The Lost Grimoire (1984)

Volume four of the Arduin Grimoire series is called The Lost Grimoire (1984), a touch ironic both because Hargrave claimed the previous volume would be the last, and the fact that there are four more after this one. 

This is the first of the Arduin Grimoires published by Dragon Tree Press and marks a significant step up in production value. Though still digest size, it is square bound and, most importantly, boasts actual layout and typesetting on the inside. This is a great relief to the eyes (though the glued spine of my copy makes me uneasy – I feel like I am going to open it one day and be faced with an explosion of flying pages). 

Despite the aesthetic improvements, this is my least favorite of the Grimoires. It feels very “more” for the sake of “more,” with the bulk of the book being given over to new spells and magic items. There just isn’t a lot of weird stuff to hook onto here, compared to the earlier books. 

One thing of particular interest is the three page essay on how to be a good player when joining someone else’s ongoing game. The vast majority of this advice boils down to “don’t be a dick,” which is good! No one likes a jackass. But there is an undercurrent here that centers the game master as the ultimate power and authority. Ownership of the game is firmly the GM’s, not the players. There isn’t anything wrong with this outlook, I guess, but it definitely contrasts with the prevailing philosophy of collaborative fun I see in contemporary gaming. 

Oh, and this is no longer intended as a D&D supplement – it is an expansion of the 1980 Arduin Adventure rules (which are still pretty derivative of D&D), so prepared to be slightly confused again as to how everything works. 

Oh, I guess there is one really weird thing here: the new monster called Falkynor. Also known as a Luck Dragon. Also known as a direct rip-off from Neverending Story

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