In this post:
- Polaris's design really blows me away. It looks like a great choice if you want a really tragic experience.
Shortly after the last post, I purchased and read over Polaris: Chivalric Tragedy at the Utmost North. It wasn't what I'm looking for tonally, but I think I can take a lot of inspiration from the structure of play.
At a high level, I picked out:
- GM duties are split between players, and depend on seating. I'm neutral on this.
- The choice of what to use conflict resolution mechanics for is down, not to what's "reasonable", but whatever actions that the players contest the feasibility/outcome of. This sounds like a useful direction to take things.
- Flow of play, including conflict resolution, is regulated using some pre-defined "ritual phrases" that relate to play and each other in specific ways. I don't want all of the precise phrases from Polaris, for obvious reasons, but I can see a lot of utility in introducing a character each session with something like "Yep, that's me, [name]. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm in this situation."
- Characters advance by becoming more bitter, self-centered, and jaded, and can only die after passing specific thresholds. This is obviously not something I want, tonally. As I said, my gut feeling is that advancement should be done via bonds between characters, somehow.
I'm definitely in favor of moving more towards Polaris's mostly-diceless setup. I know I don't want to come up with some kind of "high-detail simulation of the fictional world" setup. Another thing I know is that I want the ability to pull off non-linear stuff, which, I'm not really sure how to square with any form of character advancement. Maybe a given "episode" could be non-linear, at the players' option, but everything between episodes takes place in chronological order, because that's easier.
Anyway, I'll probably come back to Polaris to get more mechanical ideas, but now I want to focus on tone and setting. Maybe setting first.
Next week, I don't know which RPG-set-in-a-high-school I want, so I'll be looking at a few.