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The same used section at Barnes & Noble that introduced me to Feng Shui also held a battered, heavily dog-eared copy of the first edition of Changeling: the Dreaming. Someone used or read that book a lot, and then decided it wasn’t for them anymore — or maybe they moved up to the second edition.
Changeling was a super muddled game. Science was generally evil, except when nockers abused it to build stupendous gadgets. Changelings were parasites who commandeered human bodies, except it was okay. And changelings were really fae muses, anyway, inspiring humans to dream big. Growing up was awful and a kind of small death — the first edition of Changeling has an amazing opening story/art piece about a changeling progressing through the stages of childing, wilder and grump — but no, it was really about losing the ability to dream and be creative, rather than simple age.
But anyway, I loved the game because it mashed together fantasy and the modern world, and did it in a relatively lighter tone than the rest of the World of Darkness, which I had been studiously avoiding prior to finding this rough gem. The reason it’s my best second hand purchase is because it drove me to find more books in the game line. Quarterstaff Games had an impressive selection of Changeling titles, which slowly became mine over time. Unlike many of my role-playing purchases in that era, I got to use a fair bit of Changeling material in a short-lived game, too.
And once I was visiting Quarterstaff regularly, it was a short hop to getting to know more people, trying more role-playing games and branching out into board games. I never stood a chance. And it was all because someone didn’t want that beat up core book anymore.
One day, I found three or four Planescape box sets for sale used at Quarterstaff Games. I forget what the prices were, but trying to be clever, I figured I could buy all of them, sell those I didn’t want on eBay — Planes of Law, Planes of Chaos and maybe a third one — and come out ahead, if not break even and basically have a free Planescape core box. In the end, after eBay fees, estimated shipping versus actual and the hassle of getting to the post office, I would have loved to say I broke even. At the most, it worked out to a heavily discounted core box, and one that I still have not gotten around to reading.
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