HEED THE CALL TO ADVENTURE! (Ronin Roundtable)

Brave heroes stand up to stop super-powered opponents whose abilities place them beyond the reach of most law enforcement. But what’s the villains plot? How do they lay the groundwork? And how do they react once a band of meddling kids starts sniffing around their scheme? It’s not a secret that Mutants & Masterminds is a fun system but lacks much adventure support. Groups are still playing our introduction to 3e, Emerald City Knights a decade after its release because we’ve been falling down on providing more adventures for you.

One of the reasons Green Ronin asked me aboard to develop Mutants & Masterminds is for my experience developing fun adventures. And while a lot of my attention has gone into delivering on all the outstanding projects and sewing my costume for the last few years, we’ve all been tinkering away in the background to solve the greatest of M&M challenges: adventure!

 

Welcome to Astonishing Adventures

Astonishing Adventures is a new monthly PDF series of superhero adventures, written by some of the best minds in the RPG industry today, like Steve Kenson, John Polojac, Lyz Liddell, Amber Scott, and many more. Each adventure includes everything you need to play, including some suggestions for how to bring your superheroes into the excitement, how it might tie in to Earth-Prime, suggestions for expanding the adventure if you want more than just one or two nights’ entertainment, and all the statblocks you need, generally clocking in around 15-20 pages of excitement.

We’ve also played around with the statblock presentation so GMs can find the information they need at a glance, with a compact summary whenever a combatant is mentioned in the running text and more details in each adventure’s Cast section. As both a graphic design and a GM, I’m pretty happy with that development.

 

 

While most of the Astonishing Adventures will be designed with standard PL 10 “cape and cowl” heroes in mind, we’ll also be releasing support for cosmic teams, hero high adventures, and more as time goes on.

Our first round of releases drop next week. You’ll be seeing the urban adventure Power Play and the assault on a volcano fortress that is The Island of Dr. Sersei, the two new adventures included in the Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide, letting you run the adventures even if you still keep your original Gamemaster’s Guide! February will see Rise of the Tyrant as well as the lighthearted Reign of Cats and Dogs, and every month after will see the release of one or two new adventures. We’ve got text and art orders ready to carry us for the next 12 months, so let’s make 2020, and our own 20th Anniversary, the year of adventure!

 

Q&A

Are you going to be releasing Astonishing Adventures in print?

Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition has produced several books from regular PDF series in the past, but we’re not currently planning to release any of these adventures in print. If there’s a lot of fan demand that might change, but for the time being, they’re PDF exclusive.

Will there be two adventures every month?

We plan to alternate. Some months will release a single adventure and other months will have two.

Will you make an Astonishing Adventure around my favorite M&M villain?

I don’t know. Hopefully. There are a lot of great Mutants & Masterminds villains, so I don’t know that we’ll get to all of them, but we’ll try to provide a good mix of classic fan favorite and new or niche weirdoes. Conundrum, Cerebrus Rex, and Medea are all coming soon, and even more villains are showcased in our Mutants & Masterminds fiction from Nisaba Press.

How much will each Astonishing Adventure cost?

Each Astonishing Adventure is $4.99 USD, less than the price of a foot-long sub!

Are you planning to do more multi-part adventures like Emerald City Knights?

The NetherWar is brewing. Stayed tuned for more information.

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!

Spooky Superhero Times!

With Halloween fast approaching, this is a time for seasonal merriment, and there are few things merrier than punching self-important super villains in the face! To celebrate this spooky time of year—a favorite around the Green Ronin offices—we’ve prepared a special treat: A free adventure for Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition!

Nothing To Fear

Nothing to Fear is a short seasonal adventure set in Freedom City. As the heroes attend the city’s annual Halloween parade, sinister agents are afoot, looking to spread fear and chaos among the attendees. Only swift action can prevent a fun-filled holiday from mutating into a night of violence. Nothing to Fear is self-contained, with the major villain stat blocks provided for you. All you need to play is a copy of the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook and either the Gamemaster’s Guide or the Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide! It’s also a stealth preview of our upcoming PDF Astonishing Adventures line, coming later this year. More details on that as we get closer.

Download Nothing to Fear here!

 


And check out last year’s previous Halloween Adventurer: Monster Mash-Up!
And for more holiday fun, (even though it’s still months away, despite what the seasonal aisle in retail stores might like you to think): Crisis on Christmas!

Mutants & Masterminds: BIGGER. STRONGER. BETTER. THE DELUXE GAMEMASTER’S GUIDE

Longtime fans and frustrated newcomers alike have probably noticed that the Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster’s Guide has been out of print for most of this year. Why retire such a critical rulebook for one of our most popular lines? Well, we didn’t. The original Gamemaster’s Guide was involved in a terrible test-pilot crash, and so we retrieved it and took it back to base, where we rebuilt it better than ever!

The Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide has all the material you love from the original but expanded with even more content and bound in a sturdy hardback to better stand up to table wear. So what’s new? Let’s take a look at the updated table of contents:

Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide Table of Contents!

That’s 70 new pages of content! Let’s take a look at part of that today!

New Faces

The Archetypes chapter has been expanded to add new villains and new minions! One of the best parts of running a superhero RPG is getting to put your favorite tropes and sacred cows into the game, and I always thought the villain archetype needed a little more weird. The new villains include the Composite—a villain made from small particles or creatures, making them flexible and tough to hurt. But my personal favorite addition is the PL 8 Jobber, the second-string loser whose powers have a theme but don’t quite match the PCs’. These are your Shockers, your Condiment Kings, your Captains Boomerang. They’re great support; backed by a ton of minions or assisting a bigger villain, they’ll make you sweat. But on their own, they don’t stand much of a chance against PL 10 heroes.

I love the Jobber so much, I want everyone to have her! So here she is for everyone to enjoy!

Free PDF Prewiew of Jobber!

The archetypes chapter also includes lots of new minions to help round out your adventure lineup. The big goal was to add some more unusual minion opponents and round out that PL7-8 “Lieutenant” range, so here’s the list of new additions: Devouring Swarm, Trickster Faerie, Jinx Faerie, Arcane Cultist, Mystic Ninja, Drone, Robot Jockey, Tulpa, and my personal favorite and noteworthy missing pet: the Hyena. The Deluxe Gamemaster’s Guide also includes a new section just for templates, with seven sample templates to let you adapt the preceding minions for your own stranger capers.

Great Power, Great Responsibility

Part of being a superhero means being responsible in both deed and language. Words can have power, carry unexpected baggage, or be hurtful, and even when you don’t mean to cause harm, they can still have consequence. The original printing of the Gamemaster’s Guide included some word choices that are common comic book tropes, but also carry some real-world baggage. So we’ve changed a few names in the archetype chapter. These revisions use the same statblocks, but the shift can be confusing if you’re using adventures or villain write-ups that refer to these minions by name, so here’s the rundown on what got changed:

The Savage villain archetype is now the Hybrid.

The Thug is now the Crook.

The Hit-Man is now the Hired Killer.

And the minion-level Crime Lord is now the Boss. This wasn’t a sensitivity issue; we’re just trying to avoid confusion with the villain archetype of the same name.

Nisaba Press Update: Height of the Storm!

Last year, we announced Height of the Storm, the first novel for the Mutants & Masterminds line, by Aaron Rosenberg. Well, we’re counting down the weeks now ‘til publication, so we wanted to give you a sneak peek!

Height of the Storm is about a teenager who gets caught up in some pretty big events. Lindsay Seldon, though, is no normal teenager. The granddaughter of a real superhero, Lindsay grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps, but his overprotectiveness of his orphaned granddaughter keeps her out of the fight. But, caught up in an unnatural storm, Lindsay now has powers of her own, powers that her disability has prepared her for in ways she never imagined.

Donning her grandfather’s old armor, she sets out to thwart a villain bent on revenge.

Height of the Storm will be coming out in August, and will be available at Gen Con! Aaron will be there, so if you want to get your book signed, be sure to keep an eye out for our signings.

In the meantime, please enjoy an excerpt, and this first look at the cover of Height of the Storm, by the incredible Dale Ray DeForest. For more about Aaron, please visit http://gryphonrose.malibulist.com/, and for more about Dale, please see http://www.daledeforest.com/.


**

Lindsay gulped and tried to maintain her composure. This was not going at all the way she expected. “That’s not happening,” she replied, pleased to not hear her voice waver. “Put down the gun and submit to arrest, or I will be forced to subdue you.” She rested her hand on the hilt of the sword hanging at her side. Maybe she should have drawn it first.

The mugger’s eyes narrowed. “A sword?” he asked, chuckling. “You for real? I’ve got a gun, sweetheart. You try that, you’re gonna get hurt.” She wondered why didn’t his voice waver at all. Probably because he’d done this, or something like it, a thousand times.

Well, he’d never faced the Knight Light before.

Frowning, she drew her sword—and he shot her. Full in the chest. Dead center even. Well, he’d had plenty of time to aim, she thought ruefully as the impact knocked her off her feet. I’ll have to work on that.

As she fell, Lindsay flailed, both arms shooting forward in an instinctive attempt to latch onto something, anything. If there was one thing she was an expert at, it was falling. Her right hand shot out and grabbed onto the light post, which was a good ten feet away, causing both the mugger and his intended victims—who had stayed there frozen this whole time—to gasp.

But her left hand nailed the mugger in the jaw, the weights in her gauntlet causing his head to snap back from the impact. Gotcha!

Finally, Lindsay’s training kicked in. She was still in mid-air—it was like time had slowed for her, the fraction of a second required to fall feeling like an eternity—and so she brought her left knee up, positioning her foot to hit the ground properly even as she extended her right leg and brought it around and out, knee locked, foot extended into a proper sweep kick.

Time snapped back into place. She was stable and secure, thanks to both her left foot and her right hand, and her right leg took the still-staggering mugger just above the ankles. The impact jarred Lindsay—most likely taking her hip out, which unfortunately she was all too used to—but it swept him off his feet. He hit the ground hard, landing on his back with enough force to drive the air from his lungs as the gun flew from his hand, clattering to rest a few feet beyond his reach even as Lindsay released her grip on the lamppost and rose to her feet, striding over to stand above him.

Perfect!

She winced as the motion aggravated her hip—definitely out of place, probably the knee with it—and her chest, which felt bruised despite the bullet-stopping heavy links. Thanks, Granddad. She hoped she was keeping all of that out of her face and voice, though, as she turned to face the two women. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, thank you!” the one on the right managed. The other one just nodded energetically, wringing her hands. “That was amazing!”

“Thank you,” Lindsay told her, feeling the same thrill she’d had whenever she’d completed a training maneuver successfully, only a thousand times more. “You two should get on home now. Be safe.”

“We will,” they promised. “Thank you!” And they rushed off, glancing back at her several times. Lindsay did her best not to grin like a little kid on Christmas Day but inside she was bouncing deliriously.

Yes!

Movement at her feet alerted her that the mugger had rolled over and was trying to crawl away. “Not so fast,” she told him, turning back and crouching down, planting all her weight on the small of his back and pinning him in place as effectively as a tack-secured a strip of paper. “You will wait right here for the police,” she insisted, drawing zip ties from the pouch at her belt and quickly securing his hands and feet behind him, “and you will tell them that the Knight Light is back, protecting these streets once more.”

Then she marched away, reaching into the pouch at her belt for her phone as she went. Her breathing was coming in gulps, and her face hurt from smiling so much; she’d done it! At the same time, her leg and side and chest hurt as well, and for less happy reasons.

This had all sounded so much easier before.

Green Ronin 2019! Part 2: Mutants & Masterminds, Sentinels of Earth-Prime, and 5E

Welcome back to our look at Green Ronin’s 2019 plans. Yesterday I talked about The Expanse, Nisaba Press, Freeport, and Blue Rose. Today I’ll be talking about Mutants & Masterminds, and 5E.

 

Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds is our longest-running RPG, now in its 3rd edition. Last year we released the Basic Hero’s Handbook, a new entry point for the game that makes getting started with M&M even easier. We’re going to follow that up this year with some PDF adventure support and a Revised Edition of the Gamemasters Guide. The GMG went out of print last year and rather than do a straight reprint, we thought we’d take the opportunity to add some new material (new adventures, villain archetypes, and more) and make it integrate more smoothly with the Basic Hero’s Handbook. We’re also making it hardback!

Before the revised GMG, though, we’ve got the Superteam Handbook. This handy sourcebook contains eight pre-built superteams that range from PL 5-12. These can be used to kickstart a campaign, or as allies, rivals, or enemies of the PCs. Later in the year we’ll have the Time Travelers Codex. This book provides a framework and ideas for including time travel in your supers campaign, as well as detailed info on select historical epochs and the sorts of adventures you might have there.

Sentinels of Earth-Prime

Mutants & Masterminds is also moving into a new area this year: card games! Sentinels of Earth-Prime is a joint project between Green Ronin and Greater Than Games that originally funded on Kickstarter. Sentinels of Earth-Prime is game that combines M&M’s core setting and the rules of Sentinels of the Multiverse. This is a core game so no previous experience is required. If you have Sentinels of the Multiverse games though, you’ll find that all the decks in our game work hand in glove with your current collection. Why, it’s almost like SotM designer Christopher Badell did all the deck design for our game (because he did!). The game is designed and playtested, and right now we’re working on getting all the art done. As this is a card game, there is quite a bit of art. You should see Sentinels of Earth-Prime this summer.

Tales of the Lost Citadel

Tales of the Lost Citadel novel coming soon!

Fifth Edition

If you enjoyed last year’s hugely successful Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, we’ve got more Fifth Edition fun for you this year. First, we’ve got Lost Citadel Roleplaying, a campaign setting we also funded on Kickstarter. It’s a world where the dead roam at will and all the survivors have taken refuge in the city of Redoubt. Only its walls and the strength of its inhabitants stand between the dead and annihilation. Lost Citadel Roleplaying is in layout now and should be available for pre-order soon.

Later this spring we’re running a crowdfunding campaign on Game On Tabletop to bring back a Green Ronin classic for Fifth Edition: The Book of Fiends! Older fans will remember this book from the Third Edition era. It was one of our best selling and most critically acclaimed books in the d20 days, so it only made sense to bring it back. Demons, daemons, and devils will be yours in abundance! Rob Schwalb, one of the book’s original designers and also a member of the D&D Fifth Edition design team, updated all the existing fiends and added new ones too. You’d expect no less from the man behind Shadow of the Demon Lord!

That wraps up part 2 of our look at 2019. Come back for the final installment tomorrow to learn about Modern AGE, Fantasy AGE, and Dragon Age.

Ronin Roundtable: THE ARCHETYPES: SOLAR RAY

With the arrival of the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook, the world of Earth Prime has a few new heroes illustrating the eight heroic archetypes presented in the books. Four of these characters also appear in the upcoming Mutants & Masterminds Quickstart as pregenerated player character sheets, and so they needed names, personalities, and origins of their own. We turned to RPG industry legend and giant comics nerd, Amber Scott to help flesh out the new Crimefighter, Energy Controller, Gadgeteer, and Paragon of the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Heroes Handbook!

———————-

Art by Alberto Foche

Ray Montoya was the kind of guy who could make Mount Rushmore crack a smile. Making others laugh, especially with a little self-deprecating humor or a harmless prank, felt like the one thing in the world he couldn’t screw up, and he leaned into it hard. Ray wasn’t trying to develop superpowers on the day of the eclipse. He was trying to show off to his friends. But with all the warnings on TV about not looking directly at the eclipse—as if anyone could be that stupid—he couldn’t resist the opportunity to play a little prank.

He met up with his friends on a rooftop patio for the viewing and prerequisite party. When the time came, and everyone pulled out their eclipse glasses, Ray simply whipped out a pair of designer shades. “These should be enough for me. I’m already a star.” He pushed the shades up his nose and turned his face innocently to the sky.

He grinned as his friends started freaking out, shouting at him not to look. None of them could see his eyes were closed behind the sunglasses. Ray was dying of laughter on the inside, right up until a server with a tray full of glasses tripped and crashed into him.

Ray’s eyes popped open. Without meaning to, he stared directly into the glorious eclipse, and it burned him. As if entranced, he reached up and removed his sunglasses, staring fixedly at the stunning astronomical event. A few seconds later, one of his friends spun him around, yelling for Ray to not be an idiot.

To everyone’s shock, Ray’s irises had turned pitch black, surrounded by metallic gold sclera. It was if the eclipse was burned into Ray’s own eyes. The sun still glowed bright in his vision, and then in his chest.

Since that day, the power of the sun shined within Ray’s body. He learned to control the bright yellow-white light that shot from his fingertips, and he also developed the ability to fly. Sometimes Ray still wonders how he gained superhuman powers from a solar eclipse, especially after news reports began mentioning other people who looked into the celestial event and only walked away with retinal damage. Some days he feels like the luckiest guy in the world, but other days beats himself up as a fraud, sure that his powers were intended for someone else who could’ve used them better. That lingering doubt drives him to better master his powers as his body continues to change.

What didn’t change was Ray’s showoff nature and desire to impress people. He loves being the first on the scene and taking out bad guys in the flashiest way possible. When the news vans show up, Ray’s always willing to linger for an interview. Given his ego, Ray couldn’t abandon his real name entirely. Instead he adapted it to create his superhero identity: Solar Ray.

Ronin Roundtable: Ronin Ramblings!

With summer beginning to fade, I thAldis: City of the Blue Roseought this would be a good time to give you all a general update about goings on at Green Ronin. These last couple of months

have been a whirlwind. We had a great GenCon and released Aldis: City of the Blue Rose, Modern 

AGE and its GM’s Kit, as well as the Basic Hero’s Handbook and Rogues Gallery for Mutants & Masterminds. We also ran a hugely successful Kickstarter for The Expanse Roleplaying Game. We were literally on the edge of our seats in the final hour, wondering if we’d hit $400,000 and thus secure a new James S.A. Corey

Modern AGE Basic Rulebook

short story to go in the game. With 10 minutes left to go, we crossed the threshold. It was exciting! Huge thanks to all the backers of the Kickstarter, and of course to Daniel Abraham and Try Franck (together, James S.A. Corey) for not only creating a fantastic scifi universe but also doing so much to help us promote the RPG. If you missed the Kickstarter, never fear. You’ll have more chances to hop onboard.

After a brief pause to catch our breath, it was back into the breach. I was PAX West last weekend doing some panels, one of which (Designing Worlds: Experiences Creating Tabletop RPGs) you can see here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/304840481?t=

Hal meanwhile has been working on laying out our next several books. Ork: The Roleplaying Game (the new edition of Green Ronin’s very first RPG!) is at print

Pre-Order and PDF: Basic Hero's Handbook for Mutants & Masterminds

now and is available as a PDF and for pre-order. Hal is currently working on World of Lazarus, the first setting for Modern AGE (based on Greg Rucka’s awesome comic) and the long-awaited Faces of Thedas for Dragon Age. You should see PDFs and pre-orders for both of those books in the near future. Meanwhile, Hal is also working with James Dawsey on the artwork for Sentinels of Earth-Prime, a Mutants & Masterminds card game using the Sentinels of the Multiverse rules we’ll be releasing next year. Jaym Gates has also been working hard to get our fiction imprint, Nisaba Press, up to cruising speed. Our first novel, a Blue Rose tale called Shadowtide by our own Joe Carriker, has just gone to print. More Nisaba news coming soon.

Next weekend is our annual Green Ronin Summit. While we have a cluster of people in Seattle, much of our staff is scattered across the country working

remotely. We thus find it valuable to fly everyone here once a year, so we can get together in a non-convention environment and talk over our plans for the next 18 odd months. We’ll be considering various proposals, deciding on the schedules for our game lines, and doing some long-term strategizing. Oh, and eating an

ungodly amount of cheese. Can’t have a summit without cheese! Or webmaster Evan’s famous ice cream.

Later this fall we’re back on the convention circuit. Nicole and I are hugely excited to go to Australia for the first time for PAX Aus in Melbourne. We’ll have a booth there (and a cool unique pin through the Pinny Arcade program) and we look forward to

meeting Aussie gamers face to face. A week later I am a guest at Week End Geek in New Caledonia. If you had told young me that gaming would one day get me to the other side of the world, I would not have believed you! Certainly, South Pacific sun in November sounds better than Seattle rain. Once we’re back home, we’ll close out the year at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia.

Stay tuned for more news and updates. Fun stuff always comes out of the Summit!

Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition

 

 

Ronin Roundtable: Nisaba Press update!

So, by now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the announcement about Nisaba Press’s first novel, Shadowtide, by Blue Rose’s own, beloved Joe Carriker. Joe turned the final manuscript over to me a couple of months ago, and I worked on the edits while I was in New Orleans for a convention. Readers, this book is lovely. It’s full of intrigue, adventure, and chosen family, led by a smart-talking rhy-crow and a grieving Night Woman.

Shadowtide: A Blue Rose Novel by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.

The book is now in production’s hands, along with the interior art order. It’s going to be pretty amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the first entry in Nisaba’s novel line.

But now that Joe’s novel is into production, let’s talk about what we can look forward to next. Nisaba’s fiction is currently focused on our three internal settings, Blue Rose, Freeport, and Mutants & Masterminds. With a Blue Rose novel out, what could possibly be next?

How about a Mutants & Masterminds novel, penned by Aaron Rosenberg? Aaron is an experienced novelist who is familiar with tie-in and game fiction, having written for properties including Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Star Wars, Warhammer, and Eureka. He’s written for a number of game properties, too, including several supplements for Green Ronin. His combination of game and novel experience made him a great fit for our next Nisaba novel.

Coming in fourth quarter 2018 from Nisaba Press, Height of the Storm is a novel about a teenager who gets caught in a storm, and wakes up with a big choice to make. We’ve been through the first round of edits, and the manuscript is back with Aaron for a final writing pass before the copyedit phase starts. Hal has the cover art notes, and we’re looking forward to initial sketches.

In the meantime, check out our short fiction, and keep an eye out for an announcement of the upcoming Nisaba Journal, our first collection of short fiction. The Journal will be produced bi-monthly, containing 4-6 short stories in the featured settings, and available in our web store. The August issue includes stories from Richard Lee Byers, Tiffany Trent, Michael Matheson, Dylan Birtolo, Rhiannon Louve, and a prequel to Height of the Storm from Aaron Rosenberg!

Thanks for reading, folks. I’m super excited to bring you the next round of fiction set in Green Ronin’s worlds.