Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Category Archives: Appendix N

Appendix N Nabs Another Rave Review!

You know, I honestly didn’t expect to get quite this intense of a reaction back when I was writing these, so really… just check it out:

Outstanding trip through the stories that were the impetus for Dungeons and Dragons, and likely other early role playing games from the 1970s. This book helps answer the questions behind the curious choices and rules of early D&D designers, namely why don’t the rules and milieu look more like Tolkien and his world? At the time, Gygax denied Tolkien was a primary influence to D&D, though many didn’t believe him. After reading Jeffro Johnson’s book, which describes what he found in researching Appendix N (in Advanced D&D’s Dungeon Master Guide), you’ll see that Gygax wasn’t kidding around! Appendix N, Jeffro says (and confirms through his research), shows the world of The Pulps drove D&D more than a single track within Fantasy (Tolkien) did. On top of that, Johnson opens the reader to explore some of these historical influences, both the good and the bad, as well as the stellar and the — well, not-so-stellar. Regardless, Jeffro’s book opens the Lost World of the Pulps for a new generation to view via his window of Appendix N! 5 stars! Highly recommended!

Man, do you have any idea how hard it is to disabuse of the idea that Tolkien has been the end all be all of fantasy for freaking forever…?! You can bring up fact after fact, evidence after evidence… and they still won’t see it.

It really is a relief to see someone getting it.

Meanwhile, I keep getting letters from people that drifted away from science fiction and that are back into it again. Reading the old stuff, it’s become clear: they didn’t leave science fiction. Science fiction left them! They have something just mind-numbingly awesome back in their life again and it’s crazy… but they really do blame me for it!

I don’t think I will ever stop being astonished by this kind of reaction. But man… it’s not just a meme:


Oh… and I should mention, I did another podcast last weekend. This one with the uber-cool JimFear138.

Warning: it’s long! It’s unedited. Unfiltered. Unplugged. If you want to hear all the stuff that I haven’t taken the time to convert into actual blog posts, it’s all there!

Appendix N is Causing a Commotion!

I was interviewed last week by Scott Cole over at the Castalia House blog.

Awesome reviews like this one keep rolling in:

I’ve been mulling it over for a week now on how to write a review for this. I’m still not sure I can do it justice but I’ll try.

This author has hit on the exact essence of what made early Dungeons and Dragons great. The things he highlights in each tale is the exact reason I love each story. Gygax and Company had access to a rich and wonderful set of books that we are not lucky enough to have today.

Publishers don’t take risks like they used to. Only now with the renaissance of self publishing are we seeing the odd and eldritch return to print. This tome is vital in understanding the story element design choices that made D&D great. The disregard for convention, the raw wildness of the ideas.

Jeffro has collected the proverbial cherry from the top of each of these sundays and then encourages you to dig your spoon in deep.

The response to the announcement that I’ll be on Geek Gab again along with Razorfist has caused a stir:

Meanwhile, Brian Niemeier reports a new fear percolating in the vast reaches of the internet:


Stick around. We’re just getting warmed up here!

Appendix N is Doing Surprisingly Well

The book is selling.

Better than anyone expected, really.

And the five star reviews from people outside of the gaming and book blogging scenes…? They are really, really positive.

This is one of those books that expands your reading list considerably. I am still in the stage of dipping my toe into the SF/F genres and Jeffro’s list, taken from Gary Gygax’s D&D inspirations, is a great starting point. I used to just assume the old SF/F would be outdated and boring, books written for a tiny subculture of rejects and nerds, but I am very wrong. Almost all of the books mentioned in the appendix not only sound interesting, but well written and articulated stories. It’s also just neat to have a little more depth of understanding about the heritage of SF/F, D&D, and other elements that permeate our culture today. I’d say more, but I have to start reading these books now, and I don’t feel like I’m going to be disappointed.

(This sort of thing has happened so often and so consistently now that people on Twitter have coined a term for it…!)

I own many of these books, and I wish there was a way to get them back into publication in Kindle form so they could once again be read and appreciated. I want to thank Mr. Johnson for this fine retrospective on much of the fantasy genre. A fine job and I unreservedly recommend this book. Do not plan on reading it in a couple of days, it deserves for you to take your time, reflect on what is being said, and then take it up again. You will be richer for the experience.

You know… the whole time I was working on this thing, I thought of myself as being sort of three star writer that could occasionally dip up into into four star territory. And I knew there was an audience for what I was doing– even if I had to go out and build that audience while I wrote the book.

Still… the amount of excitement this book is generating is astonishing to me.

The Catholic Geek: Live with Jeffro Johnson

Today is the day! (And on Robert E. Howard’s birthday no less…!)

At 7:30PM, EST on January 22, 2017 host Declan Finn will welcome the illustrious Hugo Award Nominee Jeffro Johnson, where we will cover as many topics as we can squeeze in, from pulp fantasy to the New Wave to the genesis of tabletop role-playing games, the transition of short fiction from primary influence to major irrelevance… the weird campaign to prevent people from reading anything from before 1980 and science fiction’s transformation from Christian to Post-Christian. Cast down the false idols of some snarky clique’s “Big Three”. Take a look back at the really awesome stuff that is now completely unimaginable!

Check it out!

Forbidden Thoughts Launch Party! – Superversive SF Livestream

This is on the air now…!

And note that I am scheduled to come on at 4PM Eastern.