I'm a hands on learner, so this has really helped me to get a feel for what I'll be working with given the game idea I'd had. I've never actually had a tarot deck before, nor even received a tarot reading, so I don't really know a whole lot about it. One of the first things I've come to realize is that the tarot deck is meant to do a reading for either the person dealing the cards, or the person the reading is done for. I don't yet see that the deck is meant to be used to identify a 3rd party and tell about them. Now I may be wrong, all I have is the generally available notes that are found on the internet and in the instruction book that accompanies my deck.
So until I find any such method, my first problem in using the deck to tell the story of the game is to find a way to use the cards to identify specific NPC's or organizations within my story world. After identifying them, I have to use the cards to be able to tell me what they are going to do. So I have to create my own "spread" based upon the cards my players pick, and I have to create the meanings.
My first thought was to keep the major arcana separate from the minor arcana, the major arcana would represent specific parties within the game world and the minor arcana would tell me what they do. But in reading about the major arcana, they can and should be used to denote actions just as much as the minor arcana. I also didn't want to specifically separate the decks because I didn't want things to be too obvious as to what I am doing and how.
In studying the minor arcana, I noticed that many of the numbers seem to be identified with one of the major arcana. I have yet to confirm that this is true for all the minor arcana or all the major arcana, so this is something for me to investigate. What that means though is that the "2" cards are all associated with the "Empress", that the "7" cards are all associated with "The Carriage" or something like that. The suites are associated with the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Between the element and the corresponding major arcana, this is how the individual cards come to their meaning.
So my thought was to use the major arcana to identify specific parties within game, that'd be a lot of parties, but nicely enough the white wolf system gives us a number of parties to choose anyway. Because the minor arcana are linked to these major arcana I can keep the deck whole. That way in my spread, the first card chosen would be used to identify the who, and it doesn't require the players to actually grab one of the major arcana... if they draw a "2" no matter the suite, I know that they have identified the party represented by the Empress.
In this way I can form a spread that is reliant upon the order in which my players draw cards. Using this order I can answer a series of basic questions. The first two cards would answer who and what they are doing, after that new questions would form. To whom? With whom? so forth and so on.
I also realize that I end up with a good deal of political maneuvering, and the motivations become somewhat obvious: Power. Each party has their own goals of course, so having power means they can act on those goals. Keeping that in mind, the first card drawn as the identifier also identifies the goals of the action to be taken.
The whole point of this was to use the deck to determine the future of the game. So I can't use the reading to determine events for the current session, what I'll have to do is use the reading to inform events for the session next. That way as my players learn to identify the readings for themselves, they can use the current session to their advantage. It'd be like having initiative...
So the first session would be used to create characters and all that stuff. During that session I would have them do a reading and I could use that reading to inform the next session when we get back together.
At least, this is what I have so far. With this in mind I understand that I need to identify parties to be represented by Major arcana, and I need to check to see if the minor arcana can be used to represent any of the major arcana. Then I need to familiarize myself with the cards as they are and see if what those cards suggest are things I can use in game. I think I would also like to make a list of actions that I do know I'll want and make sure that the cards accommodate those actions. Most likely such lists won't line up, so I may very well need to supply meaning for the cards completely on my own.
My first thoughts of desired actions might include the 7 deadly sins and the 7 heavenly virtues, that'd give me 14 actions right off, which matches up with A-10, Knave, Knight, Queen, and King which the minor arcana all have. I think there are more than 14 major arcana though, so this is where I need to look things up. That said, a few extra major arcana might allow me to include non traditional or non organizational parties... say the muraders, or even my players as a group so that when they show up things get shaken up.
14 organization though... theres the 10 traditions, the nephandi (but I don't know a whole lot about them so they may or may not work), the technocracy... that still leaves two organizations before any potential extra major arcana. I can substitute the other white wolf games, werewolves, vampires, hunters... But this is where I need to familiarize myself with the mage game. If there are other organizations that I should definitely include I need to be aware of them.
Another thought I had, was in remembering that one of the advantages players can choose in mage is contacts. Using this system I can allow the player to create their own contacts, and then have them choose a card which I can use to inform myself as to what information this contact can provide. Another thought I had was that if the players take the contacts advantage without creating their contacts, this would essentially allow them to make contacts in game. That way as they interact they can say "hey, I like this person, can I pick them up as a contact?"
Contacts have never been a strong suite of mine, I've never understood how to use them either as a player or as GM, so this idea was illuminating. That way the player may not know exactly what the contact knows, but I do know what access the contact has, and the player can learn that over time.
So those are my thoughts thus far. I wanted to get them down so I could remember them, I haven't had any response yet of willing participants (players or otherwise) so this is primarily for my own good. I am trying not to let these new fun thoughts crowd out my plans for my Eberron game, but ya know, new toy and all...
That said, having all this political maneuvering possibilities lined up in a tarot deck, I might actually use this to start informing my Eberron game just to test the waters for the Mage game application.