Samantha: So, my brother's starting his first Blue Rose game. He owned the 1st edition for quite some time, and he's been looking forward to the 2nd edition game ever since he saw it coming out on Kickstarter. For those who don't know - this is a Romantic Fantasy game - you play Romantic Heroes. This means you're the good guys. Not the 'troubled sort-of good guys' or the 'gray guys' or the 'anti-heroes' or anything like that. You're the good guys. End of story.
One of the players kinda missed that - thought his character might hunt down some fleeing bandits and kill them because of a flaw he has. My brother warned him - he does that, he gets a Corruption point. That's kinda a signal you're doing something wrong - you don't want any of those. Well, the character went off, killed people, rolled, and got a Corruption Point. Then found out just how shitty those things are. Since it was the first session, my brother allowed him to step back and get a do-over. He beat the bandit and dragged the guy back to the camp as a captive.
Yeah, the game rewards you being big damn heroes, and it punishes you to hell and back if you start doing evil shit. We're good guys, act like it. I didn't make a kill bot, or someone who wiped out the enemy in the first round or blew everyone away or whatever.. because the game doesn't want that.
My boyfriend was invited into the game. I was really looking forward to seeing what he was going to play, and my brother was curious too. He makes interesting characters, and we were really hoping he'd make some kind of paladin, or something.
He wanted to make a "mage". You know, spell-tossed. But they don't have spell tossers in this game. Not really. "Adepts" are kind of close, in that they get some kind of animistic / shamanic / psychic kind of abilities, and those tend to take a heavy toll on the person. So right out of the gate, things weren't going well.
Then, he got some shitty die rolls for his attributes, re-rolled, and got worse. An offer was made for another re-roll so he could get, maybe, better than average, but he declined. Well, okay - it isn't the end of the world, each time you level you can increase your attributes, so you can kind of build the direction you wanna go. It isn't horrible - it just means your character's more of a normal person rising up to be the hero, rather than starting there.
So he came up with a cool idea. You take an Adept, make it a character that can create and use psychic weapons, and there you go. I could build an entire thing around that - in fact I did. Her name was Lilith, and she was a psychic-knife using assassin. Note 'assassin' there - not someone I'd use in Blue Rose. Instead, I'd probably have made her a duellist - someone who defends the honour of others, because that's kind of the way the game runs, you know?
But he dropped the idea, saying if he was going to be using weapons, he might as well have made a warrior. And.. isn't that kind of missing the point?
So he's not playing.
And it's kind of sad, because I think he'd have enjoyed the game if he'd let himself. But he kept looking at the negatives, and not the positives. You get to be a hero, you get to do good, and feel good about it, and there's not this moral ambiguity. The game's not made for moral ambiguity.
You get to stand in the light, be the good guy, do right. The game doesn't want you going around and killing people, you're trying to save lives, rather than end them.
A mage, using fireballs and lightning bolts and such isn't helping people in this setting. It's hurting people. And the game tells you this - it's in the setting, it's in the mechanics, it's part of the core of the game's very being.
And.. the game asked the players to make relationships - bonds with other people, whether they were other PCs, or NPCs or enemies or friends or whatever - to connect yourself to the people around you and to the world itself.. and that was apparently too hard.
So, it feels like he didn't even try. That this idea of there being a world of light and goodness, and being a part of that, and striving to work towards that, of being connected to other people, in a positive way, from the get-go, was too much.
It's a shame. Because when we got to playing, the ideals came out quickly, and it worked. We were the heroes. We saved the captives, and we didn't kill anyone. The questions were asked: 'Were they forced to capture people?' 'Should we take lives?' And those were the right questions. And now that we have the captives, they get to wander off to prison, and then get put on trial.
If this were D&D, everyone would have been killed, and.. well, sure, it's satisfying to just kill everyone off, get the XP, and carry on - but this isn't D&D. You don't just murder people - if they're breaking the law, you try to bring them to justice. That's what makes us civilized.
And it was kind of cool. I'm looking forward to the next session..
I just wish he was there with me.