Last week, on Twitter, I was asked if I was ever going to talk about Shadow of the Demon Lord’s “Appendix N.” For those of you not in the know, Appendix N comes from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’ 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, which listed all the works that influenced the game’s design. The books Gary Gygax included ranged from the familiar to the obscure, making it difficult to track many of them down. Reading them, I found, gave me insight into not only the mood and tone Gygax was chasing with D&D, but also provided explanations for why things worked they way they did in the game. I know I wasn’t alone in digging into the books during my stint as a designer on the 5th edition’s design team and we sought to recapture much of atmosphere those books imparted on game.

Like D&D, books had a great influence on Shadow of the Demon Lord. Since you asked, here’s a list of the books that affected the game’s design and continue to influence stuff I create for it. My list is nowhere near exhaustive; I’m always finding things that tickle my brain tongue and I am sure I forgot a few things too. Some of the books might seem surprising, having nothing to do with a Demon Lord lurching out from the space between realities to visit death and destruction to all living things. But influences are influences. To keep with the Appendix N theme, I’m going to leave off music, video games, and other RPGs, though they are important too. Finally, I’m arranging them by author first and then what I think were key works.

Abbey, Lynn and Asprin, Robert. Thieves’ World

Abercrombie, Joe. Shattered Sea series. Red Country, Best Served Cold, The Heroes, The First Law series

Ahmed, Saladin. Throne of the Crescent Moon

Anderson, Poul. The Broken Sword, Three Hearts Three Lions

Bakker, R. Scott. The Prince of Nothing series

Ballard, J. G. The Crystal World

Barker, Clive. The Books of Blood, The Thief of Always

Bear, Elizabeth. Eternal Sky series

Belliars, John. The Face in the Frost

Bester, Alfred. The Stars my Destination

Carter, Lin (ed.) Flashing Swords

Chambers, Robert. The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories

Clarke, Susanna. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Cook, Glen. Instrumentalities of the Night series, The Black Company series

Crowley, John. Little, Big

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose, Baudolino, The Island of the Day Before

Erikson, Steven. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Esslemont, Ian C. Malazan Empire series

Farland, David. Runelords series

Feist, Raymond. Faerie Tale, The Serpentwar Saga

Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere, American Gods

Howard, Robert E. The Complete Chronicles of Conan, the Solomon Kane series

Jones, J.V. Sword of Shadows series, Book of Words series

King, Stephen. The Dark Tower series, The Eyes of the Dragon

King, Stephen and Straub, Peter. The Talisman

King, William. Gotrek & Felix series

Lebbon, Tim. Echo City

Lee, Tannith. Night’s Master

Leiber, Fritz. Lankhmar series

Lovecraft, H.P. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

Lynch, Scott. Gentleman Bastard series

Machen, Arthur. The White People and Other Weird Stories

Martin, George R.R. A Song of Ice and Fire series

Miéville, China. Bas-Lag series

Miller Jr., Walter M A Canticle for Leibowitz

Moorcock, Michael. The Elric series.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Damned

Powers, Tim. Hide Me Among the Graves, The Anubis Gates

Pratchett, Terry. Discworld series

Pullman, Philip. His Dark Materials series

Rothfuss, Patrick. The Kingkiller Chronicle series

Shae, Michael. The Incomplete Nifft

Smith, Clark Ashton. The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith

Strahan, Jonathan ed. Swords & Dark Magic

Williams, Tad. Bobby Dollar series (especially Happy Hour in Hell), Shadowmarch series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series.

Wolfe, Gene. The Books of the New Sun series

Zelazny, Roger. Lord of Light