Ronin Round Table: Obligatory Dungeons & Dragons Anniversary Post

By Jack Norris

Irreverent title aside, Sunday marked the 40TH anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. Like a lot of gamers, D&D was my first roleplaying game, and though it wasn’t my last or even my favorite I have to admit I owe it quite a bit and am happy to celebrate four decades of the game. Because D&D was my gateway into tabletop gaming, a field I not only love as entertainment but now do for a living, at least partially.

I didn’t get into D&D 40 years ago. That would have been a great trick, but it would have involved me playing the game as a 1 month old. I did, however, start playing about ten years later. I don’t remember much about my first games, save that my players were whoever I could get. After Dad humored me and various relatives gave it a shot, I managed to find a group of local friends to play the game with. Some were already gamers, others were new to it. In retrospect, none of us much knew what we were doing. We mixed editions of the games, made grand mistakes, and yet still managed to have tons of fun. Enough that when someone in our group pointed out there were other role-playing games out there, we jumped on. So eventually the weekly D&D game went away and was replaced by Marvel Super Heroes, DC Heroes, Star Frontiers, Pendragon, and Champions, just to name a few. Most of us didn’t go back to D&D except for brief visits, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important to us in ways we didn’t realize much at the time. By college I was running or playing Mekton, Castle Falkenstein, Feng Shui, Legend of the Five Rings, 7TH Sea, and many other games that wouldn’t have likely had an audience and an industry without D&D.

Even if I wasn’t playing it much after my early teens, I was influenced by D&D and my childhood games when running new stuff and later in my design work. Even though I’ve never worked on the D&D product professionally, it’s definitely had an impact. Sometimes this influence was built around wanting to emulate what I loved in the past. Other times, I wanted to avoid past problems and issues I saw with D&D when applied to certain ideas or genres. Either way, it was useful to me and made the fun times I’ve had with gaming better in a variety of ways. So hey, D&D? Thanks, old timer. This is also why I never much buy into all the edition warring and such we see online; because D&D isn’t an age-old hero that did everything right all the time, nor is it a necrotic reanimated horror that won’t die. Nope, it’s a fun cool game with a long, rich, and influential history, that like every RPG out there isn’t for all people or all situations. And that’s totally okay.

Finally, it’s fun to look at upcoming Dragon Age products and see just how much the line I develop for Green Ronin owes to a game published in little white pamphlets 40 years ago. Classes, levels, and other elements rest at the core of an "if it ain’t broke…" ideology that surrounds Dragon Age, both our game and the video game RPGs we base the line on. Stunts allow players to capture the maneuvers, feats, and combat techniques of various editions without turning their character sheets into an overwhelming laundry list of stuff that only a few characters can do anyway. There’s a hundred little ways Dragon Age is like D&D and yet also different, and this mix is one of the things I love about working on the line; it’s simultaneously familiar and new.

Anyway, there’s my D&D testimonial for the grand anniversary. I hope you’re all enjoying your games, whatever they may be.

Ronin Round Table: Green Ronin at ChupacabraCon 2014

By Donna Prior

Team Ronin decided to start the New Year off right with some convention appearances! When Steve Kenson told us that he was invited to come down to Austin to be a special guest at a gaming convention, Chris Pramas and I decided we wanted to join in the fun. Well, okay, it is entirely possible that BBQ had a big influence on this decision.


We all volunteered up our services to be panelists, and also host an in-person Green Ronin Round Table, for anyone who wished to come meet us and gab about games. Steve and I also ran a few games. Steve ran Mutants & Masterminds and ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying. I ran a couple fun introductory Dragon Age RPG sessions.

Not only that, but we were able to meet up with Green Ronin Freebooter Demo GM, Chris Ovalle! Our volunteer GM team is small, but we have some really great folks who are participating. Chris ran an adventure set in Midgard using the AGE system.

For my part, I had an amazingly great time. The ChupacabraCon folks were an absolute delight, both before and during the con. Any time I would look lost, or just poking around, they would say hello, ask if I needed help, or just generally chatted about games & life.

I made some new friends, played some new games, and managed to sneak in some visits with old friends in Austin! I also got to be the total fangirl I am, when they allowed me to be on a panel with Ernie Cline, Aaron Allston, Ross Watson, Aaron de Orive, and Jennifer Rehnay. We had a wonderful time sharing stories, poking fun at each other, and just being general silly passionate nerds. Our panel was "Creative Careers and how we got there!" Our audience was wonderful and seemed to enjoy our many tangents and geeking over Star Wars, Rush, and how rejection has helped shape who we are.


Besides the big hug from Ernie, one of the best highlights for me was that I got to talk about the Freebooter Volunteer GM Program. This program, and others like it, are my biggest passion. I love bringing people together over games; this is why I wanted to work with Green Ronin. Well, besides the fact that they’re all amazing people. But truly, there are some very passionate people who play Green Ronin games and I wanted to help them be more involved. Our program is still very small, but we have some great creative volunteers. We’re looking for more, so if you’d like to know more, you can check out the program here

Green Ronin in 2014

Welcome to the New Year, everyone! We hope you had a good holiday season and got in some fun gaming with your friends and family. Now that we’ve moved into 2014, it’s time for my annual overview of where Green Ronin is at and where we are going this year. We ended 2013 on a high note, with the Advanced Bestiary Kickstarter raising over $55,000. Let’s take a look at what’s happening next! 

Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds, now in its 3rd edition, has been a bedrock game for GR since its debut in 2002 and that shows no signs of changing. Right now the long-awaited Emerald City sourcebook at at print and should be in stores next month. This 336-page full color hardback gives you everything you need to set a campaign in Emerald City, including a full length adventure. You’ve seen bits of this background before in Threat Report, but now the city is revealed in all its glory.

Long time fans will be happy to know that Emerald City does not replace Freedom City, but enhances it. Emerald City is in the same setting (Earth-Prime) but on the opposite coast from Freedom City. It thus expands the game’s original setting. And what if you are newer to the game and don’t have the previous Freedom City books? Well, good news, Freedom City is getting its own big hardback this year! Steve Kenson is revisiting and expanding his classic setting for 3rd edition and this will be our big GenCon release. 

We will also be expanding the wider setting of Emerald City and Freedom City with a new PDF series, the Atlas of Earth-Prime. Each entry in this series will provide an overview of a different part of the world and developer Jon Leitheusser is trying to work with freelancers from those parts of the real world where we can, so we don’t up with characters like English Tea Time (beware his dreaded cuppa attack!), Kangaroo Boomerang, or other such nonsense. As with previous PDF series, we will collect these up for a print book next year. Last year’s PDF series, Gadget Guides, will see its print release this year.

We are rounding out the year with two more sourcebooks, The Cosmic Handbook and Hero High Revisited. The Cosmic Handbook is a book people have requested for years. It provides rules, advice, and support for campaigns beyond Earth-Prime. Hero High Revisited is an updated and expanded version of Lucien Soulban’s stellar book for 2nd edition about playing teenage heroes. We’re happy to bring this book back and Lucien is already at work adding new material. 

Love 2 Hate

This year we are branching out in a couple of different ways. The first is a new card game called Love 2 Hate by designer Colm Lundberg. Love 2 Hate is a party game of finishing sentences and (poor?) judgment. In each round of the game, one player acts as the judge and plays one Starter card. These are cards with nouns on them like Clowns or Lawyers. The judge can say “I love the way…” or “I hate the way…” Each player then plays a Finisher card face down to complete the sentence (for example, “I hate the way clowns subsist entirely on my fear!”). The judge decides who had the best answer and awards the Starter card to that player. Get enough Starter cards and you win! 

We have playtested this game many times at GR HQ and it’s a blast. We did a big game at the Green Ronin Summit back in October and after that we all agreed that we had to publish it. The judging mechanic is similar to that of other party games, so it’s easy to pick up. If you happen to be in Ireland later this month for WarpCon, Colm and I will both be there with demo decks in hand, so you can check it out for yourself. Love 2 Hate is currently scheduled for a June release. 

Dragon Age and AGE

The burning question is, of course, where the %#&#@ is Set 3 for Dragon Age? Here’s the skinny. The Player’s Guide is heading into layout. When it’s finished, we’re going to release it as a PDF ahead of the full set, which is slightly unusual but warranted in this case because I know people are beyond eager for this material. When the Game Master’s Guide is finished a few weeks later, we’ll release the full set and put it up for pre-order. Printer willing, we should have the finished sets towards the end of March. 

That same month we’ve also got a fun surprise: Dragon Age dice! We’ve partnered up with Q Workshop, whose awesome dice are almost certainly known to you. Each box of dice will come with two full sets for the RPG. That’s six dice total, four with the Circle and Templar emblems on them and two with the Grey Warden emblem and the Blood Dragon (the “Dragon Die” for the RPG). 


While I am putting Set 3 to bed,  Jack Norris is busy with a lot more support. He’s developing the adventures from The Deep Roads adventure anthology right now. We’ll be releasing the adventures individually as PDFs as we finish them and then collecting them up later this year for a print release. As previously discussed, we’ll also be doing two other PDF series, Faces of Thedas and Encounters in Thedas. 

Our AGE Bestiary series will also continue. AGE, short for the Adventure Game Engine, is the system that powers the Dragon Age RPG. AGE products uses the system but not the setting of Dragon Age. We are, as I’ve discussed before, working on another game using the Adventure Game Engine, but we had to make the hard decision to schedule that for 2015. We could not devote the attention it deserved this year and I am not going to rush it out just to have it out. 

As many of you know, BioWare has been working on the third video game of the franchise, Dragon Age: Inquisition. We are working with them to determine the best way to support that with the RPG, but that’s all I can say about it right now. We’ll have more news about that later this year. 


In 2013 we hired Owen Stephens to be our Pathfinder developer. The first two books you’ll see out of this are Freeport: The City of Adventure and the Advanced Bestiary, both of which were the subjects of successful Kickstarters last year and both of which should come out this summer. Those are two mighty tomes (520 and 288 pages respectively) so that’s keeping Owen quite busy in the short term. If you missed the Kickstarters, never fear. You’ll be able to buy both books when they are done and they’ll be available in stores just like any other of our print books. 

We have been discusing what comes next for Pathfinder. We have two overal goals. First, we want to do a mix of brand new material and updates to our classic d20 material. Second, we want to really develop the world of Freeport. Our future material will follow from these goals. 

SIFRP and the Chronicle System

A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying is our game based on George R.R. Martin novel series fo the same name (also the source of HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show). The next book for the game is Dragon’s Hoard, a 160-page adventure that should keep chronicles going for some time. The text for that is in for approval right now and we’re hoping to have it out before summer. Once that has a firm release, we’ll talk more about our future plans for the line. 

The Chronicle System is the rules engine that powers SIFRP. We released the first in a series of Chronicle System PDFs, Woodland Beasts, last year and will follow it up with more this year. Developer Joe Carriker has been working on several follow ups, including Out of Strife, Prosperity and Chronicle of Sorcery. The latter is just what it sounds like–a magic system! This is something SIFRP lacks due to the nature of the books, but Chronicle of Sorcery aims to fill that gap. 

The Freebooter Program

Last year we hired Donna Prior to be our Events Manager. Her biggest job is running our demo program, the Freebooters. These are folks who demo our games in stores and at conventions. We’ve got a good crew but we need more Freebooters! If you want to run games at GenCon, Origins, or other cons, check out the program info and contact Donna. It’s a life of adventure in the Freebooters! 

More to Come!

I’ve shared some highlights of what’s coming up but it is by no means everything. We have several projects in the works that we’ll be announcing later in the year. One of them is the subject of our next Kickstarter! We hope you stay with us for another year of great games and good fun. Here’s to a fruitful 2014!

Chris Pramas


Ronin Round Table: Chupacabracon!

By Steve Kenson

By this time next week, I plan to be joining fellow Ronins Chris Pramas and Donna Prior at the inaugural Chupacabracon in Austin, TX, alongside a star-studded list of guests. If you’re in the Austin area, check out the convention’s website and consider joining us for a weekend of games and geekery (and, if all goes well, local BBQ under the guidance of former Austin resident, Mr. Pramas).

Here’s some of the Green Ronin goodness you can find at the convention:

Friday, January 17th

  • 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm – Mutants & Masterminds with designer Steve Kenson. Get a sneak peek at some exciting upcoming adventure material from Green Ronin!

Saturday, January 18th

  • 9:00 am – 1:00 pm – The Forgotten King’s Tomb with Carlos Ovalle, Freebooter Volunteer. An adventure for 2nd level characters set in Kobold Press’s Midgard using the Green Ronin AGE system.
  • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm – Design a Game in an Hour seminar with Steve Kenson
  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Dragon Age Roleplaying Game with Donna Prior. A 2-hour short adventure, The Arl’s Ransom, to introduce players to the Dragon Age RPG.
  • 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying with Steve Kenson. Create and play your own original superheroes in this adventure.
  • 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm – Creative Careers and how we got there! seminar with Donna Prior, and other guests covering a variety of creative-driven careers and how we all got started.
  • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Cross-Media Chaos with Steve Kenson, Aaron Allston, and other guests discussing the process of working with settings and characters that cross multiple types of media, from comics and games to novels, film, and television.

Sunday, January 19th

  • 9:00 am to 11:00 am – Dragon Age Roleplaying Game with Donna Prior. A 2-hour short adventure, The Arl’s Ransom, to introduce players to the Dragon Age RPG.

Chris, Donna, and Steve will also be available throughout the con to answer questions and tell you about Green Ronin’s newest and upcoming products.