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"So you, you have this situation where you're co-creating in an environment where the characters and the players have very different levels of information. And I just love that. I think it's a really fun game."

Jason Morningstar

Another profitable day of fortune-telling. Truthfully, there isn’t a thimble’s worth of magic in your entire body. The cards, though – those are for real. They never tell a lie, according to the witch you nicked them from.

The Fool's Journey is a one page rpg about cards and secrets for exactly two players. One player plays the fortune-telling Witch, who uses a deck of cards to predict and prognosticate. The other player is the Wretch, who seeks the Witch's services, but is concealing a secret. The Witch has a secret of their own, though.

Over the course of the game, players construct a spread of imaginary cards, deciding through play what the cards look like and what they mean. (If you like, you can draw your cards afterwards!)

You will need: Two players and any deck of cards.

Illustrated by Shafer Brown. Playtested by Marc Majcher and Nic Bennett.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)
Authoranna anthropy
Tagsfortunetelling, secrets, Tarot, Tabletop role-playing game, Two Player


Buy Now$3.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $3 USD. You will get access to the following files:

The Fool's Journey.pdf 1.1 MB
The Fool's Journey plaintext.txt 3.1 kB


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This game is absolutely BRILLIANT! I learned about this game from the Dice Exploder podcast, where Jason Morningstar highlighted it as an excellent example of playing with dramatic irony in an episode dedicated to Transparency.

Yesterday, I played the first session, which took us about 30-40 minutes, after which we discussed potential techniques, best practices, and ways to further enhance the dramatic irony for another 40 minutes.

It's a wonderful freeform that allows for exploring this important aspect of story games in a very condensed format! And of course, it generates fantastically interesting scenes.

I've set aside a couple of evenings to play this short game again and again, after which I plan to document the best practices and techniques we developed at the table in a blog post :)


Thanks! Definitely link the blog post when it's live!

Sure, I'll do that! :) So far, I've managed to play 3 times in one day, so not bad :)

Question about "rules as intended": Does "cards always tell the truth" mean "cards answer the true, unspoken question of the Wretch?"

Generally, we play with the following interpretation:

  1. The cards answer the true question.
  2. The person playing the Witch generates cards that answer the true question, then as the Witch, they try to interpret them to respond to the fake question.

From this arise interesting techniques, such as the Wretch asking for (adding) details, which pull the cards even more towards an answer to the true question, while the Witch still tries to interpret these details from the perspective of the fake inquiry.

I'm asking because "cards always tell the truth" can be interpreted in MANY different ways :)

The ambiguity is partly a result of the limited space available in one-page games and partly because I think leaving room for interpretation makes story games more flexible. Ultimately the two players are the arbiters of the experience they're going to have and the stories they're going to tell, so I'm okay with the rules not always being fully explicit about what my intention is. This is one case where I think the ambiguity makes the game better, so I am reluctant to give an "official ruling."

Yours feels like a very straightforward interpretation of the game's language, though!

Sure, I understand :)

On one hand, I appreciate the concept of games as "guitars," through which one can play freeform folk music in many different ways, and this is how I treat story games when I approach them as forms of improv.

On the other hand, I also enjoy the modality of playing rules as written and interpreting the text, including the author's intent on seven levels of depth :) That's why I asked!

Another interpretation could be that the cards truthfully answer a false question, which can also lead to interesting comedic situations, although sometimes the false question may not be related to the true one. Yet another variation might be that the cards show that the question asked is false.

Considering what “game” individual players are playing, on one hand, one might think that the Wretch player is playing the game of "I ask a fake question but try to discern an answer to the real question from the cards" except in the last prompt, depending on how we set the scene, the Wretch's game might sound like "I ask a fake question but FROM THE WAY THE WITCH READS THE CARDS, I try to gauge whether she is a real witch or perhaps she stole the cards."

[An additional question is: How does it affect the game that the Witch is fake, and what would it change if she were a real witch?]

Of course, this is a one-page RPG and in this situation, it's really interesting to see how many different formats and interpretations one can go with in gameplay.