Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 4a: Vampire merchandise

As the longest-running and most popular cWoD game, there have been more Vampire: the Masquerade merchandise tie-ins than any other game, and entire types of merchandise that other games don’t have.  I can’t hope to be comprehensive, but I can at least cover the broad areas. (Note that promotional material for all the games will be handled together in a separate post, so I’m not putting it here.  Posters will be covered there as well.)

[Update, 12/7/13: I have come into possession of a 2000 White Wolf catalog and have updated some entries accordingly.]

Dice.  The official VtM dice are marbled green with red numbers (which clearly aren’t intended for the color-blind).  They come in a set of ten, in a box and possibly with a dice bag decorated with an ankh.  Going by Google images, there are at least two sets of packaging, one with the 1st/2nd edition logo and one with Revised.  Chessex sells “vampire” dice with a rose in the place of the 1; these are branded as VtM dice but aren’t the same dice.  The original VtM dice don’t turn up on eBay much and can run to at least $20.  The Chessex dice are still available, if you want them.

Miniatures. Ral Partha released a fairly wide variety of metal miniatures for VtM in the ’90s, plus a set of game tokens.  These sometimes turn up on eBay, and sell for around $10 in package. (I mostly follow the Horror RPG category; they may turn up in other categories or in mixed lots.) This was a slightly odd choice of merchandising, since Storyteller wasn’t really designed for map-based play (with the exception of Werewolf.)

Collectible card game. The Vampire CCG was first published by Wizards of the Coast under the name “Jyhad”.  After realizing that people not familiar with the setting didn’t make the connection of the name with vampires, they rebranded it as “Vampire: the Eternal Struggle” and released a few expansions before dropping it.  White Wolf picked it back up, and it’s still being produced; it was the only cWoD product still being published between nWoD and V20.

VtES is far too big a topic to cover here, so I’ll just say that there’s a lot of it, and it uses a good deal of the setting, including character cards based on NPCs from the RPG.  Collecting it is basically a hobby in itself. (I used to sell VtES singles on eBay, but I gave it up because another dealer kept sniping me when I tried to buy collections and I couldn’t keep my stock up.)

Novels. Another topic that’s too big to cover in detail, but there’s a list as part of White Wolf’s official checklist.  A lot of them are available cheaply on Amazon, but one set of books I will mention: There was a series of Clan Novels, one for each clan plus a short story collection.  They were later republished in four omnibus editions, edited together chronologically and with a bit of new linking material.  The fourth volume, End Games, can be expensive (cheapest copy on Amazon right now is $44) so grab a copy if you find one.

Comics. Moonstone released some VtM licensed comics.  There’s a tendency for eBay sellers to list them as “rare”, but they’re not really–they aren’t hard to find at a reasonable price.]

Book covers. Another Chessex licensed product, part of their “Dragonskin” line of vinyl book covers.  The Vampire version has Tim Bradstreet’s Brujah illustration, and exists in two versions, one with silver ink and one with gold.

T-shirts. There were a lot of these released, and I’m not going to even attempt a comprehensive list.  The most common ones have the Tim Bradstreet illustrations of the various Clans, or the images from the Revised clanbook covers.  The game’s logo is also represented, and there’s also one for the Bloodlines PC game. Beyond that, there are shirts for specific events, and for the CCG.  These don’t tend to be available in quantity (again, unless you find a retailer with unsold stock), since they tended to be worn (in both senses of the word) and fewer remain in sellable collections than some other types of merchandise. (I did find this old Angelfire site, which has images of some of the earliest shirts.) There was also at least one sweatshirt.

Jewelry: pins. According to the 2000 catalog, here are 34 clan pins, plus a VtM game pin.  There are pins for each of the clans and, where relevant, their antitribu equivalents (including Panders), most of the older/noteworthy bloodlines, and an ankh representing ghouls. (I think there may have been more than one ankh pin but that’s the only one in the catalog.)  These can run to money; unless you get lucky on an eBay auction or find a retailer with old stock, they tend to run $15 and up apiece. The cardboard backing boards also turn up sometimes.

Note: They haven’t been released yet, but By Night Studios had a new set of Clan pins in a different style as a Kickstarter reward.  These were only licensed for the Kickstarter, so once they come out they’ll doubtless be expensive, especially for the more obscure bloodlines. (Bloodlines that had never had pins before were included in the set.)

Also note: The Lasombra and Tzimisce Clans didn’t originally have their own symbols, so the original versions of the pins had a fairly lame “L” and “T”, while the later versions had the crown and orobourus symbols.  The original versions are less common but aren’t particularly sought-after, either. (I have a half-dozen of the Lasombra that were being sold as an eBay lot.)

Jewelry: rings. Camarilla and Sabbat signet rings in four different sizes.

Jewelry: other. Mostly ankh necklaces.  Some versions of the pin set also included a couple of ankh necklaces (a Camarilla and a Sabbat).  There were also fancier versions sold on their own as LARP accessories, and Java’s Crypt released fine silver necklaces with both ankhs and Clan symbols.  These also run to at least $15, and probably a lot more for the silver ones.

Computer games. There were two VtM PC games released, Bloodlines and Redemption. (Bloodlines is generally recognized as the better of the two.) These aren’t too hard to find on eBay, and Bloodlines can be downloaded from some of the online game services (although it can be a pain to make it run on a modern PC).  Some eBay sellers include the game manual in lots of RPG material, or list it in that section of eBay rather than a more appropriate PC game category.

CD-Roms. There were two of these released, one collecting 2nd edition rulebooks and one with Revised rulebooks.  They also include character generators; the 2nd edition version has a city generator, while the Revised version has a letterhead generator.  The Revised version isn’t very hard to find, while the 2nd edition version, as I mentioned in my previous post, doesn’t turn up very often.  The 2nd edition version came with a box, while I believe the Revised just had a jewel case.

DVDs (and VHS). There was a TV series based on VtM called Kindred: the Embraced, produced by Aaron Spelling.  It only ran for six episodes due to the death of one of the major actors.  Two different DVD sets have been released, an older one that just has the series and a new, deluxe version that includes bonus material, including an exclusive version of the Book of Nod.  The series also came out on VHS, for the true completist.

Action figures. There were action figures of three of the game’s signature characters, Lucita, Theo Bell, and Beckett.  You can probably find a set of them on card for around $10-15. (They were kind of an odd merchandising tie-in in the first place, and they weren’t the best figures–especially Lucita, whose dress didn’t allow for much articulation.)

For the truly insane completist, there was a WWF wrestler named Gangrel in the late ’90s, who had a vampire gimmick.  He used the Gangrel clan symbol with White Wolf’s permission.  There are action figures of him, although I didn’t find any that included the clan symbol.

Letterhead/envelopes. There are packs of Clan letterhead and envelopes, one for each of the 13 clans. (It would have amused me if they had made each one Clan-appropriate, so the Tremere would have parchment and the Ventrue fine acid-free bond, while the Gangrel letterhead was on bark and the Nosferatu covered with unmentionable stains, but sadly not.) These don’t turn up very often, so it’s hard to generalize about price.

High-end collectibles. Some of the tie-in products were expensive when they came out, and many are more so now.  I’m listing them here as a catch-all rather than giving each one its own entry (and a few other random items that aren’t as expensive but didn’t fit elsewhere).

  • Zippo lighters. There were multiple versions, with a fairly standard spread of game logo/sect ankhs.
  • A chess set, with board.  Each set of pieces was released separately as well. (The catalog refers to gold and silver plating in one place but describes both sets of pieces as silver-plated; I don’t know if one set was gold and one silver, or if each set existed in both metals.  Online images suggest the former, but the complete chess set may have been different from the separate sets of pieces.)
  • A replica of an Assamite knife.
  • Drinking glasses.  There are wineglasses with the VtM logo, and drinking vessels for the Camarilla clans, ranging from wineglasses to shotglasses to hobo jam jars.  There’s also a silver-plated flask and a coffee mug.
  • Vampire license plate.
  • Vampire diary, with a cover in the style of the limited edition books (black leatherette/silver embossing).
  • A cigarette case.
  • A mouse pad.

Miscellaneous stuff. White Wolf has produced a lot of stuff that was only intended for one event, or for internal use in their offices, or the like.  I doubt there’s a comprehensive list of them anywhere, but they’ll sometimes turn up on eBay.  There are also unofficial products on CafePress (including a surprising number themed specifically to Bloodlines) and material released by related groups such as the Camarilla LARP organization (another category that’ll have its own entry).

Apocrypha. The catalog I have lists some items I’ve never seen.  At least one book in the catalog (Witches and Pagans) was only released as a PDF, so its inclusion in the catalog doesn’t mean it was ever released.  If I couldn’t find evidence of its existence online, I’m listing it here:

  • Clan stickers, one set for each of the 13 clans.
  • A scented candle. (Noble Knight games lists this on their website, but since they don’t have it in stock I don’t regard that as definitive evidence.) [ETA 2/8/14: I have found another game store that has this listed as for sale.  The evidence at this point points toward it having been released, but I’ll wait to find photographic or other definitive evidence before moving it to the regular section.]

I’m sure I’ve completely forgotten some large, obvious category, but that’s all that comes to mind right now.  Future entries, especially in the merchandise category, should be shorter.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “And so to bed.”

One thought on “Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 4a: Vampire merchandise

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