Life on Mars [Monday Meeting Notes]

Monday Meeting

Tomb Stalkers attack graverobbers near Chiaro

Tomb Stalkers attack graverobbers near Chiaro, Mars

Hi, folks. Rose here, filling in for Rich. ^_^

A lot of the Monday crew are traveling back from conventions today, so we didn’t technically have a meeting, we just sent stuff back and forth in a Skype chat room. It’s very curious to feel like you’ve been left alone in the office when you work from home, but there it is.

Rich asked me to talk a little bit about Cavaliers of Mars and doing a creator-owned game with Onyx Path. So let’s step back in time a bit…

…to 2008, when I was working at White Wolf in Atlanta. I was kinda desperate to come up with a game for Thanksgiving. I had promised my former Vampire group that I would do something cool when I came back to DC for the holiday. I decided to go for the biggest spectacle I could, so I cooked up this “trailer” and posted it to RPGnet:

[sound of howling wind]

On a world beyond time

[zooming across a landscape of red sand]

In a land beyond the desert

[shifting, zooming along a canal]

In a city without compassion

[the ziggurat looms in the distance, the sprawl of the city rushes by below us as we zoom in on its top]

[we settle and circle on a priest atop the ziggurat. his clothes are yellow silk, but he’s showing plenty of muscled, shining skin. his head is unnaturally oval. he’s covered in tattoos and ritual paint designs, and stands with a wicked knife over a silent-screaming sacrificial victim]

[closeup on the victim’s face]

[shots of the shouting crowd, eager for blood]

[close on the knife, then on the roaring priest as he stabs it downwards]

[lock on the knife as it stabs downward — and is blocked by a rapier shining in the martian noon — sparks flying from the impact]

[close on the face of a man with a beard and an extravagant hat. he’s holding the rapier]

[music with a pumping drumbeat kicks in]

[another scene of the swordsman in the hat, this time walking through a crowd of ragged but stylish people that parts like the red sea. he’s got a babe in one arm and a flintlock laser pistol in the other]

[cut to a hover chariot racing through the desert. a woman on a mechanical horse pulls even with it. she aims and fires a flintlaser. the chariot spins, flips over, cut to the woman’s horse rearing over the driver]

Die for honor

[the bearded swordsman plummeting from a great height]

[a gorilla artillery man firing a howitzer at figures mounted on flying beasts]

[the bearded man pulling a dancing girl to him by the waist]

Live for everything

[silhouetted figures duelling with swords on a telegraph wire above the city]

[the gunslinger girl crushing a guy’s mouth to hers]

Cavaliers of Mars

(Obviously, that’s meant to be narrated in the voice of the late, great Don LaFontaine.)

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’d come back to that RPGnet thread occasionally to post another random bit of text related to the setting.

I came back to it in earnest in 2011. Once again, I needed a game, this time to run for a group of World of Darkness writers at Gen Con. I decided to do The Prisoner of Zenda, but on Mars. That’s when I coined the phrase “Mars has canals, therefore Mars must also have Venice.”

And that’s what caught Rich’s attention. A few months later, when he was starting to form Onyx Path, he asked me to come on board for two things: a new edition of Vampire: The Requiem, and a full-size version of Cavaliers of Mars. I think everyone in the house that day heard my “YES.”

So what is Cavaliers?

It’s duels among towered tombs, it’s adventure in dusty desert towns, it’s a sandstorm lifting to reveal a spectacular city built of colored glass. It’s Milady de Winter and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Julie d’Aubigny pulling off the heist of the century from an immortal witch-queen’s shadowed citadel. It’s love affairs and tragedy and the melancholic beauty of a fading world. It’s about people set apart not by blessings or curses or forbidden knowledge, but by their luck and their laughter at death.

And it’s coming to Kickstarter in early 2017. 😉

With my reminiscence done, let’s move on to…



Up next, we’re kickstarting Scion Second Edition. Never-resting Neall Price has recorded his voiceover, Indefatigable Ian Watson is making the video, and Riotous Rich Thomas and Mirthful Mike Chaney are pulling together the art.

(Is it okay for me to do the nickname thing, Rich? Guess I’ll find out!)

I’ve been working with Neall on this book for a long time now, and none of us can wait to start showing off what his team has created.


Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Here’s the link to the press release we put out about how Onyx Path is now selling through Indie Press Revolution:


Cavs of Mars

A Festival of Blades, the swashbuckling new Jumpstart advance PDF for Rose Bailey’s Cavaliers of Mars is live and coming at you on DTRPG!

In this adventure, you’ll find yourself in the city of Vance at festival time. When revolutionaries strike a visiting prince, you’ll need to explore the city’s dark underbelly, before racing across its towered tombs!

Live, fight, and love on Mars, a world of red death and strange mystery, a world of savagery and romance.


  • A complete adventure set in one of dying Mars’ greatest remaining cities.
  • The innovative DEIMOS rules, for high-flying, swashbuckling adventure.
  • Four pre-generated player characters, ready to get into the heart of the action.

Scion 2 PosterPugmire Poster

If you weren’t lucky enough to get our gorgeous new Scion 2nd Edition and Pugmire posters at Gen Con, they are now available on DTRPG!

The Scion 2nd Poster:

The new Pugmire “Spike and Friends” Poster:

Miracles Cover

Behold the Miracles of the Solar Exalted! Originally a backer reward for the EX3 Kickstarter, but now so much more, with additional Charms written by the developers just for this book! For sale now at DTRPG in PDF and PoD versions!

This book contains over 80 new Solar Charms embodying a range of concepts and stories dreamed up by players of Exalted and meticulously crafted and balanced for inclusion at any and all tables.

Fire an arrow and let it become a waiting judgment upon the wicked. Unleash a sword stroke that can overwhelm the blade of Heaven itself. Train your loyal beast companion into an unstoppable colossus. Effortlessly seed the battlefield with inspiring words alongside arrows and blades. Empower your spirit familiar with the light of your anima. Tame a hurricane with your music. These miracles and more may be found within.

Promethean Premium

What was once unliving now arises! The Promethean: the Created 2nd Edition Advance PDF is now available at DTRPG!

You are a pilgrim now, one of the Created. You rose to life from dead flesh or inert matter, under the ministrations of one of your own, or a mad scientist, or perhaps just the power of the Divine Fire. You wander the world, sometimes alone, sometimes in the blessed company of your own kind, driven by memories of events and facts you never knew, all in the service of one Great Work…

…to be human.

This book contains:

  • The complete guide to playing a Promethean in the Chronicles of Darkness
  • Reimagined Lineages and Refinements, and a redesigned system for Transmutations
  • A more detailed approached to the Pilgrimage that presents players with more control over their characters’ path
  • New challenges on the road to humanity, including deranged, greedy alchemists

NOTE: This is the Advance PDF version. A final PDF version and PoD versions will be available at a later date. If you have purchased this Advance PDF, you will be automatically updated to the final PDF and receive a link to enable you to purchase the PoD at a discount designed so that your total price matches our usual PDF and Print combo offer.

Front Cover(1)

The Tales of the Dark Eras , the Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras fiction anthology is now on sale at DriveThruRPG in PDF/electronic and PoD versions!

Walk through the ages…

As a companion to Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras this anthology reveals secrets of the mystics, whispers rumors of the dead, and shines a light into the darkest corners of the world. Includes historical stories based within the shadowed past of Vampire: the Requiem, Mage: the Awakening, Werewolf: the Forsaken, Changeling: the Lost, and other Chronicles of Darkness settings.

In the Chronicles of Darkness…

Explore the shadows with tales by Howard Ingham, Malcolm Sheppard, Pete Woodworth, Renee Ritchie, Jess Hartley, Monica Valentinelli, Danielle Harper, Matthew McFarland, Mike Tomasek, Eric Zawadski, Meghan Fitzgerald, and Dennis Detwiller.


Now Available! on DTRPG in PDF and PoD versions: V20 Ready Made Characters.

Running a one-night game of Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition? Wanting to start up a new chronicle, but your players aren’t sure what to play? Looking for some examples of how to use the material in Lore of the Clans? Thanks to our generous Kickstarter backers, these thirteen ready-made characters cover each of the vampire Clans. Each character is provided with background, roleplay suggestions, art, and some potential coteries and plot hooks — everything you need to start your endless nights as one of the Kindred.

This book includes:

  • Thirteen pre-generated player character, with both starting and experienced character sheets.
  • A brief break-down of the character’s history and roleplaying suggestions.
  • Six possible coteries for these characters, complete with coterie charts.
  • Seven plot seeds to help the Storyteller jumpstart her chronicle.

Ghouls Front

Servants of the Damned: the PDF and PoD versions for V20 Ghouls & Revenants are now available at DTRPG!–Revenants

Ghouls & Revenants includes:

  • Expanded and revised character creation for ghoul and revenant player-characters
  • Clan and Sect write-ups for ghouls who serve them
  • New revenant families including the Rossellini, Kairouan Brotherhood, and more.
  • New rules for ghouls and revenants including new Merits & Flaws, Backgrounds, Discipline Packages, etc.
  • A Storyteller chapter for advice on running ghoul-or-revenant focused chronicles.
  • …and more!

Awakening 2 Cover

Mage: the Awakening 2nd Edition Advance PDF NOW available at!

You are a mage, one of the Wise. You see, know, and explore what others can’t imagine, from the depths of the human soul to the hidden corners of reality. Armed with your spells, driven by an addiction to Mysteries, you delve into the secrets of the world. Knowledge has a price, and the dangers are many.

This book contains:

  • The complete guide to playing a mage in the Chronicles of Darkness.
  • Reimagined Paths, Orders, and powers to create your Awakened characters and their allies, including an updated version of the most comprehensive free-form magic system in gaming.
  • Five example settings across the world, from Los Angeles to Salamanca, each with a central Mystery.
  • A brand-new look at all the strange places of the Fallen World, from the Lower Depths to the Emanation Realms, and what mages might find within.

NOTE: This is the Advance PDF version. A final PDF version and PoD versions will be available at a later date. If you have purchased this Advance PDF, you will be automatically updated to the final PDF and receive a link to enable you to purchase the PoD at a discount designed so that your total price matches our usual PDF and Print combo offer.

You must have your DTRPG account set to accept messages from Onyx Path Publishing before the link messages are sent out, though, so please adjust your settings if you want that discount.

Development from… me, actually

Projects in bold have changed status.

First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep)

  • Exalted 3rd Novel by Matt Forbeck (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • CtL fiction anthology (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition)
  • BtP Building a Legend (Beast: the Primordial)
  • Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum)
  • Trinity Continuum: Aeon Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum)
  • M20 Gods and Monsters (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Scion: Origins (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Scion: Hero (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • BtP Player’s Guide
  • V20 Dark Ages Jumpstart (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • M20 Cookbook (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • M20 Book of the Fallen (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • VtM Beckett’s Jyhad Diary (Stretch Goal Content)
  • GtS Geist 2e core


  • EX3 Jumpstart (Exalted 3rd Edition)

Second Draft

  • Arms of the Chosen (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • The Realm (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Dragon-Blooded (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Cavaliers of Mars
  • Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Pugmire Core Book
  • A Thousand Years of Night (Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition)


  • W20 Changing Ways (Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition, featuring the Huntsmen Chronicle (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition)
  • Signs of Sorcery (Mage: the Awakening Second Edition)
  • SL Ring of Spiragos (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • SL The Wise and the Wicked (5e – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • SL The Wise and the Wicked (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • SL Dagger of Spiragos (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • BtP Mortal Remains (Beast: the Primordial)
  • Scarred Lands Player’s Guide 5E: Ghelspad (Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • Ring of Spiragos (5e – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • Dagger of Spiragos (5e– Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • V20 Dark Ages Anthology (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)


  • Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition
  • M20 Book of Secrets (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)

Post-Editing Development:

  • Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes (Beast: the Primordial)


  • Mage: The Awakening 2nd Edition core book (Mage: the Awakening 2nd Edition)(ROSE: Just got this back, reviewing it and sending it for layout tomorrow.)

Art Direction from Mirthful Mike

Art Direction

  • C20 
  • M20 Book of Secrets
  • Pentex Employee Indoctrination Manual
  • CofD Hurt Locker 
  • Dark Eras Companion
  • Beast Conquering Heroes
  • Becket’s Jyhad Diary
  • Mummy Novel
  • Tome of Secrets
  • Lore of the Bloodlines
  • Scarred Lands The Wise and The Wicked Update
  • Prince’s Gambit

In Layout  

  • Secrets of the Covenants
  • Kinfolk
  • Cursed Necropolis: Rio


  • Beast RMCs
  • V20 Endless Ages
  • Shattered Dreams
  • Scarred Lands PG PF
  • Promethean: The Created 2

At Press

  • Beast Screen – Shipping has started.
  • Beast Prestige Edition –  Shipping has started.
  • Dark Eras – PDF and PoD versions on sale at DTRPG. Prestige Edition files at printer.
  • Ex 3 Screen – At the Printer.
  • Ex 3 Charm Cards – waiting on printer proofs to arrive.
  • Ex 3 core book – From RichT: Expecting samples of the material possibilities for the canvas map this week.
  • Dark Eras Screen – At the Printer.
  • Awakening 2 Condition Cards – waiting on the proof to arrive.
  • A Feast of Blades (new Cavaliers Jumpstart)- on sale at DTRPG!
  • Handful of Dust PoD – waiting on the proof to arrive!

Special- projects on hold in the art and production area until an external factor is resolved

  • Wraith 20 – Art direction and layout can’t go further until art notes come in, still being developed by Rich Dansky.

Today’s Reason to Drink: Getting con crud even though I didn’t go to a con.


  32 comments for “Life on Mars [Monday Meeting Notes]

  1. Ian A. A. Watson
    September 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    For those who want to sing along: Life on Mars–IqqusnNQ

    • Eric Christian Berg
      September 5, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Had it up and playing in the other tab before I got two sentences in. 🙂

  2. Victor Kinzer
    September 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I was curious, did Necropolis Rio leave layout? I don’t see it anywhere.

    • Rose Bailey
      September 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      It’s still in layout. I must have accidentally clipped it off the list while I was formatting things; fixed now.

      • Austin Loomis
        September 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm

        You also kind’ve clipped the Ex3 Charm cards from Proofing (or from At Press, if that’s where they’ve got to), just so you know.

      • Victor Kinzer
        September 5, 2016 at 8:06 pm

        Thanks. I was just curious. I appreciate the update.

  3. Tiresias
    September 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I just thought of the weirdest goddamn question.

    How do you get the art for Kickstarters? I mean, I know the pieces are commissioned for the books, but Scion obviously isn’t in Art Direction, and I don’t remember any of the OPP books I backed being in Art Direction either, so how do you decide what to request for the KS?

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      September 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      For something like Scion, we can reuse a lot of art from first edition, even if we’re not necessarily going to use that art for the new edition.

      Or (as in the case with the new piece for Aeon’s Dr. Sagar in the Onyx Path brochure) we know we’ll need some generic new art before the book is done, so some pieces may be commissioned early.

      However, with many of our Kickstarters, art direction has indeed begun before the KS begins. Beckett’s Jyhad Diary was a recent example where everything I put in the video was already-commissioned artwork from art direction.

  4. Yonko
    September 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Any chance we might see the backer pdfs of Shattered Dreams next week?
    Maybe I am a little hyped about that one 🙂
    I was a little sad to see us unlock so few stretchgoals during that KS :/

  5. Plotinus
    September 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Any change we Will see the scion kickstarter this week ?

  6. atamajakki
    September 5, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I would expect the Scion KS next week if we’re lucky, but fingers crossed for a miracle.

    Is there any hope of us seeing Open Development or other previews from the Dark Eras Companion? It’s been a little odd to have complete silence on it compared to the first book.

    Tons of exciting stuff on the docket, though! I can’t wait for any of it.

    • atamajakki
      September 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      And while I’m being ungrateful and begging for things, it would be incredible if we could sneak another glance at Secrets of the Covenants and especially Thousand Years of Night sometime soon. It’s great to see Vampire getting some love.

    • September 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Dark Eras Companion has been out of my hands for a while, which is why I haven’t really done any open dev, but yeah, a preview would be cool. I’ll see if I can put something together soon.

  7. Plotinus
    September 5, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Still hoping for the scion Kickstarter this week, and Mage pod next week…. Any hope, or do we need divine intervention ?

    • Victor J Kinzer
      September 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      I’ve never seen them do a kickstarter and not announce it in the MMMN prior to the launch. That’s a big part of making sure everyone’s paying attention and getting a good first 48 hours. Maybe both next week? That doesn’t seem impossible, if still pretty hopeful.

  8. Noneofyourbusiness
    September 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    The full-size preview is still missing for Promethean 2nd Edition at

  9. Victor Kinzer
    September 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve been thinking about the cards we’ve seen for Exalted and Chronicles of Darkness. Is there any chance we would ever see a product like that for the old World of Darkness lines? Especially at the point where levels have multiple potential powers (disciplines above 5 or the arcanoi), or where you are combinding stats like arts and realms it would be really nice. I know having the realms might seem silly, but since you need specific levels of the realms to effect specific targets I would honestly love to have cards for the realms and arts. Just a thought.

    • Rose Bailey
      September 5, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      We’re working on some WtA cards. We’ll see how they go!

      • Victor Kinzer
        September 5, 2016 at 11:51 pm

        Gifts seen like a really ideal application for cards. I am excited to hear you’re looking at those options.

  10. September 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    “It’s Milady de Winter and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Julie d’Aubigny pulling off the heist of the century from an immortal witch-queen’s shadowed citadel. It’s love affairs and tragedy and the melancholic beauty of a fading world.”

    This and all of this!

  11. Alex
    September 6, 2016 at 5:35 am

    So I notice that A Thousand Years of Night has been in redlines for… quite literally months. And it slipped into initial draft at the same time as a bunch of EX3 and Mage 2E excitement.

    Any hints as to the nature of this dark horse?

    • marin
      September 6, 2016 at 8:01 am

      It’s an elders book, iirc.

  12. Jim Fisher
    September 6, 2016 at 8:28 am

    You know, not for nothing, but I do a pretty good impression of Mr. Lafontaine…

  13. Phaolan
    September 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Also not for nothing, I wholeheartedly support the ‘Riotous RichT’ nickname. We must make that stick.

    • richt
      September 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm


      • Phaolan
        September 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm

        Looks like you’re getting out voted, RichT… Yeah ‘coz these boards ARE legally binding, democratic governing bodies that you cannot deny!

        Uh, but not those pesky Exalted forum boards. Those are a different thing completely from THIS thing. 😛

    • Yiodan
      September 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      +1 on the Riotous RichT. It is glorious!

  14. Tim Flannigan
    September 8, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    With C20 in editing how close are we to getting the advance PDF?

    • Victor J Kinzer
      September 9, 2016 at 9:22 am

      I’ve sort of tracked how long larger books stay in layout recently and Mage and Promethean both took about 3 months in layout. C20 is going to be a lot larger than either of those texts, and I’m sure it has a while left to go in art direction as well. So I imagine we’re still a ways away. I’m holding my breath a little bit for maybe a March PDF, but that’s probably me being hopeful. That’s just the vague analysis of a fan who lives on Kanban/SCRUM boards in his day job. So take it with a HUGE salt lick worth of salt.

  15. Cardul
    September 9, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I will absolutely say that Cavaliers of Mars is in my most looked forward to books coming out OP. I have long been a fan of the Barsoom stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and so this is like a dream come true. We might never have an actual John Carter of Mars RPG…but from everything I am seeing, this comes DANG close!

  16. September 10, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Fun fact: I just viewed the mobile-friendly version of this page and discovered that it cuts off right under the “In Layout” heading. Thought you ought to know.

    • richt
      September 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Not on my iPhone. What were you looking at it on?

Comments are closed.