Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: Paladin and Philosopher (Polaris)

What We Played: Paladin and Philosopher (Polaris)

Sam Kabo A.
user 30231972
Seattle, WA
Post #: 4
A three-player game, with Ben facilitating and Greg taking on an extra role.

Greg's protagonist was Sagittarius, an academic-minded knight dedicated to the study of monsters, with some idiosyncratic ideals about what constituted knighthood, an inspiring gift for rhetoric and an inability to make the two match up. Ben played antagonist, mostly as Sagittarius' Menkid, confusedly interpreting Sagittarius' radical ideas in the most destructive way possible. Body count: genocidal.

Ben's tactic of sitting back, letting the protagonist get what they want and then damning them for it was scarily effective at producing good narrative arc. Careful what you wish for.

I played Er Rai, the royal executioner: the only knight permitted to draw royal blood, and a de facto judge of demon-possession. With the job comes a supernatural gift: the ability to summon up and speak with spirits of dead demons. Much of the story ended up being about the nature, limits and challenges of the office, rather than character-driven stuff. Greg played antagonist, partly as archivist kingmaker Sadal Melik and partly as a creepy-ass demon-ghost also called Er Rai. Body count: 875 millihamlets.

At the end of the second scene Er Rai found himself bound to a demon that was compelled to speak the truth, which was pretty unpleasant but did make it a bit too straightforward to Do The Right Thing. I usually never play paladin-type characters, but that's the simplest way to take things in this setting.

Part of the dynamic might have been mirroring: Er Rai was almost totally consumed with strictly upholding his duties, while Sagittarius was compulsively driven to redefine knighthood (often several times a scene).

First impressions of the game: I really like how the bargaining dynamic encourages quickly-developing, twisty plots. I'm less keen on the low-to-nonexistent interaction between the two plotlines.
Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 243
Ben's tactic of sitting back, letting the protagonist get what they want and then damning them for it was scarily effective at producing good narrative arc. Careful what you wish for.
It is pretty much the ideal setup for antagonism, following the "find out what the protagonist wants and let them have it for a price" model. Of course Sag made it easy for me by being such a radical when prodded. Greg had the tough job, since he was doing double-duty.

Polaris can breakdown a bit when the protagonist and antagonist are both pretty far in their corners: the antagonist is pushing too hard and the protagonist just plays spotless. The players don't meet in the middle so nothing fun happens. I've done it myself.
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