Ronin Round Table: Unexpected Heroes

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to run a few games at GenCon. Since I have a novel, Sacred Band, releasing soon, I decided to create a Mutants & Masterminds scenario where the players played the characters who star in that novel. Gimmicky and self-serving, yes, but since creating my protagonists in the Mutants & Masterminds rules set was part of the character design I did as part of writing the novel, it seemed only fitting.

Now, part of my setting postulates occasional natural disaster-level phenomena referred to as “Echo Events.” These are always different, but almost always disastrous in some way. They are also where one of the three kinds of supers in my setting get their powers (these folks are called “Echoes,” for obvious reasons).

The scenario for the convention—titled “Sacred Band: The Indy Event”—has some of the heroes attending a certain gaming convention in the middle of an Indianapolis summer when one of these Echo Events hits. Crazy, unexpected phenomena arise: large metal structures being “floating” skyward, certain people find themselves the center of hive minds of dedicated drone-like followers, animals in the zoo nearby become super-strong and savage, and bodies of water all across the area begin to inexplicably rise. Read more

Rogues Gallery: Skyjacker (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Skyjacker (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Skyjacker (PDF)

The Skyjacker is a thrill seeker and professional risk taker. He wasn’t built for everyday life and at the first opportunity, he stole an experimental aircraft, kidnapped its inventor, and began his career as a buccaneer for hire along with his crew of Sky Pirates! Now, as aerial pirates, he and his crew make their living stealing from others or selling their very specialized services.

Hire Skyjacker and his Sky Pirates today!

Rogues Gallery: Esquire (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Esquire (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Esquire (PDF)

It seems as if we got distracted by Gen Con and forgot to let you know that we released a new Rogues Gallery PDF for Mutants & Masterminds back on August 1. (Thank you to everybody who rolled a critical perception check and found Esquire already—we appreciate your support!)

Esquire is one of the world’s richest men. He was raised to be exceptional and he has embraced his high status wholeheartedly, even going so far as to hunt people for sport on their turf or, more likely, on his private island. His deadly skill with his specially-designed rifle makes him dangerous, but his money and lawyers make him almost impossible to stop.

Get Esquire today—just $1.95!

Rogues Gallery: Loma Slife (PDF)

Loma Slife

Loma Slife

Today we have a new Rogues Gallery issue for Mutants & Masterminds!

Intergalactic bounty hunter and all-around troublemaker, Loma Slife stirs things up wherever and whenever she shows up. She’s violent, prideful, and loves to find and claim new technology—especially weapons—to use when hunting down whoever (or whatever) she’s been hired to bring in!

Get Loma Slife today—just $1.95!

Rogues Gallery: The Amalgam (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The Amalgam (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The Amalgam (PDF)

Today we have a new Rogues Gallery issue for Mutants & Masterminds!

Long ago, Centurion and the Raven were simultaneously exposed to the Human Duplicator’s Doppelganger-Ray Gun. The result was the super-powerful being known as the Amalgam. With the powers of Centurion and the cunning of the Raven, the Amalgam suffers bouts of dim-witted confusion that make him one of the most dangerous beings on the planet.

Get the Amalgam today—just $1.95!

Rogues Gallery: Waxman (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: The Waxman (PDF)

Today we have a new Rogues Gallery issue for Mutants & Masterminds!

Waxman has the ability to sculpt his own flesh just like he does his beloved wax sculptures! More than that, his touch allows him to sculpt or melt the flesh of anyone he chooses. Now a mad outcast, Waxman preys on the living in order to give him raw material for his wax creations.

Get Waxman today—just $1.95!

M&M GM’s Kit, Revised Edition; Deluxe Hero’s Handbook; Cosmic Handbook; and Rogues Gallery: Tun

Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster's Kit, Revised Edition

Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster’s Kit, Revised Edition

We have been out of our Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster’s Kit for a while, but were recently able to fit a reprint into our schedule. We took this opportunity to upgrade this trendsetting GM’s Screen and accessories while we were at it.

Mutants & Masterminds GM’s Kit, Revised Edition
Design: Steve Kenson
Art: Imaginary Friends Studio
Format: 3-panel hardback screen with 5 reference cards

The Mutants & Masterminds Gamemaster’s Kit is a key accessory for your superhero campaign. It features a sturdy and practical 3-panel hardback screen with all the charts and tables you need to play the World’s Greatest Superhero RPG. The kit also includes 4 quick reference cards and a combat tracker that you can write on with wet or dry erase markers. The Mutants & Mastermind’s Gamemaster’s Kit is the perfect complement to the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook and will help you kick off your game with style.

Speaking of the Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe Hero’s Handbook, it’s back in print!

In case you missed the news and didn’t pre-order it, Cosmic Handbook is available now!

Rogues Gallery: Tun (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Tun (PDF)

And also for Mutants & Masterminds, we’ve got a new issue of Rogues Gallery for you! Tun is the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Game Station. She is responsible for entertaining the (once-)scientifically advanced race known as the Spigori. As they are now descended into lazy consumers of everything set in front of them, Tun is responsible for finding them new and exciting forms of entertainment. Sometimes that quest takes this powerful A.I. to other worlds, such as Earth-Prime! Written by Crystal Frasier and featuring at by Domenico Neziti.

Tun can be yours right now for just $1.95! (3-page PDF with 2 Hero Lab data files)

Ronin Round Table: The Art of Art Direction

beastfolk

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 art@greenronin.com.

Two New PDFs: Apostate and Mountain Terrors

We have two new adversary PDFs for you this week, one Rogues Gallery entry for Mutants & Masterminds, and a compilation of Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System.

Rogues Gallery: Apostate (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Apostate (PDF)

Rogues Gallery: Apostate

Pushed too far, once-caring Talia Wilson decided the only way to really change the world, to bring about a true revolution, was to become a villain and inspire people to rise up and destroy a corrupt system! As Apostate, she does everything she can to blunt the effectiveness of the government and point out its weaknesses. She swears that some day, she’ll have her revolution!

Get Apostate today—just $1.95!


Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System (PDF)

Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System (PDF)

Mountain Terrors for the Chronicle System

There are more dangers in the highest mountains peaks than just avalanches, treacherous terrain, and foul weather. Here there dwell the terrors that make the highest reaches their homes, from the bestial alpingast to the nearly-unseen cloud leopard, from the legendary devouring shadow to the deadly skullcracker. Explore the dangers of the alpine reaches, in this compilation of the Mountain Terrors monsters!

Mountain Terrors is a bestiary PDF for the Chronicle System, the rules engine that powers our popular A Song of Ice & Fire Roleplaying game.

This product compiles all the high-altitude horrors from our Mountain Terrors PDF series, along with an all-new mountainous monster.

Get Mountain Terrors today–only $5.95

Ronin Round Table: We Could Be Heroes…

If just for one game.

2523On January 10th, 2016 David Robert Jones, known to the world as David Bowie, passed away after a private and protracted battle with cancer. He was a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and many many more things and his influence was felt far and wide.

He was not, to my knowledge, a gamer.

But he was totally a role player.

From his personas of Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke and various acting roles and constant innovation and re-invention, Bowie was great at making and playing characters. He communicated concepts and ideas not just with evocative music and lyrics, but with performance. Even his battle with cancer is depicted metaphorically through his last album, putting him it a category of unique works that range from Warren Zevon’s The Wind to John Wayne’s The Shootist.

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