A friend of mine who played in my 1970s D&D games and PBM campaigns through most of the 1980s (he was in the military, retired after over 30 years) died early last year — from a heart attack at the relatively young at age 64. Like a lot of old friends who had been separated by distance we had dropped to occasional phone calls and birthday/Christmas cards. The fact that I was still in Texas and he had retired to the Alaskan boondocks (without reliable Internet access) had a lot to do with that.
He left me much of his collection of tabletop RPGs — supposedly everything his son did not want. This bequest had slipped my mind so I was surprised to get five medium to large size boxes in the mail yesterday from his son. Five boxes full of lots of games from the 1970s and 1980s. It turned out all Todd kept was the stuff he had grown up playing: the 2nd edition D&D stuff (5 more boxes of stuff, Todd said), an apparently huge collection of White Wolf World of Darkness games that I did not even know Jay had, and a small number of other games from the 1990s. All the older stuff he boxed up and set to me even though he suspected that I probably had a lot of it.
I’ve started to look through all this material. It looks like all the early (say, pre-1980) TSR stuff is there including the brown box copy of D&D I gave Jay for a birthday present. There’s a Guideon Games edition of Chainmail (And Tractics, of all things). There is lot of Wee Warriors stuff (their three adventures and more), copies of The Strategic Review, early issues of The Dragon and White Dwarf, just about everything (I think) Judges Guild ever published, Gamelords Thieves’ Guild packets, Traveller stuff, Runequest stuff, first edition C&S stuff, Tunnels & Trolls (various editions) and modules, Superhero 2044, High Fantasy hardbacks, Legacy, Adventures in Fantasy, Castle Perilous, lots of fanzines (Traveller, D&D, EPT), Arduin Grimoires, Palladium stuff, photocopied (?) tournament modules, TFT, and probably more stuff as it is just all mixed in together. And Todd told me he shipped eight boxes so there are three more boxes to come.
My wife is not really happy to see all this stuff as she made me promise when we got married that my already large collection of gaming material would not grow much — one of the reason why I am now a big fan of PDFs. I have promised her that I will use the better items as donor goodies for RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund drives this year and that I will give away or sell all the duplicates of things I already have. I suspect my Sunday group (or those who choose to play today rather than watch the Superbowl) will be happy to learn that they get first choice any of the stuff I can’t really use.