Each Project is a Snowflake [Monday Meeting Notes]

Scarred Lands PG full page illustration by Mitch Malloy
Scarred Lands PG full page illustration by Mitch Malloy


I’ve noted, usually in reference to one of our Kickstarters, that every project is different.

I bring it up here in order to state something about how I see Onyx Path‘s methodology or working principles. Our books and other projects, our game lines and settings: these are not just different because of the books’ subject matter, or because vampires are different supernatural creatures than werewolves.

They’re different because of how we have set up the processes of creation. With a de-centralized cadre of great freelance creators around the world, we have the advantage of being able to reach out and experiment on the subjects and in the way that each creative team wants to explore.

The old “feature, not a bug”, computer programming chestnut.



Kinfolk art by Chris Bivins
Kinfolk art by Chris Bivins


Kind of related to this, and part of my lunch conversation today with Eddy Webb, I’ve been reading an episode by episode series of critical posts about Star Trek by Josh Marsfelder on Phil Sandifer’s Eruditorum Press website (my favorite Allen Moore/Doctor Who analyzer)

(and yes, I’m the sort of person who reads episode by episode analyses of old TV shows)

and it occurs to me that there may be an excellent parallel between how a TV series gets written, and our projects. We have a developer for each game line, in TV they are now called show runners, where once they might have been lead writers. They are the holders of the direction for the show, the keepers of the themes and characters that make the show just what it is (or at least is supposed to be).

Our developers have that role with their game lines. Our writers’ rooms are virtual. But generally, there are very similar challenges to be faced of maintaining quality, maintaining theme and focus, timeliness, budgets, a member of the team quitting mid-assignment, etc.

Developers and show runners also have their own take on the property they are working on. Most shows (and our game lines) that last for years usually have multiple leads. You can see this with Doctor Who and the difference in the Moffat years as opposed to say, the years that Douglas Adams was the lead. Puzzle box stories vs ironic humanism, if I can make two broad reductive descriptions there.

An example of this would be our own Vampire: the Masquerade. We started with a bang and a creative vision initiated by Mark R*H and the original creative team. There are a bunch of projects that are propelled forward by that explosion, but in less than a year, Andrew Greenberg is developing. We see a Vampire with layers and layers of secrets and machinations being revealed during his tenure. There is a more political tone on top of all that raw energy and passion, if you will.

Then in shambled Rob Hatch and his interest in the other, in a non-human horror in our midst. And then Justin Achilli, and a “grittier” clubs and gutters vampire existence. (I’d be willing to say that Justin’s long tenure might have had some shifts in tone and themes, but I leave the particulars of that to ya’ll).

For me, on a creative basis and for my own enjoyment as a reader and player, there are approaches to VtM that I like more than others. Overall though, I’d rather have the opportunity of different approaches, as I’d rather not know everything about a project before I sit down to read it; I’d rather be surprised. If it reads like I’ve read it before, that’s a lot less interesting; even similar ideas need to be handled in fresh ways.

And everybody has different tolerances for surprise vs familiarity.

Trying to hit the right notes with that, while keeping the work creative and compelling – and in our business, exciting and interesting to play – is a struggle in every creative field where you have long standing titles.


Scarred Lands PG Asaathi spread art by William Obrien
Scarred Lands PG Asaathi spread art by William Obrien





LAST FEW DAYS! Please check out this Kickstarter from our long time illustrator and friend, James Stowe, for his Sidekick’s Quest RPG/comic: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/778640200/sidekick-quests-secret-of-the-sewer-wizard

It is a really clever and fun simplified version of classic fantasy RPG playing for kids, and adults will love how Sto has written both the RPG and the comic, too!



Stating today, the Bundle of Holding features Exalted 1st Edition PDFs! Check the offers out here:

Exalted 1E Glorious Core Bundle [essential books]

Exalted 1E Irresistible Setting Bundle [more supplements]

These Bundles are running for two weeks until the 20th, so check out these great deals and help contribute to a worthy charity at the same time!



Looking for 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: https://theonyxpath.com/press-release-onyx-path-limited-editions-now-available-through-indie-press-revolution/



black hand

This week, the Black Hand strikes! V20 Black Hand: Guide to the Tal’ Mahe’ Ra is set to hit DTRPG in PDF and physical hardcover PoD forms this Wednesday!


Ghouls Front

Servants of the Damned: the Advance PDF for V20 Ghouls & Revenants is now available at DTRPG!

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!

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

There has always been…Darkness. Coming at you through time itself, the Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras PDF and physical book PoD versions are noe available at DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/178583/Chronicles-of-Darkness-Dark-Eras

Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras reveals the world throughout its long and storied past. Through sixteen eras, you’ll learn the secret history of the world, from the flame-lit tales of the Neolithic to the drug-fueled rebellion of the 1970s. Delve into the past, and learn that the Chronicles of Darkness began long before the modern nights.

Dark Eras includes historical settings for Chronicles of Darkness game lines:

  • Vampire: the Requiem
  • Werewolf: the Forsaken
  • Mage: the Awakening
  • Promethean: the Created
  • Changeling: the Lost
  • Hunter: the Vigil
  • Geist: the Sin-Eaters
  • Mummy: the Curse
  • Demon: the Descent



The Pack

Those howls you hear? The pack is on your trail! The Pack for Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd, that is! The Advance PDF is selling at DTRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/181760/The-Pack

Alone you die. Together you will feast on the blood of your prey.

This book contains:

  • The pack from within and without, including a number of sample packs.
  • Other organizations of werewolves, including protectorates and Lodges.
  • New systems for pack creation, hunting nature, and pack tactics..
  • Three new hunting grounds that show different sides to the pack.

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.



Awakening 2 Cover

Mage: the Awakening 2nd Edition Advance PDF NOW available at DTRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/181754/Mage-the-Awakening-2nd-Edition

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.



Ex3 Cover

Children of the Unconquered Sun arise!

Exalted 3rd Edition in both PDF and PoD versions is now on sale at DriveThruRPG.com: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/162759/Exalted-3rd-Edition

This is your tale. This is Exalted. What legends will they tell of your deeds?

Exalted 3rd Edition depicts both a revitalized and expanded Creation, and the triumphant return of the Solar Exalted—but whether their rebirth will herald the salvation or destruction of the world, none can say. The system redesign takes the best parts of the previous editions and streamlines the mechanics for maximum playability.


Exalted 3rd Edition includes:

  • New Fiction – Read a new tale by original Exalted developer and author Geoff Grabowski.
  • New Artwork – See the Realm in a new light with stunning artwork by both new and classic Exalted artists working under the direction of Maria Cabardo.
  • Expanded Locales – Expand your campaigns with a detailed overview of the sprawling and decadent Second Age of Man. In addition to classic locales such as Chiaroscuro and Nexus, find many new locations not detailed in previous editions, from the treacherous intrigues of Port Calin to the proud warriors of the frigid plains and forests of Medo, held in check only by the iron hand of the Realm.
  • Intrigue and Mystery – Discover a revitalized Realm, still standing at the brink of civil war, but more dangerous than ever before; and the Lunar dominions which harry its borders, seeking redress for ancient crimes while pursuing modern ambitions.
  • Expanded Character Creation – Create and play Solar Exalted characters and compelling mortal heroes with more information and fleshed out details.
  • Combat System – Fight with a new cinematic combat engine, primed to deliver dynamic, exciting, and easily resolved battles between heroes, gods, and armies.
  • Charms – Explore a vibrant new Charm set encompassing both classic Solar powers from previous editions and all-new powers to shift the course of Creation.
  • …and much, much more!



Beast Cover

Beware the Beast: the Primordial PDFs and PoDs NOW on sale at DTRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/162443/Beast-The-Primordial

You are a Beast, and you must feed. Your Hunger drives you, and your Hunger might damn you. Indulge too lightly and your Horror will take matters into its own hands, roaming the Primordial Dream for sustenance and awakening murderous hatred in spiritually weak individuals. Feed too deeply and too often, and you become sluggish, sacrificing the raw edge of Hunger for the languor of Satiety. You must decide how to grow your Legend – will you be the monster incarnate, the thing that all other monsters fear? Or are you doomed to die under a Hero’s sword?
This book contains:
  • The complete guide to playing a Beast in Chronicles of Darkness
  • A game system designed for crossover with the other Chronicles of Darkness lines
  • A look at the Beasts and their broods all around the world, from Vancouver to Tokyo
  • Rules for Heroes, the deluded individuals who think that this is their story




Gen Con 2016 Onyx Path events registration has now been posted on the Gen Con site! A LOT of our events have sold out already, so please jump in ASAP if you’d like to attend: https://www.gencon.com/event_finder/Host/Onyx%20Path%20Publishing

These don’t include the demos and playtests we’ll be having at the booth.

Might Matt McElroy will be at ComicPalooza Con in Houston June 17th-19th! http://www.comicpalooza.com/


And now, the new project status updates!

DEVELOPMENT STATUS FROM ROLLICKING ROSE (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 Book of Secrets (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Exalted 3rd Novel by Matt Forbeck (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • CtL fiction anthology (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition)
  • Ring of Spiragos (Scarred Lands)
  • VtM Endless Ages fiction anthology (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary 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 Mortal Remains (Beast: the Primordial)
  • BtP Player’s Guide
  • Pugmire Core Book
  • Ring of Spiragos (5e)
  • Dagger of Spiragos (5e)


  • Dagger of Spiragos – Pathfinder Version (Scarred Lands)
  • EX3 Quickstart (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Scarred Lands Player’s Guide 5E: Ghelspad (Scarred Lands 2nd Edition)
  • V20 Dark Ages Anthology (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • VtR A Thousand Years of Night (Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition)

Second Draft

  • Arms of the Chosen (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • The Realm (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Dragon-Blooded (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Cavaliers of Mars
  • Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition
  • Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary 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)
  • V20 Dark Ages Companion (Vampire 20th Dark Ages)


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



Post-Editing Development:

  • The Prince’s Gambit (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • V20 Lore of the Bloodlines (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • CofD Hurt Locker (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • W20 Pentex Employee Indoctrination Handbook (Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition)





In Art Direction

  • W20 Shattered Dreams 
  • Dark Eras Companion
  • Necropolis Rio
  • Beckett’s Jyhad Diary
  • CofD Hurt Locker
  • Mummy Novel
  • V20 DA Tome of Secrets
  • V20 Lore of the Bloodlines
  • Beast RMCs
  • SL Wise and Wicked Update 


In Layout

  • Promethean: the Created Second 
  • Secrets of the Covenants
  • Ex 3 core book – From RichT: Prepping the actual deluxe traditionally printed files, waiting for OK from printer about their specs for this size book. Printer is looking into materials that they thought were good for the cover, but the company that provides them sort of went out of business since we ran the Kickstarter.
  • Dark Eras Screen
  • Gen Con 2016 Brochure
  • Storypath Brochure
  • Gen Con Materials
  • Kinfolk 



  • Mage: the Awakening 2nd – Waiting for errata from DaveB.
  • Scarred Lands PG
  • Scarred Lands: Death in the Walled Warren Fiction


At Press

  • Beast Screen – At shipper.
  • Beast Prestige Edition – reviewed printer proofs.
  • Dark Eras  PDF and PoD versions on sale at DTRPG. Prepping Prestige Edition files for printer.
  • V20 Black Hand – PoD proofs on the way, should go on sale in PDF and PoD versions on Weds.
  • V20 Ghouls & Revenants – Advance PDF went out last Wednesday. Errata gathering.
  • V20 RMC Going out to the LotC Backers this week.
  • Ex 3 Backer Charm Book – Out to Backers.
  • Ex 3 Scree At the Printer
  • The Pack – PoD proofs ordered


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: I don’t know about you folks, but this weekend my house is going to be filled with newly graduated ex-high schoolers. (whimper)

36 thoughts on “Each Project is a Snowflake [Monday Meeting Notes]”

  1. Any Idea when the backer charms will be out for sale?

    I’m beating myself up for having chosen the chibi bookmarks over this! My “only physical reward” policy is killing me now, even though I know I’ll be glad later!

    • Nope, no estimates, but after we go through the errata and create the PDF and PoD versions to release to non-backers.

  2. Woo hoo! I am thrilled to see Pentex moving down the pipe. There are a handful of books in the top half of the status update that I’m holding my breath for and that’s one of them. Guide to Subsidiaries was always one of my favorites, so the new Pentex book will have a horrid place on my bookshelf of corporate atrocities.

    • Remember that it is “in character” and very much designed as a document given to new employees. Some people love that kind of info, others prefer a straight up rulebook approach. I think it does the in-world approach really well, YMMV.

    • The old subsidiaries book wasn’t exactly in character, but it wasn’t really a rules book either. It was a mostly a “fluff” profile of the various subsidiaries. I took part in the open dev work on some of the chapters on the upcoming Pentex book. I know what’s coming and I’m still stoked about getting it. Pentex and the cosmological Triad content are my favorite parts of Werewolf.

      I’m not really worried about mileage on this one. I am pretty confident in what I’ll be getting, and ultimately I backed Book of the Wyrm, so I will get to read the whole thing before I drop money on a hard copy. That said I’m pretty sure I’m going to be getting a hard copy.

    • Pretty sure developer Dapper Dave Brookshaw is consumed with finishing up the Mage 2nd fixes right now, so after those get done I would guess.

  3. Man you do release quite a lot. I am so looking forward to reading all those Chronicles of Darkness Books and trying to utilize them for my chronicle. Can you give any statement as to when the PoD for Mage will be out. I just love myself some Physical Books.

    • Thanks! I really don’t find it’s a good idea to give release estimates, as so many people take that as some sort of promise and are angered if that estimate isn’t met. Right now, you can see that DaveB is going through the errata, which he then needs to send to Mirthful Mike for inclusion in the doc. From there we still need an Index, which generally takes a month and is problematic to create before the errata is included: if the changes DaveB needs push the text from one page to another then any index we do before all the changes are in could have the wrong page numbers for moved text. Once we have an Index and all the changes, we make the PoD version, and that has to go through a proofing process that takes a couple of weeks if nothing is wrong.

      • Correct! As part of the Ready Made Characters line, these are PCs you can immediately start playing with stats and backstories included. In this case, for V20.

  4. Where is the Mummy anthology? Las t week it was at WWP for approval. Does that mean that it will be on sale this week ?

      • Are you sure you’re not confusing it with the Dark *Eras* Companion?

        (crawls through Monday Meeting archives clear back to April of this year) Looks like that’s exactly what I was doing. Thanks! *^^*

    • Or the VDA 20 Tomb of Secrets? That is still in Art Direction. The Dark Ages Companion hasn’t been on the timeline for very long. I would be shocked if it were already in Art Development.

  5. It seems Curse of the Blue Nile disappeared from the status update.
    I guess it’s still waiting for approval? (or something wrong happened, maybe?)

    • Tough question. I love a lot of his writing before he took over and have very little visibility on his abilities as a show runner. So is my general “uh, it’s OK” because of his work, or overall a change in how the series puts stuff together? In general, I was interested in the start of his tenure, thought Amy and Rory’s wedding was a huge high point. I think he does puzzles and “clever” bits well, but seems to really fall down on emotional moments. Almost the opposite of Russell T. Davies. Since I think a cool and emotional moment can hide a weakness in plot, but a clever puzzle doesn’t hide a bleh emotional payoff, I was losing interest until the War Doctor specials and Capaldi.

      I mean, not only were the three doctors just fun to see playing off each other, but then the Curator? Got a bit of dust in my eye, let me tell you. Who. Knows (nose).

      And with Capaldi’s start, I think Moffat got a little too clever again, and built a half a season or more about Capaldi’s Doctor working through all the different story types and personalities of the previous Doctors. Another puzzle thing that is appealing intellectually and if you are a fan who knows those Doctors, but it meant a shifting protagonist right when we needed a full out New Doctor emotionally. I really loved the mummy on the train one, but of course, Capaldi was channeling Tom Baker. Yet, the pretty much solo effort last season was absolutely stunning. I think the best Who in years for me. Capaldi given free reign and a puzzle that was actually interesting AND an emotional OMG moment as he batters his way through time.

      So, long winded way to say: a bit.

  6. So the company that was making the materials for the Deluxe EX3 covers went out of business?

    I swear, it’s like the universe itself doesn’t want these things to ever see print.

    • Since those ideas and our own will all go forward into the big idea grinder phase where we pull together the 2018-2019 schedule, and then pitch it to the new White Wolf Publishing and then announce projects during next year’s Gen Con, it will be a while before you’ll be able to point at anything we’re doing as something that specifically came out of the process. But for us, there was enormous value in hearing from everyone and looking at what you all felt was needed or could be cool. Particularly with Chronicles of Darkness being in the position to move forward in ways it couldn’t under CCP’s ownership.


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