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November 17, 2014

Ronin Roundtable: Bring on the Bad Guys!

Villains. What would a superhero game be without them? A lot less interesting, that's for sure. Super-villains are the primary challenge for super-heroes, apart from stopping disasters and nabbing the occasional mugger or bank-robber. Villains and their schemes drive stories and the rivalries they build up with heroes become the stuff of legend. A hero is often defined by his or her "rogues gallery"—dark and twisted reflections of the hero's own goals.

That's why the "Foes of Freedom" forms a substantial third of the upcoming new edition of Freedom City. While the setting book still looks at some of Freedom's heroes (past and present), the focus is on fiendish foes you can use in your own Mutants & Masterminds games, some 118 pages of them altogether!

Continue reading "Ronin Roundtable: Bring on the Bad Guys!" »

November 10, 2014

Ronin Round Table: We Have a Bestiary. And it's Advanced!

Over the next few weeks, print copies of the Advanced Bestiary are finally going to be getting into the hands of first, the Kickstarter backers, and then a wider audience. This is the first major d20 release for Green Ronin in a long time, and has been one of two things that have taken up most of my time since being brought on as the developer for Pathfinder-compatible Green Ronin projects almost a year ago. So having the book finished and in distribution represents a major milestone both for me, and for Green Ronin's plans for Pathfinder-compatible content.

There are still some elements of this project being developed (the Hero Lab files, for example), but with the print book arriving in warehouses, a major stage of work is complete. The original Advanced Bestiary became one of the most popular third-party products for the previous versions of the game, and I have every reason to think the same will be true for our updated version. Now that people are beginning to get a look at the book, I wanted to take a moment to talk about it.

Continue reading "Ronin Round Table: We Have a Bestiary. And it's Advanced!" »

November 5, 2014

Atlas of Earth-Prime: The Mediterranean (PDF)

Atlas of Earth-Prime: The MediterraneanOur crack team of Super-Geographers is back from a long research mission, having saved the world a few times along the way. Thanks to their efforts, Earth-Prime still turns and today's Atlas of Earth-Prime issue for Mutants & Masterminds, The Mediterranean, is available now!

Once the center of the western world, the Mediterranean is still a land rich in history, culture, and opportunities for adventure. From the Straits of Gibraltar and the secrets of the great rock, to the ancient gods of Greece and modern heroes like the cyber-centaur Professor Chiron and Stella d'Argent, the Star of Italy. Nations once part of the communist bloc face new challenges with the aid of their own heroes, while lands once part of ancient myth see the mingling of magic and modernity.

Atlas of Earth-Prime: The Mediterranean

November 3, 2014

Ronin Round Table: Threats of Thedas

Hey folks, Jack here. I wanted to take my next few Ronin Round Tables to talk about some of the concepts and new content we'll be seeing the new collected Dragon Age Core Rulebook. In the spirit of the most recent holiday, I wanted to talk about monsters, spirits, and demons, and how they'll be presented in the book.

Most of the adversaries in the new core book are the same as those in Sets 1–3 of the Dragon Age RPG. Dragons, demons, and other monsters that have already appeared are collected and compiled in their own chapter. However, there are a few new features, creatures, and changes.

The first change is organization. All the adversaries have been reorganized by type. All the demons are together, all the dragons are in one place, and so on. This is in contrast to the Sets, which presented level appropriate threats in each set. It's not a major change, but it's one that makes the book more usable in a collected format.

The second change is practical. Without Sets to roughly divide up adversaries we're including a new statistic for adversaries, a Threat Rating. This divides monsters up into four categories of Threats based on rough level ranges. Note this is a range, so it's not an exact ranking. For example, Genlocks and Hurlocks are both Minor threats despite Genlocks being a bit weaker than Hurlocks. Adjustments like presenting foes in large numbers or making upgraded (Elite, Heroic, Epic) versions of them can adjust this rating, but it presents a baseline to assist GMs in determining if a given foe is challenging or overpowered for their PCs.

The third change is new content. We will be introducing new monsters from Dragon Age: Inquisition in an upcoming product but we'd realized to bring the bestiary of bad guys up to date with Inquisition we needed to add some particular adversaries, particularly those from Dragon Age: Awakening. Yep, the Mother and her creepy creepy Children will be showing up. So will the Architect and a few other threats.

I'm going to wrap up here with a shoutout: One of our new freelancers, Matt Miller, helped me bring these creatures to life. I've known Matt for some time now and worked with him on Trinity Continuum Core for Onyx Path. He's one of several new freelancers who answered our tryouts and because we had serious time pressures to get this done, having him help was a real boon. We're going to be seeing work from others who answered our tryouts in upcoming works—I'm still reviewing and putting together lists of other writers to work with and will be contacting more folks soon now that the core book is in layout and approvals.

Anyway, that's the news of adversaries and threats in the new collected Core Book. I'll be back soon to talk about some of the other things we'll see as well as news on some upcoming products.

October 31, 2014

Monster Week: Flesh Plant

It's Monster Week at GreenRonin.com! Come back every day this week for another free template and monster from the pages of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Flesh PlantToday's Flesh Treant sample creature comes with the Flesh Plant template: "Flesh treants are too large to hide successfully from prey, so they employ group hunting techniques. Using animated trees to flush prey toward them, flesh treants spread out in a line to strike at forest creatures as they flee by. Any creatures not killed outright by their crushing limbs are tracked through the woods by the trail of blood left behind."

Download the Flesh Plant template and monster for free!

October 30, 2014

Monster Week: Monstrous Lycanthrope

It's Monster Week at GreenRonin.com! Come back every day this week for another free template and monster from the pages of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Monstrous LycanthropeThe Monstrous Lycanthrope template is modeled very closely after the lycanthrope template, but it allows more creatures to gain the template and does not limit the alternate forms to those of animals. Today's sample creature is a tiefling afflicted with were-hell hound lycanthropy: "Even in humanoid form, Mahe'darg bears the sinister marks of an otherworldly heritage. Small horns and cloven hooves mark her as something other than human. In hellhound form, she looks like the shaggy, evil beast that often accompanies her, but the fiendish intelligence that characterizes both glimmers even more brightly in the tiefling were-hell hound's eyes. Mahe'darg's hybrid form is a true horror to look upon, with a demonic dog face and a muscular body bristling with fur that stinks of ash and brimstone."

Download the Monstrous Lycanthrope template and monster for free!

October 29, 2014

Monster Week: Dread Ghoul

It's Monster Week at GreenRonin.com! Come back every day this week for another free template and monster from the pages of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Dread GhoulWhat fuels the nightmares of the mountain folk? Today's Dread Ghoul template also brings us the Ghoul Lord Frost Giant sample creature: "A blight on the frozen lands, a ghoul lord frost giant fills the same role with the dead as a frost giant jarl with living giants. Ever hungry, the giant and its undead minions raid local villages and towns, leaving nothing but blood on the snow."

Download the Dread Ghoul template and monster for free!

October 28, 2014

Monster Week: Dread Spectre

It's Monster Week at GreenRonin.com! Come back every day this week for another free template and monster from the pages of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Dread Spectre: The White LadyThe White Lady is a classic of horror fiction, and today's Dread Spectre template brings her the tabletop: "In life a woman of noble birth who spent her time in academic pursuits, the White Lady was murdered in the night by an assassin hired by a relative for the family fortune. The family member in question soon met with more horrible fate, as the noble woman's spirit returned and drained all life from him. Now known as the White Lady, she wanders her city's graveyards at night. Only a few have tried to interact with her to gain snippets of knowledge, for she knows much about the city, its people, and its secrets. Even fewer have returned alive."

Download the Dread Spectre template and monster for free!

October 27, 2014

Monster Week: Plague Bearer

It's Monster Week at GreenRonin.com! Come back every day this week for another free template and monster from the pages of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Plague Bearer VargouilleToday it's the Plague Bearer template with the Plague Bearer Vargouille sample creature: "Plague bearer vargouilles are often used by those evil creatures that wish to quickly spread disease. They gleefully bite other creatures and flap away, leaving the diseases to do their worst."

Download the Plague Bearer template and monster for free!

Ronin Round Table: A Supernatural Opportunity

It's the week of Halloween here in the States, which means it's an opportunity for kids of all ages to put on costumes and do a bit of LARPing! Okay, not quite, but it's pretty close. Actually, what Halloween means to me as a GM and gamer is that it's the perfect time of year to run or play in a horror-themed game!

With all the werewolves and goblins walking the streets, scary movies on TV, spookily-decorated houses on every block, and ghost stories on everyone's minds, your friends are primed to play in a Halloween-themed game.

Fear and horror are difficult to elicit in roleplaying games, but this is the perfect time of year to play a one-shot featuring monsters or other scary fare. Break out the candles (or battery-powered tea lights), some subtle, spooky music, dim the lights, and have your friends over for a game featuring the supernatural. Consider it a self-contained story for your heroes that may or may not take place within the continuity of their normal series. Perhaps they take on some of the Cryptids in the forests around Emerald City, or come face-to-face with Frankenstein's Monster as he searches for the ancestors of his hated creator on the streets of Freedom City. Maybe the walls between worlds grow thin this time of year and real monsters haunt the city for the day—some of them more dangerous than others—so the player characters get to play "ghostbusters" for a while. Anything is fair game this time of year.

When I was in college, I ran a Halloween game that became a yearly tradition. Everyone played the heroes they usually played, but the villains were both a little scarier and sillier than usual. One of those games featured what's now a classic line among my gaming friends, "You cannot possibly defeat me, for I am made of straw," spoken by the villainous Scarecrow. Another year's most memorable moment was when a little girl dropped a trick-or-treat bag next to one of the heroes and before he could do anything, a teddy bear tumbled out of the bag, grew to be a full-sized demonic bear that could fly and mauled the poor hero.

This year, I get to play in a one-shot in which a bunch of us, including Green Ronin president Chris Pramas and freelancers Jason Mical and Seth Johnson, will be facing off against vampires, werewolves, and zombies in a haunted castle. It should make for a tense and fun game of supernatural horror, and I'm looking forward to blasting some monsters to smithereens!

Gaming has always been about being social and having fun with your friends. When you can combine that with a bit of suspense, the laughs are even bigger than usual. It's the start of the week, so you still have time to set up a game for the weekend. It doesn't have to be Halloween- or horror-themed, but that certainly seems like a natural fit! Check out the Supernatural Handbook for Mutants & Masterminds: both the PDF and the printed book are on sale for 25% off until Halloween. It's the perfect book if you're looking for inspiration for a game, or looking for an excellent book on horror games.

Whatever you do this weekend, stay safe and have fun!

Happy Halloween!
Jon Leitheusser
M&M Line Developer