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Blue Rose: RPG [Paperback]

By Steve Kenson & Stephanie Pui-man Law (Contributor)
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Item description for Blue Rose: RPG by Steve Kenson & Stephanie Pui-man Law...

Aldis, the Kingdom of the Blue Rase, shines as a new light following the dark age of the Sorcerer Kings. Now, envoys of the Sovereign's Finest strive to protect Aldis from threats like the Lich Kingdom of Kern and the fanatical Theocracy of Jarzon, as well as monsters and dark magic left over from the Shadow Wars of the Sorcerer Kings. Aided by the rhydan - their psychic animal companions - the champions of the Blue Rose guard the Light against the power of the Shadow. Blue Rose, the Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, allows you to adventure in the fantastic world of Aldea. Based on the world's most popular roleplaying system, Blue Rose gives you everything you need to play. In it, you will find: A streamlined game system, requiring only a single twenty-sided die to reslove any action you heroes may take. Fast and dramatic action resolution, with systems for everything from fighting to social repartee. Complete and flexible rules for hero creation, with options to play rhydan (intelligent psychic animals) as well as humans, sea-folk, the night people, or the mystical vata. A complete system of arcane and psychic powers, from empathy to the darkest depths of sorcery. A system for defining your hero's light and shadow natures, and using the strength of your hero's conviction to influence the flow of the game. Narrator advice, and the introductory adventure THE CURSE OF HARMONY, everything you need to begin telling your own stories in the magical world of Blue Rose. The word has gone out, the land of Aldis needs heroes! Will you answer the call? Join the sovereign's Finest and the Knights of the Blue Rose in safeguarding the kingdom and its people. Swear your allegiance to the Light and to the rightful Sovereign... For Aldis, and the Queen!

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Item Specifications...

Pages   223
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 8.25" Height: 10.5"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 15, 2005
Publisher   Green Ronin Publishing
ISBN  1932442227  
ISBN13  9781932442229  

Availability  0 units.

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2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Role Playing & Fantasy > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Blue Rose: RPG?

A really great RPG  Jul 27, 2007
This is an excellent product line for those interested in RPGs in the romantic fantasy (RF) genre. It's also purposely limited to the three core books so it's not a never ending avenue of expenditure. Which, IMO, is a great thing. (It does have some freebies, extras, and a forum at the greenronin site.)

I agree with earlier reviews but wanted to add a sort of meta-review (of this, the Companion, & Worldbook) and hopeful "idea pot" inspired on suggestions in the Worldbook.

The system itself is heroically based with powers being a more balanced, and therefore sometimes limited. (If you're not into/knowledgeable about RF, think of a fantasy version of Star Wars and "The Force" -including all the negatives for doing evil stuff- and you're 90% there.)

Because of this, if you have a mixed group (like us - some RF fans, others just casual D&Ders), and some GM's styles aren't strictly RF, the BR system & setting is still really ideal if you switch off GMs.

For example, the way the warrior role/paths (paths are suggestions and ideas for roles [D&D classes]) progress in BR it gains in virtual toughness, which means that you can have some really fun swashbuckling type adventures which still doesn't have to "break it" for the RF fans.

The World, and especially Worldbook, seems to have instinctively felt this would be a good merger since there's lots of coastline and a very good description of a island nation which just begs to be expanded upon. (There's also a swashbuckler in the Companion.)

Mix that with a more "Pirates of the Caribbean" type Freeport (another Green Ronin product line) with the currently free True20 intro adventure and you've go a lot to run with. (True 20 & BR are very compatible - sort of like D&D 3.0 & 3.5.) Take it to Mindshadows (a sort of fantastical Indian subcontinent inspired setting), 7th Sea inspired (fantastical Europe), or Al-Qadim/Tales of the Caliphate Nights (1001 nights inspired) and the possibilities are endless.

Make sure the PCs have a ship in good order and a good Wind Shaper (someone who controls winds) and the party can be back in time for the RF GM to take over during GM switch week. :)

On the bad side, doing this sort of mixed adventure will take some work. And strictly speaking there aren't any sailor/pirate paths listed. But there is a small section in the Worldbook with a sample pirate leader.

And if you just MUST be dark about it all, BR really allows for that too. Just take inspiration from Midnight (a game line inspired by the idea of a Sauron-type being winning the war of middle earth) and make the evil nation of Kern much more powerful, Jarzon (a nation of extremists) much more rampant, and the plains of Rezea besieged, alienated, and unwilling to ask for help from treacherous outsiders and it could be enough to make an anti-hero such as Elric smile in evil joy.

Having said all that, here's a quick lowdown system-wise: BR is offshoot of the d20 (D&D) explosion but has some differences. These include abilities being -5 to +5 which is both the stat & the modifier, which is nice. Characters don't have hit points, they have a static damage track. This makes if have much more in common with games such as BRP (RQ, Stormbringer, etc) then d20 since combat can be pretty dangerous. To offset that danger, there's "Conviction" which more or less acts like "Fate Points" in other games. Plus for certain characters toughness goes up which helps stave off such damage.

BR exclusively uses a d20, which makes things easy.

As stated earlier, there is a pagelist worth of magic powers (arcana) that cover a good degree of the standards of fantasy games. There are extra powers in the Companion, and they are all divided into different types (such as psychic, shaping, and animism, to name a few) that help players and GMs follow certain character types. (Ultimately, however, you can mix and match at will.) Arcana use is limited by the user ultimately suffering physical exhaustion. If you use powers that are "anti-social" (dominating people, etc) characters can suffer from corruption which could finalize in NPC-ville.

Feats are there, and skills, a bestiary, and a d20 conversion section (But that will take some kibitzing). Background, GM suggestions, and a bestiary round out the book.

As an aside, wealth is handled by a wealth rating vs actual money, which stops accounting, but can be weird getting used to.

The Companion is nice because it includes a nice expansion of paths, which really helps give the GM a framework for characters in the game, skills, arcana, a bestiary, and general concerns in the game.

The Worldbook expands on the background given in the main rulebook nicely. Without offering spoilers, it adds several juicy bits and location descriptions for adventure & campaign ideas. There's also maps, an adventure, and adventure seeds.

As stated elsewhere, if you're looking for more there's always True20 material that can be kibitzed.

Rated a 5. for how great it is & 4 for micro-world GMs like me since they really should have more sailer/pirate rules/paths.
Not bad, but outdated  Jul 29, 2006
Having picked up the True20 corebook, and finding out that this book was its predecessor, I could not help but purchase it. Like the others said, it is a cleaned-up version of d20 meant more for telling stories than hack and slashing. However, unless you are strictly into fantasy RPGing, you will find this a one-trick-pony. If you already have True20, you don't really need to pick up this book, as it offers very little more.

One note about this book; it is rather "feminine". I don't really mean that as an insult. It's just that the art has a feel to it that most men won't like. But if you are trying to convert a girlfriend or wife to fantasy roleplaying, then you should definitely use this book instead of d20 or True20.
Don't Fear the Romance, this is a GREAT system!  May 6, 2005
Even though the book is billed as a game of "Romantic Fantasy," guys don't fear the romance. Essentially, the romance angle is just a marketing point and a style of role play that the GM can stress, or not.

What Blue Rose really is, is a clean d20 system that stresses role playing and story over game mechanics. It is great for beginners and (not to be sexist)I can see encouraging wives and girlfriends to get involved in RPGing with Blue Rose a lot faster then with any other game.

I would have probably never even picked it up if I didn't play the game Mutants and Masterminds (a super hero RPG). I love M&M because it dose stress story over mechanics, and is a heck of a lot of fun. I wanted to be able to apply that same simple smoothness of play to the fantasy realm (like my D&D game), and then I heard about Blue Rose. Many of the adaptations that M&M incorporated into it's mechanics (from the core d20 system) are applied to Blue Rose making it a great game. But there is quite a few things that make Blue Rose unique. Personally, both the M&M and Blue Rose system remind me a lot of the "F.U.D.G.E." gaming system. I would not be surprised if it had some influence in that adaptation made in these games.

The book is really well organized, and beautifully laid out (what you have come to expect from Green Ronin) and contains all the rules you will need to play the game in one book (IE: Campaign setting info, Player info, GM info, and creatures)so it's a great buy. The art work is all black and white, but excellent quality, and very dreamlike.

In any event, if you want to streamline you fantasy games, and put back more story and stop fussing over rules, this is the system for you. You will not be disappointed or suffer from buyer's remorse.
The wait is over  Mar 1, 2005
The pre-release material for "Blue Rose" suggested that it would take fantasy gaming in new directions. When it was finally released in PDF format (the release date of the paperback version being unclear as of this writing) I snapped it up. The following is my review of the PDF version, which may or may not reflect the paperback version when it is (eventually) released.

"Blue Rose" takes place in a unique fantasy world. There are no elves, dwarves or other Tolkienesque trappings. Neither is it a fantastic version of Earth's middle ages. In this world nobles are chosen by an examination, the ruler is chosen by a divine messenger, and discrimination of race, gender or sexual orientation is unheard of. Indeed, the almost Utopian nature of the kingdom of "Blue Rose" has more in common with the land of Oz than Middle Earth or the Hyborian kingdoms. While some players may snear at such "anachronistic" ideas (if such a term can be applied to a fantasy world), I for one, liked it. Saving the kingdom is a popular theme in fantasy games, well here's a kingdom that I for one think is worth saving.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that "Blue Rose" is not intended to be played with a "hack-and-slash" mentality. The book encourages exploring charcter development, personal motivations and non-violent solutions for problems. This isn't to say that there can't be conflict, or even combat, simply that it shouldn't take center stage in "Blue Rose."

The rules present five cultures of humans for one to play. You can also choose between two non-human races (the magical Vata or the sea-folk) or an intelligent animal. Again I liked that. I am tired of elves, and every gaming group has a player who wants to be an animal.

The system is similar to the d20 system, but the antiquated elements have been shed. The 3-18 scores for abilities have been dropped. In "Blue Rose" all you have are the modifiers (i.e. +1, +2 etc.). Hit points have been dropped (applause!) in favor a damage roll/health level system like that in "Mutants and Masterminds." Finally, experience points are gone. The DM determines when you have advance in levels.

The magic system has been revamped as well. Gone are the endless lists of spells. Instead, there are specific schools of magic, each with a list of uses that can be learned as skills. Thus you have the animalism school, with abilities like beast-speech and beast-summoning, or the shaping school, which lets you shape fire or shape earth. Some players might feel this approach is furstratingly limited, but to me it has a much better feel than the traditional D&D magic system.

My complaints about "Blue Rose" are few. First, as the rules are written, all your character's skill levels go up every time you gain a level, and if you acquire new skills at higher levels you are automatically an expert in them. The designers say they sacrificed realism for playability with this approach, but this is a cop-out. It took me five minute to revise the skill system to provide both.

My second complaint is that the book provides relatively little information on the non-human races. This was most likely a space issue which will be amended in future supplements. It begs the question though; why include the non-human races if they could be fully developed? As a referee I will need to develop these non-human cultures, only to see my work become outdated when said supplements are published.

Despite these complaints, I was very impressed with "Blue Rose." It dispenses with the outdated elements of the d20 system, which I heartily applaud. More than that though, it inspires players to take their playing in a new direction, and in a hobby that is bogged down with endless repitions of a small pool of cliches this approach is truly noteworthy.

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