Ronin Round Table: Sovereigns of the Blue Rose Introduction

From the very founding of the kingdom of Aldis, its Sovereigns have been beacons of hope, catalysts for change, and exemplars of Aldin ideals to the best of their ability.

Anyone who has played a game of Blue Rose can’t miss the importance and impact of the setting’s Sovereigns, even if they never make an appearance in the game. These people have shaped the setting of Blue Rose over the years. They are directly responsible for making Aldis the egalitarian meritocracy that has made it so unique and interesting, both within the Blue Rose setting, and as a piece of fantasy fiction.

As such, it shouldn’t have been surprising when a fan of Blue Rose contacted me over social media, asking for resources on the previous Sovereigns. They were doing a fan art project, wanting to depict all of the Sovereigns, and had hit a brick wall with some of them.

So, I dove into the project myself, collecting and collating lore about the various Sovereigns. As I did so, it became increasingly obvious to me just how fascinating these characters were. My research included not just what they looked like, but also their deeds (for completion sake, of course). Reading through that list made me want to read more about them. It made me want to get to know them better, and that sparked an idea.

I approached Nisaba editor Jaym Gates with the idea, and she backed me immediately, facilitating the anthology, helping me to round up authors who would be perfect for the project, and generally championing me the entire way.

I also asked Jess Hartley to come in and help me with the editing proper – I’ve edited game books for nearly two decades, and written fiction, but I am still a baby editor when it comes to fiction, so I was very grateful for the experienced help.

Together, fourteen authors and three editors have made Sovereigns of the Blue Rose an anthology that is filled with deep Blue Rose lore, and an absolute love letter to the diverse, egalitarian, romantic fantasy roots of the world as a whole.

I’ve included the Table of Contents for the upcoming Sovereigns of the Blue Rose anthology, in addition to the cover. Welcome, and enjoy!

 

Joseph D. Carriker, Jr.,

Editor

Pit of Vipers: A Blue Rose Novella by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.

Pit of Vipers, a Blue Rose novella by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.Today we are pleased to present a new Blue Rose novella, Pit of Vipers by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.

Following the events of Shadowtide, Pit of Vipers returns to the mud-choked streets of Serpent’s Haven, where power struggles and betrayal are more common than clean water. Spry Robin returns home to fulfill a promise, but finds himself in the middle of a dark conspiracy. He and Ydah will need all their cunning and connections to get out of this pit alive.

Your Pit of Vipers download will include epub, mobi, and pdf formats, all for just $4.95.

Ronin Round Table: Pit of Vipers

Sometimes, stories don’t tie up as neatly as we might like.

In February, we released Shadowtide, the first novel from Nisaba Press set in Green Ronin’s Blue Rose game setting. Shadowtide’s story focuses on a trio of the Sovereign’s Finest who are far from home in the hive of scum and smugglers known as Serpent’s Haven. The story follows this trio as well as the various friends, lovers, and family they meet along the way. Though Shadowtide’s narrative is complete within the novel, there are threads aplenty to be picked up by future novels, as well.

While working on my edits, Jaym Gates pointed out a certain element of the story that felt unfinished. Without going into spoilers, our heroes promised to help some new friends to get out of the dangerous Serpent’s Haven. Unfortunately, with the way things worked out, it was impossible for them to do that. Our heroes returned home to Aldis to lick their wounds and grieve their losses, forced to leave those friends behind—but in the Kingdom of the Blue Rose, our heroes keep their promises and don’t leave their friends behind, at least not without doing something about it.

And that is how Pit of Vipers came to be. Releasing this week, Pit of Vipers is an e-book only novella featuring the night woman envoy Ydah and her return (with her new apprentice envoy) to Serpent’s Haven in order to set things right…though they learn that not all has been quiescent in their time away.

 

Pit of Vipers will be available later this week, but you can order your own copy of Shadowtide: A Blue Rose novel, right here! (also available in digital formats.)

Also be sure to check out A Guide to Shadowtide, a free PDF supplement for the Blue Rose AGE RPG, and Shadowtide: Recipes from Aldea by Jess Hartley!

Nisaba Journal Issue 3 (PDF, mobi, epub)

Nisaba Journal Issue 3Nisaba Journal Issue 3 is now available for purchase and download. For $6.99 you get three formats: PDF, epub, and mobi.

Nisaba Journal

Open the Nisaba Journal and immerse yourself in original fiction gathered from your favorite worlds. Issue 3 collects five tales from two of Green Ronin’s most popular settings—Blue Rose and Mutants & Masterminds—and offers ideas for incorporating the heroes, villains, and adventures from the stories into the ones you tell in your own campaigns.

Featured Stories 

Blue Rose:

“Nearly Perfect,” by F. Wesley Schneider

Whoever said your lover should never change you might not have had flesh-shaping arcana at their fingertips.

“Those Who Wait, Part 4,” by Rhiannon Louve

Marn and Kiyn continue trying to unravel the corruption spreading through Aldis while dealing with their feelings for each other.

“The Price of Mercy, Part 2,” by Clio Yun-Su Davis

Family and obligation continue to clash even beyond death and freedom.

“The Rhy-Horse,” by A. B. Neilly

A lonely young rhydan, burdened by the expectations of his herd, finds his bonded companion, but deadly trouble is brewing.

Mutants & Masterminds:

“A Great Day for Trepidation,” by Eytan Bernstein

Kevin’s built a team, and now the bad guys are coming for them.

Pick up Nisaba Journal Issue 3 today!

Shadowtide: Recipes from Aldea!

Happy Monday, and Happy Gen Con!
 
In order to get what I like to call “Nerd Mardi Gras” off to a great start, we’re sharing a video blog from the delightful Jess Hartley. Lots of folks probably know that Jess has plenty of experience as both writer and editor, but what you may not know is that she also has a magical touch with something near and dear to my own heart: a good meal!
 
Jess has graciously put together a booklet of recipes inspired by some of the food in our first Blue Rose novel, Shadowtide! From candied lemon peels to a hearty stew and even a granola fit for a certain rhy-crow, Jess’s recipes really capture the spirit of living life in Aldea, the setting for Blue Rose.
 
So without further ado, here’s Jess to talk a little about it! Stop by and get your copy of the booklet (free while supplies last) at Booth 929 at Gen Con. And if you can’t join us, don’t worry: we’ll be making it available in PDF format in September.
 
Happy Feasting!

 

Remembering Alejandro Melchor

This week was supposed to be set aside for me to talk about the Modern AGE Companion a little more, but I want to talk about Alejandro (aka Alex, or Al-X) Melchor instead. Alex passed away last week, due to the extended complications of a stroke he suffered in March.

Alex worked on every Modern AGE book currently at any stage of completion. In the core, he wrote rules, focuses, talents and part of the extensive Game Master advice in that book. He brought his talents to the World of Lazarus, the Modern AGE Companion, and the upcoming Threefold and Enemies & Allies, too. I’m currently looking for writers for a new book. It has an Alex-shaped hole in it now.

I first got to know him through a semiprivate community we shared, in 2001. I’d just been invited, as responses to my early professional work for White Wolf had been good. Alex did some work for them as well before taking an intensive gig with Mongoose Publishing in the early 2000s. I drifted away and he was busy, though I knew him through the Open Game License credits I bumped into while designing my own stuff. In the interim he developed an enormous list of credits, tending toward mechanically intensive work. I’d say one great thing about him is he could work on rules that reinforce stories and atmosphere, because getting game systems down was quick work for him.

Steve Kenson got to know Alex well, and took the lead in doing what we could to help when he fell ill. He reintroduced me to Alex, and Alex became a bedrock contributor for Modern AGE. He did so much more, in his own communities, on other games, and with other creative people, but I don’t want to presume to talk about any of that. We worked hard. We made some good ideas playable together. And he was unfailingly nice to everyone, a born collaborator, but didn’t hesitate to point out what he thought would be bad ideas.

According to family and friends, Alex liked proactive, resourceful, tough woman protagonists. Modern AGE uses a loose set of iconic characters created by the writers. Alex created Indra Winchester, the technically-inclined punk, who you can see on the cover of the Modern AGE Companion and inside the books of the line. In examples, he’s her player. I plan to keep it that way.

It seems so inane to go through his qualities as a creative guy, when of course there was more, but he was my comrade in making games. That’s what I’ve got to work with, even though it’s not enough to give the man his due. He was a visual artist, and beloved by various communities. And more, always more. In and out of this industry, I won’t be missing him alone, and won’t be the only one feeling new gaps in what might be possible, in work and life. I’m going to miss him.

 

Nisaba Journal Issue 2 (PDF, mobi, epub)

Nisaba Journal Issue 2: Adventures in the DarkToday we have for you the second issue of our fiction magazine Nisaba Journal: Adventures in the Dark.

Nisaba Journal

Open the Nisaba Journal and immerse yourself in original fiction gathered from your favorite worlds. Issue Two collects seven tales from three of Green Ronin’s most popular settings—Freeport, Blue Rose, and Mutants & Masterminds—and offers ideas for incorporating the heroes, villains, and adventures from the stories into the ones you tell in your own campaigns.

Issue 2 featured stories: 

“The Mermaid and the Maelstrom,” by Andrew Penn Romine

She was cast away on a forgotten island, but the hope of rescue brings a confrontation with an old enemy.

“The Price of Mercy,” by Clio Yun-su Davis

Seeking answers, a young woman and her rhy-horse venture into the forest, and encounter an unexpected ally.

“At the Speed of Screwed,” by Andrew Wilmot

All she wants is to be left alone, but that’s not in the cards. Can she hold her ideals, or will Emerald City see the rise of another villain?

“Searching the Shadows,” by Dylan Birtolo

Foul plots choke Freeport, and an unlikely pair of uneasy allies must find the source of the evil.

“The Heart of Things,” by Rhiannon Louve

The Rose Knights draw closer to the source of the shadowspawn plots, but enemies lurk in unlikely places.

“One Night in Freeport,” by Richard C. White

He thought he was getting away with murder, but tonight, he’s not the hunter.

“Haunting Debts,” by Nathan E. Meyer

Hired to protect a notorious witch, a gunslinger finds herself caught in the midst of a bargain gone awry.

In case you missed them, we have quite a bit more fiction to choose from as well. Nisaba Journal Issue 1 is of course also available, and features six terrific tales, also set in the worlds of Freeport, Mutants & Masterminds, and Blue Rose. Tales of Freeport: Dark Currents includes three stories set in the City of Adventure. Shadowtide, by Joseph D. Carriker, Jr., is our first novel, from the rich setting of the Blue Rose RPG. And there’s more where those came from.

Check them out!

Ronin Round Table: The Wolfenmoot

Artwork by Priscilla Kim

Artwork by Priscilla Kim

Howly Wolfenoot!

Recently, we became aware of the existence of a brand new holiday: Wolfenoot! Invented by an seven-year-old New Zealand boy, it celebrates people being kind to dogs. It’s a delightful notion, with households celebrating by eating roast meat and cakes decorated as moons, and the “Spirit of the Wolf” hides small gifts for family members – the kinder to puppers they are, the better the gifts! Folk have also decided to celebrate by donating or volunteering with local animal shelters and wolf rescues.

Quite honestly, that’s some delightful holiday goodness we couldn’t wait to get in on, and it seems only too appropriate to add Wolfenoot to the Blue Rose calendar, as well. I mean, for a setting that includes sapient, psychic wolves? It’s a natural fit.

So, without further ado, we present: Wolfenmoot, celebrated on the full moon of every month of Goion.

The Wolfenmoot

Full Moon of the Month of Goion

As winter settles into the Pavin Weald, and the moon begins to wax toward full, Forest Folk prepare for the Wolfenmoot. Read more

Ronin Round Table: Using the Fantasy AGE Bestiary in Blue Rose

Part III

One of the tremendous benefits of the Adventure Game Engine (or AGE) system is how quickly we’ve developed a diversity of applications for it. Not only does this give us a bunch of great games to play, but allows us to mix-and-match them to get ourselves a breadth of options beyond that of any single game.

Today, we’re concluding a series that shows this off a little. The Fantasy AGE Bestiary is an excellent book full of great monsters, horrors, and adversaries for your Fantasy AGE heroes. But its utility isn’t limited to Fantasy AGE campaigns – we’re going to talk a little about how these monsters might fit into the romantic fantasy setting of Blue Rose.

This is the last of three articles taking these critters, one at a time, and discussing where they might fit into Blue Rose’s setting, and what (if any) mechanical adjustments need to be made to make room for them. See the first part here, and the second part here.

Brian Hagan

 

 

Ocean Worm: Though Aldinfolk have legends of dragons, they do not consider these titanic ocean-going terrors to be dragons, per se. Still, the sailor jargon referring to them as “worms” has stuck. Many sages also refer to them as leviathans, and to the Lar’tyans, they are the Great Enemy, one of the few things that threaten their mighty warships. None of these with breath weapons have ever been reported in Aldean history to date. (See also the Shadow-Touched Serpent, on p100 of the Six of Swords adventure anthology.)

 

Ooze: Though strange, ravenous creatures with gelatinous bodies have existed for a long time, it is only recently that Aldin scholars discovered a strange fact: all of them are the remains of sorcerous work. Though it’s likely the Sorcerer Kings deliberately created some of them, the truth is far stranger: most of them used to be other creatures, or other sorcerous creations entirely, and all collapsed and devolved into these protoplasmic horrors, held together literally with sorcerous malice and little else.

 

Penanggalan: Old, blasphemous rites are responsible for the creation of the penanggalan. Similar to those which create liches, these sorcerous rituals are remnants of the ancient sorcerous traditions in what is now Drunac. The witches of the Rezean people are some of the few who recognize the signs of penanggalan among today’s adepts.

 

Rat King: According to certain rhydan sages, the conjoined intelligence of these strange horrors is a blasphemous mimicry of rhydan intelligence, the closest that Shadow can manage to the gift of a living soul. Whatever causes it, they are dangers in places where rats are plentiful and have many places to hide, which includes most cities. Rhy-rats (see Aldis: City of the Blue Rose) are best aware of the dangers of the rise of rat kings, and consider the careful monitoring of non-rhydan rat populations as part of their wardenship against Shadow.

 

Reaper: The priesthood of Selene teach that the reapers first appeared with the sorcerous rite that created the first of the unliving (different legends identify this unliving differently, but most tellings suggest it was a vampire or lich). Whatever their genesis, reapers now come hunting among all of the people of Aldea, living or otherwise. Many who find themselves stalked by a reaper flee immediately to adepts of the Selenite priesthood, who specialize in discovering what it is that has gained the ire of a reaper, and help a victim put it to rights, though sometimes this means seeing a murderer pay for the deaths they’ve caused.

 

Sea Devil: Sea devils rise up from the dark and cold depths that the sea-folk avoid descending into, for Shadow dwells in the deep oceans as well. Some sea-folk legends claim that sea devils are Shadow-corrupted members of their people from ages past; others seem to suggest that they are predators on sea-folk who rose to power by dwelling in the pelagic abysses. Regardless of where they came from, sea devils are a threat to all ocean-going folk: they are capable raiders of both subaquatic and above-water targets, swarming out of the ocean to attack sea-folk coves, seaside villages, and ships alike.

 

Shadow Person: Neither darkfiend nor unliving, elemental or fey, the exact nature of the shadow person is largely unknown. They are rare enough that only studied scholars are likely to recognize the signs of their predation without extensive research. They are known to torment the people of Kern most regularly, likely because Kernish folk are denied the means of defending themselves against them by their dark masters. Shadow people are considered darkfiends in Jarzon, and the witches of Rezea are said to know specialized wards to keep them from creeping into tents among the tribes.

 

Shard Lord: Records in the Vault of Censure – that collection of works considered too dangerous to permit general dissemination by the Crown in Aldis – claim that shard lords are a true abomination: the results of an infusion of arcanely sensitive shas crystals with the emanations of Shadow. This is why they are sometimes referred to as “shas lords.” The fact that shard lords are found most often in the Shadow Barrens upholds this origin story, as all of the shas deposits of that dark land are known to be utterly corrupted by Shadow, suitable only for works that aid sorcery.

 

Soul Harvester: For as long as Aldean folk have recorded their knowledge of monsters, they have spoken of soul harvesters. But these monstrosities were relatively uncommon for most of that history, until the actions of one of the Sorcerer Kings, the tyrant Yngalandis. Experimenting with uses for souls, Yngalandis constructed a sorcerous device that acted as a beacon and lure for soul harvesters, drawing them into this realm and forcing them to his service. Unfortunately, machinations by a rival not only destroyed the device, but scattered its power across Aldea, acting as a lure without an attached trap. Though these emanations have long faded, whatever culture exists among the soul harvesters has established this dimension as a place attractive for hunting, and they continue to stalk its folk.

 

Thin Man: Some of those who served in the wretched halls and palaces of the Sorcerer Kings mentioned the thin men afterwards, describing them as strange entities that came through shadowgates at the behest of the Sorcerer Kings. Whether ambassadors from a strange people known only to the Sorcerer Kings, or otherworldly mercenaries paid in some terrible coin, no one knows. It is sufficient that these things yet stalk the peoples of Aldea. Some scholars suggest this means that the thin men have either developed their own means of passage into this world, or that there yet remains at least one shadowgate that they have access to.

 

Treeman: It is said by some that the deeps of Wyss are home to entire communities of the treefolk, living trees who shepherd trees the way mortal shepherd sheep and cattle. Whether this is true of Wyss or not, treefolk occasionally appear solitarily in other deep forests. They are usually hesitant to speak to any folk, although a few rhydan enclaves have managed to establish alliances with them, and actually consider them kin in some capacity, plants given minds and souls the same way they are animals who were given such. Treefolk mystics are all incredible masters of the Nature Reading and Plant Shaping arcana.

 

Troll: Though they were once the terrors that haunted the high mountain passes, trolls are almost exclusively found in the Golgan Badlands, the Veran Marsh, the Shadow Barrens, and the wastelands of Drunac.

 

Werebeasts: Almost unheard of in Aldea, the exact origins of werebeasts are by and large a mystery. Some rhydan enclaves warn their members that werebeasts are what happen when rhydan are lost to Shadow, while some scholars think it is a curse inflicted on those who have mastered shapeshifting arcana who become corrupted. However it happens, it does so rarely, so much so that most Aldeans have never heard of werebeasts, though their existence is recorded among the Rolls of the Damned in Jarzon, and in the lore of Selenite mystery cults.

Shadowtide: A Blue Rose Novel (Print Pre-Order and Three Electronic Formats)

Shadowtide: A Blue Rose Novel cover image, by Magdalena PągowskaWe’re excited to announce that Shadowtide: A Blue Rose Novel, by Joseph D. Carriker Jr., is now available for pre-ordering and in three electronic formats from our Green Ronin Online Store.

When two envoys from the Sovereign’s Finest disappear on a critical mission, an unlikely band of allies, led by Soot, a rhy-crow with dark and secret power, is brought together to combat a hidden threat. As portents bloom across the smuggler’s den known as Serpent’s Haven, these strange agents quickly find themselves tested by the machinations of a cult dedicated to darkest Shadow. Grieving, afraid, and unsure who to trust or where to turn, they must rely on one another and their erstwhile allies in hopes of rescuing the envoys and foiling a terrible plot. Success will bring no great reward, but failure is unimaginable. Can they overcome their suspicion and fear to fulfill their mission, or will they, too, fall to Shadow?

When you pre-order Shadowtide through our Green Ronin Online Store, you can get the novel in three electronic formats right away, for just $5.

Pre-Order Shadowtide

Also available from Nisaba Press:

Nisaba Journal Issue 1 (PDF, EPUB, MOBI)