Mix-and-Match Green Ronin’s 5e Fantasy Offerings
Green Ronin publishes a lot of games. It figures: We’re gamers, and we like a lot of games! We also publish material for a number of different game systems. While the Adventure Gaming Engine (AGE) System sees a lot of use these days, and is as close as we get to having a “house system,” Green Ronin also supports the d20-based Mutants & Masterminds, the Chronicle System of Sword Chronicle, and standalone systems like Ork! The Roleplaying Game.
Among all of those game systems, Green Ronin also publishes material compatible with, or based on, the Fifth Edition of the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game. We have some experience in that area, having worked directly with Wizards of the Coast on the Out of the Abyss campaign and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide sourcebook, and having worked with Matthew Mercer on the Tal’dorei sourcebook for Critical Role.
Our 5e products include The Lost Citadel, Book of the Righteous, the 20th anniversary edition of the Death in Freeport adventure, and The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, bringing the romantic fantasy world of Aldea to 5e. We’ve just finished production on a new 5e edition of The Book of Fiends as well, and wanted to look at some of the ways you can mix-and-match our Fifth Edition offerings and use them in your own games. So, let’s take a look!
The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is primarily a setting book, in the vein of our work on the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. It features material on the world of Aldea, particularly the nation of Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose, and its surrounding lands. (You can find out much more about Blue Rose and its setting elsewhere on our website.) The goal of the Blue Rose guide was to introduce the world of Aldea to 5e players and provide an additional, alternative setting, rather than an alternate game system.
That said, the book does contain a wealth of game system material to account for the differences between Aldea and various other 5e fantasy settings. In particular, it offers new character ancestries (and its own take on handling ancestry) for the peoples of Aldea. Each character class has a new subclass suited to the setting, and there are unique backgrounds, specific modifications of the magic rules, magic items, and a Corruption system that reflects the power of Shadow, to name a few.
Even if you don’t use Aldea as a setting for your 5e adventures, the game system portions of the book are easy to import to other settings. The lands and peoples of the world of Blue Rose could also be places for plane-hopping characters to visit, or part of some distant land on the far side of the world where they currently adventure.
The Book of Fiends is a massive tome of the most vile denizens of the lower planes, not just the familiar demons and devils, but also daemons, qlippoth, Fallen celestials, and more. They range from minor low-level threats to godlike rulers of their own infernal realms and everything in-between. The Book of Fiends is a supplementary catalog of foes for a 5e campaign, especially one focused on fighting the forces of corruption and evil, such as Out of the Abyss, or a campaign like Descent into Avernus where the heroes descend into the lower planes themselves to fight their inhabitants! Who can’t use more fiends as foes?
The Book of Fiends dovetails with our Book of the Righteous in that they share the same basic cosmology. The Book of the Righteous works in conjunction with 5e planar cosmology and mentions the Abyss, Gehenna, Hell, and their various fiendish denizens, while the Book of Fiends details them. So the two books form two halves of the same cosmology for a campaign setting: the mythos and religion of the world and all of the forces of evil aligned against it.
The Book of Fiends connects with Blue Rose’s Aldea: The seven Exarchs, the great daemons of Gehenna, are also known as the Exarchs of Shadow on Aldea. The various daemons can serve as further darkfiends for your Blue Rose games, and you can plunder the dark depths of The Book of Fiends for other foes for your Aldean heroes. Fiends also offers its own Corruption system associated with infernal temptation. Use it in place of the Corruption rules from Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, or for a specific kind of corruption associated with the Exarchs and their minions.
The Book of Fiends also comes with a chapter of character options: subclasses, feats, spells, and backgrounds usable in any 5e setting where the forces of evil are abroad. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide specifically points to them as possible options for corrupt and Shadow-aligned characters in that setting.
The Book of the Righteous provides a complete pantheon and cosmology for a 5e fantasy setting, along with numerous interconnected deities, faiths, and religious practices. It’s a fantastic resource to mine for options and inspiration, even if you don’t adopt the entire thing wholesale.
Like Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide and The Book of Fiends, The Book of the Righteous comes with a hefty rules chapter packed with 5e options: at least one new sub-class for every core character class, a dozen new clerical domains, five new paladin oaths, backgrounds, feats, spells, and magic items. It also has celestial and fey creatures associated with the gods and higher planes. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes that many of these game options fit well into the world of Aldea and are quite useful there.
The 20th anniversary edition of the adventure Death in Freeport offers a self-contained, low-level 5e adventure set in the independent pirate city of Freeport. Since it is a tiny island nation, Freeport is easy to include in any setting you may wish, or usable as a jumping-off point to any mainland you want the characters to travel towards. Freeport’s temples and churches may be devoted to the pantheon from The Book of the Righteous (that’s deliberately left open for you to decide) and the eldritch horrors lurking in the setting can make good use of material from The Book of Fiends. As The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes, Freeport could well exist among the Pirate Isles of that setting, bringing all of its unique character along with it.
What’s more, Death in Freeport is not just adventure: It has an appendix with game information on the sinister Serpent People, two new magic items (the staff of defense and the wand of escape), and four new class archetypes: the Valor domain for clerics, the terrifying Buccaneer archetype for fighters, the cunning Alley-Rat archetype for rogues, and the preternatural Serpentkin sorcerous origin. Any of all of these could find use in any 5e campaign.
The Lost Citadel differs from Green Ronin’s other 5e offerings, which are designed for use with the core rulebooks, whereas Lost Citadel customizes more of the class, background, and magic options to suit the setting, along with adding some new options. Nevertheless, all of these options are compatible with the core 5e rules, so you can import Lost Citadel character options into other campaigns or settings, if you wish. The same is true of the book’s extensive collection of creatures, especially undead, which can certainly inspire new unliving foes for Blue Rose, for example.
What’s more, Lost Citadel offers another system for measuring supernatural corruption (do we sense a theme here?). Called Woe, it deals with the price of magic and supernatural knowledge and of places given over to the powers of death and despair. It would be suitable for use to model the effects of some domains of the foes from The Book of Fiends or places on Blue Rose’s world of Aldea where the power of Shadow has grown deep, indeed.