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A Dread Names, Red List Update

1892-thumb140.jpgKindred Most Wanted was one of those cool, but a little strange, original Vampire supplements that everyone liked, but didn’t actually get a lot of use at the table. It had these terrifying “bad guys” that made for dangerous villains so bad the entire Camarilla wanted them dead. Admittedly they had pretty good reason because murderers, diablerists, infernalists, and other monsters populated the List. It was an excellent way to show some of the bigger setting elements of the World of Darkness, showing that there were ancient foes creeping around and that the eternal war between Kindred went on beyond the borders of a neonate’s local city. A number of the Anathema predated the Camarilla (and the Sabbat), plus they had agendas that didn’t have anything to do with local sect politics. Still, most of them were not the type of NPCs you just drop into a standard Chronicle. The majority of them were very powerful and well outside the scope of your average 13th Generation Kindred’s night-to-night experiences.

I’ve been running Vampire in both tabletop and LARP for 20 years now and I’ve only used a couple of the Anathema in my games. I’d also seen them used in very cool and very ham-fisted ways in other games at conventions a few times.

Over the years, a few of the Anathema made appearances in different Vampire books. Some of them had interesting stories, offering ideas on how they might still be relevant to the ongoing story of Vampire. Others were written out. Maybe they didn’t offer much beyond the “boss battle” write-up they originally had or perhaps even powerful monsters have something to fear…

I’ve played around with the idea of updating the Red List in my own game for several years. I’ve even posted about on the White Wolf forums a couple of times, tossing ideas back and forth with other Storytellers about who may (or may not) qualify for the List in the Final Nights or who might piss off the Justicars/Inner Circle enough to get placed on the List regardless of their crimes. They were great discussions and definitely helped me while working on this book.

When the Children of the Revolution Kickstarter came along I pitched the idea of an updated Red List to Rich and it was added to the Kickstarter. The original plan was that this would be a small PDF with an updated Red List to highlight the thirteen Most Wanted vampires. The list would incorporate updated backgrounds/stats to match V20 and add a few new outlaws to replace those, like Genina, who had met Final Death, in a prior supplement Children of the Night, for example).

I was filled with ambition and crazy dreams that I’d be able to roll through the 13 very quickly. Of course, this all happened right before Gen Con and, in addition to con planning, we were in the middle of a big push to get a lot of World of Darkness out of print titles added to the print program at DriveThruRPG (my “day job”) and a million other things.

114261-thumb140.jpgAt the time, Justin was the Vampire developer and he was bogged down with working on Hunters Hunted II and Anarchs Unbound. Plus, he was very busy in his own “day job” so it took a while before he could really dive in and give me some developer notes and redlines on my first draft. I needed it. I feel my first draft was pretty terrible… It was full of lots of tell, not show, half-baked ideas of twists and lots of easter eggs from other Vampire books without any context.

That first draft needed some rewrites and a good hard look at the overall concept of what this project was about. Talking to Justin and Rich, a little at Gen Con and a lot at Atlanta by Night, we fleshed this supplement out into something much more than a short PDF of 13 characters. Instead of just a batch of NPCs, we’re taking a look at the Red List, its history in the Camarilla, how it functions and what it looks like in action. We’re going to have the current 13 Most Wanted, but also toss in ideas how to make the List fit your chronicle… For example, think that 13 is too few? Here are some ideas on expanding the List.

In this supplement, we’re also looking at the Alastors, those Kindred tasked with hunting down the Anathema. Alastors got a little bit of mention in a couple of Vampire supplements, but never really went into detail about what it’s like to play one. So, we’re including material on how to play in, and run, an Alastor chronicle. Think of this like an Archon chronicle, but most of your suspects make the average Sabbat Pack look like kittens…

I’ve brought on Monica Valentinelli to help expand these sections of the book. Monica has worked on Vampire: the Requiem and World of Darkness, plus a number of other RPGs like Eclipse Phase, Aletheia, and the upcoming Firefly RPG. Currently, we’re deep into second and, in some cases, third draft rewrites of the Anathema and expanding the Storytelling chapter.

So, how ‘bout that list? Anyone want a peek at the 13 Anathema? No? Ok, thanks for reading…

Just kidding… Please don’t stake me…

Here are the 13 Most Wanted on the Camarilla’s current Red List. Next to each name, I’ve included the Trophy Clan that’s currently offering the prize to anyone who captures or kills the Anathema.

A few names, like Keminitiri, are familiar and have been on the Red List for some time. Others, like Raymond Narcisse, have been a thorn in the side of the Camarilla for a while, but only recently been added to the List as vacancies appeared. There are also a couple of new names…

1. Keminitiri – Trophy Clan: Ventrue

2. Petaniqua – Trophy Clan: Malkavians

3. Rabbat – Trophy Clan: Nosferatu

4. Germaine – Trophy Clan: Toreador

5. Aiysha Jocastian – Trophy Clan: Ventrue

6. Marisa Santos – Trophy Clan: Brujah

7. Karen Anotos – Trophy Clan: Nosferatu

8. Valerius Maior – Trophy Clan: Tremere

9. Alex Swift – Trophy Clan: Gangrel

10. Dylan – Trophy Clan: Tremere

11. Christopher Barrow – Trophy Clan: Gangrel

12. Kyoko Shinsegawa – Trophy Clan: Toreador

13. Raymond Narcisse – Trophy Clan: Brujah

We’ll post more developer notes and a few excerpts from the book as it progresses on a semi-regular basis. Next time, I’m going to ask Monica to do the update. If you have a suggestion about what you’d like to see her write about — let us know!

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Monday Meeting No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Gen Con 2013 Brochure Cover

Gen Con 2013 Brochure Cover

Mike:

Hi Everybody,

I’m Mike Chaney, Art Direction Dude and Graphic Design Monkey here at Onyx Path Publishing.

Welcome to the lead up to Gen Con…that crazy time of year when RPG publishers scurry around like a pack of spider monkeys that are being stung by a swarm of a thousand angry wasps… in a mad attempt to get those last minute items ready for the “Big Show.” Okay, it isn’t really like that… well not 100% anyway. However, it is true that from the beginning of July until the day the show opens that things tend to get a little hectic.

Luckily, most of us here at Onyx Path have been through many pre-Gen Con crunches and so it has become almost routine to us. One of the fantastic things we’ve been working over the last few weeks leading up to Gen Con is the Onyx Path Publishing Schedule/Brochure/Catalog. It is 32 glorious pages of full color goodness that will be available at our booth.

If you have been wondering what’s been coming up next for your favorite World of Darkness lines (both CWoD and NWoD) or maybe you’ve heard about Exalted Third Edition and you’d like to know what all the hooplah is, then this is for you. I’m really excited about all the new titles we have lined up for 2013 and 2014 and when you pick up the brochure, I think you will be as well.

Speaking of upcoming titles, here is my rundown on where our various upcoming titles are in the Art Direction/Graphic Design pipeline:

• M20 - Finals are starting to roll in and have been forwarded onto CCP for approval. Thus far we’ve gotten some fantastic pieces from John Cobb, Vince Locke, Drew Tucker, and Andrew Trabbold. I’m hoping we can post some in an art blog once we get the official thumbs up from Eddy and the guys at CCP.

• Void Engineers - Finals are continuing to roll in. Thus far, I’ve gotten some fantastic looking pieces from Andy Hepworth and Justin Norman. I’ve also gotten some template illos in from Nate Pride….trust me when I say your jaw will drop when you see these.

• Blood and Smoke - Got splat notes in from Rose and will be contracting those out this week. I’ve got a couple of artists in mind for these, just have to see who has room in their schedules.

• Demon  - Art notes are out to artists as of yesterday afternoon. I do still have a few I’m awaiting that I’m awaiting confirmation on, but I’ll probably hear from them this week. Thus far we have Sam Araya lined up to do all the fuels and Cathy Wilkins lined up to the various splats.

• Demon Quickstart -  Wrapped up the layout and design on that Friday afternoon and it is off for approval.

• Guildhalls of the Deathless - Finals should start to roll in for this on Monday. Some really good looking stuff in there.

• MtC Ready Made Characters  - Sending those over to the artist this week as their finals for Guildhalls should be in on Monday or Tuesday.

• Covers  - For Darkening Skies, I’m currently talking to a couple of artists about it. It has some historical elements to it and you have to find that right artist who can get the historical details right and still deliver an action packed scene.

A busy pre Gen Con week…but not too busy. Should give me some time to go find some shirts that don’t have band names or video game titles on them to wear to the booth :)

And now I turn you over to my partner in crime this week…take it away Rose….

Rose:

Hi, I’m Rose Bailey. I usually blog in my capacity as Vampire developer, but I’m also Onyx Path’s Development Producer. That means I book and coordinate all of the individual developers and editors who work on our books, plus maintain the master schedule.

Last year was our big coming out at Gen Con… and I missed it. This year, I plan to be right in the thick of things, talking to you folks and meeting with our teams. If prior years are any indication, it’ll be quite a rush.

Here are this week’s books in development:

First Draft

  • MtC Cursed Necropolis DC: With Neall Reamonn Price and Harry Heckel
  • MtAs m20 core: With Phil Brucato and his braintrust.
  • WtA White Howlers: With Jess Hartley, working like a madwoman.
  • HtV Monstrous Basterds: With Matt McElroy and his writing crew (including me!)
Redlines
  • DA Darkening Sky: With developer David Hill.
Second Draft
  • VtM Red List: With Matt McElroy.
Development
  • WtA Book of the Wyrm: With developer Stew Wilson.
  • VtR Blood and Smoke: With me! Revising the setting overview chapter.
Editing
  • MtAw Void Engineers
  • WtA w20 Cookbook
  • DtD core
  • VtM Rites of the Blood

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Rules of the Night

Vampires don’t play by the rules, but we do. As a standalone book, Blood and Smoke is going to feature the core Storytelling system rules, with the God-Machine Chronicle updates baked right in.

The chapter’s designed to be lean and mean, providing the basics you need to play Vampire, with pointers to the other books for more detailed subsystems(And, remember, The God-Machine Chronicle‘s rules section is free.)

After a long day and night of tying the drafts of the book’s two rules chapters together, I could use some outside eyes. Specifically, yours. I’m going to present a rough cut of Rules of the Night, the core systems chapter.

I’d like you to look at two things:

  • Did any errors slip into the rules? For example, places where copying from The God-Machine Chronicle might have been a little awkward?
  • Are any of the rules unclear? This is the core rules chapter, so while it references other books for expanded rules, it should be clear on its own.

I can’t significantly expand the amount of text in this chapter, so I’m unlikely to be able to add additional subsystems. If there’s something you feel you can’t play without, though, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. (The experience rules aren’t in this chapter, as they go in Chapter Three, Laws of the Dead, which discusses creating and developing Kindred characters.)

<Click here for the rough cut of Chapter Four – Rules of the Night>

As usual, link to this blog post rather than copying and pasting the doc, as I sometimes make revisions.

Thanks to the team for putting this chapter together. I look forward to your feedback!

Now, how about Laws of the Dead, which I’ve been working on in tandem with this chapter? Well, here are a few numbers as of the current draft:

  • 14 Devotions (not including ones like Summoning, that replace powers removed from Disciplines)
  • 2 Kindred Fighting Style Merits
  • 5 Invictus Oath Merits
  • 5 Carthian Law Merits
  • 25 general Kindred Merits
  • 9 Crúac Rites
  • 9 Theban Sorcery Miracles
  • 3 Mysteries of the Dragon (with 1 multi-tier Coil and 3 Scales for each)

Those numbers may grow or shrink a bit as I continue revisions.

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Flying Out to Indy…

Just a quick Monday Meeting Notes to say that everything anybody is talking about this week is Gen Con in Indy. There are plenty of our Onyx Path gang not able to attend, and we’ll miss all you folks and hope you’re working hard while we’re “playing” at the con. Was that mean? Only on the surface, because this Gen Con we are going to be working our butts off.

Already in preparation, we have all new booth signage, official Onyx Path camp shirts so fans will be able to recognize us in the booth and around Indy, snazzy Mirthful Mike Chaney-designed business cards, an Onyx Path brochure (with our plans through to next August in it) to hand out, and Demon: The Descent Ouickstarter samples for folks to check out at the booth. Plus I just put the last parts of our “What’s Up with WW/OP” presentation together (hopefully our AV system can show it well this year), and we’ll have some printed samples of the Strix Anthology and Hunters Hunted 2 at the booth as well. Getting all that stuff ready while still pushing all our projects forward was quite a task! We’ll be in Booth #1201, with DriveThruRPG and Monte Cook (so it might be crowded over there).

And then, while we’re there, we have these panels that I’ll be at with as many of our gang as can attend (since everybody besides me is a freelancer, some folks have their own cool projects and companies to push, if you can imagine that!):

FRIDAY – 11:00 a.m.

Q&A With Onyx path

Crowne Plaza :: Victoria Stn A/B

FRIDAY – 1pm-2pm

Portfolio Review w/Mike Chaney

Booth #1201

FRIDAY – 3:00 p.m.

New World of Darkness

Crowne Plaza : Grand Central Bllrm C

SATURDAY – 11am-12pm

Portfolio Review w/Mike Chaney

Booth #1201

SATURDAY – 1:00 p.m.

What’s Up With White Wolf/Onyx Path?

Crowne Plaza : Grand Central Bllrm C

SATURDAY – 4:00 p.m.

Classic World of Darkness

Crowne Plaza : Victoria Stn A/B

Also, we’ll have signing times as listed at the booth.

Also, also, I’ll be there as an Industry Guest of Honor again this year and am on these panels that you should stop in and catch if they sound interesting:

THURSDAY – 3:00 p.m.

Being a Professional RPG Artist

ICC : 210

FRIDAY – 1:00 p.m.

Gender Issues in RPG Art

ICC : 211

SATURDAY – 2:00 p.m.

Creating Art for IPs

ICC : 211

SUNDAY – 10:00 a.m.

RPGs Aren’t Textbooks

ICC: 211

SUNDAY – 11:00 a.m.

Running a Successful Kickstarter Q&A

ICC: 210

Also, also, also- we have our two Gen Con meals with Holden, John, and myself, with the Deluxe Exalted 3rd Edition backers who pledged for that somewhat dubious reward.

So what I’m saying is that we are going to be running constantly while we’re there. But it’s going to be worth it. I know that our gang is really looking forward to getting to talk face to face with as many of you folks as we can- no, seriously! ;) Because that’s really something that all the internet communication that we do just doesn’t provide- the human to human moment. Isn’t that really the telling point of our hobby, the difference between playing around a table vs into a screen?

Philosofizin’ aside, we really are looking forward to talking with everybody who drops by, and by we, I mean: myself, Mirthful Mike Chaney, Evil Ian Watson, Rockin’ Rose Bailey, Madcap Matt McElroy, Eddy (he can write his own damn nick-name) Webb, and a host of writers and developers who will be dropping in like Black Hat Matt McFarland, Holden Shearer, C.A. Suleiman, John “Put a slash through the O” Morke, David Hill, Monica Valentinelli and many more.

OK, gotta run- here are the Updates:

- Strix Chronicle Fiction Anthology (VtR) The PDF and electronic format versions are on sale now at DTRPG/DTFiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/117396/The-Strix-Chronicle-Anthology Samples of the printed versions will be at the GenCon booth #1201.

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Final dev pass.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe book and  Screen are at press- book being re-covered. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is in art direction/layout. Cursed Necropolis DC being written and its cover has been approved.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  A couple of EX3 chapters continue to be finalized by the Devs and thence for Editing. The EX3 Quickstart is being written. EX3 novel contracts are being created and need a tad bit of discussion at GenCon this week with the freelance creators.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is printing. The PDF is live on DTRPG and samples of the printed books will be at our booth (#1201) at GenCon. Justin is bogged down on real life issues for a presentation at his day job, but will send the HH2 Fiction Anthology to editing ASAP.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in editing and we are getting art for it.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At binding. Mike Lee went back and revised a fair number of chapter in the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel prior to submitting to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley continues writing the White Howlers Tribe Book  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato writing like a maniac and developing his writers, also like a maniac. Very early sketches for the fulls from Michael William Kaluta look awesome. A good number of finals pieces were approved. Going to try to get up an art blog- OK, when Mike and I get a week where we can assemble some pieces, this will start.

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material being written, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being discussed.

W20 Rage Across the World: All the art is in, approved, and going into the book.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) is into editing and art is coming in.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) PDF version is live and we are incorporating changes pointed out by you, our community.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in editing. Art is all in.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is almost ready for editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is being written and red-lined and is in Open Dev on the blogs: http://whitewolfblogs.com/v20/ Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): Writers are writing. David is sending Mirthful Mike art notes for the cover.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline. Ian and John Snead are gathering their writers. There will be some talk at Gen Con, oh yes there will.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems, but Joe himself has been stricken with chronic back pain. Measures to relieve this are being taken and they seem to be working, and we must look at other measures to ensure that Scion isn’t delayed while Joe recuperates. Again, we will be talking about this at Gen Con, but without Joe unfortunately.

- Demon: The Descent: The text is now in editing! Art has been assigned. Demon Quickstart samples will be at Gen Con for folks to check out and give us their thoughts about before we post it on DTRPG after the con.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing.

Reason to Drink: G. E. N. C. O. N.

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Post Gen Con Sorta Monday Meeting Notes

Wow! Was that a wild five days. Plus travel.

Eddy and I shared a room again this year, so it sorta counts as a Monday Meeting. But because everybody has been playing catch-up on sleep and emails and notes, I have no Updates nor any real meeting notes this week. Instead, let me talk about Gen Con and how Onyx Path did there this year. Our goal this year was to continue to ramp up enthusiasm for, and awareness of, Onyx Path and our license to publish WW games. You folks all know what we’re up to, but there are lots of gamers who don’t. So we had Onyx staff shirts, signage, biz cars, and stacks of the physical version of this:

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/118000/Onyx-Path-2013-2014-Publishing-Schedule

We also had things to show off: copies of the Strix Chronicle Anthology and Hunters Hunted 2 PoD proofs, a sexy copy of the correctly embossed Deluxe Mummy: The Curse that was shipped to my hotel by the printer on Friday, and a few print-outs of this:

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/118271/Demon-the-Descent-Quickstart

Booth traffic was brisk, no doubt helped by having the Monte Cook sharing it, and as far as I can tell there were a lot of folks getting really excited by seeing the WW game lines getting attention and new releases again. So, I think we got the message across there.

Then there were the panels as well, which were a lot of fun. We had so many freelance creative folks there that are working on projects that there was often little I needed to say at the “Onyx/WW Q&A”, or the “nWoD” and “cWoD” panels. Great questions, lots of enthusiasm. And then there was the “What’s Up with WW/OP” panel- or the “Eddy and Rich Show”, that we’ve been doing for years now. Once more we revealed the new schedule until next August 2014, and it was great when I mentioned that the “schedule isn’t fixed in stone, but more of a…” and half the audience said “framework!”. He, he- some folks have been paying attention- thanks for that. We also announced that we are indeed doing Wraith 2oth Anniversary Edition for later next year with my friend Rich “Dead Guy” Dansky developing the game he is so well known for. I thought it would be a surprise to announce it at that panel- but pretty much everybody expected it- that didn’t stop the cheering, but now I need something else to use as a surprise. Also got some very nice excited comments and questions over the Scion 2nd and Trinity Continuum listings, so that’s very heartening to hear since those are Onyx‘s babies now.

I was also one of the Industry Guests of Honor again, which is pretty cool in that I get to sit on panels with great and talented folks from other companies that I rarely get to talk to like Jon Hodgson, art director at Cubicle7, the inimitable Stan!, and my old friend Nicole Lindroos, from Green Ronin. Most importantly, for our purposes here, I get to talk to people who really don’t follow this blog and our other efforts and let them know what Onyx Path stands for. I was on a “How to Run a Successful Kickstarter” panel with Stan! and afterwards a nice guy came up to let me know he was going to specifically buy some stuff at the booth because he was impressed by my enthusiasm and business direction (which was pretty amazing since this was the tail end of the con and energy was something I barely had left). But most importantly, to me, was the “Sexism in RPG Art” panel that I found out that both Jon and I had proposed. What a fantastic meeting of minds in that room. You could tell a lot of folks there were scarred veterans of internet wars over the topic, but in that room there was a pervasive sense of trying to improve the representation of body types, races, and genders in gaming art and nobody went for someone else’s throat. Because sometimes one person’s “sexy” is another’s “sexist” and it’s easy to lose the idea that we’re all people when you only see a name on a screen. Which was indicative to me why the RPG industry might be able to lead the way towards hanging up the old chainmail bikini. At least at Onyx Path, we’re going to try.

Another cool thing was that the Exalted developers, John and Holden, and myself had two meals with our Deluxe Exalted 3rd Edition backers who had pledged for just that sort of a meal with us. It was a little hard to talk at the Saturday night dinner because they had one of those open to the dining room kitchens and the noise was loud, but lots of upcoming parts of their plans for EX3 were revealed during the wave of questions from the backers. Sunday was a fair bit quieter as we were tucked into a round table in the back of that place, and while there was some duplication of questions, mostly new topics were covered. Also, this time, I thought to tweet a few random quotes (wish I’d thought of that the night before), here are a few completely out of context:

“Camelot is going to eat people, whether you want it to or not”!

“Speaking of excesses, how are limit breaks going to be handled?”

“Now I want to roleplay a lemur!”

I was so busy that I really didn’t get a chance to walk the floor, although I did see lots of old friends including artist Jeff Menges who was the spearhead for the Magic the Gathering artist retrospective book “The First 49″ that I was honored to be included in, Dave Martin whose Wrecking Crew were demoing WW/Onyx games in the old church/train station combo building, and Jeff Combos whose Hollow Earth Expedition RPG is a joy to see being issued again. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of people I’d have loved to talk to, and I very badly missed a scheduled podcast- I am so sorry!- that Eddy was able to fill in for. I did do one podcast there for NerdTangent that they dragged me to after most of a night drinking. I had to though, as those young Canadian punks were talking smack about Tim Burton’s Batman. I think they’re going to run it sometime in the next four or five weeks, but it was an ugly drunken brawl of a “discussion” with no-hold-barred action and insults. Of course, I destroyed them with logic (one example was pointing out how stupid they were in general) and eventually the one named Todd actually was knocked unconscious by my devastating devaluation of their thesis. Also, on another late, late, night, I played D&DNext and did another podcast talking about favorite comic book artists.

Downsides? Our sign was small, our brochures needed to get into more folk’s hands, and our AV needs to be professionally done as it’s not fair to Eddy to make him try and do the AV work every year. I thought his broken mic meant we had no recording, but Evil Ian Watson may have found a source for some record of at least one of our panels- we’ll let you know if he can get that posted.

So go ahead, ask questions about the con or the schedule- I have at least 20% of my brain working again.

Reason To Drink: After last week, you have got to be kidding- my booze hump is full.

 

 

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Scheduling a Schedule Talk

A lot of what we’re doing right now at Onyx Path is catching up with both the stuff that drifted a bit with Gen Con attendance and prep, and scheduling talks and meetings with the folks we met there. There should be some fun announcements coming up in terms of who we’re working with on upcoming projects. Eddy and I talked a lot about that and the overall way that Onyx Path is getting out the idea of how we’re handling the WW license and our new projects. Overall, I was pretty happy with our panels and stuff as I mentioned last week, but then we discussed how some of the response to the new Schedule was evidence that the message about how Onyx Path is doing things hasn’t yet sunk in to all of our potential community. Let me finish with the meeting topics and I’ll delve in more deeply to the Schedule.

At the Con I was reading a Mike Hammer omnibus, which naturally led to Eddy and I talking about noir genre tropes and Eddy’s take on the heavy christian symbolism present in the Hammer novels. There’s certainly an “Old Testament”, eye for an eye, vibe in the first three novels I read. Not having read Micky Spillane before, I thought his prose was compelling and could clearly be seen as inspiring Frank Miller’s Sin City, but also James Ellroy and Andrew Vachss. And yet, as I told Eddy today, I’m not sure about the series- I’m not going to spoiler it up here, but let’s say that the targets of his bullets in the last chapter of each book all have things in common that even I, not the most socially/politically sensitive guy, find a bit concerning. So, I’m only thinking of maybe checking out the fourth book rather than grabbing it as planning to. In other news, Eddy’s role in being my contact at CCP has also grown a bit from approvals to also managing some of the business aspects as far as CCP is concerned, so that’s good news for me, although Eddy, as always, has more work to do. :)

Now, on to the Schedule.

The purpose of the Schedule is pretty much as we labelled it in the brochure: to let folks know which projects we intend to do for which lines in the year to come and the order we intend to work on them. The order of release is put into months because we all need a level of structure to use as a framework for everything from creating a development/editing/layout schedule internally, to allocating manpower in our freelancer pool, to noting what books happening near each other can create some kind of synergy. Our intention is to hit those months with our releases, but we have the understanding that they may not. Our publishing business model is, in fact, specifically designed to give us the flexibility to make the call to delay release if we feel doing so will improve some aspect of the book or the experience of the game in general.

Let me say that again, because it really is a serious change in how we operated in the WW days and really changes how we roll now: the ability to miss the projected release date for a good reason is part of our overall business plan. We don’t want to miss the release month, but we’re able and willing to if it makes for a better release when it does go on sale.

Now that’s not to say that there aren’t downsides to this model- there really, really, are. Erosion of customer confidence, loss of momentum for a new line if the supplements roll out late, lots of books falling out of one year and into the other meaning we have an explosion of books in one month and none the month before, and an erratic cash-flow issue that can really cripple a new business; these are just some of the issues that could still bite us hard and wreck Onyx Path. But I’m taking the chance that you folks would rather have a later book done really well, than something forced together just in time to hit a release date scheduled as much as a year and a half earlier. Another aspect of the Schedule that came up talking with Eddy, is the fact that the Schedule you can download or hold in your hands is the same one we are working off of. There’s no “fake dates” version running around because that really seems to run counter to the idea of Onyx being as open and transparent as we can be with you all. I’d rather takes the lumps of failing in front of all of you than give you or our teams false dates- which in the case of a few of our projects we still would have blown past anyway.

So, that’s the idea behind the Schedule itself (which is, after all, something that we evolve and change as we know things will shift, and is only the beginning of project news with the very weekly Updates found below as an ongoing window into where each project is), and in the coming weeks I hope to give you an idea for why the books listed were selected as the ones we’re doing, and to focus on a couple of them in more detail than we could put in the Schedule.

Your weekly window into the project world of Onyx Path:

- Strix Chronicle Fiction Anthology (VtR) The PDF and electronic format versions are on sale now at DTRPG/DTFiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/117396/The-Strix-Chronicle-Anthology If you already purchased them you should have received an Updated notice in your DTRPG library as we made a few minor changes. Waiting for new PoD proofs to put this totally on sale- thanks for the help!

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Final dev pass. Art notes out to a couple of main artists.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: On road from printer to the shipper. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is waiting for new art and then it will be ready for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC being written and its cover has been approved.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing. Contracts for Matt Forbeck and Jess Hartley’s  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s comic are being created and their notes from the Devs are going out with the contracts.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is ready for assembly. The PDF is live on DTRPG and I’m waiting on new corrected PoD proofs this week, I hope. Justin has sent almost all of the HH2 Fiction Anthology text and once the cover text is delivered, it will go to editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in editing and we are getting art for it.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At binding. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley continues writing the White Howlers Tribe Book  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato writing like a maniac and has most of the book written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Very early sketches for the fulls from Michael William Kaluta look awesome. Almost all of the finals pieces were approved. Trying to get Mirthful Mike Chaney to start an art blog.

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material being written, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being edited/developed by Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: All the art is in, approved, and going into the book.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) layout is waiting on a couple of pieces of art and then its done and ready for CCP approvals.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) PDF version is live and we are incorporating changes pointed out by you, our community.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in editing. Art is all in and going into CCP approval.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is ready for editing, this morning actually.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): Writers are writing. David is sending Mirthful Mike art notes for the cover.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline. Lots of word count, format, and schedule talk- had several very cool discussions at Gen con with creators, and fans at the panels.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Joe is getting back up to speed.

- Demon: The Descent: The text is now in editing! Art has been assigned. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing.

Reason to Drink: Despite 25+ years in this biz, I am just not a professional.

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Laboring Day

Today in the US, and I also hear it’s similar in Canada but with an extra “u”, we have the Labor Day Holiday. This matters little to us at Onyx Path as we have tons of stuff to get done, so we’re working away anyway.

Eddy was at home, but just fine with chatting at lunch, so I mentioned that I’m finally using my iPad to listen to podcasts. Specifically, I’m catching up on Welcome to Nightvale, and David Mitchell’s Soapbox. Now, Nightvale is something that is just so WoD it’s worth it to hear a lighter but still twisted touch to horror, and I listen to David Mitchell’s podcast because, as with Stephen Fry, I just love to listen to both the elegance of his use of language, and hearing it spoken in the Queen’s English- and he’s very funny.  At this point, it’s probably no secret that Eddy and I are both Anglophiles, so the interest shouldn’t be surprising, but Eddy did pick up on (and by “picked up on” I mean “mocked me seriously”) the fact that I’m only now coming to the wonderful world of podcasts. Well, at least in terms of entertainment- I have been aware of and appeared on a fair number of them for years. I haven’t been living in a cave. But I did mention that I’m getting more interested in the similarities between these kinds of entertainments and the offerings my parents listened to during the Radio Years. Which is pretty awesome when you think about it. There are entire pages of forums trying to picture Cecil, the Nightvale narrator, as well as fan-art depictions, all because we can’t see him except in our imaginations. (At least until they do their live broadcasts, or do Nightvale the Movie). But we’re fascinated. For quite some time I’ve seen that ability to fill in the gaps with our imaginations as one of the great strengths of tabletop RPGs, and one of the chief reasons that we get so invested in playing- we’re not just consuming someone else’s ideas, but adding our own.

So then, Eddy and I talked business for most of the rest of the hour, because now that he is even more Onyx‘s chief point of contact at CCP, we actually need to review numbers and biz stuff. Which all is, unfortunately, not stuff I can let anybody in on. But the brevity of our reportable meeting minutes means I can take the opportunity to write a bit more about our latest Onyx Path Schedule. As you might have noticed last week, I went over the thinking behind even having a schedule, and did we have some great discussions- thanks folks! This week, I’d like to take a closer look at a few of the projects on the schedule, which you can find here if you didn’t get a copy yet: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/118000/Onyx-Path-2013-2014-Publishing-Schedule

First, we have the Mage 20th Anniversary Edition, which we announced last year and which Phil Brucato is busily developing even as you read this. Things are going really well with it, even though I still haven’t managed an art preview blog…yet. Apparently, more than a few of you wonderful Mage fans took the fact that the only book on the current schedule listed after Mage20 itself was Digital Web 3.0 as some sort of indication that DW3.0 is the only supplement to Mage20 we were planning. Not so- you can Face Front, True Believers! We learned from W20 that it’s pretty important to leave some room on the schedule for the “extra” projects that can come out of a Deluxe Anniversary Edition’s Kickstarter. With W20, Stew Wilson has been great getting up to speed on the scheduled books as well as the Stretch Goal projects, but it’s still a lot to keep track of. So we left the period after M20‘s release pretty open for Phil and the many cool projects we’d like to see enabled with the Kickstarter. And besides that, bear in mind that the schedule ends with next August, and we’ve already revealed at least one project after that, so there will be other Mage20 books later in 2014. And hopefully, beyond that.

Of course, that project we revealed was the Wraith 20th Anniversary Edition, to be developed by Rich Dansky. Rich and I had a great talk last week, and while I’m not yet listing it on the Updates below because he’s only just getting his thoughts together based on that talk, I think it’s going to be something special. We’re also not talking about possible supplements, because a) they’d be later than August 2014, just like Wr20, and B) we need to see if our M20 release strategy works out.

Another big project that we’re really excited about is V20: Dark Ages. First, please notice the title, because we are being really specific here: this is V20‘s version of Dark Ages. Just like WW‘s original foray into that setting was VtM‘s take on that time period with Vampire: Dark Ages. So while this is not an anniversary edition, there is a lot of classic goodness baked in because of it being a supplement for V20. Dashing David Hill has already got a team of writers working on ideas, and he’s a big fan of the Open Development Process, so expect some blogging sooner rather than later.

Huh, looks like I talked just about cWoD coming attractions- next week I’ll try and look at the two Chronicles books and Dark Eras for nWoD.

Welcome to Onyx Path Updates:

- Strix Chronicle Fiction Anthology (VtR) The PDF and electronic format versions are on sale now at DTRPG/DTFiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/117396/The-Strix-Chronicle-Anthology If you already purchased them you should have received an Updated notice in your DTRPG library as we made a few minor changes. PoD version on sale this week.

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Final dev pass. Art notes out to a couple of main artists.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: On road from printer to the shipper- more definite news to backers later this week (once the shippers are back from Labor Day). The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is finishing in layout and then it will be ready for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC being written and its cover has been approved.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing. Dev notes for Matt Forbeck and Jess Hartley’s  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s comic are to the writers/artist and their contracts are in various stages of completion.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is being assembled. PoD version to join the PDF on sale at DTRPG this week. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are prepping for its Kickstarter.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At binding. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley continues writing the White Howlers Tribe Book  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Still trying to get Mirthful Mike Chaney to start an art blog.

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been written and is now being worked into the previous text and then to an editing pass and new layout, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being edited/developed by Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) layout is waiting on a couple of pieces of art and then its done and ready for CCP approvals.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) PDF version is live and I’m waiting for a PoD proof version.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in editing. Art is all in and going into CCP approval.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is prepped for editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): Writers are writing second draft based on Dev notes. David is sending Mirthful Mike art notes for the cover.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Joe is getting back up to speed.

- Demon: The Descent: The text is now in editing! Art has been assigned. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing.

Reason to Drink: To all our friends laboring at PAX and Dragon-Con last weekend.

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More nWoD Schedule Musings

This week, Eddy’s under the weather, so I postponed our meeting until he feels better. Thus, rather than our usual jocularity, I’m diving right into describing in a bit more detail just why the two new Chronicles and the nWoD Dark Eras book are exciting for us and we hope for all of you.

We’ve been really gratified at how everyone has reacted to the God Machine Chronicle, and the comments and notes we’ve received for the Strix Chronicles: Blood and Smoke (or as developer Rockin’ Rose Bailey would say: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle). Creating a new direction for the nWoD game-lines by providing a stronger central background storyline, as well as recreating the systems with the experience of eight years of releases, wasn’t a slam-dunk in terms of acceptance, so we’re really glad folks are saying good things about the books.  A few people have asked why we just didn’t create officially announced 2nd Editions, and while that was on the list of possible directions we presented for approval to CCP, it was felt that this alternative direction maintained the overall sandbox philosophy of nWoD while still allowing us to make the changes we thought would strengthen each game-line and the overall nWoD.  There certainly are changes like those you’d find in 2nd Editions, but they are much more malleable for inclusion in your ongoing games. With almost all of the nWoD books available on PDF/PoD at DTRPG, and so eternally on the shelf, we decided to make it as easy as possible to have a strong supported backstory ala the God Machine, or to pick and choose what aspects you incorporate, and to make the new rules available as a free PDF and added to Strix to further enhance how easy they are to use, pick from, or ignore completely.

So now, coming up, are the Chronicles for Werewolf: The Forsaken, and Mage: The Awakening. Forsaken‘s is the Idigam Chronicle (not Idigram as I insisted on writing it in the Gen Con promo info- doh!) and it’s central premise is “The Wolf Must Hunt!”. That phrase should give WtF fans a bit of a clue where developer Smilin’ Stew Wilson is going with the book, as it already shifts the overall theme from “spirit world beat-cop” as it was in the WtF core book. As with the other Chronicle books, we’re going to start with a fiction anthology first to give folks a chance to dip into the more focused backstory, and then launch the gamebook. We’re currently discussing just what needs to be re-imagined in the project, and whether we can incorporate the appropriate new GMC rules right into the book, as with Strix. The Fallen World Chronicle for Mage is a bit further out- so much so that a couple of folks wrote me wondering if we were only doing a fiction anthology for it since that’s all that was on the Schedule. Rest assured we are indeed going to have a Fallen World Chronicle game book as well as the anthology- it’s just slated for the part of the 2014 Schedule we haven’t yet revealed. What developer Dapper Dave Brookshaw has in store is still a bit further out than we can go into, but part of the overall re-imaging is that Mages delve into the mysteries of reality. As he said at Gen Con, and I’m paraphrasing here: “If Demons are the spies of the nWoD, then Mages are the detectives.”

Which brings us to nWoD: Dark Eras- or really just Dark Eras; you know what I’m talking about. One of the big challenges that Onyx Path has in terms of publishing the awesome White Wolf game lines is just how many of them there really are. Now Exalted is it’s own thing, really, although obviously Infernals are a fair bit different than Lunars, and cWoD is being rolled out with each 20th Anniversary Edition quite understandably setting the pace. But for nWod, every time we put out a schedule I get the same emails from concerned fans of GameX that didn’t have a new book on the schedule: “Where’s the love for GameX?” they ask. Well first off, it has nothing to do with withholding love from game lines but a question of what makes sense creatively and financially, and with the limited slots we have had each year for new books. Which is why for 2014, I decided we should have a book that visits each nWoD game line and gives each line something new for Storytellers to work into their Chronicles.

I thought that the historical Eras were a cool way to do that without stomping all over what we were trying with the Chronicle books or players’ ongoing Chronicles. Just doing the nine sections would make for a pretty big book, but since we would Kickstart a Deluxe version for sure, it seemed like we could control costs pretty well. Except, it hit me, what if we didn’t leave the usefulness of the KS system there, but pushed it further and used the KS Stretch Goal system to get other Dark Eras added to the book- maybe from big names, or dealing with obscure but flavorful Eras, or as Black Hat Matt McFarland suggested for WoD: Innocents, smaller “game lines” that weren’t one of the main nine? This sounded pretty cool, and would really nicely tie in with our use of the Kickstarters to allow our backers to directly determine how an individual book or even a whole line would develop.

And then, I talked with Multi-talented Matt McElroy and we came up with a few other ways we could use the KS process to determine how the book would develop. What if, the base “get a copy of the book” Reward wasn’t just one pledge Reward Tier, but there were nine of the same Reward- the book- labelled for each of the game lines and you would pick your favorite when you pledged? We could count the number of pledges in each of those nine Rewards and, for example, add 50% more content to the Changeling: The Lost Dark Era if that Reward had the most pledges associated with it. Or if we set a goal line of amount of pledges and the first line to get that number got more art in their Dark Era section. There really are a lot of interesting ways we could look at how Kickstarter is set up and play with that system to put the sorts of content into Dark Eras that you all are excited about. Which is really the point of any of our KS campaigns.

Would the nine Reward idea be too much of a popularity test? Would a bunch of Requiem fans pledge for the Promethean Reward Tier just to help out that game line? I don’t know the answers, but here’s a project that lets us play around with ways to experiment on the content of a book that would have been impossible even a few years ago. Let us know what you think about those sorts of possibilities. Thanks!

Not Possibilities, but Actual Updates:

- Strix Chronicle Fiction Anthology (VtR) The PoD, PDF, and electronic format versions are on sale now at DTRPG/DTFiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/117396/The-Strix-Chronicle-Anthology If you already purchased them you should have received an Updated notice in your DTRPG library as we made a few minor changes. This was one of the first books where we released the PDF about a month before the PoD version and while we didn’t get a huge amount of feedback, what we got really helped a fair bit to tighten up the text.

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Final dev pass. Remainder of art notes out this week..

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens at the shipper. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is finishing in layout and then it will be ready for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC being written and its cover has been approved. KS backers have been approached about their character info needed to go in the book.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: Stealth Charms just went into internal playtestings, and Chapter3 (Character Creation) and half of Chapter5 (Traits) and the combat engine are in editing. A big issue with Hearthstones was resolved, pleasing Holden no end. Dev notes for Matt Forbeck and Jess Hartley’s  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s comic are to the writers/artist and their contracts are in various stages of completion.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. This is another book that really benefited from the PDF reviews that our community had a chance to let us know about. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are prepping for its Kickstarter.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At binding. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley continues writing the White Howlers Tribe Book  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Still trying to get Mirthful Mike Chaney to start an art blog.

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been written and is now being worked into the previous text and then to an editing pass and new layout, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being edited/developed by Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) layout is waiting on a couple of pieces of art and then its done and ready for CCP approvals.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) PoD and PDF versions are all live TODAY. The third book we were able to get community feedback on by releasing the PDF early, and it was much strengthened as a result.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in an additional Dev pass as Ryan expands on this book’s lexicon in particular. Art is all in and approved.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is prepped for editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): Writers are writing second draft based on Dev notes. David is sending Mirthful Mike art notes for the cover.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Joe is getting back up to speed.

- Demon: The Descent: In layout. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Con season has knocked a few of them back and they needed extended deadlines.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing, see above for more info.

-V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing. See last week’s Monday Meeting Notes for more details.

- DtF Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in the mirrors of reality.

Reason to Drink: There’s a crisp tang in the air as nature prepares to die again.

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Preview: Mysteries of the Dragon

The Ordo Dracul cover

The Ordo Dracul

The Ordo Dracul work tirelessly to improve the Kindred condition. Or at least, their Kindred condition. They pursue the Mysteries of the Dragon, ways to understand and reshape basic elements of what it means to be a vampire. In building them, we wanted to show that not only does the Order succeed at beginning to transcend vampirism, they learn plenty of weird secrets along the way.

Each Mystery explores a particular facet of vampirism. Coils of the Dragon change that facet, transcending ordinary limits. Scales of the Dragon are the fruits of long experiments in the Mysteries, procedures that build on the Coils for strange and frightening effects.

The approach is based on the many Coil-overhaul forum discussions. In fact, the author who did the original draft of the Mysteries was recruited from the forums… so this is an interestingly collaborative moment for the dev team as a whole.

We’ll look at the Mysteries in just a moment. Before that, let me provide a brief Blood and Smoke status update.

Gen Con was amazing. I had my development draft of the book at the Onyx Path booth, and lots of people stopped by to read and ask questions. Some really pored over it, which was immensely flattering. The Onyx panels also all went great. In general, it was the mix of exhausting and invigorating that Gen Con should be.

Coming back, I’ve been pushing deep into Blood and Smoke. It needs a few words here and there, but mostly it’s undergoing extensive polish. I’m hugely excited about this book, and when you get it, I want you to be as excited about it as I am. Dunno if I can get it perfect, but I’m sure as hell trying.

I spent a good chunk of today doing art notes. We’ve already sent the signature characters and scenes for the clans and covenants out. Now, I’m preparing notes for the cover, chapter, and interior illustrations. That’s more work than it sounds, especially when you’re as determined to get it right as I am.

Now, without further ado, the Mysteries of the Dragon.

<Click here for the draft.>

Please don’t copy and paste the content. Link to this blog instead, as I sometimes make small changes to the public drafts.

That said, we are extremely late in the game, with the book going to the editor next week. So heavy changes aren’t likely to be practical.

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The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

One year, one month, and one day from the day the writer mailing list for Blood and Smoke opened, the book’s text was locked down and sent for copy editing. That was Friday the 20th.

For those of you keeping track, that means we’re still on target for PDF release in November. The two places we could end up running over are the art and the editing itself.

I’d like to do another of my recaps, then talk about the road ahead. Just over a year ago, we put up our first open development post for B&S: the revised physical Disciplines. At the time, I was keen on open development but not sure how much to commit to. Posting the first three Disciplines was an experiment. Those powers evolved rapidly as you put them to the test, and there were a number of threads of test scenarios that were pretty interesting to read. Keeping up was hard work, but ultimately made the powers really good.

The raw enthusiasm took me somewhat by surprise. I wasn’t anticipating that people would be as interested as they were in pre-release stuff… even with v20 under my belt, I was still used to White Wolf’s model of developing books quietly and then springing them almost as surprises on players. I was overjoyed to see people digging into the new material.

I decided at that point that we’d put more powers up for playtest. After the Auspex, Animalism, and Dominate discussions, I decided to put all of them up. That was a significant commitment, but the clarifications and changes that were coming out of discussion were too good to pass up. And more than that, it was great to talk to people. Again, at White Wolf, I’d only been able to share my excitement about the line with my fellow employees. With open development came the chance to geek out about the little things as well as the big ones.

Then came Protean. Just about everything we’d put up had changed through the open process. With Protean, though, our first draft wasn’t quite right. It’s always been an oddball Discipline, but also a really fun one. The Protean threads on the forums were huge and contentious. Out of that, though, we produced a second draft. A stronger, better, more playable draft. No amount of internal discussion would have gotten us as far as that did. It proved that open development was a game changer.

That’s why, in March, I was kind of sad to announce the end of the open playtest. From that point forward (coinciding with me reviewing the first drafts of the actual book), we were going to be going into preview mode. Still developing in the open, but no longer changing in response to feedback.

Well, by now you know that I didn’t stick to that. As two writer illnesses pushed back our release date, I continue posting material from the book. And I couldn’t really help myself. People made good suggestions, and I tweaked the material. All the way up until editing. The result has been a year-long open process, and it’s produced a better Vampire than I could have in the old days of princess-in-a-tower development.

So, with the manuscript complete and sent to editing, what now? For me, I’m going to be spending some time on other books. I have commitments to the Hunter and Demon lines to fulfill. For Mike Chaney, it means the continuation of the art process that we began in August. Mike is contracting the book’s art, and he’ll be reviewing it as it comes in. We need this book to look as good as it reads, as it plays, and we’re going to be using a mixture of old hands and new talent to get there.

In about a month, the manuscript will come back to me, freshly laundered by our editor. I’ll give it a last pass to resolve any prose issues she found, then pass it to Mike to lay out. Then comes the proofing process, wherein Mike, Rich, and I all go over the PDF through a few drafts before sending it on to CCP for approvals.

Once it’s been approved, that’s when the PDF goes on sale. If we follow our recent pattern, we’ll have the PDF available for a few weeks while we see if readers catch any little errors and while Rich reviews the PoD physical proofs. People who buy the PDF during this period will get a coupon for the PoD version, reducing the price of print + PDF to what it would have been if they’d been purchased together.

We’re not quite at the end of the line, but we’ve already had a long, strange trip. The book that my team and I gave a year of our lives to is almost real. That’s an amazing feeling. I’m glad that I’ve been able to share.

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Lagged Out After LA

Still. Still groggy. I’m told it’s jet lag from flying back from LAbyNight. Or maybe I spent just a little too much time in the lovely art deco Observation Room bar like in the image accompanying this post. They had great cocktails, and I think I tried 10 out of fifteen of them (the other five had ingredients I can’t have). That’s Matt McElroy, Dhaunae, and Lorenzo trying to pose while I maul Eddy.

As you can tell, we had a fantastic time. Both the “What’s Up w/WW/OP” and the joint licensees panels went great and were full of laughter and excellent questions about our plans for the next year. The real value of the con for me though, was touching base with all the other companies and groups starting with the delightful and energetic By Night Studios team- our cousins in blood, each looking out for our part of the great White Wolf legacy we helped create, as well as the Mind’s Eye Society and Masquerade By Night folks who let me romp around as a Gangrel Anarch. I also had some talks with some OWbN folks, Garou Nation and Accord (spelling?) members, Dave Martin and his Wrecking Crew, and the Dead Gamers Society. The latter two were running tabletop games. I was able to have fun and funny conversations with the legendary Tim Bradstreet, and CCP’s own Creative Director Reynir Hardarson, both of whom spontaneously came in for the dinner and Succubus Club party on Saturday.  And of course, all the fans who played continually through the ship who were clearly immersed in the life-style they love.

So all in all, what Eddy and I (we actually did talk on Monday about this) take away from a gathering like this is how the WoD (both versions) touches and is touched upon by so many sorts of people sharing that common love. That’s not mushy, it’s important. Are nWoD, Exalted, cWoD, Scion, or Trinity games? Absolutely. But they are not just games. The stories I hear at cons like this are always about how being involved with these games  have changed people’s lives. That’s art, my friends. YMMV.

Updates Of Our Other Artistic Creations:

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) In Editing. Art is almost all contracted. Mirthful Mike has contracted several new artists, including a couple from IlluxCon.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens ARE STILL SHIPPING! The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack needed some tweaks and is now back in layout and then it will be ready for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC being red-lined by CAS and then back for second drafts from the writers. KS backers have been approached about their character info needed to go in the book. Please get that to me ASAP, folks!

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: Awareness Charms are getting wrapped up, Athletics Charms, the Religion and the Finance sections are in editing. Evocations are in progress. Essence pool calculations and Ox-Body Technique arrays are done for all the upcoming hardbacks so they can be implemented into the Antagonists chapter, and that chapter is moving toward completion so it can go to editing too. Both  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s EX3 Comic are in progress, and the EX3 Music Suites are being scoped out.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. This is another book that really benefited from the PDF reviews that our community had a chance to let us know about. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are prepping for its Kickstarter. Justin is having a strange “phantom voices” issue with his playback for the KS vid that he’s trying to solve.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At binding. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley is submitting the White Howlers Tribe Book to Stew Wilson for development notes,  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Still, still trying to get Mirthful Mike Chaney to start an art blog.

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been put into the new layout and is still waiting for the art and backer names expected this week, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being contracted by developer Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) being proofed by CAS, and then to CCP approvals.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) PoD and PDF versions are all live. The third book we were able to get community feedback on by releasing the PDF early, and it was much strengthened as a result.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in layout.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is in editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): All text in and in the final Dev pass, and then into editing.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Expecting the first system doc this week.

- Demon: The Descent: In layout. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG and the PoD version is Now LIVE.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Con season has knocked a few of them back and they needed extended deadlines.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing.

-V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing.

- DtF Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in a hall of mirrors,some of which are crack’d.

Reason to Drink: Sad I never saw ol’ Larry or his lawn. Pouring a drop for him.

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Where’d That Eddy Go?

This might be a good place to explain why these notes are always about this Monday lunch meeting that Eddy and I have, and why I’m always talking about our conversations. Come with me back into the dim mists of time, back before White Wolf was a company…

I worked at a TV station in Philadelphia (WTXF-TV29 for all my Philly-ites) in Creative Services. We did all the advertising, both internal and external, and I also did news graphics on the crudest computer graphics tablet known to man. This was late 80′s- early 90′s. My boss in the department, Denise, was one of the best bosses I ever had, and she held a Monday morning meeting to start the week. I thought it worked really well to get all our creative asses in line and at least starting out going the same way. In ’92 I headed down to White Wolf and there was already a Monday lunch tradition for the whole company- all eight or nine of us- so that dovetailed neatly into the Monday meal idea. Then, WW grew so fast that within months we just couldn’t all have a meal together and actually get anything done, so we split the company onto different days and I vehemently insisted on keeping Monday as my department’s lunch-together day because of what I’d learned about starting the week together from Denise.

Even after I moved back to Philly and was telecommuting as the head of the department and then Creative Director, we still continued the Monday lunch meeting. I started a Live Journal (remember those?) to do essentially what I do here now- give updates and inside looks at what we’re up to- and when I moved over to work on the MMO, it fell to Eddy as the fastest and most cohesive writer to keep up the notes from that Monday meeting. Once Eddy and I started the CCP Transmedia Group after V20, we got back to having these Monday weekly meetings and posting about them- first Eddy wrote them and then I took over as they became an Onyx Path thing. Since they have been just between he and I for the last 5 years, we’ve developed a sort of “what’s interesting to you this week?” back and forth, that also covers the business and approvals that Eddy oversees in our license arrangement with CCP. So the first part of these posts is usually me taking the random media conversation we just had, and digging into it as to why it relates to the projects we’re doing at Onyx Path. Because we’re both so focused on game creation that it almost always does.

Which brings us to today and the fact that Eddy and I did not meet, and aren’t going to meet this week. Things are ultra good between Onyx and CCP, and Eddy’s job with the MMO- what takes up 90% of his CCP job responsibilities- is requiring him to engage in one of those awesome and exhausting day-long Scrum scoping meetings. (Scrum methodology is a project planning system used by CCP and other companies in the computer game business and elsewhere.) Let me underline this as we heard some folks in LA who were confused about who is connected to and does what with which company. Eddy is employed by CCP to help create the WoD MMO. Because of our good and long time relationship, and his understanding of the WW gamelines, he is also Onyx Path’s liaison with CCP and is now our connection for both approvals and business issues. To further confuse things, Eddy is also one of Onyx’s freelance V20 developers. Eddy is not however an employee of Onyx Path beyond his freelance contracts, nor is he a secret owner. Right now, I am the sole employee and owner of Onyx Path Publishing, LLC.

Just wanted to get that upfront and repeated for those of you who are new to this blog.

Finally, along the same lines: the entire staff of CCP are going on a retreat starting on Weds, and we’re not sure if Eddy and I will meet next week. If not, I’ll write a blog about Kickstarters and how far we’ve come in a a year and a half of doing them. If we do: more Sherlock Holmes talk! What?

 

Projects Being Worked On By Freelance Creative Talent Right Now:

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) In Editing. Art is all contracted. Mirthful Mike has contracted several new artists, including a couple from IlluxCon.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens ARE STILL SHIPPING! All US single books and single books w/screens are out, as well, I’m just told, are all International single books &screens. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is in layout and then it will be ready for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC being red-lined by CAS and then back for second drafts from the writers. KS backers have been approached about their character info needed to go in the book. Please get that to me ASAP, folks! !!!

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: Awareness Charms are done which finishes off the Night Caste charms, the Wyld and Fair Folk sections are in editing. Evocations are in progress. Both  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s EX3 Comic are in progress, and the EX3 Music Suites are being scoped out.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. This is another book that really benefited from the PDF reviews that our community had a chance to let us know about. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are prepping for its Kickstarter- setting aside time at the end of the week to create this. Justin is having a strange “phantom voices” issue with his playback for the KS vid but we think he solved this.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Regular Deluxe is done with binding, and I actually had a copy with the claw-marks lasered through in my hands and it looks sweet. Heavy Metal Deluxe is being worked up now as a prototype with their new press. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories done and they are in editing.  Jess Hartley is submitting the White Howlers Tribe Book to Stew Wilson for development notes,  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Check out our first M20 art blog by Mirthful Mike Chaney: http://theonyxpath.com/mirthful-mikes-art-blog-mage-20th-anniversary-preview-1/

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been put into the new layout and the backer names and all the art except the opening comic- which is taking longer- are being dropped in, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being contracted by developer Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) the PDF is going live on DTRPG…in the next couple hours?

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is in second layout proof.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is in editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, Eddy is preparing art notes.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): In editing.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Reviewing the first system doc this week.

- Demon: The Descent: In layout. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG and the PoD version is Now LIVE.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Many first drafts are getting red-lined.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing.

-V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing.

- DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in a pit filled with bone white violets, and violet roses.

Reason to Drink: Our elected offcials.

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Eddy’s Turkey Trip Continues

As we thought might be the case last week, the flight back from Turkey (where Eddy and the rest of CCP went for their massive and fun company retreat) was exhausting, and boy are Eddy’s arms tired!

Also, as an FYI: this site: www.theonyxpath.com will be down for a couple of days for routine maintenance- we’ll be tweaking a few things as well as prepping for a new Big Announcement.

So this week, how about I jot down a few thoughts about how Kickstarter fits into our publishing plans at Onyx Path Publishing?

I’m imagining most of you have already read my previous notes on how Kickstarter has become a vital part of Onyx Path‘s business model: how the ability to use KS to directly communicate with the community fits into our Open Dev Process goals of having a dialogue with those fans who want to have one, and enables us to create traditionally printed high quality books even while we keep the infinite bookshelf of DTRPG stocked with PDFs and the physical books produced by Print on Demand. That’s the general “value proposition” of Onyx using KS or other crowd-funding methods, but what I want to go into today is a little more of the nuts and bolts.

To begin with, we have to start with the idea that Kickstarter is still a wild frontier. To paraphrase Greg Stolze, it’s a wild jungle still and KS creators are still hacking their way through with machetes. One truth is that every KS is different, and what works for one KS doesn’t necessarily work for another, either internally with such things as logistics of creation and delivery, or externally as towards what various fans would like the KS to feature. There is no perfect KS campaign that can then be the model for all KS’s everywhere. And as I say in the text of every KS we’ve done: we’re still experimenting with our KSs every single time we do one. Oh, there are some consistent Rewards across all of them, or a structure to the Stretch Goals that some books echo, but I really don’t want any of our KSs to be seen as same old, same old.

Particularly in relation to this next point: Onyx Path Kickstarters aren’t the same creative team with every campaign. This is really important to understand because it really affects how the KS is set up, and also is a big difference between ours and a lot of the KSs out there. So far, I’ve been the Creator for all the Kickstarters Onyx has done, which provides a certain level of consistency to the set-up and communication, and then we have all sorts of different creators engaged because its their project that we are KSing. But, that means that the creators of the project (for example, Joltin’ Justin Achilli and his writing team and Mirthful Mike Chaney and his artists for the upcoming V20 Anarchs Unbound KS) aren’t the Creators of the KS. And the way Onyx is all about working with a lot of creative folks who have demanding day jobs, like Justin, means that there’s really no way they could be running a KS- it just takes an enormous amount of time and energy to run one. So we try and make up for that by first working hand-in-glove with the developers of the project to present Rewards and Stretch Goals that they are comfortable with and feel they can deliver on. Very often during a KS, the delay to put up the next Stretch Goal or add a Reward is because I’m trying to get a consensus on whether the new thing that the backers are asking for is OK with the creative team. (And guess what? Many times, just because our Stretch Goal amount was just passed doesn’t mean that the developer is finished with their day job meeting, or back from taking their kids to the park.)

We also meet ahead of the KS’s launch and discuss who can do what when during the length of the KS. Our current method of division of labor is to have the developer or development team communicating through the Comments section and me through the direct “contact me” emails while we both work on a series of Updates ahead of time- although we are willing to dive in on new or different Updates depending on how the KS progresses. Again, trying to enable the best kind of dialogue between the creators and the backers means being sensitive to not only the creative team’s schedule but also their comfort level. Every team works differently, and not all creators want, or can even create well with, direct communication all the time about their creations. Yet, that sort of dialogue between backers and creators has been proven, at least to me, to be vital to a fulfilling and successful KS, so we push for the kinds of communication that the creators feel they can commit to. Sometimes this works as expected, sometimes life events change how much interaction is possible, sometimes the creative team is overwhelmed and they back off, and sometimes the community interaction is so exciting that we get more than the creators thought they could give. Every KS is different.

Another big difference between Onyx Path‘s use of Kickstarter  and other KSs is that we have thus far not used it to fund the creation of a book, but rather we have used it to fund the process of creating Deluxe editions of that book, or, in the case of Mummy: The Curse, a traditionally printed with upgraded features edition. (Which is not to say we won’t try funding a whole project further down the line). How that Deluxe KS relates to the regular model of PDF/PoD availability on DTRPG is something we are also experimenting with, particularly if the KS itself adds to the original project in terms of upgrades or extra sections or chapters or more art. But because it is a process of creation of a Deluxe version that the KS is funding, we’re not tying the Deluxe delivery to the PDF/PoD availability. Our KSs, so far, are not about early delivery of the material to the backers before the “regular fans”, they are about the exclusive delivery of the Deluxe version to the backers. This is different than some other KSs out there, so it pays to read all KSs carefully to see what you’re getting into. Case in point: we are offering Storyteller Screens with our KSs now because so many backers asked for them, and they are described multiple times on every KS as being 3-panel and printed both sides on heavy stock. (Actually the heaviest board the printer can use without moving to a totally different and vastly more expensive process). Despite this description, I have had a couple of messages from backers disappointed in the screen because it doesn’t match the 4-panel deluxe screens we did for VtM Revised. It was never described as leatherette covered, or even as matching V20 or the older screens, or as 4 panel, so I really have nothing I can tell these folks. But it points out the important advice of making sure to read the whole KS text- and particularly the description of the Reward you just pledged for.

We are also really careful about what we add on to the project beyond the creation of a Deluxe edition, and I look at each possible new project, added feature to the book, or different kind of product offered by Rewards or Stretch Goals with a jaundiced eye. First off, Onyx creates worlds, and is specifically set up to deliver those worlds via books and electronic “books” and has incredibly experienced and creative folks who know how to do that. Our processes are designed to create the highest quality projects in those areas. We are not jewelry or dice manufacturers, so anything we might offer for a Kickstarter like a Clan-pin, or Werewolf Dice, would be outside the methodology of what we all know how to do. And that means that other methods, approval processes, logistics in shipping, etc, would come into the mix. We are clearly still mastering getting our Deluxe books done well and within a process we can predict and time, so adding even more confusion to that mix would be bad. Even though I know that these extra things can drive backers into just a frenzy of excitement, I move very slowly into offering extras unless we are working with folks who know how to deliver a finished project almost entirely on their own. For example, the EX3 Canvas map is being printed by a company whose work I’ve seen before, and it is a product that can be fit into standard shipping packaging with a minimum of chances for damage, screw-ups, or crazy fees.

For the additional text or other upgrades to the books themselves, or new projects like Mummy‘s Necropolis: DC, that come out of Stretch Goals we are equally careful about whether the creative team can get to all the extra work, and whether those projects fit into where the line is headed. Again, this involves working with the developers in particular as to what they are comfortable with. I try not to drop projects onto a creative team just because backers, or I, think it would be cool. We have to temper the needs of the project with the needs of the KS and what will keep backers interested and talking about the experience in positive ways. There is no one size fits all for these sorts of things. Generally, I’ve found that a mix of extra stuff for the Deluxe book itself combined with other material outside the book as added projects works really well in giving the widest range of extras that let every backer know that the their involvement has improved both the book and the overall project.

Then we have the reality of Stretch Goals, in that they aren’t provided with “free money” once we pass the Funding Goal, and in fact must be funded with whatever money remains after the amount to create and ship the Deluxe is taken out of the vast majority of pledges. This is yet another difference in our Kickstarters (and most RPG KSs as a whole) as opposed to say the computer game industry. We still have printing and shipping to factor into most pledges. So that is factored in to how we set up the Stretch Goals and where we place them as we go along. I don’t want another final goal that’s really cool not get funded like in Mummy‘s KS- that’s just disappointing for everyone. We also sometimes don’t think of a “Stretchie”, a term I’ve used but everyone else seems to hate, until it is discussed by backers during the KS, and I think staying flexible enough to include just such a backer identified extra is one of the great parts of Kickstarter. Which is one of the reasons we have “hidden” Stretch Goals instead of having them pre-listed- I like timing and setting up the Stretch Goals in response to backer participation. Plus, it’s just fun to find out what the next ones are after the current one is achieved.

Hopefully, that’s a good start on our KS thinking- obviously it’s important enough that even this wall of words is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what could be said about KS and our methods with it, but enough for now! On to the Updates-

Yes, These Updates Right Here:

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) In Editing. Art is all contracted. Mirthful Mike has contracted several new artists, including a couple from IlluxCon.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens are all shipped out- as a backer, check the last Backer Update from KS as to when you should worry about getting your copies if you haven’t yet. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is in for approvals from CCP. Cursed Necropolis DC is being red-lined by CAS and then back for second drafts from the writers.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: The Awareness Charms are actually much broader and useful than previous versions and the Dawn Caste Charms are getting wrapped up. Martial Arts and Evocations are almost completely written but still need review by the Devs. Both  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s EX3 Comic are in progress in fact we were just looking at a cover idea, and the EX3 Music Suites are being scoped out.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe is being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. This is another book that really benefited from the PDF reviews that our community had a chance to let us know about. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are prepping for its Kickstarter- just got Justin’s completed video for this.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Regular Deluxe is being laser cut. Heavy Metal Deluxe is being worked up now as a prototype with their new press- I have not yet seen one though. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has theW20 Anthology stories in layout.  Jess Hartley has submitted the White Howlers Tribe Book to Stew Wilson for development notes,  and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Check out our continuing M20 art blog by Mirthful Mike Chaney: http://theonyxpath.com/mirthful-mikes-art-blog-mage-20th-anniversary-preview-1/

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been put into the new layout and we are still waiting for CCP approval on the new stuff, and for the opening comic, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being contracted by developer Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) the PDF is live on DTRPG. There is a thread on the Mummy forum on the WW Forums for any mistakes or tweaks you want to suggest before we correct the PDF and create the PoD file.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is being final proofed.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is in editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, being art directed.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): In editing.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing. Talking systems with the gang.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Reviewing the first system doc this week- need combat example right now. Right now.

- Demon: The Descent: In layout. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG and the PoD version is Now LIVE.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Many first drafts are getting red-lined.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing.

- V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing.

- DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in Berlin, 1957.

Reason to Drink: Fall is in the air.

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Happy Bartolomé Day!

Because, as we’ve learned from WoD: History lies sometimes. A lot.

Eddy is back, and that gave us a great chance to catch up on the many approvals he’s overseeing for us with CCP. Actually, considering that our cousins in blood, By Night Studios, have submitted the text of their VtM: MET book for approval too, the approval gang are doing a great job getting back to us. Some projects are just a tad delayed because of the gap in timing, but not to any deadly amount of time. We did talk a fair bit in a continuation of our great chats in LA about keeping close and positive communications going between Onyx and By Night as we work on shepherding our respective parts of the WW legacy.

We also talked about Eddy’s blog about “Elementary” and how he’ll be doing an episode by episode analysis as the second season develops. http://eddyfate.com/2013/10/12/elementary-201-step-nine/ Basically, I let him know that I’ll be following the show with him as my proxy, because I still can’t get into it. Mostly, I’m just not able to empathize with SH as portrayed. He’s too jumpy, if that makes any sense. Eddy thought that might be because the entire show has been using the “addict” aspect of Holmes as its main motif, and that focus, for me at least, doesn’t deliver the fuller portrait of SH that I enjoy. Conceptually I respect the choice, if that is what they’re doing, but the depiction still stops me from engaging. We talked a bit about how hyper-focusing on a particular aspect of a project can cut off interest from fans who were into that project because of other themes and motifs that appealed to them. Certainly a concern with Onyx Path‘s many 20th Anniversary books and other gamelines with rich histories that we are expanding on or re-imagining. We’ve all seen how new editions can splinter a fan-base, and we’re working very hard to avoid that particular problem. The 20th Anniversary cWoD books are designed to take a reader back to the first time they opened that core book that fascinated them, while projects like Exalted 3rd Edition, Scion, and the Trinity Continuum have different challenges of updating, and very often correcting rules systems issues, while still “feeling” like the game and game world.

So, speaking of classic White Wolf game lines that we’d like to work on again, I’m fantastically thrilled to announce that Onyx Path Publishing and Nocturnal Media have joined forces to purchase the Scarred Lands fantasy setting from CCP. The Scarred Lands game setting was WW‘s acclaimed “house setting” during the D20 craze,  with both a specific setting game-line detailing a dark fantasy world torn apart by the wars between Titans and Gods, and projects such as the Creature Collections and Relics & Rituals books that provided cool new fantasy gaming material for any setting. Nocturnal is owned by the man who got me into this business, and my good friend, Stewart Wieck (who founded White Wolf Magazine and co-founded WWGS), and we have wanted to join forces on a project for a while. Since we both loved helping to create the Scarred Lands, this seemed like a great chance to do just that. With everything that Onyx Path has on its plate for the next year or so, this isn’t something we’re going to be rushing out this year- or the next- but we do expect that we can preview things as we go along. Here’s the press release: http://theonyxpath.com/scarred-lands-finds-new-home-with-onyx-path-publishing-and-nocturnal-media

One final bit of news: after speaking with Demon: the Descent developers Rockin’ Rose Bailey and Black Hat Matt McFarland as well as V20: Anarchs Unbound developer Justin (if you give me a nickname I’ll stab your eye) Achilli, we’ve agreed to swap their respective Kickstarters and plan to have Demon‘s KS ready before the end of this month. There are a bunch of good reasons for doing this, the primary one, in my mind, being the desire to time these KS campaigns in such a way as to add to the enjoyment and excitement everyone feels for the new book or game-line. The process of creating a Deluxe version has a lot of phases that Onyx has less direct control over, which is why I’ve been trying to decouple the game release from the KS. But we’re aware that there absolutely will be some overlap. We’re still working on the best way for us to do that (see last week’s Monday Meeting Notes), but in the end it came down to really wanting to get Demon PDF and PoD versions out to folks this year (because it is, like, you know, our new game for 2012) and this seems the best way to make that happen.

Yes, These Updates Right Here:

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) In Editing. Art is all contracted. Mirthful Mike has contracted several new artists, including a couple from IlluxCon.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens are all shipped out- as a backer in the US or Canada, check the last Backer Update from KS as to how to contact me about getting your copies if you haven’t yet. Backers outside the US and Canada should sit tight a couple weeks more to give time for the packages to wend their way to you. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack is in for approvals from CCP (this is one of the approvals we’re waiting for). Cursed Necropolis DC is being red-lined by CAS and then back for second drafts from the writers.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: Dawn Caste Charms are still being wrapped up, and I’m told that the Melee tree is tight, with nothing obsolete or “speed bumpy”. Martial Arts are being compared with the Dawn set for compatibility. The Social Engine is in Editing. Both  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s EX3 Comic are in progress, in fact we were just looking at a cover idea, and the EX3 Music Suites are being scoped out.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are still putting the pieces together for its KS, but that’s been delayed until after the Demon KS (see above).

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Regular Deluxe is being laser cut. Heavy Metal Deluxe is being worked up now as a prototype with their new press- I’m told I get one Weds/Thursday this week. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has the W20 Anthology stories in layout.  Jess Hartley has submitted the White Howlers Tribe Book to Stew Wilson for development notes, and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato mostly developing now like a maniac and most of the book has been written and we are prepping an editor for this big ol’ thing. Check out our continuing M20 art blog by Mirthful Mike Chaney: http://theonyxpath.com/mirthful-mikes-art-blog-mage-20th-anniversary-preview-3/

- W20 Changing Breeds  Kickstarter expanded material has been put into the new layout and we are still waiting for CCP approval on the new stuff, and for the opening comic, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being contracted by developer Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) the PDF is live on DTRPG. There is a thread on the Mummy forum on the WW Forums for any mistakes or tweaks you want to suggest before we correct the PDF and create the PoD file. This has worked really great- can anyone who has the inclination to post errata please do so this week?

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is being final proofed.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is coming out of editing.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, being art directed.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): In editing.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing. Talking systems with the gang.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Reviewing the first system doc this week- need combat example right now. Right now. No really, now.

- Demon: The Descent: In layout. Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG and the PoD version is Now LIVE. As mentioned above, we are going to get the Demon: the Descent Kickstarter campaign live before the end of October.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Many first drafts are getting red-lined.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing.

- V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing.

- DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in in a steam bath outside of Dresden.

Reason to Drink: The mules of Moscow.

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OK- Enough With The Ear Stuff Already!

As Eddy has gone through his ear problems, I realize that a few of you might be tired of hearing about his medical issues. I know he is. And so am I in the sense that we have other cool stuff I can be posting about- and that is going to greatly increase as we leave 2013 and enter 2014 (only 10 weeks to go, I was told at the dentist today. Impossible!). But I do think it is important to let all you folks know about these more mundane life issues, too. Not only because they are part of our lives here at Onyx Path and we like sharing them with you, but because that sort of info underscores the fact that the creators of our projects are all regular people. I try to run Onyx as professionally as possible while still allowing for a lot more understanding of our contributors life issues than most publishers. Plus, it so happens that we’re in the tabletop RPG business- and for some reason we have a lot of our creative folks with all kinds of ailments. So project and schedule decisions are actually affected by the same issues I write about here, and that makes those issues worth at least mentioning if you want to truly understand the whys and wherefores of what we’re up to here.

The bulk of our talk was about how CCP wants to handle the various licensees of the WW properties. Obviously, Onyx has a set of concerns and needs, and our friends in By Night Studios and the Mind’s Eye Society have their own priorities, so CCP wants to keep things as simple as possible. Good discussions all around and I think we all are good to roll forward together.

All last week, and a good chunk of our lunch meeting, and also the long, long meeting that followed with our Onyx Path “steering” crew, has been devoted to looking at Marketing and internal structuring in 2014 for Onyx Path, and game book pitches for 2015. One of the resolutions we seem to be coming to is to spend a fair bit of effort on toning up our internal procedures- we’ve had a great year of getting the word out about Onyx and the WW IPs, but we’ve grown at the expense of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. We are still committed to quality before schedule, but there have been slips that just happened because we couldn’t/didn’t follow up on things like we could have with a couple more procedural tweaks in place. So, like many of you, we are concerned with the schedule and not letting projects drift without a very good reason, and are putting plans in place to provide a tighter framework for our creative teams.

Wait, did I say “new book pitches”? Yep, we’ve been discussing the internal pitches for new books in 2015 for all the game lines Onyx publishes. This includes the new nWoD gameline. We have some great ideas that are being fleshed out now, but, I figured I’d also bring it up here as getting direct feedback from you folks can really help a developer. What books do YOU want us to create for 2015?

 

Here’s what we’re creating now:

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Out of Editing and getting a post Editing pass by Rose. Mirthful Mike is talking about re-contracting a couple of pieces as the artists are having delivery timing issues.

Mummy the Curse - Deluxe and Screen: Books and Screens are all shipped out- if you backed and did not get yours yet, please contact me via that little button next to my picture on the KS site. The MtC Ready Made Characters Pack  PDF has been sent out to backers- like all Onyx Path backer rewards from Stretch Goals, this will later be available in PDF and PoD formats on DTRPG. Cursed Necropolis DC is being finished up by the writers.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  While John hunkers down to rewrite the Charms chapter, the rest of the team is working on a couple of EX3 chapters that continue to be finalized for Editing: Dawn Caste Charms are still being wrapped up: Melee is done with Archery close to finished. Holden is getting the Traits Chapter entirely into Editing. Both  EX3 novels as well as Zub’s EX3 Comic are in progress, we just approved cover sketches and notes are going back to Zub on his script, and the EX3 Music Suites are being scoped out.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Deluxe being assembled. PoD and PDF versions on sale at DTRPG. HH2 Fiction Anthology text is in editing.

- V20 Anarchs Unbound is in layout and we are still putting the pieces together for its KS, but that’s been delayed until after the Demon KS (see above).

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Regular Deluxe is being laser cut. Heavy Metal Deluxe is being worked up now as a prototype with their new press- no demo copy yet, still waiting. Mike Lee is submitting chapters of the W20 â€œHouses of the Moon” novel to Bill for dev review.  The Storyteller Screen files are done and ready for W20. Bill has the W20 Anthology stories in layout.  Jess Hartley has submitted the White Howlers Tribe Book to Stew Wilson for development notes, and the W20 Cookbook is almost done in editing.

- Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil is wrapping up the last sections of the book. Check out our continuing M20 art blog by Mirthful Mike Chaney: http://theonyxpath.com/mirthful-mikes-art-blog-mage-20th-anniversary-preview-3/

- W20 Changing Breeds  We are still waiting for CCP approval on the new stuff, and also for the opening comic, and the Changing Breeds Fiction Anthology is being contracted by developer Jess Hartley.

W20 Rage Across the World: In layout.

- Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) the PDF is live on DTRPG. There is a thread on the Mummy forum on the WW Forums for any mistakes or tweaks you want to suggest before we correct the PDF and create the PoD file. This has worked really great- CA Suleiman is going through them now to send to the Mirthful One to change.

Conventionbook: Void Engineers (cMtA) is available as a PDF on DTRPG, and like Guildhalls above, it has an errata thread on the forums- let us know if you find anything.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is being art directed.

- V20 Rites of the Blood: is in editing, being art directed.

- Under the Darkening Sky (classic Dark Ages): In editing. Being art directed.

Trinity Continuum:   We now have a whopping big Aeon outline and a Trinity Continuum Core Book outline and writers are writing. Talking systems with the gang.

- Scion: Joe’s team is hammering systems- big time. Reviewing the first system doc again- combat example and complete system today-ish.

- Demon: The Descent: In first proof . Demon Quickstart PDF is free on DTRPG and the PoD version is Now LIVE. As mentioned above, we are going to get the Demon: the Descent Kickstarter campaign live before the end of October.

- Hunter: The Something About Monsters: Writers are writing. Many first drafts are getting red-lined. Several are mega-late though, for various reasons. We will need to alter the estimated release date on this.

- nWoD: Dark Eras: Writers are writing.

- V20 Dark Ages: Scribes are scribing.

- DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell?: Being written in east of Ipswitch, somewhere near Brazil.

Reason to Drink: To Eddy! A safe and successful surgery!

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Where’s the Monday Meeting?

Hi, everyone!

I’ll get the link right out of the way at the top of the post.

It’s here: http://theonyxpath.com/logjam-is-breaking-and-not-tasty-on-toast/

Now, why?

This site — WhiteWolfBlogs.com — was originally set up by Eddy and Rich in mid-2011, when the server handling VampireTheMasquerade.com’s blog crashed. While they could recover the site, it was mostly static, and making updates was more trouble than it was worth.

A few months later, October 2011, was Black Wednesday at CCP, and the web team specifically tasked to update White-Wolf.com was unfortunately laid off, making WWBlogs even more relevant.

Now, however, we have the Onyx Path, and don’t really need to run WWBlogs as its own separate enterprise. Updates which were scattered all over the place are now consolidated in one place, on TheOnyxPath.com. It’s the next step in moving forward and presenting you with the information you need. Rather than hunt for updates, they’re all right there for the browsing, with any new posts appearing right on the front page, and auto-posted to our Twitter and Facebook.

All of Eddy and Rich’s Monday Meeting note posts are now found here:

http://theonyxpath.com/category/news/monday-meeting/

All of Rose’s Requiem posts are now found here:

http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/vampire-the-requiem/

John’s Exalted posts can be found here:

http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/exalted/

Links to these can currently be found in the secondary menu bar on TheOnyxPath, as well as in the sidebar. All content and comments were transferred over wherever possible.

The same is true with all of the content on the WWBlogs subsites (the V20 blog, W20 blog, Mummy blog, and Demon blog). It can now all be found at TheOnyxPath.com.

We’ll keep this notice up for a short while to get everyone accustomed to the new location. Thanks to everyone for sticking with us during the two-year transition!

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