Hanged Man

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XII. Hanged Man

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The tyrant dies and his rule is over; the martyr dies and his rule begins.

Overview

The Hanged Man Arcana is the #12 Major Arcana, and is a resilient card. It usually depicts an individual hanging upside-down from a wooden beam or sometimes a tree. Although this was a traditional form of humiliating execution for traitors, the individual's expression is not one of suffering but of clarity, and they are still very clearly alive; furthermore their head is framed by a golden halo. In some depictions the individual is Judas Iscariot, in others the individual is Odin, whilst some portray Saint Peter, who in Catholic tradition was crucified upside down.

The Hanged Man is a rather circumspect card, but it is most often associated with the greater good, self-sacrifice, conviction, balance, transition, suspension between two exclusive elements, and clear reflection on one's actions. Like the Lovers, choice is an element critical to the Arcana, and like Fortune, having the patience to carefully reflect on one's actions is a virtue. Furthermore like Strength, Hanged Man is aligned with the greater good and standing firm in one's convictions. Unlike any of these however, the Hanged Man also possesses a strong element of finality. It has a choice to make, but the choice can end a journey instead of starting it; it should wait to act, but the action itself is much magnified by what is lost as well as what is gained; and finally, it tests the convictions of the bearer to the ultimate end. After all, the Hanged Man is the last Arcana before Death, and it cannot escape being suspended between the life before it and the ultimate fate ahead. Despite this, the Hanged Man is alive, and is at peace with what has gone and what will come. Simply put, the Hanged Man is at peace with something- sometimes their life- ending, but in doing so they reaffirm Death as something besides a finality. By embracing the end in the service of life, the Hanged Man claims Death as a servant of life forever, and thus overcomes it. Mythopoetically, the Hanged Man is the terminus of the querant's life on Earth- indeed the Hanged Man is the last of the 'Lesser Mysteries', that is the Arcanae from Fool to Hanged Man. Their life on earth is coming to an end, but this is not something that worries them, for they have found a greater truth.

The Hanged Man obviously then is tied to a sense of martyrdom, of embracing death for a greater cause, such as protecting others or realising one's own ideals to their fullest. That said, the Hanged Man does not necessarily have to be so drastic. For many, the card represents the ability to reflect and make sense of major tectonic shifts in one's own life. Such things close a chapter of a person's life, a type of death in itself, but ultimately the person can and must prevail, making sense of what has just happened. Often this is a journey tinged with grief, because something has been lost. The journey not only helps an individual to come to terms with that irrevocable loss, but also often grants them a sense of deep empathy and compassion for those around them; the path of the Hanged Man can make people sensitive to the suffering and needs of others, thus turning the Hanged Man into one who protects and aids others, sacrificing their own energy and time in the process. In this way, the Hanged Man can slowly be converted into a promise of better times ahead- but first, they themselves must complete the journey.

To that end, there is a sense of gentle resilience to the Hanged Man, a resilience that serves them well in resisting life's hardships, but also makes them sympathetic to those who don't possess such endurance. The Hanged Man then is willing to endure things for them, and sometimes this is the right thing to do, but the Hanged Man remains ever sensitive of the fact that just as they were strengthened by walking the journey, so others too must walk it to gain strength- the Hanged Man cannot walk it for them… But they can walk beside them.

The reversed Hanged Man, then, often depicts someone who is unable to reflect on their actions or are unable to cope with the massive shifts in their world; they feel out of place in their own lives, and are confused, lost and helpless. They might also have attempted to cope and have decided that they have finished that journey of healing, but have become unsympathetic to others in the process, feeling as though they are owed for their own sufferings and that they were not helped, so others should not be helped either. On the other hand, the Hanged Man might go too far and sacrifice themselves readily for everyone and everything, which not only stunts and smothers others, but bleeds the Hanged Man dry.

Example Inner Conflicts for the Hanged Man include the obvious one of being unsure how to cope with a massive shift in their lives, such as their parents divorcing or dying; feeling the need to help absolutely everyone and feeling exploited and overwhelmed; becoming cold and angry at others because they're too hurt to feel others' pain.

Mechanically, the Hanged Man is a powerful defensive Arcana, capable of gaining cheap access to a wide bevy of defenses and resistances; with time, the Hanged Man will probably grow to resist nearly anything.

Aptitude-wise, the Hanged Man is heavily defensive just like Strength. Toughness and Defense ensures quick growths in toughness and protection, but choosing Willpower could lead to somewhat easier access to an offensive focus and resistance to mental attack.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+10 Toughness Toughness, Defense, Willpower Willpower

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Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Noble Sacrifice Each time you take 4 damage or more whilst actively protecting another person (such as through the Sacrifice and Protect Ally actions or the Taunt use of the Charm skill), you gain +1 AP to all areas for the rest of the day, which stacks to a maximum of +5. You may only gain a single bonus per action (ie. you can't gain more than +1 AP per Sacrifice etc). Light in Dark Places: Once per day, you may spend 20 Realisation; your Confidants ignore the effects of fatigue and Lethal Damage (bar the sort that would defeat them or a Persona) for a number of rounds each equal to your S-Link Rank with them. You gain an extra reaction which may only be spent on activating the Protect Ally, Sacrifice or Guardian actions. Furthermore, your Protect Ally now has a range of "Full Move". Light in Dark Places now provides a +10 bonus to all of your tests for every Confidant suffering from Lethal Damage, to a max of +30. Furthermore, spending activating Light in Dark Places also allows those affected Confidants to reduce all Lethal Damage taken by an amount equal to half your S-Link Rank with them, to a minimum of 1.

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Arcana List

Grade One: Guru Arjan

One of the seminal leaders of early Sikhism. He was persecuted by the Mughal Empire and, when he refused to convert, was put to death. His death galvanised the Sikhs into a disciplined political and military force capable of resisting oppression.
Details
Grade: 1 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Two: Codrus

The last King of Athens who ruled during the Dorian siege of the city. On hearing that the Dorians believed they would win so long as he was unharmed, he disguised himself, snuck into their camp and started a quarrel that led to his death. On realising that they had killed the King, the Dorians retreated out of fear of the prophecy.
Details
Grade: 2 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Three: Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it

Chief of the Nez Perce people. His name means 'Thunder Rolling Down the Mountains'. He fought the US Army as they drove his people off their land, inflicting many defeats on them in the process. He surrendered at Bear Paw and spent two decades campaigning for his people's land to be returned, but died of a broken heart, his dream unfulfilled..
Details
Grade: 3 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Four: Wanjiru

A heroine of Kenya. When a three-year drought gripped the land, Wanjiru was offered as sacrifice; she is sucked into the earth, and her family are paid off each time they think of helping. As she is sucked in, the rains come; eventually she is retrieved from the underworld and her family must beg her forgiveness.
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: Arash

A heroic archer of legendary Persia. He fought in a massive war against the Turanians and was there when they agreed to peace. Part of the peace deal was that someone must fire an arrow; anything on one side the arrow was Turanian, the other side Persian. Arash took the bow and fired it, which flew for six hours and covered a thousand leagues, but he uses up so much of his strength doing so that he dies.
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: Tlahuicole

A mighty champion of the Tlaxcaltec. He was captured by the Aztecs, but Emperor Moctezuma was so impressed by his force of character and bravery that he spared his life and offered to make him commander-in-chief. Tlahuicole refused, having no wish to betray his men to the people they'd fought. He was tied to the Gladiator Stone, where aztec champions would fight him one by one; he killed eight of them before finally succumbing, after which he was sacrificed.
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: Joan of Arc

A patron saint of France. At the age of 16 she received heavenly visions exhorting her to fight for France against the English. She inspired the beaten French to heroic achievements, reversing the course of the war and securing the throne for the Dauphin of France. She was captured by the English and, despite a heroic and inspired legal defense in front of a rigged court, was burned at the stake for heresy.
Details
Grade: 7 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Eight: Osiris

The benign Egyptian God of death, resurrection and transition. He is between both the world of the living and that of the dead. He was torn apart by Set, but put back together by Isis, who brought him back to life. He promises life after death for the children of Egypt.
Details
Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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Grade Nine: Tyr

The Norse God of justice. When the Gods wanted to bind Fenrir the monstrous wolf with a magic ribbon, the wolf refused to be bound unless one of the Gods put their hand in Fenrir's mouth. Tyr volunteered, but when the wolf was bound, it bit off Tyr's hand anyway, leaving him with only one hand forever more.
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: Quetzalcoatl

A creator-deity of the Nahuatl who is known as the Feathered Serpent. He protected humanity from evil gods throughout the Five Worlds. He made the humans of the FIfth World from his own blood and self-immolated in order to become the Morning Star.
Details
Grade: 10 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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