Emperor

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IV. Emperor

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

Overview

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 Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Weapon Skill and Willpower Weapon Skill, Willpower, Resolution Willpower

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Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Imperial Will Once per day, after taking part in an All Out Attack that defeats all Shadows, you may demand a special benefit from them: select one of the defeated Shadows. All other Shadows of that type now have the Coward personality whenever you are in their line of sight. Overawe: You count as having Fear (2) for the purposes of the Command and Intimidate skills. Overawe's Fear trait increases to 4, and you automatically pass Command and Intimidate tests against non-hostile targets whose Willpower Bonus is lower than your Overawe Fear trait. On encountering a Shadow affected by Imperial Will, you may spend 10 Realisation points. All Shadows of that type within line of sight will attack unaffected Shadows, then meekly surrender after the battle is over.

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Arcana List

Grade One: Romulus

The legendary founder of Rome. He was nursed by a she-wolf, and murdered his brother Remus for disrespecting his walls.
Details
Grade: 1 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Two: Ninigi-no-Makoto

The ancestor of the Imperial House of Japan. His grandmother Amaterasu sent him to earth so he could plant rice, thus founding civilization.
Details
Grade: 2 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Three: Oberon

The Consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Oberon is cursed to appear as a child, but is also blessed with beauty. He is courteous to humans, but quarrels with his stern queen Titania.
Details
Grade: 3 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Four: King Frost

The cuddly king of the Frosts. Although powerful and capable of destroying the earth, he is too naïve to realise it.
Details
Grade: 4 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Five: Fionn mac Cumhaill

A legendary hero of Irish mythology. He and his brave followers, the Fianna, travel across Ireland, performing heroic deeds and fighting great foes. He is not dead, but asleep, and will rise again in the moment of Ireland's direst need.
Details
Grade: 5 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Six: Ashoka Maurya

An ancient Indian conqueror-king. He conquered the democratic state of Kalinga in a savage war, but on seeing the destruction he witnessed, cried 'What have I done?'. Because of this, he embraced buddhism and espoused the principle of non-violence, and never waged another conquering war.
Details
Grade: 6 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Seven: Ganesha

A Hindu God, distinctive because of his elephant head. He is the son of Parvati and (usually) Shiva. He is the remover of obstacles, the teacher of letters and the embodiment of the primordial sound.
Details
Grade: 7 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Eight: Huang Di

China's legendary Yellow Emperor. Both a deity and a cultur hero, is the ancestor of all Chinese, and invented many things, including the calendar, laws, astronomy, the bow, mathematics, and football. He is the founder of Chinese civilization.
Details
Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Nine: Baal

The Levantine God of storms, fertility and agriculture. His name is Hadad, but only holy priests can say his true name. When the levant is dry, he is in the underworld; and his return brings the rains.
Details
Grade: 9 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Ten: Odin

The one-eyed Allfather God of the Norse. He plucked his eye out to gain great wisdom and gave humans writing, poetry and knowledge.
Details
Grade: 10 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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