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XVI. Tower

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


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 physical attacks.

Aptitude-wise, Tower is at home in combat. Ballistic Skill allows Tower to make gains toward ranged combat, whilst Strength and Toughness can be used to round out an already-decent combat build.

Arcana Qualities

Characteristic Bonus Character Aptitudes Persona Aptitudes Magic Characteristic
+5 BS, +5 Strength Ballistic Skill, Strength, Agility Elec, Might Willpower

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Arcana Exemplaries

Exemplary Evoker Rank 1 Evoker Rank 4 Evoker Rank 7 Evoker Rank 10
Unseen Downfall Ranged Attacks (either mundane or Maneuvers) against Surprised targets gain extra damage equal to your BSB/2 and the Agile Quality. The bonus now applies to any attacks made in the first round of battle, so long as they're against targets whose Initiative is lower than your own. The bonus now applies to all Ranged Attacks made as part of a One More action. You now add half your BSB to Initiative rolls, and Ranged Attack super hits that benefit from this Exemplary gain the Shocking (20) Quality.
Unspent Striving Whenever you spend a Realisation Point to boost or reroll a test, and the result is either worse than the original result or an outright failure, you may decide to accept the initial or previous result and reclaim the spent Realisation Point. Whenever you expend an item to help a test which then fails, or to attack an enemy who dodges, you regain the item. Whenever you spend a Realisation Point to reroll damage, reduce damage or restore wounds, and the result is 3 or lower, you may reroll once and take the preferred result. Furthermore, whenever you cast a spell to attack an enemy, and the attack is nullified (by doing no damage or being evaded), you regain the spent SP.

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