Now available in our Green Ronin Online store is Spark to Powder, a new PDF release for the Chronicle System. Spark to Powder moves the Chronicle System’s technological “slider” a little bit further up the timeline, to what might be termed the Gunpowder Age. This PDF book presents equipment and Benefits that reflect the advent of gunpowder and firearms technologies, but also examines some of its ramifications on a House’s Holdings and its Warfare Units as well.
Running a campaign of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying can be quite involved. As the Narrator, you have to breathe life into the setting with interesting Narrator Characters, keep the plot moving forward (with or without the player characters!), evolve the storyline to respond to the players actions, and on and on.
It’s great fun, but it’s also a lot of work.
Once you’ve been doing this for a while, though, you figure out some short cuts. So, to make your lives easier, I figured I might share some of my favorite resources that I use to make life a little easier.
Just click on the name of the site below to go to it!
Probably the first and most indispensable of these resources is the Song of Ice and Fire Wiki. These are the fruits of the labors of a huge population of dedicated and knowledgeable fans. There are timelines of what happens in the books, detailed examinations of major (and a few minor!) characters, descriptions of a variety of important locations in Westeros and beyond…there really is a little bit of everything there.
Though created for another setting entirely, the castles on this page are wonderful. They are relatively simple in design (I believe most of them were made in MS Paint!), but excellent for all that. They really capture the authentic design of a great many of the castles that inspired those in Westeros, so if your group doesn’t have someone who wants to design the interior details of your chronicle’s castles and keeps, this is a great place to turn. They even remember to include privies and jakes!
This site has a huge and interesting collection of random generators. While many of them are more appropriate for other higher-fantasy settings, there are some crazy useful ones. My favorite is probably the Medieval Demographics Generator, which lets you enter the population of a settlement, and it’ll generate the space it takes up, details of who rules it, and provides a population breakdown by job. Great stuff.
Though pretty simple looking in design, this name generator manages to capture a great deal of the flavor of Westerosi names. If you’re like me, you’re always in need of some name or another, so this is a great one: generate a list of fifty mens’ names and fifty womens’ names and you’re pretty ready to go naming Narrator Characters.
This is from one of my personal bookmarks, and it’s great for generating one of the many Narrator Character Houses in the game. This utility can be used to generate a random House, using the rules for House Generation in A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. It works quick and well, with some great history and detail all the way around.
Last but very, very far from least is the online Heraldry Generator from Inkwell ideas. It’s a nifty system that lets you set the details of the noble Houses that populate your part of Westeros, giving House symbols and colors to each of them. The nice thing about this set-up is that you don’t have to know what you’re wanting to create going in. You can browse the options and toggle those that interest you all you like.
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying tends to have a distinct focus on families and legacies. It’s not surprising – the powers of Westeros are its Houses, and while they maintain their hold through economics and military, they establish their alliances and continue their legacies through family.
As such, there is a sense of importance to the families of the characters in a SIFRP campaign. So, it is perhaps no surprise that a particularly enjoyable style has come out of that sort of focus on the family: generational play.
With generational campaigns, the chronicle is less about individual characters, and more about the great legend that is one of the Houses. Wars and trials by combat meet on equal ground with intrigues to establish alliances – especially marriages – between the Houses, and most of the story is told through “flashpoints.” These are important moments in which the House’s legacy is imperiled, whether because it is endangered in some way, or because it has an opportunity to make itself great (although at what cost?). Read more
By Hal Mangold
Today’s Ronin Round Table draws back the curtain on some of the behind-the-scenes parts of creating our products. Art is an essential part of the look and feel of most games, and it’s the role of the art director (that’s me) to make sure all that art gets created. To give you all a little insight into the job, we’re going to answer a few common questions about what being an art director is all about.
What does the art director do?
As the art director, my responsibility is to make sure that all of the art that goes into Green Ronin’s games and publications is up to the standard we’ve tried to set over the years. I select the artists, assign and approve the art, and herd cats to make sure it all comes into our hands by the deadline necessary for publication.
How does the art direction process work?
It all starts for me with scouting out the artists who have the right style to fit the project. Games like Mutants & Masterminds have a radically different art style than Dragon Age or A Song of Ice & Fire. I contact the artists I want on the project, see if they are available during the timeframe I need them, and get them contracted if they’re interested in working on the project. Ideally, this is done about 4-5 months ahead of time, but circumstances often compress this a bit.
The art order or brief comes next. This is a description or set of descriptions for the piece of art needed for the product. These can be written either by me or, more often, by the developer of the product, with my role being more to tweak or jazz up those basic descriptions. Sometimes the descriptions are general, sometimes really specific, and different artists work well with each type. In general, I try to art direct with a light touch when I can. I’m hiring the artist for their talents and inspiration, after all. I try to give them as much room to improvise as I can.
The next step is to take that art order transfer it to the artist or artists. For a cover piece, this part is simple. For interior work with multiple artists, it’s a bit more involved of a process. The art assignments get broken up between the artists, taking into consideration both spreading the artists throughout the book for a unified look, and assigning the right pieces to the right artists based on their relative strengths.
Next the artists submit their sketches for the assignments. I review them to make sure the composition is as strong as it should be, that the basic look is right, that any characters depicted have the correct look, and so on. If revised sketches are needed, the artist submits them, and once everyone is happy with where the piece are going, the artist takes the piece to its final state.
If the project is for a licensed property, there’s one extra step: approval by the licensor. Most licensors require us to submit all of the original art we commission to them so they can make sure it depicts their world and characters properly. Some licensors want to see sketches, and some just care about the final result.
There was a time when there was another step: the artists physically shipping their work to us for scanning. Fortunately almost all artists today (even those working in non-digital mediums) submit digital files. Considering the international nature of the artists we work with, that’s especially fortunate today, with international shipping costs being what they are.
Once all the art is approved, the art director gives it a look to ensure it’s in the proper color and file format, and that it will reproduce properly when actually printed. After that, the image file is handed off to layout for insertion into the product. The art director’s work is done.
Where do you find artists?
Anywhere and everywhere! The Internet is a fantastic source, of course. Sites like DeviantArt, Artstation and DrawCrowd give artists a place to put their portfolios, and I browse around on them quite often. Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are also fantastic art resources, both for finding new artists, and building “mood boards” for how I want a particular project to look. It sometimes takes a little internet detective work to find out who created an image found that way, however. Not everyone is great about tagging sources for what they post.
Conventions are another great source for artists. Whether it’s a comic, gaming, anime or just overall sci-fi show, I always keep an eye out for creators whose style might work with one of our games. If we’re actually displaying at a show (like GenCon, for instance), portfolio reviews are another great source for me.
And finally, email submissions come in all the time, and have provided me with some great people I might not have noticed before.
Can I submit my art to Green Ronin?
Absolutely! Anyone is welcome to submit their work (or a link to an online portfolio, preferably), to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have two new adversary PDFs for you this week, one Rogues Gallery entry for Mutants & Masterminds, and a compilation of Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System.
Rogues Gallery: Apostate
Pushed too far, once-caring Talia Wilson decided the only way to really change the world, to bring about a true revolution, was to become a villain and inspire people to rise up and destroy a corrupt system! As Apostate, she does everything she can to blunt the effectiveness of the government and point out its weaknesses. She swears that some day, she’ll have her revolution!
Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System
There are more dangers in the highest mountains peaks than just avalanches, treacherous terrain, and foul weather. Here there dwell the terrors that make the highest reaches their homes, from the bestial alpingast to the nearly-unseen cloud leopard, from the legendary devouring shadow to the deadly skullcracker. Explore the dangers of the alpine reaches, in this compilation of the Mountain Terrors monsters!
Mountain Terrors is a bestiary PDF for the Chronicle System, the rules engine that powers our popular A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying game.
This product compiles all the high-altitude horrors from our Mountain Terrors PDF series, along with an all-new mountainous monster.
By Chris Pramas
Happy New Year, gaming comrades! I hope you all had a good holiday, and got some quality gaming in with friends and family. As has become a tradition here at GR, I’m here to spill the beans on our plans for the coming year. Last year was a bit awkward because in January I could not yet announce Titansgrave or the fact that we were designing D&D books for Wizards of the Coast. This year will be much less cryptic! So what’s have we got in store for you? Rather a lot, actually!
Over the past year-and-change, we here at Green Ronin have introduced a line we call our “Chronicle Creatures” – a series of PDF supplements featuring all sorts of creatures for the Chronicle System, the rules “engine” that powers our A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
Of course, these creatures are not from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire setting. Though that series has a handful of creatures both mythic and terrifying that have appeared in its pages, these never have. That said, there’s no reason a creative Narrator can’t make use of them for their personal chronicle, of course. One of the great pleasures of A Song of Ice and Fire is when its lost magic and myths make an appearance, often to the confusion and fear of its characters.
Here are some suggestions for using some of the content of our Chronicle Creatures PDFs in Westeros. Please keep in mind that these are very much non-canon, of course.
Chronicle Creatures are divided into three categories: “Beasts,” which are large and ferocious animals, like the direwolves of Westeros, without any overt sentience or magic; “Horrors,” like the dragons of Westeros, with distinct ties to magic and/or some measure of intelligence; and “Legends,” like the Children of the Forest or the Others, entities of magical potency whose existence has fallen into legend…until they make a come-back in your chronicle.
Our first bestiary PDF, Woodland Creatures focuses on creatures that dwell in wooded or forested areas. It opens with some new rules, including Domain Drawbacks, a set of rules for training animals, and some basic stats for the sorts of regular animals that might be found in woodland areas (including bobcats, elk, hawks, owls, and the like).
The Beasts of this supplement fit very easily into Westeros. Many of the “dire” creatures fit very nicely into the wildernesses north of the Wall, where other giant beasts roam; the Battlehorn, a giant caribou or reindeer, the Devourer, a massive weasel-like beast, and the Dire Wolverine might all easily be found in those wintery expanses. Butcher Birds, massive carnivorous flightless birds, and Claw-Wing Lizards, which might be mistaken for small dragons, all fit nicely into southron climes, whether in the hazardous wilds of Essos around Qarth, or perhaps even in the hot mountains that separate Dorne from the rest of Westeros. Rounding out the Beasts is a handful of giant insects, from ants to spiders to wasps.
The Horrors of this supplement also have some excellent fits for Westeros. There are several strange fungi, plants and even diseases, such as Black Web fungus, the Cocoon Tree, Scavenger’s Rot, and the insidious Skullwort, all of which cause various forms of strange maladies and afflictions (including a weird zombie-like state for victims of Scavenger’s Rot). Mighty beasts such as Barghests and Gryphons (including a Greater Gryphon variety for truly majestic creatures) are found herein, as are the Weirdlings, the strange entity that results when a victim wanders into one of the pockets of old, strange forest magic in the deepest forests.
The Legends of these woodlands are frightful. Terrifying intelligences, such as the Crossroads Guardian, the Headless Knight, or the Hag of the Dark Woods await unwary travelers in any forest. Creatures closely tied to the forces of death and the otherworld, such as the Corpsehorse or the Tall Man make excellent terrors in places that have seen a great deal of death or that lay under curses. In contrast, the River Wardens are massive turtles that would be very at home in any large river – particularly the rivers of Essos that were once the home of the Rhoynar.
This supplement focuses on mountainous areas, from icy places such as the Frostfangs beyond the Wall, to the hot dry mountains one might find north of Dorne. The introductory section (a free PDF) includes some normal animals of these areas, as well as animal training rules and some rules that focus on the hazards of high terrain, such as landslides and avalanches.
Its Beasts range from the cold-dwelling creatures such as Avalanche Wolves, whose howls bring down torrents of snow and stone from the ledges above their prey to the massive Stonehorns, dire rams whose horns are made of the minerals they eat from their environs. Flying creatures pose a risk here, as well, including the Needle Roc, a massive eagle with porcupine-like spines that sweeps past and evicerates its prey and the Skullcrackers, massive flying lizard-beasts who drop heavy stones onto their victims with frightening accuracy.
The Horrors here include strange creatures, from the Cloud Leopards that haunt fog banks and low cloud-cover becoming almost invisible and only partially solid within them to the slithering Snow Eels that worm their way through snow banks to the Thunderbirds that hunt when it is storming.
Finally, there are two Legends of the mountain heights. The first is the Alpingast, a beastly meat-eating humanoid that haunts high mountain passes and hunts with cunning ferocity. The second is far more mystical – the Devourer’s Shadow, a great two-headed vulture-like bird-beast whose body is almost never visible, though it’s great shadow gives its hunt away.
Today we present two new PDFs for just $1.29 each, Mountain Terrors: Tripper Root for the Chronicle System, and Rogues Gallery: IGT-92 for Mutants & Masterminds.
Not all the predatory dangers of the mountains are beasts and animals. The tripper root grows along narrow paths and beside sheer cliffs, waiting for prey to come stumbling through its ground-covering vines. The tripper root then reacts with whip-like precision, snagging men and beast alike and hurling them over the side, slamming them into mountain faces to kill and consume them.
Mountain Terrors: Tripper Root is a bestiary PDF for the Chronicle System, the rules engine that powers our popular A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying game.
Smuggled to Earth in a bid to make some money for alien criminals, things would have been fine if they hadn’t turned IGT-92 on to make sure it worked. Now escaped and on the run, IGT-92 is executing its programming to “soften up” the planet to prepare the way for its alien masters–even if they never come.
Sudden mountain storms may rise up out of nowhere, bringing the possibility of flash floods, mud slides, lightning strikes and similar dangers. Those who know the mountain peaks know to fear these storm, and not simply for the threat they bring: some mountain tempests have at their heart a mighty thunderbird on the hunt, and anything that moves is fair game.
Mountain Terrors: Thunderbird is a bestiary PDF for the Chronicle System, the rules engine that powers our popular A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying game.
Leaping from impossible perch to seemingly sheer cliff is the stonehorn, a mighty beast that is to goats what dire wolves are to normal wolves. These four-horned, pony-sized animals reach the highest of peaks and consume the salt and other minerals they crave imbedded in the stone of the mountains. Though they are not predatory, they do not hesitate to defend their territory and their young with vicious stone horns completely infused with the minerals they consume.
Mountain Terrors: Stonehorn is a bestiary PDF for the Chronicle System, the rules engine that powers our popular A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying game.