I was reorganizing my gaming shelves and came upon a book I had forgotten about for a while. The Fantasy Role-playing Gamer’s Bible by Sean Patrick Fannon. I remember when I first picked up that book and read it, fascinated by the history and breadth of roleplaying games. Since then I have gone on to enjoy the Designers & Dragons series and so many podcasts and blogs on gaming. But, that book was my first foray into the wider and wilder world of game publishing and the history of the hobby. The back of the book states it so well.
“Everything you ever wanted to know about gaming… but thought you’d be a geek if you asked.” Hailed as the best source of information ever created about Roleplaying games, this is the single most important book any gaming fan- or anyone who wants to understand RPGs- could hope to own.
There are very few people more qualified to write about the roleplaying game hobby than Sean, and he’s had all of them blackmailed into silence or deported. He entered the hobby with the very first D&D boxed set in 1976 and was never quite right in the head after that. Around 1989, he actually started working professionally in the industry, writing and designing for such games as Champions, Star Wars, Shatterzone, and the FUZION System before going on to spend some “interesting” years in the computer gaming world. Sean also wrote for such magazines as Shadis, Dragon, Adventurer’s Club, and InQuest Gamer during these long, torturous years of making his hobby his life.
Flipping through this first edition really engages the nostalgia, with artwork from classic RPGs, chapters on the history of RPGs, and great discussions on what it is to be a roleplayer and a storyteller. There are lots of books out about gaming, but few really delved into the heart of what it means to BE a gamer. This book was written for gamers and would-be gamers more than writers and game designers. If you want a wonderful walk down memory lane and the genesis of the roleplaying hobby, then give this book a read
You can still find copies of the 1st (which I own) and 2nd editions of the book at various online book and game stores. If you have a chance to find a copy, it is a great nostalgic read into the history of our hobby.