Ronin Round Table: Cybernetics in Valkana

lemlee-z_hero-characterWhile working on the outline for Titansgrave: World of Valkana, I’d finally hammered down (with an incredible degree of aid from Ryan Wheaton) the various political structures, historical weirdnesses, and generally rich tapestry of the setting’s major landmass.

Then, I turned my attention to some of the cool stuff that the PCs can and should have access to as heroes in Valkana. Naturally, thought turns to the heroes of the Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana webseries from Geek & Sundry. In particular, Lemley’s cybernetic arm which, among other things, houses Dr. Lobotomy.

Cybernetics can get problematic in game design sometimes. Obviously, a game that includes them must include a way for player characters to have them – it’s half the fun! But designing cybernetics as pieces of equipment with all sorts of great bonuses usually ends up with characters who are as close to full-body-upgrades as they can get, ending up with groups of nearly complete-replacement cyborgs instead of plucky heroes with a piece of chrome or two.

To some degree, that’s a natural outgrowth of character advancement and equipment rules: player characters want effective characters, and when cybernetics all provide benefits of some sort, the more cybernetics your character has, the better they are. Read more

Two New PDFs: Rogues Gallery and Fantasy AGE Encounters

Today (along with a new Humble RPG Book Bundle) we are pleased to present two new PDFs–one villain for Mutants & Masterminds and an encounter for the Fantasy AGE RPG.

Rogues Gallery: The Dealer

Rogues Gallery: The Dealer

Rogues Gallery: The Dealer

Once a small-time crook, the man now known as the Dealer has spent his life bringing misfortune to others to stave off a supposed family curse! When he cheated his way into some winnings, he used them to become a super-villain to see what would happen with his curse if he could really spread his bad luck around!


Fantasy AGE Encounters: Drive for Justice

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Drive for Justice

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Drive for Justice

Our heroes are asked by a local sheriff to prove the innocence of an accused knight. Can they save him before it’s too late? Drive for Justice is a Fantasy AGE RPG adventure for heroes of levels 1-3.

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Drive For Justice (PDF)

Ronin Roundtable: Aza (Fantasy AGE Iconics 1)

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-9-40-15-amHey folks, Jack here.  So in coming months we’ll be delving further into various setting elements for Fantasy AGE.  While the game is consciously designed to be used in a variety of fantasy setting and campaigns, we at Green Ronin are working to build and develop our own unique world for the game.  You can see some of this in the fiction and concepts we have introduced to date in products like Fantasy AGE Encounters and the Bestiary.  While you don’t ever need to use our setting materials to have fun with Fantasy AGE and use it in your own games, we do recognize that building such a setting is useful for many customers, as well as for us internally.

One thing we haven’t detailed yet though are any of our iconic characters.  We don’t have big metaplot-heavy characters in Fantasy AGE, but we do have some PC-like heroes who feature into some of our art throughout the books. Chief among them are the three class examples, a trio of characters who also show up on our covers of the core book and Bestiary.  Who are these folks? Well, I’m glad you asked…

We begin with Aza, seen as the brave warrior woman more than willing to tackle ogres, ghouls, and other threats for the right cause or the right price. Here she is presented as a level 5 character. Read more

Ronin Roundtable: GenCon GMing for Green Ronin

GR-Gameroom1If you are a publisher, you of course want people to have the opportunity to play your games at GenCon. You can run demos at your booth but the exhibit hall is no place for long form RPG adventures (it’s super loud and booth space is limited). Those are better handled as scheduled events. Finding good and reliable game masters for your RPGs can be challenging though. In past years we’ve had mixed success with our GenCon events. What I really wanted was a dedicated area filled with Green Ronin games. To get that, you have to have a certain number of events. Coordinating that is a job in itself.

Enter Donna Prior, Green Ronin’s events manager. I told her what I wanted and wow, did she deliver. We had over 90 scheduled events this year and GenCon gave us a dedicated room for them on the second floor of the convention center. Going into that room and seeing tables full of gamers playing Fantasy AGE, Dragon Age, Mutants & Masterminds, and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying was amazing. Read more

Fantasy AGE Bestiary: Pre-Order, PDF, and Preview

Fantasy AGE Bestiary

We are pleased to open up pre-ordering for the Fantasy AGE Bestiary. As with all our Green Ronin Pre-Order Plus products, when you pre-order the print book through our Green Ronin Online Store or through a participating Pre-Order Plus retailer, you’ll be able to get the PDF for just $5.

Fantasy AGE Bestiary:

What does every fantasy RPG campaign need? Monsters! Monsters! Monsters! The Fantasy AGE Bestiary gives Game Masters a plethora of new foes to challenge their players, from classics like the basilisk and minotaur to new monsters like the eldritch crown and shard lord. Each creature is fully detailed, with background information, adventure hooks, game stats, and variants. This beautiful, full-color hardback is the first sourcebook for the Fantasy AGE RPG and an indispensable resource for Game Masters.

PDF Preview: Gatorkin

Like to try before you buy? Check out this free PDF preview of the Gatorkin.

Pre-Order the Fantasy AGE Bestiary today!

(Or buy the PDF for $16.95, if you prefer pixels to paper.)

Ronin Round Table: Blue Rose Development

BRAGE_Core_cov_72dpi

Welcome! No, we haven’t accidentally reposted a previous Ronin Roundtable. This week we return to the development of the new edition of Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying for the AGE (Adventure Game Engine) System rules, following our successful Kickstarter for the game.

Blue Rose is through editing and now in production and layout, with Production Manager Hal Mangold hard at work both on laying out the book and assigning art to various artists to bring new visions of the world of Aldea to life. You can see a small sample of Hal’s design magic in the updated logo to grace the game’s cover above the fantastic new painting by artist Stephanie Pui-Min Law.

In addition to art, we’re working with cartographer Phillip Lienau, who provided the maps for the first edition of Blue Rose (as well as the comprehensive map of Freedom City for Mutants & Masterminds) to update his work for the new edition, particularly for the two-sided poster map for inclusion in the book. We’re eager to be able to present Phillip’s work in full color this time.

In terms of production, the new edition of Blue Rose is going to be sizeable: easily 300 pages (at Green Ronin, we like big books and we cannot lie), not quite as massive as the complete Dragon Age Core Rulebook, but easily the size of the Game of Thrones edition of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying as a beautiful full-color hardcover book.

Meanwhile, in addition to working with Hal on copyfitting and layout matters, I am working on the collection of pre-generated Blue Rose heroes for the Narrator’s Screen booklet, offering a representative cross-section of novice characters, complete with backgrounds and customization options, usable for quick-start play and great for demo adventures and convention games to introduce new players to Blue Rose and the AGE System

Speaking of adventures, I’m also developing the first drafts of a number of short Blue Rose adventures by an exciting collection of authors, including Jaym Gates, Elsa S. Henry, Steven Jones, Kira Magrann, Alejandro Melchor, and Rebecca Wise. We intend to release these adventures as short, stand-alone PDF products and to collect them into a print edition to provide Blue Rose Narrators and players with a wealth of opportunities to tell stories in the world of Aldea.

As you can see, that’s a lot of Blue Rose in the works! We’ll keep you updated as things progress, perhaps with some additional previews and looks “behind the curtain” as the book finishes production and gets ready for pre-order and PDF release. Naturally, our Kickstarter backers will have the first look at anything new that comes along, but we’re looking forward to making the new edition of Blue Rose available to everyone!

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Menace from the Mines

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Menace from the Mines (PDF)

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Menace from the Mines (PDF)

Today we present the second installment of Fantasy AGE Encounters, our monthly series of PDFs for the Fantasy AGE RPG. Fantasy AGE Encounters are short “side quests” that can be used as-is or expanded into longer adventures.

Menace from the Mines: Traveling through a mountainous region, our heroes seek shelter from a storm in a seemingly-abandoned mining town. But something stirs beneath the earth, and it’s all they can do to survive!

Menace from the Mines is appropriate for Fantasy AGE heroes of levels 5-8.

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If you like adventuring using the Fantasy AGE RPG rules, make sure to check out Fantasy AGE Encounters: Children’s Crusade and Titansgrave: The Hermit’s Road.

Ronin Round Table: GenCon 2016 Roleplaying Games!

 

GClogo-header-2016-91a751cab7b3dc33dd0ac3b3b95595ac9c4e1b4bc5f42b6388531396cb8729beAs I’m sure most folks know, the events registration for GenCon 2016 went live on Sunday. As an aid to everyone who is interested in playing some of their favorite Green Ronin Publishing roleplaying games at GenCon—or trying out one they’ve never played before—we thought we’d compile a handy list of links to those games, by game.

What follows is not a complete list of Green Ronin Publishing games ato be had at GenCon. It’s just a collection of the games we’ve helped put together and coordinate for this year’s convention. See you there!

Reminder: While some of these games are already sold out (a big thanks to all of that enthusiasm!), remember that lots of folks over-buy, and then drop events as they figure out their schedule. Moreover, things happen and sometimes people aren’t able to show for a game, so make sure to pick up some generic tickets and if there’s a game you’re really interested in, show up to it and see if there are any slots unfilled when game time rolls around. Our GMs are only too happy to help.

Read more

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Children’s Crusade (PDF)

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Children's Crusade (PDF)

Fantasy AGE Encounters: Children’s Crusade (PDF)

We are pleased to present the first entry in a new series of monthly PDFs for the Fantasy AGE RPG. Fantasy AGE Encounters are short “side quests” that can be used as is or expanded into longer adventures.

In Children’s Crusade, our heroes come across a group of children beset by bandits. But bandits turn out to be the least of their worries, and it’s difficult to know if all is as it seems…

Children’s Crusade is a Fantasy AGE RPG adventure for heroes of levels 1-4. It can be yours for just $2.95!

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Ronin Round Table: People in Gaming

Nicole LindroosI have been in the tabletop game business since 1989. In that time I have seen a lot of changes to the way business is conducted and who is conducting it. I can’t count the number of “Women in Gaming” panels I have been invited to speak on over the years.

Recently, I was in Las Vegas at the GAMA Trade Show. GAMA is the industry organization for the tabletop game business. Publishers, game distributors, and game retailers get together to talk about business-related issues, show off new and upcoming games, and to make mutually beneficial connections. I was asked to sit on a panel for the manufacturing track of programming addressing “Gender Issues in Gaming.” I truly didn’t think anything of it, I’ve done version of these panels for years now. In fact, the title not just defaulting to “Women in…” but hitting a slightly different note with “Gender Issues in…” made the topic a bit more interesting to me.

I was taken by surprise once I got to Las Vegas by the varying and strong opinions on the issue I heard from other women. More than one of my female peers expressed doubt that “Women in Gaming” panels should even be part of a modern seminar track. Other women I talked to were fatigued with the “back in the old days, here’s how it used to be when we started” history of such panels and wanted to cut to the chase: what do we do NOW, what do we DO instead of talking about women as abstracts (or worse handing out simplistic advice like “Stores, make sure your bathrooms are clean, women like that.”) Another faction of women strongly agitated for more “Women in Gaming” panels because they looked around at the seminars and noted, rightly, that women in the business are seriously underrepresented even among their well-intentioned peers. (An example from the program book from this very trade show invited attendees to a cocktail reception where they could “meet the designers” and then listed seven white guys and one woman.) Women in Gaming, what does it even mean anymore? It did not escape my notice that despite the panel being publicized with the “Gender Issues…” title, it was very much still seen as “the Women in Gaming panel” for good or ill.

I generally believe that people in the game industry are trying to do the right thing and trying to be better about how they approach issues of diversity. Occasionally there are situations where the definition of “creator” or “designer” is very narrowly applied, for example the idea that there aren’t a lot of women who are “design” games because the definition of designer in that person’s mind is one who creates a unique game or stand-alone product, particularly rules sets. Many women designers who do work on supplements and expansions, in the roleplaying game segment particularly, would argue with that definition and note that they do, in fact, create game materials even if they’re not reinventing the wheel and bringing out new stand-alone games. I have a whole, long rant on the issue of socialization and the differences between male and female creative output in gaming in particular but this is a different essay so you’ll have to wait for that one.

Back to the point, I think where we stand on the issue of women and their places in the games business is largely positive. Even so, there are inadvertent slights that undermine a lot of the good and sincere efforts made at inclusion, such as the unintended message being sent by the published list from the trade show program. It’s come up for me personally a few times in a row in recent weeks: while on the JoCo Cruise showing off our Love2Hate game, the one other seminar we had was scheduled opposite the demo event which meant that I could not attend the Titansgrave panel with Pramas and Wil Wheaton despite having been involved with the project from the start. Alone even that wouldn’t have been so bad but I was also not listed as being part of the company in the materials… as far as people knew from reading the programs, Green Ronin was a gaming event sponsor and Chris alone was the rep. As a company co-owner and General Manager, I would have appreciated the acknowledgement even as I recognized that it wasn’t any sort of purposeful slight. It was an honest oversight. After our return from JoCo, another convention that I’m attending started announcing their guests and I went looking for my listing in order to promote my attendance, only to find that I was not listed on the website…but once again Chris was. In this case, the guests weren’t being announced all at once but in staggered groups over the course of weeks, which is a perfectly common and valid way to spread out promotion in the lead up to an event. Hot on the heels of being overlooked in the JoCo materials, I did find it stung a bit more than usual to have Pramas listed as a guest for weeks ahead of me.

Just using my own recent experiences as fodder for this essay, I feel it’s important to note that no one in these scenarios is undertaking any effort to keep me from the table. In fact, these bumps came up precisely because I was invited to participate, the big gestures, the important moves forward are there: hey, demo your game at our event; please come be a guest at our convention; please sit on our panel and share your experience with us. These other issues are more about fine tuning: hey maybe you should think about how unbalanced your list of participants seems, I don’t think that’s the message you intend to send. I recently saw a reference to “shallow diversity” in the game business that seemed quite a bit more concerned about such small imperfections amidst the larger effort and I personally think that is the wrong way to approach things. I’d rather tackle the bigger things first.

Ramping up for convention season and readying Green Ronin for our big summer releases, I hope we’re doing a decent job of hitting the “big issues” on our end. I’m certainly going to continue to make the effort. I’ll be appearing at several conventions this year where I hope people can get to know me a bit and maybe remember that I’m part of this company, too. I’ll be running a Blue Rose game at the Contessa event at GenCon, where they’re providing a venue for games run by women for women. I’ll be proposing some panels for this year’s Geek Girl Con that I hope will touch on some of the things I’d hoped to say at the GAMA panel. I’ll once again be participating as an advisor on the GenCon Industry Insiders Featured Presenters programming and I encourage my colleagues to put themselves forward for inclusion as well. Over the course of these efforts, I will definitely make missteps and will work through some number of inadvertent slights because that’s the nature of life as a human being interacting with other imperfect human beings. What I won’t do is participate in any further generic “Women in Gaming” seminars or panels: the topic is too broad, too fractious, and it just doesn’t interest me to be a part of that anymore. We can do better.