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Omphalos: Tarot-based City Creation for TTRPGs

What is this?

Do you like "town" sessions? Limping home from a dungeon, counting your filthy lucre, finding an inn, feasting and drinking? Do you like to plan your downtime actions—things you’re doing while staying in the city? Do you like to zoom in on your character's slice of life?

If you answered "yes," this supplement might be for you. 

This supplement helps you create an evocative sword-and-sorcery cityscape for tabletop role-playing games using Tarot cards.  Randomly create new settlements to populate your campaign setting or build a massive city-state for your players to explore. 

  • Each district has a name and a brief description of their most interesting parts. 
  • Each entry includes some sights and sounds visitors might encounter. 
  • Most entries have an example rumor that the GM can use when the players visit that district. 
  • Lastly, each entry has special actions that may be used by adventurers who dwell there. 

What game system is this for? 

Except for the "City Actions," the supplement is system neutral. 

The City Action rules are technically for His Majesty the Worm, whose basic rule-set should be vaguely applicable to any old-school RPG. With a little collaborative work, you can adapt the rules here for OSR games, 5E, or any other fantasy game. 

Wait, what's His Majesty the Worm?

His Majesty the Worm is a fantasy dungeon crawling game that is currently in development. It attempts to make the boring parts of dungeon crawls (mapping, resource management, food and water, light, interparty conflict) actually fun and central to game play. 

Any revenue gathered from this PWYW supplement will be funneled to paying cool artists good money for His Majesty the Worm. If this sort of thing sounds cool, please throw in a few dollars to help fund the game! 

StatusIn development
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(13 total ratings)
AuthorRise Up Comus
GenreRole Playing
TagsTarot, Tabletop role-playing game

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Omphalos Tarot City Creation.pdf 1 MB

Comments

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(+7)

Hallo. Quick feedback from a purchaser:

The idea is obviously good and intriguing. But when I read:"For this procedure, you’ll need a Tarot deck. Separate out all the major arcana: you’ll use just the minor arcana for this step. (The major arcana will be used in future supplements.)" My soul went sad.

So, actually you lured ( ;-P ) me here thinking about the hundred of meaning you could give to a city with a Tarot deck, but you are using it almost as a standard Pocker deck. Shame!

Then, I was hoping to find inspiring meaning for each card. I'll do an example:

I draw the "II of Swords | Temple of Strength". Sure, you created a fine, detailed page for this card. This is useful.
But in my mind, I was hoping for something more "generic" and "reusable". Something like:
"The Temple" > draw another card:
- Pentacles: here rules a God interested only to its growing power. What is this power represented by? Is it terrain (money, love, overthrow the actual city ruler) or mystical (control the magical enegies, sap the city ley-lines, spread the magic way)?
- Wands: choose an Element. The god inside this temple is working for the element can rise and bloom in this city. Is this positive or negative?
- Swords: the God in this temple is silent, or forgotten. Why?
- Cups: there's no God here. Maybe just a fanatical cult, blinded by its abstract rituals? Maybe a fantastical creature (a fey, an abyssal horror, a man-made perversion) inhabitats this place, using it as den and the worshippers as servants.

Ok, I hope you got the point. However, thanks for this document, and I hope that with this feedback you could improve it, if you see it as a live document.
Finally, I really really hope you'll incorporate the major arcana for extra city details and/or important folk inside.

Also, last advice: usually Tarots have a powerful set of meanings, as certanly you already know. You should insert a twist, or a different meaning (maybe in a shorter way) if we draw the card Reversed, instead of Upright. This surely will add color, depth, and lot of new sparks using the same number of cards.

have a good life!

(+4)

Thank you, very seriously, for the feedback!

(+3)

A lot of good feedback in this post. I will admit, when I picked up Omphalos, I found it a little less helpful for my Ryuutama game that I expected because a lot of it was very *specific.* Like Andrea, I was hoping for something a bit more generic and reusable for fantasy OSR. While there is tons of lovely, evocative, very specific stuff here, it means once I've drawn the 10 of Swords for a town... I should probably take it out of the deck. It's too specific to be reused on additional towns. 

There's still a lot of great stuff in Omphalos and for His Majesty the Worm I think it will be fantastic. It's still useful for setting generation, but more in the way of PARIAH or A Thousand Thousand Islands--this is very much specific metaplot to help you generate detailed session content, not so much broad idea generation.