Thursday, June 23, 2016

Appendix B (for Beyond the Wall) - Part 1

A lot of gamers the past few years have either been praising or condemning the idea of "Appendix N" as it appears in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. What is "Appendix N"? It's the appendix in the DMG that lists "inspirational and educational reading" for Dungeon Masters and players alike. When some people mention the Old School Renaissance in one breath, their next breath contains the words "Appendix N".

While I have no problems with drawing inspiration from authors such as Lloyd Alexander, Andre Norton, or J.R.R. Tolkien, or doing research in the library, I thought it would be nice to present some old school articles I have found of interest and possible use to players and gamemasters of Beyond the Wall. Rather than running through all 300+ issues of Dragon Magazine, I'm going to pull this off the top of my head and pick out the articles I remember most as things progress. While this may make it slightly disorganized and absolutely not an exhaustive appendix, I hope you find it of some interest and use.

Though the bulk of the articles in this appendix are drawn from out of print issues of Dragon Magazine, there will be others cropping up here and there from such publications as Shadis when I have time to dig those issues out of the attic, as well as other online resources, blogs and whatnot. I have made an effort to stay away from articles that are heavy in game mechanics, instead focusing on those with practical advice, background, or a minimum of mechanics allowing them to be used in BtW.

Appendix B, Part One's featured references
Dragon #58 (February 1982)
"The Dwarven Point of View" by Roger E. Moore: Kicking off a series regarding demihuman cultures, Roger E. Moore (once and future editor of Dragon Magazine), takes a look under the mountainside at dwarven culture and whether or not they're really as grumpy as the elves say they are. Despite being rooted in AD&D (and Greyhawk) lore, this is a purely fluff/background piece, as are all others in this series.

Dragon #59 (March 1982) 
"The Halfling Point of View" by Roger E. Moore: Continuing his series, Moore next turns his attention to the halflings and reveals that halflings aren't as naive and foolish as some believe and their life really isn't one big party.

Dragon #60 (April 1982)
"The Elven Point of View" and "The Half-Elven Point of View" by Roger E. Moore: Moore looks at the longest-lived of the demihumans and those of their kin caught between two worlds. Unlike BtW elves, with their strong ties to the faerie court, these articles are rooted in Greyhawk and AD&D lore. Despite the difference there are a number cultural gems in the articles with which to better flesh out elves.

Dragon #61 (May 1982)
"The Gnomish Point of View" by Roger E. Moore: Gnomes are Moore's next focus in his second-to-last article on demihumans, explaining how the rarest of the demihumans has much in common with both elves and dwarves while having a distinct culture all their own.

Dragon #63 (July 1982)
"The Humanoids" by Roger E. Moore: Not wanting to slight the ornery orcs, Moore concludes his series on non-human cultures in AD&D with a general look at the cultures of orcs, kobolds, gnolls, bugbears, goblins, and hobgoblins. The article, like all the others, is rooted in AD&D lore and includes a number of humanoid deities not featured in AD&D's Unearthed Arcana.

Dragon #109 (May 1986)
"Worth Its Weight In Gold" by John Olson: An article detailing the cultural significance of the dwarf's beard, it also takes on the issue of whether or not female dwarves have beards or not.

Dragon #119 (March 1987)
"The Uldra" by Callie Lindstrand: A new demihuman race, the uldra are closer to the Scandinavian idea of elves. This article might provide a new fantastic race for gamemasters and players or a suitable version of the elf for BtW games rooted in Scandinavian folklore.

Dragon #129 (January 1988)
"Children of the Spider Goddess" by Eric Oppen: A look at dark elven culture through the lens of Greyhawk and AD&D. Despite this grounding, there are still cultural and philosophical points in the article that can be used to flesh out the elves of the Unseelie Court.

Dragon #131 (March 1988)
"The Folk of the Underworld" by Eric Oppen: Oppen expands upon Moore's series, giving us a look at the culture and lives of the surface gnomes deep cousins, the svirfneblin.

Dragon #152 (December 1989)
"Servants of the Jewelled Dagger" by Eric Oppen: Delving into the shadows, Eric Oppen gives us a look at the culture of the dwarves' dark cousins, the duergar.

Dragon #155 (March 1990)
"Wild in the Woods" by Eric Oppen: Again expanding upon Moore's series, Oppen details the culture and outlook of the wood elves, also known as the grugach.

"In the Frost and the Snow" by David S. Reimer: If you're in need of something different for elves, there's always the snow elves. While there are mechanics for AD&D in this article, they can easily be converted over.

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