Monday, February 18, 2019

An Account of Inherited Books

You can learn a lot about someone by their bookshelf. These were once my dad's, and now they have passed to me.
  • The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  • The Annotated Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
  • The Annotated Alice, Lewis Carrol
  • Histories, Heroditus
  • Beowulf, Norton Critical Edition
  • The Aenead of Vergil, trans. Rolfe Humphries
  • Private Life in the Fifteenth Century, ed. Roger Virgoe
  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Norman Cantor
  • Civilization of the Middle Ages,  Norman Cantor
  • Castle, David Macauley
  • In Praise of Folly, Erasmus
  • The Black Death, Philip Ziegler
  • The Travels, Marco Polo
  • Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture, ed. Jack Zipes
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: the Complete Paintings, Pietro Marani 
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, trans. Robert van Gulik
  • Judge Dee at Work, Robert van Gulik
  • The Emperor's Pearl, Robert van Gulik
  • The Chinese Gold Murders, Robert van Gulik
  • The Chinese Bell Murders, Robert van Gulik 
  • The Lacquer Screen, Robert van Gulik
  • Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Second copy of Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
  • Mulliner Nights, P.G. Wodehouse
  • The Feudal Spirit, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Aunts Aren't Gentlemen, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Cocktail Time, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Luck of the Bodkins, P.G. Wodehouse
  • The Man Upstairs, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Very Good, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
  • The League of Frightened Men, Rex Stout
  • A second copy of The League of Frightened Men
  • Please Pass the Guilt, Rex Stout
  • Plot it Yourself, Rex Stout
  • Representing Reality: Readings in Non-Fiction, John Warnock
  • Sister Wendy's Grand Tour, Sr. Wendy Beckett
  • Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayers
  • Hush Money, Robert Parker
  • Jack, Knave, and Fool, Bruce Alexander
  • Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie
  • Noble Radiance, Donna Leon
  • Acqua Alta, Donna Leon
  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  • Valediction, Robert Parker
  • The Lies of Fair Ladies, Jonathan Grant
  • Armadillos and Old Lace, Kinky Friedman
  • Murder at the ABA, Isaac Asimov
  • Fletch Reflected, Gregory Mcdonald
  • The Road to Rhuine, Simon Troy
  • The World of Giotto, Sarel Eimerl
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
  • Style (3rd Ed.), Joseph Williams
  • The Well-Tempered Sentence, Karen Elizabeth Gordon
  • The Transitive Vampire, Karen Elizabeth Gordon
  • Citizen Sherman, Michael Fellman
  • Atlas of the Civil War, Time-Life
  • The Pythons, the Pythons
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus DVD box set
  • 2 daily calendars compatible with 2020 and 2026.
  • Several books of crossword puzzles, partially completed in pen.
  • A wooden mask, laughing. 
  • Desk sign: "English Department: Sentences diagrammed, infinitives split, participles dangled, while you wait."
  • A finger painting I made in preschool. 
Now if I can't make an adventure or ten out of this list I might as well just quit this whole RPG thing. To avoid this grievous disappointment, here is the skeleton of a campaign come up with on the fly. Given the nature of most of the books on this list, this would probably be best suited for BRP or GURPS.

Session 1: Judge Dee and his lieutenants are confronted with the case of the "Laughing Mask Murders". Judge Dee, unsettled by the events, sends the wooden mask into the care of the Imperial Censors in the capital.

Session 2: Beowulf and his Geats come to the aid of Hrothgar, kill the monster Grendel and his mother. Great and wonderful treasures are found: among them, a golden mask with a terrible visage. All are taken back to Götaland.

Session 3: A short comedic interlude wherein Marco Polo and companions assist the Khan's men to solve a mystery. They are given the Laughing Mask as a reward, and it is taken back to Italy.

Session 4: The Plague has reached northern Italy. A monastery, spared of the sickness thus far, is struck with a string of mysterious deaths. All the while, the Laughing Mask sits in the main alcove of the library.

Session 5: Da Vinci's anatomical lessons get out of hand as the dead seem to leap up from the table. One of the corpses gets its hold on the Laughing Mask (Leonardo had acquired it some time before) and goes on a rampage.

Session 6: A band of Union soldiers separated from Sherman's main force find themselves lost in the Georgia backwoods, stalked by a monstrous being in a weeping stone mask.

Session 7: Sherlock Holmes is brought in to solve the theft of the Terrible Mask from the British Museum. While doing so he meets an old American soldier who shares the story of the Weeping Mask. The soldier steals the Terrible Mask and smuggles it over to America, for reasons unknown.

Session 8: Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves have a rather silly little adventure of no greater consequence.

Phase 9: Chaos is unleashed as the three masks are joined during Game 4 of the 1966 World Series. Yes, this is a JoJo reference.

Not half bad for off the top of my head. Had to finish it off with baseball, the old man was a gigantic Orioles fan and he'd at least be entertained by all the musical gags in JoJo.


  1. I have only read the tip of the book-berg on this list so far, and this list is only the tip of a bigger book-berg as the books got split between my siblings, other friends of the family, the library, and getting rid of all the computer manuals from the 1980s that he had.

    I think I know where I picked up this whole bibliophilia thing.

  2. I really love the idea of campaign made of one shots with threads running between them. Every session would feel unique and as long as each one was of perfect one shot length everything would go swimmingly.

    1. I've come round to thinking that it's probably the best method of doing long-form campaigns. Being less dependent on having a consistent group is wonderful.

    2. I can certainly appreciate that, being less reliant on player consistency is really wonderful and as a player I really enjoy trying a variety of characters, but I feel like there's some things you can only do with a campaign that follows a stable group of characters. For instance, you can't build the same level of investment in characters or encourage the same kind of long term planning you see in traditionally structured campaigns if you're running it as a series of one-shots.

  3. This post is amazing. Please keep delving into this!

  4. I own a copy of The Deluxe Transitive Vampire. Best reference book.

  5. The whole time reading through the campaign outline I was thinking "this sounds like Jojo" and then... yep :p