D&D General Newer editions of D&D and literary inspirations (post-Appendix N)

There's a pretty common discussion about what parts of 1e come from where, and a lot of people know by now thieves come from Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories, fireballs are catapults and lightning bolts are cannon, intelligent manipulative swords come from Moorcock's Elric, law and chaos come from Moorcock and Poul Anderson, the displacer beast is Van Vogt's coeurl, the mind-frying tomes are from Lovecraft and the mind flayer from the cover of one of Brian Lumley's works in his tradition, the ranger is Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, monks are from Remo Williams' The Destroyer book series, forgettable spells are from Jack Vance's Dying Earth, and the fighter is a lot of people but mostly Conan the Barbarian (soon to get his own character class).

But...what have they added? D&D has done things since 1979. They've added sorcerers, tieflings, dragonborn, warlocks, twig blights, chuuls, flameskulls, half-dragons, helmed horrors, nothics, oni, shield guardians, fulminating treatises, immovable rods, and countless other things we think are normal. And the people making it have read their own share of fantasy novels, not to mention movies and now anime, many of which were themselves heavily inspired by D&D. So where does the last 40 years of D&D come from?

Here's a link to Appendix E, from 5th edition (and this really ought to be fair use):
https://stepintorpgs.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/appendix-e.jpg

As far as I can tell, 5th is the first edition since 1st to include an inspirational reading list.

From what I can tell, the books they've added (i.e., this is Appendix E-N, or Appendix -I if you're doing ASCII math):
Saladin Ahmed, Throne of the Crescent Moon
Lloyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Prydain (The Book of Three is mentioned specifically)
Piers Anthony, Split Infinity series (Apprentice Adept mentioned specifically)
Lady Augusta Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men
Elizabeth Bear, Eternal Sky trilogy (spec. Range of Ghosts)
Terry Brooks, The Sword of Shannara.
Thomas Bulfinch, Bulfinch's Mythology.
Glen Cook, The Black Company.
Brian and Alan Lee Froud, Faeries.
Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, Chronicles series [Dragonlance]
William Hope Hodgson, The Night Land
N.K. Jemisin, Inheritance Trilogy (esp Hundred Thousand Kingdoms), Killing Moon, Shadowed Sun
Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time series (esp Eye of the World)
Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana
Stephen King, The Eyes of the Dragon
Ursula LeGuin, Wizard of Earthsea series
Scott Lynch, Gentleman Bastard series (esp Lies of Locke Lamora)
George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones series
China Mieville, Bas-Lag series (esp Perdido Street Station)
Andre Norton, Quag Keep and Witch World series
Patrick Rothfuss, Kingkiller series (esp Name of the Wind)
R.A. Salvatore, The Crystal Shard and the rest of the Drizzt stories
Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast series (esp Titus Groan)
Terry Pratchett, Discworld series (Colour of Magic)
Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn series
Clark Ashton Smith, Return of the Sorcerer
Nikolai Tolstoy, Coming of the King
Gene Wolfe, Book of the New Sun series

Now a lot of this is a greatest hits of the last four decades (Wolfe's New Sun series is a masterpiece of speculative fiction but doesn't really seem connected to D&D), but they say these are their inspirations. (And, you know, Salvatore and Weis & Hickman are definitely a huge part of what people think of...I'm sure you all remember the Raistlin and Drizzt fanboys, and some of you were them.) So...what can you find here? The dragonborn seem to be inspired by Dragonlance draconians, but I can't think of any other examples, and many new things probably come from other sources. (Oni come from Japanese myth, for instance.) But I bet many of you can!
 
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Definitely think Harry Potter should be on this list, as should Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. The latter were a HUGE influence on the idea of dragons as mounts, which has become something of a staple of modern fantasy fiction, and pushed several other concepts into the overall zeitgeist, like "bonding" to special creatures/pets, revealing a lost sceintific past (the computer AIVAS), and certain aspects of telepathy/psionics. The former...it was a defining fiction thing for my generation, I grew up with these books as they were coming out and read all of them. An absolute TON of the new blood coming into 5e have brought with them ideas of what magic is like influenced by Harry Potter. I would say, for example, that the "runechild" Sorcerer archetype is influenced by Harry Potter's more flamboyant, colorful, audacious mages.

Believe it or not, draconic humanoids actually have a significantly older source than Dragonlance's draconians, though those origins are a bit more obscure. Specifically, there are three mythic sources that could be interpreted as inspiring openly dragon-looking human-shaped beings: the Spartoi (not to be confused with the Spartans--"Spartoi" means "the sown ones"), the Ophiogenes (descendents of the Drakon Ophiogeneikos) and other children of drakones or (more commonly) drakainai (specifically female dragons/draconic spirits), and Erichthonius the autochthonous "son" of Athena/Gaia and Hephaestus.

The Spartoi were part of the myths of Cadmus and Jason. Both men sowed the earth with a portion of a dragon's teeth, and warriors sprang from the ground the next day. Those sown by Jason were induced to kill one another by his cleverness (under Medea's guidance), while at least some of those sown by Cadmus lived, and allegedly went on to become the ancestors of Thebes and its ruling family.

The Ophiogenes, literally "serpent-born," were said to have resulted from the Drakon Ophiogeneikos (Dragon of the Serpent-born) mating with the woman(/nymph?) Halia. They were believed to come from Phrygia, what is now west-central Turkey, and had various supernatural powers ascribed to them, mostly dealing with poison and the ability to generate or quell it (especially quelling/curing snake bites.)

Finally, Erichthonius was...well. Some depictions make him look like a straight-up reptile from the waist down, or otherwise openly half-reptile. He was one of the mythical founder-kings of Athens, and (as noted above) autochthonous: literally "self-born," in this case, born from the earth rather than having a proper mother. This resulted from the time when Hephaestus tried to...assault Athena, and she rebuffed him. He didn't, shall we say, hit the mark, and Athena wiped the result off of her thigh and onto the earth--Gaia. As a result, Erichthonius had three parents, Hephaestus, Athena (in spirit), and Gaia, and Athena at least partially raised him as "her son," even though she remained properly virgin.

From these three things, there's already plenty of mythic precedent for humanoids related to or created by dragons/"divine serpents," even without digging into stuff like Asian mythology where dragons are a lot friendlier and a lot more likely to be amenable to romance. Likewise it doesn't consider things like Quetzalcoatl, who was simultaneously a "feathered serpent" and, apparently, capable of taking human form (e.g. his Yucatec Mayan parallel, Kukulkan, was often depicted as a human), implying the possibility of offspring sired with mortals.
 


Definitely think Harry Potter should be on this list, as should Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. The latter were a HUGE influence on the idea of dragons as mounts, which has become something of a staple of modern fantasy fiction, and pushed several other concepts into the overall zeitgeist, like "bonding" to special creatures/pets, revealing a lost sceintific past (the computer AIVAS), and certain aspects of telepathy/psionics. The former...it was a defining fiction thing for my generation, I grew up with these books as they were coming out and read all of them. An absolute TON of the new blood coming into 5e have brought with them ideas of what magic is like influenced by Harry Potter. I would say, for example, that the "runechild" Sorcerer archetype is influenced by Harry Potter's more flamboyant, colorful, audacious mages.

Believe it or not, draconic humanoids actually have a significantly older source than Dragonlance's draconians, though those origins are a bit more obscure. Specifically, there are three mythic sources that could be interpreted as inspiring openly dragon-looking human-shaped beings: the Spartoi (not to be confused with the Spartans--"Spartoi" means "the sown ones"), the Ophiogenes (descendents of the Drakon Ophiogeneikos) and other children of drakones or (more commonly) drakainai (specifically female dragons/draconic spirits), and Erichthonius the autochthonous "son" of Athena/Gaia and Hephaestus.
You really know your mythology! But I doubt these things inspired D&D. There's a lot of neat mythology stuff that hasn't made it into D&D (and I bet D&D is responsible for half the books on mythology sold every year...)

As for Harry Potter...the list predates Rowling's controversial comments, but I think she said at one point she didn't want a Harry Potter RPG, and unlike many authors has enough money to launch lawsuits over trivialities. So it may have been left off on advice from Legal.
 

Dioltach

Legend
I think dragonborn are probably a product of cross-fertilisation of things that were already in D&D: lizardmen, draconians, and mixed heritages such as tieflings and aasimar. After all, if you can have characters that are part-celestial or part-fiend, why not characters that are part-dragon? Plus, there was a PrC in Tome and Blood for 3.0, where your character gradually evolves into a half-dragon.

One origin I haven't heard mention yet is the yuan-ti. Outside D&D, the only source I know that mentions something similar is The Belgariad by David Eddings, where there's a culture that worships a snake goddess and tries to emulate all the qualities of snakes. Their queen gets turned into a giant snake in the end, if I'm not mistaken.
 

ilgatto

Explorer
Not knowing a lot about editions after 2E I'm afraid I can only add the following:

To the category "The following authors were of particular inspiration to me (specific works)/have inspired the game's designers in the years since":

Giant Beaver (MM1): C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Geoffrey Bles, 1950);

Giant Rat (Sumatran) (MM1): Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, in: Herbert Greenhough Smith (ed.), The Strand Magazine (George Newnes, Ltd., 1924);

Hook Horror (FF): Fritz Leiber, The Bleak Shore, in: Unknown, November 1940 (Street & Smith, New York, 1940), although I guess that's covered by "Leiber, Fritz. Swords and Deviltry and the rest of the "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series".


To the category "just about any other imaginative writing (...) to pluck kernels from which grow the fruits of exciting campaigns":

C. J. Cherryh, Fortress series (Harper Collins, 1995-2006)

Tanith Lee, Tales from the Flat Earth series (DAW books, 1978-1987)
 

teitan

Legend
The Witcher series of novels and short stories should be on there

The Gotrek & Felix novels by William King specifically should be on there as they rise above just being Warhammer fantasy fiction to being really good fantasy fiction

Warhammer Fantasy should be on there anyway for the influence it has had on Orcs, Goblins, etc and how they are perceived in fantasy as it is a much stronger influence than the D&D versions right down to popularizing the idea of green skin and the ferocity of the orcs and the sneakiness of goblins without them being sniveling and groveling. 1e orcs and goblins are very different from 2e era and 3e really picks up with those Warhammer influences. Warcraft wouldn't be Warcraft without Warhammer. It really is that pervasive.
 

Stormonu

Legend
While cantrips have been in the game all the way back to 1E, I strongly believe their modern iteration is based on Harry Potter, at least as far as making them infinitely repeatable and placing "basic" attack spells in that group. Likewise, the movement away from sympathetic material components to spell focuses was driven by the wands of Harry Potter.

As for fighter, I think that was much less based on Conan and more the stories of King Arthur, Charlemange and other knightly tales especially with the emphasis of "heavy armor is best". Conan, Cu Cuchulain and the Norse shield biters were more the basis for the Barbarian class. Bards are strange - they were originally heavily influenced by skalds and celtic stories back in 1E where they were more historians keeping oral history and magical secrets, but have morphed into generic minstrels of the middle ages. I'd be curious to know where the archtype for Warlock came from.

In the end, though, D&D has drawn from everything - comic books, old epics, books and movies - and not limited to mere fantasy. We've had many instances of fantasy versions of robots (warforged), terminators (living metal), aliens (yitsan) , Jason from Friday the 13th (relentless killer) and even various kiaju stand-ins for Mothra, King Kong and Godzilla.
 

Radaceus

Explorer
these are all post 80s memorable influences on my characters and campaigns:

-Jack Chalker
-Glen Cook
-Terry Brooks
-Anne McCaffrey
-Umberto Eco

-Deeds of Paksenarian series by Elizaberh Moon
-Riftwar saga by Raymond E. Feist
-Belgariad and etc by David Eddings
-Book of Swords series by Fred Saberhagen
-Redwall etc by Brian Jacques
-Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
-Dungeon series via P.J Farmer

-Recluce series by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

more recently:

Bernard Cornwell
Caisel Mor
Micheal and Kathleen Gear
Valerio Manfredi
 

The Brothers Grimm, Aesop, Hans Christian Anderson, and the rest of the faerie tales and Norse/Germanic/Celtic/AngloSaxon/etc. myths and legends preserved post-Christianization through conversion to folk tales had a huge impact on what I considered a standard quasi-medieval (European) fantasy milieu. This is probably my starting point from which all things branch.

I think Poul Anderson's Three Hearts, Three Lions; Burrough's John Carter Series; Twain's Connecticut Yankee, and (surprising that it wasn't in Appendix N) Gulliver's Travels all helped shape my idea of planar travel (despite none of them explicitly being the same as D&D planar travel, the specifics of which seem very close to Dante). The whole strangers in a strange land vibe and each plane being kind of an island of hats certainly helps.

Umberto Eco definitely set the stage for me to use the menagerie from Pliny's Natural History as entities in my games.
 

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