Friday, October 13, 2017

The World of the Glass Harmonica

It has been argued before, that Barbara Ninde Byfield's 1967 "Lexicon of the Fantastical," The Glass Harmonica (republished in 1973 as The Book of the Weird) was an influence on D&D. It's easy to understand why, given Byfield's atmospheric illustration and whimsical prose. While it would certainly be a variant, more fairytalish world, I think you could do a lot worse than basing a campaign on the details from the book.

Here's a few tidbits:

"If times are not propitious for battle, Berserkers tend to sink into lethargy and untidiness and show interest in little save becoming Werewolves."

"Dragons drag; they are lazy  and sluggish and prefer to live on their reputations...Like Nobility they take place names for their own."

"Dwarves own all treasure underground, and all treasure that originated underground. Dwarves do not steal; they reclaim what belonged to them in the beginning."

"Frogs live under a Monarchy."

"Gnomes have an unfortunate tendency to become transformed into toads; their King is particularly prone to this enchantment."

"[Witches and Warlocks] lead disorderly lives, hate salt, and cannot weep more than three tears."


Anonymous said...

I love this sort of weirdness, it add such a lovely texture to a world.

Doomsayer said...

Absolutely dig any kind of extra-weird that can add some subtle vibes to a RPG setting. The old English/Irish fables are a treasure trove of course, but this stuff has a great 60's flavor that is refreshing too. Thanks for the heads up.

Trey said...

It's a great book.

Gwythaint said...

I had an exchange with Zeb Cook where he identified it as an inspiration for the Monster Manual.