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Author Topic: [DitV] What The Demons Want...  (Read 9541 times)
Darren Hill
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« on: June 06, 2005, 07:34:11 AM »

One thing I'm about shaky about. Hopefully there's a simple answer.

Several Towns on the net have something like:
"The Demons want the Dogs to acknowledge and confirm..."
But if the Dogs do this, doesn't it make it the right thing?

Let's say a Steward is championing a false doctrine. If the Dogs confirm his actions, doesn't that then make it a True Doctrine (in this case)?

If the Steward was a sorcerer, wouldn't the demons then be driven out - and so defeating themselves.
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2005, 07:50:58 AM »

Also, how are Stewards chosen? Are they appointed by the Elders of Bridal Falls, do the people of the community elect them, or is it some other method?
Also, how does the equivalent process work in Mormonism?
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2005, 08:04:31 AM »

Interesting question..

The demons main goal is hate and murder.. lots of it. If the Dogs actions, even by acknowledging and confirming someone as righteous, will lead to that, then the Demons are happy.

Also, I think once you've got a relationship with a demon, unless you renounce that, the demons can't be driven out permanently.

Finally.. The Dogs actions do not make truth and right.. The players' endorsement of the Dogs actions as truth and right does so.

For the question of how a Steward is chosen.. Well, this may not be the best Answer, but in my limited experience, it's when the Dogs come in and kick the old one out...

Seriously though, I believe the Steward is typically chosen by the previous Steward, and then approval is sought from Bridal Falls. Failing the ability for the old Steward to choose and train his successor, my guess would be some sort of election with the aforementioned approval from Bridal Falls, or maybe an interim Steward will be sent from a nearby town.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2005, 08:26:25 AM »

It is a very interesting question.

I've always worked under the presumption that the ultimate goal of the demons is usually the utter destruction of the community.  

I think it's also possible for the demons to get what they want, and for the Dogs to be right and get what they want.

For example (and it's the only example that comes quickly to mind), if the Dogs decide that the entire town needs to be 'cleansed' to keep their evil from spreading, then the Dogs are correct to wipe out all the citizens of the town, and the Demons got just what they wanted.

-Eric
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2005, 08:30:20 AM »

Did the business about districts survive into the rulebook? I don't remember but maybe it didn't. Anyway stewards are always appointed from above, they're never elected democratically. "Above" might mean the Prophets and Ancients in Bridal Falls, it might mean a middle layer of regional stewards, it might mean the Dogs. It depends on your game and the immediate circumstances.

If you want, you can consider appointment to steward as similar to marriage. If the steward of a town dies in the middle of winter and there's no one available with authority appoint a new one, and the town elects one, that's not a sin. As soon as possible, the elected steward should submit himself to review and confirmation from above. No biggie.

-Vincent
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2005, 02:46:43 PM »

Quote from: Wolfen
Interesting question..

The demons main goal is hate and murder.. lots of it. If the Dogs actions, even by acknowledging and confirming someone as righteous, will lead to that, then the Demons are happy.


Taking that to extremes - say the Dogs show that hate and murder (in this case) is the right thing to do, what to the demons gain? They lose their foothold in the town.

Yours and Technocrat's responses have made me aware that I've been operating under an assumption that might be wrong - that demons in Dogs are causing people to fall from the Faith so that they can grab people's souls after they die.
But if, really, they are just after mayhem and misery while people are alive, and following the Faith protects you from their influence in this world, that's actually a little different.
As Tech says, maybe the Faith and demons goals can occasionally, accidentally happen to be the same - they aren't diametrically opposed. The Faith protects you from demons, but they aren't necessarily the Hell-dwelling demons I expected.
Definitely food for thought.

Quote
Finally.. The Dogs actions do not make truth and right.. The players' endorsement of the Dogs actions as truth and right does so.


Yes, but that only pushes the question one step back - instead of "If the Dogs confirm the false doctrine," it becomes "If the players of the Dogs confirm the false doctrine..."
But that's nitpicking - I have some thinking to do.
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2005, 02:48:47 PM »

Thanks Vincent - the first paragraph is how I thought it might work, and the second one suggests possibilities for gaming.
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sirogit
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2005, 08:40:04 PM »

I see a demon's major motivation as "Destroy the community", sinning, that is, the mentioned social taboos in the book, is a great way to do that and par for the course, but they also take other methods.

If a Dog says that something ain't a sin and makes it work for the whole community, the demons are going to be displeased.

If a Dog says that something ain't a sin and it tears the community irreperably apart, the demons are going to be happy.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2005, 05:01:53 AM »

Hello,

I'm squinting in puzzlement.

You guys do understand that "the demons" is only in-game jargon for the way in which an unspecified, general-opposition roll is treated in Dogs in the Vineyard, right?

That there don't have to be actual demons in the story? Or if there are, they're still basically Color for the general difficulty/hassle of getting stuff done when there's no direct personal opposition?

Um ... you don't understand that? OK, I'm backing away slowly.

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2005, 06:07:17 AM »

As Ron says.

"The demons" are also in-game jargon for a thing in town creation. It's "...and then the most unlucky thing possible happened..."

The Dogs don't decide what's right and wrong. They decide how to put things right. Make sense?

-Vincent
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Blankshield
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2005, 06:31:50 AM »

Put another way, when you are deciding "what the demons want..." it should be something that isn't possibly a happy ending.

Frex: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=15338

There just ain't no way the Dogs and the demons can both get what they want.

Or as a less extreme example, the last town I ran was relatively tame; Two sins, nothing higher up the chain at all.  What the Demons wanted was for the Dogs to go overboard and shoot someone.  

And while there is no built in 'fit punishment' in the system, our group's social culture and the judgments rendered so far in play made it pretty clear that shooting someone down in the street for having a drink now and then would be way over the top.
(The really awesome thing was: they almost got it!)

Keep your demons wanting things that ain't gonna mesh.  

James
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2005, 09:31:40 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello,

I'm squinting in puzzlement.

You guys do understand that "the demons" is only in-game jargon for the way in which an unspecified, general-opposition roll is treated in Dogs in the Vineyard, right?

That there don't have to be actual demons in the story? Or if there are, they're still basically Color for the general difficulty/hassle of getting stuff done when there's no direct personal opposition?

Um ... you don't understand that? OK, I'm backing away slowly.



No need to back away :)
I hadn't thought about that. Yes, I had considered that some of the bad things that happen when sin gets loose weren't actually demons, but simply loss of divine protection from the grim realities of the world. But I did take literally the references to sorcerers summoning demons, people being possessed by demons, and so on.
I see now that you don't have to take them literally, so thanks for opening my eyes to that idea. Does it change my question though?
If "What The Demons want the dogs to do" (wheter literal or metaphorical) is something that the players end up endorsing, does that make the demons fail? Is giving them what they want actually okay - can their goals and the "right thing" for the Faith occasionally be the same thing?
I think this may just be a town design issue. I mean, it's often obvious - the demons want this town to be destroyed, for everyone to tear themselves apart, etc. Obviously those aren't good things and aren't likely to be endorsed as a viable solution (though the Dogs might well decide this town is past saving and it must burn, baby, burn!).
But some towns I've read have things like: "The demons want the players to endorse this sinful person as the Steward." If it's something like that, don't the players, in doing it, give the Steward the backing of the Faith? And so, surely, (since it's the right thing) the 'demons' have - in helping to bring this about - actually made the town more able to resist them.
That's the kind of thing I'm wrestling with.
As Blankshield says, I think I'll have to be careful to ensure that "what the demons want" is always going to be a community-destroying kind of result.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2005, 01:49:50 PM »

I see what you're saying, Darren - at least I think I do. Let's try a practical example, and an extreme one to make the point. Let's say that the demons want the dogs to rape all the women in town. And then the dogs do. So does that make rape right? Since everything that the dogs do is right?

I probably have this all messed up, but in correction, I think we may see the light.

Anyhow the answer was given before. The assumption that whatever the dogs do is automatically moral is incorrect. That believers will almost surely think that what they've done is right, is the case. So in the example, if the dogs rape, then the dogs have informed any believing witnesses that such is the right thing to do. But it's not the right thing to do. So the metaphorical or literal demons win big in this case. Not only do the dogs lose, they inform all sorts of people in a way that means that they will always lose.

I think that by creating "what the demons want" you create a statement of something that is definitively wrong. No matter how the dogs may be able to convince people that it's right.

Again, I'm probably out in left field here, so correct away.

Mike
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2005, 03:19:16 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Again, I'm probably out in left field here, so correct away.


Agreed. Then again, I've previously stated my convinction that it's moronic to raise "Dogs can't be wrong!" as any kind of fighting flag against moral dilemmas. The only things as regards morals I see in the book are
1) the GM shouldn't play God by delivering moral judgement that's accepted as the moral stance for the whole game
2) the Dogs have enormous social authority in the setting
3) the Faithful (Dogs included, presumably) believe that the Dogs are divinely inspired when performing their office
That's it. Nowhere do I see any of this "dogs can't be wrong stuff", so I certainly don't see this demon problem, either. Worst come to worst, the dogs convince lots of folks to act demonically. Is it scripture? I don't know, you don't know and the GM definitely doesn't know. We do know from setting implication that a reasonable reading of the Book of Life probably won't suggest mass rapes, but then again, there might be a flaw in the book...

Having the strength to convince others that you're correct doesn't make you correct. Even if you and everyone around you believes that you're heavenly mandated still doesn't make you correct (just look at Pope Maledictus). And especially, just because the GM can't be correct just by claiming to be, that doesn't mean that somebody else at the table has to be correct.

Consider: the book allows us to know explicitly what the demons want, but not what the angels want. How cool is that?
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Simon Kamber
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2005, 10:21:11 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Anyhow the answer was given before. The assumption that whatever the dogs do is automatically moral is incorrect. That believers will almost surely think that what they've done is right, is the case. So in the example, if the dogs rape, then the dogs have informed any believing witnesses that such is the right thing to do. But it's not the right thing to do. So the metaphorical or literal demons win big in this case. Not only do the dogs lose, they inform all sorts of people in a way that means that they will always lose.

But does that mean that the assumption that the players' statements regarding the morality of their dogs is also incorrect? I don't think so. Dogs can be obviously wrong, players can't.

What if the players actually declared that they thought raping the whole town was the best way to solve this town's problems?
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Simon Kamber
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