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  1. Yesterday
  2. "Leapfrog ahead?" Devin said while Cassie reached for her water whet her throat after part one of the Fellowships epic tale. "You left out the part where you came to my house that evening and totally went all handsy on my abs." Cassie's cheeks swelled like a chipmunks when she choked on her water and her mother turned her head a shot her a look of pure 'excuse me young lady'? Devin flipped his finger about his mouth, calmly advising Cassie. "You got uh... a little something... um, yeah... you two hash that out..." He nodded to the ladies while Devin earned himself baleful glares that demanded blood and pain from Cassie while a few others from the Fellowship, well used to his antics by now, tried to suppress a grin. Devin may have been an irritating guy most times, but he was never short of entertaining, especially in these rather tense moments. He produced his phone and showed it to everyone then looked at Sean. "Dude, you mind?" He then slid his phone into the center of the massive table. "For those of you who don't know, I'm an artist-" "-and here we thought you were some punk who whose only talent was running his mouth and torturing our kids." Sean's father Jack interrupted him. Whatever temporary truce had been struck between them before the Not-Cody battle seemed to have dissipated at the news of Devin jaunting their daughter half way around the world to do God-knows-what, at God-knows-where. Through pursed lips Devin nodded and soaked it up. The Fellowship could tell, just form his poise and tensed nodding that Devin wanted to go balls deep and run a train on Jack's attitude, but instead, he composed himself and smiled politely. "Fair. I do talk a lot. So, I'm going to let that go because your daughter kinda has a thing for me-" "NoIdon't!" Laurie swiftly intercepted the conversation and then looked at her parents like she'd been accused of something she didn't do. She shook her head at her parents. "I don't." "-and," his glance across didn't go unnoticed. "Redheads are all the rage right now." There was an audible 'thump' from under the table as Marissa suddenly shifted, but never allowed her attention to be pulled away from the table. Devin grunted and tensed to one side, the side closest to his sister. "You were saying, Deej?" Marissa asked him, her lips curling into a smirk that falsely told how she was hanging on his every word. "Anyway," he grunted, collecting himself from the stabbing fist that met his side just moments prior. "Sean, you find it?" "I've found a lot, dude." Sean said, his eyes glossed over as a terabyte of data flowed through his mind in a series of 1s and 0s. "Is there any girl at school that hasn't sent you a selfie?" "There's a few I wish hadn't..." Devin added with a hint of sarcasm. "Me too. This whole phone needs to be set on fire and tossed into a volcano afterwards." Sean added with a grin of his own. "I think this is what you meant." From Devin's phone there was a brief upside down pyramid of light that encompassed nearly half of the the table itself. All the angles were visible, though see-thru as in its center Sean pulled the images from Devin's phone and in two dimensions, like large playing cards, the artwork Devin had drawn of all the monsters they'd faced rotated there in the center of the table. Sean's mind manipulated the data while simultaneously manipulating the light waves in the room to turn that data into floating holograms. "I've drawn dozens of them," he continued. He pointed to the one Sean was rotating, a blackened cloud of ink and tentacles with a gruesome jaw of sharp, stiletto-like teeth. "That's what came after us in the forest that night." The artwork scrolled and rotated, lingering long enough for all of them to see. It wasn't just the monsters that Devin had drawn, he'd illustrated entire scenes he was present for, providing a still frame visual of everything the Fellowship had gone through, like a story book others could follow along to as Cassie talked. Every argument was drawn in detail, the Fellowship around the table fighting like cats and dogs, Clara and Devin yelling from opposite sides of the room at one another as Lilly stormed out in frustration. The creature they battled not far from the old trailer, the one that nearly tore Devin's leg off, was brilliantly displayed in a scene where everyone was doing their best to not lose their shit as it's barbed and mouthed tongue was wrapped around Devin's leg as he screamed and frantically tried to crawl away. He'd captured the essence of The Dark wondrously with graphite and charcoal, a monochromatic testament to the visceral beauty of horror. "These are what keep me up at night, Mom, Dad. The night terrors, the insomnia, me spacing out and staring at nothing for minutes on end. We've asked all of you here today because despite our differences we've all managed to do what needs to be done to protect Shelly and it's people. Were you to ask me a month ago if I were to be hanging out with Sean, or Autumn? Hell no. I'd probably be beating up Sean in a bathroom or tipping Autumn's books out of her arms so I could watch her bend over to pick them up." Her glare told him that she was not ammused. "What? You might have been a pleb, but girl, you still got dat peach, hnnng." He flexed his fingers like he was squishing something soft. "Ah, the good ol' days," Marissa added with a smirk as she reminisced. "But we can't do this alone," he continued, shelfing his antics and soberly addressing everyone once again. "We can't carry this burden on our own, we need help and lying to all of you doesn't help us or anyone else. We need you to understand that a few weeks ago we were all punk kids, sure, but now... now we're friends." He chuckled. "Horrible friends who still don't trust each other, but we're getting there... slowly but surely, I think. So watch," he motioned to the pictures then to Cassie. "Listen. And while you may not trust us at first, I think we'll get there, slowly but surely." Annette surprised a smile behind her steepled fingers. There were times she wished she could bottle whatever it was the Jauntsen children had in their words. At only sixteen, they had a knack for working a crowd and she hoped that between Cassie, the twins and the testimony of the others, this night would end on a positive now.
  3. Now available in traditional print from Studio 2: Cults of the Blood Gods for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition! This is the same traditional print run that Kickstarter backers received. Ask your FLGS to order a copy! Cults of the Blood Gods is a new style of sourcebook for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition that introduces the pernicious horror of twisted beliefs. Designed for players and Storytellers. An in-character breakdown of the rise of esoteric beliefs among the ranks of the undead and how faith drives many of the major aspects of vampire culture. When you have already experienced death, why have faith? If you accept that you and everyone like you is cursed by God, why cling to His word? When you return from the other side as a blood-drinking monster, what purpose serves belief? Also available in print-on-demand from DriveThruRPG: The Collected Vigil Watch for Scarred Lands! Ghelspad Expanded! Ghelspad is a massive and diverse land. Once a paradise, this continent is now scarred by the ravages of the Titanswar. In the wake of divine bloodshed, and beset on all sides by titanspawn, the people of Ghelspad survive and thrive on this befouled continent. Vigil Watch explores six different locations across Ghelspad. From the bloody shores of the Toe Islands in the east to the Sweltering Plains of the west, Vigil Watch provides an in-depth look at a variety of locales and cultures. Vigil Watch contains: Expanded information on the culture and nomadic home of the ironbredA detailed view of Leoni, the center of the Manticora ConfederacyThe terrifying deadlands of the Festering FieldsAn exploration of the Library of Lokil, and much more! Also also available: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant desktop wallpaperThe Chicago Folios: VTT Assets for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition Crowdfunding Update Exalted: Essence launched on Kickstarter three weeks ago, and hit our funding goal within the first 13 minutes! That makes it our fastest-funding Kickstarter ever, beating Exalted 3rd Edition’s previous 18-minute record! We’re currently at $279,113 of our initial $35,000 goal, or an incredible 797%, thanks to our 3278 backers. With just one week to go, we’ve already hit the following stretch goals: Essence ST ScreenPillars of Creation: The Essence Companion: more Universal Charms, Evocations, Hearthstones, warstriders. Scattered Lotus Petals: Martial Arts (Single Point Shining Into the Void, Golden Janissary, Celestial Monkey, more). Enemies of the Chosen: Antagonists, demons, fair folk. Eight Directions Atlas: more locations x2. Creation’s Chosen: More Solar, Lunar, Exigent, Sidereal, and DB Charms. Storytelling the Chosen: ST advice and adventure hooks. Beyond Creation’s Chosen: More Infernal, Alchemical, Getimian, Liminal, and Abyssal Charms. Games of Divinity: more on the cosmology and deities of Creation. Lintha Expansion. Other Antagonists. Additional Artifacts.Essence Jumpstart and Ready-Made CharactersBacker T-shirtEssence Adventure: Two scenariosEssence Digital WallpaperEssence VTT Token PackEssence Novella by Lauren RoyNerdyKeppie bag opportunityIncreased art budgetEssence Charm Cards PDF Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Adventure!Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedMage: The Ascension: M20 Victorian AgeChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: Ghelspad: Lethene’s CurseYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last week: Trinity Continuum: Æon: Crisis Response Unit 5Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  4. "Okay." Cassandra looked around the room, and felt a little tingle of nervousness and anticipation. This would be the first time all this was laid out for everyone. She was writing the Bible here, and hoped she didn't fuck it up too badly. Look what happened the last time. "Some of us have heard at least some of this before, but I don't know who's been told what...and we need to all be on the same page, so I'll ask everyone to just bear with me. I'll also start off by saying, yes we each have powers that most people don't have, and we very recently used those powers to protect Shelley from a threat no one knew was there. And...I'll circle back around to that, so don't worry." Feeling a little restless, she scooted backwards and stood up. "It all starts with a tale of two parties, back in July. Chet was having one, distributing flyers, and so..." she nodded at Jason, "...Bannon had to get in on the deal and threw together a shindig of his own out on the reservation. More discreet...invitation only. Just kind of, teenage angst playing itself out, normal day. That would have been the eighteenth." "The night of the party, things got wild though. Not in a good 'party-way' but in a...sort of reality is coming apart like wrapping on a Christmas present way. A bunch of us..." Here she indicated the Fellowship at the table, "...basically all of US, plus Clara and Lona and Charlie and...you know...we got separated from the main party. Went out on the paths into the woods nearby. Now, I don't know the details of what everyone else saw. But I bumped into Devin by accident, and he and I saw this crazy guy, naked, run out from the trees. And he had a gun." Cassandra took in a breath here, remembering that moment. "We were freaking out...this guy looked like it'd been weeks since he'd showered, if then, and he couldn't talk...just made noises. Before he could do anything though, there was this cloud behind him. And out from the cloud came...a creature. It looked kind of like a floating octopus, but I only say that because it had tentacles. It wasn't really that much like an octopus other than that." She shook her head. "It grabbed the man, hauled him back into the cloud. Then the cloud vanished again. At the time, we had no idea what was going on. Now we have a pretty good idea, but...that's not going to make sense yet." "Devin and me, we ran. Grabbed the gun he dropped and ran. We finally found the others near this...like trailer? Out in the woods? It was where the guy we'd seen had been living. Most of the rest of us were already there...we found Lona in the woods on the way there...but as I understand it, the ones at the cabin had been attacked by a sabertooth tiger. So...a whole LOT of crazy going around that night." Cassandra held up a hand. "And I know what the adults in the room are thinking. Not...I'm not actually reading your minds, it's just obvious. Drugs. But you have to understand most of us hadn't taken anything that night. Even if someone had, pot doesn't make you see alien monsters or sabertooth tigers. Believe me, we've all been all over that. In the weeks after the party, I know I tried every rational explanation I could think of to deal with it. There's nothing. We learned the truth much later." "Anyway, the trailer was full of maps and writing and...even though he'd seemed crazy when Devin and me saw him, he'd been working on something in that trailer." "That's what kept pulling us back." Cassie shrugged. "Most of us kept going back there over the next few weeks. Kept seeing each other over the summer, talking. Trying to make sense of it all. The trailer was full of files...Jase wound up moving most of it to his place in the end. Even so, it wasn't until after school started again that things started to fit together." "That's when we found out Cody was missing. It's when we started putting pieces together that there was some next-level spycraft going on in Shelly, and it was connected to the Medical Center. It's when I found out about the prison riot on the night of the party, and some coverups related to that." She took a deep breath. "And it's when we learned about what we call the Shine...and the Dark." "We call it the Shine, because that's what it looks like to us. There's this way of looking at the world that's just a little different, it's hard to explain. People have a glow to them, everyone has a little. But we...we have a lot. We're searchlights. I don't know if that was always the case, or if something happened that activated us or something. But when we met at lunch, we started putting all these pieces together in a kind of...random, chaotic way. So we decided to meet up at Jase's place and actually try to organize." With a nod, Cassandra concluded, "And that put us on a long road that led us to where we are now, really. Obviously there's a lot more, but...lets take a breather for a second. First of all," she looked around at the Fellowship, "Am I missing anything important? I know I kind of glossed over a few details, but I'm trying to keep it manageable here. Still, I didn't see or hear everything, so if anyone wants to add something, this is a decent time. Or if there's questions about what I've said so far, this is good too. Just don't leapfrog ahead of me. I know there's still a lot to go over, but we will get there, I promise."
  5. Last week
  6. Lilly's entrance - and her somewhat drawn appearance - caused a curious raise of an eyebrow and narrow-eyed scrutiny from Jason, but he returned her wave of greeting with a nod and the merest hint of a smile on his scarred face. He'd wondered if perhaps Lilly's disappearance from the Carousel had been related to the Dark, wondered if perhaps her body would be found as Charlie's had been. The musing had not been particularly welcome - even given their estrangement he still didn't wish the girl ill: like Sean, she'd been a decent friend for too long for him to readily dismiss her simply based on recent changes and actions - but with other more pressing matters at hand, he'd been distracted from following up on his concerns. He'd expected to see her at school this morning, and if she hadn't shown then would have followed up. Events, however, had a mind of their own on such things. Evidently, though, Devin had reached out, and now here she was, looking as though she had gone through her own version of hell if he was any judge. He restrained his questions - Lilly would doubtless have a chance to speak just like the rest of them. As the Pryors settled into their seats, the remote genius's gaze roamed the varied expressions on the faces of the fractious Fellowship. From the affected aloof smirks of the Jauntsens, to Cade's stoic mien, to Kat's nervous yet resolute expression. Beside him, Sean looked uncomfortable, but somewhat reassured with his family about him, giving Jase a rueful smile and a half-shrug as he noticed his friend looking his way. Across the table, Autumn's fingers tapped lightly on the tabletop as the energetic redhead forced herself to sit relatively still rather than pace nervously, flashing him a faint smile that reached her sea blue eyes. Lilly looked a little pale, weary in ways other than physical, but she was here, at least, and whole. And next to Dana, Cassandra sipped the water she'd gotten herself, her own puffy eyes evidence that events had taken a lasting toll on her. Jase kept his gaze on the blonde girl, and as she noticed it, gave her an encouraging nod. She was the reporter, after all. If there was to be a chronicling of events, or at least a commencement of one, it should come from her.
  7. "I think you should start talking." Bill Pryor said as he glanced at his daughter in the rear view mirror while telephone posts slid past the car rhythmically. "It's, I dunno. It's a lot and right now things are still kinda fuzzy." Lilly said, rubbing her head. "How about you try to start from the beginning?" Cassandra Pryor chimed in, putting an arm around her daughter in a side hug. Lilly sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. "From the beginning? You mean, like, the beginning beginning?" she asked. "Wherever you are comfortable from. We just- This is a lot to take in, honey, and I'm still not sure what to make of it." Cassandra offered. Lilly rested her forehead in her hands and signed once more. "It's kind of a long story. and you're not gonna to believe it until you meet the others, I'm sure." she semi-protested, but at the silence from both of her parents, she relented and continued. "Fine. I and my friends we all have... abilities." "There are more like you? How did you get these abilities and why didn't you tell us?" Cassandra asked with some concern. "I'm not entirely sure on the 'how' part, but I didn't tell you, partly, because I think it was due to the exposure to the interdimensional portal or whatever at the secret bonfire party thing we had on the reservation. And, for the record, they are not like me. They go things that I'll never do, like move things with their mind. Conjure fire and ice, teleport, read minds..." "You are not serious." Cassandra said with her voice tinged with more than a hint of disbelief. "As a heart attack." Lilly chimed back. "Oh, and that guy that went AWOL? Captain Cooper? He was there too.. sort of. He was looking almost like some zombie, but we found his uniform and stuff in the trailer we found there. Oh, and there was a saber-toothed tiger and the... monster-thing in the woods. They almost ate some of us." Lilly said with a nod, catching a glimpse of her father's eyes looking at her in the rear-view mirror, though she was unsure what to make of his gaze. "Lilly. Honey. This is jus-" was all her mother got out before her father cut her off, "Let her talk." he said, his once again and coldly calm, making Lilly feel a little more like she was the subject of an investigation than his daughter right now. "That was back in July, and I didn't tell you because what would I say? 'Hey mom and dad, I got these powers from the interdimensional portal that was at the secret bonfire party we threw on the reservation. Thankfully the zombie guy, saber-toothed tiger and monster thing didn't kill any of us.'? You would've though I was high or out of my mind." Lilly explained somewhat matter of factly, which prompted Cassandra to give a faint shrug of her shoulders and roll of her eyes in a 'well, that's true' gesture. "So we found this fortified trailer out there with an interdimensional radio or something," Lilly continued, "...and Captain Cooper's uniform and all these photos of a Cessna's tail. So we go looking into things as best we can and, along with some of us getting temporarily stuck in this really bad dimension, we learn some stuff, like every twenty-seven years Shelly collectively loses its mind. Seriously. Go look in the papers and stuff. It is this cycle of this thing that we call The Dark. It like feeds off of bad emotions and pain and stuff, and it is trying to get from where it is trapped and into our world, and we realize that we are the only ones who have a chance at stopping it. And again, I think you can see why we didn't exactly go telling our parents." "So yeah, we go doing more research and start learning to use our abilities and stuff and that's when I realize that me competing at the Olympics wouldn't be fair. I mean, I could probably beat this car in a foot race and I can run hurdles with high jump bars. It just wouldn't be fair and any victory would be hollow. I still want to go, and wish I could, but it's something I had to let go of. Other things are more important. So, like, I want's lying when I told you why I sandbagged, at least not fully. I just didn't think I could you everything behind it. So I'm sorry for that too. For what it's worth though, I was going to tell you yesterday, after the picnic." "I kept playing football because it would draw more attention if I were to just up and quit, and it seems that, like positive emotions, like hope and happiness work against the dark. So yeah, I kept playing, but I held back a lot and try to not use my abilities, so help bring the town some hope and excitement, and the others have been helping with it too, trying to change the towns attitude and make it better and brighter. "Cody, he got possessed by The Dark or gave into it or something, we found out, and it seems The Dark noticed us too and started coming after us." Lilly said as she turned to look at her mother. "Like the thing at the hospital the other day while we were out of town? That was actually an attack by The Dark, or Cody, or both. The other were there to fight it and now some government agency or something is involved and covering it up to help us. Oh yeah, some of the staff at the medical center are part of it too and had been experimenting on the population of Shelly for, like, decades and using a girl in school, who's a telepath, to help them. Hooray medical ethics." she said sarcastically and then sighed. "Anyways, we had found Cody's like lair, or whatever, and last night we were meeting up and going to go there and face Cody and the Dark head on. It seems we won, or at least everybody survived, so that's good. But I was supposed to be there. I already let them down by not being there to help at the hospital, and then last night too." Lilly said, her voice trailing off a bit. "It's like what he said is true. Why do I even bother? They clearly don't need me." she said in a bout of self pity. "If it's true, then why are we going to this meeting?" Bill asked. "Because their are my friends and I'm not going to abandon them." Lilly replied without so much as a thought. "Exactly. You said that this 'Dark' feeds on stuff like that, so are you going to make your enemy stronger and your side weaker? So you end your little personal pity party." Bill said, his tone firm, but not harsh, as he spoke to his daughter like he knew she needed. "Self pity lies to you about who are and steals from you who you can be. You're stronger than that, and I don't mean physically. Just look at what happened. If all you are saying is true, no matter how hard it is to believe, then you were asked to grow up quite a bit and do the mature and moral thing, and you did. You were asked to put something down so you could pick up something greater... and you did. And for that, we're am proud of you." Bill told his daughter, looking at her in the rear-view mirror again as the car sped down the thankfully straight and low traffic road. "...even if we aren't too thrilled about bonfires with underage drinking and being lied to." Cassandra added, resting her hand on Lilly's knee, giving it pat. Lilly lifted her head, looking to her mother's eyes and then her father's in the mirror as she gave a small nod. It as nice to hear her father say what he did, really nice even, but the faint, momentary smile quickly faded. It was hard to take in what he said, to truly believe it after what she had been through the last twenty-four hours, but she would try. Several minutes later... The meeting room doors opened and in walked Lilly with her parents. Lt. Col. Bill Pryor was calm, neither smiling nor pensive, and gave the room a quick scan, interested in exactly who was at this meeting, as well the usual concerns his training taught him to be aware of, while Cassandra Pryor, who had worked as a head nurse in this very building for years, had a much warmer demeanor, smiling politely and nodding to any of the parents or kids who made eye contact. Lilly, for her part, looked a bit rough. Her eyes were tired and to a keen eye like Marissa's, a bit puffy, even if it had gone down considerably already. Her long, dark, hair was up in a crude bun to try and hide its non-brushed state and she wore dark grey leggings and an oversized, black t-shirt. She smiled, though it was not hard to tell that it was at least somewhat forced, and gave a small wave as she looked to each of her friends, hoping not to find any visible injuries. After a quick exchange of handshakes and simple pleasantries with Ms. Giles, the Pryors took the last remaining seats at the table, filling in the space between Annette and Kat, with Bill nodding to any of the other parents who made eye contact as he looked around the table, while Lilly glanced back over to Devin and brushes a few errant hairs from her face as she give him a less forced smile and softly mouthed, "Thanks." It was not lost on her that he was the only one to try and check on her when she did not show up the previous night.
  8. The full quote is “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king,” which is from Hamlet. But the reason for my using that quote in our title this week is to highlight both the amazing Exalted: Essence Kickstarter, and the fabulous 2021 Onyx Path Virtual Convention which ran the last three days over the weekend! And the (game)play was certainly the thing during the Con! Wow! Because most of our crew were involved a fair bit with being on panels, demos, playtests, and just playing games – and Dixie ran the after-con Discord party where Jackbox was played to much hilarity – we did not have our weekly Monday Lunch Meeting today. Instead, here are some highlights from the Convention as told to me by our folks (and told to me by me). Big picture, the funding for the Bodhanna Group was very much appreciated, and our various sales during the Con were good. Nothing that changed the course of things, but good. Behind the scenes, things ran very smoothly. Having each of the Twitch channels (ours and other folks’) be devoted to one of our “umbrella” groupings of game lines seemed to work really well in terms of keeping it simple to find your games. Which was really helpful since we had a panel or a game for pretty much every gameline we publish. We’ll remember that trick. Legendlore art by Gong Studios We released the link for our latest copy of the Onyx Path Brochure on DTRPG, which we are thinking will stay PDF-only for a bit, maybe all year, so we can adjust where needed. Here it is for those who missed it: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/360302/Onyx-Path-20212022-Publishing-Brochure The Brochure always starts the speculation as it usually contains new releases. In this case, we went right into some announcements of new projects during the Opening Ceremonies panel, so there was only a little lead time. If you missed this panel, it’s on Twitch still and then will be on our YouTube channel. It’s also going to be replayed as our Onyx Pathcast this Friday, but in audio only. But to spill the beans, we revealed that They Came From [CLASSIFIED]! is actually the title of the game, as the [CLASSIFIED] part is because the genre we are having fun with in this game is the 60s and 70s spy films like James Bond, The Prisoner, the Matt Helm movies, The Man From Uncle, Get Smart, The Avengers tv show, and even Austin Powers. We also announced the next Trinity Continuum game after Anima, which is TC: Aether! This is set in the Victorian Era and has a lot to do with the Martian invasion of Earth, Sherlock Holmes and other heroes of the time, steampunk with a Trinity Continuum twist, etc! Later during other panels, we also announced that the NEXT They Came From…! game is going to be They Came From the Cyclops’s Cave!, a loving look at sword and sorcery films like those created by Ray Harryhausen, the sword and sandals Hercules movies, Krull, The Sword and the Sorcerer, and the Hercules and Xena tv shows; previewed a bunch of the Kiths from CtL‘s Kith and Kin; and revealed three of the pantheons in Scion: God! During the What’s Up With the Onyx Path? panel, James Bell, who was talking about our Kickstarters, had to leave, so in came a surprise guest: Brian Jenkins, the creative lead who’s developing the pitch for the Scion TV show! Brian was able to give a bit more of his background as a fan of our games, and let folks know some of where he is on writing the pitch for the show. I know our panel got a big kick out of his enthusiasm – we even had a chance to answer a few questions and to once again pooh-pooh the idea that this show has anything to do with the old VtM show from the 90s. I mean, everyone involved had nothing to do with that show, including all the companies, and the entire nature of TV has changed, Soooo, maybe let it go? Anyway, I thought both of those panels were excellent, and then on Saturday afternoon I got to play in Eddy’s Trinity Continuum: Anima playtest. What a hoot! to begin with, we started out in the ubiquitous MMO that exists in the setting, using the infrastructure of that MMO to fight/stealth/magic/talk our way through a quest in the game only to discover that there was some sort of skullduggery afoot that led to what we were investigating in the “real world” city of Cascade… …and we took a break, changed our costumes and the Twitch overlays to show we were in a cyberpunk-y dystopia, and played out the rest of the adventure in Cascade. Eddy got a lot of notes from this playtest – the first one seen in public – and I and my fellow players, Lyssa, Michelle, and Dixie, were able to each contribute in very different ways. Everybody did a great job! There is a lot of range to the character choices in this game. My only regret is that I didn’t get to do something wild with my cybernetic arm! V5 Trails of Ash and Bone art by Edoardo Campagnolo Dauntless Dixie Cochran had a few thoughts about the con: Mirthful Mike Chaney popped in to the con and has this to report: Matthew Dawkins writes in from across the sea to say: Eddy Webb sez: We received this very nice after-con message from Michelle Light, who joined us to playtest Trinity Continuum: Anima: Ian Watson was all over the place, as he notes here: V5 Trails of Ash and Bone art by Mark Kelly This Where We Normally Put Meeting Stuff… …but since we had no meeting today, I’ll just put things here that we would have talked about. Big news in Exalted: Essence land is that it’s CHARMS WEEK!!! What that means is that James will be releasing the sections of the Charms chapter of Exalted: Essence all throughout this week to its Kickstarter backers. This is huge for the Exalted community, and for our EX:Ess team of creators, and there will no doubt be much, much, discussion, so let’s figure that we’ll check back in after the dust settles! V5 Cults of the Blood Gods is live in stores and over at Studio2, so you should be able to get your traditionally printed copy just like from the Kickstarter, now at your Friendly Local Game Store! To commemorate that release, we have put together a V5 Chicago By Night PDF bundle on DTRPG, so check that out if you are missing anything! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/347386/V5-Chicago-by-Night-Collection-BUNDLE OK, folks, that’s it for this week. Thanks to all of you who hung out with us over the weekend, and here’s hoping that the rest of you can get a chance to watch at least a bit of the fun when the vids go up on YouTube. Because we really do want as many of our community who can to be able to engage when we run something like this con. It’s already easier for a lot of folks to attend since there’s no travel involved, so if we can find ways for more of you to jump in – we will. Because, you know, we’re all together groovin’ on our: Many Worlds, One Path! BLURBS! Kickstarter! The Exalted: Essence KS is not even half-way through, it funded in 13 minutes and is currently over 700% funded! We have over 3200 backers so far – and we’ll be unlocking more special Reward Tiers like characters in art and special charms! Twenty-three Stretch Goal rewards have been achieved so far, including unlocking the Exalted: Essence Screen, enabling a partnership with NerdieKeppie to create Ex:Essence merchandise like book bags, an Exalted: Essence Novella, two parts of an epic scenario Adventure Book, a Jumpstart and Ready-Made Characters to get started with Essence, and the Exalted: Essence Companion already has twelve sections that will be combined into one PDF free for backers, and more great Stretch goal rewards to come! Onyx Path Media! This week: While recovering from the convention, Eddy, Dixie, and Matthew present the recorded version of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2021 Onyx Path Virtual Convention! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ With all the excitement of Onyx Path Con over the past few days, we have a lot of panels and actual plays to sort and get onto our YouTube channel! Look out for those over the next week and beyond! If you can’t wait, go to our Twitch channel and give us a follow to catch up on anything you’ve missed! Check out Vorpal Tales‘ Exalted: Essence actual play on our Twitch and on our YouTube! Here’s episode one: https://youtu.be/XZioOSDJnrc and here’s episode two part one: https://youtu.be/_2wXaH301cM and episode two part two!: https://youtu.be/xkKDhougS0I For anyone new to our media section, you can find us running and playing games over on twitch.tv/theonyxpath pretty much every day of the week! Plus, if you’d like your games hosted there, just get in touch with Matthew Dawkins using the contact link on matthewdawkins.com. Please check out our attached media schedule for the impressive number of videos on our Twitch channel this week! Come take a look at our YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/theonyxpath, where you can find a whole load of videos of actual plays, dissections of our games, and more, including: Exalted: Essence – Vorpal Tales – Episode 2 Part 1 – https://youtu.be/_2wXaH301cM Exalted: Essence – Vorpal Tales – Episode 2 Part 2 – https://youtu.be/xkKDhougS0I Scarred Lands – Dead Man’s Rust – Red Scar Players – Episode 11 – https://youtu.be/JiprOUI5Qbk Demon: The Descent – Honey and Vinegar – One-Shot: https://youtu.be/deWcbICHN7g Changeling: The Lost – Hearts on Trial – One-Shot: https://youtu.be/nTvdRgv8Oa4 Trinity Continuum: Adventure! – The Purist Evil – Ep. 2/2 – https://youtu.be/NzVKZkZbD7w Vampire: The Masquerade – Styx and Bones – Table Goth – Ep. 4 – https://youtu.be/zbD3t93h7Vs Chronicles of Darkness – The Wyrd West – Ep. 3 – https://youtu.be/l6okotsw98k Geist: The Sin Eaters – Jumpstart – One Foot in the Grave – One-Shot: https://youtu.be/N7INcv1vKFM Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Our very own Matthew Dawkins was interviewed about world building, They Came from Beneath the Sea! and Vampire on the Andy’s Board Game Thing podcast! Check it out here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/43chfbn4OV3wleCBQPfMQ3?si=a-cTCPrpTT6g7sppZ2rDdQ&utm_source=copy-link Vorpal Tales have a whole raft of Onyx Path content coming soon! On Fridays at 5pm EDT experience our Contagion Chronicle: No Time for Reality Season 2. Chicago is still flooded with the reality warping Contagion from strange spaces beyond the Supernal realms. The original team is still lost in Arcadia, but Macintosh alerted a new team to be ready to step in should he and his team disappear. It’s up to this new group now to leverage their vectors and contain this threat. On Tuesdays at 5pm EDT experience their new overarching Chronicle of Darkness, Insurgence. Vorpal Tales weave an ambitious tale connecting 7 Chronicles of Darkness game lines in one overarching story of rebellion and the cost of self-awareness. Book 1: Defiance begins the tale with Mage: The Awakening 2e. Beginning on June 14th, immediately after Onyx Path Con, join Vorpal Tales every Monday at 9pm EDT for They Came from Beyond the Grave! Enjoy their tale of derring do against the minions of evil in a 6 part summer tale! Beginning June 19th, join Vorpal Tales for a story of a pack’s Rite of Passage as they tell a terrifying tale of Werewolf: The Apocalypse every Saturday at 9pm EDT. The Story Told Podcast are back with the new season of The Fall of Jiara for Exalted! This episode is Episode 44 – The Dragon-Blooded react to their conference with Saffron Veil and begin to prepare for the threats they all face. https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/fall-of-jiara-44 A Bunch of Gamers continue their Werewolf: The Apocalypse chronicle here. The packs head to the Silent Striders’ tribal moot for North America. They go there looking for experts regarding ancestor spirits and ghosts as the Silent Strider Theurges tend to be experts in both. Ancestor spirits because they lost connection to their own and ghosts because the spirits of the dead tend to hound members of this tribe. They are desperate to find something, anything, to aid Howling King: https://abunchofgamers.podbean.com/e/werewolf-the-apocalypse-episode-72-strider-moot/ This is episode 72! The Exaltcast continues its fantastic show introducing you to all ten of the Exalt types! https://www.exaltcast.com/2021/06/02/the-essence-of-exalted-essence-pt-i-the-ten-exalt-types/, delving into Exalted: Essence! Over on ExalTwitch they conclude their first season of Exalted! ExalTwitch: Academy is set in The House of Bells, a prestigious school for Dragon-Blooded Exalted of the Realm to train in the ways of war. The chronicle follows three young Dragon-Bloods as they try to prove their worth to their fellow students, their Houses, and themselves. Their most recent and final VOD for the season, Episode 21 (“School’s Out”), is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z2WC26v4QY The playlist for the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zb3M2x8PJk&list=PLsZP95-GZNa0ynoCIVyliNF5rypCHvh0MThe show wiki, with synopses, character descriptions, etc: RPGClinic Wiki | Fandom Wards & Witchcraft reach Session 25 of their fantastic Mage: The Awakening chronicle right here: https://youtu.be/kyyUB_njo9c The key in the ignition and everything is ready to happen. Will the Fools tum the world and what will become of them? Please check these out and let us know if you find or produce any actual plays of our games! We’d love to feature you! Electronic Gaming! As we find ways to enable our community to more easily play our games, the Onyx Dice Rolling App is live! The dev team has been doing updates since we launched based on the excellent use-case comments by our community, and this thing is awesome! (Seriously, you need to roll 100 dice for Exalted? This app has you covered.) Virtual TableTop! Two Virtual Tabletop adventures: the Gauntlet of Spiragos and the Dagger of Spiragos for Scarred Lands on Astral TableTop and DriveThruRPG! Scars of the Divine War, which ended less than 200 years ago, have still not healed. One such scar is the Chasm of Flies, a rent in the earth created when the titan Spiragos the Ambusher was smote down by one of the young gods, Vangal the Ravager. Now, the Chasm is inhabited by spider-eye goblins and their spider allies, but it is also thought to be the resting place of powerful artifacts from that elder age. Astral TableTop is the easiest way to play any tabletop RPG online, free. Astral already supports popular systems like D&D and Pathfinder, and Astral can support virtually any tabletop roleplaying game. Get started quickly with built-in support for most popular game systems. Whether you’re brand new to TTRPGs or a veteran tabletop gamer, Astral‘s ease-of-use and built in automation is designed to streamline gameplay. Build your own adventure, or choose from pre-generated game kits like Gauntlet of Spiragos and Dagger of Spiragos. Create character sheets, craft maps, or just jump right in to connect with your friends and start your adventures! On Amazon and Barnes & Noble! You can now read our fiction from the comfort and convenience of your Kindle (from Amazon) and Nook (from Barnes & Noble). If you enjoy these or any other of our books, please help us by writing reviews on the site of the sales venue from which you bought it. Reviews really, really help us get folks interested in our amazing fiction! Our selection includes these latest fiction books: Our Sales Partners! We’re working with Studio2 to provide our traditionally printed books out into your local game stores. Game stores can order via their usual distributors, and can also contact Studio2 directly. And individuals can check out our projects via the links below! You can pick up the traditionally printed Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau main books, screens, and the official dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire Now, we’ve added Chronicles of Darkness books such as Changeling: The Lost Second Edition products to Studio2‘s store! See them here: https://studio2publishing.com/collections/all-products/changeling-the-lost Scion 2e books and other products are available now at Studio2: https://studio2publishing.com/blogs/new-releases/scion-second-edition-book-one-origin-now-available-at-your-local-retailer-or-online Our Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition books are also available from Studio2 in the US: https://studio2publishing.com/products/vampire-the-masquerade-chicago-by-night-sourcebook Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Try this link! http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Onyx-Path-Publishing/ And you can order Pugmire, Monarchies of Mau, Cavaliers of Mars, and Changeling: The Lost 2e at the same link! And now Scion Origin and Scion Hero and Trinity Continuum Core and Trinity Continuum: Aeon are available to order! As always, you can find Onyx Path’s titles at DriveThruRPG.com! The Post-Apocalypse Sale is on DriveThruRPG! Dystopia Rising: Evolution featured bundle deal: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/featured.php?promotion_id=2021-May-postapoc Select Pugmire, Monarchies and DR:E titles are also on sale: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/sale.php?manufacturers_id=4261 And we have a V5 Chicago PDF Bundle on sale this month!: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/347386/V5-Chicago-by-Night-Collection-BUNDLE On Sale This Week! It’s a trilogy of releases this week – all different as if in celebration of the recent convention – starting with the compiled Vigil Watch for Scarred Lands PoD and PDF versions of the book, and then electronic files of the TC: Aberrant wallpapers, and last but not least we have VTT Character Tokens from V5 The Chicago Folios. All will be available Wednesday on DTRPG! Conventions! Because dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we don’t yet have a list of upcoming physical conventions. Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with! 2nd Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Convention Was Last Weekend! See above: a great time was had by all! And now, the new project status updates! Development Status from Eddy Webb! (Projects in bold have changed status since last week.): First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep.) Exalted Essay Collection (Exalted)Tasty Bit: Car Lifting Competition (Scion 2nd Edition)Panopticon Novella (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)Scion: God (Scion 2e)With Great Power (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)Trinity Continuum: Aether core book (Trinity Continuum: Aether)They Came From the Cyclops’s Cave! core book (They Came From…!)Weird Wonders and Revolutionary Magick (M20 Victorian) Bizarre Tales and Unusual Characters (M20 Victorian) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition)Tome of the Pentacle (Mage: the Awakening 2e)The Hedge (Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition) Second Draft No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition)TC: Adventure! Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) Development Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness)Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e)Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition)Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) Manuscript Approval Apocalyptic Record (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition) M20 Lore of the Traditions (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Post-Approval Development Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition)Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition)The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e)Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands)M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)CtL2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e)Heroes in a World of Horror! (They Came From…!)Dystopia Rising: Evolution Fiction Anthology (Dystopia Rising: Evolution)Prometheus Unbound (was Psi Orders) (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Legacies of Earth (Legendlore)Scion Fiction Anthology (Scion 2nd Edition)They Came From Beyond the Grave! Jumpstart (They Came From…!)Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition)Monsters From the Crypt! (They Came From…!) TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition)The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)Proteus Nova Compendium (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Tasty Bit: Pets (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Trinity Continuum: Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core)They Came From Camp Murder Lake! (They Came From…!)Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) Trinity Continuum: AnimaTales of Depravity! (They Came From…!)They Came From [Classified]! (They Came From…!) They Came From [Classified]! Jumpstart (They Came From…!)Realms of Magic and Mystery (was Terra Incognita) (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!)Vigil Watch: The Kelder Mountains (Scarred Lands)Ghost Hunters Jumpstart w/RMCs (WoD 20th)The Paranormal Investigator’s Handbook (WoD 20th)Once and Future (Scion 2nd Edition) Post-Editing Development Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition)They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!)Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition)Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition)N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades)V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire)Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) They Came From Beneath the Sea! Jumpstart (They Came From…!)Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction Scion: Dragon Masks of the Mythos Scion: Demigod – Got Maria helping me finish out the pantheons and we are all good.TC: Adventure! (KS) M20 Victorian (KS) Dead Man’s RustExalted Essence (KS) – On KS.V5 Forbidden Religions – AD’d. TC Mission Statements TC Aberrant N!WE M20 Technocracy Dossier/CompanionSqueaks In The Deep (KS) – Prepping KS. TC Prometheus Unbound – Maria ADing.They Came From Camp Murder Lake! Realms of Magic and Mystery Saints and Monsters TC: Anima (KS) TC: Assassin In Layout Spiragos Collected AdventuresWoD Ghost Hunters (KS) Legendlore M20 Rich Bastards Guide – Over to Charles, art is all in.They Came From Beneath the Sea! Jumpstart – Over to Andrea.They Came From Beyond the Grave! – Final art coming in.June Tasty Bit – Les FantômesM20 Technocracy JumpstartHundred Devils Night Parade – Getting layout files over to Josh. Proofing TC: Under Alien Skies – Wrap up for release. Heirs to the Shogunate – Backer errata finishing.TC Aberrant JumpstartHunter: The Vigil 2e Players Guide to the Contagion Chronicle – Proof to dev. V5 Trail of Ash and Bone – Backer errata inputting.Technocracy Reloaded Screen – To Paradox for approval. At Press M20 Technocracy Reloaded – PoD proofs shipping from DTRPG.Vigil Watch Compiled – On Sale Wednesday on DTRPG!Mummy 2 – Getting ready for press. Mummy 2e Screen – Getting ready for press. Deviant – Waiting on printer specs.Deviant Screen – Getting ready for press. 21-22 Onyx Brochure – Now available on DTRPG! Today’s Reason to Celebrate! I missed the last day of the Con because it was my youngest son’s graduation from high school – so proud celebration and congrats, Alex!
  9. We wanted a fresh at-the-table experience to help guide our design on a book dedicated to superheroes. So, here’s what happened during our first playtest of Claim the Sky, where we played our original heroes in a session run by Monte. The post ISSUE #1: BROOD X IS BORN | Claim the Sky Designer Playtest Report appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  10. Ever so slowly Lilly managed to claw back some degree of control over herself and fought to open her eyes. She noticed that sitting beside her bed was her mother, holding her hand with both of her own, her eyes closed tight nd her head down as if in prayer. The same mother she had lied to and made waste precious vacation days because she could not be honest with her, or anything even approaching honesty. Time, money, effort wasted because of her own shortcomings. The thoughts brought tears to her eyes once again as she shut them tight, like she was trying to hide from the truth. "Lilly?" her mother asked in a soft tone tinged heavily with concern. "Honey?" she asked again with her concern growing, but all Lilly could manage was a weak nod. A moment later she could feel her mother's arms around her in a tight, some might say smothering, hug. She could feel the small convulsions of her mother's chest as she tried to silently hide her sobs from her daughter, which only made Lilly feel even worse. She wrapped her arms around her mother, resting her forehead against her mother's neck as she tried to bury her face. "I'm sorry." is all she could sob out, which was immediately met by a soft, tender, "Shhhhhhh" as she felt her mother's hand rest on the back of her head, holding her daughter close. "It's okay, honey. We don't know what happened, but right now all that matters is that you are alright. We can talk about the rest later, whenever you are up to it. Are you okay?" her mother replied, turning her head to kiss to the top of her daughter's head in concern. Lilly nodded weakly, her teary eyes still shut tight. "I'm not hurt." she said, trying to assuage some of her mother's fears. "Not physically, anyway." added without thinking. How much had passed Lilly was unsure of, but it certainly felt like she spent weeks, or even months, engulfed with the questions and sceneries that Mr. Enterich had posed to her, always coming seeming to find the truth of his words, that she was just a ball of inadequacy hidden behind some facade of morals and athletic perfection and her friends simply humored. Her memory was fuzzy in places, especially after speaking to that... guy. She fought to remember where she was right before meeting him, which was strange to her, as even she, and her teachers, had noticed a marked improvement in her memory. In a way it was like the fears and other thoughts were fighting to hold her back as she strained against them as her eyes shut tighter and her brow furrowed, which even her mother noticed in their embrace. "Lilly? Is something wrong?" Cassandra asked her daughter, pulling her head away a bit to turn and look at her Lilly. "Whatever it is, you do not have to face it alone. Your father and I love you and are here for you." she said to her daughter. The sincere words were strangely reassuring to Lilly. The fears and thoughts of inadequacy that had engulfed Lilly were beginning to recede achingly slowly as she was reassured. Then she remembered where she had been just before her world came crashing down; she was talking to Hank Graskle about fear, of all things. 'First thing you've got to realize is that most of the people you're in the shit with are just as scared as you are.' Her friends were just as scared as she was. Her friends were... Her friends... "Oh shit!" Lilly said, releasing her mother and sitting straight up as she wiped the tears from her face. "What time is it?" she asked as her eyes began scouring the room, looking for her phone frantically. "I'm not sure. Five thirty or so. Why?" her mother replied, quite confused. "I.. I got a thing I need to do. It's hard to explain." Lilly said back as she finally found her phone. Then the words of Hank hit her again. 'Think on this - if you die tonight, your folks will never know what happened to you. They'll never know how dangerous things are here. And you won't be able to help them after the fact. Don't they deserve to know? No matter how hard it is?' Mentally Lilly cursed at herself and could not help but begin to fall back into the pit she was barely starting to claw her way out of as she realized yet another thing she had failed to do, and now there really was not time to do. At least not well. "I ne-"was all Lilly got out before her mother cut her off. "You are in no shape to go anywhere right now." said her mother, her voice taking a more firm tone. "You don't understand. I.." Lilly stopped speaking as she looked down at her phone in a bit of horror, her eyes transfixed on the date shown on the lock screen. "Oh my god! It's Tuesday?" she asked in shock. "They went t- I was suppos- I failed them... again." she murmmured as her shoulders slumped and she closed her eyes. "Who knows how many survived." "Survived? What are you talking about? Some big thingy in your D&D game?" Cassandra asked. "No it's not that. It more.. serious." Lilly sighed as she looked down at her phone through blurry eyes and unlocked it. "Lilly. I don't think you need to be concerned with that right now." said her mother as she reached for Lilly's phone, only for her daughter to move it away. "No!" she barked at her mother. "This is serious. Like, life and death serious and I was not there to help protect them." Lilly half-explained to her other as she began to look through her phone. She had, indeed, missed the fight. She was not there for her friends, again, even if it meant she would not be coming back. She was a failure once more. Bleary eyed she flipped through the group text messages. At least it seemed they had survived, which was a relief to Lilly, but she could not help but think about it confirmed what the man, Mr... Enterich? had said to her. Then she came to the most recent text, one from Devin, along with a voicemail from him not that long ago, "Hey, Lills. Haven't heard from you since Sunday, just worried. Hey, uh, look, if you get this, we're uh, meeting up at Marias tonight, seven o'clock. Everyone's a little worried, so, uh, don't be a stranger, yeah? Bring your mom and dad, it's kind of a confession thing... letting all parents know what's up. Neutral ground, no secrets or judgments. Hope to, uh-, hope to see you." She had to tell her parents now if she was going to go on with this, with her friends, no matter how useless she might seem. "Mom, you need to get Dad and we need to go to the hospital." Cassandra Pryor's eyes widened considerably. "No. It's not what you think. I'm not hurt or pregnant or anything. It's... there are some things you need to hear." "Wha?" Lilly sighed. This was it. The point of no return. If she told them everything and took them to the meeting, then they would be exposed and a part of what she had fallen into. But at least they would know. After everything she had done, they deserved that much at the very least. "Come on. I'll show you." Lilly say, flipping the covered off of her bare legs and slipping to her feet. "Lilly. What are you doing?" her mother asked as she hopped to her feet, trying to keep up with Lilly as she made her way briskly to the garage, passing her father who was downstairs on the phone. He hung up the phone and followed the pair in confusion and a bit of concern and relief for his old child. "Lilly. What are you doing?" he asked as she walked into the garage. Lilly had went to garage looking for something else, but there she found her pickup. One of her parents must have backed it in for her. Regardless of how it got there, it ought to do the trick. "I'm not like other people." she said as she walked to the back of her truck, squatted down and reached under the truck with one arm and stood up, lifting the back wheels of the truck several feet off of the ground. Her parents stood there, staring, their minds trying to understand what they were seeing. "My truck is over a ton and a half." she said with a sigh, lowering the truck back down. "I am not like other people, not anymore. And there are others too, and what I can do is nothing compared to what they can do." Lilly set the truck down and walks toward her parents, her hand filthy from the undercarriage of the truck. "I know it's a lot to take in, and this is just the surface. I.. We were supposed to do something last night, something big that was gonna save a lot of people. I guess they managed to do it, without me, but there is still a meeting tonight with these other people. It's for us and our parents, to ask and answer questions." "What? You're? Huh?" Cassandra asked, still confused by it all. "And where is this special meeting supposed to take place?" her father asked. "At the medical center. Well, kinda. We just need to go and you'll see." Lilly sighed. "Lilly, this is... and awful lot and it does not make any sense. You're asking us to-" her father said, somewhat more calm, at least outwardly, than his wife, before Lilly cut him off. "I know! I know it's a lot. They might even know what happened to me yesterday. I dunno, but you just have to believe me. Please." she said, ended with a plea as she looked to her father, letting him look into her bleary eyes. William Pryor looked deed into his daughter's eyes and then down at her hand before bringing his gaze to meet her once more. "Okay." he said calmly, almost emotionless. "Bill? What?" his wife asked in surprise as she took his hand. "We'll go. And then afterwards we are going to have a long talk, little lady." he clarified for his wife though he spoke to Lilly, his voce calm and controlled.
  11. Lilly stared at the man as he spoke, her eyes slowly growing ever wider as his words burrowed into her mind, finding that deep, down place where she buried her fears. A few had come near the surface when she had spoken with Hank, but they too had been sinking back into the depths, only to be dragged back into the light by Mr. Enterich. How he could know of the other things, the fears she had kept buried and never expressed to anybody, was not even a concern to her as the rest of the crowed seemed to fall away, darkened and desaturated into the background leaving just her and Mr. Enterich. "Wha-" was all she managed to stammer before she seemed to choke on her own words. She could call plays over the sounds of the crowds and the other teams' shouting on the field, but now her voice had left her, seeming much to the amusement of Mr. Enterich. She tried to lift her hands to cover her mouth, her face, but she couldn't. Her prodigious strength was stripped from her, Leaving her arms feeling like they were made of lead, while beneath her feet the ground began to feel like quicksand, making her feel ever smaller... weak... insignificant. Somehow she managed to stagger back a step from Mr. Enterich, her legs weak and shaky, but the space seemed to provide a hint of breathing room. She had to get away. Get away from him, from the crowd, from their eyes. She could see it now, how they looked at her and secretly judged her. Sure, they liked the football team winning, and if that meant they had to tolerate her for a couple of years, then they would, and once she had graduated, if she would even graduate, then they could stop giving her polite, forced smiles and fake support, because that is all they did... tolerate her... humor her. Nobody wanted here there, not really, but the backwater, redneck hicks were so obsessed with their stupid teenage football game, then they would bit their tongues for now and deal with the girl who acted like boy and probably wanted to be a boy. Who hadn't heard the steroid rumors? She had to get away. Forcing another backwards step, Lilly backed away a little more, only this time, instead of her foot finding more quicksand, she found solid ground. Wet, slippery, solid ground causing he foot to slip, sending her landing on her backside. A few people looked over, curious at what had happened, but could only see Lilly scrambling back to her feet and walk away briskly, on the verge of running, pushing her way through the people. Once she slipped past the outermost picnickers she scanned the area off to the horizon searching for some bastion of safety or escape route. The faded blue paint of her rusty, '57 Chevy pickup caught her eye almost instantly, even through the blurry wetness that was begging to set in. She found some more strength in her legs and propelled herself toward the tuck. Sliding to a stop beside the pickup, Lilly swung open the door and hopped in here she fumbled in the pockets of her short overalls for her keys and finally fished them out, stuck them in the ignition and brought the truck to life. With a jerk of the stick and a stomp of the gas pedal, the engine revved and the truck sped away. And the truck pulled on the road the usual rattling and bouncing was even more noticeable due to due to the silence coming from the old speakers of what passed for the sounds system in the pickup. Lilly glanced down at the tape deck through her blurriness encroaching her vision. She reached down and twisted with the volume knob to no avail. She ejected the tape and shoved it back in, but it has no effect. Lilly needed the music, or anything else for that matter, to try and distract her, to keep her from dwelling on the thoughts that were swelling in her head, breaking her down bit by bit, moment by moment. Frantically she fiddled the virtually antique tape deck, her panic frustration growing by the second, even resorting to hitting it with her fist, but nothing changed the unending silence that poured from the speakers which only made her own sobs and sniffles that much more pronounced. The lack of perpetually blaring 80's rock and metal made the silence more intense and made the cab of the truck feel even smaller, making her feel even more alone... or more alone than usual if she were honest with herself. Ever since she and her friends got their abilities it seems like they drifted farther and farther from her. Was it because she simply was not on their level and was, instead, more like dead weight to them? When they can red minds and teleport across the world and conjure ice and fire... what use was she to them? Even tonight, what could she really do? Punch The Dark in the face? No. That was ridiculous. The best she could hope for would be to take a hit for one of her friends, to die protecting the actually useful ones. Her abilities were nowhere on par with theirs. Fully exerting to lift a plough is nothing compared to Jase casually lifting his entire car with his mind just to tinker with it. So really, what good was she to them? They would give forced smiles and talk to her when she approached them, but when was the last one of her 'friends' called her to even hang out? She hear of them getting together for things, hanging out a Jase's, or the Jauntsen's, or wherever. But that was the thing. She always heard about later... The more she thought about them, the more Mr. Enterich's words seemed to ring true. The rest of the drive, even the day for that matter, all seemed to blur together. The silence of the drive back to the base made her feel even more isolated and alone and allowed her mind to dwell ever more intensely on Mr. Enterich's words, so that by the time she managed to reach the front gate of the base, she was a sobbing mess with tear streaked cheeks. She could remember the surprised and concern on the guard's face, parking by the shack, sitting in a little waiting room all alone, always alone as a guard made a call...
  12. "Excellent," Misti said with a smile that lacked and and all caring for the proceedings. "Well, as you all know, I'm Misti Jauntsen and this is my husband Carl. He's a Federal Wildlife Officer, and I work for the school's administration department, so I know you all quite well, if only by reputation," no one missed the side-eyed glance she offered to Gar, whose reputation as a drunk was not unknown. "While I'd love to say he and I have been fully able to grasp the happenings of the last few days, I unfortunately cannot. We've agreed to listen with as open of a mind as possible, considering some of the things we've seen," she offered her son a glance. "So, who wishes to start?" As their parents eyes fell on the twins the two looked around the table and smirked evilly and simultaneously. They leaned back in their chairs, Marissa crossing one leg the other and Devin resting an ankle on his knee. Devin shrugged. "Good question," he said. "Who would like to go first? We always used to, but now, it's not our circus-" "-not our monkeys." Marissa finished as the two sat and waited to see who would pick up the mantle of spokesperson for the Fellowship.
  13. Grim had listened to Dane's and Adrianna's tale with something approaching sympathy in his expression. Certainly, it sounded like Ty had made a terrible choice, and on the surface one that no true Aesir should make, and yet... And yet. The scion of Odin considered... That terrible choice, that shocking betrayal, had kept everyone else alive. Had kept Dane and Adrianna alive, and so led to the confluence of events that had them both here, now, when they were needed. The son of Tyr had, much like his father, sacrificed for the greater good, losing something dear to him so that the rest of what he held dear could be preserved. He had taken upon himself that horrible burden, so that others did not have to. And now he faced death at Dane's hand, the ultimate price for his actions. Grim wondered if he should intervene, perhaps try to talk Dane out of his course of action. Did he even have the right to do so? Perhaps he did. What would the vengeance, even if deserved, do to Dane? That survivor guilt, mingled with something close to kinslaying. What would be left of the happy, smiling son of Baldur that so got on Grim's nerves from his cluelessness? And if vengeance was denied, how would that eat at Dane? I am not my Father. I do not have his wisdom. Grim thought to himself, at a loss. Would he, in Ty's place, have done something similar? He hoped not. He would hope, perhaps, that he could come up with some cunning scheme, some trickery that would serve better as diversion. And at the worst, he would sacrifice himself, rather than others, to ensure that the majority survived. He hoped he would, at least. Perhaps that, if anything, was something he could condemn Ty for - not for sacrificing comrades in arms and friends, but for sacrificing others without being willing to put himself on the line. Perhaps, that is. For Grim did not know enough about Ty, or enough of his reasons on the day. The unwise man is awake all night, and ponders everything over; when morning comes he is weary in mind, and all is a burden as ever. Yeah. Not going to get anywhere thinking that over. It's tail-chasing, and I simply don't know en- A cough from Adrianna brought him out of his reverie, and he realised he was staring at - well, letting his eyes rest on - her shapely behind in the well-fitting (tight) jeans. The son of Odin didn't quite guiltily jerk his mismatched eyes up to meet the narrowed gaze of the daughter of Hades, but it did take every ounce of self control for him not to blush crimson and stammer out an apology like the schoolboy he, in fact, was. Instead, despite his cheeks going a little pink, he managed to merely blink and cleared his throat. "We need to get close to the ritual vessel and destroy it, scattering the gathered power. We need your medallion to send the three witches back to your Father's realm." he told her, trying to pretend he hadn't been unconsciously ogling her. His lips quirked in a crooked smile as he tilted his head, regarding Adrianna wryly. "In short, we're going to a party. Wanna come?"
  14. The large blonde paced for a moment, his blood boiling. Adrianna's grin didn't fade and she watch through the corner of vision, still talking on the phone. "She left us." Was all he said at first. "There were ten of us, after the warehouse attack, five of us were lost. There was just me, Adrianna, Erika, Ty and Kiki. We had nothing, no homes, money, food... and she left us. Daddy was the god of all the riches in the earth and she up and left us for three hots and a cots. We never saw her again after that and the others all just sort of went their own ways. The phone calls became less and less frequent, sometimes a text message... then, nothing. In the end, she didn't care about anyone but herself." "For two more years I was up and down the east coast, two years of scrounging, broken bones, sleeping in filth and wallowing in the muck while she enjoyed every comfort her rich daddy provided for her," he snapped at her, looking her direction as he spoke to Fisher. "She's no friend, she's a coward. She'll sell you out first chance she gets, especially if it wins her daddy's favor!" Adrianna crossed ten paces in five and all Fisher could was take a single step back in shock as her hand crossed Dane's cheek, the smacking sound loudly echoing in the air. Were it a lesser person, their head would have jerked to one side, but Dane's barely moved to the right. The Greek Scion flexed her fingers and shook her hand loosely, showing that it hurt her more than it hurt him. "You unbelievable asshole." If she was afraid of a reprisal, it didn't show. She stood face to face with him, both of them seething with anger. "I didn't leave you because of cowardice, it was guilt. If you had half a brain on those wolf-witted shoulders of yours, you'd have seen that!" "Explain." He growled through gritted teeth. "Zeus's beard, Dane... by eleven you could throw a city dumpster down an alleyway! Flip a car on its side! You were the warrior and shield that the others needed to survive against the Titans," she chuckled. "Think, for once... think! Ty needed you to remain as safe as possible! You would have fought every giant that day to your last breath because you don't know when to back down! Ty locked those others in the office to lure the giants away form us. They weren't trapped, Dane, they were bait. A distraction to thin the numbers so we could pull you out of there and escape..." Dane's expression went white as Adrianna's cheeks were dampened by a few rogue tears. "You're too sweet, to naïve. We couldn't tell you the truth, but it was us or them and Ty made a call. None of us agreed with it, but it was done and everyday after that the guilt of knowing that we left them there to..." she took a step away, wiping her eyes. "I just couldn't stay, Dane. Everyday looking at Ty and pretending like I didn't know what he did, what we did... we sacrificed five children... that's why everyone just sort of went their own way, Dane. After that day, after what Ty did, we just... we just couldn't anymore." The news obviously hit Dane like a piano from the thirtieth floor. "Why didn't you tell me the truth?" He finally asked, his tone softer, more calm but still on the precipice of rage. "Because you would have killed him," Adrianna replied. "Still am." Dane said grimly. "We do not sacrifice our own. We are loyal to the last. Brothers and sisters!" "That's why he did it and we didn't tell you. We're not all Aesir, Dane. We don't wake up and pour milk on our loyalty and courage crispies and thank Odin for another day to be stoic and boisterous. He saved us all, Dane," Adriana's eyes were obviously swirling with conflict. "I always knew it was wrong, but I could never deny that if he hadn't, we'd all be dead too. That's why I left Dane, I had to. The guilt was, and still does, tear at my insides." "But Ty is Aesir," Dane said coldly. "He should have known better. The son of Tyr is a dead man walking. You have me," he said with no measure of decency or emotion in his voice. "When we are done, I will hunt. Grimm and Fisher will tell you the details. I need to be alone." As Dane walked away the others considered for a moment giving chase. Adrianna finished wiping away her tears and composed herself. "Well, sorry you had to see that. I generally do not allow my dirty laundry to be aired amongst strangers. Guess that sort of... solved itself. I suppose you have me and my medallion for chargée d'affaires in all matters of the dead. What's the plan?"
  15. Fisher frowned at the poisonous nature of the words drifting between Dane and Adrianna. The question that had rested at the back of his mind was coming to the fore. Should he ask it though, given Dane's angered state? Well, yes, he had to. It was clear that the bad blood between the two was the obstacle between this deal they needed, and the harm the World faced if the seal broke could well be incalculable. And he could not bridge it, without understanding the source. "Dane, be honest with us." Fisher spoke softly, hands shoved in his pockets. "I have been honest." Dane growled at the scion of the Kami, his face taking on ever more a wolfish cast. "Yes, you have," Fisher agreed, whispering softly, "but you haven't told us everything. The way you told it, Adrianna took a big one for the team, to protect you guys. Sure, I could see she being pissed at you for ruining it by getting into the fight, but it certainly doesn't explain why you're at her throat." Fisher stared at Dane, non-judgemental but insistent. "So what happened afterward?"
  16. "No, it's not," Adrianna replied coolly, her eyes narrowing as she studied Grim and Fisher. She tapped her phone to her lower lip a few times before pushing herself off of her car with a rock of her hips. "The Nekiya belongs to Lord Zeus and I'm not about to get in the middle of a squabble between the Big Three. My father is interested in it, sure, but he'd not send me for it. Full disclosure, he's more interested in the individual that managed to spirit it away in the first place." "Dane," she said after a small pause. "What?" The child of summer asked with suspicion in his tone. She sighed and rolled her eyes. "No, genius. You. You are my bargain. If you want me to loan you my medallion and the secrets of use, which you need me for, then I want something of yours," she looked to Grimm. "Once I'm done with him I'll return him in... well, 'like-new' condition. A few extra miles, but you need me for a job and frankly, I have a few things coming up that could use a simple touch... or something simply touched." Her sarcastic grin fell on Dane. She seemed colder towards the Aesir, less professional and more spiteful which placed even more emphasis on their past. "Screw you, Addy." Dane growled through gritted teeth. "Don't call me that," she hissed back, then composed herself as she remembered that it was not just her and Dane present. She offered Fisher and Grimm a lift of her shoulders. "Those are my terms." Dane turned to the others. "We can do this without her, forget this." He seemed completely different than the usual, jovial stoner they'd all come to know as adrenaline and anger seemed to creep just under the surface of his skin. The pace of his breathing increased as well, along with his blood pressure as he appeared on the cusp of some sort of explosive outburst. The reason he was constantly stoned was becoming more and more apparent. "We can handle the problem without her. She's just like her dad, manipulative and greedy." Her chuckle at his harsh appraisal didn't go unnoticed. "Perhaps you need a few moments," they could tell she was enjoying this, but what was her angle? "I have a quick call to make. If you'll excuse me." She stepped away, evil smirk on her lips as she tapped the screen on her phone.
  17. Sean stared at his phone, head cocked in curiosity, having just finished a call with Brad Stanton, a rep with EA. The guy had been affable, enthusiastic, and maybe just the teensiest bit cagey with why he wanted to meet. Brad had known about Annwn, and had clearly played it from the way he talked, so his reasons might not just be about ReGenesis. Sean knew his curiosity wouldn't be sated without at least meeting the guy, so he had agreed to his offer of a business dinner at the Shelly Country Club on Friday. The only time he'd been there was a kid, when he'd tagged along with his dad when he'd been on a job. Sean had no illusions about appearing super professional or anything, but he didn't want to look like a complete schlub or the archetypal antisocial neckbeard, as it were. He'd have to see what he could scrounge up, probably reusing most of what he'd gotten for Charlie's funeral. While answering questions and comments on his game page, Sean tracked down Turing to give him a long needed good brushing and clipping of nails. His grey cat had been keeping himself scarce since Sean had used him as a test subject for one aspect of his powers. Turing accepted the brushing with dignified condescension. Sean didn't think he was forgiven yet. On the ReGenesis front, everything seemed to be going okay, though he had to firmly deny answering any questions asking about plot or hints for the game. He did have to walk one guy through the settings on his rig so that he could actually play the game. Sean wasn't even sure how the guy managed to mess up his computer that bad. Dinner was a rushed mish-mash, everyone finishing off leftovers from the last week as Sean went over what was going on. He had actually told his parents, well, his mom, anyway, almost everything, except for Jase's, er, heritage, and what Dr. Cook had told him, and he didn't explain about those now either. But he did add when they'd learned about Enterich. Laurie looked riled and scared and annoyed that she was scared. Carolyn looked concerned, Jack grave. The one bone of contention was when they started debating if Laurie should come to the meeting. Sean mentioned he was pretty sure no one else wasn't bringing siblings who weren't directly involved. Laurie stepped into his brother's personal space to leverage every inch of height she had on him, glowering down at him and grounding out she was directly involved - hell, Devin had even jaunted her to New Zealand. And other than Cade, nobody else even had a sibling who wasn't directly. Jack Cassidy reluctantly admitted Laurie had a point, even if he had to take a calming breath to avoid thinking what his youngest daughter and the Devin boy could have gotten up to in a foreign country. Sean and Carolyn had exclaimed, 'What?!' in various tones of surprise, concern, and totally not envy (Tolkien completely overrated). Laurie blushed, in embarrassment, self-recrimination at her blunder, and determination not to kept in the dark 'for her own safety'. The Dark was the danger in the first place! ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ The Cassidys rode to Marias Medical Center in Jack's work truck, a drive they had done often enough over the years due to Sean's medical condition. The atmosphere was more somber this time though. Walking through the Medical Center, Carolyn stopped to exchanged words with some of the staff she was friendly with, despite the exigency of the meeting they were there for. Sean slipped away to see how Sophia was doing, feeling a sense of shame and contrition. He was more than glad they'd been able to save her and Tawny. But it hurt that it had taken the depravity she'd suffered at Not-Cody's hands and the lost of Charlie for him to want to get over the painful grudge he'd held onto since she'd turned him down. Tired and wan, Sophia still offered him an exhaustedly snarky smile edged with traumatic experience, mildly surprised it wasn't one of the Jauntsens poking their head back in. "If you ask me out, I'm still gonna say no, Sean." Sean chuckled ruefully. "I'm not here about that." Sean ran his hands through this sun-touched crimson hair. "Just started to realize it's not good for me - or anyone else - to hold onto grudges and bitterness. Not with everything that's, y'know, going on." "Uh-huh." Sophia's sunken eyes brightened as she sat up a bit more in her bed. Smile edged towards a smirk. "And what about Courtney?" "Fuck Court-!" Sean sucked in a sharp sigh. He let it out slowly. "Look, it's a work in progress, okay? Just stopped by to see how you were doing. Not sure how long you'll be here, but thought I'd offer you a copy of my new game to pass the time." He tapped the laptop sitting at Sophia's side, an invisible digital spark passing through his fingers to the machine with a push of effort. "And if you want - not sure how my D&D game is going to go now, what with 'stuff' - I can fill in as guest DM for you for your group-" "My Irregulars. Holmes." "Better than The Fellowship," Sean admitted wryly.. "Anyway, offer's on the table while you recover. And after too, if you just need a break, or want on the other side of the DM Screen. What you running now,?" "I'll think about it," Sophia said, before talking more animatedly about her campaign, grateful for the distraction. Sean interjected with his own questions and comments, unconsciously delaying going to the meeting. There was history between them, and new and not pleasant experiences, but for a moment, it felt almost like old times when they had been friends and co-conspirators in RPGdom. Until his mother found him, giving his shoulder an insistent squeeze. She gave the girl a sympathetic look and regretful look. She knew Sean and Sophia had had a falling out. Though not knowing the particulars, she had a few guesses. "I hope you are recovering well, Sophia, dear, but I'm afraid I've got to steal my son back for something rather immediate." "Thanks, Mrs. Cassidy. I'm getting tired again anyway." She looked back to Sean. "I'll send you a link to my gaming notes. I'll listen to any ideas or suggestions you have, even if I don't take you up on the offer." "Alright. Later, Sophia." Heading towards the meeting, Carolyn idly asked her son, certainly not prying. "Offer?" "Mom!" Sean rolled his eyes. "It's just gaming stuff. God! She was dating Charlie." Carolyn blinked, feeling more than chagrinned at the revelation. That was a blunder. Her chagrin didn't relent when the Cassidy contingent entered the meeting room and found they were the last to arrive. Discomfited, she went around the table, making introductions to any she hadn't met before, Jack Cassidy taking it in his more habitual laconic stride. He worked for all sorts of folk. As long as they didn't try to cheat him on payment and treated his workers with a base modicum of respect, he could deal. He exchanged a few brief words with Ian Keane, seeing if he needed any help with flipping or fixing up a house, while Carolyn remarked on how good Gar was looking, and how trials could bring out the best in someone. Then the Cassidys took their seats between the Jauntsens and the Bannons, Jack next to Carl, followed by his wife, Laurie, and Sean next to Jase. "Apologies for running late," Carolyn said sincerely, though she didn't offer an explanation for why. "If we haven't missed the opening round, how shall we start?"
  18. Attunement, Corruption, & Radiance (Shine) Under the standard rules in Aeon, those with Psi can use Attunement (Psi + Highest Mode) to detect Psi, bioware and Psi powers being used within their radius. The presence of Corruption also causes those with Psi to experience discomfort, described as pressure behind the eyes or an oily, slick sensation in their heads. Attunement cannot detect Talents or Superiors. For Weirder Stuff, the cosmology changes a little and thus so does the way Attunement works. Corruption and the powers of the Corrupted come from the Dark, and the powers of the PCs and those like them come from Radiance (colloquially known as Shine). As a result the following house rules apply: All those empowered by Radiance can feel the presence of Corruption when it is close at hand, even Talents and Superiors, though they will experience it as a feeling of vague unease or wrongness, perhaps easily missed or dismissed as something else, rather than a defined physical sensation as the Psions do. Psions can detect Superiors (who feel like strong unfocused sources of Radiance) and Talents (who feel like more diffuse versions of Superiors) with the same roll they'd use to detect Psi or bioware. Superiors and Talents can detect Psions if they are very close or touching them - it feels like pleasant electricity, warmth or coolness, a prickle on the skin. Superiors and Talents can feel each other’s presence if touching and they know what to focus on - something that comes from practice rather than random discovery. How Talents and Superiors affect Attunement Links: Talents give an enhancement to all Psi uses that reflect their primary Facet, at a rate of +1 enhancement per dot. Each such use of this ability drains 1 Inspiration. Superiors are raw power reserves of Radiance. They affect Psi rolls much as Quantakinetics do when in a link, but can only do this Stamina+ Health Levels times in a given scene before becoming Taken Out and falling unconscious. Superiors and Talents cannot receive buffs through Attunement - the ability to draw on such a link is Psion-only.
  19. By the time Cassandra got in, her mom was already home for a change. She'd taken most of the afternoon off, since she'd have had to have left a bit early anyway. Thus, Cassie was greeted with a distracted, 'Hey kiddo,' from the living room, which startled her for a second. "Hey mom," she said back as she cruised past the living room on the way to her bedroom. Her tone was an excruciatingly well-practiced nonchalance, that formed an almost solid and concrete impression of a perfectly ordinary day, in which nothing particularly important happened and certainly nothing worthy of concern or discussion... And Teresa accepted it at face value largely out of habit. Bacon, however, wasn't having it. The dog was up off the floor in front of the couch like a shot, weaving expertly around the coffee table and interposing himself between Cassandra and the door to her room. His ears perked forward and he wagged his tail...but the whine escaping him was tense and anxious. Cass kneeled down and cooed, "Aww, what's the matter? Mom watching scary movies? Do you need a hug? Animal protective services?" She did reach out to give Bacon a hug; the german shepard being big enough to make such a gesture possible. The moment she touched him though, Cassandra froze. Worried. Bacon was worried about her, worried sick. She wasn't well, she wasn't right, and unbidden in her head she could see...well no, not see...but she could smell something rising up...a smell like sweat, only a little worse. Salty, sour, dank. Her brain instinctively tried to turn it into a picture, and what she came up with was a dark old basement that had been made into a locker room but then abandoned after murders had taken place there. The smell of fear, but not just any fear...the slow kind of fear. The rot that ate you from inside. The sudden realization that it was her smell brought her up short, and she yanked her hands away from the dog. Bacon whined again, his tail thumping the floor, and he pressed the top of his head against her neck and chin. For a second Cassandra was back in the Dark. Skulls crunched under her feet, and it wasn't a dog pressing against her. It was something else, fleshy and tumorous, biting at her with teeth that had no business being where they were... With a horrified yelp she scooted backwards away from Bacon, managing to catch herself on the heels of her hands so she didn't just flop over onto her back. Teresa looked up, and immediately felt a stab of not just unease, but fear...and for some reason, guilt? That made no sense though, so she stuffed that away and got up. "Are you okay? What happened? Did Bacon trip you? Even asking it though she could tell that wasn't it. The body language was wrong. Everything was wrong. "Cassandra?" she asked. "No," Cassie said as her breath returned. "I'm f..." she broke off, unable to say the word she'd intended. She wasn't fine. Bacon's big anxious eyes bored into her, and seeing herself in them she couldn't say the word. "I, uh...I just...had a second there... I felt scared even though there was no reason for it.It was just Bacon though." It was on instinct more than anything that Teresa leaned down to give Cassandra a hug. Instantly she knew it was the right thing to do, because her daughter immediately turned to return it, her arms unexpectedly tight. "Do you want to talk about it?" Teresa asked gently. "Can't right now," Cassie demurred. "Meeting. Maybe later?" "There's still plenty of time before the meeting," pointed out her mother. "No pressure or anything. Just...whenever you want to. Okay?" But when Cassandra decided to let go, she couldn't. So instead she said, "Actually...maybe now's good." Then Cass took a deep, shivery breath and went on, "I need tell you about what happened the other night. And...when I do, I just...just please keep remembering that we made it out okay. It's over, it's done..." A flash of Enterich's face popped into her mind, smirking. Over and done, are we? What a relief. We wouldn't want to have to go through that again. Even with as much time as they had, they were almost late to the meeting. =========== On getting to the conference room, Cassandra realized there wasn't really a place left to sit that wasn't near the Jauntsens. She went up to the seat by Dana, and her mother took the one between her and Misti. Cassie didn't say anything, or meet many eyes as she came in. A sharp eye might have seen a little bit of puffiness around them that implied some tears had been shed. Teresa, on the other hand, gave everyone a reserved smile as she went around to her seat and said, "Hello, I hope we didn't hold everyone up. We got off to a little bit of a later start than we'd hoped to...some last minute family business came up. Under the table she reached over to give Cassandra's hand a squeeze. She'd suggested just canceling, but Cass had been rock solid firm that they had to go to this. There wouldn't be a make-up day if they missed this exam. Cass returned the squeeze and then got up to get some water for herself and her mom just ahead of when the meeting started for real.
  20. The Bannons had retaken their seats as the Keanes settled in across from them, Gar smiling a little over at Autumn's family before glancing at Jase, who'd once more assumed a relaxed, almost deliberately slovenly slouch in his chair, only the faint warming of his eyes as they rested on Autumn opposite him any indication he was paying attention to anything. The door opened again, admitting Captain Williams and Kat. The soldier looked around at the gathering with a professional eye and a tight, in sincere smile and nod as he moved behind his daughter, who herself looked nervy and ready to bolt as she took in the assembled parents and the emotional texture of the room. For a telepath it was tense here, clouds of of suspicion, angst and lingering hostility floating around, flickering with lightning, and she didn't want to advance any further into it than she had to. "Hey guys." she said, giving everyone a shoulder-high wave as she pulled out the seat nearest the door, the one on Annette's right. Between the calm of the Aeon woman and the warm concern of Gar Bannon, and beyond him the utter frozen lake of Jase, she felt that this was likely the least turbulent spot in the room - as well as closest to the door if she needed to bolt. Her dad took the seat beside her, nodding to Gar and offering a handshake and murmured greeting as a message ping went off from the diminuitive French girl's phone. Flushing as she drew stares, she glanced at the message from Courtney, tapped out a reply, and thumbed her phone to 'silent' before tucking it back in her pocket and looking around at faces, waiting for the meeting to begin.
  21. “Is there anything else you want to tell us?” Ian asked soberly, glancing up as the soft, rhythmic sound of bare feet descending the stairway stopped at the sound of his voice. Dana, likewise, looked up from her plate of half-finished spaghetti expectantly. It had been nearly an hour since Jason had brought their daughter home, almost half of which she’d spent in the shower after reminding them about the meeting at the medical center and chasing the dogs around the yard to burn off some nervous energy. “Go Take A Hike!” the pink-cheeked girl’s bright blue t-shirt cheerfully suggested, and knowing more or less which families were meant to be in attendance, the older redhead wondered idly if the choice of attire was deliberate. Autumn paused at the foot of the stairs, her towel and still-damp hair draped over her shoulders, one hand reaching automatically downward to rub the top of Zephyr’s head as the golden-furred Shepherd mix padded over to greet her. It was a loaded question, of course. What her father really meant, she knew from experience, was: “Is there anything you’d like to confess now, before we hear it from someone else?” She’d already told them some things, sure- not about what happened with the Marshal-Formerly-Known-As-Dale, obviously, or the whole Coyote/Man in Black thing, or the fact that her boyfriend was apparently, maybe, an interdimensional alien, or about the Crossroads prison conspiracy- but the immediate stuff. Things they’d actually needed to know. Priorities. And since no one had ever bothered discussing anything specific that they didn’t want discussed, Autumn had a feeling it was going to get pretty tense. “The short answer,” she replied after a moment’s uncertainty, visibly uncomfortable at the quiet scrutiny of her parents from the adjoining room, “is ‘yes.’ Probably,” she amended quickly. “But, honestly, that’s why we’re going to this thing in the first place. So much has happened in the last week or so, I couldn’t cover everything if I wanted to. There’s stuff I don’t remember, or didn’t think was really important, or wouldn’t be able to tell you without getting into a whole other conversation just to explain how we even got to that point. Plus, some of it happened before I even got involved. And… some of it’s not my business to tell you anyway,” the earnest teen hedged, acknowledging the promise she’d made to them at the Carousel. “So this way you get to hear all that kind of firsthand: who everyone is, what’s been going on. Just…” Smiling slightly at the feeling of a cool, wet nose pressed against her palm, Autumn focused for a moment on the dog at her feet, kneeling down to rub a happily squirming Zee’s neck and shoulders vigorously with both hands. “Just try to keep in mind that, um.” That all of this is crazy, and so are most of the people involved? “Some of it’s gonna be a lot to deal with, and I’m not really sure how much everyone else has told their families, you know? So… expect chaos.” “Fantastic,” her father sighed, shaking his head as he tore off another bite of garlic bread and Dana poured herself another half-glass of wine. A little later... “…I’m just saying, we don’t really know what kind of people these-“ There was a moment’s pause as their escorts stepped away and Ian stopped in the doorway of the conference room, blue eyes quickly taking in the measure of the room’s occupants. “Oh.” The conversation he’d been having with his wife ended abruptly on that awkward, monosyllabic exhalation as he realized that some of the people he was referring to were already present. “Evening,” the entrepreneur added after taking a heartbeat to recover, smiling affably and continuing through the door as Dana and Autumn followed him in. “Ah, you must be-“ “Annette Giles,” the poised Aeon representative replied, rising smoothly from her seat as the Keanes approached and the traditional handshakes and parental courtesies were observed. “Of course, of course,” Ian nodded, still smiling. “Autumn’s told us…” The smile turned wry as he glanced over at his daughter, the dry sarcasm of his tone unmistakable. “So much about you. And this is my wife, Dana, and this-“ “Dad,” the younger redhead murmured in bemused exasperation, nudging her father with her elbow. “She knows who I am.” “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Giles,” the elder Keane woman interjected with a smile, clasping Annette’s hand warmly in her own as Autumn and Ian exchanged a quick flurry of playful nudges and hushed exhortations to quit playing around. “The pleasure is mine.” Her reply seemed genuine enough, as far as Ian could tell, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on the faint accent that marked it. “Please, make yourselves comfortable while we wait for the others.” Ian nodded, turning back to the few other folks arrayed around the table, glancing from the Allisters to the two men sitting with their backs to the door, and then the well-dressed foursome at the far end of the room from Annette Giles. Were there really enough kids involved to require that many empty chairs? he wondered, approaching the older man seated nearby. “Hi, I’m-“ He stood there for half a second, hand extended as he caught sight of the lanky, slouching figure he’d somehow missed before, and realization dawned. “He’s my dad,” Autumn supplied helpfully as she ducked around his arm, smiling at Gar and, beyond him, at the remote youth sitting next to him. “Ian. And this,” she indicated the taller, svelte redhead who likewise offered the Bannons a smile, “is my older sister. Ow!” She complained, grinning even as she rubbed the spot on her side where Dana had pinched her. “My mom. Dana. Mom, Dad, this is Jase’s dad, Gar Bannon.” "Nice to meet you at last." Gar had risen from his seat a trifle awkwardly, as though he hadn't expected the courtesies, but his smile was genuine as he took Ian's hand in a firm clasp and shake. The differences in manner were noticeable between his nervous warmth and his son's composed, though equally genuine faint smile-and-nod of greeting to the Keane clan. "Likewise." Autumn's father said by way of introduction as he returned the handshake. He'd heard around town that Gar was a drunken bum and a bit of a nut, but the hazel eyes were clear and alert, the face was shaved and hair was combed, and he was dressed in standard Montana-casual of plaid shirt and jeans rather than the 'prepper chic' of Army surplus clothing Ian had been half-expecting. Beyond him, Jase unwound from the chair he'd been inhabiting and stood. Ian looked at him. "Good to see you're okay, Jase." he remarked, a heartfelt enough statement. Sure, the kid was odd, unnerving and, worse, was dating his little girl, but Ian didn't actually wish him ill. Dana moved forward and shook Gar's hand, still smiling, as Ian stepped back. "Autumn's told us a little about you." she confided. "Thank you for making her welcome at your place." "She's a real pleasure to have around." Gar replied, his smile widening a little as he winked at the younger redhead, who smiled widely through her faint blush. Dana cast an amused doubtful glance at both of them, but said nothing as she stepped a little past Gar and gave Jase a quick hug. "I'm glad you're okay too." she told the lean young man, studying the scar that ran from over his ear down his cheek. It looked months old - Autumn's 'gift' at work undoubtedly - but was still noticeable against the bronze-olive tan of his face. "Thanks." Jason replied, giving her a slight smile, the corners of his eyes crinkling a little, as Dana stepped back. His pale jade gaze found Autumn, the smile still lingering in his eyes. "Hey." he said to her softly. “Hey,” the freckled vitakinetic replied quietly, the faint rose in her cheeks deepening by degrees, and it was only the light pressure of her father’s hand on her shoulder that reminded her where she was. Tearing her attention away from the frosty green eyes that threatened to swallow her where she stood, Autumn nodded politely at the Jauntsens, her enthusiasm dimming slightly as the older Keanes likewise offered the somewhat infamous family a cordial- if distant- smile and wave of greeting. Carl and Misti reciprocated with the faux-friendliness of experienced socialites; if Autumn hadn't seen their behavior at the hospital first-hand, she realized, she probably wouldn't have known they weren't sincere. Gently, but inexorably, her parents steered her back towards Annette, pausing for a moment to once again observe the obligatory semi-formal ritual of greeting with the Allisters. Ducking away from the guiding paternal hand, Autumn continued around the table a little further before taking the seat directly opposite Jase and settled in, waiting for her less-impatient family to catch up. They were still missing the Cassidys, Allens, and... Barrases? Was that right? Slipping her cell phone from her pocket she frowned a little, scrolling through her contacts as her toes skimmed the floor. “Really?” Ian murmured a trifle archly as he sat next to his daughter, earning a bemused smile and shrug from Dana as she took the chair to Autumn’s left. “Really,” the youngest of the Keane trio confirmed, switching her phone to vibrate and placing it face-down on the table.
  22. "Far as I know, ma'am," Devin answered Cade's mother with one of the first times any of them had heard him sound respectful to an adult. "Apparently, blindly opening a cross-dimensional portal and pulling nine people through it ruptures every blood vessel in my body." He shrugged nonchalantly and chuckled. "Who knew, right? I feel like went an entire practice against everyone on the football team without any pads on, but aside from that I think we're okay." "I'm not sure whether it's stubbornness, our powers or pure tenacity that keeps up all stitched together, Mrs. Allister," Marissa added, looking up from her phone. "Physically, it seems I'm healing faster than I should, so there's that. Mentally and emotionally, however... well, I was almost swallowed whole and torn to pieces by Lovecraft's illegitimate children. But respectfully, how does the medical profession define the term 'healing as it should' after one is almost torn apart by other-dimensional monsters?" "It's a bit stressful," Devin cut in, before his sister's words got to scathing or had a chance to be sharpened to a fine edge. "We've a lot on our plate right now and we've barely slept, let alone had a chance to rest or recuperate for days now. There's always something everyday we have to do or someone we have to save or somewhere we have to be..." "It's called growing up, dear," Misti happily cut in with a honed edge of matronly sarcasm. Marissa rolled her eyes as Devin's narrowed. "Is it?" Davin asked. "Just out of curiosity how many ancient dark gods have you and dad had to take on your professional, adult lives? Hmm?" He leaned in like he was listening for something he wasn't hearing. "Is that a 'none'? Yeah, don't confuse being in the bleachers with a lost of good play ideas for actually being on the field. We're not pulling down nine-to-fives, Mom-" "-we're almost being bitten in half. We're being shot at, we're damn near killing our selves every time we push our abilities because everything out there," Marissa pointed to the door. "Is ancient, powerful and evil and we're a bunch of high schoolers who by all accounts shouldn't even be out there having to do it... but we are," her words were hiding the growing flood of emotions she was keeping in check behind her robust levy of composure. "And we're doing it to keep you and everyone else safe. So please, stop with the patronizing 'growing up' crap." "It's not 'growing up', Mom," Devin's words were calm and compassionate as his voice emulated the caring tones of someone trying to make another understand. "It's duty. We were born for this. We're the only ones who can do it. We don't like it sometimes, sure, or even each other... but if we don't hold the line no one else can. There won't be anyone else who can protect you or Shelly or the rest of the world. It just," he shrugged. "Is what it is."
  23. Ian Allister's eyes narrowed, It wasn't that he didn't agree, there were other things he could be doing as well, but still. He knew about Cade taking Marissa fishing, and looked to his son, who shook his head. That was left best unsaid. Cade looked over at Devin and shrugged. "It's abit annoying, but at least it's fairly predictable. The others will be here." When He met Marissa's gaze after hearing her nickname, he knew with grim certainty that if he ever tried to call her that, or probably even said the word around her, she'd end him in the most painful methods she could devise. He looked at Carl and Gar, and nodded. "Lake Elwell is still probably the best fishing nearby that's not someone's private pond. Though it's a long haul one way if you wanna fish the eastern part of the lake, and most of the west requires an offroad to get near, or you go up the river." He shrugged. "I have a couple friends from the track team that caught some great pike and half an ice chest of bass and bream on their last trip about four days ago." While Mr. Bancroft's pond was the main place he fished, he did go elsewhere, and he tried keeping up with what was being caught. Ian looked to to Cade. "That sounds like a good trip. Maybe it's time we go there." Cade nodded, but it was Miyakko who spoke. "You should take Haruka, she hasn't gotten to go on any of your fishing trips lately." She looked around at the kids, and asked, quietly. "It may be none of my business, so forgive me, but Are all of you alright? You had many injuries before, is everything healing as it should?" As head nurse at the facility, and in general, she was used to caring about the well-being of others. She remembered with a certain horror how they all looked when they got back, and since she'd heard nothing about it, she was taking the chance to at least ask them if they were alright. She knew about Jason's injury, and it at least seemed to have healed, though there was a scar.
  24. In the interim the twins tapped away on their phones, sliding through their social media accounts, and pausing only to lean to the other to angle their phones to smirk or chuckle at each other’s choice of memes. They spoke quietly amongst themselves in hushed tones, sharing with each other their opinions of the content but by and large kept to themselves. While his children made small-talk Carl leaned over a bit and addressed Gar as quietly as one could across the Arthurian-sized round table. “Hey,” he opened, getting Gar’s attention in a voice that was not particularly low. As silent as the room was, even the twins’ hushed conversations about Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa and the direction of their music. “You and Hank end up with anything over at Verden the other day?” Gar shook his head. “Hank’s good at hearing about the ‘best spots’, not so good at hearing about the ones that actually have fish in them.” Both men chuckled. “I appreciate what you did the other day, by the way. I knew I had re-applied.” Carl offered a dismissive curl of his lip and waved a hand. “Eh, two days is nothing. There are bigger crimes in the world than a two-day expired license. Oh, I talked to Tammy, too, she cleared it all up. Your new application was on the bottom of the stack. They’d bumped several locals down to process al the new licenses for that small mouth tourney coming up.” “That’s right,” the gruff man nodded, his finger bouncing along to the invisible thought in his mind. “Forgot about that. You managed to talk Tammy into bumping up an application? People been trying to get her to do that for years.” He mused. “Her daughter is sweet on Devin,” Carl smirked. “That helped. The rest is smiling despite wanting to unholster my sidearm and end myself.” Gar nodded with another chuckle. “Yeah, she can be a handful.” “Try Holden’s Hollow,” Carl tapped his finger on the table. “Busted a few guys there about a week back and they were dragging in bucket loads. About eleven-hundred in fines all told.” “Was it edible?” He asked. Carl offered a shrug. “Got me. I don’t fish. I’ve kept my interest more in the regulations than the sport-” “-or pulling disgusting, unwashed things from the water when you can get them filleted and clean from the store.” Marissa chimed up with a look of disgust in her expression. Her distaste for nature and things that happened outside the radius of her WiFi connection were nigh legendary. “Thank you, Monkey.” He smiled but didn’t look back his daughter, who wouldn’t have seen him anyways through her phone as she fumed at his calling her his pet name for her that she thought was retired when she was... six. "She’s not really an outdoorsy type.” “I gathered,” Gar politely nodded and decided not to press the matter as Marissa’s eyes darted from Jason to Cade and then narrowed in suspicion as they were the only ones present who knew she’d been taken fishing. “Yes, well,” Misti interjected in a volume that filled the small room swiftly. It appeared that there was warm conversation taking place and that could lead to people possible be cordial and pleasant with one another and the black void that pumped ice-water through her veins just couldn’t cope with that possibility. “We’ve certainly better things to do than sit here in silence all night.” She was addressing no one in particular, but it seemed like Annette was intended to take the brunt of it as this meeting place was what she’d offered. “If the others are not going to bother to show up, I see no reason to waste our time-“ “You get used to it,” Devin mused with an eye roll and a chuckle as he scrolled his phone, never bothering to address anyone specific. “It's like this every time. That’s why I wanted this at the house, so when they ghosted us, we weren’t stuck with a drive home. Cassie’s probably out taking pictures of raccoons in Bunnee’s garbage and in a few moments, she’s going to realize ‘oh my god, that was today?!’ and start peddling as fast as she can. Kat’s was most likely on her way but saw a butterfly and wandered out into the wilderness, and Sean doesn’t show up to anything unless Jason personally drags him to it. Autumn is just late for everything. We’re fairly sure that’s her superpower.” “I thought you were exaggerating, Devin, dear.” Misti sighed in frustration. “But so far, I concur: they do appear hopeless.” “Told you.” Marissa said with a huff, never taking her here eyes from her phone. "'Five more minutes," their mother said calmly, but matter-of-factly. "Then we either begin, or we're leaving."
  25. Our annual free brochure is now available in PDF on DriveThruRPG: Onyx Path 2021-2022 Publishing Brochure! Dare To Walk The Onyx Path This brochure contains: An intro letter from Rich Thomas, founder of Onyx Path Publishing, that describes the Onyx Path business model and how the company is moving forward with new projects.A look at the Onyx Path Publishing projects by game line.Art previews from upcoming books and more! An Onyx Path Con Update We’re currently in the middle of this year’s Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Con! Check that site for more information on this weekend’s panels and actual plays. While we normally make announcements during the “What’s Up With Onyx Path?” panel later today, Matthew is not going to be able to make it, so Rich gave him permission to spill some beans about projects he’s working on during the Opening Ceremonies. The full name of the upcoming “They Came From [CLASSIFIED]” is…. They Came From [CLASSIFIED]. It brings the unique style of the They Came From! games to the 1960s spy genre. More information can be found in the brochure.The next game in the Trinity Continuum is Trinity Continuum: Aether. War of the Worlds, Sherlock Holmes, extraordinary gentlemen exploring strange other realms. Let the speculation commence! Those seeking more information might want to join us for the Trinity Continuum panel later today at 4:30 pm EDT, or the They Came From! panel on Sunday at 10:00 am EDT, both on our Twitch channel.
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