Calling all aspiring adventurers! Join us on our quest to uncover the literary history behind Dungeons & Dragons with scholar and RPG editor John D. Rateliff, in this event co-hosted by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic and the Games and Gaming Lab at the University of Glasgow!
How has fantasy literature influenced and inspired the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons? How has the relationship between the two fantasy media developed over time? Join us on 28th January 2021 at 6pm (GMT) for an event discussing the history of this much beloved game. Tolkien scholar and RPG designer/editor John D. Rateliff will discuss its early roots in the works of twentieth-century fantasy authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard. His talk will be followed by a Q&A.
The event will also include a short introduction to contemporary Dungeons & Dragons by Grace A. Worm – with a brief, but fun, dip into how to play!
First of all, here are the two images most readers will know: the iconic cover of the Ballantine edition of A Voyage to Arcturus (third printing, 1973) and Dorothea Breby’s bespoke illustration for Radio Times, published on 22 June 1956, two days before the radio serialization of the novel begun.
By kind permission, we are delighted to share this spectacular illustration of Maskull and Oceaxe riding the shrowk, a favourite scene for illustrators (the Ballantine 1973 cover depicts the same scene), by Joel Fletcher:
Fletcher has really captured very well Lindsay’s vivid description of colour. The shrowks are described in this way:
They were not birds, but creatures with long, snakelike bodies, and ten reptilian legs apiece, terminating in fins which acted as wings. The bodies were of bright blue, the legs and fins were yellow. They were flying, without haste, but in a somewhat ominous fashion, straight toward them. [Maskull] could make out a long, thin spike projecting from each of the heads.
(David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus, Chapter 9: Oceaxe)
Artist Nicolas Geffroy has completed a number of illustrations for A Voyage to Arcturus (you can find the entire series here) and we are delighted to share two of them:
Starkness Observatory, somewhere “on the north-east coast of Scotland” (Chapter 2: In the Street), from where Maskull, Nightspore, and Krag set off for Arcturus:
And Leehallfae and Maskull in Threal:
Last but certainly not least, this illustration pictures the startled Maskull as he awakes on Tormance and finds out that he has grown “fleshy protuberances” on his forehead and neck, and, perhaps more memorably, a “breve”, a tentacle which has budded “from the region of his heart” which is described “as long as his arm, but thin, like whipcord, and soft and flexible” . Later on Joiwind tells him that “by means of it we read one another’s thoughts” (Chapter 6: Joiwind). This illustration is by Monica Burns, a comic artist from Scotland, and was first published in issue 3 of Scottish SF magazine Shoreline of Infinity:
Join us on 28th October 2020 at 5pm via Zoom webinar for a thoroughly spooky lecture on the folklore and traditions of Halloween and associated festivals, such as Día de los Muertos, with world-renowned folklorist, author, and broadcaster Dr Juliette Wood, followed by Q&A.