Mollymauk Tealeaf's tarot deck

Mollymauk Tealeaf's tarot deck
General information
Also known asOracle deck
TypeTarot deck
Historical information
CreatedBefore 833 PD[1]
Created by
Owners
  • At least two previous owners (former)
  • Lestera (former)
  • Mollymauk Tealeaf (former)
  • Beauregard Lionett (former)
  • Jester Lavorre

Mollymauk Tealeaf's tarot deck is a set of Moonweaver cards, a specific tradition of tarot or oracle card deck. Like all Moonweaver cards, the cards are created personally by the owner, and each deck is thus unique. The deck passed through many hands who gradually modified it. After Lestera's death, her deck was given to Mollymauk. After his own demise, his deck passed into the ownership of Beauregard Lionett. She kept it for a while before giving it to Jester Lavorre, who began to illustrate new cards and use it to read fortunes.

Description[edit | edit source]

Molly's tarot deck is a Moonweaver deck, a tradition that differs from other tarot or oracle card deck systems in Exandria. As the Moonweaver fosters creativity and deceit in their followers, Moonweaver decks tend to be wildly varied. These decks do always include a Moon card, and each card is designed so that there is a word at the top and bottom of each face, so that the card is different when reversed; the name of the card is the word at the bottom.[2] Each card is also numbered.[3]

Molly's deck included cards that are damaged and difficult to read due to age, with unfinished or abruptly stopped sketches, and have blank faces in anticipation of new additions. The deck was described as "an ongoing art project" that evoked a distinct sense that it was created, not purchased.[2]

The following are cards as depicted in Critical Role, many of which do not have confirmed reversed sides within the game. For the cards as they appear in the real-life deck, see "Oracle of the Moon deck".

Cards[edit | edit source]

  • The Moon and Mirror, Catha in the night sky over a lake that reflects Catha and Ruidus, which is absent from the actual sky[2]
  • The Anvil and the Sword[4][1][5]
  • The Bond and Betrayer, depict four-leafed clover encircled by an iron chain, broken on the Betrayer card.[1]
  • The Fool and the Soldier,[5] the Fool depicts a blue bird perched on a crown and holding a red rose. The Soldier depicts a still life image with array of food, a sword, an iron helmet, and a scatter of gold.[1]
  • Home and Traveler, a covered carnival wagon on a road with a cottage in the distance[6]
  • The Serpent and the Mainden,[4] the Maiden depicts Lestera. Both the serpent and Lestera are surrounded in flames.[1]
  • The Eye and the Hand,[4] an eye held above a restless sea by two hands forming a triangle,[6] presumably resembling the Eye of Providence
  • The Shadow[7]
  • The Chariot[8]
  • History and the Dream, a massive creature destroys a city during the Calamity,[9] illustrating the "history of the world before the world" and to "dream the world to come"[10]
  • The Judge, also called the Silver Dragon,[4][11] possibly a depiction of the Platinum Dragon
  • The Tyrant, two fighting dragons in a figure-eight with the red dragon upright,[9] presumably a depiction of the Scaled Tyrant and her sworn enemy the Platinum Dragon
  • Possibly Death[note 1]

Cards created by Molly[edit | edit source]

Cards created by Jester[edit | edit source]

  • The Hag and the Maiden, an optical illusion of an old woman, presumably resembling Isharnai, and a young woman, whose coloring is suggestive of Jester, the design is reminiscent of the "My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" ambiguous image[17]
  • The Jewel and the Thief, a brilliantly shining ruby and a man lurking in the shadows reaching to take it,[18] likely a reference to the Ruby of the Sea Marion Lavorre and the Gentleman
  • The Spark and Blaze, a small spark from one side and a flame that consumed the bottom of the card from the other[18]
  • Death and Dawn, a grave with the sun behind it[18]
  • Growth and Rot, Caduceus Clay surrounded by beautiful growing trees to one side and by the blighted trees of the Savalirwood and Aeorian aboretum to the other[19]

Mechanics of use[edit | edit source]

Fortunes were typically told using a three card spread: the first to represent the past of the querent (the one whose fortune is being read), the second to represent the present, and the third to represent the future.[4][20][9]

When Molly "read" fortunes, he did so through an Insight check to cold read the subject and a Sleight of Hand check to force an appropriate card.[4][21] Molly would also stack the deck beforehand to facilitate this.[7][22]

When Jester read fortunes, Laura and Taliesin developed a system[23] where the querent rolled a d20 to select a card, then a d6 to determine which side was upright; though this was the intended process, the d6 roll was often forgotten.[6][9] When used in this manner, the following rolls produced these cards:

  • 1: The Tyrant[9]
  • 8: The Eye and the Hand, a 2 on the d6 places the Eye upright[6]
  • 9: History and the Dream[9]
  • 11: Home and Traveler[6]
  • 18, then 1: Death[9][note 2]

The deck was also sometimes used to play games. One such game, which Molly and Beau played, involved each participant drawing a card and whoever drew the higher or lower card, as decided before the draw, must answer a question. Drawing a card was simulated by rolling a d20.[3]

Ownership history[edit | edit source]

Lestera[edit | edit source]

At least two people owned and modified the oracle deck prior to Lestera, using them to give readings to people in The Fletching and Moondrop Traveling Carnival of Curiosities, and adding more cards created by her, the same way her predecessors had done. At some point between 833 and 835 PD, Lestera died. After her funeral, following her wish, Gustav Fletching gave Molly part of Lestera's wardrobe and her deck of oracle cards.[1]

Mollymauk[edit | edit source]

Mollymauk did readings for people before start of the performance of The Fletching and Moondrop Traveling Carnival of Curiosities.[24]

In 835 PD, Molly enticed Jester into paying two copper pieces to have her fortune "read". For her reading, Molly drew the Judge, the Anvil, and the Serpent and informed her that she already found that which she sought.[4] He later entertained a crowd outside the tent of the Carnival of Curiosities with fortune reading.[25] Seeing Jester entering the tent, he pulled the Shadow and the Moon from a stacked deck and asked her if they meant anything to her. She said yes, and he instructed her to think about it.[7]

As part of casting Vicious Mockery, Molly drew and presented the unidentified card drawn from the bottom of the deck, warning in Infernal: "There is only death here."[26] The deck made later appearances: a failed attempt to entice children to encourage their parents to stop for a reading,[8] a fortune claiming Jester came from a "primordial chaos magic" and was heading down a new path toward an unexpected destiny,[20] and deflecting suspicion by offering fortunes to passing Crownsguard during an infiltration of the Sutan residence.[27]

Caleb asked Molly if his cards were "bullshit", to which Beau agreed and Jester protested. Molly responded that they were not but smiled smugly at Caleb behind Jester's back, suggesting Caleb's suspicion correct.[28] In his final days, Molly unsuccessfully attempted to perform a new sleight of hand trick to exchange the Moon in his hand with a moon-themed trinket to amuse Ombo, saying that it was a trick he was working on,[29] and enticed Beau into playing a game: whichever of them drew a lower numbered card must answer the question "what's the best lie you've ever told?"[3]

Beau and Jester[edit | edit source]

After Molly's death, Beau took the deck from his jacket before she, Caleb, and Veth bury him.[30] She later offered Jester Molly's deck to draw from while the group visited his grave. Jester drew the Moon and, feeling that it is Molly's card, left it there.[31] Months later, Beau searched the deck for the card illustrated with the All-Seeing Eye to provide Orly Skiffback a reference for her gemstone tattoo. The tattoo incorporated both the eye and a filigree design from the cards.[32]

Shortly after, Beau and Jester had a dispute over the authenticity of Molly's tarot card readings: Beau pointed out that Molly was aiming a vague wide spread to seem correct while Jester believed that his readings were genuine. Beau gave Jester the deck, and Jester spent the rest of the day attempting to learn to read fortunes.[33] She attempted this by looking at the cards to discern their meaning intuitively by looking at them.[34] Jester researched tarot decks at the Cobalt Soul Library in Rexxentrum. She learned that Molly's deck is a Moonweaver deck and the traditions surrounding this specific type of deck. However, she learned little in the way of using the deck to read fortunes.[2] Veth later purchased card stock for to use Jester to add to the deck.[35] Jester created the Hag and the Maiden[17] as well as the Jewel and the Thief, the Spark and Blaze, and Death and Dawn.[18] She read Fjord's fortune, drawing the Eye for his present and Home and Traveler for his future. Though Jester and Nott were enthusiastic about the fortune, Fjord was unconvinced and bewildered.[6]

As the Nein debated how to proceed through Eiselcross, Jester drew a card from the deck for a sign. She drew the Magician, and she told the group that, before he died, Molly created cards depicting each of the Nein at the time.[14] She later created Growth and Rot while keeping watch after exploring some ruins of Aeor.[19] After the Nein were forced to travel with the Tombtakers, Jester offered to read Lucien's fortune. Though he initially agreed in good humor, the reading unsettled him. She drew the History for his past, the Tyrant for his present, and Death for his future. When he reacted to Death, she attempted to offer a reading that Death refers to a transformation of the self and a rebirth rather than a literal death.[9]

In the later battle with Lucien, she called out to Molly and referenced this fortune, particularly the connotation of Death meaning to be reborn. Lucien scoffed, saying that the deck was always stacked and the fortunes were only storytelling to say what one wanted to hear.[22] Using her connection with Cognouza, Veth apparated a spread of three cards from Molly's deck before Lucien, showing him the Judge and attempting to remind him that he was "a good person".[36]

After Lucien's death, Jester used the deck to make an offering during a Raise Dead resurrection ritual for Molly. She informed him that she added new cards, believing that he will be impressed with her work, and asked him to come back so that she could learn how to read fortunes, adding furtively that she was making it all up.[37] The soul returned to the body identified the Nein by the names of the cards depicting them: Love, Magician, Tinkerer, Joy, Sea, and Rumor.[12] Jester attempted to communicate to the newly raised soul using the cards depicting Molly and the other members of the Nein.[13] Later, when the soul, identifying now as Kingsley Tealeaf, did not recognize the Nein, Jester showed him these cards again. Kingsley did not recognize the cards.[16]

Oracle of the Moon deck[edit | edit source]

In October 2022, the Critical Role Productions began selling an oracle deck based on Molly and Jester's deck. It has the following cards, most of which are as described in Critical Role (see "Description" above):[5]

  • The Anvil and the Sword
  • The Eye and the Hand
  • Moon and Mirror
  • Tavern and Lust, by Molly, depicting the Gentleman
  • Dream and History
  • Sacrifice and Hunger, by Molly, depicting a skeleton (Sacrifice) running a pole through the throat of a wolf (Hunger)
  • Bond and Betrayer, by Molly
  • Home and Traveler
  • The Judge and the Tyrant
  • The Fool and the Soldier, by Molly, depicting himself
  • Joy and Chaos
  • Love and Temple
  • The Sky and the Sea
  • The Book and the Rumor
  • Tinker and Magician
  • Spark and Blaze
  • Jewel and Thief
  • Dawn and Death
  • The Crone and the Maiden
  • Growth and Rot

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The name of the card depicting Molly is never given. Following the pattern that each of the Nein were called by the names of the cards depicting them in "Long May He Reign" (2x140),[12][13] Molly possibly depicted himself on a card named Empty, in reference to his origins.
  • Four of the cards share names with real-world Major Arcana cards: the Moon, the Chariot, the Magician, and Death.
    • Jester drew the Chariot from Molly's deck because Taliesin held out a physical tarot deck as a prop at the table for Laura to do so.[8] The deck Taliesin used, with intricately detailed blue-and-white card backs and the Chariot depicting a figure dressed in red and brown over a blue triangle, appears to be the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini.
    • Though Jester illustrated a Death card very different from that of the real-world Death,[18] the connotation she explained to Lucien matches the connotation of the real-world Death: it heralds transformation of the self and a rebirth, of something ending to make way for something new.[9]
  • Previously, Critical Role Productions, through Geek & Sundry shop, sold a tarot deck featuring characters from both Campaign 1 (in 2016) and Campaign 2 (in 2018-20), drawn by Ioana Muresan.[38]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Given that Molly drew an unidentified card from the deck and warned "there is only death here" as part of casting Vicious Mockery at "The Midnight Chase" (2x03) at 3:17:47, this possibly suggests there is a Death already in the deck before Jester created Death and Dawn.
  2. As it is somewhat possible that there was a Death in the deck before Jester illustrated Death and Dawn, it is somewhat unclear if the Death card that Lucien drew was this possible previous Death or Death and Dawn.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 The Mighty Nein Origins: Mollymauk Tealeaf.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) from 1:03:40 through 1:07:10. Jester researches tarot cards, specifically Moonweaver decks, at the Cobalt Soul Library in Rexxentrum.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Found & Lost" (2x26) from 2:39:38 through 2:40:33. Molly and Beau draw numbered cards from the deck to play a question-answering game.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 49:50 through 53:33. Molly "reads" a fortune for Jester.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Mollymauk Tealeaf (and Jester Lavorre) Oracle of the Moon Deck at the Critical Role Shop.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Dinner with the Devil" (2x110) from 3:48:23 through 3:51:50.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 2:01:40 through 2:02:28.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "The Open Road" (2x05) from 23:39 through 24:57.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 3:14:30 through 3:17:45.
  10. "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 3:19:20 through 3:19:50. Taliesin: "The Calamity— a fucking Calamity card. [...] History of the world before the world. Dream the world to come."
  11. In "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 1:12:20, Veth recites word-for-word an interpretation Molly earlier gave for a card he called the Silver Dragon. In response, Taliesin, out-of-character, identifies the card as the Judge.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 "Long May He Reign" (2x140) from 4:29:10 through 4:30:15.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 "Fond Farewells" (2x141) from 19:05 through 20:17. Jester lays out the Magician, Love, Joy, and other cards, stating "Because I noticed you said all the names of these when we were up there. That's us. And this is you, Molly."
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "The Tortoise and The Dare" (2x117) from 2:28:07 through 2:29:18.
  15. "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 19:05. See also "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 4:29:15.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Fond Farewells" (2x141) from 56:14 through 57:00.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "With Great Power..." (2x94) from 3:50:48 through 3:51:30.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 "Dark Waters" (2x98) from 1:02:00 through 1:02:42.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Contentious Company" (2x120) from 3:13:40 through 3:14:40.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Zemnian Nights" (2x11) from 2:42:34 through 2:43:14.
  21. "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) at 1:07:35. Laura: "Now, I remember when Molly read my fortune a couple times. I pulled the card out myself, or did he pull the card out for me?" / Taliesin: "Do you know what a force is?"
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:59:28. Jester: "You see? It's just like the tarot reading said, Molly! You had to die. You had to die to be reborn!" / Lucien: "Oh, little girl, don't you know those cards are stacked every time? Simple storytelling. Make you hear what you think you want to hear."
  23. "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 3:19:00. Laura: "I did by the cards. I did it by the numbers that we listed." / Taliesin: "We have a random pull system."
  24. "The Open Road" (2x05) from 14:47 through 15:51.
  25. "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 1:50:43 through 1:51:54.
  26. "The Midnight Chase" (2x03) at 3:17:47.
  27. See "Midnight Espionage" (2x12) at 2:30:05 and 3:13:55 to 3:15:05. Fjord and Molly set up watch outside the residence, then later attempt to distract a group of Crownsguard.
  28. "The Hour of Honor" (2x24) from 3:24:45 through 3:25:05.
  29. "Found & Lost" (2x26) at 2:20:20.
  30. "Converging Fury" (2x27) at 16:55.
  31. "The Journey Home" (2x30) from 2:20:15 through 2:21:23.
  32. "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 1:23:30.
  33. "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) from 58:55 through 1:01:55.
  34. "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) from 1:04:50 through 1:05:15.
  35. "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) at 1:32:40.
  36. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 1:12:20.
  37. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) from 4:11:10 through 4:12:27.
  38. Ioana Muresan's deviantart pages featuring tarot card art.

Art