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White Wolf’s Alternative Publishing Efforts

Posted on June 18, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy

It is no secret that I’ve been a fan of many of the products White Wolf has released over the years. This site started out as a resource for a Live Action Vampire: the Masquerade game I was running in the Milwaukee area. Eventually it expanded to include other Horror games like Cthulhu Live, Obsidian: the Age of Judgement and All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

Over time it evolved into the current set-up featuring just about anything Horror & Dark Fantasy you can imagine. Still, we continue to play, review and generally enjoy many of the current and classic White Wolf games and fiction. We’ve even added new Previews of upcoming products recently.

Back when I interviewed Eddy Webb there technically was not an “Alternative Product Developer” at the company. He had been working on developing and writing Mind’s Eye Theatre: The Awakening which became the first product to be released in both eBook and Print on Demand formats.

Now White Wolf has all kinds of cool products available under the “Alternative Product” label. My personal favorite is the Storytelling Adventure System line-up, which I’ve covered here on Flames Rising with reviews and promo spots from time-to-time. From recent posts on the White Wolf Livejournal, Daughter of Nexus is selling really well and I highly recommend Chicago Workings to anyone looking for a good ghost story.

Some folks seem to think that the SAS pdfs are the entirety of the department, but obviously that isn’t the case (considering a Mind’s Eye Theatre book was available first). White Wolf has done some very cool things in both eBook and Print on Demand. In a recent post on the SAS Forum over at the White Wolf website Eddy tried to clear things up a bit:

The SAS format is primarily (but not exclusively) used for PDF adventures, which are part of the alternative product (AP) division that I’m responsible for (and, to be honest, the only real member of, though Jess does a ton of production work for me). AP includes all PDF and print-on-demand products. So, Goblin Markets would be an AP product like the SAS line, but not specifically an SAS. Some people (even here in the office!) sometimes use “SAS” and “AP” interchangeably, so it can be a little confusing, but the SAS is primarily an adventure structure that is mostly a subset of the AP area.

Also worth checking out is Eddy’s recent article in the White Wolf Quarterly. In addition to Eddy’s article there are previews, interviews and other cool bits worth the read.

One example of the cool things he is doing with pdf products is the Scion Companion, which won’t be available as a complete product for a while yet, but, you can grab part one already in pdf. You can even sign up for a Subscription which will get you all of the individual chapters plus a little bonus material. The second example of new and different options available in pdf format is the recently posted indivudal Bloodlines for Vampire: the Requiem. Originally published in Bloodlines: The Hidden, you can now download the ones you like and ignore the rest. Pretty cool, since I’m not a huge fan of most Bloodlines in the game anyway.

As far as Print on Demand products go, there are a lot of cool things happening. You can have your pick of hardcover or softcover LARP books, you can print editions of books that were originally only available in pdf such as The Imperfect Lotus. There are softcover versions of titles like WoD: Innocents and The Manual of Exalted Power: Abyssals which are less expensive than their hardcover “standard print run” versions.

The other great thing about Print on Demand is that it allows publishers to bring back titles that have gone out-of-print at a much lower cost. Which is what White Wolf did recently with Pendragon (5th Edition) and the amazing
The Great Pendragon Campaign
. How cool is that? Now you can get these hard-to-find books at a reasonable price. I’m curious to see what the next out-of-print titles we’ll see on Lulu from White Wolf might be.

In my opinion, this “Alternative Product Division” is one of the best things going on at White Wolf these days. It is heavily integrated with the various product lines, putting out adventures and support products as well as offering up options for customers that didn’t exist before.

So, when you get the chance, be sure to check out the Storytelling Adventure System Website and the White Wolf Lulu Storefront, tell ’em I sent you…

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