SOVEREIGN SYNDICATE DEV UPDATE, JUL 2023: Discussing New Tarot Card and Traits Systems

Crimson Herring

Hi Everyone, as promised, I’m checking in with another update on the state of the game and some recent changes we’ve made.

As I discussed in the last update, now that we’re further along in development we’re taking some time to re-assess whether the mechanics and systems we’ve developed are fit for purpose and reinforcing the core gameplay loop of exploration, storytelling, and meaningful dialogue choices.

Today I’ll be talking about our changes to the tarot card and trait systems.

Initially we were treating major tarot cards more as an augment to the card draw mechanic, changing how the minor arcana (used in place of dice) were drawn based on which major tarot cards the player unlocked and equipped to their decks. This was an interesting approach; but ultimately it was never as fun as we wanted, and a lot of players were confused by how this system interacted with the chance of success for a given draw.

Going back to our core gameplay loop, we asked ourselves how we could better design this system to provide more meaningful character customization and dialogue choices. As a result, we’ve simplified the card draw system. We’ve retained the minor arcana decks and associating them with the players attributes; but instead of having major tarot influence the card game, major tarot are now used to give your character traits.

This simplifies the card draw quite a bit, drawing one card at a time per attribute and minor arcana deck. The result is an easier to understand mechanic that feels more fair to the player and that allows them to focus more on core gameplay rather micro managing their major tarot equips.

For traits, we’d always been inspired by etiquettes in Shadowrun, specializations that players could select during character creation or earn during gameplay that would unlock special dialogue options and paths through the game. We’d iterated on this quite a bit earlier in development, but it never quite felt right.

Now that we’re using the major arcana cards to unlock traits, we’re able to make character creation and dialogue choices more meaningful and reactive to the player’s choices. With certain dialogue choices gated behind certain traits we’re able to offer more interesting choices in gameplay and provide more replay value as well. I’m really excited about how this change has made the game better and easier to understand.

That’s it for today, in future updates I’ll be discussing changes to the dialogue and UI panels and in-game options, so stay tuned for those!

As always, if you’d like to follow our development more closely you can subscribe to our newsletter and join our discord.


Until next time, Take care!