A guide to real-world magical plants.
A mix of ethnobotany, folklore, green witchcraft, occult, and science.
A fully-illustrated, thoroughly-researched resource for writers and world-builders.
An all-in-one book for druids, healers, alchemists, and poisoners—perfect as an in-world item and applicable in all fantasy (and most modern) settings.
A system-agnostic toolkit for game masters everywhere, complete with tips on including the plants in your campaigns—and creating new, exciting pieces of flora.
What is Herbalist’s Primer?
Herbalist’s Primer is a system-agnostic illustrated guide to real-world magical plants. Inspired by the 19th-century herbalists and the millennia of folklore, myths, and legends, it brings a wealth of easily-accessible, organized information straight to your gaming table.
From screaming mandragoras to shape-shifting deadly nightshade to hawthorns holding portals to the fey realms – the world of plant folklore is full of fascinating stories, magical rituals, and simple spells that are quite unbreakable.
Every entry lists—if possible—their culinary, medicinal, magical, and poisonous properties. Each entry includes basic botanical information, a handy scale reference, commonly used names, and a short description, so there’s no need to read the whole thing if you’re just browsing for inspiration!
We have chosen the most interesting magical plants of the world’s folklore, from the Arctic to Cape Horn. We’ve read numerous herbaria, and took a deep dive into the planet’s biodiversity.
And now we can bring it all to you: nicely organized for your convenience and fully illustrated!
- A full-color, hardcover book (6″ x 9″) with 360 pages of botanical, ethnobotanical, folklore, and tabletop roleplaying material.
- 100 illustrated, detailed descriptions of magically-inclined plants from around the world – from aconite to yew.
- Short, sweet, and useful lore chapters on the basics of botany, herb gathering, preparation, alchemy, poisons & antidotes, and more!
- Recipes for magical and medicinal concoctions, written in-world and in accordance with occult lore of the ages past (mix aconite with animal fat, then rub it on a broom handle for an excellent flying experience!).
- Tools for creating original magical plants, plot hooks, quest ideas, and a botanical Latin primer to give your custom, fantastical plants a semi-proper scientific name.
- Convenient tables with magical and medicinal properties of plants, astronomical correspondences, and the language of flowers – all according to the highest authorities in the fields.
- An index, a detailed table of contents, references, bibliography—everything you’d expect from a popular-science publication that will make your herbalist cry the tears of joy.
So what’s in it for me?
Well, we’re glad we pretended you asked.
You’ve mentioned pictures…?
We did! The whole book will be illustrated in a classic style known from botanical textbooks and herbals of previous centuries. Think ink and watercolors! We’re basically talking this:
A hundred of those. Hand-painted and made just for you. And for everybody else who will pick up the book.
Who is this for?
Herbalist’s Primer is all-in-one book for druids, healers, alchemists, and poisoners in any tabletop RPG – perfect as an in-world item and applicable to all fantasy settings. The book is written without any mentions of real-world places – you can read straight from the pages, and nothing there will clash with your homebrewed or store-bought fantasy world.
Herbalist’s Primer is a useful resource for game masters everywhere, complete with tools for including the plants in their campaigns – and creating new, exciting pieces of flora. Comprehensive plant generation tables, recipes for magic potions, and plant-related adventure seeds are just an addition to the hundreds of plot hooks scattered across the pages.
Herbalist’s Primer is a convenient, comprehensive guide for writers and worldbuilders. We have taken great care to ensure that the botanical and ethnobotanical lore is up to high standards of popular science. The References chapter in the Appendix brings to the table fascinating details about real-world applications, the roots of common beliefs, and the cultural significance of the plants showcased.
Herbalist’s Primer is a handy book for the green witches, wiccans, and occultists. The author has been in love with the arcane her whole life, and has enjoyed herself immensely, filling this book with knowledge bestowed by Aleister Crowley, Nicholas Culpeper, Scott Cunningham, Paul Beyerl, Ann Moura, Maud Grieve, John Gerard, and other authorities on herbal magic, green witchcraft, and the history of the occult.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a book about healing with herbal medicines. It does not include real medical advice, and should never be considered such. Please use the material for fun and knowledge, and leave the real-world medical applications to medical professionals. The author is not one, not by any stretch of imagination.
What about the plants?
Each of the hundred entries includes:
- a common and scientific name
- other names, as they appear in folklore and older sources (did you know that parsley is called devil’s oatmeal? Now you do!)
- a short description with main properties for quick browsing (TL;DR version for your convenience!)
- a detailed botanical illustration in the style of 19th-century herbal books, showing various elements of the plant
- a silhouette of the plant for scale reference
- quick-reference tabs, informing about the plant’s basic properties
- a table with botanical data (plant family, habitat, size, life cycle, parts used in herbalism, and descriptions of flowers and leaves)
- a detailed physical description (including scents and flavors!)
- notes on habitat and cultivation
- advice on foraging and preparation of plant material (harvest time, tools, and traditions and superstitions surrounding the gathering)
- culinary properties (while technically everything is edible if you’re brave enough, some plants are edible more than once)
- medicinal properties (as used in traditional herbal medicine; not real medical advice)
- magical properties (spells, charms, rituals of the occult new and old!)
- poisonous properties (if applicable; covers symptoms, doses, and antidotes)
Would you like to read a full entry, just to make sure it’s the type of content you’re here for? Learn something cool about calendulas on our blog!
The appendices contain more information about each plant: their astrological correspondences (compiled according to general modern occult knowledge, as described in 777, Cunningham’s, and later books), the legends and myths, the science behind the folklore, and the cultural significance around the world.
Do you want to see them all? Well, here you go, we’ve made a handy visual guide just for you (yes, it’s included in the book, you can roll a random plant, we got your back).
Where can I get it?
The Kickstarter campaign has ended (with an enormous success, about which I write here), and the pre-order store has closed on 17 November 2021. If you’ve missed it, fret not! The book will be available in retail (in a physical and digital version) from Exalted Funeral and any other retailers who decide to carry it.
The massive success of this campaign has made it possible to turn Herbalist’s Primer into the first book of the series. I have already started working on Book 2, Geologist’s Primer – an illustrated guide to magical metals, rocks, and minerals. Sign up to the newsletter to get regular updates on all our projects or join our Patreon to unlock access to WIPs of the next book!
FriendlyBard.com: Friendly Bard Reviews: Herbalist’s Primer by Anna Urbanek
What else you’ve got?
We’ve got something that’s ready and waiting for you to pick it up!