Treat Ye’self: Opuscule of OmensDecember 28, 2018 Off By TK
Welcome back, adventurer! Last week we continued “Treat Ye’self” with the delightfully whimsical “An Ogre and His Cake” by Christopher Walz and Emmet Byrne. This week, we are diving headfirst into the art of prophecy and precognition with Ashley Warren‘s “Amira Metanova’s Opuscule of Omens”.
So light up the incense and grab the spirit board planchette! Let’s see what our ancestors have to say about this supplement!
The Opuscule (a small or petty work, according to the supplement itself) purports to be a supplement written by warlock-for-hire Amira Metanova. The pages hold secrets to divining signs and signals in your fantasy world, to interpret the future from omens or pry dreams and desires from the heads of other characters. Mechanically, this supplement does not offer much: it exists purely as additional flavor to flesh out a world that is in some way dependent on magic and the supernatural. Much of the content can be left up to interpretation, though it all has a basis in historic spiritualism and occult practice.
Starting with the cover, we know that this supplement is (ironically?) exactly as it appears on the surface: it delivers everything that it claims to. The muted blues and purples are all jewel tones and the fire even has a cool cast, a color choice that the anchors the otherworldly atmosphere. A mysterious woman in a hooded robe, a cauldron with a lazily curling stream of smoke leaking out, a misty lake: this cover has no real secrets as to its contents.
The layout is crisp and the font choice shows a lot about the character Amira: professional and a hint old-fashioned. There is a distinctly gothic quality in the paper texture and the pictures are well-chosen, often full of rich color and right on theme.
There are seven sections available for the game master: Gemstones, Elements, People, Animals, Numbers, Glyphs & Symbols, and Divination 101. Each of these sections are broken down further to give the readers multiple options for their omens, such as scrying clear vs. clouded gemstones, reading the future in stormy skies or cooling lava, determining the evil tendencies in violet eyed NPCs, interpreting dreams of different architecture or encounters with animals, and numerology. There is also a collection of glyphs and symbols provided for the reader’s interpretation and a guide for divination with examples.
The Author’s Notes reside at the end of the supplement, explaining the origin of Amira and the project itself. It also contains one of my favorite inclusions: A visual portfolio of other work by the writer, Ashley Warren, as well as professional website and social media information. This is a trend that I sincerely hope to see more of in the future, as it increases the perception of professionalism and brings the quality of the piece much higher.
I’d like to include an additional bit of unanticipated praise for this product: Ashley Warren’s use of free stock photography is genius here, using brushes, clever editing, and texture to deliver amazing results on a very low budget. Very well done!
Overall, this is a great supplement for a new game master looking to add something unique to their homebrews. Even experienced GMs could benefit from some of the content (especially in games where magic is shrouded in mystery and rumor). I found myself wishing it was longer (26 pages felt very short, despite staying true to the title), especially the Glyphs and Numerology sections. Here’s hoping for a future series!
You can purchase “Amira Metanova’s Opuscule of Omens” here.
That’s all for this week, adventurers! Meet me in the New Year for strange articles and unexpected journeys!
About The Author
TK is a speculative fiction writer and part-time eldritch horror. They can be found as a cast member of The Demonplague, Unearthly Twilights, The Land Between Two Rivers, and Hell’s Belles on the Don’t Split the Podcast, WebDM, and Dungeons & Dragons networks, respectively. Their gothic and cosmic horror stories can be found at tkjwrites.com and very soon in print in a collaborative set of short stories and comics with artist Kayla Cline. TK themself can be found on Twitter @tkjoinsthefray.