Nobody comes back from the dead unchanged, and Cards are no exception. This part of the section will outline some of the most notable differences between your character and the rest of humanity (or inhumanity), with their subsequent bearing on Storytelling systems of the game.
Physique & Appearance
For all intents and purposes, a Persona user is as human as he was prior to his Second Breath. He still walks the same, talks the same, pisses the same, shits the same, pukes the same, cries the same, and bleeds the same. As such, Cards can still die just as easily as the next human can, most especially if they’re caught off-guard. There are things that their Personae can do later that will make it a little harder for their “fully human” halves to expire, but they are nowhere near the level of indestructible that, let’s say, Vampires and Werewolves. Even Sin-Eaters, the strange human beings chained to Geists, are more likely to survive a bad fight than most Cards are.
The change is actually most perceptible with those blessed with the ability to “see” the “truth” of things, and to other Cards. In actuality, a Card walks the rest of his earthly days with his Persona superimposed upon his soul, almost like second skin. Their aura also indicates the Arcana they belong to, although, short of using special abilities, there is no way to tell whether a Card is “new”, or has been around since the beginning of everything.
The Persona, Your “Other Self”
We often talk about possessing a conscience, something that compels us to do certain things for ourselves or for other people. We also often wonder what it might be like to constantly have a ghost (or angel, or devil) at our shoulder, whispering in our ear.
A Card’s Persona is much like that, only this time? There’s no getting rid of it, short of killing yourself. He or she (or it…) is your constant companion for the rest of your (second) life, someone you can talk to as you might talk to someone on the streets, or an intimate friend. Your Persona grows as you go, and feels as you feel – you’re intimately tied, so much so that whatever injuries you receive in battle, your Persona receives as though they were his/her/its own. Whatever tragedies you face, your Persona will face as well.
Of course, since your Persona is not merely a summoned creature whom you can call upon to aid you, it may be a smart idea to maintain your relationship with it. Exactly how your character can do this, and why he or she must, is explained in future sections.
Calling Your Other Self
Summoning your character’s Persona requires you to roll Resolve + Composure + Vigor against a target number against a target number of 5 – your character’s Resolve. Circumstance modifiers apply accordingly. Summoning one’s Persona is an instant action, but an exceptional success on the roll converts it to a reflexive action. Possessing an Evoker, however, allows your character to summon his or her Persona without rolling, and he can opt to spend 1 point of Anima to make the summoning reflexive.
As players, all of you should note that your initial Persona was given to you by your ST, but Personae change as your characters change. How they grow is also up to you. Make sure, then, to talk to your ST about how you wish to change your character’s Persona as the campaign goes on.
Living By the Creed: the Major Trumps
The humans who first conceptualized the Tarot Cards had more than one thing right, at least: the Tarot Cards alternately, if not sometimes all at once, represent individual facets of the human psyche, different human drives, or the different stages of a man throughout his life. For Cards, however, the symbolism of the Tarot goes well beyond a simple matter of representation. For wielders of the power of Persona, the Arcana whom he or she is a part of as one of its “Cards” is the force that governs his or her second life, the set of unspoken rules that he or she must follow, or face the consequences.
The Major Trumps are integral to a Persona campaign, so this part has its own dedicated section. You can check it out here.
Your Persona may not know how to do anything else beyond follow the tenets of the Arcana it belongs to, your character is human, and human beings are nothing but a collection of contradictions. It’s easier said than done, doing what one’s Arcana asks one to do, and somewhere down the line your character may be asked to do things that coincide with their Arcana but don’t necessarily work out all that well for the character herself, for whatever reason.
This is where Apathy comes in. A character in Apathy is not entirely synchronized with his or her Persona, and is therefore vulnerable to losing his or her newfound sense of identity. The Borderlines are also chock full of this strange energy, which is the reason why the Dark Hour and the Fog are crawling with Umbra. Apathy can have a variety of negative effects on your character, all of which will be described in detail in its own section.
Intimate friendships can already have a great effect upon a person, causing him or her to think and grow in ways that normally wouldn’t have been possible. For Cards, however, establishing powerful bonds with any other sentient being are imbued with an even greater sort of power: the sympathetic power of a Link, something that can unlock Persona abilities that would normally not be available to a Card due to the restrictions of his Arcana.
For more information, refer to special Card ability, Create Social Link, and the dedicated section on Social Linking.