Welcome to Aldea: A Blue Rose Primer

Blue Rose Adventurer's GuideWhether it is the announcement of the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, the release of some recent Blue Rose products, or just general curiosity, if you are unfamiliar with the setting for Blue Rose, you may be wondering: What is this “Aldea” place and what is it like for playing games and telling stories?

Walk across its meadows, under the branches of its forests, or along its shores, and you would find the world of Aldea much like our own: with a day and night, a sun and moon, a cycle of seasons over a similar year, with much flora and fauna that would be familiar.

That said, you would also encounter magic and mystery under those forest boughs and in the watery depths. The sun, moon, and stars were placed in the sky by primordial powers worshipped during that cycle of seasons, and some flora and fauna are quite different indeed, from tree-spirits to faeries to beasts with minds as aware as our own. What’s more, you would find places, and creatures, touched by forces of corruption and evil, which have twisted them, making them inimical to life.

The Western Lands

Aldea is a world in many ways like our own several centuries ago, in others very different. The Blue Rose setting focuses on a region of the overall world of Aldea less than a thousand miles across, centered on the nation of Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose. They are collectively known as the Western Lands, or the Old Kingdom Lands, although both terms are not in widespread use, since these lands don’t think of themselves collectively, for the most part. They have emerged only a few centuries ago from a vast dark age of corrupt rule, and parts of the world still remain touched by the power known to Aldeans as Shadow.

  • Aldis: Central to the Western Land is the Sovereignty of Aldis, once the heart of the Old Kingdom. Aldis is ruled by nobles who are trained and tested for their roles, including the magical test of the Blue Rose Scepter to verify their good intentions. It is ruled by a Sovereign chosen by the divine Golden Hart from among its people, and the current sovereign is Queen Jaellin. Aldis harnesses arcane power and potential to improve the lives of its people and to promote a culture of tolerance and prosperity for all.
  • Rezea: West of Aldis, across the broad Rezean Gulf, lie the plains of Rezea, hundreds of miles of open grasslands, fed by rivers flowing from the high northern mountains towards the ocean. These lands are claimed by the Clans of Rezea, semi-nomadic horse-riders descended from humans who escaped servitude in Drunac to the north and west and found their way onto the vast plains, led by the great hero Jessa. The Rezean clans are largely independent, and often competitive, united by their culture and their respect for the Khana, the wisest of their witches.
  • Jarzon: To the east of Aldis, across the expanse of the Veran Marsh, is the Theocracy of Jarzon. Jarzon’s history of struggle in throwing off tyranny and surviving in a corrupted world has shaped their culture and views. A deeply religious nation, Jarzon’s salvation was in the Church of Pure Light. The church preaches a strict life of vigilance against corruption. The practice of the occult is punishable by death, and the arcane arts may only be practiced by the church’s priesthood and those specifically under their supervision. Jarzon mistrusts neighboring Aldis for the Sovereignty’s embrace of arcana and the forces which the Theocracy feels corrupted the world—and have the potential to do so again.
  • Kern: To the north of Aldis, beyond the peaks of the Ice-Binder Mountains, lies the foreboding Thaumarchy of Kern, the last of the domains of Shadow. The Lich King Jarek ruled here for centuries until Queen Jaellin and the forces of Aldis brought his rule—and his dark tower—crashing down three years ago. A loose alliance of seven of Jarek’s lieutenants stepped quickly into the power vacuum, taking up the reins of power as a “Regency Council” until the succession could be settled. The so-called “Shadowed Seven” plot and scheme and maneuver for advantage in the inevitable conflict that will settle which of them sits upon Kern’s throne.
  • Lar’tya: A sea voyage to the south and west of Aldis lie the volcanic isles of the Matriarchy of Lar’tya. It is a prosperous, tropical nation with a trading partnership with the Western Lands, particularly Aldis. As its name suggests, Lar’tya consolidates political and social power in the hands of women, considering them more naturally suited to administration, business, and leadership. The nation also has a strict caste system, with limited social mobility and interaction between castes.
  • The Roamers: The traveling folk known as Roamers trace their lineage back to the lost nation of Faenaria, what is now the Shadow Barrens. The Roamers travel from place to place in small caravans of brightly colored wagons, trading goods and offering services, often visionary readings or small arcane works. They’re known for their love of music and dance, but also for a somewhat mischievous nature and a gift for stirring things up in places they visit.

The Western Kingdoms of Aldea

The Peoples of Aldea

On Aldea, their term for “person” generally refers to any embodied soul: a living being born of the world, capable of thought and self-awareness. That said, not all cultures agree as to precisely who

Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy

Blue Rose (Fantasy AGE)

is or isn’t a “person.” In particular some nations, like Jarzon, question whether or not rhydan are truly people, or whether the night people are deserving of the name, being creations of the occult, and therefore shadowspawn in their eyes. In Aldis and much of the world, however, the following five peoples are recognized:

  • Humans: The vast majority of people in the world are humans, who would be quite familiar to us. Aldean humans exist in all of the vast variety they do on our world, and then some.
  • Night People: Creations of arcana, the night people were made as brute laborers and soldiers. Many fought for and won their freedom and they are now found in many lands, although fully-accepted only in Aldis, as many others are suspicious of the night people’s origins.
  • Rhydan: The rhydan have the bodies of beasts, but possess souls just like any people, making them intelligent, self-aware, and gifted with arcane (particularly psychic) talents. Most rhydan arise—or “awaken” as they call it—from amongst mundane animals of their kind, and many in Aldis believe rhydan are proof of the Wheel of Rebirth: placing enlightened souls into animal forms close to nature.
  • Sea-folk: Sea-folk are an amphibious people, who can swim with great skill and hold their breath as long as a dolphin. They have green- or blue-tinted skin and hair and eyes of a similar shade. Sea-folk are androgynous and often gender-fluid. Because they depend on water more than land-dwellers, sea-folk live near rivers, streams, lakes, or the sea.
  • Vata: Descendants of the ancient and arcane vatazin, their heritage mixed with human ancestry, the vata are a long-lived people of arcane gifts and insights, but one that has been fading from the world for generations.

Before the souls of Aldea were embodied, they were timeless beings beyond physicality. Now in diverse forms, they retain some sense of their previous oneness. While men and women are the most common genders of Aldea, more exist beyond these two. While people in Aldis have no overriding romantic or sexual preference, placing the importance of the soul over the body, there are those primarily or solely drawn to their own gender, or to a different gender, as well as those not drawn to sex or romance in particular, or even at all. There are many sorts of families, based on many sorts of relationships between people, with love as the most common element.

A New World Awaits

This summary is just the barest taste of the magical world of Aldea. So much more awaits in both Blue Rose, the AGE Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy (for the AGE System) and in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide (for Fifth Edition fantasy roleplaying), as well as fiction set in the world of Aldea from Nisaba Press, such as the novel Shadowtide. Whatever venue appeals to you, welcome to the world of Aldea! Take the time to visit and experience its stories, and then create some of your own.

Under a Black Flag: Tales of Freeport

Under a Black FlagToday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and in our newest anthology Under the Black Flag, the blood and salt of Freeport breeds a special kind of hero, one usually kicked out of all but the crustiest taverns and immortalized in bawdy songs. Ancient cultists lurk beneath the streets, unknown horrors prowl the depths, but the real trouble is the ne’er-do-wells who walk the city’s streets and alleys.

Under a Black Flag features nine rollicking tales of swashbuckling action centered around the City of Freeport, a fantasy pirate city unlike any other.

Under a Black Flag is available for Pre-Order in our Online Store as well as on DrivethruRPG.

About Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press draws the rich detail and excitement of collaborative storytelling from the world of roleplaying to create immersive fiction for all readers to enjoy.

We believe everyone should see themselves reflected in our stories. By actively seeking out and amplifying the voices of under-represented writers: women, people of color, and LGBT+, we strive to be inclusive of all readers.

While currently focused on exploring the richly detailed worlds created by Green Ronin Publishing, Nisaba Press’s vision extends to a future filled with speculative fiction set in all manner of places, times, and genres.

While you’re here… Would you like to know more about Freeport: The City of Adventure?

Check out our recent updates to the classic Death In Freeport adventure, now available for Fantasy AGE as well as 5th Edition!Death in Freeport

20 years ago, Green Ronin made a name for itself with Death in Freeport, a d20 System adventure released at GenCon the same day as the 3E PHB. It went on to win the very first ENnie Award and the Origins Award for Best RPG Adventure. Return to those halcyon days with this 20th Anniversary Edition of Death in Freeport, now updated to the Fantasy AGE rules!

Chris Pramas—the designer of the AD&D Guide to HellWFRP 2E, and Dragon Age—created the city of Freeport for this classic adventure for low-level characters. Add urban sprawl, pirates, and a touch of cosmic horror to your campaign with the City of Adventure.

Death in Freeport has already kicked off thousands of campaigns. Be part of the legend with the 20th Anniversary Edition!

A Series of Tubes (Green Ronin on YouTube)

“Or we can just dive-in, do it, and see what happens.”

That was Green Ronin Community Director Troy Hewitt, one of our resident extroverts, encouraging us to pivot in the time of covid-19 toward our community, using the means at-hand, including video streaming. Troy has a great way of getting those of us who would want to study the situation for, well, ever out of our heads and into action. That next week, the first “Mutants & Masterminds Monday” live-streamed with me and M&M Developer Crystal Frasier, with Troy acting as host, moderator, and on-the-fly tech guru.

It’s now almost three months later and we have eleven (soon to be twelve) M&M Mondays under our belts. It’s still very much a “see what happens” learning process, but we’ve had guests on the stream, fielded questions from our audience, and Troy has come up with a few fun activities for us to do. We’ve even developed in-jokes (as gamers interacting are wont to do) from Crystal’s “journal of dreams” to our tendency to come up with new projects for ourselves while on the stream.

Green Ronin on Youtube!

All of which is a long introduction to announcing that, as things are progressing, some of our “M&M Mondays” episodes are available on Green Ronin Publishing’s YouTube channel. We’re putting more up as we go and the eventual plan is for us to start streaming live on YouTube and Twitch as well as on Facebook, so there will be even more places where you can see and hear from us and we can tell you everything that’s going on with Mutants & Masterminds and Green Ronin Publishing.

 

Not going to lie, for an introvert like myself, being on-camera isn’t easy, and I have been on-camera more in these past three months than I think I have been in the past three years, and then some. But at the same time, it has been wonderful getting to talk on a weekly basis with Crystal and Troy and our guests and to hear the questions and feedback from our community, many of you from week to week. It hasn’t been easy for Green Ronin (or many small businesses) with the initial loss of distribution and with many game stores still closed or doing only limited business. So every purchase of Green Ronin’s games helps, whether it is from the GR Online Store or supporting your favorite local game retailer.

We’re about two weeks from experiencing Gen Con Online for the first time (another “dive-in and see what happens” experience) and Green Ronin Publishing will be there with our games, our staff of wonderful and creative people, and with you, our community, and I’ll be there, in front of my camera, just as I plan to be next Monday. I don’t know for how many Mondays, to be honest, because things are changing fast and often these days but, I can tell you this: We’ll see what happens.

Hope you can join us sometime.

Ronin Report, July 10th, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since our last Ronin Ronin Report: new serialized adventures!Report so I thought I’d update you all on how the company is faring during the ongoing COVID crisis. In March and April things were dicey. When our warehouse shut down and we could not ship physical books anymore, that put us a bad situation and severely impacted our ability to bring in revenue. Team Ronin really pulled together though, and we were able to roll with the punches and make some contingency plans that helped us weather the roughest patch.

Thankfully, Alliance—the game distributor who warehouses our books—re-opened with new safety procedures in place in May. This meant we could begin shipping books again, both to customers of our online store and the distributors who serve game retailers. This was a big help. A couple of print jobs that had been put on pause were also able to get going again. Lairs for Fantasy AGE and the reprint of the Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide for Mutants & Masterminds both arrived and are available now. We also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for the Book of Fiends on Game On Tabletop.

All of this means that things are more stable now than they were a couple of months ago. Does it mean everything is back to normal? Well, no, unfortunately not. Pretty much every convention in 2020 has been cancelled at this point, game stores are still struggling, and orders did not magically go back to their pre-COVID levels. We had to make some big adjustments to our schedule and have to be much more strategic about what gets printed and in what quantities. And yes, M&M fans, we will print the Time Traveler’s Codex! We just need to find the right time for it.

The hardest decisions we had to make regarding our schedule were pushing the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook and Fifth Season RPG into next year. 2020 just Ronin Report: new serialized adventures!isn’t the right time for big launches like that, so we reluctantly made that call. On the upside, it does give us more development time on both projects and we are putting that to good use.

Overall, we are getting by but it’s not an easy time. If you’d like to support us, pick up some Green Ronin books from your local store or our online store. We also have some exciting stuff being serialized in electronic format: Five and Infinity for Modern AGE, the NetherWar adventure series for Mutants & Masterminds, and new Blue Rose Adventures. Nisaba Press, our fiction imprint, has released two new short story collections (For Hart and Queen for Blue Rose and Powered Up for M&M), and the superhero novel Sacred Band is also up for pre-order.

And there’s more fun stuff coming up. In August we’ll be launching Sword Chronicle, a full fantasy RPG built on the rules from our Song of Ice and Fire RPG. Ships of The Expanse will bring all the sexy spaceships to your Expanse games. Danger Zones will provide lots of interesting adventure locales for Mutants & Masterminds. And we’ve got a 20th anniversary surprise to boot!

We hope you are all staying safe out there. Remember to wear a mask when you go out and maintain social distancing. We know it’s hard for gamers used to sitting around the table together, but we want to see all your faces when this is all over.

Ronin Report: new releases from Nisaba Press!

 

 

Green Ronin Publishing Streaming!

Over the course of the last few months, Team Ronin has been quietly engaging in some experimentation with livestreaming. I say quietly, because even though we’re broadcasting live to the world at large, we purposely chose to keep mum in the run-up to the events in order to give us some room to experiment with format and presentation, and to become familiar with the various technical and logistical aspects of planning, promotion, and of course, going live with the broadcast itself.

It’s been a few months now, and while we will continue to improve our streaming prowess and expand our efforts, it is safe to say that the experiment has been a great success! Though more importantly, we are truly enjoying the experience. So it’s time to level up our streaming game, and like any good endeavor meant to build stronger relationships and connect with people, it’s time to make a little more noise and most importantly, solicit feedback from you directly.

The original idea came as a result of an emergency meeting of the entire team. The spread of COVID-19 was creating a world-wide disruption in every aspect of our business, from printing to conventions- and though at the time there was uncertainty as to how long key infrastructures (like shipping services)  would be incapacitated, we felt certain of one thing: business as usual wasn’t going to work. But as important as finding ways to shift our overall approach to sustaining  a business, there was another, equally important issue to address: in the most trying of times, the connections you make with other humans plays a huge role in your outlook on the world. The more positive, constructive, and authentic human connections you have, your chances of success are increased exponentially. But more than that, we go a long way towards increasing that oft-fleeting feeling of well-being when we can be together in the struggle, even in the face of unprecedented global catastrophe,

So, with a pinch of teamwork, a dash of business necessity, and a heaping helping of blind enthusiasm, the Green Ronin livestreams will continue (until moral improves)! Consider this your invitation to stop by and join the conversation! We laugh a bit, tease a bit, and talk a lot about ideas and motivations behind your favorite Green Ronin projects, inviting your favorite freelancers and contributors from across our catalogue of products to join in the fun.

But be warned! We plan to continue experimenting with the concept, expanding the great ideas and regrouping around those ideas that don’t quite hit the mark. Some of it you’ll no doubt enjoy, other parts might not resonate as much (and that’s ok!). Just be sure to manage your expectations: these live streams are casual conversations and opportunities to connect. While we require time to perfect the presentation, we show up ready to connect and share with you directly.

So, if you’d like to check out a Green Ronin broadcast live and in person, you have two opportunities currently:

Mutants & Masterminds Mondays! Streaming with Crystal and Steve

Mutants & Masterminds Monday with Crystal Frasier and Steve Kenson, streaming live on Facebook at 2p Pacific, every Monday*

 

Fiction Fridays! Streaming with Jaym and Nicole

Fiction Friday with Jaym Gates and Nicole Lindroos, streaming live on Facebook at 2p Pacific every Friday*

Oh yeah, and I’m there too, your disembodied voice cracking wise and trying not to act like too much of an idiot in front of company.

Finally, if you’ve got some thoughts around the kinds of livestreams you would like to see, streaming venues you would like us to explore, or perhaps some thoughts on making the stream more accessible, feel free to send a note to letsplay@GreenRonin.com! I can’t guarantee that every idea can be incorporated, or that we can respond to every single email we receive on the subject of creative improvement, but I do promise we will read them!

Many thanks to those that stumbled across our little experiment and still somehow manage to stick with the program! We look forward to our conversations with you every single week, and hope you do too.

See you on the internet!

*A host of things can impact a livestream, from unplanned internet outages to illness, from to technical fumbles, to… well, just about anything. We reserve the right to shift and change hours, to reschedule, and to expand or contract our broadcast schedule as required by mood or law. Please adjust your expectations accordingly—and don’t forget to bring the fun!

Sacred Band Cover Reveal

Last year, Nisaba Press announced that they’d acquired the rights to rerelease my first novel, Sacred Band. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that we’re revealing the incredible new cover as well as opening pre-orders for the new edition, both in print and ebook in the Online Store, as well as on Amazon.

Sacred Band 2nd printing

Sacred Band tells the story of a team of LGBTQ+ superpowered individuals set in a post-superheroic world. When no one in charge is taking the disappearance of queer and other marginalized folk from around the world seriously, this team bands together to do it themselves. They find themselves facing down official scrutiny even while racing against the sinister conspiracy that is steps ahead of them and closing in on their goal.

This new second edition of Sacred Band has been treated to additional caretaking behind the scene, including a re-write of the original final chapter and an epilogue chapter of entirely new material! It is, without question, the book I always wanted it to be.

As much as I love the cover from Sacred Band’s first edition (it is, after all, the cover of my first novel), this incredible piece of dynamic art from the legendary Melissa Uran really captures the spirit of my novel. 

When I first started writing it, I turned to my long-time friend Melissa and commissioned a set of images of each of the members of the team, just to help me solidify what they looked like as I wrote. Melissa’s gorgeously detailed art has been a part of Sacred Band from the beginning, and I cannot tell you how over the moon I am that it now bears a cover from her as well.

Sacred Band Concept Art

Original Sacred Band concept art, by Melissa Uran. From left to right: Sentinel, Gauss, Deosil, Optic, and Llorona.

There’s lots more Sacred Band goodness on the horizon. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey!

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!