Joe Carriker’s Top 5 Green Ronin Picks

Like other Ronins, I work at Green Ronin because I love what we do. So narrowing this list down to just five products? Not easy. That said, here we go! “Joe Carriker’s Top 5

Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition5. Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition

This updated version of the original Ork! is a glorious revisit of the sheer bonkers chaos of the original Ork! In this beer-and-pretzels game, you play…an ork. And it is your job to unleash all sorts of ork-like mayhem in the world. Being a systems wonk, though, it’s not (only) the premise that sells this for me, but the system that makes me love it.

Every check in Ork! is an opposed roll. Sometimes against enemies, but quite often the roll is opposed by…well, by the ork god, who is a surly, ill-tempered sort of deity who delights in the suffering of his people. The sheer gonzo premise of a game system based on “God hates you and wants you to fail, except that you’re doing your best to spit in his eye” is absolute catnip for me.

4. Book of the RighteousThe Book of the Righteous for Fifth Edition

I’m a big Fifth Edition player, for starters. I am also a huge nerd when it comes to worldbuilding, and I find one of the best disciplines of worldbuilding to be the construction of pantheons, creation myths, and the forms of religion that populate a setting. The gods of a world say so much about that place, and how its people revere them adds to it.

For my money, the Book of the Righteous does the best job of addressing some of that style of worldbuilding in Fifth Edition material to date. Fully realized pantheons, religious orders, creation myths, and all the rest of it, with tons of player-facing mechanics (including a wealth of new cleric Domains and paladin Orders)? I’m so in.

Threefold A Campaign Setting for Modern AGE3. Threefold

It is no secret that I love me some big universes. I’m a world-builder at heart, and I love sprawling, deeply interconnected, and flavorful settings with room to tell all kinds of interesting stories in. It’s probably no wonder then that I love me some Threefold. A setting that includes organizations for player characters to belong to, each with specific goals and modes of operation. A theoretically infinite variety of worlds to explore, including a whole bevy of them right up front, and potentially more to come? Alien tech and psychic abilities and weird history timelines? Seriously, this is exactly the kind of high-stakes rollicking adventure that I love, and developer Malcolm Sheppard has wrapped it all up in the extremely accessible Modern AGE system for me.

And uh you, too, of course. :)

2. Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition Deluxe Hero’s HandbookDeluxe Hero's Handbook for Mutants & Masterminds

Superhero RPGs and I go way back. During the Satanic Panic, my mom and pastor confiscated all my D&D goods to burn them. They left my Marvel Superheroes RPG stuff, assuming they were comics, and I kept right on gaming. If I have anything close to an Ultimate Universal System for my tastes, it’s probably M&M. It is very capable of doing superheroes, and a whole lot more. I’ve used it for cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and weird dimension-hopping type games, and I know folks who’ve used it for lots more. It is extremely flexible, but also easy to use.

Honestly, I just love using its system to build power sets. Mutants & Masterminds Third doesn’t present finished powers for you to use for your heroes. Instead, it presents an extremely exhaustive set of power effects. “What does this power do, mechanically?” the system asks, and encourages you to determine how it interacts with the rules. Does it do damage? Inflict penalties? Reduce an enemy’s power? Debuff with negative conditions? Once you figure that out, you can select the appropriate effects, slap a Descriptor (like Psychic, Magic, or Fire) onto it that describes what is responsible for those effects, and your power is ready to go.

The fact that you can play games that range in power from street-level shenanigans where a knee-breaker with a bat is dangerous, all the way to hyper-dimensional cosmic epics is nothing short of incredible. Best still, both types of games are extremely playable, too – I sometimes brag that unlike some other games, Mutants & Mastermind’s “high level” games are perfectly playable and just as fun. I love the system so much, in fact, that when I was first putting together the main protagonists for my novel Sacred Band (available now from Nisaba Press), I built them using Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition rules! (You can get them here, for free, by the way.)

Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy 1. Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy

I am the developer for the Blue Rose line at Green Ronin  precisely because this book is in my number one spot. I didn’t contribute to this book myself, so I feel entirely justified in just how much of a ridiculous fanboy I am for this game. I did some writing for its first edition, and fell in love then. Why?

Romantic fantasy is my jam, for starters. Fantasy that postulates magic that makes the world better and more accessible rather than more dangerous and more awful, narratives in which the people one meets and connects with are as important to the resolution as one’s skill with sword or spell, and a sense of egalitarian aspiration are all mixed together to form a sort of inspiring, uplifting fantasy that I just love. This edition of Blue Rose specifically is fantastic, as well, for its use of the AGE system. Stunts give exactly the sort of swashbuckling feel that should pervade these stories, and its magic system which allows the use of magic as long as one can resist the psychic exhaustion that comes of doing so is really enjoyable.

But anyone who knows me probably knows that I love this game because of how abundantly queer it is. Queerness is not an afterthought here – I commend a lot of games for their “well, nobody cares if you’re queer” approach to inclusion, but in Blue Rose queerness has impacted the culture and social identity of its people…in a good way. It also explicitly makes room for different types of queer characters, from those characters who have no idea what bigotry against them is (which can be very comforting to play for some queer gamers who don’t need marginalization in their gaming) to those whose heroism includes having come from very restrictive backgrounds and having fought their way to freedom (which can be a cathartic gaming experience for some queer folk as well).

Plus, honestly, the ability to play a sapient, psychic animal? Yes, please.

End of Year Sale and GR Gift Guide

Happy holidays from all of us at Green Ronin! I don’t think 2020 was the year any of us hoped for but on the upside, it’s almost over! Right now, we’ve got our Year End Sale going on, which offers 20% off most of our titles through January 3. Get gifts for your friends and family, or just treat yourself. If you survived 2020, you deserve it! Two important notes. First, we do offer gift certificates in our online store, so if you don’t know what to get for the gamers in your life, that’s always an option. Second, shipping is particularly slow this year, so if you want things in time for Xmas, get your orders in early. If you aren’t sure what to get, I’ve put together a gift guide that may help. Let’s get to it!

Death In Freeport for Fantasy AGEAs you may heard, 2020 was Green Ronin’s 20th anniversary. One way we celebrated that was with new editions of one of our earliest releases. I wrote Death in Freeport 20 years ago, and now it’s available in two formats: Fantasy AGE and 5th Edition. Pick your system and then set sale for Freeport, the City of Adventure! Fantasy AGE fans will also enjoy Lairs, another new book for this year that features a host of ready to use encounters. 5E fans should check out The Lost Citadel Roleplaying, where players are survivors of an undead apocalypse in the last city standing.

 

Enemies and Allies for Modern AGE

If you want a flexible RPG that can handle just about every sub-genre of action adventure, check out Modern AGE. It got its character/adversary book this year with Enemies & Allies. If you want a kickass setting, also check out Threefold. It got some adventure support with Five and Infinity, which we serialized over the course of the year. We also launched Modern AGE Missions for even more PDF adventure support. We’re certain you need 30-50 feral hogs in your Modern AGE campaign, so make sure to check that out!

 

Envoys to the Mount for Blue RoseBlue Rose, our Romantic Fantasy RPG, is also getting (and giving) a lot of love right now. If you’ve never checked it out before, there’s a new Quickstart that gives you a complete adventure with rules and pre-generated characters. For more experienced players, we’ve just put Envoys to the Mount up for pre-order. This is a complete campaign for Blue Rose that takes characters through all four tiers of play. There’s also a tie-in fiction anthology called Tales from the Mount that’s available now. You can get a bundle with both Envoys and Tales too!

 

Sacred Band 2nd editionSpeaking of fiction, our imprint Nisaba Press has some great titles for holiday reading. Blue Rose fans will definitely want to check out Sovereigns of the Blue Rose, an anthology of stories about the fourteen rulers of Aldis. We’ve also just released Sacred Band, Joe Carriker’s critically-acclaimed LGBTQ+ superhero novel. Supers will also enjoy Roadtrip to Ruin, the latest Mutants & Masterminds novel. If short stories are your jam, we’ve released three anthologies this year: For Hart and Queen for Blue Rose, Powered Up for Mutants & Masterminds, and Under a Black Flag for Freeport.

 

 

Time Traveler's Codex for Mutants & MastermindsSuperhero fans should look no further than Mutants & Masterminds. If you haven’t tried it before, jump right in with the Basic Hero’s Handbook. We’ve just release the Time Traveler’s Codex (now available in print!), which is a whole book about timeline hopping shenanigans. If you’ve been wanting adventure support, we’ve really leaned into that this year with the Astonishing Adventures PDF series. These include stand-alone adventures and the five-part series NetherWar. Danger Zones is another new series. Each entry details a new location for superheroic action. And, by popular demand, we’ve also just released a deck of Condition Cards!

 

Ships of the ExpanseBut what if you want to go to outer spaaaaccceeee? That’s where The Expanse RPG—based on the terrific novels by James S.A. Corey­—comes in. There’s a free Quickstart if you haven’t dived in yet. This year we released Abzu’s Bounty, a series of six linked adventures for the game. Salvage Op offers a one shot for an evening or two of play. We’ve also just put Ships of the Expanse up for pre-order. This is the long-awaited book full of deck plans and details about the spaceships of the setting.

 

Sword Chronicle RoleplayingLast but by no means least, we launched the Sword Chronicle RPG this year. This takes the system we designed for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and spins it off into as an independent fantasy system. This has been available as a PDF for several months but just this week we’ve made it available as a Print on Demand title on DriveThruRPG.

 

Happy holidays, everyone! See you in 2021!


The Lost Citadel Roleplaying, Now Available in Print

The Lost Citadel RPG for 5th edition!

Buy It at the Green Ronin Online Store

In The Lost Citadel Roleplaying, seven decades ago, there were cities upon cities, kingdoms and nations. Cultures met each other in war, travel, and at trade. Humans, dwarves, elves, and peoples made their fortunes across vast lands. For millennia, through two vibrant ages called ascensions, they explored their world.

Until the world ended. Nations crumbled. Magic sputtered. Nature sickened. Civilizations died.

The dead woke.

They say the doors to the Underworld flew from their hinges, or the god of the dead went mad. Whatever the cause, across the lands of Zileska, the dead have become the Dead. Whether human, elf, dwarf, or monstrous ghûl, all must survive a world overrun by death, where all that’s left of civilization has gathered behind the walls of: Redoubt. The last city. The Lost Citadel.

Born of roots in a dark fantasy anthology and a successful Kickstarter, The Lost Citadel Roleplaying, previously available in PDF, is now available in print for everyone, as is The Lost Citadel GM Screen. The Lost Citadel Roleplaying is a detailed resource for 5th Edition play in the city of Redoubt, a desperate city-state standing against the tide of the returned Dead.

Inside this book, you’ll find:

  • A deeply realized setting of many cultures, peoples, and factions, all on the brink of destruction—unless you intervene.
  • The peoples and cultures of Zileska, now confined to Redoubt, the last city, from the oppressed dwarves and sorcery-mad elves, to vividly realized human cultures and the ghûl, canine eaters of the dead.
  • A new and modified array of character classes fitting a world claimed by the Dead. Discover new variations of the Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlock classes, or adopt the ways of the Beguiler, Penitent, Sage, and Warrior Monk.
  • New feats, backgrounds, and other character options, including the martial arts of Redoubt, which run the gamut from vicious street fighting to the noble art of armored combat.
  • New equipment and magic items, fitting the desperate streets of Redoubt.
  • A host of new undead with which to test your characters’ wits and will. Will they face down the horror of a grim aggregate, the terror of a forlorn child, or even the power of a mighty malevolent?
  • A full-color, 15” x 22” double-sided poster map of Redoubt.
  • Original fiction by award-winning dark fantasist Elizabeth Hand.

If you also like playing Fantasy AGE, supplement The Lost Citadel’s 5e-focused text with The Lost Citadel Fantasy AGE Conversion Codex, a PDF which provides a complete treatment of the setting’s game rules for Fantasy AGE.

Aldean Arcana in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide

While The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide makes use of the core Fifth Edition spells and spellcasting classes, it does make a few adjustments to reflect the nature of magic and the Arcane on Aldea.

Blue Rose Adventurer's GuideAldea is a highly magical world, where adepts not only wield considerable power, but have transformed the world through its application, making life better and easier for people. Unfortunately, that same power has been misused by the corrupt, nearly destroying the world as well.

Adepts

Aldeans commonly use the term “adept” to refer to those awakened souls able to use magic, although technically the term is for those who have mastered such abilities; in the Old Kingdom, adept was a title similar to “master” in a craft, the achievement after apprenticeship as a student and graduation to independent practice. Now, among the uninitiated, the term is often confused for those who simply possess arcane talent, even if they lack training and skill. “Adept” often refers to anyone able to cast spells.

Arcane Limits

Aldea’s plane is particularly isolated from other planes of existence, so much so that the shadow-gates were the only known means of breaching the barriers between planes. Thus magic and spells reliant on contacting other planes or summoning creatures from them either work differently or do not work at all on Aldea without the use of a shadow-gate. The following spells are non-functional on Aldea without the use of a shadow-gate: conjure celestial, contact other plane, gate, planar ally, plane shift, teleport, and teleportation circle.

The Occult

Arcane Adept

Art by Aaron Riley

Aldean philosophers and scholars theorize that arcane power ultimately flows from the soul, and that the Souls of the Eternal Dance all possess at least the potential power wielded by the gods themselves, who created and shaped the world from the Sea of Possibility. Of course, those selfsame souls are now embodied and have forgotten much of their divine nature, but a spark of that still remains within every soul, and some find and draw upon it to wield magic in the world.

Also like the god Anwaren, the souls of the Dance are vulnerable to the lure and temptation of Shadow, particularly when wielding the power to influence and transform. When the arcane arts are used to usurp the sovereignty of another soul, there is resistance, a backlash from that soul’s divine nature. In essence, when the arcane is used to alter another person’s body, mind, or soul without their consent, it can corrupt the soul of the adept. Aldeans refer to magic that does these things as occult, for such things are obscured by Shadow.

The following spells are considered occult when cast on an unwilling person: antipathy/sympathy, calm emotions, command, compulsion, confusion, detect thoughts, dominate person, enlarge/reduce, enthrall, eyebite, fear, feeblemind, geas, hideous laughter, hypnotic pattern, imprisonment, irresistible dance, magic jar, modify memory, phantasmal killer, polymorph, suggestion, symbol, true polymorph, vampiric touch, and weird.

Note that a few of these spells are not considered occult if they are used on a willing subject, such as calm emotions, modify memory, or polymorph, for examples. Others are always occult, because they cannot have a willing subject by definition. Likewise, many of these spells are not considered occult if they are used on creatures other than people: dominate monster, for example, is not occult.

Also spells that summon fiends or undead creatures, or that create undead creatures, are occult by definition including animate dead and create undead, and planar ally and gate (involving fiends).

Arcane Items

Old Aldis created many arcane wonders long ago, and the Shadow Lords who followed it often used their powers to create terrible and powerful items, some of them cursed. Some of these objects from both eras of Aldean history still exist, although the secrets of their making have been lost. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide describes more than three dozen unique magic items found on Aldea, including seven artifacts.

Aldean Classes – Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide

Last week we took a look at Ancestries in Aldea, so this week we thought we’d focus on Aldean Classes. All of the core 5e classes exist in the world of Aldea, and The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide looks at each, how they fit into the various nations and lands, and offer new class-feature options unique to Aldea and the Western Lands:

Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5e: Pre-Order Today!


Barbarians – The Path of the Wasteland: Fit for surviving in the most Shadow-tainted wastelands and desolate places, these barbarians literally live off their own fury and determination and possess tremendous survival instincts.

Aldean Fighter ClassBards – The College of the Roads: Also known as the College of Fate, these bards learn the secrets of the Roamers, including how to perceive and tug at the weave of fate and to perform the sacred Sel-Shanna, the Moon Dance.

Clerics – The Radiant Domain: More than just mundane light, clerics of radiance are devoted to the Light, the essence and wellspring of creation, which opposes the power of Shadow. Any of the Gods of Light can claim this domain, along with clerics of the Eternal Dance itself. Clerics of radiance are found in all of the lands of Aldea, but particularly Aldis and Jarzon, although they often differ in their views of how best to shed their light to banish Shadow.

Druids – The Circle of the Clans: The most common druids on Aldea, by far, are the Circle of the Clans, who serve the clans of Rezea. They are commonly known as witches, or the wise-ones, adept keepers of lore, wisdom, and power. They gather on the plains at night under the stars and the light of the moon to work their magic.

Fighters – The Peacekeeper: It is said “let those who desire peace prepare for war” and those who emulate the Peacekeeper do just that. They are prepared, able, and willing to fight, if they must, for a cause they believe in, but a Peacekeeper’s goal is to prevent fights, when and where possible, and to end them as quickly, and with as little harm, as they can.

Monks – The Way of the Spirit Dance: A reflection of the Eternal Dance within the material world, the tradition of the Spirit Dance is thought to be one of the oldest spiritual practices in Aldea, passed down from master to student since time immemorial, and granting those who learn and master its rhythms and steps great spiritual and magical insight.

Paladins – The Oath of the Rose: Rose Knights are sworn to the cause of Aldis and the Blue Rose, to be the champions of the Sovereignty. The power of oaths and dedication is palpable to an awakened soul, and paladins are found among all of the cultures of Aldea. They include the Knights of Purity in Jarzon and the dreaded Knights of the Skull in Kern.

Rangers – The Shadow Hunter: Some rangers following the Hunter archetype on Aldea stalk the forces of Shadow itself. These Shadow Hunters gain access to additional traits concerning their particular foes.

Rogues – The Rebel: The rebel is an infiltrator and an inciter of change, sometimes through stealth, cunning, and persuasion, other times through violence. They may be a lone figure, inspiringAldean Wizard Class people to take action, the leader of a cell or network, or even hidden within the very power structure they seek to overthrow.

Sorcerers – Primal Sorcery: There are sorcerers who wield the primal magic of the elements, forged by the gods at the dawn of the world. These sorcerers often hail from particularly ancient families, although bloodlines and inheritance are often obscured by the chaos of the Shadow Wars and all that followed.

Warlocks – The Autumn King and the Winter Queen: Although it is said that all souls of the Eternal Dance have the potential for the arcane arts, the truth is that not all souls awaken to that potential in each life, and most will not do so in this life. Still there are some who hunger and thirst for arcana and seek some means to slake it. Warlocks on Aldea turn to two additional particular patrons for their arcane arts: the Primordials, particularly those of Autumn and Winter, of earth and air, and of madness and the Moon.

Wizards – The School of Psyche: The School of the Psyche explores the true source of magic on Aldea: the awakened souls of the Eternal Dance, and the vast Sea of Possibility, the pure power of the mind and soul working in concert. Some psychic wizards refer to their work as the “grand unity of the arts,” seeking a deeper understanding of all arcana through this lens.

Aldean Ancestries in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide

The Blue RoseBlue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5th edition Adventurer’s Guide talks, not about “race” but ancestry, as the Aldeans consider “personhood” a matter of the mind and soul, the souls of the Eternal Dance, given physical form by the gods to save them from being lost to the hunger of the Exarchs of Shadow. Ancestry is a matter of the physical form a particular soul is reborn into from the Wheel of Rebirth. The various ancestries of Aldea—human, night person, sea-folk, vata, and rhydan—are described in “Welcome to Aldea: A Blue Rose Primer.” Here we look at what ancestry means in 5e game terms:

Abilities

Ancestries in Blue Rose do not apply ability score adjustments. Instead, all characters receive a +2 bonus to one ability, and a +1 bonus to another, both of the player’s choice. Likewise, ancestry doesn’t determine the languages a character knows or speaks, and there are no “racial languages,” that’s a function of the culture the character was raised in. Of course, some people in Aldea are telepathic, so language is often not a concern.

Traits

Ancestries in Blue Rose

art by Aaron Riley

Ancestries do have their own particular traits, whether the adaptability and innate talents of humans, the darkvision and relentless endurance of the night people, the amphibious nature of the sea-folk, or the arcane talents and rapid recovery of the vata. Rhydan in particular have their own traits, given their animal forms, their innate psychic abilities, and their ability to rhy-bond with a particular companion. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide gives full traits for rhy-cats, rhy-fen (dolphins), horses, and wolves, but also guidelines to create rhydan traits for any beast with a Challenge Rating of 1/4 or less.

Cultures

The various Western Lands of Aldea described in “Welcome to Aldea: A Blue Rose Primer” have their own cultures and languages, and it is these that influence the backgrounds of different characters. Humans are by far the majority ancestry, with other peoples fitting in and around human communities, but humans and vata in the Theocracy of Jarzon, for example, have more in common with each other than they have with their human and vata kin from the Plains of Rezea on the far side of Aldis, for example.

Backgrounds

Aldean characters choose a background like any other character, and the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide provides local interpretations of various classic backgrounds within Aldean cultures, along with new options, like Reawakened, Refugee, and Shadow-Scarred, and all of their associated traits.

Welcome to Aldea: A Blue Rose Primer

Blue Rose Adventurer's GuideWhether it is the announcement of the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, the release of some recent Blue Rose products, or just general curiosity, if you are unfamiliar with the setting for Blue Rose, you may be wondering: What is this “Aldea” place and what is it like for playing games and telling stories?

Walk across its meadows, under the branches of its forests, or along its shores, and you would find the world of Aldea much like our own: with a day and night, a sun and moon, a cycle of seasons over a similar year, with much flora and fauna that would be familiar.

That said, you would also encounter magic and mystery under those forest boughs and in the watery depths. The sun, moon, and stars were placed in the sky by primordial powers worshipped during that cycle of seasons, and some flora and fauna are quite different indeed, from tree-spirits to faeries to beasts with minds as aware as our own. What’s more, you would find places, and creatures, touched by forces of corruption and evil, which have twisted them, making them inimical to life.

The Western Lands

Aldea is a world in many ways like our own several centuries ago, in others very different. The Blue Rose setting focuses on a region of the overall world of Aldea less than a thousand miles across, centered on the nation of Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose. They are collectively known as the Western Lands, or the Old Kingdom Lands, although both terms are not in widespread use, since these lands don’t think of themselves collectively, for the most part. They have emerged only a few centuries ago from a vast dark age of corrupt rule, and parts of the world still remain touched by the power known to Aldeans as Shadow.

  • Aldis: Central to the Western Land is the Sovereignty of Aldis, once the heart of the Old Kingdom. Aldis is ruled by nobles who are trained and tested for their roles, including the magical test of the Blue Rose Scepter to verify their good intentions. It is ruled by a Sovereign chosen by the divine Golden Hart from among its people, and the current sovereign is Queen Jaellin. Aldis harnesses arcane power and potential to improve the lives of its people and to promote a culture of tolerance and prosperity for all.
  • Rezea: West of Aldis, across the broad Rezean Gulf, lie the plains of Rezea, hundreds of miles of open grasslands, fed by rivers flowing from the high northern mountains towards the ocean. These lands are claimed by the Clans of Rezea, semi-nomadic horse-riders descended from humans who escaped servitude in Drunac to the north and west and found their way onto the vast plains, led by the great hero Jessa. The Rezean clans are largely independent, and often competitive, united by their culture and their respect for the Khana, the wisest of their witches.
  • Jarzon: To the east of Aldis, across the expanse of the Veran Marsh, is the Theocracy of Jarzon. Jarzon’s history of struggle in throwing off tyranny and surviving in a corrupted world has shaped their culture and views. A deeply religious nation, Jarzon’s salvation was in the Church of Pure Light. The church preaches a strict life of vigilance against corruption. The practice of the occult is punishable by death, and the arcane arts may only be practiced by the church’s priesthood and those specifically under their supervision. Jarzon mistrusts neighboring Aldis for the Sovereignty’s embrace of arcana and the forces which the Theocracy feels corrupted the world—and have the potential to do so again.
  • Kern: To the north of Aldis, beyond the peaks of the Ice-Binder Mountains, lies the foreboding Thaumarchy of Kern, the last of the domains of Shadow. The Lich King Jarek ruled here for centuries until Queen Jaellin and the forces of Aldis brought his rule—and his dark tower—crashing down three years ago. A loose alliance of seven of Jarek’s lieutenants stepped quickly into the power vacuum, taking up the reins of power as a “Regency Council” until the succession could be settled. The so-called “Shadowed Seven” plot and scheme and maneuver for advantage in the inevitable conflict that will settle which of them sits upon Kern’s throne.
  • Lar’tya: A sea voyage to the south and west of Aldis lie the volcanic isles of the Matriarchy of Lar’tya. It is a prosperous, tropical nation with a trading partnership with the Western Lands, particularly Aldis. As its name suggests, Lar’tya consolidates political and social power in the hands of women, considering them more naturally suited to administration, business, and leadership. The nation also has a strict caste system, with limited social mobility and interaction between castes.
  • The Roamers: The traveling folk known as Roamers trace their lineage back to the lost nation of Faenaria, what is now the Shadow Barrens. The Roamers travel from place to place in small caravans of brightly colored wagons, trading goods and offering services, often visionary readings or small arcane works. They’re known for their love of music and dance, but also for a somewhat mischievous nature and a gift for stirring things up in places they visit.

The Western Kingdoms of Aldea

The Peoples of Aldea

On Aldea, their term for “person” generally refers to any embodied soul: a living being born of the world, capable of thought and self-awareness. That said, not all cultures agree as to precisely who

Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy

Blue Rose (Fantasy AGE)

is or isn’t a “person.” In particular some nations, like Jarzon, question whether or not rhydan are truly people, or whether the night people are deserving of the name, being creations of the occult, and therefore shadowspawn in their eyes. In Aldis and much of the world, however, the following five peoples are recognized:

  • Humans: The vast majority of people in the world are humans, who would be quite familiar to us. Aldean humans exist in all of the vast variety they do on our world, and then some.
  • Night People: Creations of arcana, the night people were made as brute laborers and soldiers. Many fought for and won their freedom and they are now found in many lands, although fully-accepted only in Aldis, as many others are suspicious of the night people’s origins.
  • Rhydan: The rhydan have the bodies of beasts, but possess souls just like any people, making them intelligent, self-aware, and gifted with arcane (particularly psychic) talents. Most rhydan arise—or “awaken” as they call it—from amongst mundane animals of their kind, and many in Aldis believe rhydan are proof of the Wheel of Rebirth: placing enlightened souls into animal forms close to nature.
  • Sea-folk: Sea-folk are an amphibious people, who can swim with great skill and hold their breath as long as a dolphin. They have green- or blue-tinted skin and hair and eyes of a similar shade. Sea-folk are androgynous and often gender-fluid. Because they depend on water more than land-dwellers, sea-folk live near rivers, streams, lakes, or the sea.
  • Vata: Descendants of the ancient and arcane vatazin, their heritage mixed with human ancestry, the vata are a long-lived people of arcane gifts and insights, but one that has been fading from the world for generations.

Before the souls of Aldea were embodied, they were timeless beings beyond physicality. Now in diverse forms, they retain some sense of their previous oneness. While men and women are the most common genders of Aldea, more exist beyond these two. While people in Aldis have no overriding romantic or sexual preference, placing the importance of the soul over the body, there are those primarily or solely drawn to their own gender, or to a different gender, as well as those not drawn to sex or romance in particular, or even at all. There are many sorts of families, based on many sorts of relationships between people, with love as the most common element.

A New World Awaits

This summary is just the barest taste of the magical world of Aldea. So much more awaits in both Blue Rose, the AGE Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy (for the AGE System) and in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide (for Fifth Edition fantasy roleplaying), as well as fiction set in the world of Aldea from Nisaba Press, such as the novel Shadowtide. Whatever venue appeals to you, welcome to the world of Aldea! Take the time to visit and experience its stories, and then create some of your own.

Under a Black Flag: Tales of Freeport

Under a Black FlagToday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and in our newest anthology Under the Black Flag, the blood and salt of Freeport breeds a special kind of hero, one usually kicked out of all but the crustiest taverns and immortalized in bawdy songs. Ancient cultists lurk beneath the streets, unknown horrors prowl the depths, but the real trouble is the ne’er-do-wells who walk the city’s streets and alleys.

Under a Black Flag features nine rollicking tales of swashbuckling action centered around the City of Freeport, a fantasy pirate city unlike any other.

Under a Black Flag is available for Pre-Order in our Online Store as well as on DrivethruRPG.

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press draws the rich detail and excitement of collaborative storytelling from the world of roleplaying to create immersive fiction for all readers to enjoy.

We believe everyone should see themselves reflected in our stories. By actively seeking out and amplifying the voices of under-represented writers: women, people of color, and LGBT+, we strive to be inclusive of all readers.

While currently focused on exploring the richly detailed worlds created by Green Ronin Publishing, Nisaba Press’s vision extends to a future filled with speculative fiction set in all manner of places, times, and genres.

While you’re here… Would you like to know more about Freeport: The City of Adventure?

Check out our recent updates to the classic Death In Freeport adventure, now available for Fantasy AGE as well as 5th Edition!Death in Freeport

20 years ago, Green Ronin made a name for itself with Death in Freeport, a d20 System adventure released at GenCon the same day as the 3E PHB. It went on to win the very first ENnie Award and the Origins Award for Best RPG Adventure. Return to those halcyon days with this 20th Anniversary Edition of Death in Freeport, now updated to the Fantasy AGE rules!

Chris Pramas—the designer of the AD&D Guide to HellWFRP 2E, and Dragon Age—created the city of Freeport for this classic adventure for low-level characters. Add urban sprawl, pirates, and a touch of cosmic horror to your campaign with the City of Adventure.

Death in Freeport has already kicked off thousands of campaigns. Be part of the legend with the 20th Anniversary Edition!

Blue Rose Blooms Again

Blue Rose Adventurer's GuideI seem to have a thing for writing Blue Rose announcements in June but, given it is Pride Month, and roses bloom in the early summer, that makes a certain amount of sense. I’m writing this one in June as well, although I don’t know exactly when you’ll see it, website and product scheduling being what they are.

The notion of returning Blue Rose to its d20-based roots in some form or another has been something we have discussed various times over the years, but it took a pandemic closing down printers, distributors, and game stores to prioritize it in the company’s busy schedule. Green Ronin is certainly no stranger to the Fifth Edition landscape, having designed and developed two official Dungeons & Dragons books (Out of the Abyss and The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide) as well as publishing a Fifth Edition compatible edition of the Book of the Righteous and the hugely-popular Tal’dorei Campaign Setting sourcebook for the online streaming show Critical Role. With a Fifth Edition version of the Book of Fiends in the works, a large Fifth Edition audience and the opportunities available to us, it seemed that the Wheel of Rebirth had turned once again and it was time for the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide to find its way into your hands.

The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is a complete setting sourcebook for Aldea, the romantic fantasy world of Blue Rose, for Fifth Edition fantasy roleplaying. It details Aldea, its history and cosmology, and the Sovereignty of Aldis and its surrounding lands, all of the essential information you need to know about this fantasy world. The remaining third of the book covers the game information you need to play your own Fifth Edition campaigns in Aldea: unique ancestries (including the awakened animal rhydan), backgrounds, character subclasses (including the Peacekeeper martial archetype, the Way of the Spirit Dance monastic path, the Oath of the Rose for paladins, the School of the Psyche for wizards, and much more), modifications to spellcasting, rules for the corrupting power of Shadow, and details on Aldean monsters and magic items. All of it, of course, beautifully presented and wrapped in the gorgeous art of cover artists Stephanie Pui-Min Law.

We’re excited to offer a way to experience the world of Blue Rose using the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game, and to introduce fans of Fifth Edition to a romantic fantasy world where connection, empathy, and kindness play important roles, and where a diverse nation of good people work together to uphold and protect their society against the forces arrayed against it.

For Aldis, and the Queen!

Return to Freeport

Twenty years ago, at Gen Con in August of 2000, Green Ronin Publishing released one of the very first adventures for the brand-new third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, also one of the first published under the new Open Game License. Death in Freeport was the first experience many had in playing the new edition, both that weekend and in the months and even years that followed. As part of celebrating Green Ronin’s 20th anniversary this year, we’re pleased to offer players both old and new the opportunity to return to the swashbuckling “City of Adventure” with a re-release of Death in Freeport, updated for the fifth edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game!

Death in Freeport for 5th edition!Of course, along with editions, a number of things have changed in the past twenty years, not the least of which is a worldwide pandemic that has placed some limits on printing, publication, and distribution. That means this new edition of the adventure will be available only in electronic (PDF) and print-on-demand (Coming Soon!) formats. On the other hand, we’ve come a long way from producing black-and-white saddle-stitched booklets with line art: The new edition of Death in Freeport is in full color, with plenty of color illustrations, the style of our other 5e products like Book of the Righteous and Book of Fiends.

What about the adventure itself? Here, we largely stick to tradition and the original work of Freeport creator Chris Pramas. Death in Freeport introduces the player characters to the free city and pirate haven known as Freeport, and entangles them in the mystery of a scholar who has gone missing, leading them to a much deeper threat, both figuratively and literally!

Of course, all of the adventure’s mechanics, encounters, and characters have been updated for Fifth Edition, and that includes the four pre-generated player characters who were a part of the original Death in Freeport: Rollo (gnome fighter), Malevir (half-elf sorcerer), Alaina (human rogue), and Thorgrim (dwarf cleric). As an added bonus, we’ve created three unique backgrounds and four original sub-classes for these characters, included in an appendix in the adventure. They feature the backgrounds of Privateer, Historian, and Street Knife, and the sub-classes of:

  • Valor Domain: A cleric domain to stoke bravery, cast off fear, and serve as a beacon of courage to your allies.
  • Buccaneer: A martial archetype for sea-faring fighters who rely on striking fear into the hearts of their foes, and using that fear to make themselves all the more deadly!
  • Alley-rat: A rogue archetype that rules the streets and alleyways, turning terrain into deadly traps and even developing Lair Actions for your turf!
  • Serpentkin: A sorcerous origin drawing upon the ophidian power well known to long-time fans of Freeport, summoning spirits and forces with a serpentine bite.

So whether you are looking for a fun 1st-level adventure to introduce players to the City of Adventure (or to Fifth Edition or even tabletop gaming) or just some characters, encounters, ideas, and traits you can loot and plunder for your own 5e games, join us for our return to Freeport!

Now available in the Green Ronin Online Store

or check it out on DrivethruRPG