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For various reasons I want to go back to primary sources to develop a list of herb and their magic effects for various fantasy RPGs that I use to run my campaign, the Majestic Wilderlands.

Does anybody know of a good reference, online or book, to a list of real world herbs and their reputed magical effects?

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Would an herbal guide help if it was just the real-world uses? You might be able to extend it. –  Daenyth Jun 20 '12 at 21:06
There is a list of herbs and their reputed non-magical uses in an appendix of the AD&D 1e DMG. Useful for some inspiration, but too focused on mundanely folk-remedy uses to give much guidance for the sort of magical uses I'd want in a fantasy game. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 20 '12 at 22:22

4 Answers 4

There is a supplement for Ars Magica, Hedge Magic, that lists herbs (and stones) that have magical properties based on historical beliefs. (Does anyone have access to this book? Is there a bibliography?)

And, while searching for that link, I found this list, too!

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Nice website find! –  SevenSidedDie Jun 22 '12 at 0:41

There was an RPG-centric series of columns about plants on RPG.net a few years back. It was called The Vegetative State of your Game.

It's got all sorts of information on plants in use by different cultures - in war, in healing, as drugs, as valuable spices, etc. The columns with the most emphasis on magic are:

But there are 21 more chock full of information.

I still refer to those columns today. I guess that's obvious...

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Hildegard von Bingen wrote "Physica" and "Causae et Curae", both of which might be worth a look.

Hildegard von Bingen was a famous herbalist of the 12th century. Both books mentioned above are treatises on human health and illness, and the cures to be found in herbs, animals, minerals etc.; "Physica" is generally considered a milestone in western herbalism. They're Latin, however; you might fare better with a translation or secondary source.

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One of my players once linked me this list of herbs from Oblivion and their uses. It's not real world stuff, but I've found it useful and have stolen lots of names from it.

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Actually, a lot of those ingredients exist in the real world. Obviously, some do not, but they are largely outnumbered by real things. –  gomad Jun 22 '12 at 14:54
@gomad The ingredients, yes, the effects no. Elder Scrolls ingredients' alchemical properties are pretty much a matter of game balance, even to the point of changing between games. They're not based on any real-world beliefs. However, they do make for a useful, ready-made list of effects. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 22 '12 at 22:45
@SevenSidedDie - I was addressing the part of the answer where Ravn said, "It's not real world stuff." I just wanted to note that amanita, motherwort, etc., are real things. For real-world reputed effects, please see my answer. I was on the verge of downvoting this answer because the question specified real-world stuff. But before I slapped a dv on it, I went to look and thought I should make that first comment instead, trying to nudge this answer to improve. –  gomad Jun 23 '12 at 0:54
@gomad Understood! Re-reading it now I'm not sure why I thought it was unclear before. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 23 '12 at 8:12

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