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A tarot deck of a world where Edison and Tesla are just the start, as steam and clockwork discoveries reach every corner of the globe.
A tarot deck of a world where Edison and Tesla are just the start, as steam and clockwork discoveries reach every corner of the globe.
225 backers pledged $10,289 to help bring this project to life.

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The Tarot of Brass & Steam is a steampunk tarot deck I've been designing and producing for the last 5+ years, commissioning new cards as funds were available.  Nikola Tesla is the Magician, Thomas Edison is the Devil, and the 4 suits of the Minor Arcana focus on the different corners of the world (the Old Country, the Dark Continent, the New World, and the Orient).  I've produced almost 20 cards to date, and it's time for the big push to get the rest completed!

Tesla & Edison, done by Alex Boca for Brass & Steam Productions
Tesla & Edison, done by Alex Boca for Brass & Steam Productions

What's it about?

Imagine an alternate 19th century, where Edison was the Devil who made deals, and Tesla was a Magician who wanted to spread his genius across the continents.  Now also imagine that technological revolutions began to show up everywhere--sky pirates in Europe; mechanical horses on the American frontier; baroque submarines off Japan; drilling machines in Africa.  What would such a world and its people look like?  That's the question I've been trying to answer these past few years--with your help, we can bring it all to fruition and see for ourselves. 

Okay, so what's the plan?

A tarot deck contains dozens of pieces of original art--in this case, art created by artists I've hired who work off my designs.  If we reach the goal of $9,000, I'll have the funds to commission the rest of the art needed for the deck (printing and distribution costs will be paid for separately, with funds set aside for that purpose).  What will that mean for you?  Well, if we reach our goal, I'll have what I need to produce:

  • The Deck: a full 78 card tarot deck, 42 of which will be fully illustrated (the 22 Major Arcana, plus the 16 Court Cards and the 4 Aces of the Minor Arcana).  The other 36 cards (2-10 of each suit in the Minor Arcana) will have simple designations to indicate their number and suit.
  • The Book: a full color guide book for each of the 42 illustrated cards, including descriptions and suggested divinatory meanings.

Pretty cool, right?  However, in case we blow through this initial goal, I have a couple stretch goals as well:

  • $18,000: if we reach this level, I'll have the deck fully illustrated--the rest of the minor arcana will show scenes or people from their specific geographic areas.  This will also result in a bigger guide book, as all 78 cards will have an entry.
  • $25,000: if we reach this level, the art budget gets a boost, and the $50 tier gets an art book--a large, softcover book with glossy copies of the source artwork, including alternate takes on some cards, and insight into the creation process. 
High Priestess & Hanged Man, done by Brooke Gillette for Brass & Steam Productions
High Priestess & Hanged Man, done by Brooke Gillette for Brass & Steam Productions

Reward Descriptions and Add-ons

I'm a one-man operation, so I'm keeping the rewards simple, and focused on the core product or items I'm already familiar with producing.  These include:

  • The deck: a physical copy of the finished tarot deck.  This will be 78 cards no matter what level of funding we reach--all that will change is how many of the cards are fully illustrated (42 or 78)
  • The Book (digital or physical): this will be the full color guide book, where the illustrated cards are displayed along with descriptions and suggested meanings.  The digital copy will be a PDF--I'll see what's involved in making an ebook format as well, but for now I'm committing to a PDF copy.  The physical book will be soft cover.
  • Prints (digital, physical, or aluminum): these will be copies of the artwork only--no clockwork border, no card names or logos.  They'll be borderless and come in a variety of sizes.  The digital prints will be JPEGs; the 4x6 prints will be on glossy photo paper; the 15x24 aluminum prints will be printed directly on aluminum in a sheer, glossy finish (so you can see the metal through the art).  
  • Wholesale/gift pack: if you have a store, or just want a really great group discount, you can get 5 decks and 3 guide books for one low, KS-exclusive price. 
  • Get on the Hermit card!  If you pledge this tier, I'll contact you after the KS is over to get photos of you or a friend (along with a release form), and you'll be incorporated into the Hermit card (which will involve a person leaning over a telescope--more details in a future update).
  • Get on the Chariot card!  If you pledge this tier, I'll contact you after the KS is over to get photos of you or a friend (along with a release form), and you'll be incorporated into the Chariot card (which will involve a person riding a sky chariot--more details in a future update).
  • Get on the Temperance card!  If you pledge this tier, I'll contact you after the KS is over to get photos of you or a friend (along with a release form), and you'll be incorporated into the Temperance card (which will involve a blacksmith pouring molten metal into a gear cast--more details in a future update).

In addition to the reward tiers, you can get extra items by adding the following amounts to your pledge (add amounts together if you wish to add on multiple items):

  • $15: 1 deck
  • $20: 1 guide book
  • $25: 2 13"x19" rolled art prints from my print store, on photo paper (US only--poster tubes are too expensive to ship internationally)
  • $50: 1 15"x24" poster, either mounted on styrene and shipped flat, or rolled in a tube.  Finish and border options will be determined individually after the campaign.  (US only)
Ace of Wands by Alex Boca, and Empress by Brooke Gillette
Ace of Wands by Alex Boca, and Empress by Brooke Gillette

Risks and challenges

I do not have specific artists to work on this project yet, should it get funded. My philosophy throughout has been, "don't approach the artists unless you have the money ready." This is my passion project, not theirs, and so I never feel right asking people to work on it unless I'm able to pay. So far I've had great success hiring artists to do a card or two at a time, but I think I will have greater success when I can offer bigger contracts. I'm confident I'll get the artists I need (either ones I've hired before or new ones if they're not available)--the biggest risk is that it may take a little extra time to find the right ones.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The Thanks
    You receive my sincere thanks, plus a 4"x6" digital print of your choice from the deck.

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    The Book (Digital)
    PDF copy of the full color guide book, with your name listed under a "Special Thanks" section.

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    The Deck
    You get a physical copy of the deck, plus everything from the lower tiers.

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    The Book (Physical)
    One physical copy of the color guide book, plus all previous tiers.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The Art Set
    Physical 4"x6" glossy prints of every piece of deck artwork (42 or 78 pieces, depending on funding), plus all previous tiers.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Group Rate
    5 copies of the deck, and 3 of the guide book, plus everything at the $15 tier and below (including up to 5 names listed in the Guide Book).

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    The Metal Print
    15x24 aluminum print of the art piece of your choice (sheer glossy finish), plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    CLOCKWORK ASTRONOMER
    Get your or a friend's likeness on the Hermit card! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    LIGHTER THAN AIR CHARIOT: Get your or a friend's likeness on the Chariot card! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    BLACKSMITH: Get your or a friend's likeness on the Temperance card! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    QUEEN OF THE WIRES: Get your or a friend's likeness on the Queen of Swords card (see Update #6 for details!)! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    ON COPPER WINGS: Get your or a friend's likeness on the Knight of Swords card (see Update #6 for details!)! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    BARON OF THE CLOCKWORK RAIL: Get your or a friend's likeness on the King of Wands card (see Update #6 for details!)! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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    QUEEN OF THE RIVER: Get your or a friend's likeness on the Queen of Wands card (see Update #6 for details!)! Also includes a 15x24 rolled print of the finished artwork, your name listed as an "Associate Producer," plus everything at the $50 level and below.

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Funding period

- (30 days)