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  1. Picture: Type: Wallpapers Display Mode thumbnail: Large Title: Candlekeep Mysteries Image :
  2. I didn’t forget the title – that’s a joke as we’re in the week before we start a Kickstarter, see below, and that gives me a little time to touch on topics other than letting folks know about whichever KS we’re running and how cool it is. And really, they are all cool for different reasons otherwise we wouldn’t be running their Kickstarter, right? With that in mind, I’m going to look at something that a bunch of folks have touched on in the comments sections of our social media, this blog, for our KSs, and with our recent Survey. What it boils down to is that some of our community are concerned when projects other than for their favorite game lines move faster through the creation process and out into stores and/or DTRPG. There’s a lot of ways this concern is expressed, and I’m going to try and cover them as best I can. Before I do, though, let me lay in the groundwork for how we do what we do. First, we publish a bunch of game lines, as you know. Some we own, like the Storypath games ala Scion, for others we have a license to publish from another company, like WoD, CofD, and Exalted, all licensed from Paradox, and for a couple of game lines we have a different sort of license that’s more of a partnership, like with Pugmire. Next, each game line has an in-house developer who works with out-of-house developers, who hire the freelance writers who provide the text for the project. The devs make sure all that text makes sense when it is all combined into the book. Some writers write for multiple game lines, some devs also do writing for other devs, but generally any given project is unlikely to have the exact same creators as another, particularly if being written at the same time. Most of our creators are not full-time freelancers; most have “real” jobs and do the writing for us when their day job allows. Equally often, if a creator is working full-time as a freelancer in TTRPGs, it is because they have a relationship with someone who is the main wage-earner in their household. There are a lot of reasons why we say that people work in TTRPGs because they love creating TTRPGs, not for fame or fortune. The reason we have the in-house is primarily so somebody is pulling together the efforts of all these teams of creators and to a large degree that all comes down to scheduling who can work when, how is that work coming, and whether it will hit the deadline. If it’s going to miss the deadline, then by how much and is there flexibility enough that that lateness won’t wreck the project? Remember, there are other stages after the writing is done that have the same challenges – editing, art direction, layout, proofing. If the writing runs late, when will the art director get art notes? Are the artists who were open to accept new work two weeks ago still open? What if the notes were supposed to be in two months ago? Those artists need to take freelance gigs pretty much constantly, so our Art Directors are constantly juggling the need to get the best, most appropriate, artists for a project with which artists are actually available at the point they can be hired. Like I said, same sort of challenges all through the process. So, with all that background, let’s look at some of the concerns. Scion: Dragon art by Melissa Uran Question: Why is Project A sitting at one stage or advancing really slowly, while Project B advances from stage to stage every week? Is it because it’s an Onyx Path owned game line and you’re pushing your own and not my fave? Answer: Well, only sort of. Obviously we would like the lines we own to do really well, but for us to deliberately hold back books that have large followings would mean that we are throwing away the whole reason to license a property in this first place. As fans, we want to do great work with that license, and as a business, we want to make great money because of the license’s existing fans. Neither of those things is happening if we deliberately hold a project back. Rather, if you go back to the background and the tetris game of trying to piece together all the schedules, we have more flexibility with one of our own game lines because we only have ourselves to satisfy. The decisions are all internal. The bigger the company we license from, the more people outside of Onyx Path need to sign off on approval stages, the more brand decisions are out of our hands, and the longer each stage is likely to take. This is the nature of licenses, and we know that going in. (We DO have our own internal approvals, and sometimes they too take more time than we’d like. For sure.) So what happens is that we are able to plan out the stages of our own projects with far more accuracy in terms of timing, and with the flexibility we have because of fewer external factors weighing in, we can move our own projects to take advantage of when a writer, or dev, or artist, etc. are open right now and get that stage of the project finished up. Children of the Blood art by Ken Meyer, Jr. Question: Why is Project A sitting at one stage or advancing really slowly, while Project B advances from stage to stage every week? Is it because somebody “in-the-know” unfairly pushes Project B through? Answer: Absolutely not. No individual is going to “grease the wheels”, but as a group we may all put extra focus on a given project. All of our in-house team are well aware of which projects need pushing, and very often you can see that concerted effort as a long-delayed project starts moving because we discussed just what to do during the Monday Meeting. Whether someone sees that effort as unfair is a personal thing, but rest assured that no one person can play the system to advance projects. Except in one way. One creator can advance their project if they can coordinate with that project’s other creators to deliver their work as originally scheduled, or even early. (Be still my heart!) Can they guarantee the art notes to the AD in time for the art to be ready when the text is done in editing? Can they burn through the proofing process so that we can get the Advance or Backer PDF out to you folks faster – without sacrificing quality? It’s a tall order with all the moving parts I mentioned, but it can be done, and has. And so, that’s another reason why you might see a project move forward quickly – some people hitting on all cylinders. Which was a tough one to pull off with everything hammering all of us in 2020! Question: Why is Project A sitting at one stage or advancing really slowly, while Project B advances from stage to stage every week? Is it because Onyx Path hates Project A’s game line for some reason? Answer: No. As an organization, we can’t agree on almost anything. Which means that corporate “group-think” is really unlikely when we consider our options. (Our team speaks their minds – no matter how much I tell them not to!) So, all of us hating any of our games is just not possible. Every game line has champions in our in-house crew, and certainly among our many, many freelancers. Thanks for letting me ramble on here with what I hope is a useful look behind the scenes of how we do our thing. Here now, the rest of the news: What Else Was Discussed at the Meeting Today? Thanks so much for your support of the Jacky Cassada and Nicky Rea fundraiser Bundle of Holding to help Nicky pay the hospital costs and to cover their debts from Covid! So far, we’ve raised over $33,000 and we still have 13 days to go! Please do check it out here: https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Jackie We are finalizing plans for our first Kickstarter in 2021, which is the dual KS for two fantastic ways to expand your Scion game: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the Mythos. We’ve scheduled it for 2pm on Tuesday the 19th! Hope to see you there! We’ll be putting the PDF and the PoD versions of V5 Cults of the Blood Gods up for sale on DTRPG this Wednesday! Now this PoD was not something we were able to include as part of its Kickstarter, which has some connection to the licensed projects thoughts I mentioned above, so we’re excited to make this version available to everyone. In fact, we will be sending a coupon for a discounted version of the PoD to our V5 Cults of the Blood Gods KS backers as a thank you for their support. Of course, the PDF or PoD versions aren’t the real goal of the Cults KS, which was a traditionally printed book version that we’ll also put into stores as we did with V5 Chicago By Night. That traditionally printed book is still coming folks – this PoD version does not replace it! We set the date for the 2021 Onyx Path Summit for the first week in February – which, of course, we’ll be attending virtually. So, that’ll be new for all of us. We’ve always used the Summit to get together in-person once a year, but that’s just not happening this year so we’re going to make do as best we can. V5 Cults of the Blood Gods art by Drew Tucker Finally, we’ve finalized plans for a new series of monthly releases that are pretty different than our previous ones for Exalted 3rd or for Scarred Lands. Each month of this year on the last Wednesday, we’ll be presenting what we’re calling Storypath Tasty Bits! These are smaller PDF offerings for all of our Storypath game lines that will be items that we think will add to your enjoyment of those lines, but which we can’t build up into full-sized projects. There are literally dozens of these that have kind of nagged at us over the years, over all of our game lines: characters and their stats, small adventures that spun out of the work on larger projects, or even ideas inspired by a piece of art in a book that we never went further with as that book was already jam-packed with the things it needed. The Storypath Tasty Bits are really going to be all a total variety of which games, what sort of subject matters they’ll cover, and length of the release. The only standard things about them will be that they’ll be offered on that last Wednesday of the month – and that they’ll be amazing! If you have questions about or ideas for the Bits, please do throw them at me in the Comments section here – we’d love to hear from you! That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and for enjoying our: Many Worlds, One Path! BLURBS! Kickstarter! Our next Kickstarter will be Tuesday January 19th, 2021, at 2pm Eastern US time! It’s a double feature for Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the Mythos! Onyx Path Media! This week: A rollicking and in-depth retrospective of Cults of the Bloods Gods for V5 by Dixie, Matthew, and Eddy! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ Big news for actual plays this week, as our good friends at Vorpal Tales start up their Masks of the Mythos game this week over on twitch.tv/theonyxpath! If you want a preview of that game, go over to our channel and follow (and subscribe!) to be notified when that stream goes live! Let’s continue with some of 2020’s greatest hits on our YouTube channel! Changeling: The Dreaming – Last Faerie Tale – Actual Play: https://youtu.be/3MViDZJcGxY Exalted Essence Actual Play (Part Two): https://youtu.be/2uBDR07CiG4 Vampire: The Masquerade – Boston by Night – Actual Play: https://youtu.be/tkiUR2Om4lw Changeling: The Dreaming – Gifted and Talented – Actual Play: https://youtu.be/PI1DOGqxKZs Deviant: The Renegades – Actual Play: https://youtu.be/J3Uwo4VgtmU 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. This week on Twitch, expect to see these games and streams running: Scarred Lands – A Family Affair Hunter: The Vigil – Stuffed Scion – Masks of the Mythos – Vorpal Tales Hunter: The Vigil – The Devil’s Deal Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous FINALE Scarred Lands – Dracogenesis – Vorpal Tales Werewolf: The Forsaken – Very Angry Dogs – Paleo Gaming Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds Deviant: The Renegades – Radiation Burns – Vorpal Tales Hunter: The Vigil – 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 – E29 – https://youtu.be/FdIA0YrSrGg Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds – S2E2 – https://youtu.be/FI-5l-QfpFg Ghost Hunters – Chimera House – E3 – https://youtu.be/mqVORDdsb0M NEW Changeling: The Lost Actual Play – E1/2 – https://youtu.be/yaAhGold9kc Hunter: The Vigil – Stuffed – E1 – https://youtu.be/NbBKv57qI3Y Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online! Wards & Witchcraft continue their stunning Mage: The Awakening actual play over on their YouTube channel: Episode Six The cabal gets up to late night antics as they each quest for a suitable bed. After a fitful sleep the party is transported to Salem center where they go on a shopping spree. What is the ominous shadow that lays over this occult center and will the witches unveil it catches them in its teeth? https://youtu.be/BNSqg0YVeoM Over on Red Moon Roleplaying, Matthew Dawkins and Klara Herbøl conclude their Dead Man’s Rust campaign with Craig and Hjalmar of RMR! This game has been a huge amount of fun to play. Check out episode four right here (https://youtu.be/rWPqbrUAkrA) and give them a subscribe. Systematic Understanding of Everything is a fantastic Exalted Explainer Podcast by Exalted Dev Monica Speca and Exalted Writer Chazz Kellner. You should check it out, because it remains among the best Exalted shows out there. Their most recent episodes are available over on https://www.exaltcast.com/, with their newest the following: Want a system for how to use dance to get someone to elope? How about a speech to start a religion or a song that gets bakers to riot? Exalted has you covered! Chazz and Monica explain social systems then we use them to save Prismatic Falls, for now. https://www.exaltcast.com/2021/01/11/unbound-social-mastery-social-systems/ Our very own Chris Allen continues his wonderful chronicle of Werewolf: The Forsaken over on the Paleo Gaming Twitch channel! Please add a follow to their stream and give them your support: https://www.twitch.tv/paleo_gaming Occultists Anonymous continue their wonderful Mage: The Awakening chronicle right here: Episode 155: Moving Pawns The cabal speaks with Elder Uncle, a mage from a Nameless Order. Seer mages pay a visit to the Rookery. There may be up to 5 archmages involved… What has the cabal gotten entangled in? https://youtu.be/ke3sR5_S8c4 Episode 156: Castling With a potential loophole discovered in the rules and strictures of the Council, the cabal journeys with Elder Uncle and Taylor to the Seat of Judgement, in search for the place where the Grimoire Lock can be opened. Whether it should be, is another question entirely. https://youtu.be/Dr9Jv9UI6qQ Back to Exalted, and the Story Told Podcast continue their Fall of Jiara Dragon-Blooded chronicle right here:https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/fall-of-jiara-34 After the party, the Dragon-Blooded reconvene to compare notes and learn what Tepet Sanzo uncovered during his infiltration. 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! The App was also pulled down from the Apple store in order to make some required updates – it’ll be back there soon! Virtual TableTop! Two Virtual Tabletop adventures: the Gauntlet of Spiragos and the Dagger of Spiragos for Scarred Lands on Astral TableTop and DriveThruRPG! Scars of the Divine War, which ended less than 200 years ago, have still not healed. One such scar is the Chasm of Flies, a rent in the earth created when the titan Spiragos the Ambusher was smote down by one of the young gods, Vangal the Ravager. Now, the Chasm is inhabited by spider-eye goblins and their spider allies, but it is also thought to be the resting place of powerful artifacts from that elder age. Astral TableTop is the easiest way to play any tabletop RPG online, free. Astral already supports popular systems like D&D and Pathfinder, and Astral can support virtually any tabletop roleplaying game. Get started quickly with built-in support for most popular game systems. Whether you’re brand new to TTRPGs or a veteran tabletop gamer, Astral‘s ease-of-use and built in automation is designed to streamline gameplay. 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 and Dagger of Spiragos. Create character sheets, craft maps, or just jump right in to connect with your friends and start your adventures! On Amazon and Barnes & Noble! You can now read our fiction from the comfort and convenience of your Kindle (from Amazon) and Nook (from Barnes & Noble). If you enjoy these or any other of our books, please help us by writing reviews on the site of the sales venue from which you bought it. Reviews really, really help us get folks interested in our amazing fiction! Our selection includes these latest fiction books: Our Sales Partners! We’re working with Studio2 to provide our traditionally printed books out into your local game stores. Game stores can order via their usual distributors, and can also contact Studio2 directly. And individuals can check out our projects via the links below! You can pick up the traditionally printed Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau main books, screens, and the official dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire Now, we’ve added Chronicles of Darkness books such as Changeling: The Lost Second Edition products to Studio2‘s store! See them here: https://studio2publishing.com/collections/all-products/changeling-the-lost Scion 2e books and other products are available now at Studio2: https://studio2publishing.com/blogs/new-releases/scion-second-edition-book-one-origin-now-available-at-your-local-retailer-or-online Our Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition books are also available from Studio2 in the US: https://studio2publishing.com/products/vampire-the-masquerade-chicago-by-night-sourcebook Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Try this link! http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Onyx-Path-Publishing/ And you can order Pugmire, Monarchies of Mau, Cavaliers of Mars, and Changeling: The Lost 2e at the same link! And now Scion Origin and Scion Hero and Trinity Continuum Core and Trinity Continuum: Aeon are available to order As always, you can find Onyx Path’s titles at DriveThruRPG.com! The next big sale at DTRPG is the New Year, New Game Sale with core books, player guides and jumpstarts included. Plus a big Scarred Lands bundle focused on the VTT elements. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/rpg_newyear.php?manufacturers_id=4261 On Sale This Week! This Wednesday we rip aside the crypt door to reveal the PDF and PoD versions of V5 Cults of the Blood Gods on DTRPG! Cults of the Blood Gods includes: An in-character breakdown of the rise of esoteric beliefs among the ranks of the undead and how faith drives many of the major aspects of vampire culture. A host of religions — from historic theocracies and globe-spanning conspiracies to fringe cults and mortal beliefs arising in the modern nights — introduced for incorporation into your character backgrounds or as supporting casts and antagonist groups in your chronicles. The history, structure, and ambitions of the Hecata, the vampire group known as the Clan of Death, as well as a chapter dedicated to playing a vampire among the Necromancers, and the rituals for their signature Discipline: Oblivion. Guidance on how to use ecclesiastical horror and construct cults in Vampire, making them a vivid backdrop for your own stories, including new coterie styles focused on cult play. Faith-based story hooks and a full chronicle centered on the activities of the Hecata, involving walking corpses, ghosts, ready-made characters, and the secrets of the most twisted family in the World of Darkness. New Loresheets, Backgrounds, and Predator types for inclusion in your chronicles, encouraging player characters to engage fully with the material presented in this book. 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! Gehenna Gaming is planning a second Virtual Horror Convention in mid-February and Onyx Path will be there and sponsoring sessions! From Gehenna Gaming: “Virtual Horror Con is back for the second year in a row with three more days of online tabletop RPG, panels, industry workshops and TTRPG actual play streams! Virtual Horror Con 2021 returns February 19-21. VirtualHorrorCon.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) No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition) TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Once and Future (Scion 2nd Edition) Tome of the Pentacle (Mage: the Awakening 2e) Realms of Magic and Mystery (was Terra Incognita) (Scion 2nd Edition) The Hedge (Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) They Came From Beneath the Sea! Jumpstart (They Came From…!) They Came From [Classified]! (They Came From…!) They Came From [Classified]! Jumpstart (They Came From…!) Second Draft Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition) TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Tales of Depravity! (They Came From…!) Proteus Nova Compendium (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Annie X (Tasty Bit) (Scion 2nd Edition) Development TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition) Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Anima Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) Monsters From the Crypt! (They Came From…!) They Came From Camp Murder Lake! (They Came From…!) Manuscript Approval Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core) Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Post-Approval Development Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Editing Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e) 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) M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades) V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) Yugman’s Appendix: People of Ghelspad (Scarred Lands) V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) CtL2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Heroes in a World of Horror! (They Came From…!) Dystopia Rising: Evolution Fiction Anthology (Dystopia Rising: Evolution) Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire) Prometheus Unbound (was Psi Orders) (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Legacies of Earth (Legendlore) Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Scion Fiction Anthology (Scion 2nd Edition) M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary) They Came From Beyond the Grave! Jumpstart (They Came From…!) Post-Editing Development Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) Hunter: The Vigil 2e – Art buy in progress – tweaking last of notes. Legendlore Scion: Dragon (KS) – Ready for the KS. Masks of the Mythos (KS) – Ready for the KS. Scion: Demigod – Art buy in progress. They Came From Beyond the Grave! TC: Adventure! (KS) – Contracting KS artwork. Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) – LeBlanc is on it. M20 Victorian (KS) – Splats in. Fulls in. TC: Under Alien Skies – Most final art in – chasing down stragglers. Heirs to the Shogunate – Sketches notes from Dev back to artists. Dead Man’s Rust Children of the Blood – AD’d. M20 Technocracy Jumpstart – Art in progress. Exalted Essence (KS) V5 Trail of Ash and Bone – Sending out remaining art notes. V5 Forbidden Religions TC Mission Statements – Artnotes in. TC Aberrant N!We M20 Technocracy Dossier/Companion M20 Rich Bastards Guide Hundred Devils Night Parade Squeaks In The Deep (KS) – Meredith ADing this. In Layout Vigil Watch M20 Technocracy Reloaded Monsters of the Deep – Given to Josh. Mummy 2 TC Aberrant Jumpstart Peoples of the Crossroads Continent LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) Proofing Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands) Aberrant – Wrapping up prepping PoD and trad print files. Geist: One Foot In the Grave Deviant – Backer PDF errata gathering. Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Compiled – Cover in, getting the book ready for compiled PDF. TC: Aberrant Screen At Press Contagion Chronicle – KS fulfillment shipping finishing up. Lunars Wall Scroll Map – At KS fulfiller. Shipping started soon. Lunars Screen and Booklet – At KS fulfiller. Shipping started soon. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – At KS fulfiller. Shipping started soon. PDF and PoD on sale at DTRPG. V5 Cults of the Blood Gods – Prepping for press. Final PDF and PoD versions go live on Wednesday. Esoterica of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs – PoD ordered. Tales of Aquatic Terror – PoD files uploaded. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! A week or so ago, we got the word that our stock of traditionally printed Pugmire core books has almost sold out, so we’re going to reprint it – again! This makes it the third printing for Pugmire, the most of any of our books so far! Woot! Or should I say: Woof!
  3. Monday 2nd September, 16:45 Across Shelly, away from the sunny Champions Field and the high school drama and family revelations, things were happening. The sheriff's department was called, Alister himself investigating. A tough man, he still felt his gorge rise at what he found at the foot of Hannah Fuhrman's stairs. He'd investigated maybe a murder or two - crimes of passion usually - and wild animal attacks, but the butchery of a boy his son's age, his son's friend at that, was enough to shake the stoic lawman. Charlie Cole had been ripped open, as if some one had reached into his torso and ripped it asunder extracting their hand. Hannah had already been taken down to the station, a doctor called to give her a sedative. The woman had gouged lines in her cheeks with her nails before neighbours had been able to stop her, and would be on suicide watch, a female deputy with her at all times. The first deputy to attend, after having thrown up on the dining room rug, had shakily taken down what passed for a statement from the hysterical mother of the dead boy. Pulling on some protective forensic gloves, he followed the bloody handprints on the rail and wall of the staircase, as though the killer had almost gleefully stroked blood and viscera over the family photos on his - or It's - way upstairs. The shower was still running, cold water now sluicing down the drain, and Ian Alister noted the splotchy red handprint on the frosted glass of the stall. Reaching inside he turned off the water, then looked around the shower for any clue as to what had happened, his brain and eyes operating on autopilot while he locked away the nagging, gibbering voice that said this had something to do with what Cade and his friends were into. An open bottle of shampoo lay on the floor of the shower as though dropped there - expensive woman's stuff, probably Hannah's. Charlie wouldn't have used it. The kid hadn't been alone. So... what? Was the female the killer, who'd cleaned up before leaving? Hmm-ing, the big lawman made his way to the bedroom, noting the state of the bed, noting the clothes on the floor - a girl's skirt and top on the right side, with a purse on the nightstand. He extracted the drivers license, and swore softly. Sophia Fingleman. She'd been the girl in the shower, and probably not the killer, given that she'd been cosy with Charlie on that day last week when everything went to hell. So now she was missing, perhaps for a day or two judging by the state of the Cole kid's body. Perhaps- His phone rang. With a curse, he answered, pocketing the license and the car keys. "Sheriff Alister here." "Sheriff, the doc says Hannah needs to be in a secure unit. She's almost catatonic right now, but he can't guarantee she won't self-harm. We're not going to get anything from her, Ian." the voice of Charlie, his right-hand man, came over the line, lowering slightly as he used his bosses name. "Hell, it'd be cruel t' even try right now." "Yeah." Alister sighed, rubbing his forehead under the hat-band. "Alright, get her moved to Marias and make sure there's friendly eyes on her at all times. We also want a coroner - get one of the deputies, not Fingleman." "Not Fingleman?" "His daughter was here, and there's no sign of her." "Shit, boss!" "Yeah, I'm headed to the Field now, I'll tell him myself. Alert State and the Feds too. Murder, with an obvious missing girl. She left her belongings here, so she probably won't be in plain sight. Have them keep an eye out for anything suspicious." Alister turned and went downstairs, his mind worrying at the mystery as he skirted the dead body and stepped outside. The nearby neighbours were having statements taken - so far nobody had seen or heard a damn thing before Hannah's screams. Parked across the street was the Fingleman girl's car - a brief check indicated nothing inside. The sheriff straightened, closing and locking the trunk, and sighed as he looked around at the scene. There was nothing left to do here, at least at this stage. No more reason to delay. With another muttered curse, he headed for his cruiser. * * * * * * Captain Josh Williams, U.S. Army, was having a good day off. He'd eaten a stack of ribs and chicken wings, had a beer, and was currently stretched out on a blanket with Tess, who was looking decidedly cute in a short white sundress and sandals and a big floppy hat, cradling his head in her lap as the two talked quietly. The Project, strange powers, and his own odd daughter were not issues for the day - Kat had wandered off to hang with her new friends, and while Josh was very much aware that the super-powered teens were, well, special in all sorts of ways both good and bad, he also figured that objectively, the same was true of Kat. She had come back after hanging out at the Bannon farm in a good, if pensive mood, and he knew from briefings that the teens met there to practice with their gifts. So evidently that had gone well, even if Kat hadn't been forthcoming about what, if anything, she'd learned. Which was sort of a problem, too. He knew his superiors would want him to try and glean anything he could about the capabilities of the kids, but one of those kids was his goddamn kid. He was considering going to Taggart and asking for reassignment if the Major wouldn't back down on that. It was unreasonable to expect a man to spy on his own child, but at the same time he personally wanted to know what was going on in his daughter's life, too. He wanted her to trust him, not worry about whether he was turning around and selling her secrets for a promotion. No doubt about it, compartmentalising his life was tougher than he'd first thought. Perhaps he could talk to Taggart and the Director lady... She seemed nice. "...so I was thinking perhaps we could throw Kat a 'Welcome to Shelly' party." Tessa was saying. Josh blinked, looking up at her face under the sun hat. "A party?" he echoed. "With who?" "Her friends, dumbass." Tess lightly tapped the top of his head. "Like I was saying - it seems she's made some good friends already, with Sean and those other kids she's hanging with. A party would be a cool way for her to have them round, and we could meet them, learn who she's friends with." Josh nodded, though the idea set soft alarm bells ringing. Most of the kids hadn't seemed bad sorts, but having seen the footage of the Site C raid and the aftermath of the Marias Incident, what there was of it, Josh was leary about letting them into his actual home. Tess cocked her head slightly. "You don't like the idea?" "No, it's not that." Josh protested, sitting up on his hands and looking out over the field. Kat wasn't with the Cassidy's anymore, he couldn't see her from here. She was probably circulating, taking in the sights and sounds, hanging with different people. "It's just that-" He was saved by his phone buzzing. Tessa made a soft exasperated sound, and he threw her an apologetic smile as he pulled it out. "Got to take this. Work." he said, and Tess nodded resignedly as Josh got to his feet and moved a few meters away. Answering the call, he put the phone to his ear. "Williams." "Papa-Papa-Echo Thirty-Three." The automated voice declared before hanging up with a click, and Williams found himself automatically sifting through the procedures in his brain for what it meant. He'd never heard this one actually used- Oh shit. 'Papa-Papa-Echo Thirty Three' was 'Project personnel and resources under threat.' Punching a call code into his phone, Williams lifted it to his ear once more. "Captain Williams, seeking clarification." he said tersely into the device, his eyes looking around now for threats rather than to take in the sights. "Captain, glad you called in, sir. I was about to call you. Major Taggart's orders: secure your little girl and bring her to the Project. Someone or something has killed one of the special kids. More details when you get here." "Understood." His hands feeling as though made of ice, Josh hung up and turned to Tessa, who was regarding him as she poured herself some lemonade. "Tess, I hate to do this: can you manage getting the stuff home?" he asked, trying not to sound too tense as he waved the hand holding the phone. "They're going nuts over some exercise or other." "Urgh." Tess made a frustrated noise, standing and smoothing down her dress. "You are lucky I find uniforms hot, mister." Forcing a smile for him, she shook her head and made a shooing motion before leaning in to kiss him. "Go on, get. I'll finish my book in the sun, then get Kat to help me pack up." "I'll call her to come and help you, explain myself." Josh replied, stepping away with a smile. He hated lying to her, hated that his work put that necessity on him. Was it important enough, he wondered, to warrant such deception? A question for another time, that, because right now his daughter might also be in danger. Turning on his heel, he headed into the crowd, eyes peeled for Kat's coral-hair. * * * * * * "So..." Tawny said, smiling up at Jacob, aware of their hands holding as they walked through the woods some distance from the Field. "So." Jacob smiled back. He had a nice smile, the blonde mused. Not as heart-catchingly roguish as Devin's - it didn't make her stomach flutter the same way - but it was a nice smile. Warm, reassuring, a little shy himself in that way that guys sometimes had. He'd asked her out to Homecoming, and she'd been surprised herself at having said yes. After all, she'd reasoned afterwards, if she waited for Devin to wise up she'd be an old maid with cobwebs in her panties - assuming he wised up before she was dead of old age. So while she was waiting, she was going to damn- darn well be a teenage girl. "Why'd you ask me out?" she asked suddenly, coming to a stop and leaning back against a tree, looking up at him, studying his handsome features. He was almost as big as Cade, though warmer in manner: where Cade seemed to walk very carefully so as not to break or offend anyone around him, Jacob seemed more relaxed, more comfortable in himself. "I mean, the whole school knows that you and Autumn had been a thing for, like, ever. So..." "I guess." Jacob sighed, leaning his shoulder against the trunk of the same tree, looking down at their entwined hands. "Thing is, I dunno if that was just because we're such old friends, and when we grew up it was like a natural thing that everyone expected. I never even asked her out, we didn't even really date - just hung out and, well, you know. And then we fell out, and we almost weren't friends no more, which I realised was worse than not being boyfriend and girlfriend." He sighed again, looking at Tawny. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that Autumn was a friend with girl parts, not a girlfriend, and maybe we got turned around on that because of being teenagers and dumb." He grinned self-deprecatingly, shaking his head. "So we've sorta hit the reset button on that, and are trying being just friends again." "I know what you mean." Tawny nodded, smiling up at him encouragingly. "I've been crushing on Devin for, like, ever." She held up her free hand to forestall objection. "I know: he's the Devil himself to most people, but he's always been sweet to me. Never took advantage even when I was throwing myself at him - he's not the dog people say he is. I don't think he's even as bad as he says he is." She gave him a sympathetic look. "I saw him with Lona, and that was tough - even though I was happy he was happy. Was it tough for you seeing Autumn with Jason?" "Kinda?" he replied, shifting his feet slightly. "Especially since the first I know of it was them kissing. I mean... He's Jason Bannon. Before today, all I knew about him was that he's some misanthrope crazy person who deals weed and once threatened football players with a sickle." "Hayhook" Tawny corrected with a shiver, thinking about the cold eyes of the boy who'd taught her the previous day and what Devin had warned her about him. He'd not acted at all hostilely to her, even been friendly and encouraging. But still. "But I guess, like with Devin, I didn't know the whole picture. He's definitely made Autumn real happy." Jacob admitted. "I talked to him some, when he sat with us earlier. He's odd, but he seems smart and maybe that's why he's odd... I dunno, really. Guess I'm tryin' to say he's not what I expected. I dunno what to think of him, right now." "Yeah." Tawny nodded. "People often ain't what you expect. The Lord made us all different, after all, and only He sees our hearts." She looked down, then peeked up at him through her lashes. "I'm glad you asked me, you know." "You are, huh?" Jacob felt heat rising to his face, but kept his cool. She was, as his grandma would say, lovely as a sunrise. "Yeah." Tawny twisted an end of one of her braids, something on her mind. Jacob just kept quiet, watching her. Finally she met his eyes again. "Would you... like... like to kiss me? Just a kiss, is all." she added hastily. She wondered how it would compare to Devin. She also wondered if Jacob was a good enough kisser to help her get over Devin. Probably not, but what if...? "Sure." Jacob said quietly, moistening his lips, a trifle hesitantly. Other than Autumn, he'd not really made out with anyone outside of the occasional game of spin the bottle, and that didn't count as everyone knew. He smiled, and leaned down, his lips coming into contact with Tawny's. The kiss was hesitant, and gentle, and sweet, Tawny half-closing her eyes as she let herself experience it. It was different from her passionate kiss with Devin, which had been all hunger and need as well as unrequited love, a desperate need to bridge the gap between their hearts. But there was some heat here, too, a comforting sensuality, the girl feeling it in her belly as she leaned up into Jacob, sighing a little. He was a good kisser, after all- Her eyes widened as a shape appeared behind the tall boy's shoulder, her squeak of alarm the only clue anything was amiss before he was torn from her and thrown aside like a doll. Tawny opened her mouth to scream, but the grinning, sharp-toothed, noseless horror of a face that filled her vision stifled her scream in her throat, her mind rebelling in terror and revulsion. "Hey, Tee." Something that had once been Cody's face leered at her from his towering height, his voice glottal and thick with triumph and worse as he mocked Devin's nickname for her. "Love your top..." Too late, Tawny found her voice, but a hand the size of a catcher's mitt clamped over her mouth, and then all was darkness. * * * * * * "Kat!" The petite redhead looked around as her dad materialised from the crowd. She'd been meaning to go and meet with Autumn, but had gotten distracted with... well, everything. "Hey, papa." she smiled chirpily, then sobered as she saw his face. "Hey, what-?" she started as he took her arm, not ungently, and started to lead her towards the parking lot. "No time." Josh Williams said, his voice tense and eyes scanning the crowd. "You're in danger, we're going somewhere safe." Kat protested, but her father was too strong and his grip too sure for her to break it easily as he almost bodily carried her. "At least let me-" she started, but they were at the parking lot, and a black SUV was pulling up and her father was yanking her up and into the back seat. "-phone my friends... DAD!" Her yell got his attention as the SUV's door slammed and they started away. "What's going on?!" Josh looked at the driver and passenger seats - two members of his team were in civvies, their eyes moving and weapons out of sight below the line of the windows, then he turned towards Kat. "All I know is that one of your friends is dead, and I've been given orders to secure you. That's it, so far." He leaned over and took her phone, pocketing it. "We're headed to the Project facility." he added, in a tone that implied that was final, young lady. * * * * * * The Fellowship had trickled by after Sean had left, Autumn fuming a little at the delays but managing a smile for Cassie as the blonde reporter had collected her bracelet. Kat still hadn't shown up by the time Marissa and Cade had arrived, the Bitch Queen of Shelly receiving her bracelet with a barely hidden air of being in a fine old snit, as Autumn's Grandpa would say. She didn't quite snatch it away from the offered box with a sneer - which was just as well because, given the text exchange, Autumn would have hauled off and slapped the taste out of her mouth. Right now, she was past the rapids of caring why Marissa was pissy and in the still, cool waters of not allowing it to be her problem. Fortunately, a pointed glare and a hair flip as she turned away, bracelet in hand, was all the acrimony apparently desired, Autumn meeting the first with a bland fuck-you smile and the second with an eye-roll. By comparison, Cade was at least decent enough to look somewhat abashed as he smiled at Autumn, brow furrowing as he considered which identical bracelet to take, then selecting one with a 'thank you' before turning away to where Marissa was waiting nearby. With a sigh, Autumn looked around to see if Kat was nearby, but her attention was immediately diverted by the lean shape propped comfortably up against the side of the family Jeep behind her, her lips curving in a smile as she shut the box and placed it back into the car for later. If Devin and Kat showed up at the town hall - which was likely - then they could pick out their bracelets then. Clambering back out of the Jeep, she closed it up and turned to her boyfriend with another smile. "All done?" Jase asked, moving closer, his eyes on her face with that intense expression that felt like it was going to drive the breath from her lungs. "Yeah..." she nodded, stepping to meet him, and taking his hand in hers. "Let's go for that 'walk'." "Everything okay?" Jason murmured as they exited the parking area and headed into the woods bordering the Field, Autumn not-quite pulling him along. "Peachy." the redhead said, her voice containing a slight edge. "I give everyone an hour and they take their sweet-ass time, plus Marissa being a... well, Marissa about the whole thing." "I saw." Was all he said. He considered telling her about the talk with Marissa earlier, but wasn't sure it would help anything right now. At best, it would simply cause deeper division in the Fellowship at the worst time. At worst, Autumn could decide to turn round and go confront Marissa directly. Who knew how that could end up? He knew Marissa was not his friend, by her actions and her words. He would watch and wait to see if she was Autumn's as she claimed to be, or if her pettiness would overcome that impulse. "And Kat didn't show up at all, despite texting she was on her way." Autumn continued, looking back at him over her shoulder. "So, right now, I want to spend time with you and forget the whole thing." "How did it go with Dana?" he asked as they headed into a thicker section of woods, Autumn glancing around as though looking for something before glancing back at him once more, smoldering darkness in her blue eyes and a smile on her lips. "Later, for all of that." she said, stopping and pulling him close to her, her arms going around him as she pressed her lithe body against his lean frame. Her lips were raised to his, her voice a breathy murmur. "I want you, here and now. So no more talking, oh Greatest of Calamities." She pushed him back against a tree, hard, her mouth finding his as her hands roamed down past the waistband of his jeans, her breathing taking on a whimper as she felt him stir against her, his kiss deepening, his hands coming up to bury themselves in her coppery curls and hold her mouth against his. This. Yes. was all she could form as coherent thought as she felt him respond, felt her own insides become molten. The drama, the terror ahead, all fell away as the fire rose in both of them. He tasted of tobacco and spice and root beer, his scent underlaid with that cologne he favored. And Jason was no less swept away, his senses overwhelmed with the taste and feel and scent and sight of her as he kissed open-eyed, delighting in the drowsy half-lidded expression of pleasure in her gaze. The sun shone through the trees, dappling them both with radiance, flashes of red-gold hair and green-gold eyes coruscating in the scattered light. Her hand wrapped around him, her other hand unfastening his jeans as she broke the kiss, gasping "...condom...". He reached into his back pocket, releasing her as she stepped away, beginning to tug her shorts down- "...help..." Both teens froze, looking in the direction the weak call had come. They had barely heard it over the thunder of their pulses, but heard it they had. Autumn tugged her shorts back up, extending her senses into the bushes as Jason rebuttoned his fly, his expression one of cold alertness. "One person, injured." Autumn murmured. Jase nodded, stepping forward, the air shimmering lightly about him as he formed a field of will-made-solid around his body. Stepping past the bushes, Autumn a few paces behind, both of them stopped as they saw who was there. "Jacob!" Autumn moved past Jason in a rush, dropping to one knee by her friend. His face was bloody, a welt over one eye and leaf and bark detritus in his hair and stuck to the blood on his face. His brown eyes were unfocused as they sought out the familiar voice. "Autumn... Somethin' hit me..." he murmured. "Tawny... Tawny gone." As they spoke, Jason moved past in the direction Jacob seemed to have stumbled from, searching the ground. "He was thrown against this tree-stump." he said quietly pale eyes coldly evaluating the area before he returned to the two of them. "No sign of anything else." * * * * * * "CADE!" Marissa and her boyfriend turned to see Sheriff Alister striding towards them, his face grim under the brim of his hat. Stopping before the two, he looked around before leaning closer. "Cade, I'm not officially telling you this, but it's your friend. Charlie." The sheriff hesitated, looking around again before lowering his voice. "He's gone, son. Foul play. I've no idea who - or what - but I figured you and your friends need to know." Marissa gasped, her face going pale before she recovered her composure some. She glanced at Cade, whose face seemed to be set in stone as he digested the news, then looked at her bae's dad. "Where?" "His home. Doesn't look like a burglary gone wrong or anything like that, either. Looks like... well, your sort of weird. Dark weird." Alister was stoic as a man could be, but his eyes were haunted by what he'd seen, his voice hushed. "And his girl is missing, too." "Oh god." Marissa brought a manicured hand to her mouth to stifle the outburst, or scream, she felt was building in the back of her throat. The sheriff gave them both a warning look. "Cade, before you and your superfriends do anything else, I want you to get your mom and sister home safe. And if you do decide to do something else, don't go blundering around at a crime scene for crying out loud. Kidnapping means the staties and the feds are going to be all over Shelly by nightfall." Sheriff Alister straightened up. "I didn't tell you kids any of this. If your mom asks whats up, just tell her I will explain and you're just doing what I asked." He sighed, straightening his hat. "And now I've got to go tell Coroner Fingleman his daughter is missing." With that, the tall sheriff strode off into the Field, the two lovers watching him go.
  4. In which Dixie and Eddy have a chat with International Dev of Mystery Danielle Lauzon about Scion: Dragon ahead of its upcoming Kickstarter. Matthew is actually a Danielle? It’s 2021! Did holidays happen? Also Dixie has Beat Saber now. We say there should be VR Rock Band and there is definitely already VR Rock Band What’s Dragon all about? What is Dragon society like? You can take what elements you like! dwagon Who are the eponymous Dragons? Dragon art! A few more Dragon tidbits Danielle makes a bet with Chris Spivey We discuss adding Discord channels, which has since happened Links: Onyx Path YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnyxPath Onyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath Onyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk dwagon!
  5. Healing as per the main rulebook is pretty limited - there's 1 power, it's called Healing, and it lets you heal Bashing or Lethal (not Aggravated) damage levels for quite a high quantum cost. You can also help others with disease or toxin resistance rolls. It's touch range and limited in scope, but within that limited scope quite powerful and reliable (no roll to activate the power), so you'd definitely have a niche. Consider as Dave suggested picking up some mobility powers to supplement that. Your dude (or dudette) could be the transport/medevac person, especially since to have Healing you'd need a high Quantum score, so could pick up Warp too, letting you open doorways through space. Take a high level of the Node background so you've got plenty of quantum points to throw around per turn and can regen them pretty fast. That would give you the solid support role you were talking about. Oh, and get some soak powers. Nova on nova combat features punches that can shatter tanks and level city blocks, especially at the sort of level where Cestus Pax was. Dude could cause seismic activity with a punch. Forcefield and/or Armor. We're not kidding.
  6. Now available in print from DriveThruRPG: A Quantum Leap: A Jumpstart for the Trinity Continuum Core Rules! (And what a coincidence, the PDF has been marked down 50% as part of the NYNG sale!) “Potential is everywhere. You can’t really see it, but you can feel it. And all you really need to do is reach out, grab that potential in your hand, and bend it to your will. Nothing goes wrong if you just use your potential. I know it sounds easy. I can’t really tell you how to do it. But when you do, you’ll just know.” — Janeka Spencer, Neptune Foundation first responder This jumpstart has everything you need to start playing an adventure in Trinity Continuum, including: All the rules you need from Trinity Continuum A full adventure, “A Quantum Leap,” ready to run Five ready-made characters for players to pick up and play Also available: A Quantum Leap VTT Tokens! Use these character tokens representing the pre-gen PCs and antagonists from A Quantum Leap in the VTT platform of your choice! Also also: Trinity Continuum: Æon VTT Tokens! These tokens represent the signature character art from the nine major Allegiances featured in Trinity Continuum: Æon. Sales DriveThruRPG’s New Year, New Game sale runs for another 12 days, with nearly 50 Onyx Path products at up to 50% off! Kickstarter Update Onyx Path’s next Kickstarter will be a Scion 2nd Edition two-in-one: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the Mythos. Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scion: Scion: Demigod They Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave! Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: Legendlore World of Darkness: WoD: Ghost Hunters Vampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood Gods Mage: The Ascension: Technocracy Reloaded 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: Vampire Scion: The Spiritual Hierarchy of the Ascended Masters Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  7. Our final releases of the year! Scarred Lands: Player’s Guide VTT Character Tokens Scarred Lands: Vigil Watch Chapter 6: Lokil (PDF) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: desktop wallpaper Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tomb (PDF) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: desktop wallpaper Realms of Pugmire: Fetch Quest desktop wallpaper Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2 desktop wallpaper Geist: The Sin-Eaters: 2nd Edition desktop wallpaper Also: Astral Virtual Tabletop now contains A Light Extinguished, the Scion 2e Jumpstart. Merch We’ve also got a bunch of new hardcover journals and posters: Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Brain Bleed (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Wild, Wild Wastes (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Campfire Stories (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: The Wasteland (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Threats of the Wastes (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Birds of a Feather (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Your Brothers and Sisters (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: A New Age (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: What You Believe (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Acts of Violence (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Rolling the Bones (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Let the Dead Lie (journal) Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Knitting the Flesh (journal) Scarred Lands art: Blood Sea: The Crimson Abyss (poster) Scarred Lands art: Edge of Infinity: The Scarred Planes (poster) Scarred Lands art: Hollowfaust: City of Necromancers (poster) Scarred Lands art: Strange Lands: Lost Tribes of the Scarred Lands (poster) Scarred Lands art: Vigil Watch: Warrens of the Ratmen (poster) Scarred Lands art: The Wise and the Wicked (poster) Scarred Lands art: Echoes of the Past: The Slarecian Legacy (poster) Scarred Lands art: Gauntlet of Spiragos (poster) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Introduction (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Cover (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Archetypes (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Threats (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Playing Director (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Skills and Attributes (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: System (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: The Human World (journal) They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Cinematic Powers (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: Introduction (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: The Sundered World (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: To the Strongest (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: Three Kingdoms of Darkness (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: The Wolf and the Raven (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras: After the Fall (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: Hunger in the Black Land (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: Arthur’s Britannia (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: One Thousand and One Nightmares (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: Empire of Gold and Dust (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: Light of the Sun (journal) Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2: Rise of the Last Imperials (journal) Sales DriveThruRPG’s Teach Your Kids to Game sale includes a bunch of Realms of Pugmire products, from Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau to Fetch Quest and Pirates of Pugmire! It lasts until the morning of Monday January 4th. Kickstarter Update We wrapped up the Dead Man’s Rust Kickstarter for Scarred Lands this month, ending with $30,076, or 201% of our $15,000 goal! Thanks to our 494 backers. We finished with several stretch goals: VTT Tokens & Map Packs x6: Journey to Broadreach Horizon, Dwarven Dilemmas, Elvish Excursions, Hornsaw Hazards, Fortress Forays, Stronghold Sorties Backer T-Shirt Digital Wallpaper Gazeteer: Dier Drendal: A supplemental PDF focused on the underground city of Dier Drendal Card Decks x4: 5e Spell Deck, Magic Items 1, Magic Items 2, Magic Items 3 discounted PDFs/PoDs Gazeteer: Burok Torn Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scion: Scion: Demigod They Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave! Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: Legendlore World of Darkness: WoD: Ghost Hunters Vampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood Gods Mage: The Ascension: Technocracy Reloaded 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: Ghelspad: Ghelspad Companion Series Bundle Fenrilik: Mysteries of Fenrilik Fenrilik: Cavern at the Obelisk 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: Pugmire: Harmony Acres 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: Trinity Continuum: Æon: Terra Firma: Boston Trinity Continuum: Æon: Mission Report: Nidavellir Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  8. "Ladies." Courtney's smile was wide as as she descended upon the Heaths like a wolf on the fold. Or something like that, not that she cared. She had a Task to complete, after all. Courtney would be the first to admit - though never out loud - that for all her intelligence and confidence she was a natural subservient, albeit selectively so. At various points in her young adult life, one individual or another had filled the spot of the unattainable, non-sexual 'master' figure in her mind. At first, it had been Dr Cook, who she'd never managed to seduce, and who otherwise gave her a free hand to misbehave as she saw fit, so long as she didn't endanger the Project. During this time the Jauntsens had come to Shelly, and actively and smoothly taken over the social hierarchy of the school. Courtney, though a year above them, had noted their rise and, oddly, had not been able to do anything about it. Her telepathy gave her some insight into Marissa's moods and reactions, but Devin had always been a wild card, impossible to reliably read. And, despite how it rankled, she freely admitted that the Twins were good at their role, and the sense of rivalry had been mixed with some grudging respect. And then Cook had fallen, and in his falling he'd shown himself to not really care about Courtney at all, losing interest in his 'star' as soon as brighter, stronger psychic kids had emerged to study. And like that, she'd been adrift. No longer special, no longer belonging, no longer wanted... And then Devin had said "You're one of us, too." And Marissa had come to her for help with the creepy guy threatening her family. And Bannon had shrugged and said sure, come out to the farm for training, and then offered to help her if she wanted. And Kat had- well, done a lot of things, but mostly just extended affection and sexy fun times, and asked Bannon for Courtney to be included, and kissed her and murmured... But they couldn't all be her master figure. Kat wasn't a dominant person, Bannon was, but had no emotional need for a subservient. Which left the Twins. Devin had no more need for people to do his bidding than Bannon did, but Marissa... Marissa thrived on having flunkies, especially reliable, talented ones who made her look good. And Courtney needed someone she could look up to who needed her in turn. It occurred to her that although she'd repeatedly tried to read Devin's mind, she'd never really tried to read Marissa's beyond the emotional level. Almost as though, even before they were frenemies or even friends, there was something about the gorgeous, imperious brunette that engendered respect from Courtney. So when Marissa had once again come to her for help, the redhead had jumped at the chance to prove her worth. Of course, she couldn't just yank out all of Jacob Crocker's deepest, darkest secrets. It was almost impossibly painful for her to do such a deep dive into someone's conscious and subconscious, and shameful or embarrassing secrets were usually well-hidden in a person's psyche so even they wouldn't have to look at them. So she would have to work around the edges. Talk to people who knew Jacob, who moved in similar circles. Maneuver the conversation around to the handsome young man, then lightly skim and draw out such secrets as she could. The Heaths were a good starting point. Strong local roots, big into sports and community activities like Crocker was. And not actually hostile to Courtney, which helped. A few facts were gleaned, though nothing particularly damning presented itself, the strangely-identical cousins eager to gossip about Jacob apparently dating Tawny as part of the overall gossip about love and life in Shelly High. Of course, there was also Lori and Lacy's somewhat mournful individual yearnings for Bannon for Courtney to privately experience some schadenfreude over. There was a sense of smug superiority for her in knowing what she knew about their 'boy next door' fantasy. To Courtney, who divided the world between 'special' and 'ordinary' people, Bannon was way out of the Heath's league, even if they presented themselves as a package deal. Autumn, for all her flannel-wearing, bristle-legged homeliness, was 'special', and for some reason Courtney was still bafflingly unsure of was able to draw out gentle warmth and almost volcanic passion from the cold-eyed young genius. Drifting on from Lacy and Lori, and mulling over what little she'd learned and where to go next, Courtney pulled out her phone and checked what new scandals were presenting themselves on Shelly's social media bubble. * * * * * Hannah yanked her overnight bag out of the trunk and, slamming the lid down and locking the car, stalked to the front door. Relief with finally being home was mingled with intense irritation at her son's radio-silence. Though she was broadly tolerant of teens being teens, and dearly loved Charlie, the fact that he hadn't answered a single text or call over the last day and a half was both worrying and frustrating. Okay, fine, he had a new girlfriend and Labor Day Weekend was a big deal for him and his friends, but god knows it wouldn't take more than a minute of the boy's time to pick up the phone and say that, yes, everything was fine and no, the house hadn't burned down. Which, she was relieved to note, it hadn't. The blinds were drawn, though, which meant that Charlie likely had just gotten up and gone out without properly taking care of things. Great. Probably a pile of dishes in the sink and towels next to the washer, too. Or else the blinds were drawn for privacy and he was up to no good with Sophia- "I'm home!" she called out as she opened the door and, turning, plopped her suitcase down by the coatrack. Her nose wrinkled - there was a stink like the garbage hadn't been taken out, or perhaps a drain had backed up. The house was silent and dark, and as her eyes were adjusting Hannah stepped further in, listening. "Charlie?" she called out again, peering up the stairs. Her foot hit something soft, and she looked down. Next door, Sally Azuolas dropped her broom mid-sweep as a piercing, raw-throated scream split the air. Then another, if anything even louder.
  9. Gar "I need a drink." The attractive blonde was watching him expectantly, concern in her features mingling with maybe a hint of worry showing through the calm surface of her blue eyes. Gar looked away from her face, a face he'd thought was that of a normal, if flawed, woman, and at his hands. He felt adrift as he had when she'd first left without a word, as adrift as when he'd found that Jase was a psychopath with telekinetic powers. Now there were being of cosmic Darkness and Radiance, other dimensions, other worlds, and aliens - and by the way, he'd married one and fathered another. He felt like he'd dropped straight off the edge of the somewhat-healthy and rational suspicion of Big Government and theories of the Deep State straight into the lunacy of the far-out crazies of the sort that didn't really fit with the Sons of the Constitution. He felt a little crazy himself: how was anyone supposed to deal with this? A part of his whirling mind latched onto the fact that maybe that was why Branch Nine and this Aeon Society kept things so quiet. People, even powerful governments, would freak out if it was shoved in their faces just how small and ignorant humankind was. It'd be like the scene in 'Airplane' when the stewardess asked if anyone knew how to fly the plane: 'Ladies and gentlemen, please keep calm. The Earth is under threat of alien invasion or being swallowed up by a cosmic horror or just of a bunch of super-powered teens not liking the shitty mess we're making of things. By the way, is anyone Superman?' He looked up again at Kaitlin - Catheen, he supposed he should think of her as now. "Was anything real?" he asked her bluntly. She winced, a flicker of an eyelid and a faint grimace. "Everything between us was real." she said quietly. "Everything, Gar. I tried to dissuade you, I was difficult and rude and hostile when you were pursuing me because I liked you, because I didn't want love and here it was, chasing me. The only thing that wasn't true was my name." "Yeah." Gar smiled a little at the memory of Kaitlin-then. "My friends all thought I was nuts and that you were some weird crazy woman." His eyes focused on her as something occurred to him. "So if you can't lie, how could you use a false name?" "Names are labels." Kaitlin said with a shrug. "It skirts the edges of our blind spot, but 'call me Kaitlin' or 'my friends call me Kait' are not lies. False documents and so on are similarly stretching. 'This is how I present myself' is the mindset. It's uncomfortable to live in an obfuscation, but it can be done. We're forbidden from speaking an untruth, not compelled to speak the absolute truth." Her mouth twisted in a grim frown. "Amongst the Teulu, deception and misdirection are common between clans. To be able to dance around the truth without lying, using wordplay and double-meaning, is considered an art and a game." "Christ." Gar stared at her. "Sounds charming." "Oh, they can be very charming." Kaitlin sighed. "That's sort of the problem. They are honest - for a given value of honest. They are also intense, and loyal to their friends and clan, very family-oriented, even loving And they are utterly without mercy to anything that they see as getting between them and their goals, or anything they see as a threat to them or theirs. They are contemptuous of 'lesser' races - most of which are classified as those able to experience fear, anxiety or remorse." She sighed, leaning back against the table. "That includes me, by the way. I am considered ni-Teulu, because although I am physically similar, my neurochemistry is largely human. A throwback. I was tolerated as a sort of crippled try-hard. I could compete for position and I even earned praise. But there was always the unspoken 'in spite of your limitations' tacked onto any accolades I won. Finally, the adulthood trial approached. Teulu females undertake it in their fourteenth year. I knew I wouldn't survive it - or rather, my fears told me I would not - so I ran." "And came here." "Here is where the Trickster brought me. He set me up with a false identity - I could pass for a human female of eighteen - and some money." Her eyes narrowed. "And when I started to get bored after a couple of years working in a Kinkos, he also suggested the college I go to..." "Wait, so when we met-" "I was sixteen, yes." "Shit." "We mature faster. Don't worry about that." she smiled slyly, nudging his shoulder with hers. "Besides, we didn't actually have sex until I was eighteen, if I recall." She rolled her eyes dramatically. "Practically an old maid by Teulu standards." Gar coughed, reddening slightly under his tan as he looked away and at the Carousel. Now that he pondered it, Jason had always been mature. Not so much a child as just a smaller, less knowledgeable version of his present self. He'd virtually taken over the running of day to day household tasks like packing lunches and preparing meals by the time he was twelve. He'd never cried, or thrown tantrums, or proclaimed the unfairness of the world, or even acted out - other than the fight incident when he'd stepped in to help Sean out, a single blip on an otherwise blank record, never repeated... until this year. "Okay." he nodded slowly. "Okay. So now what?" "Now we need to decide what to do about Jason. He's reaching full maturity and needs-" "What about us?" Kaitlin hesitated at that, then fixed her eyes on his. "Do you want there to be an 'us'?" "Look..." Gar shifted to face her, tipping back the brim of his ball cap as he leaned forward and took her hand. "Maybe this Trickster fellow set us up. Maybe he had a plan. Maybe, maybe. So I ask, so what? He didn't make me fall for you, or you for me. Maybe he figured we would, or hoped we would, and planned for it, but he didn't force us." "How do you know that?" Kaitlin asked simply. "He could be capable of anything. You've seen what some of the teens can do." "I have faith." Gar shrugged. "I have faith that I can tell the difference between what's real and what's not. And what I feel is real. This-" he clasped her hand a little tighter. "This is real. You are real. Whether you're Kaitlin or Catheen, I love you and it's not some mind-control. Wanna know how I know?" Mutely, Kaitlin nodded. "Because I'm mad at you too." Gar said softly. "I'm furious. You left our boy alone in the world, when you were the only one who could help him understand. He's been thinking he's a broken, defective human being, a sick mind, for half his life. Even if he knows the truth now, do you really think he's adjusted to it? You ran away- No." He clasped her other hand and drew both towards him. "Look at me." Kaitlin's eyes were filled with tears that ran down her cheeks, faint streaks of mascara darkening their trails as she looked back at Gar, raising her head. His face was stern, but not cold, not cruel or hostile. "I get it. You were scared, and you ran. Just like you did before." he went on without rancor. "You fucked up as a mom and as a wife. I compounded the fuckup by crawling into a bottle and pretty much letting our boy raise himself. So now we've both got some ground to make up. No more running, no more escaping." he paused. "Point I was trying to make is this: despite how mad I am, I still love you, Kait." "And I you." she managed to smile a little through her tears. "But... Jason doesn't. At the very least, he's cold to me Gar. The most I am to him is a source of information about his heritage. He made that pretty clear." "So start there." Gar shrugged. "It's not going to be an easy fix, for sure. I can't wag a finger at him and tell him to mind his mother. Logically, that would make no sense after what you did. We've got to think like him - or at least, try to. So you'll come round, at my invitation, and talk to him about his people, and we can get used to spending time together you, him and me, and we'll take things a step at a time." He reached up and brushed away some stray tears from her cheek with one calloused thumb. "It really is good to see you, Kait." Despite herself, despite the worry for her son and the hard road ahead, Kaitlin smiled. "It's good to be seen." They talked a little longer, exchanging numbers, and agreeing that today and in public was not the day to confront Jason with reunited parental units. Gar would broach the subject tomorrow - hopefully, assuming his son survived. He didn't share his fears with Kaitlin, or the news that their son was going to fight some extradimensional evil. It wouldn't help, and might even prompt a confrontation that would distract Jase from what he had to do. As he watched Kaitlin walk off into the crowd, dry-eyed and smiling back at him as she linked up with her curious friend, Gar smiled a little in return. Perhaps, if Jase got through tonight, there would be some way of reaching his baffling son now. "Aliens." he sighed, shaking his head slightly. He wasn't going to tell Hank. Not yet, anyway. Besides, the way things were going, it wouldn't surprise him if his friend pulled off a mask to reveal a reptilian face and said 'I know.'
  10. Type: Features Author: Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito Subtitle: Dragon Talk Banner: Text: Greg & Shelly get you up to speed with the D&D Holiday Specials, Heroes' Feast, D&D news, and the announcement of the forthcoming Dragon Talk book! Afterwards, Adam Lee returns for another Lore You Should Know, this week talking about the subclasses of Psi Warriors and Warlock Genie Patrons. For this week’s special interview, we are thrilled to be joined by actress, internet personality, and content creator Jasmine Bhullar. Dragon Talk is executively produced by Greg Tito, Shelly Mazzanoble & Wizards of the Coast. Show production by Lisa Carr & Ryan Marth of Siren Sound. Podcast recording, editing, mixing and mastering by Ryan Marth & Siren Sound. Dragon Talk: Jasmine Bhullar, LYSK on Psi Warriors and Warlock Genie Patrons Dragon Talk - 12/09/2020 By Greg Tito, Shelly Mazzanoble SEE MORE PODCASTS Podcast/Notes Here’s a guide to when each segment on the podcast begins: 00:00: Intro and News with Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble 13:02: Lore You Should Know 36:17: Interview 1:26:37: Outro Stay Informed More Ways to Tune-In: Subscribe to the Dragon Talk podcast on iTunes, on Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts. More Ways to Play: Learn more about the Adventurers League here. More Ways to Become Involved: Find out more about the Guild Adept program here. If you’re interested in submitting your artwork to be considered for use with D&D, send five images to artdrop@wizards.com. Podcast Guests JASMINE BHULLAR Jasmine "ThatBronzeGirl" Bhullar is an actress, internet personality, and content creator best known for her daily livestreams on twitch as well as the many role play productions she has been a part of. She is not only an experienced tabletop RPG player, but a skilled Game Master as well. She got her start on Geek and Sundry by writing and GMing the Starter Kit for Vampire the Masquerade which led to her playing the infamous Beryl the Brutal on Relics and Rarities. She's also guested on Critical Role's DOOM crossover and plays Betty on World of Darkness's official Seattle by Night game. Jasmine enjoys creating video game, roleplay, and comic book content when she doesn't have her head in a science fiction book. Twitter: @ThatBronzeGirl Twitch: twitch.tv/thatbronzegirl Your Podcast Hosts Greg Tito Greg Tito has had weird and long career as an Off Broadway stage manager, a playwright, a theater carpenter, a secretary, an RPG designer, a games journalist, and now a PR/Marketing person. He has loved Dungeons & Dragons ever since 1985 when he found an old copy of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide on his brother’s bookshelf and he honed that love of fantasy storytelling in the dark streets of Sasserine by way of the Upper West Side gaming group he joined in 2004. He moved his family (wife + two young kids) to Seattle in 2015 to work on D&D and he’s never looked back. Twitter: @Gregtito Shelly Mazzanoble Shelly Mazzanoble will always play a magic-user. There. She said it. Enough pretending to want to break out of her comfort zone. She’s a magic-user. She’s also the brand lead for Avalon Hill and loves talking about that one time she played Diplomacy and SOMEONE (okay, it was Ben Petrisor) stabbed her in the back and took over her beloved Russia. If you enjoy tales of sorcery, board game upheavals, and reasons her 3 year-old is crying (HINT: She tried to make him eat a Nutella crepe), find Shelly on Twitter and Facebook. Facebook: shellymazzanoblewriter Twitter: @shellymoo Publication date: 12/09/2020 Tags: Features Podcast Texture banner: Show Black text:
  11. The Project Director's Office: Annette looked up from the report that had just been handed to her and stared at a somewhat out of breath uniformed ComInt non-com and a stone-faced Major Taggart. "A what, now?" "An alien, apparently a scout. From a world beyond the under-dimension." Taggart responded, looking at his own transcript then back at Annette. "Needless to say, while this isn't quite a worst-case scenario, we have to-" The elegant brunette across from him rapped her knuckles on the desk's top, silencing him. "Major, I might be wrong..." Annette leaned back in her chair and regarded him with a hard stare. "But didn't the Project Director - namely me, at least currently - give express orders that intrusive surveillance into these young people and, indeed, most of Shelly was to be cut back? Ceased? I distinctly remember saying 'Stop that thing'." She shifted her gaze to the sergeant, who adopted the time-honored eyes-on-the-wall stare of an underling who knows that he was following orders and thus none of this was his problem and thankfully well above his pay grade. "You did. But as per my mandate as the Branch Nine command presence, I adjusted the orders so that our automated systems would monitor for certain key signifiers. Explosions, 911 calls, police alerts, and any communication involving certain keywords. Like 'alien', 'the Dark', and so on." The major's poker face was a credit to the uniform as he stared right back at the slim woman who was technically his superior. "Damn it, Jack." Annette sighed, crumpling her copy of the transcript and tossing it into the nearby bin. "We need these kids to trust us." Taggart looked at her for a moment, then signaled the sergeant from the room. As the door closed he spoke. "Respectfully, ma'am, we need to trust them more than they need to trust us. Our strategic intel people rate them individually as potential threats ranging from 'dangerous' to 'utterly catastrophic'. And that's just based on their abilities, never mind their personalities which, might I remind you, are those of teenagers at best." He indicated the sheet of paper in his hand. "That's all we got, by the way. As soon as Jauntsen mentioned encryption, we couldn't even find their damn signal, let alone crack it." "Right. And how do you think going in ham-handed and stealing away Devin's 'slammin gorgeous alien chick' in the name of national security will go down?" "Not well. But that's a secondary issue. Analysing some of the responses, it seems that some of the subjects know about this alien race, in particular Cassidy and Bannon." "Thats-" "'Do you have a sister you never mentioned, Jase?' And though the responses of some of the teens are very much confusion or disbelief, the Bannon kid was way too incurious about the mention of an alien species. Almost offhandedly so. That plus the Keane girl's tone of disgust with Cassidy's apparent stupidity might indicate an in-group secret not all the teens are privy to. Namely that the Bannon kid is also one of these 'Teulu'." "Don't you think you're reading too much into texted words?" Annette asked quietly, her brow furrowing as she looked down at her desk, deep in thought. "I would rather be suspicious than caught off-guard." "But we have Jason Bannon's complete medical history. We know the name of the attending nurse who delivered him in the hospital, for crying out loud." "Yes ma'am. We also have a sample of his DNA, as yet un-analysed. Same goes for all of the subjects. We collected the samples when they were our guests here, but per your orders we did not process them." Taggart looked at her expectantly. "You sure your mandate as Branch Nine command didn't let you see fit to countermand that order too?" Annette demanded, glaring at him. Taggart was unmoved. "We're on the same side, ma'am. I acted as I saw fit with the surveillance, and didn't see a reason until now to order genetic testing." "Until now." "Yes, ma'am. I'll be frank. I like your style, I share your ideal that the kids can be handled without strong-arm tactics, and I don't want to believe they're a threat to us." Taggart straightened a little. "But if your order stands, I will have to seek higher authority from my own directorate, and then I have to say why, and then it becomes a shitshow. On the other hand..." "If I let you test the material collected, we can keep it in-house." Annette ran her hand over her face. "Fine! Run all the samples you have. But Major? I want this contained and quiet. Compartmentalise it within the project, only people you trust. And stay away from the kids and their 'guest' until we can decide how to proceed." "Yes, Madam Director." Taggart nodded, then turned and quietly left the room. Annette stared at the closed door as she heard the major's booted feet recede down the hall. "Fuck." she muttered savagely, slumping back in her chair and looking up at the ceiling. "What the hell next?"
  12. In which Eddy, Dixie, and Matthew review the twelve(!) different games in the Chronicles of Darkness. Ranting about the Hobbit and Transformers movies Chronicles of Darkness The God-Machine Promethean: The Created Mummy: The Curse Beast: The Primordial Deviant: The Renegades Hunter: The Vigil Demon: The Descent Changeling: The Lost Geist: The Sin-Eaters Mage: The Awakening Vampire: The Requiem Werewolf: The Forsaken The return of farty horns! We argue about the Hobbit movies (again) LINKS Chronicles of Darkness: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/168428/Chronicles-of-Darkness?affiliate_id=548232 Promethean: The Created 2e: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/189395/Promethean-the-Created-2nd-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Mummy: The Curse 2e: https://mummy-the-curse.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders Beast: The Primordial: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/162443/Beast-The-Primordial?affiliate_id=548232 Deviant: The Renegades: https://deviant-the-renegades.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders Hunter: The Vigil 2e: https://hunter-the-vigil-2e.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders Demon: The Descent: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/124155/Demon-The-Descent?affiliate_id=548232 Changeling: The Lost: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/248078/Changeling-the-Lost-Second-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/272090/Geist-The-SinEaters-Second-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Mage: The Awakening 2e: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/181754/Mage-the-Awakening-2nd-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Vampire: The Requiem 2e: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/123898/Vampire-The-Requiem-2nd-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Werewolf: The Forsaken 2e: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/145541/Werewolf-the-Forsaken-2nd-Edition?affiliate_id=548232 Deviant Deep Dive (Episode 72): https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/e/episode-72-deep-dive-deviant-the-renegades/ Dead Man’s Rust: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/339646881/dead-mans-rust-a-mega-adventure-for-scarred-lands-5e/
  13. (Collaboration with Dave ST) Devin "Clever too." Ellie remarked, smiling once more as he called her 'beautiful'. The smile reached her eyes, a glimmer of weird approval/sly humor at the wordplay that, yes, was also all-too familiar. Fuck. "Why does anybody need a hero, Devin? They need to be saved." She looked around at the clusters of people: families eating, friends wandering around in conversation, children running to and fro, then looked back at him. "Would you say a youth, scared, trapped and hunted by a monster in a hostile place, who elects to blow himself up to try and kill the creature that threatens him is a hero?" She tilted her head consideringly, watching him. "Doomed, but unwilling to give up. Surely that qualifies." She reached out and took his left hand, turning it in her grasp slightly to show the coppery-brassy glint of the bracelet on his wrist. Then she half-turned, looping her arm through his. "Walk with me a little?" Wordlessly he allowed himself to be led for a few moments while the beautiful, blonde distracted gears in head did their slow rotation of processing what was happening. "Wait. It was you. You were there when I was half-dead. You saved me." "H-how did you get here?" He asked, stunned by the revelation as a thousand more questions leapt into his mind. "And... thank you for being hot, and a chick. I was so hoping I wasn't imagining it all... that would have been so awkward." "You are welcome." she replied with another smile, looking sideways at him as they moved past knots of people. She was tall, he realised now that they were walking side by side. Her flat white sandals did not lend her much height, yet she was still only perhaps an inch or two shorter than himself. "As for your question: I got here through the Blight you found yourself in. It connects..." she hesitated a moment "...where I am from... with here. Like a cancer growing between two organs can link them up. A Blight causes wounds in the walls of the world. Weak spots where someone who knows how can exploit them - or in some cases blunder through." "After I placed my..." she hesitated, finely-formed brow furrowing slightly as she searched for a word. "Bracelet on you, you disappeared. Which surprised me greatly - and also left me with a problem. Without it, I could not find my way back to the door to my home. Searching, I found another door from the Blight, but this one was wide open, a gaping wound rather than a simple weakness in the Wall. I plunged through it... and found myself in a place surrounded by armed people." Her lips pressed together slightly, as if at a frustrating memory. "It was humiliating. I was trapped in a chamber with no way out, forced to choose between surrender and simply being overpowered anyway. They took my... armor, weapons, and then they studied me as though I were some... animal to be poked and prodded." The grey eyes hardened with a feral gleam in the otherwise impassive features for a moment. "They were complacent, and I escaped. That was perhaps four or five solar cycles ago. I emerged from that place into some mountains, that way." she pointed west. "I came here, to find you. And ask for help." Western Mountains? Site B, maybe? She dumped out at Site B? Wait... so the government or possibly Crossroads had a full-on breach into the Land of Upside Down Thunder? So not good. "Wait... wait... so... you're trapped here?" Devin asked the obvious, not because he didn't know the answer but because he felt a bit guilty. This girl had saved his life at the expense of not being able to return home. "Ellie, you sacrificed your way home to save my life. You don't need a hero, girl. You are one. And, to my credit I did not 'blunder', I was pulled through by The Dark, or it's minion that was hunting me, thankyouverymuch." He pulled her aside, away from the people and distractions to a few trees off near the park's edge. "Ellie, if you need the bracelet back, it's yours. Is that what you need? Someone to help you get home?" A million questions would have been lowballing what his mind was processing at the moment, aside from her beauty and athletic body. He wanted to know so much, but doubted if he had the time. "It's been five days, have you eaten? Are you hurt? Do you need a place to stay? After I returned from the Land of Upside Down Thunder... the... Blight as you call it... all I could remember was you. I want to help you, and I'm sure my friends will too." "I appreciate your concern. I am not hurt. I am hungry, though not starving. I killed and ate some kind of small animal two days ago, and last night I found some food thrown away behind a merchant place. After that I found a 'motel' - a place with many sleeping rooms, most empty. I found a way into one such room and slept there, though I had to flee this morning. I found this dress and these shoes in another merchant place." Ellie twirled a little, flaring out the hem of the sundress, smiling over her shoulder at Devin before turning back to face him. Her smile was gentle as she reached out almost fondly and touched his shoulder, though a touch of wry humor glimmered in her gaze. "But you credit me too much. I did not know you would disappear. In all honesty - because I want honesty between us, Devin - I was going to take you to my home. The tennyn bywyd would have worked if I was in contact with you, and would have protected you from the Blight... and also would mark you as mine." She smiled in amusement, her gaze direct once more as she looked into his eyes. "My motives were entirely selfish - I wanted for myself the brave handsome boy who would fight to the death." Something mischievous flickered in her expression. "So, if I am being honest, no. I do not want you to return it." "But you are Radiant. Like your friends. So the tennyn bywyd acted differently." She was studying him again, trying to figure something out. "I was able to home in on you because you wear it. I hid and watched as you and your friends practiced your gifts. Then I went away and washed and slept at the motel. And now I am here." She finished, spreading her hands to the sides with a small flourish. "Mark me as yours?" Devin chuckled softly, scratching the back of his head and looking for the right way to break up with a girl he hadn't even dated yet. She was from out of town, and he needed to play up to her culture, or at least what he'd gleaned of it up to this point. "Okay, Ellie... you've been through a lot, and I'm sorry for that, I feel a bit responsible. When you slipped this bracelet on me Ellie, I was already with someone else. I couldn't have been with you if I even if I wanted to, I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate your man being with another, after all, that's the opposite if 'yours', right?" "Our culture here is a bit different. So, instead of us starting with 'yours' and 'mine', lets set all that aside and get to know each other, hmm?" He motioned for her to follow him, offering her his arm once again. "Let's get you some proper food and something to drink. Also, great taste by the way, you look amazing, so congrats on your first successful shop lift, but let's not steal anything else, alright?" He led her through the people to one of the numerous spots where plates were available for a few bucks as fund raisers for the various things going on around the city. With a plate of food, a soda and a bottle of water each, they selected a quiet table away from prying ears. "So, these tannenbaum things," he held up his bracelet. "You can tune into them and track them? How's that work? I can't get this thing to do anything." "It was not made for you." Ellie explained between hungry mouthfuls of burger. She motioned at the bun with her free hand. "What do you call this?" "Cheeseburger." Devin watched raptly as the rest of it vanished in the next few bites. The elegant-seeming blonde chewed thoughtfully on the last mouthful, nodding in apparent approval, before taking a drink of water. "The tennyn bywyd," she enunciated carefully. "is given to us sometime during childhood. It is forged in our presence, and contains a part of our innate radiance. It is said that they anchor us, remind us of who we are. They also protect us from the Dark, can be used to mark property-" she indicated him with a slight smile "- and, if exchanged with another's, signify a bond of trust and unity." "Property?" Devin narrowed his eyes. Ellie smiled at him over her soda. "Not now, of course." she shrugged with no apparent embarrassment. "You are Radiant, not simply an admirably vigorous ni'Teulu male worthy of playing with and breeding from. If you wish to remove it and give it back, you can do so." She sipped at her soda, frowning slightly at the taste. "Oddly sweet, this." "Yeah, it's carbonated water with sugar syrup added. We call it a 'Coke'." He'd heard that word before, 'Teulu' when Jason was justifying his murderous behavior, blaming it all on his genetic disposition or some such. As he put it, it was the space race he belonged to... then that meant... "Wait, you're Teulu? I know one of you, but admittedly I know little about your culture." On any other day, from any other girl, Devin might have been choking on his Coke at the mention of wanton breeding with him, but 'never stick it crazy' was screaming loudly in the back of his mind. "What does me being 'Radiant' have to do with anything? We call it having Shine. Are you not allowed to date guys who're Radiant, or something?" "You know of us?" Ellie looked mildly surprised - which in human terms likely meant she was shocked, open-mouthed and goggling. She stared at Devin for a long moment, her interest in the Coke forgotten as she studied him from under raised eyebrows. "Know one of you." Devin corrected. "But I don't know much about you." The alien girl sitting across from him (and how messed up was that sentence) looked lost in thought, then seemed to snap out of it. "Shine." she tested the word, shrugging. "You being Radiant means you are not human, not lesser. Not to be treated as a prize." She tilted her head consideringly as she looked at him. "There are no Radiants amongst the Teulu - we were created by the Radiants of the distant past. That is," she shrugged "if you believe our histories. And I do not know what 'date' means... But by context I think you mean to couple-bond with?" She gave him a slow smile, a hint of suggestiveness in her gaze. "There are no rules about that for us. An unattached Teulu may be with whomever they please. A Radiant? Even more so I would imagine. I would not think that question has ever been seriously considered by our laws, since no-one has likely met a Radiant." "Well, you have," he smirked. "I'll bet we're certainly not as impressive as the histories, but here on Earth, trust me, I'm all kinds of impressive." "Dating is when two people decide to pursue an intimate relationship with each other, yeah. Usually it's used as a means of measuring compatibility with one another before marriage, or uh... a life bond, I guess? Earth is messed up, we generally go through a lot of partners before we find one we're compatible with and want to tolerate for the rest of our lives." He was still absorbing her words while he chewed his burger. She seemed to be so much more well put together than Jason that he wondered if it was a gender thing, or a cultural divide issue that made them so different. "Some of us don't and we just play the field until we retire with a house full of cats and World of Warcraft." "I don't think of myself as any better than the people around me, Ellie." He said finally as he finished his bite. "There is no one lesser than me, or greater, there's just," he shrugged. "People. People just trying to live their lives and make some sense of it all. You say the Radiants 'created' you? What for?" "War, or so it is said." Ellie tried some of the homemade potato salad on her plate and evidently found it acceptable. "The most common story recounts that the Radiants were not warlike - they had no need to be, as their power meant none could compete with them and their technology meant there was no scarcity. But that was before the discovery of the Dark. So some of the Radiants saw the need for warriors, picked humanity as the base stock due to their aggression and adaptability, enhanced the traits they wanted whilst eliminating useless ones and..." She shrugged, spreading her hands as if to say 'that was that'. "There are other stories which say that the Radiants who made us intended to use us as conquerors. Against other worlds, or even against the other Radiants. Teulu who believe that say that it explains why we are imprisoned, having to risk travel through unstable wounds in the Void in order to come forth into the universe." She nibbled on a stick of celery consideringly, then gave the impression of mentally shrugging and took a bite. "Those who believe the first story say we are set apart so that we will be ready when the Dark grows strong enough to become a real threat, and it is all part of our creators plan." She shrugged slightly. "There is not enough data to support either theory as pre-eminent. Perhaps neither is correct? Only the Radiants of old know for sure, and as I said-" "-nobody's met one." Devin finished, nodding as Ellie smiled slightly in agreement, studying him in that direct, appraising way she had. "You say you do not think of yourself as better." she stated, obviously weighing her words. "But you are. You are stronger, more agile, more handsome than many humans. You experience the weakness of fear, but it does not stop you. You seem clever. Objectively you are a superior specimen, through genetic advantage, training and talent. I think you would stand well in a match against a young male of my species, even without your powers." Her gaze was frank as she let it run over his features and build. " You are, as you say, all kinds of impressive. So how is it you cannot perceive yourself as superior?" "That's right, you're new around here," he chuckled. "Earth has a long history of segregating people between 'better' and 'lesser'. It's probably our worst character trait, to be honest." "I know that my sister and I will be going to a better college and most likely be more successful than ninety-five percent of the other kids in our age bracket around here. We work hard, take care of ourselves, and we have drive and ambition. We want to succeed. Others are content to simply 'go with the flow' and that's fine I suppose, it's their life." He peeled back the top of a small packet of peanut butter and dipped his celery stick in it and offered it to her. "Here, try it this way." After eyeballing it for a few moments, appraising it's rather bland appearance, she took a bite and allowed it to register as Devin went on. "I know I can be a bit arrogant sometimes. I don't apologize for being ambitious and wanting more than when what simply crosses my path. I want to do and be whatever I choose and I'm willing to put in the work for it. I've never considered myself superior, just... I dunno, better in the sense that I have drive and they don't. I mean, where is the cut off for the comparison? If some dude can do brain surgery and I can't, be definition he's superior to me... I have Shine, he doesn't, does that even out the playing field?" He shrugged. "It's a slippery slope, Ellie. I just want to be who I am, help those I can with these gifts, have a little fun while I do it and enjoy what life has to offer. I've seen what one group of people thinking they're better or superior to another group can do to the world. It's bad for everyone all around. Gods were meant to help the worlds they're born into, not rule over them." "Intriguing." Ellie scooped out some more peanut butter from the packet as she spoke, and for a moment it wasn't certain whether she was talking about the substance she was eating or about Devin's expressed philosophy as, with a quiet hum of enjoyment, she ate the snack. Then her grey eyes fixed on him again. "So it is not so much blindness to your potential as a point of ideological principle, this denial of superiority?" She considered him as she ran her tongue around her teeth behind closed lips, pondering both the new taste sensation and the novel point of view. "This is a path of discussion I would like to walk again some time." "For now, tell me about this other Teulu you met. Another scout like myself, I assume. This place has a very strong Blight underlaying it in the Void, so it is not impossible that there might be another doorway into it in these parts. I can also assume they were not as forthcoming as I have been, or you would know more about us than you did. Unless you were dissembling." She took a sip of her soda, eying him, then gave a faint smile and leaned forward a little. "Another female." she guessed, eyes gleaming with playful humor as she remarked "I may have competition." "Nah, it's a dude," Devin shrugged nonchalantly. It didn't surprise him that she was curious, though. Everything in Shelly seemed to lead back to Jason Bannon as a topic of discussion. Give any conversation three minutes and eventually Jason's name would pop up. "He's not a scout, he was born here. At least, that's what he says, anyway. Apparently his mom is from some other dimension and his dad is human and he's some alien with no capacity for remorse or fear... or so he claims." "He doesn't know much about his people or culture either, which is why he couldn't tell me. You um..." he wasn't quite sure how to tell her and before he realized it he'd leaned over and wiped away the large deposit of peanut butter from the corner of her mouth with his paper towel. "Got a little. Yeah... uh you gotta watch that stuff, it's sticky, clings to everything. I tried using my finger to spread it one day and man, there was peanut butter everywhere." He chuckled, feeling a bit of warmth rise to his cheeks. It wasn't like him to feel flustered around another person... "But... uh, yeah. Jason. He's good people, still. Prone to violent outbursts and a habitual felonist, but he means well." For a moment the compelling girl's lips quirked in a faint smile as he dabbed away the peanut butter, a warmth coming to her gaze as it lingered on his cheeks, then met his eyes. "If his tale is true, then he is correct about the remorse and fear. We do not have such feelings. But... A male? Raised here? Who would have trained him?" "Don't think anyone did." Devin shrugged, looking up from his phone as he dashed off a text. "Dude knows nada about it, mom ran away and left him with his dad, and he just found out." He eyed the pensive look in her eye as she sat back. "What?" "That cannot be true. No Teulu mother would abandon her child, least of all a male, to grow up with no preparation. We are predisposed to bond tightly with our blood, and our friends and mates. To form prides and clans. Males are rarer than females amongst us. A mother would never abandon one. Wars are fought over our young." She shook her head. "Your friend is lying, which we cannot do. Or perhaps deluded." she amended, placing a hand over Devin's. "I do not wish to offend you by insulting him. Though... that does not explain how he knows of us." She sighed lightly. "So many questions. The more I ask, the more I am ignorant. I came to ask for your help, and now I find I just want to spend time with you." A slender finger ran along the back of Devin's hand and brushed the bracelet, causing a faint vibration to sound in Devin's awareness. "Conflicted. I need to get back what was taken from me. I should seek a way home. And I want to just stay here in the sun and eat new foods, perhaps couple with you." Her eyes met his again, a mixture of humor and curiousity in her gaze. "That is, if you would find that acceptable. I am not sure which desire should take precedence." Devin laughed awkwardly, trying his damnedest not to blush. He blushed. "Um ,wow, uh... Ellie, look I uh, just said farewell to my girlfriend this morning and I kind of need some time to process that. I don't think coupling, with anyone, is in my immediate future. I need a bit of time. I mean, you're beautiful and wow, but... it's been like, twenty minutes. This is Earth, Ellie, let's work on getting to know each other and you seem very competitive. I already promised to go to Homecoming with Cassie. Last thing I need is you pulling a Jason and leaving her mangled corpse on my doorstep as a some gift of endearment." He sighed, not wanting to say more but felt it was necessary. "Also, look... I uh, I have something to do tonight. An enemy we need to face and The Dark had made him like, supes powerful. I don't want to be running all kinds of game on you and then not be around tomorrow to make good on any of it." He set his hand on hers, and offered her a smile. "I know you like me I get that, in fact, I get that a lot. Blondes go crazy for his highness, but I got so much going on right now, girl that aliens and extra-terrestrial hook-ups, as awesome as they sound, really aren't in my plans at the moment. I need to be focused on what lies ahead." "Look, if you want to stay, then stay." He shrugged and took back his hands to gesture all around him. "It's your life, girl. Live it up. We have an extra room at the house, you can stay there. Hang out, meet the others, take in the Earth culture. It'll be a blast. Sean could easily enroll you at Shelly High if you wanted to breathe deep the nuances of high school life," he met her eyes and raised in brows in an almost pleading manner as he concluded with a shrug and, "But only if you want to. I mean, could be fun, I dunno." "I understood perhaps half of that." Her wry half-smile was nevertheless genuine. "Let me try to understand. So, first: you are flattered at my attention but, most importantly, you just separated from a bond-mate. One you felt close to. And you feel it would be improper to couple again so soon." She nodded as Devin did. "I understand that. Good bond-mates should be honored." She studied him intently. "Second, you are attending a 'Homecoming' with someone called Cassie. In context, that would suggest some local festival or celebration, for which you have a partner to dance and talk with. Whom you think I might harm as a competitor because the other suspected Teulu you know has done such a thing?" "Well... that bit might have been a joke of sorts. Far as I know, he's not done anything quite like that." Devin shrugged. "But, you know. Cultural differences, a lot I don't know, yadda yadda." Ellie smiled a little. "If you've chosen someone else, my hurting them would only turn you from me. So would be utterly illogical. Your Cassie is safe from me. Indeed," her eyes sparkled with wry mirth again. "The wise course would be to protect and befriend her, so maybe she would share you." "Uh... share..?" "Of course. Males are rare where I am from. One male will have perhaps two or three females at a time. Pride leaders even more. The prime female agrees to share, assuming her mate agrees and finds the other female attractive. From such tightly knit groups is a pride formed." "Yeah. That sounds awesome." Devin felt like his face was never going to cool down as visions of hot blonde threesomes danced in his head. "But, y'know, this is-" "This is Earth, yes." Ellie sipped her drink, regarding his flushed features. She seemed to be enjoying his flustering. "So I will treat this as a scouting experience, and stay at least until you can find a way to help me get my belongings back and return home, and we will get to know each other." "As for your upcoming battle... I would offer to fight with you, but if you truly fight an envoy of the Dark I would be of little use without my weapons and armor. So I will say this:" She reached out and took his hand in hers again. "Fight well. Find life on the other side of death's shadow. I will be waiting there." The words had a soft formality to them as she smiled once more.
  14. Devin Her surprise was registered by a single blink of her eyes as he turned back and 'bumped' into her - and that was perhaps the only normal reaction the girl evinced. She didn't blush, didn't glance away all flustered or step back from his close proximity. She simply stood there with her hands on his shoulders, seemingly uncaring of his hands on her, and regarded him with a calm direct stare, full lips curving in the faintest of smiles as she studied his expression, then let her eyes travel to where her fingers lightly grasped him. "I am fine." she replied quietly, her fingertips stroking over the material of his shirt where it covered his shoulders. "Gentle." Her tone was that of someone musing aloud over some fascinating mystery, and her accent was hard to place. "Strong and brave, but gentle." Certainly there were American vowel sounds, but the manner of speech, the precision and cadence, were not those of a native speaker. "Sooo..." Devin kinda shoulda felt awkward, maybe. But she wasn't pressing herself against him or smoldering like he was the last steak on the grill and she was hungry. Her manner was intimate, though. Almost flirtatious, to his mind. Her grey eyes flicked up to meet his as he spoke. "Do we know each other? I ask because, well, I've not seen you around." "Have you not?" and there was a glimmer of humor in those eyes, a here-and-then-gone smile teasingly curving the bow of her mouth. "You sound sure. Maybe you just did not notice me. But now you have." And she slowly eased back, letting his hands slip from her waist as hers did from his shoulders. "You can call me... Ellie. And I am looking for a hero." Again the direct stare, the unreserved studying of him from behind the inscrutable feline glitter of her eyes as she half-smiled. "Are you a hero?"
  15. The Origin is a companion sourcebook for Claim The Sky. Whereas Claim The Sky presents a world in which superheroes are a fact of … Inside The Origin The post Inside The Origin appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
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