I hope you are all having a good Christmas season (in spite of the pandemic). I am enjoying some of my new Christmas presents – mostly books – that should further expand my mind and imagination.
First off, I am rather fond of my beard, and if you have a big beard, you need to properly attend to it. Thus I have now added some Grimfrost (a great Swedish Viking company) beard products to the Viking helmet and tunic I recently bought (my blog posts about my new Viking helmet and tunic can be found on the “Categories” list to the right under “Vikings”).
I also love my research into history, folklore, and philosophy. Vlastos was a great ancient philosophy scholar, and I look forward to his insights on expanding upon the Platonic theory of celestial motions and theory of the structure of matter. The Venerable Bede and Gregory of Tours will allow me to enter the minds of figures in the Anglo-Saxon period (c.410-1066), and The Anglo-Saxon World will provide a larger overview of the period. Neil Price and Jackson Crawford are important Viking scholars in the areas of Viking archaeology and linguistics, respectively, so Children of Ash and Elm and The Wanderer’s Havamal, combined with the Viking historical atlas will further expand my Viking knowledge (building upon the MOOC I am taking from the University of Iceland on the Icelandic Sagas). The Makers of Scotland provides overviews of the Picts, Romans, Gaels, and Vikings, giving an insight into their cultural interactions. Finally, Claude Lecouteux writes great books examining medieval views on household spirits, land spirits, and rituals, so this book on ancestor worship and medieval views of death will add to my Lecouteux collection. I, of course, use all these books for the Castles & Crusades game world I am developing, which has a mythic European feel.
Trudvang Chronicles is a great RPG from Sweden. The books are almost worth purchasing simply for the evocative artwork of Paul Bonner and Alvaro Tapia. The game itself is a very atmospheric and challenging Norse/Celtic game of shapeshifters, dimwalkers and blótkings, using its own unique game system. I supported a kickstarter early this year for a conversion of the rules to D&D 5E, and although I am enjoying much of what I am seeing so far in the preliminary edits that have been released, I have also noticed that in the conversion process, the game seems to be losing some of its edge (D&D 5E is a more easy and light-hearted game of epic heroes, and as such struggles with being able to present Trudvang’s mysterious, melancholic, grim, and challenging playstyle). So I have gotten the source material to consult when the 5E conversion falls short. Jorgi’s Bestiary is also a unique monster book, since every monster entry spans several pages, yet only a small portion is game stats, most of it is descriptive text accompanied by great sepia toned black and white art, so in some cases I can use stats from the C&C Norse/Celtic/Slavic/Germanic Codex books, and then augment them with the text and artwork of Jorgi’s Bestiary in my narrative descriptions during encounters.
I love scenic calendars! We should (hopefully) begin returning to normal in 2021, and I would love to return to Europe for a holiday. These calendars allow me to dream of return journey’s to favorite places, as well as opening up possibilities to yet undiscovered locations.
Well, that is it for now. In my New Years blog I take a final look at 2020, what it has meant to me, and what I am looking forward to in the year 2021.