Friday, 19 January 2018

The Alternate Appendix N Campaigns

There are a few attempts to my knowledge to imagine 'What if?' scenarios in which Gary Gygax didn't draw from a rather esoteric list of pulp fiction of varying quality for his 'Appendix N', but other sources entirely. There's Mazes & Minotaurs, in which the inspiration for his game was imagined to come from Greek myth, and then there's that game somebody created, and which I linked to on the blog but irritatingly can't seem to find, in which 'Appendix N' was Shakespeare's plays. There may be others.

You can imagine more or less any alternatives using any set of similarly-themed fiction, of course. Here is a list of possibilities....

Lilliputians & Laputa. The game is based not around the exploration of dungeons but lost travelers shipwrecked in strange lands trying to find their way home; the nature of the lands they have to travel through are generated randomly. XP is gained by narrowly escaping death.

Herodotus & Histories. A variant, I suppose, on Mazes & Minotaurs. Herodotus's world is the real one: there are ants the size of dogs, Egyptians who do everything backwards, Indian tribes who have sex in public and eat each other when they get old, Persians who never lie...and the world ends at the Atlantic. XP is gained by visiting the Herodotus tourist trail (Croesus's offerings to the Oracle at Delphi; the temple to Aphrodite on the island on the Nile, etc.). 

King & Koontz. Ghosts and monsters haunt American-gothic landscapes. The PCs struggle to overcome ancient evil (and are frequently writers from Maine). XP is awarded for surviving each session. 

Twists & Copperfields. The PCs are members of the hard-working, deserving poor in the slums of 19th-Century London, scrabbling to survive as best they can and, if possible, climbing the social ladder. XP is awarded for progressing upwards through the slivers of English social hierarchy. 

Egils & Eriks. The PCs are 8th-century Norwegians exploring Iceland and Greenland, fighting walruses, raiding the civilized world, developing blood feuds, and discovering America. XP is awarded for...well....killing things and taking their stuff.

That's enough of that for one night.


  1. Rassendyalls and Ruritanians. Honour, romance and conspiracy in Eastern Europe. Made for fans of the modern pentathlon. XP derived from gallantry and daring fearful odds.

  2. Is this the Shakespearian game post you were thinking of?

  3. These are sick! Put up a thread on G+ and get crowd ideas!

    Cretins and Crustaceans: Triton is dead, who will rule the merfolk? You get XP for drowning sailors, making deals with sea witches for political power and singing.

  4. A viking variant of M&M already exists; it's called Vikings & Valkyries.

    Although Ghastly Affair doesn't advertise itself as a "what if" game, it would certainly fit the bill.

    I might be misremembering, but maybe X-Plorers also did this.

  5. Sahibs and Sepoys: the Kipling RPG.

  6. Night Owl Workshop released a few games like this, but with much less flashy titles- Guardians! (superheroes), Raiders! (Indiana Jones), Freebooters (pirates), Warriors of the Red Planet (planetary romance), and Colonial Troopers (hard military science fiction).

    I wish they would release one that combines Guardians! and Colonial Troopers for Lensman style settings and one that emulates Clark Ashton Smith's work (Howard and Lovecraft have already been done to death).