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.

Roadtrip To Ruin, A New Mutants & Masterminds Novel

Roadtrip To Ruin cover imageRoadtrip To Ruin by Skyler Graye is a new Mutants & Masterminds novel from Nisaba Press, available for preorder and as epub and PDF eBooks, in our Green Ronin Online Store. (Print novel and two-formats-in-one eBook product are sold separately.)

A construct, a shapechanger, a demon, a fighter, and a talking Pomeranian hit the road for the road trip they’ve all dreamed about. But this is Emerald City, and things never go according to plan. A devious supervillain, a protective guard, and a surprising origin story will make this band of misfits work together if they want to survive. Will our heroes get to see their favorite punk band? Will they thwart the sinister scheme endangering their fellow rockers? Find out in Roadtrip to Ruin!

Roadtrip to Ruin follows Height of the Storm. Both novels explore Earth-Prime, the setting of the hit superhero RPG Mutants & Masterminds.

Nisaba Press

Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing, under the leadership of Editorial Director Jaym Gates. Nisaba publishes novels, anthologies, and nonfiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties and the larger world of tabletop gaming. With the release of Joseph D. Carriker’s Shadowtide and Aaron Rosenberg’s Height of the Storm, Nisaba Press brings a new facet to Green Ronin’s award-winning worlds.

20 Years of Green Ronin! (Ronin Roundtable 2020 preview)

This time every January I write a message about our plans for the coming year. This is a special occasion though because 2020 is Green Ronin’s 20th year in business! We’ll be talking a lot more about that all year, looking back at our history and how we got here. I can say that when I started the company, it was a side project to my day job as a Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast. I couldn’t have imagined Green Ronin would still be around in 2020! So what do we have cooking for our big year? Let’s take a look!

20 Years of Green Ronin! 2020 is Green Ronin's 20th year in business.


Green Ronin’s very first release was a beer and pretzels RPG called Ork! in July, 2000. That game got a new edition worthy of Krom last year if you want to check it out. A month later, at GenCon 2000, we released Death in Freeport, the book that really put us on the map. It was an adventure for the just released third edition of Dungeons & Dragons and it introduced the world to Freeport: The City of Adventure, a setting that mixed classic fantasy elements with pirates and Lovecraftian horror. Since this year is also Freeport’s 20th anniversary, you know we had to do something to celebrate. And what brings people together like a marriage? This year we will finally wed Freeport and Fantasy AGE! Freeport is a setting I created, and Fantasy AGE is a game I designed, so it’s long past due that these two get hitched. This will begin at GenCon with the release of the Fantasy AGE Starter Set, a boxed introduction to both the game and Freeport. After that we’ll publish the Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook, a bigger, better rulebook for the game that features Freeport as its example setting. Further books exploring the city and the larger world of Freeport will follow. In the shorter term, the Lairs sourcebook for Fantasy AGE is almost ready to go to print, just waiting on a few pieces of art, so look for a PDF release and the beginning of the pre-order soon.

 

Nisaba Press, our fiction imprint, will also be supporting Freeport with both short story anthologies and novels. The first novel, I Am Gitch by Lucien Soulban, feature’s Freeport’s most famous goblin! Speaking of Nisaba, we are really ramping up our fiction in 2020, exploring the settings of our Mutants & Masterminds, Blue Rose, and Threefold properties in addition to Freeport. Last year we released two novels and one anthology (Aaron Rosenberg’s Mutants & Masterminds novel Height of the Storm, Joseph Carriker’s Blue Rose novel Shadowtide, and the brand new Sovereigns of the Blue Rose anthology). Our next Mutants & Masterminds novel, Roadtrip to Ruin by Skyler Graye, is at print now so look for that release soon. Later in the year you will see new anthologies for all our properties, the first novel for our Threefold setting, and the release of Joseph Carriker’s Sacred Band, which we announced last year. It’s going to be an exciting year for Nisaba Press!

 

Abzu's Bounty: An adventure path for The Expanse RPGOn the topic of awesome fiction, let’s talk about The Expanse! We launched the game, based on James S.A. Corey’s modern scifi classics, last year, releasing both the core rulebook and Game Master’s Kit. We also brought on Ian Lemke as the developer and he’s already putting his stamp on the line. We are kicking off the year with Abzu’s Bounty, the game’s first big adventure. It’s brand new this month so you can grab it right now. We’re following that up later in the year with two more books: Ships of the Expanse and Beyond the Ring. Ships of the Expanse is exactly what it sounds like: a big book about spaceships, with stats, deck plans, and more. Beyond the Ring is the first sourcebook to advance the timeline. The core rulebook was set between the events of the first and second novel. Beyond the Ring takes things through the third and fourth (Abaddon’s Gate and Cibola Burn). With the ring gates open, there are huge numbers of new star systems to explore, many littered with the ancient relics of dead civilizations. Beyond the Ring opens up a whole new style of adventure for The Expanse RPG and gives GMs all the info and tools they need to support it. Something else you will see this year: Expanse dice! We are working with Q Workshop (who did our dice for Dragon Age and Blue Rose) to make three different sets of the dice. Earthers, Martians, and Belters can all represent!

 

Modern AGE, under the stalwart leadership of developer Malcolm Sheppard, is going from strength to strength. Last year we launched Threefold, the first original setting for the game, and it is a stunner. We are starting this year off with Enemies and Allies (at print now), the adversary book for Modern AGE. It details NPCs and creatures, covering genres such as modern fantasy, horror, near future SF, technothrillers, and crime dramas, and provides new mechanics to support them. We’re following that up with Five and Infinity, a collection of adventures for Threefold that cover all levels of play. It also introduces the Infinity Engine, a tool for using random chance and choice to generate both original adventures and new planes of existence to stage them in. Then we have the Mastery Guide, the last of what one might consider the “core books” of Modern AGE (the others being the Basic Rulebook, Companion, and Enemies and Allies). While you might think of the Mastery Guide as a GM’s guide, that’s only half the story. It also provides advice and support for players, so everyone can up their game.

 

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of the Blue Rose continues to thrive under the benevolent rulership of developer Joseph Carriker. The next book in the line is Envoys to the Mount, an epic adventure that spans five years of game time and all four tiers of Blue Rose play. This is a full campaign that will keep your group busy for some time. If you want a smaller commitment, Six of Cups is there for you. It’s an anthology of six shorter adventures, along the lines of Six of Swords from a couple of years back. After that comes Touching the Wild, which is a dual-purpose sourcebook. Half of it is a bestiary about the shadowspawn. The other half is a player’s guide to the rhydan, the psychic animals of the Blue Rose setting. This does include the option of an all rhydan party!

We are keeping Joe very busy this year because he’s also working with co-developer Tanya DePass on Fifth Season Roleplaying, licensed from N.K. Jemisin’s fantastic Broken Earth trilogy. We announced the game at GenCon and it will release towards the end of the year. The game will use a revised and updated version of our Chronicle System, the engine that powered our Song of Ice and Fire RPG. We’ll have a lot more to say about Fifth Season Roleplaying as we get closer to release so stay tuned!

Image shows the three novel covers from N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy. The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky.

 

All that is great, but don’t you want to get super sometimes? Well, Mutants & Masterminds has got you covered! Superdev Crystal Frasier (who is by the way, doing the graphic design of the whole line in addition to game development) has a lot of comic book goodness coming your way. First up is the Time Traveler’s Codex, a sourcebook that covers the myriad of ways you can use time travel in your campaign and explores some popular eras for such shenanigans. After that is the Vigilante’s Handbook, which is all about running street level campaigns. If you want a break from four-color heroics, this book provides a grittier option for lower level characters. Then there is Danger Zones, a sourcebook that provides 30 different urban backdrops for superheroic action, each of which includes a map, special features, and adventure ideas. This book will be super handy for time-pressed GMs. Pick a danger zone and some villains and you’re ready to rock. Something else we know Mutants & Masterminds GMs have been wanting is more adventures. Last week we started a new PDF series called Astonishing Adventures. This will provide a regular stream of new adventures, which should make things a whole lot easier for M&M GMs.

That ends our whirlwind tour of 2020! There’s even more to come, like The Lost Citadel and the Book of Fiends for 5E, and our Sentinels of Earth-Prime card game, but we will talk about those a little later. Thanks for all your support these past 20 years. It means the world to us that so many of you love and play our games. See you on the convention circuit!

Chris Pramas

Green Ronin Publishing

Happy Holidays from Green Ronin Publishing!

Everyone at Green Ronin would like to wish you the very best this Holiday Season, and we’ll see you soon in the new year!

Green Ronin Publishing will be closed from today, December 22nd and will return on January 6th.

Roadtrip to Ruin: a new Mutants & Masterminds novel (Ronin Roundtable)

I love working on book covers. It’s not my primary skill set, but I’ve done enough now to feel vaguely competent, and I’ve gotten to work with some incredible artists, so I’ve learned a lot.

But this is the first time I’ve written “The Pomeranian is the wrong shade of green. We need him to look more radioactive.”

Thankfully, the artist, Dale Ray Deforest, took it in stride and did, indeed, make the Pomeranian a more radioactive green.

 

This book has been quite a lot of fun to work on in general. I first met Skyler in Austin, Texas, during one of the most memorable weekends of my life – I was at World Horror Convention, got the worst food poisoning of my life, was breaking up with a boyfriend, and had my first book signing for my first anthology (I did that signing half a bottle of Jack Daniels in, because it turns out whiskey can help calm food poisoning). I loved her work, and when I needed an author to write a Mutants & Masterminds novel for Nisaba, she was an immediate choice.

She had a strong concept almost immediately, and turned over a draft that had me laughing as I read it. The basic premise is a familiar one: a girl entering adulthood, trying to find her way into her new responsibilities.

In Roadtrip to Ruin, there’s nothing normal about Hannah’s life. Going to school with a rich social media celebrity, breaking people out of the hospital, trying to make friends with a demon, and embarking on a road trip to find out where she came from, that’s all just Monday for Hannah.

And yes, the dog is green.

Pick up Roadtrip to Ruin¸ a Mutants & Masterminds novel by Skyler Graye, from Nisaba Press/Green Ronin Publishing soon!