ARGH! My EYES!!! [Monday Meeting Notes]

Why didn’t anybody tell me not to look straight at the sun during an eclipse?!

Actually they did, and also, I didn’t look at the sun.


Here are safe to view shots of today’s eclipse as posted by our very own Ian Watson:

Looks like things got a bit strange up there north of the border. Scary, even, awoo!

What does the eclipse have to do with our games and stuff? I dunno, omens? Fear, superstitions, natural events that are seen as a message from the gods, distraction for the fleet of alien ships That Came From the other side of the sun, or of EarthX that orbits exactly on the other side of the sun? The last thing that was seen before the exodus beneath the earth/ the first thing seen by those coming through a portal to our world?

I mean, you tell me. Those are just ideas based on our game lines – who knows what cool uses you could put an eclipse to in your games?

We just provide the framework for your games and maybe suggest a few plot points, etc, but the great thing about our hobby is that the rest of your game is created by you. Which is really mostly my segue into our latest new game: At The Gates!

One of the reasons I accepted the pitch from Danielle Lauzon for ATG was that the framework for the world is very different than any other game we’ve created up until now, and very much a reverse image to The World Below. Sure, they’re both fantasy TTRPGs, so there are threads that we recognize as belonging to that genre, but the overall tapestry created by all the other different threads woven together as they are makes for very different setting and roleplaying experiences.

Hope I didn’t lose anybody as I beat up that weaving metaphor. I’ll stop now.

Sidereals art by Digital Art Chefs

Fortunately, you don’t need to take my word for it as the At The Gates Ashcan PDF is up on DTRPG now, so you can get a small taste of the wider ATG world that will be available in text form during the upcoming crowdfunding campaign. (We’re doing some errata right now, and then you’ll be able to get a physical copy from DTRPG too!).

And wait until you see the art during the campaign!

Here’s Danielle to tide you over with some introductory thoughts about it all:

At the Gates

Since the ashcan came out, and we’re getting ready to crowdfund this hopefully soon, I wanted to chat a little bit about what At the Gates is, what it isn’t, and why it exists.When I first started working on Storypath, before I ever did the update, I thought the system would work really well for a high-fantasy spell-slinging game. I spent some time coming up with an idea for what kind of fantasy game I’d like to see and play, and it involved people who are diverse, but diversity isn’t gamified. A setting that had a variety of play styles for fantasy, but focused on being heroic. A game that had clear goals, hooks, and made it clear from the beginning what it is you’re supposed to be doing in it. So, I set to work creating this kind of setting. I am a huge fan of political intrigue, hard choices, moral ambiguity, and exploring the other through a lense of curiosity and compassion. So, of course, I put all that into my setting. As I was writing things up, I realized how much games like Final Fantasy 9, Chrono Trigger, The Secret of Mana, and others were influencing what I was writing. The further I got into the concept, the more I realized I had pretty much written the setting of a JRPG that didn’t exist. When I pitched the game to Rich (back in 2019, in the before-times) it wasn’t originally conceptually a jrpg, but he suggested that we just lean into it. So I did. 
I tweaked a few things here and there, but honestly, it was already there. Then when we started working on SP Ultra, I knew that this game was going to be very suited to its style. I was able to add in the concept of magical attacks, teamwork stunts that you can purchase with your bond Enhancement, and a slew of other really fun things that harken to playing a JRPG. If you’re knowledgeable about those games, you’ll see little bits here and there that remind you of many different games. If you aren’t familiar with JRPGs at all, that’s okay. I crafted the world to be rich and full of fun concepts that anyone can enjoy, you aren’t missing anything by not noticing the inspirations, because we didn’t decide to make the game referential. 

If you like fantasy games where the heroes are competent, it encourages you to explore, make hard choices, engage in political issues, fight against evil, and be big heroes, then I think you’ll enjoy At the Gates. 


Speaking of Danielle, you can watch along as she plays ChronoTrigger on our Onyx Path Twitch channel this Tuesday at 5pm EDT! Should be a lot of fun!

And speaking of Ashcans, the Onyx Pathcast crew will be delving into them on this coming Friday’s Pathcast: the history of them, why we’re doing them, and a little bit about the ones we’re doing.

Check it out on your favorite podcast venue!

Sidereals art by Melissa Uran

Blindingly Brilliant Notes From Our Eclipsed Meeting

Just a couple of quick ones from Sales:

The Dark Eras Bundle of Holding for CofD is rolling until early next week:

Aaaaand – we are still running a sale on the physical CofD books that we have left at IPR! There aren’t a lot, so please do check them out if you think you’d like to pick one or more of them up in their traditionally printed, metallic sheen cover, glory!

Sidereals art by Navela Studio

Most of our discussion today continued to cover June’s Virtual Onyx Path Convention as the Tetris-game of arranging panel and actual plays continues to shake out. Big back and forth on whether we should call a Moth game a Moth game. Half of us didn’t even know what the others were talking about. Stayed tuned for when the actual schedule is released for how that discussion resolved!

With the rest of all that talk today needing to stay under wraps, let me take the opportunity to touch base with y’all about one of our game lines, my very-own Crossroads Continent. Yet another very different fantasy setting, but more because it hearkens back to gaming in the 70s and 80s rather than how things have developed in the genre today.

Heck, the genre media-wide has changed tremendously, with the wide-spread appeal of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and the LotR movies changing most people’s acceptance of the tropes. Then add in how our definition of the fantasy genre has shifted due to electronic gaming across all the platforms – while I was ruling off dungeons on graph paper we had the electronic gaming option of going to an arcade or a pizza place to play Dragon’s Lair or maybe Joust!

What I’m saying with this history lesson is that there’s a lot of room for all kinds of fantasy TTRPGs, and as we’ve been exploring those and building those worlds, I’ve sort of back-burnered The Crossroads Continent all of last year. Not because there’s not a place for it, but because there is – but we needed to get our newer games pulled together first even while delivering the rest of our projects, too.

Or, as I explain here in my long-delayed reply in the CRC section of our Onyx Path forums:

OK, exactly one year after the last post here: The Crossroads Continent is the name for the overall setting for my longtime D&D campaigns. After having created the two books for it that were linked above, I realized that our upcoming new games were going to need my attention and that the CRC would need to sit for a bit. Travis and I had put together the text for a third book of items which is also chock full of setting background, but the items needed illustrations and I just didn’t have time to do those while working on our other games’ world-building. So, having just completed about 70 illos for Realms of Pugmire‘s Threats and Curs monster manual, and with The World Below, At The Gates, and other new games rolling along, I can finally get back to the CRC.

But, truth be told, ever since I made the call a few years ago to begin publishing The Crossroads Continent as real live books, I’ve been back there in that world. Even while “on sabbatical” from working on the projects, a group of my old players and a bunch of our adult children convinced me to DM for them – and we’ve been playing a monthly game since last Fall. And while Michael Corleone might be upset about being “pulled back in”, for me it has been a lot of fun and well worth the wrangling of everybody’s schedules. It has been fascinating to watch my two veterans deal with how D&D 5e is put together, and to see how our newcomers to CRC relate to the world and how I run it. Stylistically, I get the impression that they haven’t played D&D like this before, much as how Dixie has talked about playing in the Down the Hole play-tests she participated in a few years ago: there’s generally surprise at the amount of fun they’re having playing in a world that started in 1978!

I’m not sure exactly what all the fun that stands out for them comes from, really; I’m not DMing anyway differently than I did back then as far as I’m aware. Maybe because there have been so many campaigns in it, CRC feels like it has depth beyond its very openness. Which is not to say that any of them have any great need to know all the backstory in order to move forward with their characters – they absolutely don’t need to know anything (and often don’t) but what I’m describing right in the moment. It’s just that if they do look deeper, there’s actually something there. Right now, there is no overall campaign arc beyond what the players are driving. Half of them want to be pirates, the others have various religious obligations that they think they need to fulfill. It’s not that they’ve been given holy quests by anybody, they just think their god would like them to do a thing – spread the word, mostly. But from their actions, I build the story of how the world reacts. Make a big enough noise taking out a smugglers’ den in the sea caves, and somebody’s gonna hear about it and do…something. Cause and effect, and actions having consequences, are big things in the CRC. We’ve had player characters change the world, but far more of them died. Sometimes tragically, sometimes heroically, some even comically. Bigger risk tends towards bigger reward, unless irony steps in.

That’s it for now: I’ll pop in here at least once a month with some sort of update, maybe what the gaming group is up to, maybe with a snippet of the world, maybe even with some sort of progress report on the next CRC project! And if anybody drops in any questions, I’ll be glad to delve into those – I’ll certainly try and do that in less than a year! Thanks!

Of course, I’m also open to questions about the CRC or anything really right here in the Comments section of this blog!

Beyond that, please be sure to put on your special glasses before looking too long at our:

Many Worlds, One Path!



Coming Next: At The Gates!

Check out its ashcan on DTRPG!

Onyx Path Media!

This week: Danielle, Matthew, and Eddy talk about our new ashcans: the history of them, why we’re doing them, and a little bit about them!

As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue!

Please check out our attached media schedule for the 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!


To chime in with the Dark Eras Bundle of Holding offer currently running, check out this classic Wyrd West actual play over on YouTube! The full playlist is here:

The Onyx Path News discusses recent and upcoming releases! 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:

Virtual Tabletop!

The Monsters of the Deep Compendium with all of the monsters added to the They Came From Beneath the Sea! Compendium core, including Tokens for VTT play, will be on Roll20 and DTRPG this Weds!

They Came From Beneath the Sea! on Roll20 VTT!

The Scion: Origin and Scion Hero Compendiums are now available on Roll20!

Scion is just the start! They Came From Beneath the Sea! and other
Onyx Path RPGs are in development for Roll20 virtual tabletop!

The first of our official Scion sheets designed for Foundry VTT are
now available!

Looking for more virtual tabletop resources? We have a selection of
Tokens, Encounters, and more available now at DriveThruRPG!

Our Sales Partners!

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!

Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books, dice, and screens? Try this link!

CofD: Dark Eras 2 limited edition (and some Screens) is 75% off over at IPR:

The Exalted Solar Eclipse Sale is also live now at IPR. Only until April 15th!

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

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).

Check out Melody Through the Mirrorshade Lens and Facets of Truth, as well as Trinity Continuum: Terat and The Hollow Courts on Kindle in the Kindle store!

On Sale This Week!

aiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi! Scream out your war cry and get ready to battle stop-motion creatures from myth! PDF and PoD versions of They Came From the Cyclop’s Cave emerge into the dawn of pure fantasy and go on sale this Weds on DTRPG!


As we are slowly returning to attending conventions in person after avoiding them during the COVID-19 outbreak, keep an eye out here for more physical and virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with!

Matthew and Eddy and a few of our other Onyx Path creators will be attending and even running games at UK Games Expo in May.

We will be repped by Studio 2 (and maybe IPR) at Origins Game Fair in June.

Onyx Path Virtual Con will be June 14-16.

Game Night With Onyx Path Publishing at StartPlaying will be the last Friday of the month! Come play some of our games that night! (But any of our game lines are welcome all day long!)

Here’s a link to give anyone $10 credit to play games on Start.Playing:

Please spread the word about GMing games as much as
possible. Details on how list a game are at the bottom of the page in
the FAQ:

Project Status Updates!

Our full list of projects will be available monthly on our blog! Check out March’s full list report here:


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


Exalted – Alchemicals

  • Danielle: Autochtonia has sent manuscripts detailing its history and future to our developers.

Tasty Bit – Scion Dragon Lair #2

  • Danielle: This one came in from Dale, and I’m excited to give it a read!

Manuscript Approval

The World Below – Ed Greenwood’s Monstrous Ecology of The World Below

  • Matthew: Rich enjoyed this book so much he wants more writing in it, so I’ll be doing some more work before it moves on to post-approval development! Expect new ancestries, communities, dogmas, and of course, lots of monsters!

Post-Approval Development

The World Below – Enter the Dungeon Jumpstart

  • Matthew: This book is going to serve as the ideal jumping on point for The World Below and boasts a fantastic dungeon crawl adventure. Very happy with this.


Realms of Pugmire – The Curious Cats of Mau

  • Eddy: We only had a few comments from playtesting (and the writing team), but they were generally good and easy to fix. Lauren and I turned them around pretty quickly, and now the manuscript is off to editing!

Tasty Bit – Æon: Spaceships

  • Eddy: The first draft was really solid, and all I really had to do was help tighten up the prose and point out a few errors (although Rich found another one in approvals). So this one opened a warp gate from redlining to editing!

Post-Editing Development

Exalted – Exigents: Miracles of Divine Flame (was Companion)

  • Danielle: Editing has sent back this manuscript and I’m happy to get to moving through it with John and getting it ready for layout.


In Art Direction

  • The World Below – As I’ve finally cleared some lingering things out of my queue, I’m jumping on this. Both me and Maria on this…
  • TCF Cyclops Cave and Classified Jumpstarts – Stuff running late, but it is underway.
  • TCF RPG Anthology – Getting Matthew the rest of the art buy.
  • M20 Victorian Weird Wonders and Revolutionary Magic – Gaydos’ stuff is in…
  • M20 Victorian Bizarre Tales and Unusual Characters – KMJ’s finals are in. Still have some halfs and the fulls to go (but that’s what Gaydos is on next).
  • SCION No Gods, No Masters – Stuff is still moving… but running a little late. Cover looking real nice.
  • SCION Titans Rising – Getting notes out to artists this week.
  • TC Player’s Guide – With Maria. Should be fully contracted.
  • TC With Great Power – With Maria. Should be fully contracted.
  • At The Gates (KS) – Mel’s stuff is in (and really nice)
  • Branch Riders (KS) – All sketches are in. Feedback sent to Gong.

In Layout

  • Ex3 Sidereals – Art approved. Starting layout.
  • Ex Essence Charm Cards – In progress..
  • DTR Clade Companion – Pauline is already about half way done.
  • Exigents Screen
  • CofD Contagion Chronicles RMCs
  • Squeaks in the Deep Companion 
  • Ex Essence Jumpstart – With Travis.


  • M20 Victorian Jumpstart – Inputting some quick fixes and getting 2nd proof over.


  • TC Aether
  • Scion God 

At Press

  • Reprints:
  • Scion Origin – Looking at proofs.
  • TC Core – Looking at proofs.
  • TC Aeon – Printer files uploaded.

  • Exalted Essence – Printing.
  • Ex Essence Screen – At Studio 2.
  • Ex 3 Exigents – Inputting XXs and index… then out putting PoD/Press files.
  • TC Anima Terra Surge Screen – Sending info to screen printer for quotes.
  • TC Anima
  • M20 Lore of the Traditions – Printing.
  • They Came From CLASSIFIED! – PoD proofs on the way.
  • TCF Classified and Cyclops Cards – PoD proofs on the way.
  • They Came From the Cyclops’s Cave Screen – Sending info to screen printer for quotes.
  • They Came From CLASSIFIED Screen – Sending info to screen printer for quotes.
  • CtL 2e The Hedge – Page XXs.
  • At The Gates Ashcan – gathering errata.
  • They Came From the Cyclops Cave! – PDF and physical book PoD versions on sale this Weds on DTRPG!

Today’s Reason to Celebrate!

Blinded by the light! Now like Daredevil, all my other senses will compensate! I’ll be drawing by sense of smell, and pinging the room with my radar sense. Woohoo! (Actually, this sounds like an origin story for a World Below character!)

4 thoughts on “ARGH! My EYES!!! [Monday Meeting Notes]”

  1. Ian,
    Thank you for getting those great photographs!

    I’m not much of a D&D player, but it thrills me to hear about the fun you, your long-time players, and their adult children are having with the CRC. Bravo to you all.

    • Those really were some wild pics, weren’t they? We did not have that good a view in PA – too many clouds.

      Part of the reason I shared that bit about playing again is because – I think – a fair number of our community members have been playing for a few decades now. VtM 1 was like 33 years ago, right? So its a huge thing to keep playing, or return to playing, your favorite game. It don’t think it really matters the game, as so many of them have gone through the same cycle of editions where maybe you think the newest one doesn’t work for you any more – but keeping playing and there’s bound to be a new edition that works better for you. Or another game that you find gives you the same fun as the one way back when did. Certainly, I skipped running several editions of D&D only to find that 5th gets me close enough to the early years that it’s clicking again. D&D 5e is dramatically different than the early D&D I started with, so much so that it could actually be called a different game, but enough of the pieces are there that we can have fun with it.

    • Thanks! I posted a bunch of eclipse photos on the OPP Discord (and also on my BlueSky/Twitter). As you can see, there was some thin cloud cover, but the sun poked through for the important parts.

      And of course as soon as the eclipse was over, it was clear skies for the rest of the day.


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