The Pedogogy of Play: Bite-sized Pieces, Part III

[continuing from Parts I and II]



Skills: Learning the core scene framing of the game, slowly adding rules in piece by piece. Any numbered step here could constitute an entire game session, as each Heart and Mistaken in the group co-frame a scene. This works iteratively with the warm-ups. Each group will go to LEVEL ONE and warm-up (switching to more challenging games if needed), touch on LEVEL TWO by playing ‘See Me’ to refresh their memories, then move to their current step of focus in LEVEL THREE.

  1. Start each Scene Framing session with “Long ago, the People were Dying at the End of the World…” and light a candle, end it with “But all that happened long ago, and now there are none who remember it” and blow the candle out. Designate someone to safeguard the telling of each phrase, session by session. You can keep a fresh hold on Polaris’ setting even if you’ve decided to go the Quick Play route, by selecting a section from the first part of the book to set a tone for your Scene Framing, continuing over your sessions till you have read all the material you’d like to the group, a little bit at a time (the design in Montsegur 1244 inspired this thought).
  2. Introductory Scene Framing. Each Heart and Mistaken co-frame a gentle, introductory, collaborative scene for their character. One or both can choose or discuss Who, What, and Where to help frame the scene. Start each scene with “But hope was not yet…” name introduction, and then “And so it was…”. End each scene with ritual phrase “…and so it was.” (read Between Scenes, pg. 56-57, to prep for next session).
  3. Scene Framing II, adding only the conflict phrases “But only if…”, “…it was not meant to be”, and “…and that was how it happened”. Every Heart frames slightly more contentions scenes with their Mistaken (read pp. 61-64, 75-77 for conflict phrase rules).
  4. Scene Framing III,  inviting the Moons to join. Provide a one-sheet of names and relationships to write in the Hearts’ cosmos and have the Moons play. Add in the ritual  phrases, “…It was no matter”, and “…We shall see what comes of it” to use on the Moons (read pp. 77-78 for Moon advice, but ignore the stuff on Themes and Values just yet – also review relevant conflict phrase rules pp. 70-73).
  5. Scene Framing IV, adding in the ritual phrases “And furthermore…”, “…You ask far too much”. Read the exhausting themes rules on page 73, and review the conflict phrases pp. 70-73).
  6. Scene Framing V, congratulations! You now get to ROLL A DIE! Add in, “It shall not come to pass” as part of your pool of ritual phrases. Starting using the Experience rules. Give, or notice, the value for each Knight’s Ice, Light, and Zeal. For info on these things, read pg. 82-85.


If I have done my work (and you yours), you went from zero to finish shepherding a group of storyjamming newbies, enjoying every step of the way, and not even coming close to losing anyone to text burn-out or rule-fatigue. It should have felt like play, play, play the whole time, with 95% of your time spent creating increasingly meaningful fiction rather than talking about rules and handling the mechanics of the game.

In LEVEL FOUR you think about how to make this schema even better and more applicable to your play group. And you get to write one up for another game in which you want to take your group from ignorance to literacy enjoying every step of the way!

Written by Willem