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.

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.

For Hart and Queen (Ronin Roundtable)

For Hart and Queen

Cover art by Jian Guo

My first real projects with Green Ronin were all Blue Rose. I wrote a chunk of the setting for Blue Rose, 2nd Ed., and then did the proofreading on it. Later, I wrote an adventure for Six of Swords (Rezea forever!). I’ve also only ever played Green Ronin IP games in the Blue Rose setting (sorry, Crystal and Malcolm and Ian, some day!). I think it’s safe to say I like this setting a lot. I mean, come on, I volunteered to write a guide to the horses of the world of Blue Rose for in-house reference. Never expected to get paid for it, either, but then Joe decided it would be useful, so now that’s part of canon.

Hey, there are some perks to working in games – you get to take your real-life experience with evil ponies and stick it in a game so other people can experience your pain.

ANYWAYS, I love Blue Rose, and when I got to start buying Blue Rose fiction, I was so excited. We’ve brought you a lot of those stories over the last couple of years, but always mixed in with other things. Some fans let us know they wanted all Blue Rose (or all Mutants and Masterminds), all the time, so we took that to heart and started putting together anthologies like Sovereigns, which focused on just the chosen of the Golden Hart.

But the early Blue Rose fiction was scattered everywhere, and I wanted to put that all in one place. Thus, For Hart & Queen was created. I worked with Joe and Steve, the stewards of the Blue Rose world, to pull the Blue Rose stories from the first few years of Nisaba Press into one collection, and then added a few new stories, too.

Along with reprinted stories from authors such as Brandon O’Brien, Lindsay Smith, and F. Wesley Schneider, we have the final installment in Rhiannon Louve’s tale of love and Shadow-corrupted plots, and new stories from Calvin Jim and Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg.

(I am really excited to bring you Calvin’s story: I published a story from Cal in one of my earliest magazine roles, and I’ve been wanting to work with him since!)

For Hart & Queen is a wide-ranging anthology of stories from the world of Blue Rose. From the deadly plains of Rezea to the gentle city life of Aldis, these stories explore the many cultures and tales in this vibrant world. You can look for this new anthology of Blue Rose stories, on sale next week in the Green Ronin Online Store, and DrivethruRPG!

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!

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.

Mongrelfolk in Blue Rose (Ronin Roundtable)

I’m a dog person.

Thus, when I first started working on Blue Rose, it made me just a little bit sad to learn that Aldea had literal dog-people, but they’re shadowspawn monsters whose only avenue for participating in civilization involves hiring out as mercenaries to the most unscrupulous and undiscerning of employers. One of the themes of the game, however, is that no one is truly beyond redemption if they make the decision to champion Light, rather than Shadow.

 

So—presuming the choice to embrace goodness over evil—what, exactly, keeps a mongrel from being a player character? A lack of stats, that’s what.

Well, I’m here to fix that problem:

Mongrel

Neither human not rhydan, but instead something almost halfway between, mongrels have long plagued Aldea as the accursed creations of sorcery. Within them—in accordance with the wicked designs of the Sorcerer Kings who shaped their race amidst agony and misery—the reason and emotions of a sapient people war endlessly with the brutish instincts of beasts irreparably wounded in spirit, and most of them cannot reconcile these two conflicting natures, save through savage violence. Most, but not all.

One mongrel might’ve been taken in as a pup when their pack was destroyed or driven off, to be raised with the sort of love and kindness most of their kind will never know or understand. Another was perhaps found by compassionate Aldinfolk, grievously injured and frozen half to death, and nursed back to health, only to feel the inexplicable stirrings of a pack-bond with these gentle strangers and a desire to do right by them. Yet another might’ve simply always sensed that there must be something more to life than to hunt, pillage, and kill; some elusive yearning for nobler things that they found they could not satisfy in the company of their own kin.

Standing well taller than the average human and sporting the head of a dog or hyena, with mottled fur and canine lower legs, mongrels are utterly unmistakable as anything other than what they are. While they stand upright and have dexterous, human-like hands, they possess an inborn feral aspect that never entirely goes away, no matter how long they spend in the company of civilized people, and their voices have a growling, barking quality. To even the most personable mongrel, the world is as much a tapestry of potential threats as it is one of prospective friends.

Play a mongrel if you want a rough, primal character deeply in touch with their animal senses and instincts. Mongrels tend to be skilled hunters and fighters, typically favoring the expert or warrior classes.

Playing a Mongrel

If you choose to play a mongrel, modify your character as follows:

  • Add +1 to your Dexterity ability.
  • Add the Perception (Smelling) focus.
  • You have Dark Sight, meaning you are able to see up to 20 yards in darkness without a light source.
  • Your Speed is equal to 10 + Dexterity (minus armor penalty, if applicable).
  • Roll twice on the Mongrel Benefits table for two additional benefits. Roll 2d6 and add the dice together. If you get the same result twice, reroll until you get something different.

 

Mongrel Benefits

 

2d6 RollBenefit
2+1 Perception
3-4Focus: Dexterity (Stealth)
5Focus: Accuracy (Brawling)
6Weapons Group: Heavy Blades*
7-8+1 Fighting
9Focus: Constitution (Running)
10-11Focus: Perception (Hearing)
12+1 Constitution

 

* If the class you choose provides this already, you can take the focus Fighting (Heavy Blades) instead.

This week is also your last chance to pick up the Blue Rose Bundle of Holding! Pick up the complete line of Blue Rose 2nd edition AGE products, as well as several of our fiction offerings from Nisaba Press, all while supporting the Pride Foundation. Don’t miss out on this amazing deal!

 

COVID-19 IMPACT ON GREEN RONIN OPERATIONS

To All Our Community,

As the nation and the world take the vital and necessary steps to slow and limit the spread of Covid-19, Green Ronin Publishing will be suspending shipment of wholesale and online orders of hardcopy products, in order to keep distribution, warehouse, and shipping workers safe. Our distribution partners are doing the same, as are game stores and retailers in many communities, and we appreciate their efforts and sacrifice for the greater good. If you have an outstanding order for print products, they will be filled when the warehouse re-opens (hopefully, sometime in April). 

Why Not Buy Someone a Green Ronin Gift CardIf you’d like to support Green Ronin right now, the best thing you can do is buy some of our electronic products in our online store or DriveThruRPG. We also offer Gift Cards, as a great way to lend your support while waiting for future products or for our warehouse crew to be allowed back to work. If you’re interested in our Blue Rose RPG and fiction, there are still five days for you to get the Blue Rose Bundle of Holding that offers a great deal on both. If you’re in a place to be able to provide direct support, you could toss a coin to your game devs through PayPal.

We are already looking at new and different ways to bring you products for the games you love and are reworking our release schedule to account for these changes. Fortunately, Green Ronin is a “digitally distributed” company spread across the continent and most of us work remotely already, so this does not change our usual work routines in that regard. We’ll continue to provide you with news and updates on all of our plans through our website and our social media.

That said, please be aware that our staff is dealing with new routines at home and in caring for family and loved ones, as are many of you. We ask that you please be patient and kind, knowing that we will do our best to address any questions or concerns you may have.

We’re exploring ways to play and offer our games online in more depth, including more digital releases, the possibilities of online demo games, streams, and partnering with online game and teleconferencing platforms. Members of the team are reaching out to make introductions now, so keep your eye out for our visiting dignitaries. If you are part of a community that plays and enjoys Green Ronin games, we want to know about you! Drop us a line at letsplay@greenronin.com and let’s talk about how we can support your community’s creativity and fun.

For twenty years, Green Ronin has imagined and created, and has given you tools to imagine and create, and we intend to continue to do so. Imagine with us, and there’s nothing we can’t do.

 

Onward,

Chris Pramas and Green Ronin Publishing

Stay Home and Play Fantasy AGE … For Free!

Free Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook PDFFantasy AGE for free: As many of you already know, we are having a 20th anniversary sale right now that puts almost everything in our online store on sale at 20% off until April 20. We are taking that a step further by making the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook PDF free for the duration of the sale.

We know a lot of folks are at home now, anxious and looking for a distraction. Please enjoy Fantasy AGE on us. We hope it helps. If you like what you see, we have a bunch of support material that’s part of the sale. We also have Lairs, the latest Fantasy AGE book, up for pre-order right now. It’s super useful for the GM, providing a collection of themed encounters and villains that can easily be turned into full adventures.

If you’d like to explore some of our other games, we have free quickstarts available for most of our RPGs. If you haven’t gotten your kids into gaming yet, this is a good opportunity, and games that use our Adventure Game Engine (Fantasy AGE, Blue Rose, Modern AGE, The Expanse, Dragon Age) are all good choices for that.

Stay safe out there, everyone.

Blue Rose Bundle at Bundle of Holding

Blue Rose Bundle of Holding

Blue Rose Bundle: on BundleOfHolding.com: Now through March 30, 2020, you can get tons of great gaming and fiction PDFs at an amazing price, while doing good!

Blue Rose Bundle Starter Collection

For just $7.95 you can get the Starter Collection of four complete .PDFs, including the complete, full-color Blue Rose core rulebook, Joseph Carriker’s novel Shadowtide (and its novella-length sequel Pit of Vipers), and the new 14-story anthology Sovereigns of the Blue Rose.

Bonus Collection

Pay more than the threshold price of $20.05 and you’ll be able to download all five titles in the Bonus Collection, including the rest of the Blue Rose gaming line (the Aldis city sourcebook, the Six of Swords adventure collection, and the Narrator’s Kit), plus two more short stories.

What’s more, ten percent of your payment (after payment gateway fees) will be donated to the Pride Foundation!