Saturday, October 15, 2016
In the Dealers' Room at Gaylaxicon this past weekend, I found a promo deck from The Golden Compass movie. The seller had no idea what the cards were like, but at $10 the deck seemed like a pretty low-risk purchase.
Imagine my surprise when upon opening the deck I saw a unique image on every playing card. And not only an image, but a definition of the image. For example, the 7 of Spades is Serpent, an has the legend: "Definition: Evil, Guile, Natural Wisdom". Very nice! The card includes both a traditional meaning and a more Gnostic interpretation of the Serpent.
I believe each card in the deck is meant to represent one symbol from the alethiometer, the most important clockwork device from the first novel in His Dark Materials. The deck could be used as the Action Deck in any Victorian or steampunk Savage Worlds game, or used as a special divinatory Aspect generator in a steampunk-flavored Fate game.
Compared to the disappointment that was the Penny Dreadful Tarot Deck, The Golden Compass playing card deck is a major find and a bargain.