Prev Page: Death Arcana <- -> Next Page: Devil Arcana

XIV. Temperance

Image Unavailable

Grace has been defined, the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.


The Temperance Arcana is the #14 Major Arcana, and is a card of control. It most often depicts a winged woman or an angel mixing two cups of water, one red and one blue. Sometimes the red cup is actually wine, and so the angel is watering it down. The person depicted can also have one foot in a pool of water and the other on land.

Temperance is the first Arcana to belong to the 'Greater Mysteries'. As a result, it and all the Arcanae following are discussed slightly differently to the Lesser Mysteries. Whereas the Lesser Mysteries focused primarily on facets of an individual's personality, the Greater Mysteries spend more time discussing the Arcana in the context of the individual's experiences, both in what they have experienced in the past, what they're experiencing now, and what they might experience in the future. They will still discuss the Arcana's role in the individual's personality, however the Greater Mysteries exist as a firm way of demonstrating the mark that life has left on the character- or will leave. Indeed, through choosing a Greater Mystery you might very well be portraying what might happen in the character's near future…

Temperance is often associated with self-control, moderation, balance, virtue, inner harmony, the reconciliation of extremes, and personal spiritual trial. The word 'temperance' is used as one of the cardinal virtues, meaning voluntary self-control, of choosing to not do something even though it might be easy, rewarding or pleasurable in the short term. The virtue itself divides into forgiveness (non-violence, mercy and forgiving of others harming you), humility (resistance of arrogance), prudence (being careful with one's resources, refraining from recklessness and overcoming self-negativity or deluded positivity) and self-regulation (resisting temptations, exhibiting discipline, sacrificing the short term for the long). By and large it ties into an idea of living in balance with the world around oneself, of not taking too much, but still pursuing one's own goals with the benefit of a harmonious soul. In this way, Temperance could be seen as kindred to the gentleness of the Priestess and the wise delight in life of the Empress. However, there is another facet to the Temperance, an important one, and that is that self-control and will of this level is undeniably a struggle, an inner spiritual one. It is a long, hard-fought battle, one that can be rather simple at times, but is often very difficult and sometimes nearly impossible. This is reinforced by the mythopoetic interpretation of the card: It is after Death, but before Devil. Simply put, the person of the 'story' of the tarot is dead, and now they are facing the judgement of the afterlife: first their virtues will be weighed up, and this is Temperance, whilst their vices are weighed up in Devil. Indeed, Temperance can never really avoid the fact that it is next to Devil; the two combined create an intriguing and exciting combination.

Thus, whilst Temperance is associated with achieving a harmonious inner self, it is also associated with being scrutinised. Sometimes the scrutiny is from others, sometimes it's from oneself, often a mixture of both. Temperance is being tested, Temperance is being tempered. Temperance tends to, more than other Arcanae, be forced into situations where they are made to justify themselves or something they did. Sometimes it's something they cannot control, like their ethnicity, sexuality or gender, but sometimes it is tied to their choices and decisions. This is highly trying and stressful, because such harsh glares tend to magnify one's failures and minimise one's successes. Indeed, many find such pressure overwhelming, and they end up breaking beneath those harsh glares. Nonetheless, for those who can withstand such a test, the rewards are great: they gain control over all parts of themselves, and are able to reconcile the irreconcilable within their soul, becoming ever stronger for it.

Considering the stress of Temperance, it is easy to see how one might reverse. A very obvious example of Temperance reversing is someone being unable to manage self-control- they're indulgent and give into their impulses or the bullying, pressuring or tempting of others. They have a powerful inner self-ideal that they want to reach, but constantly fail to do so. Alternatively, Temperance may go too far and tip into an ascetic mindset where they vigorously oppose any sort of pleasure or happiness, which can actually hinder growth.

Example Inner Conflicts for Temperance include having to justify one's beliefs or values to others; having a massive struggle within that seems difficult to overcome, such as a mental health issue; finding it hard to stand one's ground against peer pressure; or feeling haphazard and disorganised.

Mechanically, Temperance is more weighted toward support than offense. It is adept at healing and support, especially technique-based support.

Aptitude-wise, Temperance is excellent for accentuating other Arcanae. Agility is always useful, whilst Knowledge is excellent for skills, and Resolution is good for mental defense and leadership. Together, they don't quite manage a specific synergistic set, but their eclecticism makes them popular to round out other builds.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Character Aptitudes Persona Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 Intelligence, +5 Willpower Agility, Knowledge, Resolution Restoration, Technique Willpower

-- Back to Top --

Arcana Exemplaries

Exemplary Evoker Rank 1 Evoker Rank 4 Evoker Rank 7 Evoker Rank 10
Equivalent Exchange As a Half Action, you may select one enemy benefitting from a positive status effect; you now gain it as well, and persists for as long as it does on them, to a minimum of the start of your next turn. So long as you are suffering from a negative status effect, then using this Exemplary both removes the positive effect from your enemy, and replaces it with your negative effect, which is removed from you. You may now swap an ally's negative status effect for an enemy's positive effect. Once per day, you may trade all of your negative status effects for the positive status effects of a single enemy.
Ego Store At the start of each week, you gain a buffer of 5 stress and 5 repression. These buffers are depleted first before adding stress and repression to your vitals. This buffer does not carry over. Your Inner Conflict test stacking penalty caps at -40, and you ignore the first -10 you gain. Whenever you take stress or repression as measured by a dice roll, you may reroll it and take your preferred result. Your buffer increases to 10 each, and your Inner Conflict test penalty now increases by -5 per successful test instead of -10.
Worldly Communion During a Personal Action or an Investigation, you may spend a Realisation Point to remove any penalties from poor environments, injuries or status effects for a single round. You may now apply this benefit to all allies part of the same Personal Action or Investigation who possess a Social Link with you. The penalties are now negated for two rounds. Once you use this Exemplary, then the harshness of these penalties are reduced by 10 each for the rest of the day, which doesn't stack with itself.

-- Back to Top --

Arcana List

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