Showing posts with label Blue Rose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Rose. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Campaign Updates:2018

Work has me crazy busy, but this is a good thing.  The downside is I have not had the time to blog as much as I want or even get in the campaign prep in at night.  So I thought I would kill two birds today and see where I am in my games.



Active Games

The Dragon Slayers
A 3.x game that was briefly 5e and now fully converted to 1st Edition AD&D.  The characters were trapped in Baba Yaga's Hut for nearly a year. They freed the Old Crone and her daughter Elena the Fair.  Up next the final battle. I am using the Tom Moldvay adventure Twilight Calling for this.

Next are my three interlinked 5th edition games collectively known as Come Endless Darkness. Tharizdûn is returning to the multiverse and the PCs of the three campaigns need to stop him.

The Order of the Platinum Dragon
The Order has defeated all the giants and are now wandering the Underdark looking for the Drow. The big bads here are Lolth and Graz'zt.  Graz'zt is setting up Lolth much like he is described doing in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (for 3.5e).  I try to focus on classic monsters in this one.

Second Campaign
The Treasure Hunters of the Second Campaign have just entered the Forbidden City. Here the big bad is Demogorgon.  Here the focus is on other creatures that might not see normal games.

Into the Netir Vale
Known by my kids as the Orcus campaign. This is my revived and converted 4e campaign brought over whole cloth. I might lessed the involvement with the Raven Queen and play up Shar since this is part of the Forgotten Realms in my house.

All three games will meet up at the Temple of Elemental Evil to battle it out with the risen Tharizdûn.  So roughly 18 characters of 18th to 20th level.  It's gonna be wild.

Inactive/On-hold Games
These games are all inactive for a number of reasons.

Star Trek: Voyages of the USS Protector
This game is will be using White Star with my own "Black Star" rules modifications.  I have the first adventures ready to go, "The Stars Are Right" and "These Are the Voyages".  I have two more nearly ready "Ghost Ship" and "Abraxas Down".  I want to do two more.  I have been scribbling notes on rule changes and feel like the rest I can do while the game is moving along. 
What is really slowing me down is the wiring of the LED lights I want to put into my USS Protector Model!

Spirit of '76
On indefinite hold.

Hero's Journey to Middle Earth
This one is requiring some significant reading on my part.  As my first REALY foray into Middle Earth as a game world I want to do it right.

Magic School 
This one is on hold till I am done with Come Endless Darkness. Since this one will use D&D Rules Cyclopedia and I really want it to feel like a separate game.   Plus things that happen in CED will change the world of the Magic School and I don't know what those are yet!

War of the Witch Queens
This is the higher level version of the Magic School kids.  What happens here will also be determined by what the PCs do in CED.  I have all the adventures for this, just not the end game.



The Incredibly Awesome (and Not At All Made-Up) Adventures of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!
Huh...ok this one was a little bit of a joke, but I keep getting asked about it.  I do have one adventure worked out that introduces the PCs to the world. Called "Damn It Barry Allen!" it sets up Booster and Blue as the true heroes of the DC world, it's just that no one can remember them.

I still have to get my new Blue Rose campaign going.  I ran the first adventure, Kingdom of Rain, and it went great.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Web of Wind (Silverglass #2)

We are back to the world of Nyctasia r'n Edonaris brenn Rhostshyl and Corson brenn Torisk.  Our leading ladies are still on the run from...pretty much everyone when they discover a thief with treasure riddle.  Not a map, but a riddle leading to the treasure of the ancient Cymvelan Circle.  This order of monks and mystics were destroyed when the locals believed they were practicing black magic.   Nyctasia wants to learn what secrets they had, Corson wants gold.
The book unfolds at a much slower pace than did the "running for their lives" tale of Silverglass.
In fact the pace slows WAY down. The heroes spend the vast majority of their time at the Edonaris estate and vineyard. These are distant cousins of Nyctasia, so they are not as haughty as their urban relatives and most importantly they are not trying to have Nyc or Corson killed.
Here the pieces of the riddle are unwound and their secrets found.
The treasure is not a secret cache of gold and treasure, but rather a collection of ancient books.  Nyc though notices one of the dusty, web covered books is recently missing and maybe the extinct Cymvelan Circle is not so extinct after all.

The book is a fun read and the mystery, even if slow, was a compelling one.

The "author", J.F. Rivkin, is actually two different people. One wrote the first two books and the other wrote the last two.  I am not sure who J.F. Rivkin is and I have still not found out any information about a real identity either.

The book is out of print and there are no digital or audio versions I have found.  They pop up every so often at Half-Price books.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 18
Level: Crone
Witches in this book: Nyctasia is very much a witch
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Nyc does a better job at being good in this book.
Best RPG to Emulate it: For this book I have been trying the characters out in the AGE version of Blue Rose.  Despite the Sword and Sorcerery tropes, there is a strong vibe of  Romantic Fantasy here as both Corson and Nyc look for a place to belong.
Use in WotWQ: Likely, but since I am using them as characters in the Blue Rose game I am currently playing their involvement might only be as a cameo.

I have the sheets for the characters but need to get to work.  So here is a cheat.

I made Corson a warrior. Easy call.  Given her propensity to be an adventurer and never settling down I thought "Swashbuckler" was a good choice.  She also has Arcane Potential, and in particular The Sight.  This covers her feeling of unease around magic.  She doesn't see it as much as feel it.



Nyctasia is an adept, but what kind?  I gave her Bard to cover a wide a variety of her skills but she doesn't have the Performance pre-req.  I am using her Cultural Lore in place of that.  I could have gone with a sage as well, but this fits concept wise a little better.


I might give them a try in D&D 5 or Basic D&D next.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back From Vacation

Last week I took the week off.  We were supposed to travel but a variety of circumstances killed that idea, chief among them we thought one of our bunnies, Amy, was pregnant.
Instead, we did a bunch of mini-vacations mostly up to Wisconsin.

I hit up Noble Knight Games and FINALLY re-bought a World of Greyhawk Boxed set.  I now have completely restored my original collection of *D&D books.   



I also picked up that cool looking "The Witchcraft Reader".  Full of classic tales of witches and witchcraft. Yes, that is a naked witch riding a giant bat monster and holding a snake.


We played a lot of Blue Rose and Blue Rose/DragonAge.  It is becoming my oldest son's favorite game and he has even run a few more sessions.

We went to The House on the Rock and Steampunk Invasion at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

The biggest thing we did though was...Nothing. That's right I took a complete mental vacation. No reading. No writing. Just enjoyed not doing anything for the first time in a very, very long time.

Though my wife and I gave Game of Throne another chance and we binged all 6 and half seasons.
As of this morning, I am all caught up with the rest of you!  I don't think I'll add much to my games because of this, some things are just best to enjoy as-is rather than what they can offer me elsewhere.  Though I would not count out a possible Basic Witch write up for Melisandre.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Under Her Spell

"When a witch has a feeling it must be listened to, and promptly." - Isabella Fox, Mediocre Witch.

Under Her Spell by Bridget Essex came to me from a variety of different means.  One, which I'll mention in detail below, was because she was the author of another book I had read.  The second, though I didn't know it at the time, was because it was an update to a book I had read a while back.

First though to the book proper.  Under Her Spell (and let's be honest here. How was I NOT going to grab this book?) deals with Isabella Fox (a very mediocre witch) and her talking familiar Alice.  Isabella has just been run out of her last town and she needs a new job.  As a witch for hire, especially one that is only so-so, she doesn’t have a lot of options.   She spots an ad for a town that needs a witch to cast one spell a year. How could she possibly screw this one up? So she ends up with the town of Benevolence.  Benevolence is quiet on the verge of boring. The town is full of "Shifters", people that can take animal form and have their own type of magic.  She only has one spell to cast every year (and she is not even convinced it’s needed) and it would be the perfect gig.  Except for the Outcast.  The outcast is Emily Deer. Her ancestor betrayed the town to the Wolf of Winter and now her whole family is outcast.  Since Isabella doesn't even believe the Wolf is real (and whom she is supposed to cast the spell to ward off) she seeks out this strange, and beautiful outcast.

And that is where it hit me that I had read this book already...sort of.  I had read "One Solstice Night" by Elora Bishop some years back.  Well, Elora Bishop is Bridget Essex.  One Solstice Night is just a section in Under Her Spell.  The remaining sections cover Imbolc (a ghost story) and the Equinox (dealing with an ancient god).

The common theme though is love. Love of friends, family and of course romantic love. Though to use a quote, "there was plenty of magic."  Isabella and Emily are a great romantic couple. Emily is so down to earth and Isabella is such an air head (but in the best ways possible) that you can't help but root for them.  The only couple that is better is Virago and Holly (they are below).

There are a lot of cool locales that I hope we get to see in Essex's other books (again, see below).  The Hag Bar in the World’s Largest Swamp was a really cool idea. It was very easy to see all these witches, holding brooms and their drinks walking around, drinking, chatting.  I wish I had thought of it.     Benevolence is an interesting town.  I enjoyed the casual magic people were using and Essex did a great job of detailing the inhabitants.  The Rose Temple is a fantastic setting for any D&D game (ghosts and all) and I can't wait to read more about Arktos City from her other books.

Now I came to Bridget Essex via another book.  I had been searching for a book where a Knight falls in love with a Witch.  Spend any time here and you know I love witches but I am also fond of Paladins.  I was looking for a book then where a knight in shining armor finds a witch and falls in love with her.  What I ended up finding in my search was A Knight to Remember by Essex.  It had everything I was looking for, a dragon, a knight, a witch and even librarian (my current witch character is also a sage).  It just didn't have them in the order I was looking for!  The knight (Virago) and the librarian (Holly) fall in love, and the witch is the librarian's brother!  Still. This was also a really, really great read. It introduced me to Essex (or re-introduced me) and to her creation of Arktos City.  I will say that Virago is one of my favorite charcters ever.  She is so pure and focused on her task, duty and mission that she could have come off as a complete jerk, but instead, she was noble and just.  She really was the epitome of a paladin in my mind.
From this book and her website, I found so many other books including Under Her Spell.

A Knight to Remember is another fun read, but not much in the way of witches in it.  Though I have to admit I was cheering at the end during the Ren-Faire Jousting scene.

I am going to be reading more of Essex's books. She has a gift for writing and for making characters you really want to cheer on.  Plus I have a guess on what is going to happen next for Emily and Isabella and I need her to write the next book so I can find out if I am correct!

Bridget Essex can be found on the web at: https://bridgetessex.wordpress.com/

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 16 (16.5 if you count AKtR)
Level: Crone
Witches in this book: Isabella in Part One and Three, her classmates and various other witches in Part Two.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Isabella is a mediocre witch.  No, she is all good.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Lots of great choices to be honest. Arktos City feels like it is right out of Blue Rose.  The openness of witches, shifters and same-sex love is also right out of Blue Rose.
Virago, the knight in A Knight to Remember, is a Rose Knight in all but name to be honest.
Use in WotWQ: Hell yes! In fact I would love to have Isabella and Emily make an appearance as guest stars.  Plus her witches drink inordinate amounts of tea just like mine do. How can I say no to that?

In truth, there is so much great stuff here for a game.  Here and there in her books Essex has built a mythology and a history worth exploring. From her knights, to Arktos City, to the Temple of the Rose Goddess and her magical academy. Not to mention all the shifters and witches!

Gamers also already know the knight Virago.

Here she is on the cover of a Knight to Remember.


And again on Q Workshop's Classic RPG Dice Set!


I know, both Essex and Q-Workshop legal purchased the same bit of stock art and it might be a little tacky of me to share this.   But I will admit I bought those dice just because they had "Virago" on them.  I already have some dice for War of the Witch Queens, but I might sneak these in.

Looking forward to reading more.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review: FantasyAGE and FantasyAGE Bestiary

Continuing my massive deep dive into all things Blue Rose and AGE I want to talk about +Green Ronin Publishing's Fantasy AGE RPG and it's supplement the Fantasy AGE Bestiary.


I am reviewing both the PDFs and the Hardcover books.

A note.  These books "feel" right.  They are roughly the size of the original AD&D hardcovers (144 pages each).  All is needed now is a Game Master book that has a bunch of options for various Fantasy campaigns and you would have a nice three-volume set that is only a slip-case away of being 150% more fantastic.

I don't say the following lightly.
Fantasy AGE could give Castles & Crusades a run for my 2nd Favorite set of Fantasy Rules.  (D&D and it's variants are #1).
Yes. It is that much fun.

It is better than Pathfinder, 13th Age and pretty much everything else.

Fantasy AGE
Hardcover, full color, 144 pages. $29.95 for hardcover, $15.95 for PDF.
The book is full color, the PDF is bookmarked with a hyperlinked index.

Fantasy AGE is the "generic" Fantasy game based on the ruled that appear in both Blue Rose and DragonAge.  While there are some repetitions, the tones of all three games are sufficiently different enough to make each book worthwhile.

Chapter 1 gives us the basics of Character creation. The Usual Suspects are here; Elf, Dwarf, Human, Halfling, and Orcs.   You get your Backgrounds with some basic ideas. And our three AGE classes; Mage, Rogue,  and Warrior.  Too bad the classes are not Adept, Guardian, and Expert.
Also included here is the experience for level advancement table.

Chapter 2 discusses the AGE system.  I am not sure if the AGE system will ever "fall into the background" the same way d20 or Unisystem do for me, but it could get really, really close.  The system itself is very easy to grasp.  In AGE you really only need three six-sided dice.  Two of which should be the same color.  The off one is called the Drama Die.  We will get to all those in a bit.  The rolls of 3d6 + Ability +/- mods vs. Test Difficulty are simple enough.  Test Difficulties start at 7 (Routine) and increase by 2 for each level. So 9 is Easy.  The feel is the same as d20's Target Numbers or even Unisystem's Success Levels.  Like most systems, an "opposed" test will be one set of rolls vs another set of rolls.

Chapter 3 details Focuses, Talents and Specializations.  Every Ability has multiple focuses. The Fighting Ability has a focus on Axes and another, Polearms for example.  You can gain a new focus for everytime you go up a level.  Talents are something else. These are only granted under special circumstances.  They might be restricted by class and many have prereqs.  These include abilities like Animal Training, Dual Weapon Fighting, or Psychic.
Specializations can almost be thought of as "Sub Classes", these include Assassin, Elementalist, and the like.

Chapter 4 gives us basic equipment. Pretty self-explanatory.

Chapter 5 covers Magic and the magical arts.  While anyone can have arcane ability, only Mages can master them.   There are 12 Arcana here with various magical powers.

Chapter 6 details Stunts. These are the life, and soul of the AGE system really.
If you get doubles on any roll of the dice you may perform a Stunt on that roll.  So if the roll was a combat situation then you can perform a Combat Stunt.  The roll you get on your Drama Die (the off color one) is a number of Stunt Points you get.  You have to use them right away.  So if you get a 4 you have 4 SP and can buy any of the stunts listed for 4 or under.  These are things like "Knock Prone" or "Lethal Blow". As characters go up in level they gain access to more stunts and can buy others for less SP.  There are also non-combat Exploration and Role-playing Stunts as well. There are even Arcane Stunts that can be used in either.

Chapter 7 is the GM's Section. This covers running adventures and adjudicating the rules. There is a good section on adventure planning that is good for most games.

Chapter 8 is about Mastering the Rules and dealing with ability tests and combat.

Chapter 9 covers Adversaries and Monsters.  All the regulars are here.

Chapter 10 is all about rewards. Which includes, but is not limited to, treasure. 

Chapter 11 gives us our hook to Freeport, GR long-running setting and Chapter 12 is an adventure.

Fantasy AGE is a solid fantasy game that keeps from being a Heartbreaker and carves out new territory of it's own.

Fantasy AGE Bestiary
I have said it hundreds of time, but you can never have too many monster books.

Fantasy AGE Bestiary is one of my favorites.  This is not a rehashed monster manual. This 144-page book is stocked full of really cool, really interesting and often unique monsters.  Sure some are familiar, but that is not the point, the point is that this book is full and it will be a long time before I run out of ideas for them all.
The art is fantastic and that is a great thing in a monster book.

Each monster is listed with stats, picture, background information and plot hook ideas.
The book is so good in fact if makes me want Green Ronin to publish it with D&D 5e stats as well.

If you are a fan of Fantasy AGE or Blue Rose or DragonAge then this is a must have book.


Can't wait to do more with these books!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Plays Well With Others: Blue Rose + White Box S&W

Well, I am back at today with another "Plays Well With Others".  I want to spend some quality time with Blue Rose still so today I want to talk about one that jumped out at me right away.
Blue Rose works great with Swords & Wizardry White Box rules.

Yes. In fact, there is very, very little you need to do to make Blue Rose more like White Box.


Let's start with what I am wanting to accomplish here.  White Box is OSR/D&D stripped down to the bare bones. It leaves a lot more to the imagination and the guidance of the Game Master/Referee.  There is a lot of narrative control in refs hands.   The AGE version of Blue Rose has similar DNA (more on that) but places more narrative control in the hands of the players. NOT ALL, but a little more.

Blue Rose, in its AGE or True20 editions has DNA and elements that go back to the 3rd Edition D&D rules and the OGL.  The genesis of the Swords & Wizardry rules from the OGL is more than obvious.  This gives us a common thread to look at these games, a common ancestry to compare and contrast.   It also informs us on how we can bring them together.

One of the big surprises in Blue Rose for me as that the ability scores are all rolled on a 3d6 in order.  This is closer to "Old School" than some OSR games.  But that is only one thing, not enough to build a larger set of connections on.

White Box is not just a fun set of rules (we have thousands of those now) it is also a philosophy of gaming where less is more and the people playing need to decide what to do.  That last part is 100% Blue Rose.  But how do we make Blue Rose more like White Box?

White Rose

Well for starters let's cap the levels at 10.  This is just like White Box and has the effect of negating some of the later Specializations and higher level focuses of the game. With this done the core character classes, Warrior, Expert, and Adept need to focus on the things central to their class.  Fighters and Experts should not be able to take arcane training of any sort really. Adepts should be focused on either an arcane path (magic-users) or a divine on (clerics). Want a REAL restricted game? Don't have a cleric analog. Though you will need to consider what to do about healing.

Ending the levels at 10 restricts the classes to only one specialization. This is perfect for a White Box-inspired Blue Rose.
I would limit Experts to specializations like Assassin or even Pirate. For a real White Box feel I would create a "Thief" Specialization.
For a Cleric,  have the Adept take the Healer Specialization.
Warriors have the most flexibility. They can take the Champion, Guardian, Knight, Outrider, or Slayer.
For true White Box feeling, drop the thieves completely, and let Experts take the Healer Specialization.  Then you have three class to three classes.

For your races, you can crib the races from Fantasy AGE.

The big question is, "Why even do this?".

Simple. I can use White Rose as a "gateway drug" to Blue Rose for people that play White Box or another OSR clone.   I would run it as more or less a straight up D&D-like game with only some "Blue Rose" materials until later on.

I would try this out with some well-known Swords & Wizardry adventures. I am thinking something like Frog God Games' Razor Coast or any Swords & Wizardry adventure by Creation's Edge Games.
I have to admit, their Blue Crystal Mine has appeal to me as a gateway S&W/Blue Rose adventure, and how can I say no to an adventure called Curse of the Web Witch?  I might replace his monster with my own Web Witch.  I should convert it to AGE.

Looking forward to trying this out.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red, White and Blue Rose

June may have been "Blue Rose month" but I have so much more to say and do!

I am going to have a couple of upcoming "Plays Well With Others" coming up.  More details later, but here are some teasers.

First, something that was inspired by my old "Black Rose" game (Blue Rose + Ravenloft) and something that came to me in a flash on a recent run.  Something I am calling "Blood Red Rose".


Blue Rose + Vampire the Masquerade (2nd Edition).

Next is less of a Plays Well With Others and more of a "Campaign Model".
I give you my "White Rose"


Blue Rose + Swords & Wizardry White Box.

This is going to be great.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monstrous Monday: The Drumpf

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to attribute Scott Woodard for his original version of Drumpf for D&D 5e.  He had the art below commissioned.  Scott, please accept my sincere apologies for this oversite.
The Drumpf below is not a conversion, but it would not be here without Scott's original post.

Have not done one of these in a while.  Been saving this one for a special occasion too.

I just wrapped up my big review of Blue Rose and will be moving over to Fantasy AGE as well., figure I can try my hand as a nasty little beastie.

The Drumpf
Art by Trash Mobs

Abilities (Focuses)
1 Accuracy (Brawling)
1 Communication (Deception, Persuasion)
1 Constitution
3 Dexterity
1 Fighting
-2 Intelligence
1 Perception (Touching)
1 Strength
1 Willpower

Speed 14
Health 14
Defense 10
Armor Rating 0 (Thin skin)

Weapon Attack Roll Damage
Club +2 1d6+2

Special Qualities
Favored Stunts: Skirmish
Pack Tactics: If a drumpf is attacking with at least three other drumpf, they may perform stunts for 1 less SP than normal.
Equipment: club, red hat

Threat: Minor

Drumpfs are related to goblins but claim they are a new and superior race.  They are often loud and very obnoxious, but not much of a threat when encountered alone.  In groups, they bolster each other's morale and can be a threat.  Many warriors have underestimated them to their cost.  The battle cry of the Drumpf, "Maga! Maga!" can be heard for miles.

Drumpfs have a difficult time telling lies from facts. This is most evident when you hear them talk about their own conquests, homes and/or accomplishments.   Their homes are always "the best, the hugest", their accomplishments are "the greatest, no one is better".  Many even claim to have the most beautiful nymphs as wives.   As a consequence drumpfs are far more susceptible to illusion arcana.  They receive a -2 on all tests.  Any failed test will cause the drumpf to claim the illusion they are seeing is not only real, but evidence to the contrary is itself an illusion.

As with many goblins, drumpfs are obsessed with gold. When possible drumpfs will cover any surface they can with gold.  They are also fond of self-portraits that feature themselves as great warriors and leaders.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Blue Rose 2nd Edition, Part 3

Wrapping up my review on the AGE version of Blue Rose.
Part 1 covered Character Creation and Part 2 covered the World of Aldea. Today I am going to discuss the Narrator's Section.


Chapter 8, The Narrator's Art is the GM’s section.  Again, I much prefer the term “Chronicler” to “Narrator”. “Chronicler” also implies that the characters are doing something worthy of Chronicling.

The chapter covers some very pragmatic issues of Adjudicating the Rules and Running the Game to the creative Creating Adventures and Planning the Series.  The space in between this is the "Art".
What is particularly useful is the very old-school like table of 100 Adventure ideas.  Need an idea? Roll a d100. Each one of these can be expanded into an adventure. This flies in the face of any notion that Blue Rose is a limited game.   There are guides for roleplaying situations like Romance and Intrigue. Again, while situated in the Blue Rose and AGE systems, they could be used for any game.  There is a section on how to run Intrigue (great for me!) and how to do it when the Characters have the potential to read minds or have access to other Psychic Arcana.

There is also a bit on the physical location where you play. Given as a means to manage all the information coming at you the Narrator, and also as a means of setting the mood.  Blue Rose is a "well lit" game as opposed to horror games which need a dark tone.   The book also has some forms here and in the back for Narrators to print out and use to track all the goings on.  So bonus point to the PDF for this one.

There is advice on knowing who your group is too. I think this is more important for a game like Blue Rose that is very Character focused.  Using these group dynamics in the real world can also inform the group dynamics in the World of Aldea.   The chapter as a whole has some pretty good GM advice. Some we have seen before and others we have seen, but applied new to this game.

Chapter 9 details the Blue Rose Series.  If chapter 8 is general GM advice, then this chapter is very Blue Rose specific.  This chapter starts out with a note about consulting the players. I think this is good advice in general, but certainly more so for the Character focused Blue Rose. That is not to say you can't have an Adversarial GM (it is one of the options discussed in fact in the last chapter) but if that is what you are doing make sure that is what people want.  If so, great!
We get into various Series Styles next.  While the game is Romantic Fantasy, there is a lot of room in that broad term.  Discussed are Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy, Horror, Low Fantasy, Swashbuckling Adventure, and High Romance.   All of which work well within the Blue Rose frame.
Taking this advice we get some Series Frameworks of potential campaigns/series.

The default, and the one that most people associate with Blue Rose, is called "For Aldis and the Queen!".  This is what you would have if a young Mercedes Lackey was your Narrator. It does pretty much what it says on the tin. "On the Road" is more of the style of the later Romantic Fantasy authors. It is also closer to the type of adventures you find in a D&D game.  Put them on a boat and suddenly it is "7th Sea".  "Coming of Age" are your Harry Potter or Narina stories. OR as the book points out, even the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.   "Game of Thorns" (bad, bad Green Ronin!) are your darker court intrigue tales. The nobles that don't trust the queen or her new husband.   I could make something of that easy.

There are more. The Quiet Knights, the Wedding Planners. But reading through these all should give you your ideas.  A special shout out though to "Blue Rose on the Red Planet".  That's not what it is called, but the art and the description support that.  I'd play that in a heartbeat.



Chapter 10 is the actual Running the Game.  The first bit we get to is Mastering Ability Tests.  If you have any familiarity at all with d20, True20 or a host of other "Target Number" style games then you know what to expect here.   Basic tests and Opposed tests are covered again.
Considerations are given for Minor and Major NPCs, handling different sorts of combat situations, Roleplaying vs. The Rules, and Hazards.

One thing that is quite interesting is advice on how to deal with divinations and how to work them into games.  This time the authors DO mention the Shaowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law as the perfect resource for your Blue Rose games. I have a set and it is great.


I am going to spend some more time on the Tarot, Callings, Fates, and Destinies.

Chapter 11 covers Rewards.  The beauty of Blue Rose is that there are many ways to grant rewards to characters beyond just level advancement. Though that is not understated here.
We start with Honorifics. Which I am TOTTALY going to steal for D&D 5.  These are accolades and acknowledgments.  Titles like "Lady Aerin, Dragonkiller" (if you have read that book you can smile with me), or "Champion of Justice" and others.  These confer a small in-game bonus as well.  The criminal types all have to make Willpower tests at -5 around our Champion of Justice for example.  Given these examples, I can come up with a lot more.   The next section mentions who can give out these honorifics in each country and under what circumstances.


Next follows Memberships and then Companions. After this are Special Items and Equipment.  Often these are heirlooms, not necessarily magical.  In fact, Arcane items are next and even then Arcane Weapons are listed last.   Listed very last, and even very least, is wealth.  So the things that motivate the average D&D character are the least motivating for the average Blue Rose character.  In fact, Wealth only gets 3-4 paragraphs total.

Chapter 12 gives us Adversaries.  We lead off with NPCs.  Blue Rose characters are more likely to run into other people (Rhydan are "people"; just ask them).
For monsters, "Beasts", there are some familiar names here but don’t automatically assume you know what these creatures are about.  Griffons, for example, are given more emphasis and intelligence here than in their D&D counterparts.  This is completely due to how they are treated in the Romantic Fiction novels, in particular, the novels of Mercedes Lackey.
Also, unlike the novels, there are a lot more creatures here than what I recall reading.  So there are plenty of creatures that can either guide, beguile or challenge the characters.  There are about 70 or so creatures here. They are grouped by type, so all Rhydan, all Darkfiends, all Unliving, and so on.
Adding more would be easy, really TOO easy to be honest.   Most creatures need have a good reason to be in the game/world. For example, there are no Manticores here. You could make a very good reason for them to be there as something like anti-griffon or even a magical race the bred true to fight griffons.  Maybe they were created during the Shadow Wars or even before in the Empire of Thorns. They are rare now since most were killed.

Now I do have a copy of the Fantasy Age Bestiary and there are a lot of great new monsters that can be added to Blue Rose.  I just want to be careful on how I do it and where I do it.  Same would be true for any monsters I'd add from DragonAge.


There are slight differences in the stats between creatures of the same name in the various books, but not enough to make you think they are different creatures.

The last chapter is an adventure, Shadows of Tanglewood.

There are pages with Stunt References, Actions, and Quick Reference Cards. We also get a nice full-color character sheet.  Points again to the PDF.  You can get these as part of the Blue Rose Narrator's Kit.

The index is fully hyperlinked.

What can I honestly say at this point? This is a great game. Well designed with beautiful art and an absolute joy to play.  The AGE system is the first system I have picked up in a long time that I really like.

This is the best game of 2017.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Blue Rose 2nd Edition, Part 2

Yesterday I spent some quality time with the Blue Rose Character Creation rules. Today I want to move to the next section of this huge book and cover The World of Aldea section.


Now when it comes to game-changing events I can make due with changes in power or in the way certain rules have been handled.  It is the events in the next few chapters that will have me scrambling for the pencils to re-do my campaign!  Well, Green Ronin never asked me what I was doing in my game and I never reached out to them to make sure they were not invalidating several sessions worth of my games ( +Chris Pramas, we will just have to talk in future! ;) ).

Chapter 5, What Has Gone Before, is still roughly the same as what we saw in the True20 version. If anything things are clearer now.  The art, of course, is better and some things, like the rise of the Darkfiends, are clearer.
As before we get a history of the World of Aldea, from the Mythic Age (when the Gods were created) to the Old Kingdom (the “Golden Age” of the world), the Empire of Thrones (or the rise of the evil Sorcerer Kings) to the present age in The Rebirth of Aldis.  The history of the world is given from the creation of the world by the four greater gods and then into the creation of the lesser gods, demons, and mortal races.

I think it is the goal of every RPG writer, either professional or just sitting at home, to create a mythology for their world.   These myths feel more like The Silmarillion than it does say the Bible or Greek Myth.  Though there is a fair appreciation for Greek Myths and Pagan beliefs in this.  In makes for an interesting world to say the least.  It has been asked more than once in my groups what gods do they believe in in the other parts of Aldea. Are they same with different names (likely) or they different ones altogether (a tantalizing idea)?  We see bits of how this could work in Chapter 7 where the different lands worship different aspects of these same gods.


The biggest changes do not come till much later in the chapter.  At some point between the True20 timeline and the AGE timeline. Queen Jaellin decided that she was "officially done with Jarek's shit" and invaded Kern via the hidden ShadowGate under the palace. The present day of the True20 version was 310 (Aldin calendar) to the new current day of the AGE version of 320.   A lot has happened in ten years.
I read this and was like "whoa" what happened here?  Personally, I'd love to have some scenarios where the PCs/Cast are part of that battle and raid.I think that would be a blast.
Also this was the last time anyone has seen the Golden Hart.  The mystery here, of course, is whether or not it used up all it's magic in this last battle.  We come to the "present day" in the game with political factions in an uproar, relations within and without in question and a Queen that has made some choices that many of her own court and people do not agree with.
Basically, it is like Valdemar at the end of the Winds of Fury.
Expanded from the True20 book this new chapter also talks more about the Great Rebellion that started Aldis in the first place.  I mean wouldn't that also be a great time to play?  The years leading up to Queen Seltha's reign.  Heck, the art of the Undead armies is enough to make me want to give it a try.

Chapter 6, Kingdom of the Blue Rose then picks up with Aldis proper and discusses what is going on.  We get background on the various races living in Aldis; human, sea-folk, vata, night people, and Rhydan.  Why do all these people get along? Well... they try to. The Rhydan wanted a land that all were equal and free and queen Seltha ran with that.
We get a section on the Royal Court of Aldis.  I REALLY wish I was good at running Court Intrigue. This would be the game for that.  A carefully balanced dual of wit, manners and subtle backstabbing.  This game makes me want to be better at it.  There is just too much potential here and frankly it is not my strong suit.


Anyone who ever thought that a Kingdom that was accepting of all peoples lacks intrigue has never really read or played this game.  Aldis is not just the idyllic land that some have depicted it.  It is “enlightened” but there are still internal strife, crime, the odd sorcerer or even a leftover gates from the time before the Sovereigns, and the ever-present threats from inside and outside. A number of threats to Aldis and Aldea are detailed. Various unscrupulous merchants, a very effective criminal organization known as “The Silence”, fallen nobles, bandits, defective shadow gates,  and the remains of various shadow cults.   In a handful of pages we get plenty of ideas for characters to do.  Plus we now have a Queen that may or may not be trusted by all her people. And the Golden Hart? Gone. Hasn't been seen since the raid on Kern.  Something new is happening here.
There is a section on gender, sexuality, and marriage. Much less that you have been lead to believe mind you. Frankly, it could do with a bit more in my mind. This is Romantic Fantasy after all.
Religion gets expanded a bit as well.  I like the new art for the Gods of Light, but I had to number them on my print out to keep track of them. I still rather like the Exarchs of Shadow. It helps solves the age old philosophical question of "From whence comes evil?" It gives a good explanation of how good gods such as these would have created evil beings. Plus in this version, they are more detailed with each exarch equated to a deadly sin.   I might not be able to do court intrigue, but I can do horror like nobody's business.
The real expansion though comes in the form of the City of Aldis. Note if you are used to the map in the True20 World of Aldea book (page 18), this one (page 161) is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. It also looks like the city has grown some more in the last 10 years.
Other areas of Aldis are detailed as well. These include the Pavin Weald (Magical Forest) and refugees from Kern that have not quite integrated into Adlean society known as The Trebutane.  If you want your spot to create Aldea-as-Valdemar and need a place for Holderkin Talia to be from, this is it.


Chapter 7, Lands Beyond deals with the lands and countries surrounding Aldis.  This includes the Theocracy of Jarzon, the Khanate of Rezea (the Kaled'a'in/Tayledras from the Valedmar books, or the Kingdom of Damar from The Blue Sword), the Roamers (also Kaled'a'in Shin'a'in), the Shadow Barrens (just a bad place), The Forest Kingdom of Wyss (a new place, not in the True20 version), the Pirate Isles (more information here, can Freeport Blue Rose be far behind?), Kern (the really, really bad place. Mordor to Aldis' Gondor) and the Matriarchy of Lar'tya (basically Themyscira.)

Each section of the nation/land deals with the history of the lands, their rulers, religion, and people. Larger cities are discussed but never in the detail we got with Aldis.  Some important NPCs have sidebars and their history, but no stats, are given.  The lands also all have rough equivalents to the organizations found in Aldis.  For example, the counterpart to the Rose Knights in Jarzon are the Knights of Purity and in Kern are the Knights of the Skull.

Of the lands, Jarzon and Kern are the most interesting.  Jarzon is an interesting place where it could have been just like Aldis save for the intolerance of the Theocracy.  I suppose then it is no surprise then that it lies south of Aldis.  I could see a Jarzonni based game dealing with various heretics.  Heck a fun game would be to play part of the Jarzonni Inquisition to discover a new threat to the whole world!
Kern is Ravenloft. Or maybe it is Thay. or Iuz. Or "The North" for the "Blue Sword" fans.  I KNOW I can't be the only one to have thought in reading this new version of the game that when Jaelin killed the Lich King that the "Shadowed Seven" would be an even bigger threat.


Think of Thay without SzassTam or Apokolips without Darkseid. There is a lot of adventure ideas here. Play these evil regents off on each other. Or imagine their machinations if they ever decided to team up.   I'd love a game where characters need to face off against these foes.  That might be too "D&D" or even too "Buffy" but it would still be a lot of fun.

So advancing the timeline and story by 10 years is cool but it completely WRECKED my older Blue Rose game I was calling Black Rose. Eh. No worries. I can come up with some new ideas and maybe even resurrect some of the Black Rose ideas.   Plus it will give me a good chance to pull out one of my old NPCs, Zenaida a Rezean Witch.

If you had the old True20 World of Aldea book then a lot in this section will feel familiar.  There is a lot more material in the current AGE book and of course moved up 10 years.

Next up is the Narrator's Section.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Blue Rose 2nd Edition, Part 1

NOTE: You can read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

I have been spending a month (has a month gone by already?) with Blue Rose, trying it out. I figured that before I review it I had better run it through it's paces the best I can.  This review might be kinda long, but then again the book is a rather large one.

So without further ado.

Blue Rose

Blue is the newest AGE (more on that) game title from Green Ronin.  It is an update to their older True20 version of Blue Rose.  This game expands the World of Aldea and the timeline a bit as well as give us some more option for play.
I am reviewing both the hardcover edition and pdf of this game. Both of which were purchased by me and not sent to me for the purposes of review. I will post my thoughts both on the reading and playing of this game.

The Blue Rose book is a 384 page, full color, hardback book.  The hardcover is sturdy as hell and might just be one of the most gorgeous books I have seen in a very, very long time.  The color jumps out at you.  Blue Rose is not a grim-dark world and this book is not either.  The PDF is huge and fully bookmarked and hyperlinked. I love PDFs, and for ease, I am using mine for review now, but there is no comparing it to the physical book.
The hardcover retails for $59.95 and the pdf for $24.95.  You can get the PDF for $5.00 at participating game stores when you buy the hardcover.

Basics
Blue Rose 2nd edition uses the same AGE or Adventure Game Engine, game engine found in DragonAge and Fantasy Age.  All three games share "System wide" compatibility, but maybe not "thematic" compatibility.   Though if you desire more monsters in your Blue Rose or Dragon Age games then the Fantasy Age Bestiary is the absolute perfect choice.


I will detail more about the AGE system in a bit.

The book is divided into three large sections:
The Player's Section covers the first four chapters of basic rules, character creation, and magic.
The World of Aldea covers the history of the world, the Kingdom of Aldis, and the surrounding lands. This takes up the next four chapters.
The Narrator's Section covers the last five chapters. This covers how to run a game, what makes "Romantic Fantasy" different, as well as rewards and adversaries.  There is also a sample adventure in back to tide you over till you pick up a copy of The Six of Swords.

Now off the bat, an easy criticism would be, why not separate these out into three less expensive books.  Charge $24.95 each and make more money in the long run?  Sure that would work and that is what Green Ronin did with their True20 versions.   Personally, I like having everything in one tome. Though I do see a need for a slimmer, maybe soft cover, version of just the player's section for players to buy. But Green Ronin has been doing this a long time if their economics support this then I am not going to be an armchair accountant.

Introduction
The first five pages start with an introduction to RPGs.  Most times I skip this, but this time I stuck with it since one of the expressed purposes of this game is to bring in new players.  The "What is Roleplaying" section covers what is expected. This is followed by a section on "What is Romantic Fantasy?"  For this bit, and for this review, I went back and read (or re-read) every book I could in the Romantic Fantasy cannon. This includes all the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey (minus the last series) and nearly every book on John Snead's own "Must Read" list. I'll talk about those relationships in detail as they come up, but suffice to say (for now) that Blue Rose does do a good job of Romantic Fantasy.
The next paragraphs deal with how you go about creating a character in a game world.  Not mechanics (yet) but an extension of your senses into this world.  This section I noticed also features in other Green Ronin AGE books. It asks the questions "What do you do?" and "Who are you?" The focus of this game then is character dynamics.  It is not "The party of adventurers set out to destroy the dragon." it is "Brynn, Heylg, Bethan and their friends sought out the threat to their beloved kingdom and stopped it before more lives were lost."  There is nothing wrong with either situation, it is just one is better suited to Blue Rose. Becuase of this there is more focus on group dynamic. Maybe Bethan, normally a strong independent warrior who fights for just causes, is also deathly afraid of fire from an incident in her childhood.  Now fighting this dragon is not just a straightforward matter of defeating a beast; it is now a metaphor for overcoming fear even when you are normally strong and brave. It could be that Brynn's best contribution to this battle is not her magic to attack the dragon or her healing, but her ability to empathize with Bethan and bring out the warrior she is from the scared girl she was.  If this dynamic is not that interesting to you, that's fine, the Blue Rose/AGE game will still let you kill the dragon, but something essential is missed.

The next section deals with the AGE system itself.


The system is actually quite a simple one.  3d6 + Ability +/- mods vs. Test Difficulty.
What makes this system special though are the Stunts.  Whenever you score "doubles" on a roll (on two of the dice, more later) you generate stunt points.  Stunt points can be used for any number of special features.  These are not limited to combat.  You can score Stunt Points in any situation where you roll dice.  So yes you can even generate Stunt Points (SP) while engaging in social interactions.  I have long let Bards in my D&D/d20 games score "critical hits" with puns, but in Blue Rose you can now do the same (mechanically speaking) with all sorts of social interactions like flirting!
Finally, we end with a bit on the campaign world, but I will detail that, as does the book, later on.

Part 1: The Player's Section
This section introduces us to both the Blue Rose game and the AGE system.

Chapter 1 discusses the AGE system and goes right into Combat and Stunts. I thought this was an odd choice in a game focused on characters.  At first that is. After reading through it a few times now I see it makes good sense.  I am not sure if the AGE system will ever "fall into the background" the same way d20 or Unisystem do for me, but it could get really, really close.  The system itself is very easy to grasp.  In AGE you really only need three six-sided dice.  Two of which should be the same color.  The off one is called the Drama Die.  We will get to all those in a bit.  The rolls of 3d6 + Ability +/- mods vs. Test Difficulty are simple enough.  Test Difficulties start at 7 (Routine) and increase by 2 for each level. So 9 is Easy.  The feel is the same as d20's Target Numbers or even Unisystem's Success Levels. The spread is closer to that of the d20 world so converting between the True20 Blue Rose and the AGE Blue Rose should theoretically be an easy one (in reality there is more to it, but not much more).  Like most systems an "opposed" test will be one set of rolls vs another set of rolls.

Aside: Since the rolls here are 3d6 as opposed to 1d20 (d20/D&D) or even 1d10 (Unisystem) you are going to get far more average rolls and fewer extremes.  This result is as subtle as it is ubiquitous.  This means that most rolls (67.6%) are going to fall in that 8-13 range. 18's will only happen 1 time in 216, as opposed to a 20 happening 1 time in 20.  This means that most actions will feel "normal".  It's later when we add the Stunt Points and Conviction that the real acts of Derring-do happen.  This puts the "criticals" more in the hands of the players and less to chance.  They happen less often, but more where the player wants or needs them.
This is something I have done in my own Unisystem games for years. Instead of a 1d10 I use a 2d6-1 system known as "The Chicago Way" among Unisystem players.  The effects are quite nice. The 3d6 gives AGE Blue Rose a solid edge over True20 Blue Rose.


In addition to these tests there are modifiers, which typically include a Specialization in a skill or other training.  There are are also Conviction points.  These are gained throughout your adventuring career and can be used to influence certain actions.  Conviction is used a bit like a Drama Point or a Hero Point.

On every turn the character can take a Major and a Minor action.  Each round is only 15 seconds long (4 per minute) so each action is short. There is a list of what major actions are (Attack, Defend, Heal) and minor (move, aim, activate).  In truth, the lists are pretty simple and easy to grasp. There are also variable actions that will change depending on the situation.

Next up are Stunts, the life, and soul of the AGE system really.
If you get doubles on any roll of the dice you may perform a Stunt on that roll.  So if the roll was a combat situation then you can perform a Combat Stunt.  The roll you get on your Drama Die (the off color one) is a number of Stunt Points you get.  You have to use them right away.  So if you get a 4 you have 4 SP and can buy any of the stunts listed for 4 or under.  These are things like "Knock Prone" or "Lethal Blow". As characters go up in level they gain access to more stunts and can buy others for less SP.  There are also non-combat Exploration and Role-playing Stunts as well. There are even Arcane Stunts that can be used in either.

Chapter 2 covers Character Creation.  This covers all the steps from concept to filling out your sheet.  Blue Rose is a very character-focused game, so character creation should be something done all together for the first session.  I even suggest talking about what sort of group you want to have. There is no reason why it can't be "You all meet in an Inn", but it should go deeper than that really.  How do these characters interact with each other, what are their goals, their drives?  In some ways the best Blue Rose group of heroes is something like what we get in the Dragonlance tales.  A group full of characters internal desires and drives but a community, if not a family, of others helping them.

Blue Rose has 9 Abilities. They have familiar sounding names and are even rolled up the same way.  In fact in Blue Rose, your abilities are rolled on a 3d6 IN ORDER.  Yes, it is more Old School than many Old School games out today. The spread of ability modifiers is also similar.   Every ability has more than one focus. These Focuses allow the character to be better at one particular area.  Systematically Abilities and Foci serve like abilities and skills.
Next, choose your race. We get humans from various lands (with different bonuses), Nigth People (half-orcs/orcs),  Rhydan (intelligent animals),  Sea-folk, and Vata (elves). You also get a background, which is largely what country you come from,
Up next is Class. Like other AGE games and True20 there are only 3. Adept, Expert, and Warrior.
As you level up you can gain different abilities from your class. These are typically increases in abilities (which ones depend on class).  Classes are presented from 1st to 20th level.
You then need to figure out (or randomly roll) your Calling, Destiny, and Fate.
Finally it would not be Blue Rose if there was not a bit on Relationships. Everyone in the cast is tied to another by one degree or another. These relations have role-playing and in-game mechanical features.

If you are looking for XP per level you will not find it in Blue Rose. This game uses the same philosophy as it's older True20 sibling; you increase in level after a few adventures.  It leaves it in the hands of the Narrator as to when to level up. If you really want an XP chart for Experience to next level then there is one in Fantasy Age.

Chapter 3 details Focuses, Talents and Specializations.  Every Ability has multiple focuses. The Fighting Ability has a focus on Axes and another Polearms for example.  You can gain a new focus for everytime you go up a level.  Talents are something else. These are only granted under special circumstances.  They might be restricted by class and many have prereqs.  These include abilities like Animal Training, Dual Weapon Fighting, or Psychic.
Specializations can almost be though of as "Sub Classes", these include Assassin, Bard and the like.

Chapter 4 covers Arcana, the magical arts.  While anyone in the world of Blue Rose can have arcane ability, only Adepts can master them.   Arcana are divided into six Disciplines; Animism, Healing, Meditative, Psychic, Shaping (for making Avatar like Benders!) and Visionary.
There is also Sorcery, the dark side of magic which leads to corruption.
Each ability is given with the Talent (Discipline) it falls under, sometimes it is more than one, time is takes (Major or Minor), Target Number and Test needed. What sort resistance covers this ability and fatigue TN?  Some abilities have sub-abilities too.  Many of Shaping abilities are like this.

Psychic Weapons

The last part of the chapter covers Sorcery.  This is great for all sorts of adventure ideas.  Hell, 90% of my ideas deal with some form of sorcery and it's threat to Aldea.

That's a lot so far.
Next time let's look into the world.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It is an AGE of Heroes

Too nice here in the Mid-West to be inside. But I did pick up a couple of books this weekend.


I already had the PDFs, so getting these was a nice little addition to my collection.

Plus it is 100% compatible with Blue Rose.


I just need a cool campaign idea now.  My previous Blue Rose games wrapped up to a point where I don't feel the need to bring them back.  So something new. Something really, really new is in order here.

I might have some thoughts on resurrecting bits of Black Rose later in the week and there is something else I have been thinking about.

More later. Gotta get back outside.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Willow & Tara: Blue Rose 2nd Edition

Yesterday I posted the first part of my conversion of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe to Blue Rose.  Today I want to post the second part.  In this post, I'll look at Blue Rose versions of my two favorite witches, Willow & Tara.
I had posted some conversions for these two using the Blue Rose/True 20 system, but those were modern versions of what I call the "Dragon and the Phoenix" timeline.  They were not Aldean versions of the characters.  Honestly given their treatment in the main continuity, they will be more respected in Aldea than in Sunnydale.

Like with Bethan I am starting with what is the essence of the characters and adapting that to a Aldean/Blue Rose background.  So I am pleased to introduce Helyg (Willow) and Brynn (Tara).

Helyg & Brynn, Rose Adepts
In my games, and in much popular fan fic, Willow and Tara have been reincarnated many times and in each life they have been lovers.

Helyg, Adept of the White Rose

Helyg was born to a not-very-rich merchant and his University schooled wife.  She had expected she would join the service of the Church of Pure Light in Jarzon like so many other intelligent, but not wealthy, girls living in Jarzon.  Helyg knew though she was different. Very different.
She knew the thoughts of others, even when she didn't try. She could "see" when things were about to happen and avoid them.  As her magical power grew so did her realization that she also was caria daunen and preferred other girls. She had been in a relationship with boy who was a childhood friend because this was expected of her.  When she was with him she could avoid the questions her mother had, but only voiced in her mind.  Helyg planned to escape to Aldis where she could, at least, be away from a country that did not approve of her love or her magic.  Somehow she managed to convince her parents, and to this day she believes she used Arcana to do this, to allow her to attend University in Aldis.
Here she met the Darkfiend Slayer, Bethan and learned of her battles.
She also met Brynn.
When she met Brynn she felt a deep connection to her from the start. She thought at first it was because she had met another young adept and a potential "study buddy" and friend. It was not till they touched, physically and mentally, that she learned the truth.  Helyg and Brynn had been part of each other's Eternal Dance since the dawn of time. Always together, always finding each other. Thousands of lives and names. Names like Bodhmal and Liath, Sallie and Teamhair, Will and Tamara, Willow and Tara, flooded their minds. Sometimes the love was romantic, other times familial, but always in love. They knew they were Anamchara.
They have had no time to reflect on this though. They have encountered a new Shadowgate and more Darkfiends pour out.  Helyg and Brynn have also learned that they might be the first Rose Adepts in nearly one-hundred years.



Name:
Helyg
Race:
Human
Background:
Jarzoni (living in Aldis)
Class: Adept Level: 3

ABILITY
Score Focus
ACCURACY
3 2
COMMUNICATION
2 Psychic
CONSTITUTION
2
DEXTERITY
2
FIGHTING
2
INTELLIGENCE
5 4 Historical Lore, Arcane Lore
PERCEPTION
2
STRENGTH
1
WILLPOWER
3

Combat
AR 0
Defense 12
Health 32
Weapon Groups: Brawling, Staves

Staff, Attack 3, Damage 1d6+1
Athame, Attack 1, Damage 1d6

POWERS, TALENTS, AND SPECIALIZATIONS
Armor Training: None
Talents: Arcane Training: Shaping (J), Psychic (N)
Mundane Talents: Lore (N), Linguistics (N)

ARCANA
Psychic: Psychic Contact*, Psychic Shield, Second Sight
Shaping: Move Object, Arcane Weapon, Wind Shaping, Wind Walking

Persona
Calling: The Adept, Mastery of the Arcane
Destiny/Fate: Seven of Chalices, Practical/Deluded
Goals: Keep Brynn safe, help Bethan, Learn the secrets of the Rose Adepts.
Corruption: None, but she thinks she might have unduly influenced her parents with Psychic Arcana. This is something she has only shared with Brynn.

Relationships
Brynn (4). She is the love of my life. My soulmate, my anamchara. I see a better version of myself in her eyes and she makes me want to be that person. I will always find her.
Bethan (2). She is my best friend. To everyone else, she is the indestructible Slayer but we have shared fears, sorrow, and happiness. I know the true Bethan.
Gwawr (2). She is my best friend's sister. I sense power from her, but she doesn't know it yet herself. She loves Brynn so much I can't help but be protective of her.

Brynn, Adept of the White Rose

Living in the great forests of the Pavin Weald is not an easy life.  Living under the shadow of sorcery makes it much tougher.  Brynn grew up in such an environment. Her father and brother were both stern military men that took the point of view that women need to remain at home.  He wanted to rais his daughter the same way, her mother, Meghan, would have nothing to do with that. While many girls in this part of the Pavin Weald did not bother to learn to read, Brynn was taught by her mother. She also learned that she, her mother and grandmother, were all part of a great legacy of Reznan Witches. Her father, Riobard, had rescued Meghan from a Darkfiend attack many years ago.  Riobard always felt it was the trace of Vata blood in Meghan, her mother and now in Brynn that had attracted the Darkfiends.  After Meghan had died Brynn learned that a sizable sum of money had been saved for her to attend University in Aldis.
She left her home and entered the wide world for the first time.
She also met Helyg.
When she met Helyg she felt a deep connection to her from the start. She knew Helyg had power, she had felt the same around her mother and grandmother.  It was not till they touched, physically and mentally, that she learned the truth.  Helyg and Brynn had been part of each other's Eternal Dance since the dawn of time. Always together, always finding each other. Thousands of lives and names. Names like Bodhmal and Liath, Sallie and Teamhair, Will and Tamara, Willow and Tara, flooded their minds. Sometimes the love was romantic, other times familial, but always in love. They knew they were Anamchara.
They have had no time to reflect on this though. They have encountered a new Shadowgate and more Darkfiends pour out.  Helyg and Brynn have also learned that they might be the first Rose Adepts in nearly one-hundred years.

Name:
Brynn
Race:
Human (some Vata heritage)
Background:
Forrest Folk (living in Aldis)
Class: Adept Level: 3

ABILITY
Score Focus
ACCURACY
3 2
COMMUNICATION
2 Psychic
CONSTITUTION
2
DEXTERITY
2
FIGHTING
1
INTELLIGENCE
4 3 Natural Lore, Arcane Lore
PERCEPTION
2
STRENGTH
2
WILLPOWER
4

Combat
AR 0
Defense 12
Health 35
Weapon Groups: Brawling, Staves

Staff, Attack 3, Damage 1d6+1
Athame, Attack 1, Damage 1d6

POWERS, TALENTS, AND SPECIALIZATIONS
Armor Training: None
Talents: Arcane Training: Psychic (J), Healing (N)
Mundane Talents: Animal Training (Horses) (N), Medicine (N)

ARCANA
Psychic: Psychic Contact*, Psychic Shield, Second Sight, Calm, Sense Minds
Healing: Cure, Sleep

Persona
Calling: The Moon, Discovery of Secrets
Destiny/Fate: Six of Rods, Confident/Apprehensive
Goals: Protect Helyg from Corruption, help Bethan and Gwawr, Learn the secrets of the Rose Adepts.
Corruption: None.

Relationships
Helyg (4). She is the love of my life. My soulmate, my anamchara. I see a better version of myself in her eyes and she makes me want to be that person. I will always find her.
Bethan (1). She is Helyg's best friend and she treats me like I am family. If I can help her in anything I will.
Gwawr (2). She is my best friend, even though she is younger. She also has powerful psychic potential, but it is untested. I will protect her as my mother protected me.

*When using Psychic Contact between each other, neither Helyg nor Brynn suffer fatigue.  Contact is made at +5 to their rolls.

WOW. I am so, so pleased with these stats. I can't wait to play these two!

Anamchara
“The only thing more frightening than meeting a Celt in battle is meeting a Celt in battle with his wife at his side.” 
- Attributed to Pliny the Elder, 1st Century CE

Anamchara (“on-um-kor-ah”), or soul-mate, is the Gaelic term used to describe a deep and powerful bound shared between two people. This goes beyond mere companionship and even beyond love; the souls of the two people are connected at a deep and fundamental level. Some occult scholars even speculate anamchara share one soul between two physical people.
The anamchara (singular and plural) are often aware of each other on a preternatural level. While this not a full blown telepathy or even empathy it is beyond what the normal senses would allow. This manifests itself in mundane ways as two lovers humming the same song at the same time with no outside influence, husband and wife completing each others sentences, separated twins living parallel lives, or even one sibling knowing her other sibling is about to walk into a room before the event happens.
Anamchara can be, and often are, lovers, but they are not limited to that alone. Some anamchara can also be very close siblings or very deeply devoted friends. Sometimes the connection can be forged in battle, giving rise to a “brothers-in-arms” effect. The Anamchara can also have a deep connection resulting from life times of being together, often both having been in the Eternal Dance together for centuries.
The only prerequisites for this are the two characters must love each other, as represented by a relationship intensity of 3 or greater.


     ANAMCHARA STUNTS
SP  Stunt
5   I Will Always Find You. This acts like a mild form of Empathy or Awareness that extends only to their anamchara. This grants +2 to locate their anamchara via mundane, magic or psychic means. This also gives each anamchara a broad sense of the other’s health and well being.
5   I’ll Stand By You. When anamchara are together even dire situations do not seem as grim. With a soothing word or even a knowing look a character can grant her anamchara +5 on any one test. Best of all, she can do it after the player has already made this test. The granting character spends her Action explaining she is doing this to aid her beloved. This can only be done once per game session per character.


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