Here’s a look at the 18 High Rollers represented with their card ranks in Vegas After Midnight. And to help you get a feel for where I’m going with this. here are a few notes:
Each of the suits is symbolic of a general realm of evocative aspects:
- SPADES covers the realm of Chaos, Destruction, Change, Transformation.
- CLUBS covers the realm of Luck, Chance, Panache, Frivolity, Instinct.
- DIAMONDS covers the realm of Order, Control, Hardness, Wealth, Clarity.
- HEARTS covers the realm of Passion, Courage, Rage, Impulsiveness, Devotion.
The ACES of each suit are personifications of the quintessential nature of a realm. They are each a sort of genius loci of Vegas, but split into distinct personalities based on their suit. Although they certainly can take form and interact within the world, I tend to think of them more as powerful ideas and archetypes rather than specific NPCs. In a sense, you could think of them as the ones who are running The Game – at least, they probably think they are.
The QUEENS, KINGS and JACKS are all actual NPCs who are rulers of the major factions. They are as human as the players. They all have names, personalities, and distinct character traits (which I’ll share later on). They don’t go around in-game thinking of themselves as “The Queen of Hearts” or “The Jack of Clubs”, but those are the archetypal roles that the Madness has cast them in. Their suits influence their High Concept in the same way as the player characters – as a strong tendency toward a particular realm of behavior and worldview. It’s like a mantle that a character takes on, and if, for example, someone were to challenge and overthrow Lady Saxe, the particular NPC who is the current Queen of Clubs/Magician, they would take on the mantle of the Queen of Clubs and act under the pull of that archetype. It’s like with the Dread Pirate Roberts, see? There’s only one DPR, but he’s been multiple guys over the years.
Speaking of titles and names, those of you who’ve played earlier versions of VAM and/or read the earlier fiction and posts will recognize some familiar characters in the chart, even though they’re not named here. Also, of course, anyone with decent pop-culture intel and some skill with Google-fu will note the not-so-subtle homages to famous personalities of the past who are tied to the history and spectacle of Las Vegas. A few of the monikers in this list, though, will befuddle those of you looking for a Vegas-celebrity analog, because only about half of the High Rollers are based on celebrities like Elvis or Sinatra. Most of the others are not based on a person but on an archetype drawn from the theme of a particular casino-resort. And a couple of them you might wonder what the hell they’re doing on this chart at all. Well, eventually I’ll tell you.
For now, enjoy this tidbit and feel free to speculate.