Alright, it’s time for another Quarter Quell. Recap for those who don’t know what it is: Every 25 sessions, I go through RPGs I’ve played through previously, reusing engines that I have used and drivers that I have also used. Time for the quelling!
Our RPG for this round is… BLISS STAGE! Yeah! This game was fun and I said before how I wanted to play it again!
Our Engine for this round is… TINY SOLITARY SOLDIERS! Okay, I can work with this.
And Our Two Drivers will be… THE LOCATION CRAFTER AND THE RANDOM CULT GENERATOR! Okay, so we’re obviously going for a cultish feel here.
Now the question is whether or not to make new characters or continue from where my previous Bliss Stage session ended. Hmm… No, I have an idea. Our protagonist will belong to the Cult, his ANIMa being their God. My character’s with the Profane Cabal of the Limitless Abyss. Their symbol is a flaming maw positioned below an inverted pyramid. The ANIMa is what they consider to be an unfathomable god. Their leader (Authority Figure) is an Anointed Prophet whose true identity is a Demigod. His weapon is a glass scythe.
Their base of operations is a cursed temple atop an abandoned ruin. Presumably the ruins of another base. They wear red hats made from tattered rags. They have infiltrated a clergy and their relic is a Demoniac Sword that is missing a crucial component. And that will be their goal. Their ANIMa’s name is Cthrugnug. Alright, that’s a good set up. I have some idea of what to do now.
My player is the eager young soldier who has a healthy relationship with the Authority Figure and his Anchor. We have some good threads to start off the game.
So after forming my location, it’s time for me to delve.
[Roll: 1, 1, and 2]
So Expected, Expected, and None.
So my character arrives in the front of his chapel. He’s in his ANIMa and so far, nobody is seeing him. He’ll go in.
[Roll: 7, 7, and 4]
Alright, so we’re making some progress. I rolled on a Special, which means that I get to generate something… well… special that happens. In this case (57), I got an exit from the Divination Room. So my character enters this room where he meets another Cultist.
[Q: Does he break his cover to worship the ANIMa? A: 5, Yes]
He gets on the ground and bows before me.
[Q: Does anyone else see? A: 1, No And]
No, and we’re completely hidden away. Alright, I’m gonna converse with him regarding the location of the sword.
[Q: Does he know where it is? A: 1, No And]
No, he doesn’t and he is far too concerned with the worshipping to even care. So onwards we go.
[Q: Does my character know him well enough to have a relationship? A: 4, Yes, But.]
Yes, he does, but he’s more or less going to have the “everyone else” stat.
[Roll: 5, 8, 7]
Alright, so we enter the central temple where a crystal ball stands in the middle.
[Q: Is this crystal ball magical? A: 3]
No, but it seems fixed to the table. Our hero goes into fumble with the ball and he ends up gaining access downstairs. So they descend.
[Roll: 6, 8, 6]
So we enter a crypt with tons of coffins.
[Q: Are the coffins filled with people they know? A: 1]
No, and the coffins are empty. They’re also open… That’s when our hero realizes that he just got into an ambush! Priests come out, carrying daggers and ready to kill themselves a cultist and their God! We have reached climax.
[Roll: Three minuses, four zeroes, two pluses]
Yikes! Alright, so I’m gonna put a plus in Mission Success (get the hell out of dodge), a Plus in Tori’s relationship (since she’s at Trust level one and if I stress it, it breaks and having an anchor with broken trust is a bad thing), and then dump the zeroes in the rest, stressing both my relationship with my commander and that follower dude. This does mean that he takes some trauma and Bliss.
However, he succeeds and gets out of dodge.
[Roll: 8, 9, 7]
So we run back to the room with the crystal ball, only now, the guards have come, so we reach Climax once again.
[Roll: One minus, six zeroes, two plusses]
Same as before, putting the two plusses in Mission Success and relationship with the Anchor and then enduring some damage. But, I managed to cleave through the guards with my ANIMa and proceed to the next part of the chapel.
[Roll: 9, 12, 8]
So we enter the guard room where we find some prisoners of the religious war in some cells that had been going on.
[Q: Are they from our side? A: 2]
No, they’re not. But, we could try to convince them to our side.
[Q: Do they accept our offer of freedom? A: 4!]
And we get our first twist of the game.
The scene abruptly ends on the fact that, yes, they will join, but unfortunately, the guards apprehend us before we could free them and thus we get shackled up too.
Now we get a quiet scene where the group is tied up. There’s a religious symbol.
[Q: Is it one of ours? A: 2]
No. It’s not. So… What is it? Well, let’s ask the Location Crafter for that.
[Descriptor: Kindly Beautiful]
Oooh, this sounds interesting. I’ll say it’s a painting.
[Q: Is it important? A: 5]
Alright. I’m gonna say that the painting is of a great leader of the cult that holding the sword.
[Q: Would my character be able to break out? A: 6]
Yes, and he can also break the others out. He proceeds to do so and hopefully now the prisoners will ally with him.
[Q: Ally with the hero? A: (Advantage) 5 & 4]
And so they do. I’ll chalk them up as also “everyone else” levels of Trust and Intimacy. And for ease, I’ll say there’s six of them. They tell the hero that, obviously, there are more imprisoned people. So it’s up to him to rescue them.
I should bring up the makeup of my ANIMa now. The chassis is obviously made from the relationship with the anchor. The ANIMa has a tentacle-like sword based off the relationship with the pilot’s commander. The random cultist who got attached to me is a gun, while the prisoners become Funnels (a fancy Gundam term for drone controlled turrets).
Alright, next scene.
[Roll: 13, 8, 12]
Alright, our group now enters a robing room where a special object is…
And this is a multi-element thing…
[Roll: 6 + 8]
We get a coffin that is also a religious symbol.
[Q: Our symbol? A: 2!]
Nope, but twist!
Ah crap! Alright, so either an NPC will be killed or a thread will be closed. I’ll roll a D6, odds is NPCs, evens is threads.
[And it’s… Threads]
Oh thank God…
[Thread Closed: 2]
This thread is called “Those who came before”, which I would interpret to mean the group who this Clergy stole from. In this room, we can confirm that this symbol is not the Clergy (as theirs is a beautiful painting of their leader), but rather the symbol of the previous Clergy. My hero sends one of the prisoners to open the casket.
[Q: It’s bad, right? A: 6]
Yes, and it’s exactly what I feared: A prototype ANIMa, forged before the concept of Anchors and Pilots when people believed ANIMas could be automated, only to realize that they don’t have the same power as if they were piloted by hand. Because it’s super bad, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it’s active and is beginning a protocol of attacking any and all intruders, which includes me.
So I go into climax.
[Roll: Five pluses, six zeroes, four minuses]
I’m going to have the GM threaten the categories of Pilot’s Safety and the relationship with the Prisoners. The ANIMa’s pretty strong despite being a prototype while the prisoners don’t really trust the cult that’s saving them all that much.
Threatening a category means I have to pick two dice for that category and pick the lowest of the two. I’ll put a plus into Mission Success, the six zeroes to the relationship with the prisoners (which means they’re halfway to a broken trust), the other three pluses will go into the other relationships, and Pilot Safety will be nullified with a minus.
Ouch! I just took one trauma and one terror… One more terror and I am half-way to dying. This isn’t my day… But hey, the ANIMa is defeated. I’m now going to Hotspot the mission (basically add a goal) to salvage the ANIMa.
[Q: Is he able to do so without trouble? A: 5]
Yes, he does. He salvages the ANIMa and gains some cool shoulder cannons with an intimacy rating of 2. The downside being that, by the time the job’s done, the cannons will crumble to dust. So next scene.
[Roll: 9, 13, 14]
We enter another guard room. But this time, we encounter the Friar, someone who works at the Clergy. In his hand, the Friar has…
[Roll: Partially Lacking]
He has one other piece of the sword that the cult needs. Obviously, we’re gonna nab it from him.
[Q: Can the Friar fight? A: 6]
Yes, and he is actually in his ANIMa. So we hit climax.
[Roll: Six pluses, six zeroes, five minuses.]
I’m gonna choose, as a GM, to force a relationship. This means that a relationship that has not been utilized in the ANIMa will be threatened as well, and I have to dump some points into that. However, I could use that relationship for my ANIMa and roll some more dice, hopefully getting more plusses. I’ll use the next highest relationship I have and create a cultist via the Cult Generator.
This is a cultist who infiltrated the police department. He is at Intimacy 2, but a Trust of 3. He will manifest as an arm cannon. Or rather a tentacle cannon.
[Roll: One additional plus, one additional minus]
One plus in success, one plus in safety, the rest of the plusses go to the relationships I have with the cultists save for the prisoners, who all take a stress. The rest become bliss points. After a bit of an intense fight, I manage to defeat the Friar, take his sword, then proceed to interrogate him.
[Q: Does he crack and tell us where the other piece is? A: 3]
No, but he could tell us a room that could help us in the mission instead.
[Q: Is it a trap? A: 4]
Yes, but my player, being young and all that, wouldn’t have a clue as to if it could be a trap.
[Q: Would anyone else know it’s a trap? A: 3]
No, but they’re suspicious of the wording that the Friar had. The scene ends with the party leaving and the Friar letting someone know that their little friends will be awaiting them in…
[Roll: 14, 11, 10]
As the party enter the stable, they are suddenly trapped in cages and a deadly foe comes out: The Librarian. He pilots a more human-sized ANIMa, acting more as powered armor than an actual mecha. It’s going to be two climaxes. One to get out of the cage, and another to fight the ANIMa.
[Roll: Five plusses, nine zeroes, five minuses]
Alright, gonna deal them out. First two plusses are to Mission and Safety. I can put the other plusses into my partners, let Ryan, the new relationship take some stress with a 0. However, the rest of the relationships with the prisoners take their final limit and break. I then take some Bliss. Succeeding at the mission at hand, I move onto the next one where I have to confront the ANIMa.
[Roll: Six minuses, three zeros, four plusses]
Well crap. Plus in Mission Success, Plus in safety. Plus for Terry (the random cultist who joined me) and Tori (The Anchor). Let the others take the stress. But yeah, I managed to beat the ANIMa. I guess the scenario that plays out is that the Librarian severely shocks the prisoners to death with a weapon he had built in, but was taken out before he could do more damage.
Getting pretty beaten up, but I can just feel my victory around the corner. I’m gonna rip information from the broken ANIMa to see if I can find the place where the relic could be.
[Roll: Six plusses, three zeroes, four minuses]
The most favorable option, since I can just dump all those plusses into Success, Safety, and the four relationships. Alright, so now I have a clearer route of where to go and I’m not gonna let anyone misdirect me again. This will be reflected in me rolling two six-sided dice, adding those and the progress points together, and hope I can reach the end of either list before my parts break and my luck runs out.
[Roll: 13, 19, 13]
We first make a pit stop to the Robing room to pick up some items to patch up, when suddenly Bliss ambush us.
[Roll: Three plusses, six zeroes, four minuses]
Oh. God. Okay, I’m gonna fail the mission and add plusses to the relationships to preserve them. I’m also gonna take a hit with some Trauma. So I don’t fight off the Bliss and they capture me.
[Roll: 21, 18, 17 (Special: 51, Exit Here)]
They take us right for the center of the Chapel where the remaining piece of the sword is. Much like the fight in the stable, I’m gonna do two climaxes. The first to break out, and the next to defeat the Bliss holding me hostage.
[Roll: Four plusses, five zeroes, four minuses]
Alright, gonna have Tori take one for the team as I put the plus in Mission Success and the remainder in the other relationships. This results in getting some Terror. That’s okay, because I busted out of the cell and am now ready to fight the Bliss.
[Roll: Four plusses, five zeroes, four minuses]
However, the GM has a choice… He can either cause me to go into total panic or have a category be endangered. Either way, I’m boned. Odds means he sends me in Total Panic, Evens means he sends endangers a category.
So he proceeds to send me into total panic, which takes out all the zeroes I had and replaces them with a single plus.
Which… Isn’t exactly bad. I need four plusses to stabilize the relationships, plus one to succeed the mission. I can choose to abandon the safety of the ANIMa. Doesn’t matter. So, my ANIMa goes into a total frenzy, destroying the Bliss in the process.
[Q: Do I also destroy the sword? A: 4]
Yes, but I slightly damage it.
[Q: Is Tori able to wake me up? Disadvantaged Odds. A: 6 & 5]
Yes, she is, but…
Ah crap. Another one?
Well, I knew it. Tori tried her hardest to bring my character out of his trauma induced panic attack, but she ended up causing some of her readers to explode, killing her in the process. Obviously, this would be traumatizing to my character once he wakes up. He gains eight bliss points in the process.
Despite this death, Azrael declares this mission a success. They have finally united the sword and are now back in power. Azrael assigns Fran (my PC) a new Anchor and presumes that Fran is pretty sane. Hint: he isn’t.
And thus, we end out adventure like that. Wow, this took a while to get finished. Bliss Stage never ceases to amaze me in how difficult it can be and how painful some of these moments can be. I was literally cursing when I rolled a those final dice.
Location Crafter is actually getting easier to use. I first saw it as big and intimidating, but the more I use it, the more I can easily understand how it’s supposed to work. Tiny Solitary Soldiers didn’t see a lot of action nor did the Cult Generator, but they served their job pretty well.
Well, hope everyone had a good time. Bon voyage, gamers!