The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide describes the romantic fantasy world of Aldea for Fifth Edition fantasy roleplaying. Aldea is a bit different from some fantasy settings, including the ancestry of its people: the Adventurer’s Guide describes the humans, night people, sea-folk, vata, and the rhydan (psychic awakened animals) of the setting.
Other fantasy folk common to Fifth Edition settings are not found on Aldea, at least by default. A sidebar in the Adventurer’s Guide talks about adding other ancestries to the setting, if you want them, and this Ronin Round Table takes a closer look at how those folk might fit into the world of Blue Rose.
Dwarves are people of the deep earth, their holds often found in the high mountains or deep underground. In Aldea this means ranges like the Ice-Binder Mountains separating Aldis from Kern or perhaps the Golgan Badlands of the mountains near Jarzon. Their elemental associations and the presence of giants might connect with hidden dwarf-holds there as well. Perhaps dwarves once trafficked with the peoples of the surface world, but the rise of the Shadow Lords and their long reign drove the dwarf clans to close and seal the gates of their holds. Only now, centuries later, do they consider returning to the surface, and some dwarves may have changed during their long exile.
Elves have some similarities to the arcane Vata: both inherently magical and long-lived folk. Perhaps the elves of Aldea are closely related to the Fey described in the Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide. Since Aldean fey are elemental spirits (not possessed of souls from the Eternal Dance), elves might be something different: fey who are possessed of souls! If souls of the Dance have incarnated as folk with fey heritage, perhaps this indicates some change within the Fey, or a “bridge” of sorts between their Courts and the peoples of Aldea. It would certainly be a momentous development of interest (and concern) to many.
Homey and pastoral halflings would find themselves well-suited for life in Aldis. Perhaps there are halfling communities scattered through the fertile hills and valleys of the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose, with other halflings mixed-in with the people dwelling in the great cities and larger towns. Halflings may have always dwelled alongside the different folk of Aldea, or they may have been created by the experiments of the Shadow Lords, similar to night people or vata’sha. In the latter case, halflings may have originally founded their settlements as refugees, giving them a tendency to keep to themselves and an understandable wariness concerning “big-uns” and larger folk. Regardless of their origins, halflings might also dwell in the other lands of Aldea: They make hardy and devout farm-folk for Jarzon, particularly with their own focus on family, and interesting dwellers on the Rezean plains, either as members of the clans or part of their own wandering bands.
Although Aldea has no (known) true dragons, it does have draconic and reptilian creatures. Aldean dragonborn might be flesh-crafted creations of the Shadow Lords, intended as arcane warriors, now liberated from their rule. They could be descended from otherworldly visitors who arrived through a shadow gate, who have long since lost the world of their birth, or they might be folk of Aldea, arising from the elemental forces of the Golgan Badlands, the Shadow Barrens, or some land far beyond the shores of Aldis and its neighbors. Whatever the case, dragonborn are likely fairly rare and an unusual sight on Aldea. While they might experience some polite curiosity in Aldis, dragonborn are likely to have a more difficult time in Jarzon, where they’re likely to be mistaken for shadowspawn, or in Kern, where they’re likely to be forced into the service of the Regents or simply killed out of hand as a potential threat.
Like dwarves, gnomes might have hidden themselves underground for some time following the rise of the Shadow Lords, such that they have become only legends by the modern age of Aldea. With their talents for artifice and illusion, gnomes could easily remain hidden, only now returning to deal with the other folk of the world. Gnomes fit right in to both the pastoral and urban aspects of Aldis and of Jarzon. Their ability to communicate with certain animals may make them friends and allies of the rhydan, at least of the small and burrowing sort, and they might dwell alongside them in their communities.
Half-orcs imply the existence of orcs, which also don’t exist on Aldea. Their role in the world is largely assumed by the night people, the occult creations of the Shadow Lords. True half-orcs on Aldea might be visitors from other planes (via shadow gate) or descendants of other experiments or cross-breeding programs initiated by the Shadow Lords, with similar reactions from the nations and peoples of Aldea as to the night people.
Alternately, half-orcs on Aldea might not be “half” anything, but a unique people unto themselves. They might easily have come into being in the rugged mountains, the haunted lands of Drunac, the Shadow Barrens, or the Plains of Rezea, to name a few, and be as populous as you wish in your own setting.
If there are elves on Aldea, then there may also be half-elves, or at least folk of mixed human and Fey ancestry. In some regards, half-elves would be much like the vata, descendants of human and vatasin ancestors. If there are no Fey with souls (as described under Elves, previously) then it is possible all elves have a mix of human and fey ancestry, with half-elves more equally in-between the two and elves favoring their fey heritage, along with a few of mixed ancestry who have the abilities of humans (perhaps variant humans with a particular feat or other unusual “talent”).
Tieflings are certain to be an oddity on Aldea. The only fiends known there are the darkfiends of Shadow, and any ensouled folk who can claim ancestry to them will be a test of Aldin inclusiveness indeed! Given the long reign of the Shadow Lords, it may well be that tieflings are descendants of ancestors who practiced the occult or otherwise trafficked with darkfiends and the powers of Shadow, now manifest in their heritage. Of course, tieflings are ensouled beings with free will, so they can choose their alignment and their behavior. That won’t stop some from considering them inherently corrupted by Shadow, however, just like night people, vata’sha, and others, perhaps even more so. Tieflings are likely to be persecuted and openly killed in Jarzon, feared and sought in Kern, but treated fairly for the most part in Aldis and Rezea, in spite of the ignorant few who mistrust them because of their heritage.
Who knows what other folk might dwell on Aldea, housing the souls of the Eternal Dance in endless varieties of form? You can bring almost any ancestry you wish to your Blue Rose setting, keeping in mind the following avenues:
- An ancestry might have arrived on Aldea via shadow-gate from a far-off land or other plane. Depending on how long ago that was, they might be populous and well-integrated into the present day lands or relative newcomers.
- Many ancestries might have arisen as experiments of the Shadow Lords during their rule, now free of their occult overlords to determine their own destinies. Such folk may find others prejudiced against their origins, but enlightened and fair-minded people in the world know better.
- Finally, you can simply decide any added ancestries have always existed on Aldea, created by the gods alongside all of the other peoples to preserve the souls of the Eternal Dance. In this case, you may want to consider the roles the ancestry has played in this history of Aldea, where they are most commonly found, and what other folk tend to think about them.
And while we’re at it, hey did you know that Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide already has two adventures you can run for the game?
Be sure to check out Flight of the Snow Pearl and The Night Market in our online store, or on DrivethruRPG!