Day 29: Gothic Icons Are Still Goth… Ish

Chronicles of Darkness, Sales

Onyx Path’s Month of Nightmares features games, stories, and more to celebrate the spirit of Halloween. Count down the days with us by reading our excerpts, participating in the discussion, or by taking advantage of our special offers leading up to a haunted Halloween.

Gothic Icons RMCEvery year, Onyx Path participates in Fish Fool’s by releasing something fun for you. I feel that one of the best parts about these releases, is that we intend to make them useful and fun for you, so that you might consider using these characters in your games.

For 2015, we released a collection of Ready Made Characters, called Gothic Icons, along with a press release discussing our intent to move the entire World of Darkness back to the roots of gothic literature. Part of the joke, was that while each character in Gothic Icons was a billed as the signature characters for the new direction, they were minor figures found in well known and obscure poems, short stories, and novels. We initially brainstormed a longer list of characters, and then I narrowed it down further to Captain Walton, Countess Fedotovna, Princess Hermonthis, the Black Cat, Baron Vordenburg, and Thomas Carnacki.

In everything I write and design, I often insert little easter eggs for fans, so if you look closely you might discover something else in my work. If you take a good look at the character sheets, you’ll probably notice that each character’s concept is a different type of goth. This idea originated from one of the characters, the Black Cat, which is a feline protagonist from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Black Cat”. How do I know that Poe’s Black Cat would be perfect as an emo goth? I am the proud guardian of one, and trust me on this one… he is very whiny and expressive.

The Black Cat

Description: No one knows much about the black cat’s journey from a tiny kitten with brilliant green eyes to a heavyset adult who only had one. While he’s big-boned, this particular cat is decorated with a strange white marking on his chest, a pattern others with a guilty conscious have interpreted as the image of a hangman’s noose. The tale describing the black cat’s mysterious and storied origins, including the tragic memory of how he lost the one eye, may shed some light on what drove the black cat to become the proud feline he is today.

What has been confirmed is that the black cat came into the possession of a childless couple who loved and cared for many animals. It was one of several pets in the house. Despite the male’s attempts to rein in his fear of it, he wound up becoming suspicious of the onyx-colored feline, succumbing to hundreds of years of silly superstition that claimed the color of the cat’s fur meant the cat was an agent of the devil and a witch’s familiar.

While the black cat and his female owner grew to like each other very much, her husband could not stand the feline, and became increasingly convinced that the black cat was a hellspawn he referred to as the Arch-Fiend. Eventually, the cat succumbed to desperation and opted to ignore the human male’s ignorance by rubbing up against his leg, purring loudly, and following him wherever he went — but despite these careful and well-timed affections, the human male could not be convinced that the cat was, in fact, not trying to drive him mad.

Much to the black cat’s surprise and dismay, the human male grabbed an axe and attempted to murder him. He swung and swung and swung, but the cat proved to be too agile and quickly dived out of the madman’s way, leaping toward the human female. The male would not be dissuaded, however, and continued to slice at the black cat, to ensure it met an untimely death. Unfortunately for them both, the husband’s axe did eventually land — in the skull of his own wife who died protecting her beloved feline.

Following the death of the human female and the disappearance of her body behind a wall, the black cat finally understood its purpose in life: to avenge the only, kind soul who ever loved him, and ensure that particular human male would never hurt anyone again. Over many weeks, the cat became obsessed with learning all he could about the human body in its various states, both living and dead. Then, unbeknownst to the murderer, the black cat snuck out of the house and slowly drew other, (hopefully) saner humans to the door of that Victorian home, pointing the way to that wall of doom to ensure that justice would be met upon the human responsible for killing the female he preferred.

Fortunately for the cat, his perseverance was rewarded after a fashion, and he did find a way to incriminate the murderer so he would be hung for his appalling crime. However, the sight of a one-eyed black cat standing on the head of a rotting corpse so greatly disturbed the humans who brought her murderer to justice that the poor, downtrodden feline was shooed out of the house, never to be seen again.

It is rumored the black cat now spends his days wandering the streets, hopelessly and endlessly searching for an owner who won’t fear or try to kill him.

The PDF of Gothic Icons is FREE!

  2 comments for “Day 29: Gothic Icons Are Still Goth… Ish

  1. Brian Goubeaux
    October 30, 2015 at 1:32 am

    On a side note, I heard that Paradox Games just bought White Wolf and the World of Darkness ips from CCP.

    How will this affect future prints of the franchise? Will Onyx Path still make WoD books, now for Paradox?

  2. October 30, 2015 at 9:19 am

    This Gothic Icons post is probably not the best place to ask your question. OP has always been transparent, and I expect Rich will address this announcement either in the Monday Meeting notes, or when he has specific information to share. As one of OP’s freelancers, it is business as usual for me, and I am looking forward to getting books out the door.

    Hope you enjoyed today’s preview! I had fun writing it.

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