The “Controversial” RPG Blue Rose is back with a brand new edition!
Years ago when the first edition of Blue Rose launched there was a bit of controversy over the game and it’s themes. But it’s those themes of open-ended romance and intrigue that help separate this setting from other RPGs. Our friend at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought over a copy for this episode of the Tabletop Spotlight:
To me, role playing is all about playing a character in a shared-narrative game. Some games involve dragons, some involve cats. I’ve played games where we never got into combat and I’ve been in games where we were JUST doing a dungeon crawl. The systems might change but the core concept is basically the same – It’s a GM working and playing with the players to tell a story (or go on a murder-hobo adventure).
Most of the time the tools that the GM and Players have (the player handbooks, game master guides, and villain/monster manuals) focus mostly on stats or in-game mechanics. Those mechanics generally revolve around combat or how spells works. They typically leave the social/narrative aspects up to the GM/Players and their Role-play. (Although Ultimate Intrigue from Pathfinder does have some cool ‘Social Combat’ rules).
That’s where Blue Rose is different. While those combat/magic aspects are still in the game, they are not the main focus. The setting of the game is the world of Aldea – things are mostly “okay” in the world. The kingdoms are generally at peace, the kings aren’t evil tyrants (most of the time) and the people are generally happy. There are still adventures to be had but you might find yourself being a diplomat as much as a dragon-slayer.
The game system has also shifted away from the “True20” roots of the first addition and has moved over to the AGE system. That actually allows the narrative and game mechanics to sync-up in cool and unique ways. The stunt mechanics help keep things fresh and the narrative lively. If you’re quick witted you’ll really enjoy the system.
Now, if you’re still with me you’re probably wondering about this whole idea of “Romantic Fantasy” – let’s just be clear here:
“Romantic” refers to a style and a point of view that’s generally positive, hopeful, and cooperative.
That romance often includes interpersonal relationships, from boon comrades to passionate love, and such things are both the reasons why characters take action and the rewards they receive for their efforts.
This setting relies heavily on the concept that you’re in this for friendship, family , and love – all things worth fighting for. That might not appeal to all RPG players but after a successful kickstarter, it’s hard to argue there isn’t a market for this type of game.
At the end of the day it’s up to the GM and the players to work together to create a story they want to tell – this book is just one more tool in the tool shed for storytelling. For folks looking to tell a different type of story than just fighting off a dragon/monster/Cthulhu cult, Blue Rose provides a framework to tell those types of stories. What you do with that frame work is up to you.
A decade ago Blue Rose shook up the RPG scene with its vision of romantic fantasy and inclusive gaming. Now the world of Aldea returns in a new edition using the Adventure Game Engine (AGE), the popular rules that power the Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age RPGs. This beautiful, full-color book contains everything needed to create and tell stories of heroic envoys of the Sovereign’s Finest as they protect their homeland of Aldis from threats like the shadowy Kingdom of Kern and the fanatical Theocracy of Jarzon, as well as monsters and artifacts from the cruel reign of the Sorcerer Kings. Aided by the rhydan—their psychic animal allies—the champions of the Kingdom of the Blue Rose safeguard the light of the world against the power of Shadow.
Will you answer the Sovereign’s call?
*That excerpt was taken from an interview with the lead designer. I highly recommend reading the interview if you’re at all curious about this book. I think it does a good job of dispelling any preconceived notions of what this book and this edition is actually about.
“Is this a kissing book?”
~The Grandson, Princess Bride (1987)