Polaris is a role-playing game about the dying days of the people, about how their bravest knights struggled against the Mistaken and their sun while the very people that they defended choked themselves in in their own self-indulgence. Polaris has several innovative game mechanics that have often been imitated by never repeated. The entire game is framed and played through use of specific key phrases, used where other games use cards, dice, or ability scores. It requires no GM or central planning player, instead relying on each player to provide those services for each other. In all, the game takes about 12-40 hours to play to conclusion, split up in 3-8 nights of play.
Why you should play this game
I wrote Polaris to give myself the horrible beauty that I wanted to get from in Nobilis; to give myself the smooth GMless play that I wanted to get out of Universalis; the moral decline that I wanted from Sorcerer but it wasn’t geared to produce; the fairyland magic of Dunsany’s stories that I had never thought possible in a role-playing game. If you like Nobilis, or Universalis, or Sorcerer, or Lord Dunsany, or if you wanted to like any of them, you should try Polaris. I finished Polaris because I wanted to show that death in a role-playing game is not a bad thing. If you like it when your characters suffer and die, you should play Polaris. Polaris debuted at GenCon 2005. By the second day of the con, people were coming up to me and saying “I want to try the game where you say what you want, and then it happens.” You should play Polaris if you want to play a role-playing game where you say what you want, and as long as you’re willing to pay the price, it happens.
Why you shouldn’t play this game
In Polaris, your knight will betray his people and die forgotten and alone. If you don’t like losing you won’t like Polaris. Polaris is powerful. In Polaris, you will wield the greatest powers of the cosmos against the greatest powers of hell. If you don’t like powerful protagonists, you won’t like Polaris. Polaris is deadly. If you don’t like games where a favorite character can be killed with a dependent clause and the flick of a sword, don’t play Polaris. In Polaris, a player who can improvise well will have an advantage over a player who does not like to improvise (although you are never required to improvise). If you don’t like games that reward snap creative thinking, you won’t like Polaris.
The Wish We Wish to Night
The Wish We Wish to Night, a short supplement dealing with advanced strategy, a few errata, and a new type of character, can be purchased on gumroad.
Physical copies of Polaris are available at Indie Press Revolution or ask to order it at your local gaming store.
You can also buy the ebook for $10.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other games please don’t hesitate to e-mail me.