but remember that it may be better to have a few excellent skills than many low-ranking skills.
You can have any skill you wish (at the GM’s discretion), as long as it is appropriate to the setting of Renaissance. This can include specific skills such as “Etiquette of the Upper Classes”, “Knowledge: Religious Institutions of Bologna”, “Craft: Venetian Masquerade Mask”; or general such as “Fencing”, “Persuade”, “Knowledge: Music Appreciation”.
To pass a skill check you must draw a card from that suit’s pack. A card equal to, or less than, your skill succeeds. A 10 will always fail. An Ace gives you a chance of a critical success – you can draw a second card, and if that is also a success then you have a critical success. Opposed checks between players, such as in combat, will give success to the highest pass using this method. The difference between both results dictates, for the sake of colour, how well one player succeeds in comparison to how poorly the other fails.
As you increase with each level, you will gain skill points to spend as such:
- Highest – 10 points
- Second Highest – 8 points
- Third Highest – 6 points
- Lowest – 4 points
You also receive, at the start of character creation, an extra 16 skill points to spend in any of the bonus skills dictated by your Personality Type (see previous blog for Personality Types and their associated bonus skills.)
Beyond that, Renaissance can be played and GMed by anybody. The two blogs posts are the only rules you’ll ever really need. Go, play, have fun.