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Library of Knowledge

Welcome to the Library of Terra Incognita, assiduously maintained by the Bookworm Area of Specialty. You will discover here an annotated list of many works that inspired the Terra Incognita adventure role–playing game.

The library is divided into four sections — books and periodicals are listed below. Visit the library’s Annex for other RPGs and motion pictures. The dreaded [OOP] indicates a work is out of print. Check your library for these. Please e–mail favorite resources and the Bookworms will add them to the library.

BookshelfPeriodicalsAnnex (for Role Playing Games and Movies)


This bibliography expands upon that in Terra Incognita: The NAGS Society Handbook. Many of these tomes were either written by Nags or Society Associates. While none directly mention the NAGS Society, the critical work of Nags can be inferred through careful perusal of the lacunæ betwixt the lines of print.

Andrews, Roy Chapman Camps and Trails in China: A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in Little-Known China

Freely available from Project Gutenberg.

Baigent, Michael, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Temple and the Lodge (without Lincoln).

Both books posit outré yet closely argued theories for reconsidering traditional history. Demonstrates that Bookworms can engage in as much adventure as Heroes. Definitive works of “Secret History.”

Berton, Pierre. Arctic Grail : The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909. Suggested by David Crowell.

“Culled from extensive research of handwritten diaries and private journals, Arctic Grail is the definitive book on the age of arctic exploration and adventure. ” (from the site).

Brandon, Jim. Weird America: A Guide to Places of Mystery in the United States.

I’ve not read this one, but it looks interesting, and, perhaps, doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Carr, Caleb. The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness.

Although pure detective stories, Carr’s novels inspired me with their historical atmosphere. The excellent period detail paints a clear picture of New York in the late nineteenth century. The diverse nature of the protagonists necessitates discretion during their investigations.

Ceram, C.W. Gods, Graves, and Scholars.

An exciting and informative account of the origins of archæology. Concentrates on four areas: Ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, the Fertile Crescent (Sumeria, Babylon), and Mesoamerica.

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

I highly recommend this novel about the golden age of comic books. The characters are wonderful, Chabon has a light and precise touch, and the bits about their superhero are inspired. Describes NAGS Society Associate, the League of the Golden Key. Also manages to include the Golem of Prague and spying in the Antarctic (the only thing lacking for perfection is an airship, though there is a scene at the top of the Empire State Building under the mooring mast…).

Childress, David Hatcher. Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla, Lost Continents and the Hollow Earth, Lost Cities of Ancient Lemuria and the Pacific (part of the Lost Cities… series — there are many others).

Childress is incomparable for giving voice to archæological mysteries. Required reading for any Nag. The Society is ceaseless yet unsuccessful in its labors to dissuade Childress from publishing his findings.

Crichton, Michael. Congo; Eaters of the Dead; Jurassic Park, Timeline.

Crichton is a masterful storyteller and his novels are ready-made rpg adventures. None of these fall within the TI timeline — most are set in the modern day — but they are easily adaptable. Eaters of the Dead is a period piece concerning an interesting discovery made by tenth century Vikings. Swap Congo’s late ’80’s hightech (a computer with 256k!) for NagTech and you’re in business. Jurassic Park updates Doyle. It’s interesting to note that when they moved the Crystal Palace to Sydenham, the garden featured model dinosaurs constructed by Waterhouse Hopkins and Richard Owen. Considering the technology on display at the Great Exhibition, perhaps they were more than models…

Davis, Wade. The Serpent and the Rainbow.

The perfect intersection of science, adventure, and occult. I found Davis somewhat more self aggrandizing than the typical Nag, but the process of cultural immersion he describes is textbook Nag Policy and Protocol.

De Vries, Leonard. Victorian Inventions.

A collection of facsimiles articles and illustrations from Scientific American, La Nature, and De Natuur from the late Nineteenth Century. Many items could be (and were) borrowed as is for Nag Technology.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Lost World and The Poison Belt.

Professor Challenger was anything but discrete and did not Leave Anything as He Found It, but the types of adventures described are appropriate for Terra Incognita. See also the RPG Forgotten Futures for an excellent adaptation of Professor Challenger's world.

Eco, Umberto. Foucault’s Pendulum and The Name of the Rose.

Neither story falls within our time period (the former is modern, the latter mediæval) but each exemplifies mystery, secret history, and a tale well told. Another example of Bookworms at their best.

Ellis, Warren and John Cassaday. Planetary.

Three “Archaeologists of the Impossible” who investigate the mysteries of the Twentieth century. I encountered this graphic novel as Terra Incognita went to print. Exploring the relationship between the NAGS Society and Planetary would be interesting.

Farmer, Philip José. Tarzan Alive [OOP] and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life [OOP].

Farmer penned definitive biographies of two seminal Twentieth century figures, simultaneously introducing the crucial Wold Newton hypothesis. Doc Savage’s exploits served as an example of a true Nag. He at least made an attempt at discretion with his secret HQ in the Empire State Building. Farmer details his adventures, his personality, and, more importantly, his gadgets, and even provides a map of that elusive hide-out.

Foster, Barbara and Michael Foster. The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel: A Biography of the Explorer of Tibet and Its Forbidden Practices.

A fast moving and affectionate biography of this fascinating explorer, orientalist, Buddhist, and writer—the first western woman to enter Lhasa. David-Neel wrote NAGS Society training manuals on travel incognito, wilderness survival, and initiation into forbidden practices.

Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and divers sequels which are, in order of historical chronology: Royal Flash (1842-43, 1847-48), Flashman’s Lady (1842-45), Flashman and the Mountain of Light (1845-46), Flash for Freedom (1848-49), Flashman and the Redskins (1849-1859, 1875-76), Flashman at the Charge (1854-55), Flashman in the Great Game (1856-58), Flashman and the Angel of the Lord (1858-59), Flashman and the Dragon (1860), and Flashman and the Tiger.

The history is rollicking and well—told; the portrait of the Nineteenth century cad is complete. Flashman was everywhere of interest on four continents (so far) during the Victorian era. The Flashman papers represent the ultimate unreliable narrator. While presenting himself as a scoundrel and cad, Flashman found occasion to oblige the NAGS Society on numerous crucial Operations.

Gibson, William and Bruce Sterling. The Difference Engine.

Inspiration for the NAGS Society came whilst I was immersed in this steampunk novel. Although there is nothing comparable in the book, I began to think about inquisitive government bureaus in an information-driven Victorian age.

Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History.

Catalogs every historical event from 5000 B.C. to 1990. (Not really, but close enough for those of us who weren't alive during the entire period). Even has blank pages for you to finish the job. An incomparable source for historical events.

Gurney, James. Dinotopia. The recent miniseries featured wonderful computer animation, but the original books are a more rewarding treat. The first, Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time introduces this new twist on the lost world theme in the form of a Victorian explorer’s journal. The sequel, Dinotopia: The Land Beneath (which doesn’t seem to be available from covers the story about Crabb’s father mentioned by Cyrus Crabb in the miniseries. The most recent book, Dinotopia: First Flight concerns the island’s past, and includes a board game inside the front cover. The books are featured at the website while you can find out more about the miniseries at

Haggard, H. Rider. King Solomon’s Mines and She.

Classic tales of Deepest, Darkest Africa and its secrets. I like Allan Quatermain because he is more nuanced than many action heroes — he manifests cowardice at crucial moments. Although I didn’t expect it to be, She was even better!

Hilton, James. Lost Horizon.

A mysterious flight into the Himalayas leads to a secret lamasery, Shangri–La. A sort of a thinking-person’s lost world novel, with monks and weltanshaungen filling in for dinosaurs and cavemen. A classic well worth your time.

Hitching, Francis. The Mysterious World: An Atlas of the Unexplained [OOP].

Contains maps, line drawings, photographs, and thoughtful articles about numerous mysterious people, places, and events. An excellent guide to the secrets of Terra Incognita.

Hite, Kenneth. Suppressed Transmission and Suppressed Transmission 2.

An irreplaceable source for adventure and campaign ideas. Hite transmits weekly from Pyramid Magazine. Even if you subscribe to Pyramid, the bibliography and added notes are worth the price of the books.

Horizon Magazine, eds. The Horizon Book of Lost Worlds [OOP].

Distinguishes itself by including relevant art work depicting ancient cultures. The accompanying text is surprisingly helpful.

Hutchison, Don. The Great Pulp Heroes.

An excellent survey of the pulps, their heroes, and their creators. Hutchison is an engaged and knowledgeable chronicler. Taught me everything I know about the pulps. Profusely illustrated.

Jones, Mary Ellen. Daily Life on the 19th Century American Frontier.

Including subtle details from the time period can really make you rpg campaign come alive. You’ll have to supplement the information and illustrations with your own maps, but I found it an excellent resource. On the other side of the pond, try Daily Life in Victorian England by Sally Mitchell. They do seem a bit dear to buy new, so I suggest trying the library first.

King, Laurie The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Moor, and O Jerusalem, et al.

An excellent treatment of an aging Sherlock Holmes and a refreshing, resourceful foil, Mary Russell. The Moor returns the heroes to the area of The Hound of the Baskervilles and introduces Society Associate Sabine Baring–Gould. O Jerusalem involves Russell’s infiltration of the Holy City in the guise of an Arab man, à la Burton.

I just finished Laurie King’s latest Russell/Holmes novel entitled Justice Hall. Here is a bit from the website: “Justice Hall brings back two colorful characters from earlier in the series: Bedouins Ali and Mahmoud Hazr (now known as Alistair and Marsh), who last appeared in O Jerusalem. At their request, Holmes and Russell take up the trail of the doomed heir to Justice Hall, who has been executed for cowardice in the bloody trenches of France. As the detectives strive to make sense of his death and to locate another heir to the family title, an attempt is made on the life of the man who's soon to be welcomed as the new duke. Holmes and Russell soon realize something sinister is afoot, and that they must untangle a web of deceit to discover which of the many suspects is taking steps to shorten the line of inheritance. Once again, King’s satisfying tale stays true to the spirit of Conan Doyle’s original stories while extending them into new terrain.”

Kipling, Rudyard. Collected Stories.

Kipling was a popular chronicler of Victorian colonialist adventure. He also penned some scientific romance and horror stories. Particularly inspirational to me were; “As Easy as A.B.C.”, “With the Night Mail”, “The Man Who Would be King”, and “The Eye of Allah”.

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City.

Juxtaposes the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes.

Lindskold, Jane. The Buried Pyramid.

I’ve not read this one, but the description makes is sound like a made-to-order roleplaying adventure.

Manguel, Alberto and Gianni Guadalupi. Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

“From Atlantis to Xanadu, this Baedecker of make-believe takes readers on a tour of more than 1,200 realms invented by storytellers from Homer’s day to our own,” according to the dust jacket. Detailed write-ups of all your favorite imaginary places, from Oz to Pellucidar to Kor (from Rider Haggard’s She) to Hogwarts. The authors are European, so there is a healthy representation of realms from non-English books. Best of all are the maps and illustrations — 220 of them — that are invaluable to a game master. Use a copy of Fudge in a Nutshell as a bookmark and you’ve got the motherlode of rpg sourcebooks.

On her “UrbanGeek” website, Kris Naudus has set up an online supplement to Manguel and Guadalupi’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places. You’ll find in Naudus’ supplementary Imaginary Places entries for various locations in the Lemony Snicket novels as well as my personal favorites, Frostbite Falls, MN. There is also a style guide, you one could contribute one’s own imaginary entries.

Moore, Alan and Kevin O’Neill. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The League brings together an improbable quintet of characters. I was perhaps the Last Person in the World to have encountered the League. Perfect example of an “Against All Odds” campaign of Societally–extracted personages. Wish I had thought of it.

National Geographic Society. Mysteries of the Ancient World [OOP].

Photographs by the NAGS Society’s chief competitor are always a joy to behold.

Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank and divers sequels.

Light yet entertaining mystery novels. Amelia Peabody expands the role for a reasonably–respectable Victorian woman. The mysteries are obvious, but the recounting exciting.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Suggested by David Crowell.

Examines the story that inspired Moby Dick —“has a lot going for it—derring-do, cannibalism, rescue" (from the site).

Pickford, Nigel. The Atlas of Shipwrecks and Treasure.

Contains information about lost ships from earliest history to the modern day. Beautifully illustrated and thorough, including a gazetteer of more than 1,400 wrecks. Helpful for ideas for the Society's submarine adventures.

Poe, Edgar Allan. Complete Tales and Poems.

Poe’s stories are inspirational in their atmosphere, suspense, and his ability to take a simple situation and render it extremely frightening. “Gordon Pym,” “Hans Pfaall,” and “MS Found in a Bottle” are particular favorites.

Polk, Milbryand Mary Tiegreen. Women of Discovery: A Celebration of Intrepid Women Who Explored the World.

Beautifully illustrated and clearly written, this book discusses 2000 years of adventuring women.

Pool, Daniel. What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens Knew.

An invaluable resource explaining customs and practices of daily life in nineteenth century England. Draws examples from Victorian novels. Useful for adding authentic period details to a Terra Incognita campaign.

Reader’s Digest. Earth’s Mysterious Places; Great Disasters, Unsolved Mysteries of the Past; &c., &c. [OOP]

Reader’s Digest has published a million of these type books, all of about equal use—the photographs are nice and the text appropriately mysterious. A good beginning.

Rice. Edward. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography.

Burton is indisputably the proto–Nag. This excellent précis of his perambulations begs the question, if such adventures can now be told, imagine what the NAGS Society is keeping secret!

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Antarctica.

I picked this up for inspiration while creating the Mt. Erebus Campus. The setting is modern, but includes a history of Antarctic exploration and exploitation, detailed descriptions of arctic survival techniques, a secret community, and even — glory of glories — airships!

The website of the incomparable British Museum features a thoroughly useful resource: Turning the Pages. The site uses Shockwave format to create a “3D” experience of reading fourteen great books, including the Notebooks of Leonardo and the original, handwritten and illustrated Alice in Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures Underground). It took me a little mousing practice to get the pages to turn — but it’s extremely realistic and satisfying. As one might expect, a broadband connection is required to get the full effect.

Verne, Jules. A Journey to the Center of the Earth; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The Mysterious Island and Around the World in 80 Days.

I imagine many gamers fell under the Verne spell early in their lives. Excellent examples of investigations into terrestrial and submarine mysteries. Along with his alphabetic neighbor, Wells, Verne pioneered the genre.

Wells, H. G. The Invisible Man; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Time Machine and War of the Worlds.

Wells is a master and I have little need to convince anyone of that. These novels are inspirational for their atmosphere, scientific vision, and suspenseful telling. The Time Machine Project is a website devoted to the novel and the film adaptation.

Westwood, Jennifer, ed. The Atlas of Mysterious Places [OOP].

Covers all of the expected ground, but wonderful photographs, clear maps, and concise writing, make this one of the better of these compendia. Check your library for this one.

Wilson, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries and From Atlantis to the Sphinx.

Wilson is an avid occult collector and masterful raconteur. His credible retelling of tales of the mysterious and outré immediately blossom into adventure ideas. Wilson's fingerprints are all over Terra Incognita.



There are a number of online periodicals that offer resources for Terra Incognita players and game masters.

52 Books (in blog and non-blog format) is “Bibliophile”’s collection of book reviews. She reads a lot of mysteries and fantasy/sci fi, so the reviews are helpful from a gaming perspective. She’s also interested in bookmaking/binding, which I love to do myself.

Adventure — While many of the comics I haven’t yet browsed look promising, a pulp strip called Red Kelso that debuted yesterday fits right into the Terra Incognita world.

The first issue of the Book of Dark Wisdom, a new print magazine supporting all eras of Call of Cthulhu, is now available from the website, Chaosium, Noble Knight Games, and elsewhere. Check out the press release for the full contents—one adventure offers a mini-guidebook to New York’s Greenwich Village in the ’20’s. You can read a preview of issue two on the website.

Issue 5 of the Bulletin Geographique, a “Journal des explorateurs et des navigateurs” [it’s in French, obviously], features some fabulous, inspirational photography of Deepest African Explorers [namely, extremely well painted Foundry miniatures]. The website design is itself worth the visit.

I recently found myself with the need to review some articles from the Chicago Tribune from the early 1890s. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their archives are online, searchable and readable, from 1852! Now, unless you are a subscriber, you have to pay to read the text of the articles, but it still seems like a useful resource for historical researchers. I imagine other large (and old) newspapers offer similar services.

The Dark Chamber — “A Goth Art & Dark Culture Ezine” — might have an article or two of interest.

Demonground is a high-quality, Origins Award-nominated free online magazine devoted to the horror genre. You’ll find numerous adventures for popular horror rpgs, as well as the occasional article or review. The whole thing is copiously illustrated and easy on the eyes. Terra Incognita game masters will have little difficulty adapting adventures to their own ends.

Provided by the incomparable Marcus Rowland, D’Ordel’s Pantechnicon is a 1904 parody of Victorian/Edwardian illustrated magazines, many of which serve as source material for Mr. Rowland’s Forgotten Futures rpg.

There are many zines and websites devoted to the life and work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. ERBzine is one of the better examples.

The Fortean Bureau — “A magazine of speculative fiction” — had a Lovecraft-inspired issue this month in 2002. The current page states they are no longer accepting submissions.

Fortean TimesDevoted to carrying on the work of NAGS Society consultant, Charles Fort [Submitted by Thomas Krømke]

Fudge Factor — An online magazine devoted to all things Fudge. Contains articles concerning Terra Incognita.

Game Quarterly Magazine — I’m a big fan of gaming magazines and would love to see this new one — Games Quarterly — succeed. It covers all types of non-electronic games and features articles by popular rpg authors Matt Forbeck and Ken Hite. The premier issue is available for free download.

Geographical — Online version of the magazine. Provides images, maps, articles, &c.

Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius comic is an oddly-steampunk saga set in an alternate universe. It contains secret decoders you can build (though you have to cut up the covers to do it — you can buy just the covers for a pittance), wonderfully crazy gadgetry, Falkensteinian plotting, even airships! You can read Issue One online to see if it interests you — (note that while it’s black and white, the comic went full color in Issue Four). The Secret Blueprints they mention is a preview that introduces the characters and outlines the expansive plot.

Harper’s Weekly was an influential American periodical throughout the time period covered by Terra Incognita (and it’s still going strong today as Harper’s). The Harper’s Weekly website features a number of free articles, and you can check with your local university to see if they have access to the complete, indexed archive. There’s no better way to learn about a time period than reading what they read.

The Harrow is an online ”open journal” devoted to horror and fantasy fiction. The Harrow seeks “to recapture the spirit of those friendly genre magazines of yesteryear, where editors worked closely with writers and fiction was a joy rather than a business,” writes editor Dru Pagliassotti.

JSTOR — Reading Richard Burton’s account of his exploration of Lake Tanganyika in 1857-59 prompted me to look for online sources to the periodical where he published many of his observations: the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. This led me to the Journal Storage — — website which affords access to numerous academic journals stretching back decades, if not two centuries. The only catch is that one needs to be affiliated with an academic institution or public library to access the archives, though common folk can try a demo. So, head to your library or alma mater to have a glimpse at what they were writing about terra incognita back in the day.

If you prefer to pursue your quest for mysteries in old-fashioned, non-electronic fashion, Mysteries Magazine may be for you.

New Dawn is a “Journal for a New Consciousness, A New Humanity and a New Era! … Covering alternative news and information” from Australia and New Zealand. While it’s a print magazine, the website features a number of representative articles on our favorite old chestnuts.

Oddica is a free, pdf magazine featuring the work of T shirt artists. Number Four features a piece by our own Daniel Davis, Terra Incognita cover and Fudge logo designer. You can lean more about Klawberry herself at her website.

Parroom Station careens further into alternate history and Victorian science fiction than your average TI campaign, but I find it inspiring.

Places to Go, People to Be — A superb online magazine based in Australia. The articles are among the best I have read, all available for free! Support it by contributing an article.

The online version of Popular Science magazine is a wonderful resource for a plethora of scientific speculation. For example, have a look at these machines that walk when powered by wind.

Printed Poison, the free pdf magazine devoted to pulp, is up to issue 5. The ’zines feature gaming material, fiction, and number 5 has an original boardgame.

Pyramid by Steve Jackson Games — An online magazine that provides a number of useful resources. To mention only three: “The Deathtrap Construction Kit” by Chad Underkoffler, “Floating on Air” (about dirigibles) by David Morgan–Mar, and “Around the World in 80 Thrills: An Epic Pulp Adventure” in four parts by Steven Marsh, James Maliszewski, Bob Portnell, and Steve Kenson. The latter includes Fudge statistics for the characters.

I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I derive from Ragnarok, the magazine of the SFSFW (the Society of Fantasy and Science-Fiction Wargamers [whew!]). It contains wargames scenarios, complete games, along with numerous, thoughtful reviews of rules and miniatures. Even the pictures on the cover are inspirational. You can have a look at the Ragnarok website and sample previous articles online.

Quest magazine offers its guidance in exploring world mysteries.

Check out the 19th Century Scientific American site for an online version of the magazine (not affiliated with the modern incarnation of Scientific American). The numbers, from 1845 to 1859. are presented in facsimile. Explore the cutting edge of scientific knowledge at the beginning of the Terra Incognita timeline.

Steampunk Magazine is a free online periodical devoted to all things steampunk. There is fiction, how-to articles, interviews, and various and sundry informative articles. Well worth your time.

The Unbound Book is a free webzine (they made one issue) featuring Call of Cthulhu adventures set in the 1920s. Inventive TI GMs can always adapt CoC adventures, and the price is right!

The Undersea Adventures of Cap’n Eli is a pulpish webcomic featuring the young, submarine explorer, Cap’n Eli.

Victorian Newspapers — The British Library provides this helpful list of nineteenth century British periodicals. It seems that one must be in a position to visit the Library itself to peruse the papers; the long arm of the internet only reaches so far….

One of the best wargaming magazines is Wargames Illustrated. They now have a website which will (eventually) allow you to search the first 200 issues for particular articles. The first 200 issues are currently available on eight CDs. I just got two, from Nottingham to North Carolina in about a week, and got my hands on a bunch of the Gary Chalk articles I’ve been wanting for years.

Wargames Journal is a thoroughly wonderful, free pdf gaming magazine.

The Weird Review is “Close-ups of Antiquarian Supernatural Literature with some emphases on the Short Story” which is a literary niche if I’ve ever heard of one, but a good niche, nonetheless.

Lars Klores has created a wonderful online homage to Weird Tales, the classic magazine of outré fiction.