Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 3: What to expect when you’re collecting

Now that we’ve covered the general outline of cWoD collecting and the improved checklist, it’s time to cover the sort of items you’ll be buying.  We’ll also cover a couple of terms you’ll want to know.

First, though, a quick review of supply and demand.  High supply and/or low demand means lower prices; low supply and/or high demand means higher prices.  In the case of cWoD, this translates to one key principle: In general, the less time a book spent in print, the more it will cost. For example, the Revised edition Werewolf tribebooks were released alphabetically, and the last ones were released shortly before the game went on hiatus.  Therefore, the Black Fury and Bone Gnawer tribebooks are easier to find and cost less than the Uktena or Wendigo books.

Corebooks. These are the main rulebooks for each game. Unlike nWoD, there was no central rulebook for the entire system.  A couple of games required you to have another Storyteller book for the rules, but generally they reprinted and adapted the same couple of chapters from book to book.

For the core five games (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, and Changeling), the pattern was to release a paperback 1st edition followed by a hardcover 2nd edition.  For the first three games, they also released a Revised edition. (The Revised editions can be controversial, especially Mage, which saw the biggest changes to rules and metaplot.  I personally think they did a good job of cutting away some of the silliness that had built up during the 2nd editions and that the Revised-era books are generally the most useful, but not everyone will agree.) The remaining games had a single hardcover rulebook (Mummy is kind of a weird exception, but I’ll get into that later).

The other exception is the Dark Ages line.  It was originally a historical setting for Vampire, under the title Vampire: the Dark Ages.  The Revised edition was titled Dark Ages Vampire and was followed by Dark Ages books for some of the other games (Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, and Hunter, specifically).  This was the only non-core game to have two editions.

Following the first principle above, the Revised edition rulebooks are generally the most expensive, but it’s not that hard to find reasonably-priced copies.  The other corebooks that can potentially run into money are Demon and Orpheus, which were the last two games released.

Core guides. Generally, Storyteller and Player guides, or guides to key aspects of the setting (such as the Camarilla/Sabbat, Changing Breeds, or the Technocracy).  If it has “guide” or “companion” in the title, it falls into this category.

These are often the second most important rulebooks for any given game.  As with many other categories, Revised versions tend to be more expensive and earlier ones less so. (Some of the 1st edition Vampire guides practically can’t be given away.)

Two books of note: The Revised Player’s Guide for Vampire and Guide to the High Clans for Dark Ages Vampire are particularly expensive.  They were both released near the end of cWoD, so quantities are low.  The High Clans book is a key book, so demand is high; the Player’s Guide was an expensive hardcover that had practically no rules content (it’s mostly essays on running the game) so it wasn’t particularly popular when it was released, making supplies relatively low.

Splatbooks. This term comes from the use of an asterisk as a wildcard, referred to by programmers as a “splat”.  Each game had its own set of subgroups (clans, tribes, Traditions, etc.), each of which had its own book under the banner of “* Book X” (Clanbook Tremere, Tribebook Glass Walkers, etc.).  All the core games had splatbooks for their various splats (although Kithbook: Boggan for Changeling was never released, and Wraith had to squeeze the later ones in).  The only later games that had individual splatbooks were Kindred of the East and Hunter, although some other games had books that covered the same territory (e.g. the Libellus Sanguinis books for Dark Ages, Houses of the Fallen for Demon).

Splatbooks are fairly key supplements, since they go into much more detail about the history, culture, and powers of the splats than the core book can hope to. (They’re also known for having weird and potentially broken powers, but that’s up to the individual Storyteller to deal with.) Vampire, Werewolf and Mage had two sets of splatbooks, one set during 1st/2nd editions and one for Revised.  The Revised books are the most sought after, since they’re rarer, are better written, and have more pages (and fewer pages devoted to character templates).  The later Werewolf tribebooks in particular are hard to find (Tribebook Uktena was one of the last books I found).

Note that Convention books for the Technocracy in Mage were released, but only one (Iteration X) was released for Revised edition.  The remaining four were released as PDF and POD through DriveThruRPG. (As of this writing, the POD of the Void Engineers book isn’t available, but it’s just a matter of time.)

If all you care about is content and not owning every single book, the first editions of the Werewolf Tribebooks and Mage Tradition and Convention books were reprinted in collected editions.  The books they collect aren’t expensive or rare, but the collections are more efficient if you just want to read them.

Other books and adventures. This is too broad a category to cover in much detail.  There are four general categories:

  1. Setting books. (“X By Night” for Vampire and “Rage Across X” for Werewolf are the blanket titles.) A combination guide to a geographical area and the supernatural beings in it, focusing on the gameline the book is from but generally mentioning others as well.  These range the gamut of quality from good to really awful.
  2. Adventures.  Just what it sounds like.  Some adventures were folded into other products, such as Nights of Prophecy for Vampire, which combines advancement of the metaplot with (sometimes very railroad-y) adventures.
  3. Sourcebooks.  These explore an aspect of the game setting but don’t fall into any other category and are generally more focused than the guides/companions.
  4. General World of Darkness supplements.  These either covered the WoD setting as a whole or some aspect thereof that spanned all the games (such as Blood-Dimmed Tides, which examined underwater settings).  These were released under the general WoD banner, although there are some outliers. (A World of Darkness was originally a setting book for Vampire, for example.)

Storyteller screens. I’m mentioning these because they can be a bane to the completist.  ST screens are useful for hiding your notes and holding handy charts, but not everyone uses them, and they’re less likely to be kept than books.  They’re not exactly rare, but they are more of a challenge to collect than the books, particularly if you want all the elements.

The 1st and some of the 2nd edition screens were released with inserted booklets containing adventures, characters, or other reference materials.  These items did not have their own product numbers or ISBNs, so they’re harder to find through the secondary market and weren’t on White Wolf’s checklist. (I will be adding them to my checklist at some point.) If you can find a copy that has its original shrinkwrap, you can be reasonably sure you have all the elements but may not want to affect its collectibility by opening it. (This is the reason I own three copies of the 1st edition Werewolf screen.)

Later screens were released with Companion books, generally compilations of rules material that weren’t put in the main book and crossover rules for other games.  These do have their own product codes and ISBNs, so the difficulty here is not finding the books but finding the screens.  Most of these were opened, and there isn’t always a guarantee that a lot will have both the book and the screen. (This is particularly true on Amazon; an eBay seller is more likely to make it clear.) Again, the only way to be sure is if you find a shrinkwrapped copy.  The Sorcerer’s Crusade screen is particularly hard to find by itself, since it wasn’t a terribly popular game line.

In-setting books. These are books that replicate books released in the world of the game, the most famous being the Book of Nod.  They don’t contain game content but are considered part of their parent game’s line.

Mind’s Eye Theatre. The LARP books are their own animal, and I’m treating them as a separate line for the purpose of this guide; what I’ve said above doesn’t necessarily apply to them, and they’ll have their own article.

Limited editions. For Revised edition, White Wolf released high-end, limited hardcover versions of some of the games and sourcebooks. Each of these had a leatherette cover, metallic edging, bookmarks, and in some cases slipcases.

Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, and Dark Ages Vampire had slipcased core books with a limited softcover art or fiction book. (The art books were released separately, while the Dark Ages fiction book is only available in the limited edition set.) Vampire’s Guide to the Camarilla and Sabbat and the Storyteller’s Guide also had slipcased editions.  There were non-slipcovered editions of the Vampire, Werewolf and Mage LARP books and The Book of Nod as well.  Encyclopaedia Vampirica was only released in a deluxe edition.

These can be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.  The Vampire rulebook is the hardest to find, while Dark Ages and Mage are less sought after and easier to find.  The Vampire guidebooks are less sought after than the core books (I won a copy of the ST Guide on eBay for under $10 once).

Other issues: Some of these editions had binding problems, especially Encyclopaedia Vampirica.  Since there are multiple components, there’s a risk of not getting a complete set.  There’s also the occasional problem of getting a limited version when you wanted a regular one (it took me a while to get a regular Art of Werewolf because the inexpensive copy I found on Amazon turned out to be the limited edition).

The only limited editions that have new content are the Mind’s Eye Theatre books, which contain a few pages of exclusive in-setting content (such as pages from the Book of Nod).  Therefore, you may choose to skip these in your collection, or at least make them a low priority until you can find a bargain.

Kickstarter and other limited editions. Starting with V20, many of the books were released as limited editions, including all those released through Kickstarter.  This will also be its own article, but a quick summary: If you want these, support the Kickstarter.  I’ve never seen one of these sell online for less than the original price.

Magazines and weird outliers. This will be its own article as well.  “Weird outliers” include licensed books released by other publishers.

That’s a pretty long overview, and it still doesn’t cover everything!  I’ll be getting into more detail in subsequent articles.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “Oh, dear me, how will it be if I die an old maid in the garret?”

Go, speed, go

In the earliest days of D&D, movement rates wore their wargaming roots on their sleeve.  How far a character could move was measured in inches, because that’s the way their movement would have been figured in Chainmail.  This led to some odd assumptions–in a dungeon, the fastest a character could normally move was 12″ per round, which translates to a bit less than 1 1/2 miles per hour. (It was assumed that characters were walking forward slowly, checking everything around them and mapping–even in combat, presumably.) Still, this served the needs of the game–it gave a precise number which allowed for tactical combat on a map.  Even though they’re no longer handled the same way, this still fits D&D’s needs as it’s integrated more tabletop wargame elements with recent editions.

Since then, the general trends in movement rate and speed have been:

  • A set amount of distance per time unit, like D&D.  (This may include more abstract distances, like “Areas” in TSR’s Marvel Roleplaying Game.) This fits best with games intended for at least some tactical play on a map, since it’s not much use otherwise.
  • In less tactical games, movement rate and speed are loosely linked to the character’s physical capabilities, but aren’t given in hard numbers.  In games with very loose rules, characters may not have numbers defined for these capacities at all.
  • Generally speaking, speed and movement are likely to be a derived stat or stats (drawing from one or more physical stats).  It may alternatively be assumed that characters move at roughly the same speed unless they have a particular advantage or disadvantage (including encumbrance).  Extraordinary speed may be represented by superpowers (in the broad sense of the term, since this includes abilities like Vampire‘s Celerity).
  • Movement rates are generally used for:
    • Tactical combat, as described above.
    • Calculating travel over distance (how long does it take to get to the dungeon/New York/Venus?).
    • Comparative speed–is X faster than Y?  Can X reach Z before Y, or will Y catch X first?

This brings me to my central question: Has there ever been an RPG where speed is treated as a contested stat? By which I mean, rolling your speed vs. someone or something else’s in the same way an arm-wrestling contest might be a contest of strength.  It strikes me that this would be the easiest way of modeling use #3, which is the most important in a non-tactical game.  Do you outrun the ogre?  Can your car catch up to the train in time?  Who grabs the treasure first?  Roll speed vs. speed and find out.  (This system also has the possible advantage of adding some uncertainty to these situations, rather than the character with the highest Body/Dex/whatever always winning.) All sorts of things could have Speed stats, from characters to vehicles to falling rock traps.  I can see ways to do this in various system, mostly involving rolls against the stat(s) speed is figured from, but I don’t know of a system that has this built in.  Does anyone?

(There is one game I can think of that has a subsystem that works like this.  The car chase rules in Unknown Armies are an abstract system based around car lengths.  Every round, the driver makes Drive rolls, and relative success or failure allows them to increase or decrease the distance between vehicles or attempt other maneuvers.)

Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says, “Here come old flat-top, he come grooving up slowly”.

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 2: I’ve got a little list

The first thing you need when starting your cWoD collection is a list of items to work from.  If you’ve looked around the net, you’ve probably found a document White Wolf released around the Time of Darkness, called The Comprehensive World of Darkness.  It’s certainly a useful starting point, but it has a few issues.

First, there were some books that were announced but never released.  WW intended to continue the Dark Ages line past the end of the rest of the games, but there was insufficient interest at retail and the plans were canceled.  The checklist includes four Dark Ages books that were never released, plus a Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade book that was later released as a pdf.

Second, it doesn’t always separate the spinoff game lines.  Dark Ages gets its own section, but Werewolf; The Wild West and Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade are mixed in with their parent games.
Third, since new cWoD product started coming out, it’s no longer comprehensive.  This isn’t anyone’s fault, but as long as new material is coming out a living, dynamic document is required.
Rather than tell you what items to cross off and add to your checklist, I’ve created my own, which you can find here.  It’s a work in progress; I intend to eventually list every element that was included in a product so you can find out whether you’re missing something. (For example, some Werewolf books had bound-in maps that aren’t always present in used copies.) I’ll also make it clear which formats each item exists in.  For the time being, italicized items indicate elements of a product (generally along the lines of “book and screen” or “two books and slipcase”).  Items without a product code or ISBN are generally post-Time of Judgment products that were released as PDFs and possibly limited edition versions.  I’ll fill in the details and expand this in later entries.
Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
 

Random musing on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Besides Agents of SHIELD, have there been any other TV spinoffs of genre films that both a) are fully in continuity with their parent movie(s) and b) don’t recast recurring roles?  Admittedly the Avengers film project is itself unusual, and it helps that the only recurring character is Agent Coulson–we’re not going to see Samuel L. Jackson every week, or even Cobie Smulders.  Still, let’s see if there are any other examples out there. (I’m not including children’s cartoons that clearly weren’t meant to be like the film–Teen Wolf wasn’t going to make it unchanged to Saturday mornings, let alone Robocop.  Although I am pleased to report that the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes cartoon did keep John Astin as Dr. Gangreen.)

Same or similar continuity, different cast:

  • Planet of the Apes: The TV show was set hundreds of years before the first movie but seems to have been intended to be in the same continuity.  Due to the time period recasting didn’t come up, but it did include Roddy McDowell in the cast.
  • Star Trek: Not applicable, because there’s no case of a TV series spinning out of a movie–the TV shows are clearly steering the ship here.  Pre-reboot, the movies are in continuity and carry over cast from the TV shows, however.
  • Star Wars: The Holiday Special kept the movie cast but is only very loosely in continuity.  The Clone Wars series are in continuity–Revenge of the Sith picks up directly from the end of the first series–but the only major cast member who carries over is Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
  • Stargate: The SG-1 series picks up the concept from the first movie; my researches show that there isn’t a clear-cut, overarching Stargate continuity.  In any event, the recurring roles from the movie were recast. (As an aside, I had no idea Corin Nemec was on that show–he completely dropped off my radar after Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The movie is in quasi-continuity with the TV series: events similar to the movie are referenced as the reason Buffy moved to Sunnydale, but details of the world change between versions and the roles were recast.  (Dark Horse later published a comics adaptation of Joss Whedon’s original outline of the movie, reworked to fit TV continuity.)
  • Robocop: I’m not sure if this was meant to be in continuity with the films or not; my guess would be that at least the first film is in continuity with the series but not vice versa.  Either way, the title role was recast.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was recast (John Connor had already been played by four different actors by that point) and is set in a divergent timeline.
  • Alien Nation: The movie was more of a jumping-off point for this one; the TV series keeps the basic premise, and I’m not sure if the events of the movie were meant to be in the backstory of the TV show, but there were tweaks to details such as the main characters’ families.  The main characters were recast.
  • Blade, The Crow: The TV series follows from the movies but was recast.
  • Starman (thanks to Wikipedia for reminding me of the existence of this one): The series is a sequel to the movie but is set 15 years later and doesn’t feature the same cast.
  • Timecop: They made a series of this?  Really?  I have no idea of how it stands vis-a-vis continuity (the Wiki article is pretty bare-bones) but it doesn’t have the same cast.

Divergent continuity, same cast (unsurprisingly, this one is a lot less common)

  • Highlander: As an interesting reversal from the trend, Christopher Lambert reprised his film role in the TV pilot, but the continuity is different.  The TV show carries over the film contents, but while the first movie shows only a few immortals left and the end of the Game, the series has many more immortals and they’re not nearly as focused on killing each other.

Same continuity, same cast

  • There is one non-SHIELD example of this!  Of all things, it’s Tremors, in which the character of Burt Gummer is played in the first three movies and the TV show by Michael Gross.  We have a winner!

A couple of other random thoughts:

  • I was pleased with myself for identifying Iain De Caestecker‘s accent as Glaswegian.  I can’t identify any other Scottish accents in any detail, but I can recognize this one thanks to Bill Paterson as Arcturan Number One in episode 7 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series.
  • I was amused in tonights episode by May pooh-poohing the idea of ESP, given that she lives in a superhero universe (and Skye did call her on it later).  Granted the X-Men movies aren’t established to be in the same setting, but it’s still an example of what I refer to as Mythos Creep.  This is what happens when a series has a broad enough range of what’s established as possible that you can’t categorically rule anything out on the basis of “well, that wouldn’t fit”.  The classic example is the X-Files, which made a point of leaving these questions as open as possible. (“Well it isn’t vampires.  Because they don’t exist.”) Another series that got hit by this is Babylon 5: when someone showed up claiming to be the reincarnation of King Arthur, given that reincarnation was established in the series and Jack the Ripper had shown up, the audience couldn’t say for sure that he wasn’t right. (Marcus lampshaded this one at the end of the episode.) The Marvel cinematic universe hasn’t hit that point yet in terms of what we’ve seen on-screen, but it still carries the expectations of the comics universe with it.

JSA All-Stars had a story that had this problem with the DC universe: Dr. Mid-nite refused to believe the evidence that he was up against vampires because, well, see the X-Files quote above.  While I respect the principle of not leaving one’s mind so open that it leaks out the ears, c’mon, dude’s seen a lot of stuff that’s no less sensible than the idea of vampires. (This was handled better with Mr. Terrific and the Spectre.  Terrific didn’t deny that the Spectre could do the things he did, he just didn’t take it as proof of the divine.)

On a related note, you have to feel sorry for evolutionary biologists in the Marvel Universe.  Unlike the real world, it’s demonstrable that human evolution has a set direction and that humans are the product of intelligent design in the form of the Celestials, and evolution is a force that can be harnessed and, for all I know, bottled.  Not to mention all the aliens who have visited Earth in the past.  How do you draw a clear line between natural selection and “a wizard did it” under those circumstances?

Until next time, the Woggle-bug says, “So be it!  We’ll fight together, or separately if need be!”

Collecting classic World of Darkness: The basics

As I mentioned in my intro post, I recently completed a set of classic World of Darkness (cWoD) books, and I only had to pay over cover price on two of them. (Revised Vampire Players Guide and Kithbook Pooka, for the record.) The last time I checked, there wasn’t a comprehensive guide to collecting cWoD online, and the checklist that White Wolf released around the time they originally shut the game line down has some issues.  So, here’s the first installment of my guide.

The basics

I’m assuming that anyone’s who interested enough to read this knows the basics of White Wolf and the World of Darkness; if you don’t, Wikipedia can fill you in.  To summarize briefly, the various game lines comprising the World of Darkness published by White Wolf Publishing from 1991 to 2003, when they shut it down and created the new World of Darkness (nWoD).  New cWoD books began with the 20th Anniversary Vampire the Masquerade (V20).

There are six types of content one can collect in cWoD:

  • Tabletop RPGs, which is where it all started.  There were ten main game lines, some much larger than others, plus four historical game lines.
  • Live action RPG (LARP) adaptations of the tabletop RPGs.
  • Collectible card games (CCGs) based on Vampire, Werewolf and Changeling.
  • Magazines published by White Wolf with cWoD content.
  • Fiction (novels and short stories) set in the worlds of the various game lines.
  • Assorted tie-in collectibles (pins, replica weapons, dice, etc.).

There are also books that replicate in-world books (such as the Book of Nod) that straddle the line between tabletop, LARP and fiction; I consider them part of the tabletop line, but they don’t contain any rules or game content.  I’m not going to go into fiction or CCGs in much detail, but I’ll cover all the rest.

The books and how to get them

With the exception of the Vampire CCG, none of these items are available through standard game distribution channels.  The older game materials are out of print, and the newer books were released by other means.  Therefore, original copies of the old games are only available through used channels.  In rough order from most to least useful, here’s what I’ve used:

  • Amazon Marketplace.  You’re probably familiar with Amazon.com; Marketplace is their option for selling used items.  Prices can range from excellent bargains to ridiculously overpriced, but if you know what you’re doing it’s one of your best resources.  I’ll be doing a separate article on getting the most out of Marketplace.
  • eBay.  The other go-to source for used material.  The drawback to eBay is that you’re competing against everyone else who might want these items; the upside is that you can purchase items in bulk, and sometimes you’ll get lucky. (Other auction sites are available but I haven’t used them.)
  • Your Friendly Local Game Store.  This is a mixed bag, because the age and the focus of the store make a big difference in whether it’ll have material you can use for your collection.  A store that’s been around a long time (more than a decade) or has acquired another store’s inventory may have cWoD material on the shelf.  If they deal in used games, there’s a good chance they’ll have something, and it’s possible to get some incredible bargains this way.  A store that’s new, focused on something other than tabletop RPGs, and doesn’t carry used games probably won’t have much to offer, though.
  • Online game stores.  Two good options are Troll and Toad and Noble Knight Games (I haven’t dealt with them but it looks like they have a good inventory).  You’re less likely to find bargains here, since online game stores are more likely to know the value of what they’re carrying, but it can be a good place to stock up on inexpensive, common books without the shipping costs of Amazon Marketplace.
  • Other gamers.  Local gamers may be getting rid of their collection; if you’re plugged into the local gamer community you may hear about a good opportunity.
  • Used bookstores, garage sales, etc.  Used bookstores sometimes carried used gamebooks, but you can’t count on it.  On the other hand, they’re less likely to know the secondary market value of a gamebook, so it may be possible to get a bargain.  Don’t count on finding used gamebooks at garage sales or thrift stores, but again, you may get lucky.
  • Online bookstore metasearches.  In principle, an online bookstore search site like Abebooks will let you search multiple online retailers to find the best price.  In practice, Amazon always seemed to have the best price, especially for rarer items.  One reason for this is that some retailers list items on multiple online locations, including Amazon.  Give it a try if there’s something specific you’re looking for, but I never found it worth the effort.

(Note that this is based on my personal experience, so I can only speak directly to the US market; if you live elsewhere your mileage may vary.)

There is one other source to consider: DriveThruRPG.  This online retailers sells pretty much every cWoD product in PDF form.  Many but not all of them are available as Print on Demand (PoD) books; the post-2011 books are only available at retail as PoD

The original release of V20 was as a limited edition book sold through White Wolf’s online game store.  Most of the new releases since then have been launched with a Kickstarter release, with a limited edition product only available through the Kickstarter. (Some Kickstarters have had options for retail stores, so it may be possible to find them at your FLGS.) These products are also available in PoD form.

Choosing your target

It’s worth deciding up front whether you want a complete set of every game product ever released, or whether you want to start concentrating on a smaller target.  You might not be interested in LARP products, for example, or you might want to focus on a single game line. (I completed my set of Kindred of the East well before any of the others, for example.) The game lines vary widely in size, from the dozens of books released for Vampire to the two books of Mummy the Resurrection. (As of this writing, you could get a complete MtR set on Amazon for $24 plus shipping.)

It’s also worth deciding what you consider your stopping point.  I was going for full completeness, but that might not be your goal.  For example, several Vampire, Werewolf and Mage books were reprinted in combined form, with two or more books reprinted unchanged under one cover.  You may decide you want the originals and don’t care about the reprints, or that you just want the content and don’t care what form they come in. (The collected reprints of Werewolf Tribebooks and Mage Tradition Books are easier and simpler to collect than the individual books, for example.) Likewise, several gamebooks were released in limited edition versions, with leatherette covers, metallic page edges, and slipcovers.  These are expensive and generally don’t have new content, so you may consider them optional.

That’s the basics.  Next time, dealing with the Checklist.  Until then, the Woggle-Bug says “Monsters we are, lest monsters we be-a-be-a-be-a-turn into.”

The real introduction post

So, I’m finally getting around to starting the blog I’ve been planning to write for a while now.  My name is Doug Atkinson, and I have random thoughts on a wide variety of topics that I’m hoping to set down here.

Topics of interest that I might cover:

  • Role-playing games.  I recently completed a set of every classic World of Darkness gamebook, and collecting cWoD is one of the topics I want to cover.  I’ve played a wide variety of games, mostly tabletop but also Vampire LARPing.
  • Comic books.  My biggest claim to ‘net fame is The Annotated Watchmen, which I wrote over twenty years ago.  I also maintained a Legion of Super-Heroes FAQ back in the days of Usenet.  I’m still more of a DC than Marvel person these days.
  • Anime.  I’ve been on the staff of Anime Central for over a decade now.  I’m largely out of touch with current series (I kind of burned out on the local university anime club a few years ago) but it’s still an interest that might come up.
  • I have my toe in a wide variety of other geek interests, including video gaming and reading a variety of F/SF.  There are too many to break down quickly, but they’ll come up as appropriate.
  • One of my less-standard areas of interest is British radio comedy.  I work on a computer in my day job, and spend the day listening to BBC series.  (I enjoy British TV comedy as well, but there’s less opportunity to sample a wide variety of it.)  Current favorites include Dilemma and anything by John Finnemore.
  • Finally, as some of you may have guessed from the name of this blog, I’m a big Oz fan as well.  (I wrote a GURPS Oz sourcebook when I was in grad school, a draft of which may still be floating around online somewhere.)

For those of you wondering about the title of the blog, it’s from a newspaper series L. Frank Baum wrote called Queer Visitors from the Land of Oz; every entry ended with someone asking the Woggle-Bug (a character who first appeared in The Marvelous Land of Oz) a question, and the catchphrase was, well, “What did the Woggle-Bug say”?  (There are more details in the Woggle-Bug’s Wikipedia entry, for the terminally curious.)

Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “Be excellent to each other”.