Mindful that I have to get running playtest sessions with all of the essential components in place, I have been working on the cards for The Dee Sanction. I don’t need a complete set, but I need enough to make the process of character generation straight from the deck a random and slightly unpredictable process. On that basis, and the assumption that I might have a session with up to 6 players, I want at least 9 to 12 cards for each category of card.
The cards break down to Unethical Ends (a past profession), Hermetic Flaws (lore or an artefact that you have been exposed to in the past) and Secret Affiliation (a society or organisation you have fallen in with). In each and every instance, these cards indicate something that can be held against you. This isn’t necessarily the simple presentation of a fact – like once being a Horse Trader. The issue comes with what you chose to do or how you acted – what dark deeds and misbegotten truths lie in your past.
So, you have:
- a profession that has bought you notoriety (if not outright condemnation and threat)
- the knowledge from within a forbidden book of lore or magickal artefact (frowned upon, if not outright condemned, by the Church and Authorities), and
- association with a secret society (at odds, if not outright condemned, blasphemous and treasonous, with the common law and crowned monarch, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth)
Awkwardly, all these sources provide you with more expertise and knowledge in staying alive and ahead of the game than anything covered in basic training when inducted into Walsingham’s secret gnostic taskforce, the Dee Sanction (named after both the respected Doctor John Dee and the secret act of government revoking certain aspects of An Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts, 1562, in respect of the learned battle against ruinous and heretical forces in league to bring about the downfall of the House of Tudor).
As a character, you have found a way to pay back your hidden debt to society. The Spymaster of Elizabeth’s Court has the potential and influence to offer you a blank slate and, perhaps, you might find some measure of spiritual absolution at the same time. While only God can offer forgiveness, you need to find it within yourself to accept and embrace it when offered – and how can you do that with such a weight on your conscience?
Each card in the character generation process presents certain traits and areas of expertise that you can tap into to drive success in a Challenge. Your Unethical Ends, for example, offer skills and experience frowned upon by the unyielding Guild system, the Church or the law of the land – but they can, nevertheless, prove useful while combating villainy, curses and monstrous assault. In The Dee Sanction, embracing your dark side may prove the only way to pay back your debt to society, your faith and your Queen.