[Polaris] Transcending the Rules

Started by Frank Tarcikowski, March 02, 2008, 09:49:53 AM

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Ben Lehman

I've been really enjoying reading this, haven't felt the need to put my oar in right away, though.

I can, however, clear up the official ruling about speak outside of your slice of the Cosmos after "and so it was." Since "and so it was" is a key phrase, you can use it to speak for things outside of your section of the Cosmos. However, these things can be opposed by the regular means of conflict key phrases.

For instance, imagine that I'm playing the knight Betelguese, and Alexis is my mistaken, and Michael is the Moon:

A: And so it was that Betelgeuse awoke in the middle of the night, alone and filled with a crushing despair.
B: You ask far too much! I'm exhausting my ability theme, since I have the "joyful" aspect.
M: That totally works.
A: Uh, Okay. "And so it was the Betelgeuse awoke in the night with the demoness Lyra's claws wrapped around his heart."
B: I'll take the second one. "Lyra! *gurgle* what are you doing?"



Ooooh, that an official ruling then? We have had debates over whether one can invoke conflict statements on the scene setting. I guess I was on the wrong side of that debate then with my group.

My argument for not using conflict statements there was it called attention to the scene setting narration, making it "important" If someone "undermines" my character concept during scene formation by making my character do something the character would "never do" I can kinda just ignore it, making it less important. If I try to invoke a conflict mechanic, I'll be at a disadvantage if I try to nullify the statement (either I have to use ask far too much and hope I have the theme and aspect (and have to burn the theme), or take a risk, or do a nuclear but only if and hope for a it was not meant to be) have to pay a cost). If it's really truly horrifically bad, I think I would have just stopped the game and ask for the scene framer to try again. So my view was you should either just let it slide, or halt the game. Trying to negotiate just puts you at a disadvantage.  At least one other player disagreed with me.

To be clear, if in normal play, the mistaken tries to do something like:

H: blah blah
M: but only if <the protagonist does something totally unacceptably out of character>
H: It was not meant to be.

It is of course illegal for the mistaken to start in free play with <the protagonist does something totally unacceptably out of character>

But if the mistaken sets the scene with  <the protagonist does something totally unacceptably out of character>, then the Heart has no sure-fire way to negate the unacceptable action.


Quote from: Hendrik D. on March 19, 2008, 12:10:27 PM
Quote from: Troels on March 16, 2008, 11:01:05 AM
Also, on a bit of a tangent, you say that Hendrik, as Mistaken, framed the scene describing the feelings of Capella, Tanja's protagonist? That would be a major no-no for me. I've done that to PCs, as GM, a number of times, and it's a great way to reduce players' emotional investment in their characters. I can sort of see it not sucking in that group storytelling mode, but generally, yipe!


Fourth and most important:
Tanja and I talked about the scene in advance, even before me framing it. We talked about where the scene should lead, what should happen and what kind of mood should be transported in the scene. So I had some pretty good hints about how the protagonist felt ;-)

OK, that rather changes it, of course. My gut still tells me to save statements of actual emotion for the Heart, as opposed to physical sensation ( e.g. a lump of lead in her belly, or a soft fluttering or whatever can be used as sensuous metaphors for emotion), but the Heart saying to the Mistaken, in between scenes: "Maybe you could mess with my knight this way?" is cool as the night under the Aurora by me.

Generally, on the roles of the players, I got a peek in a Polaris book during the week, and it said something like: "In conflict, the Mistaken negotiates against the protagonist, the Heart negotiates for, and the moons arbitrate the legality and fairness of their respective moves", and of course everyone can throw bits of fiction in the pot.

I think we also have the answer to extremely aggressive scene-setting here. If the Mistaken sets a scene in which the protagonist is totally screwed and a villain to boot no matter what the Heart says once the scene gets rolling, the Moons are there to say "No fair!" If the Moons buy it and the Heart still isn't having it, we get to the "too much" and the dice. As far as I can call it.

Yours, Troels