Sunday, 29 June 2014

LXVII. Another Fate Deck (WIP)

Around Christmas 2013 I produced a custom handmade Fate Deck for use in my future games. The design was very simplistic. Since there are two sides in an encounter, each needing its own deck, I knew I would eventually need to make another one. From the beginning, the plan was for the second deck's art to be more elaborate. Since I was in no hurry I took my time, waiting for the moment of inspiration to come.

Eventually it did: during one particularly tiresome class I stopped paying attention and started brainstorming and sketching out some ideas for the deck.
The first step was to upgrade the suit symbols. So I opted for giving more weight to the rings of Spirit and Blood, as well as adding some simple detail to each symbol to make it more interesting.

The old suit symbols (bottom) and the new suit symbols (top).

After that I started thinking about the face cards. The original deck treated them as all other cards, simply showing their value (11-13) and the number of suit symbols corresponding to that value. This time I wanted to decorate them with some artwork.

The format is the following: the thirteens will be horsemen, the twelves quadrupedal beasts, and the elevens bipedal humanoids. Each figure is painted predominantly in the colour of its suit, with details in the other colour (Spirit and Bone are black with red detail; Flesh and Blood are red with black detail). Each horseman wears a helmet, carries a weapon in his right hand and a round shield in his left. By the feet of each horse is a small pet animal.

I'm not yet settled on the design for the two Jokers. I'm currently mulling over the idea of the Red Joker being all intricate and fancy while the Black Joker stands on the opposite side of the scale: fully simple and toned down.

My sketches and notes on the deck.
 When brainstorming for subject matter, I took the name of each suit and gathered around it a cloud of my personal associations.  For example: FLESH - carnality, hedonism, self-indulgence, luxury, wealth...; animals: goat, satyr, monkey...; details: ruffles, jewellery, expensive fabrics...; weapon: club (phallic symbol); horse: covered with a luxurious caparison. There is usually more than one direction in which associations can go, so I always picked just one of them (e.g. Flesh could also have been interpreted neutrally - as an anatomical, biological thing, the physical body; however this quite religious interpretation provided me with a chance to use more colourful imagery). I also took into account how fun it would be to paint the particular image.

I did the same for every suit, and ended up with a pretty clear idea of what I will be painting. Though there might be some tweaks to the designs as I go along, of course.  

Some more sketches: face cards and aces.
 The next step was actually making a few cards for each suit to see how my ideas looked when realized. Pretty good, actually:

The first deck (bottom row) VS the new deck (top row). Left to right: ace of Flesh, eight of Blood,  six of Bone and twelve of Spirit.

And now I just have to finish the rest. It's a slow process, since I only work on this when I really feel like it and I find enough time. But I'll get there eventually.  

Unlike the first deck, this one will feature illustrated Jokers and face cards (eleven to thirteen of each suit). So far I have finished these three twelves (Blood, Spirit and Flesh).


  1. Wow, you have so much talent, it's always interesting to read your blog.

  2. Absolutely brilliant! An excellent vision that you are carrying all the way through! I might need to buy one of these fate decks from you : )

    1. Thanks, Dave!

      Maybe I should consider having the deck printed when it's finished. Problem is, I don't have the skills needed to properly digitalize and prepare it for the purpose. :\

  3. These are just beautiful. Love it!

  4. I love the style and finish of your cards. Wonderful work as always! :)