The Great Library off Culver St
By Frank Gori
The feeling children get on Christmas is mine once a month. I’m a Paizo subscriber you see, so once a month I’m getting my AP subscription and even if I peeked at the PDF beforehand I still get excited to rifle through the pages to admire the art or the stat blocks or that freshly printed smell.
While I recognize that the world is changing and PDFs are eventually going to replace the printed word, I’m a hold out. As much as I appreciate my PDF library and how much more inexpensive it is and as much as I enjoy the system reference documents, the books still have more power over me.
I’m not alone.
About five years ago I became fast friends with Jeff Harris. We discovered a mutual love of melee weapons, music, gaming, and books. Jeff was responsible for dragging me kicking and screaming out of 2nd ED AD&D and into 3.5. I didn’t want to leave 2nd Ed I was comfortable there and I had most all the books.
Trying 3.5 was a revelation. Many of its mechanics were similar to house rules I had invented and the skill system made more sense. I quickly became hooked as my imagination fired up infinite build possibilities and the best part was Jeff had all the books. When I say Jeff had all the books I mean he had D&D 3.5 books. His favorite I think was the miniatures handbook.
Jeff was generous with his collection allowing any of his friends to borrow books. My favorite was the book of nine swords in particular. I think Jeff may have regretted letting me borrow that one but it never stopped him from allowing me to do so again. His was the great gaming library for a time.
When we switched to Pathfinder his collection stopped seeing as much loving use. The Book of Nine swords started sitting longer and longer my ambition to one day convert it to Pathfinder forgotten. But Jeff would still pull them out from time to time, showing us what came before and how it could be born again in Pathfinder (for the few things that died in transition.) In particular we missed the monsters that aren’t open license like the displacer beast, the beholder, or the mindflayer. Perhaps we took the great gaming library for granted.
It’s gone now.
Saturday is when we game with the group. The days when life doesn’t interfere and allows us all to get together around the table and laugh and enjoy whatever adventure sparks out collective imagining in the moment. For my current crew I’m bringing the books and we are playing the Wrath of the Righteous AP.
Someone stole that joy away from my friend this past Saturday. In a careless moment Jeff’s wife left his front door unlocked. It is a safe suburb where they live, such acts aren’t uncommon and they are the type of people that know their neighbors.
What hurts the most is it had to be a friend or former friend. Jeff’s entire hardcover collection of 3.5 books is gone, his favorite melee weapons gone, his big bag of dice gone, his minis gone, a few other items like his wii and ps2 are also missing but what’s telling is that other items of value were not taken. Someone stole the items that would hurt my friend the most, the things he took great pride in.
Perhaps I’m being over dramatic but it wasn’t just from Jeff this person stole. It was more like this person burned down the library of Alexandria. Jeff kept track of his books but he leant them to any gamer with a curious nature and a promise to handle with care. In a way the person that stole from Jeff stole from everyone Jeff games with and that’s pretty shitty.
Jeff said he’s not going to replace his collection with real books. Given his collection cost roughly $50 a book and there were 80+ of them I do not blame him. At that cost perhaps the security of a file is better than the smell weight and feel of a book. Still it saddens me that this happened.
The ad money from this blog will buy us a lunch once a month, but I’d like to help Jeff in some way. If you’d like to help Jeff out in some way or send an email showing support he has permitted me to share his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
On the off chance you have information on the sudden appearance of a large sum of 3.5 books in Western NY let us know.