Let me make one thing clear first. In the old days, local game stores were the only option. The large Italian city I grew up in had just a bunch of those: they were rarely well stocked, and none of them was terribly “friendly”, in spite of the acronym. And compared to, say, bookstores or music stores, they were also quite pricey. And yet, when I was getting older and they were closing one after another, it was nothing to rejoice about.
Today I discovered that one of them, after many changes of name and place, still exists. And, incredibly enough, it has shelves full of old Iron Crown material (MERP, Rolemaster, Spacemaster) , all in good conditions. It sells volumes away at prices ranging from 3 to 20 euros, when old, battered, dog-chewed copies are sold on Ebay at 50 dollars plus shipping. Some of those crappy copies I had JUST bought on Ebay myself. What could I say? Should I have told the guy that he was missing a fortune by selling rarities from the Eighties at one fifth, or one tenth of their value on the aftermarket? What if he had chosen to do so, for reasons I cannot fathom (nostalgia, old school gaming solidarity, poverty vows)?
I instantly bought a good bunch of his treasures. Had I been a true collector, I would have secured the whole lot, because besides being stellar quality material and rarities, they are also worth a discrete sum. But since I am a mere hobbyist with a limited budget, I limited myself to what seemed most interesting. Surely, I will find the time to review some of the material on this blog.