A downloadable RPG zine

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When a traveller is adrift in the blue dunes of Vaarn’s desert, he dreams of a city. When the camel’s hump sways beneath him, he dreams of a cushioned alcove in a tavern, with learned conversation and hookah smoke coiling languidly in the air; when Vaarn’s red sun beats upon his head he dreams of cool avenues shaded by demure and welcoming lemon trees. Oppressed by his loneliness, the traveller dreams of a city where the crowds embrace him and strangers greet him as brother; when he swills the last dregs of water around blistered gums he dreams of a a fountain in a public courtyard, where the daughters of the neighbourhood arrive to draw water and eye a handsome stranger.

Gnomon, the city of shaded markets, at first appears to be this dream made solid. There are taverns with cushioned alcoves, as the traveller sought; also he will find learned conversation and hookah smoke, wide avenues flanked by lemon trees, public fountains and smiling maidens and strangers who greet him as brother. There are many sights in Gnomon, sights beyond the traveller’s dreams: glittering mezzanine gardens and parades of masked hierophants, guild halls where cone-hatted clerks ponder their ledgers of debt, babbling souks where the merchants mutter their bargains like mantras and even memories may be bought for the right price. Truly this was what he sought in a city. 

So bewitched is our traveller, he scarcely notices that the merchants’ smiles do not reach their eyes, that the women who wave from passion-house windows have faces brittle as porcelain, that each stranger calling him brother has an accomplice reaching into his pocket. It is only as he leaves under cover of darkness, with a head ringing from cheap wine and a purse empty as his stomach, that the traveller begins to curse Gnomon, the undreamed-of city, the gilded trap. 

***

Vaults of Vaarn is an ongoing series of zines for science-fantasy tabletop RPG gaming. The second 48-page issue is a city-based adventure supplement for the setting, expanding on the far-future world outlined in the first issue. The reader can visit the city of Gnomon, a decadent and dangerous trade hub. 

Issue #2 Includes:

  • Information and background on Gnomon: what it looks like, how it feels to walk through its streets, and why your players might visit the city.
  • Seven major NPCs who influence the city's politics. Brief, evocative information on their appearance, personality, and desires. 
  • Guidance on how to use all seven major NPCs as either allies or antagonists for the players. No set narratives - just tools to create conflicts.
  • Seven major factions, one linked to each major NPC. They run the gamut from water-hoarding militias and clandestine cannibal cults to sun worshippers and gladiator lawyers.
  • Information on how the factions operate, how players might  join them, and guidance on playing the factions against one another.
  • Generator tables for creating merchant cartels, noble houses, taverns, pit fighting arenas, philosopher's guilds, gangs of criminals, and religious orders. Each comes with a custom-built drama table that can help you create stories at your gaming table.
  • Street encounters, mercenaries for hire, and randomly generated Vaarnish meals.
  • Further story hooks to help you flesh out an ongoing campaign set in the city.


Fully illustrated with evocative black and white line art. 


PRINT COPIES

If you would like a print copy of my zines, you can buy them from my Big Cartel store here. Also available from:

UK: Igloo Tree and Rook's Press

EU: All the Problems In This World

US: Spear Witch and Exalted Funeral

 Canada: Monkey's Paw Games and Four Rogues Trading Co


What Others Have Said 

'A cool setting with a lot of opportunity to pull from both your favorite standard fantasy resources and science fiction compendiums in order to build out a wild mash-up world.' - Perplexing Ruins

'Reminds me a lot of the Ready Ref sheets. The entire flavor of the city is told through the factions and the tables and they work GREAT to do that. This place is ALIVE and boiling over with fun shit.' - Ten Foot Pole

'The format is a lot like Yoon-Suin, where you aren't overloaded with information and you're given interesting tables to generate things like merchant stalls, drama within noble houses, or gladiators. It provides an interesting setting with plenty of blank spaces to fill in to really make Gnomon and Vaarn your own.' - Adam B.


Patreon

If you really enjoy Vaarn and want more of it every month, you can subscribe to my Patreon.


Download

Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Vaults of Vaarn #2 15 MB
Gnomon Map Unkeyed 1 MB
Vaults of Vaarn Issue 2 Booklet Version 15 MB

Comments

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This is a terrific zine - one of the best out there right now! I love the flavor, layout, art, etc. Congratulations

Thank you, that's really nice to hear! New issue in drafting stage atm and I've got a project coming to Kickstarter in Feb as well 

Very nice to see this project continuing! and tables are great as usual. I will order a printed copy soon

(+1)

Thank you mate, don't wanna make too many promises but I'm hoping to make seven issues total. The response has been good so I'm inclined to continue.

(+3)

Pure awesomeness! <3

Thank you so much, glad you liked it.

(+2)

Amazing product as usual. Will be ordering the print version soon.

Thank you mate, glad you like it.

(1 edit)

Print link is not hooked up, but you can still click the pic.

(2 edits)

thanks for information, have fixed that now

(+1)

Thank you! I love Vaarn!