Preview: White Wolf 2.0 – 2011-2012 Releases (from Gen Con 2011 flyer)

Yes, I know I’m way late to the party on this one, but I finally had a chance to read through the flyer put out around Gen Con 2012 listing what’s coming from White Wolf over the next 12-15 months. And I have to say I’ll be curious to see how things shake out…

Back in the mid-1990s, I participated in a Vampire: The Masquerade campaign set in Boston, Massachusetts. In that campaign I played a Malkavian who was a kinder, gentler insane person. I don’t recall his backstory or even his name at this point (considering it was nearly 20 years ago now), but I recall I had a blast
with it. The character was completely obsessed with learning the rules for the game of life. He listened to his friends and would write down rules as it made sense to do so. Then, if he was ever confused by a particular situation, he would check the rules and see what he should do. Quite honestly that character is in my top five of all time for “most fun to play” and I think we played in that campaign for a couple of years.

I also seem to recall tinkering with a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game in college even before that. And I even picked up a copy of Mage: The Awakening many moons ago, but was unable at the time to figure out how to make the open magic system work so I don’t think we got far with it. So as you can see I’ve visited the World of Darkness a few times over the last 20 years but really haven’t kept up with it at all since the late 90s.

So that brings me back to today… and my curiosity to see what White Wolf has been up with since I last poked around in their world.

I had seen quite a bit online about Vampire: The Masquerade – 20th Anniversary Edition that came out in September. The team working on the book did it openly so fans could comment on things as they were written, which I thought was very smart. With myself coming from the Open Source software development side of things, I know how key building (and reconnecting with) your community can be to product adoption. And now that the book has been out for a month, the reviews I’ve seen have been quite positive. Buddy at Troll in the Corner gave it a 5 out of 5 and said something I totally agree with – “The book sets out to do what it means to do, and does it with love and care. If you’re a fan of the original Vampire the Masquerade, you really can’t go wrong with this book. If you didn’t like the classic World of Darkness or didn’t like VtM the first time around, there’s nothing here to change your mind.” It’s still Vampire folks, and personally I think that’s a good thing.

One of the things I was always impressed with as far as the whole “World of Darkness” concept went was how White Wolf approached it from a wide range of angles. There are vampires and werewolves of various types and breeds of course. But there are also mages, hunters, ghosts, mummies, faeries, and more. Just about anything you wanted to play was available to you.

Saying that I was pleased to see that White Wolf is continuing to explore the World of Darkness from a variety of angles – including paranormal romance – is an understatement. I think exploring the romance angle is quite brilliant with the resurgence in vampire films, books, and television lately (Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc.). By appealing to that audience they broaden their fan base if they do it well – and the Storyteller system was always pretty easy to learn for new players, so I suspect that will be the case. Strange, Dead Love comes out in November for Vampire: The Requiem and we’ll see how it’s received!

(By the way, can anybody explain to me the difference between Requiem and Masquerade? I’m guessing it’s an old school / new school thing but haven’t had a chance to dive in to find out yet.)

Other releases include:

  • Imperial Mysteries is due out in December for Mage: The Awakening and seems to focus on very powerful mages (with Arcana at 6 dots or more). The concept of mages powerful enough to break the universe is definitely intriguing.
  • The four-part House Divided series comes out in the first four months of 2012 for all of the World of Darkness games. Not much about this series in the flyer, but I expect we’ll learn more about it before the end of 2011.
  • In March 2012, Victorian Lost will be released as a supplement for running games of Changeling: The Lost set in Victorian England. Considering that the faerie fandom during that era was huge (leading up to the hoax over the Griffiths’ faery photographs around 1920), I suspect that interest in such “true life” faery stories would be fun to run in a campaign.
  • In May 012, Secrets of the Covenants will be released for Vampire: The Requiem to describe some of the politics between the different vampiric covenants.
  • In August 2012, a new Mummy game line will be developed in an open fashion as they did with Vampire: The Masquerade, 20th Anniversary Edition. As I’ve been a fan of mummies since reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy way back when…
  • (There are also releases for Exalted, but I really haven’t any clue about that series. 🙂 )

I think it’s interesting that White Wolf seems to have reinvented itself as more of a print-on-demand/PDF publisher these days. I think it’s smart and has to cut down on the bottom line of printing and storage costs as a publisher. The downside is that I hardly see any White Wolf products on game store shelves and have to go online to find them. I am extremely happy to see WW continue to produce content for fans of the games – I was always entranced by the backstories of the various clans and tribes and the apocalyptic events approaching. I wonder if WW will do anything around the end of the world as interpreted by certain folks reading the Mayan calendar. 🙂

At any rate, that catches me up a little on White Wolf happenings. Hopefully I can keep up a bit more often than every decade or so from now on!

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