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Monday 22 June 2015

Blue Rose And Just Who The Heroes Are

So the Blue Rose kickstarter has launched, and there's no question that it's going to fund, being paid for by dozens or perhaps hundreds of people who will never actually play the game, but will pay good money to feel superior to others for supporting something that is 'making a difference' in no actually discernible way, but in the sense that it has all the right APPEARANCES of giving pseudo-activist street cred to anyone who says they 'support' it.

I thought it was interesting that one of the first questions asked, in a G+ thread where Green Ronin announced the kickstarter was "just what would you actually do in a setting like this? Who would the heroes even be?"  (The question may have come from someone with no prior experience with Blue Rose)

Steve Kenson responded "the adventurers are most likely members of the Sovereign's Finest, chosen defenders of Aldis and agents of its crown".

Hmm. Telling. 

See, Blue Rose is really all about pseudo-activist utopian visions. How they imagine that an 'ideal' world would be like (if all those evil patriarchies and imperialisms and whatever didn't get in the way), and just who they would like to see themselves as.  After all, most RPG play is wish-fulfillment of some variety; but while most D&D players might like to imagine themselves a hero or a wizard, the Blue Rose writers (and fans) want to imagine themselves in a world where THEY are the enforcers who get to decide what is best for everyone else.

So it's obvious when you think about it: in the default game of Blue Rose you are meant to play the Thought Police.  Steve Kenson boldly admits it. That's the pseudo-activist dream: that they could have the authority to actually get to go around and impose their ideas on everyone else whether they like it or not.  Naturally they see the world that would result from that kind of fascism to be a utopia, but so did every other fascist ever.

Ironically, this make Blue Rose pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of the kind of lesson-giving game on real social justice that you might want to see.

In Aldis as written, you cannot play a plucky young heroine who is trying to make her way in the world and accomplish her dream while facing terrible cultural-based Institutional Discrimination, because there is no such discrimination in the setting-as-written, and the setting-as-written is not just 'absent of evidence' but is explicit in stating that the setting-as-written has no Institutional discrimination (except by the Blue Rose Scepter and Hart, against Individualists).
The lessons of civil rights or social justice are actually entirely ABSENT from the world of Blue Rose, and instead we get the lesson that the ideal world would be one where a special chosen elite rule by fiat and their lackeys get to use armed power to stop anyone who would resist the structure of that order.

Let me put the problem in language a typical progressive might just understand:  in Blue Rose's basic campaign, you're not meant to play the Ferguson protesters, fighting the power, you're meant to play the Ferguson Cops, brutally enforcing the world as they want to see it.

The hippies are turning in their graves.

And if you read that previous paragraph again, you would see that this 'lesson' ultimately is amoral: the "Order of things" is naturally what 'the right people' think 'is for the best for everyone', but that idea could just as easily be Nazism as it could be social-welfare.  As soon as you put the Collective over the Individual, you lose all moral foundation for anything other than saying "obey because we tell you to". Claims that "we're different because we're the NICE guys" is meaningless because Stalinists and Neo-Nazis think they're the nice guys too.  Anyone who decides that the right society is one where the State gets to impose its rules on individuals who have no rights to oppose it, and that the definition of 'heroism' is the armed fanatics that enforce Conformity to that status quo and brutally repress opposition are not the 'nice guys'.

If that's your definition of 'hero', then you've become the very thing you think you fight against.

I'm sure Blue Rose will be a very profitable kickstarter for Green Ronin, and everyone who backed it will get to feel smug about how they've shown what rebellious freedom-fighters for social-justice they are by backing a game where the heroes are the setting's equivalent of the Stasi or the Gestapo, so I guess more power to GR for being such clever capitalists and shamelessly milking bucks like parasites off of legitimate causes (albeit from preening idiots who would likely never have made any meaningful contributions to those causes anyways).
Likewise, I'm sure that this article will be resoundingly condemned like all criticism of the pseudo-activist collective as homophobic or sexist or something like that, even though I've supported diversity in RPGs for my entire career, and even though my vision of the world is one in which every individual has an inherent and inalienable right to their own bodies, identities, and sexuality, while their vision is one where any such rights depend on whether the Collective grants it to you or not.

But hey, every villain thinks they're the hero of their own story, right?


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck


  1. Hey it's a fantasy game. If your dream is to shut up the idiots who say shitty stuff without recourse to debate or argument, this is a tops fantasy.
    And who doesn't want to shut up people who are wrong?
    The terrifying implications of this viewpoint will probably be lauded as Blue Rose's secret strength or something. Yaay.

    1. I'm seriously waiting for the frightening moment when someone steps up to defend this idea, that because it's the right cause and the right people state-sponsored repression is justifiable.

      Since we already CONSTANTLY hear pseudo-activists claiming that censorship is justifiable for the greater good, that other argument inevitably bound to follow. It's only a matter of time, of just how long the cancer needs to worm away at older liberal values until the pseudo-activists feel like it's "Ok" to say that they should literally have police powers and FORCE others to do what they think with threats of violence.

  2. Sounds like "what if Judge Dredd sucked."

  3. The hippies are turning in their grave? Shit Martin Luther King Jr. is turning in his grave. A month ago I saw a progressive black guy in the Young Turks saw segertation is a good thing cause some school was doing it in California. Never thought I would see that shit. I wish I was making this up.

  4. The next great repressive regime will have a professed platform of anti-Racism and Feminism (and that's not to knock either idea) and use that as an excuse to wield power over others. In the end, feminists and believers in equality will be victims too. And the regime will say "It's for your own good."

  5. I see it as a fantasy version of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - it requires a huge suspension of disbelief that the society presented actually works.

    Do I believe it? Hell no. Can I run an enjoyable game of it? Yes.

  6. Someone remind me why I'm supposed to care if this game is made and played by someone who isn't me.

    1. Because like it or not other people exist.

    2. Because the purpose here is not to make a game; that is the means to an end. The purpose is to alter the demographic of the RPG community from what it is now to a socialist liberal one; they have said that. The SJWs that took over then ruined White Wolf's games now run one of the largest and most well-known RPG communities and they have openly stated that they want feminism and pro-transgenderism to be a requirement for being part of the RPG world. Posthuman Studios, makers of Eclipse Phase, outright said, "If you consider yourself an MRA [men's rights activist], please fire yourself as a fan of Eclipse Phase; we don't want you." The makers of Evil Hat Games tweeted, "If you got a problem with SJWs, please continue your boycott of Evil Hat Games. I actually don't want our products in your hands." Same person, referring to getting GamerGate: the Game banned from DriveThru RPG said that he wanted the banning to set the standard and, "be the gatekeeper of the RPG world".

      These people are seeking to conquer our community, just as they have conquered the universities. Think it can't happen? IT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!!!!

      And that is why you should care about this game.

  7. Might be fun to do an underground railroad scenario under such a carefully crafted regime.

    Dungeon delving to provide safe places for dissidents and those that have been disfavored by the crown and its agents.

    Moving up to targeted raids on gulags and such. Maybe putting to rest the ghost of a poor cabin boy.

    Eventually, the players will have to defeat the big deer itself.

    1. You'd think that would be the game someone would have made. Who wants to play the Gestapo when one can be the Resistance fighter? There's a reason Star Wars defaults to PCs are Rebels, stormtroopers are bad guys.

    2. Sure, but there is also a reason why Pendragon defaults to PCs are Knights serving Arthur, robbers and raiders are bad guys.

    3. Again, though, I seriously doubt Greg Stafford actually believes that a system of divine-right via watery-tarts-throwing-swords is actually the ideal world for us today. Le Mort D'Arthur may have been a ham-fisted morality tale at the time (in what was a terribly war-torn society), but it's not seen that way by anyone anymore.

  8. Most people don't view King Arthur and Darth Vader as morally equivalent so your remark doesn't refute anything

  9. Being the law-enforcement thugs of a MONARCH as the default heroes of a supposed "Utopian" society? Anyone who has a "Sovereign" and gendarmes in an "Utopia" is actually desiring something very reactionary.

    1. Yup. But hey, remember, these are people who think Che Guevara was a hero and Castro's Cuba is a "paradise".