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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Chivalric Daddy-Issues at Utmost North (Polaris)

Chivalric Daddy-Issues at Utmost North (Polaris)

Seattle, WA
Post #: 3
If I had been writing anything down as we played, this is where I would put a cool quote from the session…

Players: Ben, Dani, Natalie, J.C.

I feel like we got a basic sense of the rules pretty quickly. This format of game, where you can end up with total narrative control of someone else's character, was kind of new territory for me and (if I understood correctly) Natalie as well. Despite that, Dani and Ben did a great job of making us comfortable antagonizing them without backseat drivering us.

Naos (Ben protagonist, Natalie antagonist) • Keeper of the Keys who was engaged/married to one person (Sarin), in love with another (Aludra) and had a child by a third (Lucerta). The child was raised in secret by Aludra and later got called up to be a squire in city guard.

Avior (Dani protagonist, J.C. antagonist) • Seer whose dad was astrologer to the king (and a total asshole). As the story progressed, he lost faith in the Stars' Path after realizing the future could be altered and descended into a full "kill everyone with a single iota of demon taint" including his captain, his father and – ultimantly – himself.

Natalie did an amazing job hitting the ground running without a lot of story games experience. Her first round as antagonist, she brings this seemingly random character into a scene that seemed to have nothing to do with the character. Then "I open my jacket to reveal my full pregnant belly." BAM! And pretty much a defining part of Naos's arc including his death at the son's hands.

Candidly, I felt like this session wasn't firing on all cylinders and that was – in large part – my fault. Getting into the hang of having so much narrative control in the "but only if" section of play was a major change from what I am used to in story games and so mind often ended up being about things happening in the world and not directly about the knight. That said, I felt like things really came together in the last couple scenes. Bringing the knights to their fall was awesome in both cases with one falling on his own sword as the taint of the Mistake took its hold and the other being felled by his own (illegitimate) son after the Mistake claimed him.

There was also an ongoing motif of racism which was really interesting to explore. It was kind of weird to me that something as inconsequential as hair color would matter to knights of the Order of the Stars but social construction of identity and prejudice were cool topics to cover in play even if they weren't at the core of most of what we were doing.
Dani L.
user 87036972
Seattle, WA
Post #: 61
I've always enjoyed Polaris. Every game has been different but so much fun! It was a good night around the table. One of the things I like about Polaris is being able to be a part of both stories. J.C. and Natalie picked up pretty quickly on how to do the antagonism. That first scene with the revelation of Lucerta's pregnancy...

And yeah, I didn't exactly make it easy on J.C. either! It definitely did come together towards the end. :) There were a lot of interesting themes touched on in both stories.

Thanks to Ben for facilitating and to J.C. and Natalie for their creativity and energy.

- Dani, aka Avior
Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 466
Candidly, I felt like this session wasn't firing on all cylinders and that was – in large part – my fault.
Antagonizing can take a while to get the hang of. Normally I would start people with protagonists, let them learn how the game works, and then have them antagonize, but I kind of threw caution to the wind and let both experienced players be protagonists. So it's really my fault biggrin

In the end I think your experience was not unusual for a first-play of Polaris, particularly starting straight off as an antagonist.

But let's be honest: it's really just that Natalie was a hard act to follow. She really did jump right in with the mayhem. But if you take a step back and look closer at our side of the story, it really worked because we were on the same track -- I pretty clearly telegraphed that my love life was my deal (childhood sweetheart + arranged marriage). That's the protagonist's job: show wants and vulnerabilities. And like an excellent antagonist, Natalie zeroed in on that and ran with it. That's textbook good antagonism.
user 12605913
Seattle, WA
Post #: 7
Aw, golly gee Ben! It's time like this I must turn to doge to express my emotions.

I really loved Polaris and had a lot of fun in both storylines. I thought the family-oriented/internal struggle of Avior worked well; it was just quieter. Sometimes doubt is your own worst enemy and J.C. sowed a lot of it.
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