One of my more recent purchases from Audible was worthy of being mentioned here at arohenRPG. Clocking in at 10-hours and 22-minutes, Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons, written by Jeffro Johnson, narrated by Brandon Porter, and published by Castalia House, is an investigation into the various works of science fiction and fantasy that Gary Gygax listed as being the primary influences on the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading being the list of reading material published in the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide.
The author takes us on a fascinating dive into the literature of SF/F’s past, we get a look back at fandom/geek culture and why these materials were so influential, and he does a good job of critically reviewing all the works and authors listed by Gygax. Furthermore, he hypothesizes and draws conclusions from his investigation as to what parts of those works were most influential in the creation of the game. As a roleplayer who cut his teeth on AD&D, and who has referenced that appendix for reading material, I was fascinated by this book.
Let’s look at what Appendix N is. I no longer have my original DMG, so I have to go with what I have. Here is what was presented in the Limited Edition, Premium-Covered Dungeon Masters Guide (page 224) in its entirety.
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 sorcerers 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
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
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)
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.
Wellman, Manley Wade
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.
I’ve not read all of the books on that list. Conan, Fafhrd & Gray Mouser, Elric, and the Lord of the Rings are all stories I’ve read and enjoyed. But I got to thinking about what I would add to that list if someone were looking to understand my ideas on fantasy and gaming. I’ll keep it to books, as the influence of television, movies, and video games would make this an unweildy list. Mostly I’m drawing from my childhood of the 70’s and 80’s to create this list of influences. I like a lot of newer stuff, but most of my ideas were fixed many years ago.
Alexander, Lloyd. “Chronicles of Prydain” series
Anthony, Piers. “Xanth” series; “Tarot” series; “Chthon” series
Brooks, Terry. “Shannara” series
Bulmer, Kenneth. “Dray Prescot” series
Chalker, Jack L. “Dancing Gods” series
Donaldson, Stephen R. “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” series
Dumas, Alexandre. “d’Artagnan Romances” series; THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Duncan, Dave. THE RELUCTANT SWORDSMAN; SHADOW; WEST OF JANUARY
Eddings, David. “Belgariad” series; THE RIVAN CODEX
Feist, Raymond E. “The Riftwar Saga” trilogy
Foster, Alan Dean. “Spellsinger” series;
Gemmell, David. MORNINGSTAR; “Drenai” series; et al.
J.F. Rivkin, J. F. “Silverglass” series
Kirk, Richard. “Raven” series
LeGuin, Ursula. “Earthsea” series
Norman, John. “Chronicles of Counter Earth” series
Peters, David. “Proton” series
Pyle, Howard. THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD
Rosenberg, Joel. “Guardians of the Flame” series
Stoker, Brom. DRACULA
Vardeman, Robert E. & Proctor, George W. “Swords of Raemllyn” series
Wrede, Patricia. “Lyra” series
Okay, I’ve got to stop. This list could go on and on… man I miss reading with the fervor I did in my younger years. The long and short of it is this; I found Appendix N to be entertaining and insightful. If you started gaming back in the 80’s you’ll probably like it.