Fantasy AGE: Shaking the Pillars of Heaven

Well, it’s been an interesting run, but it’s time to move on.

Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook

Starting in October I’m going to be leaving my position as Fantasy AGE developer and thus my regular position at Green Ronin. This has been awhile in coming—I’ve known for several months I needed to make a change.

Why? Well, it’s complicated. But mostly? I’m tired. After several years of personal tragedy, heavy workloads, financial and health issues, the occasional resurfacing of past harassment, and so on? I feel a bit like Egg Shen at the end of Big Trouble in Little China:

My work is done. Lo-Pan is dead, the evil spell has been lifted, years ago I promised myself a long vacation…and it’s time to collect.

That’s not entirely accurate of course, but metaphorically? It’s appropriate. For the past several years I’ve been keeping everything going as best I can. Maybe not always as well as I could in a perfect world, but keeping things moving forward as best I could.  I’m proud of the work done; I’m especially proud of the talented folks I worked with making the various books in the Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age lines, as well as the Blue Rose core book.

However, the Fantasy AGE line needs someone who really wants to work on it. Which, despite my aforementioned pride in the work done? That just isn’t me anymore. I’ve walked this road about as long as I can or want to. Again, that’s not a slam on the work, the people involved, fantasy, gaming, or anything else the line intersects with. It’s just where I am now.

I’ll always be happy I took this gig. It was the right thing to do at the time. I’ll always be proud of the work done. And it’s possible you’ll see me again on various Green Ronin projects, either as a freelance writer or maybe even a developer if the right specific project comes along.

Never can tell with me.

And I’m not going to be a hermit or anything. I have four more books for my wu xia/kung fu game, Tianxia, to finish, there are three more John Carter of Mars books in the pipeline and even

Fantasy AGE Bestiary

some other work past that.

But damn, I am worn out. And since I still have a lot of things I want to design, write, create, and so on in the future? I needed to let something go so I can recharge, rest, repair, and then do those things. After a lot of consideration, this was the thing to let go.

Sometimes it’s that simple.

So, I wanted to end by saying thanks to the fans and customers for their support and enthusiasm. To Green Ronin, I want to say thanks for the opportunities to put my stamp on not one but three of the company’s lines (and that’s not even counting the various Mutants and Masterminds projects I was able to contribute to). To Fantasy AGE’s new developer, Owen K.C. Stephens, I want to express my heartfelt enthusiasm and well wishes. I know you’re going to do great. To my various collaborators I want to give my love and appreciation; literally couldn’t do it without you. In particular, I want to give a shout out to Jamie Wood and Matt Miller, two fine freelancers who started on Dragon Age with me and kept working to the current Fantasy AGE projects. While there were so many great folks on various books, you two were always there when I needed you, and that’s appreciated.

And to my fellow Ronins, while it wasn’t always easy or smooth…we really shook the pillars of heaven, didn’t we?

Later,

Jack.


Fantasy AGE Companion

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Michael Corleone. The Godfather, Part III

Okay, that quote makes it sound like I’m unhappy to be back at Green Ronin, and nothing could be further from the truth! But let’s be honest, how often do I get to use an Al Pacino quote? I may not even be the Gamefather, much less the Godfather, but I know a good quote when I steal one!

Fans of Green Ronin as a company may recognize my name from my time as the Freeport/Pathfinder Developer, or my various freelance contributions to d20 game books Green Ronin has been so kind to include me in over the past two decades, but folks who are primarily fans of Fantasy AGE are likely to have no idea who I am, and I’d like to take a chance to introduce myself.

I have just a couple of small AGE credits, dating back to some GM advice of mine that got used in Dragon Age. But to be entirely up-front, my professional expertise has primarily been in things adjacent to D&D and Pathfinder, so taking the role of Fantasy AGE developer takes me into new territory professionally and I’m extremely excited about that.

Fantasy AGE Campaign Builder’s Guide

I think Fantasy AGE is one of the most dynamic and exciting RPGs to come along in the past decade, and I couldn’t be happier to be involved with its evolution going forward. Jack’s done a tremendous job shepherding from his first involvement with it to this point, and I want to take a moment to thank him for his hard work on the line, which is in great shape as he and I arrange for the hand-off of projects currently underway.

I don’t officially take the reins until October, but Jack and I (and the rest of the awesome Ronins) are already working at making sure things transition smoothly. We’ll have exciting new things to announce eventually, but for now I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, and give people time to get used to the news.

Owen K.C. Stephens

September 2019

Return to Freeport: A Love Letter to Freeport

I can’t properly express how excited I am to see Return to Freeport in its final, compiled form. This is a project that has been with me for a long time, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the final results. The idea of developing six adventures (by six amazing authors–Crystal Frasier, Jason Keeley, Jody Macgregor, Patrick O’Duffy, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, and David Ross) that each stand alone but also form a single united narrative, seemed daunting when I came on-board in 2013 to help with “Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG,” but I never would have guessed the final book would take until 2019 to see print.

Six years, for six adventures. And let me say up front—that’s almost entirely my fault. It is certainly not the fault of the authors, artists, or anyone else at Green Ronin. Mea culpa, and sorry folks.

And while I might be biased, I think the end result here is worth the wait!

The 168 pages, full color, hardback compiles and updates the six adventures we originally released in PDF format into one glorious book. The adventures take characters from 1st to 12th level, and go from hunting down the source of a curse in the streets of the city, to facing ancient terrors and enemy fleets on the high seas, to rooting out traitors and madmen in an even-darker version of the City of Adventure.

As much as possible, this book is a Love Letter to Freeport. I hope we managed to capture the unique blend of fantasy, horror, and swashbuckling action that has been the hallmark of Freeport since it launched almost 20 years ago. The authors have done a tremendous job both highlighting many of the elements introduced in the 544-page “Freeport: The City of Adventure” sourcebook, and in creating new foe and allies to surprise the players. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but there are unhuman gangs, undead crews, love, hate, revenge, and political machinations from other planes of reality… all with a side of grim smiles and sharp cutlasses.

One of the joys of working on a project like this is getting to expand a setting you love with characters, maps, and art to help bring it to life. Cover artist E.M. Gist knocks it out of the park illustrating one of the more dramatic moments of the adventure, and through the book the illustrators have done awesome work bringing the gritty streets of the city to life, and creating the look for new and unique ships, monsters, and locations into glorious detail. Even if I didn’t love the adventures themselves (and I do), I’d delight in the visuals that help expand one of the most veteran d20 locations.

I had a lot of fun visiting Freeport as a player when the first adventures for it came out, and I am thrilled to have been allowed to return as at our guide now, nearly two decades later. This book is a literal Return to Freeport for me, but it’s also a great opportunity to come visit the City of Adventure for the first time.

Just keep your eyes open, and your weapon handy.

 

Nisaba Journal Issue 2 (PDF, mobi, epub)

Nisaba Journal Issue 2: Adventures in the DarkToday we have for you the second issue of our fiction magazine Nisaba Journal: Adventures in the Dark.

Nisaba Journal

Open the Nisaba Journal and immerse yourself in original fiction gathered from your favorite worlds. Issue Two collects seven tales from three of Green Ronin’s most popular settings—Freeport, Blue Rose, and Mutants & Masterminds—and offers ideas for incorporating the heroes, villains, and adventures from the stories into the ones you tell in your own campaigns.

Issue 2 featured stories: 

“The Mermaid and the Maelstrom,” by Andrew Penn Romine

She was cast away on a forgotten island, but the hope of rescue brings a confrontation with an old enemy.

“The Price of Mercy,” by Clio Yun-su Davis

Seeking answers, a young woman and her rhy-horse venture into the forest, and encounter an unexpected ally.

“At the Speed of Screwed,” by Andrew Wilmot

All she wants is to be left alone, but that’s not in the cards. Can she hold her ideals, or will Emerald City see the rise of another villain?

“Searching the Shadows,” by Dylan Birtolo

Foul plots choke Freeport, and an unlikely pair of uneasy allies must find the source of the evil.

“The Heart of Things,” by Rhiannon Louve

The Rose Knights draw closer to the source of the shadowspawn plots, but enemies lurk in unlikely places.

“One Night in Freeport,” by Richard C. White

He thought he was getting away with murder, but tonight, he’s not the hunter.

“Haunting Debts,” by Nathan E. Meyer

Hired to protect a notorious witch, a gunslinger finds herself caught in the midst of a bargain gone awry.

In case you missed them, we have quite a bit more fiction to choose from as well. Nisaba Journal Issue 1 is of course also available, and features six terrific tales, also set in the worlds of Freeport, Mutants & Masterminds, and Blue Rose. Tales of Freeport: Dark Currents includes three stories set in the City of Adventure. Shadowtide, by Joseph D. Carriker, Jr., is our first novel, from the rich setting of the Blue Rose RPG. And there’s more where those came from.

Check them out!

Green Ronin in 2019! Part 1: The Expanse, Nisaba Press, Freeport, and Blue Rose

It’s January and that means it’s that magic time when I talk about Green Ronin’s plans for the coming year. We have quite a lot going on, so this year I’m going to be splitting this message into three parts that we’ll reveal Tuesday to Thursday this week. Today I’ll be talking about The Expanse, Nisaba Press, Freeport, and Blue Rose.

The Expanse Roleplaying Game coverThe Expanse RPG

Last year we ran a hugely successful Kickstarter for a new roleplaying game based on The Expanse novels by James S.A. Corey. The core rulebook is in the final stages of layout so we’ll be releasing it soon. We will be opening up late pledges for the Kickstarter via Backerkit so if you missed the original campaign, you’ll have another chance. You’ll also find The Expanse in book and game stores, of course, and it’ll be available through our online store as well. Releasing concurrently with the core rulebook is the Game Master’s Kit, which has a screen, a new adventure, and reference cards. Later in the year we’ll be releasing Abzu’s Bounty, a six-part adventure for the game.

After that initial suite of products, we’ll be expanding the game in different ways. The core rulebook is set between the events of the first and second novels. As the game line continues, we’ll be incorporating the events of the later novels in various sourcebooks and adventures. If you’d like to learn more about the game, lead designer Steve Kenson started a series of Ronin Round Table posts about it. You can read parts 1 and 2 now and more will follow starting next week.

 

Nisaba Press

Last year we started Nisaba Press, an imprint for fiction publishing. We are doing both short and long-form fiction that ties into our various game worlds. We began with short stories last year. These were initially released individually but we’ve moved to an electronic magazine format. You’ll now find our short fiction in the Nisaba Journal, a bi-monthly magazine that supports our various game worlds. Issue #1 came out towards the end of last year and issue #2 is out this month.

This year’s exciting development is full length novels! We’ve spent the past year building towards this and we’re beyond excited to debut our first novel this month. Shadowtide is a Blue Rose novel by our own Joseph Carriker and you can order it right now! We’ll be following that up with Height of the Storm, a Mutants & Masterminds novel by Aaron Rosenberg, and a collection of Lost Citadel short stories. More novels are in the works, so keep an eye on Nisaba Press.

Freeport

Last week we started the pre-order for Return to Freeport, a six-part scenario that is the biggest addition of adventure content for the setting in more than a decade. Since 2013 our Freeport releases have used the Pathfinder rules and Return to Freeport follows suit. As you’ve likely heard, however, a second edition of Pathfinder is coming this summer and while we wish our pals at Paizo the best, we aren’t going to support the new edition.

Does this mean the Freeport line is ending? Hardly! Freeport is our oldest setting, first seen in the Origins and ENnie Award-winning adventure Death in Freeport back in 2000. 2020 is thus both Green Ronin’s and Freeport’s 20th anniversary and you better believe we have some plans.

So this year you will get Return to Freeport and short fiction from Nisaba Press. We’ve collected last year’s Freeport stories into a short anthology called Dark Currents, which is available now. More Freeport fiction will appear in Nisaba Journal throughout the year. Then next year we’ll be doing a big re-launch for Freeport with a different rules system. Stay tuned for more news about that!

Blue Rose

Last but by no means least, we’ve got Blue Rose, our romantic fantasy RPG. We’ve got two books planned for the game this year. The first, Envoys to the Mount, is something special: a full-length chronicle. This series of adventures will play out over five years of game time and see the characters advance through all four tiers of play. Then, late in the year, we’ve got Touching the Wild. This is a dual-purpose book. Half of it is a bestiary of various Shadowspawn to provide new challenges in your chronicle. The other half is a player’s guide for Rhydan with lots of new options for Rhydan PCs. If you like Blue Rose but have wanted more psychic animals, Touching the Wild is for you!

That wraps up part 1 our 2019 plans. Come back tomorrow to learn about Mutants & Masterminds, Sentinels of Earth-Prime, and 5E.

Press Release: Freeport Video Game Coming In 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FREEPORT VIDEO GAME COMING IN 2019

Drowning Monkeys Games to Bring Classic Tabletop Setting to CRPGs

August 2, 2018—SEATTLE, WA: Green Ronin Publishing and Drowning Monkeys Games are proud to announce the first Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) based on Green Ronin’s original tabletop fantasy setting Freeport: The City of Adventure.

“How incredible would it be to have a magic table that comes to life as the Game Master describes what is happening? What if you could play a tabletop game with friends over the internet in VR?” said Drowning Monkeys Games’ Josh Chudnovsky. “These are the questions we ask to fans of computer and tabletop RPGs and these are the questions the Freeport Video Game will answer. This game is a wholly-new, fun, and unique approach on the CRPG experience. You play in a virtual room, hosted by a virtual Game Master (whose voice promises to be familiar to tabletop fans everywhere) on a virtual table. Everything that exists in real tabletop gaming; Dice throws, playing with friends, painting miniatures, dioramas, character sheets, etc. is represented in the play space.”

Freeport is setting well-known to tabletop roleplayers. First launched in 2000 with the award-winning Death in Freeport, the “City of Adventure” mixes classic fantasy elements with pirates and Lovecraftian horror. Over the years Green Ronin has supported the setting with a series of sourcebooks and adventures, including the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport and Freeport: The City of Adventure.

“When I created Freeport, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that it’d still be going 18 years later,” said Green Ronin president Chris Pramas. “To see the setting thrive for all these years has been amazing. Now I’m thrilled we have the opportunity to bring the City of Adventures to video games.”

Freeport: The City of Adventure will closely follow the recent adventure series Return to Freeport published by Green Ronin. It will also feature several hours of additional roleplaying side quests and offer a never-before-seen deep dive into learning more about the Lovecraftian world that Freeport inhabits.

Availability & Requirements: Freeport: The City of Adventure is slated for a Holiday 2019 release, and will require Windows 7/10, a 7th generation core-i5 processor, 16gb of RAM, and a DX11- capable graphics card.

Drowning Monkeys Games is an independent games developer of desktop and handheld games and is best known for its 2012 release Dungeon Crawlers, which is available on Steam & iOS. For more information about Freeport, including screenshots, teaser, and press kit, visit us at: http://www.drowningmonkeys.com/freeport

Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle based company dedicated to the art of great games. Since the year 2000 Green Ronin has established a reputation for quality and innovation that is second to none, publishing such roleplaying game hits as Dragon Age, Blue Rose, and Mutants & Masterminds, and winning over 40 awards for excellence. For an unprecedented three years running Green Ronin won the prestigious GenCon & EnWorld Award for Best Publisher.

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Freeport Video Game Announcement Trailer

Ronin Roundtable: Nisaba Press update!

So, by now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the announcement about Nisaba Press’s first novel, Shadowtide, by Blue Rose’s own, beloved Joe Carriker. Joe turned the final manuscript over to me a couple of months ago, and I worked on the edits while I was in New Orleans for a convention. Readers, this book is lovely. It’s full of intrigue, adventure, and chosen family, led by a smart-talking rhy-crow and a grieving Night Woman.

Shadowtide: A Blue Rose Novel by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.

The book is now in production’s hands, along with the interior art order. It’s going to be pretty amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the first entry in Nisaba’s novel line.

But now that Joe’s novel is into production, let’s talk about what we can look forward to next. Nisaba’s fiction is currently focused on our three internal settings, Blue Rose, Freeport, and Mutants & Masterminds. With a Blue Rose novel out, what could possibly be next?

How about a Mutants & Masterminds novel, penned by Aaron Rosenberg? Aaron is an experienced novelist who is familiar with tie-in and game fiction, having written for properties including Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Star Wars, Warhammer, and Eureka. He’s written for a number of game properties, too, including several supplements for Green Ronin. His combination of game and novel experience made him a great fit for our next Nisaba novel.

Coming in fourth quarter 2018 from Nisaba Press, Height of the Storm is a novel about a teenager who gets caught in a storm, and wakes up with a big choice to make. We’ve been through the first round of edits, and the manuscript is back with Aaron for a final writing pass before the copyedit phase starts. Hal has the cover art notes, and we’re looking forward to initial sketches.

In the meantime, check out our short fiction, and keep an eye out for an announcement of the upcoming Nisaba Journal, our first collection of short fiction. The Journal will be produced bi-monthly, containing 4-6 short stories in the featured settings, and available in our web store. The August issue includes stories from Richard Lee Byers, Tiffany Trent, Michael Matheson, Dylan Birtolo, Rhiannon Louve, and a prequel to Height of the Storm from Aaron Rosenberg!

Thanks for reading, folks. I’m super excited to bring you the next round of fiction set in Green Ronin’s worlds.

Ronin Roundtable: Coming soon from Nisaba!

A whole year of Nisaba? It’s hard to believe, but it has indeed been a year since we announced Nisaba Press, Green Ronin Publishing’s fiction imprint. We’ve published some great fiction in that time, although we’re just now getting started.

If you’ve missed our previous offerings, don’t worry! They’re still available on our site: Brandon O’Brien’s witty, sweet Blue Rose tale of two thieves in an endless cycle of vendettas; Kid Robot’s first day of school, by Eytan Bernstein; and Clio Yun-Su Davis’s Blue Rose caper. You can even read Crystal Frasier’s Mutants & Masterminds story about Centuria, Lady Liberty, and robot dinosaurs…for free!

And while we’ve gotten off to a good start, Nisaba has a big year ahead, too.

Dylan Birtolo returns with a new Freeport adventure featuring Red Alice and a sinister amulet. Featuring fights through the Freeport sewers, chases over the high seas, and plenty of cult conspiracy, this series of three stories will release over the summer.

Rhiannon Louve continues her beautiful Blue Rose story of a grieving Rose Knight who finds a new lease on life and a new purpose in her courageous partner, a new Rose Knight with unusual talents.

Michael Matheson joins the Nisaba roster with a pair of tales, one for Blue Rose, and one for Mutants and Masterminds.

Richard Lee Byers tells another Mutants & Masterminds story about a woman fighting a terrible internal battle and the clairvoyant hero hunting her.

We’ll be debuting some new settings for our stories, too. Some will be stand-alone adventures to offer campaign ideas for our settings, while others will tease new settings we’re working on.

And if novels are more your thing, we have two novels coming this year! Joe Carriker’s Shadowtide is a sleek and sinister adventure through the political and cultural battlegrounds of the world of Blue Rose. Aaron Rosenberg brings in the first Mutants & Masterminds novel, featuring a disabled woman taking over her grandfather’s superhero cape while a bitter villain seeks vengeance.

Stay tuned for big news from the Nisaba world as we wrap up our first year and head into what we hope is a long and bright future, because we’ve just started on our plans.

Tales of Freeport: In the Shadows

Freeport Fiction: Into the ShadowsThis week’s fiction offering from Nisaba Press is “In the Shadows,” a new short story set in the City of Adventure, written by Richard C. White.

A crew docks in the City of Adventure, ready to carouse with their newly-won booty. But one swabby has a much darker purpose…

For just $1.99, you can download this rollicking tale in your choice of PDF, ePub, or mobi (Amazon Kindle). Or all three! We’re not the captain of your ship.

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing. Nisaba will be publishing novels, anthologies, and short fiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties. Current plans include stories of swashbuckling horror in the fantasy world of Freeport: City of Adventure, tales set in the romantic fantasy world of Aldea from the Blue Rose Roleplaying Game, superheroic adventures set in the world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds, and chronicles of fantasy survival-horror in the world of The Lost Citadel.

Return to Freeport, Part Five: A Storm of Sails

Today we introduce Part Five of our Return to Freeport Pathfinder-compatible PDF adventure series.

Return to Freeport
Freeport is known for its adventures, from Death in Freeport (the one that started it all!) to the mega-adventure Black Sails Over Freeport. Now the City of Adventure goes back to its roots with Return to Freeport! This six-part adventure series for the Pathfinder RPG is a new way to begin your Freeport adventures.

Part Five: A Storm of Sails
In Return to Freeport, Part Five, the adventurers set sail once more from the City of Adventure, to protect the pirate port from a vengeance-hungry fleet from far southern waters.

Looking for more Freeport action? You’ll probably enjoy these two short fiction pieces set in the City of Adventure! Each is just $1.99, and comes in three formats for your device(s) of choice (PDF, mobi, and epub). Brought to you by Nisaba Press, Green Ronin’s new fiction imprint!

  • “My Night In Freeport,” by Anthony Prior
    A naive cabin boy goes ashore in Freeport for the first time, and learns important lessons about life in the big city, why attention to proper knot lore matters, and about the sailors’ code.
  • “Unlikely Tides,” by Dylan Birtolo
    A new ship’s crew of unusual composition tacks against the wind to establish their places on the seas and in Freeport: The City of Adventure.

Freeport Short Story: Unlikely Tides

Freeport Short Fiction: Unlikely TidesToday we present a new short fiction piece by Dylan Birtolo, set in Freeport: The City of Adventure. In “Unlikely Tides,” a new ship’s crew of unusual composition tacks against the wind to establish their places on the seas and in in the city.

For just $1.99, you can download this rollicking tale in your choice of PDF, ePub, or mobi (Amazon Kindle). Or all three! We’re not the captain of your ship.

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing. Nisaba will be publishing novels, anthologies, and short fiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties. Current plans include stories of swashbuckling horror in the fantasy world of Freeport: City of Adventure, tales set in the romantic fantasy world of Aldea from the Blue Rose Roleplaying Game, superheroic adventures set in the world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds, and chronicles of fantasy survival-horror in the world of The Lost Citadel.

“Unlikely Tides” by Dylan Birtolo