Blue Rose "Romantic Fantasy" game

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Blue Rose "Romantic Fantasy" game

Postby Chairman Aeon » Wed Jan 07, 2004 8:53 am

From the press release it sounds like a D&D inspired fantasy game that uses the damage save from MnM instead. But between the adjective "Romantic" and the title "Blue Rose", I'm wondering if it's some kind of Harlequin romance game where the equipment section is full of dresses and shoes. :-?

So what is this new OGL game?

Iain.
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Postby Steve Kenson » Wed Jan 07, 2004 9:03 am

Think along the lines of Mercedes Lackey's "Valdemar" fantasy books: sensitive telepaths, winged cats, animal companions, and such.
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Romantic Fantasy

Postby Merova » Thu Jan 08, 2004 10:58 am

Hi all!

I can't wait to get my hands on this game. This subgenre has been drastically overlooked by game publishers. I'm hoping that it'll widen the gaming audience by bringing in enthusiasts of "romantic fantasy," typically a female demographic.

Here are a few links for those of you interested in checking out this subgenre:

www.romanticsf.com

www.sfronline.com

BTW: let's avoid stereotyping a billion dollar industry with a larger readership than the entire mystery and SF/F genres combined, IIRC. There's more to romance fiction than dresses and shoes, just as there's more to fantasy fiction than swords and pointy wizard hats. Moreover, some of us have actually worked for Queen H, and don't really enjoy the implied slam. ;)

In any case, thanks for reading. Kudos to Green Ronin for creating a product that actually tries to reach out of the traditional gaming circles. :D

---Olivia
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Postby Chairman Aeon » Thu Jan 08, 2004 11:41 am

And no doubt Olivia my mother has indirectly given you some income. :wink:

Allow me to play devil's advocate for a second though.

Do girl's not play RPGs because there isn't a girl friendly RPG or is it that they aren't interested in the idea of RPGs? If a market is dominated by testosterone filled teenaged boys who can't deal with romance at all, then are we really surprised that this genre is relatively unexplored?

Back to discussion mode. I'm glad I read the posts on RPG.net before here. I could do with a game with more social interaction and less orc slaying. On some level a romantic RPG is going to face the same problems as the BoEF. Sure BoEF is shot on video with a cheesey synthesizer soundtrack, but MF, MM, FF, MF+ relations no matter how they are handled seem to wig-out the typical RPG buyer.

I personally don't have a problem with any of these things. I've role-played a day in the life of a tattoo artist whose world got stranger and stranger. The magic was the least of his worries compared to his "love" life. I'd like to play a game where I could own property (read: live somewhere) and interact with people while darkness descends.

We accept romance in LotR, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Matrix, ... The question is how does Green Ronin make a game that puts romance on equal footing with kicking ass and yet not weird out the homophobic 15-year old boy?

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Women & Roleplaying

Postby Merova » Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:39 am

Chairman Aeon wrote:Do girl's not play RPGs because there isn't a girl friendly RPG or is it that they aren't interested in the idea of RPGs? If a market is dominated by testosterone filled teenaged boys who can't deal with romance at all, then are we really surprised that this genre is relatively unexplored?


Hi all!

I think that the lack of a "girl friendly" RPG is a major turn-off to female participation in tabletop rpgs. Women are just as interested in playing "imagination" as men, at any age. Just check out the chat room roleplaying based off of soaps or romance-oriented properties; these freeform online rpgs are hugely popular. So why not at the table top?

In D&D, everything from the art to the play paradigm is male-oriented. Long and tedious rules for hacking your opposition, poor social simulation, and a total lack of rules for "community" building. Look at the "girl" games like Amber, Ars Magica, or the WoD line. These games take a step away from D&D in actual play implementation, and are therefore more friendly to "feminine" interests.

If a "fantasy romance" game had come out back in '84, I'm certain there would be many more women in this hobby. Look at the old TSR books, with their naked goddesses and "spider/module" artwork. I hated touching those things; barf me out!! ;) My sister, who was also a gamer back then, felt the same way. Where are the cute animal companions and pegasi and the crystal castles in the sky? They aren't there, because TSR had no interest in making even the slightest concession to female interests. Nope, we get cleavage shots of a succubi instead.

And that's why the market is dominated by males. Girls can go play with their Barbies and make up their own chase rules for Malibu Barbie and her pink convertible. The market has been stunted from its inception so that the only relevant demographic is male.

However, this game might be the breakthrough. There are many women out there who are interested in related subject matter, be it romantic fantasy fiction or shoujo manga or paranormal romance. Most women know how to roleplay, even if its only with dolls. It's my hope that this game can reach these women.

I want Chris Pramas to be a very rich man. :)

On some level a romantic RPG is going to face the same problems as the BoEF. Sure BoEF is shot on video with a cheesey synthesizer soundtrack, but MF, MM, FF, MF+ relations no matter how they are handled seem to wig-out the typical RPG buyer.


If this were a D&D game supplement on "adding romance" or "romantic fantasy elements" to your game, I'd agree with you. However, the Blue Rose is a stand alone game, which will entail its own play paradigm, much as Mutants & Masterminds does. People will buy this game because they are interested in its basic premise.

OFF TOPIC: Just how well has the BoEF sold? I know that it sold-out at GenCon SoCal, which indicates a certain level of interest, IMO, especially considering how much the product is bashed online.

We accept romance in LotR, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Matrix, ... The question is how does Green Ronin make a game that puts romance on equal footing with kicking ass and yet not weird out the homophobic 15-year old boy?


This product shouldn't be targetting the "geeks," and therefore doesn't need to deal with their screwed up sexual maturity. The health of this hobby lies in leaving the social misfits behind, or else it'll never grow beyond its (aging) current confines. Products like the Blue Rose are essential in expending the baseline tabletop roleplaying population.

Again, kudos to Green Ronin for having the guts to make this product. Thanks for reading. :D

---Olivia
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Postby Chairman Aeon » Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:47 pm

I'm well aware of girls being interested in role-playing, but are they interested in a tabletop game is really my question. D&D isn't a boy's game, it's a tiny faction of some boy's game.

My own personal take is that there is only a small fraction of people interested in table-top role-playing and probably equal in gender. AD&D was never aimed at me even though I was the target market. To this day I don't understand why people get interested in rolling initiative and beating up orcs in a highly ordered way. It isn't fair to say that all women don't like kicking orc ass in a very structured and methodical way.

Many of the games that you call girl friendly have all the aspects of D&D ass kicking, but I dare say they have a purpose for ass kicking. Amber, Ars Magica and especially WoD games are highly political, which usually means socially focussed. It's not that violence isn't even common in these games, but that there is a purpose beyond XP, gold and more ass-kicking power ... thouigh some psycho-analysts might disagree about questing for power.

What I really meant to ask by my opening question about women and RPGs is where does the cultural teaching influence and where does genetics influence? Chris and Steve seem really pumped about this game and I believe they are both biologically male. :wink: I don't think a game about romance or cuddle animal companions is going to attract girls to RPGing. There would have to be a sizable amount of women to introduce girls to the hobby at at the same time be a game that appeals to both teenaged boys and girls. (Whether you like it ot not, if the main market now doesn't buy into a game the life span will be brief.)

As for the need for a game like Blue Rose it should be interesting to see. How did HeartQuest do? It is a game that has a bit narrower focus (at least to westerners who think anime/manga are genres rather than mediums) and doesn't have the link to the best selling RPG. I still think that Blue Rose will be a game that sinks or swims by how the predominate market accepts it. That means do boys find the game worthwhile? Blue Rose could be the game that people play because their girlfriends or sisters will play, but it still needs to get some of the main RPG market.

Me personally, I'd love a game less focussed on 5-ft. steps and AoOs. I'd like social combat rules. I want to do big picture stuff, not clean out another orc infested dungeon. But I do want to get into duels for a Lady's honour and swing from chandeliers as well. If they can empower the feminine without neutering the masculine then the game will be a success. (And there is nothing wrong with a woman defending her own honour nor being a lecherous hire sword either.)

Off Topic: I'm not sure about the BoEF. I've never seen a real copy of it, but it seems to be selling quite well inspite of what I believe to be a homophobic backlash against sex in gaming. Why do I say homophobic, remember our target market. "Sex has no place in gaming." "Sex is OK, if it happens off screen." The problem with this is imagine we are taking about movies instead of RPGs. Same people wouldn't object to a Red Shoe Diaries marathon. "Why would I do something in a game I could do in real life?" There are a hell of a lot of things you do in RPGs that you do in real life, but no one ever complains about walking, eating ot sleeping in RPGs. No, the real peoblem is that people aren't comfortable talking about sex and even romance. Two teenaged boys tend to freak out at the thought of same sex PLAYERS being involved romantically or sexually.

Unfortunately Blue Rose by being a role-playing game IS being targetted at geeks. Luckily not all geeks are male and not all male geeks are interested in Medieval Psycho d20. Vampire, the WoD and LARPs were written by male geeks who weren't satisfied by slaying the dragon and getting the XP and gold. The female geeks around them said, that sounds neat I want play.

I'm sorry if I came across as belittling Blue Rose, but I was trying to cut through the P.R.ese and find out what the game really is. I really don't think there is a market for a Barbie RPG, but I do think there is room for more games that are socially based and have consequences for actions. More L5R and less Rokugan d20.

Iain.
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Postby Michael Heacock » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:35 pm

Steve Kenson wrote:Think along the lines of Mercedes Lackey's "Valdemar" fantasy books: sensitive telepaths, winged cats, animal companions, and such.

You're writing this? Oooh. It's bound to be good then.

You're the new rockstar of OGL development. :)
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Postby Strand0 » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:56 am

Michael Heacock wrote:
Steve Kenson wrote:Think along the lines of Mercedes Lackey's "Valdemar" fantasy books: sensitive telepaths, winged cats, animal companions, and such.
You're writing this? Oooh. It's bound to be good then.

You're the new rockstar of OGL development. :)
VALDEMAR!!! Holy prancing molely.
I read one of the trilogies. It is a pretty neat world. Good fantasy world AND romantic... :green:
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Postby Steve Kenson » Fri Jan 16, 2004 5:34 am

Michael Heacock wrote:You're writing this? Oooh. It's bound to be good then.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, however, I have nothing to do with the writing or development of Blue Rose beyond the fact that it uses the (Open Content) Damage saving throw from Mutants & Masterminds. Still, with folks like John Snead on the job, and Green Ronin's usual high standards, I'm sure it's going to be a cool game.
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I want this game...

Postby sammael » Mon Jan 26, 2004 2:34 am

I just finished reading Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and have been trying to figure out how I'd do it as an RPG...

this answers my question nicely.

sooooo.... when does it come out?
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Re: I want this game...

Postby Christina » Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:11 am

sammael wrote:sooooo.... when does it come out?


Looks like May 2004.
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Postby Voneth » Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:35 pm

"psychic powers"

If those are like the powers in either MnM or the Psychic Master Class, I'll have to look into this product when it comes out.
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Postby Devin Parker » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:15 pm

It's been interesting to read the debate on the topic. I've been of the opinion that the majority of harm done by RPG creators and gamers toward prospective female gamers has been the sexually objectified presentation of women in the gamebooks' artwork and in the sexist attitudes and antics of the socially inept. I don't think it's as much the subject matter of the game as it is the way in which the game is presented to the players by the GM (or, as I said, the illustrators, who have the often overlooked responsibility of presenting the first impression of the game to the person skimming the book at the store).

As long as a game has an interesting premise and the capability to create dramatic stories, I think the appeal is fairly universal. Create a good game, and people of both sexes will play it, provided they're introduced to it in the right way. There may be those who might prefer only games which emphasize romantic relationships, just as there are those who prefer only games which emphasize combat, but I'm not so certain that it would be accurate to divide that preference by sex.

Of course, my opinions have been formed on the basis of my experiences gaming with both males and females. Perhaps if RPGs had begun a bit differently, as has been suggested, the current pool of female gamers might be considerably different in that respect. I don't know. All I know is that I game with women who were introduced to the hobby by their husbands, and who generally get more bloodthirsty than the men! :yar:

Blue Rose looks cool to me. I'm a 30-year old Caucasian straight male. I don't care for Mercedes Lackey's books at all. I've never read anything by the other authors mentioned, nor (to be completely honest) am I particularly inclined to. It's just not a genre I get into that much - like Furries or High School freeform RPGs.

I'm drawn to Blue Rose by the beauty of the cover illustration (I'll admit, I've liked Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's work ever since I first saw it on "Castle Marrach") and the stated premise of the game: "Blue Rose is a roleplaying game of romantic fantasy... The game focuses on heroic and good-hearted characters working together to defend the enlightened kingdom of Aldis from harm. Most characters have at least minor psychic powers and some have intelligent magical animals as their devoted allies."

That sounds like the makings of a fun and engaging game. It's not all that different from the average fantasy RPG introduction (Heroes Defending The Kingdom), but the subtle emphases are enticing to me. Just as the average movie usually has some romantic subplot, I'd like to see similar things in games. I've also been taken with the idea of making social interactions and non-combat skill uses as interesting and exciting as physical combat, as has been done in books such as Dynasties & Demagogues.

Bringing up the artwork again, I think it's very significant that the cover depicts a woman fully-clothed and competent without being stripped of femininity or drenched in overt sexuality. She's presented as someone you could respect; as a main protagonist. I think there's a lot to be said about that alone in attracting women to the game, but it attracts me, too.

Now, granted, there are other aspects of the illustration which suggests a different kind of game than the average d20 fantasy - the lack of a combat scene or indeed weapons of any kind is almost jarring on a d20 book. Instead, it speaks of a game involving mystery, beauty, and magic - not of the Slinging Fireballs kind, but the Fairy Tale Atmosphere kind, which can be beautiful and entrancing but also haunting, manipulative, and ultimately very, very dangerous.

[Of course, now that I think about it, there are numerous comparisons I could make to Green Knight's Pendragon RPG, which also emphasizes courtly romance, defending an enlightened kingdom, and so on. As has been said, I've noticed a fair amount of women drawn to this game as well as games like Ars Magica, which don't simultaneously repel male players. This convinces me of the truth of the "well-written game = audience of healthy amounts of both sexes" theory.]

Like I said, it looks very cool. And psychic powers, to boot! Groovy!
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Postby Bard » Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:01 pm

Ahh, a game that semi-emulates Valdemar, that should be interesting.

However, I have a concern. I've heard in the past that Lackey is notoriously protective of her property rights when it comes to the Valdemar stuff, to the point where, from what I've heard, noone has dared attempt to touch the setting with a ten foot pole (...I refuse to make Hawkbrother/Shin'a'in puns...). Though a friend did tell me a few years back that she'd said that if she WAS going to liscence out the setting, it would be to SJG and GURPS. Of course, I could be incorrect and things may have changed.

Still...sign me up for a talking horse and "Shoot-Me-Now" uniform.

::ponders:: Has it really been THAT long since I read the books? Good golly. I wonder if I ever got my copy of "Magic's Pawn" back...
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Re: Romantic Fantasy

Postby Voneth » Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:09 am

Merova wrote:Hi all!

I can't wait to get my hands on this game. This subgenre has been drastically overlooked by game publishers. I'm hoping that it'll widen the gaming audience by bringing in enthusiasts of "romantic fantasy," typically a female demographic.

---Olivia


Actually, I thought it was more the "Ren-fair/Camelot" enthusists/fan as compared to female. LOL!
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Postby Bard » Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:48 am

Y'know, pondering...

...I wonder if this game will be built with the M&M points-based creation system. If the setting is something more like Valdemar, though, I suppose that classes would make complete sense (Mage, Herald, Bard, Healer, Soldier, Noble, Rogue...that's about all i can think of, and I think covers just about everything).

Still. It's going to be using the M&M damage system, at least, which is cool and will definitly make the game less hack-and-slash-like.
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Postby Michael Heacock » Fri Feb 06, 2004 12:35 pm

Of all the games that could benefit from M&M's combat system, I'm not sure why they picked Blue Rose. Why does a romantic fantasy game require a "fast and furious" combat system?
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Postby Voneth » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:27 pm

Bard wrote:Y'know, pondering...

...I wonder if this game will be built with the M&M points-based creation system.

Still. It's going to be using the M&M damage system, at least, which is cool and will definitly make the game less hack-and-slash-like.


I could be wrong, but I think GR will stick to regular classes for character creation. For one reason, I think don't want to completely scare off D&D players. THe second is that as it stands, M&M's character creation need a firm hand from the GM to work at lower levels. Without several "No"s in place there's a few loopholes.

On the other hand, using M&M damage system is going to really clean up the weapons charts. :)
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Re: Women & Roleplaying

Postby Sulimo » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:38 pm

Merova wrote:
Chairman Aeon wrote:Do girl's not play RPGs because there isn't a girl friendly RPG or is it that they aren't interested in the idea of RPGs? If a market is dominated by testosterone filled teenaged boys who can't deal with romance at all, then are we really surprised that this genre is relatively unexplored?


Hi all!

I think that the lack of a "girl friendly" RPG is a major turn-off to female participation in tabletop rpgs. Women are just as interested in playing "imagination" as men, at any age. Just check out the chat room roleplaying based off of soaps or romance-oriented properties; these freeform online rpgs are hugely popular. So why not at the table top?


Of course, as with any game at least partially targeted at groups outside the hobby, how do you reach them? are we going to see adverts in the back of romantic fantasy novels for instance? or in magazines targeting romance readers?

In D&D, everything from the art to the play paradigm is male-oriented. Long and tedious rules for hacking your opposition, poor social simulation, and a total lack of rules for "community" building.


I guess I'm showing my maleness here, but I don't feel I need rules for social interaction.
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Re: Women & Roleplaying

Postby Bard » Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:03 pm

Sulimo wrote:
I guess I'm showing my maleness here, but I don't feel I need rules for social interaction.


I tend to agree. The best rules I've seen for social interaction are in White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theater LARP system. Other than that...I dunno. I have yet to see a dice-based mechanic that really gives a roleplaying reflection of social interaction.
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Postby timemrick » Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:15 pm

Blue Rose is for a genre I'm rather indifferent to, but I have many women friends who are diehard gamers and are also very much into the sort of books this is based on. Some of them got very excited when I forwarded the product page link to them. One wants it just for the cover art, even if she doesn't like the game. :) And this may be just the book to finally push my wife into trying her hand at GMing (because she will want to play it, and I seriously doubt that I could do it justice).
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Postby Strand0 » Sun Feb 08, 2004 3:04 am

timemrick wrote:Blue Rose is for a genre I'm rather indifferent to, but I have many women friends who are diehard gamers and are also very much into the sort of books this is based on. Some of them got very excited when I forwarded the product page link to them. One wants it just for the cover art, even if she doesn't like the game. :) And this may be just the book to finally push my wife into trying her hand at GMing (because she will want to play it, and I seriously doubt that I could do it justice).
Hum? :)
:idea: Maybe, women will be more likely to GM a game like this.
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Postby Chairman Aeon » Sun Feb 08, 2004 11:20 am

Michael Heacock wrote:Of all the games that could benefit from M&M's combat system, I'm not sure why they picked Blue Rose. Why does a romantic fantasy game require a "fast and furious" combat system?


Assuming that combat is not the focus of the game, M&M combat rarely lasts more than 3 rounds with equal opponents, much less if unequal. In Blue Rose it will probably come down to the first person to fail their Damage Save loses. Combat basically becomes a short series of opposed rolls much like social rolls are in D&D. No more one and a half hour slogfests. Combats will take 5 to 10 minutes at the most then back to the story.

Proving that superhero comics are just soap operas for men. ;)

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Looking Forward to it

Postby warhound » Fri Feb 13, 2004 3:52 pm

I'm an occasional fan of Mercedes Lackey and am looking forward to this several reasons.

For one it seems there has been a trend in a a lot of gaming groups (or maybe its always been this way and I just never noticed) to play dark characters that are less than heroic. I understand the roleplaying allure of doing so, but I think it might be refreshing to play in a game that sounds like it is designed for the good guys.

I would also like to see more romance and character development in games. Oddly enough some of the most satisfying games I ever GMd or played in were with a gaming group in my mid teens when we actually did get into some really romantic storylines, and again in my mid 20s when I had a girlfriend that loved the Shadowrun and game and we had many emotional and sensual overtones to our games. Now that I am in my mid 30s I seem to have a harder time loosening up and brigning that kind of emotional content into things. Maybe a game like this will help me recapture a bit of that. It was great really thinking of the characters in the game as, well, characters, not just a collection of ability scores. It was such a rewarding experience to delve deeply into the lives and relationships of the characters. It made the other parts of the game a lot more intense when you were fighting for something with an emotional value tied to it, instead of just another piece of loot or the chance to level.

As others have stated it may also be a way to finally persuade my wife to GM somehting. The real problem I have with something like this coming out is the likelihood I will get to run it, but never get a chance to play myself.
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Game Mechanics

Postby warhound » Fri Feb 13, 2004 4:58 pm

My only experience with Green Ronin so far has been Mutants and Masterminds, but since I started running that game I've been toying with the idea of using their combat system in a fantasy setting.

If you look at a lot of the great fantasy epics and movies you often have great battles where the heroes slog through countless oppnents in fairly rapid fashion, and only have truly difficult combat when confronted with the leaders or main villians. The MM system really supports this type of action. You just don't see it in most D&D games where anything that can be easily defeated usually isn't worth the experience to try.

This may seem at odds with my earlier post and the intended mood of the game, but I don't think it is. Having a game with more emotional and social contentt does not rule out having great combats and melees, hopefully it just means the fgithing will not be the goal itself and the mechanics won't bog down the storyline.
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