Surprise Delivery: Brown Box Original D&D

I received a surprise visit from the postman late Wednesday afternoon with an express mail package for me. This was quite a surprise as I wasn’t expecting anything and did not recognize the sender’s address. I opened the package to discover a well-used woodgrain OD&D box staring at me from the packing material. Inside were the three little biege books (third printings), copies of the Greyhawk (2nd printing) and Blackmoor (1st printing, I think) supplements, a copy of Chainmail (third edition), a copy of volume 1 of the Arduin Grimiore, an almost pristine copy of Booty and the Beasts with its Erol Otus artwork, the table sheets from OD&D, a few cut dungeon geomorphs, some notepaper with DM’s notes, and a letter.

The letter told be that these were donations for a cancer fund giveaway and they belonged to the sender’s late brother who played D&D when he was in college in the late 1970s. I was in shock, not so much because of the surprise donation but because I realized I had exchanged a few letters with his brother back in the 1970s — and a couple of monsters I created were in those DM notes. The D&D world was much smaller in 1976-1977 so this isn’t as much of a strange co-incidence as it may appear. I was so surprised however, that I failed at first to notice the copies of Eldritch Wizardy and Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes packed in below the brown box. These were 7th printing and 5th printing (mislabeled 6th) respectively.

The pictures below do not do the set justice. Our camera does not like dark winter days and my Photoshop abilities are next to non-existent. The 3 LBB, the first two supplements are obviously used, and the Arduin Grimoire are obviously used, but not abused. Booty and the Beasts and the last two supplements are practically new.

I spoke to the donor on the phone for a good while Wednesday evening. He was surprised to hear that I had corresponded with his brother all those years ago. He was very happy to hear I had found a letter from his brother in my files. I mailed that and his brother’s GM notes back to him yesterday. He said would like his brother’s D&D books to “end up with a gamer who would enjoy them and not some deep pockets foundation who would not know what they are.” I will be respecting this wish and not knowingly accepting any foundation donations when I set up a donation giveaway for these items.

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9 Responses

  1. G. Benedicto says:

    Wow, surely those can't be the copies he gamed with? They're pristine.

    I came upon a copy of Booty and the Beasts by chance yesterday!

  2. Randall says:

    The pictures don't show all the problems. The huge black crayon mark on the box that arcs through the image and to the edge of the box is barely visible in the picture, for example. The 3LBB and Greyhawk are in somewhat worse shape than my copies and I used mine in games weekly from fall 1975 to the early 1980s. Some people just seem to be able to handle books lighter than others.

    You found a copy of Booty and the Beasts yesterday? WOW. I hope you were able to snap it up.

  3. G. Benedicto says:

    I shit you not: I paid $2 for it. It has some pencil marks on some of the pages, a little discoloration on the cover. Other than that it's in great shape.

  4. Randall says:

    TWO Dollars? That's a great price. I once watched on go on eBay for close to $400. There were no bids on it at all until the last day so I had stupid hopes of picking up a copy for a birthday present for a friend. It wasn't to be.

    It's a shame this book has never been reprinted. Lots of gonzo but interesting stuff here. I'm less enamored of The Necromican as many of the spells therein were over the top, even for me.

  5. biopunk says:

    Very cool story.

    The "Booty and the Breasts" typo made me snicker too.

  6. Randall says:

    biopunk: "The "Booty and the Breasts" typo made me snicker too."

    Oops! Fixed that. Thanks for catching it.

  7. Oh my god, I was just drafting in my head an article about a 'little tan book' I remembered owning in my youth that had Erol Otus artwork, high-tech weaponry and Neila monsters (Aliens from the film of the same name)… but I couldn't remember what it was called. Booty And The Beasts! Thank you… now I just need to find my own copy 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    /me sighs
    Yeah, and I found 9 S&S movies in a collection for $8 the other day, used, from a grocery store.

    How did I ever survive not seeing Hercules vs. the Moon Men, a true S&S movie if I ever saw one.

  9. Randall says:

    Hercules vs. the Moon Men? I hope that was the MST3K version.