Monday, March 15, 2010

Black Rose, Replies

It's reader participation day at The Other Side.  Here are some replies to my "Black Rose" posts.


Rhonin84 said...


The land that the Queen rules over is the last bastion of light besieged on all sides by the encroaching darkness, all of her allies are gone defeated in the wars to stave off the darkness.

Her dreams at night are haunted by a figure that is intoxicating and terrifying, this Dark Lord wants her for his queen, it's a dream that she has had for some time and the fortune tellers tell her that she has lived this before....

Just a thought with some imagery for you to chew on!

Greg: I agree. Aldea is the last bastion of light in an otherwise dark world.  But more importantly to the plot it is something for the characters to fight for, as opposed to fighting against the darkness.  Of course I like the idea of the Dark Lord haunting her dreams.  It can easily be anyone, but the best choice is obviously Strahd.

seaofstarsrpg said...


Very interesting, sounds like a good match.

Though I think I would make dark dreams and nightmare a constant sub-theme in this campaign

Agreed.  In order to do this well there would need to be a slow build up of darkness. Punctuated by increasingly dark dreams and nightmares.  There is so much that can be done with this.

 Ka-Blog! said...

I'm not that familiar with Blue Rose (I was more intrigued with the True 20 aspect), but I understood the romance influence on it.

I am a fan of Ravenloft, but was always stymied by:
- what the PCs do during the day time (sleep, I suppose); and
- isn't it monotonous to know that the big bad is someone you can't defeat (because he's a dark lord) and you live on his land?

The merging of the two gives some space for PCs to retreat and recuperate, and allows greater contrast when PCs must fight the dark lord on his own turf..
Yes.  Though in most cases I do not want them to fight the Dark Lord of the land, instead maybe figure out how to undermine their power.   In some cases I would want them to "free" the land's Dark Lord, to find out what is the source of the evil and stop it.  Thus freeing the lord to go on to whatever afterlife awaits them while their lands slowly dissolve back into the mists.  I want this to be more of a thinking game than a fighting one.  Not that there won't be fighting. There will.  The big issues are going to need a different tactic.
Like Rhonin said above, Aldea would be a "safe haven" for the PCs, but the mists might not always let them return.

 P. S. Mangus said...

This is a very cool idea. Personally, I never gave Blue Rose a proper chance. In hindsight I should have taken a harder look at the system, and over looked the problems I had with the background of the game. Ravenloft has always been a favorite of mine. I especially liked Masque of the Red Death, and felt it was a stroke of genius when it came out. Of course I could never get anyone to actually play it. Looking back at it now, MotRD was ahead of its time.

I never had the problems others did with Blue Rose.  I always felt it was like a dreamscape setting.  Yes there was this too-good-to-be-true kingdom with modern sensibilities and an extremely accepting culture.  But everything around them was dark and sinister.  They thing is that is a perfect backdrop for a Ravenloft game.  I am not wanting to do "Grim Dark Blue Rose", I am keeping pretty much everything in Blue Rose intact and I want characters to explore interpersonal relationships.  I want loves and loss and love again.  I think that this is an important part of what makes Blue Rose a good game.  Ravenloft though gives me something else and something that is not wholly incompatible with Blue Rose.  The Dreamscape is still there, but now it is tainted, a blacker on the edges.  This is done to make "Blue Rose" parts of the game shine even more.
The fictional tradition behind Blue Rose is struggling to discover yourself in the world and your own inner strength.  The tradition behind Black Rose would be struggling to discover yourself in the world, beset by horrors, and your own inner strength to defeat them.

BlUsKrEEm said...



I'm very impressed with how well thought out the setting / rules for this idea are. I would play or run this in a heart beat (if my player would give it a chance that is.) Thanks for sharing.
Thanks,  It is something I have been thinking about pretty much ever since I picked up Blue Rose years ago.  I never liked the feel of the d20 mechanics for Modern games, and True 20 seemed to be a better fit.  Likewise I was not thrilled with the d20 Ravenloft, though I did enjoy both Ravenloft and D&D 3 a lot.  True 20 (and Unisystem for that matter) seemed to be a better fit for the kinds of things I wanted to do in Ravenloft.  Same with Blue Rose.


Thaumiel Nerub said...


Idea is good. I personally think, that Blue Rose is way too cheesy for me. Adding a bit "black" to the palette would suit me well. You could concider also characters. They must aswell melt in the world. Otherwise it's just this background story where heroes do their job. Character's must also represent this "Black Rose" theme. Character's aren't necessarily those knights in shining armors or they even could be, but in every character there must be something tragic. Sounds a bit emo, but well, goth is that. Dark secrets, revenge, lust, depression.
I think that usually in fantasy games character's biggest goal is to "win" the plot GM gives for players like killing the evil dude or something. But even if in this Black Rose setting there is that "big evil", I think you could get more out of it, if there is also personal problems within characters. Some might be touched by darkness what is infecting him slowly and he is hiding it realising, he would be Shadowspawn soon (no cure, or it wouldn't be tragic). Knight who was not betrayed but was betrayer himself. Wizard who is eager for power, and knows the best mojo is in evil magic.
They all are heroes, they save the world, but in the same time they are tragic characters and the line between good and evil is thin.
Again, I liked Blue Rose from the start, but I do see why others didn't.
You are correct about the characters.  But I think instead of darkness, the characters need to harbor that self-doubt and humility that is often absent from characters.  Yes it does tend to skew things towards Emo, but I am not trying to play a game full of self-doubts and dark personal secrets.  Characters should be more fully flushed out than a "barbarian, and I hit things".   For example a member of the Royal Guard trying to live up to her father's expectations.  Or a witch, pretending to be something else so she is not discovered practicing "foul" magics, even though she is Light aligned.

I think the take away from all of this is players in a Black Rose game would need to spend quite a bit of time thinking about who their characters are, what are their hopes and fears, and then ask the important question of "when the Queen calls on you to fight the darkness how will you respond?"

The other half of this though is also finding players that would want to play this style of game.  My kids are too young really to do this now and my semi-regular group might not find this all that interesting.  Plus we get a full amount of horror RPGing in with our Ghosts of Albion games.

Maybe I should try it as a one-shot someday.  Or use it as a prototype for some other games I have in mind.

2 comments:

Rhonin84 said...

I agree the kids are way too young and as you said if we are doing this style then Albion here we come! Now I saw your witch comment and what came to me was a character that comes from a long line of witches but she has no connection to the way, she instead is a divine spellcaster, her connection to a deity that she has chosen...something different.

Tim Brannan said...

Very true. To do Black Rose proper I would want to keep what is best about both games intact and the kids are not ready for all that yet.

Now as far as adapting these ideas to Ghosts of Albion: Well Aldea is not exactly England either. Plus Ghosts is my cross section of historical horror, kick ass supernatural and unisystem. Black Rose is my fantastic horror mixed with D&D. There is some overlap, but not as much as I would like.

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