Stealing cool stuff from old game books

edited July 2009 in Story Games
I am moving into a one-bedroom apartment with my girlfriend, which means I need to own less stuff. Which means that the three sizable boxes of old-school gaming books and magazines have to go.

So these books are all lying in piles in my living room, awaiting triage, and I cannot help but pick them up. There's so much cool stuff in them! It makes me not want to get rid of anything.

For example, I am planning a Storming the Wizard's Tower game for next week, and I didn't have any real ideas, but now I have a super awesome Chinese adventure ready to go, complete with neat monsters, evocative gear lists and inspiring character types:

* From GURPS China I got a bunch of interesting NPC occupations for the "People" list (charcoal maker, Minister of Waterways, etc.) and all kinds of stuff for the "Gear" list that sets up the setting without needing descriptions (signal kites, firecrackers, yarrow sticks, eight diagram divining coins, etc).

* From Palladium's Mystic China RPG, I got character types (Geomancers and Demon Hunters), weapons (war fans! fire arrows! powdered jade! Lion Head swords!), cool Chinese names for existing spells, and so many martial arts ideas that I added a "Kung-Fu" section as a new list. Plus tons of great art and some cool Chinese monsters.

* From Oriental Adventures (1st edition and 3rd edition) I got more weapons and gear, Chinese names for standard adventuring tools and occupations, and a whole pile of magic items to use as minor treasures.

So, no real point to make here, I guess, other than how much weird, cool, interesting source material is there in all sorts of games one might not actually play anymore.

Although I still need to get rid of most of these books...

Comments

  • It could be possible to donate to a local game club library, or maybe even a flgs that keeps a library of used games for folks to use in store... Then you could at least still visit your babies.

    Of course if you really love them, you'll set them free. ;^)
  • edited July 2009
    Mostly just nodding my head in agreement here. It's telling that while I don't own an actual copy of the GURPS *rules*, I still hold on to the *supplements* for use as resource material. GURPS Japan was incredibly helpful for me when I put together my "Edo-era Ghost Hunters" game.

    I also hold on to my Palladium Books and my Blue Planet book for similar reasons - I doubt I'll ever play them by the rules, but the settings are broad and evocative and fun to explore every once in a while.

    So yeah, hurray for old-school game books repurposed as new-school resource material! :)
  • Yeah, I love GURPS Horror even though I don't play GURPS and the AD&D Complete Book of Villains even though I don't play D&D. The best supplements transcend time and system. :)
  • Palldium's Mystic China (by the late Eric Wujcik), in particular, is an awesome book for any game with a Chinese fantasy setting. I'm not even sure what Palladium game it was supposed to be a sourcebook for (Ninjas and Superspies, maybe), but there is a cool game idea on just about every page.

    The six paths to false immortality! Body-hardening exercises! Geomantic magic! Tips for outwitting demons! Mudras! Brass serpents! An in-depth look at the bureaucracy of hell! Ginseng! Twenty different flavors of kung-fu!

    I could go on.

    I will never get rid of this book.
  • Scan them.

    Years ago, I hauled three enormous garbage bags full of game books to my local used book store during a misguided attempt to "grow up." It's one of the three or so decisions in my 36 years on this planet that I truly regret.

    Chances are you have, know someone who has access to, or can afford a scanner. At most, your collection of books will fit on, what, a handful of DVDs? Even if all you do is get nostalgic every couple of years and spend an evening browsing through them, it'll be worth it.
  • The game I want badly to update a bit is Gangbusters. This game is chock full of really really cool ideas, bolted onto a few really clumsy rules.

    For example:
    • Characters earn XP differently depending on their career.
    • The game encourages players to play characters on opposite sides of the law and be in conflict with each other.
    Just wish I still had that map that came with it.
  • I think that judicious "stealing" is what has helped me be that GM that I am today.

    After reading "Esoterrorists" I changed the way that I dole out information in my D&D campaign.
    Playing "With Great Power" has made a big fan of character failure leading to fun stories.
    "Warhammer Fantasy" has let me focus on creating story with just a few monsters instead of trying to fit the whole Monster Manual into my games.
    the list could keep going
  • Posted By: Ron HammackChances are you have, know someone who has access to, or can afford a scanner. At most, your collection of books will fit on, what, a handful of DVDs? Even if all you do is get nostalgic every couple of years and spend an evening browsing through them, it'll be worth it.
    Strange as it may sound, that hadn't even occurred to me.

    Although I feel that I'll never truly use even a fraction of the ideas, art, names, etc in these books.

    So maybe I should pick my favorite 5-10, keep them, and throw out the rest.
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