Friday, August 24, 2012

The Onyx Path

"Oh most glorious Carmin! Please will you step down from your golden throne of gaming and share your glorious opinion with the masses regarding White Wolf's change to Onyx Path?"
"HAHAHAHA! NO! You cannot begin to comprehend the wondrous sounds that I form regarding this pleasing news, for you are mere mortals, and are of the flesh! NOW GO!"
"Please, oh game master! We are aimless! We know not what to think regarding this news. Shall it usher in a new era for the World of Darkness both new and old, or is it but another sign of the end times?"
"But oh handsome typer of game-related musings, we beg you! Tell us already."
"FINE! But I cannot be held responsible for what might result from your hubris. Now let me put on these fangs and this cape. I'm just going to... Climb down... From this... Throne... Ah, there we go! NOW HARK... I SHALL BEGIN:"

It was announced at GenCon this year (2012, in case you just woke up) that Onyx Path Publishing (OPP, but not the kind you're thinking of) will be the new publisher for White Wolf's (WW) properties. OPP is run by Rich Thomas, who has been with White Wolf since the beginning, as well as staffed by all the writers, and designers we've loved from White Wolf's heyday(s). They also own the properties to the Trinity universes (Adventure!, Aberrant, and Trinity (├ćon)), and Scion. They've announced a new edition for Exalted, and are probably going to do a new edition for Scion as well. But don't take my word for it; check out their release schedule here.

A bit of background: In 2006 White Wolf merged with CCP (Crowd Control Productions. The makers of Eve: Online). At first it was great, because it injected more capital into WW and allowed them to do cool stuff. However, the cracks soon became apparent when CCP had to lay off a huge majority of WW staff because of the shortcomings of Eve. It soon became apparent that while passionate about WW's stuff, CCP was just not fit to publish pen-and-paper games. So, Rich Thomas decided to start his own company and called it Onyx Path Publishing. He's licensing the rights to make pen-and-paper products of the World of Darkness (current and classic), and Exalted (these games are still owned by White Wolf, which is a division of CCP... Try and keep up). He also bought Scion and the Trinity universes.

So where does that leave us today? With much optimism. OPP is still banking on the digital production model, which I have mixed feelings about. However, One Book Shelf has stated that they're looking into ways to include the retail channel in their model, which would be stellar. Really, I'd just like to see the core books and the storyteller screens kept in regular supply through the traditional means of distribution, at least, but I'm no businessman.

OPP is also promising a slew of new stuff! Of course, I'm most excited about any Vampire: the Requiem stuff, including the new campaign/update to the game system, but I think I'm going to fall for the new WoD stuff, and the new Mummy stuff. I don't think I'll contribute to the Mummy Kickstarter, but I'll get the books through Print on Demand (PoD, or Now in Print, as they're calling it, despite the fact that it abbreviates to NiP. What's with White Wolf and these fairly tame sexualized abbreviations?).

I'm most excited for the revisions to the WoD and VtR games. I like how they're not going to a new edition, despite the fact that I normally back new editions pretty faithfully. I'd just hate to have to do extra work to bring my old books up to speed, and I dislike the stigma that a new edition evokes amongst gamers. They're also releasing more fiction, which will be a definite buy for me. I'm reading through the Clan Saga from the Masquerade days, and really enjoying it, and I've always thought the fiction in the gaming books was fantastic.

It does seem to be an ambitious schedule, especially for a company that's going through some pretty ambitious changes. As one of my favorite gaming companies producing one of my favorite games, I wish them the best, and hope that all the huge decisions they've made in the last few years turn out to be fruitful.


P.S. I've had 18,000 viewers as of me typing this!

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