Onyx Path have been hugely successful in running Kickstarters to revamp and luxe up many of the old White Wolf titles. The latest effort, Demon: The Descent Prestige edition, closes on Kickstarter in about a day (at the time of posting), has raised nearly $140,000 and asked for $40,000.
Geek Native spoke to Richard Thomas and Rose Bailey about the project.
The Onyx Path has had great success with their Kickstarter re-run of White Wolf titles. Why do you think that is?
richt: Well, to clarify, our Kickstarters have run a gamut of the 20th Anniversary classic World of Darkness games through Exalted’s next edition, and right through new game-lines for nWoD like Demon: The Descent. So looking at those audiences, I think KS really works to extend and complement Onyx Path’s philosophy of communicating and working with the fans. Being able to both help us create a special traditionally printed edition and often help determine content and the next couple of projects in the line is an opportunity WW fans have never really had before, and I think people are responding to that. And frankly, the Kickstarters are fun.
Where do you put Demon: The Fallen in the World of Darkness Hierarchy? One of the best? A fan favourite?
ROSE: Demon is my favorite White Wolf game that doesn’t have “Vampire” anywhere in the title. I love it to pieces. Which is one reason Descent is so different.
richt: I loved being able to help bring Demon: The Fallen to life back in the day- the tragic opera that was the backdrop of Fallen was really appealing to me.
How much does Demon: The Descent differ from The Fallen?
ROSE: Almost all of the details are different, but the root difference is very basic. They have different conceptions of God. In Fallen, God was very much God the Father. God was a jerk, but at least partly relateable and at least alleging to be benevolent. God was also absent. In Descent, the God-Machine is very much the Establishment. It’s both more abstract as a character, and more immediate in its ties to the World of Darkness.
Why bring the God Machine into Demon: The Descent in such a big way?
ROSE: The God-Machine was seeded in the World of Darkness core rulebook, and then we kept it to scraps and hints for years so that it didn’t overshadow the diversity of weird that the setting covered. Now that weird is well established, so we can finally start paying off some of those hints. And when we wanted to tell a story about fallen angels and the establishment which they served… well, the God-Machine is a very natural fit.
richt: When Rose pitched me Demon, one of those points that just struck me as key and exciting was the mixture of the traditional lore of demons mixed with the mythology suggested by the God Machine. The angel in the crypt on the moon being discovered by astronauts (from the illustration in the core WoD book)…what if that angel fell?
The God Machine Chronicle very deliberately provides questions rather than answers. Does Demon: The Descent have to firm up on some of those possibilities?
ROSE: Demon is very clear on what the God-Machine does, how it does it, and what its general motives are. It’s deliberately vague on the Machine as a character, because it isn’t really one. The God-Machine is the system you’re born into without your consent. It’s many forces that conspire together, rather than one single voice.
richt: And I should say, whatever answers to the God Machine you get in Demon, are designed to work for Demon. Those answers aren’t necessarily right for GMC.
The complete text for the game is online. Why do that? (Demon’s text)
richt: Every Kickstarter continues to be an experiment. Part of that is to determine how our traditional methods of delivering our projects- based on all our years with WW- need to evolve to better match the way our community is enjoying their entertainment. And part of what I feel comfortable doing with these experiments is based on the comfort level of my developers on any given project. In Demon’s case, Rose asked me how far I was willing to go in terms of letting the fans decide if the raw text was worth a beautifully laid out and illustrated version to them. We had had enormous energy and fun with the W20 Changing Breeds Kickstarter which also had the almost complete text available up front- so I figured why not see how that openness works for a brand new core game book for a line like Demon. Rose and co-developer Matt McFarland were good with trying it, so we did, and so far it certainly hasn’t seemed to dull interest in Demon!
Has the RPG industry changed so that physical books are now a luxury item? If they’re worth paying for at all then they are worth paying for a prestige edition?
richt: Well, first off, what’s a luxury item? Our Deluxe or Prestige Editions certainly are because you can also get them in electronic formats or in physical book Print on Demand form from DTRPG, but we say that up front with our Kickstarters. So you can have the material electronically, you can have a physical book version that is as solid and well put together as WW books ever were shipped to you from DriveThruRPG, or you can support the Deluxe or Prestige Kickstarter for the bells and whistles, the collectibility, and for the chance to be more involved in how the book or line develops. But that’s just how Onyx Path does it, and in the RPG industry I think you see, and will continue to see, creators coming up with different solutions to getting their games into people’s hands in a variety of ways.
What have been some of the inspiration to Demon? What music?
ROSE: John Le Carre was probably the biggest single inspiration, as well as lots of older espionage films. Sapphire and Steel was an inspiration for me in writing about angels, though I know Rich couldn’t get into it. As for music, I listened primarily to Digitally Imported’s Vocal Trance station while I was working, which gets the right mix of urban and ethereal. And, of course, you can never go wrong with VNV Nation’s “Dark Angel.”
richt: Re: Sapphire and Steel, I just need to watch the next “adventure” to compare to the first. There were parts I thought were cool like a repetitive nursery rhyme causing trouble that could be straight out of the modern incarnation of Doctor Who…but there were also special effects and camera work out of 70’s Doctor Who as well. The Spy That Came In From The Cold would be a biggie for me, and The Third Man.