Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New Page: Appendix O and the Purpose of Research

I just published a new Page and you can see the link above. It is my version of the classic "Appendix N."  But mine comes after it and it is more about the occult, witches, vampires, and other horror related topics.

So I am calling it Appendix O.

Just a small portion of my library.

If you are interested in seeing the sites on the web that I found useful or have good witch content then check out my other page Witch Links.

If you want to know what movies I have been influenced by to write witch, vampire, and other horror-related content then check out my October Horror Movie Challange.

And occasionally I do make an Appendix N post. 

Nothing in the citations will tell you how to play a better game of D&D, Ghosts of Albion, NIGHT SHIFT, or any other RPG.

Nor will they allow you rebuild one of my books or classes from just the content they have.  They all however have lead me to a place where those books could be written. 

Current research pile.

Also, this is not scholarly-level research here. I did not come up with a thesis statement, a research question, or anything like that and then carried out a systematic literature review.  This is 100% books that were within my grasp at the time (eg growing up in a small midwest town with a larger than average personal and public libraries), then access to one of the largest open shelve university libraries in the state, and of course then the internet.  These are titles that captured my attention at the time and then left a mark on my RPG writing. 

As with all my Pages here, I'll update this one periodically. In fact looking at the pictures above I see there are a few entries that I missed.

The Purpose of Research

Back when I was getting my Ph.D. in Ed. Psych my advisor was going over my records and my Master's Thesis and asked me why I did not go into Cognitive Psychology, which is what my academic life had been up to that point.  I told him I was (and am) more interested in how people learn.  We talked about my Master's Thesis where I showed that it takes about 550 ms to activate a memory from long-term memory when it had been properly primed by a queue. It was situated in the current Information Processing theories of the time.  My advisor, who was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, looked at me and said "so what?"  I was floored. So what? I spent months working on that theory, and then more weeks writing the software to test it, weeks testing undergrads, weeks of eating nothing but popcorn and pineapple while writing a 180-page thesis.  So what??  And, he was right.  I was in an Ed. Psych program now, not Cog Psych. My research had to mean something. If I could not tell that Fourth Grade teacher at CPS what my research meant to her then why should I do it?

This page came about not because I kept getting asked for it. That is true and a good enough reason, but the real reason is I am constantly going back and re-examining my own work and research.

I love to research for research's sake. But that is not the degree I ended up with. Research is fun, but it needs a goal.  Appendix O started out without a goal in mind.  But that doesn't mean I can't have one now.

Presently I am working on two books for my "Basic-era Games" banner; "The Basic Bestiary" and "The High Witchcraft" books.  I wanted at least one of these to be ready by Halloween.  That's not going to happen.  The Basic Bestiary is moving along well, but not as fast as I would like.  High Witchcraft...that's another matter.

I have been calling High Witchcraft my last book on Witches.  I want that to mean something.  But I think I am setting up too many mental roadblocks for myself. So I am going back to my first assumptions. Back to my first "research questions" as it were.  It might take me a little longer, but I want something really good. Something that is worthy of being called my "last witch book."


Basic Bestiary is moving along fine.  I have a ton of material, I just need to edit it.

The Secret Order is a call back to the witches of Dragon Magazine (but not setting them up the same way, I gotta do my own thing) and to that very strange time between 1981 and 1983 when we freely mixed in both Basic and Advanced D&D concepts.  I am publishing it with my "Basic-Era Compatible" logo as opposed to "Labyrinth Lord" or "Old-School Essentials" (and either of those would be fine) because I do want a lot more freedom to express my witch how I want. 

For the cover art, I am a huge fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. So there was really only one choice for the high Witchcraft book and that was "Astarte Syriaca" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Astarte was one of the Goddesses I researched the most in those early days of my first witch.  I even made my first version of Larina a worshipper of Astarte, and not the more obvious Hecate.

For the Basic Bestiary I wanted a Pre-Raphaelite, but "The Nightmare" by Henry Fuseli was calling to me. I always loved that painting. 

Back to the books!

3 comments:

Nathan Irving said...

Looking forward to all this. I certainly understand the problem of overthinking and setting up too many barriers in your own mind - I've got so many unfinished projects....

What's the likelihood of doing a compilation edition of the witches at some point?

Love love love bestiaries. Working on one or two of my own. :)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

While I would love to do a compilation I would feel bad about pulling everything together and charging for it. It would feel like a cash grab in a way.

I guess I would do it after a few more years have elapsed and I could add some significant content.

Phil Viverito said...

Oh, I love L'Engle. I had the pleasure of meeting her. I was about 11-12 and she was speaking at a local church event. I must have said something that some adult found precocious and got invited to brunch with a handful of VIPs. I recall she asked me several questions, but I can't remember any of them as being terribly important.

My parents freaked out. "Where did you go?"

I said: "You wouldn't believe me..."

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