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Monday, 23 March 2015

Blue Rose is Meaningless Until Someone Has Played it Longer Than The RPGPundit

So the big news in the Tabletop RPG world today is that Green Ronin has announced a kickstarter for the return of Blue Rose.

Take a look at the link, first of all, then then let's see if any of you assholes want to keep trying to pretend that Blue Rose wasn't in fact ideologically motivated, as some Swine had recently tried to argue it wasn't.  There's the Green Ronin folk, talking about how this time they want to make it EVEN MORE ideological.

And sadly, that means that it will be even less nuanced. It will be even more of a black-and-white statement of "Seattle/Portland-style white hipster college-educated liberal" narratives (I hesitate to call them 'values') are OBJECTIVELY TRUE AND GOOD, while any view that contradicts that worldview is clearly and OBJECTIVELY EVIL IN THE GAME".

(people already believed this back in 2005, but they didn't routinely ruin other people's lives over it)

Pramas and Lindroos are right: a lot has changed since 2005.  My position on gay marriage hasn't, I was strongly in favor of it (inasmuch as one can be in favor of it while thinking marriage as an institution is kind of stupid, but I'm in favor of anyone's right to get married to anyone else who wants to get married to them) back then and I'm strongly in favor of it now, but meanwhile he rest of the world has caught up on that. And that's a change for the better.  But there's also been big changes for the worse, especially in geek culture:  the discord caused by pseudo-activists and absolutists has since that time resulted in witch-hunts and pogroms, in censorship and language-police and thought control, and outright smear-campaigns, slander and character-assassination, including not two weeks ago where on a Blue Rose rpgnet thread that may have been viral marketing on GR's part it was repeatedly claimed by people who KNEW THEY WERE LYING (because they responded to me on G+, and their response made it clear that they knew it wasn't true, they didn't care that it wasn't true, and they were just going to keep lying anyways) that I was a homophobe and hated BR for homophobic reasons.

There's been a strong and increasingly effective effort to stifle any dissent from the ideological view of a tiny group of people who want to impose their values on everyone else, because they feel they are superior to the unwashed masses and should decide for all of us.  The geek culture in 2015 has become a world, in other words, that is a lot more like the fantasy-utopia that the people at Green Ronin told us they wanted back then: a world where if you disagreed with the Elite Collectivists you were branded "SHADOW!" and kept black-balled, censored, and where any argument to change the system would be punishable by exile.

(a fine point, Mr. Twain... but then again, on Aldis you'd be SHADOW ALIGNMENT for your views and exiled if you tried to change the system, and to the authors of the setting this is objectively presented as a good thing!)

Aldis is a fascist setting. It's a totalitarian setting that practices oppression in the name of social utopia; and in exactly the same way the kind of true-believers the Blue Rose setting was created for have, in the past 10 years, gone on to try to impose the same Thought-Control Dystopia on their hobby.

I'm sure Blue Rose will get funded, by that same small group of elites who will feel all smug for themselves for supporting it and then never actually play it.   Because that's what this is about: feeling smug. Feeling self-righteous for wearing the right button on your shirt so everyone can see how 'socially aware' you are, even if you don't actually give a shit about the 'issue' itself.

I mean, consider this: as far as I know, and no one has ever come around to contradict me on this, I (the RPGPundit) have actually run the longest single Blue Rose campaign of all time (at about 130 six-to-eight hour sessions played weekly).  Of course, it wasn't set in Aldis.  It was set in a much grungier place, inspired by the "Port Blacksand" of the old fighting-fantasy books, and so was a mix of Romantic Fantasy tropes with that Lieber/Moorcock/Theives-world style of fantasy.   It was awesome, obviously way better than BR's existing setting.

Still, one has to appreciate the irony that I've never been able to find anyone who used the Blue Rose rulebook in actual play for as long as I have.  And for me, I'll note, 2.5 years is not even a "long" campaign. It's medium.

The Pseudo-Activists think that making the 'statement' of supporting Blue Rose is important.  Green Ronin is banking on that to make money, which is one thing they obviously care about, but also to reposition themselves back in the center of the whole Pseudo-Activist hobby crowd of people who complain about RPGs, who hate RPG culture very publicly on rpgnet, G+ and elsewhere, who call for boycotts and censorship of the people who are designated The Enemy (whether or not they've actually done anything at all, other than not fawn over them as a group), and who notoriously and very clearly do not actually do much RPG playing.
They think the statement of bringing back Blue Rose's setting (which was always a stupid setting, not very playable, and as it's biggest crime wasn't even very good at being similar to the genre of Romantic Fantasy it claimed to emulate; most Romantic Fantasy involves relatively un-utopian societies and young typically-female protagonists struggling against the unfairness of that prejudiced society; whereas Blue Rose was not so much a "romantic fantasy" setting as a "Hipster Wiccan Utopia" setting) is super-duper important for.. reasons. For something they think it represents. To strike a blow against the RPG hobby (which, again, they hate; no matter how much they try to claim they don't, if most of your 'criticism' would only be solved by completely tearing down everything about the hobby and replacing it with totally different stuff, that means you don't so much 'love' a hobby as you wish it would stop existing).  To show how meaningful and progressive the backers are. Whatever. Anything, anything except actually having to play it for more than 2 or 3 sessions!

That's why no gamer should take these assholes seriously.  Never mind the pretentiousness, never mind the smugness, never mind the fascist tendencies, never mind the repugnant Collectivist insistence that they know better for you what should happen in and for your life. Never mind the hipster bullshit, never mind the utopian naivete. Never mind the Trust-fund-baby Privilege or the weaponization of minorities by white middle-class college-graduates.  No.  While all those others are good reasons, from a gamer's point of view, the biggest reason not to take Blue Rose seriously at all is that these people produce games that none of them intend or care to play.   They produce games as "Art", as "Statements", as anything at all other than games.

If the flagship game of your great mission has been played longer (maybe 10 times longer) by the person you most despise on earth than by any of your allies, then y'all might want to wonder about just how you're defining 'success' here, and consider why it is you're so worried about 'changing' a hobby you barely participate in.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Rhodesian + C&D's Pirate Kake


  1. I'd never even heard of it.

    1. It was never very successful as a game. It was hyped, when it came out 10 years ago, as being the great Romantic Fantasy RPG and that they were going to bring in THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of female gamers and other new demographics with it, and of course none of that happened. Because the game world sucked.

    2. I have to say, having read their spiel (and I'm a female RPG fan from as far back as 1980) and I never thought of 'mainstream' (as in currently in print at the time) games as lacking in opportunities for women characters. You could (and can) be any crazy thing you want. A corpulent black hobbit girl? Why not?
      It looks to me like they're trying to trade on people's political sympathies to get some kickstarter cash.

    3. Absolutely, especially now. But even then it was more about celebrating their own (fairly vacuous) world-view rather than anything really meaningful in terms of change. It was an RPG designed to make themselves feel superior (over dirty old regular D&D players) just for supporting it.

    4. That was a really long straw man post just to say "I don't like this game".

      So what? BFD. Don't buy it.

      But stop pretending you know what they're thinking.

      The irony is the "you should think what I think" image you posted is EXACTLY what you are doing in this article -- pretending to know better than the audience what it should think about a particular game and preaching that it is somehow bad/evil/douchey/whatever when people are perfectly capable of making up their own minds.

      If they are full of hot air, whatever. But you are even more so and you don't even realize it.

    5. You're entitled to think that if you like Marty. You're not a Racist for thinking it at all.

      See? that's the difference between my side and theirs. The open-mindedness. And by open-mindedness these days what I mean is "unlike the other side, I won't start a lengthy campaign filled with lies about you in order to try to get you driven out of your job and blacklisted forever because you don't think the same thing I do about elfgames".

    6. I'm not sure how the re-release of Blue Rose suddenly became all about you.

      Perhaps they just had a lot of customers say "Hey -- are you going to reprint that game?" and they thought "Hey -- perhaps we can make some money reprinting this game."

      You seem to think that they are sitting in their Tower of Evil going "Hey -- We don't like Pundit, so let's reprint this game that he despises!"

      It's not always about you... It's not always about what you think their "social agenda" is. Sometime it's about making money off an intellectual property that they believe might have an audience.

      You basically spent a couple thousand words to say "I don't like Green Ronin, so don't buy their product."

      The problem with the way you state it is that you have no evidence that they are even pushing any agenda other than making money as a business. You describe your own unsupported, non-evidence based theories about their motives as if they are truth and it destroys any kernel of credibility, if any exist, that may be contained in the post.

    7. No, I don't think it had anything to do with me specifically. It did clearly have to do with the "message" of Blue Rose, and its pseudo-activist values.

      I put the link to their announcement in the first sentence to the first paragraph of this blog entry. Did you read it?
      Because I suppose that your whole little diatribe might make some sense if you didn't actually bother to read the thing I linked to in the first sentence of the first paragraph of the entire blog entry.
      But if you did, then you'd see that they are very openly STATING THAT, about the importance of Blue Roses' "message", in their own ad copy.

      This means there are only two scenarios available:
      a) you take them at their word, in which case I'm right.
      b) you assume that's just meaningless marketing, in which case they're worse than what I'm saying: they're completely mercenary businessmen taking advantage of a group of useful idiots, using ideology they don't believe in to convince naive hipster rubes to buy their stuff.

      If I'm wrong, then they'd be WORSE, not better for it.

  2. Didn't Blue Rose and Green Ronin team up against Spider-Man and Black Cat in an old issue of Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man?

  3. Blue Rose! Not interested? Took a look at the cover and thought it looked like some sort of shoujo-manga fantasy and not your thing? HOMOPHOBE! FAT, DIRTY, IMATURE VIRGIN MANCHILD! That's been my experience with the few Blu Rose fans I've met online.

    So I will use my typical-dirty-gamer-culture lingo and say "I wouldn't touch that with a 10 foot pole." :D

  4. I thought the totalitarianism was the most interesting part of Blue Rose. Although I haven't read it since release, I remember it being fairly blatant. The ideology of their good vs evil definition contrasted nicely with the admission that all was not perfect in the Kingdom. Also, good art.

  5. Vicious, relentless mockery of this shit and the wankers that make it is now (sadly) a necessity to blunt their influence and begin repelling it. It's been 40 years now. We do know, without doubt or equivocation, what is and is not a proper RPG- and what does, and does not, work. BR is NONE of that. It's a shit product, a failed product, unlike Freeport- and, I swear, GR is ashamed that Freeport actually has any demand.

    1. They were also ashamed of the demand for, and had to be all but forced to release, True20 as a system apart from Blue Rose. I swear they intentionally or unintentionally tanked their own product, making True20's stuff so lackluster, out of spite that people wanted it and had no interest in their shitty Aldis setting.

  6. The one thing that would make me look forward to this is the idea of a revamped True20 system at its core. But looking at the Kickstarter, it looks like they are just going to use the system from Dragon Age--which is a fine system, but this just confirms the end of True20 ever coming back. Which is sad, if I am right. And honestly, I kind of dug the implementation of the system for the setting, even if the setting itself was pretty blech. I keep an edited Blue Rose pdf around with all of the setting bits chopped out, fully intending to use it someday for a JRPG-style game of some sort (the art even goes with that kind of setting).

  7. "We thought there were a lot of fans who’d want an RPG inspired by writers like Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, and Jacqueline Carey." I have never heard of these people and I know no one who has. Guess I'm not the target audience for this.

    1. Oh and they used the expression "people of color". The easiest way of saying "I'm lily-white but I care sooo much"...

    2. As a Latino I find white liberals more offensive because at least out-and-out racists are honest about it. White liberals take the approach that they aren't racist but we need their help to achieve anything because only Might Whitey can uplift the rest of us.

    3. People of color used to be a racist term so it is interesting how these "protectors of minorities"* are now using actual racism to carry forth their "duty"**.

      *: Which they are not and will never be.
      **: Which I mean scam because at the end of the day it is all about the dollar bills. Sure they got some true wackos, but most of them are doing this shit in the hopes they get to be the next messiah of social justice. That is when they can make bank. I mean hundred grand per speech in college bank.

    4. At least for a time "Coloureds" was the polite way to say Blacks in the 40's, 50's and 60's.

      Course "Blacks" wasn't very kosher for a while either, now it's fine. Negro long ago was also fine, now no one uses it.

      It all depends what the SJW Language Police have decided for this decade, which words will be considered racist and which will not.

  8. "So the big news in the Tabletop RPG world today is that Green Ronin has announced a kickstarter for the return of Blue Rose."

    THE big news? Really? Or just in your opinion because it's another game you know jack shit about that you haven't played and yet misrepresented.

    "Take a look at the link, first of all, then then let's see if any of you assholes want to keep trying to pretend that Blue Rose wasn't in fact ideologically motivated, as some Swine had recently tried to argue it wasn't."

    Complete non sequitur: how on earth is a roleplaying game 'ideologically motivated? To what end? Good lord you spout some total unfounded paranoid shit, and your only defence is to call people who think you are wrong - and you are wrong - swine?

    You really are a prize cunt.

    "There's the Green Ronin folk, talking about how this time they want to make it EVEN MORE ideological."

    Which means what?

    What on earth are you whining about?

    "And sadly, that means that it will be even less nuanced. It will be even more of a black-and-white statement of "Seattle/Portland-style white hipster college-educated liberal" narratives (I hesitate to call them 'values') are OBJECTIVELY TRUE AND GOOD, while any view that contradicts that worldview is clearly and OBJECTIVELY EVIL IN THE GAME"."

    This is just Fox news style gish gallop bollocks of the first water. You really are a sad little man.

    Oh but look you've posted one of those wacky captioned pictures, straight out of the 4chan playbook. It's a cute picture of a 'hippychick' captioned with a lame ad hominem attack - because you know...liberals! Amirite?

    "(people already believed this back in 2005, but they didn't routinely ruin other people's lives over it)"

    People? What people; you? A few other sad neckbeards that occupy your sweaty little closet of unfounded paranoia and bigotry? You don't like the game? Here's some exciting news: you don't have to buy play or read it!

    "But there's also been big changes for the worse, especially in geek culture"

    None of which have anything to do with the preceding and irrelevant comment about gay marriage you only included in some pathetic attempt to appear less of a right wing prick than you normally do.

    "the discord caused by pseudo-activists and absolutists has since that time resulted in witch-hunts and pogroms, in censorship and language-police and thought control, and outright smear-campaigns, slander and character-assassination,"

    Evidence please!

    "including not two weeks ago where on a Blue Rose rpgnet thread that may have been viral marketing on GR's part it was repeatedly claimed by people who KNEW THEY WERE LYING (because they responded to me on G+, and their response made it clear that they knew it wasn't true, they didn't care that it wasn't true, and they were just going to keep lying anyways) that I was a homophobe and hated BR for homophobic reasons."

    Oh dear.

    So your evidence for this entire screed of swivel eyed bullshit is that some people on a website you claim not to care about said some things about you you don't like.

    A bit like calling people swine, perhaps?

    I doubt any of what you say is true. You are full of shit.

    "There's been a strong and increasingly effective effort to stifle any dissent from the ideological view of a tiny group of people who want to impose their values on everyone else, because they feel they are superior to the unwashed masses and should decide for all of us."

    And yet you have, as ever, no evidence of this.

    Instead you claim that because someone on a thread discussing the game happened to insult you (how DARE they!) that it must be a conspiracy. A thread you provide no link to either.

    So this is just another piss and vinegar tantrum from a professional outrage merchant who likes to dish it out but doesn't like it when people are insulting to him.

    Get to steaming fuck.

    1. So salty. If only the reading comprehension was up to par with the salt.

    2. Dressing comprehension is just fine and when it comes to suggesting the bigotry of a toxic influence on my hobby I always add salt to taste.

    3. Dressing comprehension is just fine and when it comes to suggesting the bigotry of a toxic influence on my hobby I always add salt to taste.

    4. Ghost Whistler has been making the rounds on G+ today too. For those of you who don't know him, he's one of like a dozen people in the entire decade-long history of theRPGsite to get banned from there. He is in such illustrious company as the guy who couldn't stop writing about Man-Boy Love in his comments on RPGs, or the guy who couldn't stop writing about the Dangers of Islam in his posts in threads about old-school D&D. Like a couple of other assholes, Ghost Whistler's obsession that he couldn't stop writing about to the point of obsession and thread-derailment was yours truly. And it seems he still can't stop talking about me now.

    5. That's a lovely strawman, but what does it have to do with evidencing any of your ridiculous claims. You've not provided any evidence that someone called you a homophobe. Where is the link? You've provided no evidence, ever, for any of the half baked paranoid shite you regularly spout: that gamers who play games you don't like are out to get you. You're like a child when his mommy tries to feed him his first vegetables: you have never eaten then, but you are sure they're yukky!

      All this bullshit wrapped in a politically infantile and suspect libertarian 'liberals are evil' coating. If Rush Limbaugh DM'd, he'd be you.

      Now you're going to try an ad hom with this bollocks about being 'illustrious company'. You have the debate skills of an angry child. I've spoken to you twice on G+ and in each case a response to this kind of virulent swivel eyed conspiraloonery.

    6. I posted about a directly blue-rose related homophobia accusation like one week ago, dude. And you know that, because you obsessively read everything I write. Seriously: reconsider your life! There's still time!

    7. In what way do i need to reconsider my life?

      Again you haven't actually answered the question. I asked you to provide a link. Telling me that you posted about something isn't providing a link.

    8. I don't usually cater to the mentally ill, but since other people who don't know your history of being batshit obsessed with me to the point of being one of a group tinier than the total number of human beings ever sent to space (that is, people who were banned from therpgsite), I'll post the link:

      There, now go fuck yourself, you worthless sack of shit.

    9. Diddums.

      So one person in a 23 page thread thinks you are a crazy homophobe (thanks for not actually linking to that particular post which is what I asked you to do, you lazy cunt). So what? Are those feet of clay that I see? You insult people all the time, but when it's someone insulting you suddenly that warrants an entire blog post and a comment on G+ so the whole world has to hear you bitch and moan like a child.

      And when questioned you resort to feeble ad hominems and men of straw to comprise any kind of response. Calling people 'mentally ill' when they ask you to back up your claims (and then failing to do so). For someone who advocates free speech on forums you don't seem particularly good at dealing with it.

      Being banned from your site isn't so bad though; all you seem to do is piss and moan about anything vaguely new.

      I imagine playing in one of your games would be like having Grandpa Simpson as a DM. YOu really are a joke.

    10. You're lying about the thread, or rather, I'm sure you think its that way but your mental illness is giving you a selective vision of things.

      Anyways, first you claimed there was no such thing, and now predictably you pretend its not a big deal. You're the fucking joke. And again, if you are so dedicated in your Not Caring about me, about what I do, or about theRPGsite, why do you keep coming back here? If I'm the "joke" then what does that make you, that you LITERALLY CAN'T STOP YOURSELF from coming back over and over again?
      You just can't quit me, can you?

    11. What have I said that is not true and where is your evidence? You claimed someone called you a 'crazy homophobe' and one post in a 23 page discussion from one user makes that claim.

      I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about at this point. Aside from the constant ad hom attacks that seem to comprise almost all of your content your comments don't mesh with reality. How ironic that you refer to mental illness (which you seem to think is something perfectly acceptable to use as an ad hominem attack on the internet, while decrying someone questioning your tolerance of homosexuality).

      Do you actually have anything of substance to say or do you think insulting anyone you don't like or who takes a view (regardless of whether that's actually true) you don't agree with is productive? You don't like it when someone calls you a homophobe and then behave in a way consistent with that kind of intolerance. You are ridiculous and it's hardly surprising people think you are that kind of person.

    12. I'll debate in good faith with anyone who wants to debate me in good faith, shitlord. But you've made it very clear over YEARS and YEARS that you have no good faith. You have a stalker-like obsession with me. There's no point in debating you because you only want to get revenge for your inferiority complex about me and my success. So I have no reason at all to take you the least bit seriously. Why break with the consensus, after all? No one else takes you seriously either!

    13. Honestly debating in good faith means that you don't get to dictate what is considered good faith. What you really mean is that you want everything and everyone to operate on your terms or you get to insult them, as you just have, again. This is all you ever do. It's so sad that you don't see it. Instead all you see is people that are out to get you, somehow.

      I'm not entirely sure how you think you are being stalked. Is this your reaction to people who call you on your bullshit when you have no argument to make against them? You are simply the most intellectually dishonest and cowardly person i've ever seen online, and you still haven't established anything to back up your bigotry against any of the games you have ever whined about.

      If you don't like being criticised then don't behave like a dick. If you don't like people responding to your comments, don't have a blog with a comments section.

    14. It would be funny if it wasn't sad, how you just can't stop yourself.

    15. What would be funny? What 'it' are you referring to? This is a comments forum why would it be sad to respond to comments in a comment forum?

      You keep saying this, you keep talking about how i 'cant stop myself'. I've no idea what this even means. Clearly you don't like being challenged. That's unfortunate for you given you invite comments.

    16. The "it" is your obsessive inability to stop trying to 'get' me. I've been making you dance like a little monkey, knowing that you are literally mentally unable to stop if you don't get the last word and thus feel you've "beaten" me. That's what you understand as 'victory', and then you can disappear for a few weeks, temporarily satisfied in your addled mind that you've fought off the big bad boogeyman, until the gnawing angst comes back again; "why is he still popular?", "why does anyone listen to him?", "why does he get attention and I don't?", "everything he says is wrong why can't people SEE that??", "I HAVE to stop him! This time for sure, I will slay the dragon singlehandedly and be the hero and then people will pay attention to me, to me!!"

      Now, dance little monkey.

    17. Do you actually believe this stuff you write?

    18. You just proved me right! Dance some more now, that's a good monkey.

    19. Jesus Christ GhostWhistler, what the actual fuck is wrong with you? Do you know how insane, weaselly and...well, *stupid* you sound? Is this really the hill you want to die on?

  9. The Wikipedia page makes it sound very Narnia-esque.... I've never heard of Blue Rose specifically, but like a lot of other d20/True20 spin-off settings from small publishers, I'm sure it's got its following.

    1. It is in some ways Narnia-esque, just the opposite end of the ideological spectrum (in Blue Rose, one of the neighbouring kingdoms is a very blatant Christian-analogy kingdom and it is of course Evil and Repressive and Objectively Wrong). But both Aldis and Narnia are in essence creations where the world-building itself matters a lot less than the 'message' of preaching (to the choir, usually).

  10. I have been playing it since it came out. Been detailing what I have done with it for years.

    1. You've played a campaign of it for 10 years?

    2. Two seperate ones over the period 2005-2013, off and on. I liberally mixed in bits of Ravenloft, CJ Carella's WitchCraft and some other stuff. One was my "Black Rose" campaign the other dealt with adepts/magical humans being sold into sexual slavery high ranking royalty in Kern.

    3. How many sessions (of what hour-length on average) would you say you ran?

    4. I don't know. I suppose I could go through my notes from back then IF I still have them all.
      Does it really matter?

    5. It only does if you're trying to claim you've played longer as a way to dispute my general point about Blue Rose and its fandom consisting mostly of people who won't actually play it or will barely play it at all, and only really care about the "message" they are sending by claiming to be fans of it.

      Or, I guess, if you're trying to steal the title of Undisputed Blue-Rose-Playing King.

    6. No one would actually care about such a thing.

      My claim is this, "I have been playing it since 2005." That is pretty much it.

      My experiences with it are different than yours, but that does not invalidate your experience with it.

    7. No, but it says something both about the game, and about its supposed 'fans' (especially the ones who like it's "message") that it seems like its most (in)famous detractor may actually have been the person who has played more of it than anyone else on Earth.

      I mean, you can't imagine that happening with D&D, right? A situation where a bunch of people say how great it is that D&D exists and how much they love D&D but none of them actually play it in any significant amount?

      It's like the assholes who like to say they're "artists" but don't actually produce any art, or the guy that claims he's "writing a novel" that everyone knows he's not written more than one page of and ever will; they don't so much like the thing itself as the concept of BEING SEEN to be involved in it.

      People who claim to like Blue Rose, most of them (you might be an exception), don't actually like it. They like the IDEA that that it exists, they like the notion that they're somehow 'making a difference' by telling everyone how much they like it, they REALLY like other people noticing that they're making such a really important 'difference', and they like that they think that by doing all this they are simultaneously setting themselves above and somehow 'punishing' all those horrible gross normal D&D players they despise.

    8. I spend maybe half my gaming time playtesting material I have written or a friend has prior to the publication of the work. The remaining time is then split up between running games with my kids, playing in the odd game or two for myself or running something I want to review.

      I don't have the time to play a game for a political reason or stance.

      If I am playing it it because I want to play it.

      The only difference I want to make is this: "How much fun did it add to my life that wasn't there previously."

      Sorry, but I genuinely found Blue Rose to be fun.
      Me playing it doesn't have a single effect on anyone else in the world save my players. Me playing it doesn't even effect my playing of old-school D&D (or even my 5e game) save for the previously mentioned time factor.

    9. Which is fine, but which you must note is the VAST exception when it comes to Blue Rose. Do you know anyone else thus far who has played it on a regular basis for more than a dozen sessions?

  11. There's nothing wrong with Blue Rose, or any of the "wouldn't it be pretty to think so" games and scenarios; if people want play that stuff, fine. Doesn't affect me one way or another. Can't imagine why anybody would get bent out of shape about it. I know people who play evil campaigns as assassins and the like. Also not a problem. It's why they are called fantasy role-playing games.

    The idea of a "tolerant and equitable" fascism is in fact a very interesting concept for a game background. The brutally-enforced utopia. The sacrifice of the unorthodox. The pretty society with the rotten heart.

    The article (I read it) cites authors, but those authors have a following not because of their views but because they tell stories. The worlds they describe are not a Blue-Rose paradise. It strikes me that Blue Rose is like a story that takes place in Heaven after Judgement Day. It's all done--where's the crisis that makes for a story?

    Not my kind of thing at all. Though I do believe (like everyone here) in equality and fairness, it is something that must be striven for daily, and there's your adventure seed. I have played in some politically-correct games and they were in each case boring and not really much as games. And I am a liberal!*

    Yes! Since there's a tendency to take the pop culture heroes of our childhoods and make them grittier and darker (Which thank God they did not do to the Phantom or Captain America) let's go with that and create a Netbook/Sourcebook-- Dark Blue Rose: Poisoned Daggers of "Goodness."

    Proceeds, if any, to be donated to the ACLU.

    *Not a repressive, dogmatic liberal. One who accepts people's right to disagree with me. Who knows? I might learn something.

  12. I think like many RPGs, whether someone enjoys Blue Rose or not depends on how the GM interprets the source material and whether the players are satisfied with that interpretation. I have been running a Blue Rose game for about two and a half years now, although our weekly sessions are only two to three hours (I also had to cancel a number of sessions when going through school). I used a FATE derivative for the rules set but kept the setting more or less intact. The game has actually proved pretty popular at the local game shop, and about 20%-60% of my Blue Rose player base participates in the Warhammer 40k RPG that I have been running most of the time since Dark Heresy first came out in 2008.
    I have, however, moved a bit away from the somewhat bowdlerized descriptions of the peoples and countries found in the core rulebook and adopted the significantly more nuanced interpretation found in the World of Aldea sourcebook. Regardless, Game Designers Workshop has taught me to treat all game settings as being described by an unreliable narrator or otherwise dubious source, and I have been required on several occasions to expand on the information in the game books while staying true as possible to the details presented in the background material.
    I do not think any of the above has detracted from my Blue Rose game, and my players have told me that they have been enjoying the both the game world and my campaigns. About half of my scenarios have used the adventure seeds found in the game books, although I often spiced them up a bit. In the Phantom of the Blue Rose, a darkfiend (basically a demon), was posing as the schools theology mistress and was stirring up trouble among the students for her own amusement. I populated the school with a number of fairly detailed NPCs, the characters partly inspired by Dario Argenti’s The House That Screamed.
    Sometimes moral ambiguity developed naturally in the story as well. One of the characters is a rhy-cat (a giant, intelligent Siamese cat), whose village was massacred by mercenaries working for a timber company. The PCs were able to track down one of the mercenaries who participated in the attack who had been living the intervening years riddled with guilt. The PCs simultaneously need the man’s testimony to bring down his accomplices and their employers, while half of the party (including an expatriate from the setting’s relatively narrow-minded theocracy) feel that the mercenary’s crimes merit an immediate and somewhat drawn out death.
    In brief, there has been plenty of room for battle, shades of grey, and even grittiness, themes that one can find in many of the romantic fantasy novels that reportedly inspired the game. The manner in which Kethrys punished the bandit leader in one of the books from Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor series was talion-inspired, vigilante justice (justice that did not have happy long-term consequences). Lastly, while I am admittedly uncomfortable on occasion with how good and benevolent the game world can be, from a moral standpoint, the world of Aldea is much closer to the U.S., Canada and Western Europe than any other fantasy game.

  13. Just because you don't like a setting does not mean it is horrible and that it is a politically incorrect world. Idealistic? Maybe. Wiccan? Yes, but it is not hipster. The two terms do not even mean the same thing. Please have some understanding of the social groups you are bashing before you so crudely insult them both. Fascist? Maybe to you; we are all entitled to an opinion. I do not see it myself.
    I've been a fan of the setting for a long time. I've played in the setting, wrote fiction in the setting, and ran game in the setting. You have your right to not like Blue Rose and or Green Robin. I do however think you are reaching a bit on your assumptions for GR's intent for the game. Just because the game focuses in on an audience that likes a particular type of fiction, does not mean it is lame nor does it mean that the people who like the game are smug as you put it. Tamora Pierce and the other authors given inspirational credit do have a fan base. If it is not your cup of tea, then buy something else. I hate to break it to you, but all publishing companies want to make money. That is the point. Wizards of the Coast, Piazo, White Wolf, and all the other gaming publishing companies do the same thing. Fundamentally, they are all businesses who want to earn money.
    Also, you say you have ran a Blue Rose game for a long time, but your description describes a completely different setting paired with Blue Rose's True 20 system. That is NOT the same thing. You have not ran a Blue Rose game at all.
    I respect your opinion, but not your desire to insult others based on your own smugness.I hope you can move on and find a game you do enjoy.

    1. Let's address the one thing in your post here that isn't just a statement of opinion: that "the game focuses on people who like a particular type of fiction". The fact is, as I've pointed out in other recent blog entries on the subject, Blue Rose doesn't even do a good job of representing the genre of Romantic Fantasy. Which leads me to think that either the designers made some critical errors of setting-creation based on total misreadings of the genre that could only be qualified as gross incompetence, or that the whole "romantic fantasy" thing was more of a convenient cover for promoting a setting that isn't actually a good representation of romantic fantasy but is definitely a good representation of their Portlandia wish-fulfillment.

  14. "The one thing that isn't opinion"? Please, your original argument was full your personal opinion. Even your title is opinionated and full of delusions of grandeur. You are trying very hard to prove your point against a setting that you don't even enjoy. You circle talk and ignore parts of others' arguments that prove you wrong or at least opinionated.
    Just Move The Heck On and spent your time, money, and creativity on something else. You just seem to like to complain and bash other people.

  15. "The one thing that isn't opinion"? Please, your original argument was full your personal opinion. Even your title is opinionated and full of delusions of grandeur. You are trying very hard to prove your point against a setting that you don't even enjoy. You circle talk and ignore parts of others' arguments that prove you wrong or at least opinionated.
    Just Move The Heck On and spent your time, money, and creativity on something else. You just seem to like to complain and bash other people.

  16. I wish to say the following: 1) You are wrong about almost everything you say about the Blue Rose game and setting. But oddly enough, 2) you are right about one thing - this game really does seem to exist to (and seems to be almost solely getting a second edition to) piss a certain type of gamer off.

    First off, collectivism? I have no idea where you're even getting that from. Did you miss the part where being sufficiently rich and successful in business gets you an actual seat in the government, just to ensure that the interests of dashing entrepreneurs are being sufficiently represented. If anything, I'd call the setting almost obnoxiously individualistic, with everyone being oh-so-careful not to stop on anyone else's precious individual rights.

    And fascism? Where, exactly? The Aldin government never seems to do anything very much other than slay monsters, arbitrate disputes and solve an occasional murder - it barely seems to have any policies at all, let alone any programs for shoving them down people's throats. "Any attempt to change the system is punishable by exile"? Where do you get that from, exactly? Exile is mentioned, but only as a final punishment for people who won't stop killing and stealing even after the nobles have given them a stern talking to - if there was anything in the setting description about people getting exiled for advocating reform, I missed it. In fact, the whole Merchant's Council thing, the richest people getting to form one full third of the government? That was a pretty big change to the system, back in the day. Apparently no one got exiled for it.

    I would also point out that Aldis isn't actually a utopia - it's got a system for keeping assholes out of public office, which helps a bit, and it's rich enough from trade and natural resources that it can afford to let everyone get a little slice of something, which probably helps more, but there's still criminals, corruption, the threat of war, and of course plenty of monsters lurking everywhere. But here I actually see your point, because while this is the case, it's not really presented terribly well; the tone in the book is one of snide "look how perfect everything is!" self-congratulation, with the actual flaws and problems grudgingly added onto it so that the PCs can have something to do.

    1. When the game explicitly defines the "assholes" being kept out of government as people who value the rights of individuals above the nebulous concept of the good of the 'collective', then you have fascism.

  17. Which leads me to my second point. Yes, Green Ronin are totally trolling you. And you know what? I think that's wrong.

    I'm sad to say so, but it's true - the original game is not espousing some kind of collectivist fascism, I still have no idea where you even get that from, but it's definitely far more interested in striking a blow against the "grimdarkness" that John Snead hates than in being playable. Far more interested in that, in fact, than in actually portraying romantic fantasy well. You are partially right in what you say there - the typical romantic fantasy protagonist, in my experience, runs away from a repressive culture and joins a super-progressive special order. Blue Rose have the Jarzoni as a token repressive culture to run away from, but everyone except the Jarzoni are portrayed as super-nice, and while there are special orders (far too many, in fact), they are described in a very sketchy way, as if Snead knew they were supposed to be there but didn't understand what they were actually for.

    And as for the new edition... well, I read the announcement. They actually went right out and said, "we're doing this to piss off the Bad Elements in the community and make it clear to them that they should drop dead!" And then when someone on pointed out that this was perhaps unnecessary, plenty of people (including Snead himself) haughtily declared that it was their duty to inform people who were "on the wrong side of history" (actual quote) that their days were numbered.

    Because wanting to attack and offend a certain group of people is a GREAT reason to publish a game that's all about tolerance, of course. God have mercy.

    So, yeah. I disagree with you about the game. I am sorry to say that I agree with you about its supporters.

    (incidentally, I have run several Blue Rose games over the course of four years, so I've gotten my money's worth out of those books several times over. Though I admit that my most successful games were the ones set in Kern. I like my romance nice and Gothic)


    1. I've seen it, yes. And blogged about it recently.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Wow! I expect vitriol like that from those gamer gate idiots. I guess I need to pay more attention to my part of the gaming hobby for this sort of Fox News level of martyr complex and "I'm right, you're wrong"-ism as well. (Seriously, your take on how their alignment system seems a little extreme compared to how it's presented.) So I suppose I ought to thank you for letting me know that the pencil and paper end of things has this issue as well.


    Anyway, I was looking for a good core book for Age anyway, and I suppose this is gonna hit the spot. So thanks for that too?

    I for one look forward to having the completed book in my hands, and playing a Blue Rose game myself, probably in the core setting (since I always thought it was neat, reminded me of Valdemar, the brand of romantic fantasy that I believe they sight as an inspiration for the game, fyi).

    Don't know how I feel about psychic cats though. Not a big cat fan. But, hell's bells, I suppose I should try and keep an open mind about them.

  20. Hmm, has this blog entry been linked somewhere, or something?

    1. Yeah. I think it came across one Facebook feed or another.
      Based on what you wrote I don't think I'd like the game and setting as much as I would like to. I'm one of those straight and narrow religious zealot types, after all. At least that is what I am working on. It seems that very few of the romantic fantasy authors ever wrote in a perfect society as they saw it. And yes, I do read that stuff. I read a lot more of it as a kid, and it still has a lot to do with how I envision worlds and play these games. The numbers are great, but the relationships are better, provided you have a game go on long enough to develop the narrative.
      I will say that I do like 'Fantasy AGE' but I don't think it really stands out above any other rule set. I have not played with or read True20, but it sounds cool, though the title always hit me as pretentious.

  21. On the strength of this blog entry, I am... backing the Kickstarter.

  22. Fighting Fantasy is the best Fantasy

  23. I agree that Blue Rose was woefully underplayed, and that its vocal support does not necessarily reflect its actual game playtime support. would suggest, however, that there are much better ways to support your argument about the relatively underplayed status of Blue Rose without making yourself a partisan in the "culture war" debate, in which you may set yourself into too staunchly of an adversarial opposition to people who may otherwise agree with your base assessment. I have no intention questioning or attempting to trump your boast of having played more Blue Rose sessions than anyone, as I just ran a short mini-adventure. But then I switched to True20.

    I would argue that the importance of Blue Rose has less to do with the setting itself, but, rather, the importance of its system within the narrative of the "d20 OGL Renaissance," particularly for the success of Green Ronin Press. The mechanics of Blue Rose provided greater streamlined simplicity in comparison with 3E D&D, with its reduced classes and d20 for everything. Your own impressive 130 sessions using the Blue Rose rules and mechanics attest to the robustness and usefulness of the system. The success of Blue Rose spurred the development of True20, which became one of my favorite systems during the 3E-4E era. It was like Open Source d20. It was easy to kitbash, alter, and tinker around. But Blue Rose very much stood as the sort of flagship and prototype of the True20 system, regardless of one's opinions on the setting itself. That contributed towards its iconic status. It's similar to how the Dragon AGE system spurred the Fantasy AGE system, again, for Green Ronin, or Numenera spurred the Cypher System for Monte Cook Games.

    With Fantasy AGE now becoming one of Green Ronin's new go-to in-house systems, I am glad to see Blue Rose receive an update, regardless of political motivations, because it represented a seminal moment in the d20 OGL Renaissance for me. The Fantasy AGE system is far from perfect. I personally have grievances with how Green Ronin did not so much simplify or streamline AGE but made annoyingly unneeded readjustments that did not address balance issues or rules complications. But I'm still happy to see Blue Rose come to the Fantasy AGE system. Blue Rose inspired me to use its rules in other settings and worlds, and I hope that it inspires me again in a similar fashion.

  24. I have to agree that the progressive warning signs leap from that link to GR's article. While I probably don't agree with much of their politics, I support their right to create whatever they like. If it's a good product it'll do well. If it's not it won't. As far as calling any reasonable detractors racists/homophobes/etc., that's not OK. If people rant that it's a "stupid, gay-ass game", well, the butts will be hurt and stones thrown. And rightly so. In the end I don't give two turds about what people make because the market will (should) decide.

    As far as stopping the bullshit attacks, censorship, shaming, ruinination of livelihood and every other bad thing idealogues have been doing, well, that's a whole other can o' rotten beans and I don't have the answer or else I'd share it and we'd all get along. That would be boring. :)

  25. Have no experience with playing the setting and will keep it that way after reading your (and other's) take on things. I obv downloaded the PDF to help out my fellow plebeians in need of a pirated copy but holy shit the setting sounds fascist. Now perhaps this would be fun if it were created to be a fascist setting and the characters are underdogs trying to introduce some form of rebel society but hell no not like this. Thanks for writing, I always enjoy reading your scribbles.

  26. I bought the new AGE version - never played or heard of the old version previously. I've play a whole lot of D&D and a smattering of other systems. I bought Blue Rose because of the art and the fact that the setting encourages heroism by Pcs. It's an interesting tone shift from the CN all loners parties that sometimes form - an setting that encourages/emphasizes relationship based play. Rules and setting are full of fun hooks for adventure. It also feels like a game where the character matters more than the sheet. Haven't run it yet, but I look forward to it.

  27. I like the setting. When I picked up the initial game (on a con, I like being weird and unfamiliar games at cons) I had just played a whole lot of Mutant Chronicles, Exalted and World of Darkness.

    "Oh hey, a setting that isnt a barely contained gauntlet of existential horror where reality itself hangs in the balance? That is insane."

    The still drying bits of it that was basically Star Wars with a paint job was fun to.

    It is sad how progressives have tarred that kind of setting.

    When I had the first book there was one guy who refused playing with me and I did not understand it at first, but now I kinda get him. I still like the setting but I cannot quite enjoy it like I used to.

  28. I can’t understand what you are saying. You also sound a bit.... weird. Things branded as “Shadow” are things we are not going to argue wether or not are wrong. A thing don’t need to be aligned with the Shadow to be negative. Jarzoon’s whole deal is fighting the Shadow, and it’s a dystopian theocracy.