Once again I was looking, lovingly, over my collection of roleplaying books. As I went through them, I discovered that there was a book I hadn’t bought yet from the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition set. I immediately became anxious that my collection wasn’t complete. It had become important that I had a set, a complete set and I had found that it was less than it should be.
But hang on a second… What am I thinking? I don’t need or use nearly any of these books, including Call of Cthulhu, 7th Sea, Star Wars and many, many more.
So now I question myself. Am I a gamer or just a collector? Have I stepped over the line from hobby to habit? Am I spending my hard earned money on white elephants? Dust collectors? Space fillers?
It doesn’t stop at just the books. I have all the tiles, maps, scenery and figures by the hundreds, not to mention the all important dice. These last have become something close to a fetish. I am never without at least one in my pocket. Even my phone now has books and dice loaded into it so I can read and roll whenever I feel the need.
In the end, however, it all comes down to books. Books are good. Books are heaven sent.
Books haven’t always been that big a part of my life. Yes I had them as a child and typically I didn’t look after them particularly well.
Then, one day, my brother bought me Top Secret/SI from TSR. The game was mine to own and he wasn’t going to buy any of the books for himself. It was this gift of this game that started my lifelong love affair with the roleplaying hobby.
After that I had to own it all and then some.
As each book came out I would buy it, read it and attempt to gather enough friends around to play it. All in all I probably only ran that game 10 or 15 times but that didn’t matter. After a while, our friends only wanted to play more and more complicated games. They moved on and my books stayed on the shelves, gathering dust.
My brother loved and instantly understood any and every game that came out. Palladium, Champions, Rolemaster, the list was endless. His shelves got bigger and bigger to hold all the books until he had to fill cupboards with his collection of game books.
Now, this too is where I am heading.
Most of us have been down that dark road to Gamer Hell where you have every choice of game, but no one to play it with, or not enough time to play them all. Millions of words now sit in boxes or wait for me to dust. Occasionally, yes, I sometimes take them out to read again.
Will it stop?
No, of course it won’t. I may take a break for a few years, when a side interest is compelling enough, but in the end that freshly printed smell of a brand new and exciting roleplaying game will come along and start me all over again. I look forward to each purchase and so for now I will be that Collector of Books.