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The Fifth Season RPG Pre-Order Store

Created by Green Ronin Publishing

N.K. Jemisin’s multiple Hugo Award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy comes to tabletop RPGs in The Fifth Season Roleplaying Game!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

June Update: Creating Nuveen
about 1 month ago – Thu, Jun 13, 2024 at 10:46:32 AM

Hey folks,

This month's update is brought to you by Steve Kenson, detailing how a Comm is set up and created for the game, and using Nuveen from the Quickstart as an example.

Before we get into the meat of the update however, we wanted to inform everyone that unfortunately, we are unable to realize our goal of shipping the book by July, as Chris had pushed for earlier this year. We will have a revised timeline for you soon. We truly appreciate your continued patience as we work to get this project completed and in your hands.

Here's Steve Kenson.




In our last update, we previewed the Comm Record Sheet as well as the Fifth Season Character Sheet. Now we put that comm sheet to work with a preview of the creation of Nuveen, the sample comm from the Fifth Season Quickstart, and what its traits look like on the sheet.

The game group creates the comm together before creating their individual characters. This provides a good basis for character ideas and concepts, ensuring they fit with the comm and the overall direction of the campaign. That said, players may have certain character ideas in mind while creating the comm, and it’s perfectly valid to guide comm creation in the direction of those concepts. So a player who wants to play a geneer character, for example, may want to ensure the comm is hospitable to someone with that sort of training, possibly with some mining or geothermal connections where geneers might work.

The process of creating the comm in Fifth Season uses the following series of steps:

  1. Concept: The group comes up with an initial concept of the comm, where it is, and what it is like.
  2. Traits: The group assigns points to the comm’s primary traits. The group then assigns two starting focuses to those traits.
  3. Qualities: The group fills in details about what the comm is like, what’s nearby, and so forth.
  4. The Year Before: The group plays through a year of the comm’s life prior to creating the player characters

Concept

The group gathers to create the comm for their new Fifth Season chronicle. They’re thinking of a comm in the Midlats, and the Game Moderator is interested in there being a significant body of water nearby, based on some ideas she has for the campaign, although it doesn’t mean the comm necessarily has to be coastal. Rather than go into any further detail, the group decides to forge ahead with creating the comm based on that very basic concept, seeing what emerges from the process.


Traits

The Game Moderator and five players are creating Nuveen. The GM asks the players to each secretly note their most important trait for the comm, and to choose one trait focus. Once that is done, the players all roll to determine their allocation order. The GM places the five players in order from highest roll to lowest. Two of the rolls are 11, a tie, but one has a Drama Die result of 3 and the other a 5, so the one with the higher Drama Die goes first.

Starting with the highest roll, the players each assign 1 point to one of the comm’s traits. They choose: Innovation, Resistance, Strength, Leadership, and Innovation again.

The GM then randomly chooses three of the player’s hidden trait choices. They are: Leadership, Innovation, and Resilience. Adding up the choices gives the comm the trait scores of: Strength 1, Resistance 1, Innovation 3, Leadership 2, Resilience 1. Clearly, this is an innovative comm!

The GM then takes the remaining two players’ hidden focus choices, which are Innovation (Geomestry) and Leadership (Diplomacy) and randomly chooses one of the others, which is Resistance (Survival). The GM notes the comm’s Size is 1 and their Cache is 3 (for their high Innovation). There are five player characters, so Nuveen’s Stability is 24 (Resistance 1, Resilience 1, and Leadership 2, plus 5 player characters, plus 15). A picture of Nuveen as a comm of thinkers and diplomats is starting to emerge.


Qualities

The Game Moderator has each of the five players roll a d6 and a d6 on the Comm Qualities table to determine a quality. They get: 3/1 (Status), 5/2 (Geography), 5/3 (History), 4/1 (Status), and 2/5 (Culture), for the following questions and qualities:

Who is the highest status family in the comm? What is the reason for their high status?

The highest status family in the comm is made up of the descendants of the Innovator who founded the comm. Ironically, many of them have changed their caste to Leadership to maintain their influence, although they’re still known as quite intelligent.

What is the nearest other comm to this comm? What is it like and how are relations between the two comms?

The next nearest comm is Savyn, which trades with Nuveen and is at least a day’s travel away. Savyn is a bit of brawn to Nuveen’s brains, higher in Strength and Resilience. The Breeder caste members of the two comms encourage some intermarriage but there’s also rivalry in terms of who lives where.

Who is the most revered person in the comm’s history? Describe them and why they are so revered.

Yullen Innovator Nuveen was the “founding mother” of the comm, a brilliant Innovator and University educated. She particularly encouraged diversification in the comm’s knowledge-base and studies.

Is there any use-caste more respected in the comm than the others? Which one and why?

Unsurprisingly, the player suggests Innovators are particularly well-respected in Nuveen. Breeders often pick them for their intelligence and creativity, and there’s a tendency for bright young people to want to change castes to become Innovators. This has created a bit of friction with the other castes, who sometimes think Nuveen neglects the practicalities of their roles over the Innovators’ flights of imagination.

What is the most popular event or time of year in the comm? Describe it.

Nuveen holds an annual “Idea Market” where anyone in the comm can present their new ideas to Leadership. It is dominated by Innovators, of course, but open to all, and some comm members end up joining the Innovator caste because of it. Nuveen Leadership believes the Idea Market encourages growth and innovation within the comm.

The group could go on to define other qualities, if they wanted, but decide what they have is enough for the moment.


The Year Before

The Game Moderator wants to start the campaign in the Spring, and so suggests doing the same for the Year Before:


Spring

Starting in the Spring season, the GM rolls for a seasonal event, getting Strangers Appear – Traveler. The Game Moderator describes how a traveling Lorist arrives at Nuveen in the springtime, visiting for a time and paying for hospitality with a variety of stories. The GM has a player roll an Innovation test for the comm’s prosperity: It comes up a 10, just shy of TN 11. They get lucky on the misfortune roll and the comm only loses 2 Stability. The players suggest a Recovery activity for the season. They roll a TN 11 Resilience test, getting a 13, so they restore the comm’s lost Stability. The GM suggests Nuveen suffered some minor losses over the prior winter, but recovered quickly in springtime.


Summer

In the Summer season, the GM rolls the event Disaster Strikes – Bad Weather. This is a misfortune, and the comm loses 2d6 or 7 Stability, bringing Nuveen down to 17. The GM describes it as an overly hot and dry summer, leading to a drought and the failure of some crops. The Innovation test for prosperity comes up 12, a success there, and once again the group suggests a Recovery activity over the summer to make up for losses. They roll a TN 10 Resilience test, getting a 13 result again, and restore 5 of the lost 7 Stability.


Fall

In the Fall, the event Disputes Arise – Departure comes up. The recent difficulties have encouraged a newly widowed father to move with his children to the neighboring comm in order to move in with his new partner and her family. The players roll a TN 11 Resilience test for the comm, getting an 11, just enough to avoid any further loss. The players debate whether or not to take up another Recovery activity for this season, but they decide 22 Stability is sufficient for the moment and instead embark on a Preparation activity for the coming winter, harvesting all they can. This applies a +2 bonus to the comm’s next prosperity test.


Winter

In the Winter season, the event rolled is Aggressors Attack – Predators. The drought affected more than just the comm’s crops and lean and hungry predators stalk the walls, pick off livestock, and even attack comm members and lone travelers. The players roll a TN 11 Strength test for the comm, but only get a 9. Nuveen loses 2 more Stability over the winter, bringing them down to 20. The prosperity test is at a total +5 bonus (Innovation 3, +2 for the fall season’s Preparation activity): it is a 17 total, which easily succeeds.

With the comm down to 20 Stability, players debate another Recovery activity, but decide it is more important to initiate Conflict against the aggressors to ensure they don’t continue to be a problem. They roll a Strength test, getting a 12, while the GM rolls for the predators, only getting an 8. Nuveen’s Strongbacks eliminate or chase off the remaining beasts, and the comm emerges a bit battered from a difficult winter, looking to see what new spring may hold.

Here’s a look at what Nuveen’s comm sheet looks like at the start of the chronicle.



May Update: Character and Comm Record Sheets!
about 2 months ago – Wed, May 29, 2024 at 10:46:51 AM

Hello Backers,

I’ve got a couple of new things to show you. First up, the Fifth Season character sheet. This follows the basic design of other Adventure Game Engine sheets, but with some differences. In Fantasy AGE and Modern AGE, for example, the combat info is on the front of the sheet. While there certainly will be fights in a Fifth Season game, it’s not as much of a focus. We’ve thus put social aspects like relationships and goals on the front, and weapon and armor info on the back.

Next up is the Comm Record Sheet. As you know, the Comm is a central part of the game, almost a character itself. The sheet is designed to keep all your Comm info in one place and track changes over time. You may have some erasing to do after a Season hits!

Have a look and let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see.

Cheers,
Chris Pramas


Page Layout Previews!
3 months ago – Thu, Apr 04, 2024 at 10:33:55 AM

Hello backers,

Today we’ve got three sample spreads from the rulebook for you. When we made the Fifth Season Quickstart for the crowdfunding campaign, Hal created a basic page design for it. That was more a beginning than an ending though, so you can see here how the design has continued to evolve. I really like the shattering crystal effect he’s done for the sidebars. If I know Hal (and I’ve been working with him for 24 years, so I think I do!), he will continue to tinker and refine until we send the game off the printer.
Let us know what you think.

Chris Pramas
President
Green Ronin Publishing







Fifth Season State of Play
4 months ago – Thu, Mar 28, 2024 at 11:08:58 AM

Hello backers,

Chris Pramas here. I’m the President of Green Ronin and I’ll be handling updates here moving ahead. In January we promised a more substantial update would be coming, so let’s get to it.

We had an ambitious plan for 2023. Namely, to release three new RPGs in a year: Fifth Season, Cthulhu Awakens, and Fantasy AGE 2nd Edition. Towards the end of 2022, this seemed possible. Fantasy AGE 2E had been in development for many years at that point and was finally coming together. Cthulhu Awakens had been Kickstarted a year before Fifth Season and that was also nearing completion. Basically, as we launched the Fifth Season crowdfunder, both Fantasy AGE and Cthulhu were in layout, and it was something of a race to see which one would be finished first. Our plan was to release one game in the Spring, the next in the summer, and the final one in the Fall. 

Then January 2023, Wizards of the Coast tried to cancel the Open Game License and there were suddenly a lot of people looking for an alternate fantasy game and here we had one nearing completion. Fantasy AGE was also the game longest in development, so we decided to release that first, then Cthulhu Awakens, and finally Fifth Season. To be clear, work was happening on all three games throughout last year, but we had to allocate our resources to get it all done. 

What happened? Well, in short, we failed to get all the games out last year. Fantasy AGE came out in the summer. We had hoped to get Cthulhu Awakens out before Xmas at that point, but it didn’t ship from the printer until January. Fulfilment for the Cthulhu Awakens Kickstarter is complete and now it’s heading into stores. 

The reasons why it took that long to get Fantasy AGE and Cthulhu Awakens out are not unique or special. There are simply a lot of moving parts when making and launching an RPG. Relatively small delays, such as an extra week stuck in customs for one project and art coming in slowly on another, had a cascading effect down the line. Fifth Season suffered for being third in the queue, and it took longer to clear the decks for it than we anticipated. 

So, please let me personally apologize for the delays to this point. This hasn't gone the way we planned, obviously, but finishing Fifth Season is my number one priority. I am pressing to get the game shipped to backers in July and I will be here to keep you apprised as we reach our milestones in the weeks ahead.

The next update will be sample page spreads from the layout. Thanks for your patience.


Chris Pramas
Green Ronin Publishing

Fifth Season January 2024 Update
6 months ago – Wed, Jan 31, 2024 at 10:37:54 AM

Hey all,

Apologies for this one coming in at the last minute, but we have another status update for you all, with some more art to show off. Here's Joseph Carriker:

Happy New Year, one and all!

We’re still at that point in the creation process where layout is proceeding apace, and art is coming in. Since layout isn’t terribly exciting to look at (in other than a seeing-how-the-sausage-is-made sort of way), we’re sharing some more of our character art this update. 

One of the things we wanted to make sure of with these pieces was that they not only told a cogent story clearly rooted in Fifth Season’s setting of the Stillness, but that they also inspired a desire to tell stories there. They’re examples of the sorts of characters that players will be making themselves when the game is done, so they needed to be full of great, evocative imagery to fire imaginations.