Orchidelirium is an RPG about Victorian orchid hunters that is played with playing cards, dice and pennies. The design of this game just oozes with style and flavour, and you should give it read!
Orchidelirium, Volume One: Expedition Rules
A downloadable game
A Tabletop Role-Playing Game regarding Orchid Hunting
during the Reign of Queen Victoria
for 2 to 6 Persons of Fine Repute Inclusive of a Games Master
Requiring a Deck of Playing Cards, 2 Six-Sided Dice, & 6 Pennies
Take on the mantle of a grizzled and hardy orchid hunter in 1865, traversing the depths of unchartered territories in search of rare, elusive, and above all, expensive orchids for your shady employer, J. Carmichael & Associates.
For the Games Master, Orchidelirium provides a simple ruleset, an adventure, and improvisation tools to help build an adventure of discovery at the table.
Files included with purchase:
- 32 page rule book (standard page & double page spreads versions)
Files available for free:
- Character sheet (A4 / letter)
- Expedition preparatory aid (A4 / letter)
- Playing mat (A4 / letter)
- Kickstarter poster (A4)
- PlayingCards.io room (demo)
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:
Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
Please take a free digital copy if you fancy yourself a Victorian orchid hunter but find yourself short a thruppenny bit.
New copies added for every paid purchase, star rating, or review.
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Are there plans for a Volume Two for Orchidelirium? I really enjoyed our first play-through today and if any additional materials become available I would like to add them to my rpg collection :)
I’m planning on working on two more volumes and perhaps a couple of free pamphlet-sized holiday expansions then, if there’s enough interest, maybe a slim book collecting everything with different artwork.
- Vol II is set to cover maybe ~10 more settings and I’m thinking an orchid generation tool.
- Vol III should finish the series focusing on London, J Carmicæl & Assc. and the orchid trade making it easier to play a campaign.
Was expecting to start researching more settings in June but an RSI set everything back a bit so now looking at December to continue development.
Will certainly be sending an email out if/when these come to fruition!
Hello! I am planning on running Orchidelirium over the web for a group of friends, and I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for what platform to use? My current plan has three parts: a) use Discord for voice & video, b) have an actual, physical deck of playing cards I can look at as the GM, and c) upload the playmat to Google Jamboard and use sticky notes to indicate cards as they are revealed. I can have additional frames on Google Jamboard for other things like keeping track of hired hands and character sheets.
Has anyone else run a game online? How did it go? I thought about using Roll20 since it has a Playing Card Macro, but since you can't control how the deck is shuffled or take a peak at it as a GM it seemed pretty useless, and Jamboard I think will be clearer to see since it is simpler.
Love to hear your thoughts! Thank you :)
Most playtests were run online over lockdown using a buggy Tabletopia room and Discord so certainly doable. I don’t think I set up Tabletopia correctly and its quite resource heavy on the computer though.
Have since found PlayingCards.io to be much easier to use so just made a room (demo here: playingcards.io/zvnrxd) and added the export to the downloads available so you can import it into your own room (instructions here).
The deal button deals a hand of 5 equipment cards to each player, splits the deck, shuffles in the aces, stacks, and deals out the table cards. Reset does the opposite so use at your peril.
Any spare pennies will need to be split manually but everyone can then interact with the table which hopefully takes a lot of the strain off you as GM.
Haven’t tested the room at all though so do let me know if anything breaks/doesn’t work!
(* Edit: That is, if you do end up using it of course)
Thank you so much!
I ended up keeping to my original plan because I liked being able to see the player's character sheets on Google Jamboard and have everything all together. I thought it worked really well. Here is a view-only link to our Jamboard from this morning's session in case anyone would like to see how it worked:
My players turned back after 3 orchids (and discovering some gold), so they didn't have a particularly perilous journey--they didn't make many tests of wit since they had plenty of objects for the most part--but at least one of my players said she liked it that way, so they could focus more on interesting story elements with how they use the objects instead of just fearing for their lives. I did make them use quite a few objects to get home safely though (e.i. escaping the brewing storm, a success for each of them to avoid Willoughby's treachery) so I think they all felt they did the prudent thing.
We really liked the pre-made adventure, I thought the game was very well made and is pretty unique as far as ttrpgs I've tried. I recommend writing down all the player names and putting a tally mark next to each person when they take their turns, so as GM you can make sure everyone gets an even amount of turns. Since I didn't want to write in my hardcopy book I also wrote a column for Risk, Reverie, and Reward and made tally marks for those as well, starting a new line each time they found an orchid.
I'm not sure if I was supposed to make the players succeed at an obstacle when they had a Reverie. I just used it as a character moment without making them roll or use an object. I suppose you could make the game significantly more perilous by requiring successes with Reveries as well as Risks.
That made me very happy (and slightly relieved—your’s is the first game I’ve heard about that I wasn’t directly involved in!) to read and really like what you did with the Jamboard.
The difficulty (I think rightfully) tends to ramp up with fewer players but just like with your group, they can always bail if they’re concerned for their safety & it sounds like you ran reveries exactly as intended.
Thanks for the write up! Have added a community copy :)
hi, you might want to check out playrole.com
Account is free, and they support cards :)