Monday, April 18, 2005

Kids These Days

or Projection Can Be Fun

A recent thread on RPGnet discusses the theoretical horrors of trimming your D&D book collection down to just 10 texts plus the PHB, DMG, and MM. What do you do? (Highlight the bottom of this post for the correct answer.) These sorts of threads both attract and repulse me. Now I admit that my game collection is pretty dang large. And that I have a room in my house just for gaming crap. And that I can't keep track of how many individual versions of D&D I own. But still, ten books plus the three core? Oh boo fucking hoo, the tragedy of it all. What ten books do I choose? It's questions like these that cause my existential gorge to rise because debating such trifles lays bare the dread truth of the hobby: we're all a bunch of prancing nancy boys spending way too much money on stupid D&D books. We're frickin' diletanttes when we should be gamers. Days like this I get the urge to quit buying game crap cold turkey and just start running a game with a bare bones rules set and my own frickin' imagination. Where did I make the wrong turn? Was it those four Advanced books bought so many years ago at a K-Mart after-Christmas sale? I had hardly played my D&D Basic and Expert sets at that point. Was it all the other TSR games I purchased over the next couple of years? We barely got past chargen for most of them, with an occasional single run of Gamma World or Star Frontiers. Was it Unearthed Arcana? Somewhere along the way I got a nasty combination of the collector bug, variantitis and inflamed completist syndrome. And the hobby is all too ready to feed these dark urges. Meanwhile, I am dead certain that I have yet to fully plumb the depths of any single D&D book I own, including my precious '81 Basic rules.

A: Shoot the hostage.

6 comments:

  1. " Now I admit that my game collection is pretty dang large."

    Me too.

    "And that I have a room in my house just for gaming crap. "

    Check.

    "And that I can't keep track of how many individual versions of D&D I own."

    Yeah, I've got a shitload of D&D, not to mention the world stuff (Dark Sun, Planescape, FR, Greyhawk)...

    " But still, ten books plus the three core? Oh boo fucking hoo, the tragedy of it all. What ten books do I choose? "

    Yeah I thought that you were going to say like which 2 or 3 do I choose...10?!?!?!? This question should really be which 1 book do I keep, or 2 for those who break out into cold sweats when I say "which one to keep"...

    "we're all a bunch of prancing nancy boys spending way too much money on stupid D&D books. "

    Preach it, brother!

    "like this I get the urge to quit buying game crap cold turkey and just start running a game with a bare bones rules set and my own frickin' imagination. "

    Can I get an Amen?!

    "Where did I make the wrong turn? ...Somewhere along the way I got a nasty combination of the collector bug, variantitis and inflamed completist syndrome. And the hobby is all too ready to feed these dark urges."

    Yeah, it's all 'bout the suppliments, baby!

    Looking at my woefully outdated Excel spreadsheet that I track my RPG books with (last updated 2/21/2003) I have 2116 books in the list from D&D OCE boxed to the Dallas TV Show RPG to Senzar/Synnibar. I probably have another 100-200 or so past that number as of today.

    In case you couldn't tell: I was hardcore. Or maybe not, One persons hardcore is anothers piker.

    I think somewhere in late 2003 early '04, I asked myself why do I need all of these books, or rather, why do I *want* all of these books? I think the reason I have them all is that it was the collector in me. The thrill of the hunt. "What am I going to find at Half-Priced Books this week?" Temple of Elemental Evil in fairly good shape with mapbook present. Score!

    Anyway, the real ironic part is that I haven't GM'd a game since '99 and haven't run a mini-campaig since '96 or so. Wow. Seeing the numbers on paper really make it seem very long ago.

    I think part of the problem is that, when I go to run something I pull it off the shelf (Mutants & Masterminds) and then I think maybe it would be better to run it with Hero or Marvel or Superworld or whatever. All the books come down off the shelf and then I end up overwhelmed and don't do a thing.

    These days I feel that simplicity is the answer. I feel a RPG collection purge coming on. Ditch all (or most) supps. Check. Ditch all RPGs I will not play. Check.

    I say all that now, but I'm not sure I can do it. There is a lot of unrealized gaming sitting on my shelves. But today is a day where I would trade it all just to get off my lazy fat ass, put pencil to paper, pick up my dice and say "you're in a 10' x 10' room? what do you want to do?"

    Maybe the "Castles & Crusades" I just picked up will help me...:)

    When will I learn....

    Take Care,

    Rich

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  2. The Evil DM says:
    purging aint a bad idea. as long as you have a nice clean dry place to store the purged stuff,because the day will come my son, when you will regret ebaying all those supplements and you will have to start all over from scratch(accept the words of one who knows). so purge to your hearts content if thats what you need to make you feel better. but first be sure to buy a nice big steamer trunk with a good lock and reserve a place in mom's garage for it.

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  3. I am officially jealous of Rich. He owns the Dallas rpg and I don't Pathetic, ain't it?

    I can't bring myself to do another game purge. I sold a bunch of game crap cheap at the Winter War live auction back in '03. Since then I have found a Feng Shui group (owned the core, had to repurchase it), two Nobilis fans (sold it, now I got another copy), and I now know a local Exalted nut (sold a half dozen Exalted books, haven't bought a new core yet). I just can't do that again. Basically, only a family emergency will get me to sell anything else out of my collection.

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  4. The Exalted mainbook is a free download on DriveThruRPG.com.

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  5. Yeah, I snatched that thing up right away.

    I'm starting to think that maybe if I am going to spend stupid amounts of money on game junk (and its clear to me at this point that I can't stop) then I ought to get into these new D&D miniatures. I may never run the shiny new game of the week that catches my eye, but I'll always have a use for a tiny prepainted plastic troll.

    I've kinda soured on new systems anyway. For all my years of griping about it, d20 really works for most of my gaming needs. Savage Worlds works for pretty much anything else I'd want to do. Sure there's oddball stuff I'd love to play like Nobilis, but I almost always hesitate. Imagine if I went to all the trouble of putting together a group to play Nobilis and if I put the time and effort into a really kickass campaign. Now imagine if I poured all that energy into a D&D campaign. Which is a better use of my resources? D&D is by far the more efficient option.

    Eh, I'm rambling at this point. But it's my blog so I guess I can get away with it.

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  6. I understand the disillusionment with new systems. One of the reasons I purged most of my games was the realization that I was never going to use all those different systems. I'm currently only retaining D&D, Stargate and Exalted. If I haven't played Exalted in a year or so, it's out the door.

    I often wonder how much more gaming I would have done if I had settled on one system early on. I spent a lot of my gaming history on futile efforts to get players for second tier games. Would I have gamed more if I'd just stuck with D&D?

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