Cards
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Heraldry for House House of Cards
HOUSE INFORMATION
House: House of Cards
Kingdom: Mobrin
Seat: Seelie Court (The Crooked Deck)
Fortification: Unseelie Court
Motto: Your fortune lies in the Cards.
Colors: Silver and Gold
Liege: Greed
Vassals: Lies, Threats and Trickery
LEADERSHIP
Rank: Outcasts
Head of House: The Kings of Cups, Coins, Staves & Swords
Predecessor: The Played Hands
Heir: The Lords of Cups, Coins, Staves & Swords


Overview

The House of Cards is the name adopted by the largest group of thieves, brigands, mercenaries, ne'er-do-wells, spies and thugs in Mobrin. With traditions that predate the founding of the empire the House of Cards has entwined itself in the culture and myths of Mobrin so well that it is difficult for the lay person to tell what legends the were adopted by the Cards and which actions of the Cards have become legend. One thing is certain about the Cards, they maintain a low profile — any person bragging about being a member of the House, certainly isn't a member.

Organization

There has always been a House of Cards and there has always been a Tarot, so few waste time debating which was modeled after the other. As times change the Cards change, both in the House and in the Tarot. There are some constants, there have always been four suits and a king best suited for each, but other aspects have changed including the suits themselves and minor variations exist even in today's deck depending on who you are talking with. The deck outlined here is the most common in use in Mobrin today with explanation as to what each card reference means within the Hous of Cards. In addition to traditional variants a number of vanity decks exist that have been painted to commemorate certain events or to honor, flatter or even insult members of a particular court. It is considered absolutely taboo for a member of the House of Cards to put their own face or likeness into a deck.

Quick Reference:

Major Arcana
The major arcana, sometimes referred to as the fifth suit, are the named cards of a deck and are commonly used to describe actions to be taken by a House member.
Minor Arcana
The four suits of the minor arcana are currently known as Coins, Cups, Staves and Swords. A very old variant exists that uses the suits Octacles, Poisons, Wands and Blood however this rather macabre version is associated with only the foulest of witches and most twisted of Inouv's faithful.
  • Coins: Cards of the suit of Coins handle the hard currency. Pick-pockets, money-lenders, counterfeiters, gamblers, bookies, negotiators, book-keepers and the purse for the House fall into this suit.
  • Cups : Cards of the suit of Cups handle goods and non-combative services. The best known members of this suit are the whores but other members include forgers, smugglers, fences, black market traders, crafters and thieves.
  • Staves : Cards of the suit of Staves handle information and the occult. Spies, blackmailers, rumor mongers and politicians are found in this suit. Charlatans, soothsayers and fortune tellers are common but far less so are true witches and those steeped in the black arts.
  • Swords : Cards of the suit of Swords are the muscle of the House. Thugs, mercenaries and assassins call this suit home as do poachers, pirates, kidnappers and murderers.

Members and Legends

The House of Cards has entwined itself with myth, folklore and religion making it possible for two members to discuss business in casual conversation without revealing the meaning of the discussion to a non-member who overhears. The true Card's cant is not so much a guarded secret as it is a string of references to shared experiences that an outsider just wouldn't get. The House of Cards keeps the core terms of the cant in common use by encouraging stories, songs and games that utilize the same words. Dozens of versions of Tarot deck based games are played in places ranging from seedy taverns to royal salons and stories of the lands and courts of the fae folk delight children and carry lessons and wisdom. A number of children's games are based around the legends of the House of Cards including the currently popular Four Kings, a game about stealing noble titles played with colored sashes tied around the waist with a special knot.

The Cant used in gameplay is an OOC affectation to allow colorful dialog that is still meaningful to the players. In IC practice the Card's Cant would sound more like, "Oi, ya mind what Little Steven got up to when he were still Long Steven? Bout to do the same again save with that fool Jeremy." Unless you were intimately familiar with the activities that got Long Steven renamed Little Steven you would not have the slightest clue what was going on and would probably miss the keyword 'fool' which indicates Jeremy is the target of Card activity.

The following terms are associated with the Card's Cant these are in additional to the "High Cant" or Tarot references.

Banshee
A person (Fool) or item (Wheel) that will cause a lot of unwanted attention (wailing) if targeted.
Bogart
A guard, member of a household or watch that was unsuccessfully bribed or threatened and is now hostile or on alert.
Brownie
A guard, member of a household or watch that has been successfully bribed or threatened into helping.
Pooka
A person who is not what they appear to be, generally applied to a member of the watch attempting to pose as a client or a client who has a hidden agenda.
Redcap
A member of the Watch, Guard or Rangers who cannot be reasoned with or bribed.
Seelie Court
A public location for meeting with or hiring members of the House of Cards or the person who acts as a front to pass information to the House. Often a bar or tavern with a reputation for hosting lower class clientele or the bartender of such an establishment. Make the right kind of noise in front of the Seelie Court and the House of Cards will listen.
Unseelie Court
A private location for for meetings of the House of Cards or the person in charge of a particular job.
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