Ronin Round Table: Launching a New Game…in the Golden Age!


As the Mutants & Masterminds developer, the gaming groups I play with are often treated to sessions of M&M, either to try out some rules or to enjoy some super-hero action. Recently, one of our ongoing non-M&M games was growing a bit long in the tooth and the players asked for something new. After exchanging a few emails and offering up some possible game ideas, we decided on a new M&M series. And surprise, surprise, they thought a Golden Age/WWII-era game sounded interesting. Another surprise, they thought playing a PL6 game might be interesting!

I’ve been thinking about PL6 super-hero games for a while now–not agents, superheroes–so I was pretty excited to get the chance to test how effective characters at that power level would be. I like the idea of lower-powered characters because opponents like thugs, gangsters, and the police are much more of a challenge. Or in this case, opponents like members of the American Bund, Fifth Columnists, and Nazi soldiers.

Once we’d settled on the Golden Age, I started doing some research and looking through source material to come up with some ideas. The first things I grabbed were my various super-heroic RPG books, including M&M 2nd edition’s Golden Age, but I also grabbed a couple of old (now very old) Champions Golden Age sourcebooks. I looked though the timelines of both to find events I thought might be interesting to feature in game sessions, coupled that with online research to figure out exactly what was going on generally in the war and finally to settle on the date I wanted to start the game: July, 1941.

I chose a date before the start of the United States’ involvement in the war because I wanted to have time to get the team together and show what life was like before the U.S. got involved. It also allowed the players to set up their characters’ lives however they wanted without needing to worry about the draft or other wartime conflicts.

During character creation, one of the players mentioned that he’d like to have this game move through generations of heroes. The same player also mentioned he liked the idea of going into outer space. With that in mind, I wanted to set up the series so it could hopefully move through multiple decades as well as into outer space. I still don’t have a 100% solid idea of what will end up happening down the line, but I know the heroes will be dealing with aliens and and I hope to have them create their own “legacy” heroes for adventures in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘80s, and maybe the modern day.

Already in the first couple of sessions I’ve introduced a very active Bund chapter, super-powered Nazi agents, and hints of alien involvement (which the PCs picked up on immediately). Because the characters weren’t previously very well known heroes and didn’t know each other, I got them together by telling them they’d each received a note (in their secret identities) that directed them to meet with some others on top of a building in Freedom City. They all showed up, concerned it might be a trap and confused about who else they were meeting. That initial encounter immediately led to an encounter with the Bund and their Nazi contacts, which in turn led them to the Nazi’s hideout and the strange technology they possessed, including some “eisentruppen” (iron troopers/soldiers) and something they think is a partially-assembled portal.

After that encounter, their mysterious letter writer, who introduced himself as Augustus Cross, rolled up in his wheelchair, accompanied by his daughter Amelia. It turns out he’s precognitive and knew the heroes were needed to put right things that had started to go wrong in the timeline. He’s dying, but he’s written down his visions, which will be provided to the heroes even after he dies.

Not only did Cross allow me to get the heroes together, his letters allow me to direct the heroes to other adventures, but the “time” aspect of things let me introduce the idea that more than just the heroes’ time period is important to what’s going on. That, along with the alien technology, the Nazis, and the oncoming war, gives me a lot of different threads to work with when coming up with story ideas.

This is a pretty good example of the way I build a superhero series: talk to the players, come up with a setting, do some research, look at the characters, find out what the players want, create some far-reaching ideas, string them together into a web I can hang stories on, then introduce as many of those ideas early on, so the players and characters know what to expect in the future.

I’d love to hear about how you come up with ideas for your M&M series over on our forum, the Atomic Think Tank.

As an aside, I’m a huge fan of hearing about the characters people play in games, so I wanted to provide a list of the heroes in this game, in case you’re interested.

The Basilisk. A rich playboy and amatuer archaeologist who found a scroll that opened his mind, which somehow allows him to subconsciously read thoughts, so he can predict movements, avoid blows, and incapacitate nearby foes with psychic feedback.

Nemean. An investigative reporter of Greek heritage. She’s the current possessor of a ring made from the remnants of the Nemean Lion. It grants her great strength and invulnerability.

Professor Power. A scientist who was crippled in an explosion, but rebuilt using his own technology. He has a clockwork leg and an arm that can fire knockout darts or deliver a powerful jolt of electricity, and wears a force field belt, and jet pack.

The Sagebrush Kid. A gunfighter from the Old West, who encountered some supernatural things in the past, died, and came back. Now apparently immortal and with recuperative abilities, he does what he can to protect others with his six-guns and lasso.

Winged Hussar. A Polish pilot shot down in the war against Germany, but saved by the ghost of an ancestor. He can become ghostlike, raise mists to cloud an area, fly, wields a saber and pistol.

Blackest Friday DC Sale

Blackest Friday Sale

DC Adventures Blackest Friday Sale


For a limited time, you can order each of the DC Adventures hardback books for just $19.95 apiece, or get all four together for $60!

Two New PDFs: The Sportsman and Russia & Central Asia

We have two new PDFs for you this week, one Rogues Gallery entry and one for Atlas of Earth-Prime, for Mutants & Masterminds.

Rogues Gallery: The Sportsman (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The Sportsman (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The Sportsman

Trained from birth by his criminal parents, the original Sportsman and Princess Poison, the modern-day Sportsman is dedicated to living up to his parents’ high standards for villainy. Armed with sports-themed weapons and capable of great violence when provoked, the Sportsman is no joke.

Includes Hero Lab files for both the modern Sportsman and his father, the original Sportsman, and for his mother, Princess Poison.

Get The Sportsman today—just $1.95!

Atlas of Earth-Prime: Russia & Central Asia

Atlas of Earth-Prime: Russia & Central Asia

Atlas of Earth-Prime: Russia and Central Asia

The former Soviet Union once dominated Eastern Europe and central Asia. Elements of its influence are still felt there on Earth-Prime, from ancient figures out of myth like the witch-hag Baba Yaga to the effects of Chernobyl and the shadowy UnterKremlim. Heroes can work with Bogatyr, the greatest hero of Russia, or battle against foes like the Four Horsemen, deadly leftovers from secret Soviet super-soldier programs, while wondering who the mysterious hacker known as Delphi works for, and what her agenda might be.

Includes Hero Lab files for Baba Yaga, Bogatyr II, Delphi, Horseman Super Soldier, Oculus, Pozhiratel, Rasputin, and Volkadav.

Visit Russia and Central Asia today–only $3.95

Ronin Round Table: Using Chronicle Creatures in SIFRP

woodland-creaturesOver the past year-and-change, we here at Green Ronin have introduced a line we call our “Chronicle Creatures” – a series of PDF supplements featuring all sorts of creatures for the Chronicle System, the rules “engine” that powers our A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.

Of course, these creatures are not from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire setting. Though that series has a handful of creatures both mythic and terrifying that have appeared in its pages, these never have. That said, there’s no reason a creative Narrator can’t make use of them for their personal chronicle, of course. One of the great pleasures of A Song of Ice and Fire is when its lost magic and myths make an appearance, often to the confusion and fear of its characters.

Here are some suggestions for using some of the content of our Chronicle Creatures PDFs in Westeros. Please keep in mind that these are very much non-canon, of course.

Chronicle Creatures are divided into three categories: “Beasts,” which are large and ferocious animals, like the direwolves of Westeros, without any overt sentience or magic; “Horrors,” like the dragons of Westeros, with distinct ties to magic and/or some measure of intelligence; and “Legends,” like the Children of the Forest or the Others, entities of magical potency whose existence has fallen into legend…until they make a come-back in your chronicle.

Woodland Creatures

Our first bestiary PDF, Woodland Creatures focuses on creatures that dwell in wooded or forested areas. It opens with some new rules, including Domain Drawbacks, a set of rules for training animals, and some basic stats for the sorts of regular animals that might be found in woodland areas (including bobcats, elk, hawks, owls, and the like).

The Beasts of this supplement fit very easily into Westeros. Many of the “dire” creatures fit very nicely into the wildernesses north of the Wall, where other giant beasts roam; the Battlehorn, a giant caribou or reindeer, the Devourer, a massive weasel-like beast, and the Dire Wolverine might all easily be found in those wintery expanses. Butcher Birds, massive carnivorous flightless birds, and Claw-Wing Lizards, which might be mistaken for small dragons, all fit nicely into southron climes, whether in the hazardous wilds of Essos around Qarth, or perhaps even in the hot mountains that separate Dorne from the rest of Westeros. Rounding out the Beasts is a handful of giant insects, from ants to spiders to wasps.

The Horrors of this supplement also have some excellent fits for Westeros. There are several strange fungi, plants and even diseases, such as Black Web fungus, the Cocoon Tree, Scavenger’s Rot, and the insidious Skullwort, all of which cause various forms of strange maladies and afflictions (including a weird zombie-like state for victims of Scavenger’s Rot). Mighty beasts such as Barghests and Gryphons (including a Greater Gryphon variety for truly majestic creatures) are found herein, as are the Weirdlings, the strange entity that results when a victim wanders into one of the pockets of old, strange forest magic in the deepest forests.

The Legends of these woodlands are frightful. Terrifying intelligences, such as the Crossroads Guardian, the Headless Knight, or the Hag of the Dark Woods await unwary travelers in any forest. Creatures closely tied to the forces of death and the otherworld, such as the Corpsehorse or the Tall Man make excellent terrors in places that have seen a great deal of death or that lay under curses. In contrast, the River Wardens are massive turtles that would be very at home in any large river – particularly the rivers of Essos that were once the home of the Rhoynar.

Mountain Terrors

This supplement focuses on mountainous areas, from icy places such as the Frostfangs beyond the Wall, to the hot dry mountains one might find north of Dorne. The introductory section (a free PDF) includes some normal animals of these areas, as well as animal training rules and some rules that focus on the hazards of high terrain, such as landslides and avalanches.

Its Beasts range from the cold-dwelling creatures such as Avalanche Wolves, whose howls bring down torrents of snow and stone from the ledges above their prey to the massive Stonehorns, dire rams whose horns are made of the minerals they eat from their environs. Flying creatures pose a risk here, as well, including the Needle Roc, a massive eagle with porcupine-like spines that sweeps past and evicerates its prey and the Skullcrackers, massive flying lizard-beasts who drop heavy stones onto their victims with frightening accuracy.

The Horrors here include strange creatures, from the Cloud Leopards that haunt fog banks and low cloud-cover becoming almost invisible and only partially solid within them to the slithering Snow Eels that worm their way through snow banks to the Thunderbirds that hunt when it is storming.

Finally, there are two Legends of the mountain heights. The first is the Alpingast, a beastly meat-eating humanoid that haunts high mountain passes and hunts with cunning ferocity. The second is far more mystical – the Devourer’s Shadow, a great two-headed vulture-like bird-beast whose body is almost never visible, though it’s great shadow gives its hunt away.

Rogues Gallery: The House of Usher

Rogues Gallery: The House of Usher (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The House of Usher (PDF)

The original Raven caused the fall of the House of Usher in the 1960s. Now, the house has risen again—in the form of wholly corrupt and evil teenagers, all of whom are out to make their house and their name great again. Each member has their area of expertise and together they’re planning to make Freedom City pay!

Get The House of Usher today—just $2.95!

Ronin Round Table: AGE Encounters PDFs

Fantasy AGE

Fantasy AGE

Hey folks, Jack here. I wanted to take a bit of time and talk about a series of upcoming PDFs for Fantasy AGE that be coming in the next few months. These are a series of short encounter-based scenarios that GMs can use to jumpstart a session or use to fill in between major adventures. They aren’t full adventures, but most can easily lead to them.

Originally this product was envisioned for Dragon Age. However, the realities of needing to send Dragon Age content to approvals with Bioware makes an even semi­regular PDF series very difficult. So instead, we’re taking the basic idea and doing it in Fantasy AGE, where the approvals step is absent from design and production.

Each encounter is designed to give GMs a set­up section to get the PCs involved, some optional or random occurrences that can make each longer, shorter, more dangerous, and so forth. Also included are suggestions of how this single encounter can spin off into a large part of a campaign. Each PDF usually details an initial encounter and then one or two logical follow up encounters that will resolve the problems or challenge presented.

So maybe while traveling through a war­-torn region, the PCs come across a band of refugee children pursued by a cult of religious extremists. The cult wants the refugees, believing them dangerous heretics possessed by dark powers. The children were being smuggled out of the war zone, but their protectors have been slain. What do the PCs do? Do they transport the children to safety? Find a place that will take them in? Turn them in for a reward? What random occurrences may happen while the kids are in their charge? These are the sorts of scenarios this series covers.

When possible, monsters and other items from Fantasy AGE are used, keeping these products concise and inexpensive. They’re meant to be affordable supplementary material for GMs to use as needed and we wanted to keep to that idea as much as possible. However, all of them have one or two “new cool things” that the encounter required. This might be a statblock for an enemy or monster, a magic item, or possibly even a new spell or ability.

The first three Encounters are currently in production (two edited and with layout, one in editing). I have two or three more already written which just need some small changes before they move down the line. So while we’re not ready to announce the exact release date for this series yet (or even commit to its exact title), they are pretty far along and the first will be arriving shortly.

Also, we aren’t committing to a particular number of encounters—we’d like to see how it does and make adjustments as necessary. We’d like it to be a popular series that grows into a sizable library of releases. However, first we just want to get some new content out to all the fine folks who have already picked up and are enjoying Fantasy AGE.

Cosmic Handbook and Harbinger of the Far Tide

Cosmic Handbook (Pre-Order and PDF)

Cosmic Handbook (Pre-Order and PDF)

Cosmic Handbook (Pre-Order and PDF)

Cosmic Handbook is now available for pre-ordering in our Green Ronin online store, or you can get the PDF by itself. If you do pre-order the hardback, when you check out you’ll be offered the PDF version for just $5! To take advantage of that offer, when it pops up make sure to click “Add to Cart” and then click “Check Out.” (If the offer doesn’t show up for you, please let us know at

The cosmos is a vast realm of primal powers, alien empires, and wonders and dangers beyond imagining. Now it is yours to explore with The Cosmic Handbook for the Mutants & Masterminds Superhero Roleplaying Game. This sourcebook looks at the universe beyond Earth, from the history of the cosmic in the comics to the conventions of cosmic stories and characters. In the pages of The Cosmic Handbook you will find advice and rules for creating characters and adventures in the depths of space. GMs get ready-to-use villains, from space tyrants and aliens to nigh-omnipotent cosmic beings, and an expanded look at the universe of Freedom City and Emerald City beyond the bounds of Earth.

Get ready, heroes. Infinity awaits!

Rogues Gallery: Harbinger of the Far Tide (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Harbinger of the Far Tide (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Harbinger of the Far Tide (PDF)

Also now available for Mutants & Masterminds is the Rogues Gallery: Harbinger of the Far Tide PDF, for just $1.95.

The Earthly manifestation of a preternatural being from beyond space and time. The existence of the Harbinger of the Far Tide makes it clear to those in-the-know that far darker, far more powerful beings are on their way. Your heroes have never faced a threat like this before.


Ronin Round Table: Game Master’s Kits Are Coming!

One of the most common questions we got after the release of Fantasy AGE was, “Are you going to do a GM screen?” At the same time our screens for other games had been going out of the print over the past couple of years. We have not had GM’s Kits for Dragon Age, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and Mutants & Masterminds in stock for some time. We’ve been waiting for the right time to get these going again, and happily that time is now!

In the first quarter of next year, we’ll be releasing Game Master’s Kits for Fantasy AGE, Mutants & Masterminds, Dragon Age, and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. They have some common features. Namely, all have a sturdy, hardback GM screen, four double-sided rules reference cards, and a combat tracker. The latter is a card for keeping track of initiative and other combat considerations, and you can write on it with dry or wet erase markers. The Fantasy AGE one (which has only the above contents) is brand new, of course, but the other three are revisions of our previous GM’s Kits.

The original Mutants & Masterminds GM’s Kit included a 48-page booklet featuring the Quickstart Character Generator. This proved so popular and useful that we put it in the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook. It didn’t make sense to include the booklet when that info is in the game’s core rulebook, so the reference cards and combat tracker replace it.

The Dragon Age GM’s Kit also needed a revision. The original was done when only Set 1 had been released, so the screen was out of date. We’ve revised it to reflect Dragon Age Core Rulebook, and we’re also replacing “A Bann Too Many” with a brand new adventure.

A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying’s GM’s Kit will have the same basic content (short adventure, map of Westeros) plus the reference cards and combat tracker. We may replace the screen art (that isn’t nailed down yet). The adventure is the same, but we are going to duotone the art and print the booklet in color this time, just to snazz it up.

The GM’s Kits for Fantasy AGE and Mutants & Masterminds are at print now and should release in January. Those for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and Dragon Age are scheduled for March. Since both of those are licensed games, I’ll just issue my usual caveat that an approvals process is involved and this sometimes affects release dates. This is less an issue with the SIFRP screen, as it’s a largely a reprint, but the Dragon Age screen has a brand new adventure and associated art, which need a sign off from BioWare.

It is thanks to Dragon Age that all the new GM’s Kits are getting handy reference cards. That game was originally released as a series of boxed sets, which allowed us to easily include such things. Now that the Dragon Age Core Rulebook is out, we needed a new way to get reference cards for stunts and other things into people’s hands. The GM’s Kits proved the perfect place for the reference cards and the new combat trackers. Look for them all in the new year!