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  1. Now available in PDF and print from DriveThruRPG: One Foot in the Grave: A Jumpstart for Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition! Remove a keystone, and the arch collapses. It’ll be no different with her. Like every city, Rochester has its ghosts — and like other cities, it has those who prey upon and those who aid the dead. The machinations of a young but powerful Reaper, the Iridescent Maggot, threaten one of the dead patrons of Rochester’s ghost community, and there are none who can stand against it. None, that is, save the Sin-Eaters of Rochester, who will brave even the Underworld to keep their city safe. One Foot in the Grave contains: A full introductory story designed to guide players and Storytellers into the world of Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition. Nine ready-to-play characters.Abbreviated rules, including everything needed to play out the story. Story hooks to extend play into a full Chronicle. Also available: Pirates of Pugmire Community Content Assets! “Out here on the Acid Sea, it doesn’t matter what your house is or what noble family you’re descended from. All you need is a sturdy ship, a plastic hull, and a firm wind behind you. And maybe some guns.“ — “Stumpy” Sabu Chromachilde, gecko captain of the Pig’s Tale Pirates of Pugmire is a chronicle sourcebook for both Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau. It’s usable with either game, or as part of a joint experience. Canis Minor Community Content Program Canis Minor is our imprint that allows you — our Pugmire community — to create and sell self-published material for the Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau roleplaying game. You can offer your work for free, set a price, or make it pay-what-you-want. We’ll give you some resources to help you out, and a marketplace for other Pugmire fans to use. For more information check out the Canis Minor Content Guidelines and the Frequently Asked Questions. This collection includes all the templates and art assets needed to get you started creating your very own adventures and supplements based on Pirates of Pugmire for the Canis Minor community content program. Inside you will find: A selection of artwork from the Pirates of Pugmire book.A basic template to help you create Pirates of Pugmire compatible PDFs.Front and back cover templates for your PDF. Sales DriveThruRPG’s Urban Fantasy & Steampunk sale is on, with up to 30% selected products, and Onyx Path is no stranger to the genre: we’ve got more than 80 items in the sale, both from our own collection as well as community content from the Storypath Nexus! And of course our friends at White Wolf also have 135 of their own products involved. Crowdfunding Update The Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Kickstarter, has one week to go, and we funded in 3.5 hours! With $86,624, we’re currently at 247% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1383 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideouts, Strange New Life, Startling Secrets of the Ninth CircleThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring playable chapters from the Adventure! audio drama: Deadly Eclipse! and Terror from the Skies!Backer T-ShirtDigital Wallpaper Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedMage: The Ascension: M20 Victorian AgeChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: 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: Pindorama: A Brazilian Setting for ScionScion: Pindorama: Companion UpdateTrinity Continuum: Conditioned Responses 2: Extreme ConditioningYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  2. A vast underground ruin, filled with dangers and treasures unlike any seen before! They call it the Grave of the … Where the Machines Wait The post Where the Machines Wait appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  3. 1240, Shelly High School The school newspaper office was quiet, a perfect place for Cassie to slip away, to sit down and ostensibly go over material from the classes she'd missed this morning - but more truthfully to wrestle with the revelations shown her by her gift. It certainly seemed like Marissa was in with Enterich, who was definitely a Bad Guy in addition to being a sicko who'd convinced another sicko to murder a child. What had the money been for? Was it anything to do with the murder attempt this morning? She wasn't looking forward to the meeting later, for certain. Well, she was and she wasn't. On the one hand, it needed to happen, and her desire to find the truth at the heart of today's events would (hopefully) be satisfied. On the other hand... It was likely to be acrimonious. Both Jason and Autumn had expressed misgivings about the meeting - the other half of Team Pluck somewhat nebulously and her strange boyfriend with characteristic brutally clinical breakdown. Cassandra was moderately satisfied with her powers of persuasion in getting Jase to attend - she just hoped it wouldn't add to the disaster potential. And thoughts of Jason Bannon naturally led to 'Ellie'. The striking similarities in how they acted - but Ellie was an alien and Bannon was a human psychopath. Or was he? He wouldn't lie about it - from what she understood of him - so maybe he thought he was one. Or maybe Ellie was lying. Or maybe... maybe, maybe, maybe. Another problem for the pile. Just let them get through today before working on tangential stuff, please, the blonde girl grumped to herself as she read the textbook page. Or stared at it anyway, her eyes seeing it but her brain elsewhere. She was saved from disappearing down another rabbit hole of musings when the door flew open and Leila Cross stormed into the newspaper office, closing the door firmly behind her before moving to sit at her desk, opposite Cassandra's. "Okay. What the actual fuck, Allen?" Leila's speared her newsroom partner with a glare and went on without waiting for an answer. "First, where did you go this morning? Second, does it have anything to do with rumors I'm hearing about Jason fucking Bannon being shot? Because if it does, I want to know why you're not already talking to me about the story. And speaking of stories, what the hell is this I'm hearing from my sources that you and a very assorted group of Shelly High's... let's call them 'finest' were at the fucking medical center last night after having rescued two kidnapped girls from a serial killer? Said group also containing Jason 'El Chapo' Bannon, Autumn Keane and the Jauntsens, who were also late in today. Why is Marissa Jauntsen dressed like a monochrome girl next door? Are you part of some weird teenage sex cult and can I join? Someone says they spotted Bannon kissing Keane down the road from the school not long ago - which is pretty damn frisky for a dude who reportedly got shot. What's the fucking story, Cassie?!" All that was missing was the toothbrush mustache and Leila thumping the desk demanding photos of Devin.
  4. Roughly three months before the Gala... The Male Room existed within that curious niche between classy nightspot and sleazy den of iniquity. The woman who owned it, a thrice-married Tennessee heiress who, in her own words, wanted to end her days ‘like a female Hugh Hefner’ had spared no expense renovating, decorating and staffing the place. Adapted from a disused post office, as the name suggested, the establishment boasted a conspicuously official aesthetic: the bartenders and drinks servers were dressed in a tight pseudo-postal service uniform of short-sleeved shirt and shorts, the bar itself looked like an old-fashioned post-office counter, with each tender having their own ‘window’ through which they would take orders and serve customers, and the MC frequently made post related jokes when introducing the acts. The place was clean, the service was good, the clientele was loud and enthusiastic but also up-market, and the drinks were amazing. What gave it the air of iniquity was that the aforementioned acts were male strippers - or ‘exotic dancers’ if one preferred the euphemism. Which perhaps explained the sometimes raucous reaction of the customers, predominantly female, ranging from college girls out on a lark to more mature women looking for an opportunity to escape the tedium of their everyday lives, projecting their fantasies onto the various well-built, handsome and athletic men who were wholly unlike their surly, work-and-sports-obsessed husbands (or in some cases, ex-husbands). The waiters, also selected for their attractiveness and easy smiles, caught their fair share of tips and attention as well, now and then having to gently remind the more ardent customers that hands were for tipping, not for grabbing. Private dances could also be booked for single women or small groups, offering interested clientele the option of greater discretion and more personal attention. The rules were the same, of course: groping was kept to a minimum, hands off meant hands off, full nudity was out, and the men were dancers, not prostitutes. The Male Room’s management was very conscious of New York’s laws about such things. However… Certain women, and more rarely men, who were in the know, who were rich and discreet and vetted by the owner herself, might learn that certain of the dancers could be... amenable to other arrangements. Nothing to do with the club. What passed between consenting individuals off club premises was none of the management’s business, to be sure. The ‘First Class’ membership was only offered to a select few, and those few never told a soul without first clearing it with the owner, whereupon said soul might likewise be offered such a membership. Ravi strutted off the stage to the accompaniment of screams and calls for him to come back, a wide grin on his perspiration-drenched features as he caught a towel tossed to him by the MC, who clapped him on the shoulder. “Good job, kiddo. They’re gonna need mops and buckets out there. Best Friday crowd we’ve had in awhile. Keep it up, and I’ll talk to the boss about getting you a headline slot.” He grinned, showing several gold teeth, and headed past Ravi up the steps back onto the stage, lifting the mic to his mouth and straining to be heard over the crowd. “Now did Ravi deliver, or did he dee-liiiv-errrr?” his voice boomed as Ravi moved back towards the dressing rooms, passing the next dancer with a smile and a nod. Headline slot meant more pay, better cut of the tips, and more exposure. Sure, the spot would probably be on a slower night of the week, at least to start with, but the disgraced scion of English nobility found that he enjoyed the job. He liked the hunger he evoked, and the admiration, and the women… yes, indeed, the women. He just generally liked women, always had- and they liked him, or at the very worst hated the fact that they liked him, which was always amusing in itself. One of the staff was waiting for him as he entered the dressing rooms, a middle-aged man named Karl who acted as maitre-de for the club, and as such got to wear a more formal jacket and pants rather than the tight shorts and shirt of the others. As Ravi headed for the shower, the older man barred his path. “Hey, Ravi. Good show tonight.” he said conversationally, eyes flicking round to ensure nobody was listening. “Thanks.” Ravi stopped, realising why Karl was there, and felt a smile growing on his lips. This would either be a private dance request… or a First Class request. Either meant money, and in the latter case, sex. Satisfied they were alone, Karl leaned closer. “Money wants a First Class.” The maitre-de informed him conspiratorially. “How’s she look?” Ravi asked casually, grabbing a fresh towel and tossing the sweat-soaked one into the hamper. “Rich. Hot. Divorced or cheated on, if I’m any judge. First timer.” Karl said with the authority of a man who’d been doing this job for a while. “Could be a golden ticket if you play it right, m’man.” “Tell her I’ll be right there.” Ravi nodded, starting past him. “Said she wanted to meet you before you shower.” Karl’s voice stopped him. Ravi looked back, quizzically. Sure, it could be said possessed a certain... primitive allure as he was, with his hair hanging lank, skin glistening with perspiration, but it was nothing compared to when he’d cleaned up. Karl shrugged, and Ravi did likewise. “Fine, then.” he said, tossing the towel back on the pile. “Which room?” “Sorting Room.” Karl replied, referring to the sign above the door of the space in question. When Ravi entered the Sorting Room a couple of minutes later and closed the door quietly behind him, the booming bustle of the club dropped away and all that remained was a muted, muffled thump from the bass beats of the next act’s music. Inside, the walls and ceiling were mirrored, a low circular stage in the center of the room surrounded by comfortable couch seating that, with the soft lighting and the distant throb of the music, lent the room an atmosphere of sensual intimacy. The ‘Joan’ sat across from the door, a flute of champagne in one manicured hand and an open bottle in an ice bucket next to her. Stepping more fully into the room so she could see him, Ravi studied her, noting the stylishly done-up red hair, the short leaf-green dress with its plunging neckline and matching heels and purse. Her makeup was flawless, her skin naturally pale and needing little in the way of enhancement, her grey eyes luminous in the dim lights. He judged her to be perhaps thirty, though she could be a well-preserved forty; if so the years had been kind to her, for she was still beautiful. It was around the clear grey of her eyes that the first cracks appeared in her veneer of classy calm. The whites were slightly reddened, the mascara faintly smudged, as if she had ruined it with crying, wiped away the mess, then reapplied it over damp skin. Ravi stepped closer still, looking down at her as she let her gaze travel up his body, lingering for a moment at waist level before moving upwards, taking in the long dark hair hanging lank around his chiselled features before, finally, meeting his eyes. She drew in a breath that quivered softly as their eyes met, the glass in her hand trembling faintly as she drank from it, still looking into the green-gold pools of his gaze. Her tongue moistened her lips before she spoke. “Your eyes… are they real?” quavered a soft voice hesitantly, educated, composed despite the tremor it carried. “As real as yours.” Ravi replied softly, noting the almost timid way she looked at him, her eyes darting away from his before being drawn inevitably back into his gaze. She was nervous, that much was obvious. This was not something she had done before. He sat down on the edge of the low stage, facing her, and waited. “I… I saw you dance.” she said in a rush. “Two nights ago, I mean. Not tonight. And I asked if you were available for… for…” “First Class service?” Ravi supplied, smiling a little as a flush rose in the pale cheeks and her eyes dipped demurely. He let his own gaze wander down the faint blush of her throat and the pale cream of her bosom, noting the gold crucifix on a chain around her neck. Idly, he wondered how religious she was, and whether that was behind her reticence as much as anything else. “I need… My friends say I need a... To…” She paused as he raised a hand, then slipped from his seat and went down on one knee before her, leaning forward to look her in the eye as he took her free hand in both of his. “You don’t need to explain yourself to me.” he said softly, his voice smooth and low. “Not if you don’t want to. Just tell me where you would like to meet me.” He gently caressed the back of her hand with his fingertips. “My apartment.” she answered, her eyes shining as they met his, her expression somewhere between grateful, excited and fearful. “It’s downtown. Here.” Reluctantly disentangling her hand from his, she reached into her purse and produced a card. It was floral patterned, a name, number and street address embossed on the card. “Sienna Walker.” Ravi read from the card, looking up to meet her eyes as she shook her head. “No, it’s Hall, now. Uh… My husband - ex husband’s name was Walker. I need to get more cards made.” she was babbling now, and Ravi once more took her hand in his. “Hall is better.” he said with another soft smile. “May I call you Sienna, though?” “Oh, yes.” she breathed, then blushed as she realised her tone of longing. “I mean, it seems fine, given you… I mean I… We will..” “Be spending an evening in each other’s company, with no expectations of anything other than enjoyment.” Ravi finished for her, seeing her relax a little at his words as she looked into his eyes once more. “Whether that is a glass of wine and some conversation, or… other things is entirely up to you, Sienna.” She blushed just the tiniest bit at the mention of other things, but nodded. Ravi smiled, then brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed her knuckles before letting it slide from his fingers as he stood. “Finish your glass of champagne. It is very good here.” he told her as though he were not mostly naked before her, as though they were dining together in a fine restaurant rather than he being a gigolo she had just solicited. He gave her another dazzling smile. “I will see you later, Sienna.” She was watching him as he left, he could tell. He could feel her eyes, full of that mixture of timidity and hunger, scoring the lines of his form. He wondered if she would go through with the full transaction, or whether she would back out. Either way, she was beautiful and plainly in need of some manner of positive male company. Humming to himself, he went to shower and change. = = = = = = “This was a mistake.” Sienna said, as much to herself as to the handsome young man at the window. Ravi turned from the view over Central Park, studying the woman intently with one eyebrow raised. She still wore her coat, hands clasped as she stood by the lounge’s built-in bar, fingers twining nervously around each other. She wasn’t looking at him - hadn’t looked at him the whole taxi ride here, in fact. Nor had she said more than two words to him, despite him trying to draw her into conversation. They had hurried through the lobby of her expensive apartment building almost as though she was frightened to be seen, and the elevator ride up had been silent and tense - at least on her part. She’d ushered him into the apartment with a murmured “Come in.” - so make that four words - and then turned on some dim overhead lights and headed straight for the small bar in one corner. Whereupon she’d just… frozen as he admired the view - incidentally also watching her reflection in the glass. “Why?” he asked bluntly, wandering away from the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window that offered such a spectacular view and approaching her. “I don’t… I’m not this kind of person.” she said finally, glancing at him fleetingly as he came to lean against the bar, just out of arm's reach. “What kind of person?” Ravi asked in the same straightforward manner, his voice soft, watching rose suffuse her pale cheeks. “The kind that…” she hesitated, anguish twisting her pretty mouth. “Likes men?” Ravi supplied, smiling slightly at the shock that replaced her nervous anguish as she stared at him. “No! I meant-” “So you don’t like sex?” Now the flush turned angry-embarrassed rather than mortified, her grey eyes sharpening as they stared at him. “I mean, we can always play Scrabble.” he went on with an insouciant grin. “It’s your dime, as they say over here.” “I mean I’m not the type of woman who solicits fucking gigolos!” she snapped, eyes flashing now as anger overtook her nervousness. Ravi took a moment to savor the change in her manner, noting how she’d stopped wringing her hands and was straightening up, glaring at him almost imperiously. A formidable woman, when she wasn’t doubting herself. He nodded as though considering something. “So… What other kinds of gigolos are there?” he asked, still leaning casually against the bar. For a moment, she just stared. Then she started to laugh helplessly, her emotions whipsawing from shame to anger to mirth. She rested her hands on the bar, head lowered as she laughed, until her shoulders shook from more than laughter, and sobs mingled with her giggles. At that Ravi stepped forward, sliding his arms around her and pulling her into a hug, feeling her stiffen at first, then relax against him, burying her face against his shirt as she wept for what, he surmised, was likely not the first or even the second time tonight. Her hands clung to his shoulders, trembling a little with her sobbing, as whatever poison was in Sienna’s soul was flushed out with the salt of her tears. “I’m sorry.” she murmured into his shirt, sniffling as her composure started to return. She straightened, futilely attempting to smooth the tear and makeup streaked cotton before looking up to meet his amber gaze. “Don’t be.” he replied, smiling slightly. “It looked like you needed that.” “I did.” she confessed with a small laugh, then another sniff. “And now I need a drink.” she said, mindful of the fact he was still holding her close, and that she had just embarrassed herself. He let his arms slip from around her as she stepped away, nodding as he took a step back himself, resuming leaning against the counter and watching her. She removed her coat, feeling his gaze but not looking at him as she dumped it on one of the stools, before moving around behind the bar’s counter. “I’m having bourbon.” she told him, grabbing the bottle and a glass. “You?” “I shall be guided by the lady.” Ravi replied, causing her to smile as she got another tumbler, pouring a generous measure into each before sliding one towards him. Lifting her own glass, she clinked it against his and wordlessly tossed back half of the contents as Ravi sipped, both of them feeling the warmth of the liquor move through them. Sienna topped up her drink, then relaxed somewhat, leaning against the other side of the counter from Ravi, watching him watch her. “What?” she asked, feeling heat in her cheeks at his stare and hiding it with another sip from her glass. “How long?” At her blank look, he held up the ring finger on his left hand and waggled it, nodding towards her own hand holding the tumbler. Sienna glanced down at the band of pale skin marking where, some might say, the best years of her life had been wasted. She wasn’t so sure. Marriage to Tom Walker hadn’t been terrible - indeed, if it had she’d likely not be so distraught. She’d met him right out of college whilst interning at a merchant bank where he was a junior accounts manager, just a few years older than herself. They’d become work-friends, then friend-friends, then he’d asked her out, and for the first few years everything had been great. His rise in the office hierarchy had been meteoric, his keen head for figures and ability to shake the right hands and close the right deals contributing to that, and when they’d decided to have their first child he’d been very firm that whilst Sienna absolutely could keep working, his preference was for her to look after herself, the baby and the home. After some thought and discussion, she’d agreed, and hadn’t really regretted it. “How long married, or how long divorced?” she asked bluntly, her voice feeling raw in her throat, fingers tightening on the glass in her hand. “Yes.” Ravi shrugged, still watching her. She gave out a snort of laughter. Together, her and Tom had had a lovely daughter, who went to the best schools and was currently at Stanford… and then, almost twenty two years after marrying Tom, Sienna had found out about the affair. Affairs, plural. And after confronting her husband, she discovered that the affairs had started about the time she became a mother. And the why… the why burned in her soul. “Twenty one years, and four months.” She said, refilling her glass and taking another swallow of the fiery liquor. “He cheated.” It wasn’t a question. Sienna nodded, and Ravi echoed the nod more slowly. “I’m sorry.” “Yeah. So am I.” She propped herself against the counter, leaning closer to him, watching the play of light in his yellow-green eyes. “What about you?” “What about me?” he asked, changing the inflection and emphasis of the question slightly. She smiled a little. “Is your name really Ravi?” “Absolutely.” A smile, a sip of his drink. She watched his lips as he tasted the bourbon. “Is the accent real?” She asked challengingly. Focus on him. Focus on something that didn’t hurt. The warmth from the bourbon in her stomach was mingling with a different warmth. He was beautiful without being effeminate. His voice was soft, but resonated with some manner of purring subharmonic. He was watching her, but not dispassionately. Showered and dressed in well-fitting, classy clothes, he looked nothing like a stripper. He looked elegant, but the memory of him covered in perspiration, his hair lank with sweat following the sinuous, stretching dance he’d performed was seared in her mind’s eye. That, she felt intuitively, was the real man. The elegance, the urbanity, was an overlay atop something primal and raw. Something dangerous. “As real as my eyes, and the rest of me.” he answered with a flash of a grin. “You don’t look English. I mean-” she flushed a little but continued. “You look…” she gestured with her fingertips. “Exotic?” Ravi suggested. As she nodded, he shrugged. “I come from a mixed bag.” “You sound educated. Why do you work as a- Well, why do you do this work?” “You sound educated too. Why did you solicit me?” He answered calmly. “I asked first.” she riposted. “Because I like to show off, I like women, and it would utterly shock and disgrace my family if they knew - or cared.” Ravi replied, smirking slightly. “Now you.” She hadn’t been expecting an answer, at least not a real one, and it threw her off balance for a moment. She took a sip of her bourbon, grey eyes watching him over the rim of the glass, then as the glass lowered she shrugged. “All my male friends are Tom’s friends too. And… I don’t want a relationship, not yet. But I do want… or need… to feel-” she hesitated under that gaze, feeling her cheeks crimsoning. “Desired.” she said through suddenly dry lips. He didn’t answer for a moment, and then slowly put down his tumbler. Sienna’s eyes followed it, then flicked back up to his face as he straightened from his repose. She felt her heart thudding against her ribcage like the flutter of a trapped bird under the weight of his gaze. There was gentleness there for sure in his expression, but there was also hunger lurking in the golden pools of his eyes, something entirely carnal. She found herself straightening up also from where she was leaning over the bar counter, very aware of herself, her body, in that moment. Ravi half-turned, holding his hand out towards her as he took a step away from the bar. He said nothing, simply watching her expectantly, patiently. Sienna’s glass made a soft click-clack sound as she set it down with a hand that trembled, and she took a breath before stepping around the counter, smoothing her dress nervously with her palms, before reaching out and taking his hand. He drew her close, and she half-closed her eyes, face tilted upwards in expectation of a kiss, only to look down again as he guided her hand to his shoulder, then took her other hand in his before resting his free hand above her hip. “Are we dancing?” She blinked, looking up at his face. “We are.” he smiled, moving closer so their bodies were nearly touching and swaying gently. She could faintly smell his cologne, something woody, expensive if she was any judge, and could feel the heat of his body as an almost physical force pressing against her. “There’s no music.” she protested, laughing softly, a little drunk on bourbon and him as she met his eyes again, but her feet and waist picked up the rhythm of his swaying as she spoke. "Is there not?” came the reply as the hand on her waist slid around to the small of her back, drawing her even closer. She sighed, breathing out and trying to calm that fluttering in her heart and relax against him. Sienna rested her head against his collarbone and closed her eyes, feeling a steady drumbeat in her ears, and realised that her feet and his were moving in time with that steady cadence. She wasn’t sure how much time was passing, only aware of how her heart was settling down - beating faster but not the panicky tremors of before. She felt… safe? Safe to be herself. Opening her eyes once more, she glanced at the reflection of the two of them in the glass of the mirrored wall behind the bar. Who was that woman, dancing with the tall elegant young man? She didn’t look like a mature woman of over forty years, a mother and a jilted wife. She didn’t look like the woman who, grim-faced and resolute, had gotten ready to go out tonight as though preparing for battle. This woman had natural colour in her cheeks, her eyes sparkled in the dim lighting of the lounge. She looked younger, less careworn somehow. She looked... Desirable. A rush of heat accompanied that realisation, the nervousness of earlier replaced by an entirely different tension as she turned her face back up to regard Ravi. The shame of earlier was gone. She didn’t note his youth relative to her own in that moment. She didn’t feel old at all. She felt alive, eager… a hunger of her own rising to complement the glimmer of carnality in his own gaze. She stopped swaying to the unheard music, her hands sliding up and over his shoulders, feeling the tumble of his long dark hair over her fingers as they traced up the back of his neck, pulling him down slightly. Rising on her toes a fraction in her heels, her lips sought his. The kiss was gentle at the outset, despite being underlaid with that same eager hunger each partner felt. Lips moved against one another, tongues gently teased, and Sienna was deliciously aware of the hardness of the body under the clothes, of his hands roaming down the slice of bare back exposed by her dress, the fingertips toying up and down her spine, going lower each time. With a muffled murmur she pressed herself even closer, mouth asking - no, demanding more from his, her small white teeth nibbling at his lip before she opened her lips wide against his in mute invitation. His answering kiss drew the breath from her lungs and ignited fresh heat in her belly, something long dormant inside her uncoiling like lazy feline energy, becoming taut and predatory as it awakened. With a gasp she broke the kiss almost roughly, her hands locked in his hair as she stared up at him, catching her breath. Her mind spun, and she knew that this was her moment of decision. Was it enough? Was the interest, and the conversation, and the kindness of the handsome man enough? Was the kiss that still tingled on her reddened lips enough? Again she caught sight of her reflection. No. No it was not. Not even nearly enough. She stepped away, taking his hands in hers and tugging him along with her. He resisted, just a little, forcing her to stop and look at him, to answer the question in his gaze. “Yes.” she murmured, nodding. “Yes, I’m sure.” Holding her gaze a moment longer, Ravi inclined his head and let her lead him to the bedroom.
  5. Join us as we delve (see what I did there?) into the process of Ptolus being printed and assembled, with … Cypher Chronicles, vol. 14-2021 The post Cypher Chronicles, vol. 14-2021 appeared first on Monte Cook Games.
  6. 1240, Marias Medical Center "Really, I'm fine." Tawny protested, sitting up in the hospital bed and smiling at the tall, handsome young man who'd come bearing flowers. "They're lovely, though." the golden-haired girl admitted, looking at the vase next to her bed and then at Jacob. "They're sort of an apology." Jacob sat down in the chair by the bedside, smiling at his Homecoming date despite the nasty-looking faded bruise that covered one side of his face. He fiddled with his hands, looking down at them, then at her. "I'm sorry I couldn't-" Tawny leaned over and placed her hand on top of his. "Jacob, there's nothing you could have done." she told him in an earnest, yet gentle tone. "It was... Well, he was out of your weight class." she said, remembering some boxing jargon she'd heard an uncle use once. "I know." The warden's son smiled ruefully, then sighed. "That doesn't make it easier, somehow. I'm not really used to feeling..." he shrugged, looking away. "Helpless." Tawny finished for him, nodding in understanding as he looked back to meet her eyes. "Join the club." Jacob smiled a little at her. "I'm glad that... You know." he said, indicating her. "You're alright. That they were able to save you." The 'they' hung between the two, each trying to decide what the other might know. After all, Tawny was Devin's friend, and Jacob was Autumn's ex, right? Surely, each reasoned, the other was in on 'the Secret'? Jake had been listening last night when Bannon had brought Autumn home, when his dad and the Keanes had sat down with the strange kid and discussed horrors and miracles. It hadn't really been explained why the creature that had been Cody had taken Tawny or Sophia, though. Or killed Charlie Cole. There were answers the stoic young man needed, and he wasn't even sure what the questions were yet. Or who to ask. For Tawny, it was similarly confusing. She knew why Cody had taken her, of course. He'd ranted about it, grinning that mirthless razor-filled grin at her. She'd tried to focus, to use her Shine against him, but her terror had scattered her concentration like leaves before a wind. She knew that Devin and his friends, the Fellowship as they called themselves, had come for her. Deej and Emjay had visited earlier today, Devin being as sweet as always and Marissa... almost kind. "I'm glad too." she said softly. "It was..." she remembered the cold grasp of the Tree on her, not just her flesh but her soul, and shivered. "It's over now, anyway." "Yeah." Jacob nodded, frowning a little. "I guess." = = = = = = = Deep in thought as he left Tawny's room, hands in the pockets of his jacket, Jacob almost missed another tall, though much sparser shape as it strode down a side corridor and turned out of view. Had that been... He hurried to the junction of the two hallways and glanced left, seeing his quarry as it turned another corner, this time into the main lobby. Tall, slender, shaggy hair... "Bannon!" The other stopped, glancing over his shoulder as Jake Crocker caught up with him, not missing the scar that traversed the ice-eyed youth's cheek. That was new - it must have been from the battle last night, Jake reasoned, his gaze focusing on it for a moment before meeting Bannon's eyes. "Crocker." Jason inclined his head, eyes narrowing as he considered. "Visiting Tawny?" "Yeah." Jacob said, falling into step as the two teens continued on their way out of the hospital. "You?" "Had to speak with some people." Jason said by way of reply. Either he didn't want to talk about it, or it wasn't Jacob's business, or both. The warden's son eyed him as they moved into the parking lot. "Some people, huh?" "Yes." Bannon's reply was as informative as the previous one, and his expression was... well, Jacob never wanted to play poker against him. It was like trying to read a wall. He stepped ahead and turned, raising a hand without touching Jason to bring them both to a halt. "Okay... so. Look, I know there's stuff going on." he said. "And I know it's weird stuff. And I want to help. So what can I do?" "I don't know. What can you do?" Jason inquired, fixing the taller boy with a level gaze that was neither hostile nor friendly. In the face of the question, though, Jake paused, his shoulders sagging slightly. "I... dunno." he admitted, thinking, throwing a glance at the twin icy emeralds currently appraising him and finding no succor there. "I mean... I don't even know what's going on, really. Just stories and snippets, and what I overheard. Which sounds... crazy." Bannon didn't say anything, merely looked at him. "Look, Autumn thinks the world of you, that's... uh... pretty obvious. And it's not just a girl-boy thing." he went on hastily. "I just want..." "To understand." Jason said quietly. "You are lost right now, and you're not sure what is real and where you fit into things. Understanding would help you." He paused, considering. "But it is not my place to just dump everything on you. We have a sort of... unofficial rule, I suppose. You are Autumn's oldest friend. As with her family, it would be a trespass for me to tell you what was going on without her consent." "I guess that makes sense." Jacob frowned, considering the angular features of the other youth. "I don't like it though." "Nor did Dana." Jason shrugged slightly, lips twitching in a smile. "She asked me yesterday, before everything happened, to tell her what was going on. I told her the same thing I am telling you - you should speak to Autumn. Possibly on another day." he added, eyes narrowing in thought. "Today is not likely to be a good day." "Right." Jacob wondered at that, but stored it away for later examination. Bannon was still staring at him, and Jake remembered himself. "Oh, right." he said, stepping out of the way. "Hey... Thanks. For talking to me. Or... not talking to me? Listening to me? Whatever that was." "A gift of time." Again, that weird glimmer of humor in those depthless eyes. "You are Autumn's friend. It is the least I can do. See you later." "Right." Jacob shook his head as he watched Bannon head over to the gleaming muscle car he drove. "Shit." he said softly, grumbling as he turned and headed for his own car.
  7. Now available in print from DriveThruRPG: Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad Collected Volume for Scarred Lands! Pay Heed to the Wisdom of Yugman the Sage A century and a half after the Divine War, the titans lay defeated and scattered across Scarn and beyond. As the people of Ghelspad work to build a new world on the war-torn remnants of a fallen paradise, new heroes rise, and new threats emerge. Yugman the Sage brings an overview of these new heroes and villains, as well as the tools they use to rise to power. Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad contains: 21 new Social Backgrounds expanding the sects & societies introduced in the Scarred Lands Player’s Guide23 new subclasses, with each base class represented6 new Races and a revised Hollow LegionnaireNew Spells, True Rituals, Magic Items and more! Also available in PDF: Storypath System Preview (2021)! The evolution of the Storypath system is tied to our work on the Trinity Continuum, a world of hope, heroism, and peril, and Scion, a world where the children of the old gods walk the earth. Early on, we found that both new editions of these games had similar system needs, because their characters are larger-than-life and fight in epic battles on a grand scale. We knew we needed a system that could accommodate everyday citizens on the street, superheroes soaring above skyscrapers, and gods of the sun and sky, but we also wanted rules to help facilitate the connection between the player-characters, their organizations (Allegiances for Trinity Continuum and Pantheons for Scion), and their values. To move forward, however, we needed to take a step back, because the first editions of the Trinity Continuum and Scion used custom variants of the Storyteller System which powered Vampire: The Masquerade and other classic White Wolf games. Despite the differences between those variants, however, at its core the Storyteller System was designed chiefly as a horror game for creatures that could be effectively fought by human opponents. In other words, the Storyteller System is great for vampires, but it didn’t excel at portraying superheroes…or gods! To us, this meant that the stories of these action-adventure games were hindered by their original systems. The Storypath System was designed as a new set of rules, inspired by the legacy of the Storyteller and Storytelling Systems, in addition to other story-centric rules. The Storypath System keeps the focus on narrative, story-built play, and action-adventure. It also draws inspiration from a number of other influences that focus on a cinematic high-octane action and storytelling, as well, to create a streamlined experience for epic stories. Within these pages, you’ll find a preview of the rules and examples for both Scion and the Trinity Continuum. We hope you enjoy the new Storypath System and are inspired to roll the dice and tell great stories! Sales Cavaliers of Mars rulebooks and screens are on sale across IPR, Studio2, and DriveThruRPG until April 14th! Cavaliers of Mars (Indie Press Revolution, Studio 2, DriveThruRPG)Cavaliers of Mars GM Screen (Indie Press Revolution, Studio 2, DriveThruRPG) A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart (DriveThruRPG) Crowdfunding Update Two weeks ago we launched the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Kickstarter, and we funded in 3.5 hours! We’re currently at 239% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1322 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideouts, Strange New LifeThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring playable chapters from the Adventure! audio drama: Deadly Eclipse! and Terror from the Skies!Backer T-ShirtDigital Wallpaper Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedMage: The Ascension: M20 Victorian AgeChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: Ghelspad: Ghelspad Ensemble: Soldiers and MercenariesYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  8. How’s your March been? Crossroads Continent: Peoples of the Crossroads Continent (print)Scarred Lands: Vigil Watch (advance PDF)Scarred Lands: Spell Cards II: Yugman’s Guide (print)Scarred Lands: Item Cards IV: Yugman’s Guide (print)They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Monsters of the Deep (PDF/print)They Came from Beneath the Sea!: Storypath Tasty Bit: They Came from Outer Space! (PDF)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: Tales of the Æon Society 5: A Deadly Trap! (audio)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: Tales of the Æon Society 6: Zorbo’s Evil Plan! (audio)Trinity Continuum: Adventure!: The Collected Tales of the Æon Society (audio)Chronicles of Darkness: Time is Come Round: The Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (advance PDF) Oh yeah, and we announced a Scion TV series is in development. Merch Dark Eras art: Beneath the Skin (journals)Dark Eras art: Requiem for Regina (journals)Dark Eras art: Fallen Blossoms (journals)Dark Eras art: Lily, Sabre, and Thorn (journals)Dark Eras art: Doubting Souls (journals)Dark Eras art: A Grimm Dark Era (journals)Dark Eras art: The Ruins of Empire (journals)Dark Eras art: A Handful of Dust (journals)Dark Eras art: God’s Own Country (journals)Dark Eras art: Into the Cold (journals)Dark Eras art: The Bowery Dogs (journals) Sales It’s March Mystery Month on DriveThruFiction! Save 25% on a number of Onyx Path fiction titles until the end of the month! We’ve also got some titles in the Classic Digital to Tabletop RPGs Event, although technically in this case it went the other way around. If you enjoyed classic games like Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, you’re currently playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, or you’re looking forward to the upcoming Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, there are some titles here for you! Crowdfunding Update Last week was rough: we launched our Kickstarter for Trinity Continuum: Adventure!, with about a 12-hour overlap before our Indiegogo for Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition: Victorian Age ended! Victorian Mage funded in just under 21 hours, and ended with almost exactly 300% with $104,045 of our original $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1294 backers! We’ve reached the following stretch goals thus far: Backer T-ShirtVictorian Mage Jumpstart: Jumpstart scenario, plus Instant Mages x2Penny Dreadful fiction (2004) added to backer rewardsVictorian Mage digital wallpaperBizarre Tales and Unusual Characters: Expanded Bizarre Tales, Expanded Unusual Characters x2Victorian Age: Vampire trilogyVTT Tokens and Assets: ExpandedArt budget increase!Weird Wonders & Revolutionary Magick Is that not enough? Well, we have good news: When the BackerKit goes live, in an Onyx Path first, we’ll continue to count BackerKit preorders towards the Indiegogo pledge totals for 60 days so we might be hitting even more stretch goals! On the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! front, we funded in 3.5 hours, and are currently at 213% of our $35,000 goal, thanks to our 1191 backers! Kickstarter’s new built-in Add On utility is a real help. We’ve hit the following stretch goals: Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Storyguide ScreenTrinity Continuum: Adventure! Jumpstart: With 6 ready-made charactersAdventure! Addendum: Sensational hideoutsThrilling Tales!: A scenario PDF featuring a playable chapter from the Adventure! audio drama, Deadly Eclipse! Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s RustScion: Scion: DemigodScion: Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the MythosThey Came from Beyond the Grave!: They Came from Beyond the Grave!Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Legendlore: LegendloreWorld of Darkness: WoD: Ghost HuntersVampire: The Masquerade: Cults of the Blood GodsMage: The Ascension: Technocracy ReloadedChronicles of Darkness: Deviant: The RenegadesChronicles of Darkness: Hunter: The Vigil 2nd EditionChronicles of Darkness: Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last month: Ghelspad: Aerial CavalierGhelspad: Troubadors & Tenders of the Grove, Pugilists and Pact-MakersYour 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: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Storypath has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last month: Scion: Easter BunnyYour product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell?
  9. Okay, XP awards for the Project are below, along with commentary. Remember, the range is from 3 to 6. Autumn: 6 XP - Cogent explanations of what motivates the character, good examples of each Core Value in play, and the 'synergy' addition was a nice touch. Nicely done! Bannon: 6 XP - In-depth explanation of each Core Value as it relates to the character, along with 'dark' flipsides to most of them, plus examples. I'd give you more XP, but my hands are tied, dude. Cassandra 6 XP - The bulleted 'pros and cons' show that the exercise was understood, and the examination of each Value was coherent, showing us what drives Cass. Good job. Cade 4 XP - I liked the obvious thought you put into this, and the explanations were coherent, and the 'Conflict' bullets was a nice layout decision. My issue comes from some of the listed conflicts not being recognisable as deriving from the Value they accompany. 'Cade likes a challenge, but likes things to be easy now and then' is an example of this - it doesn't hang together and causes the reader to scratch their head a little. Now, if you'd chosen to put which Values conflict with other Values ("Cade's valuing of Leisure conflicts with his Valuing of Achievement" as an example) as well as how each Value causes problems by itself, I'd have no issue awarding 5 or even 6 XP. Nevertheless, good effort, and I feel you understood the core premise. Well done. Jaunt 5 XP - Liked the interview theme, and there was a good insight into Jaunt's makeup there. It wasn't as easy to parse as the others so far - largely because when I'm reading Jaunt's 'voice' I can never be certain if he's telling the truth or not, just like the interviewer. There's a massive instinct for me to just take it with a pinch of salt. How much is him blowing smoke, and how much is genuine? But the interviewer's notes helped there, so eventually I shrugged and decided to take it all at face value. I'm dropping a point because the non-Core Values weren't really explored at all. You listed them, but didn't examine them (even briefly) from the POV of the character. Despite that, a good read. Nicely done. Kat 6 XP - Very good. I enjoyed the insights, sometimes rambling, into the character. It was like Kat was giving us a tour around Kat's head as a third party. Good job. Sean 5 XP - This was a tricky one. I liked your explanations of each item on the list, and you plainly thought about Sean's Values. I think I'd have liked to see a bit more exploration in-depth with the Core Values, perhaps with examples given of them coming into play. It just seemed a bit rushed and brief. Still, very nearly a 6, so well done. Marissa 5 XP - Similar format to Jaunt's, which makes sense and was a good read. I had the same initial problem as with Jaunt - my reader's instinct that if Marissa's lips are moving she can't be trusted - but again, I just set that aside and took everything as if she was telling the truth. You lost a point when it came to the non-Core Values, though. No list or exploration of them. The Project did call for each of the ten Values to be included, however briefly. As with Jaunt, despite all that it was good.
  10. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jenkins and Tate Entertainment Announce development deal for live-action tv series based on the Scion role-playing game by Onyx Path Publishing Rich Thomas, founder and creative director of Onyx Path Publishing, in conjunction with Jenkins and Tate Entertainment announced a new partnership today. Jenkins and Tate Entertainment will be developing a live-action tv series based on the Scion role-playing game by Onyx Path. “We’re truly excited to be developing this adventure series for TV in collaboration with Onyx Path.” said Brian Jenkins. “We are looking forward to working closely with them in order to bring the world of Scion to life.” Scion is a game about Gods and humanity, and everything in between. It’s a game about mythic Deeds and the reasons people talk about those mythic Deeds. Its first edition was published in 2007, and it quickly gained an enthusiastic following, winning the ENnies Game of the Year award. Now available in a new edition using Onyx Path’s Storypath System, Scion 2nd Edition offers a modern mythical setting to tell heroic tales. “Find your destiny and embrace the myth… on your TV screen! We at Onyx Path are thrilled to announce that our friends at Jenkins and Tate Entertainment are officially developing a live-action TV series of Scion!” said Rich Thomas. “From logo design to questions about props, these folks are huge Scion fans who want to get the important elements of Scion right. We can’t wait to tell you more about when you can see living, breathing children of the gods in your living room!” The creative teams at Onyx Path Publishing and Jenkins and Tate Entertainment are hard at work collaborating on the series pitch and will have more details to reveal in the coming months. About Onyx Path Publishing: Founded in 2012, Onyx Path Publishing is a Pennsylvania-based company dedicated to the development of exemplary, immersive worlds. Working with a group of amazingly talented creators, we explore print, electronic and other forms of media distribution to produce games and fiction based on the Scarred Lands, Pugmire, Scion, Trinity, Exalted, World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness properties. With over 20 years of publishing experience from which to draw, we are industry professionals who love the art of the game and plan to continue making meaningful, innovative contributions in the years to come. On the web: http://theonyxpath.com Twitter: @theonyxpath Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOnyxPath About Jenkins and Tate Entertainment: Here at Jenkins and Tate our aim is simple, to create TV shows that are based on popular games and gaming culture. We aim to define the future of entertainment, turning our favourite pop culture-based content into compelling and narrative led entertainment shows based on intellectual property that a mass audience have grown up with and have enjoyed the social aspect it gives their audience. We will aim to combine creative storytelling and innovative technologies to bring these epic stories to life. We are all fans, with an aim of pushing far beyond the historical boundaries of conventional TV, to bring these globally popular stories to mass audiences both old & new. On the web: https://www.jenkinsandtate.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenkinsAndTate/ More information coming soon at: Scion TV.comScion TV Facebook PageScion TV Facebook discussion group
  11. "Hi." The tall blonde glanced at the hand for an instant before seeming to remember something and taking it, her grey eyes coming back up to meet Cassie's gaze with a stare that, yes, was all too familiar. "I do not know you either - but I have heard of you. I am called Ellie." She considered the more petite blonde as their hands parted, her head tilting slightly to one side. "I see now why Devin wants to go to this Homecoming with you. You are very beautiful." she added as Sean entered the room, hustling over to speak with Jason after hastily nodding in greeting to the others. For Cassie, quite aside from the sincere compliment to process there was also the word choices Ellie had employed, something the curious girl's journalistic instincts picked up on. 'I am called Ellie' not 'I am Ellie'. 'This Homecoming'? And of course, there was the composed stance and the eyes, an intense gaze in an impassive face. It was a look of interest, but neither welcoming nor hostile. A predator's stare, missing little. Again, she was struck by how very much that stare reminded her of the lean young man currently sat up in the bed, relaying what had happened to Sean in a quiet voice as his pale eyes watched the rest of the room's occupants. Even though Bannon now and then showed flashes of warmth or wry humor, back before they'd become friends - and that was a weird thought to process also, wasn't it? - he'd looked at her in a very similar way. Just... watchful. Measuring.
  12. Unnoticed, some of the eyes watching the new quarterback putting the wide receivers through their paces were not so much impressed as sullen with resentment. On the benches by the side of the field, Chet, Kieran and a gaggle of the other seniors, all of them three year veterans of the team, were regarding the tall handsome Adonis with something very close to hate. "Guy sticks his dick in Marissa Jauntsen and suddenly he's tearing up the field and walkin' round like his shit don't stink." Chet muttered. "Big deal - like that's an achievement." "Got a good arm, though." Kieran grudgingly admitted, then as Chet glowered at him hastily went on. "I thought he was a baseball fag. What's he doing straying from his lane?" "Guess he figured he's more likely to get scouted round here playing football." Chet replied, watching as Cade sent another impossibly high, fast and accurate pass straight into Dylan's arms. "Doesn't matter why. We just got rid of the fucking glamazon and now we've got this poster boy. QB is supposed to lead the team off the field as well. Can you imagine him at a tailgate party?" There were some smirks at that. "'Hey, guys. This punch tastes funny and someone should tell the girls to cover up. My dad would be mad if he found out.'" Kieran said in a passable Droopy Dog voice. Chuckles broke out. "It's funny, but it ain't funny." Chet said sharply, a scowl replacing his laugh. "We've got a chance in front of us to take the school - Cade playing at being quarterback could fuck it up, especially since we know who's pulling his strings." "The ones attached to his cock, anyway." Another wit put in. "Right." Chet nodded agreement. "The Jauntsens are on the outs. There's just the two of them, and we've got Courtney and her clique backing us up. Wait and see - we'll have Titboy adjusting our grades and Bannon giving us weed to leave him and his ladyboy friend alone." The nods greeting this pronouncement were... less than enthusiastic, not least amongst those who'd been with Chet yesterday in the woods when he'd confronted Shelly High's drug kingpin. Privately, at least a couple of the seniors were convinced that Cody had disappeared over the summer because of Jason Fucking Bannon, and that the rumors of him having drug cartel connections were true. And they'd heard from Chet himself about the hayhook incident. And Chet himself had been laid out by Devin in Bunnee's over some argument or other. Not to mention Marissa was a stone cold razor-sharp bitch who none of them secretly wanted to cross, even if Chet was confident she'd lost her grip on the school. Privately, some of them believed that their fearless leader was simply talking a big game when it came to putting the Jauntsens and Bannon in their place. Some levels of crazy were best left undisturbed. "Yeah, right." Kieran said, not wanting to have that argument with Chet right now. "So what do we do about Alister?" Chet's brow furrowed in thought as he watched Cade throw another pass, then it came to him. "I've got it." he said with a grin, motioning the others to lean close. "It'll take some practice to pull it off right, but here's the plan..."
  13. Shelly's Teen Queen o' Mean left the mercifully unconscious marshals (though not without some fantasies involving a baseball bat and ten minutes alone with each of them) and hustled over to the trunk of her Mercedes, reaching in and fishing out some bottles of water from her gym bag. Long dark hair swaying, she hurried past the still-bemused Ian Keane, who was wearing the expression she'd come to closely associate with parents and adults generally who found themselves thrust into the world of the Weird. It was the look Gar Bannon had worn at the Marias Medical Center when monsters and lasers had been flying around everywhere, best translated as 'What the hell is this, exactly?!' Count yourself lucky, buddy. This is 'just' a shooting - no monsters are trying to eat your face. This is easy mode in Shelly. Marissa snarked to herself as she moved over to where her brother and Autumn knelt by the prone Jason. Devin was staring at the blood-smeared chunk of metal he'd pulled out of his friend, and despite herself Marissa found her gaze following her twin's. Yup, that was a bullet. Yup, that had been in Ja-... in Jas-... in his chest. Almost brusquely, she thrust a bottle of water into her brother's hands, forcing her voice to remain crisp, bordering on sharp. "Here, clean your hands off." she said to both teens, turning and offering her bestie a bottle as well. Autumn's freckled features were pale, her ocean-hued eyes fixed on the reclining boy's face, and the expression of mingled hope/grief/shock in those eyes was almost enough to make Marissa lose it as the redhead knelt there, mutely accepting the bottled water with a nod. Marissa ruthlessly steeled herself as she untucked the last blanket from under her arm and stepped around Autumn, knowing that she was going to see- He looked dead at first glance. The blood was caking the side of his head, soaked into his t-shirt and Devin's hoodie where it was cushioning the back of Jase's skull. The perpetually shaggy hair, which had grown over the summer to almost neck length, that he annoyingly only bothered to comb and otherwise left alone, was matted with dark wet stickiness. Marissa forced herself to look at his chest, to note the rise and fall of his breathing, ignoring the freshly scarred patch over his heart. He wasn't dead, see? she told herself. Nothing to worry about. He was fine. Just fine. Yay for Team Fellowship. She fought down the urge to go back over and tapdance on Dale's throat. She wanted to be wearing proper reinforced heels for that. "Let's clean away some of this blood." she muttered to Autumn, crouching by Jason's head and taking the last bottle of water, un-stoppering it and pouring some over his face. As some of the half-dried blood was rinsed away, the scar across his cheek came into view. It wasn't much - a faint line paler than the surrounding skin by a few shades. No real sign that it had been done by a bullet - it even looked sort of rakish with Jason's cheekbones; still, Marissa was glad she hadn't looked at the 'Before' picture. Her imagination of what it must have been was going to be bad enough. The steady stream of water caused Jase to stir, his eyelids flickering, and Marissa immediately halted, setting the bottle aside and, flapping the blanket open, draped it over the lean shape lying on the ground before standing back up, dusting off her hands and looking around. "Okay." she said with the air of one checking off a list. "Crazies one and two over there are as comfortable as they need to be until the paramedics get here. Big Chief Crazy here looks like he's going to be fine - yet again." she added with a tone that suggested she found that to be an annoyance, as the Sheriff's car rounded the bend, his siren blaring. = = = = = = = There had been no discussion on the matter - Autumn wasn't leaving Jason's side, at least for now. So it was that she rode in the ambulance with the paramedics and her unconscious boyfriend, her father following along behind as the Sheriff set deputies to safeguard the vehicles by the side of the road. By unspoken agreement, Devin rode with Marissa, a spare blanket wrapped around him both for warmth and to protect the Mercedes upholstery. The two marshals were likewise shipped to Marias - Dale on a gurney, still unconscious, her hands twisted charred claws, and the recovering Marshall cuffed in the back of the Sheriff's Range Rover once the paramedics had checked him at the scene. "Hey, I want a phone call." Marshall mumbled from the back seat. "I'm a federal agent - you'd better have a good reason for cuffing me-" "Mister." Sheriff Alister's blue eyes were cold enough to give Jason Bannon's glare a run for its money as the former Marine met his prisoner's eyes in the rear view mirror. "I had a day yesterday, today looks like it's going to be similarly shitty thanks to you, and right now the best right you can exercise would be the right to remain silent, hear me?" "Look," Marshall tried again, pressing his face to the safety grille. "You don't know what he is, what he can do. I saw it. He stopped bullets, man. He set my partner on fire!" "That so?" the Sheriff said, turning off the main road and heading down a side street as they neared the hospital. "That'd be a helluva thing to see, now wouldn't it just?" Marshall realised they were no longer following the ambulance, instead heading down a sloping slip road that circled around behind the hospital. "Hey, where are we going?" "Ever hear of a service entrance?" Alister replied, pulling into the underground parking garage and rolling his car towards the loading dock with the freight elevator at one end. "This is like that, only for dirtbags." The freight elevator doors rolled up, and the wide-eyed Marshal Marshall saw five serious looking dudes wearing military fatigues and carrying guns. The sheriff half-turned in his seat, looking at him whilst jerking a thumb at the soldiers. "These boys want a word with you, son. You're their problem now. Might be that your partner got off light after all." he told the astonished man as the Project security personnel approached...
  14. "I understand, Marissa." Annette's voice was a mixture of reassurance and crisp efficiency as she held her personal phone to her ear, waving at her assistant to get their attention. "We're making preparations now - the attackers will be under our eyes... and so will Jason as soon as he arrives here. We'll make sure only Project staff are attending him - he'll have the best care, and we'll liase with the Sheriff to keep things under control." She paused a second, thinking. "In fact, the redoubtable Sheriff Alister is probably already on his way to you. Work with him, dear. We'll help in any way we can." As she hung up, she looked at Taggart grimly. "I want the attackers I.D'd and their entire life story on my desk as soon as you have them under guard, Major. We need to find out if the other young people are at risk." Taggart nodded, then looked over at the slender blonde young woman calmly sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in Annette's office, watching the bustling Project staff coming and going with detached interest. Though the eyes were grey rather than green, the Major was keenly reminded of Jason Bannon as Ellie - if that was really her name - turned her gaze on him, one brow arching slightly as she (possibly) attempted to discern the reason for his looking at her. Or perhaps she was figuring out how to kill him with the nameplate on Annette's desk - Taggart was reasonably certain either was likely. "The genome sequence test we're running on Jason Bannon's DNA is almost complete." Taggart told Annette, looking at the tablet in his hand. "If the results are as we suspect, what do you want to-?" "He's not to be treated any differently than he was before." Annette said firmly. "At least until we have a quiet moment to speak to him about it." "Right." Taggart nodded, before turning and heading back to the command center.
  15. He never dreamed. Perhaps it was a function of his mind, the way he'd trained and expanded on his already-prodigious mental gifts to harness even his subconscious, that area of the hominid mind where every experience, every sight, sound and smell was stored in one large databank, seldom accessed by most, those impressions and the unprocessed emotions they sparked only emerging in chaotic dreams that spoke of depths under the surface. For him, there were no emotions unprocessed, no memories that he could not access consciously. He could walk through a room and, ten years later, close his eyes and be back there once more, recalling the smell of the floor wash and the cologne and old cigarette smoke, looking around and recalling the spines of every book on the shelf he had glanced at. So Jason Bannon didn't dream. He remembered, with his mind in a curious state of REM sleep, lucidly wandering the halls of his mind palace, reliving experiences as his body rested. But not now. The damage to his body and mind demanded more than that and so he floated in black nothingness, a faltering heartbeat from oblivion, unaware and removed from his friends struggle to save his life. And then... the blackness he'd sank into faded away, leaving him in the Atrium, the central chamber of his mental realm, the garden of icons which represented those closest to him. The sunlight from overhead, normally clear, warm and bright, flickered and darkened now and then, red and black streaks permeating the radiance as the darkness which sought to claim him fully fought against the warm flood of power that inexorably pulled him out of its grasp. He couldn't move from here, could barely even look around right now, his minds eye turning as if through tar to take in the garden. The edges of everything looked fuzzy, and then too sharp, and then resolved themselves, the landscape quivering underfoot as things began to settle. And as his consciousness and sense of self began to resume normal service he became dimly aware of pain, though not aware enough to wake up just yet. = = = = = = = Sheriff Ian Alister had literally just settled into his chair in his office when the 911 call had come in. Jason Bannon, shot and wounded, with two unidentified shooters, both also down. As he raced from the sheriff department building and jumped into his Range Rover he wondered if this was perhaps some payback for the teens raid on the Crossroads hidden facility? Should he warn Cade? The Cassidy boy said he'd wiped all the security footage, though, so it was unlikely anyone could have zeroed in on one of the teens who'd attacked that facility this fast. Maybe his drug dealing caught up with him. Perhaps he's pissed off the wrong people. God knew it was more than possible - Bannon was acerbic and dismissive of authority. Still, Alister reasoned, he was Cade's comrade in arms, and the Sheriff had taken an oath to protect and serve. As he gunned the engine of his car and peeled off down the street, flipping the siren on, he was aware of the radio chatter indicating that ambulances and paramedics were on the way from Marias. = = = = = = = "Who was it?" Annette's voice was crisp and authoritative, not betraying her shock or anger at the new the watch officer had just dropped across her desk whilst she'd been drinking her morning tea and getting caught up on things. Her dark eyes, however, were narrowed dangerously as she looked up at the Air Force lieutenant. "Unknown as yet." the officer responded. "Two shooters, both down. Looks like the kid likely disabled them. We intercepted the 911 call two minutes ago, and given the mention of a Person of Interest I thought-" "Yes, thank you." Annette nodded, tapping her fingers for a moment. It was irritating to not know more, but that was hardly the fault of the man in front of her. "Get Major Taggart in here as soon as he can, please. And notify our personnel in the hospital. I want all eyes and hands on deck." As the watch officer saluted and left, Annette repressed the urge to swear like a Malay pirate. Though she'd only known them briefly, the Aeon representative felt a strong sense of personal accountability and almost big-sisterly protectiveness for the unusual and astonishing teens. Someone was going to have a bad day as a result of this, she grimly resolved as she lifted her phone and started to make some calls. Enough was enough. Branch 9 and her own people needed to stop with the territorial pissing match and start looking into how they could best work together with the Fellowship.
  16. GM note for the current situation in 'Fallout' Giving you guys an idea of the scene that awaits you. For the medical details, either Kirlian Sight or a Medicine roll will be needed, otherwise the summary to the untutored glance is "Shot twice, blood everywhere, and oh dear god her hands." Jason will be out cold with his phone in his lap, slumped against the side of his car. Gunshot wound to the left side of his head where the slowed-down bullet gashed him open from over the ear down across his cheek. Fracture to the skull over his ear at the point of impact, and it's bleeding pretty freely externally along with some internal bleeding in the skull. Second gunshot wound will be in his left ribs. Again, the bullet was slowed enough that it lodged in the surface tissue between the second and third ribs. No damage to the heart or lungs, and the butt-end of the bullet can be seen in the wound if the t-shirt is lifted away. There's some bleeding, but not a lot - nothing major was nicked by the bullet to the chest. Around his feet will be several more bullets (eight if it matters) just laying on the floor, un-deformed, as well as the confiscated pistols and ID from Marshall. The drivers side of the Charger is open, and there is blood spray on the seats in there. Marshal Marshall is out cold, (and with a wrenched shoulder if inspected with Kirlian Sight: the tendons and ligaments there were stressed, but nothing is seriously torn or broken). Marshal Dale is a mess. Her hands and halfway up her forearms are fucked (Aggravated damage: the tissue was badly seared away). Her gun, having been fired five times, is laying on the ground ten feet from her. She's passed out from shock, and will need stabilising. The stolen car that Marshall was driving as well as the marshals own government issue car will be parked up nearby.
  17. Type: NewsBanner: Text: Give us your feedback on our D&D Adventurers League program! Whether you play in our official public play campaigns weekly or have never tried them, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you love, what you don’t, or why you haven’t tried them before. This survery only takes a few minutes to complete, and you’ll help us make our program better! Survey Links Publication date: 03/17/2021Tags: Newsexternal_urls: External url: https://surveygizmo.com/s3/6217475/66b0a6dbc39fExternal url description: D&D Adventurers League Survey Texture banner: ShowBlack text:
  18. Want to hear all six episodes of Tales of the Aeon Society, but as one file? Here you go — 37 pulse-pounding minutes of adventure to get you ready for the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! Kickstarter on March 25th!
  19. I've been sitting on this Project for a while, and I think it's time. Here is a link to a page with an exercise for determining the Values of a given character - what drives them, what motivates them day-to-day. These are to give characters dimension, depth, and personality. The primary part of the Project is as follows: pick TEN Values that define your character. Bear in mind that just because you don't pick a value doesn't mean your character doesn't care about it, it just means it's not central to their Being. Your character can have friends without having friendship on the Values list. Also, feel free to change or add a Value if you don't see one that quite fits. Then pick FIVE of those ten Values you just selected which you would consider 'core'. These are the foundational, before-all-else priorities of the character. Starting with the core ones (bold them for convenience), list each Value and how they apply to your character, with a short explanation and/or example either taken from the history of WS or, if nothing presents itself, make an example situation up. Don't be shy to include a 'flipside' aspect to the Value as well. Like this: Loyalty - Jase puts loyalty ahead of most other social considerations, partly due to his Teulu instinct to form a Pride. He is ferociously loyal to his Pride, and to a lesser degree those he perceives as allies to it. However, the flipside is that he is disgusted by the disloyal, and will seldom forgive or trust someone who exhibits such a trait, like Sophia turning on Sean when she found out he was different. He also doesn't tend to care about anyone outside of the Pride or it's immediate relatives, and will take any hostile actions against his friends personally. Use this as an exercise to explore what makes your character tick, to really think about WHO they are when the rubber hits the road. Don't forget to explore how their Values can impact them or those around them adversely as well. Feel free to discuss this in WS OOC in the Discord, to bounce ideas off others and see what sparks result. There's no 'wrong' Values, but if you can't adequately explain or give an example of a Value in action for your character, you may want to find a different one. Note: People can change. We know this. Regular Values can shift over time, or with changing circumstance. Core values, however, will seldom if ever change except through life-altering events or traumas. The PCs in WS are teens, but even so their Core Values should be reasonably well-established, with perhaps a little room for growth or change. This Project will run until the 29th of March. XP award scale will be 3-6, with 3 for doing the bare minimum and 6 for showing real thought and character exploration.
  20. Episode 6 is now closed. Well done all! The official story is that an unnamed roving serial killer is responsible for the death of Charlie, the disappearance of Cody, and the kidnapping of the two girls. Local law enforcement and the FBI 'know' that the plucky (tm) teens of the Fellowship tracked down their friends, confronted the serial killer and, in a harrowing life or death battle, killed him in self defense whilst trying to rescue Sophia and Tawny. Branch 9 are pulling every string they have to keep the FBI and other authorities from interfering the kids - mostly by implying semi-truthfully that the process of debriefing, interviewing and counselling is already underway. Branch 9 naturally have actual FBI agents and high-ups amongst their number, so it's pretty easy to fudge the system. Still, there's always a loose thread for some Mulder or Scully to perhaps chase later... So far as local rumor goes - Shelly is a small town. Some of the official story will get out, through deputies and medical personnel perhaps. Expect the kids to be figures of quiet interest, and perhaps a reporter or two might catch a sniff of a story and come around. Everyone is now free to post in the Fallout story thread. XP is as follows for Acts 2 and 3 of the Episode:
  21. Type: Unearthed ArcanaAuthor: Taymoor Rehman, Ari Levitch, and Jeremy Crawford, with input from the rest of the D&D design teamSubtitle: Unearthed Arcana 2021Banner: Text: Wander into the magical realm of the Feywild in this month’s Unearthed Arcana! With the playtest options in the PDF below, your D&D character can be a member of one of these new D&D races: fairy, hobgoblin of the Feywild, owlfolk, or rabbitfolk. We’ll release a playtest survey on this website soon. When we do, please let us know what you think of these options. Your feedback can help shape future D&D books! This Is Playtest Content The material in Unearthed Arcana is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your D&D campaign but not refined by final game development. They are not officially part of the game. For these reasons, material in this column is not legal in D&D Adventurers League events. Material Publication date: 03/11/2021Tags: Unearthed Arcanaexternal_urls: External url: https://media.wizards.com/2021/dnd/downloads/UA2021_FeyFolk.pdfExternal url description: UNEARTHED ARCANA: Folk of the Feywild Texture banner: ShowBlack text:
  22. Fallout. Tuesday, 3rd September, 0600 The soft chime from his phone sounding in the stillness of the bedroom found Jason already awake, his eyes resting on the plain white of the ceiling as he lay in bed, hands folded over his stomach in repose. A thought brought the slim rectangle of electronics to hang above his head, and his eyes fixed on the text that popped up as he swiped the screen lock off. *// Had a hell of a night. Barely slept from thinking about everything. Hard to process, you know? I’d call, but ‘rents are already up. How are you? His lips curved in a slight smile at the accompanying photograph, a pair of slightly bleary deep blue eyes, framed by tousled red hair that lay across the pillow, peeked at him from the warm snuggle of a blanket as Autumn smiled out of the screen. He tapped out a reply. *// I’m okay. We can talk at school. Want me to give you a ride in? The reply was swift. *// Dad is insisting on driving me. Ugh. But I might be able to convince him to let you drive me home. See you at breakfast? He processed that - yes, it made sense that Autumn’s parents would be in a protective mindset right now, seeking to reassure themselves that they could do what they saw as their duty and keep their girl safe. The fact that it was a comfortable illusion, that she was more qualified to protect herself, was likely less relevant to both them and her. Human beings, he had come to realise, needed a certain degree of illusion. Not self-deception so much as the knowledge they were doing the best they could do and that would be enough. Not for the first time he wondered what that would feel like, to have that refuge from merciless objective reality. He tapped out another reply. *// I’ll bring a flask of coffee we can share. Another ping. *// I’d settle for shower n00dz [blush emoji] He made a soft amused sound, briefly tempted to call her bluff and then examining whether or not it was, in fact, a joke. It could be half-serious flirtation, after all. *// For now, this will have to do. And he snapped a photo of his own, sending the image of green eyes and the faint dimple of a smile whirring away into the electronic ether, before setting the phone aside and slipping out of bed. His father was sitting at the table eating as Jase silently padded into the kitchen twenty minutes later. Gar Bannon was clear-eyed and clean-shaven, dressed for a day's work on the farm, and as he noticed his son turned and gave Jase a smile. They’d spoken briefly last night when Jason had returned from the fight with the creature Cody had become, but other than simply stating that the fight was done and that they had won, Jase hadn’t been very forthcoming with details. Gar wasn’t sure what to make of that - did his son not have any need to speak about it? Probably. There was likely no impulse to unburden, to share the load. And indeed, pragmatically, Jase might reason that providing details would simply distress his father. Gar wasn’t quite willing to leave it at that, though. “There’s some batter left if you want some waffles.” he said, causing his son to smile faintly as he moved to the large coffee pot. “I’ll be having breakfast at school today. But thanks.” Jason answered as he filled a thermos, then poured himself a mug. Gar studied his seemingly unruffled child as Jase took the seat across from him. “Jase?” Pale green eyes flicked from the plate to the older man’s face, and Gar plunged onward. “Look, I know you don’t… process stuff like everyone else. But I do, and at some point I want to know what happened last night.” “Why?” The slender youth’s head tilted slightly. Gar snorted, gesturing towards him. “Because I’m your dad. Because I want to know what goes on in your life. Because I want to be a part of that, even if it’s just listening and asking questions. About half a dozen other reasons - pick as many as you like.” Jason was silent for a moment, his attitude one of consideration as he scrutinised his father before he nodded slowly. “I was trying to spare you uncomfortable details and future worry.” “I’m going to worry anyway, kiddo.” Gar said earnestly, reaching for the syrup jug and pouring some over his plate. “I might as well have some facts to worry about rather than imaginings. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to make some sense out of it all, and who knows? Maybe it’ll be useful to have your old man in the know.” Jase considered that as he ate, nodding slowly once more. “That makes sense.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “I don’t have time right now, though.” “Sure, sure. But soon, okay?” Gar said in a manner that was not quite an instruction, and not quite a plea. Jason focused on him for a moment, eyes on his father’s face as he drank from the mug in his hand. “Sure. Tonight, after the meeting, I can answer any questions you still have.” he suggested. Feeling somewhat relieved, Gar nodded in return as his son got to his feet, downing the rest of the coffee in his mug. “Got to check on my hothouse. See you after school, dad.” he said with a faint smile as he shouldered his satchel and headed out the door. = = = = = = = As the distant figure loped from the big barn to the vehicle barn, Marshall lowered his binoculars and keyed his radio. “There he is.” he said from behind the wheel of the unremarkable sedan. He’d stolen it from a motel parking lot somewhere down the interstate and driven it back last night. It was a disposable vehicle meant to be dumped after the hit, much as the revolver he had in his coat was with it’s serial numbers removed. A high-power LED police signal light had been mounted above the dashboard, it’s cord plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. “You sure that heap you have there can catch him?” Dale was not an early morning person. Never had been, in all their time working as partners. He could hear the tension in her voice, though, that had nothing to do with lack of sleep and everything to do with the task ahead. Neither of them liked this - a fact which was oddly comforting to Marshall. It meant that he still had a soul, after all. Though not enough of one to refuse Enterich. The mere thought of that filled the federal agent’s mind with fear. He didn't know why he was so afraid of the man - he just knew that even the hard-bitten Dale was just as scared. “He doesn’t drive like the Dukes of Hazzard.” he replied waspishly. “Kid won’t have a chance to get away. You just make sure you’re in position.” A double-click answered him, and he started his car up as the black gleaming shape of the Charger rolled down the dirt drive to the road, turned left, and headed towards Shelly. He wasn’t headed over to the redhead’s place, then. That was good, very good. Enterich had left no doubt that he wanted this job done today, whatever it took. Killing one teenager, however allegedly dangerous, was bad enough. Killing two, and one of them a girl, felt even worse. A calmly rational, objectively moral corner of his mind, a remnant of the decent law enforcement agent he’d once been, informed him that murder was murder, and putting numbers and arbitrary lines on it was just so much bullshit. He ignored it. He caught up with the Charger a mile down the road, pulling up a half-length behind the other car and triggering the signal light. The plan was for either the kid to compliantly pull over, thinking this was some manner of official stop, or for him to try and escape, in which case Dale, not far ahead, would be ready. = = = = = = = Jason’s eyes narrowed as the blue and red flare of the signal lights appeared in his mirrors. It wasn’t a sheriff department vehicle - they didn’t have unmarked cars - which meant either this was a State cop or perhaps some Federal official. Given the murder-kidnapping, the presence of either in Shelly town limits was not unusual, but why would either be pulling him over first thing in the morning on the way to school? Which left another option: perhaps this was no legitimate law enforcement stop. It could only be a limited number of other things, though. Crossroads, the people behind the subversion of the Project, would be the most likely to attempt something like this. They had resources, and mercenaries. Perhaps it was some other agency, or a new player on the field. For a moment he considered gunning the gas pedal and attempting to evade. He could likely outrun the sedan, but then he would not find out who was behind the wheel. So instead he slowed, pulling the Charger to one side of the road and coming to a gradual stop, giving every appearance of complying with the request to pull over. He killed the engine and watched with pale green eyes as the sedan passed and came to a halt ahead of him. = = = = = = = “He’s stopped.” Marshall said into his radio as he pulled the car over. “You know what to do.” Dale’s tone was blunt. “Headed your way.” “Right.” Marshall sighed, checking the revolver in his pocket before getting out of the car and walking back towards the driver’s side of the Charger. = = = = = = = Lanky build, late twenties to early thirties. Light brown hair. Wearing a shirt and jacket, no tie. Handsome enough, but not in a way that was easily identifiable or distinguishable. Could be a cop. Could be something else. All of these assessments ran through Jason’s brain almost simultaneously as he wound down the window a fraction, watching the man approach, smiling and giving a short wave with his left hand as he reached into his jacket with his right hand, presumably to pull out some ID. His gloved hands. The youth’s glacial eyes narrowed a fraction of a second before Dylan Marshall pulled the revolver from his pocket and fired three shots at point blank range. The first was aimed at the head, and even as the kid’s head snapped sideways with a spray of blood the killer was firing twice more into the torso. Marshall stood for a moment, heart racing, then turned away and tried not to hurl. This was the first time he’d shot anyone. Hell, it was the first time he’d discharged a weapon off a range. He was still facing away from the car when Dale rolled up half a minute later in their own car. The blonde woman’s hard stare fell on her partner’s pale face as she approached, and she rolled her eyes. “Job done, then?” Marshall nodded, gesturing towards the Charger wordlessly. Dale imagined he was probably feeling pretty terrible right about now. She could sympathise later, though. Right now, they had to make sure it was done and their tracks were covered. “You check?” “Fuck, no. I put one in the side of his head and two more in his chest, Dale. You can see the fucking blood.” Marshall almost lost his stomach at that, and took deep breaths. Dale sighed and moved to the Charger’s door, leaning in to look. There was blood, all right, matting the side of the kid’s head and covering his face as he lay slumped in his seat, a matching spreading stain on the grey t-shirt over the ribs. The marshal leaned in further, reaching to feel for a pulse… And then she froze as she saw it under the mask of blood: a slitted green eye. Open, alive. Watching her. Then the Bannon kid’s lips pulled back from his teeth as he straightened, both eyes gleaming with cold malice as he turned to look at her more fully. Her eyes widened in shock, and she opened her mouth to yell a warning even as she pulled back from the window and scrabbled for her own gun. Then something hit her square in the chest so hard she felt the hot popping as a rib give way, driving the breath from her lungs in an explosive wheeze and catapulting her across the asphalt to land with a bone-rattling thud several meters away. “Mary?” Marshall half-turned in shock as he watched the athletically built woman flung across the road, then whirled towards the car as the driver’s door opened and Jason Bannon pulled himself upright. Jase had had an instant to react, and had almost failed to erect the barrier of force that had saved his life. The first bullet had been slowed by the half-raised barrier, but had still grazed his head badly as he’d jerked his head aside, flooding his mind with white-hot pain and almost breaking his concentration. In that split second of pain and confusion, the second bullet had lodged between his ribs, again with most of it’s force stolen by the barrier. Fortunately his will had not wavered, and the third bullet had been stopped completely. He was in pain, and losing blood, but he was alive. He was swaying slightly, canting to the left as he stood, dizzy from pain and the head wound, but his gaze was focused as it came to rest on Marshall’s face. His grin was fading, but there was still an air of unholy amusement in his expression as he stepped towards Marshall, his face a blood-covered mess from which twin flames of green hell blazed. “Fuck!” Marshall raised the revolver and fired. One, two, three, and then the click of an empty chamber. The bullets stopped dead in the air inches from the Bannon kid’s face and torso. With another curse, the older man threw the empty gun at the kid’s head and reached for his own automatic. Right now, the last thing on his mind was worrying about ballistic matches. Something grabbed his arm, stopping it from reaching his shoulder holster, then wrenched it out and around his back, as though a power-lifter were putting him in an ungentle armlock. He felt his shoulder creak under the strain, and gave a short yell of agony. Five shots rang out, and Marshall looked up to see Dale, up on one knee, face pale from pain as she aimed and pumped five bullets at the Bannon kid. Once more, the slugs stopped in mid-air, hanging there along with the nickel-plated revolver. The kid’s eyes swivelled to lock onto Marshall’s partner as Dale’s automatic was pulled from her hand and flung aside. “I only need one of you.” he said in a voice that, despite being slurred from pain and concussion was too calm, and Dale screamed as her gun-hand caught fire, skin crisping and blackening as she held it up before eyes made wide from disbelief and searing pain. She screamed again, frantically flailing to extinguish the fire as it began to creep up her arm. The sickening scent of burned flesh filled the air, Dale rolling to get her jacket off and smother the flames, but to no avail. The jacket flared into actinic bright light, falling to ashes in seconds as Dale’s other hand also caught fire. “Mary!” Her partner stared in disbelief, the sick feeling in his stomach growing. The flame was under control, he realised in a flash of terrified insight. That it wasn’t even up past Dale’s elbows yet was down to the fact that Bannon wanted to make her suffer. He cast a glance at the youth, who was watching Dale burn with a detached air belied by the implacable hardness in his eyes. Enterich hadn’t exaggerated - if anything he'd underplayed the threat: Jason Bannon was a monster, beyond human comprehension. Dale was now thrashing around on her back, wailing hopelessly in agony, and Marshall forced himself to speak past the bile rising in his throat. “Stop it!.” He managed through gritted teeth, Dale’s screams taking on a raw-throated rasp. Jase tilted his blood-covered head as if considering something, then nodded. “Yes. Two sources would be better than one.” he murmured to himself, words slurring a little. And like that the fires winked out - one moment Dale’s forearms were shrouded in golden flames, the next moment black and red horrors ending in claws, without even a wisp of smoke rising from the ruined flesh. The blonde woman sobbed and then lay still, passing out from the pain. Marshall felt a tug inside his jacket, and his gun and badge wallet were pulled out by invisible hands, flying across the intervening space to his captor. “You don’t know what sort of trouble you’re buying-” Marshall attempted to bluster, but even to his ears the words sounded… thin. Pathetic in the face of a force that could stop bullets and control flame. He felt something grab his throat, lifting him onto his toes and choking off further words. “You attacked me, mister… U.S. Marshal?” Jason’s eyes widened a little. “I doubt this is official law enforcement business, Marshal.. Marshall?” His lips twitched at that. “If this is real, I imagine you’ve heard all the jokes.” He turned his gaze back to the man, squinting against the pain and the spinning of his head. Even speaking clearly was an effort right now, his words coming with slow deliberation. “Tempting and justifiable as it would be to burn you both to death by increments, that doesn’t serve my purposes. We’re going to have a long talk about trouble, and who is in it. And now, lights out…” Marshall opened his mouth, but something hit him hard just behind the ear, and he fell forward into darkness. Jason leaned back against the Charger, relaxing as both his attackers lapsed into unconsciousness. His head spun, a searing pain centering around his temple and left side of his face, and his ribs were on fire, though he wasn’t feeling any particular shortness of breath. Raising a hand to the side of his head, he felt the edges of a gash from there down across his cheek, the fresh pain from the touch causing a surge of nausea which he ruthlessly fought down. He looked around. Two unconscious marshals, guns, three cars… And he was wounded and needed looking at. He couldn’t deal with all of this alone. Fortunately, he didn’t have to. Fighting back another wave of dizziness, the lean psychokinetic pulled out his phone and began, with some slow deliberateness to counter the difficulty he was having, to tap out a message. -----Tuesday, 09/03/2019; 07:18----- <<<To: Devin Jauntsen; Autumn Keane>>> [From: Jason Bannon] Been attacked. 2 gunmen, neutralised. Head wound, bleeding. Need you both. Road into town from my place, two miles down. Be careful. As he went to hit ‘send’, Jase realised he’d ended up sitting, slumped back against his car. He tilted his head back, feeling the bodywork against the back of his skull, and sighed softly as he closed his eyes, his last conscious thought that he wasn't even sure he'd hit the send button as darkness claimed him...
  23. Go, Go, Go! Go over to Indiegogo! That’s right, the Deluxe Mage 20th Anniversary Edition: Victorian Age crowd funding campaign is going to start on Indiegogo tomorrow, Tuesday the 23rd, at 2pm Eastern US time! Here’s the link to the pre-launch page, if you want to sign up to be alerted, or just be ready come 2pm tomorrow! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/victorian-mage-ttrpg/coming_soon What? But why after 50 Kickstarter campaigns would you drop it for Indiegogo, Rich? (Says somebody hypothetical). We wouldn’t, actually. We’re experimenting with another crowd-funding platform like Indiegogo because we want to be sure we have options and alternatives. Plus, we like to shake things up a bit and see if we can get the word out about the project to another audience. I’m actually working with James right now to set up our next Kickstarter campaign; which is for Trinity Continuum: Adventure!. But besides the question of leaving Kickstarter, which we’re not, I’ve also heard a few other concerns from folks since I mentioned this last week. One concern I heard was that on Indiegogo a campaign has no funding target that means the campaign is successful. While that is an option – basically a campaign takes in whatever by the time it is done and everybody works with that amount – it is only an option. We have chosen the more familiar method of having a target funding goal for M20 Victorian Age. Fortunately, James has prepared a quick Q&A sheet covering the main differences we already know about: Pledge Collection In our traditional Kickstarter Campaigns, all backer pledges are collected once the campaign has ended, if we have achieved our funding target. With Indiegogo, pledges are collected up front, when you decide to back the project. If the campaign doesn’t meet it’s funding target by the end date, your pledge will be refunded back to you. Indiegogo backers should be very sure that you’re ready to support the project before you contribute your pledge. Manuscript Previews With Kickstarter, we’re able to lock the draft manuscript previews behind backers-only updates, so only those who have pledged to the campaign can read the manuscript. With Indiegogo, we’re unable to limit updates to backers only. Instead, James is going to download the e-mail addresses of all backers each Wednesday morning (around 9:00 AM EST), and will be using that list to send a mass e-mail out to backers with a link to the currently available draft manuscript previews. We’ll continue to showcase the book section by section during the days of the campaign, but we’ll only be sending out these preview links to backers once a week. Pledge Selection With Kickstarter, we try to bake as many options into a reward pledge as we can, so we can identify premium rewards and build bundles. The pledge tiers typically handle 90% of the rewards offered in the campaign. With Indiegogo, it’s more Add On focused, so we’ve streamlined our pledge options. There are three “Perks” for the campaign to choose from – PDF Only, Deluxe Hardcover + PDF, or neither (just supporting the project). Once you’ve selected your primary perk, you will be taken to the Add On section, which will allow you to add additional M20 PDFs, some PDF bundles with material from older editions, and some of the premium rewards that we usually include in a pledge reward tier. Contacting Us Kickstarter has an internal communication system, where backers can send messages to creators and vice versa. Indiegogo does not have a messaging function, so backers can communicate with us by posting comments or direct e-mail to our campaign contact. These are some of the differences we know about up front, before the campaign launches. I’m sure we’ll discover other subtle differences in how things are handled during the campaign. Together, with a little patience and communication, we’ll figure out the systems as best we can. And have fun doing it! M20 Victorian Age art by Jeff Laubenstein What Else From the Monday Meeting? We covered our thoughts on the joint Scion Kickstarter for Scion: Dragon and Scion: Masks of the Mythos, both from the business point of view of just how darn well the KS went, and also from the creative side of how we loved the way the projects were received! We didn’t know going into it how the projects would fare, so it was really satisfying to see. Thanks again to all of you who participated – current fans of Scion and folks new to the game, alike – and special thanks to everyone commenting on the form we included. I should point out, for folks who came fresh to the KS and who happen to be reading this now, that we included that form specifically to get commentary on the “naked text”. This is the bare text before the final dev pass, so it’s the best time to hear your thoughts. We’ll also have an errata pass when the Backer PDF goes out, so you can wait for that if you missed the comment form during the KS. Under Alien Skies art by Pat McEvoy This last weekend, a lot of our crew was participated in the Gehenna Gaming Virtual Horror Con, so a whole lot of the meeting was comparing notes on that. Our crew looks at how things went both behind the scenes, and “audience-facing”, and it is really helpful for us to compare notes. We do this with any convention, even way back when we attended physical cons. Soooo long agoooo. Here are some of the notes that our Terrific Trio of Terror sent me after the meeting today: Here’s Dixie’s: And Matthew’s: And last but certainly not least, Eddy’s: A couple of notes from me, too, in that I was only able to sit in on the Onyx Pathcast panel on Sunday. Eddy’s Squeaks playtest was actually super-useful, as we love to get our games out in public as we’re making them. It’s a test-run, and Eddy really does listen to both what folks are saying, as well as how they are playing. Matthew’s It Came from Camp Murder Lake! had some technical issues and had to be cut short, but he tells me he is already in contact with the players to schedule a follow-up to wrap things up. Like Squeaks, this was a playtest, so we really want to see how the rest of it plays out, and it was also a sneak-preview of the game. Which is a whole ‘nother reason to put it forward for play at a con. Dixie’s cabin boy make-up and RPing was just fantastic, so when that game goes up on YouTube or wherever, I heartily recommend checking it out. We were also on the Pathcast recording together, and that’s always fun. We were able to discuss our favorite drinks – hey, not our idea, we were answering a question from the chat, honest – and push the M20 Victorian Age campaign. We also got to repeat, a lot, that June is very important this year. June, I tells ya! Why? Because we announced during the con that we were indeed doing our own Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Con again this year, in June! Right now, we’re only teasing the month – June! – but we’ll have more info soon. Primarily, we realize that last year we didn’t give our community much advance notice for our online con, and so we’re announcing now in order for folks to hear about it with more time to plan. On our end, we’re assembling ideas for the show, making sure we have a good spread of interesting panels, timely playtests and sneak-previews, and a wide range of games available for folks to sign up for. Some guest stars! All that fun stuff! Under Alien Skies art by Sam Denmark Speaking of fun, has everyone been enjoying the TC: Adventure! radio serial, Tales of the Aeon Society!, that’s going into its second half this week? We had a blast putting it together, so we’d love to hear what you think. Either between episodes or once we do a compilation. We don’t care which! Really, we do love making what we make: the books, the world building, the different media we can play with. Settings and rules and art! But most of all (can you see this coming?) we love bringing all these things to you so you too can explore our: Many Worlds, One Path! BLURBS! Kickstarter! The campaign for the Deluxe Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition Victorian Age starts tomorrow on Tuesday, February 23rd at 2pm EST on IndieGoGo! Onyx Path Media! This week: The Terrific Trio put on their Victorian finery (Eddy already has a deerstalker hat) and take a deep dive into M20: Victorian Age! As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ Also on Podbean this week, on Wednesday, is the 4th episode of Tales of the Aeon Society! A recently recovered radio program from the 1930s that we here at Onyx Path have lovingly restored at great cost featuring the thrilling adventures of Max Mercer and the Aeon Society! Listen as they investigate A Missing Teammate!!! The fantastic team at Vorpal Tales are starting their M20 Victorian Age chronicle this week! Do check them out on Twitch and give them a follow (and maybe even a subscribe): https://www.twitch.tv/vorpaltales Let’s start by celebrating the backer release of Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition by giving 307 RPG‘s podcast a listen, as they talk about the guilds as they appear in this new edition of Mummy. Give them a subscribe! https://307rpg.com/?p=633 The Story Told Podcast focus in on the Scion Companion over on their show, and if you’re not already following their excellent content, you should be: http://thestorytold.foolsmoon.ca/episode-71-scion-companion 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 – Powered by AstralHunter: The Vigil – StuffedMage 20th Victorian Age – Vorpal TalesScarred Lands – Dead Man’s Rust – Red Scar GamingScion – Become as Gods – Powered by AstralChangeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie TaleScarred Lands – Dracogenesis – Vorpal TalesScarred Lands – Pirates of Bloodwater – Devil’s LuckV5 – Thy Kindred Come – Rolling NomadsHunter: The Vigil – Anomalies Unbound – Devil’s Luck 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: Hunter: The Vigil – Stuffed – E3 – https://youtu.be/MbGRE8wTODU Scion – A Light Extinguished ONE-SHOT – https://youtu.be/an2FzwVKVi0 Contagion Chronicle – No Time for Reality ONE-SHOT – https://youtu.be/QJavYIzYZqg Scion: Hero – Heroes for the Holidays – E5 –https://youtu.be/gysFlYCL1JU Scarred Lands – Vigil Watch – One-Shot Part 2 – https://youtu.be/2FQl_iCBM-k Scion: Dragon – Vorpal Tales – Episode 1 –https://youtu.be/2hj0HckLcm0 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 wonderful Mage: The Awakening chronicle which you can watch right here: Back together at Covenant House the cabal plan their next move to stop the world from ending. A mysterious item arrives in the front lawn. Mona uses the Lucky Number ritual to call the nearest phone to several high ranking members of the Boston Consillium of mages one by one. https://youtu.be/QddpuvA1b3E The Ruins of Warsaw is an amazing Vampire: The Masquerade RPG set in Warsaw in 1947. Several episodes have been released, so please check out their videos and subscribe! Here’s their playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKkMR3i11sDdhD_ufgqXbzPBefI6f8cRc 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: Some games’ combat are an HP-fueled stabfest as blows are traded until someone crumbles like a maimed ham. Exalted combat combines the elegance of a lightsaber duel with the fun of a tax return! Chazz and Monica explain and then Terry and Monica give it a try. https://www.exaltcast.com/2021/02/08/ascendant-battle-visage-exalted-combat/ A Bunch of Gamers continue their gripping and bloody Werewolf: The Apocalypse actual play and are pretty deep into the arc! However, this is an excellent episode to join in on if you want to get to know the protagonists: After Cora’s Rank challenge the packs begin to fortify themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for the coming storms. Kyle asks Final-Days for his own Rank challenge, Zeb speaks to theurges around the Sept to gain their wisdom, Cora recovers, Roy learns of the Stargazers, and Mark learns a ritual from Malcolm. Corruption continues to fester in the world and the terrible reach of the Wyrm soon becomes apparent to the the two packs. https://youtu.be/4j5g88VPfjM 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! On Sale This Week! This Wednesday we present the second of our 2021 Tasty Bit PDFs! We are proud to offer you New Lives for the Trinity Continuum! Only on DriveThruRPG.com! Calling all people around the world, and all the ships at sea! News flash! Wednesday also features the second episode of a thrilling brand-new radio adventure: Tales of the Aeon Society – Episode Four: A Missing Teammate! Available wherever podcasts are heard, and definitely with our friends at Podbean! Conventions! Because dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we don’t yet have a list of upcoming physical conventions. Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with! As announced during Virtual Horror Con over the weekend, the 2nd Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Convention will be coming to you live this June! And now, the new project status updates! Development Status from Eddy Webb! (Projects in bold have changed status since last week.): First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep.) Exalted Essay Collection (Exalted)The Hedge (Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition)Tasty Bit: Heroes of the Waste (Dystopia Rising: Evolution)Tasty Bit: Pets (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Tasty Bit: Zeus in a Bar (Scion 2nd Edition) Ghost Hunters Jumpstart w/RMCs (WoD 20th)The Paranormal Investigator’s Handbook (WoD 20th)Tasty Bit: Car Lifting Competition (Scion 2nd Edition) Redlines Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition)They Came From [Classified]! Jumpstart (They Came From…!)Tome of the Pentacle (Mage: the Awakening 2e)Tasty Bit: New Paths (Trinity Continuum) No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition) Second Draft Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition)Once and Future (Scion 2nd Edition)Realms of Magic and Mystery (was Terra Incognita) (Scion 2nd Edition)TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)They Came From [Classified]! (They Came From…!) 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)Trinity Continuum: AnimaMany-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition)They Came From Camp Murder Lake! (They Came From…!)They Came From Beneath the Sea! Jumpstart (They Came From…!)Tales of Depravity! (They Came From…!) Manuscript Approval Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core)Onyx Path Brochure 2021-2022Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition) Post-Approval Development Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness)Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) 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)Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands)M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)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)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…!)Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition)Monsters From the Crypt! (They Came From…!) TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition) Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) Tasty Bit: Outer Space Archetypes and Tropes (They Came From…!)The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)Proteus Nova Compendium (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Post-Editing Development Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition)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)V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades)V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition) Indexing Art Direction from Mike Chaney! In Art Direction WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) Hunter: The Vigil 2e – Meredith is on it.Legendlore Scion: Dragon (KS) – KS. Masks of the Mythos (KS) – KS. Scion: Demigod – Getting art notes out to artists. They Came From Beyond the Grave! – Figuring out art buy. TC: Adventure! (KS) – KS artwork incoming. Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) – Finals rolling in. M20 Victorian (KS) – Ready for KS.Dead Man’s RustM20 Technocracy Jumpstart – Art in progress. Exalted Essence (KS) – Artists being contacted. V5 Trail of Ash and Bone – AD’d. Finals already in from Ken Meyer, Jr.V5 Forbidden Religions TC Mission Statements – New artnotes in, giving to Meredith. TC Aberrant N!WEM20 Technocracy Dossier/CompanionM20 Rich Bastards Guide – Speccing today. Hundred Devils Night Parade – Figuring out art buy. Squeaks In The Deep (KS) – Just need the KS map & we’re ready to KS.Players Guide to the Contagion Chronicle – Rolling.TC Prometheus Unbound – Got new art notes. In Layout M20 Technocracy ReloadedTC Aberrant JumpstartLARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition) – With Travis. Children of the Blood – Maria doing layout. TC: Under Alien Skies Heirs to the Shogunate Proofing Geist: One Foot In the Grave – Shutting down errata. Deviant – Backer PDF errata gathering/reviewing.Monsters of the Deep – Backer PDF errata ending this week.Mummy 2 – Backer PDF with backers for errata. Vigil Watch Compiled At Press Lunars Wall Scroll Map – At KS fulfiller. Shipping finished.Lunars Screen and Booklet – At KS fulfiller. Shipping finished. Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – At KS fulfiller. Shipping finished. PDF and PoD on sale at DTRPG.V5 Cults of the Blood Gods – Press files proofs reviewed and returned. PoD proof ordered from DTRPG.Aberrant – PoD proof ordered. Trad print proofs reviewed and returned.TC: Aberrant Screen – Press files sent.Peoples of the Crossroads Continent – PoD proof ordered.Yugmans – PoD proof ordered. Yugman’s spell cards – Errata gathering.Tasty Bit: Trinity Continuum – New Lives – PDF on sale Weds on DTRPG! Tales of the Aeon Society Episode Four: A Missing Teammate! – Goes live on Weds. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! Today is the birthday in 1925 of Edward Gorey, American illustrator and poet (d. 2000). A master of pen and ink, and hilariously understated surrealism, Gorey also designed the sets and costumes for the 1977 Broadway revival production of Dracula starring Frank Langella – a version that arguably put vampires back into popular culture again by returning romance to the count. Gorey’s stylized black and white (with a touch of red) set and costume designs were a huge part of the overall impact. Also, the Gashlycrumb Tinies.
  24. Carl looked askance from the newcomer to his diminutive offspring and then back to him. "Yeah, mister...?" "Williams." Kat's dad supplied, smiling easily as he extended a hand. "Call me Josh." "Pleasure." Carl shook the offered hand, and gestured at the assembled teens and their parents. "Yeah, I was just saying that I think it'd be a good plan for us all to get together somewhere out of the way and let our kids explain what's going on. You know, over snacks and drinks, chill atmosphere away from prying eyes. That sort of thing." Ian Allister finally made his way inside, having finally found the chance to do so. He heard the tail end of Carl's idea and nodded. He could feel the eyes upon him, and knew this was likely going to be a grueling experience. "A group meeting somewhere private, with plenty of room and after the kids have all had a chance to clean up does sound like the best place to actually clear the air." His voice drew his family's attention, with a certain weariness in Cade's eyes, and warning in Haruka's. There have been far too many secrets being kept. I can only speak for myself, but I would have liked to know about what's really going on, long before it got to the point where our children risking their lives was the only recourse to resolve this situation." Cade had also taken one of the MREs and dug in, not really bothering to taste it, this wasn't the first time he'd had one, and he found himself nodding. They came here to get checked out, not to have it out with their parents, or watch them have it out with each other. "Understand something, Sheriff." Jason's voice was it's usual glacial timbre as he studied Shelly's lawman. "Us risking our lives was always the only recourse to resolve the situation. And it may well be so in the future, too. None of you could have protected us - turns out it was our job to protect you. Be prepared for that to be the case again." In the silence that fell immediately after, he glanced at Carl. "A meeting to air the subject seems logical." he shrugged, glancing at his father. "I've already told my dad everything. But I'm sure that's not a universal situation." "Sweet," Devin chuckled. "Party at our place." Marissa huffed, rolling her eyes. "Deej, shut up." Carl quieted his children with a gesture and a 'knock it off' glance. "Not to fall too far down a rabbit hole, here, but, you actually knew about this, Sheriff? How is it you knew and the rest of us were completely in the dark." "I'm dying to know that myself," Misti's voice from the doorway was cold and the glare she shot at the Sheriff could have melted a steel beam. She'd apparently decided to rejoin the others and her heels made a familiar sound as they hit against the tiles, it was like seeing what Devin and Marissa would be like in 15 years of so. She folded her arms and waited for him to respond. "Please, regale me, us, as to why you knew our children were in danger and thought it prudent to simply... not Sheriff." Ian frowned, and shook his head at Misti's scathing request, and answered her. "I knew some of it, and saw some of what they were up against with my own eyes. In the end the decision to go through with this was their choice, dangerous or not. Nothing was really going to keep them from going. In the end, Yes I did turn a blind eye for the most part, because I knew the only way they'd all come back is if they remained together. I believed in them. Think of that what you will, but the fact is these kids did go out and save two lives, two lives we couldn't have saved, and they all came back to us." "Their choice? Their choice?! God dammit Ian, those are my fucking kids!" Misti's voice raised and it was possible she was simply saying what a few of the other parents were thinking. "Stop them or not, who the hell are you to 'turn a blind eye' to the safety of my goddamned children! You have a responsibility pinned to your chest to, at the very least, say something, anything to us!" "Michelle," Carl placed his hand on his wife's shoulder in an attempt to calm her a bit but instead she simply spun about and latched onto her husband tightly. Misti was no the best mother, sure, but instinct and love still tore at her heart at the prospect of losing her babies. "I know, just... we'll all talk later. I know you're hurting." "The hell is wrong with this town," she sobbed into Carl's chest. "What is wrong with these people?" "I don't know honey," Carl consoled her. "We're close to Canada, it could be any number of things... they're safe, right? Emjay and Deej are safe, that's all that matters tonight, okay?" He held his wife and let her cry as he silently mouthed to 'sorry' to the sheriff. Autumn stared hard at the adults, blue eyes bright against the flaking red remnants of violence, pain, and misery that marked her features- that marked them all. It wasn't the penetrating glacial gaze of the young man sitting next to her, or the contemptuous glimpse of the void in Marissa's dark-eyed glare, but an all-encompassing, fathomless sea of roiling emotion. "Really?" she asked tersely, all her reserves of diplomacy having been depleted for the day "Is this the 'chill atmosphere' we can look forward to? Sorry, Mr. Jauntsen. I don't think your place is a good idea. I'd rather do this somewhere a little more neutral." "Maybe the Project can give us a room," Cassandra mentions. "Fit it up with padded walls, some stress balls..." "And you think the location is the issue, uh," he snapped his fingers, still holding Misti with his other arm. "Autumn," Marissa helped him out, not even paying attention, but now on the prowl for more MREs. "Autumn. Because she'll be anywhere else you select, your place, our place, the playground at the school. Doesn't matter where are, sweetie, distressed and angry parents are going to be there." He shrugged. "My wife's children, our children were almost killed tonight and I know you went through one hell of an ordeal, well, now we're going through one too. You can't expect everyone to handle this situation in precisely the manner you want it to be dealt with. My wife is emotional, Gar isn't, Jack and Carolyn are rational, me? I'm just trying not to lose my own mind here, so can you please, just not bust our balls tonight, kid?" At Cassandra's interruption he looked to her, then the rest. "Project? What's 'project'?" Cassandra hesitated for a second. She was pretty sure she wasn't supposed to be spilling this bean...but fuck that. Their parents got to know about psychic powers and alien demons but not the quasi secret spy agency or whatever it was? No, down that road was just more scenes like this: trusts broken, tears shed, angry words all around. Rip off the bandaid. Besides. They had a right to know. She took a deep breath. "There's a group in town that's been monitoring Shelly secretly. Keep tabs on all the weird shi...stuff that goes on here. Researching it. That kind of thing. We met with them a while back, and we compared notes. They told us what they knew, which wasn't a lot...we told them what we did, which back then wasn't a lot either." Clearing her throat, Cassie went on, "They have a base. Underground. Plenty of space for us to fight in." She then glanced at her watch and said, "And someone should be showing up to shut me up in...four...three...two..." The adults present all noticed the same thing: the way that the teens eyes all swiveled towards the door as Cassandra counted down. As the blonde seer's voice stated "...One." there was a moment when even some of the parents, sucked in by the air of anticipation, half-expected someone to appear there. No-one did. The moment stretched out, and Cassie looked at her watch, then at the door, then at her mom and shrugged. "Guess no-" The click of heels interrupted her as a expensively and fashionably dressed lovely brunette entered the infirmary room. She smiled a little at Cassie, shrugging lightly. "Very sorry for being late." she apologised, both to the clairvoyant and to the room at large. "I had some calls to make. Annette Giles." she said by way of introduction to the parents present - at least those who had not met her yet. She seemed perhaps the tiniest bit out of breath, as though she'd been hurrying. "Current head of the Project Cassandra mentioned." She went on smoothly, her tone one of polished authority as she got down to business. "I can, of course, lend one of our conference rooms to you all as a meeting place if that is your wish. No underground base - there are several suitable large meeting rooms in this Medical Center, and we can guarantee you privacy." She raised her hands, palms out in a gesture requesting forbearance. "I would ask your understanding, though: whilst your marvelous children are of course free to tell you whatever they wish, I am not similarly free to answer questions. The Project, at least for the moment, is classified on a number of levels, and I have no official permission to share anything." She paused for a moment. "Yet, that is. I am stretching the limits of my remit simply being here and offering the neutral ground you mentioned." She glanced around at the adults, her expression one of pleasant professionalism. "I won't ask if there are any questions, ladies and gentlemen, because I will not be answering them. If a room is needed for a meeting, it can be provided. Whatever you decide, I would suggest that you let these brave young people go home, get cleaned up and rest, however. There will always be more questions, but there is a finite amount of time." Rather than bite Carl's, or Misti's, or Sheriff Allister's head- or her own tongue- off, Autumn shoved the remainder of the (thankfully) warm, moderately flavorful pizza into her mouth, chewing through crust and pepperoni and unmeltable cheese as though she'd suddenly developed a grudge against food. She was just washing the last bit down with the day-old coffee she and Marissa had found by the nurse's station when Cassie spoke up, and the redhead relaxed visibly. Oh, thank fuck. Getting in touch with Ms. Giles was one of the options she'd intended to suggest in the wake of Carl's invitation; even before Misti's encore performance it just didn't seem right to have a meeting like the one he'd described at someone's house. The whole situation with the Dark, and people being frustrated, and demonstrating powers, and just all of it was kind of a lot to put in somebody's living room, even if he'd made the offer in good faith. "That'd be my vote," she added as Annette wrapped up. "It's secure in case things start to get out of hand, we can all be equally awkward and uncomfortable on the car rides home afterward, and, also..." Her nose crinkled unhappily as she finished off the last of the dark liquid in her cup. "It kind of fits, since we were here the last time." She glanced back at Carl and, grudgingly, nodded. "And I do think it's a good idea to make sure everyone's on the same page, since obviously not everyone is." "That's the only thing I've heard this evening that's made any sense," Misti's voice was a stress ridden collection of fractured tones. No one here could understand why, and the Jauntsen's certainly weren't going to stand and explain themselves to anyone. "Devin, Marissa, let's go. We're leaving." When the twins didn't look like they were planning on moving swiftly her tone grew more stern. "Now, let's go." "Jesus, mom, can you not freak out in front of the hot director?" Devin complained, flashing an awkward, yet flirty smile at Annette. "Hey, Annette. S'up? So, uh, I saved the world tonight, any of your exes pull that one off?" Annette managed a polite smile. "Hello, Devin." "C'mon, Romeo." Carl collected his son and began the task of ushering him to the door. He looked back to his daughter. "Monkey, c'mon, let's go." "Ugh!" Marissa rolled her eyes and grumbled with annoyance at her father. "Stop calling me that! Christ." She stood and dumped her blanket off in the chair where she was sitting, revealing her shredded outfit that barely preserved her modesty at this point. "And what the hell are you wearing?" Carl took up the concerned father attitude. "Where did you save the world? In a night club?" "Ugh, I wish, dad." She lazily schlumped off to meet up with her family. "No, it was a blood strewn hellscape that appeared to have been made from the disemboweled victims of souls less fortunate than ourselves. Hence, why we smell like puss and disease." That was not the reply he was expecting, and just remained quiet as they all exited the infirmary. "Devin'll draw it, no worries." "Later guys," Devin offered up quietly. "See you later, you know... if we're not grounded for life. Nice work tonight." As he passed by Annette he placed his hand up to his ear and silently mouthed 'call me' and sent a wink her way.
  25. "Oookay." Carolyn Cassidy's voice cut across the somewhat awkward silence following Jason's small rant. The teens and parents looked around to see the Cassidy clan standing in the doorway to the infirmary, arms laden with hampers, bundles of clothes, towels, blankets and assorted necessaries - or at least, items which the family had determined might conceivably be needed. "I'm not sure what we walked into here, and it's nice to see Jase riled up and defending his friends - so long as he's not bitten anyone-" "Not yet. Night is still young." Jason said around a mouthful of MRE pizza. Carolyn smiled tightly, then pursed her lips and looked at the tattered, bloodied Fellowship, her gaze finally settling on her son with a mixture of relief and anger. She swept into the room, Laurie and Jack following her over to Sean's bed and setting their bundles down on convenient surfaces. "However," she went on "I have a few questions for my boy, here." She watched as a slice of plastic-wrapped pizza floated past her and landed in Sean's hands. "Starting with: what enemy? Why are you all covered in blood? Why did I find out about this from Misti Jauntsen- Hi, Carl - of all people?" She crouched down and peered at her son, trying to see past the muck to determine whether any of the blood was his as Sean squirmed slightly under the maternal scrutiny. "Yeah-" Laurie started hotly, obviously wanting to add her own ire, but Carolyn shot her a look over one shoulder and Sean's younger sister subsided, giving first her brother, then Devin, then the apparently uncaring Jason (still eating his slice of pizza) a hard glare. Her mom returned her gaze to Sean, one eyebrow raised expectantly. "Well..." Sean looked at her uncomfortably, then at his friends in mute appeal. Jason was staring at him as realisation dawned. "You didn't tell them." he stated rather than asked, his brilliant emerald gaze unwavering from his friend. "Oh man..." Devin shook his head. It was his turn to smirk now that Sean was the focus of maternal ill-will. "Dude, we agreed to tell the 'rents. You are boned." "Gentlemen, please." Carolyn said in a tone that hinted that, whilst she wasn't angry at them, she really wanted to get on with being angry at her son. Over at the entrance to the infirmary, Autumn and Marissa came back in and, immediately picking up on the atmosphere, moved over to where Jason and Devin were observing with a certain level of schadenfreude. "Sean?" Carolyn's enquiry contained a whole library of subtext. "What's going on?" Autumn murmured to Jason, smiling faintly in thanks as he passed her a slice of admittedly strange-looking pizza. She hopped up to sit beside him on the bed and tore open the package. "Sean didn't tell his folks what was going on." Jase murmured back. Marissa's eyes widened even as she accepted a floating slice of wrapped MRE. "He didn''t? Oh man. He is so boned." she commented in unconscious mimicry of her twin, who nodded, still smirking. The peanut- well, pizza gallery went back to observing. "Well, I was trying to protect you." Sean said earnestly, clasping his fingers together and trying not to fidget. "I didn't want you to worry, or freak out, or try and do something that'd get the enemy to notice you- I was going to tell you after we made it back, only it didn't work out that way..." "And you didn't think we'd worry about you after we found out you had snuck off to fight god-knows-what? You didn't think that would lead to me having a fit every time you were home late from school and calling round all your friends?" Carolyn's voice raised a couple of decibels. "And what if you didn't make it back, hmm? Who was going to tell us you had d-" She broke off then, looking down and away from her son, reaching up to squeeze the reassuring hand Jack had placed on her shoulder. After a moment, she composed herself. "Was it going to be Jason's job? Devin's? What if none of you made it back and I had to find out from one of the parents who did know?" She shook her head, disappointment, sorrow and anger in equal measure in her tear-filled eyes. "How could you, Sean?" "I did not know either." Miyako spoke up, her dark eyes glancing around the room then at her son. "Your friend says you were brave and that I am wrong to treat you like a kid, but you did not tell me what you were doing, Cade. You tried to, but..." "I messed it up." Cade admitted, nodding. "I kinda wanted to try again, but I wasn't sure how to, and then things started happening fast and-" "We will talk about it later." his mother said quietly, but there was an echo of the same hurt in her eyes as was more evident in Carolyn's, who was less easily appeased. "I asked you a question." she pressed, looking hard at Sean. "How could you keep something so important from us?" "I wanted to tell you." Sean tried not to sound like a kid caught playing hooky, he really did. But there was no disguising the gut-punch of guilt as he looked from his tearful mother to his stern father to his angry sister. "I really did. But every time I started to try... the words just wouldn't come out." He gestured expansively. "'Hey, guys, I'm off to fight a demon of death and terror in a hell-dimension mirror of our world. We have to do it, otherwise it will hunt us all down one by one like it did to Charlie.'" The effeminate teen's mouth twisted in a frown, tears in his own eyes. "I was scared shitless, mom! Of what we had to do, of telling you, of how you guys would react... Pick one." "Oh, honey..." His mother hugged him, heedless of the blood and dirt, and after a moment he hugged her back, trying not to bawl his eyes out in front of the others - especially the Jauntsens. "I'm still mad as hell at you." Carolyn murmured to her son. "Don't think you've heard the last of this. But I'm glad you're okay too." "I wondered if something was up earlier." Laurie said quietly, her anger dissipating somewhat in the face of Sean's obvious guilt as Jack reached over and ruffled his son's hair. She looked from Sean over to Devin. "You guys were being a little shifty at the picnic." "Mmmffmmfff." Devin shrugged, his mouth conveniently full so he wouldn't have answer, his smile guilelessly innocent (and utterly full of shit) as he met Laurie's stare. She switched targets to Jason, who merely shrugged in much the same way. "Wasn't our place to tell." was all the laconic genius stated, his logic utterly reasonable and irrefutable. "We told our parents. Well, most of us." "That's enough." Carolyn admonished the closest thing she had to a second son as she stood up, looking over at him. "Are you okay?" she asked then, noting the blood-stained rent in his combat pants. "I'm fine." Jase replied calmly, looking at the thermos flasks Jack was unpacking from one of the bags. "Coffee in those?" "Yes." sighed Carolyn as Jack, smiling and shaking his head slightly, watched a thermos float over to Jason's outstretched hand. There were always constants in life - Jason and coffee was one of them. "Where's Gar?" "Right here." Jason's dad said as he came in, a shopping bag containing a change of clothing in one hand. Jase looked at him askance. "What?" his father asked, coming to a stop by the bed and placing the bag on the end of it. He smiled at the redhead sitting next to Jase. "Hey Autumn." "You're here." Jason stated, a little puzzled, setting the thermos of coffee aside for the moment. "Sure am. Brought a change of clothes." "But I said you didn't need to come down-" "Shut up and c'mere." Gar pulled the sitting teen into a hug. "You might not have needed me to, but I needed to." he said to the nonplussed young man, his voice a murmur. "Glad you're okay." After a moment, the slender youth's arms went around his father's shoulders, patting once or twice. It was a curious sight, for sure, when one considered that in this case, it was the child doing the comforting to the parent.
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