“A Victorian Oracle”

“A Victorian Oracle”

for In a Wicked Age and most any other RPG or Story Game.


Vincent Baker’s In a Wicked Age* is a wonderful story focused Sword & Sorcery RPG. While it would do it a disservice to call it generic it is easily adaptable to other genres. One of the game’s great ideas is that of the Oracle, using a common deck of cards and a selection of story elements to create a random, spur of the moment story (and inspire PCs and NPCs). As befits Victorian Adventure Enthusiast we’ve taken some time and composed a Victorian Oracle suitable for any system.


Requirements:
1 Standard Deck of 52 Playing Cards

Card Meaning
HEARTS
2
Two Handsome Men claim to be lost in the country.
3
A Blackmailer gets more than they bargained for.
4
A Solicitor, plagued by nightmares, finds his lover’s name listed in an obituary.
5
A Lovely Woman’s honor is in jeopardy because of a flower bed.
6
A Magician’s newest trick leads to a duel.
7
A subway station hosts a belated reunion.
8
Pages missing from an Author’s diary.
9
A Woman, after being thought dead, returns to find her husband in a sanitarium.
10
A ball requires the commission of a new outfit.
Jack
A Fleeing Fiance leaves something behind.
Queen
A Married Woman writes a love letter in a secret code.
King
An Old Regimental Chum sends a sentimental gift.
Ace
A One-Eyed Orphan escapes torment.
CLUBS
2
A cab chase following a Public School prank gone awry.
3
A ship arrives three days late (and with Several Mates missing).
4
The disappearance of dogs distresses Four Families.
5
A Killer returns to work in the slums.
6
Military plans that are not what they seem.
7
The moment of truth for a Soldier.
8
A museum display of African artifacts is disturbed.
9
A robbery foiled by a Costumed Figure.
10
A challenge issued by an Infamous Explorer.
Jack
What the Street Urchin witnessed.
Queen
A Lady of Renown loses a cherished bauble.
King
A Master Villain replaces a pawn.
Ace
A Famous Detective takes a holiday.
DIAMONDS
2
Startling confessions from a Hat Maker.
3
The regrettable mistake of the Confused Constable.
4
A theatre is evacuated in mid-performance.
5
A forged letter of introduction leads to a long journey.
6
A court case requires Expert testimony.
7
A blue box blocks the doorway to an unsavory establishment.
8
A sojourn to a small village to verify the dates on a tombstone.
9
The loss of a Vicarage in a suspicious fire.
10
A summons to an early morning assembly at a Private Club.
Jack
A Destitute Artist buys a round of drinks.
Queen
Connections all the way to the Palace!
King
A Foreign Dignitary cancels an invitation.
Ace
Who would publish such a scandalous biography?
SPADES
2
Rival Inventors meet for lunch.
3
Three pilots in as many days.
4
A Modern Marvel suffers a malfunction.
5
The final bequest of an Aged Librarian.
6
An Unsuspecting Farmer unearths a curious discovery.
7
A family heirloom is rebuilt by a Mathematician.
8
A Photographer’s camera exceeds all expectations.
9
A Chemist creates a strangely popular remedy.
10
A public spectacle subverted by a Secret Order.
Jack
Because of a poorly worded will a Stable Boy inherits a “haunted” house.
Queen
The Last of a Doomed Lineage seeks an appraisal.
King
Schematics for a revolutionary invention fall into the Wrong Hands.
Ace
Airship!

Using the Oracle is simple:
Shuffle the deck of cards thoroughly and draw 4 cards.
The GM will then weave the elements into the next story.


For example:
5 Clubs, 7 Clubs, 2 Diamonds, 3 Diamonds
“A soldier is arrested in London’s East End after a constable mistakes him for a wanted murderer.The real killer has been spotted by his former accomplice, now a hat maker.”

The cards are (roughly) organized thematically by suit.
Hearts– Personal Relationships: lovers, family, dear friends
Diamonds– Social or Political Situations
Clubs– Action and Crime
Spades– Science and the Unexplained: weird technology, the supernatural
If desired this will allow a story to be composed of similar elements.

For instance the players have asked for a game focused on lover and close personal relationships. As such the GM draws until he gets at least two Hearts:
7, A “One of the Characters is accosted in a subway station by a poor boy, blinded in one eye. Little does our Hero know that the child is his nephew who had been kidnapped several years previous.”Of course the cards are meant to be either broad or ambiguous so that they may be applied in as many situations as possible. If the players are craving a game of romantic complications the GM would merely have to interpret through that filter. By viewing the 2 Spades through the Hearts filter and we may find that the two rival inventors are meeting not to discuss their future endeavors but because their children have fallen in love.

If the GM wishes to apply a random filter all they’d have to do was draw 5 cards, 4 for the story elements and 1 for the filter (based on the card’s suit).

The last example:

Q Hearts, A Diamonds, J Hearts, 2 Diamonds

Filter: Spades

“A foolish young man abandons his betrothed but forgets one of the letters his lover sent him. His disturbed landlord (a hat maker) discovers the letter. In his madness the hat maker becomes convinced demons are speaking to him through the note. Soon he is stealing letters wherever he finds them and plans on publishing an Occult Codex.”


http://www.lumpley.com/wicked.html

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