A Question of Literature


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So I'm trying to start a thing over the summer for the kids in my neighborhood - give me something to do since teaching jobs tend to dry up over the summer, and get the kids to the library (where I hope to host it).

I was wondering, for the various classes and races, what would be a book you'd suggest for each one to help the kids get a better idea of what they're doing (I'm making this range from 11 to 14 in one group, and 14 to 17 in another, so keep that in mind). I already figured "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" for Alchemist. Any other suggestions?

(Also, since the few middle schoolers who already asked me to do this liked my Path of War and Ultimate Psionics books I was reading at lunch, those classes might be included too).


alchemyprime wrote:

So I'm trying to start a thing over the summer for the kids in my neighborhood - give me something to do since teaching jobs tend to dry up over the summer, and get the kids to the library (where I hope to host it).

I was wondering, for the various classes and races, what would be a book you'd suggest for each one to help the kids get a better idea of what they're doing (I'm making this range from 11 to 14 in one group, and 14 to 17 in another, so keep that in mind). I already figured "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" for Alchemist. Any other suggestions?

(Also, since the few middle schoolers who already asked me to do this liked my Path of War and Ultimate Psionics books I was reading at lunch, those classes might be included too).

The Cavalier class- Once and Future King by T.H White, you could explore the concept of fealty.

The Paladin class- The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.


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Check out the original Appendix N

The pathfinder Gamemastery Guide has a similar appendix.


I'd recommend the Belgariad, by David Eddings for the younger group - a whole bunch of class archetypes in that, from memory.


I think finding one book and letting the whole group read that and then make it a genre deciding book. Is the way to go. Finding genre is IMOP harder than finding a role for a character once genre is clear.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd recommend the Belgariad, by David Eddings for the younger group - a whole bunch of class archetypes in that, from memory.

The Elenium by Eddings as well, the knights in that series (The Diamond Throne, the Ruby Knight, The Sapphire Rose) are excellent character examples for Paladins and other martial classes. They both cover the stereotypes without being too sterotypical, and introduce some new types of characters that fit into the role.

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. (The Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold.) The rumor I heard was that she wrote those after a GenCon to show people how to properly play a Paladin. You'll need to go online or to a really good used bookstore to find them, though.

For more classical literature (Trying to focus on shorter stuff):
The Song of Roland for martials.

The Legend of Five Rings and The Art of War both give you a perspective on the mind set of warriors in an appropriate time period.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play and a must-read for Swashbucklers. Any Dumas novel also works, they're all pretty much the same (and much longer than the Cyrano de Bergerac.) :P The Scarlet Pimpernel is another one in this genre, and is credited as influencing the creation of Zorro and Batman, in the Wiki article at least.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is good for Barbarians and other martial classes.

Beowulf. 'Nuff said.

The Chronicles of Narnia More accessible to younger readers? Probably qualifies as proper literature now, though it wasn't when I was a kid.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The original and Tolkien's version.

Ivanhoe For the more advanced, and dedicated, readers. Not nearly as exciting as a modern writer telling the same story would be.

Bishop Odo, Earl of Kent. The guy riding around with a mace in the Bayeux Tapestry, who inspired the Cleric class. Read up on him on Wiki.

I really don't know what would be good for the 11-14 age range, they might not have the patience and reading comprehension for a lot of the stuff on this list? A lot of this will push the limits of the 16 and 17 year olds if they aren't really into reading, but there should be something that piques just about anyone's interest if they're also interested in fantasy roleplaying.

There aren't many stories about wizards or clerics in classical literature, for some reason. :P


A tip.... Gilgamesh is probably not right for 11 year olds...

Scarab Sages

Akerlof wrote:

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. (The Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold.) The rumor I heard was that she wrote those after a GenCon to show people how to properly play a Paladin. You'll need to go online or to a really good used bookstore to find them, though.

Paksenarrion is an absolutely fantastic book (or set? I think it was released as both a one and multi-volume version), and it is seared into my mind as what paladins are meant to be. But I would hesitate recommending it to hand out to neighborhood kids. It delves into heavy things like rape and atrocity with a seriousness that despite being less graphic than GRRM or other staples, treats it with an emotional seriousness that makes it very much an adult book. That doesn't mean the right kids wouldn't handle it, but one errs on the side of caution when telling a bunch of kids enmasse what to read.

Sovereign Court

Legend of Huma is good. I don't know under what category Huma falls, but Paladin, good hearted Fighter, Cavalier... he'd fit any of those. But maybe that's not classical enough. In that case...

I would consider the Odyssey (not as hefty as the Illiad, but still good in showcasing lots of myth and daring), and anything with Sinbad the Sailor. This isn't so much class specific, though there are examples of a lot of things here (sorceresses, fighters, etc)

Sherlock Holmes for Investigators of course, and similarly Lupin Arsene for Rogues.

I know that there are more... I'll ruminate on it.


I agree with Sissyl: your mileage will probably vary on how well an 11-year-old audience can handle Gilgamesh, and the same goes for Beowulf, Arabian Nights, and Canterbury Tales. I'd come across most of these by age 11 and handled them alright, but the archaic language is probably a bit difficult and some of the themes are probably a bit advanced for younger readers. If the kids are reading a bit ahead of their peers, though, all of these do have their moments.

I'll be surprised if you'll find an example of healer Clerics anywhere in fantasy literature... that seems to be a unique invention of D&D.

"The Hobbit" is probably not a bad place for young readers to start for fantasy, and might hint a bit at what a party of characters looks like. They might be able to pick some Rogues and maybe a couple other classes out of the cast of characters, and Gandalf the wizard of course, but "The Hobbit" probably isn't the best example of any particular D&D class.

"John Carter of Mars" and the first couple sequels, for a start on the whole Dungeons & Dragons thing: you've got sword-wielding adventurers delving into dungeons to meet (and usually fight) weird monsters in a fantasy version of Mars on a regular basis there. John Carter himself is probably the closest match to a classic D&D Fighter.

Robin Hood and his band are one of the closer literary matches to the Rogue, at least, though some argument could be made that there's probably a bit of Ranger and other classes involved there as well. (I had a great hardback version of Robin Hood's adventures when I was 11, but I really don't remember which versions of the story are the best for kids.)

King Arthur and his knights could be expected to touch on Fighters, Cavaliers, Paladins, or other martial types. (Again, I had read at least some versions of the King Arthur story at age 11, but I don't remember which versions are most suitable for kids.)

Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Barbarian" stories are not a bad place to look for a Fighter or Rogue type, either.

Strangely, the Conan stories are probably NOT the best place to look for an example of Barbarians... perhaps try Edgar Rice Burroughs' original "Tarzan" stories for the Barbarian archetype instead?

Fritz Lieber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" series seems like a good place to look for Wizards and Barbarians, at least for oler readers, though I don't remember how appropriate the stories are for younger readers (I could certainly have handled more adult themes at age 11, but I'm not so sure about other readers....)

The "Kung Fu" television series is probably the best example of Monks I can think of, as used in D&D, and I really can't think of any literature that portrays them quite as well.


Sissyl wrote:
A tip.... Gilgamesh is probably not right for 11 year olds...

Good point, I forgot how Gilgamesh bested Enkidu. Same for Duiker's comments.

Actually, the vast majority of my list is probably not all that well targeted for younger kids though I remember reading Tolkien's version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in, maybe, junior high.

Shadow Lodge

The Lost Years of Merlin is a YA fantasy series that would be a pretty good reference for many casters including wizards, druids, oracles, and witches.

Sabriel might work for clerics - the title character's magic is somewhat Pharasmin in theme.


yronimos wrote:
Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Barbarian" stories are not a bad place to look for a Fighter or Rogue type, either.

...well, he is a "a thief, a reaver, a slayer"

So going with that, you could easily portray him as a slayer. Shrewd, book smart, witty, strong, self taught in the ways of the sword as a child soldier, and uses an unconventional style. All of that sounds like enough of a mix of rogue and martial to be a slayer.

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