*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 24, 2022, 01:56:31 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 86 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Polaris] The Fall of the Knights  (Read 5736 times)
Bret Gillan
Member

Posts: 375

That's Bret with one 't' damn it.


« on: November 28, 2005, 02:00:50 PM »

My friends and I exchanged Christmas presents last week (yeah, we're not very patient) and my friend Jere got me Polaris. I'd heard about it, and I thought the gameplay sounded pretty cool, but I really was not expecting to get into this fru-fru elf nonsense, but then I discovered the game will only be as fru-fru as you want to be. And after two sessions, I was practically begging for fru-fru to get some relief from the horror.

This group was a subset of my old gaming group from high school.

The players:

Me - Male. 24. Supermodel good-looks. I was traditionally a snobby, story-focused kind of guy, and I still am though I like to think I'm not quite so snobby. My other favorites Capes and TSoY.
Jere - Another story-focused kind of guy who was always the ST for this little group. He's currently running an Exalted game at college, and we played in a lot of each other's games all through my time at university. Has been known for successful campaigns of Mage and In Nomine that collapse after two sessions.
Josh - Jere's younger brother. I've only gamed with him once since high school and that was for a mediocre Sorcerer campaign that I ran. He's a great player, but he has the tendency to get frustrated easily and will probably get mad at me for describing him as such. I honestly don't know much about his gaming preferences.
Tom - Tom has a bookshelf full of White Wolf games, and is particularly fond of Mage. In days of yore he was our "power-gamer" and that rep still sticks to him, I think somewhat rightfully so.

Before game even began I told Jere that he couldn't sit across from Josh. Josh has a temper, and Jere has a tendency to goad him, and given the antagonistic dynamic between Heart and Mistaken, I did not want the game being ruined by arguments.

The order went, clockwise, Me-Jere-Josh-Tom, so the duos were Me and Josh, Jere and Tom.

I was worried that the key phrases wouldn't be taken seriously and would be mocked, and much to my relief they weren't. We lit the candle, spoke the key phrase, and boom - focus. It worked. We hammered out some vaguely defined characters, chose an undefined demon named Ziggura the Many-Skulled as our shared Fate, and got to the gaming.

The highlight reel:

- The rules were at first intimidating, but once we got the hang of them very, very easy. The only confusion came over Guidance boundaries (can I as the Mistaken just say out of nowhere that the New Moon's NPC stabs the Heart?) and discussions over whether a proposed statement tramples over the sanctity of the Heart's control over his character (can I say that the Heart falls in love with someone?). The latter I'm still unclear on.
- Getting to take turns with the different roles gives the game a variety you just don't see in other games. First I'm a knight, then I'm a senator, then I'm a silver-tongued demon, then I'm a trusty, ice spider mount. We had a wide variety of characters to play, and we all attacked them and played them hardcore in a way that a single GM couldn't.
- Holy body count. Being an NPC in our game got you killed but QUICK. I think only three NPCs that were named at character creation survived to the end of the second session, and they were all maimed in the process. I wondered later if I'd missed some sort of NPC-protecting rule somewhere, but really NPCs will only die if the Heart and Mistaken are playing the game that way.
- There was an interesting occurrence where Josh's character more or less "turned to the dark side" and befriended Ziggura. He then went on to slaughter a whole bunch of innocent people, and his mentor. As his Mistaken, I just sort of sat back, called for Experience rolls, and only intervened when it looked like he was moving towards redemption. Tom question me on this, saying that I should have had their be more consequences to his actions, but I felt no need.
- "But only if my character is completely unharmed." This phrase got used a lot, particularly by Tom, and eventually we decreed it to be lame.
- I ruled "And furthermore..." wrong as in the quick-reference section for key phrases in the back, it doesn't say that "You ask far too much" is a permissible response. As a result, "And furthermore..." really stomped the Hell out of people. This will be corrected in future games.
- We hit a major melting point when my character killed an uber-demon quickly and, in Josh's opinion, anti-climactically. He just sort of vented frustration for awhile, while me and Jere tried to explain to him that all the tools to make the confrontation more dramatic were in front of him. Tom tried to mediate and play a neutral party. We were moving towards losing our tempers when I took a breath and said, "Josh, man, we're friends. We hang out and do fun things together." And I just made sure we were cool and things were calmed down, and then we just moved on. I was real close to losing it over this, though.
- "It shall not come to pass" got used once the entire session. Is this normal?

I'm going to encourage my players to give their perspectives, and hopefully I didn't make anyone out to seem like a villain. I'll post more if anything comes to me that I've left out.
Logged
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 04:30:43 PM »

- "It shall not come to pass" got used once the entire session. Is this normal?
That's sorta the Polaris A-bomb.  In our recent game, somebody used it once and we let it sink in and it never got used again, if I recall correctly.  In a resolution system that is all about finding narrative consensus it can be a pretty extreme buzz-kill. 

--Jason
Logged

Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2005, 04:32:25 PM »

Whoops.  Wish I could edit.  I was talking about "It was not meant to be", actually.  We used "It shall not..." quite a bit. 

--Jason
Logged

Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 05:13:31 PM »

Thanks for the play and the write-up!  I'm glad you had fun with the game, and I'm sorry for any frustration that my unclear rules explanations caused.  I take full responsibility for any frustrations.

To whit: I think you get these, but just for everyone else I'm going to offer up a couple of explanations.

And Furthermore definitely does not preclude You Ask Far Too Much, although the new statement is also an And Furthermore statement (automatically and without the need for that party to exhaust more themes.)

Guidance Boundaries:  You can only narrate things you have guidance over and the direct consequences of these.  So the Mistaken can absolutely not narrate the actions of a New Moon character unless the New Moon character is being directly demonically influenced to do that thing, and even then may want to limit himself to suggestions.  Similarly, it is fine to say that the Heart's protagonist falls in love with someone -- if a character that you control has acted to make this so:
"Antilla slips Rigel a love potion, and he instantly falls in love with Rischia." (Antilla's player) 
Or
"Rischia's beauty is so overwhelming that you fall in love with her." (Rischia's player) 

You can't just say "you fall in love with Rischia," though.

Combat:  Polaris combat is unforgiving and bloody.  Note a good way to overcome defensive "But Only If..." statements is to use "it shall not come to pass" or to make initial statements which directly harm the character.  If I start with "The demon tears your arm off" you can't counter with "but only if I am not harmed in any way."  Because that doesn't make a scrap of sense for you not to be harmed by your arm being torn off.

Key Phrases frequency:  I'm beginning to understand that frequency use of key phrases varies wildly, but tends to stay constant amongst Mistaken/Heart pairs.  I use a lot of But Only If..., It Shall Not Come to Pass[/url], and And Furthermore..., myself, but each group seems to handle things differently.  Paul Tevis's group uses But Only If and You Ask Far Too Much almost exclusively.

Did you have any brutal maimings of Protagonists?  How rapidly did experience flow?  Are any of your characters veterans yet?

yrs--
--Ben
Logged

Bret Gillan
Member

Posts: 375

That's Bret with one 't' damn it.


« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2005, 05:33:16 PM »

Hey Ben! Thanks for the response.

Okay, I get what you mean about the "falling in love" example, now, though I think the difference between "She's so beautiful you fall in love with her," and "You fall in love with her," isn't that significant. I mean, you are ultimately dictating character emotions and reactions. I'm not opposed to this, mind, I just think it's impossible to keep the statement that only the Heart can dictate the Protagonist's emotions, thoughts, reactions, etc.

Brutal maimings - Josh's character lost a hand, and Tom's character had to slice all the tendons in his hand to save the life of his spider.

Experience - It depended. I played an idealistic, zealous knight and as such only had to make 1 experience role the whole game. Tom had to make a couple. Jere's character became a cynical alcoholic and had to make quite a few. And Josh turned evil, and I had him make a whole bunch. Despite that, there are no veterans yet. The lowest Zeal is Josh with 2.
Logged
Dan Svensson
Member

Posts: 31

Celibate


« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2005, 08:09:33 PM »

"And Furthermore definitely does not preclude You Ask Far Too Much, although the new statement is also an And Furthermore statement (automatically and without the need for that party to exhaust more themes.)"

When i played with my friends and someone used You Ask Far Too Much  we assumed that you had the option of changing the type of statement aswell
example:And Furthermore to But Only If

Logged

Indulging in everything is like indulging in nothing.
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2005, 11:52:30 PM »

Nope!

I mean, I would probably not object if, at the table, you really wanted to revise into a weaker statement (from "And Furthermore" to "But Only If") but the rules are that it's the same type of statement.

Any further discussion about this should probably get its own topic in the TAO Games forum.

yrs--
--Ben
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!