Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Preview: Ancestries

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook 2nd edition

Coming Soon! Pre-order begins in February.

Fantasy AGE’s new edition is coming soon—and we’ve been remiss when it comes to telling you about it! If you didn’t get involved in playtesting, you may not be aware of some of the revisions in store. One of those is revised and expanded ancestries. Let’s talk about it.

Ancestries?

In the last edition of Fantasy AGE, we used “race” instead of ancestry, following what was familiar to gamers at the time. However, there was always some internal unease. In the Threefold book for Modern AGE back in 2019 we standardized to “ancestry.” This removes some problematic implications and doesn’t make us drill down on the ultimate nature of these varied fantasy origins.

2nd Edition Ancestries

The original Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook presented a small number of classic fantasy ancestries. The new edition features a much wider set of options—the following ones, to be precise:

  • Draak
  • Dwarf
  • Elf
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Halfling
  • Human
  • Orc
  • Wildfolk

Some of these have been revised from the old Fantasy AGE Companion, but all of them have been reexamined. In addition, guidelines to play characters of mixed ancestry are part of the core rules.

Ancestries in Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition

Ancestry Talents

In addition to the core benefits of an ancestry, characters can deepen their ancestral abilities through Ancestry Talents, a new addition to Fantasy AGE that provide further benefits if you want to epitomize a particular ancestry. Each ancestry has its own talent.


Example Ancestry Talent: Dwarven Secrets

Ancestries: Dwarf Classes: Any

You live for the stone-hearted ways of the dwarves.

Novice: Structures and natural caves tell you their secrets readily. You may use Intelligence (Engineering) tests to determine your direction indoors and underground, including whether you’re going up or down, at a TN determined by the Game Master. If someone without this degree could do the same, you gain a +2 bonus to your test on top of any provided by focuses and other advantages.

Expert: When besieged, a true dwarf takes up the axe. When using a weapon from the Axes group, you gain +1 SP whenever your attack roll scores doubles.

Master: You partake of the endurance of stones against foul magic—or you call upon secret teachings to counter sorcery with the power of certain runes. If you fail any test to resist or reduce the effects of a spell, you may make a second test using Constitution (Tolerance) against the same target for the same benefits if you succeed. In any case, you must keep the results of this second roll.


Next Time: Classes

In the next article in this series, we’ll talk about what character classes are like in the new edition of Fantasy AGE. Until then, be daring!

The Fifth Season RPG on Backerkit is Live!

The Fifth Season RPG now crowdfunding on Backerkit!

Join us for a special livestream with the developers and designers of The Fifth Season RPG!

 

The Fifth Season Roleplaying Game, now crowdfunding on Backerkit, is designed for you to play out adventures and stories set in the world described in the Broken Earth trilogy of novels by N.K. Jemisin—a world where constant and unstable tectonic and volcanic activity threaten all life; a world whose peoples have learned to adapt in order to survive. It is a world where everyone learns that Father Earth hates his children and is always trying to kill them, where metal rusts and even stone crumbles, and the best you can do is be prepared for the next disaster. In the world of the Broken Earth, community—the comm—is everything, because in community there is support and a chance to persevere.

You and your fellow players take the roles of members of such a community, working to overcome internal difficulties and external threats, in order to be ready when that inevitable Fifth Season comes. Are you a lifelong native of this place, someone everyone has recognized from childhood? Maybe you’re a more recent addition to the comm, someone who’s come from a distance, contributing something to the comm that makes the possibility of your secrets and past catching up to you worth it. Or perhaps you are an orogene, one who was born to sess the movements of the tectonic plates, gifted with a forbidden power to still the shaking earth and bleed heat in your environs away until frost coats everything in a perfect circle around you.

These may be times of peace and plenty, but strife and lean times are ahead, with the next Season of Death looming like a dark thunderhead on the horizon.

Welcome to the Stillness.
Download the Free Quickstart right here
Come check out the campaign, and if you pledge in the first 48 hours, you get a free printed copy of the game’s Quickstart (normally $10) if your chosen pledge level includes printed books (the Standard Edition and/or the Special Edition). The printed Quickstart will also be available as an add-on after the first 48 hours.And our top pledge level is the N.K. Jemisin Bookplate Bundle. This gets you the SpecialStandard, and PDF Editions of The Fifth Season RPG in addition to the signed bookplate. This pledge level is strictly limited to 500 backers.

Be sure to head over to The Fifth Season RPG on Backerkit and pledge early, before they run out!

Four versions available for the Fifth Season RPG

With four versions available, including Roll20!

Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition Coming in February

Fantasy AGE 2nd edition Core Rulebook

If you are looking for a new fantasy roleplaying game, your timing couldn’t be better because the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is almost here! It will be available as a PDF and go up for print pre-order next month. With our Pre-Order Plus Program, you can add the PDF for only $5 more when you pre-order the printed book, so you can start reading the game as soon as your order is in.

 

 

 

 


What does Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition have to offer? Glad you asked!

  • Fantasy AGE is easy to learn and fun to play. You can make a character in less than 30 minutes, and you only need three 6-sided dice to play.
  • Fantasy AGE is a class and level game so it’s easy to transition to from similar RPGs. The core classes are Envoy, Mage, Rogue, and Warrior (social, magic, sneaky, fighty). You can customize your character with specializations starting at level 1. Choose from duelist, diplomat, elementalist, mystic navigator, pirate, skald, sword mage, and many more.
  • The heart of the game is the stunt system, which brings dynamism and drama to the table. Roll doubles on 3d6 to pull off heroic maneuvers in combat, cast mightier spells, perform amazing feats of physical and mental prowess, or even cut a rival down to size with a few clever words.
  • Fantasy AGE is a toolkit you can use with the setting of your choice. Game Masters have many options to customize the rules for their campaigns. For example, the mage class represents all spellcasters and the game has no de facto stance on the nature of magic. In one campaign, all magic might come from ancestral spirits. In another, there might be a strict difference between arcane and divine magic with rules to reflect it.
  • Fantasy AGE features optional rules systems for Peril, which ramps up the challenges heroes face, and Daring, which allows those same heroes to pull off even more impressive feats.
  • The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is a complete game, with player and Game Master info and advice, an array of magical arcana and enchanted items, a selection of monsters and other adversaries, and an adventure so you can start right away.
  • The game is built with the Adventure Game Engine (AGE), which powers many other Green Ronin RPGs: Blue Rose, The Expanse, Modern AGE, and this year brings Cthulhu Awakens and The Fifth Season as well. Each game has some bespoke mechanics to reflect genre and setting (Blue Rose has psychic powers, Modern AGE has modes of play and forgoes classes, and The Expanse has rules for advanced weaponry and spaceship combat, for example) but they all share a common core of rules. If you play any AGE RPG, you already know the basics of the others.

If you are new to Fantasy AGE, you can see the game in just a few weeks. If you’d like to get a sense of the Adventure Game Engine in the meantime, check out the free Quickstart for our Blue Rose RPG.

 

Fantasy AGE: Origins

I designed the Adventure Game Engine in 2008 for our licensed Dragon Age RPG that came out the following year. This was a big hit for us, and it didn’t take long for fans to let us know that they loved the rules but wanted to see a more general version not tied to the world of Thedas. To coincide with Wil Wheaton’s RPG web series Titansgrave, which used the rules, we released the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook in 2015 to great acclaim. From there the Adventure Game Engine became our house system, with Blue Rose, Modern AGE, and The Expanse following. One reason we began work on the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook was to take some of the cool mechanical innovations of those games and implement them in the game’s next iteration. Like the churn in The Expanse? It forms the basis of the Peril system in Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition, for example.

 

What Does 2nd Edition Mean?

Current Fantasy AGE fans know we’ve been working on the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook for several years. We have not previously called it 2nd Edition because one of the original design goals was to make it 99% compatible with the existing Fantasy AGE line. Two things happened along the way. First, it proved difficult to communicate that this was going to be a brand-new rulebook with some changes but mostly compatible with the Basic Rulebook. Second, during development and playtesting, we found more things that we wanted to update or expand, so now it’s more like 90% compatible. For these reasons, we decided that just calling it 2nd Edition would be best. Still, most of the 1st Edition line works just fine with 2nd Edition. You can use stat blocks from the Bestiary and adventures with little tweaking required. While much material from the Fantasy AGE Companion has been updated and incorporated into the new Core Rulebook, Lairs and the Campaign Builders Guide remain quite useful for the Game Master.

We know Fantasy AGE fans have been waiting for the Core Rulebook for a long time, but now the hour is nigh! Thanks for all your support over the years. Your patience will soon be rewarded.

 

The AGE System is a Map

Nothing quite starts off a new year like a cryptic blog post title, so here we go! Seriously though, I’d like to chat about how I feel about what the Adventure Game Engine is as it now powers a wider array of games than ever: Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, The Expanse, Cthulhu Awakens, and as per our recent announcement, The Fifth Season. And of course, it all goes back to its roots in the Dragon Age roleplaying game and Chris Pramas’s design.

Unfamiliar with the Adventure Game Engine? We’ve got you covered with our handy “What Is AGE?” primer!

The AGE System provides nearly infinite story opportunities and options!

I’m the Modern AGE developer, and that means taking an expansive view of the system that has come to be my default. This makes AGE something of a map: The system has “bare metal” mechanical features I can play with in a number of different ways. Very few things about the system are fundamental, but what is there—the fixed points on the map—help me answer questions about how a given instance of the game is supposed to work, and what the play experience should be like.

Are classes essential? Modern AGE proved they weren’t, but that protecting unique niches still mattered. Spending points on spells and other powers? Not essential, but a sign saying power should have some kind of cost.

The core of the AGE experience is something I like to call a “punctuated curve.” The core mechanics are 3d6 + modifiers versus a target number. 3d6 outputs a curve of results, where some numbers on the dice, in the middle of the range, are more likely than others. So, a character’s abilities are fairly reliable. But this sort of thing wouldn’t be especially cool without an additional element. In AGE, this is scoring doubles and generating stunt points. Thus, in the set of successful rolls there’s just under a 50% chance of a more interesting success.

This principle doesn’t tell us what a “more interesting success” is, and of course, that’s up to what stunts the player will pick—and stunts turn out to be something we can greatly customize by a game’s genre and setting. In Fantasy AGE Trojan War, divine stunts can be acquired with the help of the gods. In Cthulhu Awakens, certain stunts represent mind-melting insights won through exposure to the Mythos. The Expanse has stunts related to spacecraft.

But that point on the map can be zoomed in on, divided by area, and customized even further. Stunts represent exceptional results, but we can split them off from doubles. This is how we get the stunt attack mechanic in newer AGE rules sets, and how we use Bonds, where we add an opportunity to do amazing things because of a relationship or belief.

This is the kind of flexibility that lets AGE work for multiple games—we strip it down, see what remains, and it shows us what we can play with to address themes and play experience. While we sometimes do aim for cross-compatibility between games, we usually don’t fret that option A in one game contradicts B in another. You can pick and choose when crossing over. The point is to generate familiarity that lets you make your own crossovers and house rules, while presenting lots of readymade options to choose from.

What do you think is essential to the AGE system? What’s flexible? What should be one, not the other? Feel free to let us know!

Fifth Season Crowdfunding on Backerkit

Fifth Season Roleplaying on BackerkitWe’ve got some exciting news today! The crowdfunder for The Fifth Season RPG, based on N.K. Jemisin’s award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy, launches on January 24. Click here to visit the landing page on Crowdfunding by BackerKit, where you can sign up to be notified when the game goes live. You will also get a direct link to the game’s Quickstart PDF (with 44 pages of rules, an adventure, and pre-generated characters) sent to you on launch day!

Our basic funding goal is $50,000 and we want the campaign to open with a bang. If you pledge for the print edition of the core rulebook within the first 48 hours, you’ll also get a printed copy of the Quickstart. This is great if you want to play the game around the table.

The Fifth Season RPG is set in the Stillness, a vast, furious land that is home to thousands of Comms, settlements large and small where people gather for safety in a dangerous and unpredictable world. Each member contributes according to the dictates of their use-caste, and all with one goal: to prepare for the next Fifth Season, those cataclysmic events when Father Earth himself rages against humankind. It is only through the wisdom of the ancient Stone Lore that the people of the Stillness stand a chance of survival. The game gives players a chance to portray the folk of the Stillness, working together to deal with the problems that face their Comm to better prepare for the coming of the next Fifth Season. Players build a Comm together, create characters of that Comm, and face the challenges that the Stillness has to offer.

Fans of Green Ronin games will be happy to hear that the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) powers the Fifth Season RPG. If you’ve played Blue Rose, Dragon Age, The Expanse, Fantasy AGE, or Modern AGE, you already know the core of the rules. As with every AGE game, we customized the rules to best reflect the setting.

Can you survive in the Broken Earth? Find out in The Fifth Season Roleplaying Game!

Click for Initiative! Roll20 updates

Hey folks, Jonesy here with some exciting Roll20 updates!

We are happy to announce there is now an official Fantasy AGE character sheet on Roll20. A few weeks back we did a soft rollout of the sheet to get some initial user feedback. Since then, we have addressed any critical issues, as well as some under the hood updates that were required. To celebrate the official release we are rolling out not one but two Fantasy AGE adventures! These are Fantasy AGE Encounters: The Children’s Crusade, and Death in Freeport AGE edition.

The Children’s Crusade is a side quests for characters level 1-3, which can be used as-is, or expanded into a longer adventure. Fantasy AGE Encounters: The Children’s Crusade will be available for free on 12/15/22. Alongside Children’s Crusade, we are also releasing Death in Freeport Fantasy AGE edition, this AGE update for our classic adventure will also be available on 12/15/22, for $9.99. We will be following the initial releases with some additional Fantasy AGE Encounters rolling out later in December and early January.Roll20 Mutants & Masterminds Quickstart, for FREE!

On the supers side of the house, we recently released the Mutants & Masterminds Quick-Start. This gives you everything you need to give M&M on Roll20 a try, complete with a super hero slugfest between the Rook, dark-winged detective of Emerald City, and his foe the mutant Pack-Rat! Best of all, it is totally free! So, if you ever wanted to try out M&M on Roll20 here is a perfect opportunity.

Along with the Mutants & Masterminds Quick-Start, we have a number of Astonishing Adventures and Danger Zones which recently made the super leap to Roll20:

Now a sneak peek of what the digital Ronin team has in the works for 2023! We are looking at porting Fantasy AGE Lairs, more M&M Astonishing Adventures, as well as rolling out a M&M Hero Archetype pack. This pack will come with 20 prebuilt Heroes so players can jump in and play right away. Token packs, map packs, and Game Master kits for our various game lines are in the pipeline along with a few other surprises to be announced closer to their release. Last but certainly not least, the team is actively working on Cthulhu Awakens for Roll20, with the official character sheet coming soon. You can even  pre-order the Roll20 Edition of Cthulhu Awakens on Backerkit NOW!

The 3rd Era Mega – Bundle

3rd Era PDF Mega-Bundle!

I started Green Ronin in 2000, so almost 23 years ago now. Our first release was Ork! The Roleplaying Game, a beer and pretzels RPG I designed with Todd Miller (now in its 2nd edition). A month later we debuted our second release at GenCon, an adventure I wrote called Death in Freeport. This was on the same day that Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition came out, and it took advantage of a new licensing scheme that allowed third party companies to publish D&D compatible material. Death in Freeport sold at an amazing rate. It’s the book that put Green Ronin on the map. This was the beginning of the d20 explosion, and we were at the heart of it. From 2000 to 2008 Green Ronin published scores of books and accessories of all sorts. Now you can get the lion’s share of our classic d20 books in the 3rd Era* Mega-Bundle. 71 PDFs for only $30! Sold already? You can get the bundle in our online store or at DriveThruRPG  right now.

Our 3rd Era offerings were so extensive that we created themed sub-lines like Arcana, Master Class, Mythic Vistas, and Races of Renown. Then, of course, we had our signature city setting of Freeport. The 3rd Era Mega-Bundle includes books from these lines. Here are just a few examples:

Advanced Rulebooks: Advanced Bestiary, Advanced Gamemaster’s Guide, and Advanced Player’s Manual.

Arcana: Book of Fiends, Book of the Righteous, and Secret College of Necromancy.

Bleeding Edge: Escape from Ceranir, Mansion of Shadows, and Temple of the Death Goddess.

Freeport: Black Sails Over Freeport, Denizens of Freeport, and the Freeport Trilogy: 5 Year Anniversary Edition.

Master Class: The Assassin’s Handbook, The Shaman’s Handbook, and the Unholy Warriors Handbook.

Mythic Vistas: Skull & Bones, Testament, and Trojan War.

Races of Renown: Aasimar & Tiefling: A Guidebook to the Planetouched, Hammer & Helm: A Guidebook to Dwarves, and Fang & Fury: A Guidebook to Vampires.

While the rules for our 3rd Era books are 3.0 and 3.5, you can use them with any edition of the game. There are NPCs, locations, magic items, monsters, adventures, spells, and complete campaign settings that are easily adapted. The Freeport books alone can fuel a campaign of many years. The bundle also includes some sourcebooks that have no game rules in them at all. Buccaneers of Freeport, Cults of Freeport, and the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport are ready to drop into any edition or any other fantasy RPG.

The Mega-Bundle includes many books that have never been offered in PDF format before. Why? Well, in the early 2000s there was still debate around electronic editions, with many companies concerned about how piracy might affect book sales, and how electronic sales would affect relations with game retailers. We didn’t jump into it right away, so many of our early books just never got done. For this bundle, Hal and Kara went into the archives, dusted off old layout files, and converted them into PDFs. We’re talking about titles like The Assassin’s Handbook, The Avatar’s Handbook, Freeport: The City of Adventure, Secret College of Necromancy, The Witch’s Handbook, and Wrath & Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs & Half-Orcs.

The 3rd Era material not in this bundle is mostly licensed books we no longer have the rights to, like Black Company, The Red Star, and Thieves’ World. Even then though, we can offer True Sorcery, which took the magic system from the Black Company and adapted it for use in other settings.

The 3rd Era Mega-Bundle is your chance to get a huge chunk of Green Ronin’s history for a frankly absurd price: $697.85 worth of PDFs for only $30. It’s the season of giving after all!

 

* For legal reasons, third party companies had to stop using the d20 logo. We now use the 3rd Era brand logo to identify these titles.

Terror From The Skies!

Terror From The Skies - A brand new Astonishing Adventure for Mutants & Masterminds!

Available Now!

It’s anything but smooth sailing when a powerful storm strands an Atlantean diplomat on the surface world. With negotiations breaking down and a missing princess, it’s up to our heroes to find the source of this mysterious maelstrom and stop the Terror From the Skies! This is a Freedom City-based adventure for a team of 4-6 heroes of PL 10, with an emphasis on high-flying action, tense diplomacy, and escalating environmental hazards.

Freedom City has endured many catastrophes over the years. So,when reports of a sudden freak storm approaching the city come in, the hardy Freedonians barely pay it any notice. But even the home of heroism must occasionally bend to the whims of Mother Nature, and as the storm rages, it utterly devastates the city. The storm swiftly grounds all conventional air traffic and pushes emergency responders beyond their limit!

Astonishing Adventures brings you exciting, ready-to-run scenarios for Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition, complete with all the action and villains you need to bring the story to life!

 

Terror From the Skies! is available now in the Green Ronin Online Store, DrivethruRPG, and on Roll20!

And be sure to check out our other Mutants & Masterminds print and PDF products, on sale now for 20% off

Interview with author Aaron Rosenberg

Earlier this week we shared the interview with Richard Lee Byers who wrote part one of the Arcane Secrets Duology, and now we’re back with Aaron Rosenberg, author of part two, Lost and Never Found!

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza: The Arcane Secrets Duology

Lost and Never Found: From arcane talismans scattered across the country to lost heroes scattered across the multiverse, Thomas Rhymer and his erstwhile allies have their work cut out for them if they are to stop the magical menace threatening Earth-Prime. This unlikely alliance of heroes must travel through magical doors into strange worlds, unlike anything they’ve experienced before, and make it back in time to save their own.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work prior to this novel.

Hm, okay, the short version, then. Born in New Jersey, raised in New Orleans, educated in Kansas, long-time resident of New York City. Worked as a college professor, an animation studio director, a graphic designer, a book layout artist, and a website manager. Began writing as a kid, started professionally during college in RPGs, wrote 70-some-odd books and supplements there, segued into RPG fiction, then tie-in fiction in general, then original fiction. I mostly do novels and short stories these days, and I write everything from SF comedy to epic fantasy to superheroes to action-adventure to mystery to thrillers. Lost & Never Found is on track to be my 50th published novel, which will also be my 260th publication overall.

 

Lost & Never Found is the second book, following on the events of The Doom That Came to San Francisco. Was it a challenge picking up from where that novel ended? How much did you collaborate with Richard Lee Byers on where your book started and where it was going?

Actually, it was surprisingly easy. Richard and I have known each other for years, though this is our first chance to work together, and we had a long conversation beforehand about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with both books and how to dovetail them together. We read each other’s outlines, so we both knew exactly where his book ended and mine began, and I read his draft before starting mine to make sure I was also consistent on the characterizations.

 

Your novel explores the Dimension of Doors, first introduced in the Mutants & Masterminds sourcebook Book of Magic. How much did you need to develop details about the dimension and how did you decide to use it as a storytelling device?

Since Richard had set things in motion with Gatekeeper, it made sense to continue his involvement, and that gave me the perfect opportunity to really play with the Dimension of Doors. I had the basic description, of course, but it was so open I had a lot of space to maneuver, and of course you can go anywhere with it , which just gives you endless possibilities. That was really at the crux of this book, too, flinging these heroes to strange new worlds—it’s a classic comic book trope, and I had a lot of fun playing that up. Plus it gives that great dichotomy between the group still in our world and the others in these new worlds and then the few in the Dimension itself.

 

While your novel works with characters from the previous book, you also get to introduce new characters, who don’t appear in Doom. Did you choose which ones from the Earth-Prime setting you wanted to use and why those particular characters?

We discussed it beforehand, which characters Richard wanted to use and which I wanted, and the good thing is, there was a lot of overlap! But yeah, his focusing on certain members of the Sentinels meant I got to continue using them but was also able to bring in their remaining teammates. Also, I really wanted to write the Shadow Knights, Richard basically used them in his specifically so I’d get to have them available for mine. They’re just too cool for words! Rhymer is also such an interesting character, and I hope my take on him is new and exciting.

 

The arcane and magical themes in the duology make it somewhat different from the usual four-color superhero fare. Your book, in particular, shows this contrast between the shadowy arcane world and the, let’s say simpler, world that superheroes live in. Which side do you think has a harder time of it in Lost & Never Found?

Oh, the superheroes, easily. Arcane types tend to be “in the know” as far as how the world really works, the forces underlying our own, etc. Superheroes tend to be more surface-oriented, particularly in a four-color setting—they deal with immediate problems but are often clueless about the shadows pulling everyone’s strings, the cosmic-scale objectives and conflicts, things like that. And that’s especially true because folks like Rhymer seem to delight in being vague and confusing in their explanations! There’s a lot of “mere mortals were never meant to know” when you’re dealing with arcane types, so the heroes are at a real disadvantage. An arcane character is far more likely to adjust quickly to a completely new world than a superhero, if only because the arcane know about other worlds and have probably studied them, even if they’ve never been to one themselves.

Of course, on the flip side, it’s a lot more common for arcane types to get paralyzed by indecision, weighing all the possible outcomes and all the ramifications. Superheroes tend to be a lot more immediate, a lot more direct, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Author Aaron RosenbergAaron Rosenberg is the author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Relicant Chronicles epic fantasy series, the Areyat Islands fantasy pirate mystery series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, Mutants & Masterminds, and Eureka and short stories for The X-Files, World of Darkness, Crusader Kings II, Deadlands, Master of Orion, and Europa Universalis IV. He has written children’s books (including the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books, and roleplaying games (including the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets). Aaron lives in New York. You can follow him online at gryphonrose.com, at facebook.com/gryphonrose, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.


You can back the Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza RIGHT NOW over on Kickstarter!Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza

Interview with author Richard Lee Byers

As you may already know, our current Kickstarter campaign for the Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza, also features two brand-new novels set in the world of Earth-Prime. Recently we had a chance to catch up with Richard Lee Byers, author of the first book in the Arcane Secrets Duology, The Doom That Came To San Francisco!

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza: The Arcane Secrets Duology

The Doom That Came to San Francisco, by Richard Lee Byers: In three alternate worlds, three arch-villains are about to meet their final dooms. Before the final strikes fall, they are snatched away and drawn into a conspiracy to conquer Earth-Prime. Quickly overcoming Gatekeeper, the guardian of the nexus between worlds, they begin a full-out offensive in San Francisco. Arcane hero Thomas Rhymer, drawn to the battle by his dark premonitions, must quickly gather allies to defend the city and Earth-Prime!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work prior to this novel.

I’m a fantasy and horror writer who’s done well over fifty novels, dozens of pieces of short fiction, scripted a graphic novel, and has a screenplay under option and in preproduction. The majority of my novels connect to RPG worlds although I’ve also worked in settings that are all my own. I may be best known for my Forgotten Realms fiction. Most recently, I’ve written a Marvel Legends of Asgard trilogy for Aconyte Books and a novel set in the new fantasy world Archvillain Games is developing.

 

The Earth-Prime setting is richly developed, with hundreds of characters and twenty years of lore and development; was it intimidating stepping into a setting like that? How did you navigate it?

I didn’t find it intimidating because I have so much experience working in other richly developed settings. Also, I had visited this world before/ I wrote some short fiction for it.

I had the further advantage of knowing my book would focus on the supernatural. So I didn’t have to immerse myself in outer-space stuff, for example. I just needed some basic familiarity. I also knew that at the time I was writing it, Green Ronin had a big supernatural multi-part adventure in development, so to avoid continuity glitches, I didn’t use characters who were going to be involved in that. I went with a number of the others. I knew Thomas Rhymer and liked him from using him in one of my short stories, so I chose him to be my primary protagonist.

Finally, there are a number of characters on Earth-Prime who (I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here) are to some degree inspired by classic characters from DC and Marvel. If you’re a lifelong comics fan like I am, that helps you get a handle on them.

 

How much of the concept for The Doom That Came to San Francisco came before you delved into Earth-Prime setting lore and how much of it developed out of it?

That’s a tricky question to answer because, as I mentioned, I’d written Earth-Prime short fiction before taking on the novel. So the premise came to me pretty quickly, and then I tinkered with it until it was a good fit for the characters I intended to use.

 

Why San Francisco? With the various fictional cities like Freedom City and Emerald City on Earth-Prime, why is Doom set in an analogue of a real-world city?

San Francisco is Gatekeeper’s home base, and he was the perfect character to play an important role in the novel. So that’s where I set it. San Francisco also has the advantage of being quite an interesting city, and I did my best to showcase some of what’s interesting about it. As readers will discover, though, the story does visit one of Earth-Prime’s cool fictional cities as events unfold.

 

Did you find the game-system details about characters’ various abilities inspirational, limiting, or some of both?

To be honest, it was information, often interesting, never limiting as far as I recall. I find that when I write fiction set in an RPG world, I don’t have to absorb every detail of the game mechanics. In the case of superheroes and supervillains, I just need the concept of the ability being represented and who’s mightier than who. If I’ve got that much, I’m good to go.

Author Richard Lee ByersRichard Lee Byers is the author of well over fifty horror and fantasy books including the Marvel Legends of Asgard novels The Head of Mimir, The Rebels of Vanaheim (a Scribe Award finalist), and The Prisoner of Tartarus. He is perhaps best known for his Forgotten Realms books. He’s also written scores of short stories, scripted a graphic novel, and contributed content to tabletop and electronic games. A screenplay he wrote based on his prose work has been optioned and is now in preproduction. Richard is a frequent guest at GenCon in Indianapolis and Necronomicon in Tampa. He invites everyone to Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 


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