5E Jamboree!

Mix-and-Match Green Ronin’s 5e Fantasy Offerings

Green Ronin publishes a lot of games. It figures: We’re gamers, and we like a lot of games! We also publish material for a number of different game systems. While the Adventure Gaming Engine (AGE) System sees a lot of use these days, and is as close as we get to having a “house system,” Green Ronin also supports the d20-based Mutants & Masterminds, the Chronicle System of Sword Chronicle, and standalone systems like Ork! The Roleplaying Game.

Among all of those game systems, Green Ronin also publishes material compatible with, or based on, the Fifth Edition of the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game. We have some experience in that area, having worked directly with Wizards of the Coast on the Out of the Abyss campaign and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide sourcebook, and having worked with Matthew Mercer on the Tal’dorei sourcebook for Critical Role.

Our 5e products include The Lost Citadel, Book of the Righteous, the 20th anniversary edition of the Death in Freeport adventure, and The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, bringing the romantic fantasy world of Aldea to 5e. We’ve just finished production on a new 5e edition of The Book of Fiends as well, and wanted to look at some of the ways you can mix-and-match our Fifth Edition offerings and use them in your own games. So, let’s take a look!

Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5EBlue Rose Adventurer’s Guide

The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is primarily a setting book, in the vein of our work on the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. It features material on the world of Aldea, particularly the nation of Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose, and its surrounding lands. (You can find out much more about Blue Rose and its setting elsewhere on our website.) The goal of the Blue Rose guide was to introduce the world of Aldea to 5e players and provide an additional, alternative setting, rather than an alternate game system.

That said, the book does contain a wealth of game system material to account for the differences between Aldea and various other 5e fantasy settings. In particular, it offers new character ancestries (and its own take on handling ancestry) for the peoples of Aldea. Each character class has a new subclass suited to the setting, and there are unique backgrounds, specific modifications of the magic rules, magic items, and a Corruption system that reflects the power of Shadow, to name a few.

Even if you don’t use Aldea as a setting for your 5e adventures, the game system portions of the book are easy to import to other settings. The lands and peoples of the world of Blue Rose could also be places for plane-hopping characters to visit, or part of some distant land on the far side of the world where they currently adventure.

Book of FiendsBook of Fiends for 5E

The Book of Fiends is a massive tome of the most vile denizens of the lower planes, not just the familiar demons and devils, but also daemons, qlippoth, Fallen celestials, and more. They range from minor low-level threats to godlike rulers of their own infernal realms and everything in-between. The Book of Fiends is a supplementary catalog of foes for a 5e campaign, especially one focused on fighting the forces of corruption and evil, such as Out of the Abyss, or a campaign like Descent into Avernus where the heroes descend into the lower planes themselves to fight their inhabitants! Who can’t use more fiends as foes?

The Book of Fiends dovetails with our Book of the Righteous in that they share the same basic cosmology. The Book of the Righteous works in conjunction with 5e planar cosmology and mentions the Abyss, Gehenna, Hell, and their various fiendish denizens, while the Book of Fiends details them. So the two books form two halves of the same cosmology for a campaign setting: the mythos and religion of the world and all of the forces of evil aligned against it.

The Book of Fiends connects with Blue Rose’s Aldea: The seven Exarchs, the great daemons of Gehenna, are also known as the Exarchs of Shadow on Aldea. The various daemons can serve as further darkfiends for your Blue Rose games, and you can plunder the dark depths of The Book of Fiends for other foes for your Aldean heroes. Fiends also offers its own Corruption system associated with infernal temptation. Use it in place of the Corruption rules from Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, or for a specific kind of corruption associated with the Exarchs and their minions.

The Book of Fiends also comes with a chapter of character options: subclasses, feats, spells, and backgrounds usable in any 5e setting where the forces of evil are abroad. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide specifically points to them as possible options for corrupt and Shadow-aligned characters in that setting.

Book of the Righteous for 5EBook of the Righteous

The Book of the Righteous provides a complete pantheon and cosmology for a 5e fantasy setting, along with numerous interconnected deities, faiths, and religious practices. It’s a fantastic resource to mine for options and inspiration, even if you don’t adopt the entire thing wholesale.

Like Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide and The Book of Fiends, The Book of the Righteous comes with a hefty rules chapter packed with 5e options: at least one new sub-class for every core character class, a dozen new clerical domains, five new paladin oaths, backgrounds, feats, spells, and magic items. It also has celestial and fey creatures associated with the gods and higher planes. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes that many of these game options fit well into the world of Aldea and are quite useful there.

Death in FreeportDeath in Freeport for 5E

The 20th anniversary edition of the adventure Death in Freeport offers a self-contained, low-level 5e adventure set in the independent pirate city of Freeport. Since it is a tiny island nation, Freeport is easy to include in any setting you may wish, or usable as a jumping-off point to any mainland you want the characters to travel towards. Freeport’s temples and churches may be devoted to the pantheon from The Book of the Righteous (that’s deliberately left open for you to decide) and the eldritch horrors lurking in the setting can make good use of material from The Book of Fiends. As The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes, Freeport could well exist among the Pirate Isles of that setting, bringing all of its unique character along with it.

What’s more, Death in Freeport is not just adventure: It has an appendix with game information on the sinister Serpent People, two new magic items (the staff of defense and the wand of escape), and four new class archetypes: the Valor domain for clerics, the terrifying Buccaneer archetype for fighters, the cunning Alley-Rat archetype for rogues, and the preternatural Serpentkin sorcerous origin. Any of all of these could find use in any 5e campaign.

The Lost CitadelLost Citadel for 5E

The Lost Citadel differs from Green Ronin’s other 5e offerings, which are designed for use with the core rulebooks, whereas Lost Citadel customizes more of the class, background, and magic options to suit the setting, along with adding some new options. Nevertheless, all of these options are compatible with the core 5e rules, so you can import Lost Citadel character options into other campaigns or settings, if you wish. The same is true of the book’s extensive collection of creatures, especially undead, which can certainly inspire new unliving foes for Blue Rose, for example.

What’s more, Lost Citadel offers another system for measuring supernatural corruption (do we sense a theme here?). Called Woe, it deals with the price of magic and supernatural knowledge and of places given over to the powers of death and despair. It would be suitable for use to model the effects of some domains of the foes from The Book of Fiends or places on Blue Rose’s world of Aldea where the power of Shadow has grown deep, indeed.

Press Release: Cthulhu Awakens Kickstarter is Live!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/15/2022

Cthulhu Awakens: On Kickstarter Now

The Cthulhu Awakens RPG Kickstarter is Now Live!

 

Seattle, WA: Green Ronin Publishing is pleased to announce that the Cthulhu Awakens RPG Kickstarter, first revealed last month, launched today and its campaign will be live until March 23. Cthulhu Awakens is a complete roleplaying game where a diverse set of protagonists confront the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos in the Weird Century, a period from the 1920s until today.

Cthulhu Awakens is Green Ronin’s take on the Mythos. It’s powered by the company’s popular Adventure Game Engine (AGE), a dynamic and easy to learn system whose games include Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, and the licensed RPGs Dragon Age and The Expanse. Cthulhu Awakens evolves the Modern AGE rules, customizing them for the Cosmic Horror genre, but the game is also substantially compatible with other AGE RPGs.

The Kickstarter offers four editions of Cthulhu Awakens for backers to choose from: Standard Edition, PDF Edition, Special Edition, and Roll20 Edition. The Standard Edition is a 270+ page full color hardback book, with additional material unlockable through stretch goals. The PDF Edition is the same book in digital form. The Special Edition, a Kickstarter exclusive, has a foil-stamped and embossed cloth-bound cover and ribbon bookmark. The Roll20 Edition is optimized for use on the Roll20 virtual tabletop platform, which allows people from across the globe to game together online. Backers who jump in during the first 48 hours of the campaign will receive Issue #0 of the DREADCRAWLS zine for free with their rewards.

Visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/cthulhu-awakens-roleplaying-game to back Cthulhu Awakens! On the Kickstarter page, you can also learn more about the game and see the campaign’s stretch goals and add-ons. Updates over the next month will preview rules, art, and more.

About Green Ronin Publishing

Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle based company dedicated to the art of great games. Since the year 2000, Green Ronin has been a force in tabletop roleplaying games, publishing such RPGs as Blue Rose, The Expanse, Dragon Age, and Mutants & Masterminds, and winning over 40 awards for excellence. Green Ronin has also worked as a design house for hobby giants Games Workshop and Wizards of the Coast on such titles as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (Second Edition) and the Dungeons & Dragons (Fifth Edition) supplements Out of the Abyss and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

Running a Shared Universe: Road Maps and Sandboxes

The Atlas of Earth-Prime is a great sandbox to play games in!Hello heroes! I hope the multiverse is treating you well today. As some of you may know, in addition to working on Mutants & Masterminds here at Green Ronin, I run my own streaming network The Untold Stories Project. USP is something I started a couple of years ago with some friends of mine who were interested in showcasing games and voices that don’t get as much attention as something like Fire Lizards and Renovated Caves. Since 2020 we have played a ton of interesting games but one of our main stays is M&M. Shocking, I know.

In February of 2021 we began our playthrough of the Netherwar story arc which is coming to an exciting conclusion in the next few weeks. (I know it only has six modules but somehow, I overwrote that into a year’s worth of mayhem and mischief.) This was meant to be a stand-alone foray into the Earth-Prime universe, but we decided to try something bold. One of our other games wrapped up and one of our GMs said he wanted to run Emerald City Knights on the channel. We decided it would be interesting to pull a MCU and run Emerald City Knights in the same continuity as our Netherwar game. Hence the USP Earth-Prime Tabletop Universe—USPEPTTU for not as short as it should be— was born. We have had one mega crossover event with 10 PCs and 1 GM and are gearing up to release a Starhaven game in the same continuity later this year.

It’s been an interesting experiment to say the least, and not unique to USP. The Freedom City Discord server has another Earth-Prime shared experience. It makes sense that this happens in superhero gaming groups. The superhero genre is rife with team ups and shared consequences, so it’s natural that it should reflect in the gaming sphere. This got me thinking about some advice that I can give to anyone else looking to collaborate with another GM. I call this technique the Road Maps and Sandboxes method.

the Netherwar campaign is a great opportunity for a shared universe

Road Maps

I am firm believer that the MCU works as well as it does because they had a strong central vision guiding where the story was going to go. They built a timeline of events and for the most part have stuck to that timeline. If you want to work with other creators in a shared space, you need to outline heavily. This came up in our USPEPTTU planning when I decided to do Starhaven after Netherwar, because there is a crucial plot point in Emerald City Knights that leads to the reason Starhaven is needed at all. The other GM and I sat down and worked out the plot points that needed to be modified to make Starhaven’s creation make sense. We also use our interconnected stories to help one another. A new player is joining our Emerald City Knights campaign and that character’s backstory is tied into what is happening right now in the climax of Netherwar. It’s pretty cool!

We have a couple of resources in play that help us build our stories and decide when those stories are going to intersect. We have a shared Google Sheet with all of the canon Earth-Prime villains. This Sheet lists if they’ve appeared in other games, their current status—at large, incarcerated, dead—and their home base. Our GMs update it as needed. I also try to keep the other GMs apprised of the story arcs I have planned. Finally, we write up synopses of our various story arcs for easy reference, rather than forcing anyone to rewatch 300 hours of video for precious context. Those documents are available to the public (www.untoldstoriesproject.com) on our website for similar reasons.

Sandboxes

There’s an unspoken statement in the USPEPTTU that we try to stay in our lanes. As the Netherwar and Starhaven GM, I do my level best to keep my action out of Emerald City. The Other GM as such sticks to the City of Destiny and the surrounding environs. We started doing this after our first crossover episode when I had the following Netherwar story take place in Emerald City. I felt like I was walking on eggshells trying to ensure nothing too devastating happened in town while our Freedom League Dark was there. I still wound up blowing up a penthouse, but you know what they say about eggs and omelets. After that episode I made sure not to set a story in that GM’s sandbox if I could avoid it. Partitioning out the setting goes a long way to establishing freedom for the GMs involved in your project, and ensures people aren’t scrambling to patch things up in each game from week to week. If one person is telling a story of the Furion resistance to Omega in the Terminus, try not to set adventures in the Terminus for the other groups of heroes.

Sit down with the other GMs you’re working with and share your ideas with one another. You can divide the universe in whatever way makes sense. This can be as large as whole alternate dimension down to a neighborhood of Freedom City. Say one GM wants to do a street-level vigilante game in Freedom City’s Southside, another GM working with the Freedom League should make sure the Freedom League is dealing with other parts of the city—or even other parts of the galaxy. Anytime you want to cross the partition, speak with the other GMs, and see if you can work together to do a crossover or find a way to spread the action between the two games.

I’ll leave you to chew on that for now. I’m going to share some more insights of running a shared universe in the coming months. As it stands, I’m still learning as I go, but I do believe it is a worthwhile experience for you and your friends. If you want to see the USPEPTTU in action, you can catch us live On Twitch Mondays and Tuesdays from 7pm EST-10pm EST. Thank you for reading and talk to you soon!

Synopsis Based One Shot Design

A great resource for an adventure synopsisHello heroes! Hope you’re having a great day out there in gamer land. As you may know, event submission is open for a few major conventions happening later this year, so I imagine quite a few of you are starting to put together the wonderful games you’re going to run this summer. I got my start in this business running games at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, so this time of year is near and dear to my heart. All year long I compile a list of characters or topics I want to write an adventure about. I love the excitement of narrowing down those ideas to create the perfect playlist. I enjoy coming up with a punchy title, deciding how many players I want to run for, and coming up with that sweet 1-2 sentence synopsis about the game. This synopsis is required at most conventions. It’s the snippet they’ll use to describe the scenario to the public in the hopes of getting people to buy tickets to your game. What you might not know, is that it is also a valuable tool you can use in adventure design.

I might be weird in this instance—as opposed to all the other times I’ve been weird—but I usually create my synopsis long before I put together the adventure. Sometimes, it’s all the adventure creation I manage to get to before the convention arrives, but we’re not here to talk about my procrastination habits. This synopsis is my favorite place to begin because it forces me to ignore any extra information and cut to the heart of the story I want to present. I tend to think of it as starting small and building out. Sort of like designing a village in your game world before moving on to building the epic history of your cosmos.

Knowing the core action of the story gives you as the writer a perfect place to begin your planning. You should have an idea of who the major players are going to be, what the driving action is going to be, and what research you’ll have to do to plan your scenes. The synopsis doesn’t have to give away the whole story, in fact I find less is more when it comes to pulling inspiration from it. I try to limit myself to 30 words or less.

Hades can be found in Freedom City 3rd edition

I’ll give you an example of what this process looks like to me. My most recent actual play for Green Ronin—link here in case you missed it— was titled Freedom League: All in the Family. I knew before I wrote the synopsis that I wanted to tell an unconventional story with the Greek gods set in Earth-Prime, so I started thinking of who the main NPCs were going to be. I decided to go sort of stereotypical. The synopsis for this wound up being: “All isn’t as it seems when Zeus requests the Freedom League’s assistance in foiling his brother’s latest scheme to take over Earth-Prime.” I kept it short and sweet, knowing that it would be the springboard to a larger outline process.

Hades is a known villain in Earth-Prime, and this pantheon is known for their family melodrama so I figured it would be a knockout story. I kept the synopsis simple, sharing to the players that Hades was going to be the villain and Zeus was going to be their insertion point to the story. With the synopsis in hand, I set about researching various Greek myths. They were going to be the “antagonists” for the story, not necessarily villains but the thing standing between the heroes and a saved Freedom City. I looked at Zeus and Hades’ immediate circles and started brainstorming where some of them would be lurking in the modern world. I built a through line from Zeus to Hera to Hephaestus to Hera to Charon to Hades, and then built scenes around those characters.

Starting with the synopsis narrowed the range of possibilities to make selection easier. It helps you find the beginning of a story, especially in a genre of infinite possibilities like superhero stories. I hope the next time you sit down to design a new adventure that you consider starting with a synopsis or a title. Happy writing!

The Cthulhu Awakens FAQ, Version 0.5

As we recently announced, we’re making a new standalone AGE System game, Cthulhu Awakens, which will start crowdfunding over at Kickstarter on February 15, 2022. Go here to sign up for alerts. But one of the challenges of the press release format is that we have just a page to present a mixture of high level information, distinctive zingers, and necessary clarifications. That’s why this FAQ exists! A variation of it will probably find a home in the FAQ of the Kickstarter itself, after launch. That’s why this is version 0.5.Cthulhu Awakens The AGE RPG

What Is Cthulhu Awakens About, Anyway?

Cthulhu Awakens is about roleplaying in the Weird Century, a span running from the 1920s to the present that features increasing influence from bizarre, terrifying forces. The greatest of these are the Outsiders: Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, and other entities who exist within both our own realm and the Unseen Dimensions that make the invisible majority of existence. The ancient Earth was a battleground between competing alien colonists from across time and space, and past participants such as the Yithians and Mi-Go still operate from the shadows—along with secret societies of the dead, sorcerers, and even human operatives from other universes called demimondes. Cthulhu Awakens treats the Mythos as components of a century-spanning setting for open-ended roleplaying.

Is It a Supplement or What?

Cthulhu Awakens is a standalone original roleplaying game using the Adventure Game Engine, containing the full rules for play. It’ll be a hardcover in the 270-300+ page range.

Is It a Licensed Game?

Cthulhu Awakens expands upon elements of the Cthulhu Mythos found in the public domain and uses Green Ronin’s own AGE System, so there was no need to license anything.

What is the AGE System?

Originally designed for the licensed Dragon Age roleplaying game, AGE is short for the Adventure Game Engine. All AGE games use standard six-sided dice (d6s) for everything. One die—called the Stunt Die or Drama Die in various AGE games—is visually distinctive. To do something, roll 3d6 + bonuses to meet or beat a target number. If any of the two dice match, the number on the distinctive die becomes stunt points that can be spent on special effects ranging from a cutting remark to a powerful blow in combat.

What AGE Games are Cthulhu Awakens Compatible With?

The other AGE games Green Ronin currently have in print are Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, as well as the licensed roleplaying games for The Expanse, and Dragon Age. Fantasy AGE and Modern AGE have optional settings, while the others have specific ones. Cthulhu Awakens is at least partly compatible with elements of all these games, particularly Modern AGE, as the game began life as a supplement for that line. Many elements can be introduced with no changes at all. This is why some Modern AGE offerings will be included in the Kickstarter. However, Cthulhu Awakens does do a few things differently, and has a substantial number of original systems—and some of them work well with Modern AGE, too.

What Level of Realism or Modern AGE “Mode” Does Cthulhu Awakens Use?

Folks who know Modern AGE know the game has three “Modes,” or preset rules options, based on the degree of “realism” groups want to use in their games. Cthulhu Awakens’ pre-set Mode is a combination of Modern AGE’s Gritty and Pulpy, in that your character’s Health doesn’t go up over time, but sometimes, you can grit your teeth and bear getting stabbed—but not shot.

Cthulhu Awakens also includes an option for more heroic characters called Fortune that makes protagonists tougher and luckier. Fortune was originally designed for The Expanse RPG but works well for more action-focused Cthulhu Awakens campaigns.

How and Why Does Cthulhu Awakens Deal with Lovecraft Being a Racist?

H.P. Lovecraft was a white supremacist whose racism was notable even in his time, as attested to by letters from his own friends. Our position is that anything in Mythos sources that reinforce these elements are lies or errors as far as the setting of Cthulhu Awakens is concerned. Standing against that kind of discrimination is morally obligatory, and it leads to more interesting possibilities than treating Lovecraft’s work as “canon.” In general communication we’ve had to emphasize this both because of Lovecraft’s notorious reputation and to ward off various people with terrible opinions, not to congratulate ourselves for not following the example set by a long-dead racist. Cthulhu Awakens isn’t a purist game and was designed from the basic position that as important to the Mythos as he was, it doesn’t belong to him anymore. He’s dead. It belongs to all of us now.

Aren’t There Already a Bunch of Mythos Games Out There?

There are! And lots of them are fantastic. Some of them emphasize investigation. Others are essentially a tribute to the works of Lovecraft’s circle, the era they take place in, and their approach to the Weird Tale, and many bake a cycle of discovery, horror, and loss into the mechanics, essentially framing the basic story ahead of time. Cthulhu Awakens takes a more open-ended approach; we provide deep support for the Weird Century period, but ultimately encourage you to tell whatever stories you wish. Plus of course, we wanted to express our own fandom and run our own games using the AGE System, which we rather like.

Is there “Madness?” “Magic?”

No—well, there’s Alienation, and eldritch workings (oh, and separate psychic powers too). They’re not quite the same as what you might expect.

Early in design and development we decided that not only was delineating the relationship between the sort of “literary madness” seen in the stories and mental illness not a great idea for Cthulhu Awakens, but that we also wanted to reexamine what it means exactly when exposure to the Mythos alters consciousness. Alienation is about adapting to the alien rules of the Mythos. Since these are incompatible with ordinary human thinking, which takes place in three dimensions plus time and interacts with a fraction of the universe—the reflexive dream of Azathoth, say some—Alienation produces undesirable effects, but it also leads to bursts of inspiration. With Enlightenment comes Terror.

Eldritch workings are neither science nor sorcery—and both. Workings can be learned, but they’re not things you just put on a character sheet. Given the right text to work from and the ability to understand it, anyone can cast an eldritch working without using up any spaces for other powers and abilities. These are mighty, reality-twisting procedures that require specific components and methods, but they offer everything from immortality to the ability to create spacecraft—or call beings who should not be called.

Why Are You Using Kickstarter?

So, with all of the controversy over Kickstarter’s interest in the blockchain, why continue to work with them? The question is a reasonable one, and in ordinary circumstances we’d love to explore other options and find sources for crowdfunding that are more mindful of environmental impact.

The past couple of years are not ordinary circumstances. The truth of the matter is we don’t have that kind of luxury right now. Kickstarter’s market share is such that, if we want this game to reach the widest possible audience and do as well as it can, there aren’t any suitable alternatives—at least, not yet—for this particular project. We’re focused on doing the best we can with the tools we have, while we explore all possible options for connecting our community of players with our games. In any event, Cthulhu Awakens will be up for general sale after we conclude the Kickstarter. For starters, you’ll be able to back the campaign as a late pledge on BackerKit. The finished print book will be available from our online store, game stores, and bookstores, and you’ll be able to get the PDF from our online store and DriveThruRPG. You will have options, in other words, if you don’t want to use Kickstarter.

How Finished Is It? When’s It Coming Out?

As of this time of writing, Cthulhu Awakens’ core book has been through final drafts and two rounds of development, and it is currently going through a final round of development before it enters editing, to better incorporate some internal innovations in the AGE System. The Kickstarter begins on February 15th. The game will be coming out in the fourth Quarter of this year, 2022.

 

Green Ronin Publishing Announces Cthulhu Awakens RPG Kickstarter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/19/2022

Green Ronin Publishing Announces Cthulhu Awakens RPG Kickstarter

Seattle, WA: Green Ronin Publishing is proud to announce that its latest AGE System roleplaying game, Cthulhu Awakens, will begin crowdfunding on Kickstarter on February 15, 2022. Cthulhu Awakens is a complete roleplaying game where a diverse set of protagonists confront the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. It will be a 270+ page full color hardback book, with additional material unlockable through Kickstarter stretch goals. 

Cthulhu Awakens deviates from Lovecraftian “canon” in the interests of creating an inclusive setting fit for the roleplaying campaign medium. In the game the original Mythos stories hinted at the truth, but it was obscured by their authors’ biases and fallibilities. Cthulhu Awakens creates a distinct vision of the Mythos that provides a new springboard for Cosmic Horror roleplaying.  It allows you to play at any point between the 1920s and the present day, through a period it calls “the Weird Century.”

Cthulhu Awakens is a stand-alone RPG powered by Green Ronin’s popular Adventure Game Engine (AGE), a dynamic and easy to learn system whose games include Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, and the licensed RPGs Dragon Age and The Expanse. Cthulhu Awakens evolves the Modern AGE rules, customizing them for the Cosmic Horror genre, but the game is also substantially compatible with other AGE RPGs. 

“The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the pillars of modern roleplaying,” said Green Ronin Publishing president Chris Pramas, “so with the success of Modern AGE it was only natural we explore it, but we wanted to make sure we had the right team and a distinct, inclusive direction for the game.” The writing and design team for Cthulhu Awakens includes Sharang Biswas, David Castro, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Hiromi Cota, H.D. Ingham, Khaldoun Khelil, Danielle Lauzon, Ian Lemke, Monte Lin, Jack Norris, and Malcolm Sheppard.

The February 15, 2022, Kickstarter will not only fund a physical release of the book estimated by the end of 2022, but it will also include stretch goals for things like adventures and VTT token packs, plus options to explore other AGE System games at a discount. The campaign also features a special offering for backers in its first 48 hours.

You can sign up for notifications about the Cthulhu Awakens Kickstarter on its pre-launch page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/cthulhu-awakens-roleplaying-game

About Green Ronin Publishing
Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle based company dedicated to the art of great games. Since the year 2000, Green Ronin has been a force in tabletop roleplaying games, publishing such RPGs as Blue Rose, The Expanse, Dragon Age, and Mutants & Masterminds, and winning over 40 awards for excellence. Green Ronin has also worked as a design house for hobby giants Games Workshop and Wizards of the Coast on such titles as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (Second Edition) and the Dungeons & Dragons (Fifth Edition) supplements Out of the Abyss and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. 

Press Contact: Troy@greenronin.com

Green Ronin Publishing 

3815 S. Othello St.

Suite 100, #311

Seattle, WA 98118

www.greenronin.com

Device vs Equipment

Devising the Difference Between Devices and Equipment

Hello heroes! Thank you for popping by the Round Table for one of my posts, grab a snack and settle in. I wanted to take a crack at answering one of the questions I see most often from the M&M community. That question being, “How do you differentiate between Devices and Equipment?” It’s a fair question, especially with the difference in Power Point cost between the two, and one that I feel every GM has a different answer for. This isn’t a bad thing, because more often than not if someone asks me is this a Device or is it Equipment my answer is, “It depends.” In the following post, I’m going to share some of my rules of thumb for telling the difference and offer some advice for when it inevitably crops up at your table.
Device or Equipment?

Basic Rule of Thumb

When trying to decide if a player can purchase a certain gadget with Power Points or Equipment Points, I start by asking myself if that item is able to be bought in an appropriate store almost anywhere in the setting. If this item is something that everyday people use in their profession (from laptops to 9mm handguns) then it should be Equipment in terms of the rules. Equipment is often mass produced and lacking in unique characteristics. The setting of your game can have an impact on this basic rule of thumb. If your M&M campaign is set in deep space 3,000 years from now it’s going to have different items that can be considered equipment. A laser rifle is probably a Device if your game is set in 1986 but that same weapon with the same stats could be standard issue for soldiers in 3576 making it Equipment in my opinion. One thing you have to do as Gamemaster is sit down and world-build some of the standard technology in your setting. Usually, if I’m setting a game in a place or time wildly different from present day, I’ll create a uniform list of different weapons, items, and armor that I consider to be Equipment which I share with my players. It also bears noting if the heroes’ mundane tools of the trade—for example swingline launchers, motif-inspired boomerangs, smoke bombs, body armor, and fancy wrist mounted computers—are provided by the same benefactor, consider making it Equipment instead of a Device. We’ll go over this idea a little more in depth later.

This is my Rifle, There are Many Like it, but This One is Mine

Once you’ve determined the availability of a given item, the next thing to ask the player is, “How unique is your version of the item?” If their hero has an assault rifle with a laser sight and a recoil stock, it’s probably still in the realm of Equipment. However, if that gun is only usable by someone who is worthy and has tendon-seeking buzzsaw bullets it’s more likely to be a Device. Keep an eye out for the unique features the player hopes to bring to the object and let that guide your decision between Equipment and Devices.

Disposable?

Another thing I advise GMs to look out for is how easy it is to destroy a specific item. Equipment is meant to be disposable. You can smash Equipment with impunity and not even give the player a Hero Point for the inconvenience! This cavalier attitude is due in part to the points they saved during character creation and in part due to how easily Equipment can be replaced. Devices, however, should be treated with more care as it’s possible the destruction or removal of that Device can rob a player of a large percentage of what makes their character viable. Always give a player a Hero Point if you decide their battlesuit has run out of power or they have used the last of their awesome trick arrows. This leads into my last point.

How Integral is this Tool to the Character Concept?

This is the highest-level question I ask myself and the player when deciding if something is Equipment or a Device. Heroes need tools at different levels depending on concept and archetype. A Green Lantern ring, for example, is an object that is uniform and handed out by the same benefactor as a mentioned earlier, but it is 90% of what makes that character a superhero in pure mechanics terms. As such I would consider it to be a Device and charge the full Power Point cost it incurs. I would do the same thing to a gadgeteer or a character flying around in a mech suit. Characters who use their tools as peripherals to their core concept, such as a Crime Fighter, are at the other end of this spectrum. They will have a lot more Equipment than Devices, because most of what they do, mechanically speaking, doesn’t rely on their gear. There will be some gray areas, such as Archer characters, and there’s no reason you can’t declare some of their tech to be Equipment and some to be Devices. An Archer might have standard broadhead arrows, swing line arrows, and explosive arrows as Equipment while statting up their acid arrows, disintegration arrows, and the good old boxing glove arrow as Devices.

As I said at the beginning of this post, the answer to what is Equipment versus what is a Device, depends. That is the most succinct way to explain the difference. Now that you know to look for that basic rule of thumb, the features of the object, it’s disposability, and its importance to the character you’ll be able to trust your gut the next time this question comes up. And if there’s anything I know about M&M Gamemasters, it’s that you have a lot of guts. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Bundle of Holding Encore!

The books may have come to their conclusion, but you can keep the story going at your own game table with The Expanse RPG available now for an amazing deal at the Bundle of Holding!

Check it out Right Here!

In case you missed it when this bundle was previously available at the end of 2020, it’s back for an encore!

From the Bundle of Holding page:

For just US$19.95 you get all six titles in this revived offer’s Modern Collection (retail value $84) as DRM-free ebooks, including the complete Modern AGE Basic Rulebook and the Modern AGE Companion; the cross-dimensional campaign setting ThreefoldEnemies & Allies for Threefold and other Modern AGE games; the adventure Missions: Warflower; and the Modern AGE Game Master’s Kit.

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $31.60, you’ll level up and also get this revival’s entire Expanse Collection with four more titles — the entire Expanse RPG line to date, worth an additional $60 — including The Expanse RPG standalone core rulebook and Game Master’s Kit, the full-length six-scenario campaign Abzu’s Bounty, and the short adventure Salvage Op.

And that’s not all!

Ten percent of your payment (after gateway fees) will be donated to this offer’s pandemic-related charity, Direct Relief. Direct Relief sends protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, with emergency deliveries to medical facilities across the US and Canada and to regional response agencies around the world.

Assault on the Aerie

Modern AGE Missions: Assault on the Aerie!

This week sees the release of Assault on the Aerie, the adventure I wrote for the Modern AGE Missions series. The brief was to write a “high-level” adventure, and Assault is recommended for Modern AGE characters of 13th to 15th level. But what does “a high-level adventure” mean in the context of the action-adventure style of Modern AGE? We took some time to look at that, with an initial section in the adventure on handling high-level challenges in the game. In particular, how to adjust test difficulties, advanced tests, and adversaries, as well as taking into account improved Health levels and resources for player characters. The TL;DR version is that you can throw a lot more at a high-level Modern AGE character! They can take some punishment before they’re taken out of the game, and Game Masters should treat them as such.

Assault on the Aerie is also a highly modular adventure: The focus is on the eponymous “aerie,” a high-altitude lair located atop a sheer rocky outcropping that takes some dangerous climbing, flying, or paragliding to approach, and the same to escape! Exactly what the heroes are there to find and do, and exactly who is there to oppose them, is up to the GM and the type of adventure they want to run. We offer five pre-made options or paths you can use, with adjustments to the adventure for each, and they range from paramilitary techno-thriller to urban fantasy, alien invasion, and even stranger. The self-contained nature of the Assault on the Aerie makes it an excellent one-shot adventure for anyone curious to see how high-level Modern AGE plays, or to run on a live-stream or at a convention table.

Even without the kaleidoscopic adventure options, Assault on the Aerie is useful for the location itself: An abandoned monastery on a high outcropping in the middle of nowhere, usable as a lair, base, hideout, or even ruin to explore (with a few adjustments). The adventure contains a map of the Aerie and all of the game information you need to know about its features and the challenges of reaching it, making it a place you can drop into your own AGE System games with ease—or any RPG system, really. (For example, the Aerie would make any Mutants & Masterminds supervillain an excellent lair.)

Modern AGE Missions: Assault on the Aerie is also available at DrivethruRPG!

The Expanse comes to Foundry VTT!

Introduction

Earlier this year, there was a Ronin Round Table that introduced the VTT team. Since then, we’ve had the release of the Mutants & Masterminds 3e sheet on Roll 20 along with various Danger Zones and the Condition Cards. We have revisited Freeport with the 5e content, also on Roll 20. Ahpook and Jonesy were the driving forces behind those projects respectively. After some discussion, Troy felt that we were in a good position for an update, so Charlotte spoke the 4 magic words.

The Expanse on Foundry VTT!

Current Status

We are happy to report that all systems are within optimal operating parameters, and we are go for launch for The Expanse system for The Foundry VTT!

During development, we made a strong effort to maintain a balance between gameplay and automation. It was our intent from the very beginning to not turn everything into a function of the system where the game can play itself with a click of a button, but rather maintain the feel of playing The Expanse at the table, just virtually.

What does that mean in a practical sense? As players, your rolls will be calculated step by step so the GM can provide information as needed. Rolls have the option to have modifiers, and/or additional dice added to the roll. Each character sheet has automated rolls for abilities, attack to hits, damage rolls, and income rolls. GMs have the added feature in NPCs to roll both the attack and damage rolls at the same time, to make their rolls a bit easier. Conditions have some functionality to them besides just being a checkbox. Some conditions are linked to attributes or other conditions to help make tracking easier. There are many other features that are implemented, and we can’t wait to get feedback from everyone once the system becomes available.

Foundry exampleFoundry exampleFoundry example

Timing

The release of The Expanse system, and The Expanse Quickstart module will be the first products available on The Foundry VTT, with core book, Abzu’s Bounty, and other adventuress scheduled for a later date.

How can people engage?

If you’re ready to start a life of adventure outside of the gravity well, You can find The Expanse system and Quickstart ready for download on the Foundry VTT system and module installer, and then come join us on the GRAAD server!


Charlotte is the tabletop dilettante, dabbling in all things tabletop roleplaying. From running communities in TTRPG spaces, games in her free time, and creating content for VTT’s, she’s doing it all. You can find her and her various projects on Discord: https://discord.gg/MJQQd6H or Twitter: https://twitter.com/foxfyre22