Fantasy Wargaming cover to cover (IX)

Chapter V: Moorcock and more (or, “Whatever takes your fancy”)

Well, that’s about the best chapter title so far. This chapter, which you might expect to be the “Appendix N” of FW, is impossible for me to explain. I mean, I can explain what it is (a nice survey of the author’s favorite science fiction and fantasy, as well as some cautions against certain works) but I can’t really explain what it is doing in this book. The text just suggests that GMs will find a lot of help with plot and story ideas by reading fantasy novels and here are my favorites. The chapter begins with some props to JRRT, but the author also notes that Middle Earth would be a terribly boring place to adventure, because everything is already discovered and documented … the world is just so complete. I can sort of see his point. Even so, he adds: “It is probably the closest thing … to a concept of another world which is really rooted in … the cultural past and the closest in terms of depth of treatment to the type of fantasy scenario which I hope this book will inspire you to create for yourself.” This chapter is the first and only one to use the personal pronoun extensively and is admittedly a personal and quirky catalog of fantasy novels. He lists a lot of authors, and some he admits really don’t have much to do with his project at all, but often they appear just on what he considers their entertainment value.

  • Alan Garner
  • Richard Kirk (Raven stories)
  • T.H. White Mary Stewart (Merlin stories)
  • H. Warner Munn
  • Fritz Lieber
  • Andre Norton (Witch world)
  • Anne McCaffery (Pern, & admittedly an odd choice)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley (Darkover)
  • Arthur Landis (Camelot sci-fi)
  • Michael Moorcock
  • Clifford D. Simak (Goblin reservation)*
  • Dennis Wheatley
  • Lin Carter (Thongor)
  • Robert E. Howard (Conan)**
  • John Jakes (Brak the Barbarian)
  • John Norman (Gor series, which the author says are poor to start but get better)
  • Stephen Donaldson (Thomas Covenant)
  • he notes his dislike for Patricia McKillip (Riddlemaster series) and Tanith Lee (Storm lord & sequels) then returns to positive recommendations:
  • Ursula K. LeGuin (Earthsea)
  • L. Sprague DeCamp (Complete Enchanter)
  • Robert Heinlein (Number of the Beast)

Well, there are few I hadn’t heard of here, so I’ll be looking into them at some point, but sadly this is anything but an Appendix N.

*Simak’s Where the evil dwells, a fantasy set in the dark ages, would be a great starting point for an FW campaign, but was published after FW.

**Howard is recognized as much better than Carter & Jakes but the author still lumps the three together, which will doubtless enrage REH’s more strident fans. 🙂

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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