I’ve been working on a revised text for the new version of Bliss Stage. It has been two and a half years since the last text was written, and despite the fact that it’s pretty solid, there’s definitely a few places that things are going to change, in some cases subtly, in some cases less so.
The single most problematic entry on the intimacy building chart is at level 4: “physically fight for real.” What does “for real” mean, anyway? What constitutes a “physical fight?” It’s all very nebulous. This is because it is the only entry on the intimacy building chart which takes into account the intentions of the participants, rather that simply their actions. This is really problematic, and while it’s been good enough thus far, it’s got to go.
What’s my goal with this entry? My idea was that that entry describes physically fighting not just to show social dominance or play around (those are both intimacy 3) but with an intention to seriously hurt the other party. But, as I stated above, intention is inherently problematic for intimacy building scenes. It’s very hard to judge the characters’ intents, it’s very easy to judge their actions. Thus, I want a new entry that takes into account character actions.
What is the rest of level four? The entries are: Kiss, touch sexually, see each other naked, and exchange blood. Basically we’re getting to a level of physical relation that is personal, private, transgressive of personal and social barriers. It’s the last level before “have sex” and it involves things which are almost as intense. Thus, we want some act of physical violence which occupies this level. Additionally, I would like to keep the possibility of real harm that exists in the old form.
Thus the new form is “give serious or lasting physical injury.” This is a much stronger criterion: it’s clearer for the judge whether or not a particular action qualifies. Break someone’s nose or ribs? Sprain a shoulder? That’s 4 intimacy fighting. It even applies if you injure someone in a context other than a fight, which is neat.
This also implies a level 3 criterion, which is “give serious or lasting emotional injury.” Done.
As an additional, related rule, I’m considering “If you murder another character, gain 15 bliss in lieu of the bliss you would normally get for that relationship breaking.” Not that murder is that common in Bliss Stage, but there are rules for it (as I recall you have to be at Trauma 5 to try it) but the new rule does have implications that I like. It’s such an edge case that I’m still considering whether to add it to the text, though.