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.
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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.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/GreenRoninGamerBadge-crop.jpg339372Dylan Templarhttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngDylan Templar2020-05-26 08:22:162020-05-26 08:22:16Ronin Army forums update: All Good Things…
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!
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SwordMage.jpg1636631Stephen Michael DiPesahttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngStephen Michael DiPesa2020-04-20 11:39:242020-04-20 12:14:22AGE Specializations in Blue Rose (Ronin Roundtable)
This week I get to branch out from The Expanse RPG and explore one of the Green Ronin lines I’m less familiar with, Fantasy AGE. Specifically, I’m looking at Fantasy AGE Lairs (Pre-order and PDF on sale now!). I’m most familiar with the AGE system from The Expanse and Modern AGE but having read the core book cover to cover I’ve been dying to give Fantasy AGE a try. Since my writing time is precious, I was looking for something that I could pick up and use right away. Skimming through Lairs I saw right away that there was a lot of opportunity here for one shot adventures or side stories that easily be inserted into an existing campaign. Some have enough depth that they could even form the basis for a new campaign. Being a fan of the dark and macabre and both the book and movie Something Wicked This Way Comes I was immediately drawn to The Night Market by Mark Carrol so that’s where my journey into Fantasy AGE Lairs began. I try to avoid major spoilers but if you’re a player in a Fantasy AGE campaign and think your GM might use this book, I suggest stopping here.
The Night Market offers a rich and dark setting that can easily fit into almost any fantasy campaign. The Night Market moves about so it could set up near any village or hamlet. For that matter, with only a little modification, I could see using this lair in a Modern AGE campaign with a supernatural bent. The player characters come across a wandering market filled with curiosities: acrobats, fortune tellers, merchants with strange trinkets, and sideshows abound. Even without an adventure hook this is exactly the type of diversion that most players will immediately be drawn too. I’ve never known a group of PCs who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to explore a mysterious carnival!
The thing I liked most about the Night Market is that the setting alone could provide hours of entertainment without ever introducing the adventure that is included. In fact, I could envision the market appearing multiple times in a campaign before the characters uncover its secrets and face off against the villain. The adventure is geared toward higher level characters although the lair itself could be used for characters of any level. Both enemies and possible allies are described in the setting with some of their motivations being left in the hands of the GM.
The adventure is fairly straightforward: people in the vicinity of the market have gone missing and while investigating the PCs meet a ghost (a victim of the main villain) who offers to help them. The powers behind the Night Market are not trivial and could prove to be a powerful and dangerous enemy. As I discussed earlier, this setting is well suited as a reoccurring villain and the Adventure Seeds at the end set this up well. The heroes may rescue the missing villagers and even overcome the villain but he may appear again in a different guise.
The Night Market is definitely one of my favorites and pretty much exactly the kind of entry I look for in a book like Fantasy AGE Lairs and I highly recommend this book for GMs who are looking for individual settings and adventures or just to fuel your imagination. I expect this setting or something close to it will show up in one of my games in the near future!
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TheNightMarketFAGELairs.jpg359606Ian Lemkehttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngIan Lemke2020-03-30 08:09:362020-03-30 08:24:43Fantasy AGE Lairs: The Night Market (Ronin Roundtable)
Fantasy AGE Lairs presents a set of places, situations, and possible scenarios revolving around a small set of signature antagonists. I may be Modern AGE developer, but I’m also a Fantasy AGE writer and player, and I was looking forward to this book for a while. Jack Norris did a fantastic job here and I want to get into it.
The great thing about The Ghoul Prince, one of the entries in the book that really grabbed me. I’m a big fan of Gothic horror. I read it, I used to study it academically, and, well, I have a *lot* of author credits with some well-known RPG intellectual properties that called themselves “gothic punk.” Gothic horror is more than a set of visual motifs or a black clad rogue’s gallery, however. The genre has specific themes. The Ghoul Prince does a great job of highlighting these while moving beyond stereotype with one simple, brilliant move: choosing ghouls as intelligent, organized antagonists, instead of going with either the MVP of Gothic undead, the vampire, or the most popular high level lairing undead in fantasy, the lich.
In playing against type here, Jack set himself up to explain why, and does an excellent job, tying things into genuine Gothic themes. The eponymous Ghoul Prince, Tropo, has a story that touches on one of the primary ideas of the genre: the recurrence of sin, especially in the way it corrupts family. Tropo becomes a ghoul after committing unspeakable acts (well, we’ll call them that to avoid spoilers, at least!). After attaining a new state of being, where his evil acts have distorted his physical and spiritual self, he creates companions, furthering these themes. While this lair features the expected horde of flesh-eating monsters, Tropo’s most powerful lieutenants produce a parody of a family, or at least a feudal household. One fills the role of child and protector; the other is a priestly confessor.
Reading this, you quickly understand that this isn’t just swapping in undead. It’s got to be ghouls. For one thing, this removes the pretense of romance from the scenario. Tropo and his creatures are predators held in check by his exceptional will, but made all the more dangerous by his intelligence. This is a monster who looks past the pretense of mutual obligations in feudal relationships and emphasizes the power imbalance at their cores, because the lord’s desire for the power of flesh, normally abstracted through labor, is made terrifyingly literal. Tropo and his creatures must feast—and not simply sip at blood in some mockery of romance.
Beyond these thematic touches, Tropo’s ghoul forces also make this lair suitable for long term, multi-level play. Tropo and his “family” are at the top of a pyramid supported by a hierarchy of lesser children, from ones who’d suit a tough encounter for low level characters, to bigger challenges which can be quickly grown into with advancement, up to Tropo himself, who in Fantasy AGE terms, stands at the top of the Major Threat Level. An adventure outline provides a progressive introduction to the lair, and it’s supported by further hooks—all enough to make the forces and eventually, the castle of the Ghoul Prince suitable for a major campaign arc which may prompt the PCs to take over once they defeat Tropo. Once the flesh-eating lord falls, who will take his place? It’s all great stuff, and why this is my favorite chunk of Fantasy AGE Lairs.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/GhoulPrince.jpg985383Malcolm Sheppardhttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngMalcolm Sheppard2020-03-23 08:46:232020-03-23 08:46:23Fantasy AGE Lairs: Getting More Than Gothic with the Ghoul Prince (Ronin Roundtable)
Fantasy 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.
For modern day action with an introduction to our Threefold setting, check out the Modern AGE Quickstart.
If you’d like some fiction to read, we’ve got you covered there, too. Offerings is a free collection of short stories from Nisaba Press, our fiction imprint.
Stay safe out there, everyone.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/FAGE.jpg584450Chris Pramashttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngChris Pramas2020-03-17 12:46:242020-03-17 13:32:13Stay Home and Play Fantasy AGE … For Free!
Green Ronin is a small family, so usually we all pitch in and help each other with mutual projects, doing some outlining or writing or editing or proofing on each other’s lines when things get tight, so it’s always exciting and special when a new product comes out that you haven’t seen until it’s newly born and ready to go home to a loving family. For me, Fantasy AGE Lairs is one of those rare babies I never met until it was ready for the baby shower.
I thought it would be a cool experience to pick one of the book’s eight titular lairs at random and read through it blind and give my first impression. The d8 came up 4, so I read the Yunivircity of Taabak!
The Elevator Pitch
The Yunivircity of Taabak is an innovative cosmic horror landscape you can drop into your Fantasy AGE world if you like Lovecraftian high-concept horror. A Being wants to exist, but can’t yet, and so it has inspired an obsession with how to make itself exist in a single woman… or that woman’s obsession with the potential for the Being to exist made it want to exist. Causality is tricky with things that don’t exist yet. Either way, this student’s work linked her to the being’s own not-quite-existing nature, and she became less of an individual and more of a vague concept. And soon she spread that intellectual infection to her entire school, transforming the entire university into the concept of a university and putting everyone trapped inside to work figuring out how they can eventually make their cosmic god real.
The entire landscape is just concepts of things—gray blocks for buildings, green sheets for laws, stacked geometric solids for students—devoid of any personal details. It’s an adventure inside the Dire Straights Money for Nothing music video. And if you attend classes too long, you stop being you and just become another concept of a student trying to bring this god into existence.
The Yunivircity is filled with other unique beings—students, instructors, and others—who are victims and threats all at the same time, who will leave you alone if you play along, attend your classes, and help with the research… but conforming to the group eats away at your individuality, which is the only things keeping you from fading away and becoming just like them. So you’re on a timer here, trying to fit in while still clinging to your unique identity just to survive. There’s a multi-stage template that grows slowly worse, like a disease, to help measure, ironically making you more powerful the more of your self you surrender to the Yunivircity.
It’s all the worst elements of public school, distilled down to the nightmarish extreme!
So, it’s a lair, right? Who or what lairs there? The being itself is left pretty vague, like any good cosmic horror, and you can’t fight it because it doesn’t exist yet. It’s an idea trying to force itself to exist, and you can’t punch an idea in the face.
Instead you’ll have to punch the Headmaster, the original student who contacted the being, or who created the being. Let’s not go down that road again. She’s lost her identity and exists as a stereotype of a school headmaster, pushing the entire campus toward the magical, scientific, and theological breakthroughs that will create her Being. She’s got magic for days and can control the Yunivircity itself, but she also has a face you can punch. As a cool twist, there are still bits of her individuality hidden around campus, too, trying to sabotage her own efforts.
There’s also the Dean of Discipline, who’s there to make sure everyone exists as a tidy concept and doesn’t let silly things like individuality or free will stop the students and instructors from working hard toward their shared goal. Like the Headmaster, the Dean is a unique monster and a serious beatstick that you won’t beat without a plan, but unlike the Headmaster, she’s a tower of muscle and sinew and eyes who will tear you apart with her bare hands.
But the Yuniviristy is built as a sort of looming horror of conformity. So long as you fit in and surrender to fate, no one—not the instructors or the Headmaster or the Dean—even notice you, let alone attack. The real monster here is dread and the fear of losing your individuality.
Why Would You Go There?
The Yunivircity is creepy and corrupts you and is inhabited by a weird abstract demi-god faculty, so why would you ever visit it? You may not have a choice. This is a lair that can come to you. The school is constantly recruiting talented minds, dragging them into its unreal existence to convert into its vague conceptual students. A friendly scholar, or even your party wizard, might be brought into the Yunivircity as a “new student,” prompting the rest of the group to undertake a rescue mission. Or the Yunivircity might impose itself over a local school campus for a few hours or days to collect a freshman class.
Even if you don’t end up with the college of improbable engineering landing in your lap, you might visit it for the same reason heroes visit any site of cosmic power: Because you don’t want an unfathomable god wrecking up your planet! Or you might aim a little slower and just want to plunder the Yunivircity’s library for rare books or magic, or to save the only person in the world who knows a vital clue for your wider campaign. I can easily see the Yunivircity being a terrible place you need to revisit repeatedly in your campaign to learn new clue or find forbidden knowledge, learning a little more about how it works each time until you’re powerful enough to end its threat.
The Final Verdict
I like it!
I know, I know! “You’re a Ronin! They pay you to say you like it!” Well, for what it’s worth, I’m reading and writing this while on vacation, visiting my parents’ humble swamp shack in rural Florida. I’m spending part of my vacation to check out a book I’m excited about as a GM. Is the Yunivircity a little niche? Yeah. Is it going to fit every campaign? Probably not, but looking back at the table of contents, Lairsincludes cool fantasy tropes like a ghoul castle and a dragon’s lair (sadly, no Space Ace), and I’m glad there was room for weird alongside the standard tropes!
Would *I*, Crystal the Gamemaster, ever use the Yunivircity? Absolutely! It’s cool and weird and gives you game mechanics for a lot of cool horror concepts! Even if I didn’t use this lair as written, I can strip-mine this entry to build my own version.
And I get the distinct impression the Yunivircity of Taabak would work incredibly well in Blue Rose or Modern AGE as well, maybe even better than for a general Fantasy AGE campaign! I guess my players will find out.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Lairs_transformation.jpg400313Crystal Frasierhttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngCrystal Frasier2020-03-16 07:18:212020-03-16 07:18:21School’s. In. For. EVER! (Ronin Roundtable)
I was originally going to title this “The Lair of the Lazy GM” to get the reference to the new Fantasy AGE Lairs book in there, but decided that wasn’t fair, because it’s not a matter of laziness, but one of time.
It should come as little surprise that I loved creating things for my various campaigns as a Game Master. It’s one of the reasons I eventually got into doing it professionally as a writer and designer. Thing is, when I was at the peak of my own output in terms of creating things for my games, I was in my 20s, living with most of my game-group as roommates, and without many of the more—shall we say “mature adult”?—responsibilities that I have now. In short, I had more time and energy to devote to that kind of thing, to say nothing of the fact that I didn’t do it for work.
Which is all a long way of leading up to talking about Fantasy AGE Lairs, which (like several upcoming Green Ronin products) addresses the issue that a lot of us modern-day Game Masters face: “I want to run a game, but I don’t have time to prep everything.” I know that my own games these days tend to focus on either: 1) Things that I’m playtesting for work, or: 2) Published adventures and campaigns I can use as-is with a little customization.
Lairs helps with preparation on a couple of different fronts. The first is simply that it offers eight complete and ready-to-play adventures, each of which could occupy multiple game sessions. But it’s more than just an adventure collection since, as the title implies, Lairs offers location-based adventures, detailing a particular place that is the lair or home of the main threat of the adventure. From the Valley of the Whispering Titans to the Peak of the Mithral Dragon, Fantasy AGE Game Masters will find a variety of places they can drop into their own campaigns, and possibly expand upon, reuse, or build on to create further adventures. Indeed, each location in Lairs also features a set of four to six ideas for additional adventures in that setting.
Lairs also expands upon the Fantasy AGE stunt system with Location and Lair Stunts, based on the qualities of a place and time rather than a character or creature, tying the acquisition and use of Stunt Points into where the characters are in the adventure as well as what they are doing. Even without this exciting new spin, it would be a useful book for a Fantasy AGE Game Master who wants adventures by and for Fantasy AGE that are ready for hours of gaming fun.
This book is your ally in winning the battle of the beleaguered Game Master and can make the difference when it comes to being able to run your own Fantasy AGE game.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FAGE_Lairs_cov.jpg637494Steve Kensonhttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngSteve Kenson2020-03-09 07:27:072020-03-09 10:42:57Fantasy AGE Lairs: The Battle of the Beleaguered GM (Ronin Roundtable)
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Green-Ronin-20-For-20-Sale-square.png375375Chris Pramashttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngChris Pramas2020-03-09 01:00:152020-03-07 21:01:42Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale
Fantasy AGE Lairs is now available for pre-order in our Green Ronin Online Store. When you place the pre-order in your cart, you’ll be offered the PDF version of Lairs for just $5! To take advantage of the deal, make sure to press “Add To Cart” on the pop-up. If you’d rather support your local store, make sure they know about our GR Pre-Order Plus program, through which you can get a coupon code for the PDF when you pre-order the print book through the store.
Fantasy AGE Lairs: Into the belly of the beast!
In this collection from some of the finest writers in gaming, each chapter introduces a new powerful adversary, including their lair, minions, and recommendations for using these threats in your Fantasy AGE campaigns. Also included are the all-new location stunts, allowing enemies and heroes alike to better use their environment in play.
Just some of the menacing monsters and their lairs include:
The ravenous Ghoul Prince, who rules his army of flesh eaters from his crumbling keep.
The legendary Clockwork Dragon, terrorizing the skies from its mountain stronghold along with its army of mechanical monsters.
The corrupted Dark Druid, whose twisted magic threatens all who enter his cursed valley.
The blood crazed Sea Queen, bringing madness and slaughter with her berserker minions, blood magics, and deadly living island reef.
Each lair also includes an adventure framework for introducing the menace into Fantasy AGE campaigns, as well as numerous adventure seeds and ideas for further encounters.
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/GRR6008_200.jpg260200Evan Sasshttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngEvan Sass2020-03-04 15:05:422020-03-04 15:05:42Fantasy AGE Lairs Pre-Order and PDF
https://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Fantasy_AGE_mock.jpg792612Evan Sasshttps://greenronin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RoninBanner_2022_72.pngEvan Sass2020-02-29 00:01:532020-02-28 22:06:46Leap Day Sale! All Fantasy AGE PDFs 10% Off