Bliss Stage has been an absolute joy to read.

All throughout, I’ve been trying to think how best to utilize the material — how to take the kinds of mechanics presented and apply them in similar fashion, to my own game. The first major hurdle to overcome is group-versus-solo play.

In Bliss Stage, Pilots embark on missions by themselves and while the mission parameters are described by the GM, the execution of the mission is negotiated between the Pilot and their Anchor — a non-GM player!

This is fantastic, and an example of the kinds of delegation that make Bliss Stage awesome — but it’s a radically different approach from the band of adventurers with which many of us are already familiar.

In addition to that, the mechanics of Bliss Stage revolve around the characters dying — “Blissing Out” is a possibility, but it’s basically the same as dying.

D&D for me anyway, is more about building. There’s building in Bliss Stage but it’s finite — it often has a clear end in mind, basically when all the PCs have died. I’m grossly over-simplifying the premise of Bliss Stage, but it’s to a point.

With all this in mind, what is there to hack from Bliss Stage?

I’ll tell you what — fight/rest cycles, and rest periods.

Fights in several editions of D&D are simply too long. 4e managed to bring us the magnificent set-piece battles GMs have always wanted, but your more typical battles drag on for far, far too long. I considered artificially limiting them…

…And now I have a good idea of how, and why.

Originally I had thought to limit encounters to two rounds, owing a bit to my experiences with Ogre Battle on the SNES. Now, I’m thinking of limiting the majority of combat encounters to single-round skirmishes for this reason:

Rather than permitting players to call for a rest “whenever,” a short rest only benefits one player, who must have been bloodied or reduced to 0 hit points during a previous skirmish. Each rest prompts an Urgency check.

So there is are some clear definitions about when and why the party might rest. No longer do you rest “because the magic-user is out of spells.” Milestones are instead used to recover combat powers. Each rest is a calculated risk.

Additionally rather than requiring Rituals for recovering Condition Rating, which imposes penalties on attack rolls and saving throws, a rest period — even a short rest — might be used for this purpose.

One character — the one who called for the rest — can recover all their hit points or one point of Condition Rating during the rest, albeit at the cost of an Urgency check. Quest Urgency necessarily affects the entire party.

It would be like having a single, global relationship value for all PCs and NPCs, embodied by both the mechanics of hit points and Condition Rating.

I have some other ideas but they’re still gelling.