log in or register to remove this ad

 

General A shorter Appendix N

Doug McCrae

Legend
The original Appendix N in the 1e AD&D DMG includes a large number of authors and works. To prioritise my own reading I have created a shorter list.

Anderson, Poul: Three Hearts and Three Lions
Burroughs, Edgar Rice: A Princess of Mars; The Gods of Mars; The Warlord of Mars
de Camp, L Sprague and Pratt, Fletcher: The Roaring Trumpet; The Mathematics of Magic; The Castle of Iron
Howard, Robert E: Conan stories
Leiber, Fritz: Swords and Deviltry; Swords Against Death; Swords in the Mist; Swords Against Wizardry; The Swords of Lankhmar
Lovecraft, HP
Merritt, Abraham: The Moon Pool; Dwellers in the Mirage; Creep, Shadow!
Moorcock, Michael: The Stealer of Souls; Stormbringer
Tolkien, JRR: The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings
Vance, Jack: The Dying Earth; The Eyes of the Overworld
Zelazny, Roger: Jack of Shadows; Nine Princes in Amber; The Guns of Avalon

Why these authors and works?

Chainmail names Tolkien, Howard, Anderson, and Moorcock. The OD&D foreword talks about "Burroughs' Martian adventures" featuring John Carter, "Howard’s Conan saga", "the de Camp & Pratt fantasies", and "Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser". Tolkien’s name appeared several times prior to the 1977 'cease and desist' letter. A 1974 Gary Gyax article in La Vivandière, "Fantasy Wargaming and the Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien", mentions Tolkien, Howard, Anderson, de Camp and Pratt, Leiber, Lovecraft, Merritt, Moorcock, Vance, and Zelazny. According to Appendix N: "The most immediate influences upon AD&D were probably de Camp & Pratt, REH, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, HPL, and A. Merritt". A Gary Gygax article in Dragon #95, "The influence of J. R. R. Tolkien on the D&D and AD&D games" states that "the major influences are Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, Fritz Leiber, Poul Anderson, A. Merritt, and H. P. Lovecraft. Only slightly lesser influence came from Roger Zelazny, E. R. Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, Philip Jose Farmer, and many others."

My list has ended up looking like a shorter version of Appendix O, which seeks to "compile a 'core' list".

All of the authors and works in my list also appear in the proto-Appendix N in Dragon #4:

Proto-Appendix N.png
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad



tommybahama

Adventurer
The High Crusade by Pohl Anderson might be a good one to add to your list. It was definitely an inspiration for some classic modules like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. I haven't read The Guns of Avalon. I always get it confused with The Guns of Navarone.

I'm also enjoying the Appendix N Book Club hosted by Tenkar at Tenkar's Tavern.
 


All those authors' salient works came after the creation of D&D and the publication of the 1e DMG. Now, maybe in 2e, you would've seen some of their inclusion, but the 2e DMG (or PHB) doesn't even have an Inspirational Reading list in it, surprisingly.

If there's one book that I feel should've been included that wasn't, it's LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea and the first two sequels. It's got wizards, a familiar, polymorphing, dragons, a shadow-creature, staves, and more. The Tombs of Atuan even has a dungeon of a sort.

Strange, I would have enhanced it, adding more authors that were not there. Robin Hobbs, David Edding, Terry Goodkind, Margareth Weiss and Tracy Hickman, Douglas Niles to name but a few.

If we're talking getting Appendix N down to as few listing as possible, really, I think it could be left at:

Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS;
Howard, R. E.: "Conan" series
Leiber, Fritz: "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series; et al
Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS;
Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; "Ring trilogy"
Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al

Now, that leaves out a ton, and would be nowhere near as interesting, but I think that those are the core literary influences on D&D's creation, with clear and identifiable elements. But again, that would be a real disservice to some of the fun and brilliant tales that didn't make my cut.

I really enjoy the Appendix N Book Club podcast. They approach the books with a sense of fun and excitement while not glossing over the problematic elements. I've been skipping around based on what I've already read and have just finished reading.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
That's a really good list @Ralif Redhammer. I think it's better than mine if one wants to to explain as much of D&D as possible in as few texts as possible. If I was going to cut it down to one author, I'd choose Tolkien. There's a lot of D&D in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings:

PC races, fighters, wizards, thieves (Bilbo as burglar), the ranger, flashy magic, reliable magic, combat magic, the adventuring party, Good vs Evil, evil humanoids, undead (barrow-wight, Nazgul), demons (balrog, Sauron), lycanthropes, a dragon, giant animals (Mirkwood spiders), large dungeons (Mines of Moria), secret doors, motivated by gold (The Hobbit), motivated by power (everyone tempted by the One Ring), motivated by duty (LotR), magical healing (Gandalf healing King Theoden), turning undead (Tom Bombadil banishing the barrow-wight), random encounters (trolls in The Hobbit), powerful magic items, Xmas tree (Frodo has a mithril shirt, Sting, elven rope, an elven cloak, and the One Ring), mass battles, analogues of real world places and peoples, far-travelled heroes encountering adventure wherever they go, zero to hero (Bilbo).
 
Last edited:

Thanks! There is a ton of Tolkien DNA in D&D, despite Gygax's statements attempting to minimize it.

Ultimately, stripping out entries is mostly a disservice. No pure enchantments from Lord Dunsany, no defiant and fiery Jirel of Joiry, no Kothar, the thud & blunder tales that you're never quite sure is embracing the tropes or making fun of them, no phantasmagoric Margaret St. Clair tales, no gonzo Hiero Per Desteen, no apocalyptic magic of The Empire of the East, no cheerful and jaunty trips through folklore and classical literature with Harold Shea.

If I had to strip as few as possible out, I'd remove Stanley Weinbaum (sorry Twill and the source for the Xorns), Frederic Brown, Fletcher Pratt's solo work, and Jack Williamson. Lovecraft wouldn't make the cut either, to be honest.

That's a really good list @Ralif Redhammer. I think it's better than mine if one wants to to explain as much of D&D as possible in as few texts as possible. If I was going to cut it down to one author, I'd choose Tolkien. There's a lot of D&D in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings:
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Thank you for this! I've been slowly plodding my way through appendices and am never sure where to go next. This prompted me to order Three Hearts and Three Lions.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
This prompted me to order Three Hearts and Three Lions.
I think it's most important for Law vs Chaos. In 3H&3L it's a geographic, racial, ethical, and religious divide.

3H&3L:
[H]umans were the chief agents on earth of Law, though most of them were so only unconsciously and some, witches and warlocks and evildoers, had sold out to Chaos. A few nonhuman beings also stood for Law. Ranged against them was almost the whole Middle World, which seemed to include realms like Faerie, Trollheim, and the Giants... the world of Law—of man—is hemmed in with strangeness, like an island in the sea of the Middle World.​

Compare with B2 The Keep on the Borderlands:
“The Realm of mankind is narrow and constricted. Always the forces of Chaos press upon its borders, seeking to enslave its populace, rape its riches, and steal its treasures. If it were not for a stout few, many in the Realm would indeed fall prey to the evil which surrounds them."

A follower of Chaos in 3H&3L tries to justify it:
"What is there about dull Law that drives you to defend it?… you’re but bulwarking loutish peasants and fat-gutted burghers, when the mirth and thunder and blazing stars of Chaos could be yours."
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Finished 3H&3L. And now on to...

Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS;

Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS;

Is there a particular version of these I should be sure to get? (The 1965 and DAW editions seem to have chunks removed, does that matter?).

Should I start with these two? (Publication order, like I think Narnia should be read), or is this one better read by internal chronology?

Thanks for any insight!
 
Last edited:

Doug McCrae

Legend
Is there a particular version of these I should be sure to get? (The 1965 and DAW editions seem to have chunks removed, does that matter?).

Should I start with these two? (Publication order, like I think Narnia should be read), or is this one better read by internal chronology?
If you're reading them as Appendix N works then I'd read only The Stealer of Souls and then Stormbringer. These two novels contain almost all the earliest Elric stories, written from 1961 to 1964. I think they're a bigger influence on D&D than the Hawkmoon stories, which are the only other Moorcock works cited by Gygax.

Unfortunately I can't help with your question about versions.

I can recommend this interview with Michael Moorcock on the Appendix N podcast which I enjoyed a lot. It's mostly about Moorcock's early career in the 50s->70s and there's a fair bit about Elric.

My personal favourite Moorcock novels are The Eternal Champion, Phoenix in Obsidian, the first three Corum books (Knight/Queen/King of Swords), and The Warlord of the Air. But none of them are technically Appendix N works.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Unfortunately I can't help with your question about versions.

I got them in the 2008 Del-Rey "The Stealer of Souls: Chronicles of the Last emperor of Melnibone: Volume 1". I think it has the original magazine versions, and as Moorcock notes in a 1963 essay, they needed work. I'm tempted to try a different version at some point to compare.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Any reading of Appendix N should include Blackwood and Dunsany, two masters of early modern fantasy. Both are extremely atmospheric writers, and Dunsany--who was enormously influential (and Tolkien liked)--has almost a psychedelic, dream-like quality. I loved his ability to create evocative names of fantasy places.

I haven't looked at Appendix N in years, but I'm surprised that Clark Ashton Smith isn't on there.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Any reading of Appendix N should include Blackwood and Dunsany, two masters of early modern fantasy. Both are extremely atmospheric writers, and Dunsany--who was enormously influential (and Tolkien liked)--has almost a psychedelic, dream-like quality. I loved his ability to create evocative names of fantasy places.

I haven't looked at Appendix N in years, but I'm surprised that Clark Ashton Smith isn't on there.

Blackwood isn't on the original one either... but it was on the Dragon #4 one (top post).
 



Lord Dunsany is amazing, plain and simple. There's a fairytale quality to his stories, like they've been around for hundreds of years, even if they haven't. As far as writing skill goes, he's definitely in the Top Five of Appendix N authors.

Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo is frightening stuff. Sends a chill down my spine just thinking about it. Like Lovecraft, there's some really objectionable racism (like, he even gets into it with French Canadians), though.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Re: Moorcock.

For influence on AD&D, the six DAW volumes that appeared in 1977 are all relevant and (for the game's first players) "essential". They all collect earlier material, but present it as a continuous narrative. The most recently written (book 2, Sailor on the Seas of Fate, 1976?) might be the most coherent of all six volumes, though probably was written after AD&D was being drafted.

The earliest stories (from '62-'64) became the last two of these books, which (in Canada at least, and I presume the US) were published as Bane of the Black Sword (which included "The Stealer of Souls") and Stormbringer.

Re-reading them now, it's possible to see the order of composition (some of the stories in the earlier books are clearly filler and work to tie with other Moorcock creations; I didn't know that at the time, and was fine).

These earliest stories were also collected in a Fantasy Masterworks series just called Elric (early 2000s; there's good Conan collection there too, as well as Anderson, Leiber, and Vance).

All of these are out of print, though, and so need to be found second-hand; the current complete Moorcock has too much "b" material to make me want to buy it.
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top