Mutants & Masterminds: NetherWar is Coming… (Ronin Roundtable)

So what good’s an adventure if the story doesn’t roll on into the next one? What good is winning the battle while the war rages on? And how can real heroes keep the world safe when the position of the world’s guardian remains empty?

The NetherWar is upon us, to answer these questions.

NetherWar is a six-part adventure series for Mutants & Masterminds—five main stories and a prequel—that pits the heroes against the rising tide of evil magic on Earth Prime. The champions must prove their mettle by defending the world from newly-empowered villains and uncovering the legacy of protection Adrian Eldrich created before his terrible death. But they’re racing the clock as a diabolical shadow from the Master Mage’s past works to unravel those protections and rise on Earth-Prime as a dark god!

Over the coming months, you’ll run through the harrowing challenges and ultimately save Earth-Prime. The adventure begins with a flashback in this week’s Master of Earth, written by me, then continues next month with John Polojac’s Assault on the Nerian Nexus. The months to come will unveil The Pentagram Peril, Broken Strings, Bound by Gold, and finally conclude in Three Made One. There’s plenty of space in between each adventure to add your own adventures and plot points, or you can run the entire series back-to-back as an extended mini campaign, and each volume of the NetherWar arc will work as a standalone adventure if you only want little a magical peril. As a treat.

No Spells Required!

You can run the NetherWar adventure arc using your existing heroes, or build a new team to tackle the crisis, but magical powers aren’t necessary to save the world from the magic apocalypse. There are plenty of expert NPCs along the way to explain the magical history of Earth-Prime and plenty of ways to solve the various challenges without resorting to spellcraft, so feel free to bring your mutants, aliens, and cyborgs into the fight!

If you do want to use NetherWar as the kickoff for a magical campaign, NetherWar offers Bequests in each adventure—tiny bits of Adrian Eldrich’s legacy as Master Mage left behind for others to inherit. Your heroes can keep bequests in their trophy case as plot devices they can pull out for a Hero Point, or invest the Power points to make any bequest a normal part of their heroic identity. And the greatest bequest of all is up for grabs: The title of Master Mage of Earth-Prime! While bequests and the title aren’t central to the campaign, they provide a little something extra for players who get into the themes and legacies involved.

A Blast in the Past

With the Time Traveler’s Codex  available now, it’s appropriate that the NetherWar kicks off with a little trip to yesteryear in Master of Earth. A slight departure from our usual Astonishing Adventure offerings, Master of Earth flashes back to events we already describe in the Secret Past chapter of Freedom City, Third Edition and further details Seven’s climactic confrontation with the Dark Lord Una to save the earth after Eldrich’s passing. The players step into the roles of Seven and several members of the teenage Next-Gen to stop Una the Unrelenting from conquering Earth-Prime! You can play the adventure as a slice of history with the same outcome, or use the adventure with your own heroes to create your own spin on Earth-Prime’s recent past. While the heroes of Master of Earth—are set years in the past—don’t necessarily tie directly into those you might play, the adventure with help players understand the status quo of Earth-Prime’s magical community and how we got here.

Your Guide to Adventure!

 

NetherWar has a lot of moving parts and expectations, not to mention six parts stretched out over as many months. To help players and Gamemasters alike keep track of all those moving parts, we’ve assembled a FREE NetherWar Guide. This 15-page guide gives players the rundown on what they need to know and expect going into NetherWar as well as advice on what skills, Advantages, and powers might be helpful. If you’re building your team from scratch for this adventure series, it also offers five team ideas and five concept roles to help you define your place in the group. You can build your teams only using these concept roles, or combine them with roles presented in the SuperTeam Handbook to flesh out your place on the team and the story.

For Gamemasters, the NetherWar Guide also includes a section just for you! It includes an adventure-by-adventure preview of what to expect so you can start early seeding any plot points you really like. It also includes a brief who’s-who of NetherWar villains so you can read up on their history and start perfecting your voice-acting skills for the table!

 

If you’re worried about magical mayhem overload, don’t fret! We’ll have plenty of Astonishing Adventures to come that offer some mystical relief! Take off to the stars, battle aliens, and stop a supernova in the cosmic adventure Prodigal Sun, or take your campaign back to high school for a LARP gone terrible wrong in Bite Club, or confront a mischievous cosmic imp as you journey Into the Idiot Box! All these and more lie in the future!

The NetherWar has been a really fun project to bring to life, and I hope everyone has as much fun playing it. Hopefully this will be the first of many multi-part adventures yet to come for Mutants & Masterminds, so let us know what you think on social media and the Ronin Army forums!

Mutants & Masterminds: IT’S ABOUT TIME…(Ronin Roundtable)

Alright, so Green Ronin has released the Time Traveler’s Codex for Mutants & Masterminds, and we’re all interested. Time travel is a big deal, but you look at this development and you think “What has this got to do with me? Surely time travel and Green Ronin are in the pocket of Big Chronomancy. How can I possibly make time travel work for me, the little guy running a hand-to-mouth wooly mammoth ranch?”

Well I’m glad you asked, friend, because the Time Traveler’s Codex has so much to offer you! It’s got advice and skills to help you survive down the timestream, with not one, not two, but THREE brand new optional skills to help bring history to life! Pair those with new advantages designed especially with the worldly time traveler in mind and you’ll never feel out of place even when you’re out of your era!

“But every book has skills,” you say…

You, the discerning player have your eyes open for value! As a wary consumer, you know that companies aim so much at Gamemasters and their deep, tearstained pockets. You say “Well the Time Traveler’s Codex gives my Gamemaster everything she needs to attack me with a cyborg and a sabre-tooth tiger at the same time! How do I stand up against that?”

With time powers, my friend, with time powers. While the indelible Power Profiles offers you an in-depth look at temporal powers, this handy volume introduces new uses like Time Tampering and every 90s kid favorite, Time Out!

“But Crystal”, you say, interrupting again. “I was never bitten by a radioactive sundial! I have no powers to call my own!” Lucky for you, this stark tome provides a veritable catalog of new equipment with which to kit out your character! And the list doesn’t just start with our top-of-the-line time machines (including the Time-Hopping Muscle Car; tell Sal I sent you to get a sweet, sweet discount and no money down), but indispensable tools of the time-traveling trade like the Chronal Scanner and the emergency Time Suit! Defend yourself with an array of time-traveling weapons, whether you’re freezing them in place with the patent-pending Chronal Sink or wiping out the past, present, and future of your obnoxious neighbor with the still-technically-legal Quantum Disruptor! And that’s before we open the back of the book and start exploring vintage innovations from Earth’s history. No extra charge for that; it’s a feature.

I can see it in your eyes: You’re on the fence, but still you wonder, Is. It. For. Me? Canny, friend. You’re canny and I like that, so here’s what I’m gonna do. Now don’t spread this around, because I could lose my job for what I’m about to tell you, but every single element of this book intended for Gamemaster use is available to you, the consumer! Certainly your Gamemaster can unleash a horde of flesh-devouring cockroaches from beyond the end of time, but with time travel on your side you can have that self-same horde as a loyal and colorful sidekick! Crack wise with a loyal Dread Pirate or have an Egyptian Sphinx prepare your eggs in the morning; it’s doesn’t matter, they’re you’re sidekick!

Now how much would you pay?

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do! I’m gonna send you home—at no charge to you—with a hot sample to get you excited. One of the pre-made hero archetypes open to you: the Quantum Alien! Yes, that scion of an advanced race, whose very marrow is infused with the stuff of time travel itself! If this isn’t proof that your household is ready for time travel, then dear reader, you might as well stay in the 20th century!

Ronin Report, April 15, 2020

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

Mutants & Masterminds: TIME FOR TIME! (Ronin Roundtable)

Time Traveler’s Codex is now available in PDF format in our Green Ronin Online Store.

When you think about your favorite superhero teams—the Justice League, the X-men, the Ninja Turtles, the Sailor Senshi—what do they all have in common? It’s not masks or tights or even tragic backstories. None of those are universal.

No, to be real superheroes, you need to Travel. Through. Time.

Superheroes have flung themselves through the fourth dimension almost as long as comics have published their misadventures. The Fantastic Four were time-traveling by issue #5, and the entire Legion of Superheroes was kicked-off thanks to a one-off time travel story in the pages of Superboy. Even the world of cinema can’t resist the siren song of chronomancy, as (spoiler warning) the Avengers build a time machine to repair their scarred universe.

So where has the time travel for Mutants & Masterminds been? Right here.

Mutants & Masterminds Time Traveler's Codex PDF

Buy the Time Traveler’s Codex PDF today! (Even if you already bought it tomorrow.)

Time travel opens up so many new options for a superhero campaign, from the simple elegance of punching dinosaurs to the deep, characterful questions about their responsibilities and consequences for tampering in history. The Time Traveler’s Codex, which releases this week, gives you a smorgasbord of options for incorporating time travel as a side element or a major theme in your campaigns, including details on various eras of adventure popular in other time travel stories, new equipment and powers that revolve around controlling an traveling through time, a look at the tropes and themes that pop up around time travel, and plenty of advice for understanding how time travel works and determining the effects of your heroes’ actions.

There will be plenty of previews to come for this book, but for now here’s a look at the table of contents, so you know exactly what you’re in for!

I’ll see you… in time.

Mutants & Masterminds: Reign, Reign, Go Away

Between last month’s new offering Rise of the Tyrant, and this week’s own The Reign of Cats and Dogs, the all new lineup of Astonishing Adventures is in full swing, with superhero action and adventure for your Mutants & Masterminds table. Rise of the Tyrant brought a sinister plot by an extradimensional warlord, using the puzzle-loving villain Conundrum as his pawn. Despite the high stakes, the encounters introduce new concepts one at a time, from combat to skill checks to investigations, making Rise of the Tyrant a great introduction to M&M for new players or players new to Third Edition.

The Reign of Cats and Dogs is about as far, conceptually, from interdimensional conquest as we can get. The heroes must keep the peace and find a solution as the city’s animals begin developing super powers in one of the weirdest adventures we’ve ever offered for any edition of Mutants & Masterminds, making the adventure a fun fit for any superhero team, but especially appropriate for Hero High teens hoping to keep things calm.

But this isn’t the first appearance of The Reign of Cats and Dogs. The adventure began years ago as a homebrew convention game I ran for various events and based entirely off a bade pun from my good friend, author and DJ, Miranda Sparks. When I was double-booked during one GenCon event, I needed Green Ronin to send a relief GM halfway through my game: None other than Steve Kenson, who managed to pick up my notes with no prep time and run with them. He later admitted that reviewing my adventure notes for that game are part of what convinced him I would make a good fit for the Green Ronin team and M&M in particular, so The Reign of Cats And Dogs is actually responsible for my current position as head of my favorite game line!

We have plenty more Astonishing Adventures lined up over the next several months to keep you entertained and the city safe, running the gambit from wacky fun to deadly serious confrontations between good and evil! I don’t know if this bizarre escapade will bring you the same good fortune it’s brought me, but I know it’ll at least bring you a few hours of goofy fun, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my convention tables have!

COVID-19 IMPACT ON GREEN RONIN OPERATIONS

To All Our Community,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Onward,

Chris Pramas and Green Ronin Publishing

Rise of the Tyrant: An Astonishing Adventures PDF For Mutants & Masterminds

Rise of the Tyrant, a new Astonishing Adventure for Mutants & Masterminds, is now available in our Green Ronin Online Store!

The Rise of the Tyrant: An Astonishing Adventure for Mutants & MastermindsTrouble is afoot when a villainous master of puzzles begins a string of high-tech robberies assisted by … robot dinosaurs? But is this masked mastermind just a puppet, with a far more dangerous foe pulling his strings? Rise of the Tyrant is an introductory adventure for a team of 4-6 heroes of PL 10. The adventure is designed to bring new heroes together, introduce game concepts one step at a time, and kick off your own Mutants & Masterminds campaign!

Astonishing Adventures bring exciting new adventures for Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition to you every single month, complete with all the action and villains you need to bring the story to life!

More Astonishing Adventures are currently on sale at 20% off in our Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale!

Stay Home and Play Fantasy AGE … For Free!

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

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

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

Stay safe out there, everyone.

Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale

Green Ronin 20 For 20 Sale

20 For 20 Sale

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

Time Goes By (Ronin Roundtable)

The Mutants & Masterminds RPG is old enough to vote this year. “The World’s Greatest Superhero Roleplaying Game” (tagline credit to the bombastic style of Stan Lee) turns eighteen years old in 2020, as well as Green Ronin Publishing’s 20th Anniversary! Alongside it, Earth-Prime, the official M&M setting also turns eighteen and, with the third edition of the Freedom City sourcebook that started it all released nearly three years ago already, one has to ask: “Where does the time go…?”

In his classic Strike Force superhero campaign, the late, great Aaron Allston offered a number of options for the aging of player characters: Allston had time pass in his campaign at roughly the same pace as the real world, so some characters were mortal and aged at a normal rate. Others were immortal and didn’t age at all, while various characters in-between had some forms of slowed aging or the like that kept them vital and extended their super hero careers. Good thing, too, since the Strike Force campaign lasted for over twenty years!

In the award-winning Astro City comic book series, author Kurt Busiek had time pass in the fictional city at the same pace as the real world: Astra Furst, in grade-school in the classic Astro City #4 in the mid-90s, graduated from college in Astro City Special: Astra in 2009. Born in the mid- to late-80s, Astra should be entering her mid-30s this year!

With inspirations like Strike Force and Astro City, Freedom City (and therefore Earth-Prime) also embraced the notion of time passing in the world and for its characters. When the second edition of Freedom City was planned, there was a mere three years difference between the first and second editions of the game. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to “update” things a bit, pushing the setting timeline forward by about that amount and having things like the teen hero Bowman graduating from Claremont Academy to “step-up” to membership in the Freedom League, Captain Thunder’s young (now teen) son attending the Academy and friends with the also-now-teen Chase Atom, and so forth.

The notion flowed through later M&M sourcebooks, such that when the first edition of Hero High came along, we introduced even more new “freshman” characters to replace the Next-Gen who were aging out. At least one of them (Elite of the Alterna-Teens) has gone on to become an adult legacy hero, taking up the mantle of the Raven in Atlas of Earth-Prime. By the time the third edition of Freedom City came along, some eleven years had passed since the second edition! That called for some changes, as readers can see, with ageless members of the hero and villain communities existing largely unchanged alongside others who have grown up, retired, or even left the mortal coil altogether.

Now, it’s likely that M&M will pump the brakes on the setting’s timeline a bit, given we honestly didn’t plan on it being around nearly twenty years later! Like I said, the most recent setting book is already three years old, and Green Ronin wants to play around a bit in that era, while giving you the opportunity to do the same, without constantly having to update “current events.”

Of course, it may well be that some game groups prefer the “classic” versions of the Earth-Prime setting and its characters. Perhaps the notion that the Sentinels from Emerald City came along years after the Freedom League, or that the “new heroes” of the setting have actually been around since Emerald City was published in 2014, doesn’t fit with their expectations.

Since the setting is yours to do with as you and your game group prefer, fear not! Somewhere out in the Omniverse is a parallel Earth that follows the “10 years ago” model of most mainstream comics, which says that their major characters have been active for no more than a decade or so, regardless of how long their publication history may be. It was how the original Freedom City timeline was built, with the first major event of the “modern age of heroes” happening ten years prior. The current Freedom League can still have come about as a result of the Terminus Invasion, which still happened ten years ago, just in 2010 instead of 1993. The “classic” first and second edition Freedom City-era characters can still be at the peaks of their crime-fighting careers.

Who knows? Maybe in the infinitude of the Omniverse there’s a ten-year cycle where a new “age of heroes” starts, over and over again, on a new world and the “old” Earth-Prime is a place they occasionally visit to see glimpses of the future that might await them—as time goes by.