UK's Strange Attractor Press has just announced the release of the special hardback edition of Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots Of Dungeons & Dragons, by Boing Boing contributor Peter Bebergal. When I first heard about the idea behind this book, my immediate thought was: This is brilliant! My second was: Why has no one thought of this before?
Old school RPGers will undoubtedly remember "Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading" in the back of the original 1979 AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. In it, D&D co-creator Gary Gygax lists many of the authors and stories that inspired him and contributed to the creation of the game. Peter's idea was to assemble many of these authors and stories into a reader exploring these worlds that influenced the mother of all roleplaying games.
…Appendix N presents a selection of short fiction and resonant fragments that shaped the world's most popular roleplaying game.
Rippling flesh, fiendish beasts and chasmic horrors populate what were then entirely novel fantastic landscapes, which have lost none of their atmosphere, magic, or otherworldly allure in our own embattled century.
Appendix N explores and contextualizes these ambitious lyrical excursions that set the adventurous tone and dank, dungeon-crawling atmospheres of fantasy roleplay as we know it today.
The special edition of Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots Of Dungeons & Dragons looks amazing. It includes de-bossed cover boards, old school dungeon map endpapers, and a limited edition chapbook of A. Merritt's 1918 novella People of the Pit.
Authors found in the book include Lin Carter, Poul Anderson, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Tanith Lee, HP Lovecraft, Michael Moorcock, Lord Dunsany. The list goes on with 16 stories in all. The book itself is cleverly designed as a D&D adventure (Dungeon Module GG1 — Descent into the Temple of Appendix N), with the stories keyed to the dungeon map.
Besides Berbergal, other artists involved in the project include cover artist Arik Roper (he of much doom/stoner metal album cover art), interior illustrator Alex Crispin (co-designer and artist for Escape The Dark Castle, Escape the Dark Sector), classic pulp magazine artist Virgil Finlay (who did the chapbook art), and legendary sci-fi and fantasy editor and publisher, Ann VanderMeer.
The special edition hardcover is limited and I bet will go fast. A paperback version will follow in early 2021.