It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I'm a maker of lists. My most successful and long-running list is undoubtedly my reading list.* But the runner up wd undoubtedly be my list of all rpgs products published by TSR.
I don't remember now whether I'd already started this before coming to work at TSR in 1991** but probably not: I think it was seeing the Games Library, and Mail-Order Hobby Shop, and on other editors' and designers' shelves (esp. Slade Henson's), that made me realize how much TSR had put out that I'd never heard of.
So I started a list, starting with things I had (the AD&D rulebooks, both first edition and second edition, and a bunch of modules). Each entry gave the item's product code (e.g. X2) if any, title, author, date, and sometimes a brief note --e.g., that RM4 House of Strahd is an update of I6 Ravenloft. Making the list revealed a lot of gaps --if I had C5 The Bane of Llewellyn it meant there was probably a C1 through C4 and might be a C6.***
So the list grew, expanding to cover TSR's other roleplaying games as well, and all TSR novels, pick-a-path books, and miscellaneous items like the Finieous Treasury. And at some point the idea came of publishing it as part of the TRIVIATHALON, released in 1996 to celebrate some occasion that none of the people involved can now remember. As described in my previous post, one side of this poster-sized sheet had 100 tricky questions that tested players' knowledge of the game.**** And the other side was my list.
I had to change some things at TSR's behest. The most important was that I had to remove the author's name from each entry***** and add its stock number instead (e.g. #9058) --a change I regretted then and now. And all the material on all TSR's other rpgs --TOP SECRET, GAMMA WORLD, GANGBUSTERS, BOOT HILL, AMAZING ENGINE, ALTERNITY, and a handful other more obscure ones-- all had to go; a pity. But it was still a pretty good piece of work, I think, and useful to those like me who wanted a quick listing that gave a sense, backed up by specific detail, of the sheer range of creativity that was TSR's AD&D.
So, it's good to have a copy of this uncredited publication again after all these years.
current reading: THE MESSIAH COMES TO MIDDLE-EARTH (Ryken) and DREAMS OF DISTANT SHORES (McKillip)
*which lists, in order, of all the books I've read all the way through since August 1981 (I just finished book #3454c).
****this is not to be confused with the AD&D trivia game, which came on cards in a box
*****TSR's execs were at the time big on the idea that it's the brand, not the talent, that attracts the gamers. We all disagreed.
THE WIFE SAYS:
My that's a lot of asterisks