In 2005, Green Ronin was looking to do new things with the Open Game License, following on the success of projects like Death in Freeport, Book of the Righteous, and Mutants & Masterminds. One of these things was a different take on the fantasy genre, not the “swords & sorcery” or “epic saga” style of most fantasy roleplaying games (including the then recently revived Dungeons & Dragons) but a game and setting emulating the style of “romantic” fantasy, focused on journeys of self-discovery, finding your place in the world, and protecting a good and worthwhile society―a world of psychic gifts, wondrous mythology, friendship, and cooperation for the good of all. This was the genesis of the world of Aldea and the Blue Rose RPG.
The first edition of Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy drew a lot of attention―and not all of it positive. Some found its take on the fantasy genre refreshing, while others found it confusing, even threatening. The game took bold steps forward in terms of inclusion, such as gay, bi, and polyamorous characters, and gender equality, and weaving those themes into the society and mythology of the world itself, along with themes of cooperation and individuality, good and evil, and adventures beyond the “dungeon.”
The Blue Rose Companion and World of Aldea sourcebooks rounded out the game and its setting, and Blue Rose spun-off the popular True20 game system and its sourcebooks and settings as well, before Green Ronin turned its attention to other projects. Now, ten years after the initial publication of Blue Rose, we want to take romantic fantasy―and the world of Aldea―to the next step in their development.
The AGE of Blue Rose
Our new edition of Blue Rose looks to match its fantastic world with the critically acclaimed Adventure Game Engine or “AGE” System used to power Green Ronin's Dragon Age tabletop RPG adaptation, also seen in the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook and Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana on Geek & Sundry's web series of the same name. The new edition of Blue Rose will contain all of the rules you need to play the game, along with all of the key information about the world of Aldea, its nations, characters, and conflicts―everything you need to create your own stories and adventures.
So why Kickstart a new edition of Blue Rose now? When Green Ronin began the process of turning AGE into a stand-alone game system for supporting multiple settings, one of the first we thought of was Blue Rose, a fantasy world that had something different to offer, that could in turn expand the options available in the game system to include psychic powers and a focus on character motivations and inner struggles, among other things.
We also felt that we could improve Blue Rose. A lot has changed in gaming―and society―in the ten years since the original edition of the game was published. A new edition for the AGE system offers us a great opportunity to carry forward the setting's ideas with the advantage of a decade of hindsight and new understanding, as well as player feedback.
Most important, we feel that games like Blue Rose are needed. Awareness of the importance of representation and inclusion in the hobby and the industry has grown in recent years. Now publishers need to follow-through on that increased awareness and deliver games that help to fulfill its promise. That's what we're looking to do with this Kickstarter so, if you agree, we would really appreciate your support.
We are offering the Blue Rose RPG in two formats. At the Kickstarter’s launch, we promised a 192 page book, but that has been expanded by stretch goals. At the moment the new Blue Rose RPG is 260-page hardback, full color book with a poster map and it can get even bigger and better!
The Standard Edition at launch is a softback book with a black and white interior. If we hit enough stretch goals, it will become a full color hardback. This version will be available through distribution and stores after Kickstarter backers are shipped their copies and will remain in print.
Update: Thanks to stretch goals, the Standard Edition will now be hardback and full color!
The Special Edition is a deluxe version of Blue Rose. It features a blue leatherette hardcover, a ribbon bookmark, and a full color interior. This version is a Kickstarter exclusive, so it will not be available after the close of this campaign.
Update: The Special Edition will now also include a dust jacket featuring the new Stephanie Law cover art.
Important Note: Shipping!
We are going to be charging shipping separately next year when the books are ready. In our previous Kickstarters, we tried to keep it simple with just a few standard shipping costs but this has proved a poor way to handle it. International shipping can be brutal and in too many cases we were paying much more to ship than we collected for it. So next year, about a month from shipping, we will assess and collect actual shipping costs (using Backerkit or something similar). The upside is that you don’t need to pay the full cost now; books now, shipping next year.
We also want to point out that the Blue Rose Standard Edition will be sold through distribution and into game stores after backers get their books. If you are concerned that shipping is going to be too expensive, be aware that the Kickstarter will not be the only way you can get the game. If you can get it from your local game store and save yourself a lot on shipping, that’s a totally reasonable decision to make. There are also special tiers of the Kickstarter for retailers, so you can also talk to your local store and find out if they'll be bringing in books that way.
Our stretch goals for this project are about making the final book bigger and better. Basically, the better the campaign does, the more value you get in the finished game. With the exception of the Fate Blue Rose Companion and The Steam Age, all stretch goals add to the game itself--they are not separate PDFs!
We've reached out to some talented designers to act as stretch goals as well. They are offering things like new micro settings and series frameworks. This are described briefly in this section and then in further detail down below. If the campaign goes well, we will be adding more of these.
UNLOCKED: We will add new introductory adventure to the game.
UNLOCKED: Designer John Snead will write the Forest Kingdom of Wyss micro setting.
UNLOCKED: We will commission a brand new cover painting from Stephanie Pui-mun Law, the amazing artist who did all three previous Blue Rose covers.
UNLOCKED: Designer Crystal Frasier will detail the laeyvel, embodied souls beyond the more common expressions of male and female in Aldea.
UNLOCKED: We will expand coverage of The Theocracy of Jarzon by 8 pages.
UNLOCKED: Designer Jeb Boyt will write a series framework called A Game of Thorns and detail the Pirate Isles.
UNLOCKED: We will make both versions of the game full color throughout!
UNLOCKED: Designer F. Wesley Schneider will write the Orchard of Tears micro setting.
UNLOCKED: We will expand coverage of the Kingdom of Kern by 8 pages.
UNLOCKED: Designer Anna Kreider will write the Klydon micro setting.
UNLOCKED: We will expand coverage of the Plains of Rezea by 8 pages.
UNLOCKED: Designer Alejandro Melchor will write a series framework called A Rose Amidst the Thorns.
UNLOCKED: We will make the Standard Edition of Blue Rose a sturdy hardcover.
UNLOCKED: Designer Andy Peregrine will write a series framework called The Wedding Planners.
UNLOCKED: We will expand coverage of the Roamers by 8 pages.
UNLOCKED: We will include a poster map of the setting.
UNLOCKED: Designer Kira Magrann will write a series framework called The Honor of the Rose.
UNLOCKED: We will expand coverage of the Matriarchy of Lar’tya by 8 pages.
UNLOCKED: Designer Richard Bellingham will write The Red Land micro setting.
UNLOCKED: We will add a 16 page booklet to the GM Screen with pre-generated characters you can use to get a game going in a snap.
UNLOCKED: We will make the poster map double sided. One side will feature a map of the World of Aldea and the other a detailed map of the Kingdom of Aldis.
We will increase the GM Screen booklet to 32 pages and add a new adventure to it. If we reach this goal, we'll also give a PDF of the booklet and screen to backers at the Aldin Guard tier and above.
Designer John Snead will write The Steam Age, a possible steampunk future for the World of Aldea. This will be released separately as a 32 page PDF.
We will produce a Fate Blue Rose Companion by Brian Engard and Clark Valentine, the authors of our popular Fate Freeport Companion. Backers at the Aldin Guard tier and above will get a PDF as part of their rewards.
UNLOCKED: Designer Elsa S. Henry will write the adventure The Quiet Knights.
UNLOCKED: Designer Shoshana Kessock will write the series framework The Rhydan’s Journey.
Stretch Goal Details
The setting material our freelance designers have pitched to us is detailed below. Each one of these would be roughly 2000 words long (The Steam Age and the Fate Blue Rose Companion excepted), and expand the World of Aldea in a new way. The micro settings are regions reachable through shadow gates that can provide new places to explore.
Richard Bellingham: The Red Land
During the Shadow Wars, a group of desperate refugees fled from their kingdom's growing corruption through a Shadowgate. Instead of delivering them to a distant part of Aldea, the gate opened up in a foreign and inhospitable place of rock, sand, and unremitting, glaring red sunlight. They used the scant technologies they fled with to establish a place where they could live, if not thrive, and have been eking out a harsh and difficult life ever since. The exigencies of their situation throughout the hundreds of years that have passed since the Shadow War have caused them to become ruthlessly efficient and utilitarian. The weak must be purged, the strong must reproduce, and all must obey the current Matriarch.
The Matriarch acts through her Elites, paragons of mental and physical fitness who are trained in the use of the technologies required to maintain and create life despite the harshness of The Red Land. Beneath them all citizens are equal, and any who cannot contribute to society is expected to end their own life or accept that it will be ended for them. The young are raised communally and sentimental family attachments are forbidden. Life here is a matter of cold, hard calculus and emotion is a confounding factor that leads to irrational, suboptimal decisions.
The return of the Shadowgate is dreaded and hoped for in equal measure. The Matriarch and her advisers know that if they can call it to return it is the key to their escape to the Promised Land... but they also know that the Shadowgate could open one day and spew forth a tide of darkness and corruption that will destroy them all. And if the gate should appear and apparently friendly folk step forth, the Matriarch will likely cast them in the role of villain. She is not eager to relinquish her power, for it is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.
Jeb Boyt: A Game of Thorns & The Pirate Isles
Even in the Kingdom of the Blue Rose, there are shadows where discontent and envy thrive. In these shadows lurk the Thorns of the Blue Rose. Jeb Boyt will offer a series framework of intrigue between dissatisfied nobles, ambitious merchants, foreign powers, the Silence (Aldis’ criminal syndicate), and other factions. Through plots and intrigues, these groups seek to advance their interests and undermine the Blue Rose Court. This framework will offer guidelines and rules for running a campaign of rogues, smugglers, spies, and con men who are more interested in their own well-being than the well-being of Aldis. Jeb will also detail the pirate islands, home to rogues and refugees from throughout Aldea.
Crystal Frasier: The Laeyvel
Crystal Frasier details the laeyvel, embodied souls “beyond the Loom of Braniel and Maurenna” and therefore beyond the more common expressions of male and female in Aldea. Whether they truly recall some spark of the divine Eternal Dance or the introspection their personal journeys broadens their mortals senses, laeyvel are more aware of the spiritual world. This grants many the opportunity to learn and develop powerful arcana, but also makes them targets for the forces of Shadow. Many laeyvel bond together for mutual aid and defense, and use their gifts to seek out those who share their potential, to protect and teach new generations.
Elsa S. Henry: The Quiet Knights
The Quiet Knights are the ones who fight monsters others can't. Whether it's the Sirens on the Sea who sing terrible songs, or spiders whose silent movements are felt but not heard--they are the ones who are called to do the fighting.
The Quiet Knights live without hearing, sometimes without sight, but they fight all the same. This adventure is written for players who want a different experience: disabled knights fighting for their country. In this adventure, Elsa S. Henry invites players to join the world of the disabled, and adventure in the world of Blue Rose with a new perspective.
Shoshana Kessock: The Rhydan’s Journey
Shoshana Kessock brings you tales of the animal citizens of Aldis, the rhydan. This series framework helps you tell the story of these telepathic animals as they first become aware of themselves and set out to join with human society. Players will get a chance to play an all-rhydan group, exploring the world through an animal’s eyes, as they seek to discover what their new lives hold among human beings. For some, it might mean adventure, while for others, the dream must be to achieve a rhy-bond and make a friend that will last forever. But once awakened, all of Aldis is opened before the rhydan, and new mysteries and adventures await out of the wild and on the road to their new future.
Anna Kreider: Klydon
Anna Kreider presents Klydon, a micro setting for Blue Rose. This is a distant empire that recently discovered a shadow gate. Almost immediately, Klydon found itself under attack by enemies that wanted to capture the ancient and powerful artifact that controls it. Alien creatures with the power to change shape and assume a variety of forms, their initial attack through the shadow gate caught Klydon by surprise, and many of the alien shifters vanished into the populace, where it is suspected that they are infiltrating Klydon society.
Kira Magrann: The Honor of the Rose
The Knights of the Blue Rose are an elite military force who work in tandem with their brave mounts to protect the great city of Aldis. Known for their shining heavy armor and minds as sharp as their swords, these Knights are terrifying to any who would oppose them. The Knights of the Blue Rose protect not only the residents of Aldis but also the integrity of their beloved city. Following a strict code of honor and forging deep bonds with their fellow knights are essential to their order. Developing meaningful relationships with two other Knights, and no one else, strengthens their desire to protect those they love and fight harder as a united force. Often for these Knights, drawing their sword is seen as a last course of action, after all other words have failed. Love Before Blood. Death Before Disloyalty. They hold many secrets of the realm close to their chest. The Knights know more than most how close the shadowspawn have come before, how dangerous the Lich King's army is, and how hard they fight to keep the balance in check. They would die before seeing Aldis fall, and pledge themselves in devoted service, taking no greater love than the City herself.
Alejandro Melchor: A Rose Amidst the Thorns
Alejandro Melchor presents a series framework set during the darkest days of Aldea. Even in the Empire of Thorns, the spirit of Light endured. Many rebelled against the tyrannical rule of the Sorcerer Kings, living in hidden settlements, discovering and rediscovering the wisdom of the Old Kingdom, encoding the Eternal Dance into minor dances, and teaching those of true heart and stalwart spirit, spreading the seeds of dissent. Long before the Sovereign's Finest was created, the Society of Grass and Wood gathered these rebels and revolutionaries into a loose network of small sects, bands, and posses. The Society brought together scholars, bandits, adepts, and adventurers, forming and breaking alliances and bonds borne of friendship, loyalty, and love, hiding their powers in folk song and dance, making their bodies and minds into weapons against Shadow.
Andy Peregrine: The Wedding Planners
Andy Peregrine offers a series framework that follows a group of characters who travel the land offering their services for weddings. They do not just provide music and entertainment, but priests to officiate, adepts to create wondrous effects, and warriors to safeguard the affair, if required. There is more to this troupe than meets the eye, for each has sworn to serve love itself through devotion to the gods. They are led by cryptic signs to find those who need their help. There are challenges aplenty to overcome but, in the end, love triumphs—even if it does occasionally rely on a little outside help.
F. Wesley Schneider: The Orchard of Tears
F. Wesley Schneider presents the Orchard of Tears, a ghostly forest setting that collects tragedies, the memories of the broken hearted, and the most sentimental of ghost stories. A grove of gray birch mysteriously appears, lingers for a day or so, and then vanishes. Those who enter find a glen or valley where the final days of a tragedy repeatedly play out. Those who pass through the Orchard of Tears may learn the secrets of tragedies long forgotten, visit painful moments from their own pasts, or seek to solve mysteries or heal scars. Whatever the case, no one emerges from the pale grove unchanged.
John Snead: The Forest Kingdom of Wyss
Blue Rose author John Snead offers the setting of the Forest Kingdom of Wyss. Its inhabitants live in harmony with nature to a degree even visitors from Alids may find strange, shaping homes from living trees and gathering food without harm to any living thing. Although distrustful of outsiders, the mysterious inhabitants of the forest are occasionally willing to meet and trade with them, and the people of Wyss are under threat from the nearby Shadow Barrens, and even their arcane secrets and alliances with nature may not be enough to withstand the unnatural forces.
John Snead: The Steam Age
This setting variant describes a possible future of the world of Aldea, when Aldis begins to embrace industrialization. It includes versions of Aldis, Rezea, Jarzon, Kern, and Lar'tya in the new era. Now, clean but productive factories employ a growing number of the inhabitants of Aldis' cities, while airships and steamships carry Aldin merchants across the world. However, the new and powerful steam-age technologies have also created new challenges.
Humans and rhydan within the Pavin Weald fear the spread of advanced technology into the countryside and the continued growth of cities will destroy their way of life. Jarzon struggles to compete with Aldis and must rely on smoke-belching factories and unsafe coal mines instead of more advanced arcane technologies. Reports of the return of Kern's lich-king, thought destroyed long ago, may be true as Kern's undead have begun venturing forth from their caverns and citadels and this land's fragile and divided peace may be at an end.
Aldis' increasingly urban populace has already obtained a voice in the government, but a growing number of citizens are demanding even greater representation. Nobles, diplomats, and merchants are also attempting to balance the benefits to Aldis of freely trading their industrial products with other nations and the risks of this trade destabilizing those societies and governments. Meanwhile, in Jarzon some of the urban poor have been begun experimenting with unlicensed arcane technologies, creating a black market and supplying some groups of dissidents. Several cities have already seen large protests and riots, and Jarzon may soon face a popular uprising.
GM Screen Add-on!
We will be making a GM screen to go with the new Blue Rose RPG. This will be a three-panel screen with Stephanie Pui-mun Law's beautiful art on one side and handy reference material on the other. Like our Dragon Age and Mutants & Masterminds screens, it will be made of same material as hardback books covers, so it'll be super sturdy. There's a mock-up below, so you can get the idea.
If you want a GM screen, just increase your pledge by $15. It's that easy!
Blue Rose Pendant Add-on!
We've teamed up with our friends at Campaign Coins to offer a Blue Rose pendant (based on the rose and hart art shown below) as an add-on. This will be a real metal pendant with an antique finish, measuring 45mm diameter (1.75 inches). It will come with a 75cm chain. You can see an example pendant Campaign Coins did for another client below. Ours will be similar but with Blue Rose iconography.
If you'd like a Blue Rose pendant, simply add $15 to your pledge. They will be shipped to you from Australia and that $15 includes postage (for the pendant only, to be clear).
Risks and challenges
This is Green Ronin’s fifth Kickstarter. Three have been fulfilled and the game for the fourth is on a ship from China as we speak. We’ve also been in business for 15 years and we know how to put together RPG books. There is no danger that Blue Rose won’t be finished and released.
The place we have struggled on previous Kickstarters is lateness. They have all been completed later than we wanted for various reasons. Our plan this time is simply to give ourselves more time to put the whole thing together. Our scheduled release date is August of 2016. This gives us over a year make Blue Rose, and Steve Kenson is already at work. Since we’re adapting an existing game system (AGE) that should also speed things along. We always strive for quality first though. As we like to say, a late game is only late until it ships but a bad game is bad forever.
You can find our previous Kickstarters under the account of Chris Pramas: Green Ronin Publishing. I am running this one to give Chris a break. :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)