Office Book Infusion

My wife left me on Thursday and I spent the last few days in a bad way.

Well, I imagine that grabbed your attention. Not to worry. Nothing crazy has transpired. Lady Ronn will be back on Monday or Tuesday, I should probably know which, but I have husband ears and such matters require little more than a nod or simple acknowledgement. They don’t require actual listening. She is off visiting her mother, and seeing a concert. Whatever. I’ve been left alone to fend for myself, the pets, and the plants at a time when I don’t want to do any of those things.

I’ve been ill, sick, possibly transforming into a being of pure energy. Not summer cold sick. No. This is more like something entered my system, dissolved my internal organs and discharged them at regular 30-minute intervals using a high pressure sulfur gas. It seems to be over now, but it was not great. I did not love it. But, I made it through without suffer to badly from dehydration.

Saturday, I did very little, but I did take the four boxes of game books and infuse them into my office space. This involved relocating a lot of stuff. It feels a little to crowded and cluttered for my comfort, but most everything is still there and the boxes are gone.

Here’s a gallery of my office. Some of the thumbnails are cropped and all the thumbnails link to larger pictures.

Today, I’m feeling much better. Just in time for work on Monday. I mowed the lawn, did the laundry, took out the trash, and all the usual weekend nonsense was condensed into one day. No progress was made on projects this weekend.

Book Haul

The Last Boy Scout by Dan Becker. Did you know there was a novelization of The Last Boy Scout? I didn’t. I love that movie. I just had to buy that book. HAD TO. I’m interested to see if it translates to the written page. My suspicion is that without Bruce Willis, it won’t. But we’ll see.

Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard. I must really like Pagan Babies, but not enough to remember it. Because, I buy it every time I see it. Then I get home and realize that I’ve already picked it up. And then I have to find someone to give it too. It’s very frustrating to do this, but there is so rarely anything in Schuler’s used book section by Elmore Leonard that I get overly excited when I do find something. And that leads to mistakes. Whoops.

The Writer’s Guide To Fantasy Literature edited by Philip Martin. I almost didn’t pick up this last one. I have done so little writing in the past few years that it almost feels like a pipedream. But really it’s just a lack of dedication to the writing. But because I am always an eternal optimist… honest. Ask anyone. I am… I grabbed it off the shelf and added it to my purchase. I’ve never heard of it before, but referencing Dragon’s Lair and Hero’s Quest on the front cover is not a great sign. Hopefully, I will find a few gems between it’s covers.

Listening to Appendix N

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.

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 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
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.

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.

Birthdays and Grammar

Well, today was my son’s birthday. Tyler turned 13. He’s a teen now. I tried to call him and got the machine. He never called back, not that they ever do, so I’m left to assume that he didn’t get my message. Great. Another father of the year vote for me. Anyway, my grandfather is coming into town, so the whole family is going to do a Father’s Day/Tyler’s Birthday thing on Sunday. Should be nice. I haven’t seen my grandfather in a long while. I can’t remember if it was last year, or the year before, that he was last in town.
Last I asked Ty, he still didn’t know what he wanted for a gift. So the wife and I went out tonight and looked around. Didn’t get him anything. But we did come home with groceries, two paperbacks, and I picked up a grammar book. Claims to be able to improve my sentence structure in 30 minutes a day. I don’t expect it to be very interesting, but after getting my novel back from the proof-reader (thanks Doug!) I realized that I need to do something to improve my writing. See I still have problems with comma’s, and sentence structure. I figure that this can’t make it any worse and it should save Doug from using all that red ink.