Strength

Prev Page: Fortune Arcana <- -> Next Page: Hanged Man Arcana

XI. Strength

Image Unavailable

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Overview

The Strength Arcana is the #11 Major Arcana, and is the Arcana of resistance. It usually depicts a human being- often a young woman- taming and holding back a much stronger, fiercer beast, often a lion. Although the lion should easily triumph, somehow it is held back in a way beyond simple physical power. In some versions, the card more explicitly depicts the woman taming the lion with kindness, such as pulling a spine from its paw.

Strength is often associated with endurance, courage, compassion, self-control and resistance against sheer brute force. Like Chariot, Strength is often associated with overcoming challenges and obstacles, but unlike Chariot, Strength is more focused about the power of inner resolve and strength of heart triumphing as opposed to the drive to self improvement. Strength is a more sensitive, gentler approach, similar to the Priestess; in fact, because the cross root of Strength's number (11, 1+1 =2) links it to Priestess, Strength could be interpreted as "Chariot, but by way of Priestess". Mythopoetically, Strength represents one coming to the realisation that pure power doesn't always win conflicts or overcome challenges, and that sometimes- perhaps most of the time- kindness, compassion, courage and resolution are stronger than raw violence could ever be.

Strength, then, is an Arcana that seems to appear most brightest when people are faced with a threat they can't defeat through force. Almost always these forces are associated with oppression, injustice or simple unfairness, the ugly power of the strong on the weak. In that time, then, Strength prevails when all other hopes fail, standing tall and resisting beyond what the point of seeming rationality. In these moments, Strength becomes heroic not through sheer power but through resisting it, and in this way is almost always transformed into a champion of the downtrodden and oppressed. Strength protects, shields, liberates; it does not seek to control or trammel. Fundamentally, Strength has overcome a challenge within their own hearts that makes any external threat pale by comparison; you can kill Strength, but so long as they have that inner victory, they cannot be defeated.

The qualities that inform Strength are not always visibly apparent. Simply put, the virtues of Strength usually only manifest in times of adversity; thus they can rest dormant for a long time, untested. Thus, until that moment comes, Strength can appear weak, frail, small, unassuming or unimportant. Although Strength can often in their own way crave recognition, this trait actually works to their advantage- when the strong people fail and break beneath an overwhelming force, seeing someone considered weak or normal appear and resist in such a heroic way can have an electrifying effect on those around them. Even then, Strength's path is not easy, and they will be constantly thrown to the ground, trampled on and assailed. What matters is not that they fell, but rather that they didn't stay down. All Strength needs to do to win is to stand up one more time than their oppressor can attack.

A reversed Strength can thus manifest in many ways. The simplest is a situation in which Strength hasn't overcome that inner challenge, and remains controlled by doubt and fear. Although Strength always has to deal with doubt and fear, if they aren't able to overcome it within themselves, they'll never be able to manifest the noble qualities that give Strength its power. However, there can also be situations where Strength can misuse their power for aggressive, harmful ends- the same qualities that allow Strength to struggle and resist can also be used to pressure and bully others, thus turning Strength from a heroic resister to nothing better than the thing they are capable of overcoming.

Example Inner Conflicts for Strength might be being filled with doubt and having a crisis of faith within oneself; being in a long-running situation where someone has to stand up to an injust force, but Strength isn't sure how to do it; or being reckless and treating all potential threats as an oppressive force.

Mechanically, Strength is one of the most defensively focused of all the Arcanae, matched only by Hanged Man. It excels at defense and supporting its allies by increasing their own defense.

Aptitude-wise, Strength doesn't actually have the 'strength' aptitude. Instead, its aptitudes offer options based around resistance and defense; Toughness and Defense together are sure to foster a highly resilient character, whilst taking Resolution allows a character to build towards a more leaderly, inspirational approach.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Toughness, +5 Willpower Toughness, Defense, Resolution Willpower

-- Back to Top --

Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Banner of Resistance You project an aura around yourself with a radius of WPB metres. All allies within this aura gain +2 AP. You also gain this benefit so long as there is at least one ally within the aura. Perseverance: Whenever you fail a Personal Time Action test, you may declare it succeeds with 0 DoS; in turn you gain 2 stress per Degree of Failure (minimum 2). Augment spells cast on at least one ally within your Aura cost 1 Spirit less, to a minimum of 1. If you have an ally within your aura who is suffering from Lethal Damage, have a defeated Persona or are out of Realisation, all allies, including yourself, gain +4 AP instead of +2, and Restoration spells cast on those within your aura cost 1 Spirit less, to a minimum of 1.

-- Back to Top --

Grade One: Androclean Lion

An african lion that was wounded in the paw. It stumbled across the escaped Roman slave Androcles, who pulled the spine out of its paw; in gratitude, the lion hunted on Androcles' behalf. When Androcles was caught and sentenced to death by wild animals, this lion was chosen, who tore apart the other animals to protect its friend.
Details
Grade: 1 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Two: Phix

The Sphinx of Greece, who challenged passersby with riddles: those who failed to answer, she brutally slew without mercy. However, Oedipus successfully answered her riddle, and in shock she threw herself to her own death.
Details
Grade: 2 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Three: Al-mi'raj

A yellow rabbit with a large horn in its head. It looks cute and harmless, but it is actually very savage, and could kill things many times its size, which it then ate. For all its ferocity, it was extremely partial to the charms of a true witch, who could tame it and then remove it.
Details
Grade: 3 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Four: Cerberus

The three-headed dog that guarded the gates to the greek underworld. Despite his terrifying nature and sheer power, he was subdued by Orpheus, who lulled him to sleep with beautiful music.
Details
Grade: 4 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Five: Bai Longma

A heavenly dragon who burned the Jade Emperor's jewel. As punishment, he was sent to earth to help the Buddhist monk Xuanzong, but accidentally ate his horse. The goddess Guan Yin persuades Longma to take on the form of a horse to serve the monk instead.
Details
Grade: 5 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Six: Tarasque

A monstrous dragon with a tortoise shell, bear's legs and a scorpion tale, that lived in southern France. It was completely impervious to physical attack, but Saint Martha charmed the creature with hymns and prayers. She brought it to civilization, but in fear, people killed the unresisting beast. Out of remorse, they converted to Christianity and renamed their town 'Tarascon'.
Details
Grade: 6 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Seven: Garuda

A ferocious eagle-like creature of Hindu lore. His mother became enslaved to the naga, who demanded the elixir of immortality as ransom. Garuda stormed into heaven and fought against the gods, but was stopped by Vishnu, who made a deal with Garuda: Vishnu would make Garuda immortal without the elixir, and in turn, Garuda would serve as Vishnu's mount.
Details
Grade: 7 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Eight: Circe

A mighty sorceress of Greek legend. Her house was thronged by lions and wolves, which had been made docile by her magic and readily adored newcomers. She tricked Odysseus and his men, turning them into swine, but after he ate a magic plant which immunised him to her spells, she decided to help him instead.
Details
Grade: 8 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Nine: Great Peacemaker

A founding father of the Haudenosaunee. A prophet who loved peace, he had the vision of uniting the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca into a single 'league of peace'. Through great personal acts of courage and forgiveness, and his friends Hiawatha and Jigonhsasee, he created the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which would stand for 300 years in the face of European expansion.
Details
Grade: 9 Name: Wounds:
Elemental Attributes
Melee Missile Fire Ice Elec Wind Psi Nuke Bless Curse
Traits, Knacks, Item
Traits: Knacks: Item:
Powers
Spells: Arts: Passives:

-- Back to Top --

Grade Ten: Guan Yin

The buddhist bodhisattva of mercy and forgiveness. Having achieved enlightenment, she returned to the world to help others achieve it. She is worshipped as the goddess of mercy all over Asia. She can take both male and female forms, and when she once travelled to hell, turned it into a paradise simply by being there.
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:

-- Back to Top --

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License