As someone who’s main campaign is set in a city – and by city I mean a metropolis that is the entirety of its own demiplane – I am always looking for more ways to fill it with life, whether it be shops, businesses, or the folks who make the city their home. Pulling NPCs out of my butt is not a skill I am wonderful at, so the news of Eren’s Arcane Compendium of Characters has had me very excited from first whiffs I caught of it coming into existence!
Fully illustrated, written and designed by Eren Angiolini (they/them), Critical Role & Justice League colourist and Crit Awards nominee artist, the Arcane Compendium is a deck of 100+ characters for fantasy TTRPGs, with portrait art and supporting information for each. Recently they were kind enough to share a special preview with me, so read on to check out what promises to make this deck an absolutely indispensable resource for GMs and Players alike!
The Arcane Compendium is written completely separate of any TTRPG system, which means that the characters therein can be used for any campaign whatsoever, whether it be D&D, PF2e, or any other system out there that makes use of a fantasy setting.
Not just for GMs
While the obvious use case here is for GMs, who can use the cards to assist with coming up with NPCs for their campaigns, players can also use the Arcane Compendium. Some examples of how a player could engage with the deck might be as inspiration for their own new player characters, as figures in their characters backstory or to come up with a group on the fly for a spur of the moment one shot or GMless game.
Classless and customisable
Characters in the Arcane Compendium are presented without any class or race information to keep them highly customisable for the system you are using. They include flexible plot hooks and personality traits that are easily adaptable to whichever system you use, and can connect with both existing IP or your own homebrew.
Diverse and Accessible
Eren has taken the time to hire a professional Cultural Consultant during creation of the Arcane Compendium to ensure the contents of the deck are respectful and appropriate. The design of the deck is being created with the assistance of dyslexic and neurodivergent folks to make sure the cards are as accessible as possible.
The main deck will feature 135 character cards, and on launch day there will also be two expansion packages available: Magical Companions and Spooky & Haunted, each containing 15 cards each.
A luxury edition will also be available, complete with a magnetic lid box and designed to look like an ancient tome. A limited commission tier will allow you to create a character to be immortalised in the deck. The stretch goals include many more expansions, character cards and VTT implementation.
Early bird rewards
Eren’s Arcane Compendium of Characters is launching on BackerKit on July 11, 2023, and everyone who buys a physical reward within the first 48 hours will be gifted a copy of The Magical Companions expansion!
People who sign up to the campaign before the launch will also get 4 free character portraits as digital downloads, ready to use in private or streamed games.
The Arcane Compendium is fully illustrated, written and designed by Eren Angiolini (they/them), professional TTRPG illustrator and comic colourist (Critical Role, Justice League, Doctor Who), developed through 2 years of hard work with the support of their Patreon community: the ArtVenturing Guild. The campaign will run on BackerKit from July 11th to August 11th, 2023. If, like me, you are always on the lookout for useful tools and sources of inspiration for your TTRPG campaigns, you can find more information and sign up now (and grab your free characters!) at: http://bit.ly/compendiumprelaunch.