This Week’s Books, the Elucidarium Elucidated, Book of Four Wizards, Gaming Update

Books I’m Working With Lately

I hope you’ve had happy and restful holidays, and that the new year will be kinder to you than the last one.

The above books are among some with which I’m working at the moment. I’d like to highlight two. The first is the Belanger’s 10th Anniversary edition of the Dictionary of Demons (issued by one of my publishers). A few years ago I wrote a series looking at different articles from different demonic dictionaries. I thought I’d posted my closing recommendations, but apparently I never did. That makes it easier for me to say, “this one,” as it’s been expanded with material from many grimoires that have gained more recent prominence.

The one that has been taking much of my energy is Alexandra Walsham’s The Reformation of the Landscape, a study of views, attitudes, and practices connected with one’s surroundings across the British isles, stretching from the earliest recorded history to about 1750. I’m reading it for a paper I’m working on, but it also checks off a lot of different boxes for me – folklore, psychogeography, matters Cornish, Arthurian legends, and so much more.

Apparently there’s been quite a bit of work ongoing regarding the Elucidarium Necromantiae attributed to Pietro d’Abano, a precursor to the Heptameron. You can catch up on it in this Glitch Bottle podcast, and maybe follow the links within to join a group of people trying to learn more.

(Edited to add Book of Four Wizards content) Right now, I’m working on a spirit compulsion that mentoins Rhadamanthus, one of the Greek judges of the underworld. I had seen something similar before in Additional MS. 36,674, so I tracked it down and I’m transcribing it for comparative purposes, working back and forth from my photos (often more clear) and the PDF (shows more of the gutter between the pages).

I’m on a holiday break from RPGs, which gives me some time to catch up on my planning. I’m encountering some of the interesting unstated tensions that these games bring to the table that I don’t see in D&D. For example, Pendragon provides incentives for characters to become chivalric and idealistic, but it also has a set of procedures in Book of the Warlord for officers that encourage them to sell out for wealth. Dungeon Crawl Classics seems like mostly a straight D&D neo-clone on the surface, but the charts for wizards and clerics require or encourage them to build in their own particular goals which the group as a whole must choose to pursue, work in, or ignore, building in extrinsic motivations that GMs would need to build into the plot in other games. It’s been interesting to see how these have played out differently than how I’d thought they would have.

Take care out there, everyone.

Published in: on December 26, 2020 at 7:04 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I notice my personal email in a comment elsewhere on this site (url: https://danharms.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/on-the-shelf-review-tidebast-och-vandelrot/) – is it possible to request to remove that comment (and this one)? Thank you!

    • Nick, please look again to confirm the proper change was made.


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