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


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. 


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)
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! 


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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Ronin Round Table: A GenCon 2012 Recollection by Joseph Carriker

This GenCon was a great experience, for a variety of reasons. One of my personal favorite parts of the whole convention, however, was getting to meet so many of our supporters and fans. So many people dropped by the booth to say hello and share their experiences in the games we’ve made with us. It was really fantastic, and we’re grateful to everyone who dropped by to share the love!

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Will Hindmarch on Canon

For a while, I wrestled with the ways I could handle canon in my home Dragon Age RPG campaign.

Canon, of course, refers to the works of an author or setting that are counted as authentic lore—the books, stories, games, and more that interact officially and are regarded as What Really Happened. For a vast world like Thedas, that exists across multiple media under the Dragon Age banner, canon is both important to track for verisimilitude and sometimes intentionally blurry, imprecise, or even unreliable. At the risk of spoiling certain Dragon Age stories, for example, characters who are declared dead in earlier works may turn out to have stories left to tell in later works. Just because something is canonical doesn’t mean it won’t have twists and surprises.

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Ronin Round Table: Bill Bodden on Pre-Order Plus

Green Ronin has a problem. Frankly, it’s no different than any other RPG publisher’s problem: how many copies do we print of any given title?

It’s an old problem. Print too many and we’ll be sitting on the extras for years—either that, or keeping ourselves warm in the winter by burning them. Print too few, and we run out, killing any buzz and the momentum that buzz can generate. Plus, the more copies we print at one time, the cheaper each copy is and the more likely it is we can turn a profit from that book. It’s basic economics, really, but not everyone knows how it works.

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Ronin Round Table: Steve Kenson on Con Life

This past GenCon in Indianapolis was my 23rd consecutive GenCon (I’ve attended every year since in 1990) and my 24th total; my first GenCon was GenCon/Origins 1988 in Milwaukee when I was 19 years old. This past year at GenCon I was an Industry Insider Guest of Honor for the first time, after more than 15 years of working in the industry. Quite the transition! (Next year will be my Silver Anniversary with GenCon…I should start making plans…)

As a Guest of Honor, much of my GenCon experience this year was all about the seminar tracks, which was fine by me as the seminars were always one of the things I loved about GenCon. I liked shopping, talking with my industry idols, and trying out new games, but attending seminars has always been one of my favorite parts. I looked forward to the "Superhero Summit" seminar during the years they held it, and made it a point to attend all the seminars for my favorite games and publishers.

So being able to present seminars at GenCon felt like giving back to me, an opportunity to provide some of what I enjoyed when I first began attending the con. Out of my various seminars, two stand out in particular:

The first is technically a couple different seminars: "Cons for Pros" and "Freelancing" both different looks at how to break into the game industry as a professional. I relied on some expert advice from industry professionals in my early days (still do, in many regards), so it was good to talk to other freelancers and would-be freelancers about the opportunities and pitfalls before them. Never before has it been both so exciting and scary to embark on a career as a creative professional in our field. The opportunities for self-publishing and self-promotion abound, but the hobby (and therefore the industry) has changed, and some of the "farm teams" publishers relied upon, like periodicals and the boom in third-party publishing following the Open Game License revolution, are not as available.

My favorite seminar, though, was "Queer as a Three-Sided Die" (which you can watch on YouTube, thanks to the effort of a couple of the attendees): a panel discussion on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered visibility, inclusion, and awareness in the RPG hobby and RPG publishing. I was thrilled at how well-attended the seminar was and how enthusiastic both the panelists and the attendees were about being there. Having first attended GenCon as a shy, closeted geek who didn’t even know any other gay people, to organizing an event like this was a very special moment for me, one I hope to remember for my next 25 years of attending the con!

YouTube links:

Ronin Round Table: Chris Pramas on the 2012 Schedule

Con season is in full swing now, with GenCon next week and PAX two weeks after that. Before we get sucked down that rabbit hole though, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about our schedule for the rest of this year. Based on how things have gone, and taking into account the always fickle cash flow, we’ve had to move some books around. Below you’ll find the current schedule for our print products, but before I go on, let me issue one caveat. Several of these books are licensed and while we have budgeted time for approvals, it is never a sure thing. Just bear that in mind as we move ahead.

Threat Report: This excellent collection of new villains for Mutants & Masterminds is in stores now. Huzzah! We’ll also have it at GenCon, of course.

SIFRP Campaign Guide, A Game of Thrones Edition: We will have a limited number of copies of the revised Campaign Guide at GenCon and it should be in stores late in August. Thanks to our eagle-eyed forum regulars, we were able to catch and fix errata before the book went to print. Thanks for that!

SIFRP Night’s Watch: What happens when you take the black? Find out in this exciting new sourcebook for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. It includes new options so you can run campaigns on either side of the Wall. Night’s Watch is laid out and text approved. Once the art is approved, we’ll release the PDF and start the pre-order. We are shooting for a September release.

Supernatural Handbook: This is our Halloween treat! The Supernatural Handbook is a sourcebook of heroic horror for the Mutants & Masterminds Superhero Roleplaying Game. It lays out the elements for a successful M&M game in which the strange and paranormal are true and a few lone heroes struggle against the Things That Go Bump in the Night. The Supernatural Handbook includes detailed information on character creation, horror-themed series, and adventure design, and a complete system for building your own supernatural menaces for your heroes to hunt (or to hunt them…). You’ll find hero and villain archetypes like the Curse-Burdened Adventurer, Noble Monster, Dark Emissary and Inhuman Juggernaut. The book also introduces the organization ARCADE (American Research Center for the Arcane Defense of Earth) and its agents, who wage a secret war every night. Join the fight against ancient evils and occult menaces with The Supernatural Handbook! Look for it in October.

DC Adventures Universe: The fourth and final DC Adventures book takes you on a tour of the DCU and includes even more characters. This is a fantastic resource for your DC campaigns. Scheduled for release in November.

Emerald City: We’ve scheduled Emerald City, the newest addition to the Mutants & Masterminds "Freedomverse," for a November release. This is a product that’s gone through some changes but all for the better. The plan now is to release Emerald City as a slipcase with three books and a poster map. The books are a Player’s Guide, Secrets of Emerald City, and the full length adventure Emerald City Knights: everything you need to run an epic campaign!

Dragon Age, Set 3: Last but by no means least, we come to my baby, Dragon Age. This set includes the rules for characters level 11–20, as well as a plenty of new source material about Thedas and a new adventure. Since it’d be impossible for us to print this at the same time as Emerald City and DC Universe, the plan is to release the PDF and start the pre-order in November and then release the physical product in January.

I know this is not ideal and that the Dragon Age fans have been waiting a long time for Set 3, but the January release will actually be good for the game. As you may or may not have heard, I filmed two episodes of TableTop, Wil Wheaton’s excellent show on the Geek & Sundry network. I ran Dragon Age for Wil, Chris "The Nerdist" Hardwick, and two mystery guests. My episodes will air in February and they close out Season 1 of TableTop. Getting Set 3 out right before these episodes will ramp up the Dragon Age excitement at the right time, and then in February we’ll have the complete game available for those who watch the show and join us in the shadows where we stand vigilant.

So that’s our plan moving ahead. As you can see, we’ve got plenty of gaming goodness still to come in 2012!

Ronin Round Table: Seeing the World Through Game Design Glasses

There are times when it would be easier to not see the world from the point of view of a gamer and game-designer. Why? Because once you make the language and process of narrative game design a significant part of your vocabulary, it can be difficult to see things without those "game design glasses" on.

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