My DM Gave Me Homework!

As regular readers know I have been playing in an online Google+ Hangouts game of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG being run by Carl Bussler. We are only a couple of sessions in, but we have all been having a great time with the game.

Frequently, once a session is over for the night several of us will hangout and chat a bit before logging off for the evening. During our last session we started talking about the large Appendix N influence on DCC RPG. By the end of this discussion the we had all received a homework assignment! By the next gaming session we were to have read one work from Appendix N. We of course graciously accepted the homework assignment!

What exactly is Appendix N? Appendix N was included in the Dungeon Masters Guide written by Gary Gygax in 1979. Page 224 of the book included an appendix called Appendix N: Inspirational and Educational Reading. This list included many of the influential works to the game of Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is also heavily influenced by Appendix N and attempts to marry that feel with more modern mechanics. Many believe it has successfully done so.

Enough Appendix N background. With the holiday this week, we actually had two weeks to complete this homework assignment. I started looking to see which books from the list were available on the Kindle or some other electronic format. It did not take long to decide that a trip to Half Price Books was in order.

It took three trips to Half Price Books to finally find a time they were not closed due to power outages from the recent storms that passed through Ohio. I had my list with me and started the assignment by looking for any books by the following authors:

  • L. Sprague de Camp & Pratt
  • R. E. Howard
  • Fritz Leiber
  • Jack Vance
  • H. P. Lovecraft
  • A. A. Merritt

I chose these as these authors are listed as having the most influence. Given how few of them I had actually read I wanted to start with the ones being noted for having the most influence.

I had pretty good luck at finding several books and left the store with the following five books:

  • The Complete Compleat Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt
  • The Enchanter Reborn by L. Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff
  • The Goblin Tower by L. Sprague de Camp
  • Swords in the Mist by Fritz Leiber
  • The Knight and Knaves of Swords by Fritz Leiber

I decided to start with The Complete Compleat Enchanter for the homework assignment.

The read has been quite enjoyable so far. Already I can see the influence of random magic in DCC RPG as the enchanters cast various spells and frequently get less than desired results as they learn the laws of magic.

While our homework assignment was to read one book, I am looking forward to reading many of the titles from the Appendix N list. It is sort of amazing that I have been playing these games as long as I have and not read very many of the authors on the list. This homework was just what I needed to get started with reading more items off of this list.

Others in my group have been busy picking up their reading assignments as well. I have seen several photos popping up on Google+ from the other people in our group. It has been interesting to see their finds as well as they get them posted.

Has your DM ever given you homework that was not directly related to the game? Did you find it homework that was fun to do? Homework that contributed to your gaming experience?