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Author Topic: Dogs in the IRC - Initiations  (Read 10556 times)
Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1309


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« on: October 12, 2004, 12:46:50 AM »

Okay, I'm going to post the entire transcipt online (for Vincent and people who like reading all the Peanut Gallery comments), but here's the quick-and-dirty version of the first session of Dogs IRC play, for those of you who like your meat rare and raw.  Full character writeups and background can be found in THIS thread.

CAST

* jwalton (Jonathan)
* Jezebel (James)
* Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes (Ben)
* Hosea_Laurent (Michael/Anonymouse)
* Claire_Jared (Claire)
* Esau_Danny (Danny)

-----

JEZEBEL

Stakes: "To learn her looks can be a good thing, not just a demon's gift"

<jwalton> So, Jez is at the Temple, having just come back from a long day of ridin'
  and rustlin' and shootin' and preachin' and teachin', and she's dead tired and
  more than a little upset for not living up to her own high expectations. and she's
  off by herself and decides that her hair is all matted and nasty from being out in
  the desert wind and decides to wash her hair in a big basin or bucket or something.
  leaning over and just letting it all fall in, maybe sticking her head in. so give
  us some Jez, how about?  what's she thinking about?  what's the water feel like?

<Jezebel> Jez throws her head back, throwing water droplets in an arc through the
  fading dusk.  Letting herself relax into the cold water. Letting the sting of it
  wash off the hot dust of the road.

<jwalton> looking out, you can see the moon rising early in a sky that's still
  got some light in it. big fat crescent of a moon.

<Jezebel> Jez relaxes against the wall, letting her wet hair drid down her back,
  watching the rising moon.  Leaving the cares of the road behind her for a moment.

<jwalton> then, behind you, and somewhat jarring, there's the sound of somebody
  dropping something heavy and metal on something wooden. and the sound of
  "tarnation!" a man's voice.

<Jezebel> Jez snaps around, startled, with the mood broken. "Brother?  You Ok?

<jwalton> Brother Micah stoops to pick up his gun belt and spurs from where
  they fell.  He's trying to carry too much in his arms.  Blankets for the
  horses and a feed bucket and his own gear.

Then Ben told us we should probably have rolled dice by now.  Duh.

Me: 2 2 4 4 5 5 6 10
Jez: 1 2 4 4 6 6 6 6

<jwalton> and I open with 2,2 "I dropped my stuff"

<Jezebel> (see with my 4, reversing the blow) "Here, let me help you with that."

<Jezebel> (raise with that 4 and my 2) "You oughta know better than to carry
  more stuff than you got hands."

<jwalton> Micah looks deep into her eyes as she helps him pick stuff up.  
  Reversing the Blow with 6, and Raise 6 + 5. "You know, you're awful kind,
  especially considerin' what I done an' all.  Face like an angel an' a heart to
  match.  That's what I tell the other teachers."

<Jezebel> see with a 6,6 "Now Micah, you know that my looks don't come into it
  none.  It ain't no angel I got this face for." (bringing in 'damn pretty'
  trait at 2d6)

<Jezebel> raise 6, 4 "You of all people should know that."

<jwalton> Reverse the Blow, 10.  Then Raise 10, 5: "No need for that sorta
  talk, Jezzie.  The King himself is in your heart now, and that's a brightness
  that no earthy vessel can contain.  It shines forth from your eyes and your
  smile and brings blessings to everyone.  And I am greatful every day, let me
  tell you."

<Jezebel> (give)Jezebel blushes and ducks her eyes down.

<jwalton> Micah hands Jez the bucket of feed and the blankets and tells her to
  care to the horses and "think on that."  He awkwardly shoulders the rest of
  his stuff and moseys along.

<Jezebel> Hokay.  No fallout from that, so I've just got the 1d6 trait for
  initiation.  Any suggestions?

<Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes> "I'm filled with a beautiful inner light? 1d6"

<Jezebel> Damn.  That's good.  How about "Filled with the king's light" 1d6
-----

HOSEA

Stakes: "I hope I finally hear the voice of the King, calling me to service."

Me: 1 1 2 2 5 6 6 9
Hosea: 1 2 3 4 4 5 6

<jwalton> So Brother Micah (what a great guy) has set you scubbing the floor of
  the Outer Chapel.  The Inner Chapel is this big massive huge thing where
  everybody goes on Sundays after they've cleaned up a bit, but the Outer Chapel
  is where people go on a regular basis to pray for strength to complete daily
  trials and so forth.

<Hosea_Laurent> Hosea hasn't spent much time in the Outer Chapel. Hell, even the
  Inner Chapel has only brief visits. The teachers are pushing him hard. Ain't no
  time to pray, stuff to get -done-.

<jwalton> So, while the Inner Chapel stays mostly immaculate, the Outer Chapel has
  a floor caked with mud and manure and straw and sand and the worst grit and
  grime the King has ever seen fit to put on this earth. People come in from doing
  whatever they're doing, tracking in whatever they're carrying. It's not that big
  of a place.  Simple, humble.  A single lightly colored
  window in the recess, with a figure of a kind-but-cruel figure glaring down at
  you, telling you you're not worthy (there's my opening, 1 + 2).


<Hosea_Laurent> See/Reverse the Blow with 4. The muck and grime and sheer time that
  has poured into the floor of the Outer Chapel just seems to move away at Hosea's
  brush. 2, 3 passes at an area, and it's ready to be sloshed clean with a simple
  splash of water.

Discussion of montage-style framing.

<Hosea_Laurent> Raise with 4 + 1. There's a quick flashback scene to a few days ago;
  gun-target training in a downpour. He hits bullseyes on all 6 targets in the space
  of a couple heartbeats.

Discussion of whether he gets gun dice.

<jwalton> So, Reverse the Blow (5): Your teacher comes over and says, "Nice
  shooting, Brother Laurent.  But I wonder, would you be able to do that to living
  human beings?  It takes a grown up heart to be secure in delivering death and
  the King's vengeance.  Maybe you should stick to targets for a while."

<jwalton> Then, here it comes, Raise that 5 + 9 (14): you're carrying water up to
  the horses when you see two figures struggling in the shadows of the barn.  One
  of them (a man) just hit another one (who makes a definitely female howl of
  pain) and pushes her into the hay piles.  She struggles up and punches him in
  the gut, but he keeps coming.  Oh, yeah.  And you target-shooting sissy gun is
  sitting in your saddle bag on the ground.

<Hosea_Laurent> Fsh, who needs guns? Bumrush the guy! Invincibility/Arrogance

He gets 1 & 4.

<Hosea_Laurent> Anyway, Taking the Blow (6/5/4): Hosea dashes forward, head down,
  yelling at the top of his lungs; unfortunately, he started way too far away. The
  assailant has plenty of time to stand up, turn around, and knock the boy flat as
  he gets close.

<Hosea_Laurent> I'm gonna Raise with Grandfather relationship dice, 2d8

He gets 1 & 4 again.

<Hosea_Laurent> The woman tries once again to struggle up, but the man, still
  standing in the darkness of the stables, lets loose a frightening backhand.
  There's a sick *crack* and the woman slumps back to the dirt floor. Hosea
  scrambles backwards, back into the light, trying to get his back to a wall to
  pull himself up; he's dizzy, and dazed, and angry. He's got himself up by one
  arm; the light's gritty and there's a weird wind blowing. The guy gets a look
  at him - a good look. Hosea's got the features, got the shoulders, the man
  -knows- this kid. Doesn't know the kid; what he's seeing is this image of
  Grandfather Laurent. Not quite guardian angel, it's more like a kind of
  supernatural light-shadow. The man remembers an encounter with the elder Laurent.

  Remembers it.. too well. Doesn't know what's going on now, and he's scared.
  He takes off out of the stables. Hosea struggles over to the corner, and barely
  needs to look at the woman to know.. necks don't rest at that angle.

Discussion of a proper raise and leaving things open for Block/Reverse.  Decide
  the guy's just scared and the women isn't necessarily dead.

<jwalton> so, I'm Reversing the Blow (6): "There's a wind blowing up the slopes
  of the hill.  It starts as a small cool breeze and then rises up.  Thunder cracks.  
  Rain begins to fall lightly.  The man stumbles backwards in the presence of such
  obvious power.  You hear sickening noises as the broken woman struggles to her
  feet, eyes dark with the Righteousness of the King.

<jwalton> then, here it comes again, Raise (6 + 6): "She draws her pistol, spits
  into the man's face, and shoots him straight in the chest.  The body falls to
  the ground, limp.  She looks at you, the aura of your grandfather fading, and
  says "I guess you can't all be heroes," before, herself, collapsing on the
  ground.

<Hosea_Laurent> 3 + 3 + 3 + 4 = 13, I'll Take the Blow

And I'm out of dice, so Hosea outlasted me and concluded with.

<Hosea_Laurent> It's middle of winter; the sun's low in the sky, it's blasting cold,
  and the central courtyard has been turned into a kind of obstacle/training course
  by Hosea. He's jumping squat tree stumps, firing at targets, running, climbing.
  Hands are bleeding, face is numb. Its been a long, long year. Grandfather at Hope,
  and Mother and Father, and others in the family.

  Halfway up the rope, a hand slips, he falls back down in the snow. Stares up at the
  sky for a long while; dirty, gritty sunlight, barely managing to make it through the
  coming stormclouds. Spring feels like a long time away. And the light isn't blasting
  bright, but it penetrates his eyelids, and he thinks: this is a Dog's life. All the
  time. This is a Laurent's life. Spring's a long time coming, and there's bad weather
  on the way, and we're still out there, cos we have to be.

  Hasn't been an easy year, not everything's gone right. But he's still here, and he's
  ready to head out and take up the family name again. King's calling, got work to do.
  He pulls himself back up, finishes the rope climb, heads inside.


-----------

JARED

Stakes: "Overcome the urge to think I'm nothing special."

Me: 1 3 4 4 5 6 9 10
Jared: 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 6 6 6

<jwalton> So it's like this: It's very near the end of your training and Ada is
  coming to visit the Temple, bringing along the coat that she and your mother
  made for you.

<Claire_Jared> Jared's keen to see Ada, to see her, to see how she is, and to see
  how she thinks he's changed.

<jwalton> You're in your room, sewing up a hole in the knee of your pants, the
  Good Book open on the other knee, reading, when she comes in without any
  introduction and drops a package wrapped in brown paper on your bed,
  unceremoniously.  "Here," she says, "this is for you." (3,4)

<Claire_Jared> Jared smiles at the sound of her voice.  "Hey, nobody told me you'd
  arrived."  (See with 3, 4)

<Claire_Jared> Jared looks at his work ruefully.  "I was gonna get this done
  before you got here.  I'm a bit of a mess.  (Raise 6, 6)  Jared puts down his
  work and puts a hand on the package. "Do you want me to open this now?"

<jwalton> She ignores your last comment. "Here, let me do it." She kneels and
  takes the needle from you. (4, 9 Block)
 
<jwalton> The packaging, roughly thrown on the bed, falls open to reveal your
  coat, woven with such care and precision by your mother, such obvious love, but
  then those parts are hastily connected together by rough, hasty stiching done
  through anger and tears. On the ground, you can see those same hasty stiches at
  work on your knee, and, as a few drops of water begin to soak through the denim,
  you realize that there is more than love woven into your coat.  There is also
  pain.  Real pain.  But pain that someone is struggling hard to overcome.
  (Raise, 10, 5)

<Claire_Jared> Jared sits still for a moment.  "My sewing's never as good as
  yours."  (Take the blow, 6, 4, 3, 2; Fallout 4)

Discussion of how Claire can get more dice.  She eventually moves to physical.

<Claire_Jared> Jared picks up his coat and puts his hand around Ada's shoulder.
  "Thanks for bringing this to me," he says, hold the coat. (Raise, 5, 2)
  "I know it must be hard."

<jwalton> So I guess I have to Give and let you be normal and unworthy,
  despite your sister's struggles.

<Claire_Jared> Ada shrugs off Jared's arm and defiantly wipes her eyes.  "I've got
  letters from Ma and Pa too," she says.  Jared can see her pain still burns
  within her, but it is beyond his reach.  He's learnt a lot, all sorts of ways to
  help people, but somehow they don't work any better.

  Jared introduces Ada to the various people he's been learning with,
  and sees her take it in and react, but her feelings are always beyond a film out
  of his reach.

--------------------------

ESAU

Stakes: "To solve a conflict without resorting to violence."

Me: 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 7
Esau: 1 3 3 3 4 4

<jwalton> So there's this guy, Brother Elijah Amesbury (last name's important,
  because there are like 5 Elijahs at the Temple), who's been giving Esau a
  serious amount of unnecessary shit for what are pretty obviously racial reasons.

  It's gotten to the point where you two just keep your distance and try
  to avoid conversations with the other, but Elijah still tries to sneak a little
  comment or glance or gusture in whenever he thinks the trainers aren't looking.

  There's enough racism around that this kind of thing is tolerated by most of the
  other Dogs-in-Training, though there are obviously some that'll stand up for Esau,
  and Elijah knowingly avoids them.

  So why don't you have Esau sneak off and be up to no good.  Elijah's going to
  follow him.

<Esau_Danny> One fine evening, young Esau felt a certain fullness in his heart,
  and he knew he needed to lighten it a bit. Fortunately, there was a goodly Brother
  down in Bridal Falls city with a fondness for Dogs.  Brother Noah. There, a young
  Dog-in-training could sit in the barn and tell blue jokes, and even smoke or take
  a swig from a jar of corn likker that Noah kept well hidden.  In that cool sweet
  hay-smelling darkness, Brother Esau could feel like a proper man, an equal to any
  of the fine families like the Laurents.

<jwalton> So picture Elijah standing outside the barn with one eye pressed up
  against the crack, seeing this half-blood freak having a good old time with
  forbidden fruit and a respectable member of the Faithful community.

<Esau_Danny> Esau is grinning and laughing, waiting for his chance to tell about
  how funny the riding instructor talks.

<jwalton> Something's burning and twisting in his gut.  It ain't right.  He just
  knows it ain't right.  But there's nothing he can do about it.  If he tells the
  instructors, won't nobody believe him.  They'll just say he's making up stories
  to get Esau in trouble.  But they ain't no stories this time. Elijah turns,
  breathes heavy and fast, and then walks back up towards the Temple, finding some
  place in the road to hide and wait for Esau to come back.

<Esau_Danny> Esau has a fine old time, and hears a song with lyrics so blue he can't
  hardly believe it. He knows he can't ever sing in front of the other Dogs, so he
  lights out for the Temple and sings it on the way.  Softly.

<jwalton> Elijah steps out of the bushes.  "Just what do you think you're doing,
  halfbreed?" (Raise 4,5)

<Esau_Danny> Esau doesn't want to let his good mood go so fast, so he ignores the
  insult.  (take the blow 3,3,3)

<Esau_Danny> But it steams him a little.  "Brother Elijah, ain't you got nothing
  better to do than dog my trail?" (Raise 4,4)

<jwalton> "Don't ya give me none of that lip, boy.  I seen ya.  I done seen ya,
  freak!  Seen what ya been up too!" (Block 3, 5)

<jwalton> "You act all respectable-like, but inside you're rotten to the core!  
  Rotten like a bad egg!" He pushes you backwards down the trail and steps in
  front of you. (Raise 5, 6)

<Esau_Danny> Esau balls his fists into hammers, but then he thinks of Mr. Handy.  
  What would he say, if he saw Esau fixing to hit a smaller man.

<Esau_Danny> Esau swallows hard.  "You're right about one thing.  I got evil
  inside me, trying to get out." (Take the Blow, 1,4,6)

Discussion of using Relationships like Traits.

<Esau_Danny> Esau suddenly remembers a man he saw in the same position, once,
  a chief. They mocked him but he never lost his dignity. "You can punish me,
  Elijah, for I have sinned.  And the King'll sit in judgement of us both, I
  reckon." (Raise 3,5)

<jwalton> Elijah glares at you, but then, through gritted teeth, spits out, as
  if reciting something a teacher told him, "It is not yet given to me to
  seperate the sheep from the goats.  I am not yet a shephard, only one in
  training."  He spits on the ground at your feet and walks away. (Block 6, 7)

<Esau_Danny> Esau stands in amazement at getting off so easy, then starts
  walking back up the trail.  "Esau, I don't think that fellow likes you at-all,"
  he says to himself. But somewhere before he reaches the Dogs Temple, the cold
  air sobers him up, and he gets to thinking about what he'd said. That bit about
  the King sitting in judgement, that was just a piece of scripture turned to a
  useful end.  But it was also true. Elijah was an enemy, sure enough, but
  the greatest enemy was himself. Esau snuck back into sleeping quarters, but he
  didn't sleep that night.

--------------------

CYRUS

Stakes: "I hope I made a friend."

Me: 1 3 3 5 6 6 8 10
Cyrus: 1 1 2 3 3 5 5 5 5 5

<jwalton> So you're sitting down to eat at the lunch table near the beginning of
  your training, when you've just arrived from the big city and don't know
  everyone.  it seems like everyone else has friends already and is sitting with
  them, sharing a laugh over a bowl of stew. there's one girl in the corner who
  looks at you and seems impressed by your fancy city clothes (though you've worn
  your worst stuff and even tried to get some natural looking dirt stains by
  working hard). she waves to you (3, 5)

<Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes> I look back into my book without doing anything (5, 3).  
  And then, after about a minute, I look back and sort of stare at her for a
  second.  Inside, I think: no, she was just playing nice, she doesn't really want
  to talk to you.  Plus, she's some sort of farmgirl. (5, 5) And, you know,
  farmgirls.  How could I even talk to her?

<jwalton> Ha.  She smiles at you and your book, whispers something to a friend of
  hers, then gets up and walks over to you. (Turning the Blow, 10)

<jwalton> You try to hide behind your book, but she sticks a callosed finger over
  the top of it, and pulls it from your grasp. "I don't know how people act
  wherever _you_ come from," she says.  "But where _I_ come from, it's not polite
  to ignore a lady." (10 + 6)

<Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes> "uhm, well, it's just that... uh..." (taking the blow 1, 2,
  3, 5, 5)

<Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes> I set "Othello" down on the table, and take her hand in the
  proper grasp (holding her fingers, her palm down).  "I'm sorry, miss, but we
  have not been properly introduced."  (3, 2)

<jwalton> "Oh, 'sir,' you don't have to be so 'proper' around here." She takes her
  hand back from you and slaps it lightly against your cheek, leaving it there
  long enough to say, "why don't you come sit down and educate me, huh?"
  (Reversing the Blow 6, Raising 6 + 8)

Ben frantically rolls a bunch of dice, in vain.  Claire suggests he switch to physical
  ("No! Take her now on the table!!").  He gives.

* Cyrus_Patrick_Haynes smiles at her despite himself.  "All right then, but you've
  got to teach me about those horses.  Nearly broke my leg last week."

<jwalton> Okay, then she takes _you_ by the hand and leads you back over to the
  table, introduces you to her friends, and you have a fabulous time.  Though you
  wake up the next morning and realize... you still don't know her name.

-----

It was crazy fun, but I'll talk about it more once I get time to process a bit.  I'm very, very much looking forward to running my town next week.  The full transcript should be up HERE in a few moments.
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beingfrank
Member

Posts: 121


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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2004, 03:29:37 AM »

I've got so much to say on this, but I need time to think and put my impressions into some sort of order.  A first, very rough draft is on my lj, but sleep will bring me closer to clarity.

It was great fun.
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lumpley
Administrator
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Posts: 3453


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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2004, 06:52:00 AM »

Thank you!

Quote
Discussion of using Relationships like Traits.


I'm just going to lose that battle over and over again, aren't I.

I've been really curious to see how this game works out online. Seems pretty good. The funky dice thing is less an impediment than I'd'a thought.

Great characters!

-Vincent
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ScottM
Member

Posts: 221

Fresno, California


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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2004, 08:26:17 AM »

I've enjoyed following the IRC dogs from raw conception on.

I just ran some initiations of my own and found the dice mechanics interesting, but a little sticky to get used to.  The initiations I ran had a few "whoa, back up a step" moments, because the block/take the blow had been skipped in the description, or because we realized that we'd been weak in describing our raises.  (Weak raises make it difficult to come up with a block, I found.)  Did you do anything particular to make sure your raises were strong and to ensure that you didn't skip over your blocks/reversals/taking the blow?

Sounds like you had fun. I'll be looking forward to hearing about their journeys.
-- Scott
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Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2004, 09:31:04 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Thank you!

Quote
Discussion of using Relationships like Traits.


I'm just going to lose that battle over and over again, aren't I.

I've been really curious to see how this game works out online. Seems pretty good. The funky dice thing is less an impediment than I'd'a thought.

Great characters!

-Vincent


I'm on your side, dude!  I'm on your side!

But we did have another rules question.  It only came up once, but it seems pretty big --

If I escalate in a initiation challenge do you (the GM) get extra dice?  How many?

yrs--
--Ben
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DannyK
Guest
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2004, 11:01:12 AM »

It's worked pretty well in forum play, too, on RPG.net.  I like the format we were using on IRC better, less obtrusive.

Vince, I'm thinking you might be right about relationships-as-traits.  I used one in Esau's initiation scene when things were getting rough, but afterwards it felt a little flat.  I was thinking, it might have been better to let the GM Reverse the Blow and push the confrontation harder.  

I wanted to ask Jon what he thought about that, but I was too bushed after running Esau's initiation and reading everyone else's.  It's a great game, but it takes a lot out of you.
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Jonathan Walton
Member

Posts: 1309


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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2004, 05:18:28 PM »

Yeah, I don't know about the Relationships as Traits thing either (that's why we discussed it, Vincent, because we weren't sure about it, not because we thought it was a good idea).  I mean, it got used... 3 times in the initiations.  Once by Hosea in bringing in the grandfather stuff (or maybe his grandfather trait wasn't a relationship?) and then twice by Esau with Mr. Handy and the chief.  For Esau, it just kept me from reversing the blow and having Elijah sock Esau across the jaw, which might have potentially made for a more powerful scene.  I don't know if using Relationships like Traits just gives the players too many dice to draw on, potentially, and will lead to unfocused scenes where they think about other people instead of focusing on the conflict at hand (more like a novel, with all the internal stuff, instead of a movie where a little voiceover is all you get).  I guess we'll have to discuss this and see what people think.  I don't feel comfortable just "making a call" because I'm the GM, especially in a game as collaborative as this one.

It also seemed to me, as a GM, that some of the players were having trouble with the "losing conflicts is a good thing" part of Dogs.  It's not about whether you, the player, win or lose the conflict; it's about whatever happens during the scene.  Often enough, it's not entirely clear who "won" and who "lost" based on the narration.  I don't know if that's the strategic Gamism of the dice sneaking in, but almost everyone seemed to be scrambling for more dice and taking serious Fallout (Hosea took 7d6 worth) to outlast me and the 8 dice I got for the initiation scenes.  Actually, this might be a problem for me too, come to think of it.  Since I couldn't scramble for more dice, this wasn't super apparent in the intros, though.  We'll have to see.  Maybe this is an intentional part of the design?  Maybe this is bad habits sneaking in from a lifetime of gaming?

Responding to Scott's questions: I think, once we got into the groove, that the "combat" style rhythm of conflicts was pretty obvious, though we did occasionally have to remind someone to Block or Take the Blow before narrating their Raise (you do tend to think ahead of yourself, to the next time you can "strike back").  I just, in my head, thought: "first deflect/counter their move, then sock them one!"  It really is, at the core, a traditional-style combat idiom, not some new avante-gard thingee.  So that made it easier to wrap my head around.  A lot easier than My Life with Master, say.  It reminded me most of Continuum's Time Combat, actually, which I wasn't expecting at all.

As for making sure you have strong Raises, I agree that it's critical.  We only had a couple that I thought were sorta weak, and I think those emerged because of roleplaying habits.  People (myself included, especially in that opening piece with Jez) wanted to explore characters, relationships, and the setting instead of moving right into the heart-wrenching conflict.  In the initiations more so than in normal play, you have to crank the amps to 11, because the GM only has a small number of dice (and therefore, a small number of Raises/Interactions) with which to conduct the entire scene.  So if you do a lame Raise without any punch to it, but throw down big dice, the GM/player has to use big dice to block something that's not, after all, very important to the narrative and then can't give their counterstrike any mechanical punch.  With 8 dice, unless you've got big stuff to Reverse the Blow with, you've got 2 Raises and 2 Blocks.  In the Esau scene, I should have had the guy step out and push him (Raise 1) and then sock him across the jaw (Raise 2).  None of this "just talking" shit.  It might have worked in a normal, long scene when I could get more dice by Raising to physical, but not in an initiation.  No time.  No dice.

One thing too that I think we'll have to deal with is: once you start a conflict, how much narration can happen that isn't connected to using dice (to See/Raise)?  Cutting down on the extra narration makes the conflict happen fast and dense, but that's not necessarily appropriate for all conflicts.  Sometimes you might want something to play out much slower, like the montage-style initiation of Hosea.  In that case, since we were basically framing several scenes with related conflicts, it made more sense to narrate a whole bunch, then end with a Raise/See.  In other cases, as with the hard-and-fast seduction scene of Cyrus, extra narration would have sapped the power from things.  It really was a back-and-forth battle of wits and dice, which is how it should have been.  If the stakes had been something like "Get Cyrus a girlfriend" which can't happen as quickly, we would have had to narrate more between uses of dice.

In any case, lots of things for the group to talk about and just figure out as we go.  I'm pumped.
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beingfrank
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2004, 05:57:35 PM »

Quote from: Jonathan Walton
It also seemed to me, as a GM, that some of the players were having trouble with the "losing conflicts is a good thing" part of Dogs.  It's not about whether you, the player, win or lose the conflict; it's about whatever happens during the scene.  Often enough, it's not entirely clear who "won" and who "lost" based on the narration.  I don't know if that's the strategic Gamism of the dice sneaking in, but almost everyone seemed to be scrambling for more dice and taking serious Fallout (Hosea took 7d6 worth) to outlast me and the 8 dice I got for the initiation scenes.  Actually, this might be a problem for me too, come to think of it.  Since I couldn't scramble for more dice, this wasn't super apparent in the intros, though.  We'll have to see.  Maybe this is an intentional part of the design?  Maybe this is bad habits sneaking in from a lifetime of gaming?


This is something I noticed too.  I wasn't sure how I should approach a conflict when I was effectively playing for my character to lose, and decided that the simplest way to approach it was to do what I could.  I'm not sure I'd do it the same way again, but found it made a lot of sense.  Jared's initiation was all about trusting in god to rise above normality, and the downside of that was that he kept pushing things that he probably should have trusted to time and faith and left them alone for the minute.  He was so wrapped up in trying to do better than he thought he could be that he didn't do what he set out to do.  A classic choke.   It also made clear to me that Jared's got a set of traits that really tie into this, and feed off each other, and can be pretty devestating when they're brought into play.  And there could be a similar feedback effect with guns, his father and his father's guns.  Where bringing in one makes it so much easier to bring in others.

Quote from: Jonathan Walton
As for making sure you have strong Raises, I agree that it's critical.  We only had a couple that I thought were sorta weak, and I think those emerged because of roleplaying habits.  People (myself included, especially in that opening piece with Jez) wanted to explore characters, relationships, and the setting instead of moving right into the heart-wrenching conflict.  In the initiations more so than in normal play, you have to crank the amps to 11, because the GM only has a small number of dice (and therefore, a small number of Raises/Interactions) with which to conduct the entire scene.  So if you do a lame Raise without any punch to it, but throw down big dice, the GM/player has to use big dice to block something that's not, after all, very important to the narrative and then can't give their counterstrike any mechanical punch.  With 8 dice, unless you've got big stuff to Reverse the Blow with, you've got 2 Raises and 2 Blocks.  In the Esau scene, I should have had the guy step out and push him (Raise 1) and then sock him across the jaw (Raise 2).  None of this "just talking" shit.  It might have worked in a normal, long scene when I could get more dice by Raising to physical, but not in an initiation.  No time.  No dice.


And conversely, the raise was what it was about.  If it was a weak raise, then it just had to be viewed as important to the narrative anyway.  So, yeah, somethng to be careful of.
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