Herbalist’s Primer

A copy of Herbalist's Primer lying among the grass.

Herbalist’s Primer is 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.

A graphic on a green background: a cover of Herbalist's Primer accompanied by the caption: An illustrated guide to magical plants

Herbalist’s Primer now available!

A graphic with the text: Take a look inside and a link to the book sample

About the Herbalist’s Primer

A sample spread from the book, showing a detailed description of angelica. For a screen-reader accessible version, click here.

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 sample spread from the botany lore chapter, introducing basic terms that you’ll find useful when reading this book.

Inside the Herbalist’s Primer

  • 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. 
The table of contents. Note: a bee butt – a prime example of the self-indulgent content you’ll find in this book. Click the link to see the table of contents in high resolution!

Fully illustrated guide to magical plants

Herbalist’s Primer is illustrated in a classic style known from botanical textbooks and herbals of previous centuries. Think ink and watercolors, but digital! We’re basically talking this:

A botanical illustration of pomegranate, showing a flowering branch, a ripe fruit, and a fruit cut in half, with seeds showing.

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:

  • 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!)
  • 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).

The first fifty plants in the book, from aconite to knotgrass. Just look at all those toxic plant babies.
The other fifty plants in the book, from lady’s mantle to yew. We’re really happy with how the pomegranate worked out, not gonna lie.

The whole deal

Herbalist’s Primer is not just a book. Thanks to the success of the Kickstarter campaign, we were able to release a full collection of plant-filled materials. Let me present to you:

Where can I get it?

The physical copies are now available for purchase in Exalted Funeral’s webstore and in your friendly local gaming stores. The digital version, updated and with some typos corrected, will be available soon.

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.

What’s happening next?

The massive success of the Herbalist’s Primer Kickstarter campaign has made it possible to turn it into the first book of the series. The work on on Book 2, Geologist’s Primer – an illustrated guide to magical metals, rocks, and minerals – is already underway for over a year, and we will have plenty of fun announcements to make soon. Sign up to the newsletter to get regular updates on all our projects!

A mockup of the Geologist's Primer book, showing an entry about agate.

Useful Links

Kickstarter campaign

Media pack: Presskit and a sample

Make Your Own Magic Plant: Random Plant Generator


FriendlyBard.com: Friendly Bard Reviews: Herbalist’s Primer by Anna Urbanek

Other projects

Check our publisher pages on DriveThruRPG and Itch!

17 Comments on “Herbalist’s Primer

  1. Do we have a timeline for when the pdf purchases will be publicly available?

  2. Are the PDF’s available for standalone purchase now? Just asking because I’ve done some poking around and I can’t seem to find anything

  3. Has the Herbalist’s Primer been released on the United States?

  4. There have been no updates since June when the books arrived at the warehouses. Any estimated date on when these will ship?

    • Hi Rhonda, all updates about the Kickstarter fulfillment are on the campaign page. We have posted one in July, and now another just a few hours ago. Including the estimated shipping dates! 🙂

  5. Just received the books and the cards. Absolutely wonderful. This is the standard by which I’ll judge future books. Everything is put together with care and attention. The illustrations, the information provided; heck, even the layout and design of the book is handled with care and attention.

  6. I am in love with this set. I’ve been thumbing through the book every evening, just because it feels good to look at. The notebook that came with it is well planned, and the adventure is perfect for the mood. The cards are so detailed, and I appreciate they are numbered. This book is already being incorporated into our D&D homebrew world. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the Geology Primer.

  7. I’ve been trying to look for the Notebook that came with the Hardcover for a while now. Do we have any idea when they’ll be available again next? Because Exalted is completely out and I really wanna a copy QwQ

    • Hi! They’re not out – the books are not on sale yet, that’s all. We have a full warehouse, and soon, the books will be available for purchase. Please stay tuned! We’ll definitely make an announcement when they are in the store!

  8. Whatever happened to the plans for the Geologist Primer? I got the Herbalist Primer via the Kickstarter and loved it, and really want to see more stuff like this!

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