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“For centuries, wars and climatic catastrophes have ravaged the surface of the earth, making it uninhabitable by all but the mutated and monstrous. Humanity, searching for refuge, combs the world’s oceans and finds sanctuary…and more. Welcome to Polaris!”
– POLARIS, the RPG.
POLARIS is a French tabletop RPG, set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi atmosphere, where survival is first and foremost. What attracted me was the sci-fi with a seasoning of horror and weirdness setting. Thanks to a very successful Kickstarter Campaign in early 2016, Black Book Editions are finally able to expand the product line and publish this game for the first time ever in an English language edition and now it has begun to wash up on our shores across the pond!
As you might have guessed from above description, the world of Polaris is a dark, cold, wet place. Mankind in its folly has rendered the surface of the earth uninhabitable, and even with the help of some ominous benefactors known as The Geneticians, they fled beneath the waves to survive in any way possible. However Mankind’s baser instincts gets the best of them and before long, war and bloodshed begin to stain the seas as red as the toxic surface! New factions rise and new grudges evolve as the water becomes spotted with the blood of both the innocent and the guilty. Unknown centuries of squabbling ensue ever diminishing resources, and it seems the end is nigh until a phenomenon known as The Polaris Effect instills select individuals with powers that science cannot adequately define or explain.
There is zero question that Polaris is gorgeous. The layout and art are a testament to the care and craftsmanship the good people at Black Box Editions bring to the table. The world map is beautiful and very impressive – something big happened to the Earth’s surface, and sizable chunks of the surface are completely submerged. There’s an ocean through the middle of North America and Australia both, Greenland’s heart is submerged, and much of South America is gone. It’ll be very interesting to see if we get to find out what the heck happened to the world, or if it’ll be a mystery of the ages…
The default game setting takes place after all of this has transpired and more, The Geneticians are in hiding…or gone. The great city of Equinox is the oceans last best hope for peace…or disaster as it is the hub of all the political powers and controlled by the powers who wield the Polaris effect!
In this post-apocalyptic sci-fi atmosphere, where survival is key the Player Characters can take the role of the usual post-apocalyptic types: mercenaries, soldiers, doctors, as well as devotees of The Cult of Trident, whose members tend to be proficient in the manipulation of The Polaris Effect to create amazing feats. The group can encounter as much or as little political and cold war intrigue since there are a several major powers settled about the globe, as well as groups can either align themselves with one of the smaller geographically locked factions or open the engines up and travel The Seven Seas in search of adventure. But beware for under the sea man isn’t the only thing that lurks beneath the surface as it is so not safe to go back in the water as mysterious monsters, mutants and nature await the adventurous and foolhardy.
One thing I could so see one of our groups doing is use something like Mutant Year Zero’s Ark rules to build the groups own community under the sea and doing missions to help the community as a whole to grow and evolve.
Here is a quick over view of the books and items out as of this post, don’t worry I will so do more detailed and visual reviews over the next few months as all of these products are all beautifully illustrated and laid out, and that includes the PDFs
Now to be honest this is an abridged version of the adventure in Core Rulebook 1 and the Pre gen Characters are great and its FREE on DriveThruRPG.Com!
A great and free teaser to the Polaris setting
Fiction, World Setting with a ton of plot hooks, Character creation, and Rules!
Mystery, Underwater combat and Vehicles, Mermaids (Not those kind!) and other sea creatures, Tech and most importantly fixing gear, and ‘Advanced Rules’!
Together both rulebooks do come with a lovely cardstock ‘Slipcase’ to keep them both safely in. Between the two you have everything your need to play the Polaris RPG! Together over 500 pages of full cover loveliness!
Another lovely hardcover book weighing in at 48 pages, that goes further into the equally mysterious and majestic city of Equinox. This neutral Freeport of a floating city in the sea is home to the ‘Cult of the Trident’ the systems mysterious users of the Polaris Effect! It does a good job of giving a ton of good plot hooks as well as including the adventure “Industrial Espionage”.
I LOVE these for you Polaris players! This 16-page full color Character folio have EVERYTHING a player needs to play including rules and charts from Core Book 1! Just check out the publisher’s description:
A gaming aid for all Players of Polaris RPG! It introduces in a few pages the world and timeline of the game, and describes the major factions and the most important nations of the Deep. The helpful summary of Character Creation and basic Combat Rules helps players and GM’s alike speed up the gameplay!
On the 8 pages dedicated entirely to your Character’s abilities and equipment as well as your progression you get plenty of space to detail your Adventurer!
The woodfree paper lets you write and erase on the pages! This booklet is aimed at Polaris RPG players, supplied in packs of five Character Files, shrink wrapped together to accommodate a whole gaming table.
16 pages, softcover, woodfree paper, full-color • Map of the World of the Deep • Character Creation Summary • 8 page character sheet • Essential Rules Reminder
This pack contains 16 different location maps where underwater adventurers are likely to roam! Each map exists in a version with full captions, and a spoiler free plain version so players can discover it during gameplay.
The locations included in this pack:
- Equinox: Level 1
- Vessek Rental Hangar
- Vessel Assembly Yard
- Combat Arena
- Mining Zone
- Experimental Hydro-Farm
- Secret Laboratory
- Isolated Station
- Network of Infested Tunnels
- Surface Bunker
- Light Frigate Class
- Unknown Ship Wreck
Style up your game with a set of these Polaris dice! Contains 7 dice (3d6, 3d10, 1xd20)
Check out their awesome website HERE!
Polaris RPG nominated for 4 ENnies in 2017!
As more detailed reviews come outI will link them here, plus see our earlier Summer one shot article HERE.