Friday, August 21, 2009

Craigslist treasure find - OD&D arts and crafts

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.

22 comments:

Player of Kee said...

Wow, awesome find!

newbiedm said...

Yellow dragon?
Aren't they infused with the power of the sun?
Doesn't their "breath" actually shower paladins and other holy men with radiance?
Maybe I'm wrong...

Randall said...

That's a great find, especially as they look to be in nice condition. Collectors may not want them, but for players they are great.

Atom Kid said...

Congrats on the great find!

I look on Ebay all the time but I cannot by anything in the $300 range. I wish I would've bought the pdf files on RPG Now when they were available!

taichara said...

That is absolutely amazing. Lovely luck for you! :3

the Reverend said...

I have a couple of books I have picked up from garage sales, and I think the notes are the best part. I think it adds to the books that they have a history of adventures before you have even opened them. I even got a couple books that had old character sheets tucked in them and some sheets of paper with notes scribbled on them.

Will Douglas said...

Very nice!

Timeshadows said...

Super-cool! :D

mordrin said...

Nice.
Last time I tried Craigslist, there was just one dumbass trying to sell ordinary, used 1E hardbacks for $100 each.

Chgowiz said...

The seller asked that I leave this comment from him - he sent it to me from his phone:

I am glad to find a real RPG person like you instead of a collector. I would rather prefer a user who takes care of the books than a collector who puts them into storage for profit. I aim to get my life in order and join youre table.

I admit that I would have taken 35 for them; but there was some form of intervention. A feeling if you will, even before we met. From my original background.... Odin interviened!!

Chgowiz said...

@Kee, @Timeshadows - I'm going to convert you all now.. ;)

@Newbiedm - You know, that's not half bad idea - better than what I've come up with.

@Randall - exactly. Memories are better than the $$$.

@AtomKig - can you email me pls at chgowiz - gmail?

@taichara - Luck and a small piece of someone's gaming history.

@Reverend - That would be awesome to find char sheets! The way the monsters are marked off, it's like someone was either planning a dungeon or marking off the creatures he'd fought. He made it pretty far down the list...

@Will - thank YOU for the box idea! I really liked how it turned out. I'm going to post the pics over on that OD&D thread. It would be cool to see other people's boxes.

@modrin - That's just insane! I'll keep on keeping my eye out. I think with the retroclones and OSR getting a bit of exposure, the prices are going to go up even more.

Christian said...

Dude, you scored!

Herb said...

Yellow dragons clearly breath brimstone aka burning sulfur.

As for the books, great find, great seller, great box.

I went through two sets, now regrettably lost, in my youth (being about a year younger than you I think) and I'm not sure I'd buy a new set being happy with S&W to be honest.

That said, it's very tempting to divide S&W up into three little books for some reason.

Akrasia said...

Great find! I'll have to start checking out Craig's List...

BigFella said...

Ooh, now that book box from the craft store tickles my fancy. There's potential there, dunno for what yet, but there's potential. The use you put it to gives me ideas...

BigFella said...

By the way, a yellow dragon is just a red dragon that's been left out in direct sunlight for too long...

ze bulette said...

Congrats! I too struck some gold on a craigslist buy a little while ago, spent close to $300 on a large lot but then discovered later that there was a Tradervale (apx. value $100+) and a 1st print Tegal Manor in the lot as hidden gems. I suspect the best places are a bit off the beaten track, as this one was (Oregon coast).

kelvingreen said...

I think there were yellow dragons in 2e, or maybe Mystara, or even 2e Mystara. Although I may be making thatup!

kelvingreen said...

Oh, apparently there was a yellow dragon in the Dragon Compendium v1, whatever that is. Its breath weapon is "salt water" apparently. I prefer the radiant paladin breath.

Evernevermore said...

You smarmy, lucky, SOB - congrats....

so jealous....

grodog said...

Great find, Michael!

(And not all of us collector types are bad guys, either :D :D ).

Allan.

Chgowiz said...

@grodog - Awww ;) Not at all, but people were turning down this poor guy's books because he didn't have the box. At $20, I was a little o.O.

This: http://is.gd/2Iwmp - was last night's find. Not quite as cheap, but not bad for the price.