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IV. Emperor

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Obedience to your desires is slavery; obedience to your own law is liberty.


The Emperor Arcana is the #4 Major Arcana, and is a formidable card. It often depicts a powerful, tall man wearing a grand mantle and armour, wielding in his right hand a sceptre often shaped like an ankh, a symbol of life; in his left hand he wields an Orb, a symbol of dominion over the world. Sometimes he possesses a sword as well. The Emperor's surroundings are often either a stone hall or a barren mountain; either way, he occupies the apex, alone.

The Emperor is often associated with authority, leadership, order, control, the physical and an unhesitating willingness to action. Like the Empress, the Emperor is a leader who exerts influence over their surroundings. Unlike the Empress, the Emperor imposes his will on the world and those in it, bringing it under his control. In doing so he brings orderliness and the rule of law to a chaotic world. Mythopoetically, the Emperor represents someone who has learned to love and delight in the world as Empress; now they seek to leave their own mark on it, to stabilise it and bring it into a strong, orderly shape. In this, the Emperor represents power and command, the ability to define and uphold nothing less than society itself, in a way that brings security to the weak and responsibility to the strong.

The Emperor is a formidable leader, one that people follow. However, unlike the Empress this is not necessarily due to love or affection. Rather, the Emperor is followed because of his natural authority and power. It is not enough for the Emperor to just be strong or clever or talented; they have to be the strongest, the cleverest, the best. They are driven to be stronger, greater than the rest of society. That said, it is not to say that the Emperor gains obedience through force, or that it is simply a case of might making right. It is critical to understand that the Emperor wields power with purpose; this is what separates him from a common thug. The Emperor is driven to create order that all are subject to, including the Emperor himself, so as to benefit the whole. He gathers power not for its own sake, but in order to work towards that ideal. And so others follow the Emperor not because he is strongest, but because he is incorruptibly dedicated to his ideal, the ideal of their safety; without him they are defenseless, and without them he is purposeless.

Much is made of the connection between the Emperor and those he protects. With the Ankh as his sceptre, the Emperor is undeniably connected to life, and indeed he works for its benefit; but the Emperor sits alone. Indeed, the Emperor is an isolated figure, not through choice but through what he deems as necessity. His ideals leave him little time to simply participate in life, and whilst he may wish it, when push comes to shove the unyielding nature of the Emperor and their unshakeable dedication means they'll choose their ideal every time. This is formidable and awe-inspiring in its own way as the Emperor turns their extraordinary will to embodying a moral imperative in the physical; but in reality it is actually a form of weakness, even immaturity. The Emperor, for all the power he exerts on the world around him, will inevitably be faced with something he simply cannot control. Often, this is an internal, personal trouble, something very human that strikes to his core; but the Emperor is not used to asking others for help and so futilely struggles with something he doesn't really understand. A truly mature Emperor learns to accept another into their life, and understands that intimacy and connectedness do not weaken their ideal, but can strengthen it by moderating his drive before it becomes zealous and reforging his connection to humanity in general.

A reversed Emperor, on the other hand, represents weakness of will, corruption, irresponsibility, incompetence, inaction and unthinking rigidity. The reversed Emperor mistakes unchanging stasis for order, and unthinkingly refuses to change or tolerate change in the world around them, even though such change is natural. On the other hand, the reversed Emperor might start twisting his power to benefit himself to the detriment of the world around him, turning his grand ideals into nothing more than base greed. The reversed Emperor might stop caring for the external world, perhaps spurning their own responsibilities and refusing to act on its behalf.

The Emperor is an Arcana aligned with the masculine, paternal and physical, but the Emperor manifests in almost everyone, often around the sense of ideal, order or harmonious society.

Example inner conflicts might be the Emperor who doesn't know how to deal with his own inner turmoil or thoughts; the desire to micromanage and direct and order everyone; a desire for order becoming an obsession with neatness; rigidity of thought or action; the temptation to misuse authority for selfish desires; or a sense of true doubt and fear about whether they're really as good as they try to be.

Mechanically, the Emperor is primarily an aggressive Arcana, one that quickly smites enemies with powerful, usually electric or physical attacks, but the Emperor is not just pure damage, as it often gains powers to support its allies, particularly on the attack.

The Emperor's Aptitudes make it suited for leaders, as Resolution is a key aptitude for leadership talents and the Command skill. Willpower and Resolution together ensure rapid Willpower growth and strong Willpower defenses, ensuring that the Emperor keeps his head in a crisis. Weapon Skill naturally opens up a lot of close combat abilities, and is excellent for an Emperor who feels like the best way to help his people is to get really stuck in- or else defend them with a shield.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Character Aptitudes Persona Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 WS and WP Weapon Skill, Willpower, Resolution Offense, Might Willpower

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Arcana Exemplaries

Exemplary Evoker Rank 1 Evoker Rank 4 Evoker Rank 7 Evoker Rank 10
Imperial Will If you defeat an enemy Shadow of the Trouper or lower category, you may test Opposed Willpower against the Shadow's own. On a success, you do not defeat the Shadow; instead, you may do one of the following: convert it into an item or money (depends on the Shadow Arcana and rank), instantly use one of its non-Passive abilities at no cost, or subjugate the Shadow and make it serve you, so long as you maintain a Persona; it counts as a Swarm of 1 with you as Overseer. You may only have one subjugated Shadow at a time, and if you subjugate another you must replace your current one. You may now, instead of other actions, select a single ability from the Shadow's list. For the rest of the day, or until you are no longer maintaining a Persona, you now count as possessing this ability This ability is not tied to any one Persona. Furthermore, once per day, you gain the ability to, instead of other actions, extract a Blank Ability Card from a Shadow, with the Card's aptitudes depending on the Shadow. You may now subjugate a number of Trouper Shadows equal to your Willpower Bonus; they all join your Swarm. You may now sugjubate a number of Trouper Shadows equal to your WPB*2. Furthermore, on defeating a Swarm's Overseer, you may choose any one unique Swarm Command they possess; you count as possessing it so long as you maintain a Persona.
Lordly Solitude You gain a conditional Realisation Point. This Realisation Point may be used to reroll any unassisted test or to add a +20 to an unrolled, unassisted test. Regardless of how you use Lordly Solitude's Point, you may now substitue the test's Characteristic with Willpower. Lordly Solitude now provides two conditional Realisation Points. You now add your WPB/2 to Degrees of Success to any test benefitting from Lordly Solitude. Finally, you may use Lordly Solitude on assisted tests, but only if the assisting person also possesses your highest S-Link Rank.
Overawe You count as having the Fear (2) trait for the purposes of Intimidate and Command. Whenever you successfully pass a Command or Intimidate test on someone, you may choose to deal Stress damage against them equal to Overawe's Fear trait. Overawe's Fear trait increases to 3, and you automatically pass Command and Intimidate tests against targets whose WPB is equal or below your Fear trait. You gain a number of DoS equal to your Fear trait. Overawe's Fear trait increases to 4, and when using Command or Intimidate on multiple targets, you may affect 100 times more targets than usual.

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Arcana List

The Founder of Rome
Grade: 1 Name: Romulus Aptitudes: Elec, Offense Ineptitudes: Wind
Elemental Attributes
Imp Rend En Xp Fire Ice Elec Wind Light Dark
- - - - - - Resist Weak - -
Physical Attributes and Weapons
Traits: Animal Bond (Canines, 1), Weapon Master (1) Wounds: 4+TB
Weapon Name Weapon Type Range Damage Penetration Qualities
Sword of Rome Melee Melee 1d10+SB Rending 0 Heavy Blade
Zio, Assault Dive, (Dodge Elec)

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