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Everything posted by Sean Cassidy

  1. Champion's Field, The Carousel - Before Noon Jack and Carolyn Cassidy strode through Champion's Field, their fingers interlaced with easy camaraderie, giving off the vibe of a pair of high school sweethearts who had made it through the hump of time and experience to find their affection had grown deeper without having to show it with feigned or overabundant PDA. They hadn't been high school sweethearts, though they had known each other in high school. Rather, they had gotten together when Carolyn was in college and Jack had been finishing his carpentry apprenticeship, after a messy falling out with a mutual loved one they hadn't talked about since that time. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, early morning chill already long faded with the promise of greater warmth throughout the day. Jack wore a Billings Bulls cap with a deeply curved brim to keep the sun off his head, sandy blond hair buzzed short ever since he started balding. Carolyn let her hair hang loose, once as rich a red as her son's and youngest daughter's, now faded to a strawberry blond with sun and age. They had a quiet sense of pride about the Carousel as they idly wandered the grounds with no concrete destination or path in mind. Jack had donated labour and materials to built several of the food stalls, designed for easy set-up and take down, and for the siding that protected The Carousel during the off season. And Carolyn had donated time with managing the finances for one of Toole County's non-profits that organized funds to maintain the restored the classic 1936 Carousel. The Carousel hadn't been their dream, but they were glad to have helped make it come true. It helped alleviate their concern for their odd son and all they had he revealed to them. There was something going on with him, they could tell, but not precisely what. Sean was a private sort, and they had generally left him to his own devices as much as he could. Lately, they had noticed a change in Sean, an easing acceptance to his condition, rather than the discomfiture, dissatisfaction, and resignation that he used to vacillate between, even if there was an edge to that acceptance they couldn't quite define. Jack exchanged nods or a few words with various students and ex-students he had hired to work with him during the summers over the years. One, who had graduated three years ago tried to hand him a resume, which Jack refused with a good natured laugh. Salt of the earth he might be, but even he usually only accepted resumes online and had a standard form to fill out. He did arrange an on the job interview in a few days time for him though. He'd been getting more work of late and could use more all year help with his general contracting business. Carolyn chatted with several friends she saw in passing, a few who were also reasonable parents on the PTA. Laurelai, her hair a deeper red than her mother's, her face less freckled, stalked ahead of her parents wearing her football jersey and a leash wrapped around her left hand, an irritated energetic bounce to her steps. Sean had taken off to Great Falls with Jason this morning before she had the chance to tag along, and Teagan had cancelled - Again! - saying she couldn't make it off base. And she knew the Fellowship had something going on today or tonight - she'd been practicing her observational skills - but not what. Laurie's spritely mahogany and white pygmy goat Rascal pranced along at his mistress' side with cheerful mischievousness, snagging bites of lavender cotton candy whenever Laurie let her arm swing low. A few wisps of it clung to the side of his mouth, which only served to draw even more attention than his adorableness already did and which Rascal accepted as his due. The youngest Cassidy sibling stopped to speak with the Heath sisters for a while, finding out that Lilly had returned, and making a mental note as to why Sean hadn't mentioned it. When she jogged to catch up to her parents, she got interrupted by Ryan Andersen. He was a guy in her grade, about her height, but if anything, even skinnier. And it seemed like he had never shaved yet, wisps of blond hair as fine as the cotton candy in her hand curling around his lips and chin. He was kinda awkward, kinda obliviously entitled, but not really a bad guy, even if any girl with at least a modicum of good looks knew he had a tendency to stare. "Oh! Hey! Hey! Laurie?" He called out as he rushed from between a pair stalls as he saw her passing by. "Yes, Ryan?" "Hi." Social greeting completed to his satisfaction, Ryan immediately proceeded to what was really concerning him. "ReGenesis looks awesome. Can you get a game key for it from your brother and give it to me?" "I probably can," Laurie admitted with an exasperated roll of her eyes. "But Sean isn't giving out game keys to anyone, not even reviewers, and especially not anyone who claims to be an influencer or who boasts about his five hundred subscribers on YouTube." Laurie gave him a pointed look. Ryan blinked, Teflon to her snark. "Jim Fines got a test copy, only because Sean is friends with him online." "So.... yes?" "No." "Oh." Ryan blinked again, then nodded. "That's okay. I'll just pirate it when they break the protection." Laurie's lips curved in a private smirk. She seen Sean's coding, even if she couldn't make any sense of that. "You do that, bud. He calls his game data protection and encryption Keelhaul. Make sure you read the user agreement. Later, Ryan." Laurie skipped adroitly around Ryan and Rascal gave him a headbutt to the knee which nearly buckled the fifteen year old to the ground, sticking his tongue out at him as he trotted after his mistress. As Laurie caught up to her parents, the Keanes were arriving to Champion's Field. Jack gave Ian a nod in greeting as the Cassidys ambled over. Jack and Ian were acquaintances, Jack having been hired by Ian or on his clients' behalf to fix up property for living or flipping. The Cassidy women waved. "It's been a while, Ian," Jack said. "You and your ladies need any help unloading?"
  2. Now available in advance PDF from DriveThruRPG: Terra Firma for Trinity Continuum: Æon! Bleeding Edge Dangers and Ancient Mysteries! Terra Firma expands the setting of Trinity Continuum: Æon by revealing some of the many wonders and secrets found on Earth and Luna, while also providing Storytellers with the material they require to set exciting campaigns on either of these two worlds. Terra Firma requires both the Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook and Trinity Continuum: Æon to play. Inside, you will find: Further information about 10 nations previously discussed in Trinity Continuum: Æon, including a detailed look at an important city in each nation. Details on threats facing Earth, including revolutionary movements, dangerous cults, and criminal gangs. An exploration of some of the strange, and often deadly, mysteries found on Earth and Luna — from the ancient and terrible Gorgon Karst caves beneath eastern Europe to the bizarre Hadley Rille Anomaly on Luna. New technologies used on Earth, examples of the many strange and powerful relics of the Nova Age, as well as new Edges and Paths specifically for the inhabitants of Earth and Luna. Merch Also available: posters and art prints of the Trinity Continuum: Æon cover art! Kickstarter Update The Kickstarter for Scion 2nd Edition Book 3: Demigod is halfway through! We funded to 100% in 75 minutes, 200% in less than 12 hours! We’re currently at 313% of our $35,000 goal, or $109,625, thanks to our 1758 backers (just inches away from the next stretch goal), and we’ve hit several stretch goals: Scion: Demigod Reference Screen Scion: Demigod Companion: New Boons, new creatures, new Guides, new followers Backer T-shirt Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: Legendlore Vampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood Gods Mage: The Ascension: Technocracy Reloaded Chronicles of Darkness: The Contagion Chronicle Chronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The Renegades Chronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition Chronicles 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: Your 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: Scion: Divine Garage Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  3. At this writing, the Scion: Demigod 2e Kickstarter is almost at the half-way point and we’re over 300% funded and have over 1700 backers. Not bad at all for half-way! Of course, we’re also in the slow-down period for a bit coming up, so keep an eye out for the previews, actual plays, and interviews we have scheduled to keep everyone entertained until pledging picks up again! Fun fact: the joint Kickstarter for Scion: Origin and Scion: Hero launched in September, 2016 – four years ago! Also, as of this writing, we have attained Stretch Goals including unlocking the Reference Screen, KS backer exclusive T Shirt discount, and are building up the Scion: Demigod Companion with sections on new Boons, creatures, Guides, and followers – and are headed towards the next goal of a section on Solo Play! Stretch Goals are something we continue to tinker with, and we’ve found that doing an overflow book like many of the Companions is really ideal. Backers get access to even more info about the game they pledged for, and we can create goal thresholds that are chapter-sized and therefore priced to such amounts that are achievable more quickly. Which makes the fun of surpassing an amount and achieving a Stretch Goal regular things backers can look forward to. But we still also look at other possible goals if the KS can support them with the pledges. Pay bumps for creators is a personal favorite of mine, and some of our crew like Jumpstarts or Fiction, too. And sometimes ideas for Stretch Goal rewards come at us from backers or other sources. We’re always open to hearing ideas. Terra Firma art by Sam Denmark What we do try to stay away from these days are Stretch Goal rewards that involve adding new material to the book being KS’d, as we’ve seen that derail getting that main reward out to backers by months and months. I’m also extremely leery of rewards that involve working with another company, at this point. It’s a question of expectation by our backers. We pretty much always phrase the reward to say that the reward means that we’ll work with the other company to create whatever it is they are creating. Then we do that, and after we do, the company, for all sorts of reasons, doesn’t deliver. We did our part, but folks feel like they simply didn’t get the reward that they were looking forward to. We don’t want that to be anybody’s takeaway from one of our KSs, so I’m avoiding those sorts of rewards for now. Just today, we received word that Paradox is good with the preview of the WoD Ghost Hunters Kickstarter we sent over, so that’ll be our next one! This is for the 20th Anniversary WoD books, so expect a cool Deluxe book all about investigating the paranormal in the World of Darkness. This book would go with the V20, W20, M20, C20, and especially the Wraith20 game lines. TC: Aberrant art by Jeff Rebner Some Things We Discussed at the Meeting Today: (For what it’s worth as an inside look at the meeting, most of the topics I usually put here as having been discussed during the meeting come from the first part of the meeting where general company issues are brought up and discussed. After that we review the status of the projects that fall under each in-house developer’s supervision and note any concerns based on how the in-house devs have seen things happen with their projects all last week.) We discussed some Covid-19 repercussions, which are ongoing, including our relationship with Paradox and the WW IPs as Paradox was also slammed by the situations around Covid. Approvals seem to be back on track, at least. We are still trying to help our printers deliver the various projects that need to get shipped out to KS backers, but we are seeing several of our KS ship outs being dragged out. Don’t worry, James will certainly let backers know if any of these challenges causes us to miss any estimated dates. In terms of our creators, we have been trying to help everyone keep working on our projects and get through all these upheavals, We had thankfully very few freelances diagnosed with Covid-19, but even if an individual wasn’t themselves affected, we have folks whose friends and relatives were, and people just ground down by it all. It’s very hard to put all that aside and work out compelling writing and get it on the page. Very few writers write in an iron tower that shuts out the real world. In fact, I’d say that creators need input to have creative output, and if all the input is fraught with existential despair and peril then they are going to have a really hard time turning that into some words about a made-up game world. Some folks can do just that – their creative output is what they use to block the nastiness of the real world out. Most others, though, and I mean most, have needed a helping hand here and there during all this. Some bailed on assignments, some worked with their devs, and some devs also had issues and worked with our in-house devs. Let the Streets Run Red art by Ken Meyer, Jr We did big meetings to talk through things like our “Town Halls” – we have another scheduled for early October – and we had design and productivity meetings and courses by folks like Eddy and Danielle. We hoped these helped, and we’ve seen a lot of our freelancers respond positively to these efforts, so…. Finally, we talked about the latest sale over at Indie Press Revolution – IPR – our sales partners that handle our Deluxe Kickstarter press overruns. And much, much, more, actually! This month we have a sale on Exalted 3rd Edition. The big book itself! The EX3 sale is now live at IPR:https://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Deals-and-Specials/ And tomorrow morning around 9am CST the Scarred Lands Players Guide PDF will be free for 24 hrs:https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/197803/Scarred-Lands-Players-Guide-OGL-5e That’s it for this week – have a great one, and I’ll be back next week talkin’ atcha about our: Many Worlds, One Path! Blurbs! Kickstarter! Scion: Demigod Second Edition blew through 300% funding last week, and is devouring all sorts of Stretch Goals! Currently headed for the inclusion of a solo-play set of rules in the Demigod Companion book! Check it out if you haven’t already: Our Next Kickstarter: World of Darkness: Ghost Hunters for the 20 Anniversary Editions! Onyx Path Media! This week: The folks at Bonus Experience podcast join the Trio for discussion and digression(s)! Bonus Experience consists of Monica and Rai, two queer freelancers who talk with authority about the RPG industry. They looking behind the screen, at the play experience, and the finer details of running and writing games. The podcast updates every other Monday. As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ A Bunch of Gamers gets top billing this week due to their new, fantastic interview with developer Neall Raemonn Price regarding the currently on Kickstarter Scion: Demigod! Check it out and enjoy: https://youtu.be/8TzYDKYQzXw Two Scion: Demigod videos coming this week, including Vorpal Tales running Scion: Demigod and a Behind the Screen video on Scion too! Tune in on Twitch to watch live! 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 give our Twitch channel a follow, as you can find a huge number of videos of all kinds of games being run! This week on Twitch, expect to see these games and streams running: Scarred Lands – A Family Affair Technocracy Reloaded – Vorpal Tales Scion – Behind the Screen Scion: Demigod – Vorpal Tales Danielle’s RPG Development Workshop Hunter: The Vigil – Cold Cases Forsaken Spaces Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous Vampire: The Masquerade – Boston by Night Hunter: Unbound Anomalies – Devil’s Luck Gaming Get watching for some fantastic insight into how to run these wonderful games and subscribe to us on Twitch, over at twitch.tv/theonyxpath 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: Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale – E12 – https://youtu.be/NYI_zgcQqEw Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds – S1E15 – https://youtu.be/YdE0czNeYGE Hunter: The Vigil – Uptown Shadows Episode 4 – https://youtu.be/2qdLBpMu0lE Realms of Pugmire – Paws and Claws S2E15 – https://youtu.be/7bc5HZxAkFg Hunter: The Vigil – Uptown Shadows FINALE – https://youtu.be/8yKW18X1m9k Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Tom Murr continues with his amazing They Came from Beneath the Sea! audio drama over on his YouTube channel! If you’ve not checked out his playlist, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDwUZRXJBlcnfjjsQE88RkZ6q5M5v9cGv Systematic Understanding of Everything is a new Exalted Explainer Podcast by Exalted Dev Monica Speca and Exalted Writer Chazz Kellner that is breaking down Creation in 45 minute chunks in preparation for Exalted Essence. Their most recent episodes are available over on https://www.exaltcast.com/, with their newest covering the stunning terrifying Abyssals! The Story Told Podcast continues their Fall of Jiara Exalted chronicle, and you can find their newest episode right here: https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/fall-of-jiara-26 Here’s the Keeper of the Archive covering Scion: Origin and Scion: Hero over on YouTube for your viewing pleasure! https://youtu.be/q2qUE0pJID4 Vorpal Tales assembled their playlist of They Came from Beyond the Grave! actual play episodes, and you can find all six of the episodes of this series right here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9fUj4KdqE4BTnVZv9pZUkSk7GpwnyKXG 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! Our 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.) We’re told that the App Dev is currently creating an updated version for the latest devices, so keep an eye open for those! Virtual TableTop! Introducing a Virtual Tabletop adventure: the Gauntlet of Spiragos for Scarred Lands on Astral TableTop! 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. Gauntlet of Spiragos is a Scarred Lands adventure designed for 1st level characters, although it can be easily modified for characters of up to 5th level. 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. Astral is browser-based and uses the latest technology to streamline your storytelling experience. Connect with your party online and run your campaigns however you like. Astral offers tools optimized for phone, tablet, and desktop devices, no installation required. Build epic battlemaps using Astral‘s enormous collection of scenery, props, and tokens or upload your own. Pro users gain access to over 12,000+ assets and fresh new packs every month. Add weather, visual effects, triggers, and so much more with easy-to-use tools Build your own adventure, or choose from pre-generated game kits like Gauntlet 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 The EX3 sale is now live at IPR: https://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Deals-and-Specials/ As always, you can find Onyx Path’s titles at DriveThruRPG.com! Tomorrow morning around 9am CST the Scarred Lands Players Guide PDF will be free for 24 hrs:https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/197803/Scarred-Lands-Players-Guide-OGL-5e On Sale This Week! This Wednesday we are blasting off and landing back on good old Terra Firma for Trinity Continuum: Aeon! Check out the Advance PDF on DTRPG! Terra Firma expands the setting of Trinity Continuum: Æon by revealing some of the many wonders and secrets found on Earth and Luna, while also providing Storytellers with the material they require to set exciting campaigns on either of these two worlds. Terra Firma requires both the Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook and Trinity Continuum: Æon to play. Inside, you will find: • Further information about 10 nations previously discussed in Trinity Continuum: Æon, including a detailed look at an important city in each nations. • Details on threats facing Earth, including revolutionary movements, dangerous cults, and criminal gangs. • An exploration of some of the strange, and often deadly, mysteries found on Earth and Luna — from the ancient and terrible Gorgon Karst caves beneath eastern Europe to the bizarre Hadley Rille Anomaly on Luna. • New technologies used on Earth, examples of the many strange and powerful relics of the Nova Age, as well as new Edges and Paths specifically for the inhabitants of Earth and Luna. Conventions! Though dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, here’s what’s left of our current list of upcoming conventions (and really, we’re just waiting for this last one to be cancelled even though it’s Nov/Dec). Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with: PAX Unplugged: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/ We’re still waiting on word for this one, as a TTRPG publisher we weren’t included in the companies contacted for PAX‘s virtual con replacing their usual electronic gaming con(s). 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) No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion Fiction Anthology (Scion 2nd Edition) TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Legacies of Earth (Legendlore) Once and Future (Scion 2nd Edition) They Came From Beneath the Sea! Jumpstart (They Came From…!) They Came From Beyond the Grave! Jumpstart (They Came From…!) Tales of Depravity! (They Came From…!) Heroes in a World of Horror! (They Came From…!) Tome of the Pentacle (Mage: the Awakening 2e) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire) Trinity Continuum: Anima Prometheus Unbound (was Psi Orders) (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Second Draft Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) Development TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core) Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) CtL 2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition) Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Manuscript Approval Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) Dystopia Rising: Evolution Fiction Anthology (Dystopia Rising: Evolution) Post-Approval Development M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) TC: Aberrant Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e) Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades) N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands) V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Post-Editing Development W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th) Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!) Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction Tales of Aquatic Terror – AD’d. WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) – KS page to Paradox for approval. Hunter: The Vigil 2e Mummy 2 Deviant – AD’d. Legendlore Technocracy Reloaded – AD’d. Cults of the Blood God – Artists chugging along. Scion: Dragon (KS) Masks of the Mythos (KS) Scion: Demigod (KS) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (KS) TC: Adventure! (KS) Geist: One Foot In the Grave – Artists are working. Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) – Breakdown brokedown. Monsters of the Deep In Layout Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Vigil Watch Trinity Core Jumpstart Aberrant – 7 out of 12 sections laid out. Art still coming in. Proofing Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands) TC Aeon Terra Firma – Sent back to Josh, looking good. V5 Let the Streets Run Red – Hopefully going to WW this week. At Press TCFBTS Screen and Booklet – Files at press. They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Pirates of Pugmire – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Pirates of Pugmire Screen – Files at press. Dark Eras 2 – Files printing. Dark Eras 2 Screen and booklet – Files at press. Contagion Chronicle – Press prep, PoD files uploaded and ordered. Contagion Chronicle Screen and Booklet – Files at press. Lunars Wall Scroll Map – Shipping to KS fulfiller from printer. Lunars Screen and Booklet – Files at press. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – Prepping files for PoD and press. Scarred Lands Creature Collection – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Sunken Bones – Pugmire pirate adventure – Closing errata. Titanomachy – Errata collecting from Advance PDF. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! In two days it will be the 9th anniversary of the release of Vampire: 20th Anniversary Edition at the Grand Masquerade in New Orleans! Soooo much has happened since then! V20 led to renewed interest in TTRPGs at WW, which led to Eddy and I doing those in-house, which led to me thinking I could be happy with my own TTRPG company, which led to Onyx Path Publishing!
  4. So, yes, it’s Labor Day here in the US, a national holiday. Many companies would therefore give today off to their employees, but since every day is a holiday here at Onyx Path, we had our usual Monday Meeting today, and work continues apace. Of course, the second part of our MMN Blog title today comes from the fact that the Scion: Demigod 2e Kickstarter has been just crashing through the Stretch Goals after funding in 75 minutes! We’re all really thrilled and grateful to all of our backers for showing such fantastic support! Putting the two together, I thought that a change of pace today that showed how some labor was done to create the elements for Scion: Demigod might be appropriate. And since I did some of that labor, I figure it’s on me to step up today and delve into the creation process for one of our latest Scion pantheon symbols. This one is for the Apu, the Incan pantheon. It’s usually after the writing is pretty well finalized, but not necessarily developed, that I’ll ask the project developer for notes on whichever part of the project needs a symbol. In the case of Scion, our writing and dev teams do such a deep dive into the pantheons that I could get overwhelmed just reading through the text, so in addition to letting me read that, I also ask for any ideas they might have for symbols and elements appropriate to the pantheon. Sometimes I get easily usable ideas, and other times the needs of a visual project mean that I have to dig a bit deeper myself. In the case of the Apu, my notes scrawled on my note pad included: “golden sun disc (with link)”, “stepped pyramid”, “stone and gold”, “order/stability”, “Cusco”, “black and white llamas”. I was good to go with the golden sun disc, and checked to see if any of the previous Scion symbols I designed went down that same visual direction. None did, so using that big hit of gold as the centerpiece became the start for the symbol. I originally considered using the foliage motif similar to what I did for the Aztec pantheon symbol as a background and surrounding next for the gold disc, but that did seem too close to other symbols and for me it just didn’t feel Incan enough. Which is a big part of what makes these Scion symbols work, they have to feel appropriate to the pantheon. Which means we’re in the realm of the subjective, as what feels right to me may not feel right to you. But that’s the chance you take, because these are Scion symbols and they have to touch us, mean something to us, at least a bit, or we’re missing the point of the setting/game. All the raw data in the world about what should be included doesn’t help if most people aren’t connecting with that symbol. That led me to hit the books. Yes, actual books. If I know what I want, finding 1500 images that I can use as reference for that thing is a snap with a Google search, but if I’m still looking for visuals that connect with me, then online searching just doesn’t work for me as well as paging through books about a culture. I don’t know what’s on the next page, which is the point. One of the things I picked up on, was how striking the textiles still are in areas we’d consider Incan. Which started a whole different idea about how the color could and should work for this symbol. Bird feathers as decoration, and returning to one of the writer’s suggestions, the Incan knotted rope language called quipu. I had wanted to use it but didn’t have a way to keep the ropes and knots legible in the symbol, but with a bright textile background holding everything together, I could bring the quipu back into play. Here’s my rough ideas page, the Apu symbol at top right representing the first pass, and the one lower left coming after I did more research: From the rough sketch, where I’m looking at what elements can be arranged in what pattern, and where I’m thinking about but not putting down the color yet, I’ll draw out the various elements on bristol board in ink – usually with technical pens rather than anything that would give a varying line. We just need an even line. A lot of time, if I know I want an image the same on both sides, or top and bottom, then I’ll just draw the one side and copy/flip/combine in Photoshop after scanning. The knotted ropes are on a separate page, as they required the whole sheet so I could draw them with enough detail. Like I mentioned, these drawings get scanned in, and are really used as raw materials to copy and paste from when I start to make the whole symbol in Photoshop. Each element in the design gets its own layer, and that layer is set to Multiply in the layer menu. That way, the darkest lines stay dark, but anything in a layer “under” our line art shows through. This will become clearer when you see how the color goes in, but here’s just the line art all piled on top of each other: At this point, it’s time to get color in there, and in this specific symbol, it’s also time to get the patterning into the Incan textile. Some of the colors only show up when the overall color is on there, so don’t worry if it seems like some of the symbols aren’t there. They are on layers that I did different layer types, like Multiply from before: I also used the same colors for the fringe along the bottom and just drew those in loosely knowing the overall color would fall in between the other colors. Each instance of the bird symbol is on its own layer so that I could play around with size, position, layer effects, and color. I was going more for energy with the positioning and a certain lack of perfect positioning to replicate the hand-crafted nature of the textile. Next, here it is with the red overall color. I spent a lot of time playing with the color controls to get the red I wanted, and then tweaked almost all of the little bird symbols to have their colors work with the red: While some of the birds are now showing up, you can see a few blank spots in there. Don’t worry, those won’t show up once the other item layers get colored in. This was good, but the thing was, it didn’t feel like fabric to me. And that’s what I wanted to really play up – the texture of the textile! I could have scanned in a cloth texture, or found one online, but in this case I went with combining layer effects and filters. I’d tell you what I did if I could remember, but here’s what it looked like without the red layer behind it: I’m going to jump ahead here, and give you a step by step look at the big gold disk as it’s layers are painted in, but just assume that whatever I tell you about the disk, I already did in sort of the same sequence for the knotted ropes and the feathered headdress. I also started thickening the line stroke around objects to give them more heft and set them visually into the whole symbol. More on that later. So here’s the first color for the disk, a dark golden brown: Here’s where it really gets fun and painterly. The next layer is just yellow, with the Photoshop brush set on soft-round and at something like 25% transparency. With the lines already setting up the shapes, I just zoomed in and put yellow in keeping the brightest areas towards where the light was supposed to be hitting the disk (more from below than the traditional light from above): Looking at it at this point, it didn’t pop enough. So I copied the yellow layer and set it to Multiply or the like and the doubled up yellow hit what I was looking for. It didn’t show up much when I was putting these sequential layer graphics together, but it’s that sort of subtle coloring that gives it the 3D look we need: And here goes the last highlight on the gold, which was a lot closer to white to really get a bit of sparkle, plus I also created a shadow effect in two layers so that the disk would feel more like it is on top of the other elements. We want that gold disk to be the big popping thing from this graphic, and it needs to be strong to outshine the colors of the textile: You can also see that I made the outer edge line much thicker than the others inside the symbol, so we’d have a strong edge to it so it could stand out on the page like the previous Scion symbols. Although, to be faaaair, I did reduce that thickness where the knotted ropes break out of the bottom. The ropes were being engulfed by the outline visually, plus, there’s a whole “language will be free” sort of thing going on there. Hope you enjoyed this little look at the labor (or labour, as Matthew, James, and Ian would say) behind one of these pieces. It really is a labor of love, though, and it is so great when folks really respond to them. Because this blog was so art heavy, here are your usual pieces of art from upcoming projects all together at the end! V5 Let the Streets Run Red art by Sam Araya Terra Firma art by Gregor Pedrycz Hope you don’t mind the extra art here, but they really do illustrate our Many Worlds, One Path! Blurbs! Kickstarter! Scion Demigod Second Edition funded last week in 75 minutes and is headed strongly to 300% funding, having blown through all sorts of Stretch Goals! Check it out if you haven’t already: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/scion-demigod-book-3-for-the-scion-second-edition-rpg Onyx Path Media! This week: The Titanically Talented Trio of Terrible Terrificness discuss Stumbles, Errors, and How To Avoid Them! They’ll be looking at all sorts of fumbles and bumbles they and others have made while putting together game books! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ The Story Told RPG Podcast gets top billing this week due to their excellent, in-depth interview with developer Neall Raemonn Price regarding the currently on Kickstarter Scion: Demigod! Check it out and learn some of the ins and outs of Scion: https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/episode-61-scion-demigod-interview-with-neall-price We’ve got lots of Scion: Demigod actual plays coming in the next few weeks, with the first starting this week by Vorpal Tales! Keep watching this section for more Scion: Demigod games! 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 give our Twitch channel a follow, as you can find a huge number of videos of all kinds of games being run! This week on Twitch, expect to see these games and streams running: Scarred Lands – A Family Affair Technocracy Reloaded – Vorpal Tales Scion: Demigod – Vorpal Tales Danielle’s RPG Development Workshop Hunter: The Vigil – Cold Cases Forsaken Spaces Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous Vampire: The Masquerade – Boston by Night Chronicles of Darkness – Tooth and Claw Deviant: The Renegades – A Cautionary Tale Get watching for some fantastic insight into how to run these wonderful games and subscribe to us on Twitch, over at twitch.tv/theonyxpath 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: Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale – E11 – https://youtu.be/Vxqy6JgB9wk Scarred Lands – Surprise Meatgrinder! – https://youtu.be/iqiIEsvIslE Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds – S1E14 – https://youtu.be/Ie-rITGhaAs Hunter: The Vigil – Uptown Shadows Episode 4 – https://youtu.be/2qdLBpMu0lE Realms of Pugmire – Paws and Claws S2E14 – https://youtu.be/ZcSdsNK-VI0 Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Tom Murr continues with his amazing They Came from Beneath the Sea! audio drama over on his YouTube channel! Radio ReScience Episode 2: Military Entanglement, can be found right here: https://youtu.be/qiTprIriV7Y And Episode 3: Spycraft is here: https://youtu.be/qqS5rM3GA5A Systematic Understanding of Everything is a new Exalted Explainer Podcast by Exalted Dev Monica Speca and Exalted Writer Chazz Kellner that is breaking down Creation in 45 minute chunks in preparation for Exalted Essence. Their most recent episodes are available over on https://www.exaltcast.com/, with their newest covering the stunning terrifying Abyssals! The Story Told Podcast continues their Fall of Jiara Exalted chronicle, and you can find their newest episode right here: https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/fall-of-jiara-25 Our good friend The Primogen concluded his Changeling: The Lost actual play a couple of months ago, and has kindly assembled a useful playlist of every single episode. Go give his excellent tale, Littlebrook Reunion, a watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2GEMzqGEGIg6pT79zt-FyFYoPjzn8YM5 GMS Magazine produced a review of Dystopia Rising: Evolution over on their channel! https://youtu.be/Q0Ih1KkUhS0 Here’s a blast from the past: last year, Tabletop Spotlight reviewed Monarchies of Mau for us. If you’re interested in some in-depth views of this corner of the Realms of Pugmire, please give their video a watch: https://youtu.be/gV48x2eQMU4 Vorpal Tales assembled their playlist of They Came from Beyond the Grave! actual play episodes as well, and you can find all six of the episodes of this series right here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9fUj4KdqE4BTnVZv9pZUkSk7GpwnyKXG 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! Our 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.) We’re told that the App Dev is currently creating an updated version for the latest devices, so keep an eye open for those! Virtual TableTop! Introducing a Virtual Tabletop adventure: the Gauntlet of Spiragos for Scarred Lands on Astral TableTop! 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. Gauntlet of Spiragos is a Scarred Lands adventure designed for 1st level characters, although it can be easily modified for characters of up to 5th level. 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. Astral is browser-based and uses the latest technology to streamline your storytelling experience. Connect with your party online and run your campaigns however you like. Astral offers tools optimized for phone, tablet, and desktop devices, no installation required. Build epic battlemaps using Astral‘s enormous collection of scenery, props, and tokens or upload your own. Pro users gain access to over 12,000+ assets and fresh new packs every month. Add weather, visual effects, triggers, and so much more with easy-to-use tools Build your own adventure, or choose from pre-generated game kits like Gauntlet 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! On Sale This Week! This Wednesday, the PDF and physical card PoD versions of three decks of magic Items for use in Scarred Lands go on sale on DTRPG! Conventions! Though dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, here’s what’s left of our current list of upcoming conventions (and really, we’re just waiting for this last one to be cancelled even though it’s Nov/Dec). Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with: PAX Unplugged: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/ We’re still waiting on word for this one, as a TTRPG publisher we weren’t included in the companies contacted for PAX‘s virtual con replacing their usual electronic gaming con(s). 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) The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) Prometheus Unbound (was Psi Orders) (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion Fiction Anthology (Scion 2nd Edition) TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Legacies of Earth (Legendlore) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) CtL 2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire) Trinity Continuum: Anima Second Draft Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition) Development TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core) Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Manuscript Approval Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) Dystopia Rising: Evolution Fiction Anthology (Dystopia Rising: Evolution) Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Post-Approval Development M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) TC: Aberrant Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e) Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades) N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands) V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Post-Editing Development W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th) Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!) Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction Tales of Aquatic Terror – AD’d. WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) – KS page to Paradox for approval. Hunter: The Vigil 2e Mummy 2 Deviant – AD’d. Legendlore Technocracy Reloaded – AD’d. Cults of the Blood God – Artists chugging along. Scion: Dragon (KS) Masks of the Mythos (KS) – Fulls recontracted. Scion: Demigod (KS) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (KS) TC: Adventure! (KS) Geist: One Foot In the Grave – Artists are working. Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) – Breakdown brokedown. In Layout Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Vigil Watch Trinity Core Jumpstart Aberrant – Layout done with the power section. Art still coming in. Proofing Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands) TC Aeon Terra Firma – Sent back to Josh, looking good. V5 Let the Streets Run Red – 2nd proof out this week. At Press TCFBTS Screen and Booklet – Files at press. They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Pirates of Pugmire – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Pirates of Pugmire Screen – Files at press. Dark Eras 2 – Files printing. Dark Eras 2 Screen and booklet – Files at press. Contagion Chronicle – Press prep, PoD files uploaded and ordered. Contagion Chronicle Screen and Booklet – Files at press. Lunars Wall Scroll Map – Shipping to KS fulfiller from printer. Lunars Screen and Booklet – Files at press. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – Prepping files for PoD and press. Scarred Lands Creature Collection – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller. Sunken Bones – Pugmire pirate adventure – Errata collecting from Backer PDF. Titanomachy – Errata collecting from Advance PDF. Magic Item Decks 1-3 (Scarred Lands) – PDF and PoD card versions on sale at DTRPG and DriveThruCards this Wednesday! Today’s Reason to Celebrate! Labor Day! Traditional end of Summer and start of the school year holiday in the US. Except, of course, now the school year starts before Labor Day and anyway, everybody is in virtual school, and Get Off My Lawn!
  5. Act 1 - End of Day: Sean This must be how a god feels, Sean thought as he slipped free from the bonds of the flesh to inhabit the digital landscape of ReGenesis directly, where he was able to create and destroy with but a thought. Where he was able to be anything he could imagine. He had swum through the streams and rivers of cyberspace before, no need of a computer as an interface, but that had been like using top of the line VR. Over the last week though, he’d learned how to Enter The Matrix, a universe that could be contained inside something smaller than a fingernail, yet was near as infinite as reality itself. It was a place he could go that even Devin couldn’t jaunt off too, and it felt like total liberation. It had also scared the complete crap out of Laurie when she’d come into the Barn to ask him about some books Jase had suggested and she’d found her beautiful, busty brother comatose in the engulfing embrace of his computer chair, his pale face illuminated in a patina of colours by the soft glow of his array of monitors. He wasn’t dead, she’d been sure, still able to detect he was breathing, but he hadn’t roused when she’d roughly hauled him to the couch over her shoulder, when she’d shook him, given him a slap, or even threw a glass of water at his face. Laurie had been about to call Jason to ask what she should do when Sean had returned to himself with a deep breath, a brief sense of disorientation and finding his face, hair, and shirt wet. There followed frantic - and at times too loud - questions and explanations. That was when he found out when he was in cyberspace, he had absolutely no sense of his body. He was still tethered to it - when he stepped out of cyberspace, he went directly back to his body, regardless of where it was, but otherwise, couldn’t tell what was happening to it. It was more than a touch of frightening, and meant he’d have to be really careful when being a Ghost in the Machine while out in the field. It also percolated an idea that in case of a worse case scenario at Site B, he might have a last ditch escape plan from his failing genetics. It wouldn’t be ideal, if it even worked, but it might still be life. Of a sort. Finishing his video game would also give him a sense of continuation, if the solution he hoped to find at Site B proved to be a failure. Before the onset of the weird and his electrokinetic abilities, he figured he had at least two more years of development time. He didn’t have a publisher or executives mucking stuff up, or other creatives redirecting progress, but he was still only one guy, regardless of how skilled a programmer he was. With digital voodoo, Sean had at first believed he could get the time to under a year. But now, with the growth and expansion of his powers, especially with all the mundane work he’d already done, he was pushing for release next week, since he was only going digital download. It went beyond the vast and delicate control he had when jumping into cyberspace. With practically supernatural coding skills, he managed to program semi-autonomous proxies or agents that could act without his direct oversight. Figuring that out naturally led to the idea that when he was completely in cyberspace, and thus, essentially just a digital construct himself, why he couldn’t make copies of himself? He could… after a fashion. The copies didn’t have his full capabilities, but they were close, similar to the semi-autonomous agents he could create but with a semblance of his personality and psionic technokinetic mojo. Working on Regenesis was turning out to be about the best training he could get for most aspects of his psionic array of powers. It also meant he’d gone from a one man game developer, to a team - admittedly of variable size, since it took distinct neotic effort to create the copies and proxies. But he could trust them implicitly, and they worked the way he wanted them to, without the distractions and biases inherent to meatbag programmers. The video game was basically done at this point, Sean’s flock of digital minions running quality control now, looking for bugs and fixing them, which he’d look over after they reported back to him. At the moment, he was working on social media for Intersectional Games - his game studio - and the Steam page, preparing for release day, and tweaking the algorithm, so that ReGenesis would get noticed a little better through all the trash. It was an ongoing battle, the Steam algorithm seeming to have some manner of perverse sentience. It didn’t, he was sure, but it sure seemed that way. Over the last week or so, Sean had noticed an odd… irregularity, first on Steam, but then on other sites he frequented online. At first, he chalked it up to bad code, propagated when linked back to his Steam page. But the irregularities weren’t random. He found a sort of pattern to them, something almost akin to Morse code, like someone hiding a message in the code of a program, a message that they definitely didn’t want just anyone finding. When Sean really turned his attention to the regular irregularities and tracked down the source to a kernel in the hidden messages section of the comment thread on his Steam page, it wasn’t what he expected. “Todd Asper?!” It wasn’t talking, it wasn’t texting, but it was digital communication, that seemed to include both, along with emojis, gifs, and code itself. “It’s about time, Titboy.” The insult seemed instinctive rather than intentional, as were the gifs of overly generous, bouncing cleavage - there was a distinct sense of desperation in Todd’s ‘voice’. “I’ve been trying to get your attention for almost a week now. I need your help.” “My help.” Sean’s tone was a flat as the blank faced emoji was… well, blank. He could recognize Todd’s digital signature now. And was considering scrubbing it from the internet with extreme prejudice. “It was you who skimmed my place. And at Crossroads?” He was more doubtful about the latter. When he Ghosted, he was considerably stronger than he’d been at Crossroads, but this Todd wasn’t the electronic juggernaut he’d contended with there. “You don’t seem to have the same oomph.” “Yeah, yeah, that was me at your place. Surprisingly little porn, by the way. And at Crossroads.” There was something like an envious grumble coming through Todd's evident desperation. “They plugged me into a… a thing, to overclock me. I shoulda had you…” “Uh-huh, right. So, Cerebro?” “Sort of? Except it’s more like electric amphetamines. A boost, a rush, no subtlety or fine control. And not pleasant. Anyway, that’s why I need your help. I made a deal, except it’s not what I thought and now I can’t leave.” “That seems like a you problem, Todd.” “Well, if the assholes here get their way, it’ll turn into a you problem, Cassidy, and problems for you and all your friends. Look, I’m sneaking online here and I’m not sure how long I have. The shit they’re doing here at Site B… I don’t want to be the next experiment. I saw what you guys did at Crossroads - I didn’t tell them all of it. I want out.” Sean was about to write Todd off. If he’d gotten himself into a bad situation due to his own actions, that was on him. But the mention of Site B changed the dynamics a lot. He needed Site B, and learning all he could would only help his - their - chances of success. “Site B, hmm? Tell me what you can - especially about their security and defences - and I’ll see if I can talk my friends around to help your sorry ass.” “You are so full of shit, Cassidy,” Todd retorted. Even online, Sean wasn’t the best dissembler and Todd could sense the eagerness in the freak hacker and electrokinetic. “But if it’ll help… think about all the stuff you’ve heard about Roswell and Area 51, and just believe me, it’s worse and crazier than that. They…” Todd began ‘talking’ very fast, only the electronic medium allowing Sean to keep up with the information being spewed at him. Sean could barely get a word or question in edgewise before Todd was off at a desperate gallop once again. At least the medium also let Todd add pictures and video - even if they were jumbled at times in his haste - and let Sean save them to show the others. Todd suddenly stopped, given the sense of looking over his shoulder, before ‘saying’, “Help me Oboobi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Then he was gone, as suddenly as though the plug had been pulled, which Sean supposed it was, and Todd clearly didn’t have an UPS. Sean scrubbed any traces of Todd or himself from where they had communicated, then stepped back into his body. He stood up, knuckled his back, stretched, ran a hand through his rich red hair, then began pacing, considering what to do about Todd and Site B, only paying cursory attention when his proxies Neo, Trinity, and Morpheous pinged him to report on their activities and progress with polishing up ReGenesis for release. When there was a knock at his door, thinking of Site B/Crossroads death squads, Sean practically jumped out of his enviously smooth and fair skin - there were side benefits of apparently subconsciously manipulating the electromagnetic spectrum, such as never having to worry about sunburn or UV-based melanoma, or even developing freckles. Visible rings of lethal photons began to congeal into existence when Jason poked his head in. Sean let the nascent incandescent chakrams disperse in a soft flash of prismatic light, a hand went to his chest as he caught his breath. “Surprise?” Jason drawled. “Get a phone for fucks sake, so you can call or text,” Sean complained for not the first time. Worry about Death squads abated, Sean offered his taller friend a grin - though to be fair, all his friends except Kat were taller. “So, how did training day go?” Jason updated him on the antics of the Fellowship - and Courtney - that day, and in turn, Sean shared what he’d learned about his own abilities. But when Jason mentioned going to talk with the Project, Sean sucked in an audible breath. “I think I have to talk with them too, dude,” Sean said, thoughts on why he had to go to Site B high in his mind, but unable to voice them yet, even to one of his, if not his closest, friend. “I was just in contact with Todd - he’s like me, I think, like how Tawny is like you. He’s trapped at Site B, and wants out. I learned some things. It might end up being a ‘Kitty’ type situation, except y’know, people.” “Hmm.” Jason mused aloud - more for Sean’s benefit, the digital wizard knew, than out of some mannerism that was automatic to him - as he stared blankly out of the loft’s large open window. “Ms Giles has already said that she can’t talk to us about Site B - yet. Not until she gets permission from her higher-ups and Branch 9. Going in there and asking about it before she’s ready to talk could be a wasted effort - and besides, you need to get your head into the game for tomorrow evening.” “Tomorrow evening?” Sean blinked, then understanding dawned as Jason glanced his way with a calm expression. “Ohh, shit. We’re going in tomorrow evening?” “There is no point in delaying further.” Jason shrugged. “The longer we take to confront what Cody has become, the worse we make things. It’s why you coming today would have been a good idea.” “I know…” Sean reluctantly conceded “I just figured I could practice my schtick as well here and-” “And the dark spirit and the tree aren’t likely to have computers or machines for you to subvert. It will be a battle such as at the climax of one of your GM’d adventures, the disparate heroes working together in direct confrontation with a foe.” Jason’s tone was mildly critical. “Today would have helped you to figure out your best placement in such a fight.” He shrugged slightly, head cocked to one side as he regarded Sean. “It is done now. As your friend, I urge you not to miss any more team activities - or I will have to come and fetch you.” “To drag me there kicking and screaming, huh?” Sean smirked, then blinked as Jason slowly nodded. “If that is your preferred manner of travel.” the eerily composed youth said… and then smiled very faintly. Sean was pretty sure that this was a Jason idea of a joke - but then, like all Jason jokes, there was a kernel of truth in the deadpan delivery. “Right. Got it.” Sean muttered, smiling a little as he shook his head. Jason nodded again, then turned to go. “Don’t forget to pick me up early tomorrow.” he said as he reached the door, looking back at Sean. “There’s more to fill you in on, but time is short at the moment. We can do it on the drive.” And with that he was gone, the tread of his boots on the stairs making as usual less noise than they should as he headed down.
  6. Kat scampered to the bottom of the stairs and already had the front door open before Sean was even half way down, taking the steps at a more sedate, decorous pace. Practically buzzing with impatience to begin devouring the pizza, Kat huffed in good natured annoyance at how long it took Sean to join her, even though it was less than a minute. "Oh, hey, Ralph," Sean said when he looked up to meet the pale eyes of the lanky delivery guy nearly as tall as Cade as he handed over his share. "Hey, Sean," Ralph replied with a grin, blond brows rising faintly as he gaze flitted between the two red heads, one svelte, the other voluptuous. "You two know each other?" Kat asked with a curious tilt to her head. "A bit," Sean admitted. "Ralph knew my older sister Teagan and I built him a PC." "And I've delivered pizzas to The Barn often enough on gaming nights," Ralph added, grin widening as he held up the cash he'd collected from Kat and Sean. "They usually tipped pretty good, like tonight. Gonna be a good shift. Miss." He nodded at Kat. Then nodded at Sean. "Sean." Kat arched her brows at Sean as she led him to the kitchen. Sean shrugged. "He used to be a bit of dick to me. After Teag 'talked' with him, he turned out to be decent enough guy. Absolutely terrible at first-person shooters, though." Kat bustled about the kitchen, grabbing plates and such. Sean would have offered to help, but it was his first time here, and it was easier to let Kat do everything and just stay out of the way, so he took a seat on a stool at the island. "Are we eating here, or upstairs or...?" "Whatever works for you," she replied, "if we go upstairs we can keep check on the operating system installation. We'd just need to get the plates back here once we're done. I'd hate to pile up dishes in my room." After a brief shrug, she opened the cardboard box and glared at it. "I'm still amazed at the size of these. Twice as big as French pizzas. We might need to bring the box with us if we eat upstairs." She added, after comparing with the size of her plate. She tilted her head and turned to her friend, an eyebrow sky high. Sean's lips quirked into a small smirk at Kat's disbelief at the size of American pizzas. "Well, this is Big Sky Country, and everything is bigger in the United States. The cars, political strife, the people... " Despite herself, Kat's eyes darted downward from Sean's face for an instant and a faint pinkness rose tinted Sean's cheeks. "... especially the food. It's why we have an obesity problem. We don't serve those tiny, fancy meals like in high-end French restaurants or Taco Bell. Not unless you pay a real lot." Kat's other eyebrow followed the first. She might not have been that familiar with American fast food chains, but she was well aware that fancy and Taco Bell didn't belong in the same sentence. "Taco Bell?" "Let me tell you about the grand potential future of Demolition Man as we grab some plates, eat some pizza, and update a new PC," Sean proposed, using his DM Storyteller voice, panning a hand in front of them to paint a scene as Kat collected some plates and a knife, then started leading them back towards the stairs. "In a false Utopian Future, they'd forgotten what real crime was and when it came back, they needed a cop who know what it was to fight it. So, they got Sylvester Stallone..." And up the stairs they went, their hands full with plates, pizza, and drinks. "Wait, are you gonna spoil me a movie I didn't watch yet ?" She asked as she pushed her room's door with her foot. The scent of pizza was omnipresent in her mind, making it hard to focus on anything else seriously. "God I'm hungry!" They entered the room and dumped dinner material on her desk, careful not to push anything off it as much of the space was occupied by... cables, keyboard, mouse, microphone, external DAC, screen, that short of things. The rush building a PC had provided them with now cooled down, and Sean couldn't help but notice only now Kat's most recent painting, still leaning against her easel, brown balls of fur fooling around a dark but space-like background, punctuated by what looked like shining celestial bodies. In the dim and late sunset light, the whole image gave off a strange vibe, mixture of joy and sadness, brought together by strong motion. "The movie's been out for over twenty-five years. The embargo on spoilers is way over. 'Sides, it's an action flick - spoilers don't really matter that much," Sean said with a chuckle. "It's still a fun movie." Eating pizza in Kat's room and idle chatting with her about what other pop cultural touchstone movies she might have missed, and listening to movies she suggested, Sean's multihued eyes kept drifting to a painting. A new one, he supposed, still on the easel. He painted as well, but mainly miniatures for gaming and the occasional prop or costume piece for Halloween. He didn't do stuff on canvas, really, other than a few attempts a while back with oils, trying to emulate Bob Ross. There had been 'much room for improvement', his happy little trees looking sad. Kat's painting was very good, very evocative, especially illuminated by the setting sun. Sean casually plucked up an olive that had fallen from his slice of pizza onto the projected shelf of his bosom, then glanced over at Kat, nodding towards her painting. "Space squirrels, hmm? I like it," he said with a grin, waggling the fingers of his free hand. "You do it by hand, or try it using your mental voodoo?"
  7. In which Matthew and Dixie interview Martyna Zych regarding her background in gaming and position as community developer of the World of Darkness Where Outstar got her name CD Projekt Red and Streaming for GOG Edited vs. Unedited Videos Beckett’s Jyhad Diary: The Audio Book Our outsider childhoods How Outstar got into the World of Darkness Hiking across Asia to get to Japan Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife They Came from Beyond the Grave! is on Kickstarter at 2PM EDT, Tuesday 21st July! Wraith Ric Flair “Woo!!” Links: Homestar Runner: https://homestarrunner.com/ CD Projekt Red: https://eu.gear.cdprojektred.com/ GOG (Good Old Games): https://www.gog.com/ Beckett’s Jyhad Diary: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/225322/V20-Becketts-Jyhad-Diary Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1290270/Vampire_The_Masquerade__Night_Road/ Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2: https://www.bloodlines2.com/ Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest: http://differenttales.com/werewolf/ Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood: https://werewolf-videogame.com/en Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife: https://www.worldofdarkness.com/news/wraith-the-oblivion-afterlife-revealed Alien Weaponry (band): https://alienweaponry.com/index.html Outstar on Twitter: https://twitter.com/outstarwalker Outstar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/outstarwalker World of Darkness Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/worldofdarkness World of Darkness YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjdCxS5kH0ZWY79DI5HmFnw Onyx Path YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnyxPath Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk
  8. In which the trio talks about online gaming in various forms. We’re going to talk about online gaming! Alice is Missing ViewScream and the Ripper FMV Koldunic sorcery egregiously bad? 12 minutes in, Eddy is on topic Matthew was a Moderator A bit on our usage of Roll20 and Astral Some talk about chat-based roleplay New Bremen! We reminisce about early days of computing The olden days of scrambled pornography Audio- and video-based roleplaying Performing a game, versus playing Discord gaming Onyx Path Con A Note: During the podcast, Eddy says the Pugmire Kickstarter was in 2017, which leads to some timeline confusion. It was actually finished in March 2016! Time is, however, a flat circle right now so we forgive Eddy this error. Links: Alice is Missing: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/huntersbooks/alice-is-missing-a-silent-role-playing-game ViewScream: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/187177/ViewScream-2nd-Edition Ripper Wired Story: https://www.wired.com/story/ripper/ Roll20: https://roll20.net/ Astral: https://www.astraltabletop.com/ Gehenna Gaming: https://www.gehennagaming.com/ Onyx Path YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnyxPath Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk
  9. Now available in image format from DriveThruRPG: V5 Chicago by Night Desktop Wallpapers! Accept no substitutes: Chicago is the city of vampires. A selection of electronic wallpaper files featuring a collage of the art from Chicago by Night. Chicago by Night Wallpaper sizes include: 800×600 1024×768 1280×1024 1920×1280 2560×1440 Also available in PDF from DriveThruRPG: V20 Lore of the Clans Storyteller Screen! Lore of the Clans is a single volume revisiting all thirteen Clans for Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, providing story hooks, character concepts, history, and Clan-specific rules. The Lore of the Clans Storyteller Screen contains three 8.5″ x 11″ pages of collected charts and tables selected to make your Storyteller job a bit easier. Sales Keep the Chronicle Going with 25% off all Chronicles of Darkness titles from White Wolf, Onyx Path, and community content from the Storytellers Vault! Kickstarter Update The Legendlore Kickstarter finished off last week! We ended at $25,092, or 167% of our $15,000 goal, thanks to our 543 backers! We closed out with a couple of stretch goals hit in the final 48 hours: Legendlore GM Reference Screen Legendlore Player’s Companion: Back from Earth Legendlore Digital Wallpaper Coming next to Kickstarter: They Came from Beyond the Grave! Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Creature Collection 5e Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Realms of Pugmire: Pirates of Pugmire Vampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood Gods Mage: The Ascension: Technocracy Reloaded Exalted: Lunars: Fangs at the Gate Chronicles of Darkness: Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2 Chronicles of Darkness: The Contagion Chronicle Chronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The Renegades Chronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition Chronicles 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: Your 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: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  10. Yes, that’s right, we actually do not have a Kickstarter running this week. Weird, huh? Legendlore just wrapped up with a very strong (and unexpected but delightful) final 48 hours last week, and we have not yet launched the They Came From Beyond the Grave! KS. So instead, let me tell you about the guy I illustrated for the cover shown above. In-universe (or Continuum), that’s Duke Rollo, the gonzo journalist/commentator of the TC: Aberrant setting. But. He’s also Justin Achilli, who originated the character and wrote both small Duke Rollo books – one for first edition Aberrant and now the book pictured for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant. I originally pictured him as Justin appeared back then, piercings and all, and with a very gonzo attitude to life, and work, and especially after-hours playtime. The version above was drawn to still be the same character, but seasoned. More experienced, but still railing against the inequities of the TC: Aberrant world. I bring this up because real-world Justin has amassed even more experience and knowledge since the WW days, and has explored game design in the electronic gaming sphere very successfully, and yet has never stopped applying what he has learned to TTRPGs, and specifically the World of Darkness and Vampire: The Masquerade. His experience with party deduction games led to his working with us on The Prince’s Gambit card game, for example. And his online design theory posts through the years are rife with game design theory that could be applied to electronic games, or right back in TTRPGs. And in fact, he himself, is also right back in TTRPGs with last week’s announcement that Justin is the new Creative Lead for the WoD 5th Edition efforts over at Paradox! Congrats, Justin! Now, I have a long history with Justin, going back to when he was developing the RAGE card game at WW. (A “dragon biting some clown in half”, anybody?) He was developer and I was art director for years on VtM Revised, we worked on the late, lamented, WoD MMO together, and he was the first developer for V20, and then helmed many V20 books for Onyx Path. And yet, even I really don’t know what he’s planning for V5. The Covid situation here and in Sweden, where Paradox is based, has complicated matters, so we’re still looking forward to what’s going to happen next. As they say, more news when we have it! Let the Streets Run Red art by Sam Denmark Surely You Have Something Kickstarter-y? OK. Fair enough, I hear ya! You want to know more about They Came From Beyond the Grave!, especially since that’s going to be the subject of our next Kickstarter. Well, it is the second game in the They Came From…! game line, and this time, rather than being based in the world of Sci-Fi movies of the 50s, TCFBtGrave! is set in two time periods favored by horror movies of the 60s and 70s: the Victorian Era and the late 60s into the 70s. In fact, the game supports either era, or both with players swapping back and forth between the two. Hammer Horror is of course a huge influence, along with Roger Corman horror films, and even the Dark Shadows TV series. Like TCFBtSea!, TCFBtGrave! uses the Storypath System plus Quip cards that allow players to contribute appropriate (or far more often extremely inappropriate) comments and dialogue that is often hilarious, but also can give mechanical benefits to the character. With the cards, the player doesn’t need to be funny, just how they use the quip. Similarly, there are cards for filmic situations appropriate to the genre we’re emulating, like “The Devil Himself!”, or “Missing Scene” which allows for a miraculous escape that players can note as having happened during that scene. It was amazing, just a shame the scene is missing, but at least we’re all OK. Honestly, we should have one titled “Christopher Lee’s Voice”, but that might be too powerful for players. Keep an eye out on our social media as we continue to tease the game, and check out the actual play sessions that are available on our Twitch channel. Pirates of Pugmire art by Pat McEvoy Updates On Previous Mentions: As I mentioned last week, we were looking to hire an out-of-house HR representative as a contact person for anyone with concerns on an HR level with Onyx Path. We indeed did hire Georgina who can be contacted at hr.onyxpath@gmail.com. Scion Companion art by Shen Fei Sorry to say it, but the pandemic is still affecting everyone – writers, printers, shippers – so while we are seeing some folks come back to business as sorta-normal, many others still can’t do that. Sometimes that’s our creators, and other times it’s our manufacturers and shippers. I’m currently waiting for at least five books worth of PoD proofs to get to me for approval so we can start selling them. So, please hang in with us as we maneuver through this continuing alteration in our normal business practices. There’s a lot of things changing all across the world, and our little hobby isn’t in a bubble – and even if it was, we’re still going to be affected like I mention above. Just know that we are doing what we can to get you the materials so you can enjoy our: Many Worlds, One Path! Blurbs! Kickstarter! Next Up On Kickstarter: They Came From Beyond the Grave! And keep your eyes open for: Onyx Path Media! This week: the Terrifically Terrible Trio chat about the Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Convention, and online TTRPG gaming in general! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ This week on Twitch, expect to see V5 – Chicago by Night Behind the Screen – Scion They Came from Beneath the Sea! – They Came from Devil’s Reef! Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds Get watching for some fantastic insight into how to run these wonderful games and subscribe to us on Twitch, over at twitch.tv/theonyxpath 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: #OnyxPathCon | How to Write for TTRPGs [Panel]: https://youtu.be/UKmJQEhInP8 #OnyxPathCon | Consent & Safety Mechanics [Panel]: https://youtu.be/LljJV-TRLWA Legendlore – The Metal Scourge: https://youtu.be/IrhhKnf6dHg #OnyxPathCon | The Art of Onyx Path [Panel]:https://youtu.be/2mG_BqXzkfE #OnyxPathCon | What’s Up with Onyx Path #2 [Panel]:https://youtu.be/GjukejNcCcc #OnyxPathCon | Create Your Best Character [Panel]:https://youtu.be/UZIBL87hu6U #OnyxPathCon | Onyx Pathcast Live [Panel]:https://youtu.be/XxNvUPUtC1o Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Did you miss Occultists Anonymous‘ last episodes of their excellent Mage: The Awakening chronicle? Here they are: Episode 108: Car-V Heist While Songbird prepares for a dangerous summoning, Atratus and Wyrd hit the junkyards with an overly elaborate plan to make an overly elaborate gift. How very Mage of them… https://youtu.be/wSy3c74jkfM Episode 109: Crown of Blood Wyrd and Atratus enjoy the joy of a well-made gift and the good vibes that comes with that. Songbird joins together with Hadramiel to summon an Angel of Death to anoint a Vampire Prince in power. https://youtu.be/QxB6Ml6uStY The Botch Pit have released an excellent overview of Mage: The Awakening right here. Do give them a like and a subscribe: https://youtu.be/D-0O1Nun6NA Systematic Understanding of Everything is a new Exalted Explainer Podcast by Exalted Dev Monica Speca and Exalted Writer Chazz Kellner that is breaking down Creation in 45 minute chunks in preparation for Exalted Essence. Their most recent episode in on Creation and its history – https://anchor.fm/exaltcast/episodes/Trackless-Region-Navigation—What-is-Creation-eg2g9d Get past episodes at http://www.exaltcast.com/ 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! Our 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.) 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 get Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau out into stores, as well as to individuals through their online store. You can pick up the traditionally printed main book, the screen, and the official Pugmire dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire We’ve added Prince’s Gambit to our Studio2 catalog: https://studio2publishing.com/products/prince-s-gambit-card-game Now, we’ve added 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 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! On Sale This Week! This Wednesday, to celebrate the arrival of Justin Achilli, we present V5 Chicago By Night electronic wallpaper and V20 Lore of the Clans Storyteller’s Screen PDF files, both on DTRPG! Conventions! Though dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, here’s what’s left of our current list of upcoming conventions (and really, we’re just waiting for this last one to be cancelled even though it’s Nov/Dec). Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with: PAX Unplugged: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/ 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) Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition) The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Anima M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) CtL 2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Second Draft Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands) The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Development TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core) V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Manuscript Approval Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Post-Approval Development Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) TC: Aberrant Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Trinity Continuum Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition) The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!) Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades) Post-Editing Development City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars) W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th) Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Monsters of the Deep (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) Pirates of Pugmire KS-Added Adventure (Realms of Pugmire) Tales of Aquatic Terror (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) Terra Firma (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction Tales of Aquatic Terror – Handed off to Meredith to AD. WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) – KS assets wrapped up. Aberrant – AD’d. Checking with Gunship. Hunter: The Vigil 2e Mummy 2 Deviant Legendlore – KS running. Technocracy Reloaded (KS) Cults of the Blood God – Rolling along. Scion: Dragon (KS) – Waiting on art notes. Masks of the Mythos (KS) – Getting the cover art going. Scion: Demigod (KS) – Art rolling. KS assets AD’d. They Came From Beyond the Grave! (KS) – Prepping KS assets. TC: Adventure! (KS) – Shen Fei cover art finished by end of the month. Geist: One Foot In the Grave – AD’d. In Layout Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Vigil Watch TC Aeon Terra Firma V5 Let the Streets Run Red – continued working it. Pugmire Adventure – small project, knocking the layout together. Scion Titanomachy Proofing Trinity Aeon Jumpstart – Errata gathering. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – Page XXs. Contagion Chronicle – Backer PDF out to backers, closing errata. Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs Magic Item Decks (Scarred Lands) Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands) Dark Eras 2 Screen and booklet Scion Companion – Inputting changes from devs. At Press TCFBTS Heroic Land Dwellers – PoD files uploaded. TCFBTS Screen and Booklet – Files at press. They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Press proofs signed off on, PoD files uploaded. Creature Collection 5e – PoD proof ordered. Traditional files sent to printer. Pirates of Pugmire – Files at press. PoD proofs ordered. Pirates of Pugmire Screen – Files at press. Pugmire Buried Bones – PoD proof ordered. Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition Dark Eras Compilation – Uploading PoD file. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! I’d really like to get back to needing to pull wacky things that happened on this date, but we need to celebrate the life of a towering giant in his field. Ennio Morricone, one of the greatest film composers, has left this earth he brought so much magic and passion and joy to. The Untouchables. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The Mission. Once Upon A Time In the West. His film scores were the background music I played while illustrating all the way back to high school, and as late as two weeks ago I asked Alexa to “Play Ennio Morriconi music” as I wrote that week’s MMN blog. Not only was he a genius in composing instrumental scores, but he was willing to incorporate single instruments, or non-instruments, or inserted choral sections, or even compose an entire theme using fart sounds. Maybe not to everyone’s tastes, that last example, but my point is, he stretched what could be done with musical scores with a deft hand and a genius’s ear. His like will not be heard again.
  11. In which Matthew, Dixie, and Eddy discuss upcoming projects, horror movies, and play Scion: Origin! N!WE Unleashed! Exalted Essence They Came from Beyond the Grave! V5 Trails of Ash and Bone Hammer House of Horror and Death Line Scion: Origin Actual Play Conclusion LINKS Trinity Continuum – Aberrant: https://www.backerkit.com/projects/200664283/trinity-continuum-aberrant Hammer House of Horror: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_House_of_Horror Death Line: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Line Scion Origin: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/246765/Scion-Second-Edition-Book-One-Origin Onyx Path YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnyxPath Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk
  12. Almost forgot! This June, with the assistance of the crew at Gehenna Gaming, we ran our first OnyxPathCon, a virtual convention, since all the regular shows in meat-space are cancelled or postponed. It seemed to go pretty well, with a number of panels, games, and actual plays over the three-day event. We’re hoping it isn’t the only OnyxPathCon. Videos are making their way to our YouTube. This month we saw: Scarred Lands: Vigil Watch Chapter 3: Leoni (PDF) Scion: Scion 2nd Edition Storyguide Screen (PDF) Scion: Scion 2nd Edition Desktop Wallpaper (image) Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum Desktop Wallpaper (image) Trinity Continuum: Aberrant: Swine and Cheese Party, et al.: Excerpts from the Complete Duke Rollo (PDF/print) Trinity Continuum: Æon: Quantum Entanglement: An Æon Jumpstart (advance PDF) Trinity Continuum: Æon: Trinity Continuum: Æon Desktop Wallpaper (image) Realms of Pugmire: Buried Bones (PDF) Mage: The Awakening: Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed (print) Changeling: The Lost: Dark Eras: Changeling: The Lost Compilation (advance PDF) Merch Now available from our RedBubble store! Dystopia Rising: Evolution: A New Age (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Your Brothers and Sisters (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Knitting the Flesh (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Rolling the Bones (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Acts of Violence (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Wild, Wild Wastes (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Birds of a Feather (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: What You Believe (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Brain Bleed (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Campfire Stories (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Threats of the Wastes (shirts, posters) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: The Wasteland (shirts) Dystopia Rising: Let the Dead Lie (shirts) Kickstarter Update In June we (re)launched our Legendlore Kickstarter and wrapped it up just yesterday! Although technically that’s July, it seems silly to pretend and list the current status as of June 30. We ended with at $25,092, or 167% of our $15,000 goal, thanks to our 543 backers! We funded during the beginning of Onyx Path Virtual Con, and we managed to hit a couple of stretch goals right at the end there. Legendlore GM Reference Screen Legendlore Player’s Companion: Brought from Earth Legendlore Desktop Wallpaper Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Creature Collection 5e Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Realms of Pugmire: Pirates of Pugmire Vampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood Gods Mage: The Ascension: Technocracy Reloaded Exalted: Lunars: Fangs at the Gate Chronicles of Darkness: Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2 Chronicles of Darkness: The Contagion Chronicle Chronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The Renegades Chronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition Chronicles 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 month: VTT Token Marker Set (Pathfinder) The Mists of Algos Elven Blood Your 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 month: The Green Hawk 100 Cats to Meet in the Monarchies of Mau 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 month: Scion: Scion Art Pack 3: Hero Scion: A Pain in the Dice Guide to Scion Character Creation Trinity Continuum: Tomes of Inspiration Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  13. Bring the Ninth World to life on your game table! Do you love using minis and maps for your RPG … Numenera Character and Creature Standups Read More » The post Numenera Character and Creature Standups appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  14. Our Legendlore KS only has days left to run, and actually ends on Thursday this week, so as my final push for folks to check it out, I’m not going to try and convince you like last week. I’m going to let two excellent writers do that! Here’s a great description of Legendlore, written, as only he can, by our own Matthew Dawkins: And here’s developer Steffie De Vann’s excellent take on why she loves the game: In fact, Steffie has been posting examples of the Legendlore characters she mentions above: There you go, and here’s the link to the Legendlore Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/339646881/legendlore-rpg-setting-for-5th-edition-fantasy-roleplaying-0 Let the Streets Run Red art by Oliver Specht Besides Legendlore, What Else? Just a warning, and it may just be a short-term issue, but right now it seems that we can’t ship anything to Canada or Mexico. We haven’t yet heard whether we can receive packages from those countries, but since our most prolific printers are based in Canada, we may experience some delays in our traditionally printed projects. Right now, we’re only having issues with getting the physical printer proofs sent back and forth for approvals, and not the actual books themselves. You’d think after all the panels and Actual Playing I did during the Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Con a few weeks ago that I’d be all talked out. Well, that does not seem to be the case. Ever. Naw, I love telling folks about what Onyx Path is and the game worlds we make! I just can’t help myself, we have so many exciting and fun things going on! Last week, Mike and the gang over at the This Week In Geek podcast interviewed me about WW and Onyx Path, and it turned into a sort of oral history of how the companies transformed into each successive version, and just where game lines branched off to different companies and editions. If that sort of stuff is interesting for you, here ya go: http://thisweekingeek.net/news/interviews/fan-service-interview-rich-thomas-onyx-path-june-2020 Then this weekend, I sat in on a retrospective of the Art of Mage at Ascension Con 2020 along with Satyros Phil Brucato and artists Mark Jackson and Echo Chernik. Echo took on the slideshow duties and we all discussed the Mage art that came up as it appeared. That was pretty great, and it was certainly a treat to chat with folks I haven’t talked to in years. Hopefully, that recording will show up on YouTube soon and we’ll get you all a link. Cults of the Blood Gods art by Thomas Denmark What wasn’t great last week were a couple of issues that we needed to deal with. While we dealt with them as best as we could, we realized that at core our little crew of folks here are simply not HR experts. And more importantly, we shouldn’t try to be. We need to concentrate on making great games and amazing worlds, like we do. Which means that tomorrow, I’m interviewing our current best prospect for an HR point-of-contact for the company. Someone who is HR trained and has worked in HR at other companies. And very important for us, someone who is unconnected to Onyx Path and has never been a gamer or in the TTRPG business. We need someone who doesn’t have the connections or baggage that might make it hard to be objective when they review HR concerns. Hopefully, my interview is the one, and once everything is good to go we’ll include info concerning them prominently on our website so folks know who to contact. I mean, it’s important that our worlds are all about excitement, and fear, and victory, and defeat. What our creators and community go through in the real world shouldn’t also require all those moments. We want everyone playing our games and reading our books to be safe while they explore our: Many Worlds, One Path! Blurbs! Kickstarter! The Legendlore Kickstarter is in its last few days and ends this Thursday, and now we’re really building towards Stretch Goals: the GM’s Screen, and starting the Legendlore Companion book PDF! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/339646881/legendlore-rpg-setting-for-5th-edition-fantasy-roleplaying-0 Grab your friends and escape to another world! You’ve found an enchanted portal — a transition point — between worlds. The portal, called a Crossing, takes you to a world you thought only existed in novels and films: a magical land where dragons roam the skies, orcs and hobgoblins terrorize weary travelers, and unicorns prance through the forest. It is a world where humans join other peoples such as elves, trolls, dwarves, changelings, and the dreaded creatures who steal the night. It is a world of fantasy — of imagination. It is the Realm. It is Legendlore. Next Up On Kickstarter: They Came From Beyond the Grave! Onyx Path Media! This week: the return of the return of the Scion Actual Play as Eddy and Dixie’s characters dig further into the machinations of the gods! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ All our panels and games from Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Convention are still available on twitch.tv/theonyxpath! All you need to do is head on over to the website and subscribe. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can do so for free and access our entire catalogue of videos! Legendlore‘s Kickstarter is coming to an end, but Jen Vaughn’s actual play is still going on our Twitch channel every week on Friday night! Lost in the Crossing is an amazing story played through by a fantastic GM and excellent roleplayers, and handles the Legendlore world from the perspective of visitors and native inhabitants of the Realm! Make sure you’re tuning in every Friday or catching up afterwards by subscribing. That’s not all for Legendlore, as we have actual plays by Steffie de Vaan and Corinne McCrory over on our YouTube channel, which you can find here https://youtu.be/UaQXSlEatDw and here https://youtu.be/RRvnJOrmNzM! Please give our GMs some support and tune in! This week on Twitch, expect to see: V5 – Chicago by Night Realms of Pugmire – Paws & Claws Legendlore – The Metal Scourge Dystopia Rising: Evolution – Thieves of Old York They Came from Beneath the Sea! – They Came from Devil’s Reef! Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous Legendlore – Lost in the Crossing Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds Chronicles of Darkness – Tooth and Claw Deviant: The Renegades – A Cautionary Tale Get watching for some fantastic insight into how to run these wonderful games. 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: Legendlore – The Metal Scourge: https://youtu.be/ECRrErPLm64 Storytellers with Coffee – Safety Tools: https://youtu.be/FjG-YbG_Q1k Mage: The Ascension – Technocracy Reloaded: https://youtu.be/9Al7ZdkLGiM Even more Legendlore – The Metal Scourge: https://youtu.be/RRvnJOrmNzM #OnyxPathCon | How to Write for TTRPGs [Panel]: https://youtu.be/UKmJQEhInP8 Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Occultists Anonymous continues right here with their excellent Mage: The Awakening chronicle: Episode 108: Car-V Heist While Songbird prepares for a dangerous summoning, Atratus and Wyrd hit the junkyards with an overly elaborate plan to make an overly elaborate gift. How very Mage of them… https://youtu.be/wSy3c74jkfM Episode 109: Crown of Blood Wyrd and Atratus enjoy the joy of a well-made gift and the good vibes that comes with that. Songbird joins together with Hadramiel to summon an Angel of Death to anoint a Vampire Prince in power. https://youtu.be/QxB6Ml6uStY A Bunch of Gamers continue their actual play of They Came from Beneath the Sea! and conclude it with a mini review: https://youtu.be/qIMwcOZmR8k The Botch Pit have released a wonderful new guide for Changeling: The Lost right here. Do give them a like and a subscribe: https://youtu.be/Bd0UZQZt2OM 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! Our 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.) 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 get Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau out into stores, as well as to individuals through their online store. You can pick up the traditionally printed main book, the screen, and the official Pugmire dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire We’ve added Prince’s Gambit to our Studio2 catalog: https://studio2publishing.com/products/prince-s-gambit-card-game Now, we’ve added 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 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! On Sale This Week! Available this Wednesday, we present Dystopia Rising: Evolution shirts and posters on our RedBubble store! Conventions! Though dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, here’s what’s left of our current list of upcoming conventions (and really, we’re just waiting for this last one to be cancelled even though it’s Nov/Dec). Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with: PAX Unplugged: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/ 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) Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition) The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Anima M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) CtL 2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Second Draft Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands) The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Development TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core) V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Manuscript Approval Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Post-Approval Development Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) TC: Aberrant Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Trinity Continuum Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition) The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!) Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades) Post-Editing Development City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars) W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th) Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Monsters of the Deep (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) Pirates of Pugmire KS-Added Adventure (Realms of Pugmire) Tales of Aquatic Terror (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) Terra Firma (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction Tales of Aquatic Terror – Handing off to Meredith to AD. WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) – Prepping KS assets. Aberrant – AD’d. Sketches from HIVE in. Hunter: The Vigil 2e Mummy 2 Deviant Legendlore – KS running. Technocracy Reloaded (KS) Cults of the Blood God – Rolling along. Scion: Dragon (KS) – Waiting on art notes. Masks of the Mythos (KS) – Pinging potential cover and fulls artist. Scion: Demigod (KS) – Art rolling. KS assets AD’d. They Came From Beyond the Grave! (KS) – Prepping KS assets. TC: Adventure! (KS) – Shen Fei cover art finishing. Geist: One Foot In the Grave – AD’d. In Layout Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Vigil Watch TC Aeon Terra Firma V5 Let the Streets Run Red – working layout now. Pugmire Adventure Scion Titanomachy Proofing Trinity Aeon Jumpstart – Errata gathering. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – Page XXs. Contagion Chronicle – Backer PDF out to backers, gathering errata. Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs Magic Item Decks (Scarred Lands) Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands) Dark Eras 2 Screen and booklet At Press Scion Companion – Awaiting errata from devs. TCFBTS Heroic Land Dwellers – PoD files uploaded. TCFBTS Screen and Booklet – Files at press. They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Press proofs signed off on, PoD files uploaded. Creature Collection 5e – PoD proof ordered. Traditional files sent to printer. Pirates of Pugmire – Files at press. PoD proofs ordered. Pirates of Pugmire Screen – Files at press. Pugmire Buried Bones – PoD files uploaded. Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition Dark Eras Compilation – Creating PoD file. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! This coming week is a big one for our household with the birthdays of two of our widdle kiddies (really not widdle at all any more), and the July 4th celebration of the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain! “And just as Tom here has written, we say To Hell With Great Britain!” Sorry, Matthew… In sadder news, we acknowledge the passing of Jim Holloway, noted artist for Paranoia and Star Frontiers and many early issues of Dragon Magazine. Personally, I very much enjoyed his style, and he brought a technical expertise and a sense of humor to the early TTRPG business that it sorely needed.
  15. Sean gave a wry chuckle as he lead Cade back to the main room of The Barn, who returned the firearm to the gym bag, along with the modified gloves. "Do we really need any more insanity in our lives right now, Cade?" Sean pursed his lips in thought, then gave his friend a shrug. "I'll give it some thought, but no promises."
  16. "Maybe not a Danger Room, but I might be able to manage some kick ass VR that would be nearly as good, especially if the Project will share their tech with me - us," Sean countered as he neatly replaced the needle, thread, and glue, and gathered up the unused RFID chips. "Not quite X-men, but likely a lot more convenient and less potential collateral damage." Sean returned the microchips to their cubby, then arched a nonplussed brow up at Cade when he asked him about Homecoming. "Since when have I ever been big on going to school events unless Mom and Dad dragged me to something Teagan or Laurie were doing?" Sean shook his head in apparent exasperation. "Haven't really given Homecoming a thought." That wasn't strictly true. With his friends starting to pair off, the idea had on occasion skirted the edge of his thoughts. He could go stag, but he hadn't ever been one to go to school Dances. And especially with his mates taking their own dates instead of them going as a group, he'd feel like an extraneous wheel. There might have been one person he'd consider asking, but knowing her for only a couple of days, it felt presumptuous to him. Besides, he didn't have anything to wear to something like Homecoming. Last time he'd worn something... suit-ish, it had been at his grandfather's funeral, when he was about eleven. "How 'bout you, Cade? Marissa, hmm?"
  17. DriveThruFiction’s Great Gaming Fiction Sale is live until Monday! Dozens of great fiction titles from Onyx Path are currently on sale, from Monarchies of Mau (Tales of Excellent Cats) to World of Darkness (The Poison Tree) to Scarred Lands (Vigilant) to Exalted (False Images) and much more!
  18. 2019 - Monday, Labor Day noon, lunch They settled on burgers for lunch, and were seated in the Roadhouse Diner waiting for their orders. Jason had been quiet since Sean’s revelation, and Sean likewise had been chewing over Jason’s. “You know that I’m going to see you get to where you need to go.” Jason stated rather than asked, causing Sean to smile faintly. There were worse allies to have when mounting an assault on a shady secret laboratory site than Jason. “Yeah. I know.” he nodded, sipping at his drink through a straw. “Just… don’t do anything precipitous, okay? We’ve got to deal with the other matter first, like Cassie said.” Jason nodded calmly, and Sean grinned as a thought struck him. “Hey. Maybe if what we find can sort out my problem, perhaps it could restructure your DNA too.” “Why would I want to?” Jason smiled slightly. Sean chuckled. “Yeah. After all, you’re ‘superior’.” he smirked, teasing his friend a little. “Yes. But that has nothing to do with being an alien.” Jason replied with a faint flash of teeth as he grinned. Sean made a rude noise as the server brought their well-stacked burgers over. Sean squirted ketchup over his fries and after the server left to see her other patrons, he looked up at Jason, his eyes twinkling in mirth, defiant of their respective issues. “Y’know, you can’t tell Cass you’re an Alien. She won’t be able to resist the headlines.” “‘They Walk Among Us!’” Jason intoned, hand sweeping to indicate a blazoned headline. “‘Shelly Coronet Exclusive: Genetically-engineered love god walks the earth, by ace reporter Cassandra Allen!’” “‘Love god’?” Sean sniggered around a mouthful of fries. “Dude makes out in the woods and now he’s Casanova. Sheesh.” Jason smiled faintly at him, eyes glinting with good humor. “Got to say, though,” Sean admitted, finishing his mouthful and gesturing towards him. “You seem different ‘cause of it.” He was going to say ‘softer’, but the memory of the counter exchange in Walgreens stifled that word. ‘More relaxed’, maybe? A thought occurred and he leaned forward as much as his bust would allow. “What about Autumn? Does she know about…?” He indicated Jason with a wave of a hand. “Yes.” Jason nodded gravely, eyes going distant for a moment as he then smiled a fraction. “I thought it only fair, considering she’d agreed to date me.” “How did she handle it?” Sean asked, fascinated, then blinked as Jason’s eyes took on the gleam he associated with a smirk from anyone else. Sean rolled his eyes and sighed. “Yes, I know. Phrasing. Now spill.” “Didn’t seem to faze her at all.” Jason said matter-of-factly, shrugging before picking up his burger and taking a bite. “Wow.” Sean blinked, again feeling a surge of envy that Jason had found someone who accepted him peculiarities and all. But stronger than that was a sense of happiness for his friend. “That’s some girl. To think she didn’t like you much last week, huh?” Jason nodded, chewing steadily as he examined Sean with his usual, uncomfortably direct stare. It reminded Sean of how Jason had used to look at everyone when he first came to Shelly, before he’d adopted mannerisms and a mask to try and hide himself. “You will have a chance, too.” Jason said quietly after washing down his mouthful with a gulp of soda. “We will get you fixed, Sean. If the technology exists to correct your DNA, then it can feasibly also help you settle on a gender. You might be able to choose male or female, and live and love accordingly.” He tilted his head a fraction, examining his friend. “It would be good to see, I think. This acceptance, the warmth in the cold places I experience - I’d like you to know what it’s like too.” 2014, October 30th, Bunnee’s “I don’t understand why.” Jason was quietly insistent, the closest he got to expressing real worry, it seemed. He was even frowning slightly, lips in a straight line as he peered at Sean from under the messy fringe of his hair. He was sitting in what had become his customary slouch, bent over a burger which he was eating with both hands, chewing steadily between speaking. “I just don’t wanna.” Sean shrugged, trying not to meet that green stare and instead looking out the window. “Halloween is your birthday. You love Halloween.” Jason wasn’t leaving it alone, doggedly hanging on like a quiet pit bull in a death-grip. “You don’t want to have a birthday?” “I’ll be having a birthday.” Sean forced a smile, looking back at his friend. “I just won’t be trick or treating. I… don’t feel like it this year.” Jason stared hard at him, actually lifting his head from it’s lowered slouch and glaring directly at Sean, who shifted in his seat. Jason’s glare wasn’t hostile, but it was definitely a lot. “No.” he said after a moment. “No?” Sean was confused. “No.” Jason reiterated. “You did not want to go swimming. You have been avoiding going outdoors ever since the summer. You avoid sports and PE class with a note.” He pointed his burger at Sean accusingly. “Something is wrong.” Sean scowled, his appetite gone, and let the rest of his burger fall with a plop, a ketchup speckled french fry jumping from his plate and rolling across the booth table. He glowered out the window and went to cross his arms defensively before hesitating, then balling his hands into fists and thumping them on the table. Sean was silent for a long moment, his jaw tight, but he was tired and angry and scared and hadn’t been able to talk to anybody who wasn’t family. Finally, he turned back to Jason, glanced towards the bathroom, gave his head a minute shake, then nodded at the burger in his friend’s hand. “Fine,” Sean ground out in his high, clear voice. “Finish your burger, and I’ll show you. At the barn.” Jason simply nodded, undeterred by his friend’s evident turmoil and finished his burger and fries with quick, economical bites. Sean just stirred his fries with a fork and took a few desultory bites, before pushing his plate to the side and finishing his soda. The boys finished their meal, leaving cash on the table. Jason counted out exacted change and a precise percentage for a tip, while Sean just slapped down enough bills to cover his share without caring about getting any change back. They waved at Bunnee and Max in passing, and then reclaimed their bikes locked up at the bike rack out front of the diner. The boys pedaled back to Sean’s home, dirt and gravel crunching under their wheels the only sound between them. Sean was still using the same bike he had since he was nine, but Jason had a new one - well, new to him, it was secondhand - he’d gotten for his birthday. At the Cassidy residence, Sean led Jason past the rambling, one story farmhouse to the barn that was being converted into a playroom and den for Sean and his siblings, though so far, only Sean was really making much use of it. Sean hopped off his bike before coming to a full stop and let it fall, the back wheel continuing to spin with a slowing clicking sound. Jason was more fastidious, coming to a complete stop and using the kickstand. The sun was an orange ball, still its own height above the horizon when Sean barged into the barn, Jason following at a more sedate, even-tempered pace. The front half of the barn was one big room, but the rear half still had sections separated by half walls, repurposed stalls, though not all the former stalls had found new purposes yet. Sean closed the blinds on each of the newly installed windows as he stalked past them towards the rearmost left stall. Sean reached up on his tip toes and pulled the string descending from the bare bulb. Harsh white-yellow light flooded the stall, their short shadows shifting at the hanging lightbulb swung gently. Sean took a deep breath, then spun around to face his friend. “What do you see when you look at me?” Sean asked. Jason tilted his head slightly, then gave Sean a cursory once over. Sean had hit his growth spurt early and had been one of the tallest boys in class. But now, he was at best only average in height, and that was changing each year, with the other boys in his grade matching and then surpassing him. He had been slim, but seemed to have put on notable weight in the last year, perhaps from being less active. “I see you, Sean. With your recent lack of physical activity, you are getting fat,” Jason replied with blunt honesty. Sean snorted bitterly. “I’m not fat. Look closer.” Jason did. Sean’s hands and forearms were slim, the fingers delicate, his complexion uniformly pale. His bright red hair was less than an inch long, but didn’t disguise the fineness of his features or the attractiveness of the lines of his face, the large, strange eyes with their long, dark lashes. Jason pictured Sean’s sisters, contrasted them with his friend and noted the resemblance between them was more than familial. Where the voices of the other boys in their class were beginning to warble and crack, Sean’s voice stayed smooth and sweet. More than once, he was asked to join the choir. “You have distinct phenotypically feminine features.” It was an open truth, but few ever actually openly remarked upon it except to be mean or cruel. Jason didn’t mean to be either, he was only stating a fact. Sean blinked. He knew what phenotype meant, because of the doctors, but he was surprised Jason knew it. “It’s sooo much worse than that,” Sean didn’t quite wail, squinting his eyes tightly as he always did to keep them dry and tear free when there was anyone to see. He shrugged out of his baggy, zip-up hoodie, then his loose flannel shirt, then the shirt was wearing under that. With each layer removed, Jason could see his friend getting slimmer and slimmer… mostly. Sean’s jeans hung off hips that were noticeably wider than what appeared to be a notably thin waist. And there was something strange about his chest. When Sean pulled off his tight undershirt, Jason found his chest bound tight with ace bandages, but they didn’t hide the white straps going over Sean’s slender shoulders. Sean was almost gasping as he unwound the bandages, hiccuping in his self-consciousness. It was bad enough showing his parents and the doctors. Laurie had spied on him once, and Teagan had made one teasing comment before getting grounded. But this was his friend, the first time he was showing somebody who didn’t need to know. He tossed the lengths of elastic bandages aside and locked his eyes on a point just over Jason’s shoulder as he let him get a full look. Sean was wearing a plain, white bra, and it wasn’t a training bra, as it was filled out with the unmistakable, if unfamiliar, bulges of breasts. Jason had been intensely aware of the growing and developing physical changes of his fellow classmates, especially the girls. Some girls were developing faster and more dramatically than others. Sophia Fingleman, for example, had been receiving particular attention, lately, from both girls and boys, both good and bad, for being as well endowed as most of the underclassmen, and several of the upperclassmen. Remarkably - and for most other people, disconcertingly and/or disgustingly - Sean had been hiding a figure at least as curvaceous. “I’m turning into a girl!” Sean wasn’t sure what he expected. From any other boy his age, shock. Or snickering. Or disgust. Or a mixture of all three. He held his gaze at that point on the far wall past Jason’s shoulder, not wanting to see his friend’s eyes when- “That seems biologically unlikely.” “Huh?!” Sean blinked and looked at Jason’s face. The green eyes were calmly appraising his body and features, and Jason’s own face, as devoid of youthful softness at the age of twelve as it had been when they first met, was smooth save for a slight furrow of concentration on his brow. Jason’s gaze met his. “I said-” “I heard you.” “Because it is unlikely that you would suddenly turn into a girl.” Jason said with the firm authoritativeness of a boy who knew how development was supposed to go. "Gaah! It's not sudden, it's still happening, day after day. It's not really turning into a girl, just looking like one and having the same hormones and stuff." Sean huffed, a little piqued that Jason had, characteristically, totally ignored the dramatised interpretation and gone right for the crux of the matter. “The doctors say it’s called Chapelle Syndrome, or something. Like, my body is producing girl hormones more than boy ones, but it’s still also producing boy ones.” Jason was staring at him, curiosity in his eyes. “That’s interesting.” “It’s really not!” Sean huffed, trying to cross his arms over his chest and having to opt for folding them under his protuberances. “It sucks, and it’s scary. I don’t want to be a girl, Jason!” “But you’re not. You’re neither, and both.” “I want to be me.” Sean felt tears start up, and tried to ignore them even as he felt their wetness trail down his cheeks. Jason’s head tilted to one side, brow furrowing again as he considered something, then he stepped forward and put a hand on Sean’s shoulder. “You are still Sean. What you look like doesn’t change who you are. Not to me.” he said quietly and firmly. “You are, and always have been my friend. I look at you and that is what I see.” The hug was awkward as it was sudden. Sean was torn between returning the hug and keeping his arms folded across his lower chest and opted for returning the hug, regretting it almost immediately as he felt his breasts press against his friend’s skinny torso. Still, for Jason to offer a hug was a major concession, and so Sean endured it for the brief moment it lasted. “Okay.” he smiled wanly as they parted, Jason stepping back without seeming at all perturbed. “One, never do that again.” he joked, smiling so Jason would be sure to get it. His friend smiled fractionally in return. “Two, you can’t tell anyone.” “Won’t they find out eventually anyway?” Jason asked with his usual coldly brutal logic. “Yeah, maybe. But I’m not ready for that yet.” Sean sighed. “And three… can you help me re-wrap these things? My mom usually does.” “Aren’t they sensitive? Doesn’t that hurt?” Jason inquired calmly. “Yeah. It hurts.” Sean admitted ruefully. “But… It’s better than people knowing. And don’t give me the ‘logically that seems flawed, Captain’ treatment.” he pointed at Jase, doing an impression of Spock. “Kirk didn’t have breasts.” Jason replied, a glint of humor in his eyes as he moved to pick up the bandages. “I won’t tell anyone. But I think this is something you need to accept.” “Yeah. Maybe one day I will.” Sean sighed.
  19. Sean pushed off from leaning against his car, giving Kat an apologetic shrug. "I think this is cooler. Like one of those flameless lighters. More efficient, all the heat without the flame" Sean nodded down the length of the strip mall towards Sulli's Electronics at the end, then shifted to Kat's side so the cigarette smoke wouldn't blow in his face. He glanced casually about as they started walking, making sure nobody was paying undue attention to them. "So, it looks like you can do something like Jase, just in a different way. Instead of making flame directly, you might have to agitate molecules to combust." He pointed at the cig dangling from her lips. "And make flame that way." They reached Sulli's and stood a bit away from the door to let Kat finish her cigarette before heading in. A frown appeared on Kat's features as she asked, "Isn't it what Jason is doing ? If I heard correctly," she puffed, "he uses telekinesis, right ? So he'd be agitating the molecules to heat them up. What I did didn't feel like... telekinesis. One moment, the air was cool, and a moment after, it was hot. It almost felt like I had an energy reservoir and I tapped in it to allow the combustion. Took me a while to figure it out..." She rubbed the back of her head, before adding, "Thinking about it, if I had tried too hard, I might have burnt the cigarette to ash." She drew a last time on her cigarette before stubbing it out against the floor, her eyes scanning her surroundings to stop on a public trash. She got rid of the butt and nodded at her friend, who opened the door of the shop. There was an electric chime as the door opened. Sean waved Kat ahead and followed her in to Sulli's Electronics and Computers with a sense of familiarity. The shop was probably the place he had visited most often outside of Shelly and had that aura of welcoming clutter that the best mom and pop stores held, despite it being neat and tidy. Behind the counter at the back the facing the door was a somewhat short man, only two or three inches taller than Sean, somewhere between stocky and rotund, who had probably crested forty years of age. He looked away from the monitor he was looking and seeing Sean, he smiled, crows feet at the corners of his grey eyes creasing his smooth face. "Oh! Sean, good afternoon," he called out cheerily. "What brings you out today? I wasn't waiting on a build from you to put out on commission was I?" "No, not this time, Sulli," Sean replied, with a relaxed ease Kat noticed was rare from Sean. "But I am looking at putting together a gaming rig." He put a slender hand on Kat's slight shoulder. "This is Kat, a new friend and student at Shelly High. She heard I had a thing for computers and decided she needed a new setup. And you're the best for parts, Sulli, so I brought her here." "Sean's too kind," Sullivan said, offering Kat a boyish grin that belied his age. "I'm just diligent and a little compulsively thorough when looking for suppliers. Pleased to meet you, Kat. What do you need?" After greeting the man back, Kat pursed her lips into something close to a cute pout while she thought about what she exactly wanted. If she picked her components carefully, she might get an even better rig than the one she left in France, and for a better price. "I'm looking for at least 4 GB of video memory, a solid processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a soundcard decent enough for music recording. For that last thing, I really don't know if I can get that integrated to a computer or if it has to be external, but I need it either way." As she spoke she raised a finger for each demand, waving her hand when specifying how important the sound card was to her. "I never really liked how my recordings sounded with a laptop, so I wanna make sure I get something nice." With an amused smirk, Sullivan began taking short notes, then his eyes met with the petite redhead's as he asked : "Do you have any... brand preferences ?" Kat shook her head. "I don't really know better than both of you would," she replied, "I'm open to suggestions." "Well, if you're willing to trust us, I'm sure we can get you everything you'd like, and under budget," Sulli with a smile as he began pulling up his inventory on the computer. "Especially with the employee discount, hmm?" Sean said with a grin, arching a brow. "I suppose if I don't, you'll just coincidentally buy the same components, Sean?" Sulli replied with an exasperated tone, but his pale blue eyes twinkled. Sean nodded. "Fine then. Let's start with what I have on sale and clearance and go from there. It was almost like another language, as Sean and Sullivan debating the merits and specs of various brands of components, versus what Kat needed, and what she wanted. Sean was clearly in his element, but made the effort to explain to the more petite redhead what he was talking about. "You could get a better soundcard, but overall, you'll probably be better of with an external DAC," Sean said. "Especially for recording. You'll also want to invest in a good mic or two - that'll help a lot and save you time in sound editing. And baffling for wherever you end up recording - that'll stop echoes. I learned that the hard way." So in his element, Sean completely shut down a guy who had seen the two attractive redheads and tried to mansplain computer builds before Sullivan could intervene. The guy looked to be in his twenties, some sort of tech-bro. He'd given Kat a look that suggested he thought she was cute, but too young, before turning his attention to Sean, or more often, his chest, as he tried to impress him with his knowledge of video games and computers. It didn't take long before Sean had him retreating out of the store with his tail between his legs. In less than an hour, Kat had all the components for a PC, with better specs than she had asked for, and under the budget she had set for herself, giving her leeway to get a new microphone. The components made a surprisingly compact pack, fitting inside a box easily handled by either Kat or Sean. Thankfully, Sean already had a spare computer case, so Kat didn't need to a new one. "Thanks, Sulli," Sean chimed as Kat paid. "And just so you know, I'll probably have Regenesis done sooner than later. Been making amazing progress lately" Kat put her wallet away, and box of unconstructed computer held protectively in her arms, sidled up to Sean, mouth spread wide in pleasure. "Ready to head back and put your new PC together?"
  20. 2019 - Monday, Labor Day morning, on the road “Yeah, that seems good.” Jason mused, taking a swallow of Coke. “Perhaps we can persuade the Aeon people to share that communications tech with us.” He smiled in his usual wry fashion. “At least the stuff they were handing out to Etienne and their other agents - that not-quite-a-phone we found of his.” “I wonder if they work on the same basic principles as the weird radio from the trailer,” Sean added, flicking on the turn signal and shifting lanes with a quick glance in the mirror for the upcoming off ramp to Great Falls. “But what I really want…” There was a lustful burr to the shapely boy’s dulcet voice, “... is some of that holography tech. Gaming night and video games would be so sweet.” As the music changed to a minimalist composition of soft percussion and what sounded like singularly drops of something into some manner of liquid, Sean went off on a tangent about the progress he was making on his video game. Jason let his friend babble on, long familiar with how Sean’s particular brand of genius benefitted from jumping from one topic to another. With greater understanding of his own abilities and how they manipulated software, the coding on FBG (Fallout-But-Good, codename), was taking an exponential leap forward, in efficiency especially. He could get more using less memory, which drastically eased rendering and loading times, and would mitigate crashes and errors - also helped by him not being a lazy coder. “... do away with zoning, and don’t even need to use cinematic cutscenes anymore. I can get it all done using the game engine, just zooming and playing with the camera angles to get the best shots,” Sean explained, sounding almost giddy, as he wove through Great Falls on the familiar route to Sullivan’s Computers & Electronics. Sean had a great deal of respect for what the gaming industry had accomplished, but believed now, imagination and innovation had taken a backseat thanks to the executives and sales folk for the sake of the investors. Games from the biggest publishers were coming out nearly half finished - if that in some cases - and riddled with bugs. He was just one person, he couldn’t write, code, and test as fast as they could, or at least, he shouldn’t have been able too. On the other hand, he didn’t have stakeholders to answer to and publisher executives medling to squeeze every bit of money from the game at the expense of the game and the players. And he now had an insight into the digital world they just didn’t have. He could see a game forming that could be a turning point in the industry, one that could rank in the greatest and most influential game lists for years. One of those games that remained pristine and flawless in nostalgic eyes. “... and picture that in 3D holography, yeah?” Sean finished as he parked in the lot of the small srip mall. “I can,” Jase replied, forming the scene in his mind palace. “Evocative. But do you believe you’ll have the time to work on this with all that is happening with Proteus and Crossroads?” “You still make time for your flowers, Jase. I can make time for this,” Sean countered, his forearms on the steering wheel as he stared out the windshield thoughtfully. “I’m still looking at what comes after Proteus and Crossroads, Cody and Kline and all that stuff. Making video games might be a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a dream that isn’t lost me with everything that’s going on with us. A dream that has actually grown with it instead.” “I get it, Sean.” Jason looked over at his friend with his inscrutable gaze, and enigmatic grin. “Just wanted to know how important it was to you.” Sean rolled his eyes with familiar exasperation, but grinned. Jason had changed since summer, but then again, they’ve all had. Still, Sean was about the most used to him. “You could’ve just said that, man,” Sean groused. “But then, where would have been my fun?” Jason said, the bare curve of his lips deepening faintly, verdigris eyes glinting. The boys exited the Jeep, Jason with economical grace, Sean with more of a hop, due to his modest height. A pair of women, two or three years older than the Shellites leaving a yoga studio gave Jason a casual glance of interest, the blonde giving a shudder when she noticed his eyes. When their attention slid over Sean, who was straightening his hoodie and was once again considering the graphic on it being a little too on point, the blonde scowled, while the snorted a giggle, something sounding like ‘udders’ drifting over to the boys on the air. The hoodie was loose, but not shapeless, and regardless, Sean’s curves were much too pronounced to hide. He didn’t even try anymore. He just shot the girls an arched brow, then led Jason into Sullivan’s. “Hey, Sean!” the pudgy Sulli called in friendly greeting to one of his best customers, and occasional subcontractor for computer builds. “And friend,” Sulli added somewhat more neutrally when he noticed the lanky boy who was clearly accompanying Sean, guessing he wouldn’t have much time to geek out to pop culture and electronics with the intersexed youth. “What can I do you guys for?” “Phone shopping.” Sean told his tech-savvy friend with a grin. “My man Jase here has decided to join the 21st century and leave behind smoke signals and semaphore.” A slight bit of ribbing at Jason’s expense - Sean knew his friend was far from incompetent with technology, circuitry, electronics, computers and the like: he simply didn’t share Sean’s fascination with them to the same degree. Jason merely smiled at the good-natured teasing, his cold eyes crinkling a little at the corners as Sean went on. “I’m his spirit guide on this quest.” “Well, if Sean’s your guide, I’m guessing Android?” Sully smiled at Sean as he got his keys and moved along to the phone display cases. He gave Jase a professional shopkeeper’s appraisal. “What’s your budget look like?” “Money is no obstacle, within reason.” Jason responded calmly as he moved to examine some of the sleek-looking phones. 2013 - March, Weekend, Cassidy Home Sean busied himself with washing the lettuce as a quiet argument went on behind him. Outside, the grill was heating up as the family took advantage of an unseasonably warm early Spring day to properly cook steaks and burgers. Inside the kitchen, things were also heating up. “He bit that boy, and Mr Polanski. They both needed stitches.” Mom said with low, worried severity. “He was defending Sean, Mom.” Teagan said with a dismissive snort. “Mr Polanski lets Chet and his cronies do whatever - either because he’s blind or because he doesn’t care. Jason stepped up, you know what I’m saying?” “Alan’s mother said he still has bruises on his neck and has woken up with nightmares several times.” Carolyn fretted. “You can’t tell me that’s a normal scuffle between boys.” “Good. Alan should keep his hands to himself!” “Teagan Cassidy!” “What?! It’s true, mom. Chet and his friends are little shi- bullies.” Teagan moderated her words, if not her tone. “I don’t care if Sean’s friend gives them all screaming night terrors. Hell, I’ll hug him when I see him.” Sean’s older sister was fiercely protective of her little brother, and it showed. “Heh. He might bite you.” Laurie giggled. “Oh, don’t even joke.” Carolyn said severely. “What if he has serious problems?” “He does, mom.” Sean turned around, facing his sisters and mother, his father at the far end of the kitchen staying out of the discussion. “He’s got no mother, no siblings, his dad is a drunk. He acts like he doesn’t expect any kindness from anyone, but he always sits with me, and talks with me about all sorts of stuff. He’s super smart, just quiet. And he’s not mean at all.” “Tell that to Mr Polanski.” “That was an accident. Jase said he thought it was Chet.” “Oh, so he thought he was biting into a boy’s artery. That makes it so much better.” Carolyn’s tone was heavy with irony as she turned to her husband. “Jack, talk to your children please?” Sean’s dad looked up from the marinade he was mixing, considering his wife, then looking at Sean. “Our son invited his friend to our cookout.” he said in a level tone. “I see nothing wrong with that. Whatever you heard from other moms doesn’t count for much, Carolyn. I trust Teagan and Sean when they say those boys are bullies. Maybe Jason does have issues - but denying him our son’s friendship won’t help with that.” Carolyn let out a small sigh. “I know, I know. I’m just worried about-” “Trust Sean, sweetheart. He knows good eggs from bad.” Jack looked round as the front doorbell rang. “Speaking of…” “I’ve got it.” Sean dried his hands off on a dishtowel and scampered to the door. Opening it he saw Jason on the porch, a plastic container under one arm and with his satchel slung around his narrow shoulders. He gave Sean a tiny smile as the redheaded boy greeted him. “Heya Jase. What’s in the box?” “A gift.” Jason said enigmatically. Sean chuckled and swung the door wider, letting his friend in and leading him to the kitchen. “How’d you get down here? Dad give you a ride?” “My father’s sleeping. I walked.” Jason said as he followed Sean into the large family kitchen, noting the surprise on everyone’s face as his words registered. “You walked?” Carolyn sounded mildly aghast. “That’s..” “Three and a half miles, roughly.” Jason supplied helpfully as he put the blue plastic container on the table at one end. “These are for you, Mrs Cassidy.” “But that’s dangerous!” Carolyn said concernedly. “I’m careful.” Was all Jason replied, with a slight shrug. Teagan came round the table and popped off the lid from the container. “Oh hey, brownies.” “My first batch.” Jason told her with a smile. Teagan shot her mom a meaningful look, then turned and leaned over, giving Jason a hug. Sean saw his stoic friend’s eyes widen a little in surprise, swivelling towards Sean as though seeking answers for this strange behaviour. “Uh. Thanks. But they’re only brownies.” Teagan giggled, giving the skinny boy a slight squeeze, then released him. “No, that was for protecting Sean.” She hesitated, then gave him a kiss on the forehead, making him blink. “That was for the brownies.” “Say, these look good.” Jack peered into the container. Carolyn came forward then, shooing away her husband’s reaching hand. “Off, you. Jason said they were for me. Right, Jason?” she asked him as she put the lid back on the container and moved it to the fridge. “That’s right. And whoever you choose to share them with” he asserted with a faint smile. Carolyn came back over, giving him a slightly awkward one armed hug. “Thank you, sweetie. We’ll share them after dinner.” “If we’ve got any room.” Laurie grinned. Jason glanced around at the various tasks the family were doing, contributing to the meal, and frowned a little in consideration. “Can I help?” he asked. Jack and Carolyn exchanged a glance, and Sean smiled as he saw his mom’s expression. Whatever doubts she had about Jason or his issues, his mom had a huge heart. And it had gone out to his friend. “Sure. Ever grilled before?” Jack asked, getting off the stool he was seated on and bringing over a tray of steaks to set beside the bowl of dry marinade. “I need someone to coat these thoroughly. You up for that?” “I have seen it done.” Jason replied as he clambered up onto the stool and rolled up the sleeves of his sweater.
  21. 2019 - Monday, Labor Day morning, around 7 am There had been a mist hanging low over the fields an hour or two earlier, when he’d first sat down on the porch seat with his satchel and a cup of coffee, watching the rising sun and smiling slightly to himself as it turned the sky a vivid red-gold with hints of rose. Now the mist had been burned away, the sky taking on a richer blue as the sun ascended, and the cup was cold and empty at his side. An observer would have not seen the youth move since he’d set the empty mug down, instead resting his hands on his thighs with his gaze turned inwards, so perfectly still he seemed to withdraw from the present. In truth he was meditating on the energies of Radiance, or Shine, feeling the tickle of it from the tall grass in front of the house, the occasional brighter sense of his father asleep upstairs in the house, the rich glow that permeated himself. The weekend had come with revelations, and the slow-moving moments of quiet reflection allowed him to re-examine them all. Including the shimmer from the bracelet around his left wrist where Autumn had fastened it yesterday before his duel with Devin, like a sign of courtly favor from a maiden on the arm of her knight. He'd studied it intently, trying to determine what it was made of but, lacking spectroscopic equipment or similar tools, could do little but guess. It was too light in hue to be copper, too lightweight to be gold or brass. He wondered if perhaps it was some otherworldly alloy - given it's origin that was possible. It would remain, by necessity, a mystery for now. The other bracelets Autumn was safeguarding would be handed out tonight before battle was joined. Perhaps, after the fight against the Tree was done, there would be time for proper study. The sound of an engine - not the growl of his own Charger, but the whisper-like purr of a car made for more modern sensibilities, intruded on his reverie. Jase turned his head, seeing Sean’s Trailhawk rolling up the dirt track to come to a stop in front of the farmhouse, and raised a hand in greeting as he stood, gathering his satchel and loping down from the porch. His friend smiled at him and waved him round to the passenger side, grinning as the door clicked open and the lanky teen slid into the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Some ambient flute and string music Sean was experimenting with for his current design project filled the car unobtrusively, and a bag of snacks and drinks was tucked down just behind and between the front seats. “Jason Bannon, getting a phone!” Sean’s smile was wide as he glanced at the naturally composed features of his friend. Girlish lips twisted in a smirk. “Anyone else, I’d say it has to be a girl behind such a radical move. For you? God knows. Something nefarious, probably.” “Perhaps it is also a girl - or a boy.” Jason replied softly, one corner of his mouth quirking as the edges of his eyes crinkled, though he didn’t look at his friend, instead regarding Trailhawk’s interior curiously as Sean turned the Jeep around and started back down the track. “Many things may be true at the same time, after all.” “Philosophy before eight am. Great.” Sean mock-grumped, side-eying the inscrutable one. “So is it a girl?” “Perhaps I just feel the need to be able to connect.” Jason returned Sean’s gaze with one of his own fathomless stares, though he was still smiling a little. “Secrets and philosophy before eight am.” Sean pouted, though he smiled as well. There seemed something… relaxed about Jase this morning. More so than his usual unflappable calm. Has to be a girl. Or else he’s developed that bio-plague he’s always ‘joking’ about… “Are you going to tell me at all?” “Perhaps.” Jase sighed as he got comfortable in the plush seat, playing with the reclining controls. He glanced sideways at Sean, lips curving in another sly smile. “Nice car, this.” “I like it.” Sean radiated self-satisfaction, possessiveness and delight in having his own vehicle filling the jacked up SUV in a way his modest stature couldn’t. He turned onto I-15 and headed towards Great Falls, his slender fingers drumming on the steering wheel. “And there was never a chance I’d snag the Tesla. ‘Sides, no way this baby is getting stuck in a Montana winter, unlike that roadster or some other cars I can care to think of…” He flashed his friend a quick, teasing grin. If the Grand Cherokee wasn’t as pristine as Jase’s restored classic muscle car, and wasn’t the latest model, it still had decades of motorive advancement on the Charger. Sure, the interior was kind of worn and it could stand to be repainted after Sara had helped him - okay, he had helped her, at little - with the obvious repairs, but it had most of the modern conveniences, like heated seats, and rearview camera - admittedly, after-market - that Sean had wanted. Most of. He hadn’t been looking for something that could off-road like a beast, but now that he had it, he rather enjoyed it, even if he needed the running board to be able to climb inside it. Jase smiled slightly, shrugging one shoulder even as he let his slender fingers play over the upholstery on the inside of the door, making a tactile connection to add to his other sensory impressions. “If my car gets stuck in the snow, I’ll move it.” It was a great day for driving, the sky was clear but the sun wasn’t glaring, and the wind was light or non-existent. After having to beg or deal for rides or cycle around town on the same bike since he was eleven, Sean loved driving, and took whatever opportunity he could to do so, despite having had Little Bigfoot hardly more than a week. “I know I just got her, but I have looked a bit at what it would take to convert her to electric.” The shapely boy glanced over his shoulder, then shifted into the left-hand lane and picked up speed to pass a languorous landboat going ten under the speed limit, the 5.7L Hemi V8 rising from a whisper into a powerful purr. “It’s pricey, especially for the specs I’m looking at, but considering...” Sean snapped his fingers and an actual actinic spark crackled, “... certain considerations, there would be some great advantages. But I’ll have to finish Regenesis or Annwn will need to go viral before I can afford it.” Jason nodded occasionally as his friend spoke, his sly smile widening just a bit. “Her, hmm?” “Pshaw!” Sean scoffed with a roll of expressive, exasperated, exotically hued eyes. “Appearances to the contrary, I ain’t into riding dudes.” He gave the steering wheel a slap. “Little Bigfoot is simply a big girl.” “So, phone?” He arched an angled brow at his friend, changing the subject “You looking for some ancient Nokia flip phone that can barely find the internet and takes a thousand years to type a text, or something more current, like, from the last decade?” 2012 - November, Morning, Shelly Elementary “We have a new student joining us today, children,” Mrs. Durham said in her gentle, infinitely patient voice. “I’d like you all to say hello to Jason Bannon, who has just moved to Shelly with his father.” Next to Helen Durham’s stocky, solid form stood a slight figure with a mop of brown and downcast eyes dressed in well-worn, oversized clothing. Helen was going to place a comforting hand on the new boy’s shoulder, but she could sense the taut tension in the boy and caught the sudden, watchful intensity in his eyes whenever someone invaded his personal space, and so relented. There was a chorus of obliging Hi’s and Hello’s of various enthusiasm, and a few waves. Sean was one of the ones who waved. In the last few months, he’d had a big growth spurt, and now he was one of the tallest kids in grade four. Unfortunately, despite his vivid red hair cut short, he still looked more girlish than boyish, though his parents promised that he’d start filling out soon. Some of the other kids were starting to tease him about it. It didn’t help that most of the other taller kids in his grade were also girls, like Sara Hutchins, who at least could boast being more solidly built than he was. “There’s an open desk next, Sean. Why don’t you take it, Jason? Sean is a smart boy, and he can show you where we are in the lessons for today?” The skinny figure in the oversized clothing cast one glance at the teacher, then moved without a word towards the empty desk. The rest of the fourth grade class regarded him with the curiosity due to all new things as he passed several rows in a head-down slouch. Todd Asper, from the row behind Sean, snickered. “Watch out he doesn’t think you’re a girl and fall in love, Cassidy.” “Todd Asper! Am I going to have to move you up here again to stop you whispering?” Mrs Durham’s voice rose a little. “Eyes on your book, please. The only people who should be talking are Sean and Jason right now. And if your quiz results aren’t better than last week, Mr Asper, you will be moved to the front of the class for the rest of the school year.” Amidst a chorus of ‘oooh’ from the other kids directed at the luckless Todd, the Bannon kid slid into the seat next to Sean’s, setting a worn-looking leather satchel on ground after extracting a dogeared, second-hand copy of the textbook, a couple of pencils and a notebook from it’s recesses. Sean studied the new kid for a moment as he got situated, finding him odd somehow, beyond the oversized army-surplus clothes and the dire need of a haircut or, failing that, a comb. He was skinny, sure, but his features even lacked the residual childish softness of a normal ten or eleven year old’s, seeming severe and drawn by comparison. Even his mouth was severe - a straight line with no expressiveness to it, as if he never smiled or laughed. His ethnicity was likewise enigmatic - sharp cheekbones and narrow eyes, olive skin and dark hair. “Hey. I’m Sean, but I guess you already figured that out.” Sean essayed a greeting as he leaned over, meaning to break the ice with the apparently shy kid. He wasn’t sure if it was the greeting or the movement, but Jason lifted his head from contemplating his desk then, turning and meeting the effeminate boy’s eyes. Sean had been about to offer his hand, but paused. There was nothing shy in the stare currently scrutinising him. Wariness, perhaps. Watchfulness, definitely. But no nervousness, no shyness, no ‘oh hey someone’s being cool to me’ relief. It was strange, an effect heightened by the icy pale green of Jason Bannon’s eyes. They were reflective, giving nothing away except, as the stare continued, mild interest and curiosity. “You have central heterochromia. Oddly vivid colours.” Was perhaps the strangest introduction one fourth grader ever made to another. It was, however, the first words any student in Shelly Elementary had ever heard Jason say. The accent was also hard to place - American but at the same time not - possessing a sharp precision as if every word was considered for a microsecond before being spoken. The angular features tilted slightly, a flicker of something behind the green eyes indicating a remembrance of correct behaviour. “And I’m Jason.” “Pleased to meetcha.” Sean offered his hand, feeling the bony slender fingers grip it, shake once, then release. “And you know what heterochromia is.” He stated rather than asked, regarding Jason in an assessing manner for a moment as the skinny boy shrugged non-committedly. “Well, let’s get you caught up.”
  22. "Hello there !" Kat's soft voice rang through the kitchen. She was all jeans, blouse and booties, her leather jacket under her left arm, and a discreet layer of make-up adorned her smiling features. She waved at Sean before scooting over the fridge, grabbing the orange juice and pouring herself a large glass. "Sorry for taking so long, I only realized it was 2PM when I, uh, heard your car." She rubbed the back of her head, then swallowed a large amount of her OJ. Tess glanced at the petite redhead, curiosity and mild amusement in her eyes. "When should we expect you to come back? This evening ?" She asked, hiding a mischievous grin behind a sip on her coffee. Still ashamed about the evening before, Kat first looked at her feet, then glanced at Sean, asking for help. "Hey there yourself, Kat," Sean replied, raising his mug of coffee in a greeting salute to the svelte French girl. Sean finished his coffee with a couple of quick sips then slipped off the kitchen stool. He reclaimed his plastic bag and tucked it a bit awkwardly under his arm, his turquoise and jade eyes flicking between Kat and her father's girlfriend. He got the sense there was something going on between them, though didn't know enough to even guess at what. "Weeeell, we're only going to Great Falls to pick up a few things. An hour there, an hour at most to shop, and an hour back, we should be back by five, six at the latest," Sean answered Tess, with a slight bit of hesitancy. "A few hours afterwards to put it all together and run a few tests, we should have it done by this evening." His uncanny gaze shifted back to Kat. "Is that alright? If you have something to do with the family this evening, I can put it all together at home and drop it off tomorrow morning, Kat. No probs." Tess shook her head negatively, hmm-ing over her mouthful of coffee. She swallowed and replied, "It's alright. I was teasing the little damsel over here about last evening, when she arrived two hours late for dinner. Take your time, but please Kat, this time, text me when you're on the way back from Great Falls, a'ight ?" The smaller teen rubbed the back of her head. "Yeah, I'll try not to forget this time..." She finished the rest of her OJ, then turned to her curvaceous friend. "Let's go? Laters, Tess!" "If she does, I won't," Sean assured the dark-haired beauty Kat's dad was dating, giving her a small, two fingered wave. "Later." Sean lead Kat outside to his SUV, unlocking the doors with a thought rather than the fob in his hand. He put the plastic bag of parts behind the driver's seat, then climbed up behind the wheel. Kat climbed up into the passenger seat with more athletic grace than Sean had. Sean brought the Grand Cherokee to life, put it onto gear, and carefully manoeuvred out of his parking spot on the side of the street, since someone had decided to park right behind him instead of using practically anywhere on the rest of the block. Starting on the way to Great Falls, he arched an amused brow at his passenger. "Damsel, hmm? What were you doing last night that you were a damsel? in some sort of distress, I presume, and who saved you?" "Ugh..." The petite redhead sighed. "I was having a great time with Courtney, and at one point, I just... lost track of time, I guess..." The delicate pink coloring her cheeks told there was more to it, but she didn't go on the details, except... "Oh, yeah, right. At first, we were talking about telepathy. She made me a deal: she'll share her insights on... stuff, 'cause she was part of the Project, right? So she maybe trained her abilities a different way than you did, et caetera, but in exchange for her help, I'd get her in the group training session, including the one on Sunday... Would that be... possible ?" "Ask Jason," Sean said a touch sharply, turning his attention fully on the road. "I'm doing something else, tomorrow." He hadn't made definite plans, but he suddenly decided what he was doing tomorrow, so it wasn't really a lie. He could even claim it as a personal training session. Despite himself, noticing Kat's soft blush, he couldn't help but wonder what Kat meant by a great time with Courtney, and why'd she lose track of time. "I'm sure Jase will take your reasoning into consideration, and see the logic in allowing Courtney to attend." His lovely tone turned grudging, his lips pursed in something dangerously close to a pout. "If you want, I'll ask Jason myself on your behalf." The French girl took a moment to compose herself, cherry-red lips still haunting her thoughts. "I'd ask him myself, but I don't have his number..." She'd sensed her friend's change of attitude more than she'd noticed it, as her telepathy was more and more becoming a part of herself rather than a tool. She glanced at Sean, wondering. "Is there... something? Between you and Courtney? I mean... she didn't seem to like you much..." Her curiosity was piqued. "If I'm out of bounds, sorry for asking, but if I'm ever to throw a party some day, it could help to know who hates who. I've had my lot of drama back in France," she added, a hint of weariness seeping through her soft tone. Kat saw Sean's hands tighten on the wheel, his abundant chest rise and fall as he took several deep, calming breaths. His silence was telling, as were the pings of emotion Kat couldn't help but catch radiating off him. "It's... It's okay, you're new here, to the dynamics of Shelly High," Sean said coolly. Kat could tell the coldness wasn't meant for her, just the history. "Yes, there is 'something' between me and Courtney. It's because of her everyone at school found out I was growing these!" Sean arched his back, making the very obvious even more obvious. Not like I could've kept them secret for much longer. "She didn't like me much before, she hated me after, and her and her goons just got worse as time went on. And I haven't grown to like her any over that time either." Getting on I-15, and passing the outskirts of Shelly, Sean gave Kat a level glance when he had a moment. "Look, I have no right to say or even suggest who you want to be friends with, Kat. Just be careful with her. Just because she's part of the weird too, doesn't mean you can trust Courtney. She's always been about herself and her own gratification first and foremost. I haven't seen anything to change that." Sean clearly had emotional wounds, and while they were scarring, they were still tender. Sean's mouth tightened into a thin line. "I'll still call Jase for you and make the request on your behalf, if you want, though." The petite redhead glanced at her friend in realization. She would have never guessed. Teens can be utterly cruel. Still, Sean offering to call Jason and ask if Courtney could join the training session meant something. She offered an apologetic smile to the driver. "I'm sorry they gave you hell." She meant it. The car remained devoid of conversation for a minute, then Kat broke the silence. "You could call him now and put him on speakers. How's that sound ?" "Sure, that's fine," Sean said, only having to feign a little bit of the cheeriness, before shifting the pitch of his voice to make a hands-free call. "Call. Jason. Home." <Did you say Call Jason Home?> "Yes." <Calling Jason Home.> As the phone dialed, Sean returned Kat's apologetic smile with a wry grin. "And thanks, but you don't have anything to be sorry for. You weren't there or involved." "Gar," came a gruff voice through the speakers. "Hello, Mr. Bannon. It's Sean. Is Jason there?" "Gar," Jason's father reiterated for his son's strange, feminine friend. "Jason's out." Pause. "He'll be back this evening. Six. Seven." "Thanks, Mis - er, Gar. I'll try back around then." There was a click as Gar hung up, then a softer blip as Sean's smartphone ended the connection. Sean gave Kat a one-armed shrug. "Guess, we'll call back." Wanting to shift the talk about from Courtney and almost anything Courtney adjacent, Sean switched to something Tess had mention. "So, Tess mentioned you paint and draw? I do a bit too, but mostly work digitally and with animation myself. I've made one game and am almost done another."
  23. "Heh, yeah. We could have Interdimensional Cable for real," Sean chuckled as he threw the pop cans in the garbage. "Aiming a bit high with a Danger Room. The holography stuff didn't look that good. But for video games and gaming? Sweeeet." Instead of bringing the dishes back to the house, Sean set them into the deep, multipurpose sink in the small bathroom in the barn. Adding an actual kitchen to the barn was all that was really needed to make the barn into an actual viable apartment, but with everything going on, it was only a 'would be nice' rather than any sort of imminent priority. He washed his hands than rejoined Cade. "You have a pair of gloves we can use, or do we need to head out and get something?" "I have something in my Jeep," Cade assured his voluptuous friend as he removed the magazine from the gun and emptied the chamber. "Back in a minute." While Cade went out to his vehicle, Sean awkwardly cradled the large firearm in his arms, the gym bag with the ammunition slung over his shoulder and headed over to the former stall that he used as his workshop. At least it was out of easy sight. Cade returned and found Sean in the ordered clutter of his workshop, sifting through a rack full of drawers of various sizes. On the table to Sean's side was what appeared to be a drone in some percentage of assembly or disassembly. "Will these work?" Sean glanced quickly over his shoulder and nodded at the pair of black, half-finger gloves in Cade's hands. "Those look perfect." Sean spun around, one hand cupping something or several somethings very small. He pointed by jutting his chin. "Next stall, over." The two of moved to the other stall, which tended to change purpose with whatever Sean seemed to be interested in at the moment. Currently, it seemed to be passing for as a sewing room. Skeins of thread, yards of cloth, various bits of various grades of foam and other assortments were held in cubbies. There was a sewing machine that looked way more complicated than Cade was expecting. In one corner, there was a hunched-shouldered... something without a face perched on a stand. "Didn't know you were so into fashion, Sean," Cade said with an amused smirk. Sean scoffed, but there was a slight pinkness to his cheeks as he ran his free hand through his rich red hair. "I make my Halloween costumes here and, uh, I've been trying my hand with alterations, so stuff fits better." Sean set the things he had been holding in his hand on the table next to the sewing machine. They were roughly the size of a grain of rice, one half of each one transparent, the other half holding what Cade assumed was some sort of microchip. "Half of this stuff is mom's anyway, we share the room." "What are you going as this year?" Cade asked, pointing at the thing on the stand. "Not done yet, bud, not gonna say just now," Sean unanswered with a grin. "Put the gloves on, gotta see how they fit, so I can determine the best place to put in the RFID tag." Cade slipped on the gloves, then held them up to display to Sean, twisting them front to back to front again. "Trigger hand?" Sean asked. Cade waggled the fingers of his right hand, and Sean grabbed it brusquely with both of his deft, delicate hands, kneading various points with his thumbs, looking for the best place to insert the chip where it wouldn't irritated Cade and was unlikely to get broken. He tapped at the space between thumb and forefinger. "Here, I think. People who've actually inserted chips like these under the skin usually putting them in the webbing between thumb and forefinger. Okay, you can take them off, now." Sean claimed the right hand glove and sat on a stool, giving the glove a closer inspection, studying the seams more than anything. He turned them inside out and nodded in satisfaction, and reached for a tool, a seam ripper. With practiced motions, he undid several stitches. "Made a lot of mistakes at first," Sean admitted, setting aside the seam ripper then sorting through the various types of RFID tags he had assembled. "I'm surprised you already have those things on hand," Cade commented. "Eh, I've been toying around with putting an electronic lock on The Barn and making fobs to unlock the place. Then started considering what I could with them and my drones..." Sean made his selection then reached for some super glue. "Glue?" "Glue. Much easier than trying to sew in a tiny pocket for the tag than restitching the seams. Glue's good enough to keep the tag in place." With one hand, he held the small hole he had made in the glove open, then carefully, placed the tag inside. He pinched the fabric over the tag, letting the glue set. He could feel the nub of plastic, but only just. Cade, or anyone else wouldn't even notice it unless they knew to look for it and where. A few small stitches by hand, and the glove was done. Then he repeated the process with the other glove. At Cade's questioning look, Sean just said, "Back up. In case the main one gets damaged." Done with the gloves, he handed them to Cade, then spun around on the stool to stare intently at the firearm, his eyes nearly aglow with psionic power. He could have programmed the tags and the gun the mundane way, of course, he had the hardware and software to do it, but psionic technokinesis made things so much easier and more efficient. Sean let out a breath and nodded, giving Cade a thumbs up. "Gun set to read only those tags and the receiver has been disabled, so remote access - by 'normal' means anyway - shouldn't be possible. Give it a test." Safety conscious, Cade made sure the chamber was still empty, and inserted an empty magazine. Stock braced against his shoulder, gun up in a firing position as he aimed at the far wall, Cade pulled the trigger. Click.
  24. In which Dixie, Eddy, and Matthew continue with their Scion: Origin story! What have we been up to? Editing, new laptop, and They Came from Beyond the Grave! Musical interlude and the Rich Bastard’s Guide to Magick! Music for roleplaying games (farty horns, of course) Who can’t play the recorder? Who plays the recorder for Lucifer? The best kind of palate cleanser. Scion: Origin continues! Cliffhangers in the sewer. LINKS: Scion Origin: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/246765/Scion-Second-Edition-Book-One-Origin Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk
  25. The Ninth World comes to Fifth Edition! They say there have been eight worlds before ours. Eight times the people of this planet, over vast millennia, built their civilizations, reaching heights we cannot even fully imagine now. The post Beneath the Monolith appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
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