Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide: Call It a Humble-BRAG

Blue Rose Adventurer’s GuideIt’s here! This week marks the release of the 5e-compatible Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, or “BRAG” as we call it around the Green Ronin company Slack and e-mails. If you didn’t know that BRAG was coming, well, we need to network better, because we have talked about and anticipated it a lot:

An Added Release

Originally, we planned Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide as an electronic-only PDF release. This was in the midst of pandemic shutdowns when it was unclear what, if any, printing options would be available. As we got closer to release, it was clear that print-on-demand through our partners at DriveThruRPG remained quite stable and available, and the book is honestly too nice to deny an in-print option, so we took the additional time necessary to set BRAG up for print-on-demand sales (including ordering print proofs). I think you’ll agree that it was worth the effort and the wait!

 

So now you have the option of getting just the PDF edition of the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, a print copy, shipped directly to you, or both, so you can read and flip through the PDF while you’re waiting for your print copy to arrive (like I do).

The Night People in AldeaA Rose of a Different Color

So whether you are a longtime fan of Aldea, the world of Blue Rose, or entirely new to the setting, you might be wondering “Is the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide a book meant for me?” Good question! Let’s look at the main audiences for the BRAG:

5e Players Interested in a New World

The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide presents a complete overview of the Western Lands of the world of Aldea as a 5e fantasy setting. We focused on keeping BRAG highly compatible with the 5e core rules, so while you will find all-new ancestries in the book, and no native dwarves or elves, for example, you will find a setting that is easily used with the 5e core rulebooks. You’ve hopefully already heard about Aldea as an inclusive romantic fantasy setting with some different takes on the notion of fantasy roleplaying and settings, making it a great opportunity for 5e gamers looking for a change-of-pace or more inclusive setting for their games. Best of all, because planar travel was once a common element of ancient Aldea (and still exists, to a degree) you can make the world a place for plane-hopping adventurers to visit, or import your favorite elements and characters from other 5e settings.

Blue Rose Players Interested in 5eAn Adept and a Rhy-cat

Let’s be honest: When it comes to finding a game group, or getting a game group to try out a new campaign or setting, familiarity is important and, when it comes to familiarity, the 5e system is sovereign. Maybe the thing that was keeping you (or your game group) from trying Blue Rose was learning a different game system? Maybe you would have an easier time getting friends (or folks at conventions) to play adventures in Aldea if they could use the familiar 5e rules? Then the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide provides just that: The fantastic world of Blue Rose and the familiar rules of 5e, with just enough unique twists to make things fresh, new, and interesting.

Similarly, if you are a long-time Blue Rose player who was interested in 5e, but not inspired by its existing fantasy settings, now you can try out the game system and bring your favorite setting along with you!

Of course, since relationships on Aldea can often exist in more complex constellations, we don’t expect players to remain exclusive to either the AGE System or 5e versions of the setting. Enjoy both if you like!

5e Players Interested in New Options

Maybe you’re not particularly interested in the world of Aldea per se (although you might change your mind once you’ve had a chance to visit!). Even then, 5e players will find a wealth of new game material in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, including:

  • Four new ancestries (night person, rhydan, sea-folk, and vata) and a new approach to human ancestry as well.
  • A new sub-class for each of the core 5e character classes.
  • Eight new feats.
  • Three new backgrounds.
  • Options for Narrative Wealth and Equipment.
  • An optional system for occult and “forbidden” magic and the corruption that results from wielding it.
  • Dozens of new magic items, including accursed occult items.
  • Four new creature templates, including rhydan (intelligent psychic animals).

You can easily borrow any or all of the new game material from the BRAG and import it into your own 5e campaign, either translated to your own setting or perhaps even literally “imported” from Aldea to your own campaign world.

A warrior with her Rhy-wolf companionBlue Rose Players Interested in a Concise Guide

Since it is made up primarily of setting and supplemental 5e material, the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is a comparatively slim 176 pages compared to the hefty 384-pages of the Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying core book (What can we say? At Green Ronin, we like big books and we cannot lie…) That alone makes the BRAG a handy, concise guide to the world of Aldea, reorganized for ease of use, with the first 33-page chapter a good overview of the key elements of the setting. Even if your focus is on the setting material rather than the 5e game systems, the BRAG is a useful and easily portable reference guide in either its electronic or print formats.

Now, if you don’t fall into any of the previous categories, such as if you are an AGE System Blue Rose player perfectly content with the beautiful Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy hardcover, then the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide may not have enough new, useful content for you to want to pick it up. It does offer more detail on the Rezeans and their lands to the west of Aldis, a preview of what AGE System fans will see in the forthcoming Touching the Wild sourcebook, and a few other tidbits, but otherwise may not be of much use. Even then, it’s an opportunity to introduce your 5e-dedicated friends and fellow gamers to the wonderful world of Aldea and the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose!

For a limited time, the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide Print-on-Demand option will be available at a discount on DrivethruRPG. This Romantic Fantasy offer will be available through Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2021.

The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is now available in the Green Ronin Online store, and on DrivethruRPG!

Modern AGE Mastery Guide Preview: Two Weapons Revised

Mastery Preview Two Guns StyleThe biggest release for Modern AGE this year will be the Modern AGE Mastery Guide. This book is a little different from similar offerings, which are usually aimed exclusively at Game Masters, or feature player-facing material. The Mastery Guide is for both GMs and other players. In some ways it can be thought of as a partner to the Modern AGE Companion, but while the Companion presented new options, the Mastery Guide not only has these, but digs deep into how to use the basic Modern AGE rules—and even revises some of them.

Which Two Weapons?

Among other things, the Mastery Guide revises the rules or fighting with two weapons. The Dual Weapons Style talent from the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook now only applies to close-combat weapons, not ranged weapons. The following new talents cover other options.


Mixed Weapon Style

Prerequisite: Dexterity 2 or higher

Thanks to a combination of training and brutal experience, you can effectively use a one-handed close combat weapon in one hand, and a one-handed ranged weapon in the other. This is a signature style for highwaymen, pirates, and other figures in swashbuckling games, and might also be learned by members of elite military organizations.

Novice: You can fire a ranged weapon to make yourself harder to hit in close combat. By using a minor action, you may make an attack roll using the weapon’s appropriate Accuracy focus. This my force a reload, but does not inflict damage. Instead, a hand-to hand attacker must roll the higher of your Defense or the attack roll to hit. You may use this maneuver to react to an incoming attack even if it isn’t your turn, as long as you have a minor action left this round.

Expert: When using the Novice maneuver for this talent, you can now inflict damage with your minor-action ranged attack roll if the attacker misses you and your ranged attack roll would have hit, if it had been a standard attack.

Master: Instead of using the Novice (or Novice and Expert) degrees of this talent, you may make a standard attack with one of your weapons as a major action, then make a second attack with your other weapon as a minor action. This second attack cannot generate stunt points from doubles, and you can only add half your Perception (for ranged weapons), or Strength (for close combat weapons), rounded down, to damage.


Two Guns Style (Pulpy/Cinematic)

Prerequisite: Dexterity 2 or higher

You can effectively fire a gun in each hand. However, when making use of this talent to do so, the minimum Strength for each gun increases by 1 for a pistol, 2 for an SMG, and 3 for a longarm or assault rifle. Additionally, reloading requires an additional minor action to stow one of them, and if making one attack roll using both guns, a Capacity check that prompts a reload applies to one of the two, chosen randomly (1d6;1-3 left/4-6 right).

Novice: You’ve learned you shoot with both hands. If you use a minor action in addition to a major action to attack while holding a firearm in each hand, you may only make one attack, but do it with the best combination of both firearms damage, rate of fire, and Capacity, but the lowest range. In addition, on a successful attack, add +1 to the result of your Stunt Die. This bonus is not considered when checking for doubles on your roll.

Expert: Squeezing both triggers, you can fill an area with bullets. If you use the Novice degree of this talent with a single shot firearm in each hand, you now gain the Stunt Die bonus to damage and access to stunts that are normally reserved for semiautomatic weapons. If one of the weapons is already semiautomatic or fully automatic, roll the Stunt Die again after a successful attack, and take the result you prefer to score extra damage from the weapon’s Stunt Die damage bonus, get doubles, or both.

Master: You shoot both guns with speed and precision. Instead of using the Novice (or Novice and Expert) degrees of this talent, you may make a standard attack with one firearm as a major action, then make a second attack with your other gun as a minor action. This second attack cannot generate stunt points from doubles, and you can only add half your Perception (rounded down) to damage.

 

To the Moon, Heroes!

To the Moon!In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Far Beyond the Stars” there is an imaginary sequence involving science fiction publishing in the 1950s. The magazine’s editor presents the cover for the next issue and asks which of the pool of writers wants to write a story to go with it. The genesis for “To the Moon!” this week’s Astonishing Adventure, reminded me of that. We had a piece of art, seen on the adventure’s cover, featuring Tesla Girl and some kind of formless green blob fighting heroes on the Moon. M&M developer Crystal Fraisier asked me if I wanted to write an adventure to go with it. Who am I to argue with the time-honored traditions of pulp publishing?

Naturally, I knew the adventure needed to involve: 1) Tesla Girl. 2) The Moon, and 3) Some kind of formless green blob-thing. What happened is pretty much summed-up in the adventure’s introduction:

“Sometimes life as a superhero means dealing with government corruption, making hard choices between right and wrong, and keeping the truth from your loved-ones for their own protection. Then there are those times when your day is all about fighting animal-people, tracking down some stolen super-monkeys, teleporting to the Moon, and stopping an unruly—albeit brilliant—little girl from unleashing an ancient alien slime-ball to eat an entire city full of people. This adventure is one of those times.”

“To the Moon” gave me the opportunity to revisit a few personal favorite bits of Earth-Prime setting: namely Farside City, the hidden human offshoot civilization on the far side of the Moon, and moon monkeys, those blue-furred teleporting scamps that first showed up with Chase Atom’s buddy Cosmo, an homage to Gleek, Blip, and all of the other great space monkeys of our time. Turns out they go great together with a precocious but anti-social girl genius with a fascination for steampunk and Victoriana. Of course, the heroes have a few challenges to overcome before they even come face-to-face with the main antagonist of the adventure. Although it wasn’t entirely planned, those challenges turned out to involve a lot of “wildlife,” especially sharks, for some reason.

The adventure was also a fun opportunity to come up with a way to make a particular foe an interesting challenge for a team of M&M superheroes in game terms. No spoilers here—you’ll have to read, or better yet, play, the adventure—but sufficient to say I’m pretty happy with it, and I think it plays well. Crystal even had me tone it down a bit, so thank her, heroes! If you do run or play in “To the Moon” I’ll be curious to hear how the finale of the adventure goes!

By my count, “To the Moon” is our fifteenth offering in the Astonishing Adventures line. If you were playing Mutants & Masterminds and completing an adventure every week, they could keep you busy for almost four months—and we have still more adventures to come! We just recently had an online meeting of the M&M “bullpen” to pitch and workshop adventure ideas, and there are some really fun ones warming up in the wings. Meanwhile, if any of this summary sounds intriguing, head right on over to the Green Ronin store and then … To the Moon!

Astonishing Adventures: To the Moon! Is currently available in both the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG

Green Ronin Patreon Roundup!

Patreon is an online platform that creators can use to run subscription services for all kinds of content. As a creative bunch of people, a number of the Green Ronin Publishing staff have their own Patreons, where they provide more of the kind of amazing game-related material and expert writing that Green Ronin fans have come to love. As gamers look for more ways to connect with favored game lines and game creators, we thought this was a good time to do a roundup of the various Patreons run by Green Ronin and its staff.

Mutants & Masterminds on Patreon!So, let’s start with the big news: Green Ronin has launched a company-supported Mutants & Masterminds Patreon! With amazing content by Crystal Frasier and Steve Kenson, this is the place to get a regular fix of official M&M material. Currently the Patreon focuses on projects that are too small or too niche for a full-sized book on them to make sense, but that fans are still clamoring for, such as updating 1st– and 2nd-edition characters. This Patreon is brand-new, so if you like being on the ground floor of new projects, the time to join is now!

One of the questions we’ve been asked quite a lot since the M&M Patreon was launched is if Green Ronin is going to do similar subscription services for other game systems, such as Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, Sword Chronicle, and so on. While we don’t have any announcements to make on that front yet it’s safe to say all options are being considered, and the more successful the M&M Patreon is, the more excited we’re going to get to expand this experiment.

That said, if you want more Patreon options now, many of the Ronins have ongoing subscriptions available already.

Our Publisher, Chris Pramas, has a Patreon of his own, where he gives us a tour of his (vast) gaming collection. The Curated Quarantine Patreon is a series of multiple posts per week, each looking at one game from Chris’s shelves. Each post talks about the history of the featured game, how and when Chris first interacted with it, and often gives some crucial context of the product’s place in the history of tabletop games. These are rare behind-the-curtain looks at the games one of the icons of the industry has in his own collection, and his thoughts on what makes them interesting.

On the other hand, if you want even more superheroic RPG content you should absolutely look at Steve Kenson’s Icons Roleplaying Game Patreon. Launched at the beginning of January 2021, this is a way for the award-winning designer of Mutants & Masterminds and Icons to produce and share short articles and other content (character write-ups, adventure ideas, and so forth) about Icons, the game he publishes through his own company, Ad Infinitum Adventures. It’s obviously a must-join for fans of Icons, but it’s also a great opportunity to see designer notes from one of the sharpest game creators in the industry.

Speaking of M&M designers, veteran creator Crystal Frasier also has a Patreon, where she focuses on presenting new gaming material and essays. Her creativity is boundless, as seen even in just the titles of her backer levels (Crystal glitter, Crystal shard, Crystal stone, and Crystal jewel). In addition to making blogs and game articles available to backers, Crystal does polls to give her backers a chance to help guide the direction of the Patreon’s offerings.

You can also find our Expanse RPG developer on the platform. The Ian Lemke Patreon features his posts on RPG content and designing a new game. At various levels of support, you’ll get exclusive updates on what he’s currently working on as well as news, notes, map sketches, and links to his stuff and previews of his blog postings to Grand Pooka’s Grimoire. At higher tiers you can also get sneak peeks at characters, setting material, and adventures, a look behind the curtain at design documents, rules, and pages of projects as they progress and access to his personal Discord channel where you can ask questions about his projects, offer your own input, and ask him anything about the RPG industry. At the highest level, you even get free copies of his self-published pdfs.

Finally, I have my own Owen K.C. Stephens Patreon. It focuses on my essays about game design, writing, and the game industry in general, and offers new game content. Right now, that game content is mostly focused on 5e, Pathfinder 1st and 2nd edition, and Starfinder, but a few bits of Fantasy AGE material find their way into my writings as well. I also occasionally post videos, and backers at higher tiers get  a pdf each month with all my free content from social media, including every Tweet and FB post with game- or genre-related content.

If Green Ronin Publishing or any of our staff launch more Patreons in the future, we’ll be sure to update our Roundup.

Danger Zone: Fast Food Restaurant Available Now!

Danger Zone: Fast FoodThis week we’re releasing a brand new Danger Zone, The Fast Food Restaurant!

Atop a rushing subway car, trapped in a raging apartment fire, crushed beneath the animated oaks of a possessed parkland… Superheroes face as much danger from the world around them as they do from their most nefarious villains.

You want your justice with a side of fries?

Evil doesn’t take a break and heroes never know when they’ll need to stop a robbery during their day-job shift at the local burger joint or taco stand! What villainy lurks in the walk-in freezer, and can they calm an irate customer before she goes over their head to the district manager… or a supervillain?

Danger Zones helps you bring your world alive by describing 30 different urban backdrops for superheroic action, from the classic warehouse to the neighborhood coffee shop to the hospital they’ll need to recover when the adventure is done. Every location includes a map, as well as useful information on how to use that setting’s unique features in a cunning plot or superhero slugfest.

To help populate your urban jungle, Danger Zones also provides a catalog of colorful characters, ready to come alive in your Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition campaign!

Danger Zone: Fast Food Restaurant is now available in the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG!

Join the Mickey Mastermind Club! with our Official Patreon

Green Ronin on Patreon!

Art by Jeff Carlisle.

Green Ronin have launched our first official Patreon, providing new game material for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition! You told us you wanted even more villains for Mutants & Masterminds and we listened, reaching back into the archives to revitalize a ton of fan-favorite villains from previous editions who haven’t yet appeared in the current version of the world’s #1 superhero roleplaying game. Our first series of updates are everyone’s favorite band of sanctimonious kid psychics, the Psi Family!

Professor Psi has been a longtime rival of Dr. Atom and the Atom Family, and his children were a constant thorn in the side of the Silver Age team. Now that a new generation has been born, he’s become more determined than ever to prove the superiority of psionic humans and pave the way for a world where he and his progeny stand over mankind! And to give you a taste of what you can expect, we’re sharing a preview of the first release, the telekinetic powerhouse Argent, right here!

Patreon Preview!

Check out this FREE PDF preview of Argent!

Every single week, you’ll get a brand new villain updated and ready to play in your 3rd edition M&M game, with villainous teams released as series so you won’t miss your favorite members. While we’re starting with the Psi Family, a classic from Freedom City 2nd edition, we’re not limiting ourselves to that single book, and we’re eager to hear what you want! Need the two-fisted Contenders updated for your heroes’ next bout in the Circuit Maximus? Want to see the Golden Age Crime league for your historic campaign? Let us know! Every month we’ll release a poll asking you what we should convert next, and we’ll look at the comments to decide what to put up for vote!

But M&M is more than just villains, and the more people contribute to the Patreon, the more time we can justify dedicating to it every month. We’re already halfway to our next Power Level, where Steve Kenson and I will begin releasing monthly articles zooming in on fun elements of Earth-Prime you can use in your campaigns, like individual stores and businesses, colorful personalities, urban legends, and criminal groups. The next goal after that DOUBLES our weekly releases—that’s two villains every week at no extra cost!

And of course the Patreon is a chance for our fans to make their own mark on Earth-Prime itself! If you donate enough, you can join in on monthly developer chats to ask questions and get advice. And if you pledge at our top patron tier, you become a part of Earth Prime as we name-drop you somewhere in an official Mutants & Masterminds release as a bystander, business owner, sidekick, scientist, hench-person, or other colorful figure within our world! If you’ve ever wanted to own that comicbook store in Freedom City or run a mercenary league in Emerald City, now’s your chance!

The Patreon is just beginning, but it marks a new era in providing hyper-focused material to gamers that zooms in on your interests and needs without needing to pick up a full book! We hope you’ll join us and enjoy!

Our Live streams are back in the new year!

Hello friends!

Troy Hewitt here, community nerd for Green Ronin Publishing and the disembodied voice for our two live streams, Mutants & Masterminds Monday with Crystal Frasier and Steve Kenson, and the Fantasy AGE live stream ThursdAGE! With Owen KC Stephens.

Mutants & Masterminds Monday! ThusdAGE!

We’re entering the new year with our tech dialed in (sort of?), our content planned (definitely), and an excitement for our 2021 streaming plans that is off the charts (Absolutely)! With some crucial dev milestones around the corner for some of your favorite Green Ronin Titles, it becomes increasingly important for us to connect with the people playing our games directly. Truth be told, our streaming efforts are really a chance for us to reserve time each week dedicated to direct conversations, to hear your feedback, share our progress, and most of all, have some fun.

With Mutants & Masterminds Monday, Crystal Frasier, (lead developer of M&M) and Steve Kenson (creator of M&M) get together to suffer my ridiculousness every Monday at 2:00 PM Pacific. It’s as fun as you would imagine it to be- hanging out with Crystal and Steve is a pretty phenomenal way to spend your Monday, no lie, and with the addition of today’s announcement of our Mutants & Masterminds Patreon things are heating up like wow.

For those of you that have been keeping track of our weekly program, now 30 episodes strong, you’ll no doubt remember Crystal Frasier’s note-taking as a regular theme and why is that important? Well, she listens. She listens, and she cares deeply about the M&M developing story, and even more so about the people who are playing. While the Patreon will be a welcome boost to Green Ronin’s bottom line, it also comes at the request of so many Mutants & Masterminds enthusiasts, that considering the months of content Crystal has already planned, well, let’s just say you are going to want to watch today’s stream for all the details.

And you can do exactly that- you can get a front-row seat to our live streams, always free, always on Monday, always at 2p Pacific, on FacebookYouTube, and if that weren’t enough? Today we’re giving Twitch a shot!

What’s next? 60 second adventures on TikTok?! Not likely. Or is it?

Who can say! Now listen, I’ve got to get things ready for the inevitable tech hardship I’ll bring to today’s livestream. Come and check it out for yourself, but only if you like fun, useful M&M tutorials and advice, and listening to Crystal and Steve, two world-class fantasy world-building, hero slinging, funny joke-making, super storytellers in this universe and SEVERAL others.

And me! Your disembodied boy, Troy. We look forward to the next 30 episodes, one hour, one Monday at a time, but only if we can spend it with you. See you there?

Will we see you there?

As always, questions, comments, and compliments about our streaming efforts can be emailed directly to us: Letsplay@greenronin.com

What’s Up with Modern AGE? Winter 2020 Edition

I haven’t blogged about Modern AGE in a while. As we’ve mentioned before, COVID prompted us to change how and when we release some things, and Modern AGE is part of that, but not because anybody has slowed down. So, let’s talk about the state of things for the line.

Before we get too far into what’s coming, be sure not to miss out on the current Bundle of Holding! You can pick up a whole bunch of Modern AGE PDFs at a great price, and even The Expanse RPG if you beat the threshold!

Check out the Bundle of Holding!

Modern AGE Missions

Modern AGE Missions is a series of adventures that don’t rely on any pre-published game settings. Future Modern AGE Missions are currently in development under Meghan Fitzgerald and should start rolling out in 2021. We currently have two ready published and ready to download:

  • Warflower, an adventure featuring corporate intrigue, medieval mysticism, and Italian martial arts, where the GM picks the culminating secret. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Feral Hogs, a post-apocalyptic fever dream of online retail distribution centers turned fortresses, overly potent energy drinks, leaky nuclear reactors and, of course, the titular feral hogs, in multiple mutant forms. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG

Five and Infinity for ThreefoldThreefold: Five and Infinity

Threefold is Modern AGE’s flagship campaign setting. Get it HERE. Learn about it HERE.

Five and Infinity was originally intended to be a book of adventures for Threefold, but things being what they are, we released them as individual adventures instead. In 2021, we’ll be compiling them into a single product, including something we left out of the first set of releases: Steve Kenson’s section on generating your own planes to visit. If you want to get a head start, grab the series now:

  • Chapter 0—The Adventure Generator: Outline your own stories with tables and tools designed by veteran game designer Jesse Heinig. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Chapter 1—Hunting Night: Pursue a renegade spider goddess across the suburbs in this adventure for starting characters by Ron Rummell. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Chapter 2—The Dreaming Crown: Strange ore, a psychic underclass, and delicate negotiations on a new world are all part of this adventure by Steve Kenson. Also suitable for starting characters. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Chapter 3—The Soul Trade: It’s up to you to smash a soul-smuggling ring that takes you from an alternate Hong Kong on brink of apocalypse to a fallen Vladivostok on an Earth that’s been turned into a prison planet, courtesy of Neall Raemonn Price. Suitable for levels 5-8. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Chapter 4—The Midnight Gold: Gamble with demons on a hell-plane of debt and industrial torment, courtesy of Crystal Frasier. Suitable for levels 9-12. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG
  • Chapter 5—On the Threshold of Apocalypse: Explore Blattarum, the Netherworld of lost things—and undo the end of the world, of you’re willing to pay the price. The finale of the series, by Meghan Fitzgerald, for character levels 13-16. Green Ronin Online Store / DrivethruRPG

Modern AGE Mastery Guide Coming soon!The Modern AGE Mastery Guide

We’ve been working on more than adventures, however. The major “core” release for 2021 will be the Modern AGE Mastery Guide. The Guide is a book for both Game Masters and other players, covering the following subjects:

  • The art of playing the game, given the same kind of coaching Game Masters normally enjoy, so that your group feels confident about having fun sessions in a safe environment.
  • New options for character creation, including using fewer abilities and focuses, implementing classes, and new rules for quirks and personality traits.
  • A detailed guide to using Modern AGE’s rules, above and beyond basic guidance. This includes official updates to the system.
  • Game Mastering and adventure design in depth.
  • Numerous new and optional systems for equipment, dramatic action, and more.

Modern AGE Powers

Not long ago I finalized the text for Modern AGE Powers, which is, to nobody’s surprise, a book about powers in Modern AGE. This is one I developed, but where Steve Kenson took the lead design reigns. This book expands upon existing treatments of powers and introduces new ones. It covers the following:

  • New backgrounds, professions, options, and powers for magic-using characters and psychics. Arcana trappings, places of power, and more await.
  • A revision and expansion of the systems in the Modern AGE Companion covering superhuman powers.
  • Using rituals to create your own variations on powers by combining them.
  • Thaumaturgy, the art of freeform power-making.
  • Game Mastering powers, including a selection of setting outlines to inspire you.
  • Dozens of extraordinary items with magical, psychic, technological, and enigmatic origins, as well as rules for artifacts, and their signature mix of powers and dooms.
  • A selection of technological and paranormal adversaries given detailed treatment in the Enemies & Allies

More?

This list omits a few projects I’m not ready to announce yet. One of them is so interesting I am tempted to break my rule on never announcing anything until I have final drafts in…but no. That tradition exists for a reason.

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.

Crystal’s Top 5 Green Ronin Picks!

It’s hard to pick just 5 items from the Green Ronin catalog as favorites, because the company’s library covers an enormous variety of genres and system, but here’s the best I could do. Presenting “Crystal’s Top 5 Green Ronin Picks

Mutants & Masterminds Condition Cards!

5. Mutants & Masterminds Condition Cards

Mutants & Masterminds is mostly a fast, intuitive system that’s easy to adjudicate on the fly with little or no prep. Everything is a d20 + modifier resolution, with the modifier usually being related to your campaign power level. The only place I tend to stumble is in remembering the rules for the two-dozen or so conditions that powers and failed checks might apply to a character. That’s when game stops and I have to flip back to page 18 of the Hero’s Handbook and remember what rules to apply. That’s why I made a homemade condition card deck back when 3rd edition first released. Now that we have an official condition card set made from shiny cardstock and featuring iconic art so I can deal out conditions in style and I love them!

4. Mutants & Masterminds Superteam Handbook

Superteam Handbook for Mutants & Masterminds!

Alright, spoiler alert: I’m making my list assuming you already have a Hero’s Handbook for M&M, so that’s not even going on my list. But once you have the Hero’s Handbook (Deluxe or Basic), then what? There are the obvious choices—the Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide if you’re the Gamemaster or Power Profiles if you’re a player—but for my money the handiest book for the whole group is the SuperTeam Handbook. It’s got expanded rules and character options for players and talks about building your superhero team as a collective, deciding roles and strengths and weaknesses that you rely on your teammates to shore up. But beyond that, the SuperTeam Handbook is a stealth campaign guide, showing you 8 distinct models for how you can run your Mutants & Masterminds game. You’ve got your standard “big heroes on the block” campaign, but also “fugitive heroes,” “urban vigilantes,” “super sentai,” and “quirky agents,” all with examples of the kinds of adventures and opponents those heroes might face. For Gamemasters, it also has a giant catalogue of characters that you can pass out to new players, or file the serial numbers off and use as villains if you don’t have time to make your own.

Modern AGE Basic Rulebook3. Modern AGE Core Rulebook

I have a soft spot for modern games, as illustrated by the large catalogue of d20 Modern manuals that observant readers may have seen in the background of M&M Monday streams. To mean, there’s a lot more excitement in bringing fantastic elements to a familiar world than in showing off fantastic elements in an already fantastic world. Modern AGE is a fun, fast, and flexible system that works great for any game set between the golden age of piracy and the near-future cyberpunk dystopia. The basic rules make it easy to put together a player character or NPC in no time, while the stunt system adds depth to combat and investigations. I’ve been running a monster-hunting campaign set in 1890’s San Francisco using just the core book and a copy of Modern AGE Enemies and Allies (a little side plug there) and having a great time.

2. Mutants & Masterminds Hero HighHero High Revised Edition for Mutants & Masterminds

I’m a sucker for X-men and Legion of Superheroes. It’s hard not to be when you spend puberty feeling like an outcast, so roleplaying in a world setting where you’re empowered for being the weird kid is just the chef’s kiss of roleplay options. This setting book for M&M is from before my tenure on the line but remains my evergreen favorite as a setting to run, play in, or fantasize about expanding. The 3rd edition version takes one of the strongest supplements for 2nd edition and revises and expands it to fill out the flavor and options of playing teen superheroes (or villains) while still worrying about getting your homework in on time.

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

I know, I know. I’m the Mutants & Masterminds developer. Shouldn’t my number one product be an M&M book? Well, it isn’t. As much as I love comic books and superheroes, I love things that are unapologetically queer more. And I love romance and fairy tales and drama and people trying their hardest to be better than they were before, and Blue Rose offers all of that. While I usually sell it to my friends as “you can play a sassy psychic cat,” the selling point for me is that encounters are meant to be talked down or puzzled out at least as often as they’re meant to be fought, and all against a backdrop of gorgeous art.

 

Blue Rose Cover (work in progress)

Blue Rose Cover (work in progress) by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law