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For fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and all other projects by multi-hyphenate Joss Whedon.

Venerable members of this group:

Walter, QXZ, fuzzy and blue, O-Swirl, Giosue, Unless, Illumina, cerulean, Jurph, chacha, danthaman, misuba, isogolem, nmx, Zach, Bitca, Fruan, Andrew Aguecheek, skybluefusion, Impartial, Lifix, Kit, BrooksMarlin, Void_Ptr, Lila, bol, Two Sheds, passport, Ysardo, WireRazor, Oolong@+, RPGeek, Demeter
This group of 33 members is led by Walter

The Magic Box is the last book released for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer roleplaying game, and it is also the most difficult book to find (more on that later). The Magic Box (so named for the magic shop on the television show) is a sourcebook that details the use of magic in the Buffy universe.

The Magic Box is not actually a box so much as it is a 128 page color softcover book. Honestly this a real let down compared to the other books for the Buffy rpg, as all the other books are hardcover and glossy, and a heck of a lot easier to actually purchase. You see it appears that The Magic Box came out right before Eden Studios lost their Buffy license. To say that it is difficult to find would be an understatement. Forget the store, it won't be there. 95 percent of the time there won't even be a copy of it on eBay, which is significant because at any given time almost any RPG supplement ever published for any game is available for purchase on eBay. However Amazon.com usually has two or three sellers who have a copy for around $100, which is frankly a whole lot more money than this book is possibly worth. I found my copy in the opening minutes of a game convention, and actually got it at 20 percent off cover price.

The book presents a solid spellcasting and technology system for use in the game, which is a good thing because spellcasting is very loosely defined in the Core Rulebook. The biggest drawbacks to the magic system is that it is a lot more complicated that the rest of the rules are. I also had the minor quibble that the spellcasting rules actually added a rare situation in which the gamemaster would actually have to roll dice! The gamemaster doesn't normally use dice in the Buffy game (long story short, it is an opposed roll system in which non-player characters have fixed rolls, and it uses action points), and I always quite enjoyed being able to run games without bringing any dice.

If you have spellcasting characters in the game then you will find this book to be a great addition to the game, if you can find it that is. However if you are like me and run games without a lot of spellcasters then you will find that it is mostly just taking up shelf space. Fortunately it is loaded with pictures of Alyson Hannigan so it isn't a total loss.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is an actress best known for her role as "Buffy Summers" on the hit television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". For many years this actress has consistently placed high in the rankings of almost every media list of beautiful women.

Sarah was born in 1977 to a Jewish family living in New York City. She began her acting career at the age of five in the Made for TV movie "An Invasion of Privacy". From there she did many minor roles in television and commercials, all while maintaining a straight A average in school. Little Sarah was actually sued by McDonalds over a controversial Burger King advertisement in which she stated that she only ate at Burger King. The lawsuit was settled out of court and years later McDonalds was a major sponsor on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In the early 90s she began playing the role of Kendall Hart on the long running soap opera "All My Children". She left the show due to personality conflicts in 1995, but not before winning a Daytime Emmy Award. The intense filming schedule for this show caused her to give up several important film roles, such as the role of Juliet in the 1996 version of Romeo + Juliet.

In 1997 she appeared in the films "I Know What You Did Last Summer", "Scream 2" and then began her seven year run on Buffy the Vampire Slayer which really catapulted her to fame. Buffy started as a mid-season replacement, but quickly became one of the most popular shows on the network.

During her run on Buffy she did quite a few other roles in film and television, but most of them were not very well known. Since Buffy she has concentrated largely on film work.

As far as Sarah's personal life goes, she is married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr., who she met on the set of "I Know What You Did Last Summer". They have been married almost five years as of this writing.

Sarah is an accomplished figure skater, amateur gymnast and has studied Tae Kwon Do for years. She has a bit of a fixation on children's books and is especially fond of collecting rare titles.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a roleplaying game by Eden Studios based on the television show of the same name. Licensed roleplaying games have a reputation for being almost universally terrible (pick up a copy of the WWF Roleplaying game or Street Fighter 2: The Roleplaying Game to see what I am talking about), but the Buffy RPG is actually pretty good. More than pretty good, it is more along the lines of wonderful.

The game uses the mechanics of Eden Studios' Unisystem, which is the same basic system used in the Angel RPG, All Flesh Must Be Eaten and about a half dozen other games. I have been gaming for years, and I have seen all sorts of systems, but this one really surprised me. The basic system is fairly simple and very fast paced, although it features a variety of combat moves that rivals many games that are far more complex. The system is essentially an opposed roll system that does not have separate damage rolls. But it has one wonderful little quirk that gamemasters have got to love. Only the players roll for things. NPCs, monsters and such always get the same average roll, and it is already built into their stats.

For example, if Buffy is trying to kick a vampire then she would roll her attack and it would go against the vampires defense score. If a vampire was trying to kick Buffy then the vamp's (fixed) attack score would go against a defense roll by Buffy. Meanwhile, if that same vampire was trying to bite an NPC (such as Dawn Summers), then the entire thing would be resolved without rolling any dice at all.

In fact, looking through all the books I had, I could only find a single place where the gamemaster would ever have to roll any dice, and that was a fairly limited situation (has to do with having an NPC make spellcasting mistakes).

Players and NPCs alike all get drama points, which they can use to both change the outcomes of their rolls (or non-rolls), or even to make changes to the story itself. Hero level characters like Buffy Summers and Spike don't get a lot of drama points, but "white hat" characters (like Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase) get a lot more of them. When you need for Dawn to be able to stake a vampire on the first try it is time to use some drama points.

The game uses a point buy system for character creation and distinguishes between hero level characters and "white hat" characters. They technically also mention experienced hero as a character type, but we can ignore that. Hero level characters are people like Buffy Summers, Spike, Angel, Anya, and Riley Finn. Heroes can stand toe to toe with the things that go bump in the night. While "white hat" characters are people like Dawn Summers, Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Tara Maclay and most of the random people you might see in the background. This game encourages gaming groups to play groups that include both heroes and "white hats".

Of course the game also explores the option of playing either an all hero game or an all "white hat" game, in case you don't have the kind of players who could handle mixed power levels. I have found that with older experienced players almost everyone will actually be clamoring to play white hats. I thought for sure I would have 4 people fighting over being the slayer with the other two wanting to be vampires, but instead I had three people fighting over being the watcher, with no one wanting to play the Slayer.

The game books are very high quality and contain details on just about every character you ever saw on Buffy, along with a few that you didn't see. The list of books below is complete, and there shouldn't be any more coming out, as Eden Studios no longer has the Buffy license. "Welcome to Sunnydale" and "The Initiative Sourcebook" do not exist, even though the other books mention them in several places (along with a few other books that never came out).

Products in the Buffy RPG line

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Core Rulebook
This is the main book to the game and the only one you really need, although the others are nice as well. It was available in the original version, in a leather bound limited edition (1000 copies made), and it was later revised and rereleased after the show ended. The revised version adds information on seasons six and seven, and makes some slight rules changes to make the rules better match those of the Angel RPG. There is no real need to upgrade if you already have one of the older books.

Slayer's Handbook
This is obviously a word play on the D&D Player's Handbook. It is a nice hardcover that is all about Slayers. It was also available in a leather bound limited edition (1000 copies made, one of which I own).

Monster Smackdown
This hardcover book has statistics for nearly every monster that ever made it on the show, along with some other assorted badness. It was also available in a leather bound limited edition (1000 copies made).

The Magic Box
This is a shorter soft cover book that greatly expands the rather simplistic magic system that was originally presented in the Core Rulebook. This particular title is almost impossible to find at any price. It took me two months to find my copy. The few copies listed on Amazon.com were up to around $100 as of this writing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Director's Screen
This is your standard gamemaster screen that comes prepackaged with a few adventures. Highly recommended, not because you will really need the screen, but because it actually has adventures in it. There were no adventure modules released for this game other than the ones that were in the backs of the main rulebooks, which your players probably already read.

Buffy Character Journal
This is fairly self explanatory, at least it only cost $5.

Memorandum

To: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Television Incorporated
From: Shillton Skankowski, FOX Television Entertainment Network Group
Date: February 19th, 2002

Dear Joss,

After that power brunch we had yesterday I just thought I'd send you a memo and let you know that I've talked with the other executives here at FOX and we've decided to give your little space western idea another chance. However, and I'm sure you'll understand why, we ask for a few simple adjustments to your marvelous show idea before we can continue.
  1. We need to have things blow up more often. Something should blow up at least once in between every commercial break. Two or three things blowing up in between each commercial break would be even better.
  2. The women on the show should kiss the men on the show more often, and each other just a little less (as in, not at all).
  3. The name "Firefly" doesn't seem to properly convey the idea of a space western. We recommend you rename the show "Space Western" so that the viewers don't confuse your show with a PBS documentary about fluorescent beetles.
  4. The focus groups who reported to my assistant after viewing one of your episodes said they didn't really understand who the bad guys were. We recommend you have all the good guys on the show wear white hats and all the bad guys wear black hats, so the viewers are better able to keep track at a glance just who they're supposed to be rooting for.
  5. We recommend you add a new character to the show. A cute little girl. Focus groups respond best to dark haired girls who are about nine or ten years old. We know this is a science fiction program so we recommend you make her a robot who speaks in a monotone manner and takes anything other characters say very literally, to comical effect.
  6. The women on the show are wearing too many clothes.
  7. You put the show in outer space but I don't recall there ever being any actual aliens showing up. So we recommend you get some of your makeup guys from the Buffy tv show and have them doctor up some extras to make them look like Little Green Men or something. Also make sure they're wearing black hats.
  8. Drop that Ron Glass guy. He's a bore.
  9. Focus groups reported that the rooms inside the spaceship looked too much like a poorly furnished studio apartment. We recommend you repaint all the sets to make them look more like those cool sets on that old Star Trek show. Make sure there's a lot of bright flashing lights and "beep beep" noises in the background.
  10. The women on the show need to be prettier. Go wherever you got that cute Gellar chick and hire some more who look like that.
  11. Get in touch with the Jim Henson Company and add some aliens that are actually muppets. Kids like muppets. You can't go wrong with muppets. Or maybe get that guy who does ALF. He's been doing some phone commercials recently, but I'm sure he's available. Make ALF a guest star every few episodes and maybe we can get the 1-800-COLLECT guys to put a commercial on your show.
  12. Make the 'future' of the Earth a little brighter. People wanna believe we're gonna do better. Right now the show's outlook is just a little depressing.
Of course you'll understand that we will not be offering any more money for these changes. In fact in order to broadcast your fine television show on our network, we ask for a simple retainer of $250,000.00 per episode, to defray the costs regarding a lack of interest among advertisers.

We look forward to working with you again.

Sincerely,
S. Skankowski



Memorandum

From: Joss Whedon
To: Shillton Skankowski
Date: February 20th, 2002

Dear Skanky,

Get Bent.

As always,
Joss

Disclaimer: This is intended for humorous impact. That was a joke, son.