Tag Archive for: RPG

Interview with author Aaron Rosenberg

Earlier this week we shared the interview with Richard Lee Byers who wrote part one of the Arcane Secrets Duology, and now we’re back with Aaron Rosenberg, author of part two, Lost and Never Found!

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza: The Arcane Secrets Duology

Lost and Never Found: From arcane talismans scattered across the country to lost heroes scattered across the multiverse, Thomas Rhymer and his erstwhile allies have their work cut out for them if they are to stop the magical menace threatening Earth-Prime. This unlikely alliance of heroes must travel through magical doors into strange worlds, unlike anything they’ve experienced before, and make it back in time to save their own.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work prior to this novel.

Hm, okay, the short version, then. Born in New Jersey, raised in New Orleans, educated in Kansas, long-time resident of New York City. Worked as a college professor, an animation studio director, a graphic designer, a book layout artist, and a website manager. Began writing as a kid, started professionally during college in RPGs, wrote 70-some-odd books and supplements there, segued into RPG fiction, then tie-in fiction in general, then original fiction. I mostly do novels and short stories these days, and I write everything from SF comedy to epic fantasy to superheroes to action-adventure to mystery to thrillers. Lost & Never Found is on track to be my 50th published novel, which will also be my 260th publication overall.

 

Lost & Never Found is the second book, following on the events of The Doom That Came to San Francisco. Was it a challenge picking up from where that novel ended? How much did you collaborate with Richard Lee Byers on where your book started and where it was going?

Actually, it was surprisingly easy. Richard and I have known each other for years, though this is our first chance to work together, and we had a long conversation beforehand about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with both books and how to dovetail them together. We read each other’s outlines, so we both knew exactly where his book ended and mine began, and I read his draft before starting mine to make sure I was also consistent on the characterizations.

 

Your novel explores the Dimension of Doors, first introduced in the Mutants & Masterminds sourcebook Book of Magic. How much did you need to develop details about the dimension and how did you decide to use it as a storytelling device?

Since Richard had set things in motion with Gatekeeper, it made sense to continue his involvement, and that gave me the perfect opportunity to really play with the Dimension of Doors. I had the basic description, of course, but it was so open I had a lot of space to maneuver, and of course you can go anywhere with it , which just gives you endless possibilities. That was really at the crux of this book, too, flinging these heroes to strange new worlds—it’s a classic comic book trope, and I had a lot of fun playing that up. Plus it gives that great dichotomy between the group still in our world and the others in these new worlds and then the few in the Dimension itself.

 

While your novel works with characters from the previous book, you also get to introduce new characters, who don’t appear in Doom. Did you choose which ones from the Earth-Prime setting you wanted to use and why those particular characters?

We discussed it beforehand, which characters Richard wanted to use and which I wanted, and the good thing is, there was a lot of overlap! But yeah, his focusing on certain members of the Sentinels meant I got to continue using them but was also able to bring in their remaining teammates. Also, I really wanted to write the Shadow Knights, Richard basically used them in his specifically so I’d get to have them available for mine. They’re just too cool for words! Rhymer is also such an interesting character, and I hope my take on him is new and exciting.

 

The arcane and magical themes in the duology make it somewhat different from the usual four-color superhero fare. Your book, in particular, shows this contrast between the shadowy arcane world and the, let’s say simpler, world that superheroes live in. Which side do you think has a harder time of it in Lost & Never Found?

Oh, the superheroes, easily. Arcane types tend to be “in the know” as far as how the world really works, the forces underlying our own, etc. Superheroes tend to be more surface-oriented, particularly in a four-color setting—they deal with immediate problems but are often clueless about the shadows pulling everyone’s strings, the cosmic-scale objectives and conflicts, things like that. And that’s especially true because folks like Rhymer seem to delight in being vague and confusing in their explanations! There’s a lot of “mere mortals were never meant to know” when you’re dealing with arcane types, so the heroes are at a real disadvantage. An arcane character is far more likely to adjust quickly to a completely new world than a superhero, if only because the arcane know about other worlds and have probably studied them, even if they’ve never been to one themselves.

Of course, on the flip side, it’s a lot more common for arcane types to get paralyzed by indecision, weighing all the possible outcomes and all the ramifications. Superheroes tend to be a lot more immediate, a lot more direct, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Author Aaron RosenbergAaron Rosenberg is the author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Relicant Chronicles epic fantasy series, the Areyat Islands fantasy pirate mystery series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, Mutants & Masterminds, and Eureka and short stories for The X-Files, World of Darkness, Crusader Kings II, Deadlands, Master of Orion, and Europa Universalis IV. He has written children’s books (including the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books, and roleplaying games (including the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets). Aaron lives in New York. You can follow him online at gryphonrose.com, at facebook.com/gryphonrose, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.


You can back the Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza RIGHT NOW over on Kickstarter!Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza

Power Profiles: Giving You the Power

Mutants & Masterminds Power ProfilesUsed copies of Power Profiles have been selling for hundreds of dollars on auction sites. On the one hand, that’s flattering; it’s nice to have a book you wrote be in that kind of demand. On the other hand, it’s frustrating, because Power Profiles was meant to be the kind of useful resource every Mutants & Masterminds group would want to have, and obviously that’s true … if only we had it to sell to them.

Power Profiles developed as a twofold idea. First, a regular series of short-subject PDFs we could develop and release electronically, then collect into a book when we had enough of them, if they proved popular. Second, we discovered that one of the things gamers liked about the DC Adventures Heroes & Villains volumes were the huge number of worked examples of powers in Mutants & Masterminds. Players could say, “I want to play a character like X” from the DC Universe, and just look in the books for that character to see how they were put together. Since we knew the DC Adventures license was limited and the books had a limited lifespan, we decided a fun PDF series would be to look at various archetypal powers (and power-sets) in M&M. Thus, Power Profiles came into being.

It breaks things down into powers by theme: Air Powers, Animal Powers, Armor Powers, and so on, as opposed to the core M&M rules, which focus on the effects of various powers. With more than thirty power categories, each with two dozen or more powers, the book has over seven hundred ready-made powers for use in building M&M characters! So you can come up with a character theme (like “Ice Powers” or “Magic” for examples) and just flip through Power Profiles for ideas. What’s more, even the powers you don’t choose can be useful, serving as a catalog of potential power stunts a character with that theme might be able to do. The book is a treasure trove of character ideas and ways to customize or expand an existing character.

Power Profiles also offers some worked examples of “How do I…?” power creation questions, how to use the existing power effects for different types of powers, perfect for both players who don’t want to do all of that work, and just want to pick from a ready-made set of powers, and for power designers who want examples of some of the things the system can do. I’ve lost track of the number of times someone has asked me at a convention event about a particular character or power type in M&M and all I had to do was pick up a copy of Power Profiles and show them how those powers were set up. With the book out of print, I sorely missed that option at recent events!

Demand for Power Profiles was the initial motivator behind the Reprint Extravaganza. Circumstances haven’t aligned for Green Ronin to send the sourcebook back to the printer but now, with the core rulebook also out-of-print, this Kickstarter is your opportunity to claim all of that power for yourself.


You can back the Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza RIGHT NOW over on Kickstarter, and if you back the campaign in the first 48 hours, you’ll get the full PDF of our upcoming book Astonishing Adventures Assembled FOR FREE!

Mutants & Masterminds Reprint Extravaganza!

Patreon TTRPG Halloween Collaboration “All Treats, No Tricks” – Free TTRPG Downloads!

Hello fiends!

It’s only the 11th day of Halloween, and we’ve really amplified the creepy for you! As many of you know, we are coordinating two Patreons, the Twilight Accord and Mutants & Masterminds!  This spooky collaboration comes as a result of my role as a Captain of the Patreon TTRPG Creators A. Club (The A stands for Accountability). Originally intended as a short-term gathering  of TTRPG creators on Patreon, the idea was to gather fresh perspectives from fellow creators, our group hit it off so well that we expanded our meeting time to 90 minutes and we’re still at it 6 months later.
Now, it’s a lot like a weekly gathering of friends, each offering their expertise, coaching, counseling, and creative problem-solving! So you can imagine, when I mentioned the high-level concept of a terrifying  TTRPG Creators A. Club collaboration, this crew of RPG enthusiasts were next-level excited!

No Tricks, Only Treats TTRPG Creator’s Ring!

Here’s how it works: Every creator in this group has a free digital treat, and all you need to do is visit, and click! It’s a great way to catch up with some incredible TTRPG talent, some who have been doing this for some time, and some who are just beginning to focus on showcasing their work through Patreon — well, you will see for yourself!
Patreon Collaboration No Tricks, Only Treats!
I really wanted to show off each individual contributor to our collaboration – so as you click through to each Patreon for your free treat, take a moment to say hello, check out their work – and did you know you could follow their Patreon content for free?
You should do it! Oh look, here they all are now!

Conflux Creatures
Terror Unto Madness: The Book of Aberrations
Over 100 pages of improved monsters and new spells for 5e D&D

Everhearth Inn
A spooky fantasy-inspired recipe to cook for your next DnD session!

Worlds of Parodia
The Mischief Festival of Yielding

LeRoiDeCarreau
DnD 5e Spooky Compendium

Oixxo Art
Autumn Queen

ARTventuring Guild
Spooky PC/NPC portrait

Nerdsmith
“Welcome to the Estate” adventure module

The Twilight Accord:
THE NIGHT ROAD PROCESSION

Angela Maps
5 Animated Battle Maps & Foundry VTT mod

Epic Levels
Mad Dungeon 20: Song of the Shriekfrapp w/Erol Otus

Deep Breadth RPG
Miser Hag, the Literal Wolf on Wall Street

Dizzy The Bard
Song: Warlord What if Spinal from Killer Instinct… was a rapper?

BonusActionRainbow
Rotten Roots – a Space Fantasy oneshot

Domille’s Wondrous Works
Changing Maze Phased Battle Map
It is a maze that changes!

Mutants & Masterminds
The Nightmare Rider Stablock!

Beyond the Screen
To Mistheart: a 5E one-shot adventure

More Treats, still no Tricks

Author’s Note: I pilfered this part from my weekly agenda email to the 72 person of the group

 

I volunteered to be an Accountability Club captain because I desperately needed to connect with people who understood what a unique proposition it was to operate a Patreon supporting a TTRPG project. More than just “another meeting”, the TTRPG Creators A. Club has quickly become the highlight of my week. The group consists of people from all experience levels across multiple disciplines – and the conversations always lead to interesting insights, as well as practical, material things people can do to take their respective Patreons to the next level.

So a huge shout-out to my A. Club Comrades. You are incredibly talented, wise beyond your years, joyful collaborators, with top tier spoopy content!

A Few Words on Languages

Tabletop roleplaying games can give us some funny ideas about languages and linguistics. At least, I know they did for me in some regards. Starting with a certain Popular Fantasy Roleplaying Game comes the notion that player characters are all multi-lingual, speaking three, four—as many as seven or eight languages fluently! This is often compounded with the notion that entire species share the same language, or that there are special languages for fantastic creatures from dragons to elementals to the denizens of different planes of existence.

Later RPGs have taken a more nuanced, and certainly more detailed approach to languages, including various levels of fluency, and things like complex charts showing the relationships between “language families” of earthly or imaginary languages, which may grant some greater understanding or closely-related tongues.

understanding the Language can be very important

“I’m not sure what you just said, but I don’t care for your tone!” Art by James Ryman

The Modern AGE rules have a somewhat laissez-faire attitude about languages. The sidebar on page 16 of the Basic Rulebook says characters should “be able to speak, read, and write whatever languages” they “would pick up due to their cultural and social class” suggesting a limit of three. The Linguistic talent in the game handles learning additional languages and requires a fairly significant investment, since talent degrees aren’t easy to come by, and each degree in the talent grants only one additional language. It would take a new specialization to create the true polyglot character who speaks a dozen or more languages.

Fantasy AGE likewise offers a Linguistics talent, for characters truly dedicated to speaking other languages. The game’s ancestries follow the fantasy standard of an ancestral language (all elves speak Elvish, for example) along with a “Common tongue” used and understood by everyone, for the most part.

Mutants & Masterminds treats language fluency as an advantage, one rank grants an additional language the character can speak, but each additional rank doubles the number of languages, so it’s fairly cost effective to create someone who speaks a dozen or more of them. Of course, in M&M, the ability to speak and understand all languages is on the table for just 2 ranks of the Comprehend power, so there isn’t a lot of point in having more than a few ranks in the Languages advantage, other than to represent the character’s own skill and knowledge.

Individual Game Masters have to decide the role languages—particularly unknown languages—will play in their campaigns. In some cases, the language barrier can be an important element of adventures or the setting. Others prefer to generally ignore the problem in order to get on with things; the Threefold setting for Modern AGE, for example, includes magical “universal translators” for characters working for the world-spanning Sodality, so GMs don’t need to worry about whether or not the characters speak any of the local languages—at least not until their translators are lost or stolen! Likewise, the Cosmic Handbook for M&M recommends Comprehend as a “default” power for star-spanning campaigns, unless you want to institute some form of “Galactic Common” that all alien species speak and understand.

When building worlds of your own for RPGs, you might want to give some thought as to how people say things, and what languages they are saying them in.

Last Chance Warehouse Sale

Last Chance Warehouse Sale: 75% off select print books, while supplies last!

 

After 22 years in business, the Green Ronin warehouse is looking a little crowded. With reprints and new products incoming, it’s time to make more space! These deals are for print products only. With limited stock and priced to clear some pallets, this is a screaming deal (75% off!) you don’t want to miss. With that, we offer you the LAST CHANCE WAREHOUSE SALE!

Please note the sale does not extend to shipping, and shipping fees are determined by the carrier.

75% off on select titles

 

Wanted: Bounty Hunters – The Expanse RPG

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunter

Available Soon!

Coming soon to the Green Ronin Online Store and DrivethruRPG, Bounty Hunters kicks off the new Trades of the Expanse PDF series of short, well, expansions for The Expanse RPG, looking at different trades and professions in the setting: how to create characters practicing that trade, game systems for handling their jobs, and adventure hooks and ideas for them, to name a few. Bounty Hunters starts off with the basic premise “Throughout human history there have been people who posed problems for other people, and those willing and able to deal with such problems—for a price. It may have been someone who needed to be found, apprehended, given a message or a warning, or simply eliminated.”

Makes a certain amount of sense to start with bounty hunters, since The Expanse essentially starts off with a “kidnap job” assigned to StarHelix detective Miller. Coincidentally, bounty hunters are also prominent in other science fiction media of late and might provide some additional inspiration.

The product takes a look at the practice of bounty hunting in the System of The Expanse, including its relative legality, the types of bounties, and the clients offering them. It provides guidelines for bounty hunters looking for work, and the ways in which they find it, from standing bounties to agency assignments. It also looks at the bounty hunting process from start to finish, from getting the job to tracking the target to getting paid.

Bounty Hunters offers AGE game system material as well. It includes handling bounty hunting as an investigative challenge, income rewards, “Tools of the Trade” equipment, a Bounty Hunter specialization, and a couple of ships suited for bounty hunters. It even has special bounty hunting stunts like “The Upper Hand,” “What Makes Them Tick” and my personal favorite, “Saw That Coming,” which lets you spend Stunt Points to retroactively declare that you planned for something that your target ends up doing and you’re prepared for it.

The product also offers resources for Game Masters, including dealing with bounty hunter reputations, some ideas for Churn effects while hunting a bounty, and a “Jobs Board” with some potential bounties you can use as starting points for your own Expanse adventures focused on bounty hunting.

All in all, Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters is a powerful little package, whether you want your crew to try their hand at the trade for a change-of-pace, or you’re interested in a whole series focused on bounty hunting in the System (and even many systems, with the Beyond the Ring sourcebook).

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters will be available very soon!

A Haven in the Stars

The Guide to Starhaven for Mutants & MastermindsIt’s all Alex Thomas’s fault. We said so on Mutants & Masterminds Monday. Alex wanted to run a streaming game for Team M&M and asked “so what else do we know about this Starhaven place mentioned in The Cosmic Handbook?” To which Crystal Fraiser and I said, “Nothing.” The paragraph or so of info about the alien settlement on Jupiter’s moon Europa was just that, a kind of throwaway description intended to inspire Gamemasters.

I guess it worked, because Alex took it upon himself to spin out a whole adventure which he ran on-stream for us. It certainly got Mutants & Masterminds fans wondering, too, and asking “So when do we get to find out more about Starhaven?” If you are a part of the Mutants & Masterminds Patreon you already know the answer to that (and, if you’re not, honestly, you’re missing out). Last summer, we launched a “Summer of Starhaven!” series to design more material about the setting and how to use it in an M&M game.

Now, this summer, we can announce that The Guide to Starhaven is now available for purchase! The 76-page, full-color product goes into detail about the alien settlement of Starhaven, repurposing an ancient, ruined city located on the Jovian moon Europa. Built by the mysterious and powerful Preservers, the domed city has lain abandoned for millennia. Now, a mix of alien refugees fleeing the fall of the Lor Republic and the rise of the Stellar Imperium have been resettled there by Earth’s superheroes.

The Guide to Starhaven looks at the city and all of its various districts, the Green Zone “nature preserve” surrounding it (including all manner of prehistoric Earth animals brought here as specimens) and the unexplored areas of the ruins and what they contain. It also details the inhabitants of Starhaven, their newly established government (voted on by our patrons!), political and social factions, and three main antagonists Starhaven heroes might face.

It goes beyond the bounds of Starhaven to look at survival on the icy surface of Europa and other locations on the frozen moon such as the fascinating Facetwild, with its random energy storms and crystalline creatures. It even dives beneath the surface, into the endless dark ocean under Europa’s ice, and the mysterious life dwelling there, which even the people of Starhaven aren’t aware of … yet.

The Guide also looks at creating your own Starhaven heroes, adventures, and campaigns, including four campaign concepts and nearly a dozen different adventure ideas. All of this, plus a developed, full-length version of “Seige of Starhaven,” Alex’s exciting adventure, where a team of power level 10 heroes take on smugglers, alien cultists, a murder mystery, the dangers of the Facetwild, and an all-out invasion of the city! It’s a great inspiration for a Starhaven series of your own. (As the Untold Stories Project demonstrates with Guardians of Haven.)

The Guide to Starhaven is available now on the Green Ronin Store and DriveThruRPG as a downloadable PDF, and now print-on-demand via DriveThruRPG. For those who will be at Gen Con this August, we hope to have a limited number of print copies there for sale!

If you do decide to reach for the stars and visit the alien frontier of Starhaven, remember to thank Alex. After all, he started it!

Gen Con Events!

Gen Con ®

Hello heroes! We are running some events at Gen Con this year! We are so excited for the chance to play with all of you. To help you find us, I have compiled this rough schedule of our events so you can come play with us at the con. I know our events are sold out, but you can still add them to your wishlist in case of cancellations, and I usually keep a secret seventh slot for my events if you show up with generics. I’ve laid our schedule out chronologically and have included event descriptions/GM as well. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday

8pm

  • Event Title: Freedom League: All in the Family
    • Synopsis: All isn’t as it seems when Zeus requests the Freedom League’s assistance in foiling his brother’s latest scheme to take over Earth-Prime.
    • System: Mutants & Masterminds
    • GM: Alex

Thursday

8am

  • Event Title: A Familiar Quest
    • Synopsis: After years of planning, the foul sorcerer Soulban has returned, springing his trap, & capturing the brave heroes of Crestwall. Now it is up to their animal allies to save them & all of Crestwall.
    • System: Fantasy AGE
    • GM: Jonesy
  • Event Title: The Mummy: The Lost Library
    • Synopsis: Rick O’Connell & crew dive into danger seeking the ruins of the Great Library of Alexandria.
    • System: Mutants & Masterminds
    • GM: Alex

Friday

9am and 4pm

  • Event Title: Secrets of Renwick Manor
    • Synopsis: As members of Beckmen & Hall’s “special handling” department, you are trusted to complete jobs of a more esoteric nature. The job: recover some dangerous items from the estate of August Renwick.
    • System: Modern AGE
    • GM: Jonesy

7pm

  • Event Title: The Siege of Starhaven
    • Synopsis: Eyes from across the galaxy are focused on Starhaven, eager to make use of its citizens, its ancient Preserver technology, and its close proximity to Earth. It is a city in need of heroes…
    • System: Mutants & Masterminds
    • GM: Alex

Saturday

9am

  • Event Title: Secrets of Renwick Manor
    • Synopsis: As members of Beckmen & Hall’s “special handling” department, you are trusted to complete jobs of a more esoteric nature. The job: recover some dangerous items from the estate of August Renwick.
    • System: Modern AGE
    • GM: Jonesy

2pm

  • Event Title: Titan City Chronicles: Blood Run
    • Synopsis: Vampires are roaring through 1920s Titan City, and it’s up to a ragtag band of noir heroes to stop them.
    • System: Mutants & Masterminds
    • GM: Alex

Sunday

10am

  • Event Title: A Familiar Quest
    • Synopsis: After years of planning, the foul sorcerer Soulban has returned, springing his trap, & capturing the brave heroes of Crestwall. Now it is up to their animal allies to save them & all of Crestwall.
    • System: Fantasy AGE
    • GM: Jonesy

And don’t forget to drop by Booth 101, and come check out all the new things Green Ronin has available for Gen Con this year!

 

Visit Green Ronin at Booth 101, Gen Con Indy 2022

Modern AGE, Four Years On: Modern Adventures

In my last two articles I talked about where the Modern AGE line currently stands with its core, setting-agnostic books, used to customize the game as you please, and its published settings, from sketches to two full-blown game settings: The World of Lazarus and Threefold. However, I ran long on the second article and didn’t have a chance to talk about the adventures we have—and that’s what this one is for.

Modern Adventures await!

Two Versions of the Quickstart

Modern AGE: Threefold QuickstartOne weird thing that happened during Modern AGE line development is that we ended up with two quickstarts.

Original Quickstart (Burning Bright): Back in 2018, Modern AGE’s quickstart included an adventure about going to another dimension, Tannebrim. To inform you anew or refresh your memory, a “quickstart” contains cut down rules, pre-made characters, and an adventure to run them through, so you can get a taste of what the full game is like.

Expanded Threefold Quickstart (Burning Brighter): Fast forward a year, to when the Threefold game setting was on the cusp of release, and we wanted to participate in Free RPG Day. Well, Threefold was one of the inspirations for the original quickstart adventure anyway, so we produced an expanded, updated version with additional content and pregenerated characters that were fully integrated with the Threefold setting. We made that available in print for Free RPG Day, but you can still get it for free electronically.

Both versions are still available for download, but be aware that the latter version, with the adventure “Burning Brighter,” is an expansion of the original and its adventure, “Burning Bright.” You’ll have to run one or the other in any given campaign.

Backs of the Books

The Modern AGE Basic Rulebook comes with an adventure called “A Speculative Venture,” about bad things happening at a fancy party…and special options to let the Game Master decide what the central secrets of the adventure really are, to make it work with as wide a range of published or homebrew settings as possible. It’s for Level 1 characters.

Both setting books also include adventures for new characters, though these don’t have a choose-your-own premise option.

The World of Lazarus scenario “Taking the Stone,” is firmly set during the rule of the families, decades after Year X, but can be adjusted based on which of the setting’s campaign models you employ—and whether you’re a serf or one of the elite.

Threefold’s included adventure, “Identity,” takes characters across multiple planes of existence to deal with transdimensional political intrigue, bound in the question of what it means to have a soul.

Modern AGE Missions Modern AGE Missions: Feral Hogs

The Modern AGE Missions series presents a variety of adventures, some of which might appear in any modern setting, and some of which are more specific. These adventures are not necessarily connected, and can be dropped into your game, or used as the anchor for a campaign if you expand them. The first two were developed by me, while the rest come courtesy of Meghan Fitzgerald.

Warflower: Sudden, strange violence at an auction leads to the disappearance of a late medieval book on warfare and alchemy. Who took the Warflower, and why? And who gets killed with a sword nowadays? Like “A Speculative Venture,” Warflower lets the GM choose the ultimate secret behind it all. For characters levels 1 to 4.

Feral Hogs: A pop-culture infused apocalyptic ATV-riding, meshback-wearing fever dream. The end came with mutagenic chemicals, abundant energy drinks, pyramids of cardboard boxes, and of course, 30-50 mutant feral hogs, running into your yard. And what will you do when they come? Huh? HUH? For characters levels 1 to 4.

Flight 1701: A routine flight turns into humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life—and first trip to an alien biosphere. The passengers and crew must work together to discover what happened, communicate with an alien species, and figure out a way to get back home. The decisions they make may alter the course of human civilization forever—and like Warflower, its central secrets are up to the GM. For characters levels 5 to 8.

Assault on the Aerie: A skilled strike team must find a way to breach the defenses of a nigh-impenetrable mountain fortress, rescue the hostages inside, stop a threat to humanity, and get out alive. That alone would be hard enough, but the mystical wards and magical creatures standing in their way makes the mission all the more dangerous. Assault on the Aerie is designed to be suitable for characters between levels 13-15, showcasing Modern AGE in the urban fantasy genre. It provides multiple paths for the Game Master to follow, allowing it to stand on its own or fit into a larger campaign.

Infinity and More

We’re expecting at least one more Modern AGE Missions adventure. Beyond that, we have the Five & Infinity adventure series for the Threefold setting. We’ve presented the individual adventures before, but at Gen Con we’ll be premiering the collected series alongside special tools to generate stories and even planes of existence. I’ll talk about that another time. If you’re headed to Gen Con, check it and the rest of Modern AGE out at Booth 101.

Modern AGE, Four Years On: Our Modern Worlds

In my last article, I talked about the state of the Modern AGE line as we move into its fifth year. I started out by dividing the line into two loose categories and exploring the first, of “core” book releases. While Modern AGE is completely playable with the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook, the other releases I placed into the core category assemble numerous tools and ideas to customize the system generally, and to suit the worlds you invent.

But Modern AGE has worlds of its own which you can use as-is, or to influence settings of your own creation. In fact, we have various degrees of setting material, ranging from loose outlines to entire setting books.
The Threefold worlds of Modern AGE

Core Inspiration

In Modern AGE, we try to provide concrete examples so that you have something to work from. The Modern AGE Basic Rulebook talks about settings and genres in general terms, but subsequent books get more detailed.

Chapter 9 of the Modern AGE Companion offers firmer outlines of the possible settings associated with various genres, including the age of sail, 1800s gothic horror tales, 1950s UFO sci-fi, 1960s spy-fi, and modern or near future cyberthrillers. These treatments include recommended rules, sketches of settings, and possible NPCs of interest. The rest of the book provides ways to customize the game for these and other settings.

Chapter 7 of the upcoming Modern AGE Powers book also features outlines for supernatural and other power-filled worlds, from the mystic martial arts of “Immortal Ring,” the modern sorcery of “Phoenix Band,” and more, all in a book that gives you the “crunch” of powers as well, and strong guidance on how to use them in your own worlds. I can’t wait to share it with you.

In addition, Modern AGE has two full-on setting books. Each requires nothing more than the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook.

World of Lazarus for Modern AGEWorld of Lazarus

Created by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, the Lazarus comic (with follow-ups including Lazarus X + 66 and Lazarus: Risen), World of Lazarus introduces the world after Year X, when governments have collapsed and the families behind the world’s mightiest corporations and political influence blocs take over, effectively reinstituting feudalism. These ruling families use various forms of human enhancement, from cybernetics to gene alteration, to create the Lazari, champions who settle disputes on their families’ behalf.

The World of Lazarus setting book isn’t just about Lazari, however, though the book provides in-depth rules for playing them. You can play wasteland renegades, desperate serfs, or privileged members of the Families, navigating a world with notes of cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic fiction, near-future military technothrillers, and feudal intrigue.

In addition to the setting book, individual issues of the Lazarus: Risen comic include expansions to the new rules in World of Lazarus, written by World of Lazarus developer Crystal Frasier.

Modern AGE: Threefold. Infinite worlds and possibilitiesThreefold

Intended to be the “flagship,” or exemplar setting for Modern AGE, Threefold is a vast setting designed to make use of the game’s full potential. Threefold contains notes of cyberpunk, cosmic horror, and portal fantasy, as it reveals Earth is one of many inhabited worlds in the Metacosm, an array of universes primarily linked by gates.

Threefold’s stories center on the exploits of the Sodality, explorers, diplomats, and agents of utopian democracy that spans multiple planes of existence, as well as the operations of Aethon, cybernetically enhanced operatives who shape alternate universes to, perhaps, produce a transcendental AI. These aren’t our only options, however. You might want to play a renegade psychic, defending their guild from families who treat psychic powers as a divine right. Maybe you want to be a plane-crossing mercenary, or a disoriented, semi-human wizard, stuck in our modern world. Threefold provides the greatest possible scope for characters in Modern AGE, including rules for cybernetics, the supernatural, and strange ancestries.

Characters explore Earths with alternate histories, Otherworlds, where magic reigns, and the Netherworlds, ruled by demonic forces. The planes are countless, and Threefold uses them to allow virtually any adventure and genre, but unlike many multiverse settings, there are strong core factions and influences that drive stories, such as the rebel hell-conquering soldiers of the Nighthost, or the tyrannical demigods of the Divine Empire. If you want a taste (and an introduction to Modern AGE generally), try the Threefold Quickstart for free!

In addition to the setting book, Threefold gains an adventure collection this summer, as the combined and expanded Five and Infinity adventure series is due to premiere at or around Gencon. Five adventures take characters through multiple worlds, and levels 1 to 16. A capstone chapter includes table-based tools to outline further adventures, and even generate new planes of existence in the Threefold Metacosm.

From Worlds to Stories

This article was originally going to talk about Modern AGE’s adventures as well, but as things are already running a little long, I’ll save it for next time. Until then? I’m going to recommend you check out Threefold in play (YouTube playlist) by the Fresh Out the Box (Twitch.tv) crew. Cheers!