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The Labors of Demigods! [Monday Meeting Notes]

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Mortekai

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So, yes, it’s Labor Day here in the US, a national holiday. Many companies would therefore give today off to their employees, but since every day is a holiday here at Onyx Path, we had our usual Monday Meeting today, and work continues apace.

Of course, the second part of our MMN Blog title today comes from the fact that the Scion: Demigod 2e Kickstarter has been just crashing through the Stretch Goals after funding in 75 minutes! We’re all really thrilled and grateful to all of our backers for showing such fantastic support!

Putting the two together, I thought that a change of pace today that showed how some labor was done to create the elements for Scion: Demigod might be appropriate. And since I did some of that labor, I figure it’s on me to step up today and delve into the creation process for one of our latest Scion pantheon symbols.

This one is for the Apu, the Incan pantheon.

It’s usually after the writing is pretty well finalized, but not necessarily developed, that I’ll ask the project developer for notes on whichever part of the project needs a symbol. In the case of Scion, our writing and dev teams do such a deep dive into the pantheons that I could get overwhelmed just reading through the text, so in addition to letting me read that, I also ask for any ideas they might have for symbols and elements appropriate to the pantheon.

Sometimes I get easily usable ideas, and other times the needs of a visual project mean that I have to dig a bit deeper myself. In the case of the Apu, my notes scrawled on my note pad included: “golden sun disc (with link)”, “stepped pyramid”, “stone and gold”, “order/stability”, “Cusco”, “black and white llamas”.

I was good to go with the golden sun disc, and checked to see if any of the previous Scion symbols I designed went down that same visual direction. None did, so using that big hit of gold as the centerpiece became the start for the symbol. I originally considered using the foliage motif similar to what I did for the Aztec pantheon symbol as a background and surrounding next for the gold disc, but that did seem too close to other symbols and for me it just didn’t feel Incan enough.

Which is a big part of what makes these Scion symbols work, they have to feel appropriate to the pantheon. Which means we’re in the realm of the subjective, as what feels right to me may not feel right to you. But that’s the chance you take, because these are Scion symbols and they have to touch us, mean something to us, at least a bit, or we’re missing the point of the setting/game. All the raw data in the world about what should be included doesn’t help if most people aren’t connecting with that symbol.

That led me to hit the books. Yes, actual books. If I know what I want, finding 1500 images that I can use as reference for that thing is a snap with a Google search, but if I’m still looking for visuals that connect with me, then online searching just doesn’t work for me as well as paging through books about a culture. I don’t know what’s on the next page, which is the point.

One of the things I picked up on, was how striking the textiles still are in areas we’d consider Incan. Which started a whole different idea about how the color could and should work for this symbol. Bird feathers as decoration, and returning to one of the writer’s suggestions, the Incan knotted rope language called quipu. I had wanted to use it but didn’t have a way to keep the ropes and knots legible in the symbol, but with a bright textile background holding everything together, I could bring the quipu back into play.

Here’s my rough ideas page, the Apu symbol at top right representing the first pass, and the one lower left coming after I did more research:

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From the rough sketch, where I’m looking at what elements can be arranged in what pattern, and where I’m thinking about but not putting down the color yet, I’ll draw out the various elements on bristol board in ink – usually with technical pens rather than anything that would give a varying line. We just need an even line.

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A lot of time, if I know I want an image the same on both sides, or top and bottom, then I’ll just draw the one side and copy/flip/combine in Photoshop after scanning. The knotted ropes are on a separate page, as they required the whole sheet so I could draw them with enough detail.

Like I mentioned, these drawings get scanned in, and are really used as raw materials to copy and paste from when I start to make the whole symbol in Photoshop. Each element in the design gets its own layer, and that layer is set to Multiply in the layer menu. That way, the darkest lines stay dark, but anything in a layer “under” our line art shows through. This will become clearer when you see how the color goes in, but here’s just the line art all piled on top of each other:

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At this point, it’s time to get color in there, and in this specific symbol, it’s also time to get the patterning into the Incan textile. Some of the colors only show up when the overall color is on there, so don’t worry if it seems like some of the symbols aren’t there. They are on layers that I did different layer types, like Multiply from before:

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I also used the same colors for the fringe along the bottom and just drew those in loosely knowing the overall color would fall in between the other colors. Each instance of the bird symbol is on its own layer so that I could play around with size, position, layer effects, and color. I was going more for energy with the positioning and a certain lack of perfect positioning to replicate the hand-crafted nature of the textile.

Next, here it is with the red overall color. I spent a lot of time playing with the color controls to get the red I wanted, and then tweaked almost all of the little bird symbols to have their colors work with the red:

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While some of the birds are now showing up, you can see a few blank spots in there. Don’t worry, those won’t show up once the other item layers get colored in.

This was good, but the thing was, it didn’t feel like fabric to me. And that’s what I wanted to really play up – the texture of the textile! I could have scanned in a cloth texture, or found one online, but in this case I went with combining layer effects and filters. I’d tell you what I did if I could remember, but here’s what it looked like without the red layer behind it:

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I’m going to jump ahead here, and give you a step by step look at the big gold disk as it’s layers are painted in, but just assume that whatever I tell you about the disk, I already did in sort of the same sequence for the knotted ropes and the feathered headdress. I also started thickening the line stroke around objects to give them more heft and set them visually into the whole symbol. More on that later.

So here’s the first color for the disk, a dark golden brown:

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Here’s where it really gets fun and painterly. The next layer is just yellow, with the Photoshop brush set on soft-round and at something like 25% transparency. With the lines already setting up the shapes, I just zoomed in and put yellow in keeping the brightest areas towards where the light was supposed to be hitting the disk (more from below than the traditional light from above):

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Looking at it at this point, it didn’t pop enough. So I copied the yellow layer and set it to Multiply or the like and the doubled up yellow hit what I was looking for. It didn’t show up much when I was putting these sequential layer graphics together, but it’s that sort of subtle coloring that gives it the 3D look we need:

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And here goes the last highlight on the gold, which was a lot closer to white to really get a bit of sparkle, plus I also created a shadow effect in two layers so that the disk would feel more like it is on top of the other elements. We want that gold disk to be the big popping thing from this graphic, and it needs to be strong to outshine the colors of the textile:

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You can also see that I made the outer edge line much thicker than the others inside the symbol, so we’d have a strong edge to it so it could stand out on the page like the previous Scion symbols. Although, to be faaaair, I did reduce that thickness where the knotted ropes break out of the bottom. The ropes were being engulfed by the outline visually, plus, there’s a whole “language will be free” sort of thing going on there.

Hope you enjoyed this little look at the labor (or labour, as Matthew, James, and Ian would say) behind one of these pieces. It really is a labor of love, though, and it is so great when folks really respond to them.

Because this blog was so art heavy, here are your usual pieces of art from upcoming projects all together at the end!

Araya_LtSRR.jpgV5 Let the Streets Run Red art by Sam Araya
GregorPedrycz_TerraFirma.jpgTerra Firma art by Gregor Pedrycz

Hope you don’t mind the extra art here, but they really do illustrate our

Many Worlds, One Path!


Blurbs!


Kickstarter!

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Scion Demigod Second Edition funded last week in 75 minutes and is headed strongly to 300% funding, having blown through all sorts of Stretch Goals! Check it out if you haven’t already:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/scion-demigod-book-3-for-the-scion-second-edition-rpg


Onyx Path Media!

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This week: The Titanically Talented Trio of Terrible Terrificness discuss Stumbles, Errors, and How To Avoid Them! They’ll be looking at all sorts of fumbles and bumbles they and others have made while putting together game books!

As always, this Friday’s Onyx Pathcast will be on Podbean or your favorite podcast venue! https://onyxpathcast.podbean.com/

The Story Told RPG Podcast gets top billing this week due to their excellent, in-depth interview with developer Neall Raemonn Price regarding the currently on Kickstarter Scion: Demigod! Check it out and learn some of the ins and outs of Scionhttps://thestorytold.libsyn.com/episode-61-scion-demigod-interview-with-neall-price

We’ve got lots of Scion: Demigod actual plays coming in the next few weeks, with the first starting this week by Vorpal Tales! Keep watching this section for more Scion: Demigod games!

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For anyone new to our media section, you can find us running and playing games over on twitch.tv/theonyxpath pretty much every day of the week! Plus, if you’d like your games hosted there, just get in touch with Matthew Dawkins using the contact link on matthewdawkins.com

Please give our Twitch channel a follow, as you can find a huge number of videos of all kinds of games being run!

This week on Twitch, expect to see these games and streams running:

  • Scarred Lands – A Family Affair
  • Technocracy Reloaded – Vorpal Tales
  • Scion: Demigod – Vorpal Tales
  • Danielle’s RPG Development Workshop
  • Hunter: The Vigil – Cold Cases Forsaken Spaces
  • Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale
  • Mage: The Awakening – Occultists Anonymous
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Boston by Night
  • Chronicles of Darkness – Tooth and Claw
  • Deviant: The Renegades – A Cautionary Tale

Get watching for some fantastic insight into how to run these wonderful games and subscribe to us on Twitch, over at twitch.tv/theonyxpath

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Come take a look at our YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/theonyxpath, where you can find a whole load of videos of actual plays, dissections of our games, and more, including:

Changeling: The Dreaming – The Last Faerie Tale – E11 – https://youtu.be/Vxqy6JgB9wk

Scarred Lands – Surprise Meatgrinder! – https://youtu.be/iqiIEsvIslE

Scarred Lands – Purge of the Serpentholds – S1E14 – https://youtu.be/Ie-rITGhaAs

Hunter: The Vigil – Uptown Shadows Episode 4 – https://youtu.be/2qdLBpMu0lE

Realms of Pugmire – Paws and Claws S2E14 – https://youtu.be/ZcSdsNK-VI0

Subscribe to our channel and click the bell icon if you want to be notified whenever new news videos and uploads come online!

Tom Murr continues with his amazing They Came from Beneath the Sea! audio drama over on his YouTube channel!

Radio ReScience Episode 2: Military Entanglement, can be found right here: https://youtu.be/qiTprIriV7Y 

And Episode 3: Spycraft is here: https://youtu.be/qqS5rM3GA5A

Systematic Understanding of Everything is a new Exalted Explainer Podcast by Exalted Dev Monica Speca and Exalted Writer Chazz Kellner that is breaking down Creation in 45 minute chunks in preparation for Exalted Essence.

Their most recent episodes are available over on https://www.exaltcast.com/, with their newest covering the stunning terrifying Abyssals!

The Story Told Podcast continues their Fall of Jiara Exalted chronicle, and you can find their newest episode right here: https://thestorytold.libsyn.com/fall-of-jiara-25

Our good friend The Primogen concluded his Changeling: The Lost actual play a couple of months ago, and has kindly assembled a useful playlist of every single episode. Go give his excellent tale, Littlebrook Reunion, a watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2GEMzqGEGIg6pT79zt-FyFYoPjzn8YM5

GMS Magazine produced a review of Dystopia Rising: Evolution over on their channel! https://youtu.be/Q0Ih1KkUhS0

Here’s a blast from the past: last year, Tabletop Spotlight reviewed Monarchies of Mau for us. If you’re interested in some in-depth views of this corner of the Realms of Pugmire, please give their video a watch: https://youtu.be/gV48x2eQMU4

Vorpal Tales assembled their playlist of They Came from Beyond the Grave! actual play episodes as well, and you can find all six of the episodes of this series right here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9fUj4KdqE4BTnVZv9pZUkSk7GpwnyKXG

Please check these out and let us know if you find or produce any actual plays of our games! We’d love to feature you!


Electronic Gaming!

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As we find ways to enable our community to more easily play our games, the Onyx Dice Rolling App is live! Our dev team has been doing updates since we launched based on the excellent use-case comments by our community, and this thing is awesome! (Seriously, you need to roll 100 dice for Exalted? This app has you covered.)

We’re told that the App Dev is currently creating an updated version for the latest devices, so keep an eye open for those!


Virtual TableTop!

Introducing a Virtual Tabletop adventure: the Gauntlet of Spiragos for Scarred Lands on Astral TableTop!

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Scars of the Divine War, which ended less than 200 years ago, have still not healed. One such scar is the Chasm of Flies, a rent in the earth created when the titan Spiragos the Ambusher was smote down by one of the young gods, Vangal the Ravager. Now, the Chasm is inhabited by spider-eye goblins and their spider allies, but it is also thought to be the resting place of powerful artifacts from that elder age.

Gauntlet of Spiragos is a Scarred Lands adventure designed for 1st level characters, although it can be easily modified for characters of up to 5th level.

Astral TableTop is the easiest way to play any tabletop RPG online, free. Astral already supports popular systems like D&D and Pathfinder, and Astral can support virtually any tabletop roleplaying game. Get started quickly with built-in support for most popular game systems. Whether you’re brand new to TTRPGs or a veteran tabletop gamer, Astral‘s ease-of-use and built in automation is designed to streamline gameplay.

Astral is browser-based and uses the latest technology to streamline your storytelling experience. Connect with your party online and run your campaigns however you like. Astral offers tools optimized for phone, tablet, and desktop devices, no installation required.

Build epic battlemaps using Astral‘s enormous collection of scenery, props, and tokens or upload your own. Pro users gain access to over 12,000+ assets and fresh new packs every month. Add weather, visual effects, triggers, and so much more with easy-to-use tools

Build your own adventure, or choose from pre-generated game kits like Gauntlet of Spiragos. Create character sheets, craft maps, or just jump right in to connect with your friends and start your adventures!


On 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).

If you enjoy these or any other of our books, please help us by writing reviews on the site of the sales venue from which you bought it. Reviews really, really help us get folks interested in our amazing fiction!

Our selection includes these latest fiction books:

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Our Sales Partners!

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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!

You can pick up the traditionally printed Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau main books, screens, and the official dice through our friends there! https://studio2publishing.com/search?q=pugmire

Now, we’ve added Chronicles of Darkness books such as Changeling: The Lost Second Edition products to Studio2‘s store! See them here: https://studio2publishing.com/collections/all-products/changeling-the-lost

Scion 2e books and other products are available now at Studio2: https://studio2publishing.com/blogs/new-releases/scion-second-edition-book-one-origin-now-available-at-your-local-retailer-or-online

Our Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition books are also available from Studio2 in the US: https://studio2publishing.com/products/vampire-the-masquerade-chicago-by-night-sourcebook

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Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Try this link! http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/Onyx-Path-Publishing/

And you can order Pugmire, Monarchies of Mau, Cavaliers of Mars, and Changeling: The Lost 2e at the same link! And now Scion Origin and Scion Hero and Trinity Continuum Core and Trinity Continuum: Aeon are available to order

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As always, you can find Onyx Path’s titles at DriveThruRPG.com!


On Sale This Week!

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This Wednesday, the PDF and physical card PoD versions of three decks of magic Items for use in Scarred Lands go on sale on DTRPG!


Conventions!

Though dates for physical conventions are subject to change due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, here’s what’s left of our current list of upcoming conventions (and really, we’re just waiting for this last one to be cancelled even though it’s Nov/Dec). Instead, keep an eye out here for more virtual conventions we’re going to be involved with:

PAX Unplugged: https://unplugged.paxsite.com/

We’re still waiting on word for this one, as a TTRPG publisher we weren’t included in the companies contacted for PAX‘s virtual con replacing their usual electronic gaming con(s).


And now, the new project status updates!

Development Status from Eddy Webb! (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.)

  • Exalted Essay Collection (Exalted)
  • The Devoted Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)
  • Prometheus Unbound (was Psi Orders) (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • No Gods, No Masters (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Scion Fiction Anthology (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • TC: Aeon Novella: Dawn (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • TC: Aeon Novella: Meridian (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • Legacies of Earth (Legendlore)

Redlines

  • Dragon-Blooded Novella #2 (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • CtL 2e Novella Collection: Hollow Courts (Changeling: The Lost 2e)
  • Squeaks In The Deep (Realms of Pugmire)
  • Trinity Continuum: Anima

Second Draft

  • Many-Faced Strangers – Lunars Companion (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Hundred Devil’s Night Parade (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Novas Worldwide (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • Exalted Essence Edition (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Saints and Monsters (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • M20 Technocracy Operative’s Dossier (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary)
  • Wild Hunt (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Adversaries of the Righteous (Exalted 3rd Edition)

Development

  • TC: Aberrant Reference Screen (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • Across the Eight Directions (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Contagion Chronicle: Global Outbreaks (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • Exigents (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Assassins (Trinity Continuum Core)
  • Kith and Kin (Changeling: The Lost 2e)
  • V5 Forbidden Religions (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)
  • Trinity Continuum: Adventure! core (Trinity Continuum: Adventure!)
  • M20 Rich Bastard’s Guide To Magick (Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary)

Manuscript Approval

  • Crucible of Legends (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Dystopia Rising: Evolution Fiction Anthology (Dystopia Rising: Evolution)
  • Contagion Chronicle Ready-Made Characters (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • The Clades Companion (Deviant: The Renegades)
  • V5 Children of the Blood (was The Faithful Undead) (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)

Post-Approval Development

  • M20 Victorian Mage (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition)
  • Mission Statements (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)

Editing

  • Lunars Novella (Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition)
  • Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition core rulebook (Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition)
  • Player’s Guide to the Contagion Chronicle (Chronicles of Darkness)
  • TC: Aberrant Jumpstart (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • LARP Rules (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • The Book of Lasting Death (Mummy: The Curse 2e)
  • Scion: Dragon (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Scion: Demigod (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • Dearly Bleak – Novella (Deviant: The Renegades)
  • N!ternational Wrestling Entertainment (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • Under Alien Skies (Trinity Continuum: Aeon)
  • Dead Man’s Rust (Scarred Lands)
  • V5 Trails of Ash and Bone (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)

Post-Editing Development

  • W20 Shattered Dreams Gift Cards (Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th)
  • Cults of the Blood Gods (Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition)
  • Hunter: The Vigil 2e core (Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition)
  • Trinity Continuum: Aberrant core (Trinity Continuum: Aberrant)
  • Deviant: The Renegades (Deviant: The Renegades)
  • Legendlore core book (Legendlore)
  • One Foot in the Grave Jumpstart (Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2e)
  • Masks of the Mythos (Scion 2nd Edition)
  • They Came From Beyond the Grave! (They Came From!)
  • Heirs to the Shogunate (Exalted 3rd Edition)

Indexing


Art Direction from Mike Chaney!

In Art Direction

  • Tales of Aquatic Terror – AD’d.
  • WoD Ghost Hunters (KS) – KS page to Paradox for approval.
  • Hunter: The Vigil 2e
  • Mummy 2
  • Deviant – AD’d.
  • Legendlore
  • Technocracy Reloaded – AD’d.
  • Cults of the Blood God – Artists chugging along.
  • Scion: Dragon (KS)
  • Masks of the Mythos (KS) – Fulls recontracted.
  • Scion: Demigod (KS)
  • They Came From Beyond the Grave! (KS)
  • TC: Adventure! (KS)
  • Geist: One Foot In the Grave – Artists are working.
  • Contagion Chronicle Jumpstart (Chronicles of Darkness) – Breakdown brokedown.

In Layout

  • Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad
  • Vigil Watch
  • Trinity Core Jumpstart
  • Aberrant – Layout done with the power section. Art still coming in.

Proofing

  • Cavaliers of Mars: City of the Towered Tombs
  • Yugman’s Guide Support Decks (Scarred Lands)
  • TC Aeon Terra Firma – Sent back to Josh, looking good.
  • V5 Let the Streets Run Red – 2nd proof out this week.

At Press

  • TCFBTS Screen and Booklet – Files at press.
  • They Came from Beneath the Sea! – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller.
  • Pirates of Pugmire – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller.
  • Pirates of Pugmire Screen – Files at press.
  • Dark Eras 2 – Files printing.
  • Dark Eras 2 Screen and booklet – Files at press.
  • Contagion Chronicle – Press prep, PoD files uploaded and ordered.
  • Contagion Chronicle Screen and Booklet – Files at press.
  • Lunars Wall Scroll Map – Shipping to KS fulfiller from printer.
  • Lunars Screen and Booklet – Files at press.
  • Lunars: Fangs at the Gate – Prepping files for PoD and press.
  • Scarred Lands Creature Collection – Shipping from printer to KS fulfiller.
  • Sunken Bones – Pugmire pirate adventure – Errata collecting from Backer PDF.
  • Titanomachy – Errata collecting from Advance PDF.
  • Magic Item Decks 1-3 (Scarred Lands) – PDF and PoD card versions on sale at DTRPG and DriveThruCards this Wednesday!

Today’s Reason to Celebrate!

Labor Day! Traditional end of Summer and start of the school year holiday in the US. Except, of course, now the school year starts before Labor Day and anyway, everybody is in virtual school, and Get Off My Lawn!


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