Dive Into the Aquarium for M&M

Danger Zones: AquariumThe release of Danger Zones: Aquarium is a bit of time travel on our side of things, because Aquarium was actually the first of the Danger Zones written, used as an example of how to set-up and write about the other locations planned for the series. It didn’t end up being the first one released, since M&M Developer Crystal Fraiser was able to take the time to further develop her initial sample map design for the setting, which is why our resident polymath has writing, design, cartography, and graphic design credits for the product!

Aquarium sets forth all of the essential elements that we have grown to know and love about Danger Zones: a summary and description of the setting itself, a practical look at the rules useful in using that setting, in this case things like water tanks, schools of flesh-eating fish, thermal shocks from plunges in icy water, underwater combat, and the inevitable exploding giant tanks of water (and the penguins, mustn’t forget about the penguins). It sets out the essential Cast section with archetypes (the Animal Trainer, Giant Octopus, and Great White Shark), along with a named supporting character (marine biologist Dr. Naname Anno), then it wraps up with a Capers section with three M&M adventure ideas featuring the setting.

Speaking of adventure ideas, it’s easy to borrow from popular media when it comes to making use of the Aquarium as a setting for your M&M adventures:

Trouble in the Tanks

Perhaps the aquarium has recently acquired an unusual starfish that is actually an alien creature or bio-engineered mutant with strange powers. The heroes are tipped-off by people disappearing in and around the aquarium. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a starfish. It could be an alien hexxim mistaken for an unusual Earthly sea-creature, or even a very angry goldish with tremendous mental powers. The relatively recent evacuation of Star Island off the coast of Freedom City (part of our “Summer of Starhaven,” over on the Mutants & Masterminds Patreon) sets up the possibility for certain alien beings or elements left behind in the ocean.

Finding AnnoFear my scaly wrath!

Are the characters fish (or penguins, or other sea creatures) dreaming that they are superheroes, or superheroes transformed into sea-creatures by a villain (such as the sorceress Medea) and left in the Aquarium to wallow in watery exile, only barely aware of their true nature, while the villains rampage unrestricted through their city? What if, in true comic book fashion, the transformed heroes are able to communicate with their fellow sea-creatures and get them to help stage a “prison break” so they can find a way to restore their true forms? Maybe someone like the sympathetic Dr. Anno may be able to help. They had best get on it before the moray eel (or shark) who is secretly loyal to the villain can cause trouble, or Aquarium personnel decide their behavior is too much trouble and have to release them back into the sea, or worse, feed them to the aforementioned shark…

The Atlantis Abduction

Alternately, perhaps the aquarium is being used as a cover for some sinister operation by a supervillain or criminal organization. They have captured an Atlantean and are holding them for study (or possibly even for ransom). The Atlantean might even be a member of the royal House of Atlan, exerting some of their powers over water or sea-life to stir up strange incidents at the aquarium or the nearby ocean in order to draw attention to their plight. When the heroes investigate the strange goings-on, the villains decide to move their captive further inland, tipping their hand and giving the heroes the opportunity to intervene. They had best do so quickly, before the forces of Atlantis marshal to storm the surface world!

Biting Cold

Astonishing Adventures: A Cold Day in Midtown!Engaging setting details are one of the keys to producing exciting encounters and adventures in Mutants & Masterminds. Players will remember their epic fight atop a frozen crane which is buckling under the added weight of its ice, threatening to topple onto the streets below, a lot more than another battle in a 30 by 50 foot rectangle. A Cold Day in Midtown is one of those (astonishing!) adventures where the environment is as much an opponent as any of Madame Zero’s gathered rogues. GMs can lean into this frozen wasteland to really make this adventure shine and to increase the challenge facing their heroes.

The Gelid engine, Madame Zero’s newest doomsday device, is a constant obstacle for the heroes, and GMs should feel free to emphasize the damaging environment it is creating. In the adventure itself we call out these specific setbacks caused by the device:

  • In Scene 1 it only creates uncomfortable cold, but in Scenes 3 and 4 it generates intense cold and by Scene 5 it creates extreme cold.
  • The engine also impedes visibility, imposing a –2 circumstance penalty on Perception checks thanks to the driving snow and fog.
  • The icy roads impose a –5 circumstance penalty on Vehicles checks to control cars, Athletics checks to run or climb, and Speed power checks. You may call for a power check for a hero to run at full speed across the frozen streets of the city.
  • The violent winds impose a –2 circumstance penalty on Acrobatics checks, Vehicles check to control aircraft, and Flight power checks. You may call for a power check for a hero to fly at full speed in the turbulent atmosphere.

Consider just the first point here. That progressive cold can wreak havoc on an unprepared party. Basically it means that as the adventure goes on there are more and more chances for the heroes to become fatigued, then exhausted, then even incapacitated. That in of itself limits the amount of power stunting the characters can attempt, while increasing the amount of time it takes to accomplish their goals as their Speed ranks fall. All important factors when considering by the end they’ll be fighting as many as five assembled supervillains. It’s important to keep track of the passage of time in this adventure, as that determines how many Fortitude rolls the group will be making. Once per hour in Scene 1 and 2. Once every ten minutes in Scene 3 and 4 and once every minute in Scene 5.Madam Zero

The other setbacks, icy roads, high winds, and impeded visibility are also nothing to scoff at. These obstacles will affect everyone in the group, even those who are immune to the environmental cold. GMs seeking to challenge their groups further can come up with additional consequences of the Gelid Engine’s use. Perhaps snow banks build high enough throughout the city that regular land travel becomes next to impossible without Athletics or Acrobatics checks or Movement powers. Maybe the white out conditions provide a circumstance bonus to Stealth or outright Concealment for the VLPES Mercenaries moving throughout Freedom City. You could even have sporadic hail storms (Burst Area Damage 1-5) either produced by the Gelid Engine itself or from ice formations falling from skyscrapers add extra danger to failures on the various skill challenges throughout the adventure.

In summary, A Cold Day in Midtown is an excellent showcase of the ability for Environment (both as a power and as set dressing) can have on crafting memorable adventures in Mutants & Masterminds. Make that frozen wasteland as much of a character in the story as you can. With all of the tools at your disposal, even characters immune to cold will be hard-pressed to succeed. The more you lean into the dangers of the Gelid Engine, the more your players will feel the biting cold of Madame Zero’s Cold Front.

Astonishing Adventures: A Cold Day in Midtown is available now in the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG!

The Summer of Starhaven is Coming!

Sumer of Starhaven!

Society is in chaos, a city is born, and Europa needs heroes!

One of the most amazing things about starting Mutants & Masterminds Mondays and the M&M Patreon is our ability to hear directly from the fans about what excites them. The alien refuge city of Starhaven has been a setting element since the release of the Cosmic Handbook back in 2015, but aside from supporting details and the local villain, Null, in the SuperTeam Handbook, it has largely existed as a bit of background flavor.

But everyone was thrilled by the setting when our new designer, Alex Thomas, ran a live play adventure set in Starhaven for the Green Ronin staff. Fans were excited! We were excited! The shanty-singing robot pirates were excited! In the new Mutants & Masterminds Monday we even joked about making a Summer of Starhaven event and you told us you loved that idea.

So here we are, ready to kick off the Summer of Starhaven!

For real!

Star Island Bettin

We’re going to spend the summer of 2021 using the M&M Patreon to detail the fledgling city of Starhaven, a refugee colony on the nearby moon of Europa, into a full-fledged campaign setting for your Mutants & Masterminds game. It’s a community make up entirely of refugees carving out new lives in the ruins of an ancient Preserver ruin, dealing with political strife, differing cultures, overzealous oversight, and sinister factions looking to exploit the chaos—the sort of city that needs heroes!

But this isn’t going to be a straightforward campaign setting. We’re going to involve our patrons, casting you in the role of alien refugees who help shape the flavor of the city. You’ll vote on the city’s government, the regions the book explores in detail, and design a villain for the city as a whole group! We’ll post monthly articles delving into bits of Starhaven lore, and after the summer ends, we’ll collect and expand everything into a new book: The Guide to Starhaven, which includes all the patreon material and Alex’s Siege of Starhaven adventure to get your alien heroes started protecting their new home! Patrons will get a discount for all their help on the project, but the Guide itself will be available to every Mutants & Masterminds fan as a supplement for your own Earth-Prime campaigns!

The Summer of Starhaven will last three months—June, July, and August—so if you want to make your voice heard and help shape the city as it forms, tune in to Mutants & Masterminds Mondays and join the M&M Patreon!

 

Welcome Alex Thomas to the Ronin Roundtable!

Rogues Gallery

Some of Alex’s first freelance work for Green Ronin was in this very book!

Hello heroes! My name is Alex Thomas and I am the newest member of the Mutants & Masterminds team here at Green Ronin. Crystal asked me to come on board as her Assistant Developer and I am so excited to get started! My favorite genre in fiction is super heroes. There’s something about the larger than life nature, astonishing powers, and moral goodness of most super heroes that sparks my imagination and keeps me coming back for more.  These characters translate so well to the world of RPGs, and M&M is my favorite way to bring that fun to my table each week.

I’ve been playing Mutants & Masterminds for about 10 years now, and I have been a freelance writer for M&M since 2013. In that time, I’ve run over a hundred sessions of M&M at cons across the Midwest, streamed a number of M&M series on Twitch, and contributed to products from Rogues Gallery all the way to Danger Zones. Introducing new players to M&M and allowing them to play their favorite characters from film and comics is one of the great joys of my life.

Rogues Gallery: Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox was one of the first Villains Alex created for Mutants & Masterminds, and will even be featured in an upcoming Astonishing Adventure!

I actually got my start working in Mutants & Masterminds thanks to running a game at a convention. The convention did this thing where the guests of honor were placed in games by lottery. One of the guests of honor happened to be Steve Kenson that year. 15 minutes before my event started, someone from the con came up and asked me if it was okay for Steve to play in my game. I was SO unprepared, but Steve had a great time playing Deadshot in my Task Force X game, and afterwards he was gracious enough to get me in touch with Green Ronin to discuss freelancing, and I’ve been here ever since.

My first job as Assistant Developer is to help Crystal with the development duties on the Astonishing Adventures line. I will be spending the next few weeks learning the ropes and getting some exciting stories out to all of you. Thank you so much for letting me introduce myself, and happy gaming!

Mayday! May Day!

Astonishing Adventures: Green Thumb, Black Heart

Available now!

Happy May-ing season to all you fans and friends of Green Ronin Publishing out there. It’s certainly fitting timing for the release of our new agrarian-themed Astonishing Adventure, Green Thumb, Black Heart”  featuring one of our classic Freedom City villains, the Green Man, along with an update of his loyal hench-women, the Brides of the Green.

This adventure was another in the classic pulp writing tradition of “So, we have this cover design, who wants to write an adventure to go with it?” I find that sort of a thing a great springboard for the imagination, far more focused than “Create a superhero adventure” out of all of the endless possibilities that entails. If you are inclined to write your own adventures for Mutants & Masterminds, you might try a similar technique: Find yourself an evocative piece of art and write an adventure based around it. Not only will you have added focus for your creativity, but you’ll have a ready-made visual aid to show your players when you run the adventure!

“Green Thumb, Black Heart” is a pretty classic superhero mix of different types of conflicts (some easy, others far more challenging) coupled with a mystery and an investigation. It’s designed for the default power level of 10, although it can be modified, and it is set in Freedom City, but can just as easily be moved to any urban setting of your choice, or even a more suburban or rural setting, so long as there’s a college, a football team, and some kind of nightlife to work with. I could even see it working in a place like Midvale (from The Atlas of Earth-Prime) substituting the high school football team for college and the Future Farmers of America or 4H Club for the college’s agronomy program. Speaking of the Atlas, the Lost World section of that book provides some handy expansion for the background of the adventure, but isn’t at all needed to run it.

If you want to add a touch of the mystical to the adventure, consider setting it around this time of the year and connecting lore about Beltane and May Day to it. Perhaps there is a sacrifice or an offering to the mythic Green Man intended to enhance the criminal Green Man’s powers even more. That makes it an adventure opportunity for magically experienced heroes who have completed (or are playing through) the NetherWar series, for example.

Whether you are running the adventure as part of your ongoing series or just as a one-shot to give your players a taste of M&M superheroic adventure, we hope you have a great time with “Green Thumb, Black Heart” and check out the whole Astonishing Adventures line of M&M stories! And we hope you enjoy the upcoming month of May!

 

Astonishing Adventures: Green Thumb, Black Heart is available now in the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DrivethruRPG!

Living in Dev-Time

Dev-Time is a lot like Time Travel

Dev-Time is a lot like Time Travel!

“When is that book going to be done? When?”

It can be strange living in what I call “dev-time” (or “development time”) because eagerly-awaited projects are often not just yesterday’s news for me as a writer but most likely last year’s news at times. The development cycle of a book, much less an entire game, is a fairly long one, and getting all of the words written is among the very first steps. Typically, I may get to see a project at the concept stage, getting in on discussion of whether or not to do it at all, along with what it might look like, contain, and so forth. More often, I get involved at or after the outline stage, when the overall concept of the book is pretty well established, and the developer is looking for someone to write stuff. That’s me.

Now, these days, I don’t write too many entire books for RPG publishers, including Green Ronin. While product development time for a book is long, actual writing time is relatively short. So unless I’m publishing a book myself (as I do with Icons Superpowered Roleplaying) and can take 4 to 6 months to write it all, or I’m working with an extended publisher timeline that allows me to write sixty to eighty thousand words or more, chances are I’m only writing a part of a book, a chapter or two (maybe three). Solo projects tend to be short: adventures, Patreon write-ups, articles, and the like, and many of those also get incorporated into larger books or collections.

I get my assignment, write it, and (ideally) hand it off at the appointed deadline. There’s feedback, development, revisions, new drafts, and then I hand over a final version of the text. Typically, that’s where my involvement ends. Sure, an editor might have the occasional “what were you thinking here?” question (tinged with varying degrees of frustration) or an art director might need notes or “does it look like this?” confirmation but, for the most part, my text sails off to those other shores to continue the rest of its journey towards becoming a finished book without me. That can sometimes be a long journey, even under the best of conditions. When conditions look like they have over the past year or so … even longer.

Thus the eagerly-awaited book someone is looking forward to is already in my rear-view mirror, often several exits back behind other recent projects I have handed off, some of which the public hasn’t even heard about yet. There’s a running joke in the freelance business that sometimes the only answer to a polite inquiry of “So what are you working on these days?” is “Upholding my non-disclosure agreement.” Dev-time is such that many projects aren’t even announced publicly at the time when people are writing them, although there may be rumors (the tabletop game industry being quite small and tight-knit).

While I have moved-on to other projects, the words I’ve already written are sailing through development, editing, layout, illustration, and proofreading. If they’re destined to see print, there will also be preflight checks, print buying and quotes, print proofs, and more before the book is finally handed-off to the printer. Even then, there’s printing, binding, shipping, warehousing, and distribution before it finds its way to a game store or gets shipped off to the buyer. In every one of those steps there is both margin for error and the potential for things to go wrong. I mentioned before about “ideally” handing off my text by the agreed-upon deadline. I pride myself on getting my work in on time, but life happens. This past summer, I took a fall off my bicycle and fractured my hip. While my recuperation didn’t overly impact my ability to work, allowances still needed to be made. Multiply that times all of the people who touch a project before it sees print and you magnify those allowances accordingly. People get injured, sick, divorced, married, pregnant, quit or take on new jobs, lose loved ones, run into financial problems, and all of life’s other challenges, to say nothing of encountering global pandemics, political upheavals, and more—all in the same year!

So if anyone involved in the publishing process of a book or product ever looks vaguely bewildered concerning its eagerly-anticipated release, it is quite possible that they exist in “dev-time.” From their perspective, that project has been “done” for some time, and it’s not that they’re not eager to see the finished products (believe me, there are several of my projects I’m looking forward to actually holding in my hands), it’s just that they’ve had to move on to other things in the meanwhile. Patience and understanding that there is more going on behind the scenes than you know will always get you a kinder response.

The Beacon – Danger Zones: Lighthouse is available now!

Danger Zones: Lighthouse!Lighthouses conjure up all kinds of images of moody, Gothic stories of mystery, hauntings, and murder along isolated, lonely coastlines, and those are just some of the things explored in this week’s Danger Zones: Lighthouse  release. Our weekly Mutants & Masterminds Monday live-stream talks about some of those themes involving lighthouses and the occult adventures in the Supernatural Handbook, but that is by no means the sole opportunity to have a lighthouse appear as a locale in your Mutants & Masterminds game.

Lighthouses often play a role as the interface between land and sea, making them important to aquatic superheroes, for example, or their supporting characters. It would not be at all unusual for an aquatic hero to live at a lighthouse or work as a lighthouse-keeper in their civilian identity. Such a hero might also have a lighthouse-keeper as a friend, family-member, or love interest. Similarly, an aquatic super-villain might also make use of a lighthouse as a touchstone on land and a potential hideout. Perhaps someone like Devil Ray from Freedom City or Steelhead (or any of the Trident from Threat Report) use connections to a lighthouse keeper to blackmail them into helping provide a safe-haven or base of operations.

As lighthouses are already watch-posts (the Freedom League’s orbiting satellite is even named for one), they can also be potential headquarters for a superhero team based in a coastal area. The lighthouse described in Danger Zones is only three stories tall, but duplicate the second floor map a few times, and it could easily be a five- to six-story lighthouse with room for an entire team. Even more so if there are hidden sea-caves or the like beneath the actual lighthouse structure, with room for a submersible or the ability to launch an aircraft up out of the water.

It’s also difficult to think of lighthouses in the Earth-Prime setting without thinking of the Beacon, one of Freedom City’s lesser-known legacy heroes (described on page 58 of Freedom City, with the Light-Bearer template on page 69). Perhaps a new Beacon, or even a team of heroes who inherit the potential of the Living Light, might set up shop in a lighthouse along the coast or on an island near Freedom City, shining the light of hope in the darkness for all in need.

However you might use it, check out Danzer Zones: Lighthouse and all of the entries in the Danger Zones series for your Mutants & Masterminds and modern RPG adventures!

Danger Zones: Lighthouse is available now in the Green Ronin Online Store, as well as on DrivethruRPG!

Time Is Fleeting: Active Campaign Settings

Madness takes its toll … but before we launch into a chorus of “The Time Warp,” let’s talk about time as it applies to RPG campaign settings, in particular some of those published by Green Ronin.

Freedom City Second Edition!It begins a long while ago, the 1990s, to be specific. That was when I first began to experience the notion of an “activated” game setting. Shortly before I began freelancing for FASA Corporation, the publishers of BattleTech and Shadowrun made a point of making their respective gaming universes “active” ones, places where time passed. In the case of Shadowrun, the setting was 61 years in the future, and stayed that way as time went on. Time also marched on in BattleTech’s universe, although more prone to jumping ahead a generation or two after a couple of epic wars. Then came the multiversal campaign of Torg, with it’s “live” monthly newsletter updates of the Possibility Wars.

Many other RPGs adopted what came to be known as a “metaplot,” an advancing timeline where things happened in the setting whether you were actively playing in it or not. Sometimes, a setting would start out fairly static, as it was fleshed out and detailed, and would later be “activated” to launch a metaplot and moving timeline (as was the case later on with FASA’s fantasy RPG Earthdawn).

I worked on or with all of these settings in one form or another, so the notion of an activated campaign setting became pretty common for me. Along comes the d20 System, the Open Game License, and my career at Green Ronin Publishing. I was involved with two settings right out of the gate: the world of Aldea for Blue Rose and Freedom City (what would later become Earth-Prime) for Mutants & Masterminds. Both started off as static settings, “snapshots” of a moment in time of their particular worlds. Arguably, we “activated” Freedom City when Time of Crisis, its first full adventure, was published, but at the time the adventure was an “optional” event.

It was when the second edition of Mutants & Masterminds (and Freedom City) came along a couple of years later that things got more active. Given my prior experiences, it seemed like a fun idea to not only update the stats and expand on the world information in Freedom City, Second Edition, but also to have the same amount of time pass on Earth-Prime as had passed in our world. Things changed a bit: younger characters grew up, some graduated or moved on (Bowman joining the Freedom League, for example). It gave the setting a bit of life and animation.

Then, of course, it was a given. The same thing applied to Green Ronin’s Freeport setting, where prior adventures like the original trilogy were assumed to have happened in future source material, moving the timeline of the setting forward steadily. When we published a second (AGE System) edition of Blue Rose, we advanced the timeline there, too. Some things changed in the setting, most notably the fall of the Lich King Jarek and his replacement by the council of “regents” made up of his lieutenants, the Shadowed Seven.Freedom City Third Edition!

The funny thing about putting a fictional setting into motion is that you don’t always think that much about the long-view of things. Part of the reason why fictional properties like comic books tend to be a bit vague on the specifics of time is precisely because their stories and characters often last for decades. If you had told me back then that Freedom City and its characters would still be a going concern eighteen years later … well, that notion of having things happen in real time might have seemed less “fun.” We certainly wouldn’t have needed to retire or replace some characters from the original setting, or update others.

On the other hand, we would have also been denied some of the various events that changed their lives. The young members of the Atom Family grew to adulthood. Heroes like Johnny Rocket, originally the junior member of the Freedom League, became seasoned veterans. Johnny is now married and raising a daughter who’ll soon be ready for a super-powered career of her own!

So it’s probably no great surprise that when we began updating some of those forgotten characters from the earlier editions of Mutants & Masterminds products that readers would ask “But where are they now?” leading to the creation of companion pieces to our updates for the M&M Patreon that address just that question. Oftentimes, the answers are related to exactly why we didn’t include those characters in later setting updates: Because it was clear they would be retired, out of the costumed life, or just plain dead by now.

Nevertheless, those “Whatever Happened to…?” articles manage to be full of potential and interesting adventure hooks, drawing upon the idea that time has passed and things have changed for these characters. Long-time fans of the classic versions from a fifteen year-old sourcebook can speculate about what happened, while those new to Mutants & Masterminds and Earth-Prime get some story hooks rich in history and the kind of superhero legacy elements the setting was designed to support. That definitely adds some value to the updated game information we’re providing.

If you’re interested in seeing some of what we’re doing with these updated character write-ups, visit and support the Mutants & Masterminds Patreon. As we know, time is fleeting.

Mutants & Masterminds Patreon!

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!

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!