Lovers

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VI. Lovers

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The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Lovers represents two people (usually a man and a woman) standing near a crossroads.

The Lovers Arcana is the #5 Major Arcana, and is a card of connections. It usually depicts two individuals, a man and a woman, standing near or separated by a crossroads. Often they are depicted naked in the garden of Eden, and sometimes Cupid or an angel hover above them, underlying the sense of destiny and purpose behind their meeting.

The Lovers are often associated with decisions, emotion, connections with others, temptation and love. The Lovers often change the world but don’t always seek to do so; rather it is through their connections to others that their decisions have power. Mythopoetically it represents the querant reaching a point in their life where they are forced to take a path; once they commit to that path, there’s no turning back.

The Lovers are both at a metaphorical and literal crossroads. Metaphorically, crossroads are synonymous with meeting places, where people from different corners of the world might meet by chance. The Lovers stands at those crossroads, meaning they naturally meet many other people who are just passing by; the Lovers meets many people and naturally connect those people with others, often in ways they never imagined, but this doesn’t always mean the Lovers have a strong connection to those they meet. Each time the Lovers learns a little more about the world and about themselves, their connections growing stronger and defining the world.
Therein lies the major challenge for Lovers: the crossroads is more than just symbolic. The Lovers are faced with paths, sometimes just two, sometimes more; they stand at the crossroads, at the point where they can travel down any one of those paths but have yet not. The major challenge at play here is one of decision and commitment. The Lovers stand at a turning point in their lives; they know one of the paths must be travelled. But once they do, the decision is final: the other paths will be sealed, and there is no going back to them. Thus the Lovers' path is fraught with doubt and indecisiveness, because not only does choosing a path mean losing others, it also means giving something up they already have: the present. The comforting sense of connection without irreversible commitment, the feeling of potential in and of itself, it too must be sacrificed: the Lovers gives up not only the paths, but the crossroads itself.

This tension lies at the heart of the Arcana, because choosing a path is necessary for the Lovers’ growth; they cannot just be butterflies forever, living life lightly on choice meetings. They most commit to a path and travel with those on it, committing to the life that lies down that road. But knowing which choice is the right one is impossible.

Reversed Lovers are usually associated with one of three things: indecisiveness, someone unwittingly stunting their own growth because they’re terrified to commit to a path and close off all those options, such as someone who is wracked with doubt and terror at the idea of committing to a relationship; individuals who shy away from not only commitment but society in general, mistaking their lonely self-blockade for independence, no matter how miserable it makes them; and individuals who are tempted by the promise of everything and desperately strive to follow two paths no matter how impossible this is- for example, someone deciding to selfishly cheat on their partners because they’re unable to choose between them.

This idea of temptation is a dangerous one for the Lovers because it ties back into the Lovers’ preoccupation with choosing the ‘right path’. Too easily, the Lovers are seduced by choosing an ‘easy’ path; an easy way out, so to speak. Indeed, the Lovers is tied to temptation in more than one way: the Devil Arcana is linked to Lovers through the cross-root of its numbers (The Devil Arcana, No. 15- 1+5 = 6, the Lovers) and also through legends pertaining to crossroads- in mythology, crossroads could be used to summon devil spirits: in some versions of the Faust tale, Faust makes his fateful pact with Mephistopheles after summoning the latter at a crossroads; other mythological traditions associate it with trickster spirits and the unseen.

Example Inner Conflicts might be the Lovers feeling indecisive about their future to the point where it becomes worrisome and uncomfortable whenever it's brought up; they might simply not know what to do with themselves, or perhaps they have multiple choices to choose from and cannot decide. Alternatively they might be obsessed with living in the moment, doing dangerous or reckless things as part of that.

Mechanically, Personas of the Lovers excels at support and healing, with some ailments on the side. Away from battle they often have abilities that aid in social situations.

The Lovers' Aptitudes are strongly focused around dealing with other people. Fellowship and Social together ensure quick expertise in social skills, whilst Perception gives access to skills that excel at watching things, including people, and reading their emotions.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+10 Fellowship Fellowship, Perception, Social Fellowship

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Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Butterfly's Grace Your Major Persona gains an extra Knack slot, which may only be filled with a Social Knack. Eager Heart: Whenever you participate in a group action, you and all other participants lose 2 Stress and gain a free reroll on a single test made during that group action. This includes investigations and anti-Shadow operations. Shadow Seduction: 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. Any other Shadows you encounter of that type can have their personality permanently swapped to Smitten with a successful Charm test on them. They are, of course, smitten with you. Characters benefitting from Eager Heart now treat 10 Realisation actions as costing 5 Realisation instead.

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Arcana List

Grade One: Narcissus

A beautiful youth in Greek myth. He was pursued by the nymph Echo, but coldly rebuffed her. Nemesis cursed him; he caught his own reflection in a pool of water and was entranced. He was unable to tear himself away from its sheer beauty and died.
Details
Grade: 1 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Two: Yue Lao

A Chinese god of love and marriage. He uses silken red cords to tie people together, after which they are destined to be together.
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Grade: 2 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Three: Medea

A powerful sorceress of ancient Greece. She was wedded to the hero Jason and saved him many times during his quest for the Golden Fleece, but he abandoned her for the princess of Corinth. She took revenge by poisoning to death both the princess and the king as well as her children by Jason.
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Grade: 3 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Four: Xochiquetzal

The Aztec maiden-goddess of desire, female sexual power and women's crafts. She is clad in gold and finery, and when she walks, a retinue of beautiful birds and butterflies follow.
Details
Grade: 4 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Five: Kaguya-Hime

The beautiful foundling girl from the tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Actually from the moon, she was found and raised by earth humans, and loved by many. But she spurned her suitors and, saddened though she was, returned to the moon.
Details
Grade: 5 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Six: Penelope

The Queen of Ithaca. Her house filled with arrogant suitors during the absense of her husband Odysseus, but through cunning and diplomacy refrained from choosing any of them, giving Odysseus enough time to come home without being usurped.
Details
Grade: 6 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Seven: Jareth

The fae-like Goblin King of a bizarre dream world. On hearing a young girl complain about caring for her baby brother, he interpreted her wishes literally and stole the baby away. He subjected her to many trials and temptations in her journey to retrieve the child.
Details
Grade: 7 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Eight: Grainne

A young princess of the Irish Fenian Cycle. She is betrothed to Fionn, but resents being coupled to such an old man; she elopes with Fionn's young companion Diarmuid, compelling him with a geas.
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Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Nine: Freyja

The beloved goddess of fertility, love and war to the Norse people. In valkyrie-form, she collects half of the souls of those who died in battle and takes them to Folkvangr, her own afterlife domain.
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Grade: 9 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
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Grade Ten: Inanna

The Ur-Goddess of Sumeria and the queen of heaven. A goddess of love, sex, beauty, war and fertility, she was the most widely-worshipped and most popular deity of Sumeria. Although originally given no domain of her own, through force, trickery, persuasion and passion she came to be the mightiest of Sumeria's gods.
Details
Grade: 10 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
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