Check for Traps
Recommended Reading

Alexander Macris | 6 Jul 2011 21:00
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Erikson, Steven. "Malazan Book of the Fallen" Series

I am not as big a fan of Steven Erikson's Malazan series as some, but he is worth the attention of fantasy gamemasters. Like several other writers on this list, Erikson's work was inspired by a role-playing game campaign, and so it serves as a useful illustration of how one can build a world around the high magic tropes of D&D and its ilk. Erikson is also brilliant at parsing out just enough information for you to follow along, which is a useful skill for any GM.

Gemmell, David. "The Drenai Saga" Series; "The Rigante" Series

David Gemmell passed away recently, much to the loss of fans of great fantasy fiction. Gemmell's writing harkens back to the older tradition of sword and sorcery genre, more akin to Howard's Conan or Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword than to the high fantasy work written since Tolkien. But unlike other authors in the sword and sorcery genre, Gemmell's heroes are just that - heroic - which is a welcome antidote to the plethora of nearly sociopathic anti-heroes one finds in other works. Gemmell's worlds are inhabited by the sort of strong, heroic characters of the sort we all wish populated our campaigns.

Howard, Robert E. "Conan" Series

Everyone is familiar with the famed Conan the Cimmerian, but for too many he is a burly, not-too-bright hero from 80s movies. If you fall within this category, you owe it to yourself to check out the fierce and cunning Conan as written by his creator, Robert E. Howard. Howard was one of the largest inspirations for D&D's creator Gary Gygax, and Conan is the literal example of the D&D Barbarian class, down to his ability to climb walls and hatred of magic-users. If you end up enjoying the save world of Hyboria, TSR published a series of Conan modules (Conan Unchained and Conan Against the Darkness) and a Conan RPG created by Zeb Cook, author of the D&D Expert Set, all of which are meaty with gaming material.

Kay, Guy Gavriel. "Sarantine Mosaic" Series; The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Last Light of the Sun, Under Heaven

Guy Gavriel Kay' entered the fantasy market when he served as editor of J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion. Since then he has taken his highly lyrical style into the field of historical fantasy - works of fantasy fiction heavily rooted in historical eras. The Lions of Al-Rassan, for instance, takes you to a fantasy world inspired by Moorish Spain during the Reconquista, while Under Heaven is similarly inspired by Tang China. His works are beautiful demonstrations of how one can build a setting inspired by ancient history without being dominated by it. My own Auran Empire campaign was inspired by Late Antiquity in the same way that Kay's works were inspired by their periods.

Recommended Games
EverQuest
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Clan Lord
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Blade & Soul
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Dragon Saga
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Maestia
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