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When I was young (late-90s?) my brother and I were given a game that we never played. I opened it once and found it utterly impenetrable.

Memory:

There wasn't a board or anything concrete like figurines, nor a specific "thing" we were supposed to do. And we were supposed create characters somehow by dealing cards out of a deck that seemed to be a sort-of Tarot-like sort of thing, but also with some Ancient Western "4 elements/humours" stuff going on. And then someone would ask us what we wanted do, and we'd tell them, and they'd draw another card from a Tarot deck and tell us what was happening. WTF!???!?

It all seemed very confusing, and definitely seemed like we needed someone else who already knew what they were doing, in order to play. And we didn't have anyone else; so we never played.


Looking back now, I strongly suspect that this was an open-world, very flexible and hand-way RPG game, where a Tarot deck is used instead of d20s, for character-generation and action resolution.

My recollection is that it came in a square box, maybe 14" x 14" x 4". I'd say that the box was predominantly white.

I've got a very vague recollection that the name had the word "Quest" in it? If you really forced me to guess I would have said it was called EverQuest. But looking that up, it's definitely RPG, but also definitely not remotely what I'm thinking of?

FWIW I would have said that the production values of, e.g. the rule book were very high. But I was ~10 at the time, so :shrug:.

Can anyone identify this game/system, for me?


I've tried searching things like "DnD but with Tarot" but all I get is stuff about how to work Tarot decks into actual DnD games :D

Obviously, since this was >20 years ago, and we didn't ever actually play the game, it's entirely possible that I've misremembered some details (or indeed, that I've correctly remembered my own misunderstandings!) Apologies if so; hopefully there's enough that's correct to identify it.

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Everway

  • First published in 1995.
  • The main game is a boxed set with a bunch of handouts and cards in addition to the game book.
  • Magical fantasy setting with characters traveling to different "spheres" (planes of existence, more or less).
  • Character stats are the 4 classical elements, plus open-ended special abilities called Powers. The pregenerated characters tend to either be spellcasters or people with one special magical talent (like shapeshifting into a tiger).
  • Resolution is card-based, using "Fortune" and "Vision" cards, which have Tarot-like images.

Take a look at this description of the cards from Wikipedia and see if it matches your memory at all:

To decide what happens, the GM considers the rules of Karma (characters' abilities, tactics, logic), Drama (the needs of the plot), and Fortune, the result of a card drawn from the Fortune Deck. Many of these cards are based on the "Major Arcana" of tarot divination, such as "The Fool" and "Death", but the deck includes original cards such as "Drowning in Armor" and "Law." As with the Tarot deck there is symbolic art and each card has two complementary meanings when upright or reversed (while face up). The meanings are printed on the cards (e.g., "Protective Measures Turn Dangerous" vs. "True Prudence" for "Drowning in Armor") and explained more fully in the game's books. The rules are flexible about how often the GM should consult the Fortune Deck, whether the cards should be shown to players, and how much influence the draw should have—it is entirely acceptable for the GM to never use the deck at all, if she so desires. Though cards sometimes have obvious interpretations for the context in which they are drawn, the rules explain that sometimes they are best read simply as "a positive (or negative) result."

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yup, that's the one. Googling it found me the box art which I recognised immediately. It also explains why I though it had Quest in the name - I probably got Everway and Everquest mixed up, and latched onto the wrong half. \$\endgroup\$ – Brondahl Nov 27 '20 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also WotC => high production values, fits too. \$\endgroup\$ – Brondahl Nov 27 '20 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Beat me to it! I still have a copy. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Nov 27 '20 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I still actually play it. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Nov 27 '20 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alex P, your wikipedia link mentions this, but it might improve your answer to say it explicitly: The publishers are working on a 2nd edition of game, while the question was certainly asking about the original edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Nov 27 '20 at 20:05

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