The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Friday 3 June 2016

And Now, I Will Proceed to Piss Off the Entire Stupid-Cultist Wing of the OSR

You know Appendix N?

It's mostly meaningless.

It's just fucking filler for the book.  It isn't the fucking DaVinci Code. It's not The Key to the Mysteries of D&D that will uncover your precious UR-D&D that will make you more old-school than anyone else.  It's not even a particularly complete or coherent or consistently good list of books.

And NO ONE gave a fuck about it in the REAL old-school days.  Most of us didn't even read the list. We certainly didn't think it was the goddamn Babylonian Talmud that we'd have to spend hours and days ruminating about. We knew, just as with every other 'recommended reading list' in every other RPG book ever, that it was just a list one guy made of books he liked, and was mostly a waste of space. I never saw anyone back then treating it as a list of vital importance, much less venerating as a cultlike object of sacred scripture like some idiots in the modern OSR do.

(Gary Gygax?  REALLY great guy. We owe him a lot. Mostly D&D. But he was not History's Greatest Literary Critic, much less the rosicrucian keeper of the secret code of truth)

Your veneration of Appendix N is humiliatingly stupid.  You should just venerate D&D instead, all of it and all of old-school, rather than trying to find the True Pure Secret Old School in an absurd pseudo-religious quest.

It's also so fucking 2011. Get with it, we're past that now; clones are over. The Talmudic analysis of text to find proto-D&D and the One True Style of Old School is over. What's awesome about the OSR isn't mindless Gygax-worship, it's what awesome games, adventures, books and settings we can make with it now and just how far we can push the limits with the box of OSR design rules.


Currently Smoking:


  1. I only thought it was cool because I had read a bunch of the books on it by the time I got a DMG. There are some good books on there but I never specifically sought out a book because it was on that list.

    1. So had I (read a bunch) and neither had I (read any because of the list).

  2. There's someone venerating Gygax's tossed-off list of some pulpy books he enjoyed? I suppose the same ones who read his books on roleplaying mastery and felt they were good.

  3. Oh. Is that not the one with the treasure table?

  4. Now the Random Harlot table on the other hand...��

  5. I disagree. At my school the librarian recommended Narnia and the Hobbit which of course are great and all, but it was through Appendix N I learned about Burroughs & Vance, Lovecraft and Andre Norton. So I'll always be grateful to Gygax for that recommended reading list. Of course it's not holy writ, but its a nice summary of inspirational books.

  6. It's a nice brief list of some good books, but hardly all I encompassing even for it's intention. Maybe useful as a starting point. But any list with Fafhrd on it can't be taken too seriously. Effin' hated him and the Grey Mouser.

  7. Never even looked at it. *shrugs*

  8. More power to you. There is a good reason it is a random afterthought appendix rather than part of a foreword or introduction: it has nothing whatsoever to do with "how to play D&D," which unfortunately a lot of wannabe-Talmudic-scholar nerds seem to mistake it for.

  9. I assume you've read Jeffro Johnson's series of blogposts (soon to be a book, I believe) in which he rereads the entire list. One thing which is very interesting is how he uncovers the DNA of some specific features of early D&D in the Appendix N books. I think it's useful to understand what fictional models Gygax et al were trying to emulate.

    Somebody piss in your tobacco jar this week?

  10. Almost everything I've read on Appendix N (which isn't much) was because a friend had already read it and thought I'd enjoy it.

  11. Sure, most of my friends and I didn't care about the Appendix, but we sure as heck read much of what was on it. In the 70s and early 80s, Moorcock, Vance, Leiber, Zelazny, were what every gamer read. Yeah, it's not Holy Writ, but it does reflect what undergirded the creation of D&D