Thursday 19 March 2009


I have quite a lot of gaming material sitting in a box in my dad's loft. (Whenever I visit I usually spend an afternoon finagling this box out from underneath all the accumulated crap, just so I can leaf through the goodness it contains. Every year it seems the pages of the various volumes grow a little more faded; occasionally one of the items will have mysteriously disappeared, never to be recovered. My rpgs are a dying breed.) Some people - cold hearted, unsentimental types, no doubt - would probably put them up for auction on eBay. Not me. I'm hoarding them (by proxy, seeing as they aren't at my house) on the off chance that I might one day get the chance to use them again, and also because I just can't bear to give them up. Too many happy memories.

The box contains, at last count:

AD&D 2nd edition Dungeon Master's Guide, first printing. Acquired at a shop in Tel Aviv around, I think, the spring of 1993. Still with the original Hebrew stickers, though the contents are English. For a long time this was the only AD&D book my friends and I had; we used the Red Box Basic rules and our own imagination for character gen and monsters.

Blacksand and Allansia, the
two latter volumes in the three part Advanced Fighting Fantasy series. I used to have the first volume too, but it seems to have gone away to the great DM's screen in the sky. Of great sentimental value because I can still remember borrowing them from the local library time after time before I eventually managed to save the money to buy them for real; is there any feeling sweeter than being 12 years old and finally getting to buy something you've been wanting for ages? They still seem to me to be the ultimate in ergonomics when it comes to role playing game rulebooks - they're paperback and ever so slightly larger than an ordinary novel: just the right size to hold and flick through.

The Amber Diceless Role Playing Game, which in my memory my sister's friend's older brother gave me (along with a huge box full of Star Wars figures) when I was about 7. This memory can't be true, however, because Amber wasn't published until 1991, when I was 10, and by that time I think I was probably too old for Star Wars figures. Strange. Anyway, it's in the box. I've never played it and for a long time wasn't aware I had it, but one day I swear I will use it.

A whole host of very old Epic 2nd edition rules stuff for Warhammer 40,000.

My large collection of Planescape material, which I thankfully also have on .pdf on my computer these days. I would go so far as to say that even if you hate role playing games you can appreciate the sheer beauty of that line and the care and creativity that went into its design. It's worth keeping for that reason alone.

Changeling: The Dreaming and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I went through a World of Darkness phase, like I suppose most gamers of my generation did, but nowadays look on that stuff chiefly as juvenelia. Changeling is the one that has best stood the test of time, I think. It's beautifully written and has a great atmosphere about it. Too bad that what was most important - how you play the damned thing - was so difficult to get to grips with.

Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and MERP, all of which threatened to displace D&D as my 'favourite game' at one stage or another. All told I wouldn't be surprised to learn that my Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun rulebooks have seen more actual game-time than my D&D books have; between the ages of 14 and 17 I honestly don't think I did much else with my free time than play those games (and Warhammer, and, okay, cricket and football) with my group of fellow social outcasts. Nowadays Shadowrun in particular makes me want to cringe - it's such a ridiculous game, really - but I would never let want to let those crumbling rulebooks go. The character sheets for two of my friend's favourite ever characters - Yosemite Sam the dwarf street samurai, and his troll sidekick Bizkit - are still folded inside the cover.

What gaming materials from your youth do you still cling onto?


  1. Sadly, I gave away nearly my entire collection when I went off to college: Dragon magazines, modules, Gamma World 2e, Basic set...

    The only things still left are the core AD&D rulebooks: PHB, DMG and the monster books, lovingly colored by yours truly. Everything else I've had to replace via eBay.

  2. Although I no longer have the box, I still have the red book set. I still have all my AD&D stuff, including a Deities and DemiGods with Lovecraftian and Melibinean gods in it and all my original modules. They live out on the shelf surrounded by later edition stuff. I still have my first Call of Cthulhu rule book, my first Traveller little black book, the Mines of Moria for MERP and all the Dragon Magazines from my first subscription. Some Twilight 2000 and Aftermath as well sits out on the shelf.

    Sometime during college I had a box go missing, some of my Space 1889 stuff has been replaced with reprints. Other stuff, Harn, RuneQuest, and more has not been replaced.

  3. Nonsense, man! You're never too old for Star Wars figures! (Hell, my secret ambition is to someday pull together a stop-motion remake of all 6 movies using action figures.)

  4. The bookcase in my bedroom is one of those wooden, ikea, three shelf jobs about 4 ft high. It contains nothing but Star Trek games and books. Every item from every incarnation of the RPGs, the US Editions of Star Trek: The Magazine, the original Franz Joseph Techical Manual, the Medical Manual from the same era and at least 3 dozen other Star Trek books have their home right across from my bed.

    I've lost, sold, traded and otherwise been parted from a good portion of my gaming materials over the years but that section just keeps growing...

    Barking Alien

  5. Epic 2nd (or Space Marines/Titan Legions) was my favourite GW game. I liked all the special powers the different units had and the tactics you could use with them (but Eldar were far too strong imo).
    But here in Germany, the game wasn't very wide known, even when it was still in print, so it was hard to find people to play with...
    People who like it or who are interested in it should really check out

    A drawback of the game was, that it took really long to set it up and play (at least for me).

  6. The Dragon Warriors original books which formed the only campaign I got to play in. Atmospheric setting, strong story with simple rules.

    A very strange novel sized adventure book published by puffin in '84 by Alexander Scott called 'Maelstrom'. Set in and around London in Elizabethan times, with very subtle use of magic. A great read.

  7. I was much more mercenary than you; much of my collection has been sacrificed (quite profitably) on the altar of eBay. My oldest artifacts are my complete set of the first 12 Lone Wolf books (funky, falling apart, spines cracked to oblivion), a copy of GURPS Horror (the first GURPS supplement I bought)--complete with blood stain from the time I was reading the chapter on Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and got a spontaneous nosebleed out of nowhere boogeda-boogeda--and a copy of I.C.E.'s Robin Hood "Giant Outlaw Campaign", which I bought (oh the shame of it all) after seeing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. One day I shall actually make use of that book, I swear! (Probably use Burning Wheel...but ask me again in a month...)

    I wish I still had my Adeptus Titanicus box and all those lovely Warlord Titan minis. ::sigh::

  8. I used to have a copy of that MAELSTROM book kicking around too... interesting idea. I also have the novel-size rulebook from Weis and hickman's Darksword trilogy (which I have never read... sad, I know).

    I have cleaned out a lot of my former ephemera... I sold my B/X Basic box and a bunch of modules a few years ago, and long, long ago, I gave all my Marvel Super Heroes stuff to my friend's son. That being said... I still have my 1st Edition rulebooks (DMG, PHB, MM, MM2, FF and UA). They live at my cottage now, along with a battered, crummy set of dice, so if the spirit ever moves me and my friends whilst at the cabin, I can go. I still have all the GH modules (I have all of them up to Isle of the Ape), my 83 Greyhawk boxed set, the City of Greyhawk box, Greyhawk Adventures, Wilderness and Dungeon Survival Guides, Oriental Adventures and Deities & Demigods. I also have the 2nd Ed rulebooks, and the TOME OF MAGIC. I have a few non-Greyhawk novels, like ALL THAT GLITTERS and WHEN A STAR FALLS. I have all of the first edition UNKNOWN ARMIES books (yess, ALL of them), plus the 2nd Ed rulebook and ASCENSION OF HE MAGDALENE (and MAN, I wish I could get my hands on TO GO and BREAK TODAY). I have a huge set of CYBERPUNK 2020 books. I think I have every official rulebook and supplement from R. Tal, and a couple of outsourced modules. I have also recently been acquiring as much of the old WEG Star Wars material as I can. It helps when you make friends with one of the authors. 8) I have a complete set of 1st, 2nd and revised 2nd rulebooks, EVERY Galaxy Guide (even the Mos Eisley boxed set, and the hard to find BOUNTY HUNTERS and CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS), and just about every major supplement. I also got a whole MESS of modules and about 3 copies of the Gamemaster's screen.

    Yeah, I'm a bit obsessive. Don't ask me about how many PDFs I have. 8)

  9. Max: You fool! You need to get working on a time machine so you can go back and slap yourself across the face. With a dead fish.

    Derek: I think there's probably a Darwinian aspect to old game collections. The strong survive. The weak (i.e. the ones you don't quite care for as much) disappear.

    Rach: I hear these days it's all about the lego Star Wars. When I was a lad, there was no lego Star Wars. Think of that.

    Barking Alien: So you seem like the man to ask: what is your system of choice for Star Trek role playing? I've been on a big Next Gen trip recently and was thinking about running a game, but it's tough to think of a system.

    Mr. Castle: Yes, the Eldar were the hardest - especially all of those elite units they had, like the Striking Scorpions and the Wailing Banshees etc. (I forget the exact names.) Though I always thought that the later editions made The Empire too strong - what with the huge and practically invincible titans they had.

    Kent: I've never played Dragon Warriors, though I've heard that, like the Advanced Fighting Fantasy books, it had a paperback novel style format. I really love that form of rule book design, though I suppose it wasn't successful for some reason.

    Sir Larkins: Heh. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is fantastic camp nonsense. You just can't beat that combination of Kevin Costner's boyish charm and Alan Rickman in his chewing-the-scenery pomp.

    Did you ever read the Lone Wolf novels, by (I think) Joe Deaver (Deever?)? See if you can find them - I remember them very fondly. They had surprising literary merit for what they were, at least in my recollection.

  10. The Badger King: Heh. You're not missing anything with the Darksword trilogy...

    If we're talking Weis and Hickman, The Death Gate Cycle is where it's at. I wonder if there was ever a game set in that series. There should have been.

  11. Almost all of my old RPG stuff was destroyed by hurricane fairly recently. I hadn't seen it in years, mind you. So, all that survives is a single binder from a Vampire campaign I ran in 1994. Kind of cool, actually. Some interesting insight as to how my high school self perceived "darkness".

    I've actually been slowly rebuilding my collection via ebay. First up on the reconstructed FitzerMan fantasy shelf? Steve Jackson's Sorcery series. Followed by the Grailquest books.

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  13. What gaming materials from my youth do I still cling onto?

    All of it!

    The only RPG materials I’ve ever sold were—not from my youth—my D&D 3e splat books. (I sold them to one of the guys in my group, so I still have access to them if I wanted.)

    I have not thrown or given away any either. Rather I was often the recipient when friends were foolish enough to do some purging. The actual boxes from the boxed sets are gone, but the contents remain.

    I’m pretty sure I still have the TSR catalog that came in my D&D Basic Set somewhere. Though, there may have been a registration card that probably went with the box. The crayon? I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t turn up, though I don’t know where it is if it is still around. The set of blue dice from that box somehow acquired a second d20 that I can’t recall the origin of.

    I can still identify the nondescript 2d6 that came with my Starter Traveller box, despite being mixed in with the general population of my other dice.

    Anyway, I’m a packrat. The only saving grace is that I’m actually fairly picky about what I buy. My 29yo collection fits on only about three shelves.

    Now that I think about it, though, I have somehow lost my T1–4.

  14. I have some 60+ feet of shelf space dedicated to RPG books and boxed sets. I literally have tens of thousands of dollars of RPG materials at my apartment. I live in a two bedroom apartment and my wife and I have twenty-one bookshelves. Twenty of them are mine. And I've sold off almost all of my 2E D&D books. :)

    My latest and possibly best purchase has been the OGL book Everstone: Blood Legacy. Maybe the best version of 3.5 I've ever encountered.