Enchantment and Illusionism

Enchantment: Fire in the Mind” and “Illusionism: Smoke and Mirrors” by Mongoose Publishing. Two “Encyclopedia: Arcane” supplements for the 3rd Edition of Dungeon & Dragons for their respective schools of wizardry.

These books were written to augment D&D with additional spells, magic items, feats and prestige classes. This was possible because of the Open Gaming and D20 Licenses for 3rd edition D&D by Wizards of the Coast in the early 2000’s.

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Devil Girl From Mars” Publicity Stills

A whole set of images from the movie “Devil Girl From Mars”, posted by writer Bruce Sterling.

Patricia Laffan as the title character.

A really awful aliens-from-space movie: Martian woman Nyah (Patricia Laffan) comes to Earth to kidnap Earth men to help repopulate Mars after a devastating war between the sexes. She traps a group of people inside an inn within an “electric wall”, which allows the film to be shot in the studio instead of on location. Nyah possesses the power of invisibility and a hypnotic stare, and a robot companion named Chani who uses a disintegrator ray. The movie’s ad line says it all: “She Wanted to Take Young Men Back To Mars.” Comparison to “Mars Needs Women” are obvious, even though the latter was produced over a decade later.

GuildWars 2: “The Floating Grizwhirl”

I was a fan of the original GuildWars online MMORPG from the first moment I discovered it included the Mesmer profession for player characters. I played it for several years and still do on occasion, but I long since did everything I could and even creating a new character with a different profession wasn’t all that interesting any longer. Now I’ve found a similar interest in the sequel game, GuildWars 2.

Three years ago, ArenaNet released GuildWars 2. One of the great mysteries surrounding the release was the final character profession, which was (as many players were hoping) again the Mesmer profession, much changed from the first game, alas. GuildWars 2 was, like its predecessor, a non-subscription game, with only the initial payment for the client software the only main outlay to play the game. At the time, and since, I couldn’t really afford the (admittedly minimal) cost, plus, at the time, I didn’t have a fast enough Internet connection that could handle the massive size of the client download. Therefore, I parked my interest in the game and carried on with other things.

Just recently, however, ArenaNet “unlocked” the game, so people could play it for free. Granted, access is limited to only two characters, and other aspects are limited or locked, but the core elements are still available. I decided to give it a try and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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The Third Circle” by Amanda Quick

Leona Hewitt has secretly made her way into Lord Delbridge’s private museum to retrieve a relic stolen from her family. But someone else is in the dimly lit gallery on the same errand: a tall, black cloaked man whose very voice is enough to cause her to fall into a trance.

Thaddeus Ware, a mesmerist with psychic gifts, is accustomed to fearful reactions from others—women, in particular. After all, a man who can control the minds of others could rob a lady of her virtue—completely unbeknownst to her. But Leona shows no trace of hysteria in his presence. A gifted crystal worker, she exerts a rather hypnotic power over the hypnotist himself. And she is determined to keep the coveted crystal they manage to recover by giving him the slip at a run-down London inn.

Thaddeus, on assignment for the Arcane Society, knows the menace Leona is courting by absconding with the crystal. A source of remarkable energy, it holds the potential for great destruction. Lord Delbridge has already killed to acquire the crystal, his key to membership in the élite, shadowy group known as the Third Circle. And, with the help of a ruthless hunter of preternatural skill — dubbed the Midnight Monster by the press — Delbridge intends to find Leona. With the stolen crystal in their possession, the danger is only beginning.

Two very driven individuals, both with agendas that set them against each other, both with passions that draw them together.

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Slightly Shady”, “Don’t Look Back” and “Late for the Wedding” by Amanda Quick

As if a head for business and a nose for trouble aren’t enough to distinguish fiercely independent Lavinia Lake from the other women of London’s fashionable Claremont Lane, there is one more feature to set her apart. Lavinia is also well versed in the practice of mesmerism, an extraordinary gift that far surpasses mere charm and physical appeal. Nobody knows this better than the usually coolheaded Tobias March, who seems to have fallen hopelessly under her spell. Fortunately for all, however, Lavinia uses her powers for good. And ever since a tragedy involving one of her subjects, she has even retired them in favor of her work with Lake and March, a joint venture providing “discreet private inquiries for individuals of quality.”

Mrs. Lake and Mr. March have a rocky first encounter: he is systematically rampaging through the tiny shop Mrs. Lake and her niece operate, all in an attempt to force them to leave and thus remove them from impending danger. Nevertheless, they find reasons to continue their relationship, despite the friction of their equally strong personalities. As these are romance novels, their relationship also continues to be fraught with unresolved passion.

Part of that passion and that friction is due to the fact that Mrs. Lake is a talented mesmerist, although Mr. March is quite hesitant to allow himself to be placed under her magnetic influence for medicinal purposes, even though he is quickly falling under her captivating spell as much as she is falling under his. However, in her new occupation performing private inquiries, Mrs. Lake finds his company and her mesmeric powers advantageous, and not always in the expected manner.

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