Another Fun Piece of old Cthulhu Lore – The Oera Linda Book

There is a long and proud history of using real-world occult texts (and mystery texts, and plain old cypher texts) in the Call of Cthulhu RPG – as well as people using the titles of Lovecraftian tomes for real world texts in return. What this means is that it is actually relatively hard to find a book that hasn’t been used already. I stumbled over the Oer Linda Book years ago and found it perfect for a game I was running at the time. Links are included at the bottom for more information on the real-world editions.

The Oera Linda Book

An ancient manuscript that was held in the family of Over de Linden family for generations, its existence was revealed in 1867 by the master shipwright Cornelis Over de Linden who inherited it from his grandfather via his aunt. The book describes the destruction of Atland (Atlantis) in 2194 BCE, and the subsequent history of the Frisian people.

The book describes the history of a matriarchal culture of folk-mothers who rule over celibate priestesses of goddess Frya. This goddess generated through a series of virgin births twelve men and twelve women who formed the progenitors of the Fresian race. After living with the Fresians for seven generations and giving them a series of laws to live by, Fyra ascended to the stars of heaven while a terrible flood and nearly wiped out humanity and civilization. Favored by Heinrich Himmler, and sometimes referred to as “Himmler’s Bible” it posits a Northern European origin for several Middle-Eastern civilizations and includes a doctrine of racial purity.

The complete known text is comprised of three primary parts, the letter of Hidde Oera Linda (dating to 1256), The Book of Adela’s Followers (dating to the 6th Century BCE) which is compiled of contemporary and ancient writings, and Frya’s Tex (dating to 2194 BCE), which gives the laws as set down by the Goddess Fyra. Two additional sections are included towards the end of the book, the writings of Konered and Beden, but these are often incomplete and the book itself breaks off mid-sentence.

The Various Editions:

The Lost and Complete Version: A collection of loose pages in a folio, it is written in the same Old Fresian cipher as the 1256 Manuscript. Suitable to be found and used in Cthulhu: Dark Ages game…

  • (-1d6 Sanity; +0/+2 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 21 weeks – Mythos Rating: 6)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra), Fryra’s Blessing (Perfection), Fryya’s Mead (Brew Dream Drug), Fryya’s Message (Dream Vision)

Thet Oera Linda Bok (1256): The original manuscript consists of a series of loose pages, written in a cipher of Old Fresian. It is currently held in Tresoar, Frisian Historical and Literary Center in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 16 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra)

In 1872 the book was first translated and edited in Dutch as Thet Oera Linda Bok. Naar een uit de handwriting dertiende Eeuw by Dr. J.G Ottman, a prominent member of the Frisian Society for History and Culture, after being rejected by Eelco Verwijs, the provincial librarian of Friesland. It was published by H. Kuipers.

  • (-1d3 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +4 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Shortly thereafter, in 1876, William Sandbach translated the book into English, The Oera Linda Book: From a Manuscript of the Thirteenth Century, but worked strictly from the Dutch translation by Ottema, evidently never referring to the original, and having some heavy Christian biases. It was published by Trübner & Co.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +3 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)

In 1933, Herman Wirth translated a version of the book into German, Die Ura-Linda-Chronik. Übersetzt und mit einer einführenden geschichtlichen Untersuchung. More propaganda than scholarship, this version is rife with additions and interpretations to support his already existing theories of Atlantis and Aryan origins. It was published by Koehler & Amelang. Note that rumors abound regarding the personalized and annotated copies of Wirth, Himmler, and other Nazi leadership.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: 3)

In the aftermath of World War II, the work was largely left alone until Robert Scutton translated a new abridged version in 1977, The Other Atlantis: Astounding revelations of the secrets of Atland, long-lost imperial capital of the North. In English with a lengthy commentary and introduction.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Finally, since 1983, there has been a cheap and easy to find translation by Frank H. Pierce IV, commonly found and used by various and sundry occultists and Neo-Aryans as a research tool and support as it supposedly a complete and unbiased translation of the original. The Oera Linda Book: Translated from the Frisian

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

The Wikipedia Entry:

Excellent site, with pictures of the entire original manuscript:

The 1872 version:

Interesting site with pictures of the 1933 Wirth edition – and with an amusing bit of DGML connection…

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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