If you missed out on backing the Kickstarter campaign for Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy, you can now pre-order the book through BackerKit or our Green Ronin Online Store. When you pre-order the book, we’ll offer you the PDF for just $5, to download and read right away! If you want to support your local retailer, have them ask us about our Green Ronin Pre-Order Plus program, through which they can offer their customers the same $5 PDF deal for pre-ordering through them.
New Year’s Message 2017
Welcome to the new year, my friends and fellow gamers! Here at Green Ronin we have been rousing ourselves from our holiday torpor and getting ramped up for 2017. As long time fans know, I traditionally write a message in January to discuss what we have coming up in the new year. And that is true but I’m going to do it a little differently this year. Today I will talk about what we have coming your way through the Spring, then in June I will do a second one of these that covers the rest of the year. So let’s get to it!
In December Crystal Frasier came onboard as our new Mutants & Masterminds developer. She introduced herself in a previous Ronin Round Table, which you can read here if you’d like to learn more about her. We are confident that Mutants & Masterminds is in great hands with Crystal.
Today I’d like to welcome another new Ronin to the ranks: Malcolm Sheppard. He is a 17 year veteran of the game industry who has done a boatload of work for White Wolf and Onyx Path, amongst others. Malcolm will be doing design and development work for us on a variety of lines. You can think of him as a sort of developer-at-large. He’ll be working on Adventure Game Engine (AGE) games for sure, as well as some other projects you’ll hear more about later. Please help me welcome Malcolm to Team Ronin!
Mutants & Masterminds
We are kicking off the year with a major release for Mutants & Masterminds: the Atlas of Earth-Prime. You’ve seen parts of this setting before in Emerald City, the Cosmic Handbook, Hero High, and many other Mutants & Masterminds books, but now Earth-Prime is getting full campaign setting treatment. The Atlas of Earth-Prime releases in just two weeks. You can still get in on the pre-order now if you are quick about it.
In the Spring we’ll be following that up with Freedom City. This was the original campaign setting for the Mutants & Masterminds RPG going back to 2003. The new book brings Freedom City fully into Third Edition, and creates a triumvirate of super power with Emerald City and the Atlas of Earth-Prime!
The big Adventure Game Engine excitement for the first half of the year is the release of Blue Rose, our RPG of Romantic Fantasy, in February. Blue Rose was our most successful Kickstarter to date, and we’re delighted to get this book out to backers and then released to the general public. The BackerKit went live over the weekend. While we typically do pre-orders through our online store, with Blue Rose we’re trying out BackerKit for that. If you didn’t back the Kickstarter, you can pre-order now at this link . You’ll note some follow up releases on the BackerKit page. We’re making Blue Rose dice with Q Workshop, Blue Rose conviction Tokens with Campaign Coins, and then an adventure anthology called Six of Swords. Those should all come out in the Spring.
For Fantasy AGE itself we’ve got Titansgrave: The World of Valkana coming in the Spring. This is a full campaign setting book that greatly expands the information in Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana. A lot of stuff that was only hinted at in the show will be revealed in Titansgrave: The World of Valkana!
In other Fantasy AGE news, we’ll be creating a community content program for the game in conjunction with OneBookShelf (the parent company of RPGNow and DriveThruRPG). People have been asking us if they can publish Fantasy AGE content since the game came out and soon that will be possible. OneBookShelf already runs several of these programs, for games like D&D and the Cypher System. Ours will be similar to these but not identical. For starters the products you can do will be limited to settings and adventures because that is the support Fantasy AGE needs most right now. There will be more info about the program and how it all works when we launch it. That should happen in a couple of months.
Freeport and Pathfinder
Our big Pathfinder release this Spring is the Freeport Bestiary. The City of Adventure hasn’t had a monster book since Creatures of Freeport in 2004. The Freeport Bestiary brings together the setting’s many monsters and a bunch of new ones in a beautiful full color hardback. Meanwhile, the Return to Freeport adventure series continues. We’ve released three of these PDFs so far. The remaining three will follow over the next few months and then we’ll collect them all together for a printed book in June.
You may recall that we worked with Wizards of the Coast to create two D&D books: Out of the Abyss and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. Now we’re following those up with D&D books of our own. The first is Book of the Righteous, which presents a fully detailed mythology and pantheon you can use in your campaigns. The original edition of Book of the Righteous was our most critically-acclaimed book in the d20 era. We did a Kickstarter for a new 5E version last year and it should be out in May. As with Blue Rose, Book of the Righteous will have a general release after books ship to Kickstarter backers.
I’m going to make an exception and discuss one Summer release because I know I’d get pilloried if I didn’t mention it. Of course I’m talking about Critical Role! We had originally intended to release this in the Spring but we’ve scheduled it for Gen Con instead. This is Gen Con’s 50th anniversary (and my 28th Gen Con!). We wanted a big marquee release for the show and the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting book is a perfect fit. We want to make this a real event and hope to have the cast out to Gen Con again.
Love 2 Hate
Towards the end of last year we released Love 2 Hate: Politics, the first expansion for the game. We are following that up in April with Love 2 Hate: Comics. Both expansions have 108 cards. You can mix them in with the core game, or play with them on their own for a more themed experience.
Dragon Age and SIFRP
We have Dragon Age and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying books in development but licensed game lines require approvals and how long those take can vary quite a bit. It could be one week or three months depending. So don’t worry, books are coming. We’ve just decided to wait until everything is approved before we make formal announcements about their release.
We have a variety of PDF releases planned to support our various lines. We have more Fantasy AGE Encounters and short Titansgrave adventures coming for Fantasy AGE, as well as the Short Cuts series for Pathfinder. We’ll also be continuing our series of Chronicle System PDFs, which provide non-canon rules support for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. In the past year we’ve released rules for magic (Chronicle of Sorcery) and gunpowder/firearms (Spark to Powder), for example.
As a company Gen Con is, of course, our biggest show. Last year we had a room dedicated to Green Ronin games for the whole convention and that was great. We’re doing it again this year, so if you’d like to run games for us please contact Donna. If you run enough games, we’ll cover your badge and even subsidize your hotel room.
Donna and Barry also run OrcaCon in Everett, WA (just north of Seattle). OrcaCon is happening this coming weekend, so come on out if you’re in the area. It’s the unofficial Green Ronin convention and most of our staff will be there. We’ve got folks running games and giving seminars, though personally I just want to play some games this year!
Green Ronin is once again a sponsor of the JoCo Cruise and Nicole and I will be on onboard. Haven’t heard of the JoCo Cruise? Well, imagine a convention on a ship and you’ve got a pretty good idea, except it also includes music, comedy, and more. If it’s nerdy, it’s probably happening on the ship! There are still cabins available (the cruise is in March) and this year we have the entire ship to ourselves. Should be a great time.
We’ll also be attending various trade shows, like GTS, the Alliance Open House, and the ACD Gamesday. If you are a game retailer, come see us!
More to Come!
So that’s what we have coming the first half of the year. We also have some exciting news to share in the coming months. We’ll be announcing soon a new card game we’re bringing to Kickstarter in April and a new campaign setting for D&D 5E. We’ve licensed a comic book for RPG treatment. We’ve also got another AGE game in development, as well as Ork, Second Edition. Following us on Twitter (we’re @GreenRoninPub) is probably the best way to keep up with our announcements or just bookmark our website.
This is Green Ronin’s 17th year in business. Thank you for your continued support over the years. I started the company as a side project and it’s become so much more than that thanks to you. Come back in June when I reveal our Summer and Winter plans. Until then, game on!
The much-anticipated new edition of Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying is wrapping up in production, soon to go off to print, with the final PDF edition released to Kickstarter backers, and then available with pre-orders of the book. On the design and development side, we’ve moved well past the core book for the game and into some supporting products, including a Narrator’s Kit with sturdy reference screen and pre-generated heroes to get you playing quickly and easily and something every tabletop roleplaying game can use, namely adventures!
Six of Swords is a forthcoming anthology of adventures for Blue Rose. As the name suggests, the book will contain six different adventures set in the world of Aldea, suitable for different levels of characters, and intended for Narrators to use as inspiration and resources for creating their own Blue Rose adventures as well. Authors Jaym Gates, Steven Jones, Kira Magrann, Alejandro Melchor, Malcolm Shepherd, and Rebecca Wise each present a tale where your heroes can make a difference.
The anthology includes ruined mansions, masquerade balls, vampiric curses, mysterious masks, sorcerous secrets, ghostly hauntings, lost loves, looming threats to the Kingdom of the Blue Rose, and tragic quests where heroes are called upon to make the right choices. As the initial cover concept sketches by artist Nen Chang show, the adventurers are expected to delve into some dangerous and inhospitable places, like the depths of the Veran Marsh, in pursuit of their goals.
Six of Swords is finishing up in development and editing and moving on to production and layout right after the main Blue Rose book and the Narrator’s Kit are complete. We’re looking forward to bringing you stories of adventure in the world of Aldea for you and your players to tell and enjoy.
If you are a publisher, you of course want people to have the opportunity to play your games at GenCon. You can run demos at your booth but the exhibit hall is no place for long form RPG adventures (it’s super loud and booth space is limited). Those are better handled as scheduled events. Finding good and reliable game masters for your RPGs can be challenging though. In past years we’ve had mixed success with our GenCon events. What I really wanted was a dedicated area filled with Green Ronin games. To get that, you have to have a certain number of events. Coordinating that is a job in itself.
Enter Donna Prior, Green Ronin’s events manager. I told her what I wanted and wow, did she deliver. We had over 90 scheduled events this year and GenCon gave us a dedicated room for them on the second floor of the convention center. Going into that room and seeing tables full of gamers playing Fantasy AGE, Dragon Age, Mutants & Masterminds, and A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying was amazing. Read more
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 email@example.com.
Welcome! In this week’s Ronin Round Table, we’re taking a look at the development of the new edition of Blue Rose Fantasy Roleplaying following last year’s successful Kickstarter, along with a preview of some of the ways Blue Rose uses and modifies material from the AGE (Adventure Game Engine) System rules found in Fantasy AGE.
Right now, Blue Rose is poised between the development and editing stages of the process: draft text is in, with AGE System Developer Jack Norris and I going over our respective sections of the book: Jack primarily on the game system material and me primarily on the setting and story material, although there’s some crossover on both our parts. The drafts we have include all of the stretch goals funded by the Kickstarter and the hero and villain submissions by our Kickstarter backers for inclusion in the world of Aldea.
We have Lynne Hardy on-board as editor (or “benevolent editorial tyrant” as we have chosen to call it), empowered to smooth the sometimes rough road of our text so you can enjoy your journey through Aldea. She’s working with the setting material that makes up the first third or so of the book, detailing the world, it’s history, mythology, and the current state of its nations and peoples, roughly a decade since the time described in the original edition of Blue Rose.
There have been some changes! Queen Jaellin of Aldis is married (and not all are in favor of her choice of consort) and has won a stunning victory over the dark kingdom of Kern. Aldis is regaining its equilibrium following that recent conflict, and hopes are high for renewed peace and prosperity, but there are still many challenges for the Sovereign’s Finest throughout the land. The forces of Shadow do not rest and their reach is wide and deep. The nation is still very much in need of heroes to aid the cause of the Light.
We also have a special preview of the Blue Rose material in the works (hopefully the first of several such previews).
In this case, it is a draft of the Persona section of the game rules, discussing the qualitative traits of characters: their good and bad qualities (embodied in their Destiny and Fate), their goals and overarching place in the world, the looming specter of corruption and its effects on the spirit, and—most especially—their relationships, the deep emotional bonds that define the characters and help to drive them, not only in the context of the story, but providing clear game system effects when the players focus on those relationships and how they motivate their characters.
Download the preview PDF and take a look! Keep in mind that this is fairly raw text, still going through the development process. Nonetheless, we think if offers a pretty good look at where we’re going. If you have feedback for us, visit the Fantasy AGE forum on Roninarmy.com and let us know!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
This year is going to be an exceptionally strange and exciting time for us at Gen Con. Not only is Team Ronin headed out in force, but we’re sharing space with Geek & Sundry, highlighting Fantasy Age and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana! We’re so excited to have such great games for Gen Con.
Before I get into the fun things happening, I want to kindly let you know what our Customer Service & Sales responses will be slow, as we’ll be dependent on whatever internet we can find while traveling and while we’re all working the show. Online orders for in-stock items (or PDFs of course) will continue to go out on the usual schedule.
For those of you lucky enough to be attending Gen Con, stop on by and say hello at Booth #1509! We’ll be running demos of Walk the Plank, Love 2 Hate, Icons Superpowered Roleplaying, Dragon Age, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Mutants & Masterminds, Ork!, and of course, Fantasy Age and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Geek & Sundry will be featuring a photo booth, along with some great merchandise and surprises!
We also have volunteers running games at Gen Con, and we have some Seminars you don’t want to miss. If you didn’t get into a game, be sure to bring Generic Tickets to see if a spot opens up! There are quite a few sessions of games run by various GMs & Gaming Groups, and we have a list of the officially submitted games run by myself or our Freebooter Volunteer GMs! For the Seminars, there are currently spaces, but you’ll definitely need to pick up free tickets to attend!
- RPG1575877 Blood in the Streets – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
- RPG1575473 An Arl’s Ransom – Dragon Age RPG (at ConTessa!)
- RPG1573267 Hell Comes to Squishy Man Town! – Ork! 2.0 The Roleplaying Game
- RPG1576447 Fate in Freeport; The 1000 Year Storm – Fate System
- RPG1575933 Shadows of Tanglewood – Blue Rose/True 20
- RPG1576439 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1576440 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- SEM1578318 News & Updates on Green Ronin Publishing’s AGE System
- RPG1575878 Blood in the Streets – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
- RPG1573275 Hell Comes to Squishy Man Town! – Ork! 2.0 The Roleplaying Game
- RPG1576446 The Truth of the Fifth Blight – Dragon Age RPG
- RPG1576441 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1576442 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1578320 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- SEM1578319 What’s New With Green Ronin Publishing!
- SEM1582558 Titansgrave Q&A with Wil!
- RPG1575905 Operation: Zandia – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
- RPG1573282 Hell Comes to Squishy Man – Town!Ork! 2.0
- RPG1575934 Shadows of Tanglewood – Blue Rose/True 20
- RPG1576443 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1576445 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1578321 Titansgrave: The Rust Wastes – Fantasy Age
- RPG1575906 Operation: Zandia – DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds
Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you at Gen Con!
If you have been waiting to back Blue Rose: The RPG of Romantic Fantasy on Kickstarter, you’re almost out of time. We’ve been knocking down stretch goals left and right, and there are only about six hours left as of this post. The next stretch goal, unlocked at $82,500, is a second side on the poster map, which we really hope we get to do.
Please back Blue Rose while you can. (And thank you so much if you already did!)
In other time-sensitive news, on Tuesday at Midnight (the very end of day on Tuesday, Seattle Time) the Dragon Age RPG Core Rulebook pre-order deal will end.
Note: After a very inconveniently-timed technical issue, the pre-order deals in our store (pre-order selected books, get a deal on the PDF version) are working again. We are sorry about the problems. If you pre-ordered and didn’t get the deal please write firstname.lastname@example.org to report the problem. If you have already done so, we will get you sorted out as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!