Blue Rose is possibly returning. I suspect it will make its Kickstarter target. This isn't Green Ronin's first rodeo, after all.
Blue Rose is an RPG modeled on what the designers termed “romantic fantasy.” We're talking about authors like Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Barbara Hambly, Anne Bishop, Jacqueline Carey, and many more similar authors. I'd also include Wendy and Richard Pini and the Foglio's for “Girl Genius” among them.
I do still encounter, on occasion, comments that equate this sort of fiction with stuff like “My Little Pony.” Folks wonder why a mechanic (d20 in the original Blue Rose) built around combat would be used for a game about making friends over tea parties and resolving conflicts through mediation and...
And I have to wonder what books these people are reading.
Actually, no I don't. I know they haven't read any romantic fantasy. They look at the pastel covers with the prancing horses, manes blowing in the wind, and the heroine gazing mistily into the distance, and assume.
Well, neighbor, if that's your assumption, reality's ringing your doorbell and has a whole case of bitch-slap to deliver.
Let's start with a classic of the genre: the prologue to Anne Bishop's Daughter of the Blood.
Very, very NSFW. Also, if you require trigger warnings, romantic fantasy is not the genre for you.
Want more? Try the prologue to C.S. Friedman's Black Sun Rising.
Keep in mind, these are not the meat of the stories. These are the prologues. They're just the hooks (though, like good hooks, they're short, sharp, and dig into your flesh).
Sure, there are talking animals, gorgeous clothes, weddings, friendly dragons, and the occasional unicorn or gryphon. Why not? The target audience has proven through their buying habits that they love that stuff.
And yes, there are openly gay characters and bouts of polyamory now and then. But the sex isn't always the happy-happy hippy-trippy lovefest some would lead you to expect. Because the minds of teenage girls are full of monsters, and, as Ursula Vernon says, sex is “the mommy monster at the bottom of the well, with fifty lazily blinking eyes and muck settling across its back” and they want to drag those monsters into the light, see them, be terrified by them, and then toss them back into the well.
The truth is, all good writing is vicious. An author lulls you into caring for a character or three and then spends the next handful-hundred pages abusing them terribly. If the misfortunes of the characters resonate with your own life, the book will be all the more powerful for it. Nobody enjoys pre-chewed pablum. Most will enjoy a vicarious and dangerous thrill that flirts with the monsters lurking inside their own skulls.
Now, having said all that, if you want to argue about how well the Blue Rose game communicates and invokes that sort of thing, then we'll have something to talk about. :)