Tuesday, April 16, 2024

#AtoZChallenge2024: N is for Appendix N

Appendix N
The original 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a treasure trove of material for running an AD&D game. It is also a treasure for running any sort of game. What it lacks in organization is something 2nd Edition attempted (and had some success with) to fix, but it makes up for in sheer volume and charm.

The tome, in addition to various details for the AD&D game, also has many informational appendices. One famous one was Appendix N.

Titled Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading it is the only Appendix that doesn't offer direct advice above "read these."

Now, over the years, there has been something a cottage industry with the circles of "old school" gamers to study these books as if they were some sort of literary canon, ancient wisdom handed down from sages to us mere mortals.

Well...yeah, I mean there are some good books here sure, but you can play and enjoy D&D and never have read any of them really.

There are many links to explore these texts. Here are just a fraction.

There are even books about it.

Now, I am not trying to discount the effect these had on the writing of Dungeons & Dragons. I think I made clear at least some of these on H is for Hobbit day. Even the new 5th Edition D&D Player's Handbook revisits this list.

At the time I started playing D&D I had read the Hobbit. And that was about it. I was working through Lord of the Rings at the same time. I would quickly pick up Moorcock's Elric saga which is a natural step before getting into H.P. Lovecraft.

I actually found that a similar list in the Moldvay Basic book was much better. I also created my own "Appendix O" (the DMG has Appendix O) because it comes after N (and O for occult) of my own books that influenced my writing.

The Witches of Appendix N

A little project I have been planning is "The Witches of Appendix N." This would cover the various witches in these books and how I could represent them as AD&D characters. Some are easy, like Morgan Le Fey from Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions or the winter witches of Fafhrd's homeland in Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd & Gray Mouser series. Others have close ones, like the works of H.P. Lovecraft. And some don't have any at all. 

I have never read some of these books despite knowing about them for 45 years, and others I have not read in a very long time. So, it might take a bit for this project to see the light of day. 


Tomorrow is O Day, so I am taking us back to where it all began with Original D&D.

The A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons: Celebrating 50 years of D&D.


Srivalli Rekha said...

There's so much content related to a single game! It feels like there's a world of its own.

Lily Leung said...

I am so out of my depth to offer an intelligent comment. I have never watched D&D. Have read Hobbit. I don't really care for fantasy. My loss.

Brenda Marie Fluharty Writer said...

There is so much to this game. Can't wait for tomorrows post

Martha said...

Like I mentioned on a previous post, I'm not into D&D but your posts are so interesting I'm now looking forward to reading them! Who knows, someday I may even check out the game!

JB said...

I've probably read MORE of the books on the Moldvay reading list than the DMG's "Appendix N" (though, especially in the last decade or so, I've endeavored to get to those I didn't know).

I'm pretty much in the same 'thought-boat' as you regarding the importance of these books to D&D. Reading them will help explain the origin of various concepts, but the game is not meant to absolutely EMULATE these works. They're good reading, but not NECESSARY to the process of playing D&D.

A "Witches' Appendix N" would be pretty cool.
; )

Liz A. said...

I imagine many of those books are great reading. And a few probably didn't age all that well.

Jeanine Byers said...

That sounds interesting! The writing about the witches, I mean. I think knowing some of the stories behind D&D would be interesting even if you aren't planning to play the game.

Jennifer Jones said...

I'm defintiely not in the age group who would usually go for D&D, but I did enjoy reading your post. It's interesting to read about what others get up to.

TWW said...

ooohhhh witches...attention retained...

jabblog said...

As with every pastime, there is a subculture involved. Some choose to become very involved, others less so.

Gonz said...

I love this appendix in the 5e books, as much as I loved the sidebar about "10 movies to inspire you" in the first pages of the original Eberron Campaign Setting. Curious?

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I like the idea of "Appendix N". Something about it just makes me smile. Looks like you have quite a reading list there to get through!

Ronel visiting for N: My Languishing TBR: N