Like most, I've read a significant amount of fantasy over my gaming years - but I will do my best to give the most influential 5.
1) Lovecraft: I am virtually obsessed with all things Lovecraftian (I actually played in a band that melded his influence into the lyrics and background). Repeatedly, I come back to his short stories and find little pieces of delusions that move me in different ways towards crafting cryptic menaces. I can't overestimate his importance on my writing, though I try to avoid being overly derivative.
2) RE Howard: Once you get de Camp and crew out of the books (mind you, I grew up on those, they're OK - they just don't write at the same level IMHO) - the pulp fantasy he wrote is stellar (all of it, even the westerns...) His insistence that mankind is just barbaric below the surface really guides my somewhat misanthropic spin on cultures in fantasy writing. I like it gritty.
3) Fritz Lieber: Speaking of gritty - Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser may be my absolute favorite protagonists. The flawed jewels of heroism, really just as concerned with drinking and wenching as doing much else. To me, Fritz brought a good amount of "true world" attitude to fantasy in the Swords books. Also, there are no finer city bound adventures... His work is ripe for picking!
4) Karl Edward Wagner: A later discovery for me, as the books don't seem as easily to pickup - at least until the internet came along. Kane is a good antihero, and did a lot to influence my concepts of writing. As blood-thirsty and generally heartless as he is, he comes across as a hero in the world of back-stabbers and the politically corrupt. Lovecraft meets Lieber.
5) HR Davidson: My favorite ancient history writer, and I've read a few. Her work on northern cultures is incredibly well researched, and she writes in an enjoyable and readable style.
Honorable Mention: Barry Cunliffe (like Davidson, but for working on Celtic stuff), Ann Ross (also Celtic, some of it harder to read), Tolkien (can it be avoided, why would you?), Charles de Lint (when classic fantasy/mythology meets the urban road).
There are others, I love Gygax's Greyhawk series (I can hear dice rolling...), Moorcock's "Corum" (and others, again a misanthropic influence on fantasy worlds), and others... many others
My first influences had been the various mythologies I had read and discussed at home when I was a kid at home. Both the greek and Roman versions of the mythology, the odessy (later in life the Iliad), Germanic and norse mythologies, stories like Siegfried, Beowoulf, and brief readings on hindu, chinese and native mythologies. It was not until I started gaming that I started reading lovecraft, Tolkien, Donaldson etc. So the whole issue for my is more of a symbiotic relationship (the gaming fed the interest in the books and the books keeps the interest in the games growing.
Post by oldgamergeek on Mar 12, 2008 17:07:18 GMT -6
Robert A Heinlein , the moon is a harsh mistress , glory road , tunnel in the sky Farnham's Freehold , revolt in 2100 etc . H.P Lovecraft dig that mythos R.E Howard Conan . any thing sword and sorcery probably some star trek too . my teachers did not approve of my reading choices to wich my libertarian parents said " get over it you little Hitlers "
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CS Lewis as a child growing up in England. then DeCamp and Pratt. then just DeCamp. Lots of Lovecraft and RE Howard. and Moorcock.
Yeah, I like pulp.
I have read a lot of books by the above authors three and four times. Most days, I'd rather reread an older familiar pulp title than tackle some new works. My Wife tells me I'd love George RR Martin's work...I just grumble something and reread Beyond the Black River.
"Most of the rules are only between my ears and they're constantly changing" - Dave Arneson
Just wondering who each of you consider the biggest influences on you and the way that you play OD&D.
Oddly enough, fantasy literature hasn't had much of an influence on my D&D games. I enjoy many of the authors listed in this thread, but (for the most part) their influence on my games has been close to nil. I can think of three exceptions (listed in the chronological order that I read them):
1. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories, both those published while he was alive as well as those published posthumously: Tolkien's influence on my D&D games was at its height during my late teens and early twenties. (I'm 37 now.) Now Tolkien's influence on my game is pretty slight.
2. Moorcock's six-book saga of Elric: What influenced me here is the prevalence of conjuring magic in these stories. This influence is rather secondary, though.
3. H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories, which I didn't read until I was in my late twenties. Again, this influence is secondary.
So what are the biggest influences on my D&D games? Here they are:
1. The Cthulhu Mythos section of the AD&D Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia has had a BIG influence. I first read it when I was 10 years old, and when I read Lovecraft 15+ years later, DDG remains much more influential on my games than are Lovecraft's stories. Erol Otus's Cthulhoid illustrations are perhaps an even bigger influence than the text itself.
2. Gary's D trilogy of modules, particularly the Shrine of the Kuo-Toa. The vast subterranean realms detailed in these modules has significantly shaped my vision of A/D&D "as it should be". Blasphemous, I know, but I would much rather Gary had completely detailed the large-scale map in the D modules than his Castle Greyhawk. Like DDG, I first read these at age 10 (or 11).
3. For a completely different feel, Mike Carr's module B1 has influenced my idea of what a D&D campaign should feel like. This influence is of a very different sort than DDG and the D modules. Again, I first read B1 at age 10.
My most recent campaign drank deeply of DDG's Cthulhu Mythos and of the D trilogy of modules. Perhaps in reaction to so much darkness, my next campaign is eschewing those two influences in favor of the much brighter and more wholesome feel of B1.
Last Edit: Mar 12, 2008 20:24:35 GMT -6 by geoffrey
Not much that I could add to this list. So, for the most part, I'd just say, "yeah, whatever everyone else said, because ya'll have nearly said it all."
All I could add would be Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels, all 12 billion of them, because they were an entertaining way to see how the inner cirles of court life could work.
My games rarely rise to the level of court intrigue, though, because that's usually just way to dangerous for PCs. Slaying dragons is child's play compared to the poisoned wine cup. No save, of course. Nobility can afford the best brews.
Literature 1. Roadside Picnic (Arkady and Boris Strugatsky) - For the feel of the 'mythic underworld', artifacts and the weird 2. Satyricon (Petronius Arbiter), Epigrams (Martial) & Dying Earth Series (Vance) - For picturing society and decadence 3. The Gods of Pegana (Dunsany) & Dreamland Cycle (Lovecraft) - For the eerie feel and naming (+ Vance too!)
Multimedia - 3 picture: Princess of Mars original cover (Frank E. Schoonover), AD&D PHB cover (Tramp), Fields of Shangri-la (Zhang Jiang) - 3 album: Dreams of Dark Waters (Endvra), Hlidskjalf (Burzum), Within the Realm of the Dying Sun (Dead Can Dance) - 3 movie: El Topo (Jodorowsky), Satyricon (Fellini), Stalker (Tarkovsky)
(BTW The Mercenary and Druuna comics are also awesome ;D)