Fortune Telling in RPGs can be a bit hard to present as a GM. It either comes across as being out of place or if you get it right and it's intresting and the players ACTUALLY PAID ATTENTION, it can be even harder still to make sure that the future happens the way it was predicted... or at least have a plasuable reason why it did not.
Play with a fully writen, pre-fab campain the way we have with Rise of the Runelords allows me to pretty much assume how thing will generally work out, so I can at least get the perdiction of what the future will be pretty close to what will actually happen. Also, the Varisian area is known for fortune tellers that read "Harrow" Card, so fortune telling really can fit into the campaign and help with the local flavor.
I can gaurantee that the future will work out a certain wayand the card reading fits the setting. All that is left is to make sure my random future predicting method gives me results I can work with.
Randomly ending up with "tarrot" style cards and trying to fit them into a game is HARD. So don't do it. Cheat! I stacked the deck and made sure I could give the players exactly the reading in the picture, with the meaing below. (Harrow Cards, meanings and all the Harrow jazz belong to Paizo)
The cards on the left is the past events affecting them
The middle Colum is their Current events
The Right Colum is the Future
The Past (Left Colum):
The Betrayal – is selfishness incarnate. Envy twists the spirit and leads ultimately to devastation. It can also indicate a person whose loveliness hides an evil heart.
The Liar – is love at its most treacherous. This is not the love that moves mountains, this is the love that rips the heart in two and causes lovers to leap to their deaths. This lamia (depicted on the card) can mean obsession, unrequited passion, or doomed love.
The Tyrant – indicates a ruler who is a blight upon those ruled. The dragon might indicate a monarch, overseer, or head of a household. Whoever this person is, he does harm to those over whom he holds sway, whether he realizes it of not.
The Present (Middle Colum):
The Hidden Truth – symbolizes the ability to see past the obvious and the banal to a greater truth within. Sometimes this discovery is an esoteric one, sometimes it is a literal find, such as an item revealed within a room. Regardless, it is a card with the power to reveal secrets.
The Tangled Briar – is a card of ancient deeds. It indicated an object or person from long ago that will somehow have great influence on the situation. The object or person in question is one lost or murdered in some foul way.
The Fiend – depicts a devil swallowing innocents. It can indicate the deaths of many in a great calamity or, if misaligned, the salvation from the same calamity. The Fiend can also indicate that some sort of dark and intelligent creature is in the area, endangering the populace.
The Future (Right Colum)
The Mountain Man – signifies an encounter with a physical power outside of one’s control. The giant could personify an authority, an army, an earthquake, or even a desperately needed rainstorm in a parched land. Acceding to the force might be wise, but surviving it is paramount.
The Uprising – represents being caught in the clutches of something much more powerful then you. It is an overwhelming strength that often crushes what comes in contact with it. The crown held high signifies an overthrowing of a leader of some sort. In the spread, it indicates a force much stronger than the person receiving the reading.
The Empty Throne – has a sense of loss that is palpable. The ghost signifies that those who are gone will always be with us. They taught us important lessons, if only we choose to listen. This card can bring information from a far-off or ancient source. This card is misaligned in the spread, meaning the ghosts of the past are restless, and might require effort to set at peace.
If you are familair with the Runelords campaign, (avoiding spoilers) it all fits in very nicely!