This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we journey deep under the earth to read the novel The Shadow People, by Margaret St. Clair. The bonkers 1969 sci-fi/fantasy novel was included in Appendix N of the Dungeon Masters Guide, a list of literature Gary Gygax cited as being particularly inspirational to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons. It is a clear source for the drow, the duergar and the game’s preoccupation with vast underground labyrinths, but that’s just scratching the surface…
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3 thoughts on “The Shadow People”
Just NOW found you had a podcast after following your Instagram for months!
That was a wild ride of book report. As a huge fan of all things Underdark (grew up near Mammoth Cave) I’ll be for sure picking this up. 10/10 convinced me to read.
That cover is by Jeff Jones, later Jeffrey Catherine Jones, one of a few contemporaries of Frazetta that Frazetta openly admired.
Sign of the Labrys is formative, too, in a number of other ways. More of a Gamma World vibe, but also has to be why so many different types of fungus appeared in early D&D, as well as wandering monsters and random traps. The book has an equally weird and eerie vibe as The Shadow People, though different.