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Tarot and Sorcery: Exploring The Covens of Midnight Solo RPG

About The Covens of Midnight

There’s an undeniable allure to magical schools, as evidenced by the plethora of books, anime, and other media set in mystical academies – we even maintain a list of the best magic school tabletop RPGs. The upcoming title, The Covens of Midnight, taps into that collective charm with a solo RPG that employs a deck of tarot cards to guide players through their arcane studies and introspective growth.

The Covens of Midnight, by Crossed Paths Press, the makers of Brambletrek, transports players to the enchanted realm of Akeroth as members of The Midnight Court. Here, they will rub shoulders for three semesters with other students possessing latent magical talent. However, not everyone has a connection to a mysterious and powerful Paragon. This choice between entities such as The Archfey, Morrah, The Great Old One, nature spirit Hal-Yun, and others will determine the student’s class and indelibly shape their time within the school.

Using the included tarot deck (exquisitely illustrated by Marta Kowalczewska, better known as mal-vva), players attend their various lessons, craft powerful artifacts, and engage in sparring matches with their fellow students and rivals. The cards can be interpreted in many ways, in line with tarot’s inherent tendency towards introspection. They will prompt players to delve deep into narrating victories, defeats, insightful discoveries, and moments of vulnerability.

How the Game Works

“The Covens of Midnight” is a unique pen and paper journaling RPG that utilizes Tarot cards instead of dice. This game is set in a fascinating world known as Akeroth, specifically within the prestigious arcane institution, The Midnight Court. As a player, you take on the role of a student in this college, but you are not just any student. You possess magical powers granted by an otherworldly Patron, referred to as a Paragon.

The game stands out for its emphasis on roleplaying and storytelling, offering a rich narrative experience. It is designed to be played solo without the need for a Game Master (GM). This allows for a great deal of flexibility, enabling players to engage in the game for varying durations, from brief sessions to extended play.

Character creation in “The Covens of Midnight” is driven by Tarot cards. These cards shape your character’s backstory, skills, and the challenges they face. The game also emphasizes the formation of connections with other characters in The Midnight Court, including fellow students, mentors, and rivals.

The game’s mechanics integrate Tarot cards for various aspects, including scenario inspiration, character backstories, and skill checks. The highest card drawn in a skill check wins the challenge, with the suit of the card providing additional benefits. Players can also invoke the favor of their Paragon to influence situations, but this power comes with limitations.

“The Covens of Midnight” is designed to be narrative-heavy and rules-light, making it accessible to players who may not have experience with Tarot cards. The game’s setting, The Midnight Court, is described as a blend of dark academia and vibrant magical elements, providing a rich backdrop for players’ stories.

Watch on YouTube: The Best Magical School RPGs

Alongside card-drawing, a significant portion of The Covens of Midnight‘s gameplay revolves around journaling daily occurrences within The Midnight Court. Whether the focus is on academic studies or social life is entirely up to the player. The designer stated in a press release that this aspect should be “therapeutic and […] personally meaningful.” The solo play nature should encourage thoughtful consideration of how choices resonate throughout the character’s life and subtly alter their future in surprising but fitting ways.

The Covens of Midnight can be purchased with an accompanying tarot deck illustrated by Kowalczewska, but any standard tarot deck will work perfectly fine. The art style is reminiscent of the character and event cards used in the 2014 video game RPG Dragon Age: Inquisition, combining elements of dark fantasy, dramatic portraiture, and symbolism while also allowing ample room for a player’s own interpretation of the world and their evolving student’s role within it.

The Backerkit campaign for The Covens of Midnight launches on January 16th and seeks funding for a physical rulebook print run alongside the themed tarot deck (both can be purchased separately, according to the designer). The core book will include a separate guide for interpreting tarot for those new to the practice, which can then be directly applied to the RPG’s narrative campaign play.

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