Monday, June 15, 2009

the Buddha weeps at my RPG collection

Over the weekend I tried to re-organize my game stuff. I do this every year or two, as inevitably all my little projects unravel the previous way I had arranged it all. I have three places that hold all my game crap, a tall halway bookshelf, a short pair of bookshelves next to my bed and a very narrow shelf next to the TV in the bedroom. I started off by deciding that all my fancy-pants hardbounds should be displayed in the hallway and built from that starting point.

I was really happy to get all these books properly shelved. Previously the majority of them had been stacked horizontally, making it a pain in the butt to get at the book at the bottom of the stack. In case you care, that's a big chunk of HackMaster, a Rules Cyclopedia, several retroclones, My AD&D hardbounds (the one without the spine is my original DMG), Wilderlands stuff of variou stripes, three Castles & Crusades tomes, a Holmes Basic D&D boxed set and two Savage Worlds books (the 1st edition rules and Andy Hopp's Lowlife).

The bottom shelf is more motley of a crew: a Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader hardbound, the Traveller aliens reprints and a couple Trav adventures, Aces & Eights and some Knuckleduster books, five or six Palladium books, everything I kept for D&D 3.x (a few adventures and some Dungeon/Polyhedron issues), Uncle Gary's Canting Crew, three copies of the Starmada Compendium (I kinda like that game), three or so GURPS books, two BESM settings (Centauri Knights and S. John Ross's Uresia), Pokethulhu (more Ross), the LUG Star Trek Narrator's book (even more Ross), and books about RPGs (Lawrence Schick's Heroic Worlds and lesser lights in the same vein).

And here's the ugly stuff. The brown box on the left contains the ashcan version of my Miscelleneum of Cinder and a few outlaw copies of Encounter Critical I made to give away to people. Underneath the box is a stack of old Dragon issues and TSR (A)D&D modules. I got rid of my gigantic collection of Dragon issues (excepting Best of the volume 1) when I got the Dragon CD-ROM archive years ago. Since then I've accumulated about a dozen issues without really trying, mostly in odd lots bought at eBay and con auctions. The big, messy stack to the right of that one is a mix of other RPG magazines: Stardate, Battletechnology, Adventure Gaming, Different Worlds, White Dwarf, Valkyrie, Shadis, etc. When I need to steal some ideas for a session that's a pretty good place to look.

The other two stacks on that same shelf are sort of a catchall of stuff I didn't find a good home for when arranging the other places. The plane white box has some Traveller stuff in it. The top of that same stack is a couple of neat new things I've gotten from Mythmere Games and a cheap edition of Lord Dunsany's Gods of Pegana (no Sime illustrations inside, but for ten bucks what can you ask for?).

The leftmost stack on the second shelf consists of a big pile of Judges Guild D&D-type products (modules, Dungeoneer & Pegasus issues, and miscellany) with a few Mayfair items from the Role Aids line on the bottom. Next to it is a schizo stack with Judges Guild Traveller supplements on the bottom, then a layer of books full of random tables, and on top is my OD&D stuff. The stack on the right is a bunch of other RPGs, mostly in poor condition and missing the original boxes: Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Paranoia, the Price of Freedom, Living Steel, Ghostbusters, the Palladium FRP, and probably a few I'm forgetting.

The bottom shelf holds mostly comics and other non-RPG books, but you can maybe make out the Castles & Crusades boxed set on the left. Next to it are a bunch of Traveller LBBs.

Not pictured is the stack immediately to the left of the brown box. It's made up of a few ragtag member of the Gazetteer series for Mystara and all my Moldvay Basic/Cook Expert rulebooks. It probably says something about me that without planning it I arranged my books such that I could reach my Moldvay Basic books from where I sleep at night.

I also didn't snap a picture of the tall, thin shelving unit that mostly holds boxed sets: Dawn Patrol, Boot Hill, Lords of Creation, Marvel Superheroes and a buttload of BattleTech. I didn't really do anything with it except to make sure that all my Encounter Critical stuff was together in its spot stacked on top of Lords of Creation.

And then there's the bag of stuff I take to the game store for my World of Cinder campaign. And the books in my briefcase. And I probably forgetting about some stuff stashed somewhere...


  1. A picture of my RPG bookshelf with notes! More people should post pictures of their bookshelves!

  2. That's quite a collection there Jeff. There was some serious coveting going on here. :)

    No pics from me. My RPG books are generally in good nick, but they're all either hibernating in file boxes, rammed willy-nilly onto lower shelves, or stacked in a wobbly pile next to my PC. Tis unphotogenic in the extreme. I am teh suck. :(

  3. Ha! I got you beat! Just moved into a new house and have taken over an extra book shelf and our old portable pantry for my gaming books/papers. Fortunately, we had enough spare rooms that my wife allowed me one as my absolute library/game room.

    Now if only I can finish the unpacking and get my stuff as organized as you....
    : )

  4. Aces and Eights - sweet!

  5. True story:

    (1) Early-Mid 1980s: Rural Virginia gamer John Embrey innocently introduces me to gaming by running me one-on-one through White Plume Mountain using a pregen. White Plume Mountain is, of course, by Lawrence Schick.

    (2) A decade or so later, John Embrey (having himself not done much gaming in years) shows up at my doorstep handing me a free copy of a book very literally fresh off the presses (the author hasn't even seen the finished book yet), because John Embrey was the one running those very same presses. The book: Heroic Worlds, by Lawrence Schick.

    The moral of the story: free book! Woohoo!

  6. I envy your boxed sets of Dawn Patrol and Boot Hill - those are the last 2 box sets on my "relive my childhood" list of things to buy.

  7. Anonymous3:04 PM

    I plan on taking and posting a photo of my RPG collection, but only after I finish selling the stuff I no longer want.

    When I'm done selling, all my stuff will fit on a single shelf. (Right now it takes up four shelves.)

  8. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hmmm, for the most part everything looks good and Dunsany scores points with me. HOWEVER, I don't see Kingmaker there, a serious faux pas if you ask me.

  9. Geoffrey, I share the single-bookshelf goal.

    When we moved from Virginia to Texas, I shed around 500 pounds of RPG material (mostly, giving it away to good homes, only partly tossing stacks of books in the trash).

    When we moved from Texas to Colorado, I estimate something over 1,100 pounds of RPG material shed (same pattern as above: giving stuff to good homes first).

    In both cases, moving provided the necessary excuse to cut away some chaff. But now I'm gearing up to the state of mind where I no longer need that excuse. One shelf, one beautiful shelf distilling the essence of the hobby for me into a library of super-groovy stuff, would be a joy.

  10. SJR: Books in the trash? Blasphemy! At least dump them on a thrift store so they can stay in circulation.

    I enjoyed the tour. I built a huge (12' long x 8' tall) "wall o' bookshelves" specifically so I could put cabinet doors on the lower 2 1/2' to house all my Dungeon and Dragon magazines, as well as a ton of other fiction magazines. Of course, that was not how I sold the project to my wife...

  11. Balbinus10:28 AM

    I just sold off over 60 books myself, I'm down to three shelves now, one would be marvellous though I'm highly reluctant to sell my CoC historical setting books and I have some stuff that though not used couldn't really be replaed which makes it a bigger issue to get rid of it (stuff like Ringworld).

    Still, I used to have over 500 books, now I'm down to just over 150, and the quality of my gaming hasn't been even sligthly negatively affected which carries perhaps a message of some sort.

  12. Big thumbs up to those Marvel Essentials lurking at the bottom. Greatest idea they ever had, those are.

    Alas, two trans-Atlantic moves mean that my rpg stuff is mostly scattered or lost. My "shelf" currently consists of two different editions of Call of Cthulhu (the Games Workshop one and 5th, my personal favourite), a couple of issues of Fight On! rubbing shoulders with some eBayed White Dwarfs, Dragonlance: The Fifth Age (?), Savage Worlds: Explorer's Edition, and a home-printed copy of Labyrinth Lord. Oh, and Out of the Pit and a couple of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. I miss the rest of my collection, although I suspect I'd get rid of half of it were I to have it again.

  13. Welleran: Naturally I considered that, but it's hard to arrange a pickup for a pile of RPG books, I discovered (I did try). We're not car folk, see (discarded our last car like 9 years ago, have yet to miss it).

    So, I played a little kazoo dirge at the dumpster and everything.

  14. Hmmm.. I have no idea what your talking about but I can see you have a pet roller and those can be useful.

  15. Tactics II, that is old school.