I2: What are some good books to read to get good ideas?
A: An attempt to list every fantasy book would be suicide, plain and simple. However, what follows is a list of some of the books which Basic D&D was based upon*, as well as some others which are regarded as classics or particularly indicative of the genre. In general, if you find that a certain book or series listed here strikes your fancy, chances are that the author has written many, many more fantasy novels, as many of these authors are prolific in the extreme, and listing even the highlights of each would be a task in and of itself.
Basis for D&D:*,**
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_; _Fallible Fiend_
de Camp, L. Sprague, and Fletcher Pratt. "Harold Shea" series;
Farmer, Philip Jose. "The World of the Tiers" series
Fox, Gardner. "Kothar" series; "Kyrik" series
Howard, Robert E. "Conan" series
Lanier, Sterling. _Hiero's Journey_
Lieber, Fritz. "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series [a.k.a. "Lankhmar" series]
Lovecraft, H.P. "Cthulhu" series
Merritt, A. _Creep, Shadow, Creep_; Moon Pool_; Dwellers in the
Moorcock, Michael. _Stormbringer, Stealer of Souls_; "Hawkmoon" series
Offutt, Andrew J., ed. _Swords Against Darkness III_
Pratt, Fletcher. _Blue Star_
Saberhagen, Fred. _Changeling Earth_
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_
Zelazny, Roger. _Jack of Shadows_; "Amber" series
* This list is selected from a list found on p. 224 of the 1st ed. DMG
** According to the authors of the 1st ed. DMG, de Camp & Pratt,
Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, Jack Vance, H.P. Lovecraft, and
A. Merritt had some of the most direct influences on the direction
of the game, and the others had a lesser influence.
[Anonymous.] _Arabian Nights_
[Anonymous.] _The Song of Roland_
Alexander, Lloyd. _The Book of Three_ and the resultant series
Anthony, Piers. "Xanth" series
Anthony, Piers & Robert Kornwise. _Through the Ice_
Asprin, Robert. "Myth" series
Asprin, Robert, ed. "Thieves' World" series
Babbitt, Lucy Lullyford. _The Oval Amulet_
Barber, Antonia. _Catkin_
Baum, L. Frank. "Oz" books
Bradley, Marion Zimmer. _The Mists of Avalon_, "Darkover" books
Bradley, Marion Zimmer, ed. _Swords & Sorceress_ series
Brooks, Terry. "Shannara" series; "Magic Kingdom of Landover" series
Brothers Grimm. _Grimm's Fairy Tales_ [unabridged preferred]
Burkert, Nancy Ekholm. _Valentine and Orson_
Cherryh, C.J. "Sword of Knowledge" series; "Morgam" books
Cole, Allan & Chris Bunch. _The Far Kingdoms_
Cook, David C. (publisher). _Tullus and the Vandals of the North_
Cook, Glen. "The Black Company" series, "Glittering Stone" trilogy
Cook, Rick. _Wizard's Bane_, _Wizardry Compiled_, _Wizardry Cursed_
Cooper, Louise. "Time Master" trilogy, _Star Ascendant_
Datlow, Ellen, et al., ed. _Year's Best Fantasy and Horror_ series
De Angeli, Marguerite. _The Door in the Wall_
DeLint, Charles. _Into the Green_, _Brian Froud's Faerielands: The
Devers, Joe. "Lone Wolf" series ("Determine Your Destiny" books)
Dickinson, Peter. _The Flight of Dragons_
Dickson, Gordon. _The Dragon & The George_
Donaldson, Stephen R. _Daughter of Regals & Other Tales_,
"1st & 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" trilogies
Duncan, Dave. _The Hunters' Haunt_, "Man of His Word" series
Eckert, Allan W. _The Dark Green Tunnel_, _The Wand_
Eddings, David. "Belgariad" series; "Mallorean" series; "Elenium"
Ende, Michael. _Die Unendliche Geschichte_ [Neverending Story]
Estes, Rose. _The Children of the Dragon_
Evans, Linda. _Sleipnir_
Feist, Raymond. "The Riftwar Saga" series
Feist, Raymond & Janny Wurst. "The Empire Trilogy"
Foster, Alan Dean. "Spellsinger" series
Foster, Hal. _Prince Valiant_
Forward, Eve. _Villians By Necessity_
Gemmell, David. "Drenai" tales; "Sipstrassi" tales
Gilliam, Richard, et al., ed. _Grails_ series
Grahame, Kenneth. _The Reluctant Dragon_
Gray, Elizabeth. _Adam of the Road_
Gygax, E. Gary. "Gord the Rogue" series
Harrison, Harry. _Warriors of the Way_
Henderson, Jason. _The Iron Thane_
Hildick, E.W. _The Case of the Dragon in Distress_
Jacques, Brian. _Redwall_ series
Jones, Diana Wynne, ed. _Fantasy Stories_
Jones, J.V. _The Baker's Boy_
Jones, Terry. (of Monty Python fame) _Nicobobinus_
Jordan, Robert. "Wheel of Time" series
Kelly, Eric P. _Trumpeter of Krakow_
Knaak, Richard. "Dragon Realm" series
Knight, Max E., ed. _Christian Morgenstern's Galgenlieder_ [Gallows
Koller, Jackie French. _The Dragonling_, _A Dragonling in the Family_
Kurtz, Katherine. "Deryni" series
Lackey, Mercedes. "Magic's Dream" series
________ & Josephine Sherman _Castle of Deception_ ("Bard's Tale")
________ & Ru Emerson. _Fortress of Frost & Fire_ ("Bard's Tale")
________ & Mark Shepherd. _Prison of Souls_ ("Bard's Tale")
Lawhead, Stephen R. "Merlin"; "Taliesin"; "Arthur"
Lewis, C.S. "Narnia" series
Llywelyn, Morgan & Michael Scott. "The Arcana" (trilogy)
McCaffrey, Anne. "Pern" series
Modesitt, L.E., Jr. _The Magic of Recluse_
Moon, Elizabeth. _The Deed of Paksenarrion_
Morgenstern, S. (pseud. for William Goldman). _The Princess Bride_
Newman, Sharan. _Death Comes as Epiphany_, _The Devil's Door_, _The
Niles, Douglas. "The Watershed" trilogy
Niven, Larry. _The Magic Goes Away_
Norman, John. "Gor" series
Paxson, Diana L. & Adrienne Martine-Barnes. "Chronicles of Fionn
Mac Cumhal" series
Peters, Ellis. "Brother Cadfael" series
Pierce, Tamora. _"Song of the Lioness" series, "Immortals" series
Piper, H. Beam. _Lord Kalvern of Otherwhen_
Prachett, Terry. "Discworld" series; _The Color of Magic_
Priess, Bryon, et al., eds. _The Ultimate Dragon_
Pyle, Howard. _Otto of the SIlver Hand_
Rawn, Melanie. "Dragon Prince" trilogy, "Exiles" trilogy
Reichert, Mickey Zucker. "The Last of the Renshai" trilogy; "Bifrost
Guardians" series; "The Renshai Chronicles" series
Roberts, John Maddox. "StormLands" series, "Cingulum" series
Rosenberg, Joel. "Guardians of the Flame" series
Saberhagen, Fred. "Swords" series; "Lost Swords" series
Shea, Michael. _Nifft the Lean_, _In Yana, the Touch of the Undying_
Sherman, Josepha, ed. _Orphans of the Night_
Sim, Dave. _Cerebus_ (1st collection)
Skurzynski, Gloria. _The Minstrel in the Tower_
Smith, Clark Ashton. _The Boiling Point_, _Hyperborea_, _Xiccarph_,
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley. _The Changing Maze_
Stirling, S.M. & Holly Lisle, _The Rose Sea_
Swanwick, Michael. _The Iron Dragon's Daughter_
Turtledove, Harry. "Arhel" series
Weber, David. _Oath of Swords_
Wein, Elizabeth E. _The Winter Prince_
Weis, Margaret, & Tracy Hickman. "Darksword" series; "Deathgate"
Wells, Martha. _City of Bones_
Westall, Robert. _The Cats of Seroster_
White, T.H. _The Once and Future King_
Willey, Elizabeth. _A Sorcerer and a Gentleman_
Williams, Tad. "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" trilogy
Wrede, Patricia C. _Dealing with Dragons_, _Calling on Dragons_
Yolen, Jane, _Wren to the Rescue_, _Wren's Quest_
Zelazny, Roger & Thomas T. Thomas. _The Mask of Loki_
[Various.] (Any novel published by TSR)
You may also want to look into the Recommended Fantasy Authors List, located at
To find out more about current and forthcoming books in the fantasy genre, here are a couple of publishers' web pages to look into:
The official page for TOR Books, the SF/Fantasy imprint of Tom Doherty Associates.
The official page for Baen Books, a SF/Fantasy publisher.
The official page for Del Rey Books, the SF/Fantasy imprint of Ballantine Books.
The official page for Spectra, the SF/Fantasy imprint of Bantam Books.
There are many other, non-fiction books out there which tell the history of daily life in the Middle Ages; see the next question or ask your local librarian for more information. However, the following series pretty much sums up everything you ever wanted to know about medieval weapons, armor, and life.
Oakeshott, R. Ewart. _The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armor From
Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry._ Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK;
Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1994.
________. _A Knight and His Castle._ Chester Springs, PA: Dufour
Editions, 1993; London, Beaver Books, 1976.
________. _The Sword in the Age of Chivalry._ Woodbridge, Suffolk,
UK; Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1994.
________. _A Knight and His Armor._ Philadelphia: Dufour Editions,
1961; London, Lutterworth Press, 1961.
________. _A Knight and His Horse._ London: Lutterworth Press, 1962;
Philadelphia, PA: Dufour Editions, 1964.
________. _A Knight in Battle._ London: Lutterworth Press, 1971.
________. _A Knight and His Weapons._ Philadelphia, PA: Dufour
Editions, 1964; London: Lutterworth Press, 1966.
If you are looking for information on mythological beasts, a decent series called _Monsters of Mythology_ was put out by Chelsea House Publishers in the mid-80's; each book detailed one monster.