What does Cthulhu Awakens have to offer players and Narrators of Blue Rose? A great deal, as it turns out, even if you don’t want Outer Gods and Great Old Ones threatening the world of Aldea. Let’s look at some of the possibilities:
While Blue Rose has Relationships, Cthulhu Awakens has Bonds, a development and expansion of the basic concept of Relationships to “represent your character’s special ties to other characters, ideals, obsessions, and more.” In particular, there are Personal Bonds, which are much like Relationships, but can also include your ties to ideals and beliefs. There are also External Bonds, which are largely involuntary and can be detrimental to your character.
If you want to expand upon the basic system of Relationships in Blue Rose, then Cthulhu Awakens has done some of the work for you.
Cthulhu Awakens has talents spanning the Weird Century (from 1920 to the 2020s) and some of them would be right at home in a Blue Rose game, such as Dreamer, Esthete, Improvisation, Strange Inheritance, or even Inhuman Legacy (for those affected by the work of the Sorcerer Kings).
Cthulhu Awakens includes various character conditions, shorthand for packages of game mechanics to describe things from being blinded, defenseless, or at a disadvantage, to name a few. These would be easy to import into a Blue Rose game to use for similar quick-use and -reference in play.
Whereas Blue Rose has Corruption, Cthulhu Awakens has Alienation, the bending of the human mind towards the inhuman and the alien. It offers inspiration for modifying the Corruption system, or introducing a whole new risk associated with the eldritch arts of sorcery (or other forbidden practices). Both Enlightenment and Terror Stunts offer inspiration for similar sorts of stunts for Blue Rose characters wrestling with the temptations of Corruption and Shadow.
Cthulhu Awakens offers an optional version of the Fortune system (which originally appeared in The Expanse RPG) as a replacement for Health, representing more the characters’ ability to evade damage than withstand it. Fortune may suit the often swashbuckling and daring style of Blue Rose and offer a more cinematic and fictionalized approach, wherein it is a character’s importance to the story that determines their survival.
This whole chapter of Cthulhu Awakens offers riches for a Blue Rose game: strange rites that some call “magic” (or “arcana” or “sorcery,” perhaps) with far-reaching effects. Eldritch Workings can greatly expand the strange sciences of sorcery in the game and well suit the practices of the Sorcerer Kings. Some Eldritch Workings might see use even among heroes, although they must beware when learning and using them, just as with sorcery.
Material on the Dreamlands literally opens up a whole new world for Blue Rose characters to explore, well suited to the kind of psychic talents much of them possess. Even if you don’t want to use the Mythos Dreamlands wholesale, the rules and guidelines for them can easily be adapted for an Aldean version or similar “psychic plane” where characters can travel and adventure.
“The Mythos is rife with strange artifacts, arcane symbolism, dead languages, incomprehensible geometries, and objects beyond human reckoning.” So Cthulhu Awakens offers numerous strange treasures you can use in your Blue Rose game, many of them suited as artifacts of the Old Kingdom or the Empire of Thorns. Envoys may be dispatched to deal with one or more of these artifacts resurfacing, in the possession of a cult leader, or for-sale in one of the Night Markets of the Silence. The material on dangerous texts well suits treatises on sorcery left behind by corrupt adepts to tempt the unwary.
Cthulhu Awakens offers a chapter of strange, otherworldy, and hybrid entities easily adapted for use in a Blue Rose game as darkfiends, shadowspawn, or even stranger creatures arrived through a shadowgate from … elsewhere. It also includes numerous people as allies or adversaries, including cultists and eldritch scholars.
Last, but certainly not least, Cthulhu Awakens contains a wealth of information about the Mythos adapted for the Adventure Game Engine, allowing you to include pulp-era, eldritch fantasy elements in your Blue Rose game. Perhaps the Mythos has always been a part of the world of Aldea, or perhaps the shadowgates of the Old Kingdom opened onto … something, something that seeped into the awareness and understanding of those ancient adepts, brought about the rise of the Sorcerer Kings and the Empire of Thorns. Something (or somethings) that slumber still, just waiting for the stars to be right and shadowgates to re-open.