Thursday, December 22, 2016

Review: Blue Rose Companion

The Blue Rose Companion contains plenty of new material to keep your Blue Rose game fresh.
Now I will be candid here. There is a lot here that has the appearance of being material that was not quite ready for the core book.  This is not uncommon really.  I usually have enough material left over from books to make another book.  Not all of that material will, or should, see the light of day.
Most of the material here is good stuff.

Like the core the Blue Rose Companion was published in 2005 by Green Ronin.  The book is 120 pages perfect bound soft cover. Color covers and black and white interior art.  Cover art is by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Authors are listed as: Designed by Chris Aylott, Elissa Carey, Joseph Carriker, Steve Kenson, Alejandro Melchor, Aaron Rosenberg, Rodney Thompson
Additional Material by Jeremy Crawford. Fiction by Dawn Elliot. Edited by Jeremy Crawford and Developed by Steve Kenson

Chapter 1: Heroic Roles
Nearly the first third of the book is given over to Heroic roles and Paths characters may take.  With a base class assumed (Adept, Expert or Warrior) the character can then take a prescribed set of feats, arcana (in some cases) and skill focuses to come up with a "class". Such roles include, Animist, Arcanist, Contemplative,Healer, Psychic, Shaper, Seer, Bard,Infiltrator, Merchant, Noble, Scout, Spirit Dancer, Thief, Clan Warrior, Crusader, Knight, Ranger, Soldier, and Swashbuckler.  Plenty more can also be derived from these examples.   A few points. They are not in alphabetical order, but instead grouped by base class.  The Shapers make for FANTASTIC "Benders" from "Avatar: The Last Air Bender" and "Avatar: The Legend of Korra". Making an Avatar takes a little more work.
Also, I never made a witchcraft path for this. I know crazy, but being able to customize what I wanted allowed me a lot of freedom in character choice.  I have some characters I call witches, but that is about it.

Chapter II: Heroic Abilities
This covers various uses for skills and "tricks" something you can do with a skill, such as doing a one hand handstand.  The base DCs are nice and yes, totally portable to other d20 based systems.

Chapter III: The Arcane Arts
This covers another third of the book. This chapter covers all sorts of new Arcana as well as tools of the Art, Skill and War; or items usable by Adepts, Experts and Warriors. I was quite pleased to "Daemonbane"; I had a similar named blade in my D&D games.  Rituals, summonings, and places of power are discussed here as well. This is the sort of thing that would have been great to have in the core book and more fully integrated into the rules from day one. Additionally there is a new rule associated with rituals, Élan or magical power.  This one is fine here since the heroes are supposed to using this sort of power anyway, or at least not in theory.  Still this is a good reason for me to keep printing out my PDFs. I can rearrange the pages as I like and insert this chapter in the Core.

Chapter IV: Bestiary
The last part of the book contains new monsters.  In particular I enjoyed seeing the Sahuagin, or Sea Fiends, in their True20 format. With Sea Folk, these guys are must have.  Again, good to have this printed out to rearrange.

In general this is a good addition to the Blue Rose game, in fact there are few things here that I used all the time that I would have sworn where in the Core till I started doing these reviews again.
Rereading this book today also reminded me how close Blue Rose was and is to my preferred style of gaming.

This book also set the stage for what future True20 books would look like and do.

On Monday I lamented that there was no Blue Rose tarot card set.  Reader Mark pointed out to me that there is something close.   There is the Shadowscapes Tarot Deck Cards by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.  You can find details on it here and buy it here.  Well that is exactly what I did!

Easily one of the coolest set of tarot cards I have seen.

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