Ronin Round Table: We Could Be Heroes…

If just for one game.

2523On January 10th, 2016 David Robert Jones, known to the world as David Bowie, passed away after a private and protracted battle with cancer. He was a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and many many more things and his influence was felt far and wide.

He was not, to my knowledge, a gamer.

But he was totally a role player.

From his personas of Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke and various acting roles and constant innovation and re-invention, Bowie was great at making and playing characters. He communicated concepts and ideas not just with evocative music and lyrics, but with performance. Even his battle with cancer is depicted metaphorically through his last album, putting him it a category of unique works that range from Warren Zevon’s The Wind to John Wayne’s The Shootist.

Read more

Ronin Round Table: Where Soars the Cosmic Handbook?

Pre-Order Cosmic Handbook

Pre-Order Cosmic Handbook

The cosmic gods have answered our prayers! Years of requests via email, the Atomic Think Tank, instant messages, and in-person are just a couple of weeks away from being fulfilled! The newest Mutants & Masterminds title, the long-awaited Cosmic Handbook, is about to make its way to your favorite game store!

Right up front, I want to make sure you’re aware that if you pre-order the physical book at the link above, you’ll be able to add the PDF to the order for only $5. And, big bonus, you get the PDF delivered to you immediately.

As for the book itself, it covers a lot of ground. Chapter 1 starts off with a few pages of history of cosmic heroes in comics, beginning with Superman and continuing up to the last few years. Then it dives into conventions of the genre. This section is really interesting because it shows players and GMs the sorts of things they should expect to see in a cosmic game and the sorts of things they may want their character to embody. It’s not a how-to manual, but it should give everyone a good grounding in what makes a cosmic game cosmic.

Chapter 2 is all about player characters. This is the section players will be most interested in. It defines three different levels of cosmic series: Challengers of the Cosmos, at PL8 to 10, Cosmic Crusaders, at PL10 to 12, and Cosmic Avatars, at PL12 and up. The level of a normal cosmic series is the Cosmic Crusader level, with characters beginning at PL12 and advancing from there. This is a couple of steps up from the normal super-heroic M&M series and should be a real treat for players who are interested in pushing boundaries and want to be able to throw around some serious power!

Chapter 2 also includes nine different sample heroes of different power levels, including the Cosmic Buccaneer, Cosmic Critter, Galactic Peace Officer, Ray-Gun Hero, Space Demigod, Space Knight, Space Soldier, Star Hero, and Strange Visitor. Far from an exhaustive list of cosmic hero archetypes, these characters should provide players with a good starting points, examples, and inspiration.

Chapter 3 is for the GM and concentrates on running a cosmic series. It provides GMs with tips on creating ongoing cosmic games, gives examples of the sorts of stories work well, and caps it off with ten villain archetypes to challenge your players! These villains include the Alien Supermind, Avatar of Destruction, Imperial Champion, Space Dragon, The Devourer, Galactic Tough Guy, Renegade Space Cop, Star Hunter, and Time Master. There’s even a bunch of minion archetypes and sample minions that can show up in your games. Can you say “Cuddly alien pet,” or “Xenomorph”?

Chapter 4 covers the Earth-Prime, or Freedom City Cosmos. It gives a brief history of the cosmos as it is in the setting all the Mutants & Masterminds characters exist in, from the Preservers and their role in seeding the universe with races, all the way up to the modern day and the chaos caused by the arrival of Collapsar.

Our goal with this chapter was to clear out all the established empires and make it possible for the player characters to play an important role in the cosmos. Instead of everything being clearly regimented and broken into empires, it’s more like the Wild West. The old powers are destroyed or in survival mode, while new powers, like the Stellar Khanate, are making their move to gain in significance. Along with these changes, more cosmic-powered groups, such as the nanotech-fueled Argents and Blackstar’s Blackguard, have appeared to pursue their own agendas. Agendas which will certainly cause the heroes some problems.

Finally, in chapter 5, we revisit Freedom City 2525. This homage to the Legion of Super-Heroes is converted to the new edition of M&M and includes a bevy of heroes and villains. Whether you use them in a series set in the future or as inspiration for allies and adversaries for your players’ characters, these 17 characters will definitely come in useful!

So far, people who’ve already downloaded the PDF have had great things to say about the book. We’re pleased to be able to get this out to everyone at a time when cosmic movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are so popular. Hopefully they’ll inspire you and your friends to head out into the stars!

Blackest Friday DC Sale

Blackest Friday Sale

DC Adventures Blackest Friday Sale

 

For a limited time, you can order each of the DC Adventures hardback books for just $19.95 apiece, or get all four together for $60!

Ronin Round Table: Green Ronin at Gen Con 2015

Titansgrave​ is coming to Gen Con! Make sure to login to your Gen Con account and look for SEM1582558 to reserve your spot! Presented by Green Ronin Publishing and Geek and Sundry

Titansgrave​ is coming to Gen Con! Make sure to login to your Gen Con account and look for SEM1582558 to reserve your spot! Presented by Green Ronin Publishing and Geek and Sundry.

 

This year is going to be an exceptionally strange and exciting time for us at Gen Con. Not only is Team Ronin headed out in force, but we’re sharing space with Geek & Sundry, highlighting Fantasy Age and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana! We’re so excited to have such great games for Gen Con.

Before I get into the fun things happening, I want to kindly let you know what our Customer Service & Sales responses will be slow, as we’ll be dependent on whatever internet we can find while traveling and while we’re all working the show. Online orders for in-stock items (or PDFs of course) will continue to go out on the usual schedule.

For those of you lucky enough to be attending Gen Con, stop on by and say hello at Booth #1509! We’ll be running demos of Walk the Plank, Love 2 Hate, Icons Superpowered Roleplaying, Dragon Age, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Mutants & Masterminds, Ork!, and of course, Fantasy Age and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Geek & Sundry will be featuring a photo booth, along with some great merchandise and surprises!

We also have volunteers running games at Gen Con, and we have some Seminars you don’t want to miss. If you didn’t get into a game, be sure to bring Generic Tickets to see if a spot opens up! There are quite a few sessions of games run by various GMs & Gaming Groups, and we have a list of the officially submitted games run by myself or our Freebooter Volunteer GMs! For the Seminars, there are currently spaces, but you’ll definitely need to pick up free tickets to attend!

Thursday:

  • RPG1575877 Blood in the Streets – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
  • RPG1575473 An Arl’s Ransom – Dragon Age RPG (at ConTessa!)
  • RPG1573267 Hell Comes to Squishy Man Town! – Ork! 2.0 The Roleplaying Game
  • RPG1576447 Fate in Freeport; The 1000 Year Storm – Fate System
  • RPG1575933 Shadows of Tanglewood – Blue Rose/True 20
  • RPG1576439 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • RPG1576440 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • SEM1578318 News & Updates on Green Ronin Publishing’s AGE System

Friday:

  • RPG1575878 Blood in the Streets – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
  • RPG1573275 Hell Comes to Squishy Man Town! – Ork! 2.0 The Roleplaying Game
  • RPG1576446 The Truth of the Fifth Blight – Dragon Age RPG
  • RPG1576441 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • RPG1576442 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • RPG1578320 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • SEM1578319 What’s New With Green Ronin Publishing!
  • SEM1582558 Titansgrave Q&A with Wil!

Saturday:

  • RPG1575905 Operation: Zandia – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
  • RPG1573282 Hell Comes to Squishy Man – Town!Ork! 2.0
  • RPG1575934 Shadows of Tanglewood – Blue Rose/True 20
  • RPG1576443 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • RPG1576445 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
  • RPG1578321 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age

Sunday:

  • RPG1575906 Operation: Zandia – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds

Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at Gen Con!

Shark Week! Aquaman and Shark

#sharkweek Download Shark and Aquaman for Mutants & MastermindsShark Week Tuesday is a DC Adventures two-fer: Aquaman and Shark. Yeah, we know Shark fought with Green Lantern a lot more than Aquaman, but how can we let Shark Week go without sharing Aquaman? (And, honestly, we’re a bit excited about Jason Momoa in the role.) Check out page 268 of the DCA Hero’s Handbook for stats for normal aquatic animals, including dolphins, whales, and (of course) sharks. Fans of DC Adventures know that everything is fully compatible with Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, too.

Access Aquaman

Share Shark

Tomorrow, we’ll return to the fantasy side with a free Shark Week download from Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG.

Ronin Round Table: Adventures in Television

Hey folks, Jack here. So there’s been a lot of news lately in the realm of DC Comics and television. The finale for Arrow this season is already out with Flash coming soon. Constantine on NBC has ended but rumors of it coming back elsewhere or even crossing over with existing shows abound. Gotham is still running on Fox, CBS has announced it has picked up Supergirl, and the CW has announced Legends of Tomorrow, a show that brings together an eclectic group of heroes and villains for a time-traveling romp to stop Vandal Savage.

So…wow. If you’d told kid-me this would be the face of TV now? I would have been both thrilled and really skeptical. I would have assumed these had to be cartoons, because…the Flash on TV? Okay, maybe. After all, they did it before. But Green Arrow, Black Canary, Deathstroke, Ra’s al Ghul, the Suicide Squad, and many more making appearances? Yeah, sure….pull the other one. I mean, Katana even shows up.

With all that television superhero goodness I thought I’d take a step back from all the AGE and other cool stuff to discuss one of our self-contained products from a few years back, DC Adventures. Using the Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition system, DC Adventures is a 4 volume game that gives rules, setting material, and hundreds of heroes and villains from the DC Universe for use in campaigns. When the books were produced, Green Ronin decided to aim for iconic versions of the heroes and villains. So instead of only focusing on a character during a single run of comics, we aimed to produce more general and well-known versions in the hopes they could be more easily used for a variety of games, plots, and stories in multiple versions of the DCU.

Now that we’ve got a quickly developing television version of the DC Comics universe (DCTVU? Huh, kinda sounds like a Law & Order spinoff), I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to use DCA to run a version of that universe. At first glance this seems challenging. After all, the characters are from the comics and they aren’t exactly the same in many cases.

However, it’s actually pretty darned easy. Most of the characters, even if their backgrounds occasionally differ, are almost the same as their iconic comic versions in many ways that you can use the statistics for them in DCA Heroes & Villains, Volume 1 and Volume 2 and DC Universe (our setting and cast of character books). For example: Yes, Captain Cold in the Flash comics and Cold on the Flash TV show aren’t exactly the same when it comes to every bit of background, history, etc… However, when you look at both characters and what they do when interacting with the setting on an effect-based or mechanical level? They’re essentially the same. Comics Cold is a career criminal with a freeze gun and a strange sense of honor, TV Cold is a career criminal with a freeze gun and a strange sense of honor. His buddy Heatwave is bit a more bloodthirsty on TV, but he’s got the same gear and abilities. And so on.

Note that in some cases, especially with the heroes, some minor alteration is necessary. But those alterations are usually quite easy, simple acts of slight omission or downgrading a PL or two. For ex, young newly minted Flash Barry Allen might not be on the same level as Flash in his prime, but he’s got all the same abilities at a slightly lower (and constantly growing) level. Arrow is a bit more martial arts heavy than the iconic comic version but…he maps quite well to the Connor Hawke version of the character. Black Canary’s sonic cry is a device and she favors fighting batons, but she’s very much the same hero. Firestorm might not have busted out his matter manipulation abilities or phasing abilities yet, but his flight and fire generation are well-established—and who knows? We might see those powers next season and GMs and players could certainly have Firestorm and other characters develop these abilities over time. Most of the characters who have shown up on Arrow, Flash, and who are slated to appear on Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow are simplified, less powerful, or at times direct analogs for the versions provided in DC Adventures.

This was the sort of thing DC Adventures was made for. Adapting different versions of DC to your gaming table, and that includes the television shows. Admittedly, sometimes the adaptation is more extreme. The Atom uses a powered suit of armor with flight and energy blasts in addition to his other skills and abilities. And some supporting characters like John Diggle and Felicity Smoak would need to be created. However, even existing iconic characters already provided can be a real boon. Diggle’s combat abilities make him a lot like various trained commando heroes in the DC, such as Rick Flagg. And Felicity’s computer hacking and technical abilities are on par with Oracle’s, though she lacks her combat training and is not paralyzed. Supporting cast “dads” Captain Lance and Detective West are Jim Gordon like cops. And so on.

So if you’re itching to play in the ever-growing DCUTV world? Consider grabbing DC Adventures and giving it a shot. Sure, a lot of heroes have already shown up, but there are still plenty left. Imagine a TV Opal City with Starman and the Shade. Or maybe you want to take a shot at the Wonder Woman TV show that never got picked up a few years ago. A Suicide Squad spinoff on Arrow looks temporarily unlikely due to the upcoming feature film but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make a great campaign.

The Flash (Barry Allen)

The Flash (Barry Allen)

The possibilities are varied and all the tools to do it are already there, minus a bit of time and imagination to “TV” up the characters. One fun way to help with this is to “cast” your favorite actors as heroes and villains in your own tabletop series. Want Damian Lewis to play the Question? Or believe they’s no better Warlord than Anson Mount? It’s all good. Also, much like modern casting directors, you’re not bound by gender and race limitations for many characters. Think it would be great to see Rosario Dawson as Big Barda and Joe Taslim as Orion in your very own New Gods series? Go for it. You’re not even limited by time and space: cast actors from previous series or generations in your “tabletop series” if you’d like, especially if they bring an iconic quality to the role. And casting your PCs and NPCs it’s just a fun mental exercise, but it can help players visualize the action better and help give the game a “TV” feel.

To give you an idea how this works, check out our free preview of the Flash (Barry Allen) and Reverse Flash.  Though this represents Barry at the height of his career, most of his special “speed tricks” under his powers are things he’s been learning in the first season of his self-titled TV show.  He’s also been getting faster. So taking Flash represented here, dropping some powers and PL and then adding to them during his adventures is a simple and effective way to turn DC Adventures into DC Adventures…in Television!

So with the TV season almost done and summer fast approaching, consider getting your friends together for your own “show” featuring your favorite DC characters with an unlimited casting and special effects budget—your imagination!