View Full Version : Black Jewels RPG?

2010-07-19, 09:21 AM
Does anyone know of a roleplaying setting for Anne Bishop's "Black Jewels Trilogy". I've been searching online for a few days and all I've found is a few freeform sites with know rules for any semblance of a real pen and paper version. Now i'm pretty sure theres never been an official one, but homebrew is fine since I think its the best I'm gonna get.

Thanks for the Insight,

2010-07-22, 05:37 PM
Really, no one at all?

2010-07-22, 05:42 PM
What's wrong with existing fantasy roleplaying games? Wouldn't the book specific stuff just be fluff, possibly with a bit of homebrew for some PrC to represent an order or something?

2010-07-22, 06:21 PM
What's wrong with existing fantasy roleplaying games? Wouldn't the book specific stuff just be fluff, possibly with a bit of homebrew for some PrC to represent an order or something?

Have you read the books? Its basically all one class. Which is kinda like a wizard-psion charisma caster.

The problem with trying to make an RPG out of it is the birthright gems and even offering to the darkness is going to make all your characters the same level (which doesn't really advance) or destroy any semblance of balance.

The books were a fun read but I can't think of a system that would do it justice. Not even the normal knee jerk reaction of gurps.

2010-07-22, 07:38 PM
Maybe you could homebrew a Black Jewels d10 system? Seems like a decent idea. The depth of the gem becomes an Advantage like Generation. Unfortunately I haven't read the books either, I'm basing this off of a Black Jewels game that someone here tried to run a year or two ago.

2010-07-22, 09:16 PM
Not too long ago I tried to adapt some system to that scenario, but believe me, it's horribly difficult.
You have a lot of different scales which influence your character's power, as there is the standing, the jewels and the caste, and the caste is partly inborn and can partly be learned. Each of those can totally overpower or cripple a character, as has been shown in Daemon and Lucivar being slaves despite having the most/near most powerful jewels in the world, however a black jewel can still annihilate a whole freaking continent!
You can be a born healer and a born black widow, but you can also learn to become a black widow. The male castes seem to be complete inborn. Then everybody has access to the jewel's magic powers, but black widows can weave those magic nets, which is a whole new extremely powerful exclusive magic.
In short, you have a whole lot of powers to deal with, and balancing is extremely difficult, especially because a jewel's colour cannot ever be changed. My best guess would be using the 3rd Ed. GURPS Psionic system, where every power had a "skill" and a "power" rating, and there where tables for range and mass etc. corresponding to that power rating. Start with those tables, but change the power ratings to colours (higher always beats lower, but they also need some rating in numbers, since you can expend a high colour shield with a (big) lot of weaker attacks, though lower shields will always be penetrated by higher attacks...yeah, it's complicated) and play with the numbers in the tables until they fit the story. Then assign point values to the colours.
In GURPS terms you will find out, that a black jewel is worth about 600 points alone and that is probably cheap.
Social standing etc. are all defined as advantages/disadvantages in the GURPS system and have point values you might play with quite a bit, seeing how far the power someone higher may have even over a queen.
The castes can be made fairly straightforward. A standard witch or warrior only has the standard powers of the jewels (which you have to seek out throughout the books and translate into GURPS terms, again, the 3rd. Ed Psionics had useful tables), healers can heal, a warrior prince is a kind of template, giving higher social standing and some high pitched emotions including a berserk mode, which might be a fair tradeoff between power and control. The black widows however, with their illusions and mental magic and those magic netweaving will be a pain somewhere down your back to assemble, though you might find translations for them in GURPS that will show you their point value.

What I can't see in any case is using a class-based system for this, since the power of the jewels cannot become stronger but always stays the same and does not really have inherent disadvantages.
Even in a point buy system you will have groups in that all the characters will have similar jewels. A grey jewel and a rose are just so different in power that the weaker jewel would have to have MAD skills to attain a similar power rating. You can't really balance it. Different social standings and jewel colours will play out massively different, giving you something between a low magic street urchin campaign, powerful magic outlaw gangs, court campaigns with a lot of sex slaves and little magic intrigue tricks, or world dominating kings and queens wielding the destructive power of a meganuke tied to their personal headache.

If you want to open up a thread in the homebrew forums, I'll gladly join.

2010-07-25, 10:09 PM
Wow everybody, thanks for the responses, I haven't been online in a while so sorry it took so long to respond, I will gladly open this up in the home-brew forum but i'll be the first to admit that I absolutely suck at home-brewing. I wasn't really thinking of it being a class system, either s d12 system like the Serenity system or just something like a template. I wasn't planning on it not being overpowered, it just has to be an overpowered campaign. And god knows we won't be able to do it justice, but I plan on running the campaign up at college this upcoming year and the only person that has read the series is me. SO i'm hoping to run an interesting and fun campaign and hopefully spark an interest in them reading the books. It's planned to be a dark campaign anyway, and frankly, I don't think it should be any other way. I'll open up a home-brew thread right now, But I don't have time to put down any ideas right now, so I'll explain what it's for and then log off. I should have time tomorrow to put some home-brew ideas down I look forward to seeing you all there!

2010-07-25, 11:11 PM
i loved those books.

making an RPG setting out of them would be difficult, but not impossible.

the levels of power of the Jewels of varying darkness could be replicated by either a bonus to spell DC depending on jewel colour or only the darker jewels can access higher level spells.

so a Red jewelled warlord might be able to only get eighth level spells while you need either Ebon Grey or Black to cast ninth level spells?

i'd ditch the whole offerings to darkness part of the idea and have players roll against a table to determine jewel strength.

determining jewel strength should be done BEFORE the character chooses a class (no point being a Summer Sky Wizard?).

as for born healer, born black widow etc, that's going to be a little more difficult.

note that members of The Blood are far, far more powerful than the landen.

2010-07-26, 04:59 PM
Okay so here's the link to the thread opened in the Homebrew Forum (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161706). I look forward to seeing you all there and helping me with ideas.