Aug 17 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREEN RONIN TO PUBLISH THE EXPANSE RPG
James S.A. Corey’s Sci-Fi Epic Comes to the Tabletop
August 17, 2017—SEATTLE, WA: Green Ronin Publishing announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with James S.A. Corey to adapt The Expanse series of novels as a tabletop roleplaying game.
“The Expanse is the most exciting thing to happen in science fiction in the last decade,” said Green Ronin President Chris Pramas. “It’s not just that they are cracking good stories—which of course, they are—but like all of the best science fiction they reflect the issues of today. We could not be more delighted to bring the Expanse to roleplaying games.”
“The Expanse began as a gaming concept nearly two decades ago, and was played as a home brewed RPG for years before becoming a book series,” said Ty Franck. “To have Green Ronin taking the universe of The Expanse back to its roots is very exciting. I’ve loved their game adaptations of other literary works, and I couldn’t be happier to be partnering with them on this project.”
“I came to the story first as a RPG, and clearly I had a great time with it,” added Daniel Abraham. “I’m delighted to have other gamers get the chance to make their own stories in this setting.”
Green Ronin will run a crowdfunding campaign for The Expanse RPG next year and publish the game in August, 2018. The Expanse RPG will use Green Ronin’s popular Adventure Game Engine, which powers its Blue Rose, Fantasy AGE, and Modern AGE RPGs. More information about The Expanse RPG will appear on greenronin.com in the coming months.
# # #
About Green Ronin Publishing
Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle based company dedicated to the art of great games. Since the year 2000 Green Ronin has established a reputation for quality and innovation that is second to none, publishing such roleplaying game hits as Blue Rose, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and Mutants & Masterminds, and winning over 40 awards for excellence. For an unprecedented three years running Green Ronin won the prestigious Gen Con & EN World Award for Best Publisher.
About James S.A. Corey
James S.A. Corey is the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
About The Expanse
The Expanse book series is published in 30 countries and 27 languages, and has sold over a million books in North America alone. It has been adapted as a television show, now entering its 3rd season, and as a soon to be released board game. It has also been nominated for the Hugo Award twice, and won the Locus Award for best science fiction novel in 2014.
Aug 16 2017
We are pleased to present, for free download, “Offerings, a Fiction Anthology,” a sampler of fiction from three of our upcoming fiction releases. In case you missed it, we recently announced Nisaba Press, Green Ronin Publishing’s new fiction imprint, helmed by Managing Editor Jaym Gates.
Within the pages of “Offerings” you’ll find:
- The Prologue from Shadowtide, our first romantic fantasy Blue Rose novel by Joseph Carriker.
- “New Girls,” by Crystal Frasier, set in the super-heroic world of Earth-Prime from Mutants & Masterminds.
- “Requiem, In Bells,” by Ari Marmell, set in the fantasy horror-survival world of The Lost Citadel.
We hope you enjoy this offering from our first few fiction titles. We can’t wait to share our worlds with you!
Aug 14 2017
Last time I was here, I introduced Modern AGE, the contemporary era implementation of Green Ronin’s Adventure Game Engine. Look on this very page, and you’ll see the cover. I’m not going to call it the absolute, final article–fine tuning the look is Hal’s business–but this is darn close. I’m going to riff on the cover to tell you a bit more about what to expect.
Who’s on That Rooftop?
Like many games, Modern AGE features iconic characters we use for examples of play, who indicate the kinds of characters you can build and advance. Early in outlining, I designed each iconic with input from a writer, making it their character–you’ll see the writers’ names pop up as example players (Meghan Fitzgerald is our “iconic GM” in these examples). Let’s look at who the characters are, and what they tell you about the game.
They Know What to Say
On the far left, Sean checks their phone. “Played” by Howard Ingham, Sean’s a socially focused character, and even though we don’t have set character sheets for iconics like them, they’re bound to have a high Communication score, along with focuses supporting social interaction. Modern AGE includes social influence and connection rules in its core. First off, we present a selection of attitudes an encountered NPC might have, and rules for gradually shifting an attitude in a direction conducive to a character’s desires. But this is an AGE game, so we’ve also baked in an option to get things done with one roll. If you’re like me, there are times you want to play through developing a relationship, and times where you want to know whether an NPC will help or hinder a hero right away. The rules let you do both.
Sean might also draw on a Relationship with an NPC, or Membership in an organization–we have rules for both, evolved from predecessors in Blue Rose. Sean might have the Intrigue talent to draw information out of connections, and a specialization like Executive or Socialite that makes it easy to draw on social ties.
Crouched in the middle, Brian McLaughlin is an ex-military operative, “played” by yours truly. Brian probably has a character Background or Profession rooted in military affairs, and a Drive that motivates him to stay armed, and ready for action. Modern AGE Drives provide a capstone benefit at character creation, bundled into a reason to say “yes” to engaging with a campaign’s stories. Brian’s focus is on ranged combat, so guns, bullets, and how to deal with them are obviously important to him. That means Brian picked armor with a high rating against ballistic damage. In Modern AGE, we split damage into impact damage, inflicted by melee weapons, ballistic damage, delivered by firearms, and armor-piercing penetrating damage. Ancient armor doesn’t protect against ballistic attacks; modern armor does. Almost nothing resists penetrating damage.
Brian may have the Rifle Style focus, and perhaps a specialization in Sniper or Gunfighter, which can make him a formidable opponent even when his targets have armored up. But much depends on the game’s mode, our term for what rules might be in play to support a genre. All characters have a resistance to damage called Toughness, but in the gritty game mode, it only protects against mild blunt force trauma. In pulpy and cinematic modes, however, one of Brian’s targets might shrug a shot off, and keep in coming.
She Hits Hard
Over to Brian’s right is Amy Wilson, “played” by Matthew Dawkins. She’s trained and motivated to deal with anyone getting too close for comfort. Amy’s a martial artist and melee weapons expert. Matthew wrote the equipment section, and knows the sort of blades, bludgeons and other weapons she might acquire. AGE games aren’t equipment focused, so each weapon represents a general category. Furthermore, note that with no classes, we’ve dropped the penalty for not being trained with a weapon, but since Amy is probably trained in multiple armed and unarmed fighting style talents and the Martial Artist specialization, don’t expect to be on an even footing.
One of the organizational changes we’ve made in Modern AGE will affect how Matthew plays Amy. In other AGE games, we presented one big list of combat stunts; in Modern AGE we have more stunts, but they’re split into smaller lists of stunts linked to specific actions (with some that fit any action, and advice that there is wiggle room). Some stunts are listed as “core,” meaning that as low-cost options that are easy to describe, they can be your first choice, to avoid decision paralysis at the table. We hope that this combined with short, focused stunt lists makes picking stunts easier. We’ve done the same for non-combat stunts as well.
Beyond the Rooftop
So that’s who’s on the cover. What are they doing on that rooftop? What city are they in? (And who are the iconics I haven’t introduced yet, including the one who leads into chatting about the investigation rules?) Modern AGE doesn’t have a default setting, so it’s up to you, though the World of Lazarus, coming out at the same time as a supplement, provides immediate possibilities. If you want to know more, your best bet is to come visit our booth at Gencon–we’re Exhibitor #1321–or visit the “What’s New With Green Ronin Publishing!” panel at noon on Saturday.
Aug 8 2017
It is a sad announcement for me to make, but I’ve recently flown the coop and am no longer managing the Freebooter Volunteer GM Program, nor the Events coordination for Gen Con and other shows. I resigned a bit ago, but we all felt like it was good to say goodbye to the community and offer a very hale welcome to Veronica Templar, your new Events/Freebooter Manager!
I’ve been very lucky to be working with Team Ronin these years, and it’s been a great pleasure to coordinate events with so many great volunteers. Green Ronin couldn’t be happier with the quality of volunteers, both some of our long standing Freebooters and with so many new folks. You’re what makes all the organizing such a pleasure.
For my team, I will miss you all greatly. You’ve been my biggest supporters, friends, and I love the hell out of you all. Luckily, most of you are in my local area, so I will get to see you for games and shenanigans. I cannot thank you all enough for the opportunities you’ve given me.
Where am I going? Catan Studio! I accepted a position managing the Organized Play program. You’ll still see me at shows, but you’ll need come to the Catan Event Hall to say hello! I’ll be busy running the tournaments and overseeing events, but I am always happy to take a moment to catch up and hear about your games.
I’m also still running OrcaCon, the inclusive tabletop games convention, outside Seattle. It’s the Unofficial Green Ronin Convention, and you’ll find most of the staff there each year. We’d love to see some of you come run games for Green Ronin Publishing.
So, things aren’t all sad around here, I’d like to tell you about Veronica! She is amazing and I am so excited she is on board to organize events and Freebooters. She’ll be growing the Freebooter Program, and we’ll be looking for more Freebooters at shows Green Ronin Publishing will be attending. You can read more information on the Freebooter Volunteer Info Page, and the team will be updating it as they start reaching out per show. So, if you haven’t made it to a Gen Con, maybe you can support Origins, UK Games Expo, Norwescon, OrcaCon, and more!
Veronica is a great organizer and has a very kind heart. I hope you give her the same love and enthusiasm you’ve shown me. And patience, as she learns her new role! If you’re interested in signing up as a Freebooter, hop over to that Info Page and fill out the form. She’ll be getting back to folks as we start booking the shows.
Thanks again for the years of support, not just from our Community, but from the Green Ronin Publishing Team. Go forth and be amazing!
Jul 31 2017
Hello and welcome to Walking the Royal Road, what I hope to be an ongoing series on using the Tarot (or Royal Road, in Aldean parlance) in Blue Rose AGE games.
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.
Friends & Loved Ones
Today’s article is going to offer some additional character building. Romantic fantasy, as a genre, focuses not just on magic and feats of derring-do, but also the relationships formed by the characters. Characters do amazing things for love, for friendship, and for hate, and these kinds of motivators should always play into games of romantic fantasy, to some degree.
In order to have these kinds of motivations, though, player characters need some relationships in place. This system is intended to augment the Relationships mechanics, as found on p. 60 of the Blue Rose core rulebook. Where that system helps define how strongly heroes feel about other characters, this one will help with the brainstorming of figuring out who they are.
The spread for this method is a simple three-card spread for each character.
The Role Card indicates in what capacity the PC knows the character in question. Take a look at the suit (pentacles, cups, wands, swords, or Major Arcana).
- Pentacles: The person is someone you know in a professional capacity.
- Cups: The person is someone who know familially, either a member of your family, or someone you met through a family member.
- Wands: The person is someone you met in a social capacity, at a party or festival, tavern or theater.
- Swords: The person is someone you know from a training or learning endeavor: a fellow apprentice, or someone you met in schooling of some kind.
- Major Arcana: You met this person in some extraordinary capacity. Use the card itself as an inspiration: perhaps you met the Chariot while traveling, or you met the Tower during a terrible disaster of some kind.
The Personality Card indicates what this person is like. Use the tables for Calling, Destiny, and Fate in the Blue Rose core rulebook as a starting place. Note that this card does not indicate this character’s Calling, Destiny, or Fate—it’s simply what their outward-facing personality is like. There are always depths beneath this surface.
The Relationship Card indicates what your relationship with this person is like. The meaning of the card should be applied to this in some capacity. A Six of Wands suggests recognition of success, so perhaps this person looks up to you for your heroism; in contrast, the Page of Swords is about having enthusiasm but needing more information, so this card in the Relationship space suggests that the person looks to you as a source of information, or is themselves such a source for you.
In the image, we have laid out some cards in the Friends & Loved Ones Spread.
Role: The Magician. We know this person because of magic, clearly. They might be an adept of some kind, or if we’re playing an adept or other talented character, perhaps we aided them with our own arcane arts.
Personality: The Star. Consulting the Callings table on p. 57 of Blue Rose, we see that this card represents “Artistic Mastery.” This character seems to be an artist to everyone they know, and not just a dabbler, either, but someone who really works to master their craft and achieve their vision.
Relationship: Seven of Wands. One of the typical meanings for the Seven of Wands is both aggression and defiance. In the Relationships space, this suggest someone whose closeness to the player character is either defiance—or, it’s someone who maintains the relationship out of defiance.
Here is just one example of a Narrator character generated using the spread above. It’s far from the only one, to say nothing of the variety possible from other card results entirely!
Godia Tulry: The Wishful Scrivener. We met Godia in the way she tends to meet new people—when she barged right up to us to ask us about our experiences and theories about the arcane. The other adepts roll their eyes and make themselves scarce when she shows up, because she’ll take up every bit of your time, if you let her. Despite their warnings, though, we find her delightful. She’s a dedicated magical chronicler, and we’re good enough friends that she has shyly confided that she wants more than anything to wield magic herself some day, but she just doesn’t have the Talent for it. Still, she is very sweet, loves when we use magic around her, and whipcrack sharp when it comes to arcane theory and history.
In the above example, magic is at the center of the friendship between Godia and the player’s character, per the Role card showing the Magician. Her insistent personality around her craft we derive from the Personality card showing the Star, and we’ve interpreted the defiance in the relationship, per the Relationship card showing the Seven of Wands, as coming from others who don’t understand the friendship.
Jul 24 2017
Now available for pre-ordering, The Book of the Righteous provides a complete pantheon for Fifth Edition games.
The most comprehensive pantheon in roleplaying games is back in a new edition for 5E. This massive tome provides more than 20 pick-up-and-play churches, whose organization and beliefs are described in lavish detail. These churches can be used in any campaign setting to bring a whole new level of detail to religious characters. Plus, for those who don’t have a complete cosmology in their game, The Book of the Righteous provides a comprehensive mythology that unifies all of the gods in the book. The original edition of Book of the Righteous was one of the most critically acclaimed books of the d20 era. Now Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition designers Robert J. Schwalb and Rodney Thompson have brought the new edition up to date with the 5E rules and the whole book is in glorious full color. The Book of the Righteous is truly a divine sourcebook like no other.
Jul 24 2017
The Adventure Gaming Engine (AGE System) edition of Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy is now in the hands of backers of the Kickstarter and available through distribution in fine game stores everywhere. As readers digest the contents of that sizable book, those looking to run a new Blue Rose game of their own need only one additional resource: Adventures! The Blue Rose book provides a sample adventure (“The Shadows of Tanglewood” by Steven Jones) and a wealth of adventure hooks and ideas, but for an ongoing series, Narrators are going to want additional adventure resources. Fortunately, we’ve anticipated their needs.
The new Six of Swords adventure anthology offers a set of six adventures for Blue Rose, complete stories including important characters, setting information, and all of the material a Narrator needs to run them.
- The Mistress of Gloamhale Manor pits the heroes against the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted mansion in a search for the truth.
- The Sixth Beast offers an opportunity to prevent war between factions in an outlying region of Aldis.
- The Night Market sends the envoys into the dark depths of the Veran Marsh and the heart of the criminal underworld to recover a valuable arcane artifact.
- A Harvest of Masks begins with mysterious abductions from Aldin villages near the wilderness of the Pavin Weald. Who are the masked abductors and what do they want?
- Storms Over Kamala finds the heroes out on the wild Plains of Rezea to challenge the forces that have claimed a witch’s ancient homeland.
- A Wanton Curse is set at a high society masked ball in a castle on Gravihain Eve, the Aldin equivalent of Halloween. What dark secrets are some of the guests concealing?
Most of the adventures are pitched toward low-level heroes, working from 1st level up through the upper low levels. The last couple adventures are intended for mid- and high-level heroes, both for Narrators who want to start out with a higher level game, and to offer examples of such adventures for a series as it grows and develops. Each adventure should be good for multiple sessions of game play, and most feature mysteries and character interaction alongside action and combat encounters.
The adventures cover a wide range of locations and styles, from the depths of the Veran Marsh to the open grasslands of the Plains of Rezea and the deep woodlands of northern Aldis. Adversaries range from criminal syndicates to corrupt sorcerers, vengeful spirits, and terrible unliving creatures like vampires.
We think this format provides a nice combination of adventures usable right out of the book and varied locations and plots. If Six of Swords does well, it may be a model for future Blue Rose adventure collections. We’re looking forward to offering other adventures and source material for the Romantic Fantasy role playing game and the fantastic world of Aldea.
Jul 17 2017
Pre-ordering is now active for the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting!
Important! You have three choices of where to start, so please make sure you choose the one you want:
- Pre-Order for Shipping:
This is the option to get the physical book shipped to you once they are done printing. You’ll receive an offer to get the PDF version right away for just $5, but you must choose “Add to Cart” in the pop-up window to get the offer.
- Pre-Order for Gen Con Pick-Up:
This is the option to choose if you are going to be at Gen Con 50 this August in Indianapolis and can come by the Green Ronin Publishing booth (#1321 in the Exhibit Hall) to pick up your book in person, with photo ID. When you check out you’ll be offered the PDF version for just $5, but you must choose “Add to Cart” in the pop-up window to get the offer.
Don’t like lugging books around with you as you search for adventure in Tal’Dorei? This is the option for you.
We have a FAQ set up just for you. If you’re still not sure about something, you can write our Customer Service Templar at firstname.lastname@example.org. But please do read the FAQ first.
Jul 17 2017
GenCon is coming up next month and it’s a big one: the 50th anniversary! We will, of course, have a booth (#1321) and we’ll be debuting the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting there (pre-orders for which started today). GenCon is doing a lot of cool stuff to celebrate the anniversary, including a recreation of Lake Geneva’s Horticultural Hall, site of the very first GenCon. There will also be a museum with all sorts of artifacts from the history of the hobby, including a couple of Green Ronin books. I already wish I was going to have more time to check all that stuff out!
The anniversary has, of course, made me think about my own history with the show. I first went to GenCon in 1989, when I was in college. I didn’t know anyone there. I went out by myself, had an amazing time, and convinced some friends to come back with me the following year. I’ve never missed a GenCon since. In 1993 it started to turn into work, as I began to pursue a career as a freelance game designer that eventually lead to me becoming a publisher. For a long time now the focus of the con has been work and I wouldn’t give up that up, but I do look back on those first five GenCons with much fondness.
In those days I came to play and I did not mess around. I would usually play in three 4-hour events per day. I would try to have one block free so I could get food and hit the dealers hall, but sometimes the events would line up so that I’d play for 12 hours straight. Some of the bigger miniatures game I played would be 8 hours by themselves! I didn’t mind. Quite the opposite! I was hungry for it, and I developed strategies to maximize my fun. At the time, I worked at an old school Italian coffee store in New York City. To save money and also time, I began bringing ground coffee, filters, and an electric kettle with me from home. I’d make a big thermos of coffee in the morning and drink it all day. One year, when I could barely afford a plane ticket, I brought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and that was most of my meals that week.
I hear folks complain about the various online registration systems in use at conventions today and all I can think about is fax machines. Back then you’d get a program book in the mail ahead of time and a sheet where you’d fill in your requested games and some alternates. On a specified day, you would fax it to TSR’s headquarters. Or try to anyway because thousands of other people were jamming up the fax lines at the same time. I was working a different job one year and one my regular duties was faxing various documents. Come registration day, I took my sign-up sheet, told my boss I had to make a fax for our department, and then spent an hour and a half in the basement trying to get it to go through! I pity the poor TSR staffers who had to hand collate all those sheets and fill the games. Closer to the con you’d get an envelope with printed tickets for your events. You often didn’t get all the games you wanted, so they’d fill out your order with generic tickets. On site, they had a giant board where the tickets would hang from rows and rows of hooks. You could wait in line and try to get into more events there. As you got the front, you could actually figure out which events still had tickets left by looking at the code numbers under the hooks that weren’t empty.
In this era GenCon was in Milwaukee. I don’t know if this is still the case but the downtown often smelled like chocolate because there was a factory there. Fun fact, it’s where noted cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer used to work! Every year there was a rush on the Hotel Wisconsin because it was cheap (like $64 a night) and close to the convention center. There was a diner on the ground floor where we’d get breakfast some mornings. I remember tying to order a bagel there and the staff had no idea what I was talking about. This was a confusing experience for a New Yorker. It did not help that was a vegetarian at the time. Let’s just say the options for non-meat eaters in Milwaukee in the early 90s were not plentiful. There was a terrible sports bar called Major Goolsby’s across from the convention center and I once ordered what they called a Wisconsin cheese sandwich there. Seemed safe enough. Wisconsin! Cheese! Why, there’s even a cheese museum on the highway between Chicago and Milwaukee. I get my food and it is a hamburger bun with one slice of American cheese, one piece of lettuce, and one slice of tomato. Sad vegetarian was sad.
But hey, no one goes to GenCon for the cuisine. I was playing tons of games and meeting new people every year. I loved the dealers hall then because the internet was barely a thing and there was so much gaming stuff I’d never see anywhere else but there. Finding that game I’d only heard about or scoring something long out of print felt like victories. The auction was great for that and I spent a lot of time between games there.
After my first GenCon experiences, I decided I wanted to start running games myself. Ars Magica was my favorite RPG then, so I began to run a two round ArM tournament. The characters and their covenant persisted year to year and I built on stories that played out in the finals. I did that for four years and it was a useful bridge between just being a fan and starting a career as a game designer. The things I learned playing and running games, and the people I met and the contacts I made, all played a role in me taking that leap. For these reasons and so many more, GenCon will always be special to me. So thanks, GenCon! Happy 50th and here’s to 50 more!
Jul 11 2017
We are pleased and humbled to be nominated for eight ENnie Awards this year. We’ve included a list of our nominations at the bottom of this post.
In our excitement about the ENnies we placed several products on sale in our Green Ronin Online Store. Please check out our 2017 ENnie Awards Sale.
Our nominations are for:
- Best Adventure:
- Dragon’s Hoard
- Best Art, Cover:
- Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy
- Best Monster/Adversary:
- Atlas of Earth-Prime
- Fantasy AGE Bestiary
- Best RPG Related Product:
- Cinema and Sorcery: The Comprehensive Guide to Fantasy Film
- Best Setting:
- Atlas of Earth-Prime
- Best Supplement:
- Cosmic Handbook
- Product of the Year:
- Atlas of Earth-Prime
As always, sincere congratulations to our fellow nominees, and thank you to all who worked on these products, all who vote, and everyone else we may have forgotten to list.