May 2010 Archives
DC ADVENTURES Design Journal #1
This Looks Like a Job For...
... Green Ronin! (What? You were expecting someone else?)
Yes, Green Ronin, the RPG publisher with the award-winning super hero game, who earned the attention of DC Comics, and secured the license to publish an RPG based on their properties.
Which brings us to this column. Whether you are a newcomer to Green Ronin and roleplaying games or a long-time fan, welcome! Here we'll be providing previews, tantalizing hints, and behind-the-scenes information about the creation of the DC ADVENTURES roleplaying game.
With seventy-five years of backstory and about a bazillion comic books, translating the DC Universe into tabletop roleplaying is a daunting task, to say the least, even if it has been done before (twice!). We're talking about characters that defined the genre of the comic-book super hero, icons enshrined in American (and world) culture. It's that "iconic" element that we'll come back to in a bit, but first, there was the freak-out.
No, seriously. Cover the entire DC Universe (which is technically at least 52 universes, plus past and future history) all in a single game line? Were we crazy? How were we going to handle the massive backstories, or the multiple versions of characters with publication histories older than any of us had been alive? How would we keep up with all of the current happenings in the comics, with the dust of Countdown and Final Crisis just settling at the time, and the shadows of Blackest Night starting to spread? (To say nothing now of Brightest Day, The Return of Bruce Wayne, etcetera, ad infinitum...)
The idea we focused on came from a Final Crisis tag-line: "Heroes die, but legends live forever." Many (if not most) elements of the major DC characters are timeless. They have an iconic quality beyond just the current interpretation in this month's issues. So we chose to try, as much as possible, to focus on the iconic, the essence of each character. Rather than making our write-ups lengthy summaries of every story published, the focus is on two things: what made the character and what drives that character?
So you are not, for example, going to find granular discussion in Batman's entry in the Hero's Handbook or in Heroes & Villains, Vol. I, talking about the time Bane broke his back, or even his more recent sojourn into "death" at the hands of Darkseid during Final Crisis. While those are things that happened to the Dark Knight, they're not essential to his character. The same with Superman and his widely-publicized death fighting Doomsday or the contemporary "War of the Supermen" storyline.
On the other hand, you will hear about Bane breaking Batman and Doomsday killing Superman in the entries for those villains, since those events helped define them as characters. So what is an "iconic" element of a character is often a matter of perspective. Still, the approach helps us to limit the vast scope of the DC Universe to the point where it is practical to write about it without having to devote an entire book to each character. Speaking of books, DC ADVENTURES has four:
The Hero's Handbook gives you all the rules and material you need to play the game. It is the DC ADVENTURES game, all in one book. So it includes, amongst other things, ready-to-use hero archetypes, along with an overview of the DC Universe, and information on some of its most prominent heroes and villains (fourteen of each).
Heroes & Villains is split into two volumes: Vol. I covers A-K, while Vol. II goes L-Z, each one packed with over 300 pages of characters! We spent some time collaborating on a master list of who had to go into these books and it is quite comprehensive.
DC Universe looks at the world of DC Comics, focusing on present-day Earth, but also venturing into the past and future, out among the stars, and across the dimensional gulf to parallel Earths and other worlds. It also serves as a third character book of sorts, as DC Universe will contain information on many supporting and background characters of the setting.
With these four books, you will have a very complete look at the DC Universe as a roleplaying game and setting.
Speaking of complete looks, check back next week when we talk about what happened when the DC Universe met the Mutants & Masterminds game system. It's a classic love story!
All characters, their distinctive likenesses, and related elements are trademarks of DC Comics © 2010. All rights reserved.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREEN RONIN TO RELEASE DC ADVENTURES RPG BOOKS
Game Industry Leader Signs Licensing Deal with DC Comics
May 3, 2010--SEATTLE, WA and NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Green Ronin Publishing announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with DC Comics and will be releasing the DC ADVENTURES RPG book this August. The game is based on Green Ronin's Mutants & Masterminds, the leading super-hero RPG in the tabletop gaming world.
"It is DC's 75th anniversary this year and I'm delighted we can help celebrate it by bringing the DC Universe back to the roleplaying hobby," said Green Ronin President Chris Pramas. "The team-up of the DCU and the creators behind Mutants & Masterminds will create an unstoppable force of great gaming!"
The DC ADVENTURES game will consist of four books, each done in full color and beautifully illustrated by top comic artists. The line launches in August with the DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook. Following it will be Heroes & Villains, Volume 1 in the fall. Then 2011 will see the release of Heroes & Villains, Volume 2 and DC ADVENTURES: Universe.
More information and previews of the DC Adventures line will appear on www.greenronin.com and www.mutantsandmasterminds.com in the coming months.
About Green Ronin Publishing
Green Ronin Publishing is a Seattle-based company known for its dedication to quality books and games. Founded in 2000, Green Ronin has won more awards for excellence and innovation than any other game company in the new millennium, and took home the coveted ENnie Award for Best Publisher an unprecedented three years running. With great licenses like Dragon Age and A Song of Ice and Fire, groundbreaking games like Mutants & Masterminds and Blue Rose, and a roster of top flight designers and illustrators, Green Ronin Publishing is a leading light in the hobby game industry.
About DC Comics
DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. These DC Super Heroes and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics' Web site is located at www.dccomics.com.
Green Ronin, Mutants & Masterminds, and their associated logos are trademarks of Green Ronin Publishing.
The DC Universe and all related characters and elements are trademarks of DC Comics © 2010. All Rights Reserved.