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What We Played: Family Matters (Polaris)

sev (Cheryl)
sevoo
Seattle, WA
Post #: 24
Players: Terry as Heart w/Martin as Mistaken, and sev as Heart with Jamie as Mistaken.

(Alas, I've forgotten all the character's names.)

Terry's Knight was master of the great hunt whose life fell apart the day his prey (a weary dragon) refused to fight back. The beast left him questioning everything -- particularly the fidelity of his wife and the fitness of his king. He put the safety of his guests at risk when he brought the dragon's head home for a showy burning, exposing the king and all the other guests to vile sorcery. He watched his wife betray him (with his arch-rival, of course!): was that despair or apathy that kept him from intervening until after they kissed? He dodged the ensuing house arrest (but only to be spotted while escaping) and finally, his life in shreds around him, accepted a deal from the Solaris Knight, spending several lifetimes worth of years bringing deadly justice to the wicked (and anybody else unlucky enough to cross his path).

sev's Knight was an overworked seer whose family despaired of ever seeing him home by dinner. Tasked with yet more work by a disbelieving monarch, he chased prophecy until his wife left him. When his adult daughter was kidnapped by demons he walked out on his job and embarked on a quest to regain control of his daughter (who we probably should have moved to the 'Mistaken' column after the first time we caught her consorting with demons). He killed her demon lover (mid-coitus), subjected her to experiments in an attempt to remove her demonic taint, rescued her from impending execution, tried to reunite her with her human lover, and finally left her with her mother. The girl returned to the demons seeking the passion she'd found with the first one, only to discover the truth: the cure her father had found for her was also prophylactic. She'd become immune to the demonic taint and spent the rest of her life seeking that transcendence she could no longer achieve. (poor girl. No agency for vast swaths of the story, and then when she finally gets to choose her own path...) The knight died in exile, sending scrolls of true prophecy back to his former coworkers (but they only burned them unread) and eventually his cache of writings was found & he was vindicated (but only after his death).

I loved the way the stories referred to each other. Both the King and the leader of the order of the seers were in both stories, so mentions of prophecy showed up in the huntsman's story, and my knight lobbied for house arrest for his daughter "like that other guy got!" It made me feel like the stories were intertwined even though they didn't really interact.

Jamie's antagonism was pitch-perfect for me; time and again, he went straight for the soft spot. I always falter in the conflict when that happens. I feel like I'm supposed to be advocating for my character, but why would I continue to negotiate after we found that perfectly poignant consequence? Especially since that's why I leave those soft spots undefended in the first place.

My Knight had some genuine turning points, getting gutsier as the story wore on -- walking out on his job, getting into physical conflict with the King's soldiers. It was nice to have some character development beyond the usual Polaris slump into tragedy.

I also found it neat that the initially-unnamed courtier in Terry's story became such a driving force as to become the arch-rival -- was I the only one who didn't see that coming?
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