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  1. Fresh off the excellent meeting we had with Paradox and White Wolf in Berlin a week or so ago, and a week before we open the tomb of the Mummy: The Curse 2e Kickstarter, I figure it’s a good time to give you a look at some of my thoughts on a bunch of our game lines. Scarred Lands: With that lead-in paragraph, I bet you expected WW-IP stuff, but there is just so much happening with Scarred Lands that I wanted to get all that out first. To be honest, the interest in SL has been a real surprise. A great surprise, because there just seems to be a constant stream of folks that remember the setting from years ago and are excited to play and create with our new edition. Which is wonderfully gratifying. Not only for the love and interest, but because we (I) was slow on the uptake on getting SL back on track after our original Scarred Lands partnership with Stewart Wieck came to an abrupt end with his passing. If I look back, I’m pretty sure I just delayed dealing with it, as jumping in where Stew was originally going to handle things reminded me of my friend too much. But this year, we made huge strides – in a large part helped by the awesome efforts of all the creators on the Slarecian Vault (SL‘s community content site), our recently finished Creature Collection KS, and next year we’ll be presented monthly releases of Yugman’s Guide to the Scarred Lands, and the Vigil Watch project. There are weekly Twitch actual plays, and the amazing adventures of an awesome ratman (is it not all about him?) by Devil’s Luck Gaming that’s been running for months with all the twists and plot turns you could ever want. Plus, just today Matt McElroy let us know that we’ll have a “What’s Up with 5e and Onyx Path” panel at Gamehole Con in Madison at the end of the week: https://www.gameholecon.com/events/event/7956 and he is running a “meat grinder” Scarred Lands game after hours at the con. If you’re interested in participating, let him know at our booth. And then, we also have heard that the Scarred Lands supplement to Expedition, the exciting card and app-based RPG is going on sale the start of November. Here’s a description from Eddy Webb, who has been overseeing the project: More on this as it’s released! Suffice to say, Scarred Lands has been reborn, and we’re just thrilled with how players have responded to its return! M20 Book of the Fallen art by Sam Araya World of Darkness: We’ll be Kickstarting the traditionally printed and in-stores version of V5 Cults of the Blood Gods soon, and coming out of Berlin, our team has several more V5 projects to get rolling on. While we’ve been finishing the Stretch Goal rewards for several past 20th Anniversary Kickstarters, we also have a few more 20th projects that WW/Paradox is cool with us doing, so keep an eye out for those. Overall, as WW/Paradox‘s method of handling the licensing of WoD changes as they continue moving to “5th Edition WoD”, we are comfortable with pitching individual projects or whole lines depending on the parameters they use on each line. Right now, if we get an idea we pitch it their way and see if it works with their plans. Chronicles of Darkness: Much like with WoD, we pitch interesting CofD projects to Paradox, and they can OK them or not according to their overall plans. Which works out just fine for us right now, as we’ve got plenty to keep us busy as Dark Eras 2 proofs get finalized and out to backers, which has so many CofD lines in it, and with Geist 2e going to press, and Mummy 2e‘s KS and Hunter 2e‘s not far behind- plus all the attendant KS Stretch Goal projects, plus plus starting a couple of projects not yet on the progress report that WW/Paradox is OK with. Exalted: The big books roll along with Lunars and Exigents at different stages and with smaller books/stretch goals also rolling. We’re getting close to wrapping up the two monthly EX3 projects. There’s a very special secret project that we’ve been working on that we’re going to announce at PAX Unplugged in early December, and we’re really looking forward to letting our EX3 audience in on that! In general, while we know folks might look back at the previous two editions’ release schedules and count the numbers, we are looking at how far our “new” Exalted team has come and the overall quality of the projects seems pretty satisfying. While we’re not aiming to return to the frenetic release pace of old, EX3 looks well positioned to deliver a more regular series of releases in the coming year. Deviant: The Renegades art by Michael Gaydos Scion: For a while I’ve been thinking about how there’s really two tracks for Scion: the Mythic track, which contains Scion: Origin, Hero, Demigod, and God, and the projects that talk about The World and our take on how real-world pantheons would work in it like Titanomachy, and then there’s the Expanded track, which looks at ways to add further ideas on what could be considered a pantheon, or a god, or what else could exist alongside or outside the Mythic track. These would include Scion: Dragon, and Masks of the Mythos. We’re aiming to create projects that provide value to both tracks, even if they are more firmly situated in a single one, and to release those projects so that everyone into Scion will receive a steady stream of excellent material. Having the Storypath Nexus community content site up and being the repository of even more potential Scion goodness is definitely part of the plan. Trinity Continuum: Sort of similar to Scion but the key design decision to build everything as a Continuum helps folks understand that we’re not going to stop with just the original eras but expand the potential eras from the past to the far future and eras in-between what we already have. Plus sideways and upways and downways. I’ve taken to considering the TC not as a linear time track alone, but as one with bubbles of eras that run parallel and drift closer or farther together depending on the interests of our players. To use my favorite example, the hidden ultra-tech city of the intelligent gorillas may exist in a bubble that in your TC:Adventure! game is very close or even touching your TC:Adventure! era, but that same gorilla bubble may be far away and so unreachable in your TC:Aeon game. So with the Trinity Continuum Core and TC: Aeon books shipping RIGHT NOW to backers, work progressing nicely on the final TC: Aberrant text, and TC:Adventure! on the progress report chart below, we’ve got all sorts of added Stretch Goal projects that are getting ready to come out, plus unannounced projects for both the Core and the TC itself that we’ll let you in on very soon. They Came From Beneath the Sea!, Dystopia Rising: Evolution, Realms of Pugmire, and Cavaliers of Mars: These are all verrrry different games, but all share the same publishing philosophy of launching and fulfilling a Kickstarter campaign to get the books into stores, and of working to provide a first wave of releases that support and add to the game line’s core book(s). Mostly via Kickstarter Stretch Goal rewards. With Cavs and Pugmire, we try and work within the schedules and interests of the creators, Rose and Eddy respectively, so as they come up with ideas we bat those back and forth until a new project forms out of all of it. For They Came From and DR:E, we’re working on getting the core books created, as well as the supplements from their KSs. From there we’ll see if the interest is there for more projects with the line…but it’ll be a few months before those triggers are pulled and we have anything to announce. Dark Eras 2 art by Luis Sanz Legendlore: This is one that I’m really interested in seeing how it hits. If you listen to developer Steffie de Vaan’s deep dive with Matthew and Dixie on last Friday’s Onyx Pathcast, she stresses that this fantasy world that has been around for decades as a comic book series contains a lot of inherent world design that she and her team took and expanded on – always with an eye towards the central premise of the setting: you the player are playing some version of yourself transported to this fantasy world. This can be a touchy premise for a game, though. A lot of folks who play RPGs are playing to NOT be themselves, but to explore different types of characters. Steffie has that covered too, in much the same way that she has looked at how to make the premise work so that players have options that work for them, for their personal beliefs and ideas as to what sort of character they are comfortable playing. It’s only one aspect of a rich fantasy world, but it is so intrinsic to the setting (even beyond how important regular character creation is for any game world) that it had to be handled with thought and empathy. If you have the time, take a listen – you’ll also get a chance to hear a lot more about the warring nations, and the skullduggery of appeasing a dangerous aggressive neighboring realm, and that there’s several different types of playable trolls (!), and much, much, more. There you go – and I’m not even getting into the possible new licenses and other new lines we continue to look into. Truly, we have so: Many Worlds, One Path! BLURBS! Kickstarter! The Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition Kickstarter arises next Tuesday, Nov 5th, at 2pm Eastern US time. Be there to witness the majesty and terror of this new version of Mummy: The Curse! Onyx Path Media! This Friday’s Onyx Pathcast features the recorded Worldbuilding panel from the Save Against Fear convention – Eddy, Dixie, RichT, surprise guest Neall Raemonn Price, and other game creators answer questions from the moderator and the audience as to what challenges creators face in world building for their games. The answers are often surprisingly personal, and no one held back their opinions, that’s for sure! What a week we have in store for you on the Onyx Path Twitch channel! Matthew has already hosted the Onyx Path News today in a bumper, hour long edition, and we’ve got games of V5, Scion, Pugmire, Hunter: The Vigil, Aberrant, Changeling: The Lost, Mage: The Awakening, and Scarred Lands all to come! Check us out and give us a follow on twitch.tv/theonyxpath It really helps us to have subscribers on our Twitch channel, and you can do so for free and catch premieres as they go up if you have an Amazon Prime account. Just type Twitch Amazon Prime into Google and you’ll be shown how to subscribe for free. Do you follow us on YouTube? Well, if you haven’t subscribed to us on Twitch, do not despair, as a couple of weeks after each episode on Twitch we transfer the videos over to YouTube right here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzN5jRB35OvnC-6gxnRY4gQ We already have episodes of Aberrant and Changeling up, with more to come! Meanwhile, our fans keep creating excellent content for us, not limited to: Occultists Anonymous continues with their fantastic Mage: The Awakening game right here: Episode 54: A Marrow Escape The cabal travels into this strange Atlantean temple and tries to decipher the purpose of the building. The ancient defenses still work though…https://youtu.be/_6asdJMHo00 Episode 55: Judgment Call Shaking the remains of the Temple’s defenses off of themselves, the cabal begins to discover the heart of the Temple and it’s possibly dark purposes…https://youtu.be/S9eSLKTnUR8 Plus, the Story Told Podcast posts another episode of their fantastic Exalted: Dragon-Blooded series right here: http://thestorytold.libsyn.com/episode-17-welcome-to-daric Do not miss Devil’s Luck Gaming with their superb Scarred Lands content: https://www.twitch.tv/DevilsLuckGaming Watch Geek & Sundry‘s Eric Campbell discuss his love of Geist: The Sin-Eaters right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es7G-P9iou8 Twin Cities by Night continue their fantastic Chronicles of Darkness chronicle right here on Podbean: https://twincitiebynight.podbean.com/ Did you miss the Ragnarok & Roll podcast’s coverage of Scion Second Edition and their actual play spanning first edition’s Hero to Ragnarok? If so, please check them out here: https://ragnarokandroll.podbean.com/ If you want a fresh new take on Chicago by Night, complete with animated opening, please give the fine folks (with superb voice acting) a look at Windy City Kindred right here: www.twitch.tv/wickedstudiosllc Drop Matthew a message via the contact button on matthewdawkins.com if you have actual plays, reviews, or game overviews you want us to profile on the blog! Please check any of these out and let us know if you find or produce any actual plays of our games! Electronic Gaming! As we find ways to enable our community to more easily play our games, the Onyx Dice Rolling App is live! Our dev team has been doing updates since we launched based on the excellent use-case comments by our community, and this thing is awesome! (Seriously, you need to roll 100 dice for Exalted? This app has you covered.) On Amazon and Barnes & Noble! You can now read our fiction from the comfort and convenience of your Kindle (from Amazon) and Nook (from Barnes & Noble). If you enjoy these or any other of our books, please help us by writing reviews on the site of the sales venue from which you bought it. Reviews really, really help us get folks interested in our amazing fiction! Our selection includes these latest fiction books: Our Sales Partners! We’re working with Studio2 to get Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau out into stores, as well as to individuals through their online store. You can pick up the traditionally printed main book, the screen, and the official Pugmire dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire We’ve added Prince’s Gambit to our Studio2 catalog: https://studio2publishing.com/products/prince-s-gambit-card-game Now, we’ve added Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition products to Studio2‘s store! See them here: https://studio2publishing.com/collections/all-products/changeling-the-lost Scarred Lands (Pathfinder) books are also on sale at Studio2, and they have the 5e version, supplements, and dice as well!: https://studio2publishing.com/collections/scarred-lands Scion 2e books and other products are available now at Studio2: https://studio2publishing.com/blogs/new-releases/scion-second-edition-book-one-origin-now-available-at-your-local-retailer-or-online Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Try this link! http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Onyx-Path-Publishing/ And you can order Pugmire, Monarchies of Mau, Cavaliers of Mars, and Changeling: The Lost 2e at the same link! And NOW Scion Origin and Scion Hero are available to order! As always, you can find most of Onyx Path’s titles at DriveThruRPG.com! The big Halloween Sale on DriveThruRPG and Storytellers Vault continues until Halloween. Most of our Chronicles of Darkness PDFs will be on sale on both sites, plus there will be some Halloween Treats (i.e. free PDFs) hidden around the sites. On Sale This Week! This Wednesday, we’ll be resplendently releasing our monthly Exalted 3rd PDFs on DTRPG! Conventions! GameHoleCon: This week: October 31st – November 3rd in Madison, WI! PAX Unplugged: December 6th – 8th, in Philadelphia, PA. 2020: Midwinter: January 9th – 12th, in Milwaukee, WI. 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) Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition) Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition) N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Creating in the Realms of Pugmire (Realms of Pugmire) Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness) Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!) Redlines Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e) Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition) M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition) Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) Second Draft Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition) Wraith20 Fiction Anthology (Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition) Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness) Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness) Tales of Aquatic Terror (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) Development Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition) City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars) TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Titanomachy (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum Core) Monsters of the Deep (They Came From Beneath the Sea!) One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e) Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition) Manuscript Approval Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition) Terra Firma (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition) Post-Approval Development Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant) Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades) Scion LARP Rules (Scion) Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition) Editing Lunars: Fangs at the Gate (Exalted 3rd Edition) Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition) Let the Streets Run Red (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Geist 2e Fiction Anthology (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition) Dragon-Blooded Novella #1 (Exalted 3rd Edition) Scion Companion: Mysteries of the World (Scion 2nd Edition) Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) Legendlore core book (Legendlore) WoD Ghost Hunters (World of Darkness) Mythical Denizens (Creatures of the World Bestiary) (Scion 2nd Edition) Vigil Watch (Scarred Lands) Pirates of Pugmire KS-Added Adventure (Realms of Pugmire) M20 The Technocracy Reloaded (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad (Scarred Lands) Post-Editing Development Chicago Folio/Dossier (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition) TC: Aeon Ready-Made Characters (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed (Mage: the Awakening Second Edition) City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars) Oak, Ash, and Thorn: Changeling: The Lost 2nd Companion (Changeling: The Lost 2nd) W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th) TC: Aeon Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aeon) Tales of Good Dogs – Pugmire Fiction Anthology (Pugmire) Indexing ART DIRECTION FROM MIKE CHANEY! In Art Direction Contagion Chronicle – Sent out contracts. Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Hunter: The Vigil 2e Ex3 Lunars – Contracted. TCfBtS!: Heroic Land Dwellers Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed Ex3 Monthly Stuff Trinity RMCs – Finals in. Cults of the Blood God (KS) – Mark finals rolling in. Chicago Folio – Finals rolling in. Mummy 2 (KS) – Ready for KS. City of the Towered Tombs – Contracted. Let the Streets Run Red – Figuring out probable page count. CtL Oak Ash and Thorn – Awaiting artnotes. Scion Mythical Denizens Deviant Trinity Continuum Aeon Jumpstart In Layout They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Template created… system chapter done. Trinity Continuum Aeon: Distant Worlds VtR Spilled Blood Geist 2e Screen – Putting it together. Pirates of Pugmire Proofing M20 Book of the Fallen – At WW for final approval. Memento Mori Dark Eras 2 – First dev pass ready to go back to designer. At Press Trinity Core Screen – At Studio2 – shipping to backers. TC Aeon Screen – At Studio2 – shipping to backers. Trinity: In Media Res – PoD proofs coming. Trinity Core – At Studio2 – shipping to backers. Trinity Aeon – At Studio2 – shipping to backers. V5: Chicago – Printing. Aeon Aexpansion – PoD proofs ordered. W20 Art Book – On sale next week. W20 Auspice Gift Cards deck – Backer PDF out to backers, PoD proofs ordered. Geist 2e (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition) – Getting print files ready. DR:E – Getting print files ready. DRE Screen – Getting print files prepped. C20 Cup of Dreams – Backer PDF with backers. DR:E Threat Guide – Helnau’s Guide to Wasteland Beasties – PDF out to backers. Today’s Reason to Celebrate! Eight years ago, I let the ever-optimistic Impish Ian Watson know that Onyx Path had purchased the Trinity IP from White Wolf/CCP. And that we were going to bring it back and he was going to be as involved as he wanted, after all his years of keeping the flame lit. Today, Ian received his KS copies of the Trinity Continuum Core, and Trinity Continuum: Aeon. Took longer than either of us expected, but the dream is now real!
  2. I might be interested in this! Can you tell us all a bit more about the campaign?
  3. Well, the thing I was worried about has come to pass; my full-time studies are actually more than full time, with them demanding a lot of extracurricular work per course. Combine this with me trying to get a writing pitch together, and something has to give. So much as I'm sad to do it, I think this game has to go on hold, for at least the next eight months if not longer. Since that's a long hiatus, if anyone wants to treat it as deceased, I wouldn't blame you one bit. Thanks to everyone for your interest!
  4. "Long story," said Eugene, nodding to each in turn - as much as he could, given the restrictive nature of the suit. "You mentioned needing an exoframe. How about we head into the town that we got the distress call from, and we can tell you all about ourselves - and perhaps figure out what we can do for each other." After pausing for a while to ensure that the xiticix weren't about to swarm back for a counteroffensive, and ensuring that anything volatile in the stash of gear that was embedded in the hive's walls was properly handled, the group headed back to town. Tamika and Glitter Girl hugged, both happy to be alive; Adam and his charge made themselves scarce, muttering something about needing to move on. Simon limped out to meet the group, eyebrow raised at the new additions, but not getting ready to draw down just yet - especially with a Glitter Boy in tow. Eugene declined to disembark from the Glitter Boy, but the others were quite happy to indulge in the booze that Grep helpfully brought out into the street. Ianoko and Xelphina exchanged a look of mutual empathy; the Beef Warrior went into the slightly fuzzy torpor that was common for a juicer on downtime; the ley line walker just drank to get their strength back. The dog soldier Dawn pulled off her helmet and put on a bright purple wig that clipped into place from some kind of subdermal attachment system in her skull; off any odd glances, she just said she liked to look pretty. Eugene began, once everyone was settled. "In war, there are the winners, there are the losers, and then, there are the survivors. The Tomorrow Legion is the third category. "We are people who've taken a look at the way that the winds are blowing in North America, and we don't like what we see, and we've decided to do something about it. Our leadership includes Lord Coake of the cyber-knights - " Eugene nodded towards Dawn. "As well as the scholar Erin Tarn, and many of the political leaders of more thoughtful, progressive communities, such as Lazlo. We've taken a look at the war between Tolkeen and the Coalition, and the other war brewing between the Federation and the Coalition, and we're endeavoring to help anyone potentially caught in the crossfire - and perhaps, head off the fight altogether. "Our members come from all walks of life - magicians, psionicists, pilots, soldiers, scholars, humans, mutants, d-bees and dragons. Our credo is that there's a better way to live than the fascism and bigotry of the Coalition's imperialism, or the blood sacrifices and horrors of the Federation's manatocracy. And seeing as how you are situated very close to both of these great powers, if a war does come you'll be in the thick of it. I'm sure you'd like to have some protectors - " Eugene waved towards Phere, Squidge, Fi and BB. "And they in turn would like some institutional and logistical support. We, in turn, would like a presence in the region as well. "If you're interested, we can talk more. Our chief condition is that we need to be tolerant of other's differences, as long as those differences don't involve intolerance in and of themselves, and attempt to understand how the world impacts us all differently, and how best to form a solidarity that protects us all and allows us to live with dignity in this world." "Or as an ol' pre-cataclysm show would say: infinite diversity in infinite combinations." Dawn smiled, and held up a furry hand in a difficult-looking hand gesture. Eugene looked a little embarrassed, but didn't dispute the statement.
  5. The SAMAS squadron was quiet for long, tense moments - with the reinforcements, the battle was looking far less one-sided, though still not a sure thing. Finally, the SAMAS commander spoke. "Don't let us see you again, or we might forget to forget you were here." The warning delivers, the squadron turned its jets upwards, and took off, returning to whatever forward operating base they came from. The others approached, they ley line walker still looking drained, supported by the d'norr and the juicer. The pilot of the glitter boy paused, not too far from the group, and a fuzzy holo-projection of his face appeared in front of him. He was what they used to call African-American, with the interface HUD covering the upper half of his face, even in hologram. The dog boy walked forward, and now the group could see that she was really a dog girl - with some kind of unusual psychic signature that tickled Phere's senses. The dog girl and Phere locked eyes, and there was no doubt in both Phere's mind and Squidge's that she was ex-Coalition as well. As for the Glitter Boy itself, it was unquestionably pre-Cataclysm technology, and barring a few nicks and scratches it still shone with all the colors of a rainbow. "You have us pegged, ma'am," said the holographic projection of the glitter boy pilot. "We're with the Tomorrow Legion. It looks like you took care of the hive for us, though, so we're at a bit of a loss..." "Could give 'em the pitch," said the dog girl. "Hmmm." The pilot thought it over, then nodded. "How about we introduce ourselves. I'm Eugene, this young fuzzy lady is Dawn, and to your right is Xelphina, Nystri The Magnificent, and the Beef Warrior." He pointed to the d'norr, the mage, and the juicer in turn. "We're essentially a response team, helping out places that need protection from nightmarish forces both human and inhuman, which is why we responded to your general distress call. Now, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourselves...?"
  6. Things are okay. I just have an informal rule of "wait for half or more of the players to post before progressing the game." But since it's been brought up: do folks want me to continue? Bearing in mind I am heading into full-time school in the fall, so if I have to cut back on any games, I'd as soon as cut back on the ones not seeing much activity.
  7. The pilot of the Super SAMAS was almost visibly disgusted as Phere moved in front of Tamika. "You really want to die for a fuckin' d-bee, deserter?" From the tone of his voice, all doubts as to whether or not the pilot was Coalition - or at least a strong sympathizer - evaporated. "I dunno, squad. Hive doesn't look fully destroyed to me. I figure we ought to call in a death's head, carpet bomb the area with plasma bombs. If that town over there gets destroyed, well, shit happens - " The SAMAS was cut off as a sonic boom washed out over the field - literally washed over it, the crops swaying from the noise. All of the SAMAS immediately turned in the direction it came from - which was towards the ley line. Half a mile away, glinting in the sun, the group could make out the telltale visual profile of a glitter boy, racking its boom gun with one hand while its other was holding a more conventional heavy rifle. The SAMAS were all uninjured - either the pilot had missed, or wasn't aiming at anything. Its gun racked, it began to advance. The group could make out others advancing with it as well - some kind of d-bee with horns similar to Ianoko's, a human spellcaster in telltale ley line walker armor, what looked like a juicer, and what looked like a Coalition dog soldier. The d-bee and the juicer were supporting the ley line walker, who looked ready to collapse in exhaustion, but they all looked ready for a fight. The Glitter Boy pilot went on loudspeaker - his voice was deep and self-assured. "Sorry. My finger slipped. I agree with that woman's advice, and I suggest our friendly neighborhood SAMAS squadron take it."
  8. As the team made their way back the way they came, the hive suddenly went active again, on high alert. The group had to flatten themselves against the walls to avoid the warriors and hunters buzzing past, costing them precious seconds. For a heart-stopping moment, Squidge thought her telepathic fog had slipped, but BB picked up the reason why - and as soon as radios were turned on, the group found out why. "... say again, this is SAMAS patrol Echo-Niner, squad actual to command. We have eyes on the area where the big flash of light came from and can confirm some d-bee thing made it through a rift. Will circle around to confirm." The team made their way towards the exit, crawling outside the hive - the last of them all but pushed aside by a Xiticix warrior buzzing into the air. They could see a SAMAS patrol - at least a dozen strong - circling up above. The radio transmission continued. "This is Echo-Niner, we have eyes on sai tick - say ti - however you pronounce it, those damn bug things! Requesting immediate carpet bombing of this area - " He was cut off as the improvised explosives detonated, cracking the hive in half and killing the queen instantly. Squidge and Phere could sense its death scream, that slight uptick of psychic energy before a powerful mystical being was taken out of the world. The cloaking field had fallen short, but it didn't matter - between the team's guns and powers for those still close to the hive, and the thunder of railguns, plasma projectors and mini-missiles in the sky above, the bugs were cut to pieces. Bug viscera rained down on them as the firing finally ended, and then the group saw the SAMAS patrol circling them from above - as one of them broke off, landing not too far from them. It was a Super SAMAS pilot, encased in what detractors and sympathizers alike nicknamed "The Grinning Demon" after its distinctive skull-shaped helmet. The pilot turned on his loudspeaker so that they could all hear - it was the same voice as from the radio. He looked them over, and spent a long time staring at Phere and Squidge, and their painted-over but still recognizable armor sets from the war. The visor then turned towards Tamika, and one of the shoulder plasma projectors moved with it, pointing at Tamika. "Well, well," he said. "What have we here."
  9. Firanis located something that could be of use - a corroded SAMAS suit, one of the older models, that looked like it still had both mini-missiles loaded. A little gruntwork from BB and it was torn free from the wall, and with that out of the way, setting them to detonate would be easy - and Firanis also spotted a good crevasse to stuff it into, that would rip through the queen and the hive, preserving a good chunk of their gains. All they had to decide was how much time they wanted to give the bomb - too long, and the risk of discovery would be greater; too little and they'd never get clear going back the way they came. Of course, if they could blast their way out of the hive, that wouldn't be a problem... though it would certainly set off every bug in the hive surrounding them.
  10. "I think she's eating it," said Tamika, with some disgust. "I think this is part of the xenoforming process - they feed off a planet's magical fields and convert it into... whatever they use to build with and convert things with, that purple stuff. I don't think it's protecting her, though... it's more like a meal than a suit of armor."
  11. Firanis found quite a number of magical trinkets, artifacts, talismans and medallions on the mage, as well as a few notes - stuck together with xiticix resin and requiring BB to pry the book free from the wall. Tamika readied her frozen shotgun in case the rummaging caused the xiticix to attack. "Mages, especially Federation ones, can be sticklers about techniques they've developed. There's a good chance he's the only one who knows." She didn't sound confident, and lamely added, "I think weapons of mass destruction are bad, for the record, whether they open rifts or just make the area radioactive for ten thousand years." Having gotten all they could from the embedded mage, the group took their final turn, and emerged into the queen's domain. The queen was being attended by several drones, as well as a half-a-dozen warrior-caste guards. She had a bulbous membrane around her abdomen, where the eggs were laid from, that was also glowing with a soft purple energy - the faint outlines of what looked like a sword were inside of her. She was secreting some kind of purple mucus - possibly important to the xenoforming process - and it didn't take a large intuitive leap to say that she was feeding off the magic in the sword in her belly to do it. Embedded in the walls was evidence of other, brave - or at least, foolhardy - defenders of Earth that had fallen, their equipment embedded in the walls of the hive. Some standard-issue Wilk's and Northern Gun gear, and what looked like a rickety exoframe for a power armor suit, make unknown. There would be quite a bit of credits in it for them, if they killed the queen and didn't completely obliterate the hive. While the queen was large, she wasn't formidable - there were easily a dozen vulnerable points on her, and striking any one of them would ensure she'd never lay another egg at the least, and would more likely be stone dead. The problem was what to do afterwards, because killing the queen was likely to finally alert the hive as to their presence, precautions or no precautions.
  12. "Aheh. Yes. Yes, it was Tolkeen, wasn't it. No, I knew of him, more than anything. I knew of the dark things they proclaimed they had to do to prevent the fall, and I knew that the fall happened regardless. And all of us devils had nowhere to go. Well, not at first." He coughed, and a little blood dribbled out the sides of the mask. "Oh, if you're about to reach for a medical kit or a healing spell, don't bother. My own magic is currently making sure that my heart stopping isn't as big an issue as it should be, but sooner or later they'll figure out I'm here and extract whatever magic they can. Should have let go long ago, but I wanted to see it. Not many see the inside of a xiticix hive." He rolled his head slightly to look at the others. "Clever of you to figure out how." He coughed again, and there was more blood. "Doesn't matter. The spell works, albeit, not... haha, not as cleanly for the mage casting it as it should be. The Federation's going to love it. Dropping a xiticix hive out of any nearby ley line will do wonders for our reputation. Let the Coalition spend their soldiers and their silly little guns mopping it up. Might lose a few mages, but one mage for an outpost is exactly the kind of arcane calculus they'll love." He chuckled darkly. "They should name it after me. I demand that they - that..." The mage slumped, and spoke no more.
  13. With care, the adventurers made their way inside the hive. Being inside was eerie - the group had plenty of light, and it was fortunate, because nothing inside was built for a creature that relied on eyes. There were some allowances for those that couldn't fly, but not many - tunnels took strange twists and turns and occasionally, the group wound up doubling back. Squidge felt the onset of a slight headache, while Firanis had to occasionally smack the side of the white noise generator. But they made it in far enough that they were reasonably sure that one more turn would take them to the queen's chamber - and with the queen out of action, the xiticix's ability to breed would be nullified. However, a sight at the turn towards the tunnel stopped the group dead - someone, apparently a mage, bedecked in rune-carved composite plate, was somehow embedded in the wall, in what felt like a combination of merging and teleportational accident. Around the edges of the fusion, the group could see the beginnings of the xenomorphing process that the xiticix used to change their environment. The mage himself was semi-conscious, his face hidden behind a ley line walker's mask. He looked up at the approaching group. "Well, well," he said, weakly. His head rolled to the side, looking at Adam (assuming Adam was present.) "Well, well."
  14. As soon as Squidge found the right frequency, the xiticix settled down somewhat. They were agitated - the death-scent still hung in the air - but the various tricks they'd pulled to blind them had paid off. Instead, they began to fan out in a general search pattern, looking for prey that was right under their noses. As they did, the ports and cracks that they used to enter and exit the hive became apparent, as the hunter and warrior bugs flew into and out of them, and the lowly land drones scurried through. It'd take some flight, some climbing, or some athletic skill to get far enough up the side of the hive to access one of the ports, but once inside, finding and killing the queen should be relatively easy...
  15. As the final tweaks on the white noise generator were started, and as Phere's final distrubtion of xiticix scent glands was completed, insectile forms began creeping out of the hive's exit points, their antennae twitching in the air. "Fi..." said Tamika, nervously, as Firanis pushed the button. Instantly, the xiticix looked confused. They took to the air in an erratic pattern, but that pattern was still a pattern. Phere could sense the after-impression of their telekinetic weapons as they were armed. "Squidge..." said Tamika, still nervously, as the catgirl looked to the psychic. "Can you, you know...?"
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