Fabled Finds: D&D Lunchboxes & Action Figures
Quests for New Collectibles with an Old-School Fantasy Feel
I was exploring through one of my favorite used book/game stores this week - the kind of store where you more often than not have to turn sideways to squeeze through the loosely constructed hoards of second-chance stuff that spill into every nook & crevice. The kind of store that would make an organized personality type cry out to the heavens with an “Oh God, WHY?!” and a claustrophobic person just keel over and die.
(Featuring artwork from Clyde Caldwell & Luke Eidenschink!)
But it is also the kind of store where genuine discovery can still happen in this modern age (fire codes aside). When the glint of artificial light hits just the right heap, and a visitor happens to be at just the perfect angle to see it, glorious treasure can reveal itself.
Nay, you say? Well, let me tell you what I found.
Winding my way through the serpentine aisles to the checkout with an old Fantasy magazine under one arm, impertinent books brushing my shoulders vying for attention, an unconscious itch to look back over my shoulder took me. Lightning fast as it was, something registered in my peripheral. Something familiar. Could it be?
Precariously perched on a 6’ towering ziggurat of zines, tottered a red Dungeons & Dragons™ lunchbox in all its D&D Basic Rules Set splendor.
“Hurry! Takes it!!!,” my inner Gollum urged.
“How?!,” I thought. There’s just too much damn stuff between me and my dream, and oh no, someone else is going to beat me to the checkout!
“What if they sees it?”
It was only a couple yards away. Determined, I girded my coins and made as direct a route to my precious as possible.
Five minutes later, panting and bleeding from 10,000 papercuts and staving off collapsing wares, I arrived. Problem was, this was a totally different vantage point. Where was it, again? No, not that heap. Nor that mound.
Orienteering was never my thing, so I had to risk exposing The One Lunchbox — “Hey. How’s it going?,” I politely asked the cashier, concealing my impatience. “I think I saw a . . . <voice dropping to whisper> dungeons & dragons lunchbox?”
She looked confused for a moment, noticing the fresh paper-thin cuts all about my clothes, before responding, “Oh yeah, we just got a set of those in. There’s one there and over there. Oh, and there’s also one set of the new D&D action figures too.”
WHAT?!, I thought. “Those”? There’s more than one style of lunchbox? There’s only one set? There are new old-school D&D action figures?
Channeling my inner Daffy Duck, I hopped over confines of collectables and through berms of baubles, snatching my intended targets as quick as I could, silently hearing in my head, “MINE, MINE, MINE!”
I paid, walked out warily, giving the stink eye to anyone who happened to be walking near me as if to say, “Don’t even think about it, Buddy. This is MY lunchbox.”
I’m sure I looked like a crazed homeless person who just robbed the store — deranged darting eyes huddled over the pile of merchandise in my arms, hair disheveled, clothes in tatters, feverishly sweaty, giving off the faint odor of moldy books . . . and little drops of blood trailing from me all the way through the parking lot.
It was so worth it.
And so, as you can see, great treasures CAN be found in the most unlikely of places. This intrepid treasure hunter was victorious. His spoils obtained. If he had people, they would have rejoiced.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to seek medical attention for all those papercuts.
Thanks for reading Rediscovered Realms! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.