Green Ronin's Chris Pramas Talks DC!
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    Green Ronin's Chris Pramas Talks DC!

    [imager][/imager]We're lucky enough to have scored an exclusive interview with Green Ronin's Chris Pramas about the upcoming DC Adventures licensed RPG!

    I've noticed that in various comments you've indicated that this licensing deal was in the works for about two years. Can you tell us a little more about how it came about? Presumably you've wanted to do something like this since M&M was very first released?
    When M&M came out in 2002, it was an instant hit and of course people starting asking us if we were going to go after a big comic license. Makes perfect sense, but as with any license, pulling it off requires the right contacts, good timing, and a convincing pitch. The possibility of a DC game first came up while we were working with Games Workshop on second edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Black Industries, GWs now defunct roleplaying imprint, pursued the license and the idea was that wed design it using M&M as a base. I recently found the very first proposal I did for a DC RPG line and it was dated February, 2004. The GW deal didnt work out for a variety of reasons, so we just pressed on with M&M.

    In the following years we did several comic conventions, including San Diego and NY Comic Cons. We discovered there were some gamers in the DC organization and they loved M&M and recommended us to the licensing folks there. We eventually got in touch with the right people and began a negotiation that was on again off again for a couple of years. Things finally fell into place when DCs 75th anniversary was coming up. DC wanted to be everywhere for that big event, including the RPG market.

    From there it was just a matter of settling the particulars and getting everyone on the same page. That was all in place last year but it took a while to get a finalized contract everyone was happy with signed and sealed. It was hard to keep it secret for so long! I was at DCs offices in New York City a year ago, for example, and they gave me the full tour. It was really cool and I took a bunch of pictures. When I got home, I realized I couldnt share them with anyone outside the company though or the rumor mill would start churning.
    Are you guys DC fans (and was the DC license the primary goal?), or would you consider licenses with other comic-book companies?
    We are huge DC fans and yes, getting that license was a specific goal. Who wouldnt want to play around with iconic characters like Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman? But of course as comic fans we read all sorts of stuff. Weve already done two previous comic licenses, The Nocturnals and the Red Star and we may consider others in the future.
    Who are the principal people (authors, artists, etc.) involved with this project? And if each had to pick one superpower, which would it be and why?
    The lead designer is Steve Kenson, the original designer of Mutants & Masterminds. There was really no one else for the job. Jon Leitheusser, who was already working as the developer on the M&M line, took on the same job for DC Adventures. In addition to being a huge comics fan, Jon was a design lead at Wizkids and worked on Heroclix for many years, so he already had some experience working with DC. Graphic design and art direction are in the hands of Hal Mangold, who has been making Green Ronin books looks awesome for a decade. With this project he gets to raid DCs art archives, so thats awful fun for him.

    As for superpowers, the guys can disagree me if they want, but heres what Id say. Steve would have some sort of chameleon power. I say that because Steve has somehow managed to work on every major superhero RPG of the last 20 years. If someone else got the DC license, Im sure Steve would have found a way to get in on the design! Jon I think gets super speed because hes managed develop the M&M line and DC Adventures at the same time while holding down a day job in the video game industry. I think he needs that power just to get his work done. Hal gets a Green Lantern ring because he creates magic from a blank slate. One week we have nothing and the next he sends around something slick and beautiful. His mission is to protect our sector from bad graphic design.
    Your recent announcements have indicated that you are releasing a 3rd Edition of Mutants and Masterminds, and that DC Adventures will be based upon it. How much of a departure from 2nd Edition is this, and how much will the DC Adventures books deviate from those core rules? How compatible will these rules be with 2nd Edition materials?
    DC Adventures and M&M third edition share the same rules, so you can use books from either line together. These rules are the next iteration of what weve been doing so there is much that is familiar. If you are conversant with the M&M2 rules, you ought to be able to convert characters over pretty easily. Its not the case that you can just take a 2E stat block and use it as is though. This is a new edition so its more than nips and tucks. Steve has just started a series of weekly design diaries and well be talking about the game in detail in those.
    The DC Universe, as a setting, has many "versions" (the comic-books, JLU cartoon series and other DCAU series, various movies and TV shows such as Batman Begins and Smallville); in addition the comic-books span many decades and have seen many changes. What continuity will DC Adventures be set in, and will you be referencing any other comic-book ages or mediums? Who is Batman in your version of the DC Universe?
    We are specifically not trying to keep continuity with current DC comics. That way lies madness, as things can change at a rapid pace. We are trying to present the most iconic versions of the various characters and GMs can decide what continuity they want to embrace. In a way, each GM is making his or her own version of the DCU. You can think of this as one of the 52 worlds if you like.
    Will the focus be on playing DC characters, or on creating original characters?
    Absolutely creating your own characters. Its our experience that what most gamers want is to make their own superheroes but they like interacting with characters and settings they know from the comics. This is makes the DCU and M&M such a great match.
    Where are you in the development of these books? Have you been writing them all along in anticipation of the license? Do you plan on a playtest phase that fans can get involved in?
    Weve been working the rules engine for well over a year and it has already gone through a lengthy playtest. The playtesters did not realize they were testing what would become the core of the DC Adventures game; we had to be coy about that until the license was signed. By the time the actual deal was done though, we had a completed manuscript. Its with DC right now and well be finalizing it based on their feedback shortly. Then its off to layout. To make an August release, we have to move quickly now.
    Does writing/producing a licensed property such as this require a different approach to, for example, your own M&M core rulebooks?
    Indeed. In this case, we knew we were only going to be doing four books so we had to make them count. So were trying to get the most of the DC Universe with those books, and then complement them with the M&M third edition line. So for example, were not doing a GMs Guide for DC Adventures but we are doing one for M&M. If you are running DC Adventures and you want a GM resource, you can pick up the M&M book and youll be good to go.
    What PL do you plan to put Superman at? And do you anticipate much fan disagreement?
    Hes at PL 15 in the current draft. And yes, of course we do. Fans love to argue about that sort of thing.
    Will we only be seeing the four books, or will there be other DC books from Green Ronin in the future? Will you be producing any adventures set in the DC Universe?
    Yes, its just the four books. If we do adventures, theyll be PDF only. Thats something we still need to sort out though.
    Will there be any opportunities for fans or for third-party-publishers to produce material under a license similar to the M&M Superlink license?
    Yes, we announced a new program called Super-Powered by M&M. It continues the Superlink program but weve changed it a bit to make it easier on publishers and on us. Changing the name also will make it clear what material for M&M 3. If you see something with a M&M Superlink logo, youll know its for a previous edition of M&M.
    Does your license allow you to actually add to or change DC canon in any way?
    No, thats the domain of DCs editorial side. And really, with the approach were taking its not even something we wanted to do. Were trying to get to the essence of the DCU.
    What is the scope of the license? DC has a large range of comic-books, some of which cross over and some which do not. For example, the Vertigo imprint? Sandman, Preacher, Constantine or Watchmen?
    For the most part its mainline DCU. You wont see WildStorm characters, for example. There are some characters from Vertigo that crossover into the DCU though, so you will see some of them in the Heroes & Villains books.
    Thanks go to Chris Pramas to take the time for this interview despite a busy schedule!

    DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook
    Super Adventure in the Original Universe
    Author: Steve Kenson
    Cover Art: Alex Ross
    Format: 256 pages, full color, hardback
    ISBN-10: 1-934547-37-9
    ISBN-13: 978-1-934547-37-3

    Join the never-ending battle for truth and justice in the world's greatest super-hero universe, using the world's greatest super-hero roleplaying game! The DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook is a complete super-hero RPG, based on the award-winning Mutants & Masterminds system. Take on the roles of legendary DC heroes like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, or create your own! Get started right away with a wide selection of hero archetypes, or build from scratch using a comprehensive creation system. The Hero's Handbook provides everything you need for hours of adventure in the DC Universe, including all the rules of the game, an overview of the original comic- book setting, and details on major heroes and villains, complete with game information. It's all presented in gorgeous full-color, with art by some of DC's most famous illustrators. Experience super-hero adventure in the world that defined the genre: Become a hero of legend with the DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook!
    Last edited by Morrus; Thursday, 27th May, 2010 at 06:57 PM.

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