Saturday, January 29, 2022

Inspirational Source Material

A good D&D campaign is imaginative and creative.  Sometimes a little research is useful to improve a dungeon, flesh out a scenario, and provide inspiration for a campaign.  Books on folklore, mythology, fairy tales, bestiaries, and knightly legends can often help the DM fill in important details of a campaign, but fictional tales and fantasy novels usually provide the best sources of inspiration.

Tom Moldvay, D&D Basic rulebook (1981)

Tom Moldvay included an extensive list of inspirational source material in the D&D Basic rulebook (pg B62).*  While similar to the list appearing in Appendix N in the AD&D 1e DMs Guide, Moldvay's list is more extensive, and includes non-fiction.

*special thanks for assistance in compiling the list was extended to Barbara Davis, Children's Librarian at the Lake Geneva Public Library, in the credits to the rulebook

In reproducing Moldvay's list, authors and their works have been linked to wikipedia entries, where available.  An exception are the many non-fiction titles, most of which have been linked to, where they can be accessed.

Writers and their books appearing in Appendix N are indicated by an asterisk (those appearing in my "Appendix O" subset are indicated by a second asterisk).

(I've taken the liberty of correcting several typos, but have otherwise reproduced the list as it appears on pg. B62.  Certain entries can also probably be better organized, but I've left that job for another time...)

For those interested in delving deeper into the literary source material that inspired the development of D&D, the Appendix N Book Club podcast is highly recommended.

Fiction: Young Adult Fantasy

Alexander, Lloyd - The Book of Three (1964); The Black Cauldron (1965); The Castle of Llyr (1966), et al.

Baum, L. Frank - The Wizard of Oz (1900); The Emerald City of Oz (1910); The Land of Oz (1904), et al.

Bellairs, John* - The Face in the Frost* (1969); The House with a Clock in Its Walls (1973); The Figure in the Shadows (1975), et al.

Cover to the first edition of A Princess of Mars (1917) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, published by A.C. McClurg.  (Story originally serialized in All-Story Magazine from February - July, 1912).  Illustration by Frank E. Schoonover.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice** - A Princess of Mars** (1912/1917); At the Earth's Core** (1914/1922); Tarzan of the Apes (1912/1914), et al.

Carroll, Lewis - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865); Through the Looking Glass (1865)

Garner, Alan - Elidor (1965); The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960); The Moon of Gomrath (1963), et al.

Le Guin, Ursula K. - A Wizard of Earthsea (1968); The Tombs of Atuan (1971); The Farthest Shore (1972), et al.

Lewis, C. S. - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950); Prince Caspian (1951); The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (1952), et al.

Non-Fiction: Young Adult

Barber, Richard - A Companion to World Mythology (1980)

Buehr, Walter - Chivalry and the Mailed Knight (1963)

Coolidge, Olivia - Greek Myths (1949); The Trojan War (1952); Legends of the North (1951)

see also Men of Athens (1962); Lives of Famous Romans (1965)

d'Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin - Norse Gods and Giants (1967); Trolls (1972)

see also d'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths (1967)

Hazeltine, Alice - Hero Tales from Many Lands (1961)

Hillyer, Virgil - Young People's Story of the Ancient World: Prehistory - 500 B.C. (1966)

Jacobs, Joseph - English Folk and Fairy Tales (1890)

Cover to Castle (1977) by David Macauley, published by Scholastic.  The fictional castle depicted was based on Conwy Castle in North Wales.

Macauley, David - Castle (1977)

see also Castle, PBS special (1983)

McHargue, Georgess - The Beasts of Never (1968); The Impossible People (1972)

see also Mummies (1972); Meet the Werewolf (1976); Meet the Vampire (1979); Meet the Witches (1984)

Renault, Mary - The Lion in the Gateway (1964)

Sellow, Catherine F. - Adventures with the Giants (1950)

Sutcliff, Rosemary - Tristan and Iseult (1971)

Williams, Jay - Life in the Middle Ages (1966)

Winer, Bart - Life in the Ancient World (1961)

Fiction: Adult Fantasy

Anderson, Poul** - Three Hearts and Three Lions** (1961); The Broken Sword** (1954); The Merman's Children (1979), et al.

Anthony, Piers - A Spell for Chameleon (1977); The Source of Magic (1979); Castle Roogna (1979)

Asprin, Robert - Another Fine Myth (1978)

Brackett, Leigh* - The Coming of the Terrans (1967); The Secret of Sinharat (1964); People of the Talisman (1964), et al.

Campbell, J. Ramsey - Demons by Daylight (1973)

Davidson, Avram - The Island Under the Earth (1969); Ursus of Ultima Thule (1973); The Phoenix and the Mirror (1969), et al.

de Camp, L. Sprague* - The Fallible Fiend* (1973); The Goblin Tower (1968), et al.

de Camp, L. Sprague** and Pratt, Fletcher** - The Incomplete Enchanter** (1941); Land of Unreason (1942), et al.

Dunsany, Lord** - Over the Hills and Far Away (1974); The Book of Wonder (1912); The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924), et al.

Eddison, E. R. - The Worm Ouroboros (1922)

Eisenstein, Phyllis - Born to Exile (1978); Sorcerer's Son (1979)

Farmer, Philip Jose* - The Gates of Creation* (1966); The Maker of Universes* (1965); A Private Cosmos* (1968), et al.

Finney, Charles G. - The Unholy City(1937); The Circus of Dr. Lao (1935)

Heinlein, Robert A. - Glory Road (1963)

Howard, Robert E. - Conan; Red Nails (1936); Pigeons from Hell (1938)

Lee, Tanith - Night's Master (1978); The Storm Lord (1976); The Birthgrave (1975), et al

Leiber, Fritz** - The Swords of Lankhmar** (1968); Swords Against Wizardry** (1968); Swords Against Death** (1970), et al.

Lovecraft, H. P.** - The Doom that Came to Sarnath (1920); The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (1943); The Dunwich Horror (1929)

Merritt, A. E.** - The Moon Pool** (1918/1919); Dwellers in the Mirage** (1932); The Ship of Ishtar (1924), et al.

Moorcock, Michael** - The Stealer of Souls** (1963); The Knight of the Swords (1971); Gloriana (1978), et al.

Mundy, Talbot - Tros of Samothrace (1934)

Niven, Larry - The Flight of the Horse (1973); The Magic Goes Away (1976)

Norton, Andre* - Witch World (1963); Year of the Unicorn (1965); The Crystal Gryphon (1972), et al.

Offutt, Andrew - The Iron Lords (1979); Shadows Out of Hell (1980)

Pratt, Fletcher* - The Blue Star* (1952/1969); The Well of the Unicorn (1948)

Smith, Clark Ashton - Xiccarph (1972); Lost Worlds (1944); Genius Loci and Other Tales (1948)

Stewart, Mary - The Crystal Cave (1970); The Hollow Hills (1973); The Last Enchantment (1979)

see also The Wicked Day (1983); The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995)

Stoker, Bram - Dracula (1897)

Swann, Thomas Burnett - Cry Silver Bells (1977); The Tournament of the Thorns (1976); Moondust (1968), et al.

Cover to the first single-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings (1968) by J.R.R. Tolkien, published by Allen & Unwin.  Illustration by Pauline Baynes.

Tolkien, J. R. R.** - The Hobbit** (1937); The Lord of the Rings** (trilogy; 1954-1955)

see also The Silmarillion (1977)

Vance, Jack** - The Eyes of the Overworld** (1966); The Dying Earth** (1950); The Dragon Masters (1963), et al.

Wagner, Karl Edward - Bloodstone (1975); Death Angel's Shadow (1973); Dark Crusade (1976), et al.

White, Theodore H. - The Once and Future King (1958)

Zelazny, Roger** - Jack of Shadows** (1971); Lord of Light (1967); Nine Princes in Amber** (1970), et al.

Some additional authors of fantasy fiction are:

Beagle, Peter S.

Bok, Hannes

Cabell, James Branch

Carter, Lin*

Cherryh, C. J.

Delany, Samuel R.

Fox, Gardner*

Gaskell, Jane

Green, Roland

Haggard, H. Rider

Jakes, John

Kurtz, Katherine

Lanier, Sterling*

McCaffrey, Anne

McKillip, Patricia A.

Moore, C. L.

Myers, John Myers

Peake, Mervyn

Saberhagen, Fred*

Walton, Evangeline

Wellman, Manly Wade*

Williamson, Jack*

Short Story Collections

Carter, Lin (ed.) - The Year's Best Fantasy Stories (in several volumes; 1975-1988); Flashing Swords! (also in several volumes; 1973-1981)

Offutt, Andrew* (ed.) - Swords Against Darkness* (in several volumes; 1977-1979)


Borges, Jorge Luis - The Book of Imaginary Beings (1957, 1967/1969)

Cover to The Age of Chivalry and Legends of Charlemagne (1992) by Thomas Bulfinch, published by Doubleday.  (Originally published separately in 1859 and 1863, respectively).  Illustration The Accolade (1901) by Edmund Leighton.

Bulfinch, Thomas - Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable (1855), The Age of Chivalry (1859)

see also Legends of Charlemagne (1863)

Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend (1949, 1950, 1972)

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