Arcanum Manual (Complete)

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  • 8/13/2019 Arcanum Manual (Complete)


    Prefaceo single volume to date has yet collected all six thousand years of

    Arcanums recorded history. Indeed, many would argue that it is

    impossible to approach such a Gargantuan subject within the covers of a

    single book! When I was a younger man, it was my burning ambition to write

    the definitive history of all Arcanum, but I never imagined for a moment that it

    was possible to do so in a simple or concise manner. Instead I labored for many

    decades, traveling from place to place in my researches, and produced no fewer thantwenty-three detailed volumes which I dared to call "The Compleat Histories".

    Alas, the fiery arrogance of youth!

    I now believe that compiling the entire history of Arcanum in any great detail

    is a task well beyond the reach of any one manand what is more, it is a task

    which will become more difficult with every passing year. In my travels, I have

    had occasion to sift through many of the worlds great libraries and scriptoriums,

    searching always for the most ancient books, scrolls, and tablets which were still

    legible. Arcanums history revealed itself to me slowly, showing first one face and

    then another as I spent weeks, months, and even years in transcription and trans-

    lation. But for every precious source document which had been recorded on a

    sturdy clay tablet, a sheaf of hammered gold, or a roll of soft vellum, there were

    ahundred papyri which were as dry and fragile as old leaves, and ahundred more

    which had half-crumbled into illegible fragments. The millennia of knowledge

    contained therein were in imminent danger of being lost foreverand in some cases,

    they were lost before I ever arrived.

    Both the elvish and dwarven races are possessed of rich oral histories, which

    chronicle events even more remote and arcane than those recorded by their scribes

    but these oral traditions are hard to come by for those outside the appropriate race

    and culture, and Ive rarely been privy to them. Perhaps that is best, as the line

    between fact and myth grows less clear the further one looks behind, and the tran-

    scription of oral histories is more properly the work of a folklorist than an his-

    torian. Whenever possible, I have always attempted to keep my own chronicles

    well-grounded in fact, erring on the side of discretion rather than speculation oruntoward credulity; over the years Ive found that its rather easier to believe a

  • 8/13/2019 Arcanum Manual (Complete)


    Lately a number of new scientific theories have been put forward as to the

    history of Arcanums civilized peoples. Contrary to what one may assume after

    reading the arguments of Mr. John Beddoes, it was in fact the elves and the dwarves

    who first reached what we might consider "civility", thousands of years ago: it is

    from these elder races that the first true historical traditions can be traced.Gnomish culture appears to be quite abit younger than either of these, although

    the lack of recorded historical documents made available to human researchers might

    be attributed to the secretive nature of their society. Human development, by con-

    trast, appears to have been much slower: only in the last two thousand years have

    humans produced any significant cultural Art and Literature. Of course there

    are exceptions to these general rules--but prior to a few thousand years ago,

    most of humanity seems to have consisted of little more than illiterate nomadic

    tribes, barbarian hordes, and cave-dwelling hunter-gatherers.

    One cannot speak about the recent history of Arcanum without addressing the

    growing dichotomy between Magick and what has come to be known as

    Technology. My research has shown to me adirect correlation between the wide-

    spread use of these two Forces, and increased levels of societal development. Are

    not the elves the true discoverers of Magick--or, as Beddoes has suggested, the

    eldest children of the Magickal Age? Were the dwarves not the fathers of the

    Technological tradition, centuries before the advent of Mr. Bates and his steam

    engines? Humans, it seems, have now inherited the scientific legacy of thedwarvesand does it not appear that we are now poised for what might be called

    a Golden Age of cultural expansion and hegemony?

    This simple volume, in painting a clear picture of the past, might also shed

    some light on what we can expect in the years to come. A wise man once said

    that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it; to this I will add

    that Todays "future" is simply Tomorrows "history" waiting to be born. I also

    believe that if we are to have any clear notion of where we are going, we mustknow from whence we have come, and what has gone before us. It is to this end

    that I have condensed all I know of Arcanum into asingle volume, which I hope

    will find favor with readers from all walks of life.

    For ewor d t o A Br ief His t or y of Ar canum

    Dr. Julius M. Crenshaw

    Department of HistoryT t U i it

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    Chapter 1:IntroductionThe following is excerpted from the Principia Technologica, re-printed herewith permission of the publisher, Tarant University Press, and the author.

    1876 all rights reserved.

    Principia Technologicabeing t h e c ol l ec t ed l ec t ur es of

    Sir Harris Guffingford

    A Helpful Illustration of the Principles of Science

    Chapter the Fourth: On the Eternal Conflict Between Natural

    and Supernatural Forces

    p to this point, our experiments have served only to illustrate the principles of

    Natural Law. The purpose of the exercises in this chapter, however, is to

    demonstrate the fundamental conflict between Natural Law and its nemesis,

    Supernatural LawNatural Law being represented by a variety of simple

    Technological Devices, while Supernatural Law is embodied by an equally simple

    Magickal Device. Like all our experiments, these exercises were chosen for theirlucid design and straightforward execution; they should prove suitable for students

    of all ages.

    La b or at or ie #1:The Incl ined Pl a ne

    s you may recall, we have demonstrated the Inclined Plane and explained its

    uses in a previous lesson. This is a simple machine, the purpose of which

    is to reduce the difficulty of moving objects from place to place. Even thesimplest country farmer understands the uses of this device: it is always easier to

  • 8/13/2019 Arcanum Manual (Complete)


  • 8/13/2019 Arcanum Manual (Complete)


    Introduce a Magickal Artifacte into the system. Slowly bring it into the

    vicinity of Inclined Plane C. Notice that Block A begins to slide haltingly down-

    ward! The angle of the Plane has not changed, nor has the nature of the blockbut

    the Magickal Artifacte slightly alters the Coefficient of Friction in its immediate


    This alteration is unstable and unpredictable, causing the Block to slide in

    a variable manner. It is this same unpredictability and instability in all Magickal

    Effects which makes compensation for these Effects on amachine impossible. Even

    a small change in the Coefficient of Friction can and will cause gears to grind,

    belts to break, and cogs to catch and stickwith disastrous consequences!

    Lab or a t or ie #2:Th e Swinging Pendul um

    he principle of the Pendulum was discovered by early Technologists, as youmay recall. It was early established that the period for the back-and-forth

    Oscillation of any Pendulum of a given Length is always the same, no mat-

    ter how large its arc or how heavy its bob may be. For this reason, Pendulums

    make excellent time-keeping devices, as they are less dependent on Temperature

    Variations than spring-based clocks.

    Let us start our second experiment, then, with three pendulums. Begin by set-

    ting your three Pendulums a-swing: while they are swinging, measure their peri-

    ods with a Pocket Watch or Water Clock. Our first superficial observation is thatthe Pendulums with longer rods swing more slowly than those with shorter rods:

    in fact, the period of any pendulum is mathematically exact, and it can be expressed

    as amathematical formula. To find the period, we have only to extract the square

    root of the rods length.

    Now introduce the Magickal Artifacte while the Pendulums are still swing-

    ing. Note how the swinging becomes erratic! Some Pendulums swing more

    slowly, while others swing faster than we would predict by use of our previouslyreliable mathematical formula. The variance in the new periods of these pendulums

    i l i l h l h f h d h l f

  • 8/13/2019 Arcanum Manual (Complete)


    is the proximity of the offending Artifacte, and even this is not reliable enough

    to be predicted.

    As in our first experiment, the variance is wild. The consequences for any

    machine which depends upon regular oscillations for its function are immediate andcatastrophic. In the presence of Supernatural Force, clocks will go awry, engines

    throw their rods, and metronomes dance atarantella; it is an unavoidable side effect

    of disrupting the Natural Laws associated with oscillation.

    Lab or at or ie #3:The El ect r ic Cir cui t

    n our final demonstration, we will use the self-same Electric Circuit which we

    built in last weeks lesson. As you will recall, this is a machine of

    very simple design: asmall battery serves as our sou