History and Origins: From
the first time Tarot came to the attention of law enforcement
authorities in 1972, it was widely believed that the
organization was one of the many results of the appearance of
gathering of super powered criminals and heavily armed
terrorists. It came to a great shock to those authorities to
discover that the organization has existed, in one form or
another, since the mid-sixteenth century.
Tarot was founded by
Niccolo Machiavelli as a "wealthy gentleman's club". It was
originally a place where the financial and political elite of
Europe could gather and discuss matters of import. As time
passed, the group became more ruthless and exclusionary in its
dealings, until only increasing the wealth of its members was
important and all others were considered opponents to be
The leaders of Tarot were selected from the wealthiest and
richest families around the world, as long as their "ethical
temperament" was of the correct sort. Allegedly, Joseph Kennedy,
father to President John F. Kennedy, was once a member of the
ruling council. Other names alleged to have been connected
to the council were John Paul Getty, John J. Astor, Andrew
Carnegie. Since the advent of the metahuman, Tarot has recruited
villains that fit the theme of of the Major Arcana in a Tarot
deck. This team answers only to the Emperor, going where
he will and taking on any missions he so directs.
Technically, the Emperor himself is a part of the Major Arcana,
though he rarely goes on any missions.
Contrary to public belief, Tarot does not engage in such
small-scale crimes as common bank robbery or convenience store
hold ups. Neither do they engage in wildly terroristic acts full
of dogmatic statements but with little potential profit.
According to a source, the Emperor believes (most likely
correctly) that such activities are pointless and don't bring in
enough income to justify the risk. On occasion,
such activities might be undertaken on a grander scale (such as
the 1985 robbery of the gold reserve of Luxembourg, in which Tarot
made away with 1.3 billion dollars in gold before driven away),
but only if they contribute to some greater goal.
Most of Tarot's income comes from perfectly legal sources. It
is suspected that the organization is secretly a stockholder of
several major corporations, and that they hold patent, through
dummy companies and blind cut-outs, on hundreds of items found
in the common home. Tarot's criminal activities include drug
trafficking (especially in new designer drugs created in Tarot's
laboratories), weapons smuggling (including the burgeoning trade
in small-scale nuclear weapons), gambling, pornography,
kidnapping, and extortion.
It is suspected that they control trade unions in several
countries, and evidence has come to light that they run a "white
slavery" ring, importing unsuspecting young American girls to
Asia for use as "pleasure companions". In addition, they
are known to use sabotage, industrial espionage, and
assassination against political and business rivals. They funnel
money to various political organizations and strongmen around
the world, usually through legitimate covers, in order to
influence the global economic situation.
While individual cell leaders pursue their own projects (with
the approval of their superiors, of course), the organization as
a whole has several projects they are pursuing as a whole:
- Project Myrmidon: Project Myrmidon is a long-term
research project looking into the feasibility of Tarot
mass-producing its own genetically-enhanced (or outright designed)
super-soldiers. So far, Project Myrmidon has been little
more than a money-sink for Tarot. To date, the project has
only produced a single soldier who wasn't a hyper-tweaked freak
subject to sudden heart attacks or strokes.
- Project Oz: This project is an ongoing search for
mystic artifacts thought lost to history. The Emperor
particularly has an interest in recovering the Spear of Destiny,
which allegedly makes the one who possesses it invincible.
- Project Paladin: One of the largest thorns in the
Emperor's side is Lord Doom. For his own reasons, Doom has
occasionally interfered in Tarot's schemes. For this, the
Emperor decreed in 1962 that the downfall of Lord Doom should be
one of the primary goals of Tarot. Over forty years later,
Tarot is still working on it.
- Project Monkeyhouse: For similar reasons, Tarot
is working to eliminate or neutralize Doctor Simian and his
organization, Prime 8. The Emperor sees this project as
being a bit more urgent than Project Paladin, since Prime 8 is
much more active (and violent, and abrupt) in their interference
Area of Operation:
Goals: Over the last four hundred years, the focus of Tarot has expanded from
ruthless mercantilism to the eventual economic control of the
entire world. The Emperor does not wish to control the world
through politics or military might, but rather through business, money, profit,
and economy... He knows where true power lies, and intends to be
at the top of the heap.
Tarot's workaday agents, as well as the supervillains of the
are all very loyal to the organization, and for several good
reasons. According to Checkmate intelligence, the organization
pays well, offers excellent benefits, and has instituted several
"family friendly" policies, such as parental leave and
full medical and dental insurance, retirement funds, investment
opportunities, scholarship programs, and daycare when needed.
Despite the disbelief of Checkmate analysts, it appears that Tarot
takes care of its employees better than even Checkmate and the
Global Guardians do.
The tycoons and Captains of Industry who make up the
Governing Council are apparently
another story. While enjoying almost limitless wealth and
privilege, most are loyal to the organization only because of
their personal fear of the Emperor. While they follow his orders
and are always careful to support the organization as a whole,
they otherwise are divided into various factions. These factions
constantly jockey with one another for influence, power, and
profit. They scheme against each other in a Machiavellian dance
of barely suppressed violence and hatred... an irony the Emperor
Tarot is considered by every law enforcement agency and group in
the world to be the most dangerous criminal threat the world has
ever faced. Their potential resources are almost unlimited, and
their reach spans the planet. It is heavily suspected that they
have been involved in the assassinations of at least three heads
of state, and are known to have infiltrated the governments of
both the United States and France on at least one occasion.
public considers Tarot to be a "super-mafia", a view
the Emperor would find laughable if he knew about it... Tarot is
much bigger and more powerful than all the other organized crime
criminal agencies treat Tarot very, very carefully...