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White Wolf Ends The World Of Darkness 94

Posted by simoniker
from the bye-bye-toodle-oo dept.
KrinnDNZ writes "So White Wolf has been providing us geeks with angsty roleplaying pleasure as vampires, werewolves, and various other beasties, ever since the early 90s. Guess what - it's over. I'll have to admit that it takes guts to have your RPGs' 'big story' include the end of their world, but they're doing it, and they've got a date, 171 days from now." This seems to mean that well-known pen-and-paper RPG titles like Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, and Hunter: The Reckoning are genuinely being retired.
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White Wolf Ends The World Of Darkness

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  • by BFedRec (257522) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @07:59PM (#6547414) Homepage
    I have a good friend who's former roomie works for white wolf... I wonder if he's going to have a job in 170 odd days... I hope my company doesn't announce a personal armageddon anytime soon...
  • End of an era (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @08:00PM (#6547420) Homepage Journal

    I was never huge into these games. But, it sure influenced a whole genre of RPG, impacted the themes of a whole lot of MUSHes, and was certainly the chief theme of LARPs, if not the originator of the style.

    So much for being immortal. Now I feel really old--I've seen a class of gaming come and go.
    • WW gets far too much credit in the LARP world, and this is another case in point.

      1. Ask ten different LARPers what LARP means and you'll get twelve or thirteen different answers. WW and WoD is just one of the many answers, but not, by far, the most common.

      2. LARPs have been around for a lot longer than WW and the WoD. There are many LARPers currently active who've been LARPing since the mid-80s, well before WW and the WoD. (Myself included.)

      3. If you're interested in the actual diversity of LARPs, check

      • Agreed, they do get too much credit. Whenever I hear someone attributing the origins of LARPing to WoD, I laugh my ass off.

        I remember my stepfather's college roommate hosting LARPs on the beaches of Sandy Hook, based on the AD&D system, when I was ten. That was fifteen years ago, well before any WoD LARP.
  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @08:01PM (#6547424)
    > This seems to mean that well-known pen-and-paper RPG titles like Vampire: The Masquerade,
    > Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, and Hunter: The Reckoning are genuinely being retired.

    I think you didn't read *all* of the press release:

    > An all-new World of Darkness launches in August of 2004.

    Which only makes sense, really. Putting a permanent end to WoD would mean essentially White Wolf was going out of business. What else do they do?

    Chris Mattern
    • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      actually the WOD is no longer their bread and butter, they have other games, like their Sword and Sorcery line which makes games for teh D20 system, which includes the Diablo and Warcraft d20 supplements. They also have Exalted, a new game line which is actually really good. They also mentioned the fact that their Dark Ages line of the World of Darkness will continue to be produced.

      I am saddened though to hear of this, its like hearing that my favorite uncle has cancer and only a short time to live.
    • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:5, Informative)

      by travail_jgd (80602) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @08:46PM (#6547605)
      "> An all-new World of Darkness launches in August of 2004.
      Which only makes sense, really. Putting a permanent end to WoD would mean essentially White Wolf was going out of business. What else do they do?"


      Only the modern-day World of Darkness games are getting cancelled and/or rebooted. Games set in the past won't be effected.

      White Wolf has a number of other product lines that won't touched even if the World of Darkness was completely dropped. Aberrant, Exalted, Ravenloft 3E (licensed from Wizards of the Coast), Sword & Sorcery, Warcraft, Everquest and others will keep White Wolf in business for a little while longer. ;)

      I'm hoping that the "new" WoD is similar to Laurell K. Hamilton's [laurellkhamilton.org] Anita Blake stories, where the general public knows about monsters, and has to deal with them on a day-to-day basis. No Paradox, no Masquerade, no Veil -- almost everything is out in the open.
      • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:3, Funny)

        by samael (12612)
        I already have a copy of Shadowrun.
      • Dunno about Aberrant helping keep them afloat - I can't remember the last time an Aberrant book was published, and there certainly isn't anything on the horizon for the line. Of course, they did just let slip that there will be a second Adventure! book, so I suppose you could just sub in Adventure! for Aberrant in the above sentence...

        But yeah, your point was spot-on, White Wolf has plenty of other money-makers. From what I hear, Exalted is selling just as many copies at my local game store as Vampire or W
      • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by analog_line (465182)
        And just because the storyline ends doesn't mean anyone who wants to can't keep playing it, completely ignoring the published story and writing their own end times. Or playing years in the past, having their characters somehow nudge events differently.

      • WotC's d20 Modern offers something like that in the Urban Arcana sourcebook. Non-human elements co-mingle with ordinary humans, even if the humans delude themselves intot hinking otherwise. I've been busy tweaking that material for a campaign, but it's nearly impossible to find players around here (northern Pennsylvania).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2003 @09:20PM (#6547798)
    Maybe now I won't have to worry about getting jumped by a LARP 'vampire' when I cut through the public park to get home after being out partying Saturday night.

    It's not that I'm afraid, it's just that I'm tired of kicking their asses.
  • by arkham6 (24514) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @09:48PM (#6547924)
    "Yeah, lets play the final wrapup, where no matter what your characters do, they are all going to DIE in a massive battle that they can ultimately do nothing to change."

    *grin*
    • "no matter what your characters do, they are all going to DIE"

      Aaah, I see you've played Paranoia before then.
      • Now THAT is a good game. Paranoia is hands down the most enjoyable game to play (and roleplay), IMO.

        None of this pathetic idolizing of undead bottom-feeders (I mean, honestly, looking up to vampires is like looking up to slum landlords).
        • I'm absolutely with you on the vampire-hating front, don't worry. PTerry had the right idea - cut their heads off and stuff garlic down the neck hole.

          I must admit its just hilariously astute of Marilyn Manson to have switched allusions from vampirism to Weimar Republic-era Germany. The excusing of all manner of violent, offensive and generally distateful ideas behind a veneer of "but they look really stylish while they exploit people" is a neat parallel.

          err, what was the subject again?
    • I don't want to be Elfstar anymore! I want to be Debbie!
  • by freeBill (3843) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @10:09PM (#6548009) Homepage
    ...in 2000, when they did a year-long promotion, which was kinda like a long, drawn-out Y2K thing.

    I sit here looking at the Mage poster on my wall: "The Traditions stand in ruins... The Technocracy has won. Join the last stand in the war for reality." (Revised Edition -- March 2000)

    Just an excuse for a new edition of everything. It's sad when a once-creative company runs out of ideas. "Let's do the whole thing over again," is a sad excuse for an original concept. But "Demon," "Mummy," and "Engel" just aren't selling like "Vampire" and "Werewolf." Heck, they aren't even selling like "Mage" and "Changling."

    But they are selling like "Wraith."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Which is a shame as Demon is the best game they have done in ages.

      I always said if WW came out with a good new game the world would end, but I didn't really mean it this literaly :)
    • Actually, that Mage poster you mentioned makes perfect sense.

      The setting of Mage is one in which the Technocracy has indeed won, and mages are forced to band together in small groups and struggle to survive while the Technocracy controls the world at large. People as a whole don't believe in magic anymore. The Technocracy has won the culture war.

      So the poster does make sense, fitting in the overall storyline of Mage. This is something far bigger: WW is ending the world entirely (Armaggedon), not merely
      • Actually, the Technocracy lost the Ascention War, as did the Traditions.

        Who won, you ask? The Masses. As they point out, your computer crashes more often, the space program ground to a smoking halt, and people just don't care about progress anymore; they just want their satellite TV and Big Macs. The Technocracy is hurting, too.

        In Vampire, they slaughtered off an entire Vampire clan (admittedly, a second tier one, but still) and in Werewolf, they shook a few things up as well. Wraith, they already e

      • ...they did this before: They announced some trademarked name for 2000 ("The Year of the Apocalypse" or "The Year of the Reckoning" or some such) and said it would mean the end of the World of Darkness. And what it meant was they issued new editions for their most popular World of Darkness games.

        Each game had some cataclysmic event tailored for it. In "Mage" it was the victory of the Technocracy over the Traditions. I agree with your assessment that this was not much of a departure from what went before. I
  • by Randolpho (628485) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @11:11PM (#6548212) Homepage Journal
    I'm rather glad WoD is gone. I've never liked it.

    That's not to say that WW hasn't dropped a few great games; Mage (in its various forms) has always been a great game regardless of being set in the WoD, Exalted continues to amaze me, and the Sword and Sorcery series simply rock. I could go on. :)

    But the whole World of Darkness itself... I've never found it appealing. Sorta grated on the nerves, if you will. Never really understood the point, I suppose. I guess I need more angst in my life, who knows? I'll certainly lose no sleep knowing it's gone, though. Maybe now WW can do more of the "different" stuff.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @11:34PM (#6548300) Homepage Journal
    When Arthur Conan Doyle got sick of Sherlock Holmes, he had him fall off Reichenbach Falls [non-books.com]. When Gene Roddenberry (or maybe it was Leonard Nimoy) got sick of Spock, they had that corny scene in the reactor room. I could go on and on. It never works. Face it, it's not about the story, it's about making a living!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...got sick of Spock, they had that corny scene in the reactor room...

      Are you implying that Spock died? He lived on, you know, and was even in ST VI. Live long and misinform, my friend.
      • by 0x0d0a (568518)
        Actually, didn't Sir Arthur Conan Doyle do more Sherlock Holmes stories after the (not particularly good) Moriarty story, though?

        And then there's the Alien series...the scriptwriters keep trying to end the series in a dramatic fashion, and the suits keep bringing it back.
        • You want a "Story That Wouldn't Die" story? Look no further than Planet of the Apes. I mean the original series of films, not the contemporary remake. The production staff concocted a good, popular movie with a sharp twist ending on a relatively small budget.

          Good enough? Nope. The studio wanted another. The crew didn't really want to do a second movie because the first was hard enough. Charlton Heston didn't want to do the second one either. The film crew managed to convince him to do the second one by s

    • That's not true. Artists have refused to continue before. The two instances that come to mind are Gary Larson and Bill Watterson, who stopped making their still (economically) viable comics because they decided that the quality was declining, or would decline. There are many examples of artists who continue long past the point of the decline of their series, but not everyone does.
      • Yeah, I've always been grateful to Watterson. Not only for terminating the strip before it got stale, but for resisting the temptation to turn it into a franchise. I wouldn't have minded a Hobbes coffee cup or Calvin balloons (for filling with water, of course). But thank God there was never a C&H XMas Special!

        But for every Calvin and Hobbes or Far Side, there's a hundred artistic endeavors that have gone over to the dark side. Just in the area of comic strips, I can't count the ones that I used to th

  • Good luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Monday July 28, 2003 @12:35AM (#6548533)
    There are already quite a few people who won't advance to 3rd edition because they like neither the rules changes nor the advances in teh storyline. Mage players are particularly prone to this because according to 3rd edition Mage the Traditions have lost the battle for Ascension.

    It will be interesting to see how they handle that, obviously 4th edition will still have vampires and werewolves and such around, but it seems like the Technocracy winning the Ascension would pretty much put an end to all the other supernatural stuff. Once the Technocs have complete control of both the mundane and magical human worlds and don't have to worry about the Traditions anymore, i expect it wouldn't take much time for their focused attention to deal with all the other elements they wish to eliminate.

    It'll be interesting to hear about (i'm still catching up with the changes to 3rd edition) but i'm not sure if i'll be interested in buying the new sourcebooks and playing in that world.

  • Time o' Judgment (Score:4, Informative)

    by etherlad (410990) <ianwatson&gmail,com> on Monday July 28, 2003 @12:36AM (#6548537) Homepage
    I just want to point out to /.ers that if White Wolf's server's down, I provide all the pertinent info at WolfSpoor [wolf-spoor.org], my WW-themed slashdot equivalent.

    Anyhoo, yes, the World of Darkness game lines are indeed ending. For sure. Overwith.

    But they're bringing in a "new World of Darkness" in August 2004. Maybe it'll be like Marvel's Ulitmates: a reimagining of the same concepts. Maybe there'll be compeltely different critters. Maybe it's something no one else has thought of. Who knows?

    White Wolf has more than enough to keep them busy in the guise of Exalted, Dark Ages, and their massive Sword & Sorcery line (incl. Scarred Lands, Necromancer Games, Malhavoc Press, Ravenloft, Gamma World, Everquest RPG, Warcraft RPG, et al). Plus they're going to be doing something with Adventure [white-wolf.com] again, I hear.

    But the World of Darkness is indeed their biggest moneymaker overall. It's a ballsy move to actually usher in the End Times, but they're not stupid. It'll be back in some way.
    • But they're bringing in a "new World of Darkness" in August 2004. Maybe it'll be like Marvel's Ulitmates: a reimagining of the same concepts. Maybe there'll be compeltely different critters. Maybe it's something no one else has thought of. Who knows?

      Yeah, but whatever they release, it's going to have copy that reads like this (verbatim from the WW website for Hunter)

      For centuries, supernatural powers have reigned, warring among themselves, culling the human herds and lashing out from the shadows. The cr

    • Ah, Etherlad. Our talks have slowed over the past few months.

      I must simply contact your Canadian arse again. But you are not online at present.

      And when are you comming down to par-tay with us at Dragon*Con, fool! We's been waiting on ya for three years!

      Thursdæ
      Hrm, so what's going to happen to the new VtM PC game?

      • Sam, ya bastid!

        I'm online fairly often these days. Just watch for me, I'll be around.

        I'll go down to Dragon*Con much sooner if someone pays my fare, and that of my girlfriend. ;) Other than that, GenCon's our priority. We were going to go this year, but Jenn couldn't get the day off. There's always next year.

        Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (the new PC game) will have a storyline which ties in directly to the Time of Judgment.
    • they're bringing in a "new World of Darkness" in August 2004
      One begins to wonder if they're going to do more continuity with their historical Vamp/Were/Mage material. The modern WoD has had quite a bit of re-fitting done to it as they've added new setting material.
  • by sebi (152185) on Monday July 28, 2003 @12:42AM (#6548557)

    From reading the press release I did not get the impression that all existing source-, rule- and other books are suddenly going spontaneously self-destruct, once the "Time of Judgement" comes around. I really liked playing Vampire, because it was completely different than any RPG I had encountered before. The way we played it the average session required about five die rolls all in all, but explicitly rewarded good role-playing.

    I find White Wolf's decision commendable. Naturally they are trying to sell as many books related to "The End" as possible, but following through with all the hints and promises of the last years still is a gutsy thing to do. They are trying to pull an "Enter the Matrix" in the process, though. The next Vampire game by Activision is supposed to offer an unique view at the impending apocalypse and gamers who want to get the whole picture are strongly encouraged to get the game.

    A new world of Darkness, based in 2004, rather than 1992 might be exciting--you never know. I just have a hunch that the rules concerning computers are going to be a lot more detailed, than they were in the old books I know. I don't know if that is a good thing.

  • From a press release

    "White Wolf will release a special addition to its popular Vampire: The Eternal Struggle trading-card game based on the Time of Judgment. 'The Gehenna expansion allows VTES to partake in this exciting storyline,' said Steve Wieck, White Wolf's Director of Card Projects. "We're committed to continued support of VTES, and this set of boosters is only the first part of that."

    Even if WW dropped support for V:tES after ToJ it'd still go. We kept the game going when Wizards of the Coast dro

  • Guts. Feh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikedaisey (413058) on Monday July 28, 2003 @12:53AM (#6548585) Homepage
    "I'll have to admit that it takes guts to have your RPGs' 'big story' include the end of their world, but they're doing it"

    It would take guts for them to have created an RPG that leaves the stories in the hands of the people playing the game...I hate their mania for "novelizing" their worlds and dictating what happens to everyone and everything.

    Crap like this is exactly why mainstream RPGs have failed to deliver--what are groups supposed to do, sit around and READ these damn things out loud?

    If you want to write fiction, write it. If you want to create an environment for RPGs, create it and then let the players and GMs sit in the driver seat.
    • Indeed. When they called it "Storyteller" I thought they meant the GM and players would cooperatively tell stories. In fact, they meant that the WW authors would tell you a story while you occasionally roll some dice to see how angsty and goth-kewl you look during the apocalypse.
    • Did you even read the press release above?

      Each of the Judgment books contains a variety of of options for the End. IT can be as bad as you want it. Or not at all.

      The White Wolf Game Gestapo are not going to barge down your door if you fail to play up the Apocalypse. If you want to keep playing the games as they're currently published, go for it.

      • I did, in fact...and a variety of options in no way disguises the fact that this is thinly-veiled fiction. It's no different than what they've been doing for years, and hardly surprising.
    • ...but pragmatic.

      The dirty little secret of role-playing games is that most of the money is made off of supplements. While the games themselves offer players the chance for truly creative gameplay, many gamemasters (and many players) want to be led by the hand.

      Perhaps this is true of freedom in general: We all want to be free, but many of us end up gravitating towards some cultural status quo.

      White Wolf has always recognized this and tailored their games towards players who want hand-holding and lots of
      • White Wolf has always recognized this and tailored their games towards players who want hand-holding and lots of "atmospheric scene-setting" advice. At the same time, they also designed their games so anyone could play as creative a campaign as they wanted.

        This is the exact conundrum most game companies find themselves in. Players run the gamut from "tell me everything about the setting" to "only give me a bare bones framework to build on" and so a game designer must walk a line between filling in detail

  • The world is ending. Nyah.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Monday July 28, 2003 @02:06AM (#6548800)

    I've always believed that the lifespan of WoD was directly tied to the goth craze of the 90's: when there were no new goths kidz, WoD would dissappear.

    With seemingly every other publisher in the RPG industry joining the d20 lemming parade, lining WoTC's pockets while slitting their own throats (including WW, in their other product lines), I hope WW has the foresight to not base the second generation of their flagship products on d20. A lot of people don't like d20 (myself included), and I keep hearing that number is increasing. D&D 3.5 won't help matters... enough people are annoyed with having to buy all the books again that I think 3.5E sales will stabilize about twice as fast as 3E (which took about 6 months).

    And, putting a minor version number on something that's not software is just plain stupid IMO.

    Microsoft:software::WotC:RPG
    Windows:OS::d20:RPG

    • What's so bad about the D20 system? I don't follow the whole pen and paper RPG thing closely, the last book i bought was the D&D 3 player's guide, you know, the one before they made the extra 20 page revision one? Anywho, it seemed alright, and took 95% of everything needed into account, at least to the casual player.
      • d20 is fine for AD&D, but a lot of roleplayers (self included) feel that a system should match it's setting - that, yeah, I huess you can use any source for any game, but why? AD&D is at heart, and still, a wargame with heroes. Nothing says you can't actually roleplay, but the system is built around tweaking.

        So it's an unfortunate trend when a number of games whose systems matched their tones very nicely (most tragically: Call of Cthulhu) are moving to a d20 system, and sacrificing both a good ma

        • Just a simple seconding of the opinion... But it really is a good point. Play mechanics have a certain style/flavor to them, and it is really important that the setting and the play mechanics compliment each other. Another good example of a set of play mechanics that really complimented the setting/theme of the game is 7th Sea. I've not taken a look at the new d20 version of it, but unless they rewrite a lot of the basic d20 system, you would have to lose a lot of what made the original 7th Sea work...
        • Eh. I've followed Cthulhu for years; I run a game now, under D20 rules. The game is as creepy and enjoyable as it has always been -- rolling a 20 sided die instead of a percentile does not dramatically change the game's feel. Feeling and atmosphere come from roleplaying, not from the piece of plastic you throw.
        • Actually, the CoC d20 rules are pretty good; they don't really destroy the tone unless you/your group let them. (With the noted exception of level-based hit points; just use HP==(STR+CON)/2 and you're set.)
          And I've seen other d20/OGL games be quite creative with the d20 mechanic - Mutants & Masterminds [greenronin.com] from Green Ronin Press [greenronin.com] does Superheroes quite well, ignoring some of the horrid legacy rules that AD&D has.
          However, the D&D rules suck pretty badly for any tone of game other than Epic-Heroic Sa
      • Speaking for myself, the fact that WoD is NOT d20 is one of the main reasons I still play it.
        I see nothing wrong with d20, but the WW system is much cleaner (which is also the reason I still play ShadowRun).

        OTOH, I'm not planning on spending the $60+ bucks on DND 3.5 and I'm probably not going to spend it on a "new" version of WoD.
  • Copyright abuse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Twylite (234238)

    The worst part about this is not that White Wolf are bringing WoD (modern) to an end. It is that they are abusing their copyright privlidge in order to do so. Yet another creation of humanity will disappear into archives for 84 (more) years, and be completely forgotten, save for those who already have the books.

    No copyright holder should have the right to withdraw a work from publication without ceding their copyright. If it doesn't pay to keep it in publication anymore, the benefit offered by copyrigh

    • so have your friend in D.C. swing by the library of congress, check it out, mail it to you. scan it in, send it back with a money order to cover the late fee and his S&H cost, and you're set. no, it's not easy, but if you think the public should have a copy, I say it's your responsibility to put the work into a public medium (gnutella), or buy a copy and donate it to your local library for public consumption. there's probably 100 ways to circumvent this small problem.
      • I think you're missing the point. Making a copy is a copyright violation, because the copyright over the work is still valid. Making the work available on (say) gnutella is also a copyright violation. Buying a copy for the library doesn't make the work public domain, it just makes it more accessible. And when that copy is lost or damaged you can't replace it, because it is out of publication, but it is still a copyright violation to duplicate the Library of Congress copy.

        Copyright law should have a "

        • I realize that my solutions wern't legal, but should they be challenged in a court of law, you might be able to more easily have your solutions introduced into a bill. Civil disobedience, of some sort. At least the book is in circulation.
    • by goldcd (587052) * on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:00AM (#6549636) Homepage
      this evening, I'll just borrow it off your drive and take it for a spin.
      If you create something, it's yours. You don't owe the world anything.
  • Hi,

    As a long-time WW player, I have a bit of an ambiguous feeling about The End (tm). On the one hand, it is a good thing to end the WoD as we know it. The VtM setting was complete enough; there wasn't much to say anymore. It is exhausted. As far as I've heard from others, WtA and MtA had the same problem. It is good that the folks at WW finally wrap it up.

    OTOH, I sincerely hope that this is not an excuse for *another* revised version of all their WoD games. Furthermore, this whole End of the World bu
  • Damn it all, I'm having a hard enough time trying to convince myself to go by the new D&D source books. Now I have to go update my WW ones as well?! Drek! I'm going back to Shadowrun chummer.

    I do appreciate what they are doing. How many times has a TV show had the 'And someone is going to die...' commercial but then it turns out to be Bobby's cousin that is introduced 5 minutes into the show? It's nice to have a continually growing storyline to work with, but at the same time, you can stick with w
  • by iainl (136759)
    Anyone who knows their Ghostbusters (which, incidentally, made a pretty neat RPG itself back in the day) knows that the idea of the Dead rising from their graves (Which the whole vampirism thing has at its heart) is an obvious sign of end times.

    The End Of The World Is Nigh is the only logical place for the story to go, then.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Anyone who knows their Ghostbusters (which, incidentally, made a pretty neat RPG itself back in the day) knows that the idea of the Dead rising from their graves (Which the whole vampirism thing has at its heart) is an obvious sign of end times.

      Coming August 2004 from White Wolf:

      Dogs and Cats: The Co-habitation
  • I guess I don't need to worry about my writing submission after all.

    And all those months of talking to Justin and trying to butter him up... all for nothing.

    ;-)

    Thursdæ
    Still partying with WW at Dragon*con, though.

  • Activision cancelled their Star Trek license by suing Viacom for not "keeping the license active enough," I wonder if White Wolf is next on their list for ending the World of Darkness before Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines [gamespot.com] ships! Or maybe they'll just end up with another dead license... heh...

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