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From Vathek, Zothique, the Dying Earth and D&D

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The Hermetic Hour

The Hermetic Hour

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On Thursday January 31st, 2013 the Hermetic Hour, with host Poke Runyon, will present a discussion on the mysterious and fantastic origins of the the popular magical role-plying board game Dungeons & Dragons. We will trace the beginnings of "Oriental Gothic" magical fiction back to William Beckford's early 19th century novel "Vathek", a decadent Arabian Nights fantasy with diabolical themes, through Lord Dunsany's creation of exotic fantasy realms for his magical tales, to the early 20th century master Clark Ashton Smith who created the first "Dying Earth" setting he called "Zothique," the last continent under the dim Sun of a world soon to end. This idea was carried on by sci-fi-fantasy writer Jack Vance in his own cycle of "Dying Earth" stories in which he created the unique system of wizard spell-casting adopted by Dungeons & Dragons game players -- so, if you want to learn about the spell "Of Forlorn Encystment," or "the Excellent Prismatic Spray," tune in and we'll learn how it was done before Harry Potter.

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