I’m taking Autocratik’s RPGaDAY topics out of order. My favourite RPG that no one else wants to play was also one of my convention purchases, Blue Rose, designed by John Snead, Jeremy Crawford, Dawn Elliot, Steve Kenson and John Snead.
Welcome to the world of Blue Rose, a fantastic reality where brave women and men, gifted with arcane powers, live and work side-by-side with intelligent animal companions. The heroes of the peaceful Kingdom of Aldis strive to uphold the ideals of fairness, justice, and equality, while protecting their homeland against its aggressive neighbors.
From the free Blue Rose Fast Play Rules download.
It was the first game to use what become the True20 system, based on the Open Game License from Wizards of the Coast; a sort of d20 light. But what really draws me to the game is the setting. If you aren’t familiar with the genre of Romantic Fantasy, John Snead offers some good background. I was drawn in by the artwork and opening fiction, and then started reading the novels cited in the inspired by sidebar; series like Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar and Vows and Honor. These stories feature societies of high ideals, and heroes who work as part of a larger effort, against aggressors without and corruption within. They feature magic, psychic abilities, intelligent animals, and romantic connections among characters.
Some criticize the heavy hand with which liberal social ideals are venerated. I heard them called “wish fulfillment rather than fantasy.” But to me, there’s something powerful about the emotional weight of the stories, with their emphasis on connectedness and hope, honor and sacrifice.
I’m not sure d20 is particularly suited to this kind of storytelling. The game does implement a light and dark nature attribute for characters, as well as a corruption mechanic for those who dabble in foul sorcery. But I have yet to actually play it. I still cling to the hope that someday, I’ll find a group of fellow romantics who will indulge me.