Ronin Round Table: Green Ronin and Retailers

Bill Bodden

Green Ronin loves our retailers.

Before you all yawn and click away, let me explain. Tabletop roleplaying games have been languishing for the last few years. Many stores, when faced with ordering less or going out of business have been cutting back on the category that attracts the least attention. Right now, that category is tabletop roleplaying games.

At Green Ronin, RPGs are our main product lines. We’ve been fortunate to have three very popular licenses—Dragon Age, DC Adventures, and Song of Ice and Fire—that have drawn fan interest and critical claim alike. As satisfying as that may be, neither of those things pay our printing bills directly, so we look for new ways to create revenue. One has already been mentioned at the Ronin Roundtable a couple of weeks ago; we’ve hired Donna Prior as our new Events Manager who will be in charge of getting our games played in stores and at conventions. We’re so sure that if people try our games they’ll like them and want to purchase them to play them regularly that we’re putting money behind it.

Why should we do this? It’s simple: Game stores are the incubators of the gaming world. They inspire customers to try new games, provide gaming space to allow people to meet for gaming sessions, and often are the best way to meet new gaming buddies. Without game stores, it would be much more difficult to reach our audience, and for our audience to find like-minded people with whom to enjoy their favorite pastime. Many gamers have gone on to publish games of their own, including nearly everyone at Green Ronin, so it’s not hard for us to draw a direct connection: without game stores, Green Ronin probably wouldn’t exist.

We want to encourage our fans to support Green Ronin and their local game store by buying products locally if possible. But let’s take it to the next level: don’t just buy our games from your Favorite Local Game Store; buy everything you can from your FLGS. We recognize it isn’t always possible to do this: there are many places in the world where there just aren’t any game stores, or the nearest one is impractical to visit regularly due to distance, lack of transportation or other issues. All we ask is to do what you can to support your Favorite Local Game Store.

If your FLGS doesn’t carry a game you want, ask if they can order it. Maybe they missed hearing about it when it was new. Since so much new product rolls out in any given week, they may only have had one good chance to hear about any given item – we’re all human, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. If you know in advance that you’ll want a new book, ask to pre-order it. This not only ensures that you get the book you want when it comes out, but also helps the store estimate better how many of that book to order, which helps Green Ronin in knowing how many copies we need to print. Having good information like that helps us stay in business by not overprinting or underprinting a product.

If your FLGS can order the game, book, or dice you want, I encourage you to get that item through the store. First, it shows that there is demand for RPGs, and second, it helps educate store staff on products that people are looking for. Stores provide a valuable service by offering the best selection possible for your instant gratification, but sometimes they need a little nudge to bring in more of what people want. Buying from stores whenever possible helps do that, and also helps keep our hobby strong for years to come.

Ronin Round Table: Aces & Gadgets

In 2013, Green Ronin is launching our two new alternating weekly series for Mutants & Masterminds, what I’ve been working on since Power Profiles wrapped up at the end of last year: Gadget Guides and SCARE Sheets for the Wild Cards setting.

Gadget Guides premiered with Robots, a guide to creating and using mechanical marvels (and menaces) of all kinds in your M&M games, and continues with Utility gadgets, looking at all of the belts, bags, and other containers that seem to hold everything but the kitchen sink for intrepid heroes. After that will be some Guides focusing on different types of weapons and, well… we’ve got a whole lot planned to take us through most of the rest of this year. Got a specific request or something you’d like to see? Let us know over on the Atomic Think Tank!

SCARE Sheets, written by John Jos. Miller, with game material and notes by yours truly, is an expansion to our Wild Cards sourcebook, looking at the epic shared world setting changed forever when an alien virus mutates some of humanity into super-powered aces and twisted and deformed jokers. Of course, Wild Cards was published for the second edition of Mutants & Masterminds, so our first release for SCARE Sheets will be a free quick conversion guide to using the sourcebook with the third edition of the game.

Beyond that, the SCARE Sheets look at the characters of the new generation of Wild Cards books, starting with Insight Straight and continuing through Busted Flush, and Suicide Kings. SCARE is the Special Committee for Ace Resources and Endeavors, a U.S. government agency dealing with wild carders, and the products are formatted as SCARE reports on important ace and joker characters and factions, similar to the AEGIS Threat Reports of our first weekly electronic series. Like Threat Reports, each entry gets you a full write-up of a single character or short write-ups of a small group or faction.

Of course, Wild Cards characters vary considerably in terms of power level compared to the classic four-color Mutants & Masterminds types. Many of the characters in SCARE Sheets are in the PL 6-8 range, although the highest level are PL 10-11 and one PL20! (I’ll let you guess who). I wondered if some of the more unusual characters of the series, like the Amazing Bubbles, Genetrix, Hoodoo Mama, or the Righteous Djinn, would pose serious design challenges in terms of writing them up as M&M characters, but it turned out that the system handled them all quite well. Readers interested in power creation may find some interesting things in the series.

Even if you’re not running M&M set in the world of Wild Cards, the SCARE Sheets offer value in the form of ready-made characters (just like Threat Report) you can "re-skin" for your own series, or just drop into it as-is. While the punk musical sensation Joker Plague probably isn’t playing any venues in Freedom or Emerald City, aces like Jonathan Hive and Curveball wouldn’t be all that unusual there, especially in Silver Storm altered E.C. Even the child soldiers of the People’s Paradise of Africa could be the unfortunate victims of alien or genetic experimentation in a superhero setting, and the Righteous Djinn… well, his power is largely based on what abilities he can steal, so the more powerful your heroes are, the worse of a threat he becomes.

Hope you enjoy both the Gadget Guides and SCARE Sheets. At $1.29 per Guide and just 99 cents per SCARE Sheet, it’s pretty hard to go wrong and easy to pick up something new for your Mutants & Masterminds game. Follow along with us this year and see what aces and gadgets we have up our sleeves—I’ll be looking forward to showing you each Wednesday!

Ronin Round Table: The Great Hero Poll

While some of us have been working hard to get our second Kickstarter campaign going (Freeport: The City of Adventure for the Pathfinder RPG in case you weren’t sure), other Ronin have been working away on the result of our first Kickstarter campaign. Today we have some data to share about the Mutants & Masterminds characters that will appear that book:

One of the stretch goals for the Mutants & Masterminds 10 Year Anniversary Edition Kickstarter was the inclusion of ten characters from previous editions of the game. The fans quickly funded that particular goal, so then came the fun part—figuring out which characters to include.

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Ronin Round Table – Events, Volunteer Programs, and Community Building

Greetings! I’m Donna Prior, the new Events Manager at Green Ronin. I’ve been busy working on a lot of documentation, and I’ve been remiss in introducing myself to you all. So, hello! In my first Ronin Round Table, I’d like to share a bit more about myself and the bits & bobs I’m working on for an official GR volunteer team.

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Ronin Round Table: Gateway to Gaming

Evan Sass

Most of us at Green Ronin have a weekly game night, and some have two or three. We got into this business because of our love for the hobby. That love started when somebody shared their own passion for roleplaying, or gave an RPG book as a present, or we found a dusty box with an intriguing cover on a shelf at a shop.

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Ronin Round Table: Brand New Gamers

Joe Carriker

Some geeks in social media seem to like to decry the mainstreaming of geek culture. I won’t get into that here, but I will say I’ve noticed a positive benefit: after deriving enjoyment from these movies, big video games and the like, quite a few folks—some of whom I’ve known for years—have expressed interest in trying out some of the other parts of geek culture they’ve heard about but never quite had the chance to try.

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Ronin Round Table: Filming Tabletop, Part 1

Chris Pramas

A little over a year ago Wil Wheaton called to tell me about a show he was hosting for Felicia Day’s new YouTube channel, Geek & Sundry. He described it as Celebrity Poker meets Dinner for 5. He wanted to feature my Dragon Age RPG on the show and was I interested in coming to LA to run it? Oh, and the filming would be in less than two weeks. That was a lot to take in!

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Ronin Round Table: Leaving Emerald City

By Steve Kenson

It can be strange, sometimes, living in "production side" time in the game business. As folks are increasingly becoming aware, via the transparency of the Internet and services like Kickstarter, the production of an RPG product (particularly a new game) can be quite a long time. Larger companies plan their production schedules a year or more in advance, and newly released products have been out of the hands of designers and developers for months once they have been printed and shipped out to stores and customers. By the time "the new hotness" hits the store shelves, it’s "old news" to the publisher’s staff, which has long since moved on to the projects intended for release six months (or more) down the road.

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Chris Pramas on A Feast of Ice and Fire

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Here at Green Ronin, gaming and eating go hand in hand. At our regular game night, we always have dinner first and then get to gaming. When we started working on A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, it didn’t take long before the terrific website Inn at the Crossroads came to our attention. There chefs Chelsea and Sariann offered recipes for many of the sumptuous foods described in George R.R. Martin’s novels. Many of these are based off of real medieval and renaissance recipes, though modern variations are offered as well. It’s no surprise these talented ladies ended up with a book deal and the result was A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook

Now about a year ago GR’s own Nicole Lindroos started a cooking club with a bunch of our Seattle friends. The idea was to pick a cookbook and have everyone make a dish or two out of it. The result was a fun day of cooking, socializing, and eating. As many of our friends are gamers and nerds of various stripes, it was a foregone conclusion that we’d eventually select a Feast of Ice and Fire. 

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We held the event at our place last weekend and we had our biggest turnout yet: 27 people. Build it and nerds will come! Most of the recipes came from the book, with a couple from the Inn at the Crossroads site and a couple from a medieval cookery site. New member Dan also brought his home brewed mead. The results? Fantastic! The only problem with such a large group is that some of the dishes were scarfed down before all the members had even arrived. The centerpiece was Heather’s whole duck, who she dubbed Ned because she’d had to take off his head!

Here’s the menu. I made the Wintercakes. We wanted to make the Honeyed Locusts but couldn’t find locusts or crickets that were not seasoned. 

Salad at Castle Black (spinach and turnip greens salad with roasted chickpeas and raisins)
Traditional Bean and Bacon soup
Iced Blueberries in Sweet Cream (two versions, Medieval Creme Bastard, and Modern Sweet Cream)
Medi
eval Mulled Wine
Medieval Armored Turnips (turnips, cheese, butter, and Poudre Douce)
Medieval Beef and Bacon Pie
Modern Beef and Bacon Pie
Baked Apples
Black Bread (bread recipe made with dark beer)
Sweet Pumpkin Soup
Medieval White Beans and Bacon
Duck with Lemons
Elizabethan Wintercakes (scone-like cakes with dried cherries, candied ginger and pine nuts)
Goat with Sweetgrass, Firepods, and Honey
Spinach Tart
Stuffed Eggs
Strawberry Tart
Ginger Pear Mead
Various preserve (spicy pickled patty pan squash, pickled cherries, pickled figs, and q uince chutney)
 
This was a fun day with delicious food. It’s easy to imagine doing a feast such as this with a game group and then playing A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying after (or during for real roleplaying!). Alas, with 27 people that was not an option for us. But enough of my honeyed words, here are some pics! 
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Ned.jpgMedPie.jpgModPie.jpgApples.jpgBreadMead.jpgGoat.jpgWintercakes.jpgFeastAftermath.jpg

Ronin Round Table: Back Issues, by Steve Kenson

As I write this, the Mutants & Masterminds Tenth Anniversary Kickstarter has passed $25,000 in funding and a stretch goal I’ve been looking forward to: an opportunity to revisit some beloved characters from previous editions of the game and update them to the current (third) edition game stats! Now the big question is: which characters?

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