Archive for October 22nd, 2008

The Bliss-Robed Lie, Layout

2008 Oct 22

Right now, it’s looking like The Bliss-Robed Lie will be a free supplement for Bliss Stage, posted in alpha form here soon and eventually, once it’s been playtested, published free through Bleeding Play. After that, I’ll probably end up polishing up Agonia to be published the same fashion.

The Bliss-Robed Lie, Part 3

2008 Oct 22

This is the third part of my Matrix-y hack of Bliss Stage.

Values

Trauma, Terror, & Gnosis. Trauma still represents a team leader’s mental anguish, killing them if it ever reaches seven (7). Terror represents how badly the mission is going and, additionally, how many servitors of the Archons have become aware of the characters. Gnosis replaces Bliss as the trait that removes characters from the group (they become the anchor of another group) or allows them to replace the group’s anchor (and have their player become the GM) once it hits 108 and a character becoming enlightened.

Truth, Trust, & Stress. The potency of a relationship lies in its authenticity, its ability to overcome the Lie. Truth, then, replaces Intimacy, while still using the Intimacy Levels Chart as a rough guideline for what Truth values represent. Trust and Stress remain.

Harm & Death. Team members involved in missions can suffer Harm if one or more objectives are not achieved, though Harm is not usually allotted for missions that are abandoned with even being attempted. Additionally, characters can gain Harm from broken relationships. Any character that gains three (3) Harm is killed and all team leaders gain 3xTruth in Gnosis, becoming more aware of death.

The First Action

The Plan. The Archons and their servitors are planning a new assault on the Lower Heavens, attempting to destroy your group and any other rebels they can find. In order to throw a wrench in their plan, you need to take out several targets, which can be key servitors, bases, artifacts, machines, or a mixture of the above. Each team will be responsible for taking out a single target, though it’s possible that teams from other groups are participating as well. The captain will clearly be leading one team, perhaps at the most important target, but each of his lieutenants will also be leading a team.

Initial Objectives. 1) Destroy the target; 2) Get out alive. If the first objective is unsuccessful, the team leader chooses one team member to gain Harm. If the second objective is unsuccessful, you’ll have more than Harm to worry about.

The Bliss-Robed Lie, Part 2

2008 Oct 22

The second part of my Matrix-inspired hack of Bliss Stage.

Characters

Your Group & Other Groups. You should choose a name for your group, plus the names of any other groups of liberated humans, if they exist. You should also decide whether other groups have figured out how to hack into the Lie or not.

Your Anchor. Generally, each group will have a single anchor, since newly escaped Nephalim and newly enlightened mortals generally start their own groups. The anchor is played by the GM, though this can change later in the game. Together, the players should brainstorm the name of your anchor, some details about, and decide whether they are a Nephalite or enlightened mortal.

Your Captain. Captains are generally arrogant and brash, following their own instincts and ideals instead of the best interests of their group and humanity. The captain’s player, with the help of the players, should brainstorm the captains background and personal quirks. It is the captain’s job to create additional drama among the other characters by pursuing their personal white whale.

Your Characters. The other main characters are the captain’s main trusted lieutenants, the ones who will be leading teams into the Lie to accomplish Missions. Name and describe them, one for each remaining player (so 4 players = 1 GM + 1 Cap’n + 2 Lieutenants).

Other Group Members. There are also other characters in your group, liberated humans that serve as teammates, friends, rivals, lovers, and family. Name and describe a few of them.

Other Characters. There are also other people who are not members of your group, either members of other groups or significant people within the Lie that you have important relationships with. Name and describe a few of these as well.

Templates and Assigning Relationships. The captain and other main characters should all choose Pilot Templates, while the Anchor gets an Anchor Template. The captain and main characters should also assign values to their relationships with each other, your anchor, and any other characters they choose. Characters not explicitly assigned relationships use the default relationship values. Assigning relationships to adversaries such as Archons and their servitors is only important if you want to eventually team up with them on a Mission.

[Dream Game] Escape from the Tombs

2008 Oct 22

Bizarre dreams last night, including a semi-RPG and a lost episode of Avatar Book III. This post is about the game, which seemed like a cross between Fred Hick’s Escape or DIE! and Jason Morningstar’s Drowning & Falling. I was at JiffyCon (in the dream) and planned to play some Exalted hack with Shreyas and Elizabeth, but we were waiting for the game to start, so we wandered over to another table where folks where playtesting another game.

The game involved placing cards on the table to form a basic labyrinthine dungeon, with some cards connecting to others and some not, very much like what a finished dungeon in Drowning & Falling looks like. And then the group decides on some basic reason that all their characters are trapped in a dungeon. I said, “Can I suggest that this is some kind of ancient archaeological site that we’ve stumbled into while looking for valuable cultural artifacts, Indiana Jones style?” Folks were very enthusiastic about that suggestion.

Play consisted of rolling some dice to see if 1) you could move between rooms, in the hopes of grabbing something valuable before fleeing for your life, and 2) making sure nothing terrible happened to your character in the new room. For example, I remember Shreyas rolled a success on movement and a failure on preventing something bad, narrating, “Okay, the door in front of me has a symbol like a purple bubble wand on it — P.S. there are bubble wands in this dungeon, okay — so I blow some bubbles on the door and it opens, but then some black tentacle shoots out from behind the door and pulls me through it, screaming.”

Unfortunately, that’s all I remember.

[Dream Episode] Avatar: Book III, The Forge

2008 Oct 22

Here’s the lost Avatar episode from Book III that I dreamed about last night.

The crew of heroes (Aang, Kitara, Sokka, Toph, and Appa, with Suki still missing) arrive on an island where all the Fire Nation folks aren’t evil. In fact, they’re downright friendly, aside from their very old evil overseer. This island hosts the forge where they make metals and turn them into the technology and weapons that are used both in the war and for peaceful purposes. However, the forge once burned down, long ago, killing all the original workers. Their children and grandchildren, who bravely carried on the tradition of metalworking, clearly understand and respect the dangers of fire.

The forge itself, as the crew learns during their tour as visiting “guests from the main islands,” sits on top of a dormant volcano. The workers use firebending to draw magma up from the earth, seperate out the metals they want, and then shape it into what they need. There’s also a large pond in the volcano crater for them to place hot metal objects in, so they can cool. The workers only call up small amounts of magma at a time, because using a lot of firebending all at once runs the risk of awakening the dormant volcano, but their slow and methodical work style is despised by the Fire Nation generals who visit, demanding that more warmachines be made quickly. The forge workers ask Aang and the other guests to let people on the main islands know that metalworking is an art that takes time, so patience is needed.

Also, importantly, there’s a cute local girl working in the forge who hits on Sokka, but he’s trying hard not to be infatuated because he’s still worried about Suki. Also important is the local dress. Men wear a kind of poncho while women wrap themselves in a long flowing piece of cloth, somewhat like an Indian sari.

However, the evil, ancient overseer somehow discovers that the Avatar is visiting the forge and decides to reignite the dormant volcano and burn down the entire community… just as he did in the past when the workers revolted and refused to make materials for the war. So he uses his master-level firebending powers to call up a whole bunch of magma all at once. Things go crazy and the kids initially climb on Appa and start flying around trying to fix things, but even they can’t stop a volcano from erupting. They’re safe on Appa but they quickly weigh their options: flying away (“There’s no way we can save all these people!”) or dying here with them (“Our mission is too important to throw your life away! You have to save the world!”) before Sokka comes up with a crazy plan, like he always does.

Wading out into the pond, he tells all the people to take off their clothes. They at first look at him like he’s crazy. They are about to burn to death and he’s telling them to get naked? Desperate, Sokka demonstrates. He takes off the poncho they’ve given him, stands in the middle of the pond in his underwear, and holds one end of the poncho over his head, saying, “…then you find a partner to hold the other side, and when the pond boils and becomes steam, the hot air will lift you both up in the air, so you can float to safety, just like a Fire Nation airship.” The people still think he’s nuts until the cute local girl wades into the pond and takes off her sari. The camera only shows her blushing from the neck up, while Sokka’s eyes almost fall out of their sockets. She hands Sokka the other end of her garment and grabs onto one side of his poncho. Now the rest of the people quickly scramble into the pond and start ripping off their clothes.

The kids make Aang stay on Appa, to help airbend the floating people through the air, away from the volcano, and also to make sure that “In case this doesn’t work…” Aang will be okay and can still try to kill the Firelord on the Day of Black Sun. Aang doesn’t even want to think about that possibility. “It’ll work,” he says.

(I’m not sure how Sokka planned to keep people’s legs from being boiled in the pond before it turns to steam and carries them away, or how the steam wouldn’t just burn folks to a crisp, but, this was a dream, so it wasn’t worried about those things.)

So, in the end, the concrete parts of the dream, before it started wandering in strange directions, ended with a crowd of mostly naked people being shot into the air, held aloft in pairs by their clothes. Yay, Avatar fan service! I can only assume that, after they land, people will put their clothes back on and go take down the evil overseer.