Ronin Round Table: Introducing the New Ronin

By Owen K.C. Stephens

Hi folks, I’m Owen K.C. Stephens, the new Pathfinder developer here at Green Ronin. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, tell you where I am coming from as a gamer and writer, and talk a little bit about our immediate Pathfinder plans.

I’m a classic RPG geek who grew up in the 1980s. I played games at school during lunch hour, thought Conan the Barbarian, Dragonslayer, and Krull were the best fantasy movies we were ever going to get, and played and ran games that make the term "Monty Haul" seem inadequate. I still game with many of the same friends I did 25 years ago (and we make a lot of the same Ghostbusters references we did 25 years ago), though our play styles have evolved with age and experience. I think games can be a great way to teach, learn, and get to know people, and am passionate about the importance and value of games in general, and RPGs in particular. Playing RPGs has been my most common weekly social activity for most of my life, and if I hadn’t taken up RPG writing as a full-time career, I have no idea what I would have done with myself.

I’m a huge fan of both Green Ronin and Pathfinder, and have done a considerable amount of writing for both. I got my start as a game writer doing articles for Dragon Magazine, and was lucky enough to work at Wizards of the Coast when D&D 3rd Edition was released. I met a lot of great people there, including Chris Pramas, so when I moved on to a freelance writing career during the "d20 Boom" it made sense for me to write for his company. I was a contributor to a lot of Green Ronin d20 products, including the Black Company and Thieves World d20 games, Bastards & Bloodlines, and the Advanced Gamemaster’s Guide. I also continued to write for Dragon Magazine, so when it moved from Wizards of the Coast to Paizo, I got to write for them as well. As a result when Paizo decided to create the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, I had the good fortune to be one of the freelance writers they involved early on. I wrote The Guide to Absalom before the game even had a core rulebook, and have contributed to numerous Paizo products since then. So my roots with both this company, and the game system I’ll be developing products for, go back quite a ways.

I also spent the past four years as the lead developer for Super Genius Games, helping with the ambitious product-a-week schedule that we maintained for four years without fail. That’s given me an appreciation for how much work goes into a game product before the writer even starts, and how long it goes on after the writer is done. I happen to be stepping down from Super Genius today (an event unrelated to my joining Green Ronin, despite the coincidental timing), but my experience with that company has left me much better prepared to coordinate a new set of Pathfinder-compatible books.

I was already working on the new Pathfinder-compatible Freeport book when Chris asked if I was interested in becoming a developer for Green Ronin, so that’s where my attention is going to be focused initially. Both Freeport and Pathfinder have evolved considerably since they were first introduced, and I want to make sure we use the best of Pathfinder’s current options to express the scope and excitement of the Freeport setting. There will be new material of course, as with any good setting, but we’ll make sure that where there is a good Pathfinder rules option to express an idea, we’ll use it. I want Freeport to still work as a city dropped into any Pathfinder campaign, working with existing material to expand your Pathfinder games, rather than change them into something totally different. And if you want to use the world of Freeport as your entire campaign setting, I’m looking at ways to help you do that as well.

After Freeport, we’ll be producing a Pathfinder-compatible version of the Advanced Bestiary, which is one of the most popular Green Ronin d20 supplements. I had requests to get this done within hours of Chris announcing I was joining the team, so it’s clear the fans want to see this book as well. While we could just make a few tweaks and re-release the book with the existing art, if the support exists for it we’d really like to do it as a full-color hardback with all-new art. Things are moving quickly on that front, and I’m pretty sure you’ll hear more from us about that very soon!

After that things are more up-in-the-air. There are lots of things Green Ronin could adapt and expand for Pathfinder, ranging from The Book of Fiends to Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra and even my own Bastards and Bloodlines. There are also lots of ideas that we could produce as entirely new gazetteers, adventures, and sourcebooks. I’m looking forward to hearing what our friends and patrons suggest, and working to follow the instructions Chris Pramas gave me when I asked what my primary goal would be as a developer: "Make cool stuff."