D&D General How many books/authors of the original AD&D Bibliography have you read? Do you feel you see D&D differently than people who have not read any?

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
One of the interesting things I remember from the Slaying the Dragon book was that it's hard to make money selling a game that encourages people to use their own imaginations, because then you can't sell them stuff.
I think thats what the early creators thought....but then the money started to roll in.

People will pay for D&D--which they can then make their own if they choose to--and the makers of the game can squander that opportunity.
 

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Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Comparing 1979's Appendix N to 2014's Appendix E is making me wonder what 2024's analogue will look like. Will authors like Lovecraft still be on there? (Will there even be a recommended reading section?)
Ironically, even though the man himself may be less acceptable, his influence has only increased, via Sandy Petersen's Call of Cthulhu game--Cthulhoid monsters have become increasingly common.
 

Hussar

Legend
Comparing 1979's Appendix N to 2014's Appendix E is making me wonder what 2024's analogue will look like. Will authors like Lovecraft still be on there? (Will there even be a recommended reading section?)

I do hope there is one but I also hope they’re a bit more discerning in suggestions. This isn’t a bibliography. It’s a list of stuff to read to inspire players and dms.

I’m not sure some of the golden age writers, while certainly important to the genre from an academic standpoint, need to be promoted in a game that is being widely played the way it is now.

A lot of that stuff is pretty awful and off putting.
 

delericho

Legend
Comparing 1979's Appendix N to 2014's Appendix E is making me wonder what 2024's analogue will look like. Will authors like Lovecraft still be on there? (Will there even be a recommended reading section?)
That's a really tough question. Given his influence, it's really hard to see how Lovecraft can be dropped, but given the content it's equally hard to see how he can be retained.

The safe option is probably to drop the list again, unfortunately.
 

Dillon

Explorer
There is a book, but I hesitate to recommend it. I did read Jeffro Johnson's Appendix N book (for the uninitiated he is friends with, and the book is published by, Vox Day, a notorious far-right author who's engaged in harassment campaigns and attempts to rig the Hugo awards), and it actually picks up a lot of the contributions each of the books makes to D&D, and I learned some things I found quite fascinating about the books I missed (the green slime monster and psionics being in Hiero's Journey, for instance, Zelazny's Jack of Shadows as the prototypical thief along with the Gray Mouser, or Nine Princes in Amber as a model for the limited number of monks and druids at high levels). You can decide how you want to proceed given the author's associations. Some options might include borrowing it from a library that has it, buying one copy and sharing it among your friends to diminish your support for the guy; donating twice the price to a left-leaning charity of your choice as a sort of 'carbon offset'; or...other methods I won't mention here. It is, unfortunately, the only semi-scholarly treatment of Appendix N I know of; there's a book of short stories by the same authors as the Appendix N authors but that's not the same thing. (Someone else really needs to write a book...)

Is the other Appendix N book, the Eldritch Roots of Dungeons & Dragons, edited by Peter Bebergal? I enjoyed reading that. The Jeffro Johnson book left a bad taste in my mouth by comparison. I kept taking breaks from reading to complain to my wife how awful bits of it were.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Is the other Appendix N book, the Eldritch Roots of Dungeons & Dragons, edited by Peter Bebergal? I enjoyed reading that. The Jeffro Johnson book left a bad taste in my mouth by comparison. I kept taking breaks from reading to complain to my wife how awful bits of it were.
Yeah, that's it. I was just kind of annoyed because I wanted something about the historical background and got short stories instead. Bait and switch?

I actually enjoyed the Jeffro Johnson book, rolled my eyes at the right-wing Christian stuff, and learned some new stuff...problem is, while I accept that I am at the right edge of gamer culture now and soon to pass beyond it, actual Nazis and white supremacists are a bridge too far for me. Yeah, no. So I hate to recommend it and give Castalia House money. So...I don't know, public library? Buy one copy and share it with 100 of your friends? I'm in a bit of a quandary.

(You're never morally obliged to finish a book, BTW. He has your money, that's not going to change, so if finishing the book is going to subtract from your happiness [negative utility in the economic sense], feel free to step away.)
 


That's a really tough question. Given his influence, it's really hard to see how Lovecraft can be dropped, but given the content it's equally hard to see how he can be retained.

The safe option is probably to drop the list again, unfortunately.
That seems a bit throwing the shoggoth out with the reservoir water.

More seriously, I think that there should be space for enjoying his weird fiction while still explaining why it has issues.
 

Yeah, there's a whole lot going on with latter Fafhrd and Grey Mouser. Still, those first four books are more than enough to cement Leiber's legacy despite that.

The subject matter is pretty problematic, too. I think the "guest" on the ship and the way they traveled would get blasted by audiences (and probably even publishers) today.

That said, the first four (?) collections are astonishingly good. Like "if you haven't read them, stop reading this thread and order them immediately" good.

As @Blue Orange has shown, there are tons of examples. I love reading Appendix N books (like I said, I've read over 100 works from it, and a significant portion of that is R.E. Howard), so if I am critical, it is out of love. "Red Nails" has a ton of problematic stuff. Ironically, the writing and story is amongst Howard's best, tense, action-packed, and horror-filled. "Shadows in Zamboula" is another example. Just about any Solomon Kane tale set in Africa. The modern (well, at the time modern) "Black Canaan" is particularly vile. There is an absolute abundance of evidence.

[citation needed]

People are free to not like it, but accusations like that demand evidence.

I suspect the core of Appendix N will likely remain the same. While I think Lovecraft could be safely dropped (most of the salient contributions to D&D from Lovecraft's works can also be found elsewhere in Appendix N, without the horrific racism), I don't think that'll happen. Rime of the Frostmaiden is filled with At the Mountains of Madness references, for example.

Comparing 1979's Appendix N to 2014's Appendix E is making me wonder what 2024's analogue will look like. Will authors like Lovecraft still be on there? (Will there even be a recommended reading section?)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
1. I've read one or more works by seven of the authors listed. Those I have read (like Howard, Lieber, Moorcock, Tolkien, Zelazny) have certainly influenced my approach to the game, as have other writers not listed (like Ursula K. LeGuin).

2. I think they have also influenced D&D in a negative way because not one of those books is by a woman and/or person of color (as far as I know - and even so, one or two is surely insufficient), and you can't say imaginative books that meet those criteria did not exist in the 1970s. . . it is just that Gygax and others didn't make the effort to look beyond that narrow view of influential authors.
 

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