Tag Archive for: Blue Rose

A Few Words on Languages

Tabletop roleplaying games can give us some funny ideas about languages and linguistics. At least, I know they did for me in some regards. Starting with a certain Popular Fantasy Roleplaying Game comes the notion that player characters are all multi-lingual, speaking three, four—as many as seven or eight languages fluently! This is often compounded with the notion that entire species share the same language, or that there are special languages for fantastic creatures from dragons to elementals to the denizens of different planes of existence.

Later RPGs have taken a more nuanced, and certainly more detailed approach to languages, including various levels of fluency, and things like complex charts showing the relationships between “language families” of earthly or imaginary languages, which may grant some greater understanding or closely-related tongues.

understanding the Language can be very important

“I’m not sure what you just said, but I don’t care for your tone!” Art by James Ryman

The Modern AGE rules have a somewhat laissez-faire attitude about languages. The sidebar on page 16 of the Basic Rulebook says characters should “be able to speak, read, and write whatever languages” they “would pick up due to their cultural and social class” suggesting a limit of three. The Linguistic talent in the game handles learning additional languages and requires a fairly significant investment, since talent degrees aren’t easy to come by, and each degree in the talent grants only one additional language. It would take a new specialization to create the true polyglot character who speaks a dozen or more languages.

Fantasy AGE likewise offers a Linguistics talent, for characters truly dedicated to speaking other languages. The game’s ancestries follow the fantasy standard of an ancestral language (all elves speak Elvish, for example) along with a “Common tongue” used and understood by everyone, for the most part.

Mutants & Masterminds treats language fluency as an advantage, one rank grants an additional language the character can speak, but each additional rank doubles the number of languages, so it’s fairly cost effective to create someone who speaks a dozen or more of them. Of course, in M&M, the ability to speak and understand all languages is on the table for just 2 ranks of the Comprehend power, so there isn’t a lot of point in having more than a few ranks in the Languages advantage, other than to represent the character’s own skill and knowledge.

Individual Game Masters have to decide the role languages—particularly unknown languages—will play in their campaigns. In some cases, the language barrier can be an important element of adventures or the setting. Others prefer to generally ignore the problem in order to get on with things; the Threefold setting for Modern AGE, for example, includes magical “universal translators” for characters working for the world-spanning Sodality, so GMs don’t need to worry about whether or not the characters speak any of the local languages—at least not until their translators are lost or stolen! Likewise, the Cosmic Handbook for M&M recommends Comprehend as a “default” power for star-spanning campaigns, unless you want to institute some form of “Galactic Common” that all alien species speak and understand.

When building worlds of your own for RPGs, you might want to give some thought as to how people say things, and what languages they are saying them in.

Last Chance Warehouse Sale

Last Chance Warehouse Sale: 75% off select print books, while supplies last!

 

After 22 years in business, the Green Ronin warehouse is looking a little crowded. With reprints and new products incoming, it’s time to make more space! These deals are for print products only. With limited stock and priced to clear some pallets, this is a screaming deal (75% off!) you don’t want to miss. With that, we offer you the LAST CHANCE WAREHOUSE SALE!

Please note the sale does not extend to shipping, and shipping fees are determined by the carrier.

75% off on select titles

 

Six of Cups for Blue Rose AGE: The Storm of the Century and Other Stories

Six of Cups for Blue Rose!Six of Cups is Blue Rose’s second anthology of adventures (the first was, of course, Six of Swords). Of course, at center, this book is about providing a set of interesting, self-contained adventures for Blue Rose campaigns. Perhaps your group will play Sovereign’s Finest, traveling the lands, playing through all of these. Or, one or two might form the basis for a new campaign, or at least an arc within one. But that’s not all Six of Cups has to offer. This anthology does a couple of things – and some of them were even intentional.

Themes: The Suit of Cups

From the get-go, I wanted the stories in Six of Cups to be about emotions and relationships. In the minor arcana of the Tarot, the suit of Cups focuses on the connections between people and the emotions that both inspire and come about as a result of those. It’s the “emotions that run deep” suit (in comparison to the “emotions that burn bright” of Wands).

Above everything else, Blue Rose and the genre of romantic fantasy are about those ties, and I wanted a set of adventures that expressed that. From the connections between orphans in Witching Weather to the desire for redemption in Out from Exile to the questions about compassion and mercy at the heart of Hemlock’s Bane, the tales in Six of Cups all center on the themes central to this suit.

Gazetteers: Around the Kingdom

The Blue Rose AGE core rulebook is a whole lot of book. Even so, we had to paint with some fairly broad strokes while describing the Kingdom of Aldis in that book. Now, we had the chance to get a slightly more zoomed-in look in Aldis: Kingdom of the Blue Rose, and we decided we weren’t quite finished doing so.

One of the guidelines given to the authors of Six of Cups was to include a gazetteer section that described the place in the kingdom where that story takes place. The intention, of course, is to help make the book useful even beyond the adventures it includes. Find in these pages the major cities of Elsport, Garnet, and Lysana’s Crossing, as well as Khaldessa in the central Aldin valleys, Hemlock in the northern Pavin Weald, and the Scatterstar Archipelago!

Happy Accidents: The Storm of the Century

One of the things I asked of our authors was to send me proposals for their adventures and gazetteers. In short order, it became apparent that (perhaps inspired by the elemental association of Cups with water) no less than three of the stories feature a massive coastal storm. Rather than require some of the authors to change their ideas, I thought I could include them all to highlight one of the interesting ways to use generally unrelated adventures.

Finding a common thread to run between adventures is an awesome way of building a sort of “accidental” campaign. The tumultuous weather plays a role in all three of the stories, and they are not written as being interrelated. An enterprising Narrator might, however, come up with some connecting concepts to help tie them together. Perhaps these are all part of a single, major storm system of some kind, a sort of terrifying storm of the century to strike the southern coast of Aldis? Or, perhaps there is something (or someone…) nefarious at work, hurling storm after storm into the world.

Conclusion

There is a lot that might be done with the contents of Six of Cups. And that’s not even including the new Specializations (Storm Rider and Marsh Shaper), or even the devastating Arcane Lightning arcana knack for those who wield the Weather Shaping arcana! Join us, with an open heart and a sense of courage – we’ve got a lot more stories to tell.

 

Six of Cups is available now for pre-order here, and don’t miss out on that $5 PDF add-on! As well as on DrivethruRPG!

Bonds: An AGE Mechanic Evolved

Bonds form the basis of many relationships and effects of Alienation

Art by Tentacles and Teeth

If you’re familiar with Blue Rose or Modern AGE, you’ve come across Relationships: a system that provides mechanical benefits based on your character’s powerful feelings for another person, whether it’s love, friendship, professional admiration—or deadly enmity. Relationships form the seeds of Bonds, a generalized mechanic used in Cthulhu Awakens that among other things, is used for the Alienation systems we’ve discussed elsewhere. I’ve been experimenting with expanding the basic concept of Relationships ever since developing Modern AGE and notably, used it as the basic for a divine influence system in the Fantasy AGE Trojan War supplement for sibling game Fantasy AGE.

In Cthulhu Awakens, Bonds are covered in the character creation chapter, as they are essential to the game. A Bond can represent things other than a relationship with a person, and can represent the following:

Enlightenment: This is a Bond of strange, mind-warping insights gained from contact with the Mythos.

Ideology: A belief system to which you’re strongly committed. This could be a religion, a political theory, or some code of honor.

Material: Your Bond connects you to an object, structure, or location. This is the kind of Bond possessed by a character who treats their car like a pet or child, or who would rather die than give up their home.

Melancholy: This Bond attaches itself to characters who abruptly leave the Dreamlands and are deprived of its wonders by our gray, heavy world.

Organization: This Bond either represents an organization’s hold on you or your feelings for it.

Relationship: This is the most common Bond. It represents your feelings about another person or the hold they have over you. A Personal Relationship Bond need not represent affection; you can have a Bond with an enemy.

Terror: This is a Bond given to thoughts cracked by the unnatural, and like Enlightenment, is produced through Alienation.

Each Bond has a rating and descriptor, such as the ideology Bond I will stand up for workers against the bosses because an injury to one is an injury to all (3). This tells you its strength and purview.

Unlike previous AGE system Relationships, Bonds are also split into Personal and External types. Personal Bonds are a source of strength when it comes to addressing the subject of the bond, and you choose when to draw on them. In practical terms, you can spend it on bonus stunt points to make an action more effective, even if you didn’t roll doubles on the dice, the usual way to gain SP. External Bonds represent an involuntary attachment, either because it represents how someone or something else treats you, or it’s a mental and emotional association you can’t consciously control. These are used aversively, such as to add stunt points to tests used against you. Once a loyal member of a group, you’re vulnerable when your former comrades act against you, for instance.

Bonds permeate the Alienation mechanic and several other places in the game, and I look forward to seeing the full rules out in the wild.

Blue Rose Meets Cthulhu Awakens!


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:

Bonds

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 on Kickstarter now!

Live on Kickstarter now!

Talents

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).

Conditions

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.

Alienation

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.

Fortune

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.

Eldritch Workings

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.

The Dreamlands

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.

Artifacts

“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.

Entities

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.

The Mythos

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.

5E Jamboree!

Mix-and-Match Green Ronin’s 5e Fantasy Offerings

Green Ronin publishes a lot of games. It figures: We’re gamers, and we like a lot of games! We also publish material for a number of different game systems. While the Adventure Gaming Engine (AGE) System sees a lot of use these days, and is as close as we get to having a “house system,” Green Ronin also supports the d20-based Mutants & Masterminds, the Chronicle System of Sword Chronicle, and standalone systems like Ork! The Roleplaying Game.

Among all of those game systems, Green Ronin also publishes material compatible with, or based on, the Fifth Edition of the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game. We have some experience in that area, having worked directly with Wizards of the Coast on the Out of the Abyss campaign and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide sourcebook, and having worked with Matthew Mercer on the Tal’dorei sourcebook for Critical Role.

Our 5e products include The Lost Citadel, Book of the Righteous, the 20th anniversary edition of the Death in Freeport adventure, and The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, bringing the romantic fantasy world of Aldea to 5e. We’ve just finished production on a new 5e edition of The Book of Fiends as well, and wanted to look at some of the ways you can mix-and-match our Fifth Edition offerings and use them in your own games. So, let’s take a look!

Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide for 5EBlue Rose Adventurer’s Guide

The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide is primarily a setting book, in the vein of our work on the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. It features material on the world of Aldea, particularly the nation of Aldis, the Sovereignty of the Blue Rose, and its surrounding lands. (You can find out much more about Blue Rose and its setting elsewhere on our website.) The goal of the Blue Rose guide was to introduce the world of Aldea to 5e players and provide an additional, alternative setting, rather than an alternate game system.

That said, the book does contain a wealth of game system material to account for the differences between Aldea and various other 5e fantasy settings. In particular, it offers new character ancestries (and its own take on handling ancestry) for the peoples of Aldea. Each character class has a new subclass suited to the setting, and there are unique backgrounds, specific modifications of the magic rules, magic items, and a Corruption system that reflects the power of Shadow, to name a few.

Even if you don’t use Aldea as a setting for your 5e adventures, the game system portions of the book are easy to import to other settings. The lands and peoples of the world of Blue Rose could also be places for plane-hopping characters to visit, or part of some distant land on the far side of the world where they currently adventure.

Book of FiendsBook of Fiends for 5E

The Book of Fiends is a massive tome of the most vile denizens of the lower planes, not just the familiar demons and devils, but also daemons, qlippoth, Fallen celestials, and more. They range from minor low-level threats to godlike rulers of their own infernal realms and everything in-between. The Book of Fiends is a supplementary catalog of foes for a 5e campaign, especially one focused on fighting the forces of corruption and evil, such as Out of the Abyss, or a campaign like Descent into Avernus where the heroes descend into the lower planes themselves to fight their inhabitants! Who can’t use more fiends as foes?

The Book of Fiends dovetails with our Book of the Righteous in that they share the same basic cosmology. The Book of the Righteous works in conjunction with 5e planar cosmology and mentions the Abyss, Gehenna, Hell, and their various fiendish denizens, while the Book of Fiends details them. So the two books form two halves of the same cosmology for a campaign setting: the mythos and religion of the world and all of the forces of evil aligned against it.

The Book of Fiends connects with Blue Rose’s Aldea: The seven Exarchs, the great daemons of Gehenna, are also known as the Exarchs of Shadow on Aldea. The various daemons can serve as further darkfiends for your Blue Rose games, and you can plunder the dark depths of The Book of Fiends for other foes for your Aldean heroes. Fiends also offers its own Corruption system associated with infernal temptation. Use it in place of the Corruption rules from Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, or for a specific kind of corruption associated with the Exarchs and their minions.

The Book of Fiends also comes with a chapter of character options: subclasses, feats, spells, and backgrounds usable in any 5e setting where the forces of evil are abroad. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide specifically points to them as possible options for corrupt and Shadow-aligned characters in that setting.

Book of the Righteous for 5EBook of the Righteous

The Book of the Righteous provides a complete pantheon and cosmology for a 5e fantasy setting, along with numerous interconnected deities, faiths, and religious practices. It’s a fantastic resource to mine for options and inspiration, even if you don’t adopt the entire thing wholesale.

Like Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide and The Book of Fiends, The Book of the Righteous comes with a hefty rules chapter packed with 5e options: at least one new sub-class for every core character class, a dozen new clerical domains, five new paladin oaths, backgrounds, feats, spells, and magic items. It also has celestial and fey creatures associated with the gods and higher planes. The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes that many of these game options fit well into the world of Aldea and are quite useful there.

Death in FreeportDeath in Freeport for 5E

The 20th anniversary edition of the adventure Death in Freeport offers a self-contained, low-level 5e adventure set in the independent pirate city of Freeport. Since it is a tiny island nation, Freeport is easy to include in any setting you may wish, or usable as a jumping-off point to any mainland you want the characters to travel towards. Freeport’s temples and churches may be devoted to the pantheon from The Book of the Righteous (that’s deliberately left open for you to decide) and the eldritch horrors lurking in the setting can make good use of material from The Book of Fiends. As The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide notes, Freeport could well exist among the Pirate Isles of that setting, bringing all of its unique character along with it.

What’s more, Death in Freeport is not just adventure: It has an appendix with game information on the sinister Serpent People, two new magic items (the staff of defense and the wand of escape), and four new class archetypes: the Valor domain for clerics, the terrifying Buccaneer archetype for fighters, the cunning Alley-Rat archetype for rogues, and the preternatural Serpentkin sorcerous origin. Any of all of these could find use in any 5e campaign.

The Lost CitadelLost Citadel for 5E

The Lost Citadel differs from Green Ronin’s other 5e offerings, which are designed for use with the core rulebooks, whereas Lost Citadel customizes more of the class, background, and magic options to suit the setting, along with adding some new options. Nevertheless, all of these options are compatible with the core 5e rules, so you can import Lost Citadel character options into other campaigns or settings, if you wish. The same is true of the book’s extensive collection of creatures, especially undead, which can certainly inspire new unliving foes for Blue Rose, for example.

What’s more, Lost Citadel offers another system for measuring supernatural corruption (do we sense a theme here?). Called Woe, it deals with the price of magic and supernatural knowledge and of places given over to the powers of death and despair. It would be suitable for use to model the effects of some domains of the foes from The Book of Fiends or places on Blue Rose’s world of Aldea where the power of Shadow has grown deep, indeed.

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.

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!

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!

Tales of Blue Rose: Quartet of Thieves

This week Nisaba Press presents a new Blue Rose short story, “Quartet of Thieves” by Clio Yun-su Davis.

A young woman travels far from home to deliver an important letter but must band together with a boy thief, his rhy-fox companion, and a caravan guard to steal it back when it gets taken by a criminal organization.

This Tale of Blue Rose can be yours to read in your choice of PDF, epub, or mobi formats, for just $1.99.