Friday, June 14, 2024

My 500th book!

I hope I may be forgiven if I take a brief moment to do a self-congratulatory victory lap - as of just a few minutes ago, I've read 500 books from my collection!


Granted, I'm counting by individual title and some of those books were pretty short, but it still feels like an accomplishment. It's also a stark reminder that my collecting habit is probably out of control. I've been averaging 7 books a month for the past 68 months and I still have approximately 400 to go (although, on the bright side, if you've been enjoying these posts, I can estimate another 5 years worth at least!)

There's a part of me that deplores this wastefulness. It's too much for one person. I mean, I've been setting a pretty aggressive pace and it's still a decade-long project, so what was my original intent here? Am I just hoarding for the sake of hoarding?

However, I don't think that's it. Maybe it's a bit self serving to think of it this way, but I kind of view my collection as a sort of historical archive. So far, I've managed to assemble complete collections of Exalted, Mage: the Ascension, Changeling: the Lost, the Trinity Continuum, Earthdawn 1st and 4th editions, Shadowrun 3rd edition, Hunter: Reckoning, Demon: the Fallen, Kindred of the East, Dragonstar, Eclipse Phase 1st edition, In Nomine, GURPS: Transhuman Space and Orpheus, plus near-complete collections for Planescape, Dark Sun, D&D 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions, d20 Modern, True20, Eberron, Star Wars Saga Edition, and Rogue Trader. Plus a lot of historically and culturally interesting odds and ends. 

Even now, as deep in the hole as I am in terms of reading all these damned things, I still have the urge to collect more, to finish more series. Because there's just something immensely satisfying about seeing a whole thing, of knowing you have all the context, all the history together in one place. That's what I love about this Sisyphean task I've set for myself, the moments when I can approach these complex and sprawling fictional worlds, many of which exist as a collaboration between dozens or hundreds of individual creators, and appreciate them in their fullness, as whole things

Pretty much the only things stopping me from chasing after new sets are my limited shelf space and the expense of some of the rarer volumes. And of those two, only the shelf space is an intractable problem. It's probably for the best that I have this hard limit, because I just know that without it, I'd be doing this forever, but . . . I kind of want to keep doing this forever. 

As silly as it sounds, "having the broadest possible perspective on as many tabletop rpgs as possible" strikes me as my life's true calling. Not saying I'm even close to being there, but in another ten or twenty years, who knows? What I would do with that knowledge (aside from create the world's most baroque rpg, which I've already done) I can't really say, but I'd hardly be the first person to spend his life gaining a ton of useless knowledge on an extraordinarily niche subject. 

In service to that end, and in honor of my 500th book, I am now entertaining pitches on how I should use my remaining foot and a half of shelf space. What essential titles am I missing? What should I focus on if I want to get a true overview of rpgs as a whole? Have I missed any notably unique mechanics or settings? Landmarks in rpg history? Popular or influential books that have had an impact on the hobby as a whole (or even managed to escape the rpg bubble entirely)? Let me hear 'em folks. This hoard has room to get just a little bit hoardier.


  1. Congratulations on the achievement! I read all the reviews you publish but don't comment because usually I haven't played those books. I'm more a Chaosium boy (love Pendragon and RuneQuest). I've seen you reviewed Pendragon back in the day (I GM'ed the entire Great Pendragon Campaign sixteen years ago), but not the RuneQuest books. Perhaps you could take a look on the new RuneQuest Glorantha corebook. Prettier than ever, but still similar to RuneQuest 2 in its mechanics.

    Also, to try some of the narrative darlings, you could review Urban Shadows (best PBTA game I've played) and Forged in the Dark.

    1. I do have a version of Runequest, though I believe it's an early one from the 80s. If I enjoy it, I may well look into the newest version.

      As far as Urban Shadows is concerned, you're in luck - I already read that one:

      I have been getting a lot of recommendations for Blades in the Dark, though. I may need to move that up on my wishlist.