Limiting myself to 10 items for 2010, they are, in no specific order, the gifts that I wish I had bought for myself back before they went out of print or became incredibly expensive to procure. Almost all of them are pure nostalgia fodder. I’ve specifically left role-playing game books and other supplements off the list as they represent an entire category of their own, one considerably longer than ten items.
10) A set of official Wraith: The Oblivion Dice. When it comes to role-playing games, I’m not a completionist except for two titles: Gamma World and Wraith: The Oblivion. I’ve mentioned that I own every Gamma World edition since its debut. I also have the majority of W:tO stuff. Nevertheless, the dice set never made its way into my possession. I think most of the run of these ended up in a landfill somewhere because they‘re impossible to find, even in the dark alleys of the internet.
9) A Dragonbone: We used to mock this thing mercilessly back in the day, not only because of the adolescent hilarity found in anything called a “Dragonbone,” but because we figured how lame were you if you couldn’t be bothered to actually throw some dice? (An opinion I still have.) Now I want one for simple nostalgia sake and to be able to “whip out my Dragonbone” the next time I’m at a convention and the guy next to me is using a friggin’ iPhone app instead of real dice. I’d show him some hard-core, old school boneage!
7) A few pads of Armory 1/10” x 1/20” Graph Paper: I posted about this stuff back in October. I haven’t got much of it left, but if I had known then how much this stuff still instills me with a sense of pleasant nostalgia and memories of happy afternoons drawing dungeon maps, I would have bought a pallet of the stuff back in the mid-1980s.
6) Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game: I remember playing this as a kid and I wasn’t all that impressed with it after a few rounds with it, but I never had one of my own: a fact my friend Greg used to lord over me. Alas, that hole in my psyche can never be healed and this is just a vain attempt to fill that emptiness.
6) Kenner’s Alien board game: I actually owned this as a kid and it probably contributed to the irrational fear of xenomorphs that still plagues me to this day. The fact that there was a children’s board game published that was based on an R-rated move with a rape subtext still boggles my mind. Blame the Star Wars merchandising machine for this one. I’d love to have this in my closet again—even though the idea of an actual Alien in my closet makes me lose bladder control.
5) A carton of assorted Presto Magix transfers: Only tentatively gaming-related as some were historical or science-fiction in nature. I can’t even guess as to how many of these I bought at the corner variety store in my youth. Each came with a fold-out background the depicted some exotic vista and a sheet of color transfers that you rubbed over with a pencil to affix to the background. It allowed any kid, even the ones like me who couldn’t draw worth a damn, to create cool action scenes, provided you didn’t mind them not actually performing any actions.
4) A complete set of the Gregg Press Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books: I mentioned in a previous post that this edition was my introduction to Leiber’s famous twain. I own scattered editions of more recent vintage, but to have the orange cover books from the 1970s on my shelf would make me a happy man.
1) My true #1 is something I’d rather keep to myself. Suffice to say it would require a little bit of time-travel and whole lot of “I wish I knew then what I know now.” The best things in life aren’t things, you know. Barring that, however, how about a complete run of original ROM the Space Knight comic book series? I'm sure it wouldn't stand up to my memories of it, but I remember the Dire Wraiths as being pretty bad ass, largely due to the fact that they regularly killed folks, which was pretty radical for a comic book at that time. I never owned the ROM action figure, but the books had a big impact on my development...which probably isn't a good thing to reveal.