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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Bliss Stage] Saved through childbearing  (Read 4848 times)
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


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« on: August 29, 2007, 09:39:39 AM »

Right now, right this moment, right as you read these words, humanity is devastated by an alien attack from the edges of our understanding.

Introduction<Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage was written by Ben Lehman, the author of Polaris, and I was ready to buy.  On the other hand, though, I was concerned that the stories would necessarily degenerate into sexually vile territory.  The idea that combat power comes from intimacy, which is best boosted by having sex, seemed disturbing.  So I remained uncertain.

Then I heard about the mission mechanic (which I will discuss below), and I was pushed over the edge.  So, when Ben announced that there were only a few more preorder slots available, I threw down my cash and bought in.

I do not regret it.

I know that Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage makes me think of this.

We are the resistance

Last Saturday (8/25/2007), we sat down to play Bliss Stage<Polaris<Evangelion with me, and she liked it.  And she loves me, so she was willing to give Bliss Stage<Matrix<Dirty Secrets<Breaking the Ice was set in Peoria, and now Bliss Stage<Primary Figures<Secondary Characters<was<here<should<The Kids<Some thoughts on creating your resistance group<Reflections on the game
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 07:11:15 AM »

Hey, Seth!

I have a hunch why character creation took you so long: you've totally maxed out the number of secondary characters. That's fine, but I understand why there was some tension when you got around to assigning relationships: the more characters there are, the more annoying that step is going to be.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your first session.

yrs--
--Ben
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 07:34:22 AM »

Hey, Seth!

I have a hunch why character creation took you so long: you've totally maxed out the number of secondary characters. That's fine, but I understand why there was some tension when you got around to assigning relationships: the more characters there are, the more annoying that step is going to be.

My reading of the book was that you're supposed to have somewhere between 10-13 characters in the resistance group.  Can you actually do less?  What's the smallest functional amount?

And I'm not really complaining about the number of characters.  Honestly, it's not really that much more than any other RPG.  But, since you're making them up-front and, especially, since you're assigning relationships to them, you feel like they have more "weight" than in, say, Polaris.

Here's a question for you.  Are you allowed to create secondary cast during play?  Like, instead of creating all these relationships at  the beginning of the game, the pilot gets his pool of available relationships and can assign them on the fly.  Like this:

"I'm forming a rocket launcher on my ANIMa.  That's, uh, my relationship with Jinny, the tech who maintains the creche?" 

"Who's Jinny?"

"Don't know.  Just made her up."

Is that legit?  We didn't go this route, but I'm wondering.

Quote
I'm looking forward to hearing about your first session.

Hopefully today or tomorrow.  It was a good time!
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2007, 07:48:41 AM »

The minimum (jeez, this isn't in the book) is 7, which is enough for everyone but the Carefree Hedonist to have one relationship at default.

You are totally not allowed to improvise relationships in the manner that you were talking about. I imagine that doing so would lead to a mushy and unsatisfying feeling in play. What you are allowed to do, as a GM, is have New Face missions interludes that introduce new characters as a reward.

yrs--
--Ben
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2007, 08:20:48 AM »

You are totally not allowed to improvise relationships in the manner that you were talking about. I imagine that doing so would lead to a mushy and unsatisfying feeling in play. What you are allowed to do, as a GM, is have New Face missions interludes that introduce new characters as a reward.

I figured as much.  It makes much more sense to be risking a connection with someone that you already know, even just a little.

As far as New Face missions, do you have to have an in-game justification for why the new character's appearance is connected to the mission?  Or can it be just a bennie for achieving a certain objective?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2007, 08:27:02 AM »

As far as New Face missions, do you have to have an in-game justification for why the new character's appearance is connected to the mission?  Or can it be just a bennie for achieving a certain objective?

You need a fictional representation. It can be as simple as rescuing that person's dream-self from alien baddies, though.

Likewise, if you don't want New-Face-ness to be connected to the dream world, you can have a New Face interlude.

yrs--
--Ben
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2007, 09:08:41 AM »

Likewise, if you don't want New-Face-ness to be connected to the dream world, you can have a New Face interlude.

New Face interlude?  I don't remember reading about that.  What are the rules for doing that?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 09:30:14 AM »

Ah, crap.  They didn't make the cut in the last rewrite.

Anyway, they work how you'd imagine: You play an action with a new character, then there's a new character in the group. I wouldn't recommend doing it until you've offed some of your present characters, though: you have a big group!
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 09:51:27 AM »

Oh, by the way, there will be character sketches forthcoming, done by Crystal.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 02:35:16 PM »

i]Bliss Stage makes me think of this.

On 8/27/2007, Crystal, Gabrielle, and I sat down to play our first session of Bliss Stage.  Things start off with a bang, so suit up, strap in, and hold on.

Scramble!<Bliss Stage<Mission Brief
Scramble!<
  • Prevent alien from reaching base
  • Defeat enemy pilot
  • <map<Evangelion than Battletech<On the Home Front<Dawn Patrol<Mission Brief
    Dawn Patrol<
    • Secure base perimeter
    • Scout out local region
    • If failed, prevent alien pilot from escaping
    • Tensions Relieved and Heightened<Some thoughts on missions

      The Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage<right amount<Some thoughts on being the GM

      Over here, there was some discussion of what it means to be the GM in Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage<had<Reflections on the game<Gabrielle<this.[/i]

      On 8/27/2007, Crystal, Gabrielle, and I sat down to play our first session of Bliss Stage.  Things start off with a bang, so suit up, strap in, and hold on.

      Scramble!<Bliss Stage<Mission Brief
      Scramble!<
      • Prevent alien from reaching base
      • Defeat enemy pilot
      • <map<Evangelion than Battletech<On the Home Front<Dawn Patrol<Mission Brief
        Dawn Patrol<
        • Secure base perimeter
        • Scout out local region
        • If failed, prevent alien pilot from escaping
        • Tensions Relieved and Heightened<Some thoughts on missions

          The Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage<right amount<Some thoughts on being the GM

          Over here, there was some discussion of what it means to be the GM in Bliss Stage<Bliss Stage<had<Reflections on the game<Gabrielle
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Gabrielle
Member

Posts: 16


« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2007, 03:41:49 PM »

Ben, I understand how fewer characters might be easier, but I just can't pick a secondary character I would want to do without. I am also a raving Polaris fan, but I haven't had as many opportunities as Seth to be vocal about it. Thanks for making these games. I am having a blast. A very stressful blast, but a blast nonetheless.
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2007, 06:11:46 PM »

Welcome to the Forge, Gabrielle!

In what ways are you finding the game stressful?
What are you finding a blast about it?
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Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Gabrielle
Member

Posts: 16


« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2007, 07:09:06 AM »

Welcome to the Forge, Gabrielle!

In what ways are you finding the game stressful?
What are you finding a blast about it?

Thanks for the welcome, Steve.

The first reason I am having a blast with Bliss Stage is on a purely geek-out level. Giant robots blowing stuff up! That's cool. On a more serious level there is a story that I am getting emotionally involved in and within the story are a group of characters I care strongly about. Those are exactly yhe kind of stories I love to read and tell. Plus I get my pilot to totally immerse in. Which leads to the stressful part.

We picked up some ruins, crafted something cozy, and comfortable and sweet out of them, and then pitched it into the fire. Seth had to do a little fast talking to get me to play Bliss Stage (the fast talking mostly consisted of "Giant robots blowing stuff up!") because I knew we were going to be putting children through hell and that we weren't going to pull any punches. I've reached a good place of caring without caring too much, but it's still going to be a hard story to tell. But, strangely, I don't think I would enjoy the game half as much if it wasn't so hard.

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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2007, 01:59:34 PM »

Welcome to the Forge, Gabrielle!

(I had to do it.)

We picked up some ruins, crafted something cozy, and comfortable and sweet out of them, and then pitched it into the fire. Seth had to do a little fast talking to get me to play Bliss Stage (the fast talking mostly consisted of "Giant robots blowing stuff up!") because I knew we were going to be putting children through hell and that we weren't going to pull any punches.

And this is the weird thing, perhaps.  I didn't see a comfortable sweet community at the beginning.  I saw a desperate group, holding on by a thread, doing...questionable...things to get by.  Just as an example, consider that, even though we have little family units, they aren't really stable family units.  These children may be survivors, but they aren't really mature yet.  That's part of what went into Beth's explosion at Marcus.  She hasn't really grown up yet.

That's why our Hope makes sense to me.  It's not that they are a cozy, sweet group.  But maybe they could become that.

Also, for those outside our gaming group, I want to note that Bliss Stage was number 2 on my Buy list.  Number 1 was Grey Ranks.  Teenagers in war is the common theme here.  I'm still working through what I should learn about myself as a result of this.

Quote
I've reached a good place of caring without caring too much, but it's still going to be a hard story to tell. But, strangely, I don't think I would enjoy the game half as much if it wasn't so hard.

I agree.  And I don't think that it's just that we're masochistic gamers (or sadistic gamers, for that matter).  But, out of loss comes beauty.  Out of death comes rebirth.

From these ashes, something amazing will arise.  If it doesn't die in the birthing of it.

I'm looking forward to see what happens next.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2007, 08:53:18 PM »

Ben, I understand how fewer characters might be easier, but I just can't pick a secondary character I would want to do without. I am also a raving Polaris fan, but I haven't had as many opportunities as Seth to be vocal about it. Thanks for making these games. I am having a blast. A very stressful blast, but a blast nonetheless.

You're welcome.

Thank you for playing.

Quote
We picked up some ruins, crafted something cozy, and comfortable and sweet out of them, and then pitched it into the fire. Seth had to do a little fast talking to get me to play Bliss Stage (the fast talking mostly consisted of "Giant robots blowing stuff up!") because I knew we were going to be putting children through hell and that we weren't going to pull any punches

So here's a thing. If you want someone to blame for the beginning ideas of Bliss Stage, you can blame Andy. But you could also blame Meg Baker. I met her shortly before I started writing the game, and we were talking about some damn gaming thing, lines and veils or whatnot, and she said "my hard line is at children getting hurt."

And I, like the asshole I am, start thinking "children getting hurt ... huh ... is there a game there?" and about a week later I totally had the rules down. It wasn't a "I want to make a game you can't play hahah" just a starting the wheels spinning.

yrs--
--Ben
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