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Onyx Path: ULLAAA!!! [Monday Meeting Notes]


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Martians!

In brainstorming what we were calling the Trinity Continuum Victorian Game, it was discovered that a bunch of us were fans of the epic Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds musical (I still have the album around here somewhere), and Matthew proposed that a key element of the game world should be the famous initial invasion of Earth by Mars and the subsequent reactions of the various organizations, protagonists, and antagonists, that make up the setting.

He punctuated this with a resounding “Ulla!”, the roar of the Martians in the musical, and we were rolling! I mean, with an appeal like that, how could I say no?

(If you want to hear a very good version of just the sound, there’s a vid on YouTube titled “Ulla SFX” that we like here at Aether Central Investigations)

Flash-forward several years, and the game, now-named Trinity Continuum: Aether has been approved by Kickstarter as our next KS campaign next week at 2pm EDT on the 19th!

(I should say, after all the hullabaloo that surrounded our last crowdfunding project, that our approval by KS was extremely rapid. We were in fact ready for another series of issues and had alternate plans at the ready, but their response was timely and so…here we go again!)

Of course, as you can tell if you’ve been reading our TC: Aether Journal teasers – the second one went up last week here: http://theonyxpath.com/ii-what-fear-we-flame/ – and look at the above cover illustration, there is a LOT more going on in the book that’s cool beyond the Martians!

After all, the tagline is “Fear and Curiosity in the Victorian Era” – and there’s a lot of both happening in TC: Aether, from both our real history and from the fictional worlds that so many have enjoyed for so long. In TC: Aether, fiction may, in fact, BE fact!

In an upcoming MMN blog, I’ll dissect the cover art and show some of the sketches we used to get there, but until then, the easiest way to discover what’s going on is to go to our Pre-Kickstarter page and sign up to be informed when it goes live, here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/trinity-continuum-aether-tabletop-roleplaying-game

Then when it does, back the project. Even for a minimum pledge you’ll receive the full text throughout the campaign – and you’ll be able to see for yourself if it suits your fancy!

We have many more surprises coming for TC: Aether – in fact, Matthew is shooting an Actual Play just this week that should blow people away!

So consider riding the steam-powered train to the Trinity Continuum: Aether KS – there’s a week to get you and all your friends on board!

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Scion PG: Saints and Monsters art by Pat McEvoy

Whew, enough tortured similes and metaphors, here’s the rest of the notes!

You might note that the art above our header up there, and also further down in this section is all from the Scion Players Guide: Saints and Monsters book, the Advance PDF of which is going on sale on DTRPG this Wednesday. Just wanted to point out the added part of the name of this long-awaited book. Basically, once we realized that everybody in its creation seemed to be informally treating it as the Scion PG – I said: why not make it formal! And so it was, and it was good.

Last weekend, a bunch of our gang participated once again in the Virtual Horror Con, with a couple of panels and a couple of games that folks really loved! Which is great to hear, and we hope that if you attended you enjoyed the VHC as well. And if not, maybe you’ll be interested next year now that you know how well it went.

In fact, here are our Terrifically Talented Trio with their impressions:

Dixie:

I had a lot of fun, as usual! I moderated our “Onyx Path Horror Games” panel, where we talked a lot about our games but also about turning the tone up and down in horror in general. It’s always fun to share a virtual room with Eddy, D, and Monica as well! Though I wasn’t in it, Neall Raemonn Price’s liveplay of Trinity Continuum: Assassins was really fun to watch, and extra fun for me as I made the characters the streamers so wonderfully brought to life! Our They Came From! panel on Sunday was likewise fun but mostly very informative, as we spoke about all the current and upcoming books for that line, as well as our collaboration with MST3K. All in all, a good weekend!

Eddy:

Like with the past couple of years, Virtual Horror Con was a lot of fun! I think it was a bit more sedate this time around, but I suspect some of that is because virtual conventions aren’t as novel as they were in 2020. But the panels I sat on were a lot of fun as always!

Matthew:

My experience with Virtual Horror Con was a lot of fun! I participated in a very fun They Came From panel (which was hopefully informative for all the listeners/viewers) and also ran the most ludicrous They Came from Camp Murder Lake! game yet, with the spirit of funk making an appearance. The characters escaped the sanatorium one hour of game time too early, formed a punk-funk fusion band and won over a dive bar of crusty bikers, stole a James Brown lookalike’s van, broke up a cottaging site, and ended up hosting a punk festival to drive out the funk. Everything you’d hope for, really!

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Scion PG: Saints and Monsters art by Pat McEvoy

July continues to be the month to celebrate the many, many game lines that comprise the Chronicles of Darkness!

Keep an eye out on our schedules below for CofD-focused games, and on the Onyx Pathcast, where they are going through character creation for many of the CofD games – last week was Eddy creating a Mummy: The Curse 2e character, and this Friday all three of our hosts will be creating Deviants (from the game).

If you’ve ever wondered about the steps for creating a CofD character, just how to do it, these are great listens!

Of course, our 10th Anniversary Celebration Sales continue this month for CofD – with this week featuring 90% discounts on Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening PDFs on DTRPG! We’ve had a couple of weird hiccups like the entire sale turning off briefly, etc., but those have been fixed – for now.

One issue that we can’t actually fix is that of getting to the sales on mobile. There are just some mobile devices that don’t interface with DTRPG right now – so please try accessing the site and the sale on a different device if you run into that problem.

One other sale of note is barrelling down on us like a freight train – Xmas in July is coming soon on DTRPG – and it’s huuuge! Our CofD books are not part of that sale, but just about everything else we have is included! It’s a-comin’!

Because it was requested in last week’s Comments section of this very blog, I’d like to end with some thoughts on the “Blue Book” projects for CofD. So scooch closer, kids…

Way back when I was at the original White Wolf, and the decision had been made to end the original World of Darkness, we wanted to create a New World of Darkness. This was very strongly driven by our creative interest in exploring horror with all the knowledge we’d gained over the years, as well as the company’s need to have a new line of games to sell.

Many wild ideas were generated, let me tell you, and discussed and discussed, OH let me tell you, and one of them was that of creating a “core book” that could be used with all of the “monster-name” books. A book of the basic rules they all needed, and then the monster books could contain just what was needed to play that particular supernatural player-type.

This was a way, we reasoned, to keep the page count of these core books at a reasonable and non-intimidating size. We were very concerned about accessibility for new players with this New World of Darkness. One of things we had heard repeatedly was how the old WoD had so many books and such dense mythology, and how the books kept getting bigger and more expensive to keep up with. (And a bunch of other things, but these are the ones germane to this).

But we didn’t want to have the nWoD core book be just a collection of tables and charts; we still wanted atmosphere and the idea that this scary world was weird and terrifying even before you added in all the supernatural NPCs and the characters that players created. So that was what Ken Cliffe, as developer of the book, and I, as art director and graphic designer, aimed for. The fiction and the examples were masterfully written to suggest a sweeping canvas of horror around (and beyond) the world, and I experimented with a lot of design styles and font use that still seem to resonate in games today.

Of course, the illustrations – many created by illustrators I’d never worked with before – also established glimpses of a shadowy world that was just at the corner of your eye, and was creepy as hell. In fact, one of my most favorite ones was from a new artist to me, Sam Araya, who has gone on to do so many astounding illustrations for us. This one though, was just of a wheelchair so perfectly and stylishly illustrated and composed that it suggested something awful without saying what it was.

Unnerving.

That was what we went for, and apparently, it worked. The positive responses (and sales) of that core nWoD rulebook – called the Blue Book because of the tones used in the cover illustration of a shadowy figure on a (probably) deserted street – were so overwhelming that we added other projects that connected to the core book rather than to one of the monster game lines.

As old WW ceased publishing and over a decade ago when we at Onyx Path took up the license to continue creating the game lines, we continued to find ways to be inspired by and build on the ideas presented in those Blue Books. The God Machine fiction bit alone seemed to captivate many fans and creators, and was woven into all sorts of new projects.

Now with our 2e books, rechristened as the Chronicles of Darkness, we recombined the core rules into the main monster-line books, because the market needs of the books had changed in the intervening years, but we still kept a core book for CofD. And it continues to be one of our best sellers.

It’s almost like folks like it when we create horror settings in these:

TEN YEARS, MANY WORLDS, ONE PATH!


BLURBS!


KICKSTARTER/CROWDFUNDING!

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Trinity Continuum: Aether will go live on Kickstarter next Tuesday, July 19th, at 2pm EDT!

Sign up here to be notified when it goes live!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/trinity-continuum-aether-tabletop-roleplaying-game

For some of our previous backers, the indominable James sent out a small peek into what TC: Aether is about. And now you can see it as well!

Call it what it was: hubris, arrogance, a collective delusion of grandeur… We thought we were the only beings in this universe and that with our grand intellect and glorious empires we were the best humanity would ever be.

And then came Aether.

And along with Aether came mental expansion, form mutation, matter warping, time manipulation, and the discovery of new worlds, new peoples, new and terrifying possibilities.

And with Aether came the doom of humankind. Aether brought the Martians to our world, and the unravelling of the reality we knew.

Aether is a full rule and setting expansion for the Trinity Continuum line of games, set in the year 1895, at a time when humanity has conquered its own world, and now seeks to conquer the limitations imposed on us by the laws of all the sciences known to our kind. Inside, you will find:

  • A complete Victorian-era setting and Paths for characters to embark upon within it.
  • Aether powers allowing you to manipulate fate, space, time, and even your own bodies in wondrous and horrifying ways.
  • Societies both lawful and rogue, looking to leave their imprint on the world, from those in league with Mina Harker to those affiliated with Dr. Jekyll and Moriarty.
  • Storyguide advice, secrets, hooks, and plots, to enable you to start your game of Aether off with a bang.

Onyx Path Media!

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This week:

Dixie teaches Matthew and Eddy about Deviant: The Renegades, and they all make characters!

As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/


Onyx Path Media now has its own blog on Tuesdays! We’ll continue posting our highlight of the week here, but Tuesday will be the day to visit if you want to catch up on actual plays, interviews, deep dives, and other assorted Onyx Path media!

Please check out our attached media schedule for the impressive number of videos on our Twitch channel this week! In particular, keep those eyes open for our Storypath Showcase, where we give an excellent profile of our various Storypath games and how to play them!

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK:

As part of Virtual Horror Con our very own Neall Raemonn Price ran Trinity Continuum: Assassins on the Carrion Comfort Studios Twitch channel! Check it out here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1527178733

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The Onyx Path News goes live every single week to discuss recent and upcoming releases, dive into some of our most anticipated books, and answer questions from the audience. You can find it on our YouTube channel (click the bell to be informed when we go live!) but if you missed the last episode, here it is: https://youtu.be/8oNzY3RQXXg


Virtual Tabletop!

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The Scion: Origin Compendium is now available on Roll20!

https://marketplace.roll20.net/browse/compendiumexpansion/12522/scion-second-edition-book-one-origin

It’s native to Roll20, so not for use elsewhere, but perfect for starting your Roll20 Scion game – plus, the official Origin & Hero sheets are already available!

And the first of our official sheets designed for Roll20 are now available!

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The first of our official sheets designed for Foundry VTTis now available!

Direct Link: https://foundryvtt.com

As they say: “Foundry Virtual Tabletop is a self-hosted roleplaying platform with support for hundreds of game systems with modern features and a developer-friendly API. Foundry VTT is a one-time purchase where your players connect for free using a web browser.”

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More VTT offerings and projects will be arriving this year!

A Quantum Leap (a Trinity Continuum: Jumpstart),The Adventures of Teen Tomorrow (a Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Jumpstart),andQuantum Entanglement (a Trinity Continuum: Aeon Jumpstart) are all on Astral TableTop.

Also on Astral TableTop is the Secret of Vinsen’s Tomb for Realms of Pugmire!

Check out Astral TableTop for two free projects: Scion 2E: A Light Extinguished and Scarred Lands: Gauntlet of Spiragos and this Dagger of Spiragos module for sale: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/336406/Dagger-of-Spiragos-5e–Astral-VTT

On DrivethruRPG, here is the main filter for all of our current VTT content:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4261/Onyx-Path-Publishing?filters=0_0_0_45317_0

A few highlights of our platform agnostic DTRPG content:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/309127/Scarred-Lands-Creature-Collection-VTT-Token-Pack
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/317690/Trinity-Continuum-Hunt-for-the-Red-Widow-VTT
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/340327/Trinity-Continuum-Aeon-VTT-Tokens
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/311578/Scarred-Lands-VTT-Separation-Anxiety
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/311580/Scion-2e-VTT-Origin-Signature-Tokens
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/311579/Scion-2e-VTT-Hero-Signature-Tokens


Our Sales Partners!

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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!

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Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books, dice, and screens? Try this link! http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Onyx-Path-Publishing/

Select CofD books & screens 50-75% off at IPR:
https://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Deals-and-Specials/

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As always, you can find Onyx Path’s titles in PDF and PoD versions at DriveThruRPG.com!

The Chronicles of Darkness 90% off Onyx Path 10th Anniversary Celebration Sale runs all through June!

Our Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening PDFs are 90% Off until Sunday the 17th:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4261/Onyx-Path-Publishing/subcategory/8329_8592/Werewolf-The-Forsaken-2nd-Edition

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4261/Onyx-Path-Publishing/subcategory/8329_20639/Mage-The-Awakening-2nd-Edition


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).

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Check out the Trinity Continuum: Aeon novellas Dawn and Meridian in the Kindle store!


On Sale This Week!

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The Advance PDF for the Scion Players Guide: Saints and Monsters will go live Wednesday in PDF on DTRPG!

Discover what lurks in the hidden corners of myth.

There is more to The World than the children of the Gods — more than Heroes and Demigods. Legends speak of stranger things; of mortals who challenge the very Gods themselves, or who see Fate’s invisible workings laid bare; of creatures of every kith and kind who still dwell, here and there, alongside humanity; of sorcerers who tamper with things they should not, tempting the ire of the Gods with their hubris; and of the children of the Titans, whose inhuman ichor burns away at their very humanity. 

What tales will you tell of such wonders? 

Scion Player’s Guide — Saints & Monsters contains: 

• Two new Callings: Outsider and Shepherd!

• Expanded rules for playing Saints, Prophets, and Denizens!

• Full rules for playing Sorcerers and Titanic Scions!

• Edges, a new character creation system, and new takes on the Storypath system! 


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!

We’ll be doing panels for the online version of Gen Con for early August, and if you’re interested in running or playing our games there, they’ve recently released this link:

https://www.gencon.com/gen-con-online/hosting-events-eo-gmhttps://www.gencon.com/event_registrations/new

Here are the links to our panels:

https://www.gencon.com/events/217051 – What’s Up With Onyx Path?
https://www.gencon.com/events/217052 – Storypath System Q&A
https://www.gencon.com/events/217053 – Onyx Path 5E OGL Games

Tabletop Scotland is due to take place on 27th and 28th August 2022 and will play host to at least four Onyx Pathers running our games and sitting on panels live and there in the room with you! If you’re UK or Europe based, it’s an excellent con to visit and within traveling distance from Edinburgh, which takes flights from a lot of places! Consider paying Tabletop Scotland a visit. https://tabletopscotland.co.uk/


And now, the new project status updates!

Our full list of projects will be available monthly on our blog! We’ll have this month’s roundup later in the week, but for now check out June’s full list report here: http://theonyxpath.com/release-roundup-june-2022/

DEVELOPMENT STATUS FROM ME

Here are the projects that moved to the next stage of production:

Redlines

They Came from Camp Murder Lake! – VTT Adventure

  • Matthew: Soaring into redlines at a rate of knots (because we can’t escape maritime lingo in They Came From world) comes the Funkhouse of Horror!

Final Draft

Scion – Demigod Companion

  • Matthew: I’m really looking forward to seeing the content in this one. Demigod is a fantastic game as it is, and expanding it is a surefire sale for me.

Development

They Came From – They Came from the Danger Zone!

  • Matthew: Flying straight into development comes Danger Zone! With a strong basis in everything Arnie (but also the 1991 action classic Stone Cold), this game will blow up your other RPGs and walk away in slow motion.

Manuscript Approval

Mage: The Awakening – Tome of the Pentacle

  • Dixie: I’m so glad this one has moved over to Paradox for the time being, and I can’t wait to get it through layout. The team did an outstanding job on this book.

TC: Adventure! – Danger Skies! (was Thrilling Tales)

  • Eddy: Huzzah! Our Adventure! stretch goal, in which we turn the radio drama we produced into an adventure, is now ready for review!

Editing

Scion – Scion: God

  • Matthew: Huge credit here to the dynamic duo of Hiromi and Monica, who both knocked this one straight out of the park. Without doubt, my favourite Scion book so far. It handles potentially difficult “high level” play incredibly well.

Trinity Continuum – Tasty Bit- Phoebe Trust (was Psions in the Modern Day)

  • Eddy: This alternate take on psions in the modern day of the Trinity Continuum went through approvals pretty quickly, so now it’s ready for editing!

ART DIRECTION FROM MIKE CHANEY!

In Art Direction

  • W20 Howls of the Apocalypse – KMJ sketches in.
  • SCION God 2e – Dealing with all the artist questions.
  • Legendlore: Legacies of Earth – Sheikman’s art in.

In Layout

  • SCION Masks of Mythos – Should see the added artwork rolling in this week and then layout should wrap up.

Proofing

  • TC Aeon Mission Statements – Logos and Symbology making.
  • DMR VTT – Travis working on that.

Indexing

At Press

  • Scion Demigod – Trad press files at printer.
  • Scion Demigod Screen – Press files at printer.
  • Squeaks in the Deep Screen – Press files at printer.
  • Squeaks in the Deep – Trad press files at printer.
  • Squeaks in the Deep Bookmarks – At KS shipper.
  • Hunter: The Vigil 2e Trad press files at printer.
  • HTV 2 Screen – Press files at printer.
  • Scarred Lands: Dead Man’s Rust – Trad press files at printer.
  • TC: Novas Worldwide – Backer PDF out to KS backers.
  • TC: Aberrant: Terat Novella – PoD proof on the way.
  • Trinity Continuum: Assassins – Awaiting errata input.
  • Down In The Hole – CRC Adventure – PoD proofs ordered.
  • Scion Players Guide: Saints and Monsters – Advance PDF on sale Weds on DTRPG!

Today’s Reason to Celebrate!

In 1804 – A duel occurs in which the Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr mortally wounds former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. There’s some question as to just what this event may have done to the development of the very young country of the USA; speculation has been even more rampant since the success of Hamilton on Broadway. It’s certainly a good start on alternative history such as what we love to play around with in our TTRPGs!
Also, today is our good friend Meredith Gerber’s birthday! Yay!

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