Thursday, June 14, 2012

Off the Shelf: Mathematics Books

From time to time adventurers may find themselves in libraries and other places where books can be found. Some players will want to know exactly what's on those shelves, so with that in mind, Off the Shelf consists of lists of book titles for the referee to use in rolling or choosing exactly what the adventurers find.

Mathematics texts are used in pedgogy and as reference works for fields such as accounting, engineering, and architecture, and as such may be found in a wide variety of libraries maintined by those working in these fields. Roll 1D6 for the number of texts, then roll 1D20 for the individual titles. Duplicate rolls may be treated as additional copies of the same volume or re-rolled at the referee's discretion.

1. La Géométrie, René Descartes
2. Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio, John Napier
3. Arithmetica Logarithmica, Henry Briggs
4. Angulares Sectiones, Francisco Vieta
5. De Driehouckhandel, Simon Steven
6. Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità, Luca Pacioli
7. Francisci Vietœi universalium inspectionum ad canonem mathematicum liber singularis, François Viète
8. De resolutione et compositione mathematica, Marinus Ghetaldus
9. Cursus mathematicus, nova, brevi, et clara methodo demonstratus, per notas reales et universales, citra usum cujuscunque idiomatis intellectu faciles, Pierre Hérigone
10. Problèmes plaisants, Claude Gaspard Bachet de Méziriac
11. Clavis Mathematicae, William Oughtred
12. Academia Algebra, Johnann Faulhaber
13. Geometria rotundi, Thomas Fincke
14. Artis Analyticae Praxis, Thomas Harriot
15. De Planis Triangulis, Giovanni Antonio Magini
16. Tuhfat al-a'dad fi-l-hisab, Ibn Hamza al-Maghribi
17. Livro de algebra en arithmetica y geometria, Pedro Nunes
18. Arithmeticorum libri duo, Francesco Maurolico
19. Compendium arithmeticae Vrstisii, Petrus Ryff
20. Van den Circkel, Ludolph van Ceulen


  1. Are there particular time spans associated with any of these (if they're real books)? For example, if my adventurers are in 17th century vs the group on the 14th, are there some books that would not be in the early library?

    1. Good question.

      These books could be found in a library up through about the middle of the 17th century. Most of them are late 16th to early 17th century in origin.

      And all of them are actual books, so if you roll for a title, you can also look it up for details, or grab an interesting title and place it somewhere for your players to find.

  2. Another great list. As for year of publication, my players wouldn't know anyway so I don't mind a little anachronism.