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New Spread: Shingled Roof

In many parts of the world, rooftops are bracing for a load of snow. Let’s sweep that snow aside and see what stories the roof has to tell.

Shuffle the deck and deal three rows of three cards overlapped and staggered like shingles. Deal from the bottom row up so the roof will properly shed the rain, sleet and snow.

The last row dealt, at the top, represents the past.

The second row, hidden in the middle, represents the present.

The first row, hidden at the bottom, represents the future.

In each row, the left card represents something sinister, the middle card something neutral, and the right card something auspicious.

Example

You chase the frogs off the roof to reveal
hints of the past Fearlessness, Lantern, and fowl;
hints of the present Puppet, Failure, and Certainty;
and hints of the future Support, Wisdom, and Carrot.

The ever-present roosting chickens were the light of your life, despite your pervasive feelings of dread whenever the descendants of the once-mighty dinosaurs approached. Forebodings of feathers gave support to your fears, leaving you constantly at the mercy of certain failure like a puppet on tangled strings. Or perhaps there is a chance to overcome those fears, learn to see by the lantern’s light and find your glimpse of a golden age to come.

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New Spread: Sack of Dreams

The next step is always to sort the candy. You know the drill. You have a sackful, but it’s a mixed bag. There may even be a few rocks. But you persist, and also find a few gems.

Shuffle the entire deck, then throw a handful of cards to the table in front of you.

Find the gems, use the rest, and avoid the healthy snack that dentist around the corner always tossed in.

Example

You empty the sack on the rug and find Music, Purity, Humility, butter knife, Transformation, Carrot, Knowledge, Cat, quill, Loyalty, and Fearlessness; all bathed in green (#33BF33) light.

Twentyfour carrots does not make the plastic ring any more real, and a CZ is not really just like diamond. This cat just doesn’t have game, is not going to get the prize. He might blow a mean horn, and his demeanor is charming to a degree. But then there’s a cold and calculating side, and I get the sense that butter might not melt in his mouth, he’s so cold.

Then he does something like this. A bold proposal, taking me on a treasure hunt where we find all sorts of things tucked in ring boxes.

It is hard to get past all the carrots though….

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New Spread: Trick or Treat

Guess what time of year it is?

Time for a good trick, or perhaps a good treat. Two sides of the same coin; both fraught with possibilities. Perhaps you don’t even know which is needed until the door opens.

Deal two pairs of cards. A pair of abstract cards symbolize the trick. A pair of concrete cards symbolize the treat.

Focus your story on one pair or the other. But feel free to allow the unused pair to loom over the action and influence anything (or everything) through fear, intimidation, or even temptation.

What tempts you today? The trick? or the Treat?

Above all, remember to have fun with it.

Example

The Trick: Prudence Racket
The Treat: Eye Birdcage
all bathed in violet (#5F007F) light.

In hindsight, there was no real choice at all. I could have allowed the trap to spring, leaving me holding the bag at the end of the day while the alarms ring. I would go home with nothing, if I was allowed to leave the scene at all. Or, I could immediately snatch the bird in the cage. No alarms. Just a tasty snack.

Not that it ever is that easy.

My lunge for the cage fell short. The bird saw me coming and went off like an alarm all by itself. And I was reduced to slinking away without my planned tasty yellow treat.

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New Spread: The Group Dinner

We’ve all been there. A large group of friends goes out for a meal, and ends up spread out along a long table, in a loud setting. Pretty soon everything is a game of telephone, whether it’s just “pass the pepper” or “Joe got promoted”.

Pretty soon all you know for sure is that Joe is in trouble, and no one wants the paper.

From the entire deck, deal a hand of 13 cards all in a row.

The story is hiding in plain sight, despite all the background noise caused by the other 11.

Which two are important? Isn’t that always the question? Are some of the cards staff? Are some ringers? Is the roast beast on the table? What about the pudding? And what is that playing in the background that no one is really listening to?

All are fair questions. Not all questions need answers.

And remember to have fun, even if your guests aren’t so happy!

Example

The party includes success, Saw, Clumsiness, Fish, Hope, Certainty, Lantern, dog, alarm, Gramophone, Free Will, quill, and Infinite; all bathed in indigo (#7F00FF) light.

It is reasonable to hope that not everyone had the fish, the salmon mousse is particularly risky. Music is playing, and it is influencing both the conversation and people’s choices. But the persistently barking dog is the biggest problem. No one knows who brought the dog. Then the waiter spills the soup…

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New Spread: Showstopping Number

Your life is a musical.

Your cards describe a showstopping musical number.

Write the song, or write about the aftermath of the song. Either way, you need to find the title and lyrics in the cards.

One pertinent question is whether your characters know they are in a musical before, during, and after that happens.

Divide the deck into abstract and concrete cards. Shuffle each half, and deal a pair from each half. The pair of concrete cards are the title of the song. The pair of abstract cards set the mood.

Performing your song in public is optional.

Example

Title: Frog fork
Mood: Impulsiveness Against all odds
On a field of blue (#80b1d3) bordered in black (#070707)

A young frog, fresh from the swamp sets out to seek his fortune. At every fork in the road, he chooses his way seemingly at random. Ultimately the fates are in control, but its going to be a bumpy ride.

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New Spread: Vexing Vexillography

Flags are powerful symbols. Visible and recognized from afar; rallying points for citizens and followers; and not to mention their rich heritage of heraldic traditions.

Primarily a flag is carried as a symbol of something. Something to which you belong or not. Someplace you are a citizen of or not. And usually something displayed as an act of patriotism.

For this deal, we will dabble in Vexillology or Vexillography as suits your fancy. The former, of course, if the deal inspires a story placed in the history of the flag itself. The latter, should the deal inspire the story of the creation and design of a new flag.

We’ll begin by shuffling the whole deck, and picking a field of color as a background. Then we will deal four cards, placing them in a grid laying out as a flag flies in a stiff breeze.

Imagine a pole at either the left or right edge, perhaps even topped with some finial ornament suitable to the occasion.

From there, your story will find its place, doff its cap, and salute its flag.

Example

The flag: fowl, Wisdom, Racket, and balm
On a field of lavender (#bebada)
Bordered in white (#eeeeee)

Chicken Little needed a new way to rally her friends, as the old way clearly wasn’t working. She spent all night thinking, then all day planning and all the next night sewing.

Surely the farmer wouldn’t miss those old bed sheets, although his wife might. Well, she decided to worry about that another day. For today, the new flag was everything.

The wind was up, so it snapped and crackled merrily in the breeze, presenting the images of the coop and egg for home along with a sturdy tree for safety.

Finally, something she could stand behind!

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New Spread: Lava

The floor is lava, the carpet and furniture (and drapes) are safe.

No the entire island of Hawaii is not melting. But Hawaii is evidence that if enough lava piles up in one place, the result can be amazing.

Lava does flow, is hot, sometimes splashes, and is always something to be wary of.

Deal a meandering path of cards. The flow runs hot at the start and cools as it goes.

The cards either the flow itself of what it flows over. Your choice, but choose wisely. Then again, it is always your tale to tell, so choose as you wish!

Example

The path: Strength, Lantern, dog, teddy bear, Past experience, sunk, and nose