White Wolf Creature Collection (2000) Original Pencil Art
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:44 pm 

These original pencil drawings, by me, are available!

Chris Pramas wrote:
Today’s game supplement is the Creature Collection (2000) from White Wolf. Yesterday, I talked a bit about the internal reaction at WotC to the Open Game License and d20 System Trademark License. Today, I will shift to the wider industry reaction when these licenses were first announced. Among the existing companies, there was deep suspicion of WotC’s motives. Some saw it as a power play to crush all competing game systems. Others feared it would stifle innovation. This initial skepticism actually made room for new companies like Green Ronin and the many that would follow, but not all the existing companies were scared off. Atlas, as I mentioned, was in early. The bigger surprise was who jumped in next: White Wolf.
You might not have expected the company best known for the World of Darkness games to sign up for D&D support, but of course most gamers of that generation had cut their teeth on D&D and many retained a soft spot for it. White Wolf had also spied an opportunity and they started a new imprint called Sword & Sorcery Studios to take advantage of it. WotC had released the 3E Player’s Handbook at GenCon in August, 2000 but it was staggering out the releases of the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual. What if, White Wolf wondered, we beat WotC to market with a hardback monster book? Surely that would sell in big numbers, right?
Well, yes, it would indeed. The Creature Collection hit stores in October IIRC and did, in fact, come out before the Monster Manual. Designing, editing, illustrating, laying out, and printing a 224-page book in just a few months is a formidable undertaking. RPG books are just not developed at that speed in normal circumstances, but White Wolf pulled it off. Were the mechanics tight? Well, no, because at that moment the only people with experience working with the system were inside WotC. But the audience was hungry for new material and at the end of the day, it didn’t much matter if a dragon’s Diplomacy skill was +6 instead of +8. What the White Wolf designers had plenty of experience with was world building and they put that to good use. Rather than make a book of generic monsters, they used the Creature Collection as a way to start building out a campaign setting called the Scarred Lands. This would become a major focus of Sword & Sorcery Studios’ releases in the d20 era.
The Creature Collection was an audacious move and a big hit for White Wolf. You know who wasn’t psyched about it though? Unsurprisingly, many people at WotC. Recall the meeting I mentioned yesterday when the OGL and d20 STL were first pitched. Now some people were just against the whole idea, but others felt like it had merit, but really D&D 3E should establish itself first before letting everyone in the pool. Those concerns were brushed aside, but now, only two months after the release of the Player’s Handbook, a major competitor had stolen WotC’s thunder by getting out a monster book first. This was not the intended outcome of the OGL and d20 STL. And if this could happen so quickly, what other unintended consequences were down the road? #CuratedQuarantine

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