Happy May-ing season to all you fans and friends of Green Ronin Publishing out there. It’s certainly fitting timing for the release of our new agrarian-themed Astonishing Adventure, “Green Thumb, Black Heart” featuring one of our classic Freedom City villains, the Green Man, along with an update of his loyal hench-women, the Brides of the Green.
This adventure was another in the classic pulp writing tradition of “So, we have this cover design, who wants to write an adventure to go with it?” I find that sort of a thing a great springboard for the imagination, far more focused than “Create a superhero adventure” out of all of the endless possibilities that entails. If you are inclined to write your own adventures for Mutants & Masterminds, you might try a similar technique: Find yourself an evocative piece of art and write an adventure based around it. Not only will you have added focus for your creativity, but you’ll have a ready-made visual aid to show your players when you run the adventure!
“Green Thumb, Black Heart” is a pretty classic superhero mix of different types of conflicts (some easy, others far more challenging) coupled with a mystery and an investigation. It’s designed for the default power level of 10, although it can be modified, and it is set in Freedom City, but can just as easily be moved to any urban setting of your choice, or even a more suburban or rural setting, so long as there’s a college, a football team, and some kind of nightlife to work with. I could even see it working in a place like Midvale (from The Atlas of Earth-Prime) substituting the high school football team for college and the Future Farmers of America or 4H Club for the college’s agronomy program. Speaking of the Atlas, the Lost World section of that book provides some handy expansion for the background of the adventure, but isn’t at all needed to run it.
If you want to add a touch of the mystical to the adventure, consider setting it around this time of the year and connecting lore about Beltane and May Day to it. Perhaps there is a sacrifice or an offering to the mythic Green Man intended to enhance the criminal Green Man’s powers even more. That makes it an adventure opportunity for magically experienced heroes who have completed (or are playing through) the NetherWar series, for example.
Whether you are running the adventure as part of your ongoing series or just as a one-shot to give your players a taste of M&M superheroic adventure, we hope you have a great time with “Green Thumb, Black Heart” and check out the whole Astonishing Adventures line of M&M stories! And we hope you enjoy the upcoming month of May!
Steve Kenson has been an RPG author and designer since 1995 and has worked on numerous book and games, including Mutants & Masterminds, Freedom City, and Blue Rose for Green Ronin Publishing. He has written nine RPG tie-in novels and also runs his own imprint, Ad Infinitum Adventures, which publishes material for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. Steve maintains a website and blog at www.stevekenson.com.