Friday, June 10, 2016

The Discarded Image (Part I.)

Over on ThePerilousDreamer's forum I started a thread about C. S. Lewis' book, The Discarded Image, as an aid to generating the legendaria necessary for a Fantastical Medieval Wargames Campaign.

Recall that D&D grew out of wargaming. Wargaming attempts to game historical battles and hypothetical periods of warfare. It moved from the Napoleonic to the medieval era. Then to the fantastical. But like wargames before it, the desire is some "accuracy" of "simulation." So, just as wargamers need to study wars, battles, and period warfare, so too D&D referees need to study their source material: medieval fantasy.

Well, enter C. S. Lewis, medieval scholar extraordinaire  His Discarded Image is the culmination of years of introductory lectures to the medieval world for folks who wanted to understand medieval literature.

Well, the medieval peoples had an understanding of the world that is almost as fantastical to our post-enlightenment project as any fantasy novel. I've found that studying Lewis has helped me as a referee. What follows will be a series of posts on his discarded image, starting, below, with chapter one. Let me know what you think. Comment here or over on the boards.

Chapter 1. The Medieval Situation

"But the Middle Ages depended predominantly on books." p. 5.

I think this sums up his point in this chapter. Unlike previous ages with culture, oral tradition, myth and ritual, nor our own which (pretends to) prefer empirical knowledge, the medievals looked for authorities and found them in books. Thus their world was the systematization of what they found in books, sometimes disregarding any evidence to the contrary!

I think this could prove beneficially informing for role-playing sages and other such types. I think it could even influence the way we understand "magic" and how best to role play it as well. As opposed to earlier ages and fay folk, human magic users are always busily studying and systematizing (quoting and rules lawyering!) from old books and scrolls and scraps of knowledge half-remembered.

Next in the series.

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