Last month, at Gen-Con, we announced that Onyx Path Publishing has the license to publish new White Wolf tabletop products in the nWoD, cWoD, and Exalted game-lines. Since we’ve been doing exactly that since January and set up the schedule that has been available since late July, you can see that Onyx already has made an impact on new WW products coming out. It’s an aggressive schedule for one full-time employee, your truly, and a host of amazing creative people around the globe, but I think it’s really the minimum we need to be creating to let the WW community know that we’re serious about paper RPGs and gaming in general. That’s why we also announced that we’ll be creating products for new and original settings such as Russell Bailey’s Cavaliers of Mars and for Scion and the Trinity Continuum (Aeon/Trinity, Aberrant, and Adventure!)- the latter two having been bought outright from CCP. You see, Onyx and I intend to be in this wacky business for, well, for as far as I can see into the future and it’s important that you folks know about that commitment. I started my love affair with this unique artform of tabletop RPGs back when we were waiting for the Blackmoor supplement to D&D 1 to come out and have been creating the art and worlds for RPGs professionally for over 20 years. I don’t think there’s another artform (that’s right, I said it again) that allows for so much combined creativity from it’s creators and players. This is something to cherish.
So with that, what the hell have we been doing since mid-August, you might ask?
A lot of the time was spent talking to people who were excited to hear the news about Onyx: creative folk who want to throw their hats in the ring to work on our products, interviewers from around the world, printers and salesmen who want to pitch their company, and most especially fans of the various game-lines who are thrilled, or scared, or confused, about the future of their favorite games. Another huge chunk of effort has been devoted to working with the current teams that are set up to create nWoD, cWoD and Exalted 3rd Edition books: now that the schedule and the news about Onyx are out there, we’re working full-steam to get caught up to the proposed release dates. The thing is, right now, we’re going to miss most of them. That’s just the straight truth right now. Sometimes that’s because of hiccups in the process we go through to create a book, but sometimes we’re making a judgment call on quality. Onyx is set up in such a way that we can delay in order to get the best possible quality, be it writing, editing, layout, art, or even shipping for some products- as opposed to the publication treadmill that WW was on for much of its history. Also, I want you folks to know when and why we make those calls, and this website is where that info will be posted.
Another very fun part of things for me this last month has been talking to folks about Trinity and Scion and what we can do to bring those amazing settings back to life. Publication-wise, that is. The games themselves haven’t really been dead, just look at the discussions on the Scion WW forums, so long as folks have been engaged and enjoying them. But now I’m talking with some great folks about the first steps towards new editions of those lines, and so far even these first steps have been very exciting and fruitful. Obviously, more on that as things develop.
Yet another big chunk of time has been devoted to Kickstarters- the publication model we’ve been experimenting with since early this year. We really had to go back to square one with how to make each phase of the process work according to the logic of Kickstarters and what they’re set up for, and there has been an enormous amount of learning just how we can work with the community to enable these Deluxe editions. The odd thing is, we’ve been more transparent about how our books get created with these Kickstarters than we ever were back with WW- everything from Justin posting the text for an entire book for review, to Updating the backers as soon as I have real info as to each step, to me publicly voicing my concern over shipping rates- and while some folks are enjoying the view inside the workings, others seem to be enraged by the decisions, false-starts, and downright mistakes we’re revealing. Fortunately, I continue to get direct emails, tweets, and FB messages thanking us and generally being supportive of what we’re trying to do. As both Justin and I have said before, we didn’t start with our first Kickstarter to make “big bucks”- nobody Kickstarting in RPGs had made enough to cover one of our print runs IIRC- we did it because it was the only way economically that a Deluxe edition was going to happen- and a lot of V20 buyers wanted V20 Companion to match their deluxe V20. So, this month was spent on getting V20 Companion shipped via a shipper who also was learning their way for some of the specific shipping issues the KS raised despite their long experience shipping, getting Children of the Revolution laid out (my job doing all the layout- I should hand it off but it’s so much fun), and banging my head against the issue of how to ship Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition out to folks outside the US for less than $50 shipping for such a heavy book. (Thanks to friends outside the US, I think we have some better possibilities in place).
And then there is the paperwork and other stuff involved with running a company by yourself. Freelancers need their checks, and so do shippers and printers, and my business partners like CCP and DriveThru all need attention. I won’t go into detail here, because most of the time it’s all “number bugs” running around on spreadsheets, but it takes up unexpected chunks of time that could be spent moving projects forward- but that’s the biz and I knew that when I started down The Onyx Path. Another part of the whole business thing is Marketing- we have used social media mostly in order to get the word out, but now that it is and there are projects that are being worked on, I’m starting serious meetings about how to really advance our message to the next level. Which is kind of Marketing-speak right there for getting the word out better about all the cool things we’re doing.
So for now, I’m going to try and use this particular space for my own personal blog spot to talk about what we’re up to and why, and try to be more regular about it than once a month. For more timely and project-specific updates I heartily recommend checking out the Monday Lunch Meeting Notes (even if like this week when they’re out on Tuesday or Wednesday) on the WWBlogs here: http://whitewolfblogs.com/blog/category/monday-meeting/ as well as the Onyx Path Facebook page and Twitter feed. The WW Blogs are also where the devs post about the projects they are working on and your comments are always appreciated.
So that’s it for now, thanks for reading this, and I’ll see you on The Onyx Path!