Powered UP! A Mutants & Masterminds fiction Anthology

Next week we are proud to release a collection of Mutants & Masterminds short stories from Nisaba Press, in an anthology entitled Powered Up!

Powered Up from Nisaba Press

Time passes, some things change, and other things remain. If you could go back in time nineteen years, and tell me in 2001 that the characters I created for Freedom City (the first sourcebook for what has become the Earth-Prime setting) would still be around…well, I might well have done some things differently, knowing that, but overall I’m glad that I didn’t. Because time passes, and things change, and we and the world change with them.

Comic books are very much a shared medium. Even the great creators, who set the stage for generations to come, eventually passed the torch of the wondrous worlds and characters they created onto other creators, who have done the same, on and on for generations now. While not-yet twenty years is a small comparison to a publishing history easily four times that, I can look back to the earliest days of Mutants & Masterminds and Earth-Prime and the tremendous number of people who have contributed to it: writers, artists, editors, developers, and other creatives, as well as countless players and Gamemasters. They made what started out as “my” world into a truly shared world.

I was recently told by a reader that one of the things he liked about Earth-Prime is that we have allowed time to pass in the setting, largely as it has passed for us. Characters from almost twenty years ago have grown-up, retired, moved on, and even died. Young upstarts are now married with kids. Young kids are now young adults and the Earth of Freedom City has grown—oh, how it has grown! This book is just the latest chapter in that growth.

Powered Up is a whole different view of a living, changing, heroic world, because it is a collection of stories. For a tabletop roleplaying game like Mutants & Masterminds the stories need to be incomplete, unfinished: They are implied, hinted-at, or only half-told—offered as dangling threads you can pick up and follow, or briefly summarized histories of the epics of the past. They’re incomplete because they await players, the storytellers, to finish them.

This anthology lets us step inside those stories in a different way, not as players but as readers, and we can follow along with the heroes and people of Earth-Prime as their stories unfold before us. The diversity of stories in this collection shows just how rich and living a world Earth-Prime has become and, if I may indulge the role of “proud parent” for a moment, just how well it has grown-up over the years. I’m excited to be able to share these new stories with you, and looking forward to all of the stories—and changes—to come.

 

Ronin Army forums update: All Good Things…

Hello Green Ronin fans,

Today we have guest post from our stalwart forum moderator Fildrigar, on the status of the Ronin Army forums that have been down for the last week.


Ronin Army Gamer Badge

Green Ronin Gamer Badge

Greetings!

I’m Barry Wilson. You might remember me from such internet places as That One Wargaming With Miniatures Forum and Esoteric Prog Rock Fans Online.

I have a long history with, and a deep and abiding love of internet forums. Since I first discovered them in the Nineties, I have whiled away many an hour reading and posting on them. I never had the patience for IRC, far preferring the slower, more thoughtful discourse (and formatting options) forums usually provided. I’ve been moderating Green Ronin’s forums for around eight years now. 

Unfortunately, the time has come to shut down the forums. While it wasn’t an easy decision, it was necessary once we discovered a rather serious security vulnerability that made continuing to support the forum software an untenable position. We have reached the tipping point where the security risks involved with maintaining the forums outweigh the benefits. We tried to find a solution that would allow us to maintain the existing forums in read-only mode, but just running the forum software on our servers would pose too great a security risk. 

Forums have in the past provided a place for people to discuss our games. Increasingly, those discussions have moved to places like Facebook, Reddit, and Discord (and many, many others.) Places like these are allowing us to reach more fans than our small forums did. Searching Facebook for the names of our games will direct you to groups available there. There is also a very robust and friendly Discord community called the Green Ronin AGE Appropriate Discord. You’ll find some of your favorite Green Ronin staff regularly hanging out there to talk about the latest Green Ronin happenings.  

In closing, remember that we love you, keep on gaming, and we’ll see you on the internet.

For Hart and Queen (Ronin Roundtable)

For Hart and Queen

Cover art by Jian Guo

My first real projects with Green Ronin were all Blue Rose. I wrote a chunk of the setting for Blue Rose, 2nd Ed., and then did the proofreading on it. Later, I wrote an adventure for Six of Swords (Rezea forever!). I’ve also only ever played Green Ronin IP games in the Blue Rose setting (sorry, Crystal and Malcolm and Ian, some day!). I think it’s safe to say I like this setting a lot. I mean, come on, I volunteered to write a guide to the horses of the world of Blue Rose for in-house reference. Never expected to get paid for it, either, but then Joe decided it would be useful, so now that’s part of canon.

Hey, there are some perks to working in games – you get to take your real-life experience with evil ponies and stick it in a game so other people can experience your pain.

ANYWAYS, I love Blue Rose, and when I got to start buying Blue Rose fiction, I was so excited. We’ve brought you a lot of those stories over the last couple of years, but always mixed in with other things. Some fans let us know they wanted all Blue Rose (or all Mutants and Masterminds), all the time, so we took that to heart and started putting together anthologies like Sovereigns, which focused on just the chosen of the Golden Hart.

But the early Blue Rose fiction was scattered everywhere, and I wanted to put that all in one place. Thus, For Hart & Queen was created. I worked with Joe and Steve, the stewards of the Blue Rose world, to pull the Blue Rose stories from the first few years of Nisaba Press into one collection, and then added a few new stories, too.

Along with reprinted stories from authors such as Brandon O’Brien, Lindsay Smith, and F. Wesley Schneider, we have the final installment in Rhiannon Louve’s tale of love and Shadow-corrupted plots, and new stories from Calvin Jim and Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg.

(I am really excited to bring you Calvin’s story: I published a story from Cal in one of my earliest magazine roles, and I’ve been wanting to work with him since!)

For Hart & Queen is a wide-ranging anthology of stories from the world of Blue Rose. From the deadly plains of Rezea to the gentle city life of Aldis, these stories explore the many cultures and tales in this vibrant world. You can look for this new anthology of Blue Rose stories, on sale next week in the Green Ronin Online Store, and DrivethruRPG!

Idle Thoughts on Idol Pursuits (Ronin Roundtable)

The shared world experience is an interesting one, something my earliest experiences with roleplaying games informed me about. After all, I started out playing around in imaginary worlds created by others, first as a hobby and later as a professional writer, so it’s a natural progression that now, other people are playing around in imaginary worlds that I created. One of the important things about shared worlds is that they’re like living things: They grow and change over time and, while you might help to create one, or even “raise” it, ultimately, it doesn’t belong to you and it can be better from a lot of different contributions.

Idol Pursuits, the Mutants & Masterminds novella from Nisaba Press, written by Michael Matheson, is an example of how those diverse shared-world contributions come together. Like the upcoming NetherWar adventure series for the Mutants & Masterminds RPG, the story of Idol Pursuits has its origins in the update of the Freedom City sourcebook (itself the origin of the Earth-Prime setting) to the third edition of the M&M rules.

One of the background elements that was updated in Freedom City is a change in the forces of magic in the world: The loss of Adrian Eldritch as Master Mage, followed by his successor Seven inadvertently becoming ruler of the Netherworld, forced to exile herself from Earth. Now sinister forces of sorcery that were once under control are rising in power. One strand of that story is told in NetherWar (NetherWar: Master of Earth is on sale NOW!), while others appear in M&M fiction like Idol Pursuits and the forthcoming novel The Doom That Came to San Francisco.

When there’s magic at work in the world of Earth-Prime, you can bet things are going to happen in Mystery, New Hampshire, a mystic part of the setting I first detailed in Altas of Earth-Prime, which is also the setting for Idol Pursuits. Just the place where you might expect a deathless vigilante dealing out harsh justice might come across a strange idol that everyone seems to want, and team up with a young sorcerer-detective and his sword-wielding barbarian protector. For me, it’s a fun experience to see Matheson’s Revenant, Kid Necro, and Ilkath, among others, meet up with some familiar Freedom City characters of my creation, mixed with other contributions to Earth-Prime like Scott Bennie’s specialists in magic and weirdness from Agents of Freedom, and some of Prof. Christopher McGlothlin’s creepy characters from Freedom’s Most Wanted, to name a few.

Intrigued? Well, no spoilers here, but if you’re interested in magic and misadventure in the Mutants & Masterminds manner, and maybe getting another perspective on the Rise of Dark Magic in the Earth-Prime setting, take a look at Idol Pursuits, the ebook and pdf are available today from Nisaba Press!

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.

Mongrelfolk in Blue Rose (Ronin Roundtable)

I’m a dog person.

Thus, when I first started working on Blue Rose, it made me just a little bit sad to learn that Aldea had literal dog-people, but they’re shadowspawn monsters whose only avenue for participating in civilization involves hiring out as mercenaries to the most unscrupulous and undiscerning of employers. One of the themes of the game, however, is that no one is truly beyond redemption if they make the decision to champion Light, rather than Shadow.

 

So—presuming the choice to embrace goodness over evil—what, exactly, keeps a mongrel from being a player character? A lack of stats, that’s what.

Well, I’m here to fix that problem:

Mongrel

Neither human not rhydan, but instead something almost halfway between, mongrels have long plagued Aldea as the accursed creations of sorcery. Within them—in accordance with the wicked designs of the Sorcerer Kings who shaped their race amidst agony and misery—the reason and emotions of a sapient people war endlessly with the brutish instincts of beasts irreparably wounded in spirit, and most of them cannot reconcile these two conflicting natures, save through savage violence. Most, but not all.

One mongrel might’ve been taken in as a pup when their pack was destroyed or driven off, to be raised with the sort of love and kindness most of their kind will never know or understand. Another was perhaps found by compassionate Aldinfolk, grievously injured and frozen half to death, and nursed back to health, only to feel the inexplicable stirrings of a pack-bond with these gentle strangers and a desire to do right by them. Yet another might’ve simply always sensed that there must be something more to life than to hunt, pillage, and kill; some elusive yearning for nobler things that they found they could not satisfy in the company of their own kin.

Standing well taller than the average human and sporting the head of a dog or hyena, with mottled fur and canine lower legs, mongrels are utterly unmistakable as anything other than what they are. While they stand upright and have dexterous, human-like hands, they possess an inborn feral aspect that never entirely goes away, no matter how long they spend in the company of civilized people, and their voices have a growling, barking quality. To even the most personable mongrel, the world is as much a tapestry of potential threats as it is one of prospective friends.

Play a mongrel if you want a rough, primal character deeply in touch with their animal senses and instincts. Mongrels tend to be skilled hunters and fighters, typically favoring the expert or warrior classes.

Playing a Mongrel

If you choose to play a mongrel, modify your character as follows:

  • Add +1 to your Dexterity ability.
  • Add the Perception (Smelling) focus.
  • You have Dark Sight, meaning you are able to see up to 20 yards in darkness without a light source.
  • Your Speed is equal to 10 + Dexterity (minus armor penalty, if applicable).
  • Roll twice on the Mongrel Benefits table for two additional benefits. Roll 2d6 and add the dice together. If you get the same result twice, reroll until you get something different.

 

Mongrel Benefits

 

2d6 RollBenefit
2+1 Perception
3-4Focus: Dexterity (Stealth)
5Focus: Accuracy (Brawling)
6Weapons Group: Heavy Blades*
7-8+1 Fighting
9Focus: Constitution (Running)
10-11Focus: Perception (Hearing)
12+1 Constitution

 

* If the class you choose provides this already, you can take the focus Fighting (Heavy Blades) instead.

This week is also your last chance to pick up the Blue Rose Bundle of Holding! Pick up the complete line of Blue Rose 2nd edition AGE products, as well as several of our fiction offerings from Nisaba Press, all while supporting the Pride Foundation. Don’t miss out on this amazing deal!

 

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

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!

Love Bites: A FREE Mutants & Masterminds Novella (ePub & PDF)

Love Bites: A FREE Mutants & Masterminds NovellaHappy Valentine’s Day (or happy Friday if that’s not your thing) from all of us at Green Ronin! We are pleased to present you with Love Bites, a free Mutants & Masterminds novella by Roadtrip to Ruin author Skyer Graye.

Things have a tendency to go wrong around privileged Twy and the whirlwind of violence that is Bess. But can they hold it together for one fancy date at the hottest eatery around, on the most romantic day of the year? Probably not, but as they say, it’s how you respond to adversity–or the bar fight your girlfriend starts because she’s bored–that defines your character. And these two certainly have plenty of that. Author Skyler Graye introduces two of the heroines of the upcoming Roadtrip to Ruin novel, setting the stage for the rollicking adventure set in Green Ronin’s Mutants & Masterminds superhero setting.