look what i got in the mail

A friend of my wife’s said, “My dad has a giant box of D&D stuff in the basement. A friend of his gave it to me but I never played it. Do you want it?” Casually flicking some invisible cigarette ash off my perfectly-creased lapel, I murmured, “sure, if it will help him clear out his basement.”

I got the box in the mail today – a banker’s box filled with 45 pounds of Dragon magazines, books, and modules. Here’s the haul.

The previous owner of this stuff seems to have been playing D&D right before I got into it. His Dragon Magazine collection goes from #87 to around #140, overlapping with mine for a few issues. He has the same hardcovers I had as a kid – I never re-acquired most of them, and I’m glad to see them back.

What’s really new to me is the modules. As a D&D-playing kid in the 80s and early 90s, I never had a single module. For years, I’ve heard people talk with bated breath about their experiences playing Against the Giants, In Search of the Unknown, Vault of the Drown, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Isle of Dread, Ghost Tower of Inverness, and the rest. I’m excited to read them.

Finally, the original owner’s D&D notebook and a few characters are in the box. Check out this sweet world map:

It would be totally great to share this random 80’s kid’s campaign world. Next stop: Arcauen!

Besides Arcauen (obviously), what should I read first?

20 Responses to “look what i got in the mail”

  1. ironregime says:

    Looks like you hit the motherlode, and it appears to be in fantastic shape!

  2. Jason says:

    As someone currently drawing a world map in my own notebook, I’d love to see a scan of Arcauen.

  3. Jason says:

    What could lurk in the Isles of Clakoron!?

  4. brian yerk says:

    that is utterly awesome! you lucky dog… i had all of it as a kid and have been rebuilding some lately but am still missing quite a bit. to have someone just drop all that on you is a once in a lifetime. wish i had all the homebrew world/campaign stuff i spent months working on again…. lost forever.

  5. paul paul says:

    Also the peninsula called “Straight of the Dragon.” Just awesome.

  6. paul paul says:

    The notebook is actually disappointingly short – 5 to 10 pages of DM notes that I CANNOT MAKE HEADS NOR TAILS OF. Maybe I will scan them and have you guys see what you can figure out.

  7. James says:

    scan them , that is awsome. and you could make someones 80’s dreams come true if you redrew the map, mabye as a backer reward on your next posters

  8. Anonymous says:

    Also, very jealous.

  9. spotmarkedx says:

    With regards to the “Strait of the Dragon”, I’m putting my vote in that Arcauen is a reality bending world where the landmasses are simultaneously bodies of water and vice versa. So you can sail up the straits of the dragon with land on both sides, but with just a casual perspective shift, you’ll find yourself landlocked on a peninsula instead. The islands are both islands and landlocked seas.

    Totally not a mistake at all! It makes sense to me.

  10. paul paul says:

    Palette swap ftw!

  11. Joey says:

    You are a lucky person

  12. Jeff B. says:

    Nice haul. I still own most of what’s pictured, having bought it all new back then. Against the Giants/Descent into the Depths of the Earth/Vault of the Drow/Queen of the Demonweb pits is the classic campaign, but I have a soft spot for Against the Cult of the Reptile God. There are things about it I would change if running it now, but it’s a fun, if flawed, module for low-level characters.

  13. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:


  14. paul paul says:

    Does anybody in NYC want spare copies of Players Handbook and Fiend Folio, and a handful of late 80s dragon magazines?

  15. Holy swag bag batman!
    Definitely start with the Giants/Drow series. The start isn’t that fantastic but Shrine of the Kuo-Toa and Vault of the Drow are both incredible adventure settings (especially Vault of the Drow – which everything ever done with Drow in later editions is based off of).

  16. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

    Hmmm… you know, I never did get a Fiend Folio…

  17. Jason Hurst says:


    You should get Paul to sign it before handing it to you..=P

  18. […] Straight of the Dragon. Straight of the Dragon isn't even a strait – it's a peninsula. Spotmarkedx suggested that the world of Arcauen is two dimensions, which you can traverse with the right spell: an […]

  19. […] of Basic D&D, and a lot of people have fond memories of it. I've never read it. When I got a heavy box of D&D books in the mail, it was the first module I […]

  20. […] I got that giant box of D&D stuff in the mail, one of the first things I did (after reading the original owner's game notebook and the In Search […]

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