Ronin Round Table: Nicole Lindroos

If you’ve been following along with our installments of the Ronin Round Table, you’ve gotten a glimpse at what several of our creative staffers do on a day-to-day basis and how we go about moving ideas into rules, stories, and pictures that fire the imaginations of our fans. Today I’m here to reveal a little more about what goes on behind the scenes of a company like Green Ronin that functions without a central office and spans several time zones. My name is Nicole Lindroos and I am Green Ronin’s General Manager.

In a larger company a General Manager might oversee a lot of other people and coordinate between different departments while tossing off industrial-strength buzzwords but, thankfully, Green Ronin isn’t that kind of a company. My duties can best be described as taking on those inspiration-dampening tasks that might weigh down our creative staff, keeping an eye on strategic development and greasing the cogs and wheels of the business.

One of my favorite duties, and one that is particularly on my mind at this time of year, is convention planning. This is the season of convention deadlines, many of which overlap and it’s my responsibility to make certain they don’t get overlooked lest we find ourselves without a booth or locked out of the hotel reservation system for an out of town show. The king of convention appearances for Green Ronin has always been Gen Con because we bring in every employee (and some of our most trusted freelancers) and believe it or not, deadlines for the show in August are already flying past by the time January rolls around. Booth payments are due, badge request deadlines are coming up, event registration is open, reservations for hotels will have to be made in the next few weeks and to meet those deadlines I need to have answers to questions. Since we have to pay for the booth, we must decide how big a space we’re going to need. That means we have to have an idea of how much product we’re going to have on hand, how many tables we’re going to want for demonstrations and which games we’ll be demonstrating in the booth. Will we have company-sponsored games listed in the program book? If so, we need to know which games and who will run them. What will our slate of seminars be and which staff members will be participating? For Gen Con in particular there are a lot of little pieces that all need to be fit together to make sure the whole thing comes off as planned but we’ll have to do essentially the same thing for several events on our schedule every year.

In the same way that our creative staff puzzles over the right stats for The Joker or whether those new Dragon Age backgrounds unbalance character creation, I’m the Ronin you’ll generally find hiding out behind the scenes “statting out” our convention attendance. And making sure payroll is covered. And helping track down that mail order that never made it to Norway. And banning spammers from our message boards. And adjusting the inventory reports to account for products damaged in shipment. And… well, you get the idea.

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Mental Powers

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Mental PowersThink all super-powers are physical? Think again… Mental Powers delves into the extraordinary abilities of the mind, from mind-reading and clairvoyance to astral projection and various mental tricks and attacks. Learn how to apply the "mind" descriptor and create powers focused on it and handle everything from possession to mind-switching. The power really is "all in your mind"! This 99-cent Power Profile PDF is for Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition.
Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Mental Powers

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Armor Powers

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Armor PowersSometimes heroes are made and not born, especially in the case of heroes who suit up in advanced armor, giving them capabilities to match the most powerful superhumans. Armor Powers looks at suits of power armor from weapons systems to defenses, movement and propulsion to utilities like communications and sensors, everything you need to create your own super-suits. In some cases, clothes really do make the (super-)man! This 99-cent Power Profile PDF is for Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition.
Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Armor Powers

Green Ronin in 2012

It’s January once again and that means it’s time for me to talk about our plans for the new year. The good news is that we’re in a better position than we were a year ago. Sales on our core lines are strong, product flow has been improved, and we hired three new people in the fourth quarter of 2011. We are kicking off 2012 with a bigger staff that we’ve ever had before and a plethora of projects to keep us busy and you gaming all year long. So let me get right to it!
Dragon Age and the Adventure Game Engine
I’ll start with a game near and dear to my heart: Dragon Age. We are currently putting together Set 3, which covers levels 11-20 of play. As with Set 2, we’ll be doing a public playtest of the Set 3 mechanics (I hear those are all the rage these days!). Will Hindmarch is preparing files for that as we speak, and that should begin by month’s end. In the meantime, you can check out the sweet Set 3 cover I’ve included in this article. We’ll be following up Set 3 with another adventure collection called The Deep Roads. This will be similar in format to Blood in Ferelden, but with an underground theme.
In addition to these print products, we will be supporting Dragon Age with a series of short PDFs. If you liked the free Tallis dowloadable content (DLC) that we featured a couple of month back, you’ll like these. They’ll feature new NPCs, monsters, treasure, and so on. The next one will be the Wyvern, a nasty monster for your game that’s a cool 99 cents. We also plan to release some PDFs for the Adventure Game Engine (the system that power Dragon Age) with similar content but not tied to the Dragon Age setting.
Speaking of AGE, I should mention that we are working on a new game that uses the Adventure Game Engine. We know folks want to see more AGE material and believe me, we have plans. We are working on a new game and a new world. This is not a license, but a property we are developing ourselves. We’ll be developing it throughout this year but the new game won’t actually release until 2013. This year our priority is finishing the core rule sets for Dragon Age.
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying (SIFRP)
I think it’s fair to say that 2011 was a great year for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. A Dance with Dragons was released, HBO’s excellent Game of Thrones TV show debuted, and our SIFRP Chronicle Starter was released in time for the holidays. This confluence of events lead to a big spurt of SIFRP sales and it soon became clear that by 2012 we’d be out of core rulebooks. We could have just reprinted but the rising tide of Ice and Fire enthusiasm argued for something grander.
This May we’ll be releasing “A Game of Thrones Edition” of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. This takes the existing core rulebook and appends the entirety of the Peril at King’s Landing adventure. This will give you all the rules and a full adventure in one glorious 320 page, full color package. We’ve commissioned a new cover from Michael Komarck that we’re expecting any day now. We also replaced a dozen pieces of interior art, and of course we’re fixing errata and such. If you already have SIFRP, there’s no need to panic. Nothing major is changing in the rules and you don’t have to re-buy them. We just want to take the opportunity to make our core rulebook bigger and better. And having a sexy new book to sell during season 2 of the TV show is no accident.
We’ll be following that up this summer with The Night’s Watch. Yes, it’s a full sourcebook about the black clad heroes who hold the Wall. The book includes rules and advice on running a Night’s Watch campaign, as well as providing the order’s history, organization, personalities, and so on. Then later in the year we’ll be doing a SIFRP Starter Set aimed at introducing the game to new players and gamers. As awesome as the new edition of SIFRP is going to be, it’s not the sort of thing you want to drop in a newbie’s lap and say, “Here, read this!” With all the attention the novels and TV show are getting, we want to have an accessible entry point to SIFRP and that’ll be the Starter Set.
Another thing the “A Game of Thrones Edition” lets us do is name the game’s system. We’ve dubbed it the Chronicle System and Hal Mangold is designing a logo for it. This will allow us to release material that is useable with the rules but not specific to Westeros. As with the AGE DLC, you’ll see a series of Chronicle System PDFs this year that expand the rules in different ways. You can use these options in your SIFRP game if you like or use the rules in other settings.
Mutants & Masterminds and DC Adventures
The year is starting off right for the World’s Greatest Superhero RPG. The Gamemaster’s Guide for Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition is in stores this week. We also just wrapped up the Threat Report series with the free Atom Family PDF, and started a new PDF series last week called Power Profiles. In each Power Profile, Steve Kenson takes a look at a particular type of super-power in Mutants & Masterminds game terms, and presents of plethora of ready-built powers and options you can choose from. These are a steal at 99 cents, as they make creating themed characters much easier.
The next print product for Mutants & Masterminds is the Threat Report. This collects all the PDFs of that series along with a few additional villains to challenge your super-heroes. Then this summer we’ll be releasing our new setting for Mutants & Masterminds: Emerald City. We had previously announced this title as a softcover book but we decided that wouldn’t do it justice. We’re thus upgrading it a full boxed set with multiple books and a poster map. Emerald City is a great place to kick off a new campaign. It’s also in the “Freedomverse,” so it’s fully compatible with our previous Freedom City books.
We’re rounding out the year in Mutants & Masterminds with a mysterious October release. We’ll have more to say about this later. We believe you’ll find it more treat than trick.
Last but by no means least is DC Adventures. As you know, our license with DC was for four books only. Two have been published already (the Hero’s Handbook and Heroes & Villains Volume I). The remaining two should come out this year. Heroes & Villains Volume II is in for approvals now and we’re shooting for a March release. The last book, Universe, is scheduled for this Fall.
With all of our licensed material, the thing to remember is that we don’t control the approvals process and this can affect our release dates. We do our best and so do our partners but sometimes patience is required. We’ll keep you updated as the year progresses.
Let’s Game!
I hope you enjoyed this overview of our 2012 plans and that you’re as excited as we are about what’s coming up. We have other irons in the fire as well, so expect more announcements as the year progresses. You can find news here, or on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve started a thread on our forums where I’ll be fielding questions. Stop on by if you have something you’d like to ask.
I’ll be playing A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying tonight and I hope you all are gaming this week too. If the world is going to end, I’m going out with dice in my hands!
Chris Pramas
Green Ronin Publishing

Chris Pramas Interview at RPG Geek

The fine people at RPG Geek have published an extensive interview with Green Ronin president Chris Pramas. Topics are far ranging, from formative gaming experiences to favorite designers to rancid ham (what?). There’s also a teaser about the development of the Adventure Game Engine. Peer into the brain of Pramas if you dare!

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Fire Powers

Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Fire PowersFIRE! Maybe not something to shout in a crowded theater, but a major source of super-powers. In the inaugural entry in our new Power Profiles series, we spark things off with a look at real "Fire Power," from hurling blasts of flame to fiery auras, rocket-powered flight, transforming into a being of fire or summoning them to do your bidding. This 99-cent Power Profile PDF is for Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition.
Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile: Fire Powers

Ronin Round Table: Steve Kenson #2

“What’s it like working in the RPG industry?”
This is a common question. It’s also one that’s difficult to answer, since the experience of “the industry” varies from company to company and working for Green Ronin is different (one imagines) from working for Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing, Steve Jackson Games, or any number of other publishers.
For one thing, those companies all have centralized offices where people come to work, whereas Green Ronin (as Chris Pramas discussed in a previous Ronin Round Table) is a distributed company, operating primarily online and collaborating across the country and four time zones. Green Ronin also has both full- and part-time employees, unlike many RPG companies which are either full-time or strictly part-time endeavors.
So what does a typical work day for me look like? I get up fairly early to go over my morning emails and messages with my coffee, answering any that require an immediate response, and flagging others for later while putting together my to-do list for the day.
Then it’s off to the gym, since I find working out in the morning keeps me on-schedule and helps me to focus during the day. Once I’ve worked out, showered, and changed, I’m back at my desk by mid-morning to begin digging into the actual work of the day. I tend to start with writing time, when I’m at my freshest and I’ve had time to mull things over. (I find I get a lot of ideas at the gym or even in the shower that have me eager to get to work by the time I’m back at my desk.) I’ll typically write or design through to lunchtime, when I’ll take a break, although I’ve been known to eat my lunch at my desk while going through emails and such again, or just reading Facebook and message boards (not the best eating habit, I’ll admit, but I’m working on it). Finished drafts go into our company Dropbox for the developer to look at and mark up for revision.
In the afternoon, I’ll keep writing, if that’s the priority for the day, or I’ll shift gears to do some editing, either going over previous drafts or entering corrections. Editing is one of the only tasks I still do with paper and pen, since it’s the most effective means for me to notice corrections and note them. I’ve done some proofreading of PDFs on my iPad, which is the closest virtual experience to editing hardcopy, but I still tend to work with stacks of printouts when it comes time to do serious revisions. So much for the “paperless office”! Rather than editing my own work I might also do an edit pass or development on another piece, particularly if one of our developers needs a hand.
Afternoon tends to be time for phone calls and such as well, if they’re necessary, just because other parts of Green Ronin are on the opposite coast and hours behind East Coast Time. Still, we do most of our corresponding via email, which is easier to manage unless there’s need for a lengthy discussion or an immediate response.
As the afternoon wears on towards dinner-time, I tend to “wind down” with the more mundane “paperwork” tasks, including things like data-entry (putting stat blocks into Hero Lab for M&M products, for example) and answering low-priority emails from earlier in the day. This is the sort of less intensive stuff that makes a good wrap-up, although my days don’t always end at 5:00 PM. More often than not, after dinner I’ll be back at my desk for an hour or so, either putting in a bit more writing or editing work, or handling follow-ups from communications earlier in the day. Remember, my West Coast colleagues are just getting into the most productive parts of their afternoon when I’m wrapping up for the evening! The occasional evening or weekend afternoon, I’ll be on Skype for a company-wide conference call where we can catch up on what’s going on and talk over things more easily than back-and-forth emails.
Of course, that’s just a “typical” day and one of the advantages of telecommuting for a company like Green Ronin is there’s no time clock and fairly few scheduled meetings. So if I need to take off to run some errands in the middle of the day, I do. Likewise, if I need to work late to ensure something gets done in time for a hand-off to development or production, I do that, too. So long as things get done, there’s very little of “management” looming over our shoulders. I think it’s an arrangement that suits me and my fellow Ronins; like the name says, we’re independent types who like being our own “masters”!

Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #51: The Atom Family (Free PDF)

Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #51: The Atom Family (Free PDF)Think your family is strange? Imagine if your little brother could read minds and kept a teleporting pet monkey from space, or if your grampa was a disembodied floating head, holographically projected from a computer. That’s just everyday life for the world-famous Atom Family, explorers and adventurers with a long history. For them, challenging the unknown and saving the world are "the family business"! This free PDF product is for Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition.
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #51: The Atom Family (Free PDF)