Gadget Guides: The Right Tool for the Job

Mutants & Masterminds Gadget GuidesYou can tell that Power Profiles was written and produced serially, because we included “Armor Powers” pretty early on: powered armor is a common type of super-power in the comics, and it starts with “A” so it was right up-front on the list of power themes. However, it quickly became apparent that if we were going to do additional power profiles on all of the various power effects involving devices and equipment that the series (and the final book) was going to be almost twice as long!

So we decided early on to set aside all of the other power themes involving devices and equipment, other than things like “Tech Powers” and things that were innate super-powers interacting with technology or the like. That list was expanded upon with other themes specific to equipment, building an outline for a new series of serially-released PDFs we called Gadget Guides.

Gadget Guides is “Power Profiles, but for equipment” so it’s no surprise that it, too, quickly sold through its print run, with copies of the out-of-print book going for sky-high prices on resale sites. Even more than Power Profiles, Gadget Guides spans styles, genres, and power levels, with chapters ranging from Archaic Weapons and Steamtech (19th century steampunk) to Alien Technology, Cybertech, and Mecha! Robots get into the act as well; we ended up writing stats and a background for the giant robot on the cover, in fact. (It’s a Terminus probot.) It’s not even all technology: Gadget Guides includes chapters on magic items and magical rituals and on psychic technology and devices.

That makes Gadget Guides a kind of “stealth” genre book for Mutants & Masterminds as well. If you want to use M&M to run adventures or campaigns for cyberpunk, far-future science fiction, the steampunk 19th century, modern super-spies, battling giant mecha, super-vehicles, or an archaic setting with magic and psychic powers, the book has all kinds of tools to help you do any or all of that. That’s in addition to its usefulness for a general superheroic setting, which has to account for all of those various sub-genres and more. Gadget Guides pairs well with the newer Time Traveler’s Codex as well as Power Profiles, covering the technology available in different time periods and settings characters might visit (or come from).

Just like Power Profiles, Gadget Guides is a catalog of inspiration when it comes to particular character types. Just flip through its pages and you’ll have all kinds of ideas for heroes and villains using particular types of technology. It’s also a handy resource for inventors (covered in Appendix I of the book, by the way) and gadgeteers: Rather than having to build-out different devices on-the-fly at the game table, you can just reference the catalog of devices already built in Gadget Guides to see if they fit your character’s point “budget”!

In short, Gadget Guides does for equipment what Power Profiles did for innate powers, and then some, giving you a complete “toybox” for arming and equipping your Mutants & Masterminds characters.


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

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza!

Power Profiles: Giving You the Power

Mutants & Masterminds Power ProfilesUsed copies of Power Profiles have been selling for hundreds of dollars on auction sites. On the one hand, that’s flattering; it’s nice to have a book you wrote be in that kind of demand. On the other hand, it’s frustrating, because Power Profiles was meant to be the kind of useful resource every Mutants & Masterminds group would want to have, and obviously that’s true … if only we had it to sell to them.

Power Profiles developed as a twofold idea. First, a regular series of short-subject PDFs we could develop and release electronically, then collect into a book when we had enough of them, if they proved popular. Second, we discovered that one of the things gamers liked about the DC Adventures Heroes & Villains volumes were the huge number of worked examples of powers in Mutants & Masterminds. Players could say, “I want to play a character like X” from the DC Universe, and just look in the books for that character to see how they were put together. Since we knew the DC Adventures license was limited and the books had a limited lifespan, we decided a fun PDF series would be to look at various archetypal powers (and power-sets) in M&M. Thus, Power Profiles came into being.

It breaks things down into powers by theme: Air Powers, Animal Powers, Armor Powers, and so on, as opposed to the core M&M rules, which focus on the effects of various powers. With more than thirty power categories, each with two dozen or more powers, the book has over seven hundred ready-made powers for use in building M&M characters! So you can come up with a character theme (like “Ice Powers” or “Magic” for examples) and just flip through Power Profiles for ideas. What’s more, even the powers you don’t choose can be useful, serving as a catalog of potential power stunts a character with that theme might be able to do. The book is a treasure trove of character ideas and ways to customize or expand an existing character.

Power Profiles also offers some worked examples of “How do I…?” power creation questions, how to use the existing power effects for different types of powers, perfect for both players who don’t want to do all of that work, and just want to pick from a ready-made set of powers, and for power designers who want examples of some of the things the system can do. I’ve lost track of the number of times someone has asked me at a convention event about a particular character or power type in M&M and all I had to do was pick up a copy of Power Profiles and show them how those powers were set up. With the book out of print, I sorely missed that option at recent events!

Demand for Power Profiles was the initial motivator behind the Reprint Extravaganza. Circumstances haven’t aligned for Green Ronin to send the sourcebook back to the printer but now, with the core rulebook also out-of-print, this Kickstarter is your opportunity to claim all of that power for yourself.


You can back the Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza RIGHT NOW over on Kickstarter, and if you back the campaign in the first 48 hours, you’ll get the full PDF of our upcoming book Astonishing Adventures Assembled FOR FREE!

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza!

The Cthulhu Awakens BackerKit…Awakens. Metaphorically.

Cthulhu awakens literally, of course.

In what seems like years ago due to pandemic and post-pandemic time dilation effects, but was actually through this past March, we ran our Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens, an AGE system game covering Cthulhu Mythos horror from the early years of the last century to the present: a period we call the Weird Century. Cthulhu Awakens evolves the iteration of AGE first seen in Modern AGE, drawing upon innovations from newer and upcoming AGE system books, as well as special rules unique to it. Cthulhu Awakens was developed to cover an epic span of time according to an inclusive ethic, but that isn’t its point of distinction. I think what makes it special is really the broad range of periods and tones, and an interpretation of the Mythos that puts game-centered storytelling before literary homage. Cthulhu Awakens can be about lurking fear or dramatic action—it’s up to you.

Well, the Kickstarter is done…and the BackerKit is live! That’s where we manage pledges to order the game and its related, uh, game stuff. Go to:

Backerkit Pre-order Store!

If you pledged a token amount to get reminded of this, now’s the time to up your pledge. If you want to tweak your pledge, maybe adding on some last-minute books, do it there.

And if this is new to you? Well, go anyway. This is your second chance, like the kind you don’t get unless you’re a Yithian agent consulting future records of yourself to avoid mistakes…but I’ve said too much. Well, except for one thing: If you’re locking in any kind of pledge, thank you!

Cthulhu Awakens Pre-order store is live

Patreon TTRPG Halloween Collaboration “All Treats, No Tricks” – Free TTRPG Downloads!

Hello fiends!

It’s only the 11th day of Halloween, and we’ve really amplified the creepy for you! As many of you know, we are coordinating two Patreons, the Twilight Accord and Mutants & Masterminds!  This spooky collaboration comes as a result of my role as a Captain of the Patreon TTRPG Creators A. Club (The A stands for Accountability). Originally intended as a short-term gathering  of TTRPG creators on Patreon, the idea was to gather fresh perspectives from fellow creators, our group hit it off so well that we expanded our meeting time to 90 minutes and we’re still at it 6 months later.
Now, it’s a lot like a weekly gathering of friends, each offering their expertise, coaching, counseling, and creative problem-solving! So you can imagine, when I mentioned the high-level concept of a terrifying  TTRPG Creators A. Club collaboration, this crew of RPG enthusiasts were next-level excited!

No Tricks, Only Treats TTRPG Creator’s Ring!

Here’s how it works: Every creator in this group has a free digital treat, and all you need to do is visit, and click! It’s a great way to catch up with some incredible TTRPG talent, some who have been doing this for some time, and some who are just beginning to focus on showcasing their work through Patreon — well, you will see for yourself!
Patreon Collaboration No Tricks, Only Treats!
I really wanted to show off each individual contributor to our collaboration – so as you click through to each Patreon for your free treat, take a moment to say hello, check out their work – and did you know you could follow their Patreon content for free?
You should do it! Oh look, here they all are now!

Conflux Creatures
Terror Unto Madness: The Book of Aberrations
Over 100 pages of improved monsters and new spells for 5e D&D

Everhearth Inn
A spooky fantasy-inspired recipe to cook for your next DnD session!

Worlds of Parodia
The Mischief Festival of Yielding

LeRoiDeCarreau
DnD 5e Spooky Compendium

Oixxo Art
Autumn Queen

ARTventuring Guild
Spooky PC/NPC portrait

Nerdsmith
“Welcome to the Estate” adventure module

The Twilight Accord:
THE NIGHT ROAD PROCESSION

Angela Maps
5 Animated Battle Maps & Foundry VTT mod

Epic Levels
Mad Dungeon 20: Song of the Shriekfrapp w/Erol Otus

Deep Breadth RPG
Miser Hag, the Literal Wolf on Wall Street

Dizzy The Bard
Song: Warlord What if Spinal from Killer Instinct… was a rapper?

BonusActionRainbow
Rotten Roots – a Space Fantasy oneshot

Domille’s Wondrous Works
Changing Maze Phased Battle Map
It is a maze that changes!

Mutants & Masterminds
The Nightmare Rider Stablock!

Beyond the Screen
To Mistheart: a 5E one-shot adventure

More Treats, still no Tricks

Author’s Note: I pilfered this part from my weekly agenda email to the 72 person of the group

 

I volunteered to be an Accountability Club captain because I desperately needed to connect with people who understood what a unique proposition it was to operate a Patreon supporting a TTRPG project. More than just “another meeting”, the TTRPG Creators A. Club has quickly become the highlight of my week. The group consists of people from all experience levels across multiple disciplines – and the conversations always lead to interesting insights, as well as practical, material things people can do to take their respective Patreons to the next level.

So a huge shout-out to my A. Club Comrades. You are incredibly talented, wise beyond your years, joyful collaborators, with top tier spoopy content!

A Few Words on Languages

Tabletop roleplaying games can give us some funny ideas about languages and linguistics. At least, I know they did for me in some regards. Starting with a certain Popular Fantasy Roleplaying Game comes the notion that player characters are all multi-lingual, speaking three, four—as many as seven or eight languages fluently! This is often compounded with the notion that entire species share the same language, or that there are special languages for fantastic creatures from dragons to elementals to the denizens of different planes of existence.

Later RPGs have taken a more nuanced, and certainly more detailed approach to languages, including various levels of fluency, and things like complex charts showing the relationships between “language families” of earthly or imaginary languages, which may grant some greater understanding or closely-related tongues.

understanding the Language can be very important

“I’m not sure what you just said, but I don’t care for your tone!” Art by James Ryman

The Modern AGE rules have a somewhat laissez-faire attitude about languages. The sidebar on page 16 of the Basic Rulebook says characters should “be able to speak, read, and write whatever languages” they “would pick up due to their cultural and social class” suggesting a limit of three. The Linguistic talent in the game handles learning additional languages and requires a fairly significant investment, since talent degrees aren’t easy to come by, and each degree in the talent grants only one additional language. It would take a new specialization to create the true polyglot character who speaks a dozen or more languages.

Fantasy AGE likewise offers a Linguistics talent, for characters truly dedicated to speaking other languages. The game’s ancestries follow the fantasy standard of an ancestral language (all elves speak Elvish, for example) along with a “Common tongue” used and understood by everyone, for the most part.

Mutants & Masterminds treats language fluency as an advantage, one rank grants an additional language the character can speak, but each additional rank doubles the number of languages, so it’s fairly cost effective to create someone who speaks a dozen or more of them. Of course, in M&M, the ability to speak and understand all languages is on the table for just 2 ranks of the Comprehend power, so there isn’t a lot of point in having more than a few ranks in the Languages advantage, other than to represent the character’s own skill and knowledge.

Individual Game Masters have to decide the role languages—particularly unknown languages—will play in their campaigns. In some cases, the language barrier can be an important element of adventures or the setting. Others prefer to generally ignore the problem in order to get on with things; the Threefold setting for Modern AGE, for example, includes magical “universal translators” for characters working for the world-spanning Sodality, so GMs don’t need to worry about whether or not the characters speak any of the local languages—at least not until their translators are lost or stolen! Likewise, the Cosmic Handbook for M&M recommends Comprehend as a “default” power for star-spanning campaigns, unless you want to institute some form of “Galactic Common” that all alien species speak and understand.

When building worlds of your own for RPGs, you might want to give some thought as to how people say things, and what languages they are saying them in.

Bite-Sized Siege of Starhaven

The Guide to Starhaven for Mutants & Masterminds

Editor’s Note: This Ronin Roundtable is intended as advice for GM’s of Mutants & Masterminds, and it contains a few spoilers for would-be heroes in the Siege of Starhaven adventure.

 

Hello heroes! It’s great to be chatting with you all again after the spectacular extravaganza that was Gen Con. It was my first time attending and I am happy to confirm that the legends of its grandness were not overstated. I had such a great time being amongst so many gamers and just seeing everyone truly happy to be immersed in this grand hobby of ours. There just isn’t anything quite like a con to help reignite the passion for gaming. Thank you to all of the players who participated in my events and to everyone who stopped by the Green Ronin booth.

It was great getting to run Siege of Starhaven from the new Guide to Starhaven sourcebook for players, but one thing I learned quickly in my con prep was that this adventure is definitely not a four-hour experience. This probably isn’t shocking as it was written by the person who is often accused of running 1.5 shots so often that we’ve started calling my 1 shots  “special limited series” over at the Untold Stories Project. I have a habit of overwriting, which can be useful for GMs at home, but not so much for a convention experience. Not to worry though I embarrassed myself running out of time so you don’t have to.

The trouble with using any published adventure is that they’re usually written with an idea of what the beginning, middle, and end are going to be, and trying to find smaller story arcs within the plot can lead to a hollow story. Finding the right places to trim is a GM skill that doesn’t usually get enough practice, as, if you’re anything like me, the big worry at the table is “do I have enough content for the next four hours?” Siege of Starhaven has a set number of beats in its original outline that give the story pace and momentum. It has an “in media res” intro scene, an investigation that can go basically three directions, a first encounter with the villain that ends in defeat for the heroes, an escape, a rallying of resources, and then a triumphant final combat with the forces of the Stellar Imperium. It’s all very exciting and I intended for it to be the first two or three sessions of a brand new Starhaven campaign.

I used to be pretty good at estimating how much adventure fits into four hours of play, but I’ve been spoiled running an ongoing series for the last few years. I haven’t HAD to shorten things so I’ve let that part of my GM brain atrophy. I ran Siege of Starhaven at Origins this year, and admittedly I didn’t find the right place to make the end of the adventure feel like a satisfying payoff. I wasn’t prepared for how abruptly I was going to run out of time. The players all still had a great time and left with a smile on their face, but it didn’t feel like my best work to myself. I promised I would take the time to better condense the story before Gen Con.

I did not keep that promise.

Between work and my stream games, I didn’t do as much Gen Con prep as I would have liked, so I was worried that once again the adventure wouldn’t be as satisfying as I wanted it to be. As I was flipping through the sourcebook in the thirty minutes before the event was scheduled to run, I had an epiphany about the plot. I wrote down a few notes, which I’m going to share here. This is how I shortened the adventure to fit in one four hour slot:

I started by cutting the adventure down to four scenes. The new story outline was thus: introductory scene to establish stakes/teach people how the rules works, investigation with multiple paths

Prime Consul Tamira-Van of Starhaven

Prime Consul Tamira-Van

to reward player agency, big fight with the villain at the end.

Scene One: Instead of beginning in media res, I added a roleplaying scene to provide more context as to what the heroes were looking for in the warehouse and who they were working for. They met with Prime Consul Tamira-Van who explained that the Children of Chrysalis were stealing artifacts from the Draffsnarl and that she had a tip about where they would strike next. She explained that this was a tryout for Starhaven’s new defenders and if they prove themselves she would be willing to appoint them as the Guardians of Starhaven. From there the fight with Pupil and the Imperium troopers went as scripted in the adventure.

Scene 2: This works pretty much as written. The heroes search the warehouse and find leads that point them towards Tamira-Van and MamaKaiger. The person they choose to follow up with then determines next steps, either towards the missing Daedalus and the Robot Forge or the elusive hacker Bran Cardon. The only slight modification needed is to eliminate any mentions of Cardon’s interest in Daedalus/the Facetwild.

I had time for a ten minute intermission here.

Scene 3: Again pretty much as scripted, either the conflict in the Robot Forge or the skill challenge to break into Cardon’s warehouse. The only modification to Cardon’s warehouse is that the body is actually his body and not a decoy. The building still explodes and leads to…

Scene 4: The various challenges in the Fait Accompli scene. Helping the burning building, rescuing the pilots at the starport, etc. The only difference is that instead of providing the minor bonuses for other scenes in the adventure, any successes in these challenges reduces the amount of enemies in the final fight with Ko-Nan (similar to the resistance assets in the current adventure.) Pull a benefit from that table and assign it to the Fait Accompli challenges: rescuing the pilots removes one of the Hounds for example. The other small modification is that Ko-Nan doesn’t mention that she has control of the Propylaea so the heroes are able to confidently confront her.

Scene 5: Big fight with Ko-Nan and her crew!

There you have it, a beginning, middle, and end that offers a wide variety of scenes and a pretty well-paced story for four hours. And there’s even time for a bathroom break if you want it. I’ll be going over the topic of shortening adventures (and lengthening them if you’re long-winded like me) more generally in some of the material I’m working up for Astonishing Adventures Assembled but this is how I would modify Siege of Starhaven for a nice one and done. Thank you for taking the time to read today and happy gaming!

And if you’d like a print copy of the Guide to Starhaven, a Print On Demand option is now available at DrivethruRPG!

The M&M PDF Mega-Bundle

Mega-Bundle for Mutants & Masterminds!

Where do I begin to tell you about how awesome the new M&M PDF Mega-Bundle offer from Green Ronin is…?

Ah, yes—at the beginning!

That’s certainly fitting, since the Mega-Bundle goes all the way back to the beginning of Mutants & Masterminds: with its first edition in 2002. (Have we mentioned this is the 20th anniversary of Mutants & Masterminds?) This was before Green Ronin was even selling PDFs of most of its products, so many of the first edition products included in the bundle are being released electronically for the first time ever. That includes both the first edition of the Mutants & Masterminds RPG and the Freedom City setting, the books that launched it all.

How many first edition books? Well, all seven of them, including classics like Noir and Gimmick’s Guide to Gadgets. Pretty great, huh?

But then we get to the second edition.

Because the M&M PDF Mega-Bundle also includes 45 second edition M&M products: virtually everything Green Ronin published for the second edition of the game. Not just the core rulebook and sourcebooks like Ultimate Power or the second edition of Freedom City, but also PDF-only products like Archetype Archives, Freedom City Atlas, and much more!

With fifty-two different products (editor’s note: oh there’s more than 52!) and a bundle price of $29.99, each is only a little more than fifty cents! That’s a fraction of the cost of a digital comic book these days, much less a digital game product. Honestly, even if you already have 45 out of the 52 PDFs in this bundle, it would still be a bargain for the remaining seven.

With Mega-Bundle Comes Mega-Opportunity

So, if you’re a third edition Mutants & Masterminds player or GM, how useful is this Mega-Bundle to you? Very!

Take a look at the free Mutants & Masterminds Second Edition to Third Edition Conversion notes. With these simple guidelines, you can make use of any of the second edition source material in your third edition games. Since most of the numerical values (ability modifiers, power ranks, etc.) remain the same, it’s easy to use many stats on-the-fly without converting them over in detail.

In addition, these sourcebooks contain a wealth of setting information, adventure material, and Gamemaster advice independent of game system updates and all useful in any M&M game.

The products in this bundle are the entirety of Mutants & Masterminds history: Want to set your Freedom City campaign in the era before the Silver Storm changed Emerald City, or even before Bowman graduated from high school and joined the Freedom League? You can, with these references at-hand. You can explore classic adventures like Time of Crisis and Time of Vengeance, either running them as-is or updating them to the present day for your game.

Of course, the earlier edition material is also still perfectly usable as-is. Do you want to run a first or second edition Mutants & Masterminds game? This bundle gives you everything you need, and then some! Do you have some gaps in your M&M collection? The Mega-Bundle is the ideal opportunity to fill them in and get some products that haven’t been available in print for several years, or have never been available electronically prior to this.

What About the Third Edition?

While most third edition Mutants & Masterminds products are still in-print and not included in the Mega-Bundle, don’t think we’ve forgotten them! We also have an M&M Reprint Extravaganza to bring some of those rare and hard-to-find third edition books back into print, while offering you the opportunity to get them at the previous cover price before rising costs for printing, shipping, and distribution require us to raise prices. Be sure to sign up to be notified when the Reprint Extravaganza crowd-funder goes live so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.

This incredible Mega-Bundle Collection is also available on DrivethruRPG!

Last Chance Warehouse Sale

Last Chance Warehouse Sale: 75% off select print books, while supplies last!

 

After 22 years in business, the Green Ronin warehouse is looking a little crowded. With reprints and new products incoming, it’s time to make more space! These deals are for print products only. With limited stock and priced to clear some pallets, this is a screaming deal (75% off!) you don’t want to miss. With that, we offer you the LAST CHANCE WAREHOUSE SALE!

Please note the sale does not extend to shipping, and shipping fees are determined by the carrier.

75% off on select titles

 

Wanted: Bounty Hunters – The Expanse RPG

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunter

Available Soon!

Coming soon to the Green Ronin Online Store and DrivethruRPG, Bounty Hunters kicks off the new Trades of the Expanse PDF series of short, well, expansions for The Expanse RPG, looking at different trades and professions in the setting: how to create characters practicing that trade, game systems for handling their jobs, and adventure hooks and ideas for them, to name a few. Bounty Hunters starts off with the basic premise “Throughout human history there have been people who posed problems for other people, and those willing and able to deal with such problems—for a price. It may have been someone who needed to be found, apprehended, given a message or a warning, or simply eliminated.”

Makes a certain amount of sense to start with bounty hunters, since The Expanse essentially starts off with a “kidnap job” assigned to StarHelix detective Miller. Coincidentally, bounty hunters are also prominent in other science fiction media of late and might provide some additional inspiration.

The product takes a look at the practice of bounty hunting in the System of The Expanse, including its relative legality, the types of bounties, and the clients offering them. It provides guidelines for bounty hunters looking for work, and the ways in which they find it, from standing bounties to agency assignments. It also looks at the bounty hunting process from start to finish, from getting the job to tracking the target to getting paid.

Bounty Hunters offers AGE game system material as well. It includes handling bounty hunting as an investigative challenge, income rewards, “Tools of the Trade” equipment, a Bounty Hunter specialization, and a couple of ships suited for bounty hunters. It even has special bounty hunting stunts like “The Upper Hand,” “What Makes Them Tick” and my personal favorite, “Saw That Coming,” which lets you spend Stunt Points to retroactively declare that you planned for something that your target ends up doing and you’re prepared for it.

The product also offers resources for Game Masters, including dealing with bounty hunter reputations, some ideas for Churn effects while hunting a bounty, and a “Jobs Board” with some potential bounties you can use as starting points for your own Expanse adventures focused on bounty hunting.

All in all, Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters is a powerful little package, whether you want your crew to try their hand at the trade for a change-of-pace, or you’re interested in a whole series focused on bounty hunting in the System (and even many systems, with the Beyond the Ring sourcebook).

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters will be available very soon!

Gen Con Indy 2022

The Green Ronin Convention Crew reports from Indianapolis that Gen Con is going well! Alex and Jonesy are running sold-out games, and some products are already sold out as well. Here is a view, care of Disembodied Troy, of what’s for sale at Booth 101.

Here’s a view from inside the dealer hall at Gen Con 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana, showing off all of the goodness available for sale this weekend at booth 101, right inside the hall entrance next to Paizo. If you’re at the show, stop by and see us!

New at Gen Con are Cyberpunk Slice and Five and Infinity for Modern AGE RPG, Danger Zones and Starhaven for Mutants & Masterminds, Six of Cups for the Blue Rose RPG, the 5e adventure A Shadow in the Downs for The Lost Citadel, and a novel for The Lost Citadel, A Song of Eagles! And, as you can see in the video, we have tons of other great game products, like Sentinels of Earth-Prime, The Expanse RPG, Freeport, and more. Plus, we are running awesome bundle deals at the show. Booth 101!

We’ve since sold out of some things, necessitating some revised bundle deals, which look like this: