Sunday, September 23, 2012

My First Monster Manual Heading To PlaGMaDA

It's funny, but I really don't have a lot of homemade leftovers from the earlier formative RPG days. I have a lot of games and dice from the '80s, but nothing I created myself. Which is funny, as I made a LOT of stuff back in the day. My dad gave me one of his old briefcases and I kept all of my custom materials in there. I had a ton of Villains and Vigilantes badguys from a long-running campaign (Shatterer, The Pawn, Furnace, Dr. Dread, and my favorite, The Puzzler). I had some custom modules for V&V, AD&D, Ghostbusters, and Chill - all bound with nifty handdrawn covers. But over the years, all of those items were either lost or thrown out. However, several years ago, my mom called me to let me know she had stumbled across one handmade gaming item tucked in amongst my junior high award certificates and other flotsam: "Weird Works." The cover appears above..

You see, Weird Works was my version of a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. Over the years, anytime I had an idea for a monster, I'd stat it up, draw a picture of it, and place it in this flimsy red cardboard binder. Some were of a satirical bent ("Giant Smuf" and "Plaid Dragon" anyone? Oh, and the cover has an illustration of -- yes -- a "Killer Tomato".). But others were kinda cool in retrospect. In fact, a few of the creatures that have appeared on this blog (Fear Feeder and Salvo off the top of my head) were inspired by critters in Weird Works. When I hammered together my recent Deviant Database, I had this notebook beside me for inspiration. However, it's not a respource manual I plan to use at the gaming table; I've tapped out the more interesting items for other projects; and -- honestly -- it's a bit on the embarrassing side. (It's like that picture taken of you in 1976 when you were 10 and wearing that red, white, and blue sports coat that you pray your friends never see.) So the question of what to do with this (other than misplace it again one day) still loomed over my head.

Their Mission Statement: "PlaGMaDA's mission is to preserve, present, and interpret play generated cultural artifacts, namely manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space.  The Archive will solicit, collect, describe, and publicly display these documents so as to demonstrate their relevance, presenting them as both a historical record of a revolutionary period of experimental play and as aesthetic objects in their own right.  By fostering discussion and educating the public, it is hoped that the folkways which generate these documents can be encouraged and preserved for future generations."

In other words, they collect, compile, and share homemade gaming materials from "back in the day." The archive they have is a fascinating snapshot of dreawings, character sheets, adventures, and other materials created in bedrooms, garages, basements, and study halls. Right now, they have a Kickstarter project to compile and print up a collection of this kid-generated adventures. I could think of no better place for this book to end up, so I dropped  them a line and they said they'd be glad to take it, scan it for the archive, and file the original away with all of the other homemade treasures they've accumulated. So tomorrow, this well-worn, well-read, and well-loved chunk of my childhood is heading to its final home.

But before it heads out, here are three creatures -- written up in 1982 -- I'd like to share:


And drop them a line to make your own donation if you have any home-created gaming materials from Ye Olden Dayes.


  1. Hey Sniderman--I'll host a copy on my blog under the "1981 Flashback!" section of my download page if you want. Hit me up with a copy of that bad boy so I can mirror the PlaGMaDA file, like I do for Habitition of the Stone Lord and a bunch of other files.

  2. Sweet merciful crap. That artifact is a treasure, indeed.

    Thank you VERY much for sharing, and for bringing my attention to that archival site.

  3. This book is truly spectacular, it's wonderful enough that it should be the kernel for a whole new compilation.


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