Playing Cards

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Playing cards have been used in Elara and Ifran for centuries; they are said to have been popularized in the Qartan Empire by traders returning from Serica.

These cards are traditionally used for playing games of chance, skill, and bluffing, and are popular among people of all social classes in Gallinea.

Some cards are also used for divination purposes, usually adding an additional set of Mysteries to the normal 52-card deck.

Diegan Cards

Although most countries have their own variants on deck configuration, the most common type of cards are the Diegan standard deck. This deck originated in Diega, Ondala, but during the Third Ondalan Tribunals all forms of gambling were outlawed. Many less-than-pious Ondalans left the country to seek their fortune elsewhere, many of them joining the Ekalian trading fleets and spreading the Diegan deck around the world.

A Diegan deck consists of 52 cards. Each card has a suit and a rank. There are 13 ranks in each suit, and four suits in the deck.

The modern Gallinean names for the Diegan suits are Poignards, Calices, Batons, and Sols, as shown on the table below.

Suit Name Symbol Color
Poignard Dagger Purple
Calice Chalice Golden
Bâton Cudgel Blue
Sol Coin Red


The ranks within each suit start at Ace, then 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 -- the pip cards. The remaining three cards per suit are known as the court cards -- the Cavalier, the Prince, and the Monarch. The Monarch is the highest ranking card in the deck, although some games favored among the lower classes invert the traditional ordering.

It's common within Elara to decorate court cards with the images of the current local rulers, and sometimes neighboring rulers as well. If the local equivalent to the Prince is female (often the consort of the Monarch), a card painted with her image is known as the Princess and replaces the Prince in the deck.

Behind the Scenes

The Diegan standard deck is obviously directly analogous to the real-world French playing card deck used throughout many countries, including France and the United States.

Diegan Term English Term
Poignards Spades
Calices Hearts
Bâtons Clubs
Sols Diamonds
Cavalier Jack
Prince(ss) Queen
Monarch King

TQC Success Table Cards Deck

Bold Pueblo has created a set of playing cards designed by jim pinto with art by Eleanor Ferron which not only feature TQC NPCs as court cards, but have success tables for specialties on the pip cards. These cards are usable as normal playing cards in addition to being a pocket reference; the cards contain both Diegan and English (French) symbols.

The Poignards (spades) suit represents Gallinea, the Calices (hearts) suit represents the Asrian church, the Bâtons suit represents Albia, and the Sols suit represents Ondala. The characters featured on each court card are shown in the table below.

Card Character
Cavalier of Poignards Gabriana Secouriste, Queen's Cavalier
Prince of Poignards Carolus, Prince-Consort of Gallinea
Monarch of Poignards Mariana II, Queen of Gallinea
Cavalier of Calices Martine Deveaux, Mercenary and Spy
Prince of Calices Farrazin, Guardian of the Faith
Monarch of Calices Isabene de la Justicia, Bride of the Sun
Cavalier of Bâtons Duke of Bedyngford, Lord-Ambassador to Gallinea
Princess of Bâtons Fionna, Queen-Consort of Albia
Monarch of Bâtons Edgar II, King-Regnant of Albia
Cavalier of Sols Ginevra de Hiedra y Obispo, New Cordera Fleet Captain
Prince of Sols Don Rodolfo, Majordomo of Diega
Monarch of Sols Ximena IV, Queen of Ondala

These cards will be available for purchase soon.