Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Discussion: What’s Your Appendix N?

In the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide (1e), Gary Gygax laid out the literary influences for his work in Appendix N, near the back. It included such diverse authors as Andre Norton, Jack Vance, Lord Dunsany, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, R.E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roger Zelazny, and many others. The list and its contents have been analyzed, discussed, read, and debated many times since it was published.

So that’s this week’s Friday discussion: what’s your Appendix N? What fiction has influenced your campaigns, play styles, and writings? If you want to include TV or movies, by all means. You can do a separate Appendix for various genres, if you feel the need. If it's too much for the comments here and you need to link elsewhere, well that's fine, too.

Have a great weekend, and don’t hide your light under a bushel!


Lisandro Gaertner said...

My greatest influences in my younger years were Asimov, Philip K Dick, Lovecraft, Stephen King, The Dragonlance Chronicles, Marvel comics, DC Vertigo, Conan comics and movies, some B movies like Beastmaster, and the Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon. Man, what a weird kid I was.

Ameron said...

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my campaign has not really been influenced by the greats of fantasy literature. I played D&D for 15 years before I even read Tolkien. But getting back to point, I've ready almost every novel published under the Forgotten Realms banner and more recently I've read all the Eberron novels. I find that these books which are already placed in the D&D worlds, using established D&D mechanics, classes, places and magic items have influenced me the most.

And then there are Batman comics. As a "normal guy" fighting strange and powerful villains, I often get ideas for my D&D game when I read adventures where Batman uses his brain and his fists to solve problems. Although he's a superhero, he's grounded in "reality." If Batman can do it, my PCs can probably do it and that always gives me ideas for campaigns.

Mad Brew said...

Here is my abbreviated Appendix N:

H.P. Lovecraft (Cthulhu misc.)
Clive Barker (Weaveworld)
China Miéville (Perdido Street Station)
Mary Shelly (Frankenstein)
Jules Verne (20k Leagues Beneath the Sea)
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine, Island of Dr. Moreau)
Frank Herbert (Dune)
Michael Moorcock (Elric)
William Gibson (Difference Engine, Neuromancer)
R.E. Howard (Conan)
S.M. Peters (Whitechapel Gods)
Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta)
Robert A. Heinlein [The other R.A.] (Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land)
C.S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters, Chronicles of Narnia)
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game)
George Orwell (1984)

Stuart said...

My Appendix N: Fighting Fantasy, Lovecraft, Romero, Bashki, Goonies, Indiana Jones, Carpenter, Hellboy, Scooby Doo, Metal

Rob Lang said...

This is actually a remarkably difficult question to answer. There is a gulf between books I have read and liked and those that actually influence my play style. I like Charles Dickens but if Icar is influenced from it is certainly subconscious. To go further, I actively avoid copying any other Sci Fi I've seen/read. Sadly, that backfired and I ended up creating a roleplaying game that had all the cliches in it! My influences aren't always novels, they are mostly just clever books written by clever people.

Generally influenced by...
Iain M Banks - Any/all culture novels
Linda Anderson - Creative Writing
Wiener - Cybernetics Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

This campaign...
Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

clash bowley said...

I don't think anyone particularly cares, but for influences, this would be my primary list:

For SF:

Heinlein, Cherryh, Brin, Niven

For Horror:

Mary Shelly, Stoker, Tim Powers

For Modern Military:

Ringo, Derek Robinson, Jack Hunter, Beach

For Napoleonic:

O'Brian, Forester, Lambdin, Pope


clash bowley said...

I should have said that those are my primary influences in game design. My influences in game mastering are far more varied, and I couldn't possibly list them.


Zachary The First said...

@ clash: Our first three on Napoleonic are the same. :)

I see some people are putting their lists on their blogs. If you want, link in the comments, so we can get so cross-commentary going on, too. :)

Frédéric said...

Good idea, mine list is a bit cliché I'm afraid.

Conan comics

Herbert - Dune
Tolkien - Hobbit & Lord of the Rings
Some of the Drizzt books/Cleric Quintet etc.
The Dragonlance Twins/Dragons of.. books

random fantasy art I find through google images or Elfwood.

Conan movies

oh who am I kidding, there's loads of influences I don't recall now but who will creep up on me in the next few months when I encounter something that reminds me of them.
Thanks :p

Gleichman said...

First and most important: Lloyd Alexander

After that

The Bible
Jerry Pournelle.

After that point, it starts being little ideas instead of large ones, not really worth digging for in comparsion.

BlUsKrEEm said...

Clive Barker - Weave World
William Blake - Colledcted Works (Urizen in particular)
Bradbury - Dark the Were With Golden Eyes
Orson Scott Card- Seventh Son
Robert R. McCammon - Mystery Walk
James Georg Frazier- Golden Bough
William Gibson - Nueromancer
HP LoveCraft - Pickman's Portrait
John Milton - Paradise Lost
Alexander Pope - Rape of the Lock
Austin Write - Islandia

Changeling the Lost

Godzilla Vs Gigan
Wild Zero
Clash of the Titans
The Dark Crystal
The Host

Rognar said...

J.R.R.Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
Robert E. Howard - The Conan novels
Terry Brooks - The first Shannara trilogy
H.P.Lovecraft - everything
Stephen R. Donaldson - The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Stephen King - The Stand, The Dark Tower series, The Shining
Frank Herbert - Dune
Joe Haldeman - The Forever War

Andreas Davour said...

I posted my list over here.

It's interesting to see how some influences seem to crop up often, and not always the ones you expect.

Will said...

My influences are too many to name, but here's the highlights:

J.R.R. Tolkien
Diana Wynne Jones
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, primarily)
Frank Herbert (Dune)
Terry Pratchett (Discworld)
Neil Gaiman (esp. Good Omens with Terry Pratchett)
H.P. Lovecraft
R.A. Salvatore
Eberron novels
[insert Star Wars authors here]

Every one of these authors continue to influence me. Lovecraft is actually the most recent, but I like a lot of the tone of his work. It's influencing the post-apocalyptic tone of the aberrations in my homebrew D&D campaign (Thelenia, over at Obsidian Portal).

Tim Shorts said...

Since I loathed reading when I first started playing I would say it was movies that inspired me. Hawk the Slayer was huge in the beginning. Conan, the first one not the crappy second one. An animated one called Wizards. Even Star Wars. First series I read was the freshly released Dragonlance series. Bought the modules and learned my first lesson on railroading plot. Then I found Michael Morecock's The Warhound and the World's Pain. Great book. But the TSR modules I had were the best inspiration.

MountZionRyan said...

Some influenced past games, others games yet to be run/written:
HBO's Deadwood
Patrick O'Brian
CS Forester
RE Howard
China Miéville
James R. Silke (Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer series author)
Aladdin Movie and cartoon
Duck Tales
HBO's Rome
Eiji Yoshikawa
Lone Wolf and Cub (writer Kazuo Koike and the artist Goseki Kojima)
Pirates of the Caribbean
David Cordingly
Mummy series (new version)
Indian Jones 1-3

BlUsKrEEm said...

I forgot an imporatnt one:

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

I can't tell you how many times I've used Link to the Past to get past Writer's Block when building a dungeon.

Wyatt said...

Here you go. You can cry now.

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Here's mine:

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