A Blue Rose Chronicle, Designing Envoys to the Mount

Envoys to the Mount, a Blue Rose epic ChronicleHere at Green Ronin Publishing, we love us some epic campaigns. Long-term games that involve lots of play time, the opportunity to dig into the backgrounds, motivations, and growth of the characters, and a chance to change the setting? Purest catnip around here.

So when we set out to design our first full-length chronicle for Blue Rose, we set some pretty specific goals for the project.

It Has To Be Big. Though not all of our full-length adventure series will necessarily be as huge in scope as this chronicle, we wanted to start off big. So, we did that: the story in Envoys to the Mount involves the origins of the vata and the mystery of Mount Oritaun in the Shadow Barrens. A story like this demands no less a foe than the darkfiends and shadowspawn of the fallen capital of Faenaria, lost Austium, and the players are heroic Sovereign’s Finest trying to preserve what they can of the ancient legacy of lost Faenaria and Mount Oritaun.

And though Envoys to the Mount will not necessarily change the way “core” Blue Rose’s setting operates, it certainly has the potential to transform a group’s individual version of that setting – including some advice on how to handle what happens in the event of terrible tragedy in its conclusion.

It Has To Be Character-Focused. In a game like Blue Rose, the best parts of play are the parts that are about the player characters. In a published campaign, however, that’s hard to do without pre-generating the characters involved…and half the fun of an RPG is creating and playing your own character!

To address the conundrum, we are introducing Character Hooks: small “archetypes” that players can choose to “hook” their characters into the overall story. These Hooks will provide small benefits and drawbacks, as well as suggest some background elements for players to use when creating those characters.

But the real fun is that the various chapters all have sidebars that talk about the ways what is going on in the story affects or is affected by the presence of one of the Hooks. Will you play the Rhy-Bonded pair, or the mysterious Vata? Are you a Roamer with a familial interest in what is going on, or an aloof Historian there to record portentous events?

(We’ll talk a bit more about Character Hooks in an upcoming Ronin Roundtable, so keep an eye out for that!)

It Has To Span Time. Big things can happen all at once, but for the story we’re telling, we wanted some elbow room. One of the most fun parts of romantic fantasy fiction is seeing characters age and develop – not just as adventurers, but as people living their lives.

To that end, Envoys to the Mount takes place over a five year span. The player characters will begin as 2nd level characters in Chapter One, and by the time they reach Chapter Four, their careers in the Sovereign’s Finest will make them leaders in the nation of Aldis, and heroes in their own right.

This new epic chronicle for Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy, will go on pre-order later this week.

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Joe is a developer for Green Ronin's Blue Rose AGE line. He has worked in the tabletop gaming industry for nearly twenty years, during which he's been a fiercely outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, both in the industry and in the games we make. He is also a novelist, with his first novel Sacred Band garnering starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. Both Sacred Band and his second novel, Shadowtide, are available now from Nisaba Press. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancé A.J.