Malcolm Sheppard

Malcolm Sheppard

After writing and designing games as a freelancer from 2000 on, Malcolm Sheppard is pleased to join Green Ronin as developer at large: the one who works on any number of games, from the Adventure Gaming Engine to Ork! Malcolm’s experience before Green Ronin includes Exalted, Mage: The Ascension, Onyx Path’s Chronicles of Darkness and Scion lines, as well as Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase. Outside game design, Malcolm’s worked in community development and education, and as a professional historical re-enactor, where he gave large metal swords to children. (They were blunt!) Malcolm lives in semi-rural Ontario, Canada.
Malcolm Sheppard

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You Am Ork! Again!

One of the neat things about being developer at large at Green Ronin is that I get a taste of nearly everything. And lo, I have sampled many hyper-palatable game treats, full of the salt, sweetness and fat of . . . okay. Metaphor’s been stretched too far. Besides, maybe that doesn’t fit with the taste of Ork!

Ork! The Roleplaying Game was Green Ronin’s first original RPG: an unabashed “beer and pretzels” roleplaying game of comic carnage by Todd Miller and Chris Pramas, with Robert Toth. Green Ronin’s been working on a new edition for a while, but they—now we, since I’ve joined the firm—want to get it just right. Ork! comes from the company’s cradle. The kid’s grown up and headbutted people at a few hardcore shows, but we still love him. He was never good in school, so we’re giving him a job at the company, and an upgrade, into Ork! The Roleplaying Game, 2nd Edition.

Getting Ork! right means getting the tone (funny and relaxed) and game play (action-oriented but not tactical) down the way the game needs, and the way Chris and Todd want to see it. Thus, as the game’s developer I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants, or at least trolls: Chris and Todd, Robert, and Jon Leitheusser, who started the process of getting Ork! to its next edition.

You Am Get Core Premise
Since I became Ork! developer, it’s been my job to review everything to date, and polish it to fit Chris and Todd’s vision for the game. When confronted with the manuscript, I decided to think like an ork, and ask dumb questions, like: “What am game about?” (This is how orks speak, by the way.) This is a dangerous question in game design, because if you develop the game to stick too closely to the answer, you get something narrow and boring. But Ork! is a comedy game, and these aren’t usually in danger of getting too anchored—in fact, they tend to need that premise more than your average straight-faced game. Players already tend to act silly, so for comedy, the question really asks, “What absurd thing gets taken seriously, so comedy happens without forcing it?” So, I read Ork! and found the key: god barf.

Why? The ork creation myth goes like this:

In the beginning, there was no earth, no sky, no sea. There was Krom.

Krom slept and dreamed, and dreamed and slept for countless ages.

And then, he woke up. And he was hungry. So, Krom searched around for something to eat.

At last, he found a rock. Krom ate the rock, and it was good.

But later, the rock made Krom sick to his stomach, and he threw up for seven thousand days, and seven thousand nights.

Out of Krom’s stomach came the world, all the mountains and oceans and animals.

But Krom still felt sick. He never should have eaten that stupid rock!

And he was mad.

And then, he threw up for seven thousand more days, and seven thousand more nights.

Krom threw up the squishy men, and the sour men, and the trolls, and the giant cockroaches and the flying monkeys and the goblins, and then, when he thought he couldn’t throw up anymore, he threw up the orks.

And they were good.

Krom spoke to them.

“You shall be brave and strong,” he told them.

“You am shut up!” they yelled back.

And so, Krom cursed the orks.

“Everything that walks, swims, or crawls on the earth shall be your enemy. And they will never rest until they destroy you!”

“But, if you should somehow kill them all first, then I shall reward you.”

So spoke the mighty Krom.

And the orks were happy.

That’s what Ork! is about. You’re an ork and somewhere, up there, Krom presides over his barf. He’s annoyed.

You Am Get Game Meka, uh Miccani—You Am Get New Rules!
Ork! reinforces is mythology with its core mechanic: All dice rolls are opposed! Sometimes they’re opposed by the rolls of other orks, squishy men, sour men and the hordes of other annoying beings that inhabit the world, but when anything else opposes an ork, such as a tricky thing to climb, or how to make a weird magic item work? There’s not static, objective difficulty. There’s Krom. You roll against his dice. Now he’s a god, and this might seem unfair, but Krom rolls dice based on how interested or annoyed he happens to be with his least-favored creations. Chris Pramas baked this idea right into the rules, and I’ve decided to use it for a couple of new systems, including the following:

Cheats: Other games have “specializations,” and “focuses” that represent special training or talent. But orks aren’t the sort of people who stay inside and practice violin while the other orks play kick the squishy man head, and they’re not really “gifted”—or at least, orks don’t get tutors and special classes and pats on the back. To be especially good at something, they must cheat Krom.

Cheating Krom gives an ork the ability to steal dice from the Orkmaster—that is, the GM who represents Krom in an Ork! session. You roll them alongside your own to do especially well at something. The downside? Krom can’t be cheated forever, and those same dice get added to some future roll against you. Todd Miller’s called the new edition a game of “passing the dice around,” and that’s intentional, as swiping dice back and forth, to defy and be punished by Krom, is part of play.

Magic: Ork! features a lot of magic. Most of it takes the forms of items orks either find during adventures, or are given by their leader, the Warlock (changed from “shaman” in the last edition). To activate them, players roll against the item’s Krom dice. Magic is, after all, a form of cheating, and Krom prefers orks use their toothy snouts and meaty hands to get things done. In addition, this edition features ways for orks to use magic themselves. Todd’s experimented with this idea, and wanted a system that could deal with it without leading to “magic-user” types annotating their character sheets with boring stuff. Thus, all magic deal’s with Krom’s Curse—and if you’re trying to twiddle your thumbs and magick up some missiles, well, Krom doesn’t like that one bit. But the world is weird, and Krom wants orks to show a little backbone (their own, or one ripped out of an enemy vertebrate), so this punishment is about flavor, not giving the players a bad time.

You Am Play!
I’ve grown pretty attached to Ork! and have really enjoyed collaborating with Chris and Todd, and seeing the great work people have put into the game. Now that it’s my turn, I’m taking their advice and looking at it with an eye toward how I’d like it to run. That means breezy, brief rules, plenty of room for improvisation, and a system that leashes a couple of fun ideas to a system designed to unleash a little orkish mayhem. Hope you like it! Or, uh, you am like it!

Jack Norris

A writer and game designer since the mid 1990s, Jack Norris has worked on numerous award winning and critically acclaimed publications over the last two decades, including products for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, DC Adventures, Scion, Mutants and Masterminds, and Feng Shui.He is currently working at Green Ronin developing Dragon Age, as well as co-developing other projects such as Blue Rose. Outside of his work for Green Ronin and others, Jack also designs and writes Tianxia, his own line of wu xia/kung fu action rpg products published through Vigilance Press. When not writing and designing, Jack is an attorney and consultant at the Vidar Law Group, a small Chicago-based litigation firm.

Jack also hates writing bios...

Ronin Roundtable: Wim (Fantasy AGE iconics 2)

Hey Fantasy AGE fans, Jack again. Some time ago we introduced you to Aza, our iconic warrior as featured on various images and in our warrior entry in the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook. This time we’re turning to the mystical side of things and taking a look at Wim, our mage.

 

Meet Wim

Pale-skinned, well-dressed, and bearded, Wim Iakabal fits many people’s idea of a wealthy dwarven merchant or scholar. The scion from a family of famed academics, Wim studied classic architecture and engineering at several esteemed universities until his natural aptitude for the mystic arts was discovered. Enrolling in the elite King’s College of Magicians (see Fantasy AGE Bestiary, p. 50), he excelled in his studies.

Unlike his many cousins and siblings, Wim was ultimately not content to merely study in the safety of the library or laboratory. In his fortieth year of study, he left the university seeking more dynamic and exciting opportunities. As an expert in ancient structures, complex machinery, and magic he found his particular eclectic skillset was in high demand on various expeditions to explore lost tombs, ruined cities, and ancient temples.  Nearly dying on an early expedition to a trapped temple rumored to hold vast treasures, he was rescued by and fell in with his current companions and has been traveling with them ever since.

Wim tends to spend a lot of time thinking, theorizing, and planning. In fact, his companions often tell him he thinks “too much”, especially since it is their skills in battle that must save him when his magical talents fail to protect him from his own curiosity and tendency to distraction.  However, his knowledge often comes in handy in a variety of situations, as does his quick wit. Wim is surprisingly hardy for a scholar, a fact owed to a realization of the importance of physical fitness and his dwarven constitution.  He isn’t much in a stand-up fight, but can use his magic to great effect in battle.  He is rarely without his magical Staff of Channeling, a souvenir from an early adventure.  He’s been considering taking up explosives, but so far his companions have convinced him that’s probably more trouble than its worth…

 

Wim

Dwarf Student Mage, Level 5

Abilities (Focuses)

1 Accuracy (Arcane Blast)

2 Communication

4 Constitution (Running)

3 Dexterity (Traps)

0 Fighting

4 Intelligence (Arcane Lore, Engineering, Evaluation, Historical Lore, Lightning Arcana, Research)

1 Perception

0 Strength

4 Willpower

Speed          Health         Defense        Armor Rating

11                     52                        13                          0    

Weapon                 Attack Roll           Damage

Arcane Blast            +3                           1d6+4

Staff                        +1                            1d6+1

Unarmed                  +1                            1d3

Special Qualities

Favored Stunts: Skillful Casting (2 MP), Magic Shield (3 SP), Split Spell (4 SP), and That Makes Me Wonder (3 SP)

Specialization: Arcane Scholar (Novice)

Class and Race Powers: Arcane Blast, Arcane Focus, Darksight

Arcana: Healing (Novice), Lightning (Journeyman), Power (Novice)

Spellpower: 14 (16 for Lightning Arcana)     Magic Points: 50

Spells: Arcane Awareness, Jolt, Healing Touch, Revival, Shock Blast, Spell Ward

Talents: Lore (Journeyman)

Weapons Group: Brawling, Staves

Equipment: Staff of Channeling (Take a minor Activate Action to reduce the MP cost of the next spell you cast by 2 and grant a -1 SP to any spell stunts), spyglass, compass, books and notes on various theories and discoveries.

Owen Stephens

Owen Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens is a game designer who has worked on a number of products for Pathfinder, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, and more. He is our Pathfinder Line Developer when he's not working full-time Developing Pathfinder at Paizo, or running his own company, Rogue Genius Games.
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Using the Freeport Bestiary

With the pre-order of the Freeport Bestiary opening up, I thought it would be worth taking a moment to discuss how to get the most value out of the book. Of course if you are running a Freeport game this is easy – grab monsters as appropriate. We build the book to make that easy! But if you want to use the Freeport Bestiary to add some spice to other classic fantasy campaigns that’s easy too! In essence this is a companion piece to my discussion last year about adding typical Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to a Freeport game, but in this case we’ll talk about how to select the Freeport-themed monsters for your other campaign ideas. Since a fantasy campaign can focus on just about anything, I’ve broken this conversation into specific information the Freeport Bestiary gives you that can help you decide if a specific creature is a good match for your game’s overarching plot.

The Basics

It’s true of nearly every bestiary, but it’s worth noting that we break down the monsters by CR, and every monster entry gives you information about its type, size, environment, and so on. Sometimes when building an adventure a GM just needs more choices for a CR 14 aquatic encounter, and having more choices to go through expands the odds that you can pick exactly the monster you need. We also talk a bit about what we mean by the various terrain entries, since for some reason monster terrain types don’t use the same terms as ranger favored terrains.

Read more

Evan Sass

Evan Sass

Evan got his start in the hobby game industry in 1995, as a co-founder of Rubicon Games. Among other games, he has worked on Cranium, Cranium Hullabaloo, and the Pokémon trading card game. He has been editing and proofreading books for Green Ronin since our first product, Ork! The Roleplaying Game. He has been managing our web sites since about 2002. He co-designed Walk the Plank, our card game of piratical trick taking, and is our in-house Dragon Age and Fantasy AGE editor.
Evan Sass

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Fantasy AGE Encounters: Ancient Shadows (PDF)

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Ancient Shadows (PDF)

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Ancient Shadows (PDF)

We’ve got a new Fantasy AGE Encounter for you today, for just $2.95!

Ancient Shadows: The village of Crows Crossing lies near a site of ancient ruins and standing stones. Someone has explored where they should not have, and the heroes must decide what to do, lest something terrible be unleashed upon the world.

Ancient Shadows is a Fantasy AGE RPG adventure for heroes of levels 5-8.

Fantasy AGE Encounters are short “side quests” that can be used as is or expanded into longer adventures.

Evan Sass

Evan Sass

Evan got his start in the hobby game industry in 1995, as a co-founder of Rubicon Games. Among other games, he has worked on Cranium, Cranium Hullabaloo, and the Pokémon trading card game. He has been editing and proofreading books for Green Ronin since our first product, Ork! The Roleplaying Game. He has been managing our web sites since about 2002. He co-designed Walk the Plank, our card game of piratical trick taking, and is our in-house Dragon Age and Fantasy AGE editor.
Evan Sass

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Freeport Bestiary for Pathfinder: Pre-Order and PDF

The pre-order window for the Freeport Bestiary for the Pathfinder RPG is now open!

The world of Freeport is a perilous one, as any swab can attest. Sailors face monsters like ocean wyrms and sail dragons, explorers must deal with ghost eaters and harpoon crabs, and city dwellers may be surprised by burnlings and flayed men. You’ll find all these creatures and many more in the Freeport Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

This 180-page, full-color sourcebook includes a wide variety of threats, from classic Freeport adversaries like serpentmen and fire spectres to new monsters like corsair drakes and witch beasts. It’s the perfect complement to Freeport: The City of Adventure and can be used to add spice to any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign.

As with all of our RPG book pre-orders, when you place your pre-order in our Green Ronin Online Store, you’ll be offered the PDF version of the book for just $5 when you check out. If you prefer to shop locally, make sure your retailer takes part in our Green Ronin Pre-Order Plus program, and they will be able to get a coupon code for you to order the PDF from us when you pre-order the physical book from them.

Evan Sass

Evan Sass

Evan got his start in the hobby game industry in 1995, as a co-founder of Rubicon Games. Among other games, he has worked on Cranium, Cranium Hullabaloo, and the Pokémon trading card game. He has been editing and proofreading books for Green Ronin since our first product, Ork! The Roleplaying Game. He has been managing our web sites since about 2002. He co-designed Walk the Plank, our card game of piratical trick taking, and is our in-house Dragon Age and Fantasy AGE editor.
Evan Sass

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Press Release: Green Ronin and Greater Than Games Team Up For Sentinels of Earth-Prime

Sentinels of Earth-Prime, coming to Kickstarter, April 2017

Sentinels of Earth-Prime, coming to Kickstarter, April 2017

 

GREEN RONIN AND GREATER THAN GAMES TEAM UP FOR SENTINELS OF EARTH-PRIME

New Card Game to Bring Together Mutants & Masterminds and Sentinels of the Multiverse

February 14, 2017—SEATTLE, WA: Green Ronin Publishing and Greater Than Games announced today that they would be working together to create Sentinels of Earth-Prime, a new version of the hugely successful Sentinels of the Multiverse card game using the core setting of the Mutants & Masterminds RPG. The game, a joint venture between the companies, is coming to Kickstarter in April.

“Nothing says superheroes like a great team up!” said Green Ronin President Chris Pramas. “We are big fans of Sentinels of the Multiverse around here, so there was no way we were going to pass up the chance to work with Greater Than Games. I’m especially excited that Christopher Badell, the original designer of Sentinels of the Multiverse, will be designing Sentinels of Earth-Prime as well.”

“Mutants & Masterminds is one of our favorite super-heroic RPGs—we’ve been fans since the first edition,” said Christopher Badell, Editor-in-Chief of Greater Than Games. “Some of the side characters from Sentinels of the Multiverse even started out as heroes and villains from our home games of M&M! So, when Chris Pramas mentioned doing a Mutants & Masterminds card game, we jumped at the chance. I am eager to bring the rich lore, characters, and settings from Steve Kenson—a hero in his own right—to the card game format, now that the Sentinels of the Multiverse line is coming to a close.”

Earth-Prime has been the core setting of the Mutants & Masterminds RPG since its debut in 2002. Its characters and stories have been detailed in many books over the years, from Freedom City and Foes of Freedom to Emerald City and the Cosmic Handbook. The Atlas of Earth-Prime, a comprehensive setting book, was just released in January.

Sentinels of Earth-Prime will be a stand-alone card game that can be played on its own or with decks and characters from Sentinels of the Multiverse for universe-spanning action. Its Kickstarter launches in April and Green Ronin will publish the finished game in 2018.

About Green Ronin Publishing

Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle based company dedicated to the art of great games. Since the year 2000 Green Ronin has established a reputation for quality and innovation that is second to none, publishing such roleplaying game hits as Fantasy AGE, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and Mutants & Masterminds, and winning over 40 awards for excellence. For an unprecedented three years running Green Ronin won the prestigious GenCon & EnWorld Award for Best Publisher.

About Greater Than Games

Founded in January 2011 by Christopher Badell, Adam Rebottaro, and Paul Bender, Greater Than Games, LLC designs and publishes tabletop games. At Gen Con 2011, they released Sentinels of the Multiverse, which was called the best game of Gen Con 2011 by notable reviewers. Sentinels went on to have several highly successful Kickstarter campaigns, culminating in the OblivAeon campaign in 2016, which raised over 1.5 million dollars.

Greater Than Games and Dice Hate Me Games (founded by Chris Kirkman) merged in 2015, combining their powers to maximize the awesomeness of the games they publish.

Contact Green Ronin Publishing

Nicole Lindroos
General Manager
nicole@greenronin.com
http://greenronin.com/

# # # # #

Joseph D. Carriker

Joseph D. Carriker

Joseph Carriker is developer for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and the Chronicle System. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2000, and intends to keep doing that for the foreseeable future. He's an avid proponent of diversity in gaming spaces, and regularly runs LGBT-oriented panels at gaming conventions, including GenCon's "Queer as a Three-Sided Die." He recently sold a novel, Sacred Band, available this winter from Lethe Press.
Joseph D. Carriker

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New Character Options in Valkana (pt 1)

The forthcoming Titansgrave: World of Valkana setting book has lots and lots of the sort of setting detail one expects from an expansive world book. Details on settlements, geography, culture, and history all about, sprinkled liberally with inspiration for years worth of gaming in this world.

 

But one of the challenges of any good setting book is to provide new and interesting traits and resources to player characters. The goal is always to provide new material that isn’t just fun but also highlights the setting quite distinctly. They should be materials that feel like a part of the setting come alive, because they are directly relevant to the player characters.

 

In this week’s RRT discussing these new options, we’re going to look at some of the detail on the races in this setting book. Here is some of the new material available in Titansgrave: World of Valkana.

Races

Though Valkana’s setting uses the core races presented in the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook, this sourcebook casts a closer eye on them, examining them by their cultures and history as well. Those races capable of crossbreeding with others in the world of Valkana are included in this description. Some of the races even include strange offshoots with distinct differences from their main kin. These subraces – called the nhazera – are detailed as well, including entirely new Benefits charts to reflect their differing lifestyles, cultures, and temperaments.

 

Below, we include a sample sidebar detailing those characters who are born of the mixing of dwarven blood with other races.

 

 

Mixed Race Dwarves

Dwarves rarely breed with those outside their own race, though this is mainly due to societal pressures of the past. These days, dwarves and humans produce handsome, hearty offspring named rockborn. Dwarf and gnome artificers treasure the fey gnome-dwarf children known as daylins. Rumors hold of dwarves mating with elves, orcs, and halflings, but their offspring always resembles one parent’s race, or the other.

Chris Pramas
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Chris Pramas

Chris Pramas is an award-winning game designer and writer, and the founder and president of Green Ronin Publishing. He is best known as the designer of the Fantasy AGE RPG, the Dragon Age RPG, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd Edition. He has been a creative director at Wizards of the Coast and Flying Lab Software and a lead writer at Vigil Games. Most recently he worked with Wil Wheaton on the Titansgrave web series from Geek& Sundry. Green Ronin continues to thrive under his leadership, publishing roleplaying games like Blue Rose, Mutants & Masterminds, and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
Chris Pramas
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Cosmic Science Sale and Charitable Giving Initiative

Green Ronin has done a good amount of charitable giving over the years. This has generally been on an ad hoc basis though, with us either reacting to disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or taking opportunities that came our way, like the Worldbuilders fundraising event at Emerald City Comic Con last year. Things feel different in 2017 though. It’s like we’ve all moved into a darker timeline, with forces thought vanquished in WWII coming back to haunt us again while a dangerous instability affects America and the world.

We’ve thus decided to be more active in our charitable giving. We’ve set up a page on our website about it, so you can see what we’ve done and keep up on what we are doing. Starting now we will also be having a sale in our online store each month that benefits a different charity. We will use these sales to highlight organizations doing good and important work that can help us all weather the coming days.

Our February sale will benefit the Union of Concerned Scientists. This a group founded in 1969. To quote their website: “Appalled at how the U.S. government was misusing science, the UCS founders drafted a statement calling for scientific research to be directed away from military technologies and toward solving pressing environmental and social problems.” Things were bad then. They are far worse now. Science and indeed the scientific method are under assault. This is short sighted to say the least, and the effects on America and the world may be dire.

We are putting The Cosmic Handbook on sale for $19.95 in print and $12.95 in PDF this month. $10 of each sale will go the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thank you for your support.

Cosmic Handbook

Cosmic Handbook (PDF)

—Chris Pramas

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson has been an RPG author and designer since 1995 and has worked on numerous book and games, including Mutants & Masterminds, Freedom City, and Blue Rose for Green Ronin Publishing. He has written nine RPG tie-in novels and also runs his own imprint, Ad Infinitum Adventures, which publishes material for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. Steve maintains a website and blog at www.stevekenson.com.
Steve Kenson

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Out of Context

If you’re familiar with Green Ronin’s Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying at all (and, if you’re not, you should visit its page on our site) you know the game features strong themes of inclusion, both from a design perspective and in terms of the culture and history of Aldis, the primary civilization of the setting, often in contrast to Aldis’s neighbors. This includes diversity in terms of race, gender, romantic interest, and more.

However, Aldea (the world of Blue Rose) is not Earth, and does not have the same history as our own world, so the diversity in Aldis and elsewhere in the setting exists out of context with certain realities of marginalized peoples here in our world and in our own cultures, particularly (North) American culture. How does this affect our portrayals of different people in Blue Rose? In a number of often broad and subtle ways.

 

Race

Much of Blue Rose’s racial diversity owes to two things, one history, and one mythic. In the history of the region, there was once a Great Kingdom with connections to far-flung places of the world (perhaps even other worlds) via fantastic airships and arcane gateways, creating a cosmopolitan society that was a melting pot of cultures and peoples. It was succeeded by an Empire which forcibly relocated and intermingled vast populations, such that modern Aldis is quite racially diverse. The mythic element is that the gods of Aldea appear themselves in a wide range of human (and even non-human) races, and it may well be that the gods—who fashioned mortal, material bodies for people at the dawn of time—made humanity as diverse and different as them. So Aldin religious belief tends towards racial diversity and plurality rather than any sense of “racial purity”.

Where racial conflict does come into Aldin culture is in terms of the non-human night people, created by the Sorcerer Kings using arcane means. Once, they were a soldier and slave race of the Empire. Now many of them are free and able to choose their own path, but there are some who consider them inherently corrupt due to their origins. Night people and their allies struggle against these preconceptions to win and maintain fair treatment.

Gender

Aldin myth says that the bodiless spirits that descended into the material world were without and beyond gender, but that the bodies fashioned for them by the gods possessed sexual characteristics, leading to the creation of male, female, and those who were some measure of both, neither, or transitioning between the two—the laevvel. Aldean religion also believes in reincarnation of those bodiless spirits, so everyone has been (or will be) every sex, gender, and race at some point. Male and female are not “normal” in Aldin culture, merely common.

Some societies have gendered roles, such as the Matriarchy of Lar’tya, an Aldin trading-partner and ally, whereas in Aldis the notion of differentiating people’s social roles based on gender seems a strange and foreign practice. Although it only merits a brief mention in Blue Rose, it’s made clear there are widespread, easy, and effective natural means of controlling conception for all responsible adults, a significant factor in gender equality in Aldin society. Similarly, it’s made clear there are effective natural, alchemical, and arcane means of gender transition on Aldea, significant to laevvel characters.

Orientation

Sexual and romantic orientation is likewise influenced by Aldean myth and spirituality: There are deities with same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, as well as polyamorous relationships among the gods, all reflected in the cultures of mortals as well. In particular, Aldin sexuality is less stigmatized, and far more openly mapped on a kind of bell curve, with the majority of people attracted to persons of either or any gender, and minorities as either end of the spectrum who are only attracted to either their own or another gender. Again, bisexuality (or even pansexuality) isn’t “normal” in Aldis in that there is a value judgment attached it it, it’s merely so common that there isn’t a particular name for it, whereas those with primarily same sex attractions are caria daunen (lovers of the dawn) and those with different sex attractions are cepia luath (keepers of the flame).

Similarly, various forms of polyamory are quite common in Aldis, although there are also “twilights” (literally “two lights”) who prefer monogamous coupling. Some cultures favor polyamorous relationships, star marriages and heath marriages, while others favor monogamy, or at least some form of pair-bonding. There are cultures which attach moral or practical judgements to certain family arrangements, and others that do not.

Ability

Aldin culture recognizes differently-abled people as having their own unique strengths and roles, particularly in a fantastic world where there are threats based on the things one might see or hear, for example, and heroes lacking in normal sight or hearing can overcome these threats more easily.

There are also means for compensating for differences in ability in a setting where arcane powers of the mind and spirit can move or perceive things with the talents of the mind alone; indeed, with the existence of the rhydan (intelligent awakened animals) there are entire species of differently abled people on Aldea, living in bodies quite different from humanoids, with their own unique abilities and challenges, and the need to recognize these people as precisely that: people, and not “beasts” or “creatures”.

Blue Rose is an example of a fantasy setting that takes many of the “what if?” questions we use to create fantastic worlds and applies them to diversity, presenting different and accepted ways of being in world that is both unlike and similar to our own. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit and tell your own stories there.

Crystal Frasier

Crystal Frasier

Crystal Frasier is the developer for the Mutants & Masterminds Roleplaying Game, as well as a comic book fan, RPG geek, and corgi aficionado. She has played a variety of roles within the tabletop and video game industries, and has lent her talents to companies including Green Ronin, Paizo Publishing, Palladium Books, Onyx Path Publishing, Rogue Genius Games, and Kobold Press.
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Begin at the Beginning

Every hero needs an exciting origin story. They also need an antagonist that holds a dark mirror up to their defining qualities, to better highlight the heroic nature of their choices and sacrifices, but one step at a time. Origin stories define a hero’s abilities, challenges, and boundaries, and just like a superhero, every gamer needs an origin story that introduces them to the hobby. And introducing your friends to Mutants and Masterminds is about to get a lot easier, because later this year we’ll be releasing the Basic Hero’s Handbook!

 

Targeted for release later in 2017, the Basic Hero’s Handbook is especially designed to be an easy introduction to Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, giving players everything they need to pick up the rules, make their own characters, and run games.

 

 

Is this a revised rules system?

 

Nope, this is the same 3rd edition rule set you know and love, cleaned up and organized. Some of the more complicated rules are set aside for the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook. The Basic Hero’s Handbook focuses on getting to the action as a soon as possible, with streamlined character creation that only calls for a handful of player choices before you have a complete superhero ready to play! At its core, the BHH uses the same rules you’re used to, and your table can include players using the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook and the Basic Hero’s Handbook without any conversions or adjustments.

 

Is there anything in this for deluxe players?

 

If you’re a veteran to Mutants & Masterminds who already has a copy of the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook, there’s still plenty for you in the Basic Hero’s Handbook. We’re working on organizing all the rules a player needs at the table, making the book an inexpensive player’s reference for maneuvers, conditions, and other rules for easy perusal at the table. The Basic Hero’s Handbook is also a handy gamemaster training tool, with several pregenerated villains and four ready-to- play adventures. If you want to get your mom into M&M, or just want an inexpensive extra rulebook, the Basic Hero’s Handbook should have you covered!