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Appendix N

August 23, 2018

The OSR movement in roleplaying has given rise to a lot of talk about Appendix N. For those not in the know, Appendix N was a bibliography in the original AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide that listed those authors and books that Gary Gygax claimed most influenced the creation of Dungeons and Dragons. As such, it was both a reference guide and reading list for those interested in fantasy in general, and Dungeons and Dragons in particular.

Personally, Appendix N was a major revelation back in 1979. Up to that point I had read mostly science fiction, with the exception of Tolkien and Burroughs. I simply was not aware of any other fantasy that might be available. Appendix N became my go to list for all things fantasy.  I quickly started looking up many of the authors on the list either in bookstores or at the local library. Back then, I was able to hunt down the excellent works of Fritz Leiber, Leigh Brackett, Michael Moorcock, Poul Anderson, Jack Vance, etc. That said, not everything from Appendix N was to my liking. I soured on Burroughs, while authors like Fox and Norton underwhelmed me. Still, most of the authors listed I liked – a lot.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll review some of the works from Appendix N. This includes books I never read and have only recently acquired, such as Margaret St. Clair’s “The Shadow People”.

Listed below is a copy of Gygax’s APPENDIX N entry from the Dungeon Master Guide (p 224).

APPENDIX N: INSPIRATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL READING

“Inspiration for all the fantasy work I have done stems directly from the love my father showed when I was a tad, for he spent many hours telling me stories he made up as he went along, tales of cloaked old men who could grant wishes, of magic rings and enchanted swords, or wicked sorcerors [sic] and dauntless swordsmen.

Then too, countless hundreds of comic books went down, and the long-gone EC ones certainly had their effect. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies were a big influence. In fact, all of us tend to get ample helpings of fantasy when we are very young from fairy tales such as those written by the Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang. This often leads to reading books of mythology, paging through bestiaries, and consultation of compilations of the myths of various lands and peoples.

Upon such a base I built my interest in fantasy, being an avid reader of all science fiction and fantasy literature since 1950.

The following authors were of particular inspiration to me. In some cases I cite specific works, in others, I simply recommend all of their fantasy writing to you. From such sources, as well as any other imaginative writing or screenplay, you will be able to pluck kernels from which will grow the fruits of exciting campaigns. Good reading!

Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD

Bellairs, John: THE FACE IN THE FROST

Brackett, Leigh

Brown, Frederic

Burroughs, Edgar Rice: “Pellucidar” series; Mars series; Venus series

Carter, Lin: “World’s End” series

de Camp, L. Sprague: LEST DARKNESS FALL; THE FALLIBLE FIEND; et al

de Camp & Pratt: “Harold Shea” series; THE CARNELIAN CUBE

Derleth, August

Dunsany, Lord

Farmer, P. J.: “The World of the Tiers” series; et al

Fox, Gardner: “Kothar” series; “Kyrik” series; et al

Howard, R. E.: “Conan” series

Lanier, Sterling: HIERO’S JOURNEY

Leiber, Fritz: “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” series; et al

Lovecraft, H. P.

Merritt, A.: CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al

Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” series (esp. the first three books)

Norton, Andre

Offutt, Andrew J.: editor of SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III

Pratt, Fletcher: BLUE STAR; et al

Saberhagen, Fred: CHANGELING EARTH; et al

St. Clair, Margaret: THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS

Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; “Ring trilogy”

Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al

Weinbaum, Stanley

Wellman, Manley Wade

Williamson, Jack

Zelazny, Roger: JACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” series; et al

The most immediate influences upon AD&D were probably de Camp & Pratt, R. E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, H. P. Lovecraft, and A. Merritt; but all of the above authors, as well as many not listed, certainly helped to shape the form of the game. For this reason, and for the hours of reading enjoyment, I heartily recommend the works of these fine authors to you.”

 

 

 

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