Tower

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

XVI. Tower

Image Unavailable

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life.

Overview

The Tower Arcana is the #16 Major Arcana, and is a card of hardship. It has various depictions, which will be summarised here: the most common is that of a tower being struck by lightning and destroyed, whilst people either flee or fall from the debris. In other versions, it is lightning striking a tree, or the building is on fire. In many interpretations, the tower being destroyed is the Tower of Babel, which was cast down as punishment for human hubris; in other interpretations the tower is Hell, and what might be depicted is the Harrowing of Hell, when Christ went down to hell to cleanse it and to grant forgiveness to the lost souls within. In comparative tarots and tarot-adjacent games, it is known then sometimes as the House of Diablo, in others the House of God. In some versions it is simply known as The Thunderbolt.

Tower is often associated with hardship, catastrophe, drastic changes, adversity, diligence, perseverance, humility and enduring through crisis. Of all the cards in the Major Arcana, the Tower is usually considered the most calamitous and negative. It is often associated with disaster, often disaster unlooked for and unexpected that dashes apart what someone has built up. Sometimes it can be seen as deserved or necessary, a fitting or ironic punishment for someone's arrogance, hubris of misplaced feelings of perfection. However, usually the Tower is a reminder that sometimes, failure and calamity can strike out of nowhere, shake one's life to the point of breaking- and there's not much that can be done to prevent it. No matter how good we are or powerful we become, we cannot prevent every problem- we will eventually fail no matter how good we are. Tower is not just about the inevitability of disaster, but also about how disaster tests us. Tower insists that whilst catastrophe is terrible, it is our response to catastrophe that matters. Tower, then, is an exhortation to endure the crises we face, to learn from them, and ultimately grow as people from these trials. Mythopoetically, the tower comes after the Devil, and thus represents the fall into hell… A terrible and grim fate, but the Tower is not the last card- thus, the descent into Hell is merely a path to a different, better place.

Tower, then, is very much associated with enduring what life throws at you as best you can, in a way that is best for you. In this way, Tower can be about learning about yourself, what it is you can handle and how you handle it; after all, crisis can bring out the best in people, as many people have strengths and virtues that go unseen until it is tested by a crisis. Tower does not necessarily mean conquering these crises with raw strength, whether of body or of mind, but it does mean adapting to them and handling them in some fashion. To that end, Tower values resourcefulness, being able to hit the mark and a willingness to learn, but at the heart of it all is the willingness simply to not give up, and to begin rebuilding. Although it is not always the case, sometimes rebuilding makes something greater than it used to be.

A reversed Tower can mean many things- the simplest and most obvious is that whatever catastrophe a person is facing, they aren't coping with it. Either they're avoiding it, or they've just given up hope because it all seems too much and too exhausting for something that could be washed away again in an instant. Alternatively it means that the thing they're trying to do to repair the damage simply isn't working, and they are in need of a good long self-reevaluation. Another, worse interpretation is that whatever they're doing is making the problem worse, either for someone else or for themselves.

Example Inner Conflicts for Tower include having to overcome the sudden loss of someone special; trying to recover after a serious injury, physical or mental; feeling helpless in the face of mounting challenge and adversity; or feeling unwilling to create something new or form new bonds in case they are destroyed suddenly.

Mechanically, Tower is all about bringing the disaster to its enemies. It specialises in electric attacks as well as overwhelming the enemy with brutal high-damage missile attacks.

Aptitude-wise, Tower is at home in combat, bringing in aptitudes that make it excel at ranged combat whilst also giving it a degree of speed and flexibility.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+10 BS Ballistic Skill, Offense, Finesse Willpower

-- Back to Top --

Arcana Exemplary

Exemplary Base Effect Rank 4 Improvement Rank 7 Improvement Rank 10 Improvement
Reclaim the Toil Whenever you spend Realisation to reroll damage or a test, and the result is either worse than the original result or an outright failure, you may choose to reclaim your spent Realisation and take the initial result. Unseen Downfall: Missile Attacks against Surprised enemies, or enemies with initiatives lower than yours in the first round of combat, deal +BSB/2 damage and gain the Concussive quality. Whenever you expend an item to assist a test which fails, or to attack an enemy which evades the attack, you reclaim that item. Furthermore, when spending Realisation to reroll damage or to restore wounds, if the result is a 1 or 2, you may choose to reroll and take either result. You now add your BSB/2 to initiative tests, and whenever you strike an enemy that benefits from Unseen Downfall, your attack also has the Paralytic Strike Quality.

-- Back to Top --

Arcana List

Grade One: Houyi

A legendary archer-god of ancient China. There were once ten suns that all shared different times of the sky. One day, however, all ten came out at once and began to burn the whole world up. Houyi shot nine of them down, thus saving the world.
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: Enmerkar

A legendary king of ancient Sumeria. An excellent hunter and proud vanquisher of threats, he schemes to conquer all of Mesopotamia. He beseeches Enki to scatter the tongues of humanity, sowing discord and confusion forever.
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: Susano-o

The powerful god of storms in Japanese lore. He is capricious and reckless, often going on rages and wrecking the other gods' possessions. He was banished from heaven, where he found and slew the dragon Orochi.
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: White Rider

The first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He carries a bow and a crown, and is associated, variously, with conquest, pestilence, and imperial might (especially that of the Roman Empire).
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 Tezcatlipoca

A destructive and powerful Aztec god. He was the lord of hurricanes, discord and jaguars. He was the eternal rival to the noble Quetzalcoatl, and between their rivalry, destroyed the universe twice over. However, his role in destruction also brings a degree of renewal, and thus he reflects change through conflict.
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: Set

The Egyptian god of storms and destruction. He slaughtered Osiris and tore his body apart, flinging it to the four corners of the earth. He fought with Horus for 80 years over the fate of Egypt. However, he is also the protector of Ra and his solar boat as it makes its journey.
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: Mara

A demon of temptation and sexual depravity in Buddhist lore. He tried to ruin Gautama Buddha's meditations and cause him to stray from the path to enlightenment by sending him his beautiful daughters to seduce him. But Buddha rejected him and drove Mara off. The demon still exists, however, instilling wrong emotions and lusts in those who seek enlightenment.
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: Cú Chulainn

A legendary hero of Irish lore. He wielded the spear Gae Bolg, a throwing spear which cannot be removed from the target without being cut out. During battle, he would go into a horrifying rage known as a warp spasm, where he is a danger to all around him. His life was short but full of glory, defeating many monsters and whole armies by himself.
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: Rangda

An evil witch-demon of destruction in Balinese lore. She appears to wreak havoc with her plagues and curses and minions. She is opposed by the benevolent lion-god Barong, but even if she is defeated, she reincarnates and the cycle of war between good and evil continues forever.
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: Angra Mainyu

The great evil spirit of Zoroastrian lore. It is the mightiest of evils, and is opposed to all that is right and good. It cannot create, and is responsible for destruction, and so resorts to producing parodies and twisted mimicries of God's pure work. He and his legions of demons wreak havoc throughout the world by causing natural disasters and perverting the good minds of humanity.
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