Where’s the Apostrophe?

Now that the books are hitting the hot little hands of the Kickstarter backers, I suppose it was inevitable that someone mentioned the lack of an apostrophe in the title of the Adventures Dark and Deep™ Players Manual.

I can definitively state that this is neither unintentional, nor is it grammatically incorrect.

The question of whether or not the book should be more properly titled the Player’s Manual or the Players’ Manual was actually brought up by both the editor and my wife. As author and publisher, I made the executive decision to leave the title as-is for two reasons.

Regarding the first, the nature of the project is such that it does have strong ties to the first edition of the world’s most popular RPG. Since the 1E books omitted the apostrophe, I thought it would be appropriate to do so as well. Failing all else, this could fall under artistic license, but there is actually a sturdier reason.

As to the second, the apostrophe is used in two cases; singular possessive (Player’s) and plural possessive (Players’). In the case of the present work, neither applies.

It would apply if the intent of the title were to imply possession of the manual by either a specific player or all players in general. However, that is not the case. The manual is intended for the players. Thus, the term “Players Manual” is the equivalent of saying “Manual for Players”. In which case, the word “players” is the object of the (implied) preposition “for”, and thus no apostrophe is needed.


Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

5 thoughts on “Where’s the Apostrophe?

  1. I have gone off the deep end and replaced the 'Apostrophe S' with a 'Z'
    Players' Handbook – – > Playerz Handbook

    character's choice – – > characterz choice

    this gives my left pinkie something more to do while typing

  2. I suppose then that there should be no apostrophe in the phrase "men's room" (meaning "restroom")? The same logic seems to apply, as it would for "children's literature" and numerous other phrases commonly employing an apostrophe. You should have stopped with the perfectly satisfactory justification of copying 1E usage.

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