Back to the RPG sourcebook

While killing time waiting for Jackson to finish school, I stumbled across an RPG sourcebook just sitting there waiting to be scanned and borrowed. And suddenly I was 14 years old again with a big pile of the things, a bunch of random die and scribbled stats covering every bit of scrap paper around my bedroom.

Ahh good times. If only I could have borrowed these things instead of having to buy them back then..

RPG Sourcebooks – The pile was large and varied..

How I wish I had a pic of it too back in its hey day too – but we’re talking the time when phones had cords and no cameras and the cameras were disposable and you only had so many shots. Suddenly taking a snapshot of a bunch of RPG sourcebooks didn’t seem so worthwhile back then.

rpg sourcebook

(Luckily someone did and put it on the net for my convenience!)

Still, I remember how excited I was when I came across the Cyberpunk 2020 official rule book, ‘The Roleplaying game of the dark future.’ It was on a shelf at Mind Games back when it was part of the Royal Arcade in Melbourne and after flicking through it just one time, I knew I had to have it. From memory it set me back $40 of saved up birthday money from uncles and grandparents and I read it from cover to cover many a time. I only ever hosted a couple of games with mates eventually but for me it was the wonderful cyberpunk universe and lore than sucked me right in. The stories, the characters, the world, I adored everything about it.

First thing I bought immediately after it was a 1d10 (10 sided dice) which was needed to play it and I reckon is still floating around this house somewhere now. Then came the other RPG sourcebooks to go with it. I had a couple of Chromebooks which were like catalogues of cybernetic improvements your character could buy and upgrade themselves with. There was Maximum Metal where you could buy armoured vehicles and suits as well as ridiculously overpowered weapons. I had a couple of adventure sourcebooks like Tales from the Forlorn Hope and following around a doomed rockstar in Eurotour.
Slowly but surely the pile grew…and then started to include other universes too.

That’s a big book pile you’ve got there chummer!

Again it’s Mind Game’s fault. It was the early 90s, they had a brochure about this up and coming game system (Shadowrun above) and it included this pretty neat story of an elf biker trying to join a gang. I didn’t think much of the game until years later when I found the RPG sourcebook (well rulebook) for $20 and added it to the pile in the corner. While I never bought any other RPG sourcebooks for the Shadowrun system (I did read a fair few of the novels set in that universe though), trying out a new system did make me appreciate exploring even more and over time I bought and sold a few along the way (although I wished I had them still to appreciate today) including both popular and the occasional strange one, including:

Call of Cthulhu – I got my first taste of this eldritch horror world through a mini cyberpunk magazine that had an adventure that could be played for both CP 2020 and CoC (and it even included rules on how to modify stats to work for each system which was pretty cool. I remember buying the rulebook somewhere but I think that was shortly before I moved house to start my radio career so I have no idea what happened to it..

Rus – Terrible artwork (no really bad) and a barely there game system set in Heathen Russia. I bought it for $10 in a second hand bookstore in Tasmania during a family holiday and hocked it off on eBay years later for a few dollars more.

Reich Star – Again, found in the same bookstore as Rus above (obviously someone dumped quite the collection there) this one was all about the Axis powers winning WW2 and the dark future that resulted because of it. Interesting for a read but sold on eBay years later when I found it on the pile.

I never got into the fantasy RPGS at the time (unless they were the classic Fighting Fantasy game books or of course the Tunnels and Trolls ones + all the millions of fantasy video games and the like) but now in 2024 it looks like my local library is giving me the chance to play catch up on things I’ve missed reading wise.

RPG Sourcebook – today I feel like being a drow barbarian..

Look I know everything of old is probably out there somewhere digitally (first result for the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook is a PDF of the whole thing ready to go if you really want to download it) but there truly is nothing like the feeling of sitting down with a brew (coffee or stronger) and getting into a big book of a system you’ve never explored or one you want to reminisce over. The lore, the pictures, the feel of turning the pages, the weight of the book – glorious.

So you could just imagine how impressed I was to stumble over a copy of Dungeon’s and Dragon’s players handbook at my local library ready to be borrowed. Up until now I’ve only seen it sealed at somewhere like EB games but here it was, ready to be added to my usual pile of comics and Men’s Health magazines to take home for a couple of weeks.

And so now that the Easter visitors have come and gone and I’m on annual leave, it’s time to bury myself into the world of D&D lore (outside of Neverwinter Nights etc). This morning it was eggs and black coffee while I read about Barbarians and Clerics. For lunch today it’ll be chicken, noodles and Bards.

And then when I’m done here, it’ll be back to the local library to find out what other RPG sourcebooks they have on hand. Anyone know if they’ve remade G.U.R.P.S yet? That looked interesting growing up!

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