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Tarot Roulette

The theory of 'Tarot Roulette' is simple: before the game session begins, the GM asks each player if they would like to take a chance by drawing a random card from the tarot deck. Each card corresponds to a specific bonus or drawback that player's character will gain for the duration of that gaming session. Drawing a card is entirely optional, but naturally once a card is chosen its effects must be accepted; each player may only draw a single card (unless the GM rules otherwise, of course).

Most cards only give a small plus or negative, but some have very powerful effects, both good and bad. I like this for a couple of reasons: it adds a little more variety and surprise to the game, and it simulates how everyone can have a "bad day" where they can't seem to do anything right, or a "good day" where they can walk on water. But my games tend to be fairly cinematic, and this might not be a good fit for more realistic campaigns.

For fantasy games I use a standard Rider-White tarot; for more modern games I use the Mage: the Ascension tarot, from White Wolf. Where the names or suits of specific cards differ I've included the names from the Mage deck in parentheses. Note that this table was written for GURPS 3rd edition, and hasn't been updated for 4th edition - some of the results may no longer apply, but in most cases it should be a simple matter to substitute advantages/disadvantages.

Cards of the Tarot

The Magician (The Mage)		Magic Resistance +4
The High Priestess		Luck +1
The Empress			+4 HP
The Emperor			+4 HP
The Heirophant			Luck +1
The Lovers			Empathy
The Chariot			+2 Dodge/Speed
Strength			+3 ST
The Hermit			-4 to all reactions
The Wheel of Fortune		Luck +2
Justice				Will +4
The Hanged Man			-2 HP
Death				-4 HP
Temperance			Stong Will +2	
The Devil			Compulsive Behavior (Lying)
The Tower			High Pain Threshold
The Star			Unluckiness
The Moon (Luna)			Combat Paralysis
The Sun				Combat Reflexes
Judgement			Intolerance
The Fool			Perfect Balance, +1 Dodge
The World (Gaia)		+4 to all reactions

King of Swords (Dynamism)	+4 to one combat skill
Queen of Swords			+3 to one combat skill
Knight of Swords		+2 to one combat skill
Page of Swords			+2 to one combat skill
Ten of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Nine of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Eight of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Seven of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Six of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Five of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Four of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Three of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Two of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
Ace of Swords			+1 to one combat skill
				
(player's choice of skill)
King of Cups (Primordialism) +4 to one non-combat skill Queen of Cups +3 to one non-combat skill Knight of Cups +2 to one non-combat skill Page of Cups +2 to one non-combat skill Ten of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Nine of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Eight of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Seven of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Six of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Five of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Four of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Three of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Two of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill Ace of Cups +1 to one non-combat skill
(player's choice of skill)
King of Wands (Questing) -4 to one combat skill Queen of Wands -3 to one combat skill Knight of Wands -2 to one combat skill Page of Wands -2 to one combat skill Ten of Wands -1 to one combat skill Nine of Wands -1 to one combat skill Eight of Wands -1 to one combat skill Seven of Wands -1 to one combat skill Six of Wands -1 to one combat skill Five of Wands -1 to one combat skill Four of Wands -1 to one combat skill Three of Wands -1 to one combat skill Two of Wands -1 to one combat skill Ace of Wands -1 to one combat skill
(GM's choice of skill)
King of Pentacles (Pattern) -4 to one non-combat skill Queen of Pentacles -3 to one non-combat skill Knight of Pentacles -2 to one non-combat skill Page of Pentacles -2 to one non-combat skill Ten of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Nine of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Eight of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Seven of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Six of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Five of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Four of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Three of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Two of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill Ace of Pentacles -1 to one non-combat skill
(GM's choice of skill)
Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.
-- Cecil B. DeMille