Miscellanea, Hadean Press Releases, Joe Peterson Updates, Gaming Rant

Here’s my upcoming scholarly and entertainment reading.

Erzebet at Hadean has shared a few recent publications with me, on the shorter variety. The most notable of these is Al Cummins’ edition of The Art of Cyprian’s Mirror of Four Kings, a scrying ritual taken from British Library Sloane 3850. It’s a solid, brief edition of a text combining a few different topics with which modern readers are interested, along with potential notes for practitioners.

The other two, Fr. Robert Nixon’s original translations of Latin texts, may also be worth checking out. One is Brontomantia, a selection from the Venerable Bede’s works dealing with divination by thunder. (Hint: it usually means a lot of people are going to die.) The other is The Wizard Popes of the 11th Century, which expands on the stories of Pope Sylvester II being a magician to allege that other popes among his associates did the same. Both of them are short pieces that present work that has not, to my knowledge, been presented anywhere else.

Among the recent additions to Joseph Peterson’s Esoteric Archives are a lengthy update to his online edition of the Armadel, including many new manuscript links, and an unnoted revision of the page discussing Johann Weyer’s “Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.”

The Black Letter Press edition of pseudo-Agrippa’s Fourth Book will be my next review topic.

There’s a new lawsuit from a Gygax family member’s “TSR” against Wizards of the Coast – or there was, until they decided to suspend it because they filed it in the wrong venue or other reasons. I’ve written for RPGs and read a great deal of older material for my recent five-year Rules Cyclopedia campaign, so I have thoughts.

RPGs are a form of media, and even good media often contains ideas, preconceptions, and stereotypes that don’t age particularly well. For my part, I know that I tried to take a sympathetic and understanding approach toward other cultures, when writing for Call of Cthulhu back in the day. Still, if someone wanted to re-publish any of it, I’d want to look it over again, as I’ve learned more about the world – especially, that listening to people portrayed in a text is important.

Wizards has been slowly placing half a century’s publications for older D&D settings on Drivethrurpg and DM’s Guild, much of it inaccessible for decades. I have greatly enjoyed these publications, but having read a great deal of this, from time to time I came across material with outmoded ideas about gender and ethnicity. Based on the rate of publication and slow efforts to correct quality defects, I seriously doubt there’s even one full-time Wizards employee on the project now. Thus, their strategy has been to add a disclaimer that some of the books might contain problematic material.

Thus, OSR people have been uniformly happy that they could get a vast catalogue of nigh-lost material for their favorite games at an affordable price. Kidding – many are now mad about the disclaimer, of course, and are cheering on a lawsuit by a new “TSR” led by a Gygax brother. Does the lawsuit have anything to do with the disclaimer? Of course not – it’s about the new TSR filing claims on trademarks from older D&D products and other games, then claiming that TSR is infringing on them, which is not how anything works. For more information, you can read Akiva Cohen’s analysis, if you like. Maybe they’ll refile?

I really don’t think these individuals have considered the most likely outcome to any semi-successful suit: Wizards taking down all of these products and making them inaccessible once again. Maybe they’ll figure that out, but probably not.

All right – I’m done. Time to write some project emails.

Published in: on December 11, 2021 at 4:22 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I picked up a number of the Hadean Press pamphlets, including the wizard popes one. At £3 a go they seem well worth it for the fun of it and the nice cover illustration.

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