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From RPGPundit's Blog: The Original Magic Deer Rant!

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RPGPundit:
The Blue Rose Forums, The Generation of Swine and the Death of Rhetoric
 
The True 20 system, found in the game Blue Rose, is a spectacular RPG.  It blew my mind the first time I read it; it has a kind of perfection I never even dreamed of.
 
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the setting; a "romantic fantasy" world that does a good enough job of replicating the "romantic fantasy" genre, including having the perfect utopian feminist-socialists, the foolish and sometimes evil christian-metaphor nation across the border, who are evil and stupid because they aren't "tolerant", and talking psychic animal friends.
 
That said, those are all part of the genre, and things that Green Ronin cannot be blamed for.  Yes, its a phony collectivist "utopia" where everyone happily "tolerates" everyone else (except for the pseudo-christians, its cool to be intolerant of them, because they're not "tolerant", you know). But what really kills the setting beyond any redemption is the addition of things to the setting that make the setting really unplayable even within genre, and it all comes down to the magic deer.
 
Yup, you heard me, the magic deer. Not plural just singular. A freaking magic deer that is actually the evil overlord of humanity, only no one in the setting seems to notice. They all willing enjoy being the slaves of the magic deer, who gets to pick the monarch-for-life of the utopian socialist kingdom, and whose godlike powers insure that anyone who disagrees with its choice for monarch gets a paralysing magic kick in the head and exile from socialist-utopialand.  Whats more, the magic deer has a magic rod that chooses all the nobility, assuring that only the good kind feminist-socialisty-utopian people are chosen as aristocrats.
So basically, the entire system of government is a willing slavery to a magic deer.
 
The concept being silly is the least of the problems: what it also does is that insures that any internal conflict or tension in "socialist utopialand" requires really absurd premises.  You can't have an evil king take the throne, because the magic deer protects the throne.
Want evil self-serving nobles? You can have one or two, because apparently they're allowed to change alignment after the deer picks em, but on the whole the system is always good and true and pure. And anyone who disagrees with the system of government or the idea of being slaves to a magic deer get a swift hoof to the head and exile, every time.
 
There's no hope to free humanity from the magic deer.
 
Sweet jesus, there's a sentence I never thought I'd say.
 
Now, the setting is one thing, but when the fandom you get for a setting goes mental in less than six months from a game's release, you know you're in trouble.  And if you check out the blue rose forum, you'll notice that quite a few of the rejects from the generation of Swine are trying to subtly infiltrate the D20 field by subverting Blue Rose fandom.
No, they aren't making those kinds of pseudo-intellectual threads you would see on the Forge yet (I don't think anyone who's honestly a D20 fan can really sink that low). But they are taking on the religious fanatic mentality; attacking you if you don't run BR "right", suggesting that the true 20 system is really only playable in the blue rose setting, and most of all accusing anyone who disagrees with elements of the setting's plausibility as being sexist, homofobic, etc. etc.

This ties into the death of rhetoric that has come to pass, not just in the "roleplaying" generation of swine, but in the generation of swine as a whole. Raised in an educational environment that says "whatever you believe is ok, you have a right to your opinions" and "every opinion is right", they honestly cannot seem to tell the difference between their opinions and themselves, or for that matter between opinion and fact. And when you argue against their ideas in the classic rhetorical tradition of debate, they can only interpret it as a vicious personal attack on them as people.
 
The fact that they usually react to this by viciously attacking back, not at your ideas (they lack the training to be able to actually argue ideas) but at you as a person, and instantly try to resort to either the censorship of repeated personal insults or the more literal censorship of demanding you be banned for what you say, shows just how thin the veneer of modern collectivist "tolerance" really is.
 
The BR setting fans have become seriously wierd in a very short time; I've rarely seen a subculture de-evolve to the state of "no debate allowed" in such a quick span of time, which really doesn't bode well for either the setting or the future of the True 20 system.
 
It was kind of to be expected, that a setting with this kind of politicized premise (feminism-collectivism) would breed fans who were absolute fanatics, determined to defend the purity of the collective thought-product. But its unfortunate in the sense that it will keep people from discovering the genius that is True 20, a system that doesn't depend upon the setting of blue rose in any way; regardless of what some of the fanatics will tell you... you tell my Port Blacksand True 20 players that True 20 is "unplayable" outside of the Aldis setting.  Unplayable? It isn't even uncomfortable. I've had to do all of two house rules (one for alignment, the only part of the system that ties into the setting explicitly, the other for corruption, because I thought the side-effects of corruption as written were rather uninspired)! The average D&D Forgotten Realms campaign has more houserules than that.
 
As long as True 20 is exclusively fettered to Blue Rose, people are going to miss out on this system. Namely, people who aren't willing to put up with the fanaticism of the Aldis-fanboys, and people who don't know that there is another choice.
 
Green Ronin has done a good thing in providing an alternative, a forum where one can discuss True 20 explicitly outside of the Aldis setting, and here it is:
 
http://www.greenronin.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=24&sid=a9c53e459e5214b8d65b64279d7fe177
 
But they have so far shown a decided lack of initiative in realizing that they have got a system that has met with more critical praise than just about ANY rpg system I can recall in the last five years. Almost EVERYONE agrees that its one of the best iterations of D20 ever.
 
For them to not start immediately working on other settings for True 20, or at the very least a True 20 rulebook divorced from the Blue Rose setting, is the most catastrophic lack of vision since Chaosium flushed the moneymaking machine that Call of Cthulhu d20 could have been straight down the crapper.
 
I hope they don't make that mistake. I hope they realize that whatever their sales figures are for Blue Rose, a sizeable percentage of those sales are people who bought the book for the RULES, and not the setting; and for each one of them there's probably three others who decided not to buy the book only BECAUSE of the setting.
 
Please, Green Ronin: I'm not your enemy, I love your work. None of the people who've criticized the Blue Rose setting are your enemies, most of them only really noticed Blue Rose because of how amazing your True 20 rules-set is! Clue in to the potential it has in other applications, and for sweet jebuses' sake get rich!

Lawbag:
at least everyone now understands the Magic Deer in-joke...

Zachary The First:
The Despotic Magic Deer.  The George III to the Pundit's Samuel Adams.

GRIM:
Personally I don't find the Magic Deer any more problematic than, say, Excaliber or any other plot device that ensures the justness and destiny of leadership.  The Magic Deer might be gussied up a bit but it's a strong fantasy trope to have something that ensures and legitimises the goodness of leadership.

RPGPundit:
Excalibur isn't quite so fucking pro-active. Nor does it tend to make value judgements beyond "this fucker is of noble blood and therefore the true king". It doesn't demand that you not eat too much sugar or that you respect traffic laws.

RPGPundit

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