WoD collector’s update: Clan pins

Just a brief note in case anyone hadn’t heard: By Night Studios now has the Vampire Clan pins for sale on their website (which crashed shortly after the news came out).  They’re US$20 each (which means a complete set would be $940–it would be cool if they did package deals on, say, all the Great Clans or the Clans from a sect).  While I can understand some frustration that they’re no longer Kickstarter-exclusive, I also think it’s a bit unfair to take something that has broad appeal and artificially limit its availability without a compelling reason.  I had planned to get a Gangrel pin, but wound up increasing my pledge to get the limited edition Masquerade book instead.  The limited edition book has been held up for a long time now–it’s for good reasons and I don’t blame anyone for it, but given the choice I’d prefer everyone having access to the reward than no one having it.

These pins are also a bonanza to fans of the weird side corners of Vampire mythology–pretty much every bloodline of note from V20 has a pin, including extinct ones from Dark Ages like the Anda and Lhiannan.  The very idea of merchandise for these groups would have seemed absurd just a couple of years ago, but here we are.

Collecting classic Word of Darkness, part 15: Related and third-party games

Related games

As may be seen fairly easily, the World of Darkness designers liked tying their games together (even though they discouraged excess crossover, something that changed in the nWoD).  This doesn’t just extend to cWoD games themselves; there were a couple of other game lines that also had WoD ties, and thus could be considered connected in a loose sense.  I don’t have extensive experience collecting either of them, so I won’t get into that in detail.

Ars Magica

Ars Magica is a game of wizards in the 13th Century, living in a world where the medieval worldview is reflected in the game world.  As such, it’s a predecessor to Mage and some aspects of Vampire.

The first edition of Ars Magica was published by Lion Rampant games in 1987, and the 2nd in 1989.  After Lion Rampant merged into White Wolf, they published 3rd edition in 1992, then sold the game to Wizards of the Coast in 1994.  WotC sold it to Atlas Games in 1996, just as 4th edition came out.  5th edition was released in 2004. (I treasure a copy of a supplement that has two different stickers over the publisher name–clearly published stock went with the sale.)

The main connection between AM and the WoD is the Order of Hermes, the circle of wizards that the game centers on.  The history of the OoH was brought more or less directly into the WoD, and they became one of the Traditions in Mage.  Clan Tremere from Vampire also originally appeared here (in one of the post-WW editions there’s a mention that a bunch of the clan had become vampires, but that nonsense was stamped out quickly).  The concept of the world and human belief reflecting each other became a major part of Mage.

Third edition Ars Magica, as the first post-Vampire White Wolf edition, is the closest to the WoD in setting.  Any of the Houses of Hermes supplements could be useful as background for Vampire, Dark Ages or Mage, and setting material could also be used for Dark Ages games of any sort.

Exalted

Exalted is an epic fantasy game that White Wolf first published in 2001.  As Vampire had done with Ars Magica, so Exalted did with the WoD, albeit in a more ambiguous and less direct way.  Exalted could be taken as the mythic prehistory of the WoD before everything went to pieces; some types of Exalted are similar to WoD creatures (most obviously Lunars/werewolves), and some names and concepts are shared between games.  In addition, Exalted uses the Storyteller system, albeit with some changes from the Revised WoD games.

The primary use of Exalted to WoD players would be inspirational; for example, the Underworld presented in the game can be seen as the more-functional forerunner of the afterlife in Wraith.  Translating game material from one version of Storyteller to the other is probably easier than some translations, but I’ve never tried it myself.

Third-party WoD material

Various WoD products have been published by other publishers under license, including adventures, crossovers, system translations, and foreign-language-only supplements.  I’ve touched on some of these before, but here they all are in one place.  I’m also including purchase links where I have them, since the foreign supplements in particular can be hard to locate.

Atlas Games: Blood Nativity

Blood Nativity was a very early (August 1991) introductory adventure for Vampire.  It suffers from the problem most VtM intro adventures do (how to handle Embracing all the PCs), but is better than White Wolf’s bizarre Alien Hunger.  It’s not terribly hard to find and runs about $5.

Amazon, DriveThruRPG

Steve Jackson Games: GURPS adaptations

In 1993, it was announced that Steve Jackson Games had been licensed to produce GURPS adaptations of the WoD games, one adaptation of the core game and one companion covering additional material.  However, the license was ended due to White Wolf employees trashing the adaptations on Usenet, and only four games were produced (core games for VtM, WtA, MtA and the VtM companion).  There was also at least one adventure published in Pyramid.  They’re not too hard to find for $5 or so (there aren’t any official PDFs).  Don’t confuse GURPS Vampire with GURPS Blood Types, their generic vampire supplement, or GURPS Mage with GURPS Magic.

GURPS Vampire: the Masquerade: Amazon
GURPS Vampire: the Masquerade Companion: Amazon

GURPS Werewolf: the Apocalypse: Amazon

GURPS Mage: the Ascension: Amazon

Pinnacle Entertainment: Deadlands crossover adventures

In 1998, Pinnacle produced three adventures in their “Dime Novel” fiction/game series that crossed over Deadlands and Werewolf: the Wild West (thus increasing the number of WtWW books by 60%).  The series title is “Under a Harrowed Moon.” They include conversion rules between the two games.  These can be found for under $5.

Strange Bedfellows: Amazon, DriveThruRPG

Savage Passage: Amazon, DriveThruRPG

Ground Zero: Amazon, DriveThruRPG

Feder & Schwert: German supplements

Feder & Schwert (“Feather & Sword”) is the German licensee and translator of the World of Darkness games, among others. In addition to translating existing supplements, they produced five original supplements, one of which (Encyclopaedia Vampirica) was translated back into English and published by White Wolf.  WW also released the English translation of F&S’s game Engel, plus a couple of supplements.

They released two modern citybooks for VtM: Die Stadt, Das Blut, Der Tod: Frankfurt bei Nacht and Wiener Blut: Wien by Nacht (covering Vienna), and a VtDA citybook, Reichsgold: Aachen bei Nacht (covering Aachen/Aix-la-Chapelle).  There’s also a CtD supplement, Trolle, Träume, Tiefer Wälder, a supplement for German Changeling in general.  Some of their material did make it into English via Encyclopaedia Vampirica, such as the timeline for Vienna.

Availability is the US is extremely low; I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one on eBay or Amazon.com, and on Amazon.de they run from 20 Euros (the Frankfurt book), 50 Euros (the Aachen book) or not available at all.  Fortunately, two of them are available on DriveThruRPG (although I haven’t bought them yet myself). (If anyone can hook me up with physical copies for a reasonable price, drop me a line.)

Die Stadt, Das Blut, Der Tod: Frankfurt bei Nacht: Amazon.de

Wiener Blut: Wien by Nacht: Amazon.de, DriveThruRPG

Reichsgold: Aachen bei Nacht: Amazon.de, DriveThruRPG

Trolle, Träume, Tiefer Wälder: Amazon.de

Ludis International: French supplement

I don’t know much about Ludis International, but from Google it looks like they translated other horror RPGs into French (the first hit is for their translation of Kult).  In 1997, they published Monde des Ténèbres: France, a sourcebook covering the original five WoD core games in modern France.  Availability of physical copies in the US is similar to the German books; there doesn’t seem to be an official PDF, but there is an unofficial PDF in circulation.

Amazon.fr

 

And that’s it for that category!  I could do a separate section on blatant WoD ripoffs, but the research would be brain melting.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “You are technically correct–the best kind of correct.”

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 14: Magazines

Before there was White Wolf the company, there was White Wolf the magazine.  It originally ran adventures and articles for other companies’ games (sometimes in those weird not-quite-AD&D stat blocks that Mayfair used), but in 1991 it merged with Lion Rampant Games (pubishers of Ars Magica) to form White Wolf Publishing.  White Wolf continued publishing, although it changed its name, somewhat inexplicably, to Inphobia as of issue #50.  It folded not too long afterwards, with issue 57.

Since White Wolf/Inphobia was an officially published White Wolf product with WoD content, I’m counting it as a cWoD collectible product (as well as a couple of other official and officially-sanctioned magazines).  There are other magazines that ran WoD articles back in the day (such as Shadis and Pyramid) but I’m not going list those because they’re not official and because I don’t have complete sets to check against.

Continue reading

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 13: Mind’s Eye Theatre

The live-action role-playing (LARP) adaptations of the World of Darkness are an interesting parallel system to the tabletop games, with a culture all their own.  While many games have had LARP versions created, I can’t think of another one that’s been played so consistently, to the point that vampire LARPers are one of the primary LARP stereotypes (the other being a sort of confused mix between D&D, boffer combat and the SCA).

While most of the oWoD games have a LARP equivalent (Demon and Orpheus don’t, possibly because they came too late in the development cycle), they weren’t all released in parallel.  In particular, Mage was considered ill-suited to LARP rules, and didn’t get an adaptation until around the time of Revised edition. (For reference, LARP rulebooks generally either take their name from the subtitle of the parent game, or have “Laws of the…” in the title.)

The nature of LARPs has one major effect on the collecting market: core rulebooks are more likely to have seen heavy use or have the user’s name in them than a tabletop rulebook.  An average tabletop game may have half a dozen players and and ST; an average LARP may have thirty players and half a dozen STs.  While not everyone needs a rulebook in either situation, those that get used may be carried around for an entire evening rather than sitting on the table most of the time, and with five times as many players around and in motion, it becomes much more important to identify your copy. (When I was STing a LARP, I got a set of NPC names from former owners of my rulebooks.) This is truest for Revised Laws of the Night, in my experience.  However, relatively few non-limited MET books are all that expensive.

“Mind’s Eye Theatre” (MET)is the blanket term for the WoD LARP line.  I’m going to break the list down by game line (in original game order, more or less) and edition. Some games only ever had one rulebook, so there won’t be much to say about them.

Vampire

1st edition:
  • Masquerade boxed set
  • Masquerade, 2nd edition
  • Player’s Kit
  • Book of the Damned
  • The Prince’s Primer
  • Antagonists
  • Elder’s Revenge

The item that started it all was the original Masquerade boxed set.  This was intended to be a kit that could start a troupe playing, rather than a single rulebook.  It’s a large, square box with a green marbled background and a vampiric tragedy mask.  A full box should contain:

  • Three rulebooks
  • Book of the Damned
  • 17 reference cards
  • A pad of character sheets
  • A poster
  • Advertising material for the Camarilla fan organization
  • Plastic vampire fangs
  • Two blood capsules (with a safety warning)
  • A small ankh necklace

Most of these have seen wear to the box (which is unsurprising for something of this size and age), and it’s rare to find a complete copy for sale.  A box with the functional material (the rulebooks and reference cards, possibly the BotD and some of the character sheets) should run around $15 on eBay.  Most other things are a tossup (I had to combine three boxes to get one complete one); by far the most often missing item is the ankh, since it has the widest function outside the set itself.  The fangs are standard plastic novelty fangs, and could probably be replaced by any cheap set available at Halloween without anyone noticing.

Masquerade the book is a standalone book with revised rules.  Player’s Kit and Antagonists are rules supplements; Player’s Kit also has advice on matters like costuming. Book of the Damned and Prince’s Primer are setting books with no rules that can be used for LARP or tabletop. Elder’s Revenge is a large-scale adventure, comprising two books that were originally shrinkwrapped together.  They can all be found for a couple of bucks.  BotD was available both in this box and a standalone; it’s essentially the setting material from the tabletop book without the rules. (A mass market edition, Book of the Kindred, was released as a tie-in to the Kindred: the Embraced TV series.  It’s the same setting material with the addition of a few short stories.

It’s worth noting that the rulebooks in this edition are the same size as the tabletop rulebooks, while the setting books are the smaller size of The Book of Nod.  Subsequent books in this line would all be the smaller size.

2nd Edition:
  • Laws of the Night, 1st edition
  • Laws of Elysium
  • Liber des Ghoules (The Book of Ghouls)

Laws of the Night was originally described as a handy pocket-sized reference book gathering all the existing rules into one place.  However, it’s hard not to see it as the next step in publication, which is why I’m listing it as a new edition.  The rulebooks were published in the smaller size, and the game could be run with just LotN.

All of these books can also be found for a few dollars.

Revised edition:
  • Laws of the Night, 2nd edition
  • MET: LotN: Anarchs Guide
  • MET: LotN: Camarilla Guide
  • MET: LotN: Sabbat Guide
  • MET: LotN: Storytellers Guide

The second edition of LotN came around the time of VtM Revised, and was a major overhaul in the game and its setting.  The powers, clans, etc. were brought into line with the tabletop game, and the metaplot was brought up to date.  The rulebooks contained setting material, rather than mostly having rules and relying on the tabletop game to fill the gaps.  They also have green marbled covers matching the trade dress of the tabletop version.

Most of these can be found online for a few bucks (although a good condition copy of LotN may run more, as explained above).  The Anarchs Guide runs closer to $15.

There are two limited variants of the main LotN book.  Each of the three Revised corebooks had a limited edition, with a leatherette and foil cover and a bookmark.  Unlike the tabletop versions, they contain eight pages of new material: LotN has new pages from the Book of Nod.  It usually starts around $20.  There was also a limited edition for Masquerade, with a black-and-silver cover and a Grand Masquerade logo; it runs around $30 on eBay.

V20-era edition:
  • MET: Vampire the Masquerade

This was a ground-up redesign released by By Night Studios, produced under license from CCP in the same way Onyx Path produces tabletop games.  There was a physical edition released as a Kickstarter reward; I’ve never seen one online, but would expect to run in the $100 range.  This edition is also available in PoD.  The Kickstarter also had a Deluxe version, with new Tim Bradstreet art; this has been delayed due to personal issues and hasn’t been released yet.

Vampire historical settings

  • The Long Night
  • MET: Faith and Fire
  • MET: Vampire by Gaslight

The Long Night and Faith and Fire are the 2nd and Revised Edition sourcebooks for the Dark Ages setting; Vampire by Gaslight is the Victorian Age sourcebook.  The Dark Ages books can be found for $1 or less; VbG seems to run around $10 these days.

Werewolf

1st edition:
  • Apocalypse

This is the Masquerade-era rulebook for Werewolf.  It’s full-sized and can be found for $1 or less.

2nd edition:
  • Laws of the Wild, 1st edition

The equivalent of Laws of the Night; also $1 or less.

Revised edition:
  • Laws of the Wild, 2nd edition
  • MET: Book of the Wyrm
  • Changing Breeds 1-3 (volume 4 available only as PDF and PoD)
  • Hengeyokai

LotW, the core rulebook, is less common than LotN and can suffer from the same condition issues.  The cheapest copy on Amazon right now is $20, although I’ve seen it for less.  Book of the Wyrm and Changing Breeds can be found for a few bucks (as noted above, volume 4 is only available on DriveThruRPG).  Hengeyokai is closer to $10. (Note that the cover image on Amazon is incorrect: it shows the Werewolf rusty metal background with no symbols, while the actual cover is a light green with red Chinese characters.)

The limited edition of LotW is relatively rare; I’ve seen it less often on eBay, and the current low price on Amazon is $65, though it’s certainly obtainable for less.

Historical setting:
  • Laws of the Wyld West

The Wild West sourcebook (not to be confused with the recent W20 sourcebook); goes for a few bucks.

Note: From this point forward, if I don’t mention the cost of a rulebook, assume it’s available for a few bucks on Amazon.

Mage

  • Laws of Ascension
  • Laws of Ascension Companion

As mentioned above, this was a relatively late release, which is why there are only two sourcebooks.  The limited version currently has a low price on Amazon of $35, but it’s relatively obtainable on eBay compared to the other two.

Wraith

  • Obivion

There was only one edition of this (WtO doesn’t really lend itself to LARP play). (If you want to look for it on Amazon, it’s here.)

Changeling

  • The Shining Host
  • The Shining Host Players Guide

Another setting that didn’t lend itself well to LARP.  The Players Guide is rarer and runs between $5 and $10.

Hunter and related titles

  • Laws of the Hunt, 1st and 2nd editions
  • Laws of the Hunt Players Guide
  • Laws of the Reckoning

The Laws of the Hunt books aren’t connected to HtR, but are about mortal and psychic hunters.  LotR seems to be running expensive at the moment; it starts at a $20 BIN on eBay, and the others on eBay and Amazon start around $40.  I don’t know if that’s representative of its current supply/demand or just a fluke; I didn’t pay that much for it.

Kindred of the East

  • Laws of the East

Only one book for this one.

Mummy

  • Laws of the Resurrection

Only one here too, but then again that’s 50% as the parent line.  (This is based on MtR, not the earlier VtM supplements.)

General WoD/MET supplements

  • Book of Props
  • Dark Epics
  • Laws of Judgment
  • MET Journal, issues 1-8

A catchall here.  Book of Props is a guide to prop-making from the Masquerade era (another full-sized book) but doesn’t have specific rules content.  Dark Epics has Vampire trade dress, but isn’t Vampire-specific; it’s general advice on running a LARP. (It does have some rules content, such as centralized rules for weapons and influences.) Laws of Judgment covers the Time of Judgment scenarios for Vampire, Werewolf and Mage, and is the only non-limited edition hardcover in the line.  MET Journal was a magazine that had general LARP material and rules for game lines that wouldn’t warrant a full supplement (such as The Great War setting for Oblivion).  (Note that the first couple of issues precede the Revised line, so may not be 100% rules/setting compatible.)

Accessories

  • MET Discipline Deck
  • MET Gift Deck
  • MET Prop Deck
  • Storyteller ballcap

The three decks were cards with rules for use in-game (Disciplines for Vampire, Gifts for Werewolf).  These look like they were useful, but unfortunately were from the 2nd edition era, so they aren’t fully compatible with Revised.  The Prop cards represent items like weapons, with statistics.  The ballcap was just a black baseball cap with “Storyteller” written on it, so they could be picked out of a crowd.

The decks don’t turn up all that often, and can run around $15.  It seems to be more common to find unopened sets than opened ones; there may have been a tendency to lose cards with use.  Take note that they were originally sold in multiple plastic-wrapped packs, so you may come across a set that’s missing one of the sections. (My copy of the Gift Deck is missing one of the three.) I’ve never seen the Storyteller cap turn up for sale; I don’t know how much it would sell for, though I can’t imagine it would be that much since it would be fairly easy to recreate.

The Camarilla

The Camarilla has been around since 1992, as the licensed MET fan club.  They’re now called the Mind’s Eye Society.  There are two products they produced that are likely to turn up for sale: various editions of their membership handbook, and Requiem magazine.  I’ll go into these in more detail when I cover magazines and promotional material.  Note that one of their later handbooks was printed with Revised-era MET trade dress and has a White Wolf logo; it’s not a commercial product but it is, arguably, a White Wolf WoD product.

And that’s MET, which takes us through all the games proper!  I still have promotional items and magazines to cover, though.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “I don’t mind; the only thing that bothers me is that someone keeps moving my chair.”

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 12: General WoD

In addition to the books published as part of the individual game lines, there were also a series of sourcebooks that were notionally intended for use with any game.  In practice, some of them can be used that way, but many are intended for a few specific game lines or are de facto supplements for a specific game.  Some others cover the original five core game lines but not the later or historical ones.

There’s actually very little to say about collecting them, because there really aren’t any that are particularly expensive or hard to find.  In order to make the article more than 100 words, therefore, I’ll give a brief overview of each one and which game line it’s tied to.

  • A World of Darkness, 1st edition.  This is ostensibly a WoD book, but has VtM trade dress and is basically a VtM supplement.  It’s supposed to be an international sourcebook, but it describes a few locations in detail rather than giving an overview of the world in general.  (One of them turns up blatantly shoehorned into the infamous Chaos Factor adventure.)
  • A World of Darkness, 2nd edition.  This one actually is an international sourcebook, although it’s still more VtM oriented than anything else.  It does have the generic black trade dress rather than the green marble, at least.
  • Blood and Silk.  This is the Dark Ages supplement for Kindred of the East, with no pretense of being anything else.  I’m not sure why it’s given a WoD designation instead of being a Dark ages book.
  • Blood-Dimmed Tides.  A look at the ocean in the core five games.  The game this is the most useful for is Changeling, as it has new rules material, including a new Kith.  I don’t recall that Mage gets very much, and for Werewolf the Rokea supplement is probably more useful.
  • Bygone Bestiary.  Stats on legendary/mythological creatures.  It seems to intended primarily for Mage: The Sorcerer’s Crusade but could also be used for Dark Ages or CtD.
  • Combat.  A book devoted to an alternate, more detailed combat system for Storyteller in general.  I haven’t heard about it being used very often, but it’s easy to find cheap if you want to give it a look.
  • Demon Hunter X.  Part of the “Year of the Lotus” line, it covers a couple of different types of Asian hunters.  It’s probably most useful for KotE but could be used for any game set in Asia.
  • Gypsies.  Widely regarded as the worst and most offensive WoD supplement.  For what it’s worth, it has material for the five core games, even those that hadn’t been released yet.
  • Hong Kong.  Another Year of the Lotus supplement.  It’s primarily intended for KotE but could be used for other games, and could be the setting for an interesting KotE/VtM crossover game.
  • Mafia.  I’ve never been sure why this was part of the Year of the Damned, except in a broad thematic sense.  This one could theoretically be useful in any game, although it has the closest connections to VtM and WtA.
  • Midnight Circus.  A Ray Bradbury-esque dark supernatural setting that draws from the five core games.  I don’t know how useful it would be as a whole, but I’ve used elements of it as inspiration in other games.
  • Mummy 1st and 2nd edition.  See my writeup on MtR for more details.
  • Outcasts.  This one is very much intended for VtM, WtA and MtA, as it covers characters who don’t fit into clans/tribes/traditions.  It’s not always the best fit with the other games; the Hollow Ones sourcebook is probably more useful for Mage, although they don’t cover exactly the same territory.
  • Sorcerer.  A collection of hedge magic traditions; probably the most useful for Mage but could be used in other games as well.  I highly recommend getting the second edition instead, though, if you can find it (it’s explicitly an MtA book).
  • Tokyo.  The third Year of the Lotus supplement.  This one is more Wraith oriented than the Hong Kong book.
  • Time of Judgment.  The end-of-the-world supplement for all the games except Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, and Wraith (which had already been wrapped up in Ends of Empire).  It’s not a generalized supplement, but has scenarios for a variety of games.  It’s noteworthy for being the closest CtD ever got to resolution, with a general overview of where the metaplot would have gone.

That covers the general overview of the WoD tabletop lines.  Next up I’ll cover Mind’s Eye Theatre, then it’s on to promotional material.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “I don’t want the world; I just want your half.”

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 11: And the rest

There are two remaining WoD games to cover, Mummy: The Resurrection and Demon: The Fallen.

Mummy: The Resurrection

Mummy wasn’t originally a standalone game, but a somewhat odd sourcebook published for Vampire in 1995. (The cover has logos for both VtM and the WoD in general, but it has the green marble cover of VtM.) A second edition under the WoD label was published in 1996.  They’re both easy to get cheap, because they’re not really all that popular.  I don’t particularly recommend them except for historical interest–White Wolf got much better in later years with a) game design and b) foreign cultures (not perfect, but better).

2001 was White Wolf’s Egyptian/Middle Eastern-themed “Year of the Scarab”.  They had various theme years where several games would get tie-in sourcebooks and sometimes a new game was released–Kindred of the East came out of Year of the Lotus, Hunter out of the Year of Reckoning (not Year of the Hunter, which was several years earlier), and so forth.  In addition to Mummy, they released:

  • VtM: Cairo By Night
  • WtA: Rage Across Egypt
  • MtA: Lost Paths: Ahl-i-Batin and Taftani
  • HtR: Holy War
  • VtDA: Veil of Night

The year climaxed with the release of MtR, which reworked Mummy into a better system and setting.

There were only two MtR rulebooks released: the core rulebook and the Players  Guide.  Each one can be picked up for around $15 or less–for $30 you could have a complete collection from Amazon right now.  That’s why I list the other tie-ins; although not strictly MtR, the first two editions of Mummy are more part of this game line than any other.

The only tie-in product I’m aware of is a fiction trilogy, also titled “Year of the Scarab”.

Demon: The Fallen

2002 was White Wolf’s “Year of the Damned” (including WoD: Mafia, which seems to be stretching the theme a bit, but it was a looser theme than some of the others).  The new game was Demon: The Fallen, the second-to-last core game for the cWoD and the last traditional, open-ended one.

DtF is a good game, a sought-after game, and a late release; as a result, it has the highest average per-book price for the pre-V20 releases.  With patience, the core book can be found for under $10 on eBay, but it runs at least $30 on Amazon.  Most of the paperback sourcebooks (City of Angels, Damned and Deceived, Storytellers Companion (plus ST screen), Fear to Tread and Saviors and Destroyers) are less expensive, and can be found for $10 or less without much trouble.  The in-character supplement, Days of Fire, runs about $20.
On the other hand, the hardcover sourcebooks and one key paperback (Players Guide and Houses of the Fallen in hardcover, and Earthbound in paperback) are often expensive and harder to find.  You can get lucky and find them for $20 or less on eBay, but if you look on Amazon, you’re looking at $25 for the PG and twice that for the others. (The cheapest Earthbound on Amazon right now is $200, but it can certainly be found for less that that.) Apart from the fact that non-corebook hardcovers cost more and thus were probably ordered and purchased in lower quantities, they’re much more essential to running the game than the paperbacks (excepting the STs Companion).  The Players Guide has the usual added information and chargen options, HotF is essentially all the splatbooks in one volume, and Earthbound has much more detailed information on one of the big enemies than the corebook does.
There are two tie-in items I know of; a fiction trilogy and a mousepad.  The mousepad runs about $15-20.
Well, that’s it for the cWoD core games!  Next up are the generic WoD line, then Mind’s Eye Theatre.  Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says, “Why can’t he be both, like the late Earl Warren?”

Collecting classic World of Darkness, part 10: Hunter: The Reckoning

The end of Wraith was tied up with an event called the Year of the Reckoning, which had apocalyptic events take place in the metaplot of several of the games.  This led up to something not before: a new core game!  Apart from the historical games, Kindred of the East had been released at this point, but it was a spinoff of Vampire and not quite on a level with the others.  Hunter would stand up to take Wraith’s place in the Core Five.

It occupies an unusual position relative to the rest of the WoD at the time.  The characters are normal people who are given powers by mysterious forces to battle the various monsters that threaten humanity.  (They’re a new phenomenon, not an expansion of groups that had appeared in previous works such as Hunters Hunted.) As such, the other games are essentially monster books for HtR.  However, in order to cut down on metagaming and challenge the players, they’re redefined through the filter of the limited information the hunters possess rather than using those games’ mechanics directly.  This made HtR a good introductory game, since it had the least lore to learn and out-of-character knowledge could be misleading.

Contrariwise, hunters were referred to in the other games but weren’t introduced as a major new element for the characters to deal with.  This may have been due to their continued protests that the games weren’t designed to cross over, or the assumption that they would anyway and the ST could just use the Hunter rules.  Apart from one VtR adventure, I can’t think of many supplements where the Imbued play much of a role beyond being listed among the dangers of the modern world.

The overall effect of this was to leave HtR and its players somewhat isolated from the rest of the WoD community.  This was heightened by Hunter having its own in-character website, some of which is still there if you dig.

I don’t know if there’s a direct connection between these facts, but HtR isn’t super-hard to collect.  There are a few more expensive sourcebooks, though, as we’ll see.

Core rulebook: There’s only one, the original hardcover.  It’s not too hard to find; it’s running a bit high on Amazon right now, but should be available between $10-20.

Core sourcebooks: There are a Players Guide, a Storytellers Handbook and a Storytellers Companion that came with the ST screen.  Anyone wanting to run the game will want the ST books, since the core rulebook doesn’t have much actual information on running the enemies, and it’s easier to use the stripped-down Hunter versions than learn all the rules from the originals.  The Storytellers Handbook is currently running around $20 on Amazon, though it’s probably not too hard to find it for less with patience.  A copy of the Companion in the shrinkwrap isn’t all that hard to find as these things go.

Splatbooks: These are called “Hunter Books” rather than “Creed Books”, which is probably clearer.  There are nine of these.  Two of them, Hermit and Wayward, aren’t covered in the original book but appear in one of the supplements.  (Waywards are also widely regarded as a bad idea.) Most of these run under $10.  Wayward is currently running $30 on Amazon, but I also found a copy that sold on eBay for $5, so it’s probably just best to be patient.

Other sourcebooks: There were a series of books detailing the various types of enemies.  The last two, Spellbound (mages) and The Infernal (demons), hit the end-of-cWoD rarity point and run about $30, while the others are under $10.

The other miscellaneous sourcebooks run from $15 down to $5 or less.  This includes the in-character book, ApocryphaUrban Legends is one that runs at the high end.

Merchandising: White Wolf produced very little swag for HtR.  The dice are fiery orange with black numbers, in an orange bag with a hunter sign symbol in white, and are super-rare.  I haven’t been able to find evidence of a pin online, and don’t have my catalog on hand to double-check.

There were six novels in the Predator & Prey novel series and one short story anthology.

The biggest HtR tie-in, and the reason a lot of people have heard of the game who have never played a tabletop RPG, are the three console games, variously released for Xbox, PS2 and GameCube.  These are pretty common on eBay.  For the insane completist, there are also strategy guides to the console games.

Next time I’ll cover the remaining game lines, Mummy and Demon, before moving on to the generic WoD, Mind’s Eye Theatre and assorted promotional materials.  Until then, the Woggle-Bug says “I have never intentionally cut a power line in my life!”