Sunday, June 23, 2013
Gary Gygax: The Master's Library
Master of the Game is a 1989 book of advice for Dungeon Masters by Gary Gygax.
The last section of the book, Appendix C: The Master's Library, contains lists of inspirational works similar to Appendix N in the original Dungeon Masters Guide, but with greater focus on non-fiction. Since this book is long out of print, for the curious I have transcribed this list.
"The Master/Grand Master GM must have a well-stocked library with reference, research, and inspirational works ready for his or her use at the moment inspiration nibbles - strikes seldom occur! Because of the vast diversity of genres, and the diversity of times possible, many exact works could not be specified, although I selected a few titles from my own library as examples."
General List of Essential Books
Historical Atlas (large)
Encyclopedia (best possible edition)
Encyclopedia of Costume
Dictionary of Battles
Atlas of the Universe
"From this core expand in whatever direction you wish. Some examples"
Boissonade, Prosper. Life and Work in Medieval France.
Brawn and Scheider. Historical Costume in Pictures.
Broadbent, Michael. The Great Vintage Wine Book.
Byrne, Mrs. Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary.
Cavendish, Richard, editor. Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia.
1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Bibliophile Books.
Donnelly, Ignatius. Altlantis, the Antediluvian World.
Friedman, Col. Richard et al. Advanced Technology Warfare.
Glut, Donald. The Dinosaur Dictionary.
Gordsmith-Carter, George. Sailing Ships (and Sailing Craft).
Grun, Bernard. Timetables of History.
Harbottle, Thomas. The Dictionary of Battles.
Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves (And Other Little People).
Kunz, George Frederick. Curious Lore of the Precious Stones.
Macaulay, David. Castle; Cathedral; City; Pyramid; Underground [5 books]
Moore, Patrick. New Concise Atlas of the Universe.
Newmark, Maxim. Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases.
Robbins, Rossell Hope. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology.
Schumann, Walter. Gemstones of the World.
Shepard, Leslie. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology.
Stratton, Arthuz. The Orders of Architecture.
Sykes, Christopher Simon. Private Palaces.
Turnbull, Stephen. The Book of the Medeival Knight.
Weapons and Warfare (24 Volumes). Phoebus/BPC.
Wilkinson, Frederick. Arms and Armor.
"Some further examples, some drawn from fiction, will serve to round out an ideal collection"
Isaac Asimov - Foundation Trilogy
A. E. van Vogt - Weapon Shops of Isher
L. Ron Hubbard - Mission Earth Dekology
The Fleet Series ("Shared Universe" Anthologies)
Any Future Wars/Weapons books
Robert Heinlein (generally)
A. E. van Vogt - Slan
Brian Aldiss - Starship
Roger Zelazny - Amber series
P. J. Farmer - Created Universes series
A. Merritt (generally)
H.P. Lovecraft (generally)
Any Occult Encyclopedia
Any Witchcraft/Demonology/Magic Dictionary or Encyclopedia
Any Poltergeist/Ghost Accounts
James Bond books
John LeCarre (generally)
Alistair Maclean (generally)
Graham Greene (generally)
Annotated Sherlock Holmes
Murder Most Foul, Warden and Groves, editors [crime story compilation]
Multi-Genre Systems (Erroneously called Generic)
H. Beam Piper - Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen
Piers Anthony - Split Infinity
"reference works from pre-history through ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Era to the WWI to Modern period plus ability to move into near and far future. Dr. Who books and H. Beam Piper books are useful, as is a collection of RPGs in the genres and time periods to be covered"
"works on mythology, fairy tales, life, weapons and castles of medieval period"
R. E. Howard
DeCamp & Pratt
* * * * *
On page 34, Gygax also mentions: "This author has many thousands of volumes (and is in need of a librarian) which are supplemented periodically by old and new works. Publishers Central Bureau (Avenel, NJ) and Barnes and Nobles catalogs are most useful in this regard, but there is absolutely no substitute for periodic visits to your local book shop. When it isn't possible to purchase books, use the library, but it is strongly urged that you obtain your own copy of each and every book which you find generally useful."