Nisaba Press Fiction: Lancelot (Mutants & Masterminds Novella)

Cover of Lancelot, a Mutants & Masterminds novella by Richard Lee Byers. Image depicts Britannia, a superhero with long, blonde hair and a red, white, and black suit featuring a stylized lion. She stands confidently, hands on hips, facing the viewer.We are pleased to present a new novella for our Mutants & Masterminds line, Lancelot by Richard Lee Byers!

The new hero is very helpful, assisting Britannia in putting down rampaging dinosaurs, and helping her rescue hostages. But as two nations escalate a simple question of borders into threatened war, their respective patriotic heroes come into conflict as well, and someone seems to be fanning the flames. Britannia finds herself questioning what this new hero’s purpose is, and who her allies really are. It will all come to a head over the Atlantic Ocean, as hero battles hero, and treachery is afoot.

Buy Lancelot today! ($4.95 purchase includes PDF, mobi, and epub formats.)

Nisaba Press Update: Height of the Storm!

Last year, we announced Height of the Storm, the first novel for the Mutants & Masterminds line, by Aaron Rosenberg. Well, we’re counting down the weeks now ‘til publication, so we wanted to give you a sneak peek!

Height of the Storm is about a teenager who gets caught up in some pretty big events. Lindsay Seldon, though, is no normal teenager. The granddaughter of a real superhero, Lindsay grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps, but his overprotectiveness of his orphaned granddaughter keeps her out of the fight. But, caught up in an unnatural storm, Lindsay now has powers of her own, powers that her disability has prepared her for in ways she never imagined.

Donning her grandfather’s old armor, she sets out to thwart a villain bent on revenge.

Height of the Storm will be coming out in August, and will be available at Gen Con! Aaron will be there, so if you want to get your book signed, be sure to keep an eye out for our signings.

In the meantime, please enjoy an excerpt, and this first look at the cover of Height of the Storm, by the incredible Dale Ray DeForest. For more about Aaron, please visit http://gryphonrose.malibulist.com/, and for more about Dale, please see http://www.daledeforest.com/.


**

Lindsay gulped and tried to maintain her composure. This was not going at all the way she expected. “That’s not happening,” she replied, pleased to not hear her voice waver. “Put down the gun and submit to arrest, or I will be forced to subdue you.” She rested her hand on the hilt of the sword hanging at her side. Maybe she should have drawn it first.

The mugger’s eyes narrowed. “A sword?” he asked, chuckling. “You for real? I’ve got a gun, sweetheart. You try that, you’re gonna get hurt.” She wondered why didn’t his voice waver at all. Probably because he’d done this, or something like it, a thousand times.

Well, he’d never faced the Knight Light before.

Frowning, she drew her sword—and he shot her. Full in the chest. Dead center even. Well, he’d had plenty of time to aim, she thought ruefully as the impact knocked her off her feet. I’ll have to work on that.

As she fell, Lindsay flailed, both arms shooting forward in an instinctive attempt to latch onto something, anything. If there was one thing she was an expert at, it was falling. Her right hand shot out and grabbed onto the light post, which was a good ten feet away, causing both the mugger and his intended victims—who had stayed there frozen this whole time—to gasp.

But her left hand nailed the mugger in the jaw, the weights in her gauntlet causing his head to snap back from the impact. Gotcha!

Finally, Lindsay’s training kicked in. She was still in mid-air—it was like time had slowed for her, the fraction of a second required to fall feeling like an eternity—and so she brought her left knee up, positioning her foot to hit the ground properly even as she extended her right leg and brought it around and out, knee locked, foot extended into a proper sweep kick.

Time snapped back into place. She was stable and secure, thanks to both her left foot and her right hand, and her right leg took the still-staggering mugger just above the ankles. The impact jarred Lindsay—most likely taking her hip out, which unfortunately she was all too used to—but it swept him off his feet. He hit the ground hard, landing on his back with enough force to drive the air from his lungs as the gun flew from his hand, clattering to rest a few feet beyond his reach even as Lindsay released her grip on the lamppost and rose to her feet, striding over to stand above him.

Perfect!

She winced as the motion aggravated her hip—definitely out of place, probably the knee with it—and her chest, which felt bruised despite the bullet-stopping heavy links. Thanks, Granddad. She hoped she was keeping all of that out of her face and voice, though, as she turned to face the two women. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, thank you!” the one on the right managed. The other one just nodded energetically, wringing her hands. “That was amazing!”

“Thank you,” Lindsay told her, feeling the same thrill she’d had whenever she’d completed a training maneuver successfully, only a thousand times more. “You two should get on home now. Be safe.”

“We will,” they promised. “Thank you!” And they rushed off, glancing back at her several times. Lindsay did her best not to grin like a little kid on Christmas Day but inside she was bouncing deliriously.

Yes!

Movement at her feet alerted her that the mugger had rolled over and was trying to crawl away. “Not so fast,” she told him, turning back and crouching down, planting all her weight on the small of his back and pinning him in place as effectively as a tack-secured a strip of paper. “You will wait right here for the police,” she insisted, drawing zip ties from the pouch at her belt and quickly securing his hands and feet behind him, “and you will tell them that the Knight Light is back, protecting these streets once more.”

Then she marched away, reaching into the pouch at her belt for her phone as she went. Her breathing was coming in gulps, and her face hurt from smiling so much; she’d done it! At the same time, her leg and side and chest hurt as well, and for less happy reasons.

This had all sounded so much easier before.

Superteam Handbook: They Grow Up So Fast

Last week we took a look at the meat of the upcoming SuperTeam Handbook: The team outlines. We took a look at how each team is provided with plenty of material for GMs and players alike to build a campaign around them, using either their own custom characters or the sample characters provided for each team. This week, let’s take a look at one of those sample character. Keeping with last week’s preview of AEGIS: Red Group and go with the team analyst, Jessie Baker!


Jessie Baker

From a young age, Jessie Baker was better acquainted with books than with people. People confused her and set off her anxiety, but books were all about facts and evidence; no body language to misread, no missed cues, no laughing behind her back, no irrational emotional reactions, no lies. What she understood clearly of the human condition, however, was desire. She understood what people wanted and what they’d do to get it. It was a simple math problem, and those were easy enough. That was cause and effect, and it helped her navigate relationships with her family and the friends she made. It was ultimately the reason she loved political science and politics so much…what was the desire and what would someone do to get it? Sometimes people didn’t know themselves, but Jesse invariably did.

Her insight helped Baker find a place in AEGIS despite her poor communication skills and general disregard for hierarchy and protocol. Her rocky career was due to end after she penned a scathing report on her superior’s incompetence and nepotism, when Chief Administrator Bonham took personal interest in her skillset.

Jessie joined Red Group as its first member, but Bonham refused to make her cell lead—not until she learned how to lead people and not abuse them. It stung a bit, but she appreciated his candor and his willingness to recruit from outside the agency. She still personally thinks of herself as the group’s leader—she does, after all, see the leads that take them into any given mission—but no one else in Red Group agrees with her self-assessment.


 

Jessie is the “I’m not very likable, but I am very, very good at what I do” character that pops up in so many TV procedural dramas, reflected by plenty of well-spent skill ranks and carefully chosen Advantages. With a keen eye for patterns, she’s a natural tactician as well, letting her use Inspire to improve her teammates’ abilities despite her rough exterior. And her specialization is more defined with a pair of talent-style powers. “I Know a Place” lets her provide the team with rotating headquarters and specialty vehicles thanks to her extraordinary research and organizational skills, while “Watch for Patterns” lets her guess where and how trouble will pop up thanks to her study of criminal psychology. Neither of these abilities is a super power, per se, but help set Jessie apart from the rest of her team. She’s the fact-finder and resources mastermind, with just enough gunplay to hold her own if a fight starts (and clearly a fight wouldn’t be starting right now if everyone had just listened to her in the first place!).

Here’s Jessie’s full spread, with background and character sheet:

 

A New Look

Keen-eyed reads will notice that Jessie’s character sheet looks a little different than how we’ve presented NPC character sheets in the past in products like Rogues Gallery and Freedom City, 3rd edition. One of the big goals in putting together the SuperTeam Handbook was to have a product any group could crack open and start playing within fifteen minutes, regardless of the flavor of campaign they wanted to run with. So in addition to making sure every team included guidelines for the kinds of adventures they have and a list of likely opponents they’d face, we also took some time to re-organize the character sheet to be fast and user-friendly for players. The hope is that everyone at the table can print a single sheet, front and back, and have everything they need to begin their adventures.

If you like our existing format for NPCs, no worries; the new character sheet designs presented in the SuperTeam Handbook is intended for player-facing material and takes up a lot more space than the traditional layout, so most NPCs in future products will still be presented in the traditional style, with the revised style mostly saved for player handouts.

Tune in two weeks from now when we take a look at the bonus NPCs the SuperTeam Handbook provides in the form of Mentors and Nemeses!

Team Preview: Red Group

 

We’ve spent the last few blog entries detailing some of the cool chapters in the SuperTeam Handbook that let you build your team from the ground up for thrilling heroics.

One of the most beautiful things about the Mutants & Masterminds system is its flexibility. While we generally sell it as cape-and-cowl set flying around throwing busses and fireballs at each other, the bare bones of the system can handle almost any action- and intrigue-focused flavor of modern, scifi, or historical games. One of the big goals of the SuperTeam Handbook was to provide a stealth campaign guide for more than just four-color heroics (there are plenty of those, too). Project: Freedom is classic superheroics mixed with behind-the-scenes political intrigue. The Upstarts are all about sabotage and civil disobedience. The Shadow Knights are chopsocky and ninja weirdness. And today we’re going to take a closer look at Red Group, an experimental AEGIS team who use criminal’s tactics against them with con games, theft, and sabotage to stop crooks and villains before they can threaten the world!


Power Level: 5    Power Points: 75
Team Template    7 points
Advantages: Benefit (cipher), Benefit (security clearance), Equipment 4 (team equipment and vehicle contribution), Team Code
Equipment: AEGIS concealed fiber armor (Protection 2, subtle), AEGIS blaster pistol (Ranged Damage 5), smartphone, vehicle contributions; 2 additional points of equipment
Complications: Loyalty Enforcement, Reputation (Criminals)


The public image of AEGIS, the American Elite Government Intervention Service, is dominated by steely-eyed operators or agents in heavy MAX power armor, who engage criminal organizations, terrorists, and supervillains. What the people don’t see are the five ordinary looking men and women quietly watching from nearby coffee shops or store fronts. They couldn’t imagine that these run-of-the-mill individuals are part of a new AEGIS initiative: Red Group, a pilot program sponsored by none other than Stewart “Rockstar” Bonham, Chief Administrator of Freedom City’s AEGIS operations.

The idea for Red Group was born from an unexpected skirmish between members of the Santa Muerte cult and SHADOW cells in Freedom City. The Santa Muerte cult under undead Tepalcatli had restricted their operations to Central America and the southwestern United States, but when SHADOW tried an aggressive push into the Mexican state of Chiapas, Tepalcatli retaliated with strikes against SHADOW operations in Freedom City, almost burning down Southside in the process.

AEGIS’s post-incident audit absolved the crimefighting agency of any failure to intercede and prevent this tragedy, but there was one voice of dissent from inside the Command Division: Analyst Jessie Baker. She claimed the Command Division had possessed actionable intelligence well before the Santa Muerte/SHADOW war, and that they failed to capitalize on it early enough. And when Command did pass the information along, it was through the Directorate arm first—standard protocol—preventing the Agent division from moving on the intelligence earlier. The auditors were ready to ignore Analyst Baker’s accusations; she had a reputation for rubbing people the wrong way, and her actionable intelligence had been little more than conjecture at the time. At best, her correct prediction was a coincidence, and they thought even that was generous. But Chief Administrator Bonham was intrigued. Baker may have the tact of sandpaper, but her predictions over the years had time and again proven correct off the faintest evidence, however untraditional her methods.

Bonham concluded there was a critical flaw in the way AEGIS communicated between the analytical thinkers who gathered intelligence and the structural thinkers who decided how to act on it. The analysts were having a hard time convincing the military and bureaucratic arms of potential threats because of how both sides parsed data and how analysts were able to think outside the box for deductive reasoning. The criminal organizations of the world were uniting in the interests of business, and they were sharing disciplines while governments were still restricted by their own borders. AEGIS had lost the ability to be agile under a heavier bureaucracy. Bonham also recognized that Baker was in danger of being fired by her superiors or walking away out of frustration, but she wasn’t just an asset. He saw in her the promise of a new AEGIS, a more fluid and dynamic organization that could predict and act rather than waiting for an event to warrant a response. So he offered her an opportunity instead.

Red Group is an autonomous unit under the direct supervision of Chief Administrator Bonham. It falls somewhere between the Command and Agent divisions, essentially allowing analysts to train and operate like agents in order to immediately act on the intelligence they gather in the field. Off the record, Red Group consists of five members—all specialized, all talented, and all an awkward fit for AEGIS itself—whose processes and instincts haven’t yet been dulled by years of rote paperwork and procedure.

Red Group is a secret arm of AEGIS for one very simple reason: Their mandate is to think like villains in order to predict upcoming conflicts and sabotage them before they happen. Their operations consist of five primary goals:

  • Find holes and weak points in the infrastructure and security of American institutions and facilities.
  • Identify and map out support networks for villains, from smugglers to financial backers to suppliers to underground clinics.
  • Construct complex profiles on villains, uncover their identities, and do exhaustive research on their formative elements like friends and family.
  • Envision, create, and carry out scenarios to determine proper courses of action.
  • Sabotage supervillains and criminal organizations before they can carry out attacks.

There’s one other mandate that Bonham insisted on. While Red Group has access to AEGIS’s supplies, housing, equipment, and deep pockets when a crisis calls for it, Bonham wanted them operating autonomously with fewer strings connecting them to their mother organization. This meant building up their assets and connections to foster street cred, to better understand how villains might work, and to avoid relying on AEGIS given the organization’s distrust of Bonham’s pet project. Red Group rarely operates out of the institution’s primary office, known as the Iceberg, in Freedom City. Instead they operate from a variety of temporary locations scouted by Baker and rely on black-market and stolen resources. Their techniques are unconventional—illegal in some circumstances—and justified post-mortem by how effective they are at preventing death and destruction. How exactly this approach will be seen by the general public if and when Red Group ever comes to light remains unknown, but for now their mission is to save lives, and their playground is every shadow in the United States.

SuperTeam Handbook: Buttery Roles

Last time, we made a brief mention of one of my favorite elements of the new Mutants & Masterminds SuperTeam Handbook: Roles. Think of these like the roles in a casting call: you are putting out a call for tall, handsome, and likeable with good comedic timing, but you’re not necessarily looking for Chris Hemsworth specifically (kidding; I am always looking for Chris Hemsworth; that man is a delight). Roles are guidelines and suggestions about the part you want to play. Broken into Tactical Roles and Concept Roles, they help you define who you are in relation to your teammates so that you can stand out and shine while still playing a part in the greater story. Each one provides guidance on how to build your characters, what powers and advantages help you fulfill your role. If each player picks a Tactical and Concept Role before building their character, it can help guide tough decisions in character creation and ensure heroes aren’t tripping over each other in combat.

There are several examples of each role, so like a true gamer, I’m going to roll randomly for examples, and we’ll see if we can put together a character concept from the combination: For a Tactical Role, I got Protection, and for the Concept Role I got Hotshot. Let’s take a look at the general description for each.

The Protector:

 

While the Assault and Control characters dominate the battlefield, it is up to the Protection hero to keep people safe—both their teammates and often innocent civilians in harm’s way. Heroes in this role might interpose their own invulnerable forms to deflect attacks or use powers to create protective barriers. Protection heroes also help with the aftermath of combat, using their abilities to treat or heal injuries.

 

The Hotshot:

You have got it and, given half an opportunity, you intend to prove it to the world! The Hotshot is a show-off, daredevil, or showboat, the hero who is looking for a spotlight and, if there isn’t one, will create it. Some Hotshots are just confident (many would say over-confident) and enjoy showing off what they can do—as many people would given the kinds of powers wielded by superheroes. Others are arrogant and need to demonstrate their superiority, or lack self-esteem but compensate with a show of bravado; fake it ‘til you make it!

Hotshots are generally earnest, even lovable, but they’re the first to look for trouble or stir it up if they can’t find any.

 

Each Role offers some trait suggestions, such as “Hotshots tend toward physical traits, whether incredible athletic prowess or impressive physical powers like super-strength or energy projection,” and “Interpose is the classic Protection hero Advantage, while other general Advantages like Diehard, Great Endurance, Instant Up, and Second Chance are useful to ensure the character stays in the action. Combat Advantages like Move-by Action, Redirect, and Set-up can help turn defense into an offensive edge for allies, while Leadership helps them to bounce back from some common conditions.” To me this screams a nigh-indestructible and incredibly annoying prank-themed hero who focuses on distracting villains. If we give her a high Presence, plenty of Deception, and advantages like Taunt, Redirect, and Set-Up, we already know she’ll be spending her action almost every round on taunts and jibes, either to goad the villain into doing something self-destructive or to set her allies up for a solid right-hook. Since she won’t be attacking as often, I can save some points by not giving her the best attack or damage in the world—say a +10 to hit but only 3 or 4 damage—and pour what I save into defenses or a few fun ancillary powers like Senses or Leaping so she can have a few stand-out moments when it comes to investigations or chase scenes.

Let’s put it all together:

 

Barbara Quip was a mousy accountant who enjoyed her simple life of work, reading, and cat videos, but found her life turned upside down when her bank was robbed by the villain Fear-Master (check out Freedom City, 3rd edition for his background). The duke of dread’s subsonic fear devices drove the bank into a panic, but for the meek young woman who had never experienced so much as a horror film, they ratcheted her mind into catatonia. When Barb finally awoke days later in the hospital, the doctors explained that her amygdala—the fear center of the brain—had suffered heavy scarring, leaving her incapable of feeling fear. The same damage left her adrenal glands in permanent overdrive, transforming the shy young woman into a hyperkinetic, manic shadow of her former self. Barely in control of her emotions, she took disability leave from her quite day job as she learned to adjust and became an urban thrillseeker by the name of Nuisance.

While Nuisance has the speed and accuracy to kick the tar out of a few bank robbers, she needs to rely on her wits and her more practical teammates to face any dire threats. That’s fine by her, as she likes the near misses and the snappy one-liners a lot more than she likes bruised knuckles.


Nuisance PL 10
STR 3, STA 8, AGL 8, DEX 4, FGT 5, INT 0, AWE 2, PRE 5

Powers: Adrenal Overload: Enhanced Stamina 4, Enhanced Strength 2, Leaping 5 (250), Regeneration 5, Agymdala Burnout Immunity 6 (Emotion Effects, Sleep), Hyperaware Senses 5 (Acute Smell, Danger Sense, Low-light Vision, Ultra-hearing, Ultravision). Advantages: Close Attack 5, Evasion, Extraordinary Effort, Fascinate (Deception), Improved Defense, Improved Initiative, Redirect, Set-up, Taunt, Teamwork, Ultimate Effort (Deception checks), Uncanny Dodge. Skills: Acrobatics 8 (+16), Athletics 4 (+7), Deception 12 (+17), Expertise: Math 8 (+8), Insight 6 (+8), Perception 4 (+6), Stealth 4 (+12). Offense: Init +12, Unarmed +10 (Close, Damage 3). Defense: Dodge 12, Parry 12, Fort 8, Tou 8, Will 11. Totals: Abilities 58 + Powers 33 + Advantages 16 + Skills 23 (46 ranks) + Defenses 20 = 150


I’m kind of excited to play her. She’s well outside my normal M&M wheelhouse, so I wouldn’t have normally considered this kind of build. Hopefully I can convince another player to look at the Assault Tactical Role and the Role Model Concept Role so she’s got a straight-laced partner to play off of!

Who’s Who and What’s What

In the previous blog, I mentioned that I’d give you the lowdown on the various teams this week, so here we go!

  • UNIQUE (PL 12): The United Nation’s premiere superhero team, focused on tackling global threats and natural disasters
  • Project Freedom (PL 11): A band of reformed villains putting their powers to use as super-powered community service.
  • The Outliers (PL 10): The heroes who don’t quite fit anywhere else, tackling problems too outrageous for any other team to notice.
  • The Upstarts (PL 9): Bound by their alien heritage and hunted by a private corporation, they focus as much on survival as they do righting wrongs.
  • Magna Force (PL 8-11): Empowered by a lost Preserver artifact, they defend the Earth from cosmic threats from behind the controls of giant, fighting robots.
  • The Ferroburg Four (PL 7): A hard-luck city needs its own hard-luck heroes, battling evil with grit, determination, and a solid left hook.
  • The Shadow Knights (PL 6): Spawned in a bizarre genetics accident, four sisters battle ninjas, magic aliens, and genetic abominations from the shadows of a technological playground.
  • Red Group (PL 5): Sometimes the good guys need to think like the bad guys, and this elite AEGIS team is licensed to turn crime against itself.

Hmmmmm…. but which one do we look at in detail next week?

SuperTeam Handbook: Here Come the heroes

The Mutants & Masterminds SuperTeam Handbook, the newest addition to the 3rd edition lineup, is just around the corner. The text is finished. The layout is finished. At this point we’re just waiting on the final art and proofreading! In just a few weeks, it’ll be in your hands, ready to help your table get more out of their team!


The SuperTeam Handbook also marks the last leg of John Leitheusser’s prodigious run on Mutants & Masterminds, which started way back in 2nd edition and included the DC Adventures Roleplaying Game back in 2010. This book was his vision and his last product pitch for the line, and I’m happy he chose me to help usher it through to completion.

“But Crystal,” you say,”My group is already a superteam! We’re a team, and I think all my friends are just super, ergo…”Okay, yes, you’re friends are totally super, but here me out: Are you a superteam or a SuperTeam? Because there’s a difference. One looks way better on T-shirts. And you know what T-shirts are? They’re a quick and easy team uniform! Now you match. You’re even more of a team. Boom!

That’s value added.

Too much coffee. Let’s try this again.

Most RPG books are aimed and providing plenty of cool stuff your can do as a solo character, but most RPG groups play as teams. You’re not the only cool kid on the field. The SuperTeam Handbook looks at the awesome stuff you can do together as a group, from practical concerns like sharing points to build better HQ to drama-rich character interactions and personality conflicts that’ll just churn out those delicious Hero Points we all love. It’s a book that doesn’t just assume you’ll all work together as a team, but asks why you all work together, and how well you function as a group, and what do you do to stand out as a group. The player section introduces tactical and personality roles to help you flesh out your character’s own role as well as how well they mesh with other characters on the team and how they approach combat. It’s important to remember that your psychic doesn’t need to hit as hard as the brick or the living gout of elemental plasma; you pull your weight on the team your own way, and that can also be healing, buffing your allies, protecting people, or heckling the villain; they don’t call him “Robin, the Boy Distraction” for nothing!

“Ugh, but Crystal,” you say, forgetting I cannot hear you and this was all written days ago, “This all sounds like that icky story games, improv stuff. Where’s the beef?” Dude, chill. There is plenty of crunch for you lovely crunch-monkeys, too. The SuperTeam handbook introduces team templates so everyone can pool their resources to buy cool jets, submarines, and asteroid bases. And to make that process easier we also introduce plenty of cool jets, submarines, and asteroid bases. Behold!

 

Orbiting Asteroid Base 30 EP

Size: Awesome, Toughness: 10, Features: Combat Simulator, Cold Storage, Communications, Computer, Defense System, Fire Prevention System, Gym, Hangar, Holding Cells 2* (Impervious), Infirmary, Isolated, Upgraded Laboratory (+2 Expertise [Science]), Library, Living Space, Personnel, Power System, Security System 3 (DC 30), Workshop

 

There are also several new powers built with group functionality in mind, new team maneuvers to test out, and new advantages to help define what you can chip in to your team’s joint efforts.

Ladders, not Shackles

The meat of the SuperTeam handbook is over 100 pages of new, ready-to-play superheroes, spread across eight different SuperTeams. Each team contained 4-6 members as well as a four-page introduction with information on their background, their shared resources, and plenty of story hooks for Gamemasters to pick up and run with, as well as a team nemesis to face off against!

The teams in the SuperTeam Handbook are “soft canon,” which means they’re there as a guideline for players and Gamemasters. Every team is assumed to exist somewhere within Earth Prime, but the rosters and statblocks presented are aimed at players rather than at being perfect expressions of their role and history. You shouldn’t feel like the version of UNQIUE presented in this book is the One True UNIQUE that must always exist in Earth Prime. If you like the team concept and guidelines but not the characters (as player character heroes or NPCs), feel free to tweak them or toss them out and substitute your own. The SuperTeam Handbook is a toolkit on every level, not a definitive reference book.

Here’s the complete list of which teams will be showing up in the SuperTeam handbook, but you’ll have to wait for next week to learn the details of who’s who:

  • UNIQUE (PL 12)
  • Project Freedom (PL 11)
  • The Outliers (PL 10)
  • The Upstarts (PL 9)
  • Magna Force (PL 8-11)
  • The Ferroburg Four (PL 7)
  • The Shadow Knights (PL 6)
  • Red Group (PL 5)

Nisaba Journal Issue 2 (PDF, mobi, epub)

Nisaba Journal Issue 2: Adventures in the DarkToday we have for you the second issue of our fiction magazine Nisaba Journal: Adventures in the Dark.

Nisaba Journal

Open the Nisaba Journal and immerse yourself in original fiction gathered from your favorite worlds. Issue Two collects seven tales from three of Green Ronin’s most popular settings—Freeport, Blue Rose, and Mutants & Masterminds—and offers ideas for incorporating the heroes, villains, and adventures from the stories into the ones you tell in your own campaigns.

Issue 2 featured stories: 

“The Mermaid and the Maelstrom,” by Andrew Penn Romine

She was cast away on a forgotten island, but the hope of rescue brings a confrontation with an old enemy.

“The Price of Mercy,” by Clio Yun-su Davis

Seeking answers, a young woman and her rhy-horse venture into the forest, and encounter an unexpected ally.

“At the Speed of Screwed,” by Andrew Wilmot

All she wants is to be left alone, but that’s not in the cards. Can she hold her ideals, or will Emerald City see the rise of another villain?

“Searching the Shadows,” by Dylan Birtolo

Foul plots choke Freeport, and an unlikely pair of uneasy allies must find the source of the evil.

“The Heart of Things,” by Rhiannon Louve

The Rose Knights draw closer to the source of the shadowspawn plots, but enemies lurk in unlikely places.

“One Night in Freeport,” by Richard C. White

He thought he was getting away with murder, but tonight, he’s not the hunter.

“Haunting Debts,” by Nathan E. Meyer

Hired to protect a notorious witch, a gunslinger finds herself caught in the midst of a bargain gone awry.

In case you missed them, we have quite a bit more fiction to choose from as well. Nisaba Journal Issue 1 is of course also available, and features six terrific tales, also set in the worlds of Freeport, Mutants & Masterminds, and Blue Rose. Tales of Freeport: Dark Currents includes three stories set in the City of Adventure. Shadowtide, by Joseph D. Carriker, Jr., is our first novel, from the rich setting of the Blue Rose RPG. And there’s more where those came from.

Check them out!

Green Ronin 2019! Part 2: Mutants & Masterminds, Sentinels of Earth-Prime, and 5E

Welcome back to our look at Green Ronin’s 2019 plans. Yesterday I talked about The Expanse, Nisaba Press, Freeport, and Blue Rose. Today I’ll be talking about Mutants & Masterminds, and 5E.

 

Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds is our longest-running RPG, now in its 3rd edition. Last year we released the Basic Hero’s Handbook, a new entry point for the game that makes getting started with M&M even easier. We’re going to follow that up this year with some PDF adventure support and a Revised Edition of the Gamemasters Guide. The GMG went out of print last year and rather than do a straight reprint, we thought we’d take the opportunity to add some new material (new adventures, villain archetypes, and more) and make it integrate more smoothly with the Basic Hero’s Handbook. We’re also making it hardback!

Before the revised GMG, though, we’ve got the Superteam Handbook. This handy sourcebook contains eight pre-built superteams that range from PL 5-12. These can be used to kickstart a campaign, or as allies, rivals, or enemies of the PCs. Later in the year we’ll have the Time Travelers Codex. This book provides a framework and ideas for including time travel in your supers campaign, as well as detailed info on select historical epochs and the sorts of adventures you might have there.

Sentinels of Earth-Prime

Mutants & Masterminds is also moving into a new area this year: card games! Sentinels of Earth-Prime is a joint project between Green Ronin and Greater Than Games that originally funded on Kickstarter. Sentinels of Earth-Prime is game that combines M&M’s core setting and the rules of Sentinels of the Multiverse. This is a core game so no previous experience is required. If you have Sentinels of the Multiverse games though, you’ll find that all the decks in our game work hand in glove with your current collection. Why, it’s almost like SotM designer Christopher Badell did all the deck design for our game (because he did!). The game is designed and playtested, and right now we’re working on getting all the art done. As this is a card game, there is quite a bit of art. You should see Sentinels of Earth-Prime this summer.

Tales of the Lost Citadel

Tales of the Lost Citadel novel coming soon!

Fifth Edition

If you enjoyed last year’s hugely successful Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, we’ve got more Fifth Edition fun for you this year. First, we’ve got Lost Citadel Roleplaying, a campaign setting we also funded on Kickstarter. It’s a world where the dead roam at will and all the survivors have taken refuge in the city of Redoubt. Only its walls and the strength of its inhabitants stand between the dead and annihilation. Lost Citadel Roleplaying is in layout now and should be available for pre-order soon.

Later this spring we’re running a crowdfunding campaign on Game On Tabletop to bring back a Green Ronin classic for Fifth Edition: The Book of Fiends! Older fans will remember this book from the Third Edition era. It was one of our best selling and most critically acclaimed books in the d20 days, so it only made sense to bring it back. Demons, daemons, and devils will be yours in abundance! Rob Schwalb, one of the book’s original designers and also a member of the D&D Fifth Edition design team, updated all the existing fiends and added new ones too. You’d expect no less from the man behind Shadow of the Demon Lord!

That wraps up part 2 of our look at 2019. Come back for the final installment tomorrow to learn about Modern AGE, Fantasy AGE, and Dragon Age.

Ronin Roundtable: THE ARCHETYPES: SOLAR RAY

With the arrival of the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook, the world of Earth Prime has a few new heroes illustrating the eight heroic archetypes presented in the books. Four of these characters also appear in the upcoming Mutants & Masterminds Quickstart as pregenerated player character sheets, and so they needed names, personalities, and origins of their own. We turned to RPG industry legend and giant comics nerd, Amber Scott to help flesh out the new Crimefighter, Energy Controller, Gadgeteer, and Paragon of the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Heroes Handbook!

———————-

Art by Alberto Foche

Ray Montoya was the kind of guy who could make Mount Rushmore crack a smile. Making others laugh, especially with a little self-deprecating humor or a harmless prank, felt like the one thing in the world he couldn’t screw up, and he leaned into it hard. Ray wasn’t trying to develop superpowers on the day of the eclipse. He was trying to show off to his friends. But with all the warnings on TV about not looking directly at the eclipse—as if anyone could be that stupid—he couldn’t resist the opportunity to play a little prank.

He met up with his friends on a rooftop patio for the viewing and prerequisite party. When the time came, and everyone pulled out their eclipse glasses, Ray simply whipped out a pair of designer shades. “These should be enough for me. I’m already a star.” He pushed the shades up his nose and turned his face innocently to the sky.

He grinned as his friends started freaking out, shouting at him not to look. None of them could see his eyes were closed behind the sunglasses. Ray was dying of laughter on the inside, right up until a server with a tray full of glasses tripped and crashed into him.

Ray’s eyes popped open. Without meaning to, he stared directly into the glorious eclipse, and it burned him. As if entranced, he reached up and removed his sunglasses, staring fixedly at the stunning astronomical event. A few seconds later, one of his friends spun him around, yelling for Ray to not be an idiot.

To everyone’s shock, Ray’s irises had turned pitch black, surrounded by metallic gold sclera. It was if the eclipse was burned into Ray’s own eyes. The sun still glowed bright in his vision, and then in his chest.

Since that day, the power of the sun shined within Ray’s body. He learned to control the bright yellow-white light that shot from his fingertips, and he also developed the ability to fly. Sometimes Ray still wonders how he gained superhuman powers from a solar eclipse, especially after news reports began mentioning other people who looked into the celestial event and only walked away with retinal damage. Some days he feels like the luckiest guy in the world, but other days beats himself up as a fraud, sure that his powers were intended for someone else who could’ve used them better. That lingering doubt drives him to better master his powers as his body continues to change.

What didn’t change was Ray’s showoff nature and desire to impress people. He loves being the first on the scene and taking out bad guys in the flashiest way possible. When the news vans show up, Ray’s always willing to linger for an interview. Given his ego, Ray couldn’t abandon his real name entirely. Instead he adapted it to create his superhero identity: Solar Ray.

Ronin Roundtable: Ronin Ramblings!

With summer beginning to fade, I thAldis: City of the Blue Roseought this would be a good time to give you all a general update about goings on at Green Ronin. These last couple of months

have been a whirlwind. We had a great GenCon and released Aldis: City of the Blue Rose, Modern 

AGE and its GM’s Kit, as well as the Basic Hero’s Handbook and Rogues Gallery for Mutants & Masterminds. We also ran a hugely successful Kickstarter for The Expanse Roleplaying Game. We were literally on the edge of our seats in the final hour, wondering if we’d hit $400,000 and thus secure a new James S.A. Corey

Modern AGE Basic Rulebook

short story to go in the game. With 10 minutes left to go, we crossed the threshold. It was exciting! Huge thanks to all the backers of the Kickstarter, and of course to Daniel Abraham and Try Franck (together, James S.A. Corey) for not only creating a fantastic scifi universe but also doing so much to help us promote the RPG. If you missed the Kickstarter, never fear. You’ll have more chances to hop onboard.

After a brief pause to catch our breath, it was back into the breach. I was PAX West last weekend doing some panels, one of which (Designing Worlds: Experiences Creating Tabletop RPGs) you can see here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/304840481?t=

Hal meanwhile has been working on laying out our next several books. Ork: The Roleplaying Game (the new edition of Green Ronin’s very first RPG!) is at print

Pre-Order and PDF: Basic Hero's Handbook for Mutants & Masterminds

now and is available as a PDF and for pre-order. Hal is currently working on World of Lazarus, the first setting for Modern AGE (based on Greg Rucka’s awesome comic) and the long-awaited Faces of Thedas for Dragon Age. You should see PDFs and pre-orders for both of those books in the near future. Meanwhile, Hal is also working with James Dawsey on the artwork for Sentinels of Earth-Prime, a Mutants & Masterminds card game using the Sentinels of the Multiverse rules we’ll be releasing next year. Jaym Gates has also been working hard to get our fiction imprint, Nisaba Press, up to cruising speed. Our first novel, a Blue Rose tale called Shadowtide by our own Joe Carriker, has just gone to print. More Nisaba news coming soon.

Next weekend is our annual Green Ronin Summit. While we have a cluster of people in Seattle, much of our staff is scattered across the country working

remotely. We thus find it valuable to fly everyone here once a year, so we can get together in a non-convention environment and talk over our plans for the next 18 odd months. We’ll be considering various proposals, deciding on the schedules for our game lines, and doing some long-term strategizing. Oh, and eating an

ungodly amount of cheese. Can’t have a summit without cheese! Or webmaster Evan’s famous ice cream.

Later this fall we’re back on the convention circuit. Nicole and I are hugely excited to go to Australia for the first time for PAX Aus in Melbourne. We’ll have a booth there (and a cool unique pin through the Pinny Arcade program) and we look forward to

meeting Aussie gamers face to face. A week later I am a guest at Week End Geek in New Caledonia. If you had told young me that gaming would one day get me to the other side of the world, I would not have believed you! Certainly, South Pacific sun in November sounds better than Seattle rain. Once we’re back home, we’ll close out the year at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia.

Stay tuned for more news and updates. Fun stuff always comes out of the Summit!

Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition