A downloadable game resource

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Imagine having centuries of beautiful art and esoteric symbolism at your fingertips!

The Game Designer's Tarot is a guide for gamemasters and storytellers about using the centuries-old Tarot as a tool for brainstorming and narrative design. Use it to create compelling characters, engaging settings, deep storylines, gripping conflicts, hidden agendas, and even whole, living worlds for your games.

Want to design a captivating villain or mystifying locale for your heroic adventures? Pick a card, and behold!

This 92-page printable PDF contains advice for interpreting traditional Tarot cards as the building blocks of a story using single-card, three-card, and ten-card Tarot readings, as well as instructions for transforming the narrative elements you create into gameplay. Also included is a brief guide on the history of Tarot cards, how to use them for more general insights as they are usually intended, and of course the symbolic meaning behind every card.

I've written and run games as a gamemaster for over twenty-five years, and the lesson I've learned again and again is that there's always more to learn! This is my first time sharing my own game narrative secrets with the tabletop roleplaying community that has taught me so much. I hope you'll learn something from it, enjoy it, and use it to make your games beautiful!

What's included:

- A full set of 78 printable Tarot Cards with art by Pamela Colman Smith, from the original 1909 classic Waite-Smith-Rider deck now in the Public Domain.

- The 92-page book as a full-color PDF ready for printing, as well as a separate PDF version optimized for two-page on-screen viewing, if like me, you prefer to view PDFs with two pages visible at a time. Both PDFs contain a full catalog of all 78 Tarot cards for visual reference, with descriptions of each card as alt-text accessible by screen reader software, and a quick-reference section at the back of the book.

- Printable quick-reference sheets containing summaries, lists, and tables of all the information in the book, in both color, and print-friendly formats.

- A text-only version for accessible reading, containing descriptions of each card in place of graphics. Uses the Open Dyslexic font for readability.

Note: I'm making this game resource available for free for now, but if you enjoy it and find it useful, please do come back and pay the suggested price (or more), if you can!

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(26 total ratings)
GenreCard Game, Role Playing
TagsTarot, writing


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Game Designer's TAROT - PRINTABLE BOOK.pdf 10 MB
Game Designer's TAROT - On-Screen Readable 2-Page View - NOT FOR PRINT.pdf 10 MB
Game Designer's TAROT - Public Domain Cards for Printing.pdf 23 MB
Game Designer's TAROT - Quick-Reference Sheets.pdf 385 kB
Game Designer's TAROT - Quick-Reference Sheets (Print Friendly).pdf 86 kB
Game Designer's TAROT - Text-Only.pdf 250 kB


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I just printed out the reference sheet and there's some great stuff in here!! Really excited to read through the book and use it in my games. I'm very new to tarot and was mainly looking to use it for TTRPGs, so thank you for creating this!

Do you have a .pico file for the website playingcards.io? There are games I would love to play online that require a tarot deck shared among all the players.

Love your pfp, btw. Genderfluid pride!

Most PDF readers (as in, all but the most rubbish ones) have the option to consider the cover as a separate page when viewing two pages side-by-side. In other words, you can choose to have the odd pages on the left or on the right side. There's no need for a version "optimized for two-page on-screen viewing".


I found I needed it for the basic Acrobat Reader from Adobe - but there might be a setting available in there that I don't know about. In any case, I didn't see anything wrong with providing more options.

In Acrobat Reader, it's in the menu "View" -> "Page Display" -> "Show Cover Page in Two Page View".

Unfortunately, in Acrobat Reader there's no button and no keyboard shortcut for it, you got to use the menu. That's one reason why I prefer other PDF readers (PDF-XChange Editor on Windows and Foxit on macOS).


Thank you so much for this. Also want to compliment you on creating an introduction to tarot that far surpasses many of the "real" tarot books out there. By having game design perspectives in here you are breaking down the understanding for the different cards in a new and improved way. Someone could easily use this thing to get into actual tarot reading. :)


Thank you! Most people who read this probably know the basics of tarot already, but it would've felt like something was missing if I didn't cover it.