I’ve had a request from a regular reader to give reviews/impressions of two sets of books: the nWoD corebooks and the oWoD Time of Judgment books. I’ve decided to start with the ToJ, because there are fewer of them, I’ve read them before (albeit not since they came out), and they break into easy chunks due to the way they’re set up. First, though, a brief overview of the ToJ as a whole.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Following the classic age/popularity curve, Werewolf is second for most merchandise, behind Vampire but ahead of Mage. It doesn’t have as many weird one-off items (such as the Vampire license plate) but is still fairly well represented in the general categories. (One reason for this is that there were fewer licensed items produced by other companies.) I’ll follow the same format as I did for Vampire; promotional materials and posters will be covered in a separate article.
Dice. The official WtA dice were brown/rust colored, released in a set with 9 regular dice and one Auspice die, with phases of the moon. They came in a box and included a brown dice pouch with the claw mark symbol in white. These don’t show up very often and run expensive when they do.
A set of reproduction WtA dice was available for a while. The colors were a bit duller than the original, and the Auspice die wasn’t included; if you want to make sure you have an original set, look for the Auspice die and the dice bag.
Miniatures. Ral Partha released a series of Werewolf miniatures, consisting of some of the tribes in various forms and some Wyrm creatures/antagonists. (Unlike the Vampire minis, these make some sort of sense in play, as Werewolf is more combat-oriented and had systems for map-and-mini play.)
Collectible card game. The Rage CCG was released by White Wolf starting in 1995; two editions of the core set and four expansions were released. The license was picked up by Five Rings Publishing Group, who released a new set under their ill-fated “Rolling Thunder” program, with a set of regular mini-expansions rather than a few larger sets. This edition wasn’t compatible with the White Wolf version, and was cancelled after six mini-episodes and one larger one. Support continued online, with virtual card sets and rules updates.
If you are looking to buy cards, you should be prepared to pay the most for foil cards and cards from the “War of the Amazon” set, which was underproduced. The “Umbra” expansion was massively overproduced and should be available at giveaway prices; even the foils don’t go for much. The FRPG sets aren’t as popular as White Wolf’s.
Novels. There were a good number of these, though again not as many as Vampire had. Their Tribe Novels covered two tribes per book rather than the single focus of VtM’s Clan Novels. Except for the W20-oriented fiction, these are listed on White Wolf’s checklist.
(Note that one fiction collection, Drums Around the Fire, had the RPG’s trade dress and was trade paperback size, so it’s sometimes mistaken for a game book and included in RPG lots. There were also two Rage strategy guides that have a similar issue.)
Comics. Moonstone released some WtA comics, and there’s at least one collected edition. The comics aren’t rare, no matter what eBay sellers might claim; the collected edition is less common.
Book cover. There was a Dragonskin vinyl bookcover released by Chessex, with a werewolf image in silver ink. Chessex also released a binder for Rage that apparently included some promo cards.
T-shirts. Fewer of these were released than Vampire shirts; the shirts were for the general game line (or Rage) and not individual tribes. One of the shirts has the same image as the Dragonskin. (These are hard to research because there are a lot of unrelated werewolf shirts out there.) They don’t come up on eBay very often.
Jewelry. Rather than pins, Werewolf had necklaces, “bone chips” on leather cords with the sigil of a tribe or Changing Breed. The TONS O’SPLATS factor comes in here, as there are twenty-two necklaces, covering the thirteen core tribes and nine Changing Breeds. (The Kitsune and, oddly, the Black Spiral Dancers are left out.) There are two WtA pins, one with four claw marks on a circle and one with four claw marks standing alone.
The White Wolf catalog I have also lists tribe pendants and brooches/pins (including the BSDs this time) as well as pendants and brooches for Rites and a sterling silver klaive. These turn up very rarely online, if at all.
Coffee mug. This is the only WtA drinking vessel that I know of; it’s red with white marbling and the WtA logo.
High-end collectible. There’s only one of these, a replica Klaive (huge knife/sword). These run into the hundreds when they turn up. (There’s also overlap with the sword/weapon collectors’ market, so if you want one it may pay to look outside the usual RPG channels.) (The RPGnet thread linked above has a picture of a sheath, but the available evidence seems to be that it’s not an official part of the product.)
Temporary tattoos: These were sold in packets for each tribe, including the BSDs. They don’t turn up that often but don’t run to much when they do. (By their nature it’s hard to predict the availability of items that were designed to be consumable.)
Candle? A scented candle was listed for WtA in White Wolf’s catalog. I’m having trouble confirming the existence of these to my full satisfaction, but I have found a couple of game dealers who list it on their sites.
Apocrypha: As with VtM, I can’t confirm the existence of the Tribe Stickers that were listed in WW’s catalog.
Vaporware: A WtA PC game was advertised in some of their books but was never released. Other vaporware includes action figures and a WW-produced graphic novel.
I think that hits the main categories. Next up: Mage! Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says “Only one of us is going to walk out of here–under his own steam–and it won’t be me!”
Werewolf: The Apocalypse was the second World of Darkness core game, released in 1992. Most WtA products have a product code beginning with a 3. WtA was one of the games that was supported until the end of the cWoD, and is the second to have a 20th edition released.
There are four core books: 1st and 2nd edition, Revised edition, and the 20th anniversary (W20) edition. As with Vampire, the 1st and 2nd ed books can be found for $10 without much trouble, and Revised for under $20. W20 was only sent out in the last month or so (the Kickstarter for the deluxe version took a long time due to feature creep and production delays) and I haven’t seen any copies on eBay yet, but since the pledge level for a copy of the book was $120 it will probably run to 3 digits.
(Since the W20 Kickstarter’s numbers are public, it’s possible to estimate how many copies of the deluxe edition exist; there should be roughly 1900 that were sent to backers. There were 157 backers for the Heavy Metal edition (with a metal cover), which hasn’t shipped as of this writing. Since the pledge level for this edition was $385, there probably won’t be many of these hitting the secondary market, and they’ll run to a lot if they do. There are probably a few more copies in existence (extras for replacement copies, office/staff copies, etc.) but it’s still a pretty small number overall.)
There was a limited edition version of the Revised rulebook, with a slipcase and deluxe Art of Werewolf. It’s the second most sought-after deluxe core book, after Vampire and before Mage.
One note on the core books: Every edition except Revised had three “claw marks” cut out of the cover. This makes it harder to find copies of the 1st and 2nd editions in very good condition. The 1st edition paperback was the worst–the cuts tended to fray or catch and tear, and the fist page faded and picked up dirt and finger oils under the cuts. The 2nd edition wasn’t as bad, since the hardcover was stronger and thicker, but the fading and dirt issue still applied unless the book was kept protected. (W20 may be prone to this as well, but it’s much more recent and as an expensive book will probably be better protected.)
WtA has the usual array of Players Guides and Storyteller Handbooks and Companions. The 1st and 2nd edition Players Guides include the bare bones of the Changing Breeds (more on them later); for Revised they published a Players Guide to Garou and a Players Guide to Changing Breeds, which is one of the more sought after supplements.
WtA has a lot of these–the most of any WoD game. This is because, in addition to 13 werewolf tribes, there are also several Changing Breeds that shift into other types of animals. There were 9 Breed Books, plus Hengeyokai, a guide to Asian shifters that also includes the Kitsune werefoxes. Since there were 2 editions of each of the Tribebooks, that’s a total of 36.
The original Tribebooks are fairly common and easy to find. Like the core book, they have diecut versions of the tribe’s symbol; they aren’t as large as the core book’s claws, but some of the more fiddly symbols in particular are vulnerable to tears or breakage. (The Breed Books have the same trade dress as the Tribebooks, but the symbols are embossed instead.) These were collected in 4 “Litany of the Tribes” collections.
The Revised Tribebooks are a classic example of the principle that earlier=more common and cheaper. They were released in alphabetical order; the earliest ones (Black Furies and Bone Gnawers) aren’t that hard to find, while the latest ones (Uktena and Wendigo) are hard to find and expensive–the Uktena book was one of the last half-dozen books on my list. The Wendigo book was one of the last oWoD supplements released. Likewise, while not as rare, the Ananasi and Rokea Breed Books were the last one released and run to more than the earlier ones.
The title formula for the setting books is “Rage Across…”, some of which were reprinted in “Rage Across the World” collections. Dark Alliance: Vancouver is a combined setting book for WtA and VtM (and features a silly Japanese vampire clan). None of these are particularly hard to find; however, some of them contain maps that were removable and therefore may or may not be included in used copies.
Revised edition sourcebooks for WtA are often on the rare and expensive side–they often fall into the category of very useful and relatively underprinted. Book of Auspices, Book of the City, Hammer and Klaive, and Past Lives can all run as high as $30-40 or so.
Each edition had a Storytellers Screen. 1st ed included a combat information sheet and blank character sheets. 2nd ed had an adventure, “Three Werewolf Stories”. Revised was shrinkwrapped with the Storytellers Companion, and the W20 version was an addon for the W20 Kickstarter.
There were two books released in this category, Silver Record and Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth. CotBL isn’t that hard to find; Silver Record isn’t rare per se but can run around $20.
There are two Dark Ages Werewolf sourcebooks. Werewolf: the Dark Ages is a paperback that was released during the VtDA era but is part of the Werewolf line, and isn’t very hard to find. Dark Ages Werewolf is a hardcover, part of the Dark Ages line, and hard to find (running around $50).
The Werewolf historical setting was Werewolf: the Wild West, which wasn’t very popular. None of the books from it are hard to find or expensive. A couple of the supplements were released under the Arthaus line, which was supposed to be a more economical way of marketing books for less popular lines (Changeling wound up here as well), and in practice often meant a ridiculous amount of white space. On the other hand, one supplemental item, the Wild West Poker Deck, is stupidly hard to find and expensive (generally $100 minimum). (If I sound slightly bitter it’s partially because this is the one older WoD game item from the official checklist that I don’t own–if anyone has one they want to let go, please let know…)
Pinnacle Entertainment produced three Deadlands crossover adventures under their Dime Novel line: Under a Harrowed Moon, Savage Passage, and Ground Zero. They can generally be found for a few bucks each, but since they’re Deadlands and not WoD products, they may not be found or listed with other WoD products.
There’s enough Werewolf merchandise that I’ll handle it in a separate article, as I did with Vampire. Until next time, the Woggle-Bug says, “Truly, we live in an age of wonders.”