In 1992, moviegoers got their first taste of Joss Whedon’s blonde-haired vampire hunter named Buffy. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer feature film starring Kristy Swanson was a critical flop, but Whedon got a chance to expand on his original idea later in the decade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on the WB Network in 1997, and it would run until 2003. During that time, it also spawned a spin-off, Angel, which ran for five seasons.
The successful blend of horror and comedy drew in millions of fans, and a wide array of tie-in merchandise was released. Among these marketing ploys were a pair of roleplaying games from Eden Studios, which serve as the centerpiece for anyone interested in collecting Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPGs.
Here’s a brief overview of the Buffyverse: Buffy Summers (played on TV by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the latest in a long line a “slayers,” young women with the ability to track down and kill the undead and other supernatural menaces. Along with her mentor and a gang of pals known as the “Scooby Gang,” she busies herself fighting the forces of evil while also dealing with issues common to all teenage girls.
Angel (played by David Boreanaz), meanwhile, is an ancient vampire who’s been placed under a curse to retain his mortal soul. This means that he feels guilt for his many past wrongdoings, a burden not shared by his undead brethren. After engaging in a passionate affair with Buffy and helping her in numerous adventures, Angel relocates to Los Angeles, opens up a detective firm, and routinely butts heads with a sinister law firm allied to a demonic dimension. In the process, Angel battles his own dark nature and seeks redemption.
Collecting the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG
Eden Studios obtained the rights to put out an official Buffy roleplaying game, and the core rulebook hit shelves in 2002. Players can take on the role of characters such as Buffy, Willow, or Xander, or they can choose to create original “white hats” to battle the bad guys. Utilizing the Unisystem game engine, Buffy is notable for allowing players to affect the flow of the story through the use of a unique “drama point” system.
While an announcement in 2006 brought the relationship between Fox and Eden Studios to a close, the games are still supported online and draw in numerous players and those interested in collecting Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPGs.
The following products were released for the Buffy roleplaying game:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: Slayer’s Handbook
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: Monster Smackdown
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: Director’s Screen
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: The Magic Box
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game: Character Journal
Collectors of Buffyverse RPG merchandise will be delighted to know that this product continues to increase in value. While the first edition only sells for $15 on Noble Knight, I found a copy of the revised rulebook with a price of $34.95 on the same site. The Magic Box is tops among the supplements, selling for $60.
But the real value in Buffyverse RPG collectibles comes with the three limited edition releases (Core Rulebook, Monster Smackdown, and Slayer’s Handbook). Each of these items were limited to 1000 copies, and they’re bound in leather and marked with a special symbol on the cover. I couldn’t find the limited edition of the Slayer’s Handbook for sale anywhere, but the limited edition Core Rulebook was selling for $95 on Noble Knight. I found two listings for the Monster Smackdown limited edition, one for $60 and another for $85. If you’re looking to start a Buffy RPG collection, make these items a priority.
Collecting Angel RPGs
The Angel Core Rulebook was released in 2003, one year after the Buffy roleplaying game hit the market. It was also based on the Unisystem game engine from Eden Studios, and it has the distinction of winning the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game. A number of products were planned for the line, but the end of the relationship between Eden Studios and Fox put a permanent halt to production. As it stands, the following items are available to those interested in collecting Angel RPGs.
- Angel RPG: Core Rulebook
- Angel RPG: Director’s Screen
The Director’s Screen can be found on eBay for around $10, while the Angel Core Rulebook sells for $30 on Noble Knight. The most notable item for collectors, however, is the limited edition Core Rulebook released in 2003. Limited to 500 copies and featuring a black leatherette cover, cloth bookmark, and mystic symbol, this hard-to-find item was recently selling on eBay for a starting bid of $100.