Ab-solutely a Cover! [Monday Meeting Notes]

Monday Meeting, News

Today’s blog is going to be a bit different. It’s one of the rare Mondays we aren’t holding our weekly meeting, in that it’s the Labor Day holiday here in the US and a bunch of us are all over the place taking care of everything from finishing up conventions to driving a kid back to college.

So, while we still have our updates and all that, I don’t have a meeting’s worth of notes to share with you in some mutated form. Instead, I thought I’d selfishly take the opportunity to talk about one of my processes; specifically, the process I go through to design the look of one of our game line’s cover treatments.

In this case, I’m talking about the cover for Trinity Continuum: Aberrant.

To do that, we need to go back to when I was designing the overall look of the entire Trinity Continuum line. Sitting down and considering what direction to go with it, I made the a call to make sure the covers let folks know that they were part of a series, rather than the direction of the original editions where I wanted each core book to reflect the genre the game was designed to emulate.

I’m talking about the funky and unique plastic binding of Trinity (Aeon), the graphic novel look of the Aberrant cover, and the pseudo-distressed look of an old pulp magazine for Adventure!.

I think we did a pretty nice job on them way back when, but now that we are emphasizing the fact that these game lines exist in a Trinity Continuum, I was looking for a way that the cover treatments would also relay that information.

A timeline sort of feel – something that could be read as moments along the Continuum – was what I was looking for, but my first idea, a single illustration that we’d cut sections out of for each main book, just wouldn’t work as intended. After all, we expect to add all sorts of new time periods and genres, so how could those be worked into a single illustration before we even could know which ones we were doing?

Instead, what if each point on the timeline that represented a new slice of the Continuum was represented by a vertical illustration that collaged together the high points of that setting? I could picture them springing up all along the timeline, with maybe the “tent pole” game settings of the Trinity Continuum: Core, TC: Adventure!, TC: Aberrant, and TC: Aeon, getting the largest and most involved images for their covers, and other books having treatments that were as involved as the books warranted.

Something like this:

That would give us an underlying structure that tied into the Continuum concept – and it is always a good thing to try and put new concepts into some sort of visual design that reinforces and even explains that new concept – yet not have a design that would constrict our ideas and cover visuals.

Here’s what the TC: Core and TC: Aeon covers look like:

Now for TC: Aberrant, I was able to start with continuing the structure set up with the previous covers, and I had the original edition’s collage cover by the awesome Tom Fleming to draw imagery from to give us the quite accurate sense of a connection between the two editions. So things like a cityscape at the bottom, and making sure we got a T2M logo somewhere in it, were natural choices for imagery.

Which scenes, which head-shots, and which full figures to be featured were a different matter entirely. A lot depended on just what we wanted this edition to have as themes, or basically, what kind of moments and characters best show off the setting folks will find past the cover?

For the biggest, focal-point full-body figures: we’d talked about the changes to The Fireman’s story, so I knew he was still an inspirational figure – maybe even moreso in this edition. I even played around with having the central image be his statue, but decided on keeping the focus on the living hero.

Divas Mal, of course, needed to be in a position of prominence, and I wanted the swirl of his cloak to talk about one of our most iconic characters also being a comic book character. Around him, the leading figures in his movement, since Mal was still a messianic figure that movements coalesced around in this edition.

Some rough sketches along the way to the cover design.

Then between them, another iconic and powerful character, Antaeus – even before we knew the lead-in webcomic would feature him. Smaller figures would run the gamut of the various kinds of Novas – mercenary Elites, celebs in the public eye, T2M members, etc. I also wanted a wide range of physical types.

Some head-shot characters as a call back to the first edition cover, and to break up the figures on a visual level. I knew Matthew and Eddy were anxiously awaiting a chance to pitch a supplement detailing the Nova wrestlers that featured way to prominently in first edition (IMHO), so Lance Stryker reprises his head-shot, along with the iconic Cestus Pax to reassure long-time fans that the hero you love to hate was still in there. (Especially since Ian Watson had already made some strong changes to the character).

Just like on the previous two book covers, the three characters above the cityscape are new ones, but again, I was pushing to hit some archetypes and expand some physical types. Plus, we had discussed a long time back that “inventor” type characters would be able to go all Tony Stark, so a powered-suit character needed to be on there to suggest that change in this edition.

For iconic scenes, I started with the Galatea explosion, and the attack on the Lincoln Memorial by Geryon. Both of those have also been moments from which a lot of the further events of the setting sprung. Then a few more, like a T2M rescue just to get the team into the cover a tad bit more, as even tweaked, I know they were still a great entry point for lots of folks coming to TC: Aberrant already aware of the idea of superhero teams.

Because, even with all that pre-planning, there were still tweaks to be made. The biggest came late in the actual illustrating when I was reminded that in this edition’s continuity Slider isn’t murdered. I’d designed the cover before the writing was done, and forgotten I’d included the Slider assassination as one of the cover moments. Whoops! We had to get that fixed even later than Mirthful Mike’s cover mock-up for the Kickstarter.

And please, lest you think this whole blog is me suggesting the covers are all a RichT production of a RichT idea, directed by and starring RichT, let me be clear that most of my efforts end by handing off my sketches to Mirthful Mike Chaney, who not only art directs the cover illustrations based on the sketches, but follows up on the illustrator’s versions and my notes on them, and then makes the illustrations sing by how he has done the graphic design for the covers.

Fantastic artist Shen Fei, who has illustrated the covers for all three books so far, has so far blown away and improved my ideas by a quantum level – and I expect that TC: Adventure! will also be for more beautiful than I imagined as I sketched it out! (And I can imagine a fair bit of beautiful.)

So, that’s pretty much it for this week. Just a little peak behind the scenes on how we do the voodoo that we do so well in order to illuminate our:

Many Worlds, One Path!


BLURBS!


Kickstarter!

Keep an eye out in this space as well as on our social media for the Deviant: The Renegades Kickstarter that will be launching later this month!


Onyx Path Media!

This Friday’s Onyx Pathcast features recordings from GenCon!
Go to https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/ or to your favorite podcast venue!

The Onyx Path News show went out live today, with talk of Vampire, Werewolf, Chronicles of Darkness, They Came From Beneath the Sea!, Dystopia Rising: Evolution, and all kinds of other games, along with lots of meandering nonsense from Matthew! https://youtu.be/ZVmX1n_54Fc

Our Twitch channel has a bumper crop of content coming up this week, with almost every day populated with a show! There’s Scion, Scarred Lands, Vampire, and more! Check us out and give us a follow on www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath

Here’s a special treat for fans of Mage: The Awakening! Occultists Anonymous have four new episodes for you right here as follows:

Episode 37: Forging Futures With Atratus still within her soul and tensions running a little high, Wyrd and Songbird split the party. Plans are made for the future of the cabal and the individual mages.
https://youtu.be/ay54wbYhs7Y

Episode 38: In the Wings Wyrd the Seer and Songbird work to restore a wounded Hallow. Atratus experiments with the new strength of her Matter Arcana.
https://youtu.be/ZsMa26FER4g

Episode 39: Lady of the Lake Wyrd the Seer delves into her Oneiros to confront the conflicts within her own soul. Songbird prepares for his UFC fight. Atratus speaks with her dead brother.
https://youtu.be/AD2UTOzWSq8

Episode 40: He’s Back Acanthis, the fighter formerly known as Songbird, returns to a UFC fight, then the cabal goes to Jimmy “Smalls” Patinko’s place for a party. Enjoying the nightlife in New York City…
https://youtu.be/yULxjFKo-iE

The Story Told Podcast continue their excellent Dragon-Blooded actual play. As the Dragon-Blooded set out again on the road to Daric, Kai discovers evidence of a small band of travelers attempting to hid their presence. The Dragon-Blooded decide to investigate. https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/

Our Scion: Athens, Ohio actual play is now on our YouTube channel right here https://youtu.be/gQv3599lczo along with promo videos here https://youtu.be/drNIV5G8Vys and here https://youtu.be/9_1X8l1RXaQ Expect more to come in the coming weeks!

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 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!


On Sale This Week!

This Wednesday, Night Horrors: Shunned By the Moon for Werewolf: The Forsaken 2nd will be available in PDF and physical book PoD versions on DTRPG!


Conventions!

Save Against Fear: October 12th – 14th
GameHoleCon: October 31st – November 3rd
PAX Unplugged: December 6th – 8th

2020: Midwinter: January 9th – 12th


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)

  • M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Exalted Essay Collection (Exalted)
  • Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • Creating in the Realms of Pugmire (Realms of Pugmire)

Redlines

  • Tales of Aquatic Terror (They Came From Beneath the Sea!)
  • Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e)
  • Wraith20 Fiction Anthology (Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad (Scarred Lands)
  • Vigil Watch (Scarred Lands)
  • Pirates of Pugmire KS-Added Adventure (Realms of Pugmire)

Second Draft

  • Tales of Good Dogs – Pugmire Fiction Anthology (Pugmire)
  • Dragon-Blooded Novella #1 (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e)
  • Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Titanomachy (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Trinity Continuum Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum Core)
  • Terra Firma (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • Monsters of the Deep (They Came From Beneath the Sea!)

Development

  • M20 The Technocracy Reloaded (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Creatures of the World Bestiary (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars)
  • TC: Aeon Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition)
  • Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)

Manuscript Approval

  • Creatures of the World Bestiary (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • W20 Art Book (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th)
  • Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Scion Companion: Mysteries of the World (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Legendlore core book (Legendlore)

Post-Approval Development

  • Trinity Continuum: Aberrant (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • V5 Chicago Screen (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)
  • Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades)
  • WoD Ghost Hunters (World of Darkness)
  • Scion LARP Rules (Scion)
  • Geist 2e Fiction Anthology (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition)
  • Oak, Ash, and Thorn: Changeling: The Lost 2nd Companion (Changeling: The Lost 2nd)
  • Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)

Editing

  • Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed (Mage: the Awakening Second Edition)
  • Lunars: Fangs at the Gate (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • TC: Aeon Ready-Made Characters (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition)
  • Chicago Folio/Dossier (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)
  • City of the Towered Tombs (Cavaliers of Mars)
  • Let the Streets Run Red (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)
  • W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th)

Post-Editing Development

  • Memento Mori (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e Companion)
  • DR:E Jumpstart (Dystopia Rising: Evolution)
  • Pirates of Pugmire (Realms of Pugmire)

Indexing

  • Geist 2e (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition)

ART DIRECTION FROM MIKE CHANEY!

In Art Direction

  • Contagion Chronicle
  • Trinity Continuum: Aberrant
  • Hunter: The Vigil 2e
  • Ex3 Lunars – Contracted. Sketches rolling in.
  • TCfBtS!: Heroic Land Dwellers
  • Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
  • Ex3 Monthly Stuff
  • DR:E Threat Guide – Helnau’s Guide to Wasteland Beasties – Contracted.
  • Deviant (KS) – Contracted. Putting together KS graphics.
  • Trinity RMCs – Contracted.
  • Cults of the Blood God (KS) – Sending out art notes.
  • Chicago Folio – Art notes going out this week.
  • Mummy 2 (KS) – Got Matthew’s notes.
  • Memento Mori – Small book, throwing it to Drew and Luis.

In Layout

  • They Came from Beneath the Sea!
  • Dark Eras 2 – Files with Aileen
  • Trinity Continuum Aeon: Distant Worlds
  • VtR Spilled Blood – With Josh. Everything is in, so he should be cruising.
  • Aeon Aexpansion – Need to do cover.

Proofing

  • C20 Cup of Dreams
  • Signs of Sorcery – Inputting errata.
  • M20 Book of the Fallen
  • DR: E – Back to Eddy for XXs.
  • DR:E Jumpstart
  • CoM – Witch Queen of the Shadowed Citadel

At Press

  • Dragon Blooded – Shipping wrapping up.
  • Dragon-Blooded Cloth Map – Shipping wrapping up.
  • Dragon-Blooded Screen – Shipping wrapping up.
  • Trinity Core Screen – At Studio2.
  • TC Aeon Screen – At Studio2.
  • Trinity: In Media Res – PoD proofs coming.
  • Trinity Core – Printing. PoD proofs ordered.
  • Trinity Aeon – Printing. PoD proofs ordered.
  • V5: Chicago – Prepping files for press.
  • You Are Not Alone (TC: Aberrant Comic) – PoD proof ordered.
  • Shunned By the Moon – PDF and PoD physical book versions available this Wed. at DTRPG!

Today’s Reason to Celebrate!

Thanks to Impish Ian Watson for posting this: “50 years ago today, two computers at UCLA were connected via a 4.5-meter cable, giving birth to what we call the Internet. Happy birthday, Internet.” Because without the internet, Onyx Path would just not work – we need the connections around the world to do what we do!

  32 comments for “Ab-solutely a Cover! [Monday Meeting Notes]

  1. Chris McGuire
    September 2, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    The sad thing about the Aberrant cover is that Divis Mal is obscured by the title of the game. 🙁

    • richt
      September 2, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      As we said during the KS: not the final cover design.

      • Mateus Luz
        September 2, 2019 at 11:42 pm

        On Aeon it’s sadly covering the aliens and Aberrants. The arts are really nice yet the title covers a good part (as will happen to Aberrant, even if not Mal).

        Any chance to see the original arts (don’t need to be on high definition, maybe just enough to use as a celular wallpaper) from Aeon and TC:Core?

        In my mind I had an image of the illustration as a pillar for the setting, what holds the setting. It’s nice to see how it came to be.

        • richt
          September 3, 2019 at 12:07 am

          I like “pillar for the setting”, that’s a nice metaphor. Yes, I’m sure the art will be available in some way without the logos.

    • Carl
      September 4, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      I was just about to comment on this. Glad someone else also noted it. I would eeally like Divis Mal to be visible.

  2. JetstreamGW
    September 3, 2019 at 12:15 am

    So, can you share anything about what you might’ve changed with the things you commented on, like Slider’s portrayal on the cover?

    I’m assuming it won’t look similar to the mockup due to the comments.

    • richt
      September 3, 2019 at 12:21 am

      It will look very similar to the mock-up, just with some tweaks. The Slider change was the only thing we changed in the illustration after the cover mock-up was made up, and Mirthful Mike is out of town so he couldn’t provide me with the revised art for this blog.

  3. perverseness
    September 3, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Durnit. No Deviant this week.
    Is it primarily waiting for the art to come in?

    • richt
      September 3, 2019 at 12:31 am

      Some more art, approvals from WW, other pieces we need to have in place before launch. All those things need to work out still.

  4. Harald Hellerud
    September 3, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Uh… The Æon book cover has a glaring grammatical error. Please remove the apostophe…

    • Harald Hellerud
      September 3, 2019 at 4:26 am

      And there I made my own mistake. It’s supposed to read “apostrophe”. 😀

      • Phil H
        September 3, 2019 at 7:28 am

        The Aeon cover above is the mock up from the Kickstarter campaign. The actual cover of the PDF doesn’t have an apostrophe.

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      September 3, 2019 at 8:20 am

      As with Rich’s statement about Aberrant, the above images were created for the Kickstarter and are not the final art, as you can see if you look at the backer PDF.

  5. Chris McGuire
    September 3, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Oh wow…yeah. The word “Its” on the Aeon cover should not have an apostrophe in it. I hope you can change that before the book is printed.

    • Chris McGuire
      September 3, 2019 at 6:20 am
      • Chris McGuire
        September 3, 2019 at 6:22 am

        Oh, actually, the final PDF has the correct use of ‘its.” Good deal!

  6. Emily
    September 3, 2019 at 6:42 am

    I really like the new covers. The wide vertical borders on the sides set them apart from the average book and make them look kinda classy, like special edition covers, and help set them apart from similar games. And I’m really glad that you kept the same general style of coloration and drawing for the characters as the classic books.

  7. karpomatic
    September 3, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Damn, i was hoping for a sneak preview of the Adventure! cover sketch. It’s probably way too early yet though.

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      September 3, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Adventure! is the leftmost sketch in the series of four above.

      • karpomatic
        September 3, 2019 at 8:26 am

        AH! Thanks, Ian. I’ll have to zoom in with my phone. Can’t really tell what they are on my PC.

      • Robert D
        September 3, 2019 at 3:03 pm

        Awesome! 🙂 very much looking forward to Adventure!

  8. Yiodan
    September 3, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Thank you! I really enjoy explorations of the concepts/visual metaphores included into the art/covers. It gives both the book and the art added depth.

    Plus the art in OP is awesome. It deserves a bit of the spotlight.

    • Yiodan
      September 3, 2019 at 8:10 am

      *…art in OP books is…

      • karpomatic
        September 3, 2019 at 9:40 am

        I’d be down for a KS of OPP artwork. Wouldn’t mind some posters either. I’ve got a wall that would be happy to show off these new Continuum covers

        • Yiodan
          September 3, 2019 at 10:15 am

          Interesting idea. I might be down for that.

          In the meantime, just wanted to point that there is an art book on the way for Werewolf. In case you missed it.

          • karpomatic
            September 4, 2019 at 8:55 am

            The Werewolf art book is cool but not my speed. Never played much of it. I’d love to see the Continuum covers on Redbubble as posters.

          • Yiodan
            September 4, 2019 at 10:23 am

            That’s fair. A bit unfortunate as werewolf has some incredible art, but, may be I am biased.

            Regarding the covers as posters, that does sound cool. Hopefully, you’ll have your wish.

  9. Cthulhus_Dad
    September 3, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    What do I have to do or what will it take for there to be a full WTF 2e Lodges Book with details for all the Pillars? Shunned is so delicious and now I want some complimentary puppies to fight all those baddies. I’ll completely fund the kickstarter! Please! 😀

  10. Michael E
    September 3, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    I see those Scion projects moving along 🙂

  11. September 5, 2019 at 2:11 am

    I read the tagline “What would you do with the power of a god?” for TC: Aberrant and the first thing that went through my mind was “I’ll let you know once Scion: God 2e drops.”

    • Neall
      September 5, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      😉

Comments are closed.