Before the emails about this thing started arriving in my inbox yesterday, I hadn’t thought of Werewolf: the Apocalypse in years. I rolled my last dice in that system during the spring of 1998, and at the time, I didn’t actually miss it much. My group of gaming friends moved on to a weird hybrid of Rifts and Rolemaster that resulted in me getting less sleep and more C’s than I would have liked during my final year of high school. But I kept my WtA book and leafed through it occasionally, enjoying the artwork and the florid-yet-melancholy world described within. I don’t know where that book is now – probably sold to help pay for rent during my dipshit years – but my interest in the game and its universe has suddenly been renewed by news of a Kickstarter to help fund the creation of a Deluxe “Werewolf the Apocalypse” 20th Anniversary Edition.
The goal is to fund the creation of “a deluxe hardcover edition that stands proudly on its own as an amazing volume, or with Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition.” This volume, referred to as “the W20”, is planned as a black leatherette hardcover with “an inset disk on the spine featuring the W20 round symbol, with 520+ full color, silver-edged, interior pages, and a red silk ribbon bookmark.” Naturally, the cover will feature the classic Werewolf claw marks, die-cut right through the cover material.
Contributors will receive perks that range from a listing of their name on the thank-you page of the book, to the book itself, to an Ultra Deluxe W20 Heavy Metal Edition – a version of the book with an actual metal slab in the cover, bearing punched-out claw marks. In between (and beyond) these tiers are a treasure trove of PDFs, artwork, wallpapers and even a chance to have WtA “showrunner” Ethan Skemp GM a game for you and your friends over Skype.
As of this post, only two days after its start, the project has been 138% funded with contributions totalling nearly $120,000. Both of its stretch goals have already been met, too: all backers will also receive a Making of the Art of W20 PDF “that details via sketches and the text of emails and phone conversations the chaotic process of creating the art for W20“, and early access to a PDF copy of a new WtA novel by Bill Bridges.
I fully intend to get on board with this thing, partly out of nostalgia and partly because I think Werewolf: the Apocalypse is an important part of modern werewolf culture (if such a thing could be said to exist). Whether you played it or not, what you see when you search the Web for “werewolf” is influenced in some small way by what Ethan Skemp and his colleagues first released in 1992. Much of its aesthetics are things I turn my nose up at now – the cyperpunk/eco-warrior bent of its stories can be heavy-handed, and the spiritual elements of the game’s world are the purest distillation of that “tree-hugging anthropomorphic wolf in a loincloth” business that I love to hate) – but if you’re a werewolf fan who was old enough to get an allowance in the early 90’s, you’d better pay WtA some Goddamn respect or I’ll go Crinos on your ass.