I have a confession to make.
Recently, in my online campaign, the party there was captured by bandits. It's an occasional sort of event that happens to parties from time to time, and usually it plays like death. The party gets angry, a few search for ways out of the mess, revenge is vowed and until the party actually frees themselves, it is boring as hell.
The context, or 'story' as some DMs call it, doesn't allow for much interaction. The characterization of the bandits is usually wooden and horrifically cliched, making it impossible for the party to have any emotional response except resentment or embarrassment for having gotten themselves in this position.
Now, let me pause here and say that the famous Appendix N from the DMG is shit. I don't mean that the actual content there is shit - though admittedly, some of it is - but that it is completely worthless for Dungeons and Dragons. Everyone has read it. Most of it is pulp fiction, with little or no literary characteristics, and while adventure rich the adventures themselves are for the most part as flat and staid as the above interaction of bandits. Pulp fiction isn't meant to appeal to people with an education, it is meant to appeal to the necessarily ignorant - which Gygax and Arneson must have been, for just look at the shit they read.
(This is two posts now where I've crapped all over popular fanboy wank-text. I am so having a good time!)
I think I was very lucky to have had parents who possessed a library of over 2,000 books, including a dozen different series including all the classical literature I could ever ask for. But of course, a lot of it was completely out of my reach when I was only seven. I was deep into atlases and geographical statistics at the time, but I didn't have the experiential context to manage a book like Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick or even Call of the Wild.
Fortunately, my parents had seen to that too, and in the 1950s - before I was born - they had begun collecting a simplified form of those classics - namely, Classics Illustrated.
Now, I wouldn't suggest that the Classics Illustrated library - as comic books - is a stand-in for Appendix N. I am suggesting that the length and breadth of deeper, well-written material kicks pulp fiction for six ... if you have the time, the patience and the wherewithal of mind to realize the possibilities offered - for staid and dull campaigns like the party being captured by bandits, among a thousand other possible adventures.
French Wikisource has an entry. The author was Edmond Francois Valentin About, who was extraordinarily popular in his day.
Incidentally, when I grew older and obtained a copy of the original book - translated, I'm afraid, I don't read French - I discovered the plotline of the original book was very little like the Classics Illustrated comic. This, naturally, was rather enjoyable, as it enabled me to read the book for the first time as a thing in which I did not know everything that was about to happen. I would strongly recommend the book.
I would strongly recommend reading a lot of intelligent, complex, difficult, proven literature that's been created by dedicated authors these past 28 centuries of human development (and Gilgamesh too, if you must), instead of all the worthless crap that's been written since the 1940s. If you did, you might begin to understand why I am so angry about the film that was described so nastily in the last post, and about the simple-minded fanboy culture that permeates the D&D world right now.
There is better than this. Players deserve better than this.
If you are interested (and I have to laugh at how juvenile it is now), I did find a copy of the classic comic online. You should be able to find a copy of the real book if you bother to search - and of a thousand other real books besides.
Toss Appendix N into the trash heap.