Threefold’s Five and Infinity Goes Serial

So, if you’ve been following Modern AGE, and specifically the Threefold setting, you might be wondering if there’s more to come, given that we called it our “flagship setting.” The answer: Yes! We’re putting together Five and Infinity, a series of adventures and adventure generators for Threefold.

Fine and Infinity, an adventure anthology for the Threefold setting for Modern AGE(What! What’s Threefold? It’s the Modern AGE setting of innumerable planes of existence, each aligned to some combination of high magic, dark forces, and high technology. Heroes typically represent the Sodality, who explore the planes and protect the people they meet, or Aethon, a cabal of posthuman spies working to shape Earth and its alternate timelines. They must contend with strange worlds, interdimensional crime lords, mad scientists, warlocks, and alastors, demon-lords of the Netherworlds. Read more here.)

Five and Infinity was originally slated to be a print release, but this being the era of COVID-19, we’ve had to change that, for reasons discussed here. Instead, we’ll be presenting it as a PDF series with the following parts:

Chapter 0—Adventure Generator: Written by Jesse Heinig, this series of tables outlines adventures for you! This is a taster for the rest of the series, so it’ll cost around a buck, to grab you.

Chapter 1—Hunting Night: Ron Rummell’s adventure takes you after a fallen spider goddess and her brood as they unwittingly invade earth. For Characters of levels 1 to 4.

Chapter 2—The Dreaming Crown: Psychic renegades threaten to wreck diplomatic contact with a new plane. What’s their real agenda? It’s by Steve Kenson, so you know it’s good. For Characters of levels 1 to 4.

Chapter 3—The Soul Trade: Neall Raemonn Price spins an adventure about souls as drugs, multiple dystopias, and pilots who can’t tell which reality they belong to. For characters of levels 5 to 8.

Chapter 4—The Midnight Gold: Visit a demonic casino in a hell of industrial despair, where your debts are literal chains, to free the soul of a foolish gambler and interfere in the politics of Inimicals, the rules of the Netherworlds. Crystal Frasier’s imagination pops in this one. For characters of levels 9 to 12.

Chapter 5—Threshold of Apocalypse: Meghan Fitzgerald is one of the best writer-developers in her cohort so I’m grateful she wrote this adventure, where a time loop beings characters to the literally end of everything, where they must decide if what comes after the end is worth saving. For characters of levels 13 to 16.

These adventures aren’t a campaign per se, but have built-in connections to let you run them that way. In some ways it’s Threefold’s answer to Blue Rose’s Six of Swords (on this page as a collection or individual adventures), which happens to have been my first work for Green Ronin.

There’s some beautiful potential storytelling in Five and Infinity, and Chapter 0 will be available next week. Watch this space!

Modern AGE in Rough Times (Ronin Roundtable)

Hello Modern AGE fans. I hope you are your families are doing well. COVID-19 has obviously made gaming tricky for some of you. As for me, I run my game using the Threefold setting most Tuesdays. I use Zoom with a little Discord on the side so I can see and hear my friends, who I miss dearly. I’m glad to have a way for us to share time together.

Five and Infinity

Second, I’m running through the adventures in Five and Infinity, the adventure book for the Threefold setting for Modern AGE. As our flagship setting, Threefold was always intended to get ongoing support. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had made printing and distribution all but impossible, even though the book was very close to print.

Thus, what we’ll be doing is releasing Five and Infinity online, in serialized form. Part 0 introduces a Threefold story generator, which we’ll share with you for the princely sum of… $1. The story generator allows you to roll up a basic outline for Threefold adventures, and the parameters are broad enough that much of it can be used for your own Modern AGE settings as well.

After that, each adventure will be released in turn. These adventures include two covering level 1-4, and one each for levels 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16. Loose connections between them allow you to turn Five and Infinity into a true campaign, but this is entirely optional; each adventure is also fully self-contained. And these adventures pack a wallop, since they include alien spiders, psychic terrorists, soul smuggling, infiltrating Hell and, to top it all off, the destruction of the Earth. Ron Rummell, Steve Kenson, Neall Raemonn Price, Crystal Frasier, Meghan Fitzgerald, and Jesse Heinig will guide you through it all. Watch for it.

Modern AGE Missions

Beyond the Threefold setting (though certainly compatible with it) we launched the Modern AGE Missions adventure series shortly before COVID-19 started to affect our operations. Warflower¸ the first mission by yours truly, is a scenario for starting characters that mixes alchemy, designer drugs, corporate espionage, and medieval swordplay You can pick it up in our store or on DrivethruRPG.

The next mission is due next quarter, and is an official adaptation of the infamous Feral Hogs scenario, originally run by the Dice Priori streaming gang. Members Chase Schneider and Matthew Foreman were kind enough to refine this post-apocalyptic, ham-plentiful scenario about guns, trucks, energy drinks, online retail distribution centers turned fortress towns, and 30-50…well, you know what. Look for it when it arrives in our store and DrivethruRPG.

Big Books

Let’s just say this isn’t an ideal time for hardcover releases. Yet last month we released Enemies & Allies, a full-fledged core sourcebook on creatures and NPCs for Modern AGE covering appropriate friends and foes for both down to earth and fantastic genres. Whether you need a cyborg to hunt the party or a mob doctor, this book has you covered with not only dozens of individual entries, but rules for the genres they exist in, and a section telling you how to build your own NPCs from the ground up. This book was in fact printed and distributed, but nowadays, it might be easier to get electronically from our store or DrivethruRPG.

Waiting in the wings, we have the Modern AGE Mastery Guide, a new book of options and advice for both players and Game Masters. This book is text-complete and edited, but is waiting for a better moment to enter the production cycle.

Modern AGE on Sale as Part of Green Ronin’s 20th Anniversary

One more thing! Be aware that until April 20, Green Ronin’s online store is running a 20% sale on numerous releases to celebrate our 20th anniversary. That includes the following Modern AGE titles (all electronic, because, well COVID-19 has not played well with shipping and distribution):

This is where we’re at, and this is what we’ve got. Be safe, and play well.

Ronin Report, April 15, 2020

tl;dr: Things in distribution are challenging; Green Ronin is adapting and new releases are on the way. Please buy our PDFs if you’d like to support us during the current crisis.

Fantasy AGE Lairs: The Night Market (Ronin Roundtable)

This week I get to branch out from The Expanse RPG and explore one of the Green Ronin lines I’m less familiar with, Fantasy AGE.  Specifically, I’m looking at Fantasy AGE Lairs (Pre-order and PDF on sale now!).  I’m most familiar with the AGE system from The Expanse and Modern AGE but having read the core book cover to cover I’ve been dying to give Fantasy AGE a try. Since my writing time is precious, I was looking for something that I could pick up and use right away. Skimming through Lairs I saw right away that there was a lot of opportunity here for one shot adventures or side stories that easily be inserted into an existing campaign. Some have enough depth that they could even form the basis for a new campaign. Being a fan of the dark and macabre and both the book and movie Something Wicked This Way Comes I was immediately drawn to The Night Market by Mark Carrol so that’s where my journey into Fantasy AGE Lairs began. I try to avoid major spoilers but if you’re a player in a Fantasy AGE campaign and think your GM might use this book, I suggest stopping here.

The Night Market offers a rich and dark setting that can easily fit into almost any fantasy campaign. The Night Market moves about so it could set up near any village or hamlet. For that matter, with only a little modification, I could see using this lair in a Modern AGE campaign with a supernatural bent. The player characters come across a wandering market filled with curiosities: acrobats, fortune tellers, merchants with strange trinkets, and sideshows abound. Even without an adventure hook this is exactly the type of diversion that most players will immediately be drawn too. I’ve never known a group of PCs who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to explore a mysterious carnival!

The thing I liked most about the Night Market is that the setting alone could provide hours of entertainment without ever introducing the adventure that is included. In fact, I could envision the market appearing multiple times in a campaign before the characters uncover its secrets and face off against the villain. The adventure is geared toward higher level characters although the lair itself could be used for characters of any level. Both enemies and possible allies are described in the setting with some of their motivations being left in the hands of the GM.

The adventure is fairly straightforward: people in the vicinity of the market have gone missing and while investigating the PCs meet a ghost (a victim of the main villain) who offers to help them. The powers behind the Night Market are not trivial and could prove to be a powerful and dangerous enemy. As I discussed earlier, this setting is well suited as a reoccurring villain and the Adventure Seeds at the end set this up well. The heroes may rescue the missing villagers and even overcome the villain but he may appear again in a different guise.

The Night Market is definitely one of my favorites and pretty much exactly the kind of entry I look for in a book like Fantasy AGE Lairs and I highly recommend this book for GMs who are looking for individual settings and adventures or just to fuel your imagination. I expect this setting or something close to it will show up in one of my games in the near future!


Check out our previous previews for Fantasy AGE Lairs:
The Battle of the Beleaguered GM
School’s. In. For. EVER!
Getting More than Gothic with the Ghoul Prince

And don’t forget that the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook is currently FREE to download!

COVID-19 IMPACT ON GREEN RONIN OPERATIONS

To All Our Community,

As the nation and the world take the vital and necessary steps to slow and limit the spread of Covid-19, Green Ronin Publishing will be suspending shipment of wholesale and online orders of hardcopy products, in order to keep distribution, warehouse, and shipping workers safe. Our distribution partners are doing the same, as are game stores and retailers in many communities, and we appreciate their efforts and sacrifice for the greater good. If you have an outstanding order for print products, they will be filled when the warehouse re-opens (hopefully, sometime in April). 

Why Not Buy Someone a Green Ronin Gift CardIf you’d like to support Green Ronin right now, the best thing you can do is buy some of our electronic products in our online store or DriveThruRPG. We also offer Gift Cards, as a great way to lend your support while waiting for future products or for our warehouse crew to be allowed back to work. If you’re interested in our Blue Rose RPG and fiction, there are still five days for you to get the Blue Rose Bundle of Holding that offers a great deal on both. If you’re in a place to be able to provide direct support, you could toss a coin to your game devs through PayPal.

We are already looking at new and different ways to bring you products for the games you love and are reworking our release schedule to account for these changes. Fortunately, Green Ronin is a “digitally distributed” company spread across the continent and most of us work remotely already, so this does not change our usual work routines in that regard. We’ll continue to provide you with news and updates on all of our plans through our website and our social media.

That said, please be aware that our staff is dealing with new routines at home and in caring for family and loved ones, as are many of you. We ask that you please be patient and kind, knowing that we will do our best to address any questions or concerns you may have.

We’re exploring ways to play and offer our games online in more depth, including more digital releases, the possibilities of online demo games, streams, and partnering with online game and teleconferencing platforms. Members of the team are reaching out to make introductions now, so keep your eye out for our visiting dignitaries. If you are part of a community that plays and enjoys Green Ronin games, we want to know about you! Drop us a line at letsplay@greenronin.com and let’s talk about how we can support your community’s creativity and fun.

For twenty years, Green Ronin has imagined and created, and has given you tools to imagine and create, and we intend to continue to do so. Imagine with us, and there’s nothing we can’t do.

 

Onward,

Chris Pramas and Green Ronin Publishing

Stay Home and Play Fantasy AGE … For Free!

Free Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook PDFFantasy AGE for free: As many of you already know, we are having a 20th anniversary sale right now that puts almost everything in our online store on sale at 20% off until April 20. We are taking that a step further by making the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook PDF free for the duration of the sale.

We know a lot of folks are at home now, anxious and looking for a distraction. Please enjoy Fantasy AGE on us. We hope it helps. If you like what you see, we have a bunch of support material that’s part of the sale. We also have Lairs, the latest Fantasy AGE book, up for pre-order right now. It’s super useful for the GM, providing a collection of themed encounters and villains that can easily be turned into full adventures.

If you’d like to explore some of our other games, we have free quickstarts available for most of our RPGs. If you haven’t gotten your kids into gaming yet, this is a good opportunity, and games that use our Adventure Game Engine (Fantasy AGE, Blue Rose, Modern AGE, The Expanse, Dragon Age) are all good choices for that.

Stay safe out there, everyone.

Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale

Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale

20 For 20 Sale

2020 is Green Ronin’s 20th anniversary, and to celebrate we’re having a site wide sale of all our games and accessories. Everything in the Green Ronin Online Store is for sale for 20% off through April 20, 2020, except for active pre-orders like Lairs for Fantasy AGE and Enemies & Allies for Modern AGE. We really appreciate all the support you’ve given us over the years, so please enjoy some great games at a great price!

Warflower (Modern AGE Missions PDF) Now Available

Warflower (Modern AGE Missions PDF) Available NowThe Warflower inspires medieval sword masters and drug dealing alchemists alike, to discover its secrets—and kill for them. When this obscure 15th Century book gets stolen, strange, violent factions battle over its destiny, influenced by hidden forces who want the book’s secrets for themselves. Your team must uncover the secret contained in the Warflower’s pages—and your Game Master decides what that mystery is.

Warflower is an adventure for Modern AGE characters levels 1 to 4, with rules to play in any Mode and multiple options for its central mystery, so Game Masters can adapt it to supernatural, high-tech, or down to earth campaigns. 

Originally the official Green Ronin Freebooter adventure introducing Modern AGE at Gencon 2018, Warflower has been revised and laid out with art as a PDF everyone can enjoy. Set in our early 21st Century, the adventure is otherwise suitable for multiple campaign settings, from your own to Green Ronin’s Threefold.

Warflower is the first offering in the Modern AGE Missions series. Modern AGE Missions are single serving PDF adventures designed as one shots or to be integrated into ongoing campaigns. Look for future Modern AGE Missions alongside other Modern AGE electronic offerings.

Check out Modern AGE’s published settings: Lazarus (or Lazarus PDF here) and Threefold (or Threefold PDF here)

Modern AGE’s Enemies & Allies: Getting Normal (Ronin Roundtable)

Last time I posted about Enemies & Allies I talked about some of the ideas that went into design and development, but I used the chapters on fantasy, horror, and science fiction to illustrate my points. See this post for a rundown on this book of characters and creatures and you’ll notice something: two more chapters covering more down to earth subjects. Chapter 2: Elite Operatives covers some of the highly skilled figures of espionage, technothriller fiction, and some procedurals. Chapter 4: Crime and Punishment, gets into crooks and cops. Let’s talk about the ideas informing these chapters.

Who’s after you? Your character may not know but with Enemies & Allies, your GM does.

Elite Operatives: Aid and Opposition

Dylan Birtolo’s chapter covers a slate of highly skilled Non-Player Characters. In this case, the important thing was to populate the chapter with interesting, useful NPCs. This chapter’s primary focus is action and espionage, so we have the Armored Soldier, Double Agent, Field Agent, and Field Commander. In addition, we present the unique NPC Clara Lynch, a martial arts expert with military connections who can act as a gateway to the other elite characters in the book. In addition, we present the Negotiator and Publicist not only because not all highly skilled NPCs are combatants, but because they can provide valuable aid in areas typical characters aren’t good at.

This is not to say that we locked every character in this chapter to a straightforward function! Dylan included two entries that were generally useful, and deserved inclusion. First, the Robot Dog represents an automated threat or potential guardian based on cutting edge realistic technology. Many of us have seen the new generation of agile robots. The Robot Dog combines them with other innovations in artificial intelligence and, for the armed model, automatic targeting.

The Law and the Lawless: Populating the Underbelly

Ron Rummell’s chapter covers criminal and law enforcement. Both these elements are essential to modern games in virtually every genre, so we were especially careful to make it broadly useful. One of the most important aspects of this chapter is that it doesn’t limit itself to potential combatants, but NPCs covering the range of underworld and law enforcement figures who might appear in the campaign. Characters probably won’t get in shootouts with the Pickpocket, but that NPC may have stumbled across important information, or taken off with an object critical to the campaign. The Police Chief may not be on the front line, but they can call a citywide manhunt where Player Characters might join in or be its targets.

The other important element in this chapter was to carefully examine where any cultural biases may have pushed us, because these tend to manifest strongly in stories involving crime and the law. That manifested in how we developed the text, but also in how the art turned out. This means, for instance, that the image associated with the Mob Boss is that of an Asian woman who isn’t surrounded by the motifs associated with any stereotypical elements of any nationality’s organized crime group. Beyond ethical considerations, this gives the GM a sense of breathing room to devise their own groups.

After Enemies & Allies

This concludes my series about the book, but Modern AGE has more to come. Next time you read anything from me, it’ll probably be about Five and Infinity, the adventure series for Threefold—a setting that happens to accept Enemies & Allies as completely canonical. Talk to you then.

Developer’s Notes for Enemies & Allies (Ronin Roundtable)

With Enemies & Allies for Modern AGE coming up for release in March (although the pre-order and PDF are available now!), I thought I’d briefly share the thinking that guided my development. On the surface, a book of NPCs and creatures seems pretty straightforward: Cram the game statistics in, do the art notes, and get it out the door (well, to Production, who turns it into a book instead of text files). This is exactly why I wanted to do Enemies & Allies differently. So here, in no particular order, are some ideas that shaped the book. Some were mine; others belong to fellow authors.

All he wants is you. The Chameleon borrows lives with the new extraordinary power of Psychic Shapeshifting, found in Enemies & Allies.

Genre and Context

The most important thing about the book is that I wanted to provide ways to situate these characters and creatures in their respective genres. That’s why the book is divided into genre-based (covering fantasy, horror, elite modern operatives, cops and crooks, and science fiction), and each chapter begins with optional rules to make the genre work with the chapter’s entries and in Modern AGE generally.

Separation of Powers

Urban fantasy and horror are very closely related—so close that the point of difference can be a tricky judgment call. This is why I used the difference between magic and psychic powers in Modern AGE as a guiding principle. Fantasy creatures are generally categorized as magical, while entries related to the horror genre are linked to psychic phenomena. But since this is in some ways a division of convenience, Enemies & Allies gives you advice on switching things around.

Broader Horror

Written by Matthew Dawkins, the Horrors and Witnesses chapter of the book is all about scary monsters and malevolent NPCs, but the content may be a bit different than other horror RPG offerings. Weirdly enough, this is because horror in roleplaying games tends to hang around the Gothic horror and Lovecraftian weird tale genres. We don’t disparage or entirely exclude those things—indeed, we include specific rules to enforce Gothic themes, if you want them, and the Anomaly is certainly a being out of a weird tale—but this book also harkens to pop-horror roads less traveled, from enemies that pull you into dark dreams to the dangerous results of covert paranormal research. Plus of course, ghosts.

Cyberpunk and Secret Science

Tanya DePass’ Science’s Edge chapter was designed to work with both contemporary and near-future games. We’re well aware that cyberpunk is a popular genre for RPGs, and for Modern AGE campaigns specifically, but we didn’t want to leave out games inspired by science fiction set in the modern day. Thus, the characters in this chapter aren’t stuck to any specific period. You might encounter the book’s Bioroid Assassin in a setting where part-organic androids are common, or in one where they’re built by a secret cabal—or sent back in time on a lethal mission.

Folklore and Modern Fantasy

Will Sobel’s Arcane Beings chapter, covering modern fantasy, doesn’t update classic fantasy creatures, but draws from recent folklore too. Legends not only persist, but are transformed and supplanted over time, and the chapter reflects that. It’s why the book has Quantum and Atomic Elementals, a mind-altering cryptid, and even the Headless Horseman, instead of just giving some elves guns and tattoos and calling it a day.

Other AGE Creatures Exist

One of the book’s appendixes talks about converting creatures back and forth between Modern AGE, Fantasy AGE, and Blue Rose, and I outlined the book well aware of the fact that Adventure Game Engine Game Masters routinely convert things from one book to another. That’s why I asked the book’s authors to avoid repeating creatures covered in other books unless they were highly appropriate, or, like ghosts, the most essential legendary beings. This seems to have inspired some amazing creative decisions on the part of the team, including the authors of the chapters mentioned above, and it means that fans of multiple AGE games can enjoy some added value.