It was two weekends ago that I had a niggle (my word for intuition) in the back of my head. A lot of times I don't pay attention to them but I've been learning to do that a lot more. So I found myself on Craigslist for Chicago, typing in the words "dungeons dragons" to see what was for sale. I skimmed through a set of ads and then stopped dead in my tracks - there was a picture of the 3 original D&D books, Greyhawk and Ref Reference sheets. "Make an offer."
Now comes the part where I have to admit that I was a bit of a dick. (Sorry, Wil!) I thought that these were probably going to be in bad shape or (me being paranoid) maybe even fake - I didn't know - so I offered $20. I fell out of my chair when the gentleman indicated he would take it! I felt bad and offered more, but he said he was satisfied with $20. I picked them up last night.
They are in pretty decent shape! There is pencil writing inside - the monsters are X'd off one by one, so someone was working their dungeons hard. There is some penned initials on the covers of each. The best part though? The dragon on the cover of Monsters and Treasure (Vol 2) has been crayoned in yellow in a typical toddler scrawl. Someone loved these books, someone had a family and someone played these books. Perfect!
The seller and I exchanged info and stories, of course. He had bought these in the early 90s in a shop of some sort and had played with them a bit before storing them. He had said that many people had turned down buying them because he didn't have the box! Well, their loss was my gain, and I took care of the box problem in short order. I invited the seller to my table at anytime, and I assured him these books were going to be lovingly used - and so they shall. For $20, these books are going to be my most valued treasure find, and something that I hope to pass on for just as low a price in the future. Yellow dragon and all ... and I'm still making up my mind on what a Yellow Dragon does, exactly!
The box issue was solved by a post on the OD&D forum by the creative Will (aka coffee) on the OD&D forum. He shared pictures of a booklet box he made from a paper mache book-box he found at Joann Fabrics and the box front graphic from the 4th/5th printing. He shared his graphic with me, and after a trip to the nearest FedEx/Kinkos to get two 8x11 white sticker sheets for a color laser, I had my labels printed. I also picked up some embossed felt to put on the side for both protection and a little bit of a classy look. I think it turned out fantastic!
That box is right where it belongs, on my shelf, waiting to be taken out and played. I have to admit, I really dig looking at the books. The PDF printouts were fine, but there's something ... magickal? ... about holding the actual card stock and flipping through the heavy paper booklet. I also dig the ref reference sheets - I may have to whip something up like this for my campaigns - I can see where it would be useful instead of squinting at my ref screen... I could empty out the screen for the maps and what not.
So the next time you have a few minutes, take a gander through Craigslist - you never know when you might find hidden treasure.