Fanworks: Illopoly, Galmier and Coseley: an analysis
Cultist Simulator contains a fifteen or so occult books (it’ll be about a hundred and twenty by the time the game is complete). Here’s an exegesis of three of them by Anne Auclair from the Fallen London forums. I’m reproducing it without comment, and can’t vouch for its accuracy.
The Locksmith’s Dream, Teresa Galmier
“I suspect that the Locksmith’s Dream has a total of three books, as this would fit the escalation that occurs between the first and second volumes. The first volume begins unassumingly enough with an esoteric, almost scholarly exploration of artisans dreams (sounds harmless, doesn’t it?). The second volume becomes more theoretical and crosses a number of lines in the process, resulting in copies of it being mutilated and suppressed. It seems likely that there’s an unpublished and very supernatural third book out there somewhere, written right before or sometime after Galmier went through the Spider Door. Furthermore, Galmier’s focus on artisans implies some sort of correspondence between the medieval building guilds and the Mansus, with the dreams of the locksmiths in particular being her key to understanding and ultimately opening the Mansus’ doors. Everything in the visible world has some sort of relationship with the powers of the invisible world. (“Thus the essence of these visions: what is below can’t escape what is above.”) Like to like is very much in effect.”
Traveling at Night (Vol. 1), Christopher Illopoly
“The key word in its title is traveling. Illopoly’s work is a night by night travelogue of his dream journeys. And like any journey, there is movement from point A to point B – in this case, from the margins to the center. The first volume begins naturally enough with Illopoly on the outskirts of the invisible world, introducing the Wood. Later volumes will probably focus on Illopoly’s journey through the Wood towards the Mansus. Will he find a way to open its doors? That seems the real question. Consider how much time, effort and research it took Teresa Galmier to gain entrance.
Speaking of Galmier, her methods contrast markedly with Illopoly’s. Galmier began by intensely studying the mystical dreams of others and then theorizing about them, before taking the plunge herself (presumably the subject of her third book). Although Illopoly has done his share of preparatory reading (“as any student of the Histories knows”), he’s far less academic and much more learn from experience. The dreams he studies and utilizes are principally his own. This more narrative approach seems to have made Illopoly’s work more popular than Galmier’s – although Illopoly’s book is “bewildering,” he is “sometimes called the only readable occultist,” which leads me to suspect that he has a larger audience.
This makes me wonder about Illopoly and Galmier’s relationship. They appear to be contemporaries (their books are all recently published). Were they colleagues? Rivals? Did they have any encounters, in the visible world or in the Wood?
In the Alpha it is possible to get lore from both studying and dreaming. Perhaps Galmier and Illopoly are each meant to represent these two different methods of progressing in the invisible arts. ”
Julian Coseley’s Six Letters on Necessity
“There isn’t really anything I can say about the book that isn’t already provided by its description. So instead I’m going to focus on how your character makes use of Coseley’s work. There is a major conflict between the clear intent of Coseley’s Six Letters and how the protagonist chooses to use them. Coseley is writing on the eve of personal catastrophe to warn one of his students away from the seductive and terrifying power of the secret arts. So, what is the quote that the game uses to sum up what your character learned from reading the Letters?
“Even the Sunne can be divided, though it require the Forge of Dayes for its division.”
And they get Ardent Prayers, lore which is about destructive/self-destructive transformation. Meaning your character has flipped or reversed Coseley’s warnings about the dire costs of occult power, turning them into instructions on how to acquire and pay for said power! Adding to the irony, Coseley’s student might have had the same idea when he compiled and published his masters’s Letters. ‘Look how awesome my teacher was! He knew how to split the sun!’
‘Do not do this cool thing’ fails yet again. I suspect it won’t be the last time.”