Ronin Report, July 9, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since our last Ronin Ronin Report: new serialized adventures!Report so I thought I’d update you all on how the company is faring during the ongoing COVID crisis. In March and April things were dicey. When our warehouse shut down and we could not ship physical books anymore, that put us a bad situation and severely impacted our ability to bring in revenue. Team Ronin really pulled together though, and we were able to roll with the punches and make some contingency plans that helped us weather the roughest patch.

Thankfully, Alliance—the game distributor who warehouses our books—re-opened with new safety procedures in place in May. This meant we could begin shipping books again, both to customers of our online store and the distributors who serve game retailers. This was a big help. A couple of print jobs that had been put on pause were also able to get going again. Lairs for Fantasy AGE and the reprint of the Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide for Mutants & Masterminds both arrived and are available now. We also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for the Book of Fiends on Game On Tabletop.

All of this means that things are more stable now than they were a couple of months ago. Does it mean everything is back to normal? Well, no, unfortunately not. Pretty much every convention in 2020 has been cancelled at this point, game stores are still struggling, and orders did not magically go back to their pre-COVID levels. We had to make some big adjustments to our schedule and have to be much more strategic about what gets printed and in what quantities. And yes, M&M fans, we will print the Time Traveler’s Codex! We just need to find the right time for it.

The hardest decisions we had to make regarding our schedule were pushing the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook and Fifth Season RPG into next year. 2020 just Ronin Report: new serialized adventures!isn’t the right time for big launches like that, so we reluctantly made that call. On the upside, it does give us more development time on both projects and we are putting that to good use.

Overall, we are getting by but it’s not an easy time. If you’d like to support us, pick up some Green Ronin books from your local store or our online store. We also have some exciting stuff being serialized in electronic format: Five and Infinity for Modern AGE, the NetherWar adventure series for Mutants & Masterminds, and new Blue Rose Adventures. Nisaba Press, our fiction imprint, has released two new short story collections (For Hart and Queen for Blue Rose and Powered Up for M&M), and the superhero novel Sacred Band is also up for pre-order.

And there’s more fun stuff coming up. In August we’ll be launching Sword Chronicle, a full fantasy RPG built on the rules from our Song of Ice and Fire RPG. Ships of The Expanse will bring all the sexy spaceships to your Expanse games. Danger Zones will provide lots of interesting adventure locales for Mutants & Masterminds. And we’ve got a 20th anniversary surprise to boot!

We hope you are all staying safe out there. Remember to wear a mask when you go out and maintain social distancing. We know it’s hard for gamers used to sitting around the table together, but we want to see all your faces when this is all over.

Ronin Report: new releases from Nisaba Press!

 

 

A Pearl of Necessity

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is certainly as true in the tabletop gaming business as it is anywhere else. One of the necessary reasons for writing adventures for the various game-lines that I work on is the need to have something to run when I am a guest at various conventions. For example, I originally wrote the Expanse adventure Salvage Op as a demo adventure to run at conventions before the game was even released. I likewise wrote the Blue Rose adventure Flight of the Snow Pearl (on-sale now!) in order to have something to run at a convention. I honestly don’t recall if it was originally OrcaCon, GaymerX, or one of the big summer conventions where I ran it first, but I’ve used it as a demo adventure at a number of conventions over the past couple of years since I wrote it.

Flight of the Snow Pearl

Cover art by Rita Fei

Without giving away too much about the actual plot of the adventure, Flight of the Snow Pearl is about what poet T.S. Eliot called “a wilderness of mirrors” which has become common parlance for talking about spying and espionage. In a situation or subculture where trust is a dangerous luxury, how do people maintain trust as an essential value? It’s a fairly short, focused, adventure but deals with some essential themes from Blue Rose, including characters helping those in need.

Flight of the Snow Pearl also demonstrated to me the way a fairly simple plot can play out in so many different ways at the table. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have run the scenario at conventions, and it plays-out differently almost every time, with players focusing on different aspects of the plot and characters, and with certain rolls of the dice sending things off in different directions, even in cases where I’ve provided the same pre-generated characters to play. I love how such variability and variety are a part of tabletop RPGs.

So, if you’re looking for an adventure for your ongoing Blue Rose game, or have always thought of giving running the game a try—especially if you might want to run Blue Rose for a virtual convention or online event this summer—check out Flight of the Snow Pearl and give its story a go.

Now Available: Five and Infinity Chapter 1 – Hunting Night

The call goes out: Giant spiders stalk the city. Bystanders have seen their leader in the form of an enormous arachnid or a strange woman. Warriors hardened by assaults on Hell itself hunt her on a mission of vengeance. The Metacosm-spanning criminal conspiracy called the Krypteia seek her too, to profit from her powers—or whatever secrets they can steal from her corpse. But why is the spider-goddess Vabhis on Earth, and how can you stop her from revealing the existence of many worlds to the public—or keep the public safe when her children get hungry? 

Five and Infinity: Part 1 Hunting Night

Hungry Spiders and Fallen Demigods 

Hunting Night is an adventure for Modern AGE characters levels 1 to 4 in the Threefold setting, though with some adaptation it can be used for other Modern AGE campaigns. For full use of the adventure, the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook and Threefold campaign book are required.  

This adventure can stand alone, but it’s also the first part of Five and Infinity adventure series, which takes your Modern AGE Threefold characters from levels 1 to 16. 

Get Five and Infinity Chapter 1: Hunting Night 

…and generate your own adventures with Chapter 0 

Lost Citadel Roleplaying: The AGE of Redoubt

Lost Citadel RoleplayingThe Lost Citadel Roleplaying is out (currently in PDF, but coming to print as soon as our COVID-19-altered industry can manage). This setting for 5e presents a world where the Dead have risen, and the living survive behind the walls of Redoubt, a great dwarven city seized from its original rulers. In Redoubt, many cultures mix, each trying to maintain its traditions in a new, desperate environment, while Woe—the power of corruption brought by the Dead—manifests in unquiet corpses and magic alike.

While The Lost Citadel is designed for 5e, our Kickstarter campaign unlocked a stretch goal promising rules to use the setting with our own Fantasy AGE roleplaying game, and those rules are currently in layout ahead of their eventual release to backers. They’ll also be made available in PDF form. I was selected to write them as I happen to have experience working on both The Lost Citadel setting (I wrote a story for the anthology and did both rules and setting work on the roleplaying book) and Fantasy AGE, I became the designer for this particular supplement.

One thing I tried to do was to formulate The Lost Citadel as a Fantasy AGE setting from the ground up. Instead of simple conversion rules, the character options, equipment, magic, and the rest were done from a Fantasy AGE perspective. For example, custom Fantasy AGE backgrounds, compatible with those in the core book, provide a history for your character specific to the setting. This approach has the added side effect of adding a number of things that might be of interest for general Fantasy AGE players and GMs as well, such as the 17 specializations available. While a handful have been adapted from the Fantasy AGE Companion, a number of them are brand new, such as the Witch talent, previewed here.


Witch

You represent the remnants of rural folk wisdom traditions from across Zileska. In the age of the Dead, the power of nature has been twisted and suppressed, but your studies and meditations have revived ancient bonds, and may even evoke the powers of nature spirits that have long lain dormant in the land. Herbalism is a mandatory field of study. Witches are often employed by the Foresters, as their knowledge is of use to the organization, and it provides an opportunity for them to explore the wild beyond Redoubt.

Class: Any

Requirements: Must have Intelligence and Constitution of 2 or higher, the Intelligence (Natural Lore) focus, and the ability to cast spells using magic points, such as by being a mage or Arcane Initiate.

Witch Talent

You study the ways of nature.

Novice: You can speak to natural animals, and they can communicate with you without vocalizing, though you hear them speaking back to you. You may use Communication tests to influence animals you communicate with, and add your Animal Lore focus bonus (typically +2) on top of any other Communication focuses bonuses you have for them.

Journeyman: You can charge non-metal weapons with natural energy. This requires an Activate action, which charges one weapon that has no metal components for the duration of the encounter. If this is a ranged weapon, the ammunition can incorporate metal, but not the weapon itself. When activated and used by you, your weapon is considered magical for the purposes of harming creatures vulnerable to magic weapons, and inflicts an additional 1d6 damage.

Master: Nature is your ally. Your movement is never impeded by natural terrain (brush, mud, etc.) that would otherwise slow you down. Furthermore, you can use a minor action to create a space up to 4 yards by 4 yards in diameter up to 20 yards away, where natural impediments reduce everyone else’s Speed by half. Any creature that moves through this space or ends their turn in it takes 3d6 penetrating damage inflicted by the poisonous plants and wildlife that arise in this spot. You are immune to the hazards created by your own space, as is anyone you designate, as long as you can perceive them as they enter the space. You can create a space like this as often as you like, but creating a new space eliminates the old one.

Ronin Army forums update: All Good Things…

Hello Green Ronin fans,

Today we have guest post from our stalwart forum moderator Fildrigar, on the status of the Ronin Army forums that have been down for the last week.


Ronin Army Gamer Badge

Green Ronin Gamer Badge

Greetings!

I’m Barry Wilson. You might remember me from such internet places as That One Wargaming With Miniatures Forum and Esoteric Prog Rock Fans Online.

I have a long history with, and a deep and abiding love of internet forums. Since I first discovered them in the Nineties, I have whiled away many an hour reading and posting on them. I never had the patience for IRC, far preferring the slower, more thoughtful discourse (and formatting options) forums usually provided. I’ve been moderating Green Ronin’s forums for around eight years now. 

Unfortunately, the time has come to shut down the forums. While it wasn’t an easy decision, it was necessary once we discovered a rather serious security vulnerability that made continuing to support the forum software an untenable position. We have reached the tipping point where the security risks involved with maintaining the forums outweigh the benefits. We tried to find a solution that would allow us to maintain the existing forums in read-only mode, but just running the forum software on our servers would pose too great a security risk. 

Forums have in the past provided a place for people to discuss our games. Increasingly, those discussions have moved to places like Facebook, Reddit, and Discord (and many, many others.) Places like these are allowing us to reach more fans than our small forums did. Searching Facebook for the names of our games will direct you to groups available there. There is also a very robust and friendly Discord community called the Green Ronin AGE Appropriate Discord. You’ll find some of your favorite Green Ronin staff regularly hanging out there to talk about the latest Green Ronin happenings.  

In closing, remember that we love you, keep on gaming, and we’ll see you on the internet.

Now Available: Threefold’s Five and Infinity, Chapter 0: The Adventure Generator

Discover Adventures to Come

The Adventure GeneratorFive and Infinity is an adventure series for Threefold, the Modern AGE setting of planar travel and genre-bending adventure. With some loose connections built in, these adventures can be added to your campaign occasionally, bringing you from level 1 to 16 as you bring peace to a corner of the Earth or some far-flung dimension, or prevent the end of worlds. Chapter 0: The Adventure Generator, available now, isn’t an adventure though: It’s a set of tools to help Game Masters devise scenarios on the fly. Think of it as a “taster” for what’s to come, and as an amuse bouche, it comes for a tasty price—just one dollar!

Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • Launch from a selected or random story Kickoff to send characters up against 36 different Problems—and two or three variations per Problem.
  • Evolve your outline with six different Crises—or make it weird, with six Gonzo Crises with variations for each.
  • Roll or select Stakes, Environments, and Dramatis Personae

Once you’ve finished Chapter 0: The Adventure Generator, stay tuned for other adventures in the series. Read about them here.

Get it Now

Threefold’s Five and Infinity Goes Serial

So, if you’ve been following Modern AGE, and specifically the Threefold setting, you might be wondering if there’s more to come, given that we called it our “flagship setting.” The answer: Yes! We’re putting together Five and Infinity, a series of adventures and adventure generators for Threefold.

Fine and Infinity, an adventure anthology for the Threefold setting for Modern AGE(What! What’s Threefold? It’s the Modern AGE setting of innumerable planes of existence, each aligned to some combination of high magic, dark forces, and high technology. Heroes typically represent the Sodality, who explore the planes and protect the people they meet, or Aethon, a cabal of posthuman spies working to shape Earth and its alternate timelines. They must contend with strange worlds, interdimensional crime lords, mad scientists, warlocks, and alastors, demon-lords of the Netherworlds. Read more here.)

Five and Infinity was originally slated to be a print release, but this being the era of COVID-19, we’ve had to change that, for reasons discussed here. Instead, we’ll be presenting it as a PDF series with the following parts:

Chapter 0—Adventure Generator: Written by Jesse Heinig, this series of tables outlines adventures for you! This is a taster for the rest of the series, so it’ll cost around a buck, to grab you.

Chapter 1—Hunting Night: Ron Rummell’s adventure takes you after a fallen spider goddess and her brood as they unwittingly invade earth. For Characters of levels 1 to 4.

Chapter 2—The Dreaming Crown: Psychic renegades threaten to wreck diplomatic contact with a new plane. What’s their real agenda? It’s by Steve Kenson, so you know it’s good. For Characters of levels 1 to 4.

Chapter 3—The Soul Trade: Neall Raemonn Price spins an adventure about souls as drugs, multiple dystopias, and pilots who can’t tell which reality they belong to. For characters of levels 5 to 8.

Chapter 4—The Midnight Gold: Visit a demonic casino in a hell of industrial despair, where your debts are literal chains, to free the soul of a foolish gambler and interfere in the politics of Inimicals, the rules of the Netherworlds. Crystal Frasier’s imagination pops in this one. For characters of levels 9 to 12.

Chapter 5—Threshold of Apocalypse: Meghan Fitzgerald is one of the best writer-developers in her cohort so I’m grateful she wrote this adventure, where a time loop beings characters to the literally end of everything, where they must decide if what comes after the end is worth saving. For characters of levels 13 to 16.

These adventures aren’t a campaign per se, but have built-in connections to let you run them that way. In some ways it’s Threefold’s answer to Blue Rose’s Six of Swords (on this page as a collection or individual adventures), which happens to have been my first work for Green Ronin.

There’s some beautiful potential storytelling in Five and Infinity, and Chapter 0 will be available next week. Watch this space!

Blue Rose’s Map to Adventure (Ronin Roundtable)

As some of you may already be aware, this is Blue Rose Adventure Week here at Green Ronin. We’ve decided to make some of our lines’ adventures available individually, starting with the six adventures that make up Six of Swords, the first Blue Rose adventure anthology, as well as Nightmare Rider, an adventure from Blue Rose’s first edition updated for the current Blue Rose AGE ruleset.

To help you find your way around these adventures, we’ve put together what we like to call our Map to Adventure! A map of Aldea with markers pinpointing the locations where our various adventures take place, with links to the pages for those adventures for easy ordering.

This way, you can check and see if there are any adventures that take place near where your own campaign occurs, in case you want to fold one of them into your narrative.

As we go on, we’ll be adding the locations of more adventures as well. In particular, the already-announced Six of Cups adventure anthology will likely be included on the map once we begin releasing those adventures.

The Mistress of Gloamhale Manor: In the newly-settled Husqan Valley, children are disappearing. The heroes are called upon to investigate these disappearances, and all paths lead to the ancient Gloamhale Manor. What dark secrets await within? An adventure for 4 to 6 heroes of levels 1–4. (Editor’s note: A great introductory adventure for just .99!)

The Sixth Beast: The Trebutane fled the tyranny of Kern for the northerly reaches of the Pavin Weald. But now, they are prey to others: The bandits known as the Five Beast Army prey on the reclusive Trebutane. Can the heroes sent by the Crown uncover and resolve the deep conflicts at play here? An adventure for 4 to 6 heroes of levels 1–4. 

The Night Market: The criminal Silence, so subtle within the Kingdom of the Blue Rose, occasionally hosts the Night Market, an auction of goods forbidden and illegal. Assigned to infiltrate a Night Market being held in the Veran Marsh, can the heroes successfully recover a shard of the sorcerous Shadow Heptagram? An adventure for 4 to 6 heroes of levels 3–5.

A Harvest of Masks: Though the Pavin Weald lies within Aldin borders, the deep forest is a world of its own. When folk in the villages along its border begin to disappear without trace or explanation, will the heroes brave its verdant mysteries to discover what is going on before it is too late? An adventure for 4 to 6 heroes of levels 5–8.

Storms Over Kamala: A Rezean witch seeks help to free the old wintering grounds of her lost clan from dark and sinister influences. When she approaches the heroes, will they journey to the horse-plains of Rezea to discover what wickedness lies in wait? An adventure for 4 to 6 heroes of levels 9–12.  

A Wanton Curse: An autumnal gathering hosted by a borderland noble takes a turn for the tragic when an evil seeks to slake its thirst for blood and vengeance. Though the heroes were simply guests to the seasonal fete, can they rise to the occasion and help overcome the predator on the prowl? An adventure for 4 to 6 characters of levels 12–15.

Nightmare Rider: The marriage between the child of an influential Aldin family and the prince of a Rezean clan is an occasion worth celebrating! When the heroes are called upon to accompany the Aldin lady to her marriage bower in Rezea, can they protect her from the myriad threats that endanger the happiness of the new couple? An adventure for 4 to 6 1st level characters.

A Wanton Curse and Nightmare Rider will be available to purchase tomorrow, Friday the 24th of April.

AGE Specializations in Blue Rose (Ronin Roundtable)

Today marks the launch of the Adventures in Aldea series, starting with the Mistress of Gloomhale Manor for just .99! (Previously published in the Six of Swords adventure anthology.) If you enjoy that one, be sure to check out The Sixth Beast, also on sale today, and come back each day this week for another Blue Rose PDF adventure!

Since this is Blue Rose week at Green Ronin Publishing, let’s take a look at some ways to adapt other AGE products into your games in Aldea.

 

From the Noble to the Spirit Dancer, the Assassin to the Inamorata, Blue Rose gives players an awful lot of options when it comes to choosing specializations. There’s pretty much something in there for everyone and every play style.

Though that doesn’t mean we can’t look to other sources for even more choices!

Consider, for instance, the Sword Mage (from the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook); how might such a specialization fit into a campaign set in Aldea? Well, firstly, the mage class doesn’t exist in Blue Rose, but the Sword Mage easily converts over to a class requirement of adept, with no other mechanical alterations necessary. Of course, the term, “mage” also isn’t used in Aldea, so a name change is in order. Maybe “Arcane Knight?” The word “knight” necessarily implies some kind of organization—a knightly order, as it were—so the title could certainly work if that’s the route you’d prefer to take. What if you’d rather not have to consider the implications of a new group of this sort in Aldis (or whatever other nation), however? Perhaps, then, you might consider calling the specialization “Arcane Blade,” which has the same essential meaning as “Sword Mage,” but with an altogether Aldean spin.

Pretty simple, right? But what about a specialization that doesn’t translate quite so neatly?

Let’s try the Marked (from the Fantasy AGE Companion), as an example. The basics of converting the Marked to Blue Rose are the same: change out the requirement of the rogue class to that of the expert, since those are essentially equivalent for our purposes (and keep warrior, as normal). The Banemark looks to be a little too potent, as written; why not choose “shadowspawn” and receive +2 to attack and damage the majority of creatures most PCs will be fighting in the average campaign? Instead, it might make more sense to divide shadowspawn into “beastfolk” (such as troglodytes, ettins, and harpies) and “shadow monstrosities” (mock hounds, wyverns, chaos beasts, and the like), to prevent a single Mark from providing too much of a benefit. Then, there’s the matter of the Mark of Magic, as there is no Arcane Blast equivalent for the adept class, making that Mark a bad fit for the setting. In its place, this might make for a more authentically Aldean body modification:


Soulbond Mark: Whenever using a relationship to generate stunt points (see Chapter Two: Character Creation, in the Blue Rose Core Rulebook), consider that relationship’s Intensity to be one point higher.


How about something even further afield from the normal Blue Rose experience: the Gunfighter (again, from the Fantasy AGE Companion)? There are no black powder weapons in Aldis or any of its neighboring nations, but crystons fit pretty well into that mechanical and narrative niche. Again, swap out rogue for expert as a class requirement. Also, rather than training in the Black Powder Weapons Group, it makes sense to switch to a requirement of one or more arcane talents (as this is necessary to wield a cryston, anyway). Beyond that, all that’s needed is to change every reference to ‘firearm’ to ‘cryston’ (and the name of the specialization to something like ‘Crack Shot’ or ‘Cryston Marksman’), and you’re good to go!

You might decide that these specializations have always been around, whether overtly or in secret, in your version of Aldea, or you might want them to be new developments—perhaps recently arrived on Aldis’ shores from far-away lands, or even from other worlds (like Yarrion, found in Chapter Nine: The Blue Rose Series, in the Blue Rose Core Rulebook), accessed through previously long-lost and forgotten shadowgates.

With a few tweaks, here and there, and a little bit of consideration as to how best to fit into the world of Aldea, you’ll find that most of the specializations from the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook and the Fantasy AGE Companion can work just fine for any Blue Rose campaign!

Modern AGE in Rough Times (Ronin Roundtable)

Hello Modern AGE fans. I hope you are your families are doing well. COVID-19 has obviously made gaming tricky for some of you. As for me, I run my game using the Threefold setting most Tuesdays. I use Zoom with a little Discord on the side so I can see and hear my friends, who I miss dearly. I’m glad to have a way for us to share time together.

Five and Infinity

Second, I’m running through the adventures in Five and Infinity, the adventure book for the Threefold setting for Modern AGE. As our flagship setting, Threefold was always intended to get ongoing support. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had made printing and distribution all but impossible, even though the book was very close to print.

Thus, what we’ll be doing is releasing Five and Infinity online, in serialized form. Part 0 introduces a Threefold story generator, which we’ll share with you for the princely sum of… $1. The story generator allows you to roll up a basic outline for Threefold adventures, and the parameters are broad enough that much of it can be used for your own Modern AGE settings as well.

After that, each adventure will be released in turn. These adventures include two covering level 1-4, and one each for levels 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16. Loose connections between them allow you to turn Five and Infinity into a true campaign, but this is entirely optional; each adventure is also fully self-contained. And these adventures pack a wallop, since they include alien spiders, psychic terrorists, soul smuggling, infiltrating Hell and, to top it all off, the destruction of the Earth. Ron Rummell, Steve Kenson, Neall Raemonn Price, Crystal Frasier, Meghan Fitzgerald, and Jesse Heinig will guide you through it all. Watch for it.

Modern AGE Missions

Beyond the Threefold setting (though certainly compatible with it) we launched the Modern AGE Missions adventure series shortly before COVID-19 started to affect our operations. Warflower¸ the first mission by yours truly, is a scenario for starting characters that mixes alchemy, designer drugs, corporate espionage, and medieval swordplay You can pick it up in our store or on DrivethruRPG.

The next mission is due next quarter, and is an official adaptation of the infamous Feral Hogs scenario, originally run by the Dice Priori streaming gang. Members Chase Schneider and Matthew Foreman were kind enough to refine this post-apocalyptic, ham-plentiful scenario about guns, trucks, energy drinks, online retail distribution centers turned fortress towns, and 30-50…well, you know what. Look for it when it arrives in our store and DrivethruRPG.

Big Books

Let’s just say this isn’t an ideal time for hardcover releases. Yet last month we released Enemies & Allies, a full-fledged core sourcebook on creatures and NPCs for Modern AGE covering appropriate friends and foes for both down to earth and fantastic genres. Whether you need a cyborg to hunt the party or a mob doctor, this book has you covered with not only dozens of individual entries, but rules for the genres they exist in, and a section telling you how to build your own NPCs from the ground up. This book was in fact printed and distributed, but nowadays, it might be easier to get electronically from our store or DrivethruRPG.

Waiting in the wings, we have the Modern AGE Mastery Guide, a new book of options and advice for both players and Game Masters. This book is text-complete and edited, but is waiting for a better moment to enter the production cycle.

Modern AGE on Sale as Part of Green Ronin’s 20th Anniversary

One more thing! Be aware that until April 20, Green Ronin’s online store is running a 20% sale on numerous releases to celebrate our 20th anniversary. That includes the following Modern AGE titles (all electronic, because, well COVID-19 has not played well with shipping and distribution):

This is where we’re at, and this is what we’ve got. Be safe, and play well.