Ronin Report, April 15, 2020
tl;dr: Things in distribution are challenging; Green Ronin is adapting and new releases are on the way. Please buy our PDFs if you’d like to support us during the current crisis.
On March 25th we posted our initial response to Covid-19 and its impact on Green Ronin. Events are moving so swiftly that conditions are changing day to day, sometimes hour to hour. Since our previous post, there have been the following developments:
- We made the decision to turn off all the print products in our online store until our warehouse can return to shipping. For now, we are continuing our 20th Anniversary Sale for electronic items only. Any outstanding orders for physical products will be shipped as soon as the warehouse is allowed to reopen for business but since we have no assurances of when that might be, we don’t want to allow too many physical back orders to stack up.
- Diamond Distributors announced a new payment plan last week that will significantly reduce the amount of money they will pay on existing invoices, and stretching payments out into August. Diamond is Green Ronin’s distributor to comic shops, bookstores, and library suppliers. Diamond is, like everyone, in a difficult position so we understand they are doing what they can. Still, as you can imagine, having payments for existing invoices spread out over 19 weeks is challenging for publishers like us. Cash flow is going to continue to be a critical challenge for all tiers of the game industry.
- In other bookstore news, Barnes & Noble has closed 400 of their 620 stores in the USA. We are sadly uncertain how many of these stores may re-open or what they will be able to stock when they do.
- More conventions, tournaments, and other gaming gatherings are announcing postponements or cancellations. Origins is one of our bigger summer shows and last week announced a postponement from June to October. It seems unlikely that we will end up doing any conventions for the rest of this year, which means we will be missing out on seeing thousands of game fans face to face. Convention season is traditionally when we’re able have our Freebooters running games and we can put hundreds of books and dice into people’s hands. We’re going to do our best to keep up with digital engagement but we’re also aware it’s no substitute for that in-person interaction we’ve built up over the last twenty years.
That’s some of what’s shifted in just these few short weeks. In the meantime, we have not been idle. We’ve been re-arranging our schedule and working on new initiatives to help get us through this unpredictable situation.
- We have shifted to electronic-only releases for new material because we want you to have new books for our games and we want to keep creating them! Books and shorter support material will continue to come out in PDF format for all of our game lines (as well as epub for fiction). The first new sourcebook, the Time Traveler’s Codex for Mutants & Masterminds, was released yesterday, in fact. We also have more novellas and short story anthologies from Nisaba Press on the way. We will resume printing and shipping books when it becomes feasible to do so.
- Some books will be serialized over the course of the summer. The adventures of both Five and Infinity (for Modern Age/Threefold) and Six of Cups (for Blue Rose) will be released in individual chapters. We’re also going to go back to Six of Swords (for Blue Rose) and break out those adventures individually for those who might want only one or two. They will be part of Adventures in Aldea, a continuing series that kicks off next week.
- The Astonishing Adventures series for Mutants & Masterminds will continue as planned, providing new adventure content for the game regularly. These have been individual adventures so far but so we will be starting a multi-part series called NetherWar at the end of the month.
- We are working with several virtual tabletop companies to making playing our games on those platforms easier. I was playing zero games online before this crisis but in the last few weeks I’ve received a bunch of invites and joined several games. Fate has decreed that now is the time!
- Last but by no means least, we will be going ahead with planned crowdfunding a new edition of our classic Book of Fiends bestiary for 5E. You want demons, devils, and daemons for your campaign? We’ve got you covered! Rob “Demon Lord” Schwalb, who was on the D&D 5E design team, did the conversion work and it’s as evil as you’d expect. Look for the Book of Fiends Kickstarter next month.
That’s the state of Green Ronin right now. We have no doubt that conditions will shift in the weeks ahead and that will require us to continue to be nimble and respond as new information becomes available. We’ll share those plans as they solidify. We hope you are all as safe as you can be in the circumstances. If you want to support us, the best thing you can do is buy PDFs from our online store or DriveThruRPG. Many of you have already done so in the last weeks and we really appreciate it. You folks are the best.