Resources

I have a question that I am going to ask myself and I hope my readers will ask it of themselves and share their answers in my comments section.  I’ve been playing D&D for 30+ years.  I’ve got a fairly extensive Dungeons and Dragons library.  As I build my world and create my campaigns, I make use of that library.  Now the question, “What resources from my collection do I use the most and why?”

Basics

Dungeon Masters Guide (1E) – Tables – There are tables for nearly everything I could want: Gem Values and Magical Properties, Expert Hirelings with explanations of what each does and their Monthly Costs, and Powers and Side Effects for Artifacts and Relics to just name a few. 

Monsters

Monster Manual (1E) – Illustrations – I’ve seldom seen better illustrations of the monsters I use in my games.  No offense is intended to any of the many great artists who have illustrated numerous D&D products, but sometimes a clean lined black and white illustration sparks the imagination the best.

Fiend Folio (1E) – Slaadi

Dragons (1E Role Aids) – DRAGONS!  This is a great setting and resource book.  I’ve used it for treasures, NPCs, and settings.

Denizens of Avadnu (3E Setting) – Great set of monsters in an non-standard D&D setting.

Gods, Demigods, and Heroes

Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia (1E) – Pantheons – I just enjoy looking through book and finding a pantheon or a god that would add a unique flavor to a region or an NPC.

Deities and Demigods (3E) – Advice on building religions – The examples of mystery cults and monotheistic versus polytheistic religions are good reads, useful and fun.

Religion (GURPS) – Title says it all.

Magic

Dragon Tree Spell Book (1E The Dragon Tree) Spells – Wild, weird spells from the early days of gaming.

Psionic Artifacts of Athas (2E) – Magic items, psionic tools, and life-shaped items.  I’ve made extensive use of the Rhul-tal.

Sorcerer’s Guide (Talislanta) – Magical Tomes, Magical Items, and Extra-Dimensional Entities

Tome of Mighty Magic (1E North Pole Press) Spells – More, wild, weird spells from the early days of gaming.

Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs (2E) – Life-shaped items and language

Other Dimensions

Domains of Dread (2E Ravenloft) – Great NPC ideas and adventure sites

Heroes of the Feywild (4E) – NPC ideas and site details

Heroes of the Shadowfell (4E) – NPC ideas and site details

Hordes of the Abyss (3E) – Good ideas for demonic and dark extra planar sites

Manual of the Planes (1E) – Good ideas for extra planar sites

Manual of the Planes (3E) – More good ideas for extra planar sites

I am sure there are others, but these are the ones that I have been reaching for most, when I am working on my new 5E game.

Game On!

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“But, That’s Not DnD!”

Rilmorn is a D&D world.  It started as a dungeon with a wilderness map.  In time, I added a city map, then came the BIG continent map.  I stole gods and pantheons from history, mythology, and Dragon Magazine.  I lifted names and words out of Tolkien’s Silmarillion (“Rilmorn” translates into “Bright Darkness”).  Witch World and Gwynedd were the bones upon which I applied the flesh of Rilmorn.  For many years, I ran a pseudo-medieval, Euro-styled, fantasy game.  Yet, even in those early days, I couldn’t help but stretch the boundaries of my world; it got more extreme.

Dungeons and Dragons was originally about exploring underground labyrinths and strongholds, while battling monsters.  I was fairly standard and followed those guidelines, when I first began, but I wanted more for my game.  Dungeons and cities existed in places with cultivated and wild lands.  I built very a basic ecology to explain what the bigger monsters fed upon.  I tried to build societies in which the PCs could interact.  I attempted to provide my players with the illusion of a living world in which they could suspend their disbelief while we played our D&D games.

Because I knew that I didn’t have all the answers on how to do such things, (Truth be told I did not even know that that was what I was doing) I took from other sources to make what I hoped was a better game.  I added names for magic weapons and items from the role playing game Bushido.  I dropped the Gamma World module Legion of Gold into one game.  I used magic effects tables from Man, Myth, and Magic.  I loved the Middle Earth Role Playing Critical and Fumble tables.  Some of it worked, some didn’t.  Then I began to let my players design things both in-character and out-of-character.

Suddenly, I had monster teleportals hidden in caves under my main city of Kardon.  Some of my PCs were humans mixed with giant blood.  I got a square lake on my main continent, Moytonia, when my ideas of world building clashed too much with a friend’s ideas.  An PC elf rolled up a merchant family empire from tables  in Oriental Adventures.  PCs began running around with World War II style guns, after we played The Keep from Mayfair Games.  A pro-psionic PC founded a psionic monastery and warrior order, built massive weapons using psionic power, and established a culture that was pro-psionics and anti-magics–all of which led to the Wolf Wars that redefined the nature of my world.

Years have passed. My PCs have been vikings born in a world, whose dangers have included cities of robots, undead kingdoms, and tribes of wolfmen.  Others have been desert dwelling heroes, who fought against weapons left over from the Wolf Wars and defeated a version of Acererak that was attempting to meld the heroes reality with one that would have given Acererak nigh unlimited power.  Still others were an all elven musical band that defeated an invasion from the Far Realm.  Now, I have PCs that have gone from simple adventurers exploring ruins and getting gold to merchant lords traveling the world in a flying,  steam-powered ship, while attempting to continue building the city that they founded and restoring a mystical wood hidden in another dimension.  Other PCs have decided to become gypsies and are enhancing a magical network that allows them speedy travel from one place to another.

Deviating from the D&D Standard, sure has given me a fun world.  Game On!