Imperial Tarot

The Emperor’s Tarot (aka Imperial Tarot) is a pack of seventy-eight psychoactive liquid-crystal wafers that are believed to be linked to the thoughts of the Emperor. The Tarot, commonly believed to have been designed by the Emperor himself, is used throughout the Imperium as a form of divination.

Practice

The cards are laid up-side down and then turned. As they are turned they are read and interpreted by the reader. The second and fourth cards drawn are signifiers, bringing clarity to the ones preceding them.

When drawn upside down, the meaning of the card changes dramatically; the complete opposite to the non-inverse version of the card.

Sanctioned Psykers that specialize in the reading of the Emperor’s Tarot are known as Theomancers.

28 cards without a suit, also known as Terra Arcana

High Priest
The God-Emperor
Harlequin
Inquisitor
Assassin
Space Marine
Squat
Daemon
Space hulk
Warped Renegade
Galaxy
Star
Rogue trader
Power sword
Emperor’s Throne
Eye of Horus
Great Host
Shattered World
Galactic Lens
The Great Eye
The Despoiler
Jackal
Lost Child
Magos
Primarch* Added for Ultima Tectum campaign
Man of Iron * Added for Ultima Tectum campaign
Faceless Xenos* Added for Ultima Tectum campaign
Un-awakened Psyker* Added for Ultima Tectum campaign

Five suits with card values from 0 to 9* Added for Ultima Tectum campaign
Coin
Chalice
Dagger
Maul
Shield

Known card illustrations

The God-Emperor
A Body, browned with age and blackened in death, sits locked within a great throne of gold, steel and brass. The corpse’s mouth is open, projecting a silent scream that echoes through the unseen layers of the universe. Before the howling cadaver, a legion of angels kneels, crying violet tears.

The Great Eye
An eye. The Eye. A wound in reality, an open scar in space where the bruise-purple and blood-red eye of Chaos leers into the galaxy. The stars die around the Eye: some fading into cold blackness, others bursting in white hot torment. The Eye stares dully, little emotion beyond distant hate. But the nebula flares, tendrils spreading across space. The Eye has opened.

The Despoiler
The galaxy burns. A figure stands in ancient armor, wreathed in a billion screaming souls that encircle him like mist. In it’s right gauntlet, Holy Terra blackens and crumbles. A demigod’s blood drips from the talons. In the dim reaches of the vision, almost an afterthought, a distant howling light fades into darkness and silence. The figure smiles for the first time in ten thousand years.

Source, edited for the Ultima Tectum campaign.

Example of Tarot session Source: Phobos worked in adamant

Xenoch heard the intercom connection click off and, re-gathering his calm, he stretched out his hands to the cards. Their toad-like psychic corpulence had been quashed with the sealing of the chamber’s door and now they were mere cards: immensely precious, psycho-crystalline wafer cards, hand-crafted by a magos of the Collegium Psykana and precisely attuned to Xenoch’s own self but, ultimately, just cards. With the chamber’s Null shielding switched off, the cards blossomed with psychic life so fresh and bold that it was visible even to the non-psychic. But the ridges and bumps painstakingly crafted along the edges of each card were all that could tell him their identity now.

He touched the first: the Eye of Terror. It sat in the master position at the centre of the spread as harbinger of change and refuge of the damned. At the hub of the spread, it spoke of corruption at the very heart of things.

Beneath it, the Knight of Spheres lay inverted.

Xenoch sighed. The import of the cards seemed no less dire to him now than it had at his first reading. The gaze of Dark Powers had fallen upon Celare Artem; that much was indisputable.

Following the cards clockwise around the circle, Xenoch touched each in turn, refreshing his memory as to their exact locations, mining deeply within his knowledge and instinct to read the import of each.

The Nine of Chalices was a card of weak leadership and uncertainty. The Traitor stood at the right hand of the Eye of Terror. Above him was the Ace of Staves, foretelling the abuse of power. At the head of the Eye of Terror stood the magos, inverted – a dire warning of secret knowledge best left untouched – then the Two of Weapons, which stood for duality and for motives unclear even to the prime movers. On the left hand of the eye lay the Leviathan (the touch of the Ancients) and, below it and last in the spread, the Seven of Weapons, inverted (confusion and the threat of the mob).

“Prime Xenoch!”

The voice on the intercom was panicked, but Xenoch was too intensely focussed upon his work to notice immediately.

“I am not to be disturbed!” he shouted, hands shaking.

“Menials are in the Castle, Prime Xenoch! The skitarii”

The voice cut off suddenly and Xenoch glanced reflexively towards the door. Was that a noise from the corridor?

His hand fell upon the last card once more: confusion and the threat of the mob? Surely –

The door of the chamber shot open, the Null shielding collapsed and the three dark figures poured in along with telepathic screams of terror, death and blood.

“No” Xenoch had time to cry out before the crude bludgeon of the menial’s metal arm fell crushingly upon his skull and the astropath tumbled, dead, to the floor. Around him, his precious cards fell like a shower of rain.