༺ S1.5. A 400 Kilometers Escape Journey – 4 (GM Perspective) ༻
I am currently on board within Learo.
Why was I boarding an NPC when things were progressing well, you ask? Here’s what happened. It all started when the Tower Master gazed at me intently and said this.
“Hey, uh……. You know, why don’t we try going in there together?”
From this moment onwards, my heart started beating violently and my mouth became parched. It was because I couldn’t contain the rising anticipation.
I played dumb and asked.
Please say ‘Inside the simulation’.
Please say ‘TRPG’.
Please say ‘Session’.
“E-Eung…… You know, like the last time with the Second Prince, during the climax, you directly controlled it, right? I wanted to try it too….. Is that not possible?”
We got ‘em boys! It’s a newbie──!!!
In all my life, I had never heard such a romantic and erotic confession. Internally, I was shouting my thanks to every single god I knew, but outwardly, I tried my best to calm down my emotions.
Freaking out right now would ruin everything. Statistically, the more of a fuss one made, the more likely their probability of doing business plunged. It didn’t just plunge, though. The line would practically be vertical. It was an eternal truth.
Just stay calm. Just agree nonchalantly. As if it really, truly was nothing…… As if it’s just a tickle in my nose by a passing wind……!
“W-Whatever you want. Hmph.”
“……What kind of reaction is that?”
Ah, sorry, sorry. I was saying that it sounded like a really good idea.
“Did you perhaps interchange your thoughts and your words……?”
Although there was a slight failure to control my emotions, who cared? The important thing was that the Tower Master and I were going to have a session together. Among the people I met in this otherworld, wasn’t the Tower Master undoubtedly the closest to me?
As such, I was thrilled that the Tower Master showed interest in TRPG.
I was drooling at the thought of gently guiding a newbie. If she had a good experience here…… We could do other things too. There were many, many things I wished to do. Golden Sky Stories1a heartwarming, non-violent role-playing game from Japan, by Ryo Kamiya. In this game, players take on the role of henge, animals that have just a little bit of magical power, including the ability to temporarily take on human form. You can be a fox, raccoon dog, cat, dog, rabbit, or bird, and each kind has their own special magical powers. Players will then attempt to solve problems around a small enchanted town with ingenuity, co-operation and friendship. Golden Sky Stories requires one Narrator, 2-4 players, pencils and paper, and tokens to keep track of Dreams. would be nice…… Fiasco2a role-playing game by Jason Morningstar, independently published by Bully Pulpit Games. It is marketed as a “GM-less game for 3–5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation”. wasn’t bad either……
For this reason, the Tower Master and I jumped into the session made to entertain the Imperial Princess.
From an experiential standpoint, it would be better to introduce and play a new character that she could fully immerse herself in, but A 400 Kilometers Escape Journey was already approaching its climax. Adding a new face at this point in time would only complicate the story.
Moreover, it was uncertain whether a new face would be well-received. The First Princess, even after being directly hit by the onee-shota theme I had carved with my very soul, did not let go of her suspicions…… She was definitely a character that wasn’t easily led.
The thing that was implemented by Illusion Magic was ultimately the sense of reality. After all, forcefully playing out a story with hypnosis and brainwashing was not TRPG. As such, moving the player’s heart was something that had to be done with my own hands.
As such, I boarded an existing character.
I, to Learo.
And the Tower Master, to Pero.
In my case, there wouldn’t be any problems since, with a little exaggeration, all NPCs that appeared were practically me. The Tower Master seemed like she would be fine since she had a similar vibe to Pero. Both of them were cute and they kinda had a bit of a loser side, didn’t they?
Minor mistakes were something I could cover for her.
Let us discuss Role Theory for a moment.
Each and every character was assigned a role. It was true in terms of the big picture and also on more trivial and small frameworks. There were parts that did not change, but there were also parts that changed depending on the situation.
Accordingly, understanding one’s position, thus creating a certain atmosphere, was one way to create a good story.
Let’s summarize. What was the current situation?
A white-haired, narrow-eyed thug had intruded between the protagonist (the First Princess), who was enjoying a pure love sub genre of onee-shota, and the heroine (Pero). The protagonist wanted to extract information from Mr. Narrow Eyes.
To put it more bluntly…
Protagonist <= Extracting information / Making moves that would attach a Mindbreak3lol…. tag to this session.
If so, I had to ‘give information’ and also ‘keep the Mindbreak angle viable’. That was the mission given to me from this sequence. I had to escalate the tension of the scene.
On the other hand, what about Pero?
Pero was a character who was hiding something. He felt affection towards Elaine, but hadn’t spilled the secret due to his hesitation. The reason for it? ‘Learo wouldn’t want the secret to be revealed’, and ‘Ultimately, I want to be positively received by Elaine’.
Pero had many choices. He could spark Elaine’s curiosity about the secret by acting as if he was trying to stop Learo from talking or he could fling the table over its head by confessing to the First Princess first, stirring the entire board.
If it was me……. If I was Pero, even while being nervous, in the end, I would not be able to keep Learo silent. I would RP (Roleplay/Act) as someone who would tremble like a puppy drenched in the rain at the thought of Elaine rejecting him after hearing the secret.
What about the Tower Master? How would she interpret the character known as Pero and what would she do?
This could be called a chance to understand the Tower Master’s vibe and feelings.
While looking at the jerky being cooked to perfection, the three travelers were silently lost in thought.
Elaine seemed calm as she looked at the campfire, but I could see it. Her head was full of various thoughts. The fact that her gaze was directed at the campfire was what gave it away.
She didn’t look at Espero, nor did she look at Learo; it meant she was still indecisive. It was an amazing finesse in controlling her gaze, carrying the meaning of her inability to face both ‘hope’ and ‘reality’.
When I looked towards Pero (Tower Master) to see how she was, the little boy was glancing back and forth between Elaine and Learo. The expression was of anxiety and confusion, a wonderful performance of facial expressions. Her tact when it came to controlling her gaze was also sublime.
I── Learo was looking at Elaine. It was a gaze that maintained the setting of the character, a bit of a lecher, but it was also a metaphor that ‘reality’ was always watching you. Could you really escape from reality just by running away into the crackling depths of the campfire?
This much silence was enough. The suspense had simmered deliciously.
I (Learo) licked my lips. First, let’s start off lightly.
“Could you perhaps tell me your story? It is nice to be immersed in silence, but personally….. I’m curious about the adventures you have had with Espero.”
The First Princess remained silent. It didn’t matter whether she answered or not. This question was a kind of text in a scene that would make her reminisce about her journey so far.
I wouldn’t say silence was bad since it could produce such delicious soliloquies…… But I didn’t like the flow of the conversation being interrupted. Would Pero (Tower Master) be able to play along?
Pero blushed and twisted his body. Yes, very good. That’s right. That response was an excellent answer! It meant the little boy was recalling the many scenes of Lucky Sukebe4type of fan service in anime where there’s accidental nudity, groping, etc. he had experienced on the journey. And there was no way Learo wouldn’t be able to understand that non-verbal expressions──.
I (Learo) made a troubled expression, before speaking in a subtle tone.
“……Um, It seems you’ve had quite a… different adventure than what I expected. Haha……”
I shot a carefully aimed glance, conveying an insinuation that went along the lines of, ‘So you’re saying you spent that kind of time with this tiny shota while saying it was just a journey, huh?’. And lo and behold. When I poked the bear, a reaction came back immediately.
“It’s not like that, so it would be wise to watch your gaze. Learo.”
“What kind of gaze do you think I had……. No, wait. Put down your fist first.”
One small segment ended cleanly. Now that the situation had been stirred up, it was time to really get things started.
“I…… don’t really like silence. I hope you understand. After going through the times when…… I called out the names of friends and neighbors in a ruined village, but no answer returned… For some reason, silence makes my body itch.”
This was bait, implying ‘Pero was the one who did it!’.
“As such, I’ll be the storyteller then. Opportunely, it looks like the jerky has been cooked adequately. Please feel free to eat and listen.”
This meant that I would now spill the beans about how Pero destroyed his hometown, so she should listen in discomfort.
I glared at Pero (Tower Master) with a chilly gaze. After all, I was looking at the archenemy of the village. But at the same time, it was also a question thrown at the Tower Master, asking ‘What you gonna do now?’.
Pero, with a face stained with inner turmoil, raised his voice to the First Princess in spite of himself.
The boy seemed to want to say something, opening and closing his mouth, but ultimately did not utter a word. Staggering, he spoke in a gloomy voice.
“I-I…So, uh…I’ll…… take a look around our surroundings and… come back.”
“……You don’t really need to patrol, though. It’s fine to just stay. You told me, didn’t you? That the plains are safe, Pero.”
“……Just in case. We did encounter a Giant Variant, after all……”
Despite Elaine trying to stop him from leaving by using the plains as a pretext, Pero made up some excuse and left his seat. I applauded in my heart. How was she able to pick only the most fitting actions in her first TRPG? Bravo!
Tower Master, are you telling me you’re a genius in magic, seduction, cuteness, AND TRPG?
Since Pero (Tower Master) gave Elaine plenty of room to ponder by leaving this place, I should focus on giving Elaine something to agonize about. It was just a short scene, but it seemed the Tower Master and I had pretty good chemistry.
I’m so happy! This is so fun……!
Purple Magic Tower Master, Yuna, was genuinely flustered.
Her plan went like this. Before the progress of 『That』 increased even further, Yuna wanted to take actions that would hinder it.
Such actions were to exploit the session’s narration.
She was planning to describe him through the narration and observe 『That』 within him, in an attempt to separate it from him using magic. Once the Observation Rate reached 100%, she would be able to confront the curse that dwelled within him.
After seeing how he was trying to go the Mindbreak route for the First Princess’s session, she had thought there wasn’t much time left before he got completely swallowed, so she had hastily pushed ahead. But…..
“…..Ah, I see you didn’t hear? About Espero’s ability, I mean……”
He was doing……better than she thought.
He was ‘playing’ while thinking about the structure of the game known as TRPG, which meant that there was still considerable time left. For both Yuna and him.
It was a relief. If he proceeded with the session like this, she could gradually increase the Observation Rate. If she was able to do so, it wouldn’t be too late. That was good. Very good.
However, there was something else that had flustered her.
After realizing that the urgent fire wasn’t actually urgent, Yuna, now at ease, decided to enjoy this TRPG in her own way. By making this story a Happy Ending!
Elaine, who couldn’t trust people due to her trauma, as well as Pero, who was running away, were both pitiful. From what Yuna could see, the conflict, doubt, and misunderstandings between the two were……very trivial.
Just one of them would do. Either of them would be fine, so…
If she just hit Elaine with a confession, it seemed like it would solve everything!
If she made this story a Happy Ending with a confession attack, wouldn’t he be angry…? But still, she would like for Elaine to be happy…… After a brief moment of such contemplations, Yuna decided to go ahead with the confession.
Before he, who was in Learo’s body, could blurt out anything with that mouth of his, she wanted to convey Pero’s feelings with an ‘I love you’.
But her mouth refused to move.
Pero’s body, which Yuna occupied, seemed to be resisting.
As if he was saying, “It must be me who says this”.
After using reconnaissance as an excuse, fleeing into the darkness where the light of the campfire didn’t reach…
Tower Master Yuna murmured carefully.
“……Are you alive, Pero……? Right now, are you…… inside here?”
Pero responded with a heartbeat.
- 1a heartwarming, non-violent role-playing game from Japan, by Ryo Kamiya. In this game, players take on the role of henge, animals that have just a little bit of magical power, including the ability to temporarily take on human form. You can be a fox, raccoon dog, cat, dog, rabbit, or bird, and each kind has their own special magical powers. Players will then attempt to solve problems around a small enchanted town with ingenuity, co-operation and friendship. Golden Sky Stories requires one Narrator, 2-4 players, pencils and paper, and tokens to keep track of Dreams.
- 2a role-playing game by Jason Morningstar, independently published by Bully Pulpit Games. It is marketed as a “GM-less game for 3–5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation”.
- 4type of fan service in anime where there’s accidental nudity, groping, etc.