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A roleplaying game of surrealistic fantasy, secrets, and magic played both at the table—and away from it.
A roleplaying game of surrealistic fantasy, secrets, and magic played both at the table—and away from it.
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The Sooth Deck

Posted by Monte Cook Games (Creator)

In the Actuality, those interested in presaging the future often turn to a simple tool with a complex nature: the Sooth Deck. This deck of 60 cards, broken into four families of fifteen cards each, can be used to divine the past, present, and future. It is often played atop a diagram of the Path of Suns, with the nature of each sun potentially influencing the nature of the card played on it.


The ways of magic are extraordinarily complex, and the nature of reality that a vislae sees is different than what others see. Vislae see the magical connections between all things. And these connections are not static, but ever changing. What someone else might see as just random chance, the vislae knows to be the result of powerful forces at work. It’s one of the things that makes magic never entirely predictable, nor entirely safe, because the more the vislae tries to harness magic, the more it changes, reshapes, or squirms out of reach.

The Sooth Deck is a way to codify these connections. When the Jackal card is played after the Eternal Mountain card, a vislae can see the skein of reality changing in a way that only they can understand.

The deck is an important part of the game of Invisible Sun. The cards have three levels of functionality.

First, each card has a set of straightforward mechanical elements. It can be used in lieu of dice if desired (and doing so is assumed when playing in a side scene). More important, certain uses of magic cause a card to be revealed in the middle of play. Played on one of the eight suns, this affects things on a short-term basis—usually making magic more or less difficult to wield. Played on the Invisible Sun, however, the card’s straightforward effect is far more long-lasting. This becomes known as the Testament of Suns, and the resin icon in the game displays that card for all to see.  

Second, the cards bear beautiful but darkly surreal imagery. Each has a wide variety of meanings and interpretations, a complex weave of interactions. The books (and the app) will have easy-to-use guidelines and suggestions for these interpretations. This is left intentionally open-ended, however, so that GMs can use these meanings when and if they want to. The Sooth Deck is never intended to become burdensome, but always to enhance the game.

Last, the cards, with their imagery and extensive array of possible interpretations, can be used by the GM simply as inspiration—an idea generator. The four card families are the Secrets, the Notions, the Visions, and the Mysteries. Each has a number of associated factors—items, animals, and elements. Of the fifteen cards in each family, five are “royalty cards” with special meanings that are more dramatic, so while Imprisoning Ice and Untrustworthy Mirror are interesting cards, if the Vizier or the Alchemist comes into play, everyone’s going to take notice.


Derek Conley, Brandon Ording, and 33 more people like this update.


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    1. Sean K Reynolds Collaborator on

      @Craig In one of this weekend's Q&A videos, Monte talks a lot about the Sooth Deck. :)

    2. Melissa Morecock

      Thanks for speaking at DragonCon!

      The more I learn about this game, the more and more excited I get.

    3. Lord Mhor

      Forsooth, my civilized soul is horrified at the degree to which my body has stooped to crass salivation over the mere thought of handling this deck. I shall be opening the "Academy of Verbosity" near the Haunted Clown Factory.

      We have invented a Key Funnel. Testing will occur in Ethereal Vault Thirteen shortly.

      Ignore the screams. Look away when the horizon pulsates in Mauve.

    4. Oliver Peltier

      I was Cooper, but now am called Shade, an Itinerant Flameheart Apostate Who Speaks to the Noösphere. In Shadow there is a series of books called the Indigo Series, by Louise Cooper. She also wrote more books about other worlds filled with magic, mystery and danger. Indigo was a Princess who was cursed to make reparation for releasing evils into the worlds.

      Sibyl the Connected Waveheart Goetic Who Walks With Strange Steps, is a Priestess of the Forgotten Goddess. When she met Shade, she knew that the time was right to unite the Seekers of the Invisible Sun, the Elder Rune Seekers, the Soothmancerisi, the Sorteilege Select and the Truthsayers of Dam.

      This would be all in accordance with the plan and prophecies of her Patron Ehftolo, an Archfey and guardian of the Omega. The Fool is the first, the last and the always and is the Seeker who journeys and will reveal the Trumps.

      In another Shadow of the Actuality, Trumps are different still. Adepts communicate through them and use them as portals. Those who achieve mastery can create their own. Even in the Grey Shadow some few can journey through them but the journey is mental only.

      Will the Trumps be recovered? For they have been hidden deep within Shadow

      "When I was in Shadow, I held on to a small part of my true self and declared myself an Energist, when I met others who seemed connected in similar ways, some could play the Classic Game and we thought that it was wonderful as it brought us closer to home. But when we played the Classic Game and called upon all our Aspects, we found that we were no longer in the Grey, nor were we in Sanctuary, we had reached the Actuality, we were all Vislae"

      There are secrets and gifts there, but not placed by nor affiliated with MCG.

    5. William Driver on

      "It took me... well, some time, let's say... to readjust to the Actuality since escaping my exile. Even early on, I was fascinated... obsessed really... with the Sooth. I sought to learn all I could about the deck, it's history, uses, et cetera. I came to be considered something of an 'expert' on the subject. Not as a gifted user of the Sooth, mind you. No, my own drawings were not any stronger or weaker or clearer than anyone else's. But rather as one who knew more than most about the Sooth itself. At some point in my searchings, some so called prophets themselves began approaching me for advice on the interpretation of some of their own drawings.

      "In any case, the more I learned, or perhaps relearned, the more I could not shake the feeling that something about the Sooth was... not quite right. Not really a flaw as such. It was more an ever growing certainty that something was missing. Then I began to hear the first of the whispers. Hints that I was not wrong in this deep seated belief. That there was a missing piece to the deck. Not a hole in the design or the deck would not function as it does. But it was something that would give the deck an even deeper nuance leading to better results and firmer interpretations. Further research led me to believe that the deck was missing an entire suit of cards. The trumps were gone.

      "No one believed me, of course. Why would they? The Sooth is older than any recall and no one had ever seen even one of these so called 'Trump' cards. Despite such infuriating assurances that I was wrong and merely confused by my time in the Shadow, I continued my investigations. I became convinced that I knew more than my memories contained and began to suspect that the whispers were nothing more than the ghosts of my own forgotten past. Lost to me during my exile in the Land of Lies. I sought assistance in recovering these estranged parts of myself.

      "I do not wish to bore you with details of my journey to self-enlightenment, so I will get to the point. The Trumps do exist. They were hidden during the war to prevent their misuse, perversion, or outright destruction. Hiding them necessitated erasing all traces of their existence from the Actuality, excepting from the Guardians themselves.

      "Once I discovered this, those that provided me with assistance in the endeavor began to disappear or fall back into the Shadow and not return. I myself have had several... strange encounters that can only be explained if they were related to my new found knowledge. Soon, I found it increasingly difficult to find any who would listen, let alone join, my 'mad venture.' This effectively brought an end to the matter. While I have many clues to follow, there are also untold numbers of empty places in my memory.

      "This, finally, brings me to the point of this meeting. You see, as I most recently discovered, I am the one who hid the Suit of Trumps from the Actuality.

      "And I humbly request your facilitation in finding them again."

    6. Saajan 9000

      That thing about coincidences reminds me of this scene in Ink:…

    7. Craig Lewin on

      Can you say more about how the cards can be used in lieu of dice? Can you give an example of the mechanical effects of one of the royalty cards?