Find the downloads at fictoplasm.itch.io
New Year’s resolution: to actually talk about other people’s podcasts again. After I accumulate five episodes of stuff I liked, I’ll post them here in irregular digests.
Looks Unfamiliar Extra: The Box of Delights
Fantastic analysis of the BBC serial The Box of Delights, including mentions of the soundtrack, the habits for the BBC to do a fantasy serials in the run up to Christmas and how these skirted the edges of fiction for children.
Good Friends of Jackson Elias: Top 3 Mythos Media
For their 199th episode the Good Friends (+ Mike Mason) look into their favourite Lovecraftian (or Lovecraft-adjacent) media with some familiar choices and some new ones.
301 Permanently Moved: In the Archipelago (S04E01)
System Mastery: Itras By
Big fan of System Mastery but this one in particular was great, giving Itras By some deserved praise, generally lots of affection.
League of Moveable Type: Favourite Share-Worthy Reads
Last item is the League of Moveable Type’s podcast. In Ep 45 they talk about font design links of interest including the very cool NaN Glyph Filters.
League of Moveable Type: Favourite Share-Worthy Reads (via their Weekly Typographic).
Well… it’s taken long enough, but here is the first, final version of StormHack!. I’ve written several posts and gone through a number of iterations.
From the Introduction:
This is my OSR game. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It’s supposed to emulate a classic 1980s RPG based on the multiversal fantasy of a British fantasy author.
It’s also a remix of familiar OSR system objects and names from the Worlds Favourite Fantasy Game (such as Ability Scores, monster stat blocks, etc.). That should make it easy to use other OSR resources while repurposing some game elements.
The project as a whole is more generic but this version is specifically intented to be run with old Stormbringer scenarios.
Grab the pdf here. The current document was produced for screen reading rather than print (the font sizes may be a bit large), using iA Writer and the in-built GitHub template. I’ll look into printable versions in the future.
see this post
Apocalypse World: Burned Over (like most PbtA) has its own lexicon regarding playbooks which may affect impressions of what that character does.
This is further complicated by this scenario, which is very prescriptive in what the PCs do.
Players are expected to pick playbooks and work to fit them into the scenario and potential situations. Some playbooks will be a drop in, but others will take a bit of creative thinking to make work. There are some comments below on how to make the different playbooks work.
This game is slightly different from (my experience of) typical AW games, which are usually centred around a stronghold or other central location. In Burned Over this would be the game’s Hard Zone.
This scenario uses the variant play of Burned Over with two Hard Zones, which are North and South of the Road that the players will be travelling on. Furthermore the characters will be constantly in motion, travelling from location to location and not returning to static locations. The characters are also on a mission to deliver serum to Boston; this means that they are against the clock, and every stop and diversion means lives lost.
I can see these consequences:
- Less opportunity for pursuing social interactions.
- A character with a big following will be difficult to make work, unless they’re travelling with them. An entourage that slows the convoy down could be disastrous.
- Similarly resources or wealth concentrated in a place won’t work, unless that place is mobile.
That leaves three ways of managing characters with people and other resources on their playbook.
The first is to have those resources in a vehicle.
The second option is to have the resources in caches along the road. If they’re people, they’re settlements that display some kind of affiliation to the character. If they’re resources, they’re dead drops, strongboxes, bunkers or other caches that the character can gain access to. In that case the character should use those to expand on their own affiliations and how these resources illustrate them — are they part of a secret society, federation, pre-collapse nation?
The third is to make use of the two Hard Zones. This is trickier but these may still be accessed along the Road via Off-Ramps. They represent different states of reality, two opposing forces, competing timelines and ethereal states; it’s effectively a ghost or spirit world, a representation of the psychic maelstrom. Specific characters are more likely to interact with them briefly (e.g. the Gearcutter) but they could serve as static places “owned” by those characters with such resources, to be visited on occasion. However this may still present a logistical problem because the time any character can spend in these places will still be limited owing to the mission constraints. If the playgroup and player can make this work then go for it; otherwise I’d limit the concept to the other two options above.
Vehicles and Driving
The Nation of California provides a vehicle suitable for transporting the serum called a Landmaster. This is an eight-wheeled all terrain vehicle with radiation cladding, armour and various armaments. It’s assumed all characters can drive the vehicle, especially if there are no environmental challenges (and they will need to share the burden of driving).
Some playbooks own vehicles, or have abilities that could be interpreted as a vehicle. If the players agree, the Landmaster could be “owned” by one character. If the Medic is in play for example, the Landmaster could be their Refuge. If there’s a Weaponized, they could be the Landmaster.
Otherwise, the other vehicles can be outriders or support vehicles doing duty to protect the Landmaster, which is carrying the vital serum to Boston.
The Hard Zones
AW: Burned Over assumes 1 or at most 2 Hard Zones. If there’s a single Zone it’s where the PCs are; if there are 2, the PCs walk the border between the two.
By default The Road is the game’s Hard Zone. It’s the physical landscape the characters are going to cross on their journey between the Nation of California and Boston. Locations include:
- Wells, places that can provide resources essential to the journey
- Off-ramps, deviations from the Road into the Other places
- Storm ranges, natural threats that will affect progress
There are some notes below on how each Playbook fits into the setting, but in general interactions with a Hard Zone will be spots along the Road, and the party will only visit these spaces once.
If you want to run with 2 Hard Zones instead, make the Road the border between the two. This could be a physical border (for example between warring groups North and South of the Road) or a metaphysical one (the Road connects the Now with the Past, other timelines or dimensions).
Fitting the Playbooks
This character tends to be a loner and can probably slot in as-is.
Note that this character is potentially very disruptive to both communities and the environment; also they need time up close to use their powers, even if that time is short, which will be limited to when people are outside their vehicles. But otherwise no real restrictions and no tweaking needed for play.
A great playbook for a mechanic type, and really good fit for the game. Does some interesting psychic stuff.
Note their Salvage Grounds. Assume that they have a collection of stuff in the Landmaster or their personal vehicle.
When they’re going into dangerous territory to salvage, they’re probably going Off Ramp into one of the Hard Zones, which are weird alternate spaces where they can find things not normally found in the primary world.
This is probably the hardest playbook to integrate as it often revolves around a Holding which is by default static and has NPCs coming to it.
One way to make the Lawmaker fit is to make them an extension of either the Nation of California, or the old pre-collapse USA. In this case their law is synonymous with THE law. This would make them more like a Judge crossing the Cursed Earth, but it could work. This would still allow them to proclaim their Laws. Their 20-strong Gang might be other lawmakers roving the wilds and similarly dispensing justice, and their Holding could be stations along the way that still uphold the Old Laws.
An alternative way to play could be to make this character an antagonist pursuing the convoy with bikes and other vehicles, for whatever reason. This is the role of the biker gang lead by Big Brother in the final pages of Damnation Alley. Managing this would mean you have to cut between the Convoy and their stronghold, but in this case it could work. One of their Laws should be something that directly opposes the Mission. Their Holding might be a roving gang, or it could be one of the two Hard Zones accessed by Off-Ramps.
If the Medic is in play, suggest that their Refuge is the Landmaster.
Like the Lawmaker, this playbook implies some kind of static group of people, but it’s a bit more flexible. If the Monarch’s People are choppers it’s easy to make them a support group riding with the Landmaster.
Another interpretation could focus on the affiliation the character has, rather than assuming an entourage that’s always there. Like the Lawmaker variant, their people might be found in pockets of civilisation along the way, connected to this character by fame, a shared ideal, a national identity, etc. In this way the Monarch may be some kind of navigator or official that facilitates the convoy’s journey. Perhaps there are numerous checkpoints, tolls, or ports along the way and the Monarch is not just useful, but essential in getting safe passage through or resources. That would make them a kind of “fixer”.
If you’re taking this alternate option, be careful that you don’t overlap too strongly with the Operator and make one or the other redundant.
A pretty good fit with the scenario as-is. The Operator’s Ports of Call will be places along the Road, and their Ear to the Ground move should similarly be focused on places they’re going to travel through on the Road. They have their own vehicle.
Really interesting character focused on Aggro, with links to the Maelstrom.
The Children should be encountered along the Road. Some of them are created as Threats (I guess either antagonists or causing trouble).
Rather than have these turn up as recurring characters (not really possible) consider foreshadowing these characters with some inevitable meeting happeing somewhere down the Road.
This is actually a pretty good fit already as the character isn’t tied down to a location. The exception is the Bolthole move. This could be a vehicle, or it could be a network of bunkers that the character somehow has access to, or other safe locations. Perhaps they have a secret map of the Old Nation. Hiding out for any length of time won’t work with the setting, so it may be simpler to prohibit this move.
Not a particularly subtle character, but should be no problem to integrate into the setting with no ties to any location.
Similar to the Volatile, a no-nonsense character that should be straightforward to integrate.
One option for this character could be to make them one of the vehicles, possibly the Landmaster itself. This could be tricky to build into the narrative with constraints on where the character can go, but it could be a fun option.
a play idea for Apocalypse World: Burned Over inspired by Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley, Roadmarks, and the Amber series.
By Ralph Lovegrove
The Mission and the Convoy
The play group is the Convoy of vehicles.
PCs have been seconded by the Nation of California to take the serum to Boston, which is in dire need combatting the Plague. The PCs are all miscreants with past lives that are at odds with civilised society. They all have reasons they are prepared to take the deal offered by the Constable of California, a pardon in exchange for escorting the serum to the East Coast.
At character generation, each character will have a past that forms part of their reason for being on the mission. Answer some of these questions:
- what did you do that means you can’t be part of society any more?
- what do you miss about being part of society?
- what will you do with your freedom?
The Road is a straight line between the Nation of California and Boston. This forms the basis for the journey. West is the Past, East is the Future, North and South are two alternate timelines. Branches from the Road move to other timelines in which characters may exist for a time and then rejoin the Road.
Branches off the Road, sometimes called Off-Ramps or Junctions, lead to other timelines. There are two competing realities: North and South.
North and South are the Hard Zones in this setting. They are static and eternal. They exist in many different times. The group (or MC) need to decide how the portals between the Road and the Hard Zones appear.
If you like, have individual characters or even the whole party deviate off the Road via a Branch and then rejoin later. This can be a mechanism for managing player absence.
Wells along the Road are the places that the Convoy needs to stop to replenish resources. They are the potential for the characters to meet settlements along the way, with associated Threats. Wells are (must be) resources that the Convoy needs.
A Well may have
- a resource that the Convoy needs to acquire
- a crisis/conflict that needs to be resolved in order to get that resource
- opportunities for interaction with locals
- a Landscape Threat
The Terrain (including weather) is a significant Threat, and a legacy from the Event. Threaten the party with the Terrain at least once per session.
The Nation matters. Even though boundaries have been erased by the disaster, there are people who are still old enough to have lived through the event, or direct descendants whose family have clung to the old divisions and borders.
Everyone has a relationship with the Nation, from zero (the former nation means nothing) to some positive value (geography, geopolitics, pre-Event history are significant).
The Nation has a language. The ancient cipher can be used to unlock deep held sentiments, forgotten truths, and painful truths depending on who you talk to.
In play the Nation is a Threat (Institution).
All characters start with Hx for The Nation, used in the moves Charm Someone, Read Someone, Read a Situation, Augury. This works if you can work in some element of the Nation into the conversation or the situation. In this case, replace the current stat with Hx.
At the MC’s option, use negative Hx in these situations to represent a person’s bias.
Some MC moves
Threaten with weather
Poison a Well
Up to the play group when things end. It may end after a few sessions with a defined arc. Or the game may end before ever reaching the destination, even after season after season. As MC you may choose to cancel the campaign before anything is really resolved, after many sessions of endless roads, diversions into other dimensions, returning PCs who may be imposters, clones, or alternate timeline versions of themselves. Prepare for backlash.
When Dirk the Dice asked me for my First, Last and Everything on episode 43 of the Grognard Files I had no idea it was going to be about D&D. D&D isn’t my First, Last, or Everything but I nonetheless expressed opinions about it, one of which is
I don’t think any game treats starting characters with as much contempt as D&D
by which I mean it normalises low level characters being weak and dying frequently (so normalised that Dungeon Crawl Classics parodies this with the Funnel).
The advocates of “zero to hero” tend to fall into two camps:
- Those who think that characters should always be weak, and dungeoneering should be frightening and fraught with danger
- Those who think high levels should be earned, not granted.
OSR style play is often portrayed as the first example (although that’s an argument in itself). I’m fine with this in principle, I just wonder if you are going to play a game with such fragile characters, why even bother including levels? (I think James Raggi planned to revise the LotFP system to exclude levels in both PCs and spells, which is a fine idea; obviously it hasn’t emerged yet).
As for the second… this is more of an impression I get from reading Dragon magazine in the 80s. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it from a real person (outside hyperbolic flame wars on the worst RPG forums)1.
Hyperbole or not, this position still makes the argument that levels are there to be suffered, not enjoyed. No-one actually likes levels. Levelling up, sure; but no-one likes to be reminded in such an artificial way that your PC is weak, that you’re part of a hierarchy whose upper eschelons you’re unlikely to see. We play RPGs to get away from that.
And as I said in the podcast the problem with levels is they make characters who are supposed to be risk-takers and heroes into conservative bean-counters, focusing on the future and not on the now2. More to the point, WotC knows the low level lethality is at odds with the aspirational nature of videogame-like mainstream D&D. This is why generation after generation of this game has made lower levels more survivable.
OK, what does this have to do with Dishonoured, you may ask?
So… the franchise has DNA in the original Thief and sequel3, probably my all-time favourite games. The first Dishonoured game didn’t have a no-powers option, but Dishonoured 2 has the option to refuse the mark of the Outsider entirely and play without powers. This is far and away the most satisfying way I’ve found of playing the game; it harks back to those original Thief games with the same kind of sandboxed levels and exploration in three dimensions rather than just teleporting around the city hunting the objective markers.
To make this work the designers had to make the maps almost completely accessible to a character with no powers. Playing this way feels a lot like you’re back playing Garrett mantling his way around the City’s rooftops. It also means you don’t need powers to complete the game (OK, there is still a bit of levelling up as you upgrade equipment with coin, but levelling powers with runes is gone). Emily is no less competent for her lack of supernatural ability; in fact you might argue that since she’s rejected the help of the Outsider and chosen to resolve things her own way, she has more agency and is more interesting.
In this situation powers are an aesthetic choice. They offer new ways to complete the game (including some spectacular ways to kill people) but they don’t define the character in the way that D&D’s class/levelling does (in particular 3e4).
Although to be clear I’m not against exotic powers — and if you want to make your PC’s powers the one special thing that defines them, go for it. But I think Dishonoured 2 has a useful lesson: build your character independent of the supernatural and they will be more interesting. This has sort of been my credo for StormHack; character is independent of demon. Character’s don’t level up, demons do. Of course that game does have levels after a fashion; but ascending levels isn’t a boon, it’s a trade off.
Of course any sensible play group will treat the characters equally, and levels and powers will be irrelevant to spotlight time. But that implied hierarchy is there, deep down in the lizard brain. Better to engineer out those biases entirely. Take the example of my “everything” game from the grogpod. Everway has no levelling up, no experience mechanism. You are the characters you start as. What you get instead are boons which come directly from the adventure and are therefore truly experiential (as opposed to artificial experience tiers).
Incidentally that’s why 1st edition Vampire was such a revelation. People point to the personal horror and the edgy gothic-ness but the thing that struck me the most was the complete de-emphasis of anything resembling levels and classes. Probably not remarkable to most people given how much choice we have today with better, lighter game designs, but it was pretty cool at the time, before they ruined it with the second edition.
martial arts on the other hand… but that’s another story ↩
I’m not knocking people who want to plan a trajectory for their PC and then see it through over months or years. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Diablo II myself ↩
pre Deadly Shadows. And don’t even start me on the 2014 reboot ↩
to be fair, I played 3e once, and I enjoyed it for what it was. Well, I say enjoyed it, I tolerated it. Well, I say I tolerated it, I stayed awake between rounds by grasping my lower lip and pulling it over the top of my head. Then I smeared my body with chilli jam and bovril before skiing through a cactus forest into a pit of starved honey badgers. Whilst listening to the unabridged audiobook of Fifty Shades of Grey read by Nigel Farage. That said, the gelatinous cube encounter was quite emotional. ↩
This is an optional combat system for my game StormHack. This system should bolt onto the dead simple OSR-style combat in StormHack, (or compatible games). With a bit of careful thought, it can probably be used for any combat system1.
Stances are basically statements of intent and ongoing mindset rolled into one. They’re a bunch of assumptions about what your PC will do in the combat, like a mini program of if/then statements. They draw a box around what you are doing and what you’re not doing.
There are six Stances, in line with the six Ability Scores (and Demon Realms in StormHack).
|Attacking||Pursuit (Str)||Defend (Con)||Flank (Dex)|
|Other||Talk (Cha)||Observe (Wis)||Device (Int)|
The Stances are simple enough to be put on an index card and picked up during combat by players (assuming we ever get to play F2F again).
There are three Attacking Stances, and three Other Stances. Attacking Stances are about making physical attacks on things. Other Stances are about doing other things in combat that aren’t directly attacking.
Then there are three kinds of Stance, which are
- Engage where the PC directly confronts the enemy
- Wait where the PC observes and waits for the enemy to do something
- Avoid where the PC tries to avoid interference whilst doing their actions
This is also the order in which monsters will pay attention to (target) the PC; if you’re charging towards (or standing up and shouting at) the monster you’re more likely to attract fire than if you’re hanging back. Choosing a particular Stance doesn’t make you any better or worse able to defend however, it just makes it more likely that the monsters go after you.
All the Stances assume that if attacked, a person will defend themselves (or to put it differently, none of the options mean you’re not defending yourself).
Here are the six “Stance cards”:
If you’re pursuing the enemy, assume
- Attacking is prioritised over all other actions. No matter what happens, you get to make an attack roll.
- You attack as soon as you’re in range. If for some reason you’re out of range, move to get into distance.
- You’re not hiding or staying in a fixed location. You’ll probably split off from any party members who aren’t attacking with you.
- You’ll definitely attract the attention of the enemy.
For agressive fighters. You’re not protecting anyone, but you’re haring off after the first target you can see
If you’re defending a person or place, assume
- You will always move to put yourself between the enemy and who/whatever you’re protecting. Enemy will have to attack you before they can attack your charge.
- If someone comes close enough to threaten, you automatically get to strike at them. If they’re not close enough, you can’t hit them.
- You’re out in the open so you attract attention, although less than if you charge towards the enemy.
If you’re flanking the enemy, assume
- Your first priority is to get into a superior position where you can attack, but the enemy can’t see you. You could start the combat from this position already. If you try to do this in combat it will probably be a harder roll than if you were outside combat; the ref should base the difficulty on whether the enemy was looking at you at the time you tried get away.
- If you’re in this position, you get to attack. This may or may not attract attention.
- If the enemy spots you, you can’t attack. Either try to hide again next round, or change your Stance to another attack and give up hiding.
For snipers and backstabbers
If you’re trying to use a device, cast a spell, pick up an object or do something else with the environment, assume
- You’re not attacking.
- You’re doing your best to avoid the enemy’s attention. How successful this is will depend on whether there’s someone else more attention-grabbing in the fight.
- If you’re attacked, it may delay or spoil whatever you’re trying to do.
This is a catch-all category for doing something in combat, but includes casting spells
If you’re observing what’s going on, assume
- You’re not attacking.
- You’re not making yourself obvious, but you’re not actively hiding either. You’re less of a threat/target than attacking party members.
- You’re watching out for what’s going on. If you see something you can alert others to it, and you can also act on it yourself the next round.
- if you alert someone else (e.g. to an ambush) the ref might credit that player with an advantage (or a roll if they would otherwise not get one)
- if you act yourself, you automatically gain the initiative next round, picking the Stance you want.
This is a catch-all for “wait and see” in combat. It can be used by anyone, and even non-combat types can use it to get involved in combat
If you’re talking to the enemy in combat, assume
- You’re not attacking.
- If the enemy can understand you, they’ll hear your message, unless they’re being attacked at that moment
- The ref will work out their response, e.g.
- if you’re intimidating, they may pause or even flee
- if you’re charming, they may stop fighting and engage in talks
- if you’re taunting, they may make you their next target
- You’re definitely sticking your neck out, so there’s a high probability of drawing fire.
This is obviously for attempting social interaction in combat
After the ref has introduced the scene and established that there is going to be a combat, the order of combat should go like this:
- Roll for initiative.
- On your PC’s turn, pick a Stance, and do what actions are prompted by that Stance (e.g. attack, get into cover, use a device, etc.)
- On the monster’s turn, the ref will manage whatever is natural for the monsters (usually close with the PCs and attack)
- At the end of the round, PCs hang onto their Stance cards.
At the next round if the player already holds a Stance card they can hand it in for a different card on their Initiative, or they can keep hold of it.
In play the ref might limit the number of Stance cards on the table. Sample limitations and reasons:
- only allowing 2 Pursuit cards because the environment is too close, so only a couple of people can push to the front
- denying Observe cards because it’s impossible to see further than a few feet in thick fog
- denying Talk cards because the environment is too loud, or magically silenced
Postscript: hierarchy of fighting
Getting into fights is about this, in order2:
To keep things simple assume that everyone is on the same page re: Mindset (i.e. whether or not they’re up for a fight). This makes sense for most RPGs where fighting is commonplace.
Often fight-heavy RPGs prioritise Techniques (sword swings, bull rushes, etc.) and don’t give the game a language to easily talk about Tactics, which are bound into statements of intent. The problem is that the statements of intent then get confused with the descriptive roleplaying of how the character is doing what they’re doing (e.g. Feng Shui).
Tactics are just a set of prepared responses that support a basic goal. They include both how and when the character attacks, and how they move to support that. The goal might be to overcome the enemy; it might be to escape; it might be to protect something or someone.
Tactics also change with the fight. In a RPG it can be difficult for a player to convey to the ref that what they want to achieve in the fight has changed. They can easily communicate a change in actions, but sometimes the reason isn’t obvious to the rest of the table. This matters because the ref is supposed to be the fan of the PC and helping the player realise their desires; it also matters if you want your party to feel like they can work as a unit.
It’s worth noting that StormHack isn’t a typical OSR game Combat is designed to be survivable and heroic, encouraging risk. ↩
Modern combatives gets this in the right order. Most martial arts don’t because they teach technique first; but there’s a good reason for this, because techniques are small building blocks with instant reward in the salle or dojo. Encourage students with these and then teach them the principles as they advance. ↩
Knights of the Husk is a city building framework that describes a City Above and the Husk (history, remmants, dreams) Below. It’s a work in progress. There are few examples.
Random tables can be expected in the 3rd volume the Book of Decans.
anyway, thought you might be interested.
My two influential authors are Clive Barker, and Michael Moorcock. Of those, Barker had a bigger effect on roleplaying, first with Call of Cthulhu and then with the World of Darkness.
I didn’t think of applying Moorcock to fantasy gaming until later, but I was influenced in more subtle ways; the idea of an eternal champion, of avatars adopting the same roles in multiple realities, and of bloodlines that fed into significant cosmic events throughout time and space… that was always my jam.
The first Moorcock I read was Hawkmoon, in the gorgeous oversize Millennium edition from the early 90s. I took that as my reading list — I was cash poor at the time so where I couldn’t buy the new imprint heavily discounted I found previous editions in libraries and remaindered bookshops. I read Corum in the Grafton editions from the mid 1980s, including this omnibus edition of the first trilogy:
So by frugal purchasing and borrowing I read pretty much all of the 14 volumes; but never in the order in which they were published. Which is where this series comes in.
This podcast has become a little serious. It’s always worked around themes, based on the games I fancy running or designing at the time, or the topics I need to discuss. But I feel the need to step back a bit and reflect.
This is what I’m going to do. Having now closed the remaining gaps in my Millenium Moorcock editions (thanks to certain online 2nd hand sellers) I’m going to read them in sequence, and do a ‘cast about each one.
This won’t follow the usual format… with 14 volumes, each with at least 3 novels this would take too long and no doubt I would run out of steam. So this is the proposed format for this occasional series:
- in the first part, I’ll summarise each novel on an index card to encourage brevity. This will form an overview, rather than a detailed synopsis
- in the second part, I’ll pick out key scenes or chapters that are worthy of note
- and finally in the third part, I’ll discuss how each book in the sequence contributes to the overall arc of the Eternal Champion, starting with Von Bek and concluding with Count Brass.
There will be other episodes. But I wanted to write this as a way to commit to the project. Do these novels still capture my imagination nearly 30 years on?
This won’t be the only thing I read — I intend to pace myself and read other books in between each volume. All told this is going to take a year at least, quite probably two.
Let me know what you think, and if you have a similar relationship with Moorcock.
OK, that’s it. Speak soon.
I do editing with Audacity on a mac (and sometimes on linux).
With MacOS Mojave editing was a real pain. The program would only run sensibly when windowed. Through various investigations it seemed that the smooth running was dependent on resolution (we’re using a high res monitor). Don’t ask me why.
There’s a simple fix that worked for me: run the program in low resolution mode. Go to Get Info (command-I) on the application (in application folder) and check the box in the window that pops up
This seems to have fixed things. No idea why it’s an issue in the first place, but I can now do editing full screen again.
If you’re British, or even if you aren’t, a good chunk of your news feed will have been swallowed by the Brexit pantomime, including hilarious exchanges like the one between Will Self and Mark Francois:
WS: Your problem… is since 2016 you don’t need to be a racist or anti-semite to vote for Brexit, it’s just that every racist and anti-semite in the country did. MF: I think that’s a slur on 17.4 million people and I think you should apologise on national television. I think that’s an outrageous thing to say WS: Well, you seem to find a lot of things outrageous MF: Are you saying that 17.4 million people are racist and bigots… WS: No, that’s not what I said MF: That’s pretty close to what you said WS: It’s not remotely close to what I said. You seem to be a bit exorcised, sir MF: Well, I’m offended WS: The politics of offence, eh? What I said was that every racist and anti-semite in the country, pretty much, probably voted for Brexit. MF: How can you know that? WS: I suspect it. MF: Well, I think you should apologise. WS: To who? Racists and anti-semites?
OK, pretty funny although the best comment on the showdown was by Sara Pascoe on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order saying (IIRC) “What you’re seeing there is a clash between two different kinds of alpha male”. Everyone should wind their neck in.
But this is Fictoplasm, so there’s going to be a fiction element — and that’s this piece by Will Self in the aftermath of his face-off, where he name-checks J G Ballard:
Perhaps the pivotal years were around middle of the noughties – at any rate, that’s when I went to speak to my friend and mentor JG Ballard about what would prove to be his final novel, Kingdom Come. Jim was as bluff and strange as ever – he had the manner of the RAF pilot he might have become if he’d completed his training, combined with the thousand-yard stare at what’s immediately to hand, which is the sure sign of a surrealist. He pointed out to me the flags flying in the front gardens along Old Charlton Road, the utterly bland suburban road in Shepperton (an utterly bland Surrey dormitory town), where he’d lived for 40 extremely odd years. For him, the flying of the Cross of St George was undoubtedly minatory: it had come about through a synergy between football fandom and the rise of ethnic nationalism; these were the years of the British National Party’s ascent to the giddy heights of the 2010 general election, when their candidates won over half a million votes. Reviewing Kingdom Come in the Guardian, Phil Baker succinctly noted “Ballard’s central idea is that consumerism slides into fascism when politics simply gives the punters what they want”. Well, Jim was always prescient – this was the writer who conceived of the celebrity car crash as a catalyst of collective hysteria a quarter-century before Diana Spencer was killed in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, and who also anticipated the baleful impacts of global warming as early as the late 1950s. Jim got that English nationalism was on the rise – and that under neo-liberal conditions favouring consumption over production, it was likely to become a vector for the most troubling aspects of the famously ‘tolerant’ English psyche.
Perfidious Albion on Speed is too fussy a title to be Ballardian. In fact, Perfidious Albion is already the title of Sam Byers’ second novel, which didn’t start out as a Brexit novel but perhaps it evolved that way:
The honest truth is that it began in a much more speculative fashion. I did the bulk of the work on this book in 2015 and 2016, and while it’s true I continually adjusted for events such as Brexit, I think what really happened is that the world just caught up with me in surprising and disturbing ways, and so I accepted the idea that rather than continually reinventing things in order to be out in front of the phenomena I was depicting, I should anchor myself and play more with the ways in which the context of the book was evolving.
Here’s a video of the author:
I recommend checking out the podcast first because Becky goes into a lot of depth regarding the pack setup, different playbooks and how the play group creates their dynamic. If that sounds like your cup of tea, think about backing the KS.
During the podcast they mention Kelly Armstrong’s Bitten (TV series and book). If you want to hear more about that, and indeed some of the early ideas Becky had for her game, you can hear her and Liz talk about the Women of the Otherworld way back in Fictoplasm episode 08.
Real life has been interfering with my episode schedule again. New recordings will be coming out shortly, but for now here’s five podcasts I listened to in June 2018.
The Pen Addict 305
Episode 305 covers “standards”. You’d think I’d listen to more of these being the stationery obsessive, but a fifteen minute discussion on “A5-ish” paper sizing (dimensions, as opposed to applying filler or glaze) approaches even my limit. Still, it’s a nice podcast and I really enjoy their blog.
Hardcore Histories 61: Painfotainment
I heard about Dan Carlin’s Hardcore Histories while researching the solo podcast format. This episode is more than four and a half hours long, and it’s all about the spectacle of, and attitudes to, public execution From the late medieval period through early modern to the 20th and (extrapolating into) the 21st centuries. Carlin is both unflinching and sensitive with the subject matter. I thought it was brilliant but also horrible, so listener discretion is advised, obv.
Not Alone 63 and 64: The Toynbee Tiles
Not Alone is a podcast about the unexplained and supernatural. Episodes 63 and 64 discuss the Toynbee Tiles, strange linoleum tiles imprinted onto bricks with the message “Toynbee idea from movie 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter”.
There’s a bonus episode sandwiched between these two that’s also worth checking out as it lists a whole lot of other podcasts.
Mega City Book Club 68: A Game Of You
The Mega City Book Club podcast normally covers 2000AD titles, but here they diverge with a really great episode covering A Game Of You, the fifth Sandman book. A lot of discussion about trans identity and Wanda being the first decently rounded trans character for many readers in the early 90s, and also how impressions of Dream change with repeated readings.
Blogs on Tape 54: Dice Clocks
Blogs on Tape is a great idea — the best blog posts from the OSR curated and read aloud in a 10-20 min podcast. Episode 54 is actually one of my own blog posts, which have always been a bit stream-of-consciousness and it’s a bit strange to hear my own words read back to me with the attendant figurative ums and ahs.
Plot Points 98: 5 Generations of D&D Design
Plot Points 98 wasn’t as interesting as I hoped it would be but there’s some interesting stuff there, for example the way that Basic D&D is a great teaching resource and a crappy reference book, whilst the opposite is true of AD&D.
Myoclonic Jerk 11: The Long View
Daniel Kaufman’s series Myoclonic Jerk is supposedly 20 episodes long, although to date we’re up to episode 11 which is all about our broader view of the universe. The show notes are comprehensive and the guests are great.
One cool fictional idea: after the death of suns which collapse into neutron stars and black holes, stellar civilisations harness the energies of the singularities to continue their existence.
System Mastery 87: Nephilim
Rock and roll. Anyway, System Mastery episode 87 is spot on about Nephilim being a game all about character generation and not much else, and how the eponymous nephilim are monstrous and evil.
Grognard Files 20 part 2 (Golden Heroes)
Thanos is Nigel Farage
The second part of the Golden Heroes episode with more comments from Simon Burley including an interesting perspective on the Comics Code.
Pounded in the butt by my own podcast
Finally, I’ve been enjoying the Night Vale produced podcast where guests read Chuck Tingle’s fiction and try to keep a straight face. I particularly liked I’m Gay For My Living Billionaire Jet Plane.
I listen to a fair number of podcasts on my commute. Here’s a run down of what I’ve been listening to this month.
What Would The Smart Party Do?
What Witchcraft did was it tried to fulfil the need that the World of Darkness players had to do crossovers
Great year by year list of 90s games including Over the Edge, Nephilim, Castle Falkenstein, Amber (but not Everway — come on, chaps).
Fear of a Black Dragon
This is my favourite show among the Gauntlet’s broad offering of quality podcasts. Their main podcast and +1 Forward are good listens but FotBD raises the bar with its structure, focus on utility and insightful comments. The Operation Unfathomable episode is typical of this high standard. Also Tom uses my favourite word (liminal).
The Grognard Files
More gaming nostalgia! The Grognard Files goes from strength to strength. Golden Heroes is the most recent episode but I wanted to mention Paranoia too, for the comment about how that game never really settled on one coherent theme or presentation — I would have loved to run it as a grim Brazil-esque satire, but our games always devolved into backstabbing and grassing each other’s clones to the computer within minutes. Actually I always thought the 1st edition system had some genuine innovations like the damage columns and skill trees, it’s just these were totally out of place when the PCs were so ephemeral.
Also check out the Golden Heroes unboxing:
Welcome to Night Vale
Twin Peaks, Pontypool, Al Amarja, Royston Vasey, Night Vale.
Come on down to the pancake house, check if any of your loved ones have been affected by this horrible disaster, and enjoy free hot cakes. One hot cake per missing loved one.
The Good Friends of Jackson Elias
And finally the perennial favourite returns with a discussion of cats. Which reminds me, I must re-read The Cats Of Seroster.
Following on from this post, a friend pointed out that Runequest also had its own Appendix N. I don’t know which edition (I don’t think it’s in my Games Workshop one) but the text has apparently been copied verbatim (with spelling errors) by peopletobe, including a commentary at the end. A slightly longer post on doug’s devices & desires takes this further with some comments on the content. These posts come from 2010 and 2011 and the latter is “in production”.
Since the web is a transient thing and sometimes posts vanish, I’ve reproduced the bibliography without further comment. Many thanks to the original poster.
APPENDIX N. Bibliography
Bibby, George. 4000 Years Ago – check your library for other titles as well; anything by Bibby is recommended.
Byfield, Barbarbara N. The Book of Weird (formerly The Glass Harmonica) – a delightfully-written and illustrated encyclopedia of things fantastical.
Coles, John. Archeology by Experiment – excellent description of the practical side of archeology, easily relatable to FRP games.
Conally, Peter. The Greek Armies, The Roman Army, and Enemies of Rome – three educational picture books of incredible detail and content.
Draeger, Donn F. and Smith, Robert W. Asian Fighting Arts – an excellent survey of what it really takes to master a weapon.
Foote, Peter(ed.) The Saga of Grettir the Strong – on version of the making of a hero, direct from the Age of Heroes of Iceland.
Funcken, Lillane and Fred. Arms and Uniforms: Ancient Egypt to the 18th Century – first-class illustrated book of historical costumes and weapons.
Howard, Robert E. Conan (and others) – the archetypical noble and savage barbarian written with muscle and guts; his notes have been finished with less gusto by other writers as well.
Keegan, John. The Face of Battle – the descriptions in this book are a must for anyone wanting to know some truth in grisly detail about ancient and medieval warfare.
Leiber, Fritz. Swords in the Mist (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy; the stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are classics.
Magnusson, Magnus (ed.). Njal’s Saga – an excellent look at a Dark Ages culture, and some rousing fighting besides.
Malory, Thomas. Le Morte d’Arthur – more information on heroic actions, though of a limited cult. Useful too for inspiration on possible event for FRP.
Moorcock, Michael. Elric (and others) – a basic source of modern fantasy.
Smith, Clark Ashton. Hyperborea (and others) – more standards of fantasy fiction, which everyone should at least taste.
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Constuction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor – heavy emphasis on Japanese fighting gear, but worth it anyway.
Sturlasson, Snorri. King Harald’s Saga – a superb epic tale by Iceland’s most famous saga writer, proving you do not need fantasy to create a legend.
Tolkien, J. R. R. Lord of the Rings – a modern fantasy classic. Tolkien is rightfully accorded as the Master of fantasy, and if you have not yet read LotR, please do yourself a favor. Of his other works, see also The Silmarilion – notes of the Master compiled posthumously by his son, Christopher. These are a chronicle of the earlier ages of Middle Earth.
OTHER FANTASY ROLEPLAYING GAMES
Chivalry & Sorcery; Bunnies & Burrows; Flash Gordon & the Warriors of Mongo; Starships & Spacemen – all from Fantasy Games Unlimited, PO Box 182, Roslyn NY 11576.
Empire of the Petal Throne; Knights of the Round Table; Space Patrol; Superhero 2044 – all from Gamescience (Lou Zocchi & Associates), 1956 Pass Rd., Gulfport MS 39501.
Advanced D&D; Dungeons & Dragons; Gamma World; Metamorphosis Alpha; Star Probe; Star Empires – all from TSR Hobbies, Inc., PO Box 756, Lake Geneva WI 53147.
Bushido; Space Quest – Tyr Gamemakers Ltd., PO Box 414, Arlington VA 22210.
The Fantasy Trip (included Wizard and Melee) – Metagaming, PO Box 15346, Austin TX 78761.
Tunnels & Trolls; Monsters! Monsters!; Starfaring – all from Flying Buffal, Inc., PO Box 1467, Scottsdale AZ 85252.
Traveller; En Garde! – Game Designers’ Workshop, 203 North St., Normal IL 61761.
Legacy – Legacy Press, 217 Harmon Rd., Camden MI 49232.
Arduin Grimoire; Welcome to Skull Tower; Runes of Doom – all from James E. Mathis, 2428 Ellsworth (102), Berkeley CA 94704.
Star Trek – Heritage Models, Inc., 9840 Monroe Dr. (Bldg. 106), Dallas TX 75220.
FOR LIVING IN THE PERIOD
The Society for Creative Anachronism. Write to Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc., Office of the Registry, PO Box 594, Concord, Calif. 94522
FOR MULTI-SIDED DICE
Write for prices to Lou Zocchi & Associates, 1956 Pass Rd. Gulfport MS 39501,or see you local hobby or game store.
AD&D grognards and in particular OSR types seem fixated on Appendix N of the original Dungeon Master’s Guide, which boiled down to a list of fictional sources that Gygax liked.
Next to Appendix N, the “inspirational reading material” from the Moldvay Basic D&D set gets short shrift, which is both sad and puzzling given how much richer and diverse the content is. At one time, one OSR author I spoke with pretty much waved away its existence, which is frankly absurd given how much closer Basic D&D is to the stripped down ethos of many OSR retroclones than AD&D.
Then there’s D&D5e’s Appendix E which is basically a modernized (and diversified) Appendix N, with some very curious additions (in a really good way).
The original from the DMG. It’s trivial to find this list with a quick google search (e.g. here).
Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
Bellairs, John: THE FACE IN THE FROST
Burroughs, Edgar Rice: “Pellucidar” series; Mars series; Venus series
Carter, Lin: “World’s End” series
de Camp, L. Sprague: LEST DARKNESS FALL; THE FALLIBLE FIEND; et al
de Camp & Pratt: “Harold Shea” series; THE CARNELIAN CUBE
Farmer, P. J.: “The World of the Tiers” series; et al
Fox, Gardner: “Kothar” series; “Kyrik” series; et al
Howard, R. E.: “Conan” series
Lanier, Sterling: HIERO’S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz: “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” series; et al
Lovecraft, H. P.
Merritt, A.: CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al
Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” series (esp. the first three books)
Offutt, Andrew J.: editor of SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Pratt, Fletcher: BLUE STAR; et al
Saberhagen, Fred: CHANGELING EARTH; et al
St. Clair, Margaret: THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; “Ring trilogy”
Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al
Wellman, Manley Wade
Zelazny, Roger: JACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” series; et al
Moldvay’s Inspirational Reading
FICTION: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Alexander, Lloyd — The Book of Three; Black Cauldron; Castle of Llyr, et al.
Baum, L. Frank — The Wizard of Oz; The Emerald City of Oz; The Land of Oz, et al.
Bellairs, John — The Face In the Frost; The House Without a Clock on Its Walls; The Figure In the Shadows, et al.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice — A Princess of Mars; At the Earth’s Core; Tarzan of the Apes, et al.
Carroll, Lewis — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass
Garner, Alan — Elidor, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen; The Moon of Gomrath, et al.
Le Guin, Ursula K. — A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore, et al.
Lewis, C. S. — The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”, et al.
NON-FICTION: YOUNG ADULT
Barber, Richard — A Companion to World Mythology
Buehr, Walter — Chivalry and the Mailed Knight
Coolidge, Olivia — Greek Myths; The Trojan War; Legends of the North
d’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin — Norse Gods and Giants; Trolls
Hazeltine, Alice — Hero Tales from Many Lands
Hillyer, Virgil — Young People’s Story of the Ancient World: Prehistory — 500 B.C.
Jacobs, Joseph — English Folk and Fairy Tales
Macauley, David — Castles
McHargue, Georgess — The Beasts of Never: A History Natural and Unnatural of Monsters, Mythical and Magical; The Impossible People
Renault, Mary — The Lion in the Gateway
Sellow, Catherine F. — Adventures with the Giants
Sutcliff, Rosemary — Tristram and Iseult
Williams, Jay — Life in the Middle Ages
Winer, Bart — Life in the Ancient World
FICTION: ADULT FANTASY
Anderson, Poul — Three Hearts and Three Lions; The Broken Sword; The Merman’s Children, et al.
Anthony, Piers — A Spell for Chameleon; The Source of Magic; Castle Roogna
Asprin, Robert — Another Fine Myth
Brackett, Leigh — The Coming of the Terrans; The Secret of Sinharat; People of the Talisman, et al.
Campbell, J. Ramsey —Demons by Daylight
Davidson, Avram — The Island Under the Earth; Ursus of Ultima Thule; The Phoenix in the Mirror, et al.
de Camp, L. Sprague — The Fallible Fiend; The Goblin Tower, et al.
de Camp, L. Sprague and Pratt, Fletcher — The Incomplete Enchanter; Land of Unreason, et al.
Dunsany, Lord — Over the Hills and Far Away; Book of Wonder; The King of Elfland’s Daughter, et al.
Eddison, E. R. — The Worm Ouroboros
Eisenstein, Phyllis — Born to Exile; Sorcerer’s Son
Farmer, Phillip Jose — The Gates of Creation; The Maker of Universes; A Private Cosmos, et al.
Finney, Charles G. — The Unholy City; The Circus of Dr. Lao
Heinlein, Robert A. — Glory Road
Howard, Robert E. — Conan; Red Nails; Pigeons from Hell
Lee, Tanith — Night’s Master; The Storm Lord; The Birthgrave, et al.
Leiber, Fritz — The Swords of Lankhmar; Swords Against Wizardry; Swords Against Death, et al.
Lovecraft, H. P. — The Doom that Came to Sarnath; The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Dunwich Honor
Merritt, A. E. — The Moon Pool; Dwellers in the Mirage; The Ship of Ishtar, et al.
Moorcock, Michael — The Stealer of Souls; The Knight of the Swords; Gloriana, et al.
Mundy, Talbot — Tros of Samothrace
Niven, Larry — The Flight of the Horse; The Magic Goes Away
Norton, Andre — Witch World; The Year of the Unicorn; The Crystal Gryphon, et al.
Offutt, Andrew — The Iron Lords; Shadows Out of Hell
Pratt, Fletcher — The Blue Star; The Well of the Unicorn
Smith, Clark Ashton — Xiccarph; Lost Worlds; Genius Loci
Stewart, Mary — The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment
Stoker, Bram — Dracula
Swann, Thomas Burnett — Cry Silver Bells; The Tournament of the Thorns; Moondust, et al.
Tolkien. J. R. R. — The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings (trilogy)
Vance, Jack — The Eyes of the Overworld; Dying Earth; The Dragon Masters, et al.
Wagner, Karl Edward — Bloodstone; Death Angel’s Shadow; Dark Crusade, et al.
White, Theodore H. — The Once and Future King
Zelazny, Roger — Jack of Shadows; Lord of Light; Nine Princes in Amber, et al.
Some additional authors of fantasy fiction are:
Beagle, Peter S.
Cabell, James Branch
Cherryh, C. J.
Delany, Samuel R.
Haggard, H. Rider
McKillip, Patricia A.
Moore, C. L.
Myers, John Myers
Wellman, Manly Wade
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS:
Carter, Lin (ed.) — The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories (in several volumes); Flashing Swords (also in several volumes)
Offutt, Andrew (ed.) — Swords Against Darkness (in several volumes)
Borges, Jorge Luis — The Book of Imaginary Beings
Bullfinch, Thomas — Bullfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry
Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend
5th Edition D&D, supposedly the “most OSR-like” mainstream D&D ever, has its own list which is essentially an updated Appendix N. In 2014 Matt Staggs authored an article on the modern additions which include Lynch, Pratchett, Martin and even Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon. I’ve reproduced the additions below.
Ahmed, Saladin: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Alexander, Lloyd: The Book of Three and the rest of the Chronicles of Prydain series.
Anthony, Piers: Split Infinity and the rest of the Apprentice Adept series
Augusta, Lady Gregory: Gods and Fighting Men
Bear, Elizabeth: Range of Ghosts and the rest of the Eternal Sky trilogy
Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara and the rest of the Shannara series
Cook, Glen: The Black Company and the rest of the Black Company series
Froud, Brian & Alan Lee: Faeries
Hickman, Tracy & Margaret Weis, Dragons of Autumn Twilight and the rest of the Chronicles Trilogy
Hodgson, William Hope: The Night Land
Jemisen, N.K.: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and the rest of the Inheritance series, The Killing Moon, and The Shadowed Sun
Jordan, Robert: The Eye of the World and the rest of the Wheel of Time series
Kay, Guy Gavriel: Tigana
King, Stephen: The Eyes of the Dragon
LeGuin, Ursula: A Wizard of Earthsea and the rest of the Earthsea series
Lynch, Scott: The Lies of Locke Lamora and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastard series
Martin, George R.R: A Game of Thrones and the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series
McKillip, Patricia: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Mieville, China: Perdido Street Station and the other Bas-Lag novels
Peake, Mervyn: Titus Groan and the rest of the Gormenghast series
Pratchett, Terry. The Colour of Magic and the rest of the Discworld series
Rothfuss, Patrick: The Name of the Wind and the rest of the Kingkiller series
Salvatore, R.A.: The Crystal Shard and the rest of The Legend of Drizzt
Sanderson, Brandon: Mistborn and the rest of the Mistborn trilogy
Tolstoy, Nikolai: The Coming of the King
Wolfe, Gene: The Shadow of the Torturer and the rest of The Book of the New Sun
Obviously here at Fictoplasm we’re keen on genre representation and conscious appropriation of literary sources. If the goal of your RPG is to capture the essence of Appendix N (to the exclusion of other sources) then great; but that presupposes that Appendix N is a tightly focused body of work. I’ve not read widely enough to say it is or is not, but aside from some lowest common denominator stuff (the weird of HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, the “amoral vigour” of Leiber and Howard, etc.) I’m struggling to see that focal point.
It makes a lot more sense to treat Appendix N as a point of origin or hub from which your sources will deviate, and Appendix E makes total sense in this case: it’s informed by a changing landscape of new fiction as well as divergent tastes and a critical eye on past omissions — so we get Gene Wolfe, Ursula K Le Guin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Scott Lynch, Saladin Ahmed and so on.
The really interesting one is the Moldvay list. Unlike Appendices N and E which have and will persist thanks to market penetration and the availability of the books, that list is a casualty of the gradual metamorphosis of B/X into BECMI (and then the Rules Cyclopedia). But what a brilliant list — a mixture of both fiction and non-fiction, Young Adult and Adult fiction which inclues Alan Garner, Lewis Carroll, Frank L. Baum, Jorges Luis Borges, Mary Renault, E.R. Eddission, Tanith Lee and others.
Now, you could argue that such a list is too long and diverse; but I think that argument only holds if you think Appendix N has an actual point, other than being a collection of (mostly) worthwhile fantasy novels.
Naturally, take the “definitions” implied by such lists with a pinch of salt. After all Vance’s Lyonesse is missing — to be expected having been published in 1983 — although the omission of Harrison’s The Pastel City (1971) has no such excuse.
In this very special episode we decided the best way to treat Herman Melville’s classic was to go back to our analogue roots. We discuss open seas, confined spaces, love among the sailors, Ahab the Eternal Champion, and more.
To get your copy please send a stamped self-addressed envelope together with a 50p cheque or postal order to the address given at the end of the podcast.