Identifying the D&D Tarot: The Magician
Howzit? I’m interested in learning more about the D&D Tarot. Here’s this week’s card I’m researching. If you have any insights, please discuss!
Character Identity: I believe this is the great and mighty wizard of Oerth, Mordenkainen! He’s had many depictions but the beard and shaved head are similar to how he appears in some recent book covers like “Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.”
D&D History Meanings: Mordenkainen is a longtime character from the Greyhawk (Oerth) setting. He was the leader of the famous Circle of Eight, a group of wizards who invented many well-known spells in D&D. Mordenkainen has several spells named after him: Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound, and Mordenkainen’s Sword to name a few. Most recently, Mordenkainen has written a guide of updated monsters in “Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.” He also spent a brief time as a mad wizard lost in Barovia after trying to fight the vampire Count Strahd Von Zarovich, then rescued and healed in Ed Greenwood’s book “Death Masks.”
Tarot meanings: His hands are in a similar pose found in other cards as a way to symbolize “So as above, so below.” He is a planeswalker go between realms. In some depictions the magician uses all of the other suits (wands, pentacles, swords, cups) as his tools. The suits from this particular tarot set are the building blocks of making any dnd character.
Also for this card specifically I noticed the book has potentially a squared circle in a triangle. This reminds me of older Euclidean geometry puzzles of trying to fit circles in triangles or squares and finding an order to the world. There’s a gear and mechanical order that reminds me of his depiction in “Tome of Foes.” It also reminds me of one of the items you get from the dnd Sage background "a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer.”