The Skyjacker is a thrill seeker and professional risk taker. He wasn’t built for everyday life and at the first opportunity, he stole an experimental aircraft, kidnapped its inventor, and began his career as a buccaneer for hire along with his crew of Sky Pirates! Now, as aerial pirates, he and his crew make their living stealing from others or selling their very specialized services.
It seems as if we got distracted by Gen Con and forgot to let you know that we released a new Rogues Gallery PDF for Mutants & Masterminds back on August 1. (Thank you to everybody who rolled a critical perception check and found Esquire already—we appreciate your support!)
Esquire is one of the world’s richest men. He was raised to be exceptional and he has embraced his high status wholeheartedly, even going so far as to hunt people for sport on their turf or, more likely, on his private island. His deadly skill with his specially-designed rifle makes him dangerous, but his money and lawyers make him almost impossible to stop.
Now available in our Green Ronin Online Store, it’s a new Rogues Gallery PDF for Mutants & Masterminds: Drive By!
Drive By, the Unstoppable Assassin specializes in hit-and-run tactics, appearing from nowhere riding his motorcycle, firing off shots at his target, and disappearing again before anyone can react. Where does he come from? How does he teleport the way he does? How will the heroes stop him?
Hi, I’m Reena Sarin, but in my superheroic identity I go by the name Catalyst! I’m probably the coolest member of the Next-Gen with my tech skills, innate mutie powers, and home-made control rod. I’m like the poster child for girls in STEM! (That’s science, technology, engineering, and math, in case you weren’t aware.)
Anyway, with the new Hero High book on the way, the folks at Green Ronin recruited me to talk to you about making the most out of your time at Claremont Academy. The book is packed with pretty much everything you’d want to know about the school and offers a lot of options for setting the school in different places, like in the middle of a huge city (fun!), in a rural area (yawn!), in a specific neighborhood in a larger city (cozy!), in a mobile game where everyone is on the run from something or someone (exciting!), in a satellite so you can travel the world (cool!), in a spaceship traveling through space (spaaaaace!), or as part of a dimension-hopping team that gets to see new worlds all the time (awesome!)! I don’t know what sort of game you’re into, but you can pretty much do anything you want with the advice offered in the book and a little imagination.
Geez, there’s so much in this book about customizing the school to fit how you want to use it that it’s hard to pick something else to talk about. I mean, seriously, there’s bits on the sorts of classes the school offers, suggestions to help you come up with personalities for teachers, the sorts of adventures that can arise from kids in a school. There’s information on changing the school from being run as a private school to being part of a government program or making it a totally secret facility—probably to keep the kids safe from the outside world … but also to keep the kids from, like, blowing up the neighborhood, too. There’s even ideas to help players figure out how their heroes ended up coming to the school. I thought that part was pretty cool and gave me some interesting ideas.
I feel like I’m going on and on about all this stuff. Rather than listening to me babble, here’s the section on running a Hero High series (I totally lifted this right from the book):
There’s a few givens about a series set at Claremont Academy. The first is the series likely involves elements like coming of age, interactions with their peers, and the excruciating climb to maturity through love, friendship, and heartache. Drama is a major cog in school-centric games, and while it’s not necessary to run that style of game, those elements are often crucial.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t additional options to a Claremont Academy series, however. And, it doesn’t mean these options have to last longer than a school year, taking the heroes on an extended story arc that starts in fall and ends by the spring. The next year, a new story-arc or series begins.
EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN
Duncan Summers, with help from heroes capable of exploring other dimensions, is still probing nearby dimensions, looking for powered teens in need of sanctuary. Whenever he (or his allies) locates one, he requires help in rescuing them and finding a new place for them to live (it may not always be Earth-Prime). For this, he might require the heroes because of their particular talents or because no one else is available and the mission should be an interesting field trip. In addition to the schoolwork, their extra-curricular activities, their friends, and the adventures they find themselves in, Summers’ dimension-hopping allies may “borrow” the heroes to rescue someone in need.
Duncan Summers has always managed to keep Claremont Academy’s history a secret, but the fact is, there was a reason why the property got turned from a failing estate into a private school, and why the private school eventually failed (as mentioned in History). Now, Claremont Academy’s secrets are once again rising up to bring misery to a new generation of inhabitants, unless the heroes can somehow break the cycle once and for all.
The school has been home to beings capable of traveling to other worlds for years. Their repeated travel to and from Earth-Prime from the school’s grounds has breached the dimensional membrane over the years, leaving behind micro-cracks between this reality and other worlds. Now, creatures that live in the interstitial buffer between dimensions are seeping into the Academy and wreaking havoc. Sometimes they manifest as deadly, horrible creatures, and sometimes they inhabit and mutate the living (plants, animals, people). This results in a monster-of-the-week scenario where, in addition to managing their lives, the heroes encounter emanations of these creatures. Meanwhile, they have to discover where these creatures are coming from and how to seal the breach (possibly at the point of a major incursion).
SHADOW OVER CLAREMONT
One of the new students at the academy is not who she appears to be. She is a recruiter for a villainous organization, sowing dissent among the students, coercing teens into joining her organization (such as SHADOW or the Elysian Academy in Emerald City or one of the other Shadow Academies), and eliminating anyone who suspects her. She may be running her operation as an undercurrent in conjunction with another story arc, meaning she’s in position to feed her masters information and warn them of potential raids and attacks.
X-ISLE MARKS THE SPOT
The living city X-Isle (see Freedom City) has managed to snake its tendrils into the school, creating tunnels beneath Claremont Academy. Now, students are finding these tunnels and disappearing. They’re ending up in another version of their school that X-Isle created and are wondering where everyone went. Can the heroes find these tunnels and the mirror school? And if they do, can they help rescue everyone and make their way back home?
Cool ideas, huh? Like I said, you can totally make your game however you want it. I mean, the default setting has the Claremont Academy being like a nice, private school near Freedom City. It’s got a bunch of super-powered kids, some of whom (like me!) who are training to be superheroes someday and some of whom are just learning to use their powers so they can get on with their lives … and a few who might not have the best of intentions. High school is full of drama. You know how it is.
I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll show off some of the art from the book. Check it out and I hope you come visit the school!
We have a new Rogues Gallery issue this week: Spectrum!
The son of the Silver Age villainess known as the Color Queen, Spectrum is a self-righteous art critic turned super villain thanks to his mother’s exposure to the alien artifact she wielded for years. Now Spectrum tries to raise the public’s attitudes toward art—or at least the art he feels is worthy!
Extroverted, egotistical, reckless, and interested in having a good time, Explodo the Great is a villain because he can be! He steals because it’s easy, blows things up because it looks cool, and terrorizes the population to show off. He typically warns people when the explosions are about to start, so it’s hardly his fault if they don’t run fast enough! Explodo is part fun, part crazy, and a whole lot of trouble!
Today we are pleased to announce, in conjunction with Syrinscape, two custom superhero SoundSets for Mutants & Masterminds, Space Fight and Freedom City 2525. These SoundSets feature music and sound effects tailored to Mutants & Masterminds play.
With the whoosh of passing hover cards, the whine of passing emergency vehicle sirens, the beeps and buzzes of droids, and so much more, the Freedom City 2525 SoundSet from Syrinscape brings everything needed for players to immerse themselves in this high-tech utopian metropolis.
The Space Flight SoundSet features everything needed for epic superhero space battles, including laser guns, freeze rays, humming electro force fields, whooshes, and whizzes and a soundtrack befitting the best pulp movie.
Today we present two new Mutants & Masterminds PDFs, one from our Atlas of Earth-Prime series, and the other from our Rogues Gallery series.
Atlas of Earth-Prime: Antarctica
One of the final frontiers on Earth, the continent of Antarctica is a frozen no-man’s man, not claimed by any one nation, but under international management and protection, safeguarded against exploitation, and reserved for scientific research and natural development. Still, the eons of Antarctic ice conceal many mysteries and dangers, from ancient alien artifacts to the lost members of the Ice People and the secret headquarters of the world’s most sinister organization. Antarctica is the final installment in this PDF series.
Rogues Gallery: Apocalypsette
Michiko had a passion for extreme metal and serious talent as a player, but she was a rich girl, so no one took her seriously. Then she bought an old guitar previously owned by a 1960s rockstar who played early heavy metal. When the guitar arrived, so did a mysterious stranger who offered her the same bargain the previous owner had taken before dying; she took the deal. Now with her dark side unleashed, she can call forth demons, use dark, destructive magic, and shred with the best of them!
One of the best things about working in a creative field is getting to see how others interact with the thing you’ve put out there. When I first started working in the game industry we often didn’t know how things were being received in the wider world unless a letter came by postal mail from a fan or someone came up at a convention to tell you about their character. Simply having access to email and message boards expanded that contact beyond what we could have thought possible in those early years and today, well, today we have all of the above plus Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube, not to mention the explosion of convention culture and the ability to get together with people who share your interests however specialized or obscure they may be.
Gaming in particular ties into so many other creative pursuits! I was thinking about this earlier in the year while on the light rail to Emerald City Comic Con when I spotted someone carrying a prop that I instantly recognized: Bianca, the named weapon of Varric Tethras from Dragon Age. The prop-crafter stopped and talked with me about how it had been put together while I gushed my admiration for the end result. Bianca was later reunited with the Varric cosplayer they were meeting at the con and they were kind enough to send me some photos of the result afterward.
Cosplay is a beautiful (and very visible) way fans express their enthusiasm for creative works that inspire them. Sometimes that enthusiasm confines itself much more directly to the game table. We were recently contacted by Freeport fan Russell Liley who wanted to share something he’d put together for his game group. Throughout the history of Green Ronin’s Freeport releases, the city’s paper The Shipping News has served as a way to dish out plot hooks, character tidbits, and flavor text to entertain and inspire readers. Russell went a step further and put together a PDF that could be printed up and actually handed out to his group. We were absolutely tickled to see it! He has kindly given us permission to share it at this link on the Green Ronin website.
Art is perhaps one of the oldest forms of fan expression. In fact, many tabletop RPGs have encouraged (or even “required”) players to not just describe their characters but to draw their characters (or, for those like me who have no artistic skills, choose some sort of representation for their character from existing art). The space for character illustration did not start popping up on character sheets by accident. Going back to Green Ronin’s earliest forums we were asked to provide a place for fans to share their art and that especially took off with Mutants & Masterminds fans eager to share their four-color (and not so four-color) heroes. Even with sites like DeviantArt playing host to amateurs and professionals alike, many people still come to the forums to share their latest character concepts. Some people have even gone on to take part in the Mutants & Masterminds open license to publish their work.
Twitter has been particularly good at connecting us with fans of Titansgrave thanks to hashtags. In addition to getting to see people excited about watching episodes of the web show, we’ve also gotten to see YouTubers discussing the show (such as the entertaining Titansgrave Diggers who had me on the show last August) and people doing all sorts of incredible art inspired by the world and characters, like this incredible sculpt of Laura Bailey’s character Lemley!
When I asked Gordon about his sculpt, this is what he had to say: “I have many projects on the go, but the world of Titansgrave and the character of Lemley inspired me to take on one more. In my optimism I thought that it would take me a couple of months to make it, and I could then go on to make the other characters. This has proven to be well below the amount of effort it actually required, but I am so pleased with the way it was going I have carried on regardless. I am making this sculpture out of Milliput, taking a leaf out of the hugely talented Jason Freeny’s book. Were I to do it again from the beginning however, I’d probably opt for something easier to work with, such as polymer clay.” If you want to see what Lemley eventually looks like with her head on, you can find more pics at Gordon’s Tumblr.
I guess what I’m getting at here is that we love to see your enthusiasm, how you’re going out there and making these things your own. Doesn’t matter how that ends up being expressed, your love for the things that make you happy makes the creators of those things happy, too. Sometimes the internet can function as an amplification device for unhappy feelings and unpleasant interactions but there’s a lot of good stuff out there to share and embrace. Those of us on this side of the creation equation couldn’t be more pleased and honored to see the ripples spreading out through the pond of our game-loving community and coming back around to us. Have fun out there everyone!
When you grow up in wealth and luxury, you’re loath to let it go—especially when all that money is embezzled by company executives. Young Aaliyah Travers and her father were close to losing the company he’d built from nothing until
Aaliyah suggested using it to provide tech support and repair to villains who needed it. Their plan worked! And it worked even better when Aaliyah, always an adrenaline junkie, began stealing high-tech secrets from other companies as the unpredictable Freestyle!