Querent is a tabletop roleplaying game that uses tarot cards to go on a narrative journey with your friends. I was the Creative Lead on the project in charge of designing a 400+ page book, creating a 78-card tarot deck, and co-managing our team of seven in a hybrid setting. Querent was successfully Kickstarted in November 2018 by 353 backers.
For Querent's tarot deck, I wanted there to be a narrative, but I also needed to keep in mind our short development timeline. I started with the major arcana to develop the art style and quickly found a direction. In Querent, there is a big importance placed on the major arcana so I wanted the art in this part of the deck to be more complex. The color palette here is more muted and pastel, but still varied. For the minor arcana, I chose a specific color palette based off of the suit's element. The illustrations here are a lot simpler and have repeating elements.
The art in Querent shows a diverse set of characters. It was important to me, and the team, that our players could see themselves within the cards and the pages of the book.
Querent is a large book, there is a reason we call it "The Cartomancer's Tome"! I didn't want our players to get lost in 400+ pages as they try to find meanings of the cards. After a spread is introduced, the pages follow the order of the spread one-by-one with charts outlining meanings of the cards. Listed at the bottom of the pages are "markers" to let players know where in the book they are. For the online PDF, I created bookmarks for players to easily jump through chapters.
Art was used to help break up repetitiveness. Adrian Taul created some amazing splash art that I used to introduce chapters, as well as to break up some large sections of the book. Colored illustrations, sketches, and line art were all used to help give Querent a homemade feel. This book outlines your journey throughout the game, but also shows our journey in developing it too.
This was the first project where I played a key role in managing and I had a lot of "lesson learned" moments. We were all so excited about the potential of Querent, and our successful Kickstarter helped prove to us that it did indeed have big potential. We said yes to too much without considering our other responsibilities as full-time students (some with part-time jobs). We over-scoped our project and we all crunched, hard. We launched our product a few months later than expected, but maintained transparency with our players.
Despite a quick and difficult 13-month development timeline from concept to final release, I did experience some wins. I felt successful in leading team communication in a hybrid setting (before it was the norm). I also sought out mentors to help me with the design of the book and learning new programs. Lastly, I put myself out of my comfort zone and kicked-ass in networking during game events, finding us contract work and even setting up a publisher meeting.