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Author Topic: [Polaris playtest] My god, it's full of stars... [LONG]  (Read 15051 times)
Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« on: May 25, 2005, 08:20:32 PM »

Polaris, session one


In the interests of time, I'm going to post this in a couple of installments.  This first will be our setup and the first two scenes we played.

Chris, Larry, Duck and I gathered at my house last Friday.  We decided to set things up on the back porch.  This worked out well because not only did we have a small, round table, just big enough for the four of us to sit around, but we actually then got to experience the setting of the sun, which is a thematic element in the game itself.

Polaris lends itself to atmospheric additions, so while playing we drank chilled white wines, ate pale cheese and apples with bright red skin.  And, inevitably, star fruit...  Our soundtrack for the evening was The Harmonic choir, Hearing Solar Winds[\i] and Sigur Ros,( )[\b].  Last but not least, as suggested by the rules, we placed a candle in the center of the table and lit it with the correct ritual phrase when play began.  Effective, more or less, in getting us focused after char gen.

Here are our piquantly doomed Knights of the Order of the Star:

Heart (Chris): The Lord Megrez
Mistaken (Larry):
   Lady Antares
        Dabih, the King of Blood, demon
   The Mistake
Full Moon (Aaron):
        Lady Rana, wife of convenience
        The Festival of the Summer Solstice
New Moon (Duck):
   The Opalescent Reflecting Pool
         Pleione, daughter

Offices:
         Knight of the Order of the Stars
Fate:
         Relationship-- The Lady Antares
         Idea-- Betrayal
Blessings:
Starlight Sword
Ability:
          Lore-- Demons
          Technique-- Know Hidden Demons

Ice: 1  Light: 1  Zeal: 4  Weariness: 0



Heart (Larry): Sir Arcturus
Mistaken (Chris):
         The Crucible of Black Ice
          Alcor, Black Lord of the Undead, demon
Full Moon (Duck):
          Lord Marshall Pavonis
          The Honorable Senator, Lord Lesath
New Moon (Aaron):
         Southkeep
          The Lady Antares, betrothed

Offices:
          Knight of the Order of the Stars
Fate:
         The Lady Antares
Blessings:
          Starlight Sword
Ability:
         Lore-- Demons
         Attribute-- Big
         Attribute-- Brave

Ice: 1  Light: 1  Zeal: 4  Weariness: 0


Heart (Duck): Sargus
Mistaken (Aaron):
   Elgrove, demon
Full Moon (Chris):
   The Lady Antares, fellow knight, possibly fallen
   Dabin, missing best friend
   Octans, fiend hunting for Dabin
   Sadr, unloved wife
New Moon (Larry):
   Pupis, father, corrupted by Elgrove
   Atik, mother, manipulative
   Mencar, sister, unappreciative

Offices:
   Knight of the Order of the Stars
Fate:
   The Lady Antares
Blessings:
   Starlight Sword
   The Call of Home
Ability:
   Lore-- Demons
   Attribute-- Heartless

Ice: 1  Light: 1  Zeal: 4  Weariness: 0


Heart (Aaron): The Lord Wezn
Mistaken (Duck):
   Thrum, Hammer of Fire, demon
Full Moon (Larry):
   The Honorable Senator, Lord Fornax
   Alderamin, Frostmason
New Moon (Chris):
   The Lady Antares, sister
   Botein, childhood friend and superlative musician

Offices:
   Knight of the Order of the Stars
   Builder of the Falling Wall
Fate:
   The Lady Antares
Blessings:
   Starlight Sword
Ability:
   Lore-- Demons
   Technique-- Architect

Ice: 1  Light: 1  Zeal: 4  Weariness: 0


For those who don't know how Polaris works, each character listed above starts with "Heart" and ends with "Ice/Light/Zeal/Weariness"; each player at the table plays one aspect of a given protagonist (Heart/Mistaken/Full Moon/New Moon).

For our shared fate, we created the Lady Antares, whom I first decided was Lord Wezn's  sister.  She then became Lord Arcturus' betrothed, a fellow knight who, even if fallen might be of use to Sargus, and I don't have in the notes how she was related to the Lord Megrez (it quite possibly was left open.)

SCENE ONE
After lighting the candle and speaking the proper words, I began.  I chose to create a scene as Sargus' Mistaken.  Sargus' father, Lord Pupis, who is controlled by the Demon Elgrove, summons him to a personal audience.  This immediately put the burden of playing the scene on Larry (New Moon), which wasn't my intention, but Larry graciously went with it anyway.  We had some discussion about what kind of other characters Chris or Larry might be able to introduce into the scene, if they desired.  We also talked about how Larry and I might handle Lord Pupis together, given our unique "double-control" of him.

Larry as Lord Pupis orders Sargus south, but Sargus questions Pupis' motives (since he knows about Elgrove's domination of his father; dirty family secret...)  At this point, there's no actual conflict.  I describe Pupis' posession from Elgrove's p.o.v.  After some discussion about how conflicts should be phrased, I push ahead with Pupis ordering Sargus into the southlands, never to return.  We then decided we weren't sure if this could be allowed.  Duck rebutted my original proposal with the key phrase, "It shall not come to pass."  This put him in the position of needing to make a roll at a disadvantage.  At the time, I believe we calculated him as needing to roll a five or less on the die (sorry Chris, I'm having a little difficulty reading your notes); a good chance of success, but he could still fail.  However, as I re-read things in the rules, it looks like, as the Heart of a Novice, with the challenge value being one (Ice), this placed him in real danger of failing the roll: He needed to roll a one. Either way, if he failed the roll, it seemed to us that he'd be out of the game for good ("never to return"); we read this as fairly similar to character death, which a given protagonist can't will for themselves until they've become a Veteran.  Unsure, we changed it to heading south on a particular quest (to recover the Gem of Eternal Twilight, I believe.)  We weren't sure if Duck (as the Heart) or I (as the Mistaken) should be rolling.  We decided on him, and he made it (when we assumed the challenge value was a five.)  This successfully negated my previous statement.  The notes and my memory are a bit unclear here, but I think we just ended things with a non-conflicted description of Sargus looking deep into his father's eyes with Elgrove knowing he can be seen, but impotent at the moment to continue the charade.  Sargus leaves.  In retrospect, I don't think Sargus exhausted a Theme, either, with his rebuttal, though I could be wrong.

We kind of stumbled our way through this first scene, but were eager to start fresh.  We went clockwise around the table and Chris began a scene as his Heart, the Lord Megrez.

SCENE TWO
The Lord Megrez and his retinue rides out into the glacial wastes and finds himself in pursuit of Dabih, the King of Blood, who has ambushed a traveling sled.  After killing all the menfolk, he is running accross the ice with the remaining young women (the group was on their way to a different Remnant for the Festival of the Summer Solstice), pulling the sled by its tether, kidnapping the maidens for his own foul purposes.  Dabih is described as a hulking (10' tall), humanish figure with a distended gut, gangling arms, dog-legs and a vast maw that continually gushes hot, smoking blood, burning holes in the ice as he runs.
 
Chris initiates a conflict and states that Lord Megrez charges down the snowy slope, beheading Dabih and sending him back to the smoking pit of the Mistake.  Dabih (Larry) responds with "You ask far too much", exhausting the idea, Betrayal (with the idea that one of Megrez's men is secretly sympathetic to the Demons).  Chris rephrases, stating that Megrez severs the tether of the sledge, freeing it from the demon's grasp.  Larry accepts, and adds "But only if..." Megrez's valiant charge seperates him from his men.  Chris agrees with "And so it came to pass."

One of the maidens is described as having fallen off the sledge, and reaches out to Megrez in appeal to save her.  Megrez pushes the maiden aside and charges at Dabih (no conflict yet.)  Larry starts a conflict by stating that Dabih picks up the maiden and bites off her head.  Chris challenges with "And furthermore..." Megrez strikes his sword into Dabih's spine, cutting him in half.  He burns the idea, Betrayal, on his side this time (it's gettin' a workout!), betrayal of the maiden.  Larry pushes this statement with "And furthermore..." the screams of the remaining maidens at sight of their brutalized companion fill Megrez's heart with grief.  He burns the trait, Knight of the Order of the Stars, since he callously sacrificed the maiden.  Chris accepts it with "And so it came to pass."  

The rest of the maidens are safely returned to the Remnant, and the scene is ended with "And so it was."


Maybe it was because it was a combat, maybe just our growing confidence, I don't know, but things moved much more smoothly this time.  Once we started getting a handle on how the key phrases related to one another, it became really intriguing to see how the scene would play out (I was a Moon during the last scene.)

As a last note, an Experience roll seemed warranted for the Lord Megrez, given his callous treatment of the unfortunate maiden.  He made the roll, and so gained one point in Light and lost a point of Zeal.  He also gained the Fate, Relationship: Gratitude of the Families of the Maidens Who Were Saved.

We played two more scenes, but I'll have to list them tomorrow.  The above should give you plenty to chew on, Ben!

Aaron
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Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2005, 08:48:54 PM »

Hey, guys!  Thanks a lot for playtesting.

It sounds really great.  Dabih is excellent!  And shoving the maiden aside to fight the demon.  Wow.  I'm really very impressed with the characters, too.  Can't wait to read the rest.

Great, that is, except for the parts where the rules were unclear.

So.

Yes, you're reading the die mechanics right.  At the beginning of the game "roll with a disadvantage" means the Heart needs a 1 on a d6 to succeed, and the Mistaken needs a 6 on a d6 to succeed.  This changes as the game goes on.  I need some big warning sign on "It shall not come to pass..." like this is probably a bad idea at the beginning of the game.

Speaking of which -- where's the experience?  If Sargus failed his roll, he should have rolled it, definitely.  How did it turn out?  Refresh or Advance?  Did you give experience for Megrez pushing the maiden aside to go for the demon?

It seems like you handled the "never to return" just fine.  Another way you might have done it -- give Sargus to "Exiled to the South" office.  That way, when you get tired of playing Sargus in the South you can just remove or change the aspect.

Looking forward to part 2.

yrs--
--Ben

edit:  Trait?  Did I say trait?  I meant aspect.  Move along.
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Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2005, 09:32:01 AM »

Interesting.  I hadn't realized that we muffed the first roll.  The understanding was certainly present after that.  It's really cool that what you're trying to do early on is massage your opponnet into a position where she feels the need to declare "It shall not come to pass" because to do so yourself sucks rocks.  The plain old tactical situation, evolving as characters advance, that drives story creation is a wonderful (I really mean super-cool) piece of game.

Ben, who rolls?  I pushed for (and I think we all agreed on) the interpretation that the Heart always rolls no matter who spoke the phrase that requires the roll.  Is that how you'd intended it?  If not, I think we need a more clear spelling out of rolling mechanics.  And either way, it's not entirely clear how the challenge value is determined.  In one place it seems to be that the Moons just decide.  In another it seems to be based on the exhausted theme from the last conflict.  Our interpretation on the fly was that if there was an exhaustion last conflict (what defines a conflict?) we used that rule and if not, the Moons decided.

Sargus made his roll (because we were messing things up) so didn't get an experience roll.  Megrez' experience arose from callous decision-making.  Megrez got an advance.  In the next two scenes that Aaron's due to post today sometime, there was at least one other experience roll and it was a refresh.  Refresh is only for the Heart's Themes (and the Mistaken's side of them), right?

Also, the rules talk about which characters the players direct.  But it's also built in that the Heart and Mistaken can simply veto stuff narrated by the Moons and the meat of the game is about how the Heart and Mistaken negotiate the SIS entries.  In our final scene, Larry was Heart and I was Mistaken and there were a few times when I just narrated the Heart doing things.  Larry typically fought back and we generated good stuff.  But is this just generally kosher?  And what about if in my mind, there were demons invading his mind/psyche that were trying to have him do inappropriate stuff (which is the case)...any difference?  I wasn't trying to deprotagonize the Heart so much as really stick it to him (socially) in conflict, but I could see someone interpretting it that way and feeling bad.

I made up a table trying to show which key conflict phrases could follow and at what cost or with what limitations.  Mine wasn't great, but it still helped a great deal.  You need something like that in the rules when you're done.  A flow diagram or something might be better.

Maybe I'll have more after Aaron posts, my memory sucks and I'm sure that on Saturday morning, after we played I had more than this to say.

Chris

(edited for clarity)
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Larry L.
Member

Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2005, 09:34:32 AM »

Megrez's heart scene was really cool. After my initial response to Chris' action, he got this competitive grin on his face and said, "Bring it." I narrated the horrible bit about the demon charging forward and biting the maiden's head off, expecting, you know, he damn well won't allow that narration to stand. But then he took it and ran with it to the slaying of the demon. I hadn't planned to let him off his nemesis in his first scene, but this was just too wicked to pass up. By the way, I narrated the consequences to Lord Megrez as "his heart shattered" -- emphasis on the poetry over the actual effect, which was left ambiguous.
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Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2005, 09:59:26 AM »

Quote from: Miskatonic
By the way, I narrated the consequences to Lord Megrez as "his heart shattered" -- emphasis on the poetry over the actual effect, which was left ambiguous.

There's something about Polaris that inspires this.  I can't put my finger on why it works so well there, more so than in other games.  The color? The epic scope? The ritual structure? Maybe a bit of all combined.

Quote
After my initial response to Chris' action, he got this competitive grin on his face and said, "Bring it."

Rock on!  The gloves are off on this adversarial opposition, baby.

And, back a bit,
Quote from: Aaron
After lighting the candle and speaking the proper words, I began. I chose to create a scene as Sargus' Mistaken. Sargus' father, Lord Pupis, who is controlled by the Demon Elgrove, summons him to a personal audience. This immediately put the burden of playing the scene on Larry (New Moon), which wasn't my intention, but Larry graciously went with it anyway.

How did that sit with Larry? I find that to be one of the features of the game, actually.

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing it!

best,
Em
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2005, 12:22:48 PM »

Oh, boy, sorting out rules questions in public (how embarrassing)

1) The Heart always rolls.  Statistically, it doesn't matter, but yeah.

2) The challenge value is whatever Value is associated with the last Theme expended.  If no theme was expended, the Moons decide.  In addition, add Zeal or subtract Weariness if appropriate.  (And, to answer your implied question in your play notes that I got, this will always result in a challenge value from 1-5, as long as you keep your Values between 1-5 {which, legally, you ought to}.  Try it yourself.)

I'm considering changing this to just "moons decide" but I'm not certain.

3) Only the themes of the character rolling for Experience refresh, and they refresh for both the Heart and Mistaken sides.

4) The Heart and the Mistaken can pretty much just veto anything that the Moons say / do, but often the other player will stand up for it.  To give an example from my playtest with Vincent and Meg and Emily:

Meg was playing Aries, a Full Moon character for me.  Aries asigns me to ride Southern Patrol, a dangerous job that I'm not trained for nor able to do.  I question his orders, and he insists.

At this point, I could have said "I convince Aries not to send me," but, most likely, Vincent (my Mistaken) would have jumped in and started negotiating that statement.  Does that make any sense?

5)
Quote from: Christopher Weeks

In our final scene, Larry was Heart and I was Mistaken and there were a few times when I just narrated the Heart doing things. Larry typically fought back and we generated good stuff. But is this just generally kosher? And what about if in my mind, there were demons invading his mind/psyche that were trying to have him do inappropriate stuff (which is the case)...any difference?


Canonically, the Heart has complete control over his knight's actions in free play, regardless of whether or not the Knight is possessed by a demon (this is one of those special guidance exceptions mentioned in the rules.)

However, other people can certainly suggest actions, so it is reasonable for the Mistaken to say "You kill him" if it is understood as a suggestion.

Also, the Mistaken can make statements about the Heart's actions in conflict, just as the Heart can make statements about Demons, so as long as it is clearly taken as a conflict statement, that's fine.

For example, the Mistaken could make the conflict statement:
"But only if you swear yourself into her service"
and the Heart could make the conflict statement
"And furthermore the Lord of Knives flees in terror."

And both of those are okay as conflict statements

In short, what you did is a pretty reasonable interpretation of the rules, and it seems like there weren't any objections to it, so that's fine.

Quote from: Miskatonic

Megrez's heart scene was really cool. After my initial response to Chris' action, he got this competitive grin on his face and said, "Bring it." I narrated the horrible bit about the demon charging forward and biting the maiden's head off, expecting, you know, he damn well won't allow that narration to stand. But then he took it and ran with it to the slaying of the demon.


I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.  It works!  It works!

Look forward to the rest.

yrs--
--Ben
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Larry L.
Member

Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2005, 02:13:47 PM »

Emily,

Regarding the "shattering," it was purely inspired by the flavor prose in the manuscript. I actually didn't do as much of this sort of thing as I would have liked. There wasn't actually anything in the mechanics to encourage this sort of poetics. Rather, I think it's that there's nothing in the mechanics to prevent this sort of poetics. Whereas in [insert strawman RPG here] with all its sim baggage, somebody would have been all, "What kind of saving throw do you make against that? Does it do hit point damage?"

Regarding the first scene, I felt very much put on the spot. Duck seems to be very good at impromptu in-character arguments; me, not so much. I kinda fumbled around a bit until I figured out how to throw the ball to Aaron. After a bit of trying to role-play the father's deception and it not being clear to the others if he had an ulterior motive in mind or not, it occured to me to just narrate out, for sake of the other players, that the father was indeed scheming to send his son away so that he wouldn't be a threat to the Mistake. It seemed like an appropriately "fairy tale" way of doing things.
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Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2005, 06:25:54 PM »

Quote from: Ben

Look forward to the rest.


That's my cue, so here it is:

SCENE THREE

Duck frames a scene as Lord Wezn's Mistaken.  Lord Wezn is out building his Falling Wall (so-called because the demons knock it down every Spring) around the Mistake.  He looks up and sees a blue (I believe) female demon-imp smoking a hookah and smiling.  She greets him in a jovial fashion, and when Lord Wezn demands her name, she says it's Antares.  Offended that a demon would speak his sister's name, Lord Wezn draws his Starlight Sword and smashes the hookah.  

This was a conflict inititated by me.  It was cool, because I expected Duck to resist; however, he began a fairly effective process of unnerving me by merely responding (with a grin), "And so it came to pass."

They exchange a few more words and Lord Wezn turns his back on the imp and goes back to his building.  The imp draws out a flask of wine and begins to dance and sing a song Lord Wezn and his sister used to sing together when they were children.  This is too much, so Lord Wezn leaps from the Wall with his drawn Sword and cuts the imp's tongue from her mouth.

Again, this was a conflict initiated by me, escalating the level of violence.  Duck merely smiled again and said "And so it came to pass."  Then, and this may have been the most clever tactical move of the evening, he narrates that when the tongue falls to the ground, it becomes a new imp, and they continue singing together.  He could have made that statement in response to my initiation of the conflict, but then he probably would have had to make some concessions.  Instead, he let the violence happen, and then used it (very demonically, I thought!) to his advantage to continue applying pressure.  It's also a good example of how the rules really inspire player protagonism: During free play, what you state as happening, is largely limited by your imagination at the moment.

The now two imps caper and sing together.  Lord Wezn, in a fury, cuts off both their heads in a single swipe of his Starlight Sword.  

Yet another violent act, initiated by me.  I guess I was working something out...  Anyhow, Duck resists this time, and states that "You ask far too much."  It's not listed in the notes which theme is burned, but I'm fairly certain that it was Relationship: Antares, sister, with the rationale that if there's even a chance that this demon could be his sister, lost on crusade, then he wouldn't kill her.  The Moons concurred, so I changed tactics and stated that Lord Wezn reminds the imp(s) that they've forgotten the secret verse of the song, made up by their mother and known only to them.  Duck accepted the revised statement and responded with "And so it came to pass", followed by "And so it came to pass."

Duck narrates that now the imp(s) look nervous and suddenly sprout wicked claws.  Snarling, they leap at Lord Wezn and tear out his throat.

This of course forced me to respond.  I replied with "You ask far too much", burning the Blessing: Starlight Sword theme on the Heart side, with the rationale that he wards off the imp(s) with defensive swordplay.  Duck changed tactics completely and imp(s) began to whine pitifully and blame Lord Wezn for breaking their mother's heart and making them into demons.  I accepted the second statement, and ended the conflict with "And so it came to pass."

Lord Wezn now warns the imp(s) to never again mention their mother and tells Antares that it was her own fault, that she always sought out danger on her own and would never listen to the council of others.  Antares mocks his Wall, claiming that, had it been stronger, she would still be safe amongst the People.  Then she appeals to him, out of the love he once bore her, to drink with her, and holds out her flask.  Wezn agrees.

In conflict mode, I stated that "Lord Wezn shares a drink with the imp(s) and then they leave, never again to return to the Falling Wall."  Duck agreed, "But only if..." the wine causes Lord Wezn to have an everlasting thirst (yet another wonderfully poetic vaguery...)  I agreed with "And so it came to pass," and closed the conflict with "And so it was."


This scene was even more complicated than the last, but it really seemed to me that we were starting to roll even more with give and take of the mechanics.  Even though we ended conflicts and scenes, too, it left a lot of potential: The imp(s) may be gone, never to return to the Falling Wall, but that doesn't mean that Antares can't return in a different form.  Plus, who the hell knows if that even really was Antares, and not just a demon pretending to be her??  Aaaaghh!

I'm posting this now so that nothing happens to it (it ended up longer than I thought it was going to be), and I'll quickly follow with our last, and most complicated scene.

Aaron
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Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2005, 07:54:45 PM »

SCENE FOUR

Let me preface this scene by saying that there's no way my notes (I was taking them at this point) are going to capture the furious give and take that was going on.  By now we were all throwing out statements, changing tactics radically, laughing, etc.  'Course, it was getting late and we'd been drinking wine, but in this scene it felt like we explored the roles of the four protagonist aspects more than in any other.  I'm going to split things up into mini-paragraphs; each one represents (approximately) one add to the ongoing narrative by one of us.


And so it was that Lord Arcturus (as narrated by Larry) sat idly and disinterestedly watching a courtly ball in the Remnant of Southkeep.  He is dwelling on his lost, beloved Antares.

The ball is a masque, and at midnight all the maskers will remove their masks and be revealed.

A woman in the crowd, masked as a bird of prey, seems to be watching Lord Arcturus.

She appears at his shoulder and asks him to dance, surprising him by knowing his name (he, too, of course, is masked.)

They dance to the howling music of the Summertime.

Lord Arcturus is then surprised to find that he's attracted to the stranger.

He thinks though, surely, it's only an attraction of the flesh, for his heart is given to Antares.

We had some discussion, as this was piecing together, about whether or not different points of statement were conflicts or not; in each case we just let it keep going forward as free play

"Surely I've seen you before," says Lord Arcturus.  "Your Lordship is mistaken."  He becomes a bit more aggressive: "You smell familiar."  She becomes pensive, "I must go."  Lust swells in the Lord Arcturus and he pulls her close gropes her indelicately.  A conflict begins...

It's worth noting here that I, as Larry's New Moon, was playing the masked woman, as she was a minor, unknown female character.  However, as soon as Chris (the Mistaken) decided that Larry had gone too far, he smoothly (in my memory, anyhow) took her over.  Chris responded to the groping with "You ask far too much", burning the theme Relationship: Antares for obvious reasons.  Larry revised with "You smell ready; let's find out what might happen."  Did I mention we'd been drinking pale, chilled wine...  The Moons (Duck and I) vetoed this revision as being at least as strong as the original action.  He once again revised to "You musn't leave me.  Things are difficult, and you remind me of my sweet, lost true love."  Chris accepted this statement, "But only if..." her own suitor witnesses her dancing with Lord Arcturus.  Larry responded with "But only if..." he (the suitor) is trapped in a dance with the Matriarch of the Ball and cannot presently act.  Chris ended the conflcit with "And so it came to pass."

The suitor doesn't recognize her, in her mask.

Though she appears to be struggling in Lord Arcturus' grasp, he doesn't act to help her.

As the dancers remove their masks, gasps sound from the far side of the ballroom; people gather in a crowd

Suddenly, a firm hand clamps down upon Lord Arcturus' shoulder.  "Have you forgotten my daughter already?"  It's Lord Lesath, Antares' (and I guess Lord Wezn's!) father.

The HawkLady vanishes towards the commotion (she hadn't removed her mask.)

A wail arises from the crowd.

"What, my Lady Antares, you have returned?!?"

Lord Lesath rushes towards her.

This character was being played by Duck, the Full Moon.  Larry decided to veto it, and, rather cleverly, turned it into the next statement

Lady Antares rushes towards Lord Arcturus and swoons in his arms.

Lord Lesath notices Lord Arcturus' eyes look towards the Hawk Lady, who has appeared again.

This statement, which must have been made by Chris, momentarily taking over Duck's rule of the character, was deemed a conflict by Larry.  He responded with the very strong "It shall not come to pass!"  This time we figured out the difficulty factor of the roll correctly, and he predictably failed.  The statement then occured as stated.  This ended the conflict.

The Lord Lesath brings  Lord Arcturus' caddish ways to his daughter's attention.  She decries his dishonesty and strikes him.

I was playing Lady Antares here (in a strange reversal); Larry once again vetoed, figuring out a way to modify my statement to his advantage

She looks at Lord Arcturus and asks, "Is it true?"

He glances away suddenly and says "I don't know what you mean."

Chris deems this conflictable, and responds with "But only if..."Sir Chara (a new character, her lieutenant, I believe) bursts onto the scene, asking her questions regarding her recent whereabouts.  Larry rebutts with "But only if..." Sir Arcturus releases his grasp on his true love, allowing her to fall to the ground (I think this was to cause a distraction; correct me if I'm wrong, Larry.)  Chris decided that "You ask far too much", burning the theme Office: Knight of the Order of the Stars, for being so rude to a lady (even if she's also a knight!)  Unless my notes are wrong here, we screwed up, and instead of Chris revising his statement and then allowing for a rebuttal, Larry immediately responded with "But only if..." while the Lady Antares is distracted with Lord Chara, he's again distracted by the Hawk Lady... You know, typing this, it looks like something's screwy.  Chris, Larry?  Can you spot anything?  Maybe it was Chris, speaking for Lord Arcturus who wanted to drop Lady Antares?  Then the rest of the conflict would seem to work out...

ANYHOW...

Lord Lesath sees that Lord Arcturus is distracted again by the Hawk Lady and forces his way between them, protesting.

Lady Antares protests.

Lord Lesath accosts the Hawk Lady.

Lady Antares wants to leave.

Lord Arcturus notices that she's missing her Starlight Sword, and asks her where it is.

"Let us be alone, and I'll tell you all", she says.

"You shall not leave with her!" says the Lord Lesath.

Lady Antares relents.

Lord Arcturus agrees to leave the ball.

A certain hawk-masked Lady tries to follow him into his private chambers.

He pushes her away, and Chris decided it's a conflict.

He opened with "You ask far too much", burning his theme Relationship: Antares.  Larry revised with "He takes her hand and says his heart is given to another."  This statement is accepted, "But only if..." he agrees to take her favor, a colored scarf.  Larry relents with "And so it came to pass", and the scene is ended with "And so it was."

As Chris pointed out above, Larry made an experience roll since he failed a dice roll and, I guess, failed again.  His themes were dutifully refreshed.

At this point, we decided one round was enough, and we blew out the candle, Duck saying "But that all happened long ago, and now there are none who remember it."


I'll let the others comment more on this, but I just want to recap the huge variety of types of scenes that were played:

Scene One: Psychological battle of the wills with a demonic twist.

Scene Two: Straight out demon-slaying (and maiden mutilation, I guess...)

Scene Three: Verbal sparring spiced with sudden violence.

Scene Four: Courtly intrigue, lust, guilt and equivocation.

All in one night!
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Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2005, 09:42:32 PM »

In both of the long paragraphs above -- the conflicts, I think Aaron got substantial parts of our roles (Larry as Heart and me as Mistaken) reversed.  It's an easy mistake to make since I was putting words in Arcturus' mouth (as I noted in a note above, and seems to have been naughty of me).  Re-read those with me trying to get him into trouble by having him act poorly and it all sorts out.
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Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2005, 04:06:14 AM »

Quote from: Chris Weeks, via PM

What makes a conflict? If my oponent is narrating, does a line become the first line of a conflict sort of retro-actively if I choose to use a key phrase?


Yup.  Any action in free play can be contested via conflict.

Quote

When an experience roll results in an advance, do you envision us playing out the gaining of the advance?


Not unless it is the 4 weariness -> corruption advance or the 1 zeal -> 1 weariness advance, both of which have seperate rules.

In general, the Experience roll means that what just happened is experience.  The roll determines how the Knight reacts to it, internally.

yrs--
--Ben
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Larry L.
Member

Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2005, 05:58:48 AM »

Quote from: Kesher
Antares mocks his Wall, claiming that, had it been stronger, she would still be safe amongst the People.


You know how the rules suggest that the Moons can toss ideas out for the Heart or Mistaken to latch onto? This was one of those. I sarcastically quipped, "Boy, it sure would be a shame if it turned out Antares was lost due to a failure with his wall." Without missing a beat, Duck immediately throws this out as an accusation.

Quote from: Kesher
Chris responded to the groping with "You ask far too much", burning the theme Relationship: Antares for obvious reasons. Larry revised with

Whoa there! 'Twas Chris that narrated Arcturus' groping and womanizing. I was trying to portray Arcturus as the faithful knight who would not betray his lost love. Needless to say, much conflict ensued from Chris trying to put lecherous words in my knight's mouth.

My heart scene seemed kinda anemic to me; perhaps because I was persuing the passive goal of not doing something instead of trying to do something. So I had to prod the other players to produce some actual conflict.
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Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2005, 07:50:21 AM »

Quote from: Larry

Whoa there! 'Twas Chris that narrated Arcturus' groping and womanizing. I was trying to portray Arcturus as the faithful knight who would not betray his lost love. Needless to say, much conflict ensued from Chris trying to put lecherous words in my knight's mouth.


Jeebus, I screwed up in my notes in that last conflict; the more I typed, the more obvious it became, because, yeah, that's how I remembered you playing things.  Sorry, Larry, I didn't mean to paint you as a womanizer...

...though I guess Chris is one.  :)

Anyhow, another thing I really liked about that scene was how aggressive Duck was, even though he was functioning as a Moon.  I imagine anytime the Heart vetoes a Moon TWICE in one scene, someone's doin' sumpin' right...

Aaron
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Larry L.
Member

Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2005, 09:03:32 AM »

Yes, Duck was very successfully playing the busybody father quick to point out any and every flaw in his daughter's suitor. "Oh! I caught him looking at another woman again!" Irritating but fun.
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Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2005, 09:27:24 AM »

While we're all patting Duck on the back, I really thought he shined in scene three.  I think I (at least) tended to narrate from the third person and he did the best job of integrating the actor and director stances.  The scene he framed is the best example of that.
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