Sunday 13 November 2011

The Other Appendix N (Runequest)


I know this has been done already. AD&D had an appendix N that listed sources of inspiration for Gary Gygax. Runequest (at least my second edition) had the same. I thought fabulous I will post a copy of that and it will be an easy post.

[caption id="attachment_823" align="aligncenter" width="180" caption="The Other Appendix N"]The Other Appendix N[/caption]

Only to find it had been done.

I am going to do it anyway and add links. Woo! I have just copied and pasted the text from the above blog post. I will check to make sure it tallies with mine. Any errors are mine alone.


Bibby, George4000 Years Ago - check your library for other titles as well; anything by Bibby is recommended.

Well it looks like George may have been called Geoffery. a little information can be found about him here. A review of the book, about life four thousand years ago, can be found here. Amazon was trying to sell second hand copies for stupid amounts but it looks like copies can be found cheap here. No ebook version I could find.

Byfield, Barbarbara NThe Book of Weird (formerly The Glass Harmonica) - a delightfully-written and illustrated encyclopedia of things fantastical.

Read The Book of Weird and enter into the mysterious netherworld of the fantastical. Ever since its original publication over a quarter of a century ago, this book has delighted fans of arcana and the occult. Now, a new package will draw still another generation to its mysterious charms. With the help of this playful sourcebook, you can decide which sounds like the more attractive occupation--witch or sorceress (or warlock or wizard). Using the table of ancient remedies you can learn how to cure common afflictions--from epilepsy to warts--that have plagued human history from the dawn of time. And by reading this book, you will finally know the proper time for matins and vespers, and when to celebrate Candlemas, Beltane, and Michaelmas. The Book of Weird will take you through each of the deadly sins, and for good measure, each of the splendid virtues. You will learn how to avoid werewolves and vampires, and what to do to get rid of ghosts. It will teach you how to distinguish an incubus from a succubus in order to determine which you'd rather be visited by in the dark of night. Whether you are faced with gnome or dwarf, troll or ogre, elf or fairy, you will know the difference after browsing through this fun-filled, informative treasure chest of hidden knowledge.(from Abebooks)

Can be found here. Wikipedia entry here. Reviews can be found here.

Coles, JohnArcheology by Experiment - excellent description of the practical side of archeology, easily relatable to FRP games.

He seems to have written a book called Experimental Archaeology later. More information here. I strongly suspect one of the newer editions is probably the better option. Here is what Amazon says:

Professor John Coles has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1978, and until 1986 was Professor of European Archaeology in the University of Cambridge. Dr. Coles is best known in British archaeology for his work in three fields; first in the archaeology of the Bronze Age, both in this country and in Europe; second, for his remarkably percipient and pioneering work on experimental archaeology; third, for his work with his wife Bryony Coles on the wetland sites of the British Isles, particularly in the Somerset Levels. Dr. John Coles is the best type of humane archaeologist; a scholar who understands both the scientific and theoretical complexities of his discipline without having succumbed to the many pseudo-scientific interpretations of the subject which have so bedeviled it over the last thirty years.

Conally, PeterThe Greek Armies, The Roman Army, and Enemies of Rome - three educational picture books of incredible detail and content.

Still easily purchased second hand from Amazon. They are well reviewed. More information about the man himself here.

Draeger, Donn F. and Smith, Robert WAsian Fighting Arts - an excellent survey of what it really takes to master a weapon.

Now called comprehensive asiant fighting arts. Can be easily found.  Abebooks says this:

Fighting arts are as old as man himself and as varied as his languages. In Asia they developed to a degree of effectiveness probably unsurpassed elsewhere in the world. This book explains the relationships between fighting arts, assesses their strengths and weaknesses, and presents new material about hitherto unknown fighting methods. Written by two of the best-known and most widely published authorities in the field, it covers fighting methods and techniques found in eleven Asian countries-fighting techniques that range from the artful Chinese tai-chi and Burmese bando to Japanese jujutsu and the lethal pentjak-silat of Indonesia. Documentation of these has been supplemented with a wealth of fascinating anecdotes. The reader learns of the daring exploits of the Japanese ninja, of Gama, perhaps the greatest of the great Indian wrestlers, of the Indonesian "trance" fighters-and hundreds of other tales that serve to illustrate some of the most deadly fighting systems that the world has known. The volume is illustrated with over two hundred photographs and drawings, many of them depicting combat styles and techniques that have never been seen in the West.

Foote, Peter(ed.) The Saga of Grettir the Strong - on version of the making of a hero, direct from the Age of Heroes of Iceland.

A version of this can be found here at Gutenberg.  More info here at Wikipedia.

Funcken, Lillane and FredArms and Uniforms: Ancient Egypt to the 18th Century - first-class illustrated book of historical costumes and weapons.

Looks like it is still quite easy to purchase cheaply.

Howard, Robert EConan (and others) - the archetypical noble and savage barbarian written with muscle and guts; his notes have been finished with less gusto by other writers as well.

If you do not know all about Conan please leave this blog, hang your head in shame, read. Then come back. Most , if not all, the stories are in the public domain. Though if you want to spend money buying an actual book I would suggest this one to start with. The original Conan character is far, far better than the low quality movies would have you believe. Once you have finished with Conan move on to Howard's other works. If you did not like them leave. Now.

Keegan, JohnThe Face of Battle - the descriptions in this book are a must for anyone wanting to know some truth in grisly detail about ancient and medieval warfare.

Still pretty easy to pick this one up cheap. Here is some blurb.

The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions. John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the experience of combat meant for the participants, whether they were facing the arrow cloud of Agincourt, the musket balls at Waterloo, or the steel rain of the Somme. Book jacket.

And a short short review.

Leiber, FritzSwords in the Mist (and others) - a basic source of modern fantasy; the stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are classics.

To my shame I went through my Fritz Leiber reading period many years ago. I never reread them due to the huge amount of stuff on my to read list at the time. I loved all the characters including Lankhmar . Some works are in the public domain. Most are not. This book would probably be a good starting place.

The First Book of Lankhmar is one of a series of Fritz Leiber's stories, involving Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, which are among the best pulp fantasies ever written. Leiber was an intelligent and gifted writer who, throughout his adult life, used the sensitive barbarian hulk and the "not as clever as he thinks he is" urban rogue as voices for the two sides of himself. Some of the stories here are hilarious farces, others exciting adventures, a couple passionately sad tragedies of disappointment and lost love. Somehow Leiber manages to keep the same consistent tone in these stories, in which he was learning his craft, as those from later in his distinguished career. This omnibus compilation brings together four collections that deal with the earlier stages of the rogues' lives. The title correctly emphasis Lankhmar--the Alexandria-like metropolis where they experience many of their set backs and adventures--because over the years Leiber never took them away from it for very long. Particular highlights here include "Lean Times in Lankhmar", in which they discover the seamier sides of temple protection rackets, and "Ill Met in Lankhmar", in which we learn how they fall foul of the Thieves' Guild. --Roz Kaveney

[caption id="attachment_839" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Njáls saga"]Njáls saga[/caption]

Magnusson, Magnus (ed.)Njal's Saga - an excellent look at a Dark Ages culture, and some rousing fighting besides.

Can be purchased for a lot or a little from Amazon. Or another translation can be read for free from gutenberg. More information can be found on the ever useful Wikipedia.

[caption id="attachment_847" align="aligncenter" width="230" caption="Le Morte d'Arthur"]Le Morte d'Arthur[/caption]

Malory, ThomasLe Morte d'Arthur - more information on heroic actions, though of a limited cult. Useful too for inspiration on possible event for FRP.

More information here. Full text from Gutenberg, here and here.

Moorcock, MichaelElric (and others) - a basic source of modern fantasy.

Primarily his eternal champion sequence. More information can be found here at Wikipedia. My personal favourite is the von Bek sequence. Most of Moorcock's stuff is still in print and huge amounts can be found very cheaply second hand.

[caption id="attachment_848" align="aligncenter" width="174" caption="C.A.S - Hyperborea"]C.A.S - Hyperborea[/caption]

Smith, Clark AshtonHyperborea (and others) - more standards of fantasy fiction, which everyone should at least taste.

Much of Smith's work has fallen into the public domain. More information can be found here.

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961), perhaps best known today for his association with H.P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, is in his own right a unique master of fantasy, horror and science-fiction. Highly imaginative, his genre-spanning visions of worlds beyond, combined with his profound understanding of the English language, have inspired an ever -increasing legion of fans and admirers.

For most of his life, he lived in physical and intellectual isolation in Auburn, California (USA). Predominantly self-educated with no formal education after grammar school, Smith wore out his local library and delved so deeply into the dictionary that his richly embellished, yet precise, prose leaves one with the sense that they are in the company of a true master of language.

Though Smith primarily considered himself a poet, having turned to prose for the meager financial sum it rewarded, his prose might best be appreciated as a "fleshed" out poetry. In this light, plot and characters are subservient to the milieu of work: a setting of cold quiet reality, which, mixed with the erotic and the exotic, places his work within its own unique, phantasmagoric genre. While he also experimented in painting, sculpture, and translation, it is in his written work that his legacy persists.

During his lifetime, Smith's work appeared commonly in the pulps alongside other masters such H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, and E. Hoffmann Price and like many great artists, recognition and appreciation have come posthumously. In recent decades though, a resurgence of interest in his works has lead to numerous reprintings as well as scholarly critiques.

The Eldritch Dark is a site to facilitate both scholars and fans in their appreciation and study of Clark Ashton Smith and his works.

I love Smith's work. Go out and read it. Much of it is still in print and most can be downloaded for free.

[caption id="attachment_954" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Arms and Armor"]Arms and Armor[/caption]

Stone, George CameronA Glossary of the Constuction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor - heavy emphasis on Japanese fighting gear, but worth it anyway.
This 'glossary' - organised essentially in the same way as a dictionary or encyclopedia - dates back to 1934. The edition I have in front of me has the date 1961 inside the front cover. Moreover very little post 1900 material is featured. Apart from being old the glossary is also imperfect in the sense that much that is new has been discovered in the last hundred years, and the black and white images, certainly in my edition, are of variable quality.

Nevertheless appearances can be highly deceptive, for 'Cameron Stone' is one of the most important and useful books on the subject of arms and armour ever published. Its key value is as an identification tool because, for example, if you are faced with some sort of sword all you have to do is turn to the section on swords. You are then presented with perhaps 30 different general types of sword from around the world and two or three hundred different names of sword types,fittings, and sword associated items. Your search can then be refined further by looking up some of these words in other parts of the book. The bibliography can then suggest other relevant book titles.

The reference can also be worked the other way round. For example you are presented with the name 'Ox tongue' and beyond the fact that this term has some connection with arms and armour have no clue as to meaning. Cameron Stone takes you from Ox Tongue to the French 'Langue de Boeuf' - and from here to the information that this was a name for a form of pole arm current in the sixteenth century !

I have never tried to read Cameron Stone from cover to cover - nobody would - but if you are building a general reference library, or are interested in arms and armour, few volumes will be as useful to you as this one. (Review from Amazon)

Sturlasson, SnorriKing Harald's Saga - a superb epic tale by Iceland's most famous saga writer, proving you do not need fantasy to create a legend.

Can be found here at Gutenberg.
The "Heimskringla" of Snorri Sturlason is a collection of sagas concerning the various rulers of Norway, from about A.D. 850 to the year A.D. 1177.

The Sagas covered in this work are the following:
  1.  Halfdan the Black Saga
2. Harald Harfager's Saga
3. Hakon the Good's Saga
4. Saga of King Harald Grafeld and of Earl Hakon Son of Sigurd
5. King Olaf Trygvason's Saga
6. Saga of Olaf Haraldson (St. Olaf)
7. Saga of Magnus the Good
8. Saga of Harald Hardrade
9. Saga of Olaf Kyrre
10. Magnus Barefoot's Saga
11. Saga of Sigurd the Crusader and His Brothers Eystein and Olaf
12. Saga of Magnus the Blind and of Harald Gille
13. Saga of Sigurd, Inge, and Eystein, the Sons of Harald
14. Saga of Hakon Herdebreid ("Hakon the Broad-Shouldered")
15. Magnus Erlingson's Saga

While scholars and historians continue to debate the historical accuracy of Sturlason's work, the "Heimskringla" is still considered an important original source for information on the Viking Age, a period which Sturlason covers almost in its entirety.

Tolkien, J. R. RLord of the Rings - a modern fantasy classic. Tolkien is rightfully accorded as the Master of fantasy, and if you have not yet read LotR, please do yourself a favor. Of his other works, see also The Silmarilion - notes of the Master compiled posthumously by his son, Christopher. These are a chronicle of the earlier ages of Middle Earth.

This one needs no mention from me. Read the Appendices and the Silmarilion though. The Lord of the Rings is amazing. The Lord of the Rings in it's proper fictional historical context is spellbinding.


Chivalry & Sorcery; Bunnies & Burrows; Flash Gordon & the Warriors of Mongo; Starships & Spacemen - all from Fantasy Games Unlimited, PO Box 182, Roslyn NY 11576.

Chivalry and Sorcery still seems to exist here, now in it's 4th edition. Wikipedia has a page here.

Chivalry & Sorcery also allows for a wide range of adventures and role playing campaigns.

Whether it is historical simulation or high fantasy adventure you are after, Chivalry & Sorcery has been answering the need for over 25 years. With combat systems, magick and character skills that are realistic and are able to simulate most situations any character might face in the course of a gaming session, Chivalry & Sorcery is now better than ever. Moreover, even with this comprehensive coverage, the rules are far from complex. We even have a “Light” version for especially “quick and dirty” play.

Bunnies & Burrows still exists just as a GURPS ebook. Wikipedia page here.

Flash Gordon has a BGG page here.

Starships & Spacemen has just been reissued by Goblinoid Games here.

Back in 1978 the second sci-fi RPG ever to be in development was released by Fantasy Games Unlimited, Starships & Spacemen, by Leonard H. Kanterman. Inspired by many sci-fi influences, Starships & Spacemen trekked new ground. You could play a Tauran with a machine-like, logical mind, and adventure in space hunting for alien treasures on unexplored worlds. You might face the aggressive Videni who resembled Taurans in appearance, but not intentions. Against that backdrop one might reach an uneasy truce with the militant Zangids.

Empire of the Petal Throne; Knights of the Round Table (dead); Space Patrol; Superhero 2044 - all from Gamescience (Lou Zocchi & Associates), 1956 Pass Rd., Gulfport MS 39501.

The Empire Lives! Here.

Space Patrol is mentioned here at RPG Geek and also reviewed here.

The original "Space Patrol" science fiction roleplaying game by designer Michael Scott, released in 1977 by Gamescience. It was released only as a soft-cover saddle-stitched booklet.

Although not officially licensed, "Space Patrol" made some tongue-in-cheek use of the terminology and setting of Star Trek, referencing Kirk, phasers, Klingons, landing parties and so on. At the same time, its ambitions went beyond Trek-with-serial-numbers-filed and also included references to Niven's Kzinti, Asimov's Foundation, Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Flash Gordon, Pournelle's Falkenberg's Legion and -- in a last minute addenda -- the new kid on the block, Star Wars.

In other words, "Space Patrol" was striving to be a definitive adaption of the space opera genre for RPGs. Space Patrol wasn't the first or only attempt at that time to create a "sci-fi D&D". 1976 had already seen the releases of TSR's "Metamorphosis: Alpha" and Flying Buffalo's "Starfaring"; and Tyr's "Space Quest", FGU's "Flash Gordon" and GDW's definitive science fiction RPG "Traveller" would follow in 1977, around the same time as "Space Patrol" itself.

"Space Patrol" went on to spawn various games over the next few years: Heritage's "Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier" (1978), Gamescience's "Star Patrol" (1981), and Terra Games' "Starfleet Voyages" (1982). Although each of these are separate RPGs, they are all by co-designer Michael Scott and all undeniably share many of the same mechanics (and, often, the exact same text).

No additional supplements for "Space Patrol" were ever released.

(attribution: description submitted by Robert Saint John based on his own previous articles from his Groknard site, edited and updated)

Superhero 2044 is discussed here at the always fabulous Grognardia.

I have to admit I find the future history of Superhero 2044 more than a little wacky, but superheroes are themselves fairly wacky, so I don't think this is necessarily a flaw in the game. Indeed, I find something rather charming about this central conceit of the game, which, to my mind at least, hearkens back to the beginnings of comics, when superheroes patrolled the streets of imaginary locales like Gotham or Metropolis. Furthermore, by placing the game in the future, it provides a better foundation on which to construct all the super-science and aliens that most supposedly "modern day" comics have in abundance and yet never seem to change the world in any noticeable fashion. Inguria and the world it inhabits, on the other hand, are changed by the presence of these things, a fact that I think makes a setting like this a good one for a roleplaying game, even if it's not what many gamers might expect.

Advanced D&D; Dungeons & Dragons; Gamma World; Metamorphosis Alpha; Star Probe (dead); Star Empires (dead) - all from TSR Hobbies, Inc., PO Box 756, Lake Geneva WI 53147.

Dungeons and Dragons is still going in a form far changed from the 70s. Gamma World was fairly recently re-released. Metamorphosis seems to still have some kind of life on the PDF scene. The last two are two parts of the three part series of board games. The third game was never released. TSR is dead.

Bushido; Space Quest - Tyr Gamemakers Ltd., PO Box 414, Arlington VA 22210.

The Fantasy Trip (included Wizard and Melee) - Metagaming, PO Box 15346, Austin TX 78761.

Tunnels & Trolls; Monsters! Monsters!; Starfaring - all from Flying Buffal, Inc., PO Box 1467, Scottsdale AZ 85252.

Traveller; En Garde! - Game Designers' Workshop, 203 North St., Normal IL 61761.

Legacy - Legacy Press, 217 Harmon Rd., Camden MI 49232.

Arduin Grimoire; Welcome to Skull Tower; Runes of Doom - all from James E. Mathis, 2428 Ellsworth (102), Berkeley CA 94704.

Star Trek - Heritage Models, Inc., 9840 Monroe Dr. (Bldg. 106), Dallas TX 75220.

The Society for Creative Anachronism. Write to Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc., Office of the Registry, PO Box 594, Concord, Calif. 94522

Write for prices to Lou Zocchi & Associates, 1956 Pass Rd. Gulfport MS 39501,or see you local hobby or game store.




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