Sunday, April 1, 2018

RPG Blog Carnival: April 2018 Kick-Off

The Theme for this Month's RPG Blog Carnival is Journals, Grimoires and Spell-Books and we're hosting it right here at Hereticwerks. You can find out all the details about the RPG Blog Carnival and RPG Blog Carnival Archive by clicking over at the always excellent Of Dice and Dragons blog (well worth a visit!). The RPG Blog Carnival has been going on for years now (since 2008) and the Archive is a virtual treasure trove of great ideas and advice from quite a range of contributors.

If you're interested in participating, it's super easy; just post something pertinent to the month's topic and leave a comment below with a link to the post and at the end of the month the host (this month that's us) will write a round-up post for the moth and include links back to all the participants. Any questions? Just ask in the comments below or click over to the RPG Blog Carnival Home Page for all the details, including how you can sign-up to host one of the monthly carnivals at your blog!

Journals, Grimoires & Spell-Books

A 'Journal' could be a daily newspaper (including tabloids and scandal sheets), a periodical dealing with matters of current interest such as a magazine or an academic journal; a record of daily experiences, personal reflections, ideas or observations such as a diary; a record of transactions as in book-keeping, politics or gambling; or it might take the form of a journalist's notebook, a naturalist's sketchbook, the log book of a ship, or the daily records of an expedition into some previously unexplored region of time and space. There's a lot of leeway as to what counts as a journal so here are a few examples to consider:

Dracula by Bram Stoker
One of the best examples of a journal in fiction that you are likely to find, and that's just the beginning. Dracula is an Epistolary Novel containing newspaper excerpts, diary entries, letters, telegrams, log entries, doctor's notes--everything you could ever want in terms of inspirational examples for creating your own journals and whatnot and it's still a great book. Read it.

The Diary of Alonzo Typer.
One of the more infamous examples of how a doomed investigator into things probably best left alone manages to somehow scrawl details of his demise into his journal even as he is dragged away into the darkness by massive, inhuman paws in a manner reminiscent of the Caves of Caerbannog scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Completely demolishes any lingering tension or suspense and effectively kills the horror aspect of the story mostly because the author just wouldn't shut up. Delete the last sentence and you leave it hanging as a mystery of sorts...less of a farce.

Spurious Crypto-Diaries?
Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd was a truly great explorer who reached both the North and South Poles at a time few could have made such a claim. Byrd's actual career and accomplishments are plenty inspirational enough, but if you want to delve into conspiracies, hollow earth theory and ufos...then you might want to do a Google Search for "Secret Diary of Richard Byrd" and enjoy your journey down the rabbit hole...

Historical Journals
Townsend's offers quite a bit more than just cookbooks and youtube videos, including a selection of reprinted historical journals that are absolutely fascinating reading. The 18th Century Journals site provides access to loads of digitized examples of historical journals from (you guessed it) the 18th Century. Appleton's Journal as published in the 19th century and their archives are online for one and all. The US National Library of Medicine offers a lot of rare books, herbals, brochures, pamphlets, and more...much of it digitized and easily searchable. Just click on the Early Manuscripts and see how far that takes you. If that's not enough there's the Sixteenth Century Journal,
Wikipedia has an extensive list of Historical Journals if you want to dig deeper into this sort of thing...and there's also a nice listing of 19th Century British Periodicals to consider.

The Diary of Anne Frank
Very serious stuff. A young girl and her family hide from the Nazis for two years before dying of typhus in a concentration camp. Grim, heart-breaking and written in a child's voice that is more chilling and disturbing than any made-up horror story. If this is a bit too real, then there is a list of Fictional Diaries at Wikipedia to help you find something a bit more to your taste.

One of the Greatest Travelogues?
The Travels of Marco Polo remains a real classic and a great resource for developing a campaign based upon exploration and all sorts of politics, skullduggery, and adventure opportunities that come with traveling into the heart of a great empire on a 'trading mission.' There are quite a lot of Traveler's Accounts worth investigating if you're at all interested in this sort of thing. Some of the strangest monsters you're likely to encounter in RPGs such as the Arimaspians derive from old traveler's tales, so it can be quite entertaining to go digging around in these sorts of resources.

So that barely scratches the surface of just the Journals part of the topic...but it feels like a pretty fair start on things. Later this week we'll have more on Grimoires and another follow-up on Spell-books, including some examples and details of how we handle these things in Wermspittle and beyond.

What sort of Journals or Grimoires do you use in your games or campaigns? How do you handle Spell-Books?


  1. Good to 'see' you here! List of books in progress....

    1. Good to be doing this again. I've found Journals and such make for great treasure-items and plot-hook delivery devices or macguffins and have used them extensively in numerous campaigns, including the most recent one we're involved in sporadically as schedules allow. There is a lively, thriving book trade in Wermspittle that might be fun to get back to exploring, among other related things...

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. It was a little like going back to the Old School Heretic days...which was kind of fun actually.

  3. An entry in the journal category for the time being:

    1. Excellent! thanks for being part of this month's carnival. We're about to head out of town, so I will drop by and read the post as soon as I get a chance!

  4. Here ya go - a few random books (and links to a few past lists, as well!)

    1. Good to see you dude! We'll be posting a few more things for this topic after we return from our trip out-state. I'll be dropping by to check out your post in a little bit.


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