Don’t Touch That Dial! Into the Idiot Box is available now!

Astonishing Adventures: Into the Idiot Box!This week sees the release of Into the Idiot Box for Mutants & Masterminds, and Jason Keeley’s entry into the growing Astonishing Adventures line is a unique one, as we discussed with him on last week’s episode of Mutants & Masterminds Monday. In particular, it features the troublesome cosmic kid Quirk from Freedom City putting heroes through a series of … well, let’s say “episodes.”

Among other things, the adventure points to a big difference between superhero RPGs and many others: What Mutants & Masterminds refers to as the “Power Level X” character. Now, I’m on-record as a fan of the comic book trope I refer to as the “lateral win.” Many comic book plots feature challenges, foes, and situations where the heroes simply can’t beat the problem into submission. Instead, they have to use their wits and figure out another way to save the day. Such is definitely the case when going up against characters like Quirk, who are so omnipotent it isn’t even worth trying to define them in game terms (because, as the game-design wisdom goes: “If you give it stats, the players will fight it.”)

Into the Idiot Box is also incredibly topical, and a great M&M game for superhero fans suffering from deprivation when it comes to a weekly dose of comic book characters inserted into imaginary television show scenarios. While the adventure was written well before a certain popular streaming series premiered (great minds, right?) it plays very effectively with similar ideas, and gives you the tools to do the same in your own M&M series.

What if, in classic comic book fashion, the heroes form emotional attachments to some of the “people” they encounter in those television episodes? Will they ever see them again once Quirk has been dealt with and returned to wherever it is he comes from? Who knows? Maybe those “fictional” characters are based on real people in the heroes’ world. What happens when they meet the “real” version of the television character, but they’re a completely different person?

So if you’re looking for a fun, change-of-pace adventure that challenges the players’ roleplaying skills rather than just testing their characters’ power ranks, try sending your M&M heroes … Into the Idiot Box!

Astonishing Adventures: Into the Idiot Box is available NOW in the Green Ronin Online Store, as well as DrivethruRPG!

When the Developer Plays: Dueling Time!

Last time I told you about the Modern AGE Threefold game I don’t Game Master, but play in as Andrzej, who happens to be one of Threefold’s signature characters. Tonight, as I write this, I’m coming off another session where, as Andrzej, I fought a duel. I want to share some insights about combat using Modern AGE’s system I gleaned from that clash of imaginary swords.

First, the set-up. Why was I in a duel? As I noted last time, our Sodality Mission was on an independent Otherworld (a magic-dominated plane) to support diplomatic efforts toward an alliance with the Vitane, the peaceful democratic government of planes the Sodality supports. This plane had contact with the feudal warriors of the Nighthost in the past; their remnant needed to consent to the alliance. There were intrigue-soaked negotiations which…succeeded! They were ready to ally with us.

Threefold Nighthost

These folks need aggressive diplomacy!

Then the real Nighthost showed up: the army that had long waited on the other side of an unreliable gate between their realm and where our new friends lived. They made it through the normally closed gate…somehow (trouble with playing is I don’t know yet). The Nighthost aren’t just soldiers from Hell–they’re soldiers who rebelled against the Netherworlds, slaying demon lords and freeing the damned. They’re badasses out of a Black Metal album with a classic dueling culture, and they were about to lay siege to our allies’ outpost. So what else could I do except challenge their leader, the thane, to a duel?

I won’t leave you in suspense–I lost. I’m a 5th level character, but as our GM Steve told me, the thane was a Dire threat opponent. I think him being 7 feet tall with a crown of horns was a hint. I yielded with 3 Health left in me. Rather than go blow by blow, I’m going to list what I learned, after the thane and I put on mail, he got his sword and shield, and I brought my two-handed sword to the party.

Being a Protector Rocks: +2 to attack rolls and an extra SP on Stunt Attacks with the Sodality Protector talent rocks, especially if you also double on your roll–and especially if you master Two-Handed Style.* I was lucky to get big stacks of SP a bunch of times, which I spent on Lightning Attack to get a chance to inflict damage in, along with a constellation of other stunts, including Armor Crush, which reminds me…

Armor Crush is Better Than You Think: My second, a fellow Sodality Protector named Chester, couldn’t negotiate the thane out of his armor, so we were both wearing mail (I know this is all pretty fantasy for Modern AGE but that’s life life on a magical Otherworld) and it so happens mastering Two-Handed Style and using a big sword lets you gain 2 SP toward Armor Crush. I hit the thane a few times, dropping his Speed considerably. This combines beautifully with Knock Prone. Soon enough the thane was so slow he had to waste his actions getting up (part of a minor action) and fixing his armor (a major action). The thane eventually used it on me, however, and it was way worse for me because I didn’t have Armored Combat Style, like he did. At one point, the thane hit me with multiple Armor Crush stunts and the Hamstring stunts, and  knocked me prone. I ended up with a Speed of 3, half of which I needed to use to even get up. Oh yeah:

Annoy People with Knock Prone: For 2 SP and high reliability (no opposed roll required), Knock Prone is a very useful stunt when mobility counts. If you do this after attacking their Speed with the previous tactics, there’s not much they can do except stand up and sigh…which I did.

Ready for a Duel?

Being a Protector rocks!

Pick Your Disarms Carefully: The duel featured a number of Disarm stunt attempts. One of mine and two of the thanes were successful. Choosing the direction and distance of a disarmed weapon ends up being rather a big deal, however. I knocked the thane’s sword over my shoulder so he’d have to fight me disarmed to get it. Of course, that’s when he Stunt Attacked me with the Knock Prone/Hamstring combo after I’d been Armor Crushed, so, uh, maybe that decision sucked.

Remember Your Stats: Oh, I screwed up a couple of times here. I forgot to reduce damage by Toughness, which I was allowed to do in our Pulpy Mode game. Fortunately we realized and fixed that midway through, or else I’d be toast. But the other thing I forgot is the free grapple off a missed attack for Self-Defense style, which might have been used to mess up the thane a little more before he beat me.

Boost Your Defense When You Can: Defense-boosting tactics and powers are rare in Modern AGE, so make use of them whenever the opportunity arises. The Parry stunt is useful for chopping down high Defense opponents. The thane had a frickin’ shield, and that advantage wore me down–I had my share of misses. Since Protectors get a +2 to Stunt Attack rolls, I tried stacking that with a +2 Defense Guard up a few times, since my bonus nullified the penalty. This works pretty well–unless your opponent rolls high, which the thane did with annoying regularity. Generally speaking, seeing your bonus as an opportunity to cancel out a penalty linked to some other benefit is a smart move.

Fights Should Be Meaningful: This duel was a political maneuver. I wanted to show the Nighthost thane that the people on this plane were every bit as honorable as he and his army was–they weren’t fit to be brutally conquered, but had to be approached as equals. Game designers often talk about stakes in terms of game systems.. I prefer to think in terms of the fiction–talking about the reason for the duel (to secure negotiations), the emotional components, and negotiating the terms–not to map the outcome, per se, but to write the rationale in the fiction boldly, while maintaining the possibility that anything could happen.

One of us could have cheated, or attempted some other risky move outside the confines of the duel. The rest of the Mission group were in the crowd, after all, ready to help. In the end, though, we all followed the etiquette of the situation, and the great thing is that, since we were never locked into these terms, following the gradually built trust between us and our enemies, and it felt real because of course we could have cheated at any time. So when I yielded and didn’t die, but was allowed to limp back and heal, it felt earned.

* NOTE: In the upcoming Modern AGE Mastery Guide Stunt Attack now provides a base of 2 stunt points, increasing the Sodality Protector benefit to 3 SP in a stunt attack. We use this rule in our game.

 

Danger Zones: When the Mundane Goes Weird

Danger Zones: Convention Center is available now!

A lot of our Danger Zones offerings have been the kinds of locations you expect for superhero slugfests: the tottering Bridge , open Streets , the iconic Bank  for robberies, and Amusement Parks—both operating and abandoned—but there are a few offerings that don’t immediately spring to mind when you decide to plot of thrilling, comic-book action. A Fast Food Restaurant doesn’t seem like the best place to start hurling fireballs, and this week’s offering—the Convention Center—seems like a better place to buy comic books than reproduce their fight scenes.

But superhero adventures aren’t all about the expected. They’re about characters and where they get caught with their pants down. And superheroes spend as much time shoving burgers in their face or waiting to meet their favorite Star Battles actors as they do banking—especially in the 21st century. Danger Zones is about giving you interesting locations, not just expected ones. The convention center and the restaurant are both great locations for characters to be caught in their secret identities when things go south. But how do things go south in such mundane locations? Here are 20 random seeds for trouble breaking out when things seem calm:

  • A young superbeing’s powers manifest out of control.
  • A supervillain is there in their civilian guise and can’t stand a mild insult.
  • An AEGIS courier stops by and their magical artifact or alien tech goes haywire.
  • A criminal running from the authorities barricades themselves inside and takes hostages.
  • A wannabe superhero arrives to show off.
  • A fire or other disaster breaks out.
  • One of the heroes starts hearing a cry for help no one else can hear.
  • An accident disturbs a forgotten spirit, who starts causing trouble.
  • A mundane crime takes place and one or more heroes is blamed.
  • The heroes get caught in a time loop.
  • A truck careens out of control, spilling strange fluids into the scene.
  • The heroes run into a family member and discover they’re dating one of their supervillains.
  • An unexpected event shrinks the heroes to a half-inch in size.
  • A hero’s powers start activating at random.
  • An internet prankster sets someone up for laughs and things spin out of control.
  • A time traveler arrives and tries to make contact with a hero in their civilian identity.
  • A magical being starts granting the wishes of random bystanders.
  • A completely different superhero’s fight crashes into the scene as their villain starts gaining the upper hand.
  • A villain believes they have deduced the hero’s identity and threatens them in their secret identity to prove their theory.
  • Everyone else in the scene is actually a robot doppelganger.

Danger Zones: The Convention Center is available today in the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG!

When the Developer Plays: Threefold

Threefold for Modern AGEThere’s a stereotype among game designers and developers that you eventually get so swamped with work you don’t play. I must admit there’s a challenge, but in many cases it’s more that, if you work in games, you love games. You want to have some time in popular games, pick them apart, and see what you can use or devise in reaction to them. It sometimes makes it hard to concentrate. Plus, my working schedule tends to be chaotic. Between all that and some persistent minor but annoying health stuff, I haven’t been as diligent at getting to my weekly game as I would like. Fortunately, I’ve pushed past the fog of it all a bit and am back to my Modern AGE game in the Threefold setting—one which I play in, instead of GMing. This of course speaks to another stereotype: Designers run their games instead of playing characters. This was my situation too, but over the past year I have stuck to playing.

Modern AGE Andrzej

Andrzej, a Sodality protector and nerdy swordsman

Where Have I Seen That Sword Dad Before?

What’s it like to play the game you developed, with the setting you developed? I recommend it to anyone who makes games if you approach it with the right attitude. My group plays on Discord most Sundays, with people I played with in person back in pre-COVID times. I’ve known most of them for over 20 years, and it makes for a comfortable environment, as well as a testament to games’ ability to create and maintain friendships.

On my side, the biggest challenge is learning to relax into my role. By weird coincidence, I randomly created a character who happens to fit the abilities one of Threefold’s iconic characters, Andrzej, perfectly. Andrzej was, incidentally, created as a heroic parody of yours truly by writer H.D. Ingham. After some laughter at the coincidence, I just went with it. Thus, I’m playing Andrzej, a Sodality protector and nerdy swordsman.

Seeing What Works

I know Threefold extremely well, since I invented it, though the writers who worked on it gave it a life beyond anything I could have imagined. That’s the same creative expansion I enjoy coming from my GM, Steve (not Steve Kenson, a different cool Steve) and there’s been nothing so pleasurable and useful from a design perspective as playing Andrzej and exploring worlds Steve expanded and invented based on cues from the Threefold setting. I can see which parts of the setting are the most accessible, and which are a little more challenging to use, and these tend to be a lot different from what you might get out of just reading the book.

As Andrzej, I belong to a Sodality mission with some Aethon adjuncts that specialize in rough and tumble approaches to problems. One of the challenges here is that the Sodality and Aethon are designed to support traditional party play, but that tends to bring a lot of the baggage related to wandering “adventurers” with it. But being a Sodalt means having ideals—they represent mostly legitimate good guys, since they’re part of a multi-planar magical utopian federation of states—and as a group it’s taken time to get there, but we’re starting to lean into it. When it’s time to expand the Sodality, I’ll have to keep this indoctrination aspect in mind.

Right now, we’re engaged in diplomatic negotiations and some quiet investigations on an independent plane that has some relationship with the Nighthost, and who broke off contact with the Vitane (the aforementioned magical federation) because of the Crimson Trident incident, when a branch of the Sodality (the Vitane’s exploratory arm) went rogue. I find it interesting Steve grabbed inspiration from that part of the setting’s history, which Jaym Gates created to give the good guys a spicier backstory. Well, Jaym, it worked—we’re playing with the results. We haven’t met anyone from the Nighthost yet, but we’re dealing with rival diplomats from the alternate earth of Al-Hadiqa. In Threefold, our world, the “primeline,” claims to be the true Earth, and prevents other Earths from accessing other plans as much as it can, but Al-Hadiqa (a plane invented by the late and sorely missed Alejandro Melchor) won’t be limited by the primeline and its enforcers, Aethon. They want a political arrangement with this new plane that shuts us out. Normally, this wouldn’t be particularly alarming for us, but we’ve just come off some operations tracking down a family of soul smugglers who we strongly suspect are allied with this Al-Hadiqa faction. The role of souls in the game, and their role as illicit trade goods, was developed by Neall Raemonn Price, and coincidentally, his adventure for Five and Infinity, The Soul Trade, had some strong similarities to what Steve independently devised. That tells me this is one of the more accessible concepts in the setting and might merit further exploration.

Threefold through the dimensions

Learning What You Don’t Know

Now, I am pretty much the boss of Threefold. I invented the setting and plot its course. What does that mean when I’m playing a character in the setting? Well, I try to keep my mouth shut, and I’m mostly successful. My participation is about having fun through my character, and I also get to enjoy insights about how people use the setting, but Steve is going to have different ideas about what’s happening behind the scenes and how to interpret things—and he’s right. So far where I’ve mostly stumbled is in maintaining a separation between player and character knowledge. Last week Steve said, “Roll to see if you really know that” and he was right to do so. This is a common enough problem for anyone, especially in lore-heavy settings (Threefold is dense with information—you want to give it a few reads because I designed it as if it was already, say, 20 years old, on purpose), but it also tells me it might be a good idea to explicitly describe the knowledge base possessed by members of various factions.

Next Session

Are we on for this Sunday? I hope so. The plane we’re exploring is fascinating. It’s a low-gravity world with mile-high buildings and a floating continent that whips around the primary supercontinent at high speeds. The floating land has a gate that intermittently opens, letting visitors from the Nighthost through. We’ve only heard rumors, and I’m eager to figure out the truth.

A free quickstart PDF is available in our Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG!

Virtual Tabletop Team Revealed!

Hey friends, Troy here. You may know me from such things as the disembodied voice from Mutants & Masterminds Monday, or the disembodied voice from ThursdAGE, with Owen KC Stephens! In addition to giving the business to Crystal, Steve, and Owen on Mondays and Thursdays, I also take part in our communications and community projects work, including our current efforts to bring more of our library of games to a variety of virtual tabletop platforms. With nearly two months under our collective belt, it’s the perfect time to introduce the team and to share a little view into our plans moving forward!
The VTT Team

 

Our VTT Plans

Team VTT has been hard at work evaluating, well, everything! When you consider that Green Ronin has 20 years of publishing TTRPG adventures, that’s no small task! We did narrow the band a little by looking at our books’ most current editions, but it was a remarkable amount of material to go through even then. The goal? Identify the work required to properly port a Green Ronin title from the real-world table to the virtual one. It was essential to identify where more art was needed, like maps and key characters, and to determine how content might change in the context of virtual tabletop support for both the GM and the player.

Looking at our body of work through the context of the virtual tabletop space has been incredibly fun. While we have learned a lot and have a lot more to learn, I’m exceedingly proud of the work the team has done, from creating a streamlined production process to slicing and dicing our content to fit seamlessly into the VTT platforms out there.

It is crucial to add that the work we’ve done so far includes creating official Green Ronin character sheets, which are essential to how officially licensed VTT content is made available. To get to the official content, you’ve got to go through the official character sheet.

In addition to character sheets, there are other important considerations, like unique approaches to how we prepare assets like the M&M Condition cards or token packs and maps. Also, unexpected opportunities to add assets would typically depend on the GM to convey as part of their story-telling, like dynamic lighting or sound effects.

With a scope this big, we decided that a mix of internal publishing priorities, VTT readiness of assets, and feedback from our community would help us find the sweet spot as we kick off this project. That, and the need for a team of amazing people to help get the job done! While there is a lot of work ahead of us, we are making incredible progress, and that has everything to do with the VTT TEAM! Let’s meet them, shall we?

Charlotte

Good Day! I am Charlotte, and I am the Ring Leader of our merry band of misfits over on the Green Ronin AGE Appropriate Discord or GRAAD for short. I have been working with Green Ronin in the capacity of “Just a fan who saw a need and filled it” as a community volunteer on the community-run GRAAD server. Together we have run multiple events over the past year and a half that the server has existed, and we aim to bring much more in the future! If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve done and being a part of what we’ll do, then join us!

Ahpook

Hello!  My name is Ahpook, and I have been a gamer and artist my whole life.  I have long been a fan of Green Ronin’s work, and I am thrilled beyond words to now be part of the digital development team!  Helping gamers connect and play better games is a lifelong passion of mine, and I am excited for this new opportunity to pursue it.  In addition to gaming and general geekery, my background encompasses many forms of theatre and performance art; including flow arts, circus arts, and more.  In recent years, it’s been a real privilege to be part of creating the Freedom City discord server with some dedicated and amazing people.  Freedom City is a server totally focused on exploring, discussing, and introducing people to Mutants and Masterminds.  The server is also the home of The Freedomverse, our shared gaming world where people can come and create their own heroic stories.  If you want to learn more about Mutants and Masterminds, are looking for fellow gamers, or just want to be part of a positive, inclusive gaming community, then come on by The Lair and say hello!

 

Jonesy

Hey, I am Jonesy. I have been a Green Ronin Freebooter since 2005, starting with True 20. These days I can be found running M&M and the various AGE settings at GenCon and my local cons (when they come back). Along with being a Freebooter, I am now also a freelance writer, having gotten my start with the release of the AGE edition of Blue Rose. I am currently also part of the Untold Stories Project actual play streaming channel on Twitch, where we run a variety of games.

 

So there you have it!

 

We are currently meeting up with our VTT partners in order to learn how each of them works—identifying the unique features and opportunities that each of those platforms introduces and getting all of our contracts and agreements in order. And all of this while the assets for their VTT debut. In our next VTT update, expect to hear more specifics about the rollout plans for this content – we might even tempt the fates and provide you with some actual dates! (Charlotte: No, we won’t!)

 

In the meantime, if you’ve got questions, thoughts, or comments, send us a note: letsplay@greenronin.com! We may not always have the answer you are looking for, but we can keep you informed of our progress.

Let's Play Green Ronin

Cheers!

Rose Petals: A PDF Preview

Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5th Edition While the technologies of portable document format (PDF) files and print on demand (POD) has allowed us to bring The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide to you in spite of the current pandemic and limits on book printing and distribution, not having the book in stores does rather limit the ability to look through it when you’re weighing buying it. It’s certainly something I like to do when I’m considering a new book.

Fortunately, we can provide some options. Our partners at DriveThruRPG already offer a PDF preview function: You can look at the first fifteen pages of the book, and even read through the table of contents and The Introduction on the site to get a feel for the book. But we can do better than that. How about a “sampler” tour through the book with this PDF Preview?

The Power of Shadow

Chapter I delves into the power and dangers of Shadow on Aldea, as shown in this excerpt on the Shadow-Touched, the Corrupt, the Shadow-Taken, and the long road to redemption.

The Regions of Aldis

Chapter II is all about Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose, and this excerpt looks at some of its key regions, including an overview of the great city of Aldis itself.

The Sovereign’s Finest

One of the central organizations of the Blue Rose setting is the Sovereign’s Finest, special envoys of the Crown, as detailed in this excerpt.

Serpent’s Haven

Deep within the Veran Marsh, the criminal stronghold of Serpent’s Haven features prominently in Joseph Carricker’s novel Shadowtide, and is detailed in this excerpt from Chapter II.

The Shadowed Seven

What is a fantasy world without monsters, much less a nation ruled by monsters? This excerpt from Chapter V looks at the Shadowed Seven, the so-called “regents” of Kern since the fall of the Lich-King at the hands of the Queen of Aldis.

Aldean Ancestries

We’ve already mentioned how The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide handles ancestry a bit differently. This excerpt gives you a better look at that, along with the traits for human ancestry and including other ancestries on Aldea.

Spirit Dancers & Rose KnightsOne of the Sovereign's Finest

Spirit Dancers, who combine movement and physical mastery with spiritual insights, and the Knights of the Rose, the sworn defenders of the Sovereignty, are two important types of heroes in Blue Rose detailed by the sub-classes in this excerpt.

Backgrounds & The Reawakened

This part of Chapter X gives you a look at how various backgrounds are handled in The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide as well as one of the new backgrounds: The Reawakened, for characters whose background is literally multiple lifetimes long!

The Occult & Telepathy

The Adventurer’s Guide focuses on using the 5e magic system for maximum compatibility, but we still give some things an important Blue Rose spin in this except with a look at the dangers of the Occult and the ability of telepathy possessed by various characters (including the rhydan and vata ancestries and those with the Telepathy feat).

The Fey

The untamed forces of nature on Aldea sometimes manifest as faerie beings, and this excerpt from Chapter XII introduces you to one of them, the Fey Noble.

A Wolfenmoot Gift

Wolfenmoot Web

Some time ago, Green Ronin staff were introduced to the wonderful notion of Wolfenoot, a holiday created by a boy in New Zealand as “a celebration of canines, kindness, and humans who embrace both.” We were so charmed by it, that we incorporated our own version into the world of Blue Rose, the holiday of Wolfenmoot, back in 2018. For what could be more Blue Rose than a holiday about kindness along with furry friends and family?

This past holiday season, I wrote “The Wolfenmoot Web,” a Blue Rose adventure focused on that holiday celebration, and a deadly threat that arises during it. It is an adventure for 5th level AGE System characters using the Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying game. Since we were also releasing the new Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, in PDF and print-on-demand, “The Wolfenmoot Web” includes a conversion appendix with all of the 5e game information needed to play the adventure as well.

Best of all, “The Wolfenmoot Web” is available as a Pay What You Want release for the Adventures in Aldea line on DriveThruRPG. This type of dual-supported adventure, usable for two different game systems, is a bit of an experiment for us, so we’re eager to hear what you may think about it. Would you like to see more 5e conversions of Adventures in Aldea for use with the Adventurer’s Guide? Drop us a line at letsplay@greenronin.com and let us know!

Green Ronin Publishing in 2021

 

Green Ronin in 2021

It seemed like 2020 lasted for a decade but at last we are here in 2021. As is traditional, I’m going to tell you about some of our plans for the coming year. What is not traditional is that a global pandemic still rages and even with the vaccines rolling out things won’t be back to any kind of normal this year. We still face many challenges. Some game stores closed their doors permanently during this crisis, while others are operating at reduced capacity. Simply put, we aren’t selling as many print books through distribution as we did pre-Covid and it’s unclear when that trend might reverse. We’ve been adjusting to this in various ways, but it has impacted our schedule. Some planned projects were put on hold, others will be delivered in different formats or though different methods. It’s a juggling act and so far, we are getting by. If you’ve supported us this past year, thank you so much! Now let’s talk about what we’ve got planned for 2021. Rather than break this down by game line, I’m going to talk about the different approaches we’ll be taking to bring you games and fiction.

Ships of the ExpanseTraditional

Some titles we will still release in our standard way, which means a PDF release followed by a traditional print job. These books then go to game stores, the book trade, and our online store. We’ve just recently released the Time Traveler’s Codex for Mutants & Masterminds. The next book to go to print will be Ships of the Expanse, along with a reprint of game’s rulebook. Later in the year you can expect to see Modern AGE Mastery, the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook, Book of Fiends, and Envoys to the Mount, an epic campaign for the Blue Rose RPG. We also have our continuing line of fiction through Nisaba Press. Tales from the Mount is a fiction anthology that ties into Envoys to the Mount. Our latest novel is Sacred Band by Joseph D. Carriker.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is nothing new for us and it’s a method we’ll continue to use in the future. Our next campaign will be for the Fifth Season RPG, based on N.K. Jemisin’s terrific novel trilogy. We also have several previous crowdfunding campaigns that are nearing completion. Q Workshop has manufactured The Expanse Dice Sets for us and they should be shipping over from Europe soon so we can begin fulfilment (Pre-order now for an Exclusive set of Protogen Dice before they’re gone!). The Book of Fiends—our gorgeous 5E monster books of demons, devils, and daemons—is in layout with art pouring in. Then Sentinels of Earth-Prime, a card game that combines the Sentinels of the Multiverse rules with our Mutants & Masterminds setting, is art complete and we’re sending it to print. All of these titles will be available through normal channels after the fact if you missed the crowdfunding campaigns.

Virtual Tabletops

I don’t know about you, but I’ve done a lot of online roleplaying during quarantine. While we have had Mutants & Masterminds available on Fantasy Grounds for years, we now have a team that’s working to bring more Green Ronin titles to various virtual tabletops, including Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry. We’re now working on getting some of our AGE games, including The Expanse, up for play. We’ll also be doing things like token and map packs.

Sword Chronicle

Now available in Print On Demand at DrivethruRPG!

Print on Demand

Previously, we haven’t done much with print on demand books. In the early days I just didn’t think the quality was there, but this has improved vastly over where it was 10 years ago. We’re thus going to be offering more titles on DriveThruRPG with a print on demand option. Just last week we launched the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, which brings our world of Aldea to the 5E rules, with both POD and PDF options. The Sword Chronicle RPG that we launched last year also now has a POD option.

Electronic

We continue to release new fiction anthologies in epub/mobi/PDF. Recent titles include For Hart and Queen (Blue Rose), Powered Up! (Mutants & Masterminds), and Under a Black Flag (Freeport). Then we have RPG titles that are PDF only. These tend to be shorter releases like the Astonishing Adventures for Mutants & Masterminds. We have similar adventures in the works for Modern AGE and The Expanse. We also have our continuing series Danger Zones for Mutants & Masterminds.

Patreon

Another new avenue we are exploring is Patreon. We just launched a Mutants & Masterminds Patreon so check that out if you are a fan. It’s proving a convenient way to bring some older characters back in the Third Edition rules. Right now, we are just a few patrons away from unlock even more exclusive content. Once we reach that milestone, we will be adding location write-ups, with the top-tier patrons being included as shop owners or NPC characters in new monthly releases. That would be in addition to the weekly character stat blocks we release every Monday. If M&M goes well, we may explore Patreons for other games as well.

Streaming!Streaming

You may have noticed that we’ve been ramping up our online presence thanks to Troy, with things like Mutants & Masterminds Monday with Crystal Frasier and Steve Kenson and the new ThursdAGE with Owen Stephens. Expect to see more of that in the future. We’re also interested in hearing from you if you are streaming our games. Do you host a stream or podcast that uses a Green Ronin title? Do you have a favorite streamer/podcaster we should know about? Send those cast social details and a short explainer to letsplay@greenronin.com.

Onward

That’s the story for 2021. Hopefully, we can get through this year without rains of frogs or plagues of locusts or the like! If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting any or all of what I’ve talked about today. We’d love to see more of you on the M&M Patreon, for example, or reading our Nisaba Press fiction. Right now, we also have two offers going on the Bundle of Holding, one for Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE and one for The Expanse/Modern AGE. Those are great deals on the PDFs if you want to check those games out.

Thanks for all your support! We sincerely appreciate it. Stay safe out there and we hope to see you at cons again in 2022.

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.