Recently, my attention was brought to a fantastic book from the Wellcome Library: the Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros [A Very Rare Compendium of the Whole Art of Magic, Systematised by the Most Famous Masters of this Art].
One page allegedly depicts the signs for various demons:
Compendium rarissimum, fol. 2r
The familiar symbol at the top right? That’s for Astaroth, a Duke of Hell. It doesn’t match up with the older sixteenth- and seventeenth-century traditions, though.
The book claims to be from 1057, but is actually from c.1775. This sort of pseudo-scientific magic and demonology is a creation of the Renaissance and an emphasis on rationality and systematisation; in fact, the very next page has symbols for the elements, demonstrating that up to the Enlightenment, there wasn’t much difference between science, magic and demonology.
But by the time this book appeared, it was already out of date. The great witch trials were long over, and the author’s dating his work back to 1057 is a bit of pseudo-medieval sensationalism. The first page tells the prospective reader: “Noli me tangere [Don’t touch me]”, which to me sounds more like an advertisement than any real warning (and would to any self-respecting PC too!). Certainly, the lavish illustration makes the whole thing look more like a scandalous coffee-table book than anything intending to be practical.
And where’s this Lord of Change? I’ve put him after the break because he’s very slightly NSFW:
Hi. I’m Rangdo and Doc has generously given me a copy of the keys to this particular kingdom. I’ve been active on Strike-to-Stun, Liber Fanatica and rpg.net, but this is the first time I’ve ever blogged, so be gentle…
I played WFRP when it first came out, then fell out of the roleplaying habit in the 90s, only to return in the middle of WFRP 2e. Since then I mainly play online and have acquired a large collection of games, most of which I don’t get a chance to play. I’m something of a system junkie, apparently. But WFRP is and will remain my main squeeze.
I have a couple of one-sheets which Doc hosted here, The Arabyan Knight and The Estalian Prisoner; I contributed to Defenders of the Forest, the Liber Fanatica Elf sourcebook, and am also the author of the scenario A Bitter Harvest, which was adapted to be the intro scenario for Zweihänder. That’s about the extent of my RPG ‘publishing’. But I do have a lot of unfinished thoughts and plans. I often think of something that might be cool, then don’t really finish it up, or it gets left as a draft in a folder somewhere. I’ll be putting that stuff up here instead on the off-chance someone else can use it, and hope to post about once a week. I will also, of course, be following the development of 4e, recently announced by Cubicle 7, with great interest.
Talk to you again soon…
Amazing job fellow gamers! Zwehänder was funded in six hours and now we just keep digging for more rewards! I was away from computer when this thing went live but here is the announcement anyway! Yay!
ZWEIHÄNDER fans! We are now officially live on Kickstarter!
Thanks to each and every one of you for your interest, support and shared over these long years as we prepared the game for the public. We know you’ll enjoy ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG as much as we do, and hope to count on your support to bring a cool new indie tabletop RPG to market!
Happy gaming, and we’ll see you over at Kickstarter!
After the Zweihänder news yesterday I finally got around reinstalling the latest update. And Against all odds everything seems to be working ok again! It seems that I needed to let go to get the groove back on.
This also means that FINALLY I’ll be able to upload and host Emil Heide’s excellent document that lists creatures by slaughter margin for WFRP2. You can download it HERE.