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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Manual of Aurania (1977)

The Manual of Aurania is a 1977 independent publication presenting new character classes and monsters for the original version of Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D). The main contributor of content, D. Daniel Wagner, is an active poster on the Paizo message boards and kindly allowed me to post his Beorning class from the Manual here, which I did yesterday. He has also started a fascinating Q&A thread on OD&D Discussion for anyone interested. 

There are two editions of the Manual. The content is the same but the second has typos corrected. According to Daniel, they printed 200 copies of the original and 1,000 of the 2nd.

From the Introduction of The Manual:
"While playing many games of Dungeons and Dragons at Aero Hobbies and environs [in LA], we came up with many types of new monsters, characters and treasures ... A prime selection of the collection is here, provided for your use and (hopefully) reading pleasure".

"Aurania is a universe of around ten or so dungeons, (of which only three are commonly used) and even more players. Aurania by-the-by means place of gold, a reference to the large piles of the stuff collected by the player characters in our early campaigns"

Full Credits:
Hugh K. Singh - Editor in chief and cover
D. Daniel Wagner - Main contributor
Larry E. Stehle - Typing and contributions
Troy L. Huhes - Illustrations of Cleric of Thor, Leprechaun, 4-Armed Horror, Trolls, Dragon, Imp and Demon, Nuckleavee
Aimee Karklyn - Illustrations of Dragons, Apparations

Acknowledgements: Gary Switzer [owner of Aero Hobbies], Dale Doane [co-DM of Aurania], Aimee Karklyn

New classes include Beorning, Sidhe, Samurai, Basadae, Leprechaun, Shape-Shifter,
Cleric of Mitra, Cleric of Asgard (Thor or Odin), Lawful and Neutral Reincarnation charts.

New monsters include:
Giants: Uruk-Hai, Trollheimer, Indigon, 4-Armed Horror, Black Giant, Grue, Mara 
Trolls: Wood, Hill, Mountain, River, Grendel 
Undead: Apparition, Nightmare, Phantom, Revenant, Banshee, Fetch, Crypt Keeper, Spriggen, Ghost
Dragons: Mottled, Purple, Peryton, Crimson, 3-Headed Terror, Dragon Worm, Ice Worm, Rak
Demons: Imp, Salamander, Class C, Class B, Class A, Named
Weird Trips & Rip-Offs: Argopelter, Flitterbrick, Jub-Jub Bird, Runner, Snark, Nasty, North-Hound, Tavashtri, Ravaging Fiend, Boojum, Catoblepas, Fachen, Gyraphont, Caecus, Sphinx, Firetree, Jabberwock, Lindorm, Nucelavee, Toadstool, Floater, Bandersnatch

J. Eric Holmes mentions a Beorning character in the Adventure of the Giant Chameleon (Alarums & Excursion #16, Aug '76). I thought this was an example of the "lawful werebear"  in the Basic rulebook. And it still might be. However, via Playing at the World (pg 558) I learned that the Manual of Aurania has a Beorning class, which led me to track down a copy. Holmes was active in the same area (Los Angeles / Aero Hobbies) as the folks behind the Manual so he or one of his players may have been using their class. 

Noble Knight Games has several copies (7 2 0 currently) of the 2nd edition of The Manual in stock for $19.95 29.95 sold out for anyone that might be interested.

See also transcriptions of the Beorning class, Sidhe class and Grue monster from the Manual of Aurania, posted with permission of D. Daniel Wagner.


  1. Holmes also mentions Samurai characters ...

    1. Yes, though there is a Samurai in Dragon #3, which is before Holmes mentions them. I'll need to compare Holmes' description with the two different versions.

  2. I got my copy of the Manual today. Thanks for alerting us about this slice of history.

    1. You're welcome. All of the Noble Knight copies are now sold out!

  3. just found my original copy (1st Edition) while looking through stuff. . . .

  4. Good news, are pleased to announce that we have completed our latest acquisition of a seminal fan created publication called the Manual of Aurania and its unpublished cousin the Libram of Aurania. This vintage game setting is about as Old School as it gets with vintage line art from Hugh K. Singh and writing by Daniel Wagner and Larry E. Stehle from the hoary days of 1977 when a California gaming group at Aero Hobbies became early adopters of this esoteric thing called Roleplaying games.

    The follow-on edition called Libram of Aurania was fully designed and laid out (with a typewriter and cut out illustrations) with a tape binding for forty years just waiting for publication. Well now is the time and we will be launching this to Kickstarter in January 2020 with a vintage collectible reprint of the Manual of Aurania and the Libram of Aurania as well as a fully modernized and remade full color version of both as we kick off our Old School worldbuilding effort next year.

    With advanced online worldbuilding tools, you too can contribute to the world of Aurania... coming soon!"