Princess: The Hopeful
When they told you that you were a Princess, you felt your childhood dream had come true.
Sometimes you want to shake your childhood self, to make her see how much hard work it is to be a Princess.
They showed you how you channel your hope into magic.
You never imagined what magic really was like, how your own doubts could drain your powers or turn them against you.
They said you were going to help fix the world.
Some days, you can't even fix your own life.
When you told them how you felt, they said it was okay to take a break.
But it's not okay because you could never forgive yourself if you let everyone down.
They told you the world was a beautiful place. They told you that you were special. They lied.
Alternate tagline, Princess: The Deceived
The nerds at RPGnet decided to make a World of Darkness splatbook for the magical-girl genre after a joke spiraled out of control with popularity to the point that it became legitimate. It's worth noting, if you are interested in checking this out, that there are two versions of the game: the Dreams version and the Vocations version. The latter is generally more combat focused and there are some lore differences between the two, but otherwise both are good to go. Princess the Hopeful is set in WoD so it's gonna be more Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Sailor Nothing than Kiki's Delivery Service. Shit's gonna get dark, of course. The backstory is this:
A long time ago, there was a magical Kingdom. This Kingdom was ruled by the Queens. It was almost an Utopia, and was the first line of defense against the Darkness. The fight was easy. So easy, in fact, that the Kingdom grew arrogant, and let the Darkness in. The result? The kingdom was destroyed, and five of the Queens were killed, and their souls imprisoned in the Dreamlands. Three escaped- the Queen of Tears used unholy magic to move the city of Alhambra into the middle of the Darkness and keep it safe there (though it survives only by stealing Light from the real world), the Queen of Storms shed her body to become a never-ending storm, and the Queen of Mirrors... well, nobody knows much about her. The Darkness had, essentially, won...
...Until the Apollo landings and the subsequent burst of hope in humanity that spread from the achievement. The Queens returned, or rather realized they had been stuck in the Dreamlands for lord knows how long and that the real world was just outside, and sent their Light out into the world, hopefully, to reclaim it from the Darkness.
Mechanically it is the bastard child of Exalted 2E and nWoD. Nobles (catchall name for Princesses, Princes and all the Light users) have Practical Magic which is a somewhat less broken version of Exalted's Excellencies. Basically, every Court has their own idea of what's best for humanity and acting within that purview gives you extra dice based on your Invocation score. Nobles mainly use magic in the form of Charms (yeah) which like Exalted can be both hilariously broken or brokenly hilarious. A possible build has a Princess who has no other overt magical powers besides her carrying a bolt pistol, a chainsword and wearing power armor. Made of Love.
Stats compared to VampireEdit
- Blood Potency is Inner Light
- Humanity is Belief
- Blood is Wisps (emotional potence, fuel for the soul-gem, etc)
- Disciplines are Charms, Excellencies are Invocations
Covenants are Queens's Courts; Caitiff are Courtless Princesses. There are eight Courts (eleven with the Road of Dawn supplement), each with three different philosophies and a general theme. The most common Courts are the Radiant Courts, led by the Queens who ended up in the Dreamlands. There are also the Twilight Courts, led by the surviving Queens (well, as 'surviving' as the Queen of Storms can be considered nowadays anyway), which offer benefits the Radiant Queens don't give, but have given up conventional morality (begrudgingly or otherwise) along with one or two other drawbacks to their usage. Also, some anime examples to give you more or less an idea of what we are talking about with these Courts.
The Radiant QueensEdit
The Good girls and the ones designed for player characters, though you could play as the other side with DM approval. Also, includes the pre-cursor Courts to what would become the Twilight Courts after the Fall. Though they went on to become Twilight Courts, before that point they're still considered Radiant. Their relevance and presence after the Fall is entirely up to the Storyteller.
Environmentalism, harmony with nature, with a dash of the best parts of modernity. Kind of like the cliche Elf philosophy, only without the worse bits. Clubs' signature emotions are Harmony and Tranquility. Her Invocation is Legno whose element is Wood.
SCIENCE! Okay, so not always, but Diamonds' philosophy of Enlightenment values and improving the world with Reason definitely attracts a lot of the sciencey types. Diamonds' signature emotions are Curiosity and Wonder. Eg: Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon. The Diamond Invocation is Acqua and its element is Water.
Places emphasis on social institutions and duty. Hearts believes in politeness, responsibility, and community. Their signature emotions are Trust and Duty. Eg: Nanoha Takamachi from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The Heart Invocation is Terra which has the element of Earth.
Basically Rogues. They place value on good humor and lateral thinking and try to spread laughter throughout the world. They use outside-the-box thinking and being quick enough to not get caught in doing so. Spades' signature emotion is Laughter. Eg: Marisa Kirisame from Touhou. Spades' Invocation is Aria which has Wind as its element.
All about passion, heroism, and adventure. The philosophy of Swords is about following your heart, not hurting others, and inspiring the world by your example. Swords' signature emotion is Love. Eg: Hibiki Tachibana from Symphogear. The Invocation of the Swords is Fuoco which uses the element of Fire.
The precursors to Tears. They believed in the path of self-discovery that would end in the noble gaining self-enlightenment. Cups' chief philosophies are about keeping an open mind, that you are a person and not a label, and to teach others how to find their own enlightenment. Cups signature emotions are Self-Discovery and Enlightenment and their Invocation, Fulmine, uses Lightning as its element. Byakuren Hijiri is listed as an inspiration for the Court.
The precursor to the Storms. They're are not all laborers, but they all do believe in the virtue of hard work. Wand’s Philosophies teaches that selflessness and hard work are virtues as well as an ideal of loyalty to comrades. Wand’s signature emotion is Humility. They rely on the Invocation of Metallo whose element is, you guessed it, Metal. Emiya Shirou of Fate/Stay Night fame is an inspiration for the Court.
The precursor of the Mirrors. They used to try to look at things without bias so that they can make the clearest decisions for themselves. Pentacle's Philosophies teach to keep a clear mind, that sometimes "the ends justify the means" should happen if there are no better options at all, and that good is subjective. That said, if you're a pentacle you can see the future so you also can try to avoid those situations if you can. If you gotta shoot a new Hitler in the face, then go ahead *BLAM* him if you have to, but first try to avert that future, maybe get him into that art school. Pentacles signature emotion is Wisdom, her Invocation is Vuoto whose element is Void. Inspired by Princess Zelda.
The other side of the splat book, the Twilight queens are fallen Queens who have stopped following the Light, at least the Radiant think so. If you were to ask them they would claim they're the good guys, and it's the Radiant who are not doing their part. Stereotypically the Twilight Queens can be considered lost and/or corrupt, but not outright evil. They still fight the Darkness (indeed, the Storms have more toys than anyone else for it) and try to avoid the shady shit if they can, but ultimately their methods tend to carry some sort of damage with it, which the more idealistic Radiants disapprove of.
All about doing what the Queen of Tears did by transporting Alhambra into the Darkness: Protecting one's loved ones, no matter the cost to anyone else. Unlike all of the other Queens fighting the Darkness, the Tears' primary goal is not the struggle against evil, keeping Alhambra safe is. The problem is, Alhambra is in the Dark World, an environment only slightly less lethal than the Warp. So in order to keep the city safe they 'tax' the Earth of Light (believing the Earth belongs to them in the same way as a province would belong to a medieval monarch and thus owes them fealty, consciously or not) in order to burn it in lanterns to keep the Darkness at bay. As such they're basically disliked by the other Courts, but unfortunately, they have a lot of manpower and old magic items from the Fall of the Kingdoms, and Alhambra is really hard to get into and out of, meaning you can't just attack them straight on, otherwise the Storms would have done so by now. Working for the Queen of Tears has a few advantages such as the ability to shelter loved ones in Alhambra which, despite its location, is one of the safest places in existence due to how heavily guarded it is (and note that if you're using the vocation version of the game line, the Darkness has rules to mechanically find and attack your family and people near to you so this is not a random 'perk'). The Tears Invocation and Charms meanwhile are a mix between screwing with an enemy's mind (most often in morally comprising ways) and defense, with a few Darkness (note the capital D there: it's evil Darkness) powers as well. Tears' signature emotions are Depression and Resolve. Eg: Akemi Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Tears' Invocation is Lacrima whose element is Darkness.
If you're wondering why they don't just move Alhambra again, this time to someplace where they won't require extra Light just to survive, they either cannot, or the simpler answer might be that the Queen of Tears never thought of it. And if she did ever realize that she could have solved almost all her problems a long time ago and done anything other than what she had to do (and the consequences of which she's had to live with for all this time), she'd drop to Belief 0 and become a Dethroned, basically a Puella Magi Madoka Magica witch, only this time with the power of a demigod. Yeah, not a good thing at all.
She is probably not totally beyond redemption... but that doesn't mean that she isn't still making the world worse.
The opposite of Tears. Their philosophy is simple: DESTROY THE DARKNESS AND THE COURT OF TEARS UNTIL NOT EVEN ASHES REMAIN!! To them the collateral damage doesn't matter, and they particularly hate the Queen of Tears for betraying the Queen of Storms to the Darkness for her own benefit.
The advantage Storms offers is battle magic that's powerful (especially against the Darkness and the Tears), but rather indiscriminately, however, while the Charms are powerful they often have the drawback of doing damage to the caster and innocents as it demolishes the Darkness. Storms also have some other advantages not related to their Invocation and magic. Their Queen (who's essentially a living tornado of hate and rage destroying everything near it) can make Stormwracked cells, giving the Storms Nobles some fire support and extra bodies the Radiant don't usually get. They can also make "Goalenu", big almost golem-like guys made out of clay and flesh, powered by the storm, who can hit like a truck, and often lead the Stormwracked cells or accompany Princesses of Storms. Needless to say, Storms are not to be lightly messed with when they come out in force. Storms' signature emotions are Rage and Hatred. Their colors are bright acid green and shades of steel. Eg: Tsubasa Kazanari from Symphogear (early episodes), Kurumi Tokisaki from Date A Live. The Invocation here is Tempesta whose element is Acid.
Also, unlike the other power sources, Tempesta destroys the Darkness and everything it touches outright, rather than purifying it. And all those who die while (or from) using it merge into the Queen upon death, strengthening her, making her ever more powerful, ever more able to rage and obliterate the Darkness. And if, in the process, the Darkness overtakes all creation, and thus Tempesta destroys the universe in the process of ripping it to pieces? That'll be fine. For Storms, revenge on their hated enemy is more important than saving or protecting anything.
This philosophy is a mix of vanity and predestination, which appeals to younger Princesses and Princesses looking for a life free of hardship. It follows the example of the Mary Sue: You are perfect. You are the One True Heir of Mirrors, and whatever you do is right, because it's you doing it. Never compromise, because that means breaking your perfection. Always stick to your ideals, no matter how unrealistic (or damaging) those might be. They may be Princess the Hopeful's version of the Pretty Marines (Seriously they even get a Charm to repel dirt), but unlike most Mary Sues they can back up their narcissism. Their Invocation gives a bonus to anything that targets themselves or mirrors, and Specchio has some powerful self-buffing spells, along with unique spells invoking mirror from turning them into walky-talkies or jumping into and out of them. If you're a combat minmaxer, you could do worse than the Queen of Mirrors. The cost, however, is that Specchio tends to make you go nuts, usually in an attention-whoring way. The advantage Mirrors grants are the ability of prophecy and to stay transformed indefinitely. Eg: Sumireko Usami (before getting beat up by Reimu) from Touhou. The Mirrors Invocation is Specchio whose element is Light.
If you're wondering why the Queen of Mirrors counts as a 'Twilight' Queen since she's not stealing hope or blowing up civilians to get at the darkness, then you're not the only. In-universe Followers of the Queen of Mirrors (often called "brats") are considered Twilight because of their irrational attitude. To put another way: it's called the "World of Darkness" for a reason, and they refuse to make tough choices and think they can make everything right without compromise. When they inevitably can't, it tends to create a lot of collateral damage, that makes them snap since Specchio makes them mentally brittle. An example given is the following scenario: A village of farmers is about to be attacked. A Radiant Noble would take time and effort into training the peasantry in combat so they can defend themselves and then lead them through whatever hardships they must endure to ensure their survival and continued stay in the village. A Mirror would say "leave it all to me" and try to take on the invading force herself, which of course means that she more than likely fails to fight them all off or else keep them from going around her while she's busy. Thus the village burns because the peasantry can't defend themselves.
Also, not to put too fine a point on it, the Queen of Mirrors tells every single Specchio user that they're the One True Heir of Mirrors, hides the fact that using Specchio makes them go insane, encourages them all to ignore or try to avoid the consequences of their actions before peacing out to find more One True Heirs of Mirrors. No one's 100% sure what the hell happened to her anyway. Did she find some bolthole in another dimension like Tears, or merge herself into her magic like Storms, or do something even weirder? Any way you slice it, though, she's a Twilight Queen for a reason: she definitely isn't improving the situation or really trying to.
There is no equivalent of Caitiff with regards to Callings. The Callings are:
Heroes who stand up for those weaker than themselves. They have an affinity for Combat charms.
The leaders, messengers, and therapists. Graces help people to confront their fears and doubts, making them better able to serve the light.
Healers who tend to people who suffer both spiritually and physically.
Scientists, detectives, and others driven to discover the truth.
The artists and performers.
- Princess: the Hopeful sourcebook in ePub and pdf. Keep in mind there are actually TWO versions of the game, Dream, and Vocation. The two guys working on it could not agree on a few things so made their own version of the game. Vocation is more human focused while Dream focuses more on the magical side of things. There are a few other differences so the two books are not exactly compatible. The website also hosts the PDF for the "Road of Dawn" book which has the precursors of Twilight Queens and their magics before they went nuts.
- Princess: the Hopeful wiki
- Mr. Gone's character sheets scroll down to find the Princess interactive pdfs