Harrow Deck

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Note: This description differs somewhat from the official Harrow deck published by Paizo.

The Harrow deck is a set of 54 cards that is used by Varisian fortune-tellers as an aid to divination. Most native Varisians hold the Harrow deck with a high degree of awe and respect. While the deck is also used for several gambling games, those in touch with the spiritual history of Varisia consider using a Harrow deck for something so crass as a game of chance to be somewhere between boorish and extremely dangerous.

Each card of a Harrow deck has a value in each of three aspects:
Suit: (Hammers, Keys, Shields, Books, Stars, and Crowns)
Disposition: (Good Omen, Ill Omen, No Omen)
Inclination: (Order, Chance, or Balance)

Each card also has a unique image on its face and an individual name. There is deep symbolism in the images on the cards themselves.

On the cards, a symbol of the suit is located in the top left and inverted on the bottom right corners of the card. Next to the suit symbol are symbols indicating the Disposition and Inclination values. Typically, a heart indicates “Good Omen”, a skull indicates “Ill Omen”; an upward-pointing arrow indicates “Order”, and a group of arrows pointing in eight directions at once indicates “Chance.”

Decks which are primarily used for gambling may also have a numeric rank on the card. Rank 1 is the highest value; Rank 9 is the lowest. Rank is not used in traditional Varisian fortune-telling.

The suits are related to six aspects of body and mind: Hammers represent physical strength; Keys represent nimbleness; Shields represent health and fortitude; Books represent knowledge; Stars represent inner strength; Crowns represent force of personality.

Disposition indicates whether fate favors, disfavors, or is indifferent to the subject.

Inclination represents outside forces that come to bear on the question. Order indicates the past or the greater influence of traditions, law, and careful planning. Chance indicates the future, or the greater influence of forces that cannot be predicted (such as the weather).

In game mechanics terms, the Suits represent the six ability scores; Disposition represents the “good/evil” alignment axis; and Inclination represents the “law/chaos” alignment axis.

If you are not in possession of a physical Harrow deck, you can roll 3d6 to determine a card’s value:

Suit: Disposition: Inclination:
d6 Value d6 Value d6 Value
1 Hammers (Str) 1-2 Good Omen (good) 1-2 Order (law)
2 Keys (Dex) 3-4 No Omen (neutral) 3-4 Balance (neutral)
3 Shields (Con) 5-6 Bad Omen (evil) 5-6 Chance (chaos)
4 Books (Int)
5 Stars (Wis)
6 Crowns (Cha)

Descriptions of the cards:

Suit: Hammers
Related ability: Strength

Suit: Keys
Related Ability: Dexterity

Suit: Shields
Related Ability: Constitution

Suit: Books
Related Ability: Intelligence

Suit: Stars
Related ability: Wisdom

Suit: Crowns
Related ability: Charisma

Harrow Deck

The Watcher of the Mists Haladir