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draque  draque is offline
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Tarot Deck Creation Question


I've read through the "Stuff I wish I had known when I started..." thread and have a question that I don't think was really answered there. I've been developing a deck for some time now, and I was looking to get an opinion from a larger community on how appropriate something like this would be.

My deck is based loosely on the traditional 78 card Tarot deck, but is heavily re-imagined through the lens of a culture in my story universe. What I've come up with is a 70 card set featuring 25 in the Major Arcana, and 3 suits with 15 cards apiece. As I work with my artist, we've been nailing down all the imagery on the cards and weaving related symbols through cards as best we've been able.

I've written a good first draft of the meanings/readings of all the cards and histories of the major arcana. I've put into context how they can be read, and given examples of how the set can be used in more traditional reading configurations.

Is this something that the larger Tarot community would likely find acceptable? So long as I've defined all the meanings and relations of the cards, do you think others would be interested in buying the deck? I've put some significant work into it so far, and I'm right now at the stages before I begin investing some money into the project. I'm just looking for some advice from people more experienced in the subject.

Also, this is my first post outside the introduction forum. Hello, all!
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Well, the tarot has a pretty well defined structure, and the more you deviate from that the closer you are to having created an oracle, rather than a tarot. Some people do buy oracle decks so there you go. But as you have defined it, I would not call it a tarot as you did not just add extra cards that can be removed but you deleted a suit.

you have not really given any info as to whether the Majors follow tarot structure and how and same with the existing suits, so I think unless you want to develop that part of your narrative you may be better served by calling it an oracle deck.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babalon Jones View Post
Well, the tarot has a pretty well defined structure, and the more you deviate from that the closer you are to having created an oracle, rather than a tarot. Some people do buy oracle decks so there you go. But as you have defined it, I would not call it a tarot as you did not just add extra cards that can be removed but you deleted a suit.

you have not really given any info as to whether the Majors follow tarot structure and how and same with the existing suits, so I think unless you want to develop that part of your narrative you may be better served by calling it an oracle deck.
Well said. There is not much that tarot people can agree on but most of us would say that most of us would describe the pack as 78 cards, 4 suits 22 Trumps. While the deck you are making sounds great and could be interesting it does sound like it's an oracle inspired by tarot.
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My view as well. As a rabid collector, from what you are saying, it wouldn't be one I'd want to add to my not very little lot.

A deck is either tarot or it isn't. "Loosely based around tarot" - isn't. If you call it an oracle from the start you will likely get more interest from those who love orcales.
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I agree too. It might seem a bit nitpicky, but I think the word Tarot carries with it certain expectations. However, to be fair, I appreciate that in some cases, publishers like to use the word 'Tarot' in the title of projects of this nature even if they aren't strictly Tarot, to make it more marketable. Like with The Daemon Tarot, which I remembered reading a thread about on this forum, where the deck creator herself talks about this sort of issue.

http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=192391 (bottom of page 1, and first couple of posts on page 2).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draque View Post
I

Is this something that the larger Tarot community would likely find acceptable? ...before I begin investing some money into the project...
Hi and Welcome!

I think you want to go for more than "acceptable" if you are going to invest in bringing your deck to the public. Do you want to go for "popular?" It's up to you.

Few readers are going to invest a significant amount of time in learning a new system that applies only to one specific deck. A deck that can be largely understood from its context in the Tarot universe is one that more readers will use more often. Even if you mix influences from the majors schools, readers will still get the gist generally and if they are drawn to the art and the theme, they will invest some time to get to know your deck specifically.

But if your deck is so different that they have to, in a sense, start from scratch, and their investment of time will not translate to their other decks, readers will be less inclined to embrace your deck.

So it depends on your goals. If you want to make sales, you need to strike a balance between a structure that is familiar, and a theme and style that is uniquely your own.

Good luck!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McFaire View Post
So it depends on your goals. If you want to make sales, you need to strike a balance between a structure that is familiar, and a theme and style that is uniquely your own.
OR - call it an oracle, as people kind of expect a new system with each one, I think.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babalon Jones View Post
Well, the tarot has a pretty well defined structure, and the more you deviate from that the closer you are to having created an oracle, rather than a tarot. Some people do buy oracle decks so there you go. But as you have defined it, I would not call it a tarot as you did not just add extra cards that can be removed but you deleted a suit.

you have not really given any info as to whether the Majors follow tarot structure and how and same with the existing suits, so I think unless you want to develop that part of your narrative you may be better served by calling it an oracle deck.
agree! TAROT=22MAJOR ARCANA+4SUIT/1-10 AND 4COURT CARDS! you can add more cards but you can't take suit and call it Tarot?!X.X better call it TarOracle or something! becouse it's Oracle deck!x.x )
and don't be concerned about sale! you never know what will pay of and when!?x,x )
just do something you like and don't invest more than you can afford to lose!)
POD is my fav!^^)
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draque  draque is offline
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Thanks for the advice, all!

I'm a little nervous about the difficulty of selling something like this obviously, so I am waffling on some of my decisions and might end up changing this to a typical Tarot deck (as was mentioned by quite a few of you, this might be something that qualifies more as an Oracle deck).

For those who asked though, here's a basic breakdown. Some of the Major Arcana in my deck can be mapped directly to cards in the traditional Tarot, but for the most part, it is wholly new. I've made an effort to maintain all of the archetypal meanings that I see in the traditional set, although some of those have been split across multiple cards, and some merged. Overall, there are 25 total, rather than the traditional 22.

Although there are only 3 suits in the minor arcana, I did not simply remove one of them. They are organized by element, each with a Patron figure in the Major arcana. Fire represents action and material. Wind represents thoughts and plans. Water represents emotion and relationships. As with the major arcana, I took stock of the function of all the cards in the 4 traditional suits and tried to make sure that each was somehow addressed (again, sometimes with a single card, sometimes spread across multiple cards). So while the suit of water in my deck is similar to the suit of cups in a traditional deck, you'll find things in it that are not in cups, and you'll find things in the suits of fire or wind that would typically be in the cups.

As for what I'm going to end up calling it... oof. Gotta weigh a bunch of things against each other. In the story universe that the mythology comes from, they're the "Lomisht," but if I'm going to sell them, that is going to be tough to communicate as an oracle set at a glance.

Again, advice appreciated! I'll probably post some of the graphics we come up with here as we continue. ^^
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McFaire  McFaire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
OR - call it an oracle, as people kind of expect a new system with each one, I think.
True, but my point is, especially for a first timer with no fan base yet, oracles are a much tougher sale. Readers are less inclined to learn a complex new system that doesn't apply elsewhere. So if you go the oracle route you can have whatever structure you want, or no structure, but you're limiting your market quite a bit, I think.

So it just depends on what your goals are.
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