Ronin Roundtable: Dragonpowder in SIFRP

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.33.23 PMDisclaimer: This article discusses the concept of gunpowder in the setting of A Song of Ice and Fire, for the sole application of the roleplaying game A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. To be clear, the existence of gunpowder is wholly non-canon for the book series, and this article is written from a great big “What If?” perspective.

Recently, we at Green Ronin Publishing released a new PDF sourcebook for the Chronicle System, Spark to Powder. This PDF takes a look at pre-modern types of gunpowder technologies, and how to use them in a Chronicle System campaign.

But since the Chronicle System is the “engine” that powers our A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, even I couldn’t help but imagine what gunpowder introduced to Westeros might look like and how it might change the setting in some capacity. We’re calling it dragonpowder, not just for the flame it births so easily, but also for the devastating effect is has the potential to bring to warfare in Westeros.

So, without further ado, we look at the first hurdle to jump in such a scenario: Where does gunpowder come from? We offer three different answers for the Narrator to use in their campaign, perhaps even mixing and matching from elements as they like. Enjoy! Read more

Now Pre-Ordering: Dragon’s Hoard

You can now pre-order Dragon’s Hoard, an epic adventure for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying (the Game of Thrones RPG)! When you pre-order the hardback book in our Green Ronin Online Store, you’ll be offered the PDF for just $5 at checkout! If you pre-order through your local retailer, make sure they know about our Pre-Order Plus program.

Dragon's Hoard

Dragon’s Hoard

Dragon’s Hoard
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Adventure
Authors: Lee Hammock, Scott Holden, Ian Ireland, Lauren Roy, and Neall Raemonn Price
Cover Artist: Slawomir Maniak
Formats: 180 pages, full color hardback / PDF

Even years after the fall of House Targaryen, their legacy is not forgotten. When a band of ruffians bound for the Wall seek shelter for the night, one of them reveals a secret that sparks a quest across Westeros and even the Narrow Sea to Braavos, seeking the clues to reveal the location of untold riches: part of the Targaryen treasury, spirited away in the final days of Robert’s Rebellion! But our heroes are not the only ones seeking the lost dragon’s hoard, and their rivals will stop at nothing to beat them to it and claim it for themselves. In the end will it be riches…or ruin? Dragon’s Hoard is an epic adventure for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying able to fuel your chronicle for months of game play.

Pre-Order Dragon’s Hoard

Ronin Round Table: GenCon 2016 Roleplaying Games!

 

GClogo-header-2016-91a751cab7b3dc33dd0ac3b3b95595ac9c4e1b4bc5f42b6388531396cb8729beAs I’m sure most folks know, the events registration for GenCon 2016 went live on Sunday. As an aid to everyone who is interested in playing some of their favorite Green Ronin Publishing roleplaying games at GenCon—or trying out one they’ve never played before—we thought we’d compile a handy list of links to those games, by game.

What follows is not a complete list of Green Ronin Publishing games ato be had at GenCon. It’s just a collection of the games we’ve helped put together and coordinate for this year’s convention. See you there!

Reminder: While some of these games are already sold out (a big thanks to all of that enthusiasm!), remember that lots of folks over-buy, and then drop events as they figure out their schedule. Moreover, things happen and sometimes people aren’t able to show for a game, so make sure to pick up some generic tickets and if there’s a game you’re really interested in, show up to it and see if there are any slots unfilled when game time rolls around. Our GMs are only too happy to help.

Read more

Chronicle System PDF: Spark to Powder

Chronicle System: Spark to Powder (PDF)

Chronicle System: Spark to Powder (PDF)

Now available in our Green Ronin Online store is Spark to Powder, a new PDF release for the Chronicle System. Spark to Powder moves the Chronicle System’s technological “slider” a little bit further up the timeline, to what might be termed the Gunpowder Age. This PDF book presents equipment and Benefits that reflect the advent of gunpowder and firearms technologies, but also examines some of its ramifications on a House’s Holdings and its Warfare Units as well.

Add a bang to your Chronicle System campaign!

Ronin Roundtable: Useful Resources for A Song of Ice & Fire

SIFRP-thinkingRunning a campaign of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying can be quite involved. As the Narrator, you have to breathe life into the setting with interesting Narrator Characters, keep the plot moving forward (with or without the player characters!), evolve the storyline to respond to the players actions, and on and on.

It’s great fun, but it’s also a lot of work.

Once you’ve been doing this for a while, though, you figure out some short cuts. So, to make your lives easier, I figured I might share some of my favorite resources that I use to make life a little easier.

Just click on the name of the site below to go to it!

A Wiki of Ice and Fire

Probably the first and most indispensable of these resources is the Song of Ice and Fire Wiki. These are the fruits of the labors of a huge population of dedicated and knowledgeable fans. There are timelines of what happens in the books, detailed examinations of major (and a few minor!) characters, descriptions of a variety of important locations in Westeros and beyond…there really is a little bit of everything there.

Estalia.Net

Though created for another setting entirely, the castles on this page are wonderful. They are relatively simple in design (I believe most of them were made in MS Paint!), but excellent for all that. They really capture the authentic design of a great many of the castles that inspired those in Westeros, so if your group doesn’t have someone who wants to design the interior details of your chronicle’s castles and keeps, this is a great place to turn. They even remember to include privies and jakes!

Donjon

This site has a huge and interesting collection of random generators. While many of them are more appropriate for other higher-fantasy settings, there are some crazy useful ones. My favorite is probably the Medieval Demographics Generator, which lets you enter the population of a settlement, and it’ll generate the space it takes up, details of who rules it, and provides a population breakdown by job. Great stuff.

Westeros Name Generator

Though pretty simple looking in design, this name generator manages to capture a great deal of the flavor of Westerosi names. If you’re like me, you’re always in need of some name or another, so this is a great one: generate a list of fifty mens’ names and fifty womens’ names and you’re pretty ready to go naming Narrator Characters.

House Generator

This is from one of my personal bookmarks, and it’s great for generating one of the many Narrator Character Houses in the game. This utility can be used to generate a random House, using the rules for House Generation in A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. It works quick and well, with some great history and detail all the way around.

Inkwell Ideas Online Heraldry Generator

Last but very, very far from least is the online Heraldry Generator from Inkwell ideas. It’s a nifty system that lets you set the details of the noble Houses that populate your part of Westeros, giving House symbols and colors to each of them. The nice thing about this set-up is that you don’t have to know what you’re wanting to create going in. You can browse the options and toggle those that interest you all you like.

SIFRP Narrator’s Kit, Revised Edition

We have completely revised the Narrator’s Kit for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and it’s available now!

SIFRP Narrator's Kit, Revised Edition

SIFRP Narrator’s Kit, Revised Edition

A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Narrator’s Kit, Revised Edition
Author: Steve Kenson
Cover Artist: 
Helge Balzer
Format: 3-panel hardback screen with poster map, reference cards, and 16-page booklet

As a narrator you have your hands full when running the game, but that just got easier with the Narrator’s Kit for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. This handy accessory features a 3-panel hardback screen with useful tables and charts on one side and a beautiful illustration of the Wall on the other, as well as a full color poster map of Westeros and a 16-page introductory adventure by Steve Kenson. It also includes 4 quick reference cards that put key rules at your fingertips, and a combat tracker that you can write on with wet or dry erase markers.

Kickstart your chronicle with the Song of Ice and Fire Narrator’s Kit!

Ronin Round Table: Generational Games in A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying

BalerionA Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying tends to have a distinct focus on families and legacies. It’s not surprising – the powers of Westeros are its Houses, and while they maintain their hold through economics and military, they establish their alliances and continue their legacies through family.

As such, there is a sense of importance to the families of the characters in a SIFRP campaign. So, it is perhaps no surprise that a particularly enjoyable style has come out of that sort of focus on the family: generational play.

With generational campaigns, the chronicle is less about individual characters, and more about the great legend that is one of the Houses. Wars and trials by combat meet on equal ground with intrigues to establish alliances – especially marriages – between the Houses, and most of the story is told through “flashpoints.” These are important moments in which the House’s legacy is imperiled, whether because it is endangered in some way, or because it has an opportunity to make itself great (although at what cost?). Read more

Ronin Round Table: The Art of Art Direction

beastfolk

By Hal Mangold

Today’s Ronin Round Table draws back the curtain on some of the behind-the-scenes parts of creating our products. Art is an essential part of the look and feel of most games, and it’s the role of the art director (that’s me) to make sure all that art gets created. To give you all a little insight into the job, we’re going to answer a few common questions about what being an art director is all about.  

What does the art director do?

As the art director, my responsibility is to make sure that all of the art that goes into Green Ronin’s games and publications is up to the standard we’ve tried to set over the years. I select the artists, assign and approve the art, and herd cats to make sure it all comes into our hands by the deadline necessary for publication.  

How does the art direction process work?

It all starts for me with scouting out the artists who have the right style to fit the project. Games like Mutants & Masterminds have a radically different art style than Dragon Age or A Song of Ice & Fire. I contact the artists I want on the project, see if they are available during the timeframe I need them, and get them contracted if they’re interested in working on the project. Ideally, this is done about 4-5 months ahead of time, but circumstances often compress this a bit.  

The art order or brief comes next. This is a description or set of descriptions for the piece of art needed for the product. These can be written either by me or, more often, by the developer of the product, with my role being more to tweak or jazz up those basic descriptions. Sometimes the descriptions are general, sometimes really specific, and different artists work well with each type. In general, I try to art direct with a light touch when I can. I’m hiring the artist for their talents and inspiration, after all. I try to give them as much room to improvise as I can.   

The next step is to take that art order transfer it to the artist or artists. For a cover piece, this part is simple. For interior work with multiple artists, it’s a bit more involved of a process. The art assignments get broken up between the artists, taking into consideration both spreading the artists throughout the book for a unified look, and assigning the right pieces to the right artists based on their relative strengths.

Next the artists submit their sketches for the assignments. I review them to make sure the composition is as strong as it should be, that the basic look is right, that any characters depicted have the correct look, and so on. If revised sketches are needed, the artist submits them, and once everyone is happy with where the piece are going, the artist takes the piece to its final state.

If the project is for a licensed property, there’s one extra step: approval by the licensor. Most licensors require us to submit all of the original art we commission to them so they can make sure it depicts their world and characters properly. Some licensors want to see sketches, and some just care about the final result.

There was a time when there was another step: the artists physically shipping their work to us for scanning. Fortunately almost all artists today (even those working in non-digital mediums) submit digital files. Considering the international nature of the artists we work with, that’s especially fortunate today, with international shipping costs being what they are.  

Once all the art is approved, the art director gives it a look to ensure it’s in the proper color and file format, and that it will reproduce properly when actually printed. After that, the image file is handed off to layout for insertion into the product. The art director’s work is done.

Where do you find artists?

Anywhere and everywhere! The Internet is a fantastic source, of course. Sites like DeviantArt, Artstation and DrawCrowd give artists a place to put their portfolios, and I browse around on them quite often. Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are also fantastic art resources, both for finding new artists, and building “mood boards” for how I want a particular project to look. It sometimes takes a little internet detective work to find out who created an image found that way, however. Not everyone is great about tagging sources for what they post.

Conventions are another great source for artists. Whether it’s a comic, gaming, anime or just overall sci-fi show, I always keep an eye out for creators whose style might work with one of our games. If we’re actually displaying at a show (like GenCon, for instance), portfolio reviews are another great source for me.

And finally, email submissions come in all the time, and have provided me with some great people I might not have noticed before.

Can I submit my art to Green Ronin?

Absolutely! Anyone is welcome to submit their work (or a link to an online portfolio, preferably), to art@greenronin.com.

Green Ronin in 2016

By Chris Pramas

Happy New Year, gaming comrades! I hope you all had a good holiday, and got some quality gaming in with friends and family. As has become a tradition here at GR, I’m here to spill the beans on our plans for the coming year. Last year was a bit awkward because in January I could not yet announce Titansgrave or the fact that we were designing D&D books for Wizards of the Coast. This year will be much less cryptic! So what’s have we got in store for you? Rather a lot, actually!

Read more

Ronin Round Table: GaymerX (GX3)

Steve's Icons players

Steve’s Icons players

As I write this, members of Team Ronin (Joseph Carriker, Donna Prior, and I) are finishing up the weekend in San Jose, CA, at GaymerX (or GX3). It’s our first time at the insurgent game convention, initially funded on Kickstarter to provide a dedicated space for LGBTQ gamers to do what we do: get together, geek out, and play games. It has since expanded to encompass this year’s theme, “Everyone Games,” welcoming all gamers to the table.

It has been a terrific con. I ran two games for the tabletop program: In “Shadows of the Singer and the Star,” for Blue Rose, a small group of Aldin envoys of the Sovereign’s Finest investigated the disappearance of two young men from a town and uncovers a far greater threat.

Donna's Titansgrave players

Donna’s Titansgrave players

In “Whatever Happened to Stonewall?” for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying, a team of randomly generated heroes (Lineage, Heavyweight, Insectoid, Insight, and Mantis) helped save the legendary lesbian hero Stonewall from the armored Invictus and protect some of New York City’s queer monuments from his destroyer robots. Both groups of players were enthusiastic and really threw themselves into the games.

It was my second time running Blue Rose using the Adventure Game Engine rules system at a convention, and it underlined just how well the system will work in the forthcoming edition. There were also games of Titansgrave and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying on-offer from Donna and Joe, along with a room of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons tables.

Queer as a Three-Sided Die panel

Queer as a Three-Sided Die panel

GaymerX offered a robust panel and seminar selection. We were able to bring the popular “Queer as a Three-Sided Die” panel we started at GenCon a few years ago to this con, where it found an enthusiastic audience. “Queer Divinities” talked about real world and fantasy mythology and theology and even got quoted in online coverage of the con. Sunday morning, Joe Carriker, Paizo’s Wes Schneider, and I ran a three-hour workshop on game-mastering skills, tips, and techniques, covering a wide range of topics, fielding questions, and sharing experiences along with our audience. The time flew by! GaymerX has a YouTube channel where they plan to share recordings of many of the seminars and panels.

Tim Mottishaw runs Star Wars for the game guests

Tim Mottishaw runs Star Wars for the game guests

Of course, the con wasn’t all about work. Our host, tabletop coordinator Tim Mottishaw, treated us to a game of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Force & Destiny RPG and there were parties galore, from a VIP get-together to the cosplay prom and a drag show. By all reports, tabletop events and offerings did well at GaymerX. I certainly hope so, as I’d like to see them continue to grow and remain part of the vibrant, inclusive, fun-loving, creative community where everyone has a place at the table.

Looking forward to plans for next year’s GaymerX!