Tales of Earth-Prime: Before They Knew Him

This week’s new short story from Nisaba Press is “Before They Knew Him” by Richard Lee Byers, set in our Mutants & Masterminds setting Earth-Prime. It can be yours for just $1.99.

Freedom City’s strength is Dr. Metropolis’s strength. But that’s about to become his Achilles heel.

 

Green Ronin Charitable Giving: Thurgood Marshall College Fund Sale

Our previous sale, benefiting the Trevor Project, ran a while longer than we intended, but generated a nice amount to donate to them. Our new sale in our Charitable Giving Initiative benefits the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

While the sale runs, both the print and PDF versions of three Mutants & Masterminds books, Deluxe Hero’s Handbook, Atlas of Earth-Prime, and Freedom City, are on sale for $5 off, and for each sale item sold we will donate $10 to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund: Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Publicly-supported HBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

 

 

Ronin Roundtable: ROGUES, INDIVIDUALLY

Mothers, lock up your sons: Rogues Gallery is coming. This hardback collects the 40+ Rogues Gallery PDFs in one collection, along with a dozen new villains and antiheroes to terrorize your campaign. Your heroes could fight one a week and still not finish by New Year!

Villain books are a classic installment in superhero RPGs, going back to classics like Champion’s Enemies supplements or Heroes Unlimited’s Villains Unlimited. They provide opponents to fight, sure, but they also flesh out a side of the setting that heroes rarely get to see, and that hero-facing books rarely delve into. If superhero games, at their core, are about optimism and what one determined individual can do to help others, then villain books show the pessimism of those same worlds: What happens when someone, despite all their power, can’t or won’t use it to help others, or even themselves. Mutants & Masterminds has always been about nuance and complexity—every bit as much it tries to be about being your best self—and I think the incredible diversity of characters presented in Rogues Gallery showcases some of the best that Earth-Prime has to offer: Classic throwbacks to the Silver Age like Amalgam, Elzaya, and Tun; villains that seem to painfully mirror our real world like Drive-By and the newly returned House of Usher; cold professionals like Chakram and IGT-92; off-the-wall weirdos like the Candy Crew, Newt, and Explodo, and more than a few characters who came so close to being one of the good guys like Arctic Fox, Eminence, Freestyle, and Red Mist. This last category are probably the most vital, holding a mirror up to reflect the ugly failings of the world, and all the things the heroes, through luck or perseverance, have escaped. “There, but for the grace of God,” is a popular and heart wrenching theme in a lot of comic books; it provides a moment of introspection in a medium that is all too often about jumping between spectacular fight scenes.

To round out the collected edition of Rogues Gallery and the setting of Earth-Prime, we collected a dozen new antagonists from some of the brightest Mutants & Masterminds writers. With the book following on the heels of Freedom City, 3rd Edition, most of these new villains operate out of Freedom City, or at least mention it briefly, but the ultimate goal was to round out the villain list for several of our newest books, including the Cosmic Handbook and Hero High. Some are classics, many are brand new, but we tried to tie all the new villains into the advancing timeline of Earth-Prime, and the recent changes described in Freedom City. Here’s what’s in store:

  • Alien-Gator II: This time, it’s personal! An alien from the alligator-like race known as the Jereid, Ssellessk’thaa was trapped on Earth as part of Freedom City’s recent refugee crisis. More aggressive than her 60s-era counterpart, and in full possession of her wits, she sees humanity as the corrupt, selfish, and brutal creatures they are, and has turned to crime against this unjust system in order to acquire what she needs to escape Earth and return home.
  • Empress Sola: One of the many Dark Lords held in check by the now-deposed Una, Sola rules a dimension deprived of its magical core, forever cursed to siphon the life force from other worlds to survive. Now Sola has set her eyes upon the magic-rich world of Earth-Prime.
  • Johnny Frostbite & Ice Princess: This daddy-daughter duo share the same ice powers, but radically different instincts for using it. Johnny hopes to shield his beloved daughter from the life of crime he fell into, but they remain on the run from a vindictive ex-wife.
  • Lady Guillotine: The new Lady Liberty has her own arch-nemesis after only a few months on the job, and her rival wants more than just Sonia’s powers: She wants her head!
  • Maestro II: With the original Maestro vanished, a handsome young inheritor has claimed the Master of Music’s legacy and wields similar powers.
  • MegaStar: Included by popular demand! Christopher Beck was a member of the original Next-Gen some 15 years ago, but never seemed to find his place in Freedom City’s hero community after graduation. A disillusioned man desperate to find something to belong to, he has a whole new team as one of the Argents!
  • Mother Moonlight: Heroism isn’t without its casualties, and loss drives people to terrible ends. When so-called heroes slaughtered her children, Anna-Marie Delgado gave herself over the goddess of rebirth in order to gain the power to take the children—literal and metaphorical—from every monster who wears the mantle of hero.
  • The Orphean: Trevor Cushing led his ideal life once upon a time. Studying music and magic alongside his wife, the pair could easily have shared the role of Earth’s next Master Mage as readily as they shared a life and soul. Now that his wife has been maliciously ripped away, though, the Orphean focuses on nothing but tearing down the boundaries between life and death to restore her to his side, no matter who else must suffer.
  • Prince Rokkar: The Star Khan’s campaign of conquest rolls over other stellar empires large and small, and when it conquered the Kash’rodan Empire, Khanate governors banished the juvenile prince to the backwater planet Earth. Though young, Rokkar wields the strength, fury, and firepower of a true Kash’rodan warrior, thanks to a little support from his loyal nanny-boy, MC-1.
  • Princess Silverwing: Power don’t make someone a hero, as Alison Middleton insists on demonstrating. Afraid of being mundane, she convinced herself that her mutant ability to generate gravitons is actually “fey magic,” proving her “true” heritage as an exiled princess from a magical world. Now Princess Silverwing is hellbent on returning to a time and place that doesn’t exist, or else making her life on Earth-Prime a little more magical.
  • The Starblights: Magical girls gone bad, the Starblights wield their magical power from another dimension to defend their turf and rumble with other supers.
  • Vathek the Appeaser: One of history’s greatest scholars and romantics, Caliph Vathek of the Abassides’s ego doomed him when he thought to get the better of the infamous strange he summoned to grant his every wish. Instead the scholar found himself bound as the devil’s apprentice, doomed to servitude until he sends his master enough souls to buy off his own cosmic debt.

And because you’ve all been waiting so patiently for this volume, here’s one of the new heroes to get you started: Princess Silverwing!

RG_PrincessSilverwing

Earth-Prime Fiction: “Night of the Witch”

Earth-Prime Fiction: Night of the Witch“Night of the Witch” is a short story set on Earth-Prime, the core setting of Mutants & Masterminds and Sentinels of Earth-Prime.

It’s Halloween Past, and Seven finds herself wrapped up in an eldritch conspiracy that will force her to team up with Lantern Jack to save the city.

For just $1.99, you can download this 16-page short story in your choice of PDF, ePub, or mobi (Amazon Kindle). Or all three!

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing. Nisaba will be publishing novels, anthologies, and short fiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties. Current plans include stories of swashbuckling horror in the fantasy world of Freeport: City of Adventure, tales set in the romantic fantasy world of Aldea from the Blue Rose Roleplaying Game, superheroic adventures set in the world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds, and chronicles of fantasy survival-horror in the world of The Lost Citadel.

Ronin Roundtable: Back Issue Gaps

Some three years ago in “Back Issues” I talked about some of the planned additions to the forthcoming third edition of the Freedom City setting sourcebook for Mutants & Masterminds. With the latest look at Freedom City now available, I wanted to devote some space here on Ronin Roundtable to talk about some of the “back issue gaps,” or the characters from previous editions of Freedom City (or other Earth-Prime sourcebooks) not included in the new edition.

 

I got my start in RPGs working on “living” settings: Even before I was a regular freelancer for FASA Corporation, their BattleTech and Shadowrun settings were “activated” worlds where time passed at more or less the same rate as it did in the real world, and the same was later true of their Earthdawn setting. I was an active GM and player for West End Games’ Torg, which also moved its Infiniverse setting and the associated Possibility War, forward month by month, year by year. One of Freedom City’s major inspirations—Kurt Busiek’s Astro City comic book—likewise follows the progress of real time, such that Astra, the “little girl lost” in one of the first issues of the series, recently celebrated her college graduation!

Back when Green Ronin was looking to publish a second edition of Mutants & Masterminds and Freedom City, there was a desire to expand upon and change up some things, and the passage of time seemed as good a reason as any for that to happen, so we shifted the setting forward a few years to match the difference between the first edition in 2003 and the second in 2006. That approach largely continued throughout the second edition line, although we were more often filling out parts of Earth-Prime’s past or more distant future than its present.

Of course, the space between the second edition of Freedom City and the third is a good deal more substantial, eleven years, just over a decade, and nearly fifteen years since the setting first appeared. It was clear that a lot more was going to change over that time than between the first two editions. Some of Freedom City’s heroes and villains are immortal and unchanging, but others have aged and gone through transitions in life, from the second Raven retiring from crime-fighting to go into politics (passing on her mantle to a young man who was just a teenager in our first Hero High sourcebook) to Johnny Rocket, who was barely out of his teens in the first edition, who is now a mature man, married, and raising a foster daughter with his husband.

While we were able to include well over a hundred different characters in Freedom City, third edition, we couldn’t include everyone, and we’re sorry if anybody’s favorite character happened to not make the cut. A few show up in various places in Atlas of Earth-Prime, The Cosmic Handbook, and the forthcoming Rogues Gallery, but even those books don’t cover everyone. Freedom City and Earth-Prime grew a lot over the years, and in some cases it was best to let certain characters fade into the back issue bins of history, the “Whatever Happened To…?” files. That’s not to say we might not revisit some of those characters in future M&M products but, for now, the spotlight has shifted.

Of course, that’s not to say you can’t include your favorite characters in your own Earth-Prime series. One of the great things about tabletop roleplaying games is that the world is literally what you make of it, and it is yours to do with as you wish. You might decide, rather than time marching onward, that the “present day” of Freedom City remains largely frozen at your favorite point, with its back-story slowly shifting forward in time, much like how the major comic book universes are always set in the present day, with modern histories that extend “10-15 years ago” in spite of focusing on major characters who have existed for more than 70 years!

Likewise, you might decide to include your own “Whatever Happened To…?” story and update the fate of your favorite character, or recapture their essence by creating a new “legacy” character who shared the original’s name, and possibly their motif, powers, and some of their history, but is a new version for the modern world. Freedom City is rich with such characters, and the third edition offers more than a few examples, including new heroes like Centuria, Thunderbolt, and the current Lady Liberty.

Whichever era of Freedom City you choose to play in (and whichever edition of M&M you choose to play it with), I hope you enjoy your time visiting a city that has come to mean a lot to me over the years, and that you truly “make yourself at home” and enjoy the “freedom” of Freedom City to create your own heroic tales of adventure!

Earth-Prime Fiction: “Everyone: This Is Kevin”

"Everyone: This Is Kevin"The latest entry in our ongoing short fiction series, “Everyone: This Is Kevin” is a short story set on Earth-Prime, the core setting of Mutants & Masterminds and Sentinels of Earth-Prime.

Even robot superhero boys need to go to school, but Kevin soon learns that there is more to an education than pencils and chalk.

For just $1.99, you can download this 16-page short story in your choice of PDF, ePub, or mobi (Amazon Kindle). Or all three!

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing. Nisaba will be publishing novels, anthologies, and short fiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties. Current plans include stories of swashbuckling horror in the fantasy world of Freeport: City of Adventure, tales set in the romantic fantasy world of Aldea from the Blue Rose Roleplaying Game, superheroic adventures set in the world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds, and chronicles of fantasy survival-horror in the world of The Lost Citadel.

Ronin Roundtable: Green Ronin in 2018, Part 1

It seems like just yesterday I was wondering if this Y2K bug would indeed wreak global havoc (spoiler alert: it didn’t) while working on plans to start a new game company. Now here we are 18 years later and Green Ronin is still going strong. Although last year was challenging in many ways, we are starting 2018 in a great position. We have a bunch of projects nearing completion, fantastic new games in the works, and great prospects for the future. Today I’m going to talk about our plans for the next six months. I’ll then do another one of these in June to discuss the second half of the year.

The Expanse

Our biggest project this year is The Expanse RPG. We announced that we’d licensed James S.A. Corey’s terrific series of scifi novels last year and since then Steve Kenson has

been leading the team designing the core rulebook. In a few months we will be Kickstarting The Expanse RPG and the rules will actually be done before we even start the crowdfunding campaign. The game uses our popular Adventure Game Engine, as previously seen in our Dragon Age, Fantasy AGE, and Blue Rose RPGs. We’re excited to take AGE into the future! The Expanse RPG will release in August, debuting at GenCon.

Modern AGE and Lazarus

Want a new AGE game before the summertime? We’ve got you covered! Modern AGE launches in the Spring thanks to the hard work of Malcolm Sheppard and his team. The game lets you run games anywhere from the Industrial Revolution to the near future, with or without supernatural powers as you prefer. Concurrent with that we’ll be releasing the World of Lazarus, a campaign setting based on the amazing Lazarus comic by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. Its compelling setting provides some timely commentary on current political trends and is a great place to tell stories.

Fantasy AGE, Dragon Age, and Blue Rose

Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age fans will be delighted to hear that two long awaited books are nearing release. Jack Norris and his team have finished the Fantasy AGE Companion and Faces of Thedas and both are now in layout. The Fantasy AGE Companion is the first big rules expansion for FAGE, offering up many ways to expand your game. Faces of Thedas brings a plethora of Dragon Age characters from the video games, novels, and comics to life, and adds some great new rules for relationships and romance. Speaking of romance and fantasy, Joe Carriker and his team have been working on the next book for our Blue Rose RPG. Aldis: City of the Blue Rose is a comprehensive sourcebook about the capital of the Kingdom of Aldis.

Mutants & Masterminds

We are kicking off 2018 with a bang with the release of the new edition of Freedom City, the signature setting of M&M since the game’s first edition. It releases to stores this week so now is the time to check out the city that started it all. Later in the Spring we’ll be releasing Rogues Gallery, a new collection of villains for your campaign. Crystal Frasier skillfully shepherded both of the books to completion, though they were begun by her predecessor. The first book she led from start to finish was actually the World of Lazarus but you’ll be seeing more of her vision of Mutants & Masterminds later in the year with the Basic Hero’s Handbook and Superteam Handbook.

Nisaba Press

Last year we hired Jaym Gates to start a fiction line for us, and this year her diligent work will pay off as Nisaba Press takes off. We will be releasing short fiction from our various settings monthly, and releasing two novels a year. The first will be Shadowtide, a Blue Rose novel by Joe Carriker. We’ll be following that up later in the year with our first Mutants & Masterminds novel.

Freeport and Ork

At the start of this article I mentioned the beginnings of Green Ronin back in 2000. The company’s very first releases were Ork! The Roleplaying Game and Death in Freeport, a modest adventure that launched our longest running property. The new edition of Ork is finished and entering layout. It’s great beer and pretzels fun. Return to Freeport is a six-part Pathfinder adventure coming later in the Spring in which Owen K.C. Stephens and his team really captured the feel of the City of Adventure.

SIFRP and Chronicle System

All good things must come to an end and such is the case with our beloved Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. Our license expired in 2017 so there will be no new material forthcoming. We can continue to sell the books we’ve already released, however, so those will remain available to those who want to adventure in Westeros. Our series of compatible Chronicle System PDFs will also continue, first with Desert Threats, a new collection of creatures. Some of the rules material from our last planned SIFRP book, the Westeros Player’s Companion, will be released under the Chronicle System brand with the Westeros specific content removed.

To the Future!

As you can see, we’ve got an action packed six months ahead of us. Later in the year we’ve got excitement like the Sentinels of Earth-Prime card game and the Lost Citadel campaign setting for D&D 5E. Thanks for your continued support! We really do appreciate it. Here’s to some great gaming in 2018!

Ronin Roundtable: Welcome to Freedom City!

Whether visiting for the history and nightlife, or moving to Freedom City for its thriving tech or construction industries, you’ve made the right decision to embrace the city of heroes! And now Freedom City is easier to visit with the print edition of Freedom City 3rd Edition making its way to retailers.

Take a peek at the Visitors’ Guide to Freedom City to get a glimpse of how Freedonians see themselves… Or at least how Mayor Summers’ assistant, Ed, sees the city…

Ronin Roundtable: Nisaba Press!

Hi, I’m Jaym Gates, Line Manager for Green Ronin’s Nisaba Press. We’ll be publishing fiction tied in to the Green Ronin properties, both short fiction and novels. I was given three missions: make a great fiction line, make sure it was a great diverse fiction line, and find some great new voices for both fiction and RPGs. That’s pretty much the most exciting mission plan you could give me, for anything. Why? I got into editing because I discovered how amazing it was to find those incredible new voices that no one else has found yet. There is also something intensely rewarding about taking a good piece of fiction and refining it to its best form.

As we’re releasing our first batch of regular stories, I wanted to talk a little bit about tie-in fiction, and why Nisaba.

First off, one of the best things about tie-in fiction to me is that it gives fans new stories and elaborates on beloved settings. Flavor text in RPG books is great, but sometimes you really want to go on an adventure with characters. See the sights of Emerald City, smell the sweet reek of Freeport, maybe feel the wind on your face as Rezeans gallop across the plains. While we can’t LITERALLY give you all of that, fiction gives windows to the new and existing characters in our settings. Maybe they’ll inspire new adventures, show up in your existing adventures, or just be a brief excursion with a fictional friend, but any way it goes, we love giving fans the chance to interact at more length with our settings.

It’s also a great way to get your RPG fix if you don’t have time to game, are playing another game, or can’t get a good group. It’s like talking to an old friend you don’t get to see often enough.

Secondly, tie-in fiction is a great way for new fans to get involved. There are a lot of settings, a lot of rules, and a lot of history. It can be scary for someone to just jump in at the deep end with no idea what’s going on. A short story or novel takes away that overwhelming feeling of “SO MUCH STUFF” and gives the reader a gentle introduction to a new place.

And last but not least: because the world is made of stories, and stories allow the creators to develop things that might never come up in the RPGs, or that might just not have been thought of. Narrative is a unique thing that forces you to think of so many angles that you might not otherwise see. The scents and sounds of a world, the interplay between character and their religion, questions of morality and honor. A story fleshes out what the RPG has built to a level that flashes and flavor text can’t approach.

So that is “Why tie-in fiction.” I’m really thrilled with the stories I’ve already been working on. We have Anthony Pryor’s My Night in Freeport, Lindsay Adam’s tale of an Aldean agent and a Jarzoni priest-adept, Eytan Bernstein’s story of Kid Robot’s first day of school, and so much more. All of these are original fiction set canonically in the settings you know and love. My hope is that they bring another aspect of engagement and joy in the setting.

And keep an eye out, we’re planning to host an open submission period in a few months, so if you’re wanting to write fiction for Blue Rose, Freeport, or Mutants & Masterminds, get plotting now!

Free Mutants & Masterminds Adventure: Monster Mash-Up

As fall begins, All Hallow’s Eve approaches. Though once a yearly reminder that the dead linger just beyond the living world, Halloween has now become a time of fun and frivolity. Even in Freedom City, where genuine monsters sometimes stalk the streets and sewers, Halloween is a time for candy, parties, fun costumes, and laughter. Protected by their spandex-clad heroes, many Freedonians feel downright invulnerable. Too invulnerable.

When a Halloween prank ends up calling down far more trouble than anyone expected, Freedom City needs heroes to protect it once again.

Monster Mash-Up is a free short adventure for a group of three to five PL 10 heroes. The adventure is set in Freedom City, but can easily be transplanted anywhere in the world that celebrates Halloween and has a large, old theater to gather an audience into.

Free M&M Adventure: Monster Mash-Up