My Appendix N

via The Omnipotent Eye (among others), here’s a quick list of the literary influences on my earliest RPGs:

  • Alexander, The Prydain Chronicles
  • Burroughs, John Carter, Warlord of Mars
  • Byfield, The Book of Weird
  • De Camp, The Complete Enchanter
  • Dickson, The Dragon and the George
  • Eager, Half Magic
  • Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • Heinlein, Glory Road
  • Howard (et al–back then his imitators and rewriters were all mixed in with his work), Conan
  • Lanier, Hiero’s Journey
  • Leiber, Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser
  • Lewis, Narnia
  • McCaffrey, Dragonriders of Pern
  • McGowen, Sir MacHinery
  • Moorcock, The Chronicles of Corum, Elric of Melnibone
  • Nesbit, Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet
  • Norman, Chronicles of Gor (only the first three, and I was way too young to get the sex parts, which apparently got more and more blatant as the series went on)
  • Norton, various, but particularly The Beast Master and Star Man’s Son
  • Tolkien, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

3 thoughts on “My Appendix N

  1. Many of the same books were my favorites as a teenager, and a big influence on my views of fantasy, but I’m hard-pressed to think of a real instance where they influenced my games. (There are a few that I don’t recognize, e.g, McGowen and Nesbit. Do you recommend them for adults, or were they just a passing phase?)

    Russell’s last blog post..I, grognard (Part I)

  2. The Complete Enchanter is a odd one. I read somewhere that it was a classic fantasy, and ordered it. I absolutely hated it! It was silly and I didn’t find it “fantastic” enough.

    Now, many years later I know how highly regarded those tales are, by Gygax and others. I wonder if I dare re-read them? For me, de Camp have written so much nonsense when trying his hand at biographies. It has generated bad will enough for de Camp in my eyes. I would probably not be able to judge that book fairly.

    Maybe I have to wait another ten years. 🙂

  3. Certain of them I can point to specific things I put into games because of them. I kept trying to add more interesting dueling rules every time I read The Princess Bride, or had a bunch of sea-going adventures after reading the trireme combat in one the Gor books. I also tried a magic system based on the Complete Enchanter, but it was too much work for the players. Most of them just led to a general interest in adventures in other worlds.

    Nesbit is a genuine classic of children’s literature but I haven’t read it since I was young so I’m not sure how it would stand up. Sir MacHinery, on the other hand, I re-read only last year and still really liked it; it’s out of print and quite hard to find, though. I only got a chance to re-read it because Mac remembered me talking about it and requested it through inter-library loan. It’s quite short, so I read it one evening when we were over there for gaming.

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