Advice for Harrow Reading w / o a Deck

Curse of the Crimson Throne

Hey all,

So I'm preparing to start CotCT this weekend for a group of new players, and I'm a little stressed about how to run the harrow reading. I've searched online but can't find a harrow deck that doesn't cost $40+ plus shipping from overseas.

The harrow readings seem like a cool, flavorful idea and I don't want to abandon them, but I'm struggling with how to conduct a reading without the harrow deck.

I have a tarot deck that I was thinking could be used as a substitution, but I can't quite wrap my head around a feasible way to do that without literally mapping cards one for one from the harrow deck to the tarot deck.

I know the book provides a method for simulating the drawing by rolling dice, but honestly that seems so drawn-out and immersion breaking that I think I'd rather cut out the reading altogether than do it in that manner.

I was wondering if anyone has had any success in the past doing harrow readings without a deck? Any thoughts, experiences, ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pathfinder AP#7, where the original "Edge of Anarchy" debuted, has a section on Harrow that includes how to do a Harrow reading with a deck of plain ol' playing cards. It basically maps each Harrow card to a playing card, like you mention doing with your Tarot deck.

If you own the CotCT hardcover PDF and want to go hard mode, you can copy each Harrow card image from the PDF, paste it into power point (or something similar), resize it to whatever size you like, print them out on cardstock, and cut them out. Voila! Budget Harrow Deck (sort of).


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Gauldin also created a Harrow Deck Spreadsheet awhile back.
Just press a button and it makes it pretty simple.

Thread here Excel Spreadsheet Harrow Deck

Thanks again for making this, if you are out there.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

I ended up using the tarot deck, but instead of doing a "genuine", off-the-cuff reading I prepared a reading ahead of time and stacked the deck. That way I only had to convert the select cards that I would be using in the reading rather than the entire deck.

It went pretty smoothly, and I think the players enjoyed it. Fingers crossed that it goes as well in the future!

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey! So... what's been unclear for me with Harrowings...does each character get their own reading? Or does the party as a whole get their own reading with Zellara?

Grand Lodge

Glan-Var Ov-Thur wrote:
Hey! So... what's been unclear for me with Harrowings...does each character get their own reading? Or does the party as a whole get their own reading with Zellara?

I really think that is up to you. As written, I am sure they intended each character to get their own reading, but that can be a bit onerous. I am doing a party reading myself.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the deck is available as a PDF. In a way, if I understand the instructions in the hardcover, you can do your entire party's individual reading at the same time. At the start, each player receives a card. The position of the symbol determines which card in the spread relates to each PC. You then shuffle those position cards back into the deck and deal out the nine card spread. Each character is related to one card of the spread based on their position card from the beginning.

Having said that, in my pbp game, I skipped straight to the spread making a party wide reading using all nine cards. My players seemed to enjoy it.

I will also say that unless you are very familiar with the meanings of all the cards, that either stacking the deck or pre-dealing your spread will serve you in great stead in a face to face game.

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