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?

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
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.
Leigh Brackett and Margaret St. Clair are both women.

But yes, Gygax could and should have read more widely. The lack of LeGuin and McAffery in the 1970s is striking. White Dragon wasn't out as Gygax was writing the DMG, but her dragon stories had been around for years and well-regarded. And LeGuin was already long since a legend.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Andre Norton probably has the largest body of work out of all Appendix N.

C.L. Moore is another prime example of a missed opportunity, to the point that most people include her when they talk about Appendix N, like CAS.

But you are absolutely right to fault its lack of inclusion. Three women authors is hardly a balanced presentation, and that's not even getting to people of color. That lack is something that very much influenced the game in a negative fashion.

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.
 


A good and salient point. And yes, it's certainly not where I would point someone if I wanted to introduce them to the works of Andre Norton or even to D&D fiction.

Also, hey, glad to see our favorite Liquefactionist is still kicking around!

She also wrote Quag Keep, which is definitely (IMO) lesser Norton*, but was also AFAIK the first book set in Greyhawk or in a D&D campaign world.


*Least-est?
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
The original 1979 AD&D theme, Greyhawk, and the game rules are based on a wide variety of fantasy novels (as well as miniatures wargaming, history, etc.)
1. How many books/authors have you read from the 1979 bibliography?
2. Do you feel you see D&D differently than people who have not read these?

□ 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 Read Riverworld
□ 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

~ Ref AD&D Dungeonmasters Guide (1979; page 224, Appendix N)
Green for read, red for haven't.

Anderson- 3H & 3L, The Broken Sword, and another story or two like The Tale of Hauk, but not really his sci-fi. Plus The Valour of Cappen Varra (possibly THE first inspiration for the D&D-style Bard) and some other stuff he had in Thieves' World, Swords Against Darkness and/or similar collections and anthologies. Good stuff. The Broken Sword and 3H3L give you a better idea of non-Tolkien elf influences, and 3H & 3L is famously where both Moorcock and Gygax got the Law/Chaos struggle, and where Gygax got D&D's trolls, swanmays, the Paladin, and we all got scots-speaking Dwarves.
Bellairs- Not yet, but tFitF is on my to-read list.
Brackett- One short story, I think, though I'm forgetting the title. Might get back to her eventually.
Brown- Frederic Brown is excellent. Love his short (and short-short) stories, though they tend to be more modern and horror. Really clever and fun, I think the sense of humor and twists in them are what Gygax loved, more than being directly inspirational of a fantasy world. Still very much recommend them.
Burroughs- Love the Mars books, especially the first three, though they stay good for about the first six or eight then take a late nosedive in quality. I read them as a teenager, which was albeit after I started D&D, but I don't think I strongly associated them with D&D. I didn't get to Tarzan until adulthood and was honestly kind of shocked by the degree of racism in it after the Mars books. Even though there is certainly SOME in the Mars books (the throwaway line in the framing device about "our slaves adored him" speaking of the protagonist is a hard cringe to this day), but overall a major theme in the first three books is how the different "races" of martians, noted by their different colored skins, are more divided than they should be and fighting amongst themselves unnecessarily. Anyway, I strongly recommend the first three to nearly any D&D player. Or anyone who enjoys adventure fiction at all. Fast, propulsive pulp action. Tons of fun. And again, the books are SHORT. Not enormous commitments of time, like so many modern doorstop fantasy novels and series.
Carter- Some of his swords & sorcery short fiction. Not great, but not bad. Decent inspirational material, but not special.
de Camp, de Camp & Pratt- Not yet. Been on the list for a while. I understand that the original Giants series of modules lift HEAVILY from The Roaring Trumpet, and I do mean to get to them.
Derleth- Yes, a couple of his Mythos stories. Not bad. Definitely more D&D-like than the original Lovecraft stuff, because Derleth's protagonists can sometimes actually solve mysteries and win.
Dunsany- I started The King of Elfland's Daughter over at a friend's once but haven't finished it. I read The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth, and it's great fun. Again, short, packed with evocative concepts. Recommended.
Farmer- Started one years back and didn't get into it. May try again someday. Oh wait, I read Spiders of the Purple Mage from the Thieves' World books. Meh.
Fox- A Short story or two in Dragon magazine. Pretty poor stuff. I could see some of the classic "fantasy world interacts with ours" notes which were common in classic older SF&F and touched on regularly in 70s-era D&D in these. But skippable.
Howard- Didn't start these until the 2000s, but they're genuine classics. I've read a large amount of the original Conan, plus Solomon Kane and some Bran Mak Morn, a little Kull. The stereotype of Conan as the dumb brute barbarian I inherited from generic nerd culture of the 80s and 90s was deeply misinformed, and these stories are super fun. Again, tend to be short. Occasional racist and sexist artifacts of Howard's time, but less so than his peers, I would say. Highly, highly recommend that folks check out a few of the big ones, like Red Nails, and The Tower of the Elephant, for some cracking stories & D&D inspiration.
Lanier- Haven't touched yet, I know this series is post-apoc fiction, also inspirational specifically of D&D psionics and some giant animal monsters. May get to eventually, haven't prioritized them.
Leiber- More gold. The Fafhrd & Mouser stores another absolute primary source for D&D inspiration, another bunch of SHORT reads, full of ideas, atmosphere and action. Late period books best disregarded, as people have already written in the thread. But the first several collections of short stories are super good. I've read some of his other, modern-set horror fiction as well and quite enjoyed it.
Lovecraft- A bunch of his stories, but not the whole lot, and a couple of the big ones (like At the Mountains of Madness) I haven't touched yet. Some really solid atmospheric inspiration for horror-inflected D&D. Will definitely return to him and round out the reading,.
Merritt- Have only started The Moon Pool but will definitely return to it. Can't say much.
Moorcock- A 60s-era retake on pulp fun; great monsters, magic, thoughts on weird planar adventures and extraplanar foes and evil deities and demons. Huge influence for D&D. Elric is the anti-Conan, but in a good way (more on this below, though).
Norton- Never really got into. I read the first of her Witch World books as a teenager. Didn't quite grab me, but will probably try her again eventually.
Offutt- Short stories in Swords Against Darkness and in Thieves' World. I quite liked Hanse "Shadowspawn" in the TW books, but I don't think Offut's that great. Still, his bits in the TW anthology are pretty good and worth some D&D inspiration.
Pratt- None. Though I'm also aware of the importance of his naval wargame in the history of gaming, so I'd like to read some of his stuff.
Saberhagen - I read the first Book of Swords. Some cool stuff in there, especially if you like artifacts in your D&D or want to learn how to run earth-shaking artifacts and their consequences in your games. Didn't fall in love, but might read more eventually.
St. Clair- Haven't touched. Have heard she's partly responsible for giant multi-level megadungeons though, so I've meant to for years.
Tolkien- LotR and The Hobbit predated D&D for me, which since I started D&D at ten years old is saying something. These are foundational to who I am as a human. Read more Tolkien later in life, after re-reading these plenty of times, and am also happy with his other work. We all know how much of the bestiary and the player species are lifted directly from here for D&D.
Vance- Started with Cugel's Saga from a local library as a teenager, then the amazing Lyonesse trilogy. Though the latter post-dates D&D, Lyonesse is tied with Tolkien for my favorite trilogy ever. Later got into The Dying Earth and The Eyes of the Overworld, and they're as influential as everyone says. Plus I love his overwrought dialogue and clever prose. I will caution modern readers that he can be a bit casual about references to sexual assault, and has a tendency to queer-code villains, both of which suck.
Weinbaum- Nothing, and unfamiliar with his work.
Wellman- only got to him recently, and as I recall Gygax only mentions his sci-fi, which is crazy. His Silver John stories and his Kardios, the protagonist of Straggler from Atlantis and other stories, are, along with Anderson's Cappen Varra, the apparently-obvious antecedents of D&D bards. Definitely recommend these works, especially the Silver John stories. Which, while set in quasi-modern Appalachia, are still great weird tales of adventure and horror. Again, huge value for the buck/page count in these. Tiny investment in time for the fun you get. And Goodman Games was inspired in part by those latter stories to create the Shudder Mountains setting for DCC, which is a pretty strong testament to their applicability to D&D.
Williamson - None. I've always been more one for Fantasy than Sci-Fi, and I don't know of any direct inspiration he gave to D&D. I think he was just kind of a giant of the pulp era and Gygax liked him. As far as I know that's the extent of it.
Zelazny- I've dodged the Amber books to this day, though I've read a bit of his short fiction, such as Dilvish the Damned. Not blown away, but enjoyed it. People have raved about him for decades, so no doubt I'll get around to him.

So that looks like 20 out of the original 28 authors I can say yes, for. And I'd say they do indeed inform my games and my ability to comprehend D&D and what it was written to emulate.

Having started as a kid with primarily Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and Lewis for my fantasy influences, rapidly followed by Katherine Kurtz and few others, I can attest that having since acquired familiarity with this wider list of sources and influences has definitely made it much easier to understand where D&D came from and how and appreciate that.

"2. Do you feel you see D&D differently than people who have not read these?"
I don't pretend I have any magic insight into D&D or have some kind of truer insight into 'the real D&D' than anyone else or anything. Maybe I recognize a little more of the 'why' in some of the choices in the early game.

Thing is, even though Gygax pointed these out as some of his influences in making AD&D, it is at best an inexact linkage, with the final output gimballed and free-moving towards significantly game-focused concerns, with often only flavor-ish influence from these stories.
I concur. The list is not exhaustive, some inclusions and exclusions apparently inexplicable, except that Gary was giving us a good snapshot but not a definitive list.

I've read multiple books by everyone on Appendix N, save for Frederic Brown. So easily in excess of a 100 books. When I'm running DCC RPG, I especially look to those works. With D&D, I think it helps me better understand some of the decisions and ideas around D&D's conception and development. I can look at the Xorn and think "wow, that's a weird monster," but then trace its origins to Weinbaum's A Martian Odyssey. But I don't think it makes me a better DM or player (any more than reading lots of fiction does help).
Thanks for letting me know about the Xorn! I'd definitely recommend checking out some Frederic Brown. Really fun (and occasionally creepy) stuff.

Even for a modern reader, Lieber's "Fafhrd and Grey Mouser" stories are quite fun.
Very much so.

Of those I've read some or all of

Edgar Rice Burroughs
August Derleth (sadly)
Lord Dunsany
REH
Fritz Leiber (hooray!)
HP Lovecraft (duh)
Michael Moorcock
Tolkien
Jack Vance (quite recently - it was pretty much exactly what I expected except way more rape-y)
Zelazny

Do I think I see D&D differently to people who haven't read them? Only in one major respect, oddly enough - Moorcock. I think there's like a stark divide between people who have read Moorcock and how they understand Law/Chaos, and well, everybody else. A lot of the rest are pretty cool books, but I don't think any of them fundamentally change how you see a major aspect of D&D. Tolkien is easily substituted by watching LotR. The only thing you'll get from the books that isn't there is a lot of singing and the scouring of the shire, which has nothing to do with D&D, and may even be antithetical to it, and Tolkien's self-insert character, Tom Bombadil, who is fascinating and I can talk about all day (basically the good-guy version of the Unabomber), but is DEFINITELY antithetical to D&D.

I think D&D itself hasn't derived much from any of those except really Tolkien, Moorcock and Leiber in a serious way for decades. Like 30 years easy. Leiber only because Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser were, in many ways, ridiculously ahead of their time (not in all ways, but many), and are still sort of in tune with the vibe of a lot of fantasy. Tolkien and Moorcock because they both inform vast swathes of D&D's world design.

But tonally 3/4/5E owed nothing to that list, basically, and 2E barely did.
Yeah, I agree with a lot of this. Though Moorcock and Gygax cribbed Law & Chaos from Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, and I think the latter work gives you the essentials to understand D&D's take on that conflict/pairing. Moorcock definitely expanded and riffed on it in neat ways, though. And the Elric stories in general are well worth diving into.

I've read 11 in that original list, and the most influential to DnD 1e, IMO, was Jack vance. Even more than Tolkien. Not just how magic works, but the vernacular. Gygax feels much more Vance to me reading the 1e books than he does to Tolkien.

That being said, one of my first fantasy series isn't even on that list by the OP but was written in the 60s--The Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. Which is how I based much of my fantasy impressions on.
Yeah, those Prydain books are classics, especially for children's literature. They were a big early influence for me too, and probably slightly predate getting D&D.

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...)
Green slime also appears to be inspired by a 60s B-movie of the same name.

I've read a bit of Jeffro's theorizing on his own blog and some of it had merit. I would prefer not to give him a dime, but will CONSIDER picking his book up second hand some time. Peter Bebergal's Appendix N short story collection, OTOH, is quite good, albeit just an accessible collection of stories, sans analysis historical or critical.

I consider that one vital.... he is sort of the anti-conan.
Elric is indeed explicitly and deliberately an anti-Conan. That being said, part of the joy of the early Moorcock stories is that they share a great deal of pulp sensibility with Howard's work. Fast-paced, propulsive action, succinct and evocative prose, and energetic, flowing creativity. All in short page counts. Moorcock's later work is much worse. Self-indulgent, tiresome and interminable.

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.
Can see that very much. Bebergal's book, OTOH, is well-sourced and has a nice mix of classics and lesser-known stories.
 
Last edited:


Voadam

Legend
Wellman- only got to him recently, and as I recall Gygax only mentions his sci-fi, which is crazy. His Silver John stories and his Kardios, the protagonist of Straggler from Atlantis and other stories, are, along with Anderson's Cappen Varra, the apparently-obvious antecedents of D&D bards.
D&D bards were created by Doug Schwegman in Strategic Review Vol. II, Issue 1, which came out in 1976 during the OD&D era. Bards were adopted and adapted by Gygax in the 1e PH but they did not originate with him.
 

THat would be Sign of the Labrys. I'd recommend The Shadow People ahead of it. It's a massive influence on the Underdark and feels like a glorious hippy-infused urban fantasy.

St. Clair- Haven't touched. Have heard she's partly responsible for giant multi-level megadungeons though, so I've meant to for years.

Wellman's Silver John tales are just exemplary. Will definitely be reading some for the Halloween season this year.

Wellman- only got to him recently, and as I recall Gygax only mentions his sci-fi, which is crazy. His Silver John stories and his Kardios, the protagonist of Straggler from Atlantis and other stories, are, along with Anderson's Cappen Varra, the apparently-obvious antecedents of D&D bards. Definitely recommend these works, especially the Silver John stories. Which, while set in quasi-modern Appalachia, are still great weird tales of adventure and horror. Again, huge value for the buck/page count in these. Tiny investment in time for the fun you get. And Goodman Games was inspired in part by those latter stories to create the Shudder Mountains setting for DCC, which is a pretty strong testament to their applicability to D&D.

For Zelazny, if you don't want the sprawl of Amber, Jack of Shadows is 100% the way to go. It hits some similar themes to Dilvish, but is by far the superior work.

Zelazny- I've dodged the Amber books to this day, though I've read a bit of his short fiction, such as Dilvish the Damned. Not blown away, but enjoyed it. People have raved about him for decades, so no doubt I'll get around to him.

A Martian Odyssey isn't great, but it's worth checking out. The way Weinbaum depicts alien life is fascinating and truly feels alien.

Brown is definitely one I need to get to! I count myself an Appendix N aficionado and I really need to be able to say I've read something by every single author on it.

Thanks for letting me know about the Xorn! I'd definitely recommend checking out some Frederic Brown. Really fun (and occasionally creepy) stuff.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Yeah, Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories deserve to be better known today. They walk the line between fantasy and folk horror and feel like something you might see a literary speculative fiction house publishing today. There's a good audiobook version on Audible (Owls Hoot in the Daytime, which is not a title that helps you know this is all the Silver John stories).

Goodman Games based a whole setting on these stories -- the Shudder Mountains for Dungeon Crawl Classics.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
It's kind of interesting that the Narnia stories were not on the Appendix N list. They're also absent from the 5E "Appendix E" list.
No surprise they are not in N, neither are the Oz books, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and a whole host of other "fantasy" type books. D&D was not "any and all fantasy you can think of" - it was (and is) a very specific type of fantasy - rough people (mostly men) doing rough things. It was not - "I'm a kid and I somehow ended up in a fantasy land" - not ever until Wild Beyond the Witchlight really (imo).

Also no surprise they are not in E, for the reasons already mentioned.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top