Literary inspirations for dragons and dungeons

A look at the many fantasy novels and stories, in addition to The Lord of the Rings and Conan the Barbarian, that inspired the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

In addition to being the world’s first and most famous tabletop RPG, Dungeons and Dragons it is also a condensation of concepts from different works of western fantasy fiction, in particular 20th century classic fantasy fiction. Many are familiar with two of D&Dgreat inspirations – The Lord of the rings Y The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, plus the Conan the barbarian Robert E. Howard stories. However, there are many other classic fantasy novels besides these etched into the DNA of D&D, shaping his magical system, medieval fantasy settings and axes of morality.

Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the co-creators of Dungeons and Dragons, they were unsurprisingly huge fantasy nerds devouring science fiction and fantasy books alike, with the thrill and chill of these tales inspiring the dangers in Gary Gygax’s classic D&D modules. Different generations of D&D Creators and writers have injected their own fantasy novel interests into later editions of D&D, adding more detail, diversity, and imaginative potential to the world’s oldest RPG.

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The following fantasy stories are just four of the many works of fantasy fiction that helped shape the original edition. Dungeons and Dragons in the 1970s. However, they deserve special attention not only for informing the aesthetics and feel of the first D&D, but containing ideas, character archetypes, and plots directly tailored to the spellcasting rules, character classes, and morality alignments of this role-playing game.

D&D Inspiration: The Dying Earth, by Jack Vance

D&D Literary Inspirations The Dying Land

the Dying earth Jack Vance’s stories and novels take place hundreds of millions of years in the future, in a time when the Sun has reddened with age, the planet is littered with buildings and relics from countless ages of civilization and melancholy residents of this planet. they know well that the end is near. As well as providing strange techno-magical artifacts like “Ioun stones, “the learned, scientifically minded sorcerers of the Dying earth He ended up directly defining the “Vancian” magic system used by D&D Wizards: To cast spells, a wizard must memorize a complicated formula from his spell books, keeping those spells in their heads like baited grenades and forgetting about the spell the moment it is cast.

D&D Inspiration: Three Hearts and Three Lions, by Poul Anderson

D&D Literary Inspirations Three Hearts and Three Lions

At Poul Anderson’s Three hearts and three lions, a Danish resistance fighter named Holger Carlsen is transported through space and time to a magical version of the Age of Charlemagne, where the Holy Roman Empire and the Arab Kingdoms stand as beacons of Law in opposition to the forces Chaos, defended by fey creatures, monsters, and charmers / sorceresses. Holger Carlsen’s chivalrous quest to claim magic swords, uphold the principles of chivalry, and fight evil beings of faerie influence. D&Dfighter class, fey monsters and division of moral alignments into categories of Legal Y Chaotic.

D&D Inspiration: Elric de Melniboné, by Michael Moorcock

Elric the White Wolf, author Michael Moorcock’s most famous fantasy hero, is the opposite theme of Conan the barbarian. Not a barbarian, but the last prince of the decadent and decadent island civilization of Melnibon√©. He is not a muscular warrior who distrusts magic, but a sickly albino with earth-shaking wizards and patrons of demonic gods. Not the founder of a new era, but a tragic harbinger of the end of the world. Basically any D&D The player character who is white-haired, elf, melancholic and possesses a tragic backstory owes his existence to Elric.

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Elric’s signature weapon, the soul-drinking smart sword named Stormbringer, inspired the many cursed weapons of D&D, who refuse to separate from the hands of their bearer and often have a will of their own. Moorcock’s description of the forces of Law and Chaos, heavily inspired by Three Hearts and Lions by Poul Anderson, shaped the alignment systems of both Dungeons and Dragons and the Warhammer Dark fantasy universe, particularly with its view that Pure Law and Chaos were equally monstrous when taken to their natural extremes.

D&D Inspiration: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouse, by Fritz Leiber

D&D Fafhrd Gray Mouser Literary Inspirations

Fafhrd is a blond-haired barbarian with a sword from the north, but unlike Conan, an intellectual storyteller who enjoys the sophisticated pleasures of civilization. The Gray Mouser was the apprentice of a powerful wizard, but prefers stealth and slender swords to demonstrations of magic. The two rogue mercenaries, traversing multiple fantastic adventure stories by Fritz Leiber, inspired many of the stereotypical actions of Dungeons and Dragons adventurers: drinking, flirting, wanderlust and killing monsters for coins. The Gray Mouser’s stealing behavior inspired D&Dthe Rogue character class, while the popular D&D Trope of “Thieves Guilds” was first introduced in the Fafhrd and the gray buzzard story “House of thieves,“In itself a great inspiration for the skeleton fighting and trap control game of classic dungeon crawls.

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