A few weeks ago, our dog ate one of my game books. I was upset at the loss, but I took deep breaths and got over it.
Now he has done it again, to a set of books of even more sentimental and cherished value.
That’s my World of Greyhawk boxed set books and map, copyright 1983. I actually have two sets, and they were both protected in a plastic bag — not just a regular plastic bag, but in the extra thick plastic bag that the regular plastic bags come in.
I am more than “upset” with that dog. I’ll say no more so I’m not incriminated should anything happen to it. (Wishing, very hard, doesn’t count as an actual criminal act, in a court of law.)
* * *
Picture me as a boy, about 16 years old, (27 years ago), who is a big fan and player of Dungeons & Dragons; I had been playing the game with my close and good friends for three years. D&D was a major part of my teenage life, as my primary hobby, and as a standard social activity. During those first years, I had heard of and read snippets about the World of Greyhawk — the first D&D campaign world. But the limited information given in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, several Dragon magazine articles, and various adventure modules of the late 70s and early 80s were really only tastes and teases.
When I found the boxed set for the full campaign world, I was elated! Here was the full write up, in all its glory, for the world that E. Gary Gygax, (the father of D&D), started as the base adventure locale for his game. The box contained two full-color maps that when put together were 3 feet by 4 feet — this was the biggest poster I had ever seen. It was beautiful. It was awe-inspiring. It was imagination-inspiring.
The books in the box described the nations, the natural terrain, and every little detail of the world, right down to some languages and racial dress. Even wilderness encounter charts. The inside cover of the main book had full-color illustrations of the various national and organizational helardry. This was all amazing!
One of my friends was with me at my home when I first opened the box and looked through the awesomeness revealed. We spread out the map on my living room floor and just went crazy matching up the labels on the poster with the information in the books. This was our first introduction to what a real, full D&D campaign world should be. This was our first introduction to what a real, full fantasy world should be. To us, this was bigger and better than Middle Earth.
I immediately took up using the World of Greyhawk as the campaign world for my D&D game. And later, after I started creating my own campaign world, I emulated the WoG pattern very closely.
The World of Greyhawk set — maps and books — is a very solid foundational part of my D&D gaming history, and are thereby a very solid part of my geeky being. I made sure to display one of the books and part of the map in my recent “ubergeek” photo, (just to the right of the file cabinet). These items are a treasured part of my history and life. Honestly, they are dear to me.
And now they have been destroyed by . . . *sigh*. . . a puppy. I even had two copies of the set, and the damn animal destroyed both sets of books. Thank goodness I have one of the map sets framed and hanging on the wall. (The books were sitting on a table in front of the framed maps.)
I’m heartbroken. I’m not even exaggerating for humor. I might be able to find another copy of the set, but it won’t be the same. My set is ruined. The set that I have literally held and read and loved and cherished and protected and saved for nearly 30 years is ripped to shreds.