Welcome to 2020! We're kicking off the new year with some great news for you folks. We've got news about Zine Quest, an interview with the Warehouse Yeti, our favorite review of all time, plus some articles tied to Appendix N: The Appendix N Archaeologies on Clark Ashton Smith and Ballantine Adult Fantasy, and an article explaining exactly what Appendix N is in the first place.

For newsletter subscribers, this week is a great collection of material. We've got a review of Sailors on the Starless Sea, an Adventure in Fiction from the archive on Zenith the Albino, and a link to a Chicago meetup group for DCC that includes Doug Kovacs as a member. Plus, a link to a very limited edition of a Clark Ashton Smith short story, and the Appendix N Book Club's take on Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar novels.

But let's kick it off with a final holiday moment. A Christmas Carol Crawl that was sent to us by a very creative fan.

Let's get to it!
newsletter exclusive!
The Christmas Crawl Song
Lyrics by Bruce The Red
Set to the Music of The Christmas Song by   Robert Wells  and  Mel Tormé
Chessex roasting on an open fire
Father Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide choirs sing of Glorious Mires
While Halflings rest their hairy toes

Everybody knows some silver and gems gleaming bright
Will tempt the thieves to sneak inside
Orphaned tots with their eyes all aglow
Will dream grand adventures tonight

They know that peril’s on it’s way
Dungeons full of traps and bloody monsters to slay
And every Elven child is gonna spy
To see if Dwarves really smell gold in the night

And so I’m offering this cryptic phrase
Of Phlogiston and Idols too
Promises whispered since the dark elder days
“Gold and Glory” to you
newsletter exclusive!
If you listened to the Michael Moorcock interview on Appendix N Podcast (which we featured in a recent newsletter, and you can also find here), you may have noticed he mentioned Zenith the Albino, the dashing pulp crime fighter that served as a model for Elric. Here is an article from our archives examining Zenith the Albino in more detail for those interested in this pre- D&D inspiration!
by Terry Olson
“To this day I advise people who want to write fantastic fiction for a living to stop reading generic fantasy and to go back to the roots of the genre as deeply as possible, the way anyone might who takes his craft seriously. One avoids becoming a Tolkien clone precisely by returning to the same roots that inspired The Lord of the Rings.”
     – Michael Moorcock, introduction to  The Stealer of Souls  (Del Ray, 2008)

Many of us come to Gygax’s Appendix N to explore the works that inspired both the  D&D  of our youth and our favorite fantasy RPGs of today. We read these literary progenitors for both insight and inspiration, and we begin to recognize their themes, plot-twists, villains, and heroes being adapted and personalized by today’s authors. But the writers whom Gary Gygax read were not writing in a vacuum. Surely they were adapting and personalizing the themes, plot-twists, villains, and heroes that they were reading. Who inspired them? Answering this question by reading further back in D&D’s ancestral chain, by going “back to the roots of the genre as deeply as possible” (as Moorcock puts it), is what we call “Appendix N Archaeology.”

In this article, I’ll focus on the notorious Monsieur Mountebank Zenith, a primary source of inspiration for Michael Moorcock’s mythic character, Elric of Melniboné. If you haven’t heard of Zenith, it’s because your opportunities were limited. Despite the fact that he was popular pulp hero-villain in about 80 issues spanning the time between world wars, by 2001 the only Zenith-dedicated novel had only three copies of its 1936 printing known to exist. But Michael Moorcock changed all that...
newsletter exclusive!
The folks over at Reviews from R'lyeh decided to take a look at the new hardcover edition of DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea . And we were thrilled with their take on the book.

Here's an excerpt:
This being a scenario for the  Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game , it should be no surprise that there is a pleasing degree of detail to  Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea . This includes not only each and every location as you would expect, but also elements such as a table of mutations for the Beastmen—a table whose content foreshadows those for Manimals in the  Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game , what to do if the player characters actually have five hundred feet of rope with which to lower themselves into the sinkhole, the list of curses which will befall the characters should one of their number take a certain magical item. One aspect of the scenario is the preponderance of magical items that the player characters can find and wield, but nearly all of them with some kind of cost—even when that magical item might actually help the player characters. Well, that should be no surprise given that the scenario takes place in the former lair of a pair of chaos lords!

For the full review, follow the link below!
newsletter exclusive!
With special guest Jen Brinkman
It's no secret that we're fans of the Appendix N Podcast. And in a recent episode, they sat down to talk about Fritz Leiber, and specifically his Lankhmar novels.

DCC Lankhmar editor Jen Brinkman sat in with them to not only discuss Leiber's work, but to provide some great details on what went into the boxed set and subsequent modules in the campaign setting.

Click the link below and give it a listen!
Game with Doug Kovacs!
The Chicago Dungeon Crawls is a public meetup group that meets at a D&D-themed bar every 2nd and 4th Saturday to play DCC.

And none other than Doug Kovacs shows up when the hyperspace lanes allow. If you’re in Chicago and looking for a game, you can find more info at their Meetup Page!

Click the link below to find out more!
newsletter exclusive!
Now available from Pegana Press
This is a personal endorsement from the Dark Master.

Pegana Press is a small-press publisher specializing in hand-bound letterpress titles. Their books are exquisitely made with the finest craftsmanship. Their author choices include several Appendix N greats, including Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Lord Dunsany, and HP Lovecraft.

Fair warning: their prices are quite high, since all the books are manufactured by hand using traditional techniques on the finest materials at a small bookbinding facility. But the quality is amazing. Through January 15, Pegana Press is running a pre-order special on their latest Clark Ashton Smith broadside. (This is basically a short story bound in a softcover format.) Zothique Prism III is limited to only 55 copies at a pre-order price of $80.

You can find more information at their website. Note: this is not associated with Goodman Games! It’s just a product that some of us really like.
We have an amazing set of creators—and I’m not just talking about the folks working directly for Goodman Games. I’m talking about the folks who put out such a diverse set of products for  Dungeon Crawl Classics  and  Mutant Crawl Classics using our free licensing agreement. We call them our third-party publishers.

If you have always thought about being one of those publishers—or even if you are already in that arena—Kickstarter has a promotion that might be right up your alley.

ZineQuest  is a project started by the folks at Kickstarter with the specific idea of producing RPG-zines. Those 5.5” x 8.5” (or smaller) publications that feature single-color printing and a distinct home-spun quality. And they are helping to promote these projects through the month of February...
by Brendan Lasalle
True Believers! Today we are going to take you inside of the heart of our operation the Goodman Games warehouse. This is, of course, the lair of the Yeti, AKA Keith LaBaw.

Here we see the Yeti in his natural element – the Command Center! We see that a few customers have sent orders through the Goodman Games website. The Yeti has them printed and ready to pack.
Read the full interview at the link below!
The story of Appendix N goes with  Dungeon Crawl Classics  like fish and water. Peanut butter and jelly. Robert E. Howard and Conan. But what exactly IS Appendix N?

Appendix N is the list of books that inspired Gary Gygax to create  D&D . This bibliography first appeared as an appendix in the  AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide — specifically, Appendix N — which is why the list is known by that name. To write  DCC RPG , author Joseph Goodman read every book in Appendix N (over the course of several years) to try to channel the same inspirations as Gary Gygax.

And you know the results.

The books in Appendix N are a whos-who of classic fantasy, sci-fi, and sword-and-sorcery fiction. Many of the authors listed there first made a name for themselves in the pulp magazines of the 1930’s, and were later reprinted in paperback form—which is where Gary Gygax probably read them.  We sell reprints of these pulps on our web site , so you can read some of these stories in their original form...
As 2019 comes to a close, it causes us to look back in reflection on what has come before. Our favorite moments. Our favorite days. And our favorite review. It’s been years since this review first debuted, but we still have to say that one particular remains our favorite. We remember it like it dropped just the other day. It’s the review that had this to say about  DCC RPG :

After all these years, we’d like to publicly state that we are still proud to be the batsh*t crazy uncle of the  D&D  community. Here’s to many more years and many more batsh*t crazy games of  DCC RPG ...
by Michael Curtis
Gamers often point to Appendix N and decry the absence of a particular author (or three, or seven, or…), declaring Gygax’s omission of them to be a literary crime of some sort. Putting aside the unbelievable idea that gamers may complain about things for the moment, we must realize that Appendix N is not a list one can argue with. It is a catalogue of all the literary influences Gygax chose to recognize as wellsprings from which  Dungeons & Dragons flowed. Since it is representative of one man’s work, we can’t claim he made the error of excluding a particular author, even if we believe we can see their influence in the final product. Game design, like art, is a subjective process and one tends to see what one is inclined to see.

While we cannot fault Gygax for not including certain names, we can, however, dig deeper into the authors he does list and examine where they drew their influences from. In the process, we discover that some of the names that people grumble about over their absence, are in fact representative in the works of those that are present. One of these influencers of the influencers is the third name from “the big three of  Weird Tales ” — Clark Ashton Smith...
by Michael Curtis
More than a decade before Gary Gygax assembled his list of influential fantasy authors and titles—the famed “ Appendix N ” which appeared in the  Dungeon Masters Guide  published in 1979—another author was hard at work compiling a list of fantasy stories to introduce to the reading public. Both catalogs would include some of the same authors on their rolls, and it is safe to say that without the first list,  Gary Gygax  may never have discovered some of the names that helped influence fantasy role-playing. In the spirit of Goodman Games’ ongoing efforts to return to the roots of the hobby, we now go one step further to explore the fertile landscape from which those roots drew nourishment.

This earlier catalog was the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series . Edited by  Lin Carter , an esteemed author of science fiction and fantasy in his own right, this literary series was comprised of more than sixty titles released between 1969 and 1974 by Ballantine Books. It brought to light both new authors and revived older works from the dustbin of history, exposing fantasy fiction to new audiences in both the United States and abroad. But before examining the works comprising the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, a little background history must be explored...
We've put them in one place to make them easy to find!
Are you looking for the perfect gift for your dungeon master or the perfect module to play with your gaming group over the holiday season? Well, we have the solution for that! Here at Goodman Games, we have a whole page dedicated to  Holiday modules .

We have everything from the brand new DCC Lankhmar #10: Unholy Nights in Lankhmar Mutant Crawl Classics  ( Home for the Holideath ),  X-Crawl  ( New Year’s Evil ),  DCC  ( Advent of the Avalanche Lords  &  Trials of the Toy Makers ), and the third-party release  World-Quest of the Winter Calendar .

So whatever  horrible tortures  glorious gifts you would like to lay upon your players we have you covered.
Looking for a great game this weekend? Always remember to check out our Events Page! Below is an excerpt of what is available in the next few days, but for the full schedule click on the image!