We are blessed to have Ben Lehman working in roleplaying. Not only is he one of the nicest and most sincerely earnest individuals I have ever met, he is also an extremely daring designer, one hell of a writer, and an overall creative dynamo.
If you’ve read or played his first major game, Polaris: Chivalric Tragedy at Utmost North, you already know what I mean.
Ben’s second major game, Bliss Stage is now available for pre-order. I was given the opportunity to help playtest the game and it is top-notch awesome. Ben, I think, has been anxious about having to “live up to” Polaris, and I think he deserves to stop worrying.
Bliss Stage, like — so I suspect — every Ben Lehman game until the end of time, courageously expands the horizon of what roleplaying can be, deals with exciting and emotionally powerful material, and continues to set the bar for vision and craftsmanship in roleplaying, not just among independent publishers, but for the entire medium.
Bliss Stage is not a walk in the park. I honestly found playing it to be pretty emotionally draining and would be most excited to play it with folks with whom I felt pretty comfortable. It is full of adventure but also broken hearts, emotional battles, and existential crises. It is perhaps the most personal roleplaying game I have ever played, though I suspect Ben’s upcoming game, Land of a Thousand Kings, may be similar in that regard (though in a less tragic way). Like Polaris, it is brilliant and beautiful and heartbreakingly sad.
If that sounds like something you’d appreciate, you should pre-order it now, so Ben can more easily fund his initial printing. Pre-orderers also get all sorts of cool special stuff.
Congratulations, Ben. You are a major inspiration to me and a terrific human being.