Monday, September 23, 2019

my Appendix N

In 1979 when Gary Gygax first compiled his list of literature for Appendix N, he was drawing upon literature that he had grown up with and read for decades. The earliest stories were written by Lord Dunsany and he was published as early as 1905, but from what I can gather the most recent story on that list was published in 1978 (The Pirate of World's End by Lin Carter), though some of the series mentioned were still having stories written after 1979. My experiences with fantasy and science fiction are far removed from much of this literature. If I were to compile my own list of inspirational literature it would be ironic that I would end up listing several D&D books as my inspiration for playing D&D. Additionally, so much of pop culture and nerd culture is wrapped up in movies and video games, it would be impossible for me to write an Appendix N without including these cinematic and interactive media, despite the fact that much of it is likely also influenced by the existence of D&D.

Caveats in place, I give you my Appendix N:

Alexander, Lloyd: Chronicles of Prydain
Barker, Clive
Findley, Nigel: Into the Void; GURPS Illuminati
Howard, Robert E: Conan series
Jackson, Steve and/or Livingstone, Ian: the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series
King, Stephen
Lewis, C.S.: Chronicles of Narnia
Lindsay, David: A Voyage to Arcturus
Lovecraft, H.P.: At the Mountains of Madness
Maitland, Karen: Company of Liars
Martin, George R.R.: Saga of Ice and Fire
Matheson, Richard
Pratchett, Terry: Discworld series; SMALL GODS
Tolkien: The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings
Weis, Margaret & Hickman, Tracy: Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy; Death Gate Cycle

comic books
Conan (anything published by Marvel or Dark Horse)
Heavy Metal magazine
Lone Wolf and Cub
Swamp Thing (volume 2)
Usagi Yojimbo

film & television
The Dark Crystal
Doctor Who (both series)
John Carpenter's The Thing
Mad Max; Road Warrior; Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome; Mad Max: Fury Road
Time Bandits
The Twilight Zone

video games
Dark Souls and it's sequels
Dwarf Fortress
Elder Scrolls series
Fallout series
The Legend of Zelda series
Ultima series

Saturday, September 21, 2019

what I think I want in D&D

  • the gods are physical beings, existing within the world and can be talked to and/or killed
  • there is no turning undead
  • spellcasting doesn't even use levels or slots, spells just work or require an expenditure of HP or ability score loss (draining STR or CON) or something that replenishes with rest
  • spellcasting is something anyone can do if they have the right stats
  • there are no classes
  • only humans
  • static DCs for d20 rolls
  • equipment and gear more important than stats
  • exploration is more important than fighting
  • combat as war
  • leveling up is an explicitly magical THING that you have done to yourself, it doesn't happen often but could be something characters work towards
  • lore is baked into the world, if the Magic Missile spell exists then people know who created it, where it's been used, and how they might find it

    I have no idea if any of this is doable, but I'm going to try