Priestess

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II. Priestess

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Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

Overview

The Priestess Arcana is the #2 Major Arcana, and is a card of subtlety. It is often depicted as a woman wearing plain priestly garb (sometimes of blue, to contrast with Hierophant), bearing a book of ancient wisdom. Behind her is a veiled hall of mysterious knowledge, flanked by two Pillars bearing the letters B and J. This stands for Boaz and Jachin (Sometimes taken to mean "He Established In Strength"), the pillars flanking the legendary Temple of Solomon.

The Priestess is often associated with wisdom, hidden and ancient knowledge, understanding, feminine mystery, and a clear instinct. Like the Magician, the Priestess is strongly associated with potential; unlike the Magician, the Priestess's potential lies in assisting others. Mythopoetically, the Priestess represents someone learning how to temper the incredible potential they gained as Magician. Indeed, whilst the Magician represents someone gaining the ability to change the external world, the Priestess is the first step on a much more difficult path: changing one's inner self. In this, the Priestess comes to represent the wisdom of experience, uncovered truths about oneself, and an understanding of where one fits in the world. Instinct is a powerful element of the Priestess, but it is an instinct born of knowing oneself as well as the situation.

There is, however, one other key element to the Priestess, and that is gentleness. The Priestess often spurns overly aggressive pursuit of her goals, not because she is unable, but because she understands that gentle methods have a greater strength than hard ones. She understands that a single water drop might create a tidal wave, that a butterfly's wing beats might become a storm. Unlike the Magician, the Priestess is able to see the bigger picture, and is able to create unobtrusive solutions that benefit everyone. This is partly because the Priestess can see the whole situation and is patient enough to wait for results, but it is also because the Priestess, as the keeper of wisdom and a figure of understanding, is naturally suited to the role of teacher. The Priestess does not coerce, lecture or manipulate; she teaches and she guides and in doing so makes the world better. By understanding critical knowledge and ensuring it is taught to the right people, the Priestess enlightens both others and in doing so, herself.

A reoccurring element to the Priestess is the attention given to her interactions with other people. It is true that the Priestess is best when bringing out the best in others, and it is true that the Priestess rarely occupies an overt leadership role. This is not to say that the Priestess herself is unimportant. The Priestess is critical for maintaining the harmony and strength of a community, but often works in such subtle, humble ways that other people forget that. This instantly becomes apparent should others be cut off from the Priestess, as they find themselves without spiritual guidance and wisdom. The Priestess may be strongest when she is helping and strengthening others, but that does not make her weak.

A reversed Priestess can be calamitous. Priestesses are invariably at the heart of any community, and should the heart go wrong the community can soon follow. It is not hard for a fallen Priestess to begin directing her influence in evil ways, and her enemies will find themselves ruined without possessing even an inkling that she was behind it all. Furthermore, considering the nature of the Priestess it is not surprising that there is an element of conflict at the heart of the Arcana: a conflict between logic and intellect on one hand, and instinct on the other. A reversed Priestess thus can also be a Priestess full of self-doubt, one who is unable to make decisions or see the full picture; she may wrongly think herself a burden relying on everyone else, when it is really the opposite. Unfortunately it is rarely surprising when a Priestess reverses; by their very nature a Priestess is often taken for granted, and forced to bear an unbelievable burden with often little thanks. Not every Priestess is able to maintain the patience to tolerate that. More than that, the Priestess's path is a hard one, maybe one of the hardest; for in the end the Priestess must find a path that is for the good of all… Even enemies.

The Priestess is an Arcana unambiguously aligned with the feminine, and this is represented with goddess figures, many of them associated with water, which in Hindu thought is associated with wisdom and clarity. However, the Priestess is not exclusively female; everyone has an element of the Priestess within them, at various levels of strength.

Example Inner Conflicts for a Priestess might be feeling overwhelmed with expectations, seemingly without reward; feeling a desire to escape from one's responsibilities and to be 'free' for once; feeling that one is a burden because they don't even understand how essential they are to others; and being unsure whether to go with one's thoughts or one's instinct and thus constantly being impeded by analysis paralysis.

Mechanically, the Priestess is unambiguously a strong support Arcana, and is full of Personae with healing spells, defensive spells and enhancements. Whilst it is true that every Arcana is unable to really work by itself, at least the Magician can fake it for a while; the Priestess has no such freedom. A lone Priestess simply lacks the firepower to really hold its own. With allies, the Priestess shines, and becomes an indispensable asset. A Priestess can turn a group of disparate individuals into a real team, shoring up defenses and generally having enough support ability to help impede any threat.

The Priestess's Aptitudes all offer some truly fantastic combinations. Fellowship allows the Priestess to bring strong social skills to the table, whilst Intelligence encourages Priestess to develop a wide range of investigative abilities such as lores or logic. Fieldcraft is also an Aptitude widely used in perceptive and intellectual abilities: for example, an intelligence+Fieldcraft combination allows the Priestess to start cheaply gaining Medical talents, which are useful for when the Personae start burning out and people take injuries; it also allows the Priestess to cheaply take some group beneficiary talents such as Combat Formation, as well as the useful Navigation skill, allowing a Priestess to, appropriately, guide others in the right way.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Fellowship and Intelligence Intelligence, Fellowship, Fieldcraft Fellowship

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Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Spiritual Counsel You unlock the "Spiritual Counsel" Personal Time Action. It is a group action, and may be used once per week. All attendees to Spiritual Counsel may, once in the next seven days, take a test that has already been rolled and add +1 DoS to it. Spirit Guide: You may, as a Free Action, transfer Spirit to an ally, at a rate of 1:1. Spiritual Counsel now allows participants to add DoS equal to their S-Link rank with you instead of just 1. You may add DoS equal to your highest S-Link (even if they weren't part of the action). Spirit Guide now allows you to spend Spirit to restore Spirit to all allies within 10m. For every 2 Spirit you spend, your allies gain 1 Spirit.

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Arcana List

Grade One: Tilottama

A heroic Apsaras- a Hindu celestial maiden. She turns the demons Sunda and Upasunda against each other, as only they can hurt each other.
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: Aino

A Finnish maiden whose brother gambled her to the old wizard Väinämöinen. She drowned herself and turned into a water spirit, and taunted him for his failure.
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: Kikuri-Hime

Her name means "Priestess Chrysanthemum", and is worshipped at over 2,700 shrines. She mediated between Izanami and Izanagi during their dispute.
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: Maitreyi

A Hindu philosopher of the late Vedic era. Her teachings are used to represent the unalienable bond love makes between oneself and the ultimate reality.
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: Chalchiuhtlicue

An Aztec goddess of water, storms and childbirth. She became the kind, loving sun of the fourth universe, but destroyed the world with her tears when Tezcatlipoca accused her of false love for humanity.
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: Simurgh

A benevolent, all-knowing birdlike spirit of ancient Iran. It purifies the land and the waters, fights serpents and was midwife for the legendary hero Rustam.
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: Viviane

The Lady of the Lake. She granted Excalibur to Arthur and subtly guided the King's Court when it risked going astray.
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: Nanshe

A Sumerian goddess of justice, wisdom and prophecy. She counsels and supports those who cannot help themselves: orphans, refugees, the poor, the widows and the weak, to name a few.
Details
Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
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Grade Nine: Xi Wangmu

The Queen Mother of the West in Chinese mythology. In her youth she was a ferocious and terrifying goddess with the teeth of a tiger, but adopted taoist principles and now fosters enlightenment and the peaches of immortality on Mount Kunlun.
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: Saraswati

A major Hindu goddess who sometimes takes the form of a river. She is consort to Brahma, and her name means 'Leading to understand oneself'. She teaches wisdom, knowledge, music and the ability to tell good from evil.
Details
Grade: 10 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

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