Turn of Fate
Designed by Mike Everett-Lane
Players 2
Length ?
Extra Material Standard deck

A Storytelling game of Rival Temples (inspired by Gloom)

You are The High Priest of one of Jacynth's four major temples: the Devotees of the Moon Goddess, the Champions of the Sun God, the Patrons of the House of Leaves, and the Secret Order of the Diet of Wyrms. As the citizens lead their lives, you use your divine influence over the fates to bring them into your faithful flock, or even take their vows and join your temple. But beware — your rival High Priest can use the same influence to sow doubt amongst your congregation!


To gain the most prestige for your Temple. You will play Fate cards (Events and Locations) to bring the Citizens of Jacynth (Personalities) into your Congregation, and sow doubt amongst your Rival's Congregation. The more prominent the Citizens are (by their rank and by the significance of the Fates that occur to them) the more prestige they bring to your Temple.


The area in front of you is your Congregation — Citizens who are faithful to your Temple (for now).

Later in the game, you will have one face-down pile of those Citizens who have Taken Vows and entered your Temple.

The area in between the two Rivals is the Agora. Citizens in the Agora are Agnostic and have not decided for either Temple.

Make one face-down pile of all the Personalities from the deck. This is the Citizen Deck.

Make another face-down pile of all the other cards (Aces, Events, Locations). This is the Deck of Fates.

The player who last attended a religious or irreligious ceremony goes first and reveals the top card from the Citizen deck.

If the top suit on the card is a Moon, then Player 1 is the High Priestess of Devotees of the Moon Goddess. If it is a Sun, she is the Hierophant of the Champions of the Sun God. If it is a Leaf, she is the Chief Patron of the House of Leaves. If it is the Soldier, she is the Grand Vizier of the Secret Order of the Diet of Wyrms.

The first Citizen is placed in Player 1's Congregation.

The other Player will take on the role of the head of the Rival Temple. Moons are always rivals with Wyrms, and Suns rival Leaves.

Player 2 turns over a new Citizen. If it bears his Temple's suit, it goes in his Congregation. If it bears his Rival's suit, it goes into his Rival's Congregation. If it bears neither, it goes into the Agora. Player 2 continues to reveal cards in this manner until there are four Citizens in play.

Each player then draws Fate Cards, discarding any that bear his or her Rival's suit to the bottom of the deck, until each has drawn 3 Fate Cards.

The Wyrm or Leaves player goes first.

Game play

Order of a Turn

  1. Play a Fate card
  2. Induct Citizens into your Temple
  3. Draw new Fate Cards
  4. Introduce new Citizens

1) Play a Fate card

You may play a Fate card on any Citizen in either Congregation or in the Agora. You can play one Fate, or none. The top-most card must have a suit in common with the Fate you play. (If nothing has happened yet to a Citizen, it must match one of that Citizen's suits. Otherwise, it must match a suit on the most recent Fate that occurred to that Citizen.)

Whenever you play a Fate card, it represents something that's happened to them — a place they went, an event that occurred. While storytelling isn't strictly necessary, it does make the game more interesting. Improvise! And remember to incorporate whatever has been established about that Citizen.

When you play a Fate on a Citizen in your Rival's Congregation, something has happened to them to cause them to lose faith. Describe the event and move the Citizen into the Agora.

When you play a Fate on a Citizen in the Agora, something has happened to them that brings them to your way of thinking. Describe the event and put them in your Congregation.

When you play a Fate on a Citizen in your Congregation, fortune continues to smile on them. Describe their continued good fortune. They stay in your Congregation.

Special Fates:

Aces. Since there's no event or location description on an Ace, feel free to make up whatever you want to when describing what happened. You may be inspired by the interpretive meanings of the suits in the Decktet book.

If you play an Ace on a Citizen in your Congregation, they will Take Vows and join your Temple. (See below, Inducting Citizens.) Otherwise Aces are played like any other Fate.

Crown Fates. Normally, a Crown Fate (The Sea, The End, The Calamity, The Windfall) must be played on a card with a matching suit, just as other Fates. Crown Fates are always a Moment of Truth. (See below, Inducting Citizens.) However, a Wyrms player may discard any Ace, and may then play The Calamity on any Citizen, regardless of the suit on the top card. The Leaves player may likewise discard any Ace, and play The End on any Citizen.

2) Inducting Citizens into your Temple

If the total value of the Fate you just played and the value of the card beneath it is 10, you have created a Moment of Truth for that Citizen. (Aces count as 1.) Usually a Moment of Truth will be the result of two Fates combined (such as The Chance Meeting played on The Journey), but a Citizen who's had no other Fates played on him can have a Moment of Truth occur to him (for instance, The Cave played on the Savage.) A Crown Fate (The Sea, The End, etc.) also counts as a Moment of Truth on its own, regardless of the value of the card beneath it. And if you play an Ace on a Citizen in your own Congregation, it also causes a Moment of Truth.

A Moment of Truth will cause a Citizen in your Rival's Congregation to join your Congregation.

When a Moment of Truth occurs to an Agnostic Citizen, or to a member of your Congregation, he immediately dedicates his life (or afterlife) to your Temple. They take Vows (or Last Rites — it's your story!) and joins your Temple permanently. Place them face-down, along with all the Fates they have accumulated, into your Temple pile. A Citizen in your Temple is out of play and cannot have any other Fates played on it.

3) Draw New Fates

Draw 2 Fate cards if you did not play a Fate card this turn. If you played 1 Fate, then draw 1 Fate.

When drawing a Fate card, if it bears your Rival's suit, you have no influence over those events. Place it face-down on the bottom of the Deck of Fates, and draw a new card to replace it.

4) Introduce New Citizens

Introduce a new Citizen to Jacynth by revealing a card from the Citizen deck. When Introducing a Citizen, place it in the appropriate Congregation if it bears a Temple suit — that Citizen is inclined toward that way of thinking. If it bears neither, place it in the Agora.

The Bard and the Huntress are special cases. If the Bard is revealed in a Suns-Leaves game, he immediately Takes Vows and joins the Temple of the Sun. If he is revealed in a Moons-Worms game, he scoffs at both of you and leaves Jacynth to seek spiritual guidance elsewhere. Remove him from the game. The Huntress is inversely Introduced.

Game End

If there are no Citizens to Introduce, and a player has no legal moves, and that player cannot take a Fate card (either because the Deck of Fates is exhausted, or because the remaining Fates all bear his Rival's sign), the game immediately ends.


Total all the Fate and Citizen cards in your Congregation and your Temple pile. Double the value of any Citizen bearing your Rival's suit. (Their Fates are scored at face value.) Crowns are worth 10, Aces 1.

Design Notes

One of the fun things about Adaman is the "microscopes" it inspires as you play. You've made a Pact with the Diplomat. You've sent The Lunatic into the Cave… It reminded me of Gloom, which is the inspiration for this game. The antipathies of the suits in the regular deck drive the game’s mechanics.

Because of the nature of the deck there are asymmetries between the rival Temples. First, of course, is The Bard and the Huntress as an automatic 10 points for Moons and Suns. Second, the cards have different distributions of Personality cards. Moons has 4 Personalities worth 26 points, while Wyrms has 3 worth 14 points. Suns has four worth 27 points, while Leaves has 3 worth 16. (There are only 2 Waves Personalities, which is why I didn't make a Waves – Knots rivalry possible.)

And third, different suits have different numbers of Moment of Truth combinations available to them:

Moons: 11 (4)
Wyrms: 11 (5)
Suns: 10 (5)
Leaves: 10 (5)

The number in parentheses is the number of "unblockable" combinations (e.g., The Sailor + The Market for Leaves).

I tried to balance it by giving Wyrms and Leaves the “wild Crown” option, which is potentially a very powerful move, and works thematically with The End and The Calamity. So far in playtesting I’ve had wins for the “underdog” Temple as well as the “dominant” Temple, so hopefully the asymmetry doesn’t break the game.


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