Nov 22 2017
We’re always happy to see members of our extended Green Ronin family do well, and today one of them has blasted into space! Scott Woodard, co-author of the terrific Cinema & Sorcery: The Comprehensive Guide to Fantasy Film for Green Ronin, is the author behind Pinnacle’s Flash Gordon RPG Kickstarter, which launched today and has already funded. Congrats to Scott and the crew at Pinnacle!
Nov 9 2017
Yesterday, Green Ronin’s leadership made a statement about allegations regarding the freelance developer of The Lost Citadel.
Valid concerns have been raised about the tone of our initial response, and for this, we apologize. We absolutely believe victims. Full stop. We always have, and we always will.
Our initial reactions were complicated, due to previous issues related to this matter (we will, once leadership is back in-office, release a timeline to clarify the sequence of events.). As new information became available to us, we have tried to adjust course as quickly as possible.
We put our foot in it when we did so. We have been rightly criticized for the way it was phrased and the way our tone cast blame at the concerned folks who felt we weren’t doing enough to manage the situation. Those critiques are fair, and we’ve listened.
The fact of the matter is that this is on us. We could have, and should be, handling this better. We will be, going forward.
Green Ronin remains committed to diversity, safety, and respect for all, but that does not mean we are perfect. What we can do, when we make a mistake is to take the situation and learn from it. We hope to use the dialogue surrounding these accusations and responses to create an industry that is truly safe for women and minorities, as well as continuing to improve our own responses, personal and professional.
We believe, passionately, in doing the right thing, and that sometimes the right thing is an evolving situation that we will have to adapt to as we go, making difficult and time-consuming decisions along the way. We will be instituting an external anti-harassment policy (applicable to our freelancers and volunteers) to accompany the internal employee policy, as well as working with our contractors and anyone who represents Green Ronin publicly to ensure that they meet our standards of respect, consent, and response.
Thank you for your feedback, and for your patience as we figure out how to prevent such issues going forward. We will continue to try and do better, and to earn back the trust that was previously placed in us.
Sincerly, Green Ronin’s Staff and Owners
Nov 8 2017
By Nicole Lindroos, Hal Mangold, and Chris Pramas
Recently a contractor that we’ve been working with, CA Suleiman, was accused of sexual harassment. We were in the midst of an internal investigation and had decided nothing as yet when this was taken to the court of public opinion. There is a lot we could say about the events of the last few days and the recklessness with which people who have no connection to the incident or even the game industry have acted, and perhaps later we will, but here is the point. Green Ronin is a progressive company, full stop, and loudly so. One need look no further than our games or the causes we support through charitable giving to see that this is so. If someone brings allegations of sexual harassment to our doorstep, you’d better believe we take it seriously. In light of these accusations, we have made some decisions.
CA Suleiman has been working with us on a single project. The Lost Citadel was a Kickstarter we ran earlier this year and we will be publishing it, as we have an obligation to the backers. We will be assigning someone else to oversee the project moving ahead, however, and we will not be working with CA on any future projects.
As a point of clarification, CA was never in charge of the talent search for women and non-binary writers that we ran earlier this year. That was a company effort, spearheaded by co-owner Nicole Lindroos.
The leadership of Green Ronin will be meeting off site over the next few days to discuss these matters. If you have any relevant information you think we should know, please send it to email@example.com. Thank you.
Nov 6 2017
When I first got into the game industry in early 90s, there was a convention season that generally lasted from late May to early September. There were some shows in other parts of the year but the focus was on the summertime when students were out of school and families planned vacations. Companies scheduled their biggest releases of the year for convention season, typically debuting them at GenCon. And for the most part that’s how things were into the early 2000s.
In the last 15 years or so things slowly changed. Convention season was still a phrase we used in the industry but it seemed to get a little longer each year. Some old cons faded away but far more new ones were born. Some of this has to do with the infiltration of geek culture into the mainstream. More and more, gamers wanted conventions in their local area, and where they didn’t exist people made them. At the same time traveling to other cities and even countries to attend conventions became more common. When I flew from New York City to Milwaukee for my first GenCon in 1989, that was a fairly unusual thing to do. People routinely travel much farther to attend conventions today.
On the publishing side of things, we used to have the better part of nine months to concentrate on designing and producing games, then three months with a lot of travel that cut into design time. To show you how things have changed, here are the conventions and trade shows I’ve been to this year.
OrcaCon in Everett, Washington in January.
GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada in March.
Salute in London, England in April.
ACD Games Day in Madison, Wisconsin in May.
Enfilade in Olympia, Washington in May.
Origins in Columbus, Ohio in June.
GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana in August.
PAX Dev and PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington in September.
Alliance Open House in Fort Wayne, Indiana in September.
Next week Green Ronin will be at the inaugural show of PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
That will be my final convention of 2017. As you can see, that’s quite a bit of travel and I could easily do so much more. At this point I could probably attend a convention somewhere most weekends of the year, with the exception of Xmas season. Or to put that another way, convention season now lasts 11 months! Now obviously we can’t attend every show. There are certain staples, like GenCon and GAMA Trade Show that we always attend. Others change year to year. In 2018 we are the spotlight publisher at
Norwescon here in Seattle in March, and we’ll also be featured at Chupacabracon in Austin, Texas in May. Then in June we should be attending our first UK Games Expo in Birmingham, England. Will we make it back to Essen Spiel in Germany or finally go down under for PAX Australia? Maybe! When it comes to conventions these days, we are spoiled for choice. And while all that travel can be exhausting, it is worth it to be able to talk to so many gamers and game retailers face to face. To find out what shows we’ll be at, you can check out our events calendar and keep an eye on our various social media pages. See you on the convention trail!
Oct 31 2017
Need something spooky to scare your players for Halloween gaming? Green Ronin’s Freeport Bestiary is full of things that go boom in the night! As a free preview we’re offering a single creepy critter, the chindi–an undead created to terrorize its victims as it pursues a mission of vengeance!
(Psst! If you don’t have the Freeport Bestiary yet, you might want to also check out the Deadwood Tree, for additional free, creepy, Halloweeny preview goodness.)
Oct 30 2017
Hi, I’m Jaym Gates, Line Manager for Green Ronin’s Nisaba Press. We’ll be publishing fiction tied in to the Green Ronin properties, both short fiction and novels. I was given three missions: make a great fiction line, make sure it was a great diverse fiction line, and find some great new voices for both fiction and RPGs. That’s pretty much the most exciting mission plan you could give me, for anything. Why? I got into editing because I discovered how amazing it was to find those incredible new voices that no one else has found yet. There is also something intensely rewarding about taking a good piece of fiction and refining it to its best form.
As we’re releasing our first batch of regular stories, I wanted to talk a little bit about tie-in fiction, and why Nisaba.
First off, one of the best things about tie-in fiction to me is that it gives fans new stories and elaborates on beloved settings. Flavor text in RPG books is great, but sometimes you really want to go on an adventure with characters. See the sights of Emerald City, smell the sweet reek of Freeport, maybe feel the wind on your face as Rezeans gallop across the plains. While we can’t LITERALLY give you all of that, fiction gives windows to the new and existing characters in our settings. Maybe they’ll inspire new adventures, show up in your existing adventures, or just be a brief excursion with a fictional friend, but any way it goes, we love giving fans the chance to interact at more length with our settings.
It’s also a great way to get your RPG fix if you don’t have time to game, are playing another game, or can’t get a good group. It’s like talking to an old friend you don’t get to see often enough.
Secondly, tie-in fiction is a great way for new fans to get involved. There are a lot of settings, a lot of rules, and a lot of history. It can be scary for someone to just jump in at the deep end with no idea what’s going on. A short story or novel takes away that overwhelming feeling of “SO MUCH STUFF” and gives the reader a gentle introduction to a new place.
And last but not least: because the world is made of stories, and stories allow the creators to develop things that might never come up in the RPGs, or that might just not have been thought of. Narrative is a unique thing that forces you to think of so many angles that you might not otherwise see. The scents and sounds of a world, the interplay between character and their religion, questions of morality and honor. A story fleshes out what the RPG has built to a level that flashes and flavor text can’t approach.
So that is “Why tie-in fiction.” I’m really thrilled with the stories I’ve already been working on. We have Anthony Pryor’s My Night in Freeport, Lindsay Adam’s tale of an Aldean agent and a Jarzoni priest-adept, Eytan Bernstein’s story of Kid Robot’s first day of school, and so much more. All of these are original fiction set canonically in the settings you know and love. My hope is that they bring another aspect of engagement and joy in the setting.
And keep an eye out, we’re planning to host an open submission period in a few months, so if you’re wanting to write fiction for Blue Rose, Freeport, or Mutants & Masterminds, get plotting now!
Oct 27 2017
Today we present a new short fiction piece by Anthony Pryor, set in Freeport: The City of Adventure. In “My Night In Freeport,” a naive cabin boy goes ashore in Freeport for the first time, and learns important lessons about life in the big city, why attention to proper knot lore matters, and about the sailors’ code.
For just $1.99, you can download this rollicking tale in your choice of PDF, ePub, or mobi (Amazon Kindle). Or all three! We’re not the boss of your reading habits.
About Nisaba Press
Nisaba Press is the fiction imprint of Green Ronin Publishing. Nisaba will be publishing novels, anthologies, and short fiction tied to the rich and varied worlds of Green Ronin’s tabletop roleplaying properties. Current plans include stories of swashbuckling horror in the fantasy world of Freeport: City of Adventure, tales set in the romantic fantasy world of Aldea from the Blue Rose Roleplaying Game, superheroic adventures set in the world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds, and chronicles of fantasy survival-horror in the world of The Lost Citadel.
Oct 27 2017
As fall begins, All Hallow’s Eve approaches. Though once a yearly reminder that the dead linger just beyond the living world, Halloween has now become a time of fun and frivolity. Even in Freedom City, where genuine monsters sometimes stalk the streets and sewers, Halloween is a time for candy, parties, fun costumes, and laughter. Protected by their spandex-clad heroes, many Freedonians feel downright invulnerable. Too invulnerable.
When a Halloween prank ends up calling down far more trouble than anyone expected, Freedom City needs heroes to protect it once again.
Monster Mash-Up is a free short adventure for a group of three to five PL 10 heroes. The adventure is set in Freedom City, but can easily be transplanted anywhere in the world that celebrates Halloween and has a large, old theater to gather an audience into.
Oct 23 2017
Greetings, fellow game lovers! I’m very excited to be writing my first ever Ronin Roundtable. Some of you may remember a few months back that Donna Prior introduced me as the new Events Manager when she moved over to Catan Studio. (We still miss you, Donna!) Since then it has been a whirlwind of Gen Con, the annual Green Ronin summit, and coordinating for all the additional conventions we’ll be doing in the next year. I’ve found Green Ronin to truly be “dedicated to the art of great games.” We are passionate bunch: about our games, social issues, our chosen family, and about the joy this art of great games brings. It delights us when others share that passion! Art is a skill of creative imagination meant to be practiced and shared; that is the basis of the Freebooter program.
The Freebooter program has been around for a while, but due to Green Ronin being a small company, it has historically been difficult to maintain. Now that we’ve grown a bit, we have more resources to help support wonderful things like the Freebooters. So, we are striking while the iron is hot and doing an official relaunch of the program.
And do you know what? I love running Green Ronin’s volunteer GM activities. I’m excited to help people enjoy games. (Sometimes I think I might get more out of helping others enjoy games than I do playing them myself.) I adore facilitating GMs finding a convention or Friendly Local Game Store to run games for people. It makes me happy to see people who’ve never met find common ground and joy over the gaming table. It’s one of the best feelings!
Want to share your passion for running games with others at conventions or at your FLGS? The Green Ronin Freebooter Program is a guide for volunteers running demos and events with Green Ronin games. Membership as a Freebooter requires commitment as well as knowledge of our games and passion to show it off to the public. The following are requirements for a Freebooter applicant:
- Willingness to keep up to date with general program information and communications.
- Participants must be knowledgeable about the setting, be able to explain game mechanics, and answer simple questions regarding Green Ronin.
- Freebooters support an inclusive gaming experience.
- You must have a passion for gaming and the product you are looking to support.
- You must have a professional attitude and work ethic.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Coordination, communication, cooperation, collaboration, and confidence are the guiding principles of being a Freebooter.
- Members are expected to run demos at hobby stores and conventions and raise awareness of the games in general.
- Submit event reports in a timely manner.
- May possibly be enlisted by Green Ronin to assist during large events.
- Also, to have FUN!
What Green Ronin game brings you joy? Are you drawn to the lush beauty of Aldea as portrayed in Blue Rose? Perhaps you hunger for more stories of Tal’Dorei now that Vox Machina’s campaign has ended. Or do you love to battle darkspawn in Thedas with Dragon Age? Maybe you yearn for your own sword and sorcery adventure in Fantasy Age. Does the piracy, and Lovecraftian horror of Freeport hold a special place in your heart? Mayhap you just want a light-hearted party game of finishing sentences courtesy of Love 2 Hate. Looking for an epic superhero story as offered by Mutants & Masterminds? Or possibly you hunger for the merciless, cutthroat intrigue of Westeros available in A Song of Ice and Fire. Did you love Wil Wheaton’s Titansgrave so much that you want to try the world out yourself? Or maybe you are a pirate at heart, interested in playing the fast-paced card game of Walk the Plank?
Plus, Green Ronin is continually working on new game systems and settings. Coming up soon and/or currently in production are The Expanse RPG, Freedom City for Mutants & Masterminds, Mutants & Masterminds: Rogues Gallery, Fantasy AGE Companion, Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition, Faces of Thedas (Dragon Age), Modern AGE, World of Lazarus, Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook, Return to Freeport, and the Sentinels of Earth-Prime card game.
There are so many worlds to explore! You can share these wonderful, exciting experiences while making new friends and earning rewards through the Green Ronin Freebooter Program.
In addition to sharing games with others, Freebooters can also get these perks:
- Freebooters can have their events added to the official Green Ronin Events Calendar.
- Get a cool Green Ronin t-shirt! You’ll get one upon becoming an active member, and if you continue to be active, you can get more. Pretty sweet, eh? (Active membership means running games and submitting event reports.)
- By running games, you can earn GM experience points, which can be turned into credit in our online store.
- GM badge and/or partial hotel reimbursement at select conventions.
- Access to Freebooter social media forums that provide support, advice, and encouragement.
- The most basic perk of membership is involvement in the growth of Green Ronin games. In the future, there may be opportunities for Freebooters to playtest new material, write articles for the Green Ronin blog or other publications, and help plan large events.
We want our volunteers to have the best time possible while growing their own community, developing local events, supporting and building lasting relationships with local stores, and building their own hobby collection.
If this sounds like fun, please apply. So, what are you waiting for? For more information, look at the Green Ronin Freebooter Information Hub or just fill out the volunteer Freebooter Application form.
I look forward to meeting more new Freebooters. I’d love to help you find a place to start hosting games. Thank you for your interest in running games for Green Ronin Publishing!
Questions? Email Veronica at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Gaming!
Oct 16 2017
Hello and welcome to Walking the Royal Road, an ongoing series on using the Tarot (or Royal Road, in Aldin parlance) in Blue Rose AGE games. See also the first in the series, Part One: Friends & Loved Ones.
The Tarot has been used in roleplaying games for quite a long time, in a variety of contexts, and with good reason. Reading and deciphering the Tarot is less a matter of divination as it is storytelling—each card carries an intrinsic meaning (and sometimes a second meaning when the card appears inverted) that can serve as a building block for a larger narrative. When multiple cards are laid out, with each card position also having a meaning, it is possible to use them to build a small story of some kind, through the language of symbolism and the very human act of pulling disparate elements into a larger narrative.
The Blue Rose AGE core book already suggests a use of the Royal Road: in the establishment of a character’s Calling, Destiny, and Fate. There are also some suggestions for using tarot in Chapter Ten (p. 313, in the section “Walking the Royal Road,” where the title for this series comes from). This series of articles is going to suggest some additional uses for them.
The cards we use in these articles are the Shadowscapes Tarot, with art by the amazing Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, whose art has graced the covers of Blue Rose books throughout the game’s history.
Today’s article discusses the use of the Tarot in generating a backstory. Romantic fantasy heroes frequently have backstories filled with twists, turns, tragedies, and confrontations. By the time these characters reach adulthood, many of the heroes of Tamora Price, Mercedes Lackey, Diane Duane, and other such authors have experienced a great deal that has shaped them into the heroes they are today. Of course, in those novels we frequently get to see this happening, but most Blue Rose game begin with fully adult characters. This provides a way to mimic some of those challenges.
The spread for this method is not static, but can depend on just how much backstory the player (or Narrator, if creating the backstory of a Narrator character) wants to have had. A good round number for beginning player character is probably three cards: one for adolescence, one for young adulthood, and then a card that represents the struggle that led to the hero’s first level in a player character class. If they’re starting off at higher levels, an additional card for each level or two is probably also appropriate.
Feel free to also draw additional cards for major events. If your character is rhy-bonded, perhaps a card that reflects the events where that rhy-bond awakened in their lives. If they are part of the Sovereign’s Own, perhaps a card that represents them getting noticed or receiving training. If the character is older than a young adult, perhaps a card for every five or ten years since their young adulthood makes sense.
Some options for individual card meanings include:
- Young Adulthood
- First player character level (often combined with another card, most likely Young Adulthood)
- Entry into an Organization, Institution, or Group
- Beginning of a defining Relationship
- End of a defining Relationship
- Starting a Family
- Starting a Business
- Middle Age
As you can see, there are a great many options, with the possibility of many more. Try and keep your focus to five cards or less, as the more detail there is, the harder it gets to weave it all together into a single cohesive whole.
This system is quite simple to use. Lay the cards out, face down, in a line. Then, from left to right, flip over each card, noting what stage or element of backstory this represents. Take the meaning of the card in question (using online resources or the booklets that frequently come with Tarot decks) as a prompt about the events the card represents; additionally, you can let the images on the cards themselves be a guide as well. Take notes; each of these cards is its own small story, but each is also a step in a greater story progression.
In the image, we have laid out four cards to represent a new player character named Jaxan. Jaxan is a human adept (Forest Folk background) who is rhy-bound to a rhy-owl named Whisper. I have decided that the first card represents his childhood, the second card is his adolescence, the third card is the establishment of his bond with Whisper, and the fourth card is the achievement of his adulthood and the gaining of his first level of adept.
Childhood: Five of Swords. This card shows a winged swordsman, with a pair of dark-hued geese or maybe swans at his side. The card itself represents discord and conflicts of interest, the feeling that the world is arrayed against you, so you feel justified in focusing only on your own concerns and profit. Jaxan’s childhood was clearly tumultuous, and it looks like he had to take care of himself, having no one else to do so.
Adolescence: Judgment. This card shows a fey-like spirit among the flowers, playing music and surrounded by butterflies. The card represents release and renewal, having to make hard choices, making a judgment that may be harsh and difficult to face, but absolution comes thereby. With his adolescence, however, Jaxan was freed in some way by hard choices he made.
Rhy-Bond: Two of Pentacles. This card shows a harlequin-like figure balancing on one foot atop a pillar, while he huggles a pair of pentacle disks, with a monkey seated at his feet. It represents a balancing act, having to juggle and keep everything in motion, the trait of being flexible and adaptable, able to change directions easily and quickly. A sense of flexibility, of adaptability surrounds his rhy-bond; perhaps he is a good match with Whisper because the rhy-owl lacks that trait in some capacity? (I admit, the notion of a stodgy, grumpy older owl who is a bit hidebound in his thinking pleases me greatly.)
Adulthood: Four of Swords. This card shows a maiden in repose, a blade clutched to her body, her head reclining on three other blades, while she is surrounded by flowers and a dove is perched at her feet. Its meaning suggests a moment of repose, meditation and centering, and finding one’s inner strength. Jaxan’s adulthood–and the full bloom of his adept powers–may have come about not as a result of some kind of sudden trauma or stress, but the alleviation of such. When he finally gets the chance to rest, to turn his attention inward, his arcane talents blossom.
Here is just one example of this method for backstory generation. It’s far from the only one, to say nothing of the variety possible from other card results entirely!
Jaxan: The Woodwise Adept. Jaxan grew up in a small community called Avia, about three days north of Ennevan, in the southern edges of the Pavin Weald. The community was mostly made up of lumberwrights, fur-traders, and woodsfolk of various sorts. Jaxan has vague memories of his mother, but most of his genuine memories are of a neglectful father, who spent most of his time in the woods and when he was home, spent that time in the bottom of a bottle. Jaxan always sort of understood that his Da mourned his mother, but that didn’t change the fact that he basically left the boy on his own much of the time. (The themes of discord and being alone against the world are directly from the Five of Swords.) His closest neighbor, a goosewife with a full and hungry brood of her own, did her best to watch out for the boy, feeding him in return for his occasional help watching her geese, but that was the closest the wild boy had to any kind of supervision. (I really dig the birds in the card’s imagery, so he grew up helping to tend geese.)
As he grew older, though, he couldn’t help but note the sorts of things his Da brought home more and more. Coin, certainly, but also other trading goods, clothing, even the occasional weapon. His Da would make a trip into Ennevan occasionally to sell it, though he was always very protective of his privacy, instilling in Jaxan the need to keep quiet about their affairs to others. But when a pair of envoys came to Avia, looking for members of a band of bandits operating nearby, the fourteen year old Jaxan realized just what it was his father did for a living.
For the next couple of years, Jaxan held his father’s secret, though it ate at the sensitive and clever boy. He knew his own justifications became more and more absurd, but how could he betray his own father, even as neglectful as he was? He was the only family he had. But the next time someone came to Avis, seeking the bandits, it was a traveling noble and his companions, and they brought with them someone badly injured by the bandits. Face to face with the reality of the ill his father did, Jaxan fled to his home.
Sleep eluded him, until he was forced to sit upright in bed. Tomorrow he would find the noble, and do what was right. As he decided that, something battered at the shutters to his room. He fearfully crossed to them, and opened them, to find a great silvery-white owl perched on the sill. You’ve made a hard choice, Jaxan, the rhy-owl’s psychic voice said, sounding old and wise in his head. But you’ll never be alone again, not so long as I live. The rhy-owl introduced himself as Whisper, and the next morning, the two of them found the noble and told him of his father’s crimes.
(Note that I sort of switched up–or combined, really– the Adolescence and Rhy-bond cards to make the story make a better sense. Don’t hesitate to do that. No need to be slavishly beholden to the order of cards as they’re laid out. The goal is a good story.)
Finding out that the boy had no other family, the noble offered Jaxan a place in her retinue if he wanted it. Like most of the young of Avia, he was knowledgeable in woodslore and knew this part of the Weald. He thanked her, but refused. His one brush with helping to enforce the law was painful enough; he wasn’t entirely sure he was cut out to do so as his vocation. Instead, he returned the key to his father’s house to the heads-woman of Avis, gathered a few of his belongings, and he and Whisper disappeared into the woods.
Being perfectly at home in the woods, Jaxan spent some time getting to know Whisper, to mourn the loss of his father, but also to find some peace and clarity for the first time. It was in a forest glade that Whisper taught him to meditate and find his center, and over the next several months the two of them discovered and cultivated his arts in the animism and shaping (particularly plants) disciplines of arcane lore.
Now Jaxan is a young man ready to return to civilization, and the beginning of this Blue Rose campaign!