Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[Polaris] The Unrule

Started by Ben Lehman, February 23, 2006, 03:32:20 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Ben Lehman

Hey, this is wierd.  Here I am, posting to Indie Game Design about Polaris, a game that has been in print for nearly six months.  What's my deal?

Well, I've been combing through Polaris for typos and formatting problems (boy, are there a lot of formatting problems) and generally cleaning up the text for the next printing.  This is a pretty minor deal -- I'm given to understand that a lot of indie designers do this.  It isn't really a second edition, or even a revision like Vincent did for Dogs.  It's just "Polaris: Better proof-reading edition."

But, in my reading, I came across this rule on page 75

Quote from: Polaris rules page 75
If they (the Moons) disagree, they can either reject your offer or they can ask you to exhaust and additional Theme, in which case you can decide to spend the extra Theme or to just make a different statement that doesn't cost a Theme.

As far as I know, no one has ever used this rule in any Polaris play.  Ever.  I think that the mathematics of the rule is still sound but, now that I've got another 100 hours or so of the game under my belt, I see why it is basically useless as an option, and is routinely ignored.

This is a great example of an unrule -- not only does it not come up in play, but it has no affect on play, likely because no one even acknowledges its existence.

So here's my question before the design forum:  I'm strongly considering deleting this rule from the text, and devoting the extra space to explaining, in detail, that you exhaust Themes, and so only get four of them, rather than Aspects, which would give you an infinite number.  I'm curious to hear from other people who have played Polaris -- did you use this rule?  Were you even aware of its existence?  Anyone care to make a pleading case for its survival?



Hey, Ben.

We never used that rule when we played; the couple of times it came up we simply revised the original statement.  I think the extra space would definitely be better used by clarifying the Aspect vs. Theme exhaustion.  I know we were confused by that during at least our first session.  It's a fine rule, but it's counter-intuitive to how many games work, so probably needs a bit more explanation.



Heya Ben,

Yeah, when I saw the topic I was like, Polaris????  So anyway, to me a rule that is seldom used will be seldom missed.  While it does make sense as you say, it's not the kind of rule that will make or break the game.  If you can toss it in favor of better clarification of other rules, I'd say go for it.  People can always do with more clarification :)




To clarify are you refering to the Moons ability to reject the offer, or the Moons ability to charge an additional theme?

Lance D. Allen

My guess is the Moon's ability to charge an additional theme, considering that we've played exactly once so far, and we've had the moons reject an offer twice already.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Ben Lehman

Ralph: Charge an additional Theme.

Rejection is paramount.


Emily Care

I'd say that the exhausting themes vs. aspects is more important.
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Chris Peterson

Here is a list of Polaris typos I found:

  • p.11 "to to" should probably be "to"?
  • p.11 "thought wars" should probably be "fought wars"?
  • p.16 capitalize Mistake, Dawn, Dusk?
  • p.16 "remants" should be "remnants"?
  • p.16 capitalize "mistake"?
  • p.17 "sky wants the heal" should probably be "sky wants to heal"?
  • p.24 capitalize "mistaken"?
  • p.25 "Mistake is grown larger" should be "Mistake has grown larger"?
  • p. 27 using "belching" twice on the same page sounds odd
  • p.41 italicise and capitalize "full moon"?
  • p.42 "that that" sounds confusing and unnecessarily wordy
  • p.63 The top paragraph is confusing how it uses "protagonist" and "character" multiple times.
  • p.63 In the bottom paragraph, consider replacing the word "Likewise" with "Second". The paragraph mentions "two exceptions", but only says "first" but not "second", which sounds odd.
  • p.70 The sentence "The process of 'exahusting' [sic] Themes will be explain [sic] ... " should probably be "The process of exhausting Themes will be explained ..."
  • p.70 Does the phrase "last Theme expended" mean exhausted or used?
  • p.74 "Alsafi .. has come in the knight" should probably be "has come in the night" (which means something quite different!)
  • p.78 There seems to be an incomplete sentence or paragraph near the bottom: "Finally, you must know what happens after".
  • p.82 The first sentence seems incomplete or at least missing a period: "Let's discuss how the rules of this chapter are a little different"
  • p.83 "the number showing is lesser than or equal the protagonist's Zeal... " should probably be "the number showing is less than or equal to"
  • p.83 capitalize "aspect" in the example?
  • p.117 In the Dark Sun D&D Setting section, should "god-king" be plural "god-kings"?
  • p.118 "entireity" should probably be "entirety"
  • p.125 The Shadow of Yesterday ad's text is a bunch of random junk characters.


Quote from: Ben Lehman on February 23, 2006, 06:33:32 PM
Ralph: Charge an additional Theme.

Rejection is paramount.


In that case, I think you're instict is right on.

I had the same issue with the rule for ties in Universalis Complications.  Even *I* never remembered to use the old Edge Dice rule...good sign its total dead wieght.

Josh Roby

Tangential publishing note: what you're doing is a second printing, not a second edition.  Many printings are slightly different than the one that preceded them; second printings almost always correct a number of errors.  It's only once you get up around eighth printing that there's nothing left to fix before it goes to press.
On Sale: Full Light, Full Steam and Sons of Liberty | Developing: Agora | My Blog