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Author Topic: [DitV] King's Perch  (Read 13003 times)
Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« on: July 08, 2005, 05:42:25 AM »

In the lumpley forum you will find a writeup of King's Perch - my self-made town.

Yesterday evening I played it with 3 players, only one of which I'd seen one evening previously (hi, Victor!).

It was good. You could feel the system doing it's work, and the players riffing off of it.

We had:

1. Victor as Sister Obedience. A man-hater, abused, didn't save-her-father-from-the-burning-house type.

2. Remko as Brother Josiah. Orphaned mountain folk, very conflicted about this whole faith thing, the only thing making him work as a dog is a (NPC) brother virgil.

3. Rimke as Brother Elijah - mr. well-adjusted, raised in the faith, praise the King type.

Victor owns the book, I own the .pdf, Remko and Rimke don't and hadn't really read it (although I think Remko was inspired and will buy it soon).

So we started late due to dinner and traffic, and made up characters. I was worried about Obedience and Josiah as fatally flawed dogs, but decided that since

- it'd be a one-shot,
- I didn't know these people well so shouldn't try to read stuff into their character creation that I might find problematic until I knew how they actually played it a bit better,
- and just generally not wanting to shoe-horn them at all but just play out the town for them and see them riffing off each other...

I wouldn't comment on it, but just enjoy whatever would happen.

The mechanics worked well, and since I started rolling monstrously well towards the end of the evening, they were occasionally really caught in the bind of 'am I prepared to escalate at this point'?

Character-creation initial tests were fun: Sister Obedience failed to overcome her hate of men on a mission out in the cold with Brother Josiah (she nicked his blanket, some of his stuff, and left him stranded, to be retrieved later by an instructor).

Brother Josiah then failed to be charitable to Sister Obedience when the instructor came to fetch him, in an interesting reverse-psychology test.

Brother Elijah resisted temptation from a voluptuous woman and demonstrated the power of his pure faith (and naivete).

All of them took around 3d4 fall-out, 2 of them also rolling 1's so getting experience fallout.

I decided that since this group was 2/3rds 'flawed' dog, I'd make the town far away from the temple (week's ride), so that they had some time to figure out at least a bit of a common front they could agree on. This lead to a conflict between Sister Obedience and Brother Elijah, with Brother Josiah pitching as support on Elijah's side. The main point of discussion was whether killing a child was something they'd be prepared to do - and Elijah won, with the parabel of bears tearing kids apart from the bible.

Once in the town they had some interesting conversation, and all of them had another conflict. Here the slight rush of working to a deadline came in, as I went highly demonic in a conflict between the ill (posessed) major and Brother Josiah (I hope he'll chip in his experience of that conflict), somewhat bland on the confrontation between the worldly son and Brother Elijah, and monstrously rape-a-riffic between the (drunken) fake soldiers and Sister Obedience (and about 50% into the conflict, Victor told me he was uncomfortable/unhappy, as a player, with the conflict. So we retconnend the soldier's intent slightly).

Not a failure of system, not even a failure of it being fun/interesting, but just the pressures of time - a good thing to take into account whenever I run this again.

I also feel DitV will work well for my augurann variant. And I won't even have to push my morality on players - it happens naturally.

If I play again, I would probably try to steer characters to a somewhat less destructive/hateful/suicidal nature, and take the pacing slower. Still - it was cool!
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Remko
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 76


« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2005, 09:51:53 AM »

Hi,

I was the one playing the kind-of-suicidal orphan Josiah and really enjoyed the game to the fullest (I guess). Here's my vision on the posessed mayor story. I'll try to retell the story as good as possible.

Josiah went in at the mayor's house, visiting him immediately. Josiah wanted to cure the person, trying some ritual which had been thought to him. Josiahs intentions were to cure the mayor, the demon's to take both Josiahs and the mayors soul and rampage around within the town.

My rolls were pretty dramatic versus pretty average rolls of Tobias. Tobias began with a pretty high roll which I could Dodge if I wanted, stating that:"The Dogs were pretty stupid to send a red-skinned youngster to defeat me". I decided that taking the damage was pretty appropriate. I took the damage, but countered by coming back and saying:"You cannot attack me on my lack of experience, because the only faith I believe in is my own.", taking 4 dices of fall-out. It  was pretty hard to say, but fully appropriate for the situation. My character didn't really believe in demons. It raised some eyebrows though ;).

On that moment, Tobias Dodged and Countered with:"You even do not believe in the faith? This is just too easy." At that time, I was running low with dices. Knowing the demons intentions, I decided to let the conflict escalate into fighting. I took my knife and placed it on the throat of the sick mayor:"I have faith in my own. See this knife? Why wouldn't I simply cut your throat? You would be history then, wouldn't you?"

I placed low-rolled dices on perpose. Tobias interpretated this perfectly, using a Reflecsive Blow:"Yeah, kill this. Then, I'll get two souls for the price of one." The demon took the arm of Josiah. This part was getting really great and I could feel the tension myself. I had to take the folliwing blow also, and took the damage. I planned to go on a full attack. From his pocket, Josiah took a hand full of Sacrimoned Earth and threw it on the demon. Tobias made this ending great, by saying:"The demon leaves while saying:"Have your fun this time". You've won this one, but you had to pay in full."

That was fully true: I had 6d4, 3d6 and 3d8 to throw. I decided to lower my relationship with the dogs to a d4 permanently (realizing Josiah wouldn't be really welcomed after saying:"I don't believe in the Faith") and my experience was used for a trait:"I believe in myself: 1d6"), which I felt was pretty appropriate.

All together, this was really a great game to play. I look forward towards playing this another time.
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Remko van der Pluijm

Working on:
1. Soviet Soviet Politics, my November Ronnie
2. Sorcerer based on Mars Volta's concept album 'Deloused in the Comatorium'
Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2005, 02:36:57 PM »

Thanks for that, Remko. Glad you enjoyed it!

And a nice demonstration that self-destructive can definitely be fun!
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Victor Gijsbers
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 390


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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2005, 12:53:34 AM »

I definitely enjoyed this game too, though it felt more like testing out the system than like a full game to me, simply because we had to stop before we were fully immersed in the problems of the town. It left me wanting more. Also, I think we played rather slowly. I guess that this was, for a large part, us feeling our way through the system. Were we to play more often, we could surely do conflict quicker.

So, an enjoyable evening with some great characters and good GameMastering. The conflict between Sister Obedience and Brother Elijah worked really well for me. It was fast-paced, the die mechanics really helped it, and DitV forced me to ask myself the questions whether Sister Obedience would attack/intimidate one of her fellow Dogs or not. My choice not to do so really said something about my character.

There are three aspects on which I want to comment specifically.


On characterisation in character creation

Dogs in the Vineyard is probably not the first RPG that suggested doing this, but it was the first that I played: writing down one's traits in the form of sentences. This worked incredibly well for me. I just started writing down "I used to be beaten by my parents, 1d6" and the rest followed immediately. Not only was character creation easy this way, it also led to a character that had depth I wanted to explore. The first four traits I chose all pointed in the same direction; in addition to being beaten by her parents, Sister Obedience had: "But now I'm very self-assertive 1d8", "I always stand up for children 2d6" and "I did not save my father from the burning house 3d6". She was becoming a stereotypical character: a tough child-protecting man-hater traumatised by her youth. But then my fifth trait "When I sing sad songs, everybody cries 1d8" added a totally new dimension, and made me very eager to explore this tough woman filled with hidden sadness.

(Also, I loved the short-term fallout "Have your character leave the scene and spend some time alone.")


On our 'self-destructive' characters

Tobias, I don't think you have to worry about self-destructive, hateful characters who don't like each other. Au contraire, it would have been very interesting to see whether they could learn to work together. None of the attempts to solve the town's problems came out as we wanted, simply because we took on the problems all alone, without help of the other Dogs. It was as if the King of Life was showing us that we couldn't succeed alone and had to learn to trust each other. A great story was just waiting to be told.


On rape in roleplaying games

For me, the mystery of the evening is why I did not simply say as soon as the stakes of the Sister Obedience vs. Soldiers conflict were announced that I did not want non-consensual sex as part of those stakes. Because I didn't want that, I felt very much oppossed to it, and yet I waited until the conflict was almost over before I spoke up. This was a mistake which more or less spoiled the scene. (For which I apologise.) Maybe the answer to the mystery is that the traditional mode of thinking is still strong: "The GameMaster is the author of the adversity, and you shouldn't whine about that." I know that this attitude is complete nonsense, but there is a difference between knowledge and action.

But there are more interesting questions, foremost among them: why was it so distasteful to me at this particular gaming moment? I'm going to some reading on the subject and open a new topic about it. For the moment I just want to say that this scene was, for me, a very interesting and even enriching experience that I would not have wanted to miss. (But I think that for everyone else around the table it was pretty uninteresting.)
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Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005, 02:12:58 AM »

Thanks for the compliment Victor - and may I say that I liked the intensity with which you played Sister Obedience yourself.

It was both a 'testing out the system' as well as a 'finding the implicit social contract on relative presence, who speaks when, certain social roles' which maybe slowed us down a little. While the pace for conflicts could've been a bit higher (which would come automatically with familiarity), we did only really have 3 hours of 'real gaming', and that last hour was (for me, at least), under the pressure of the clock.

It seems 20 minutes was our time for one conflict. Perhaps some others could chime in with their experience? Like you mentioned, all conflicts were one-on-one and the Dogs did not go to the situations together, which may have contributed to a sense of having to wait for each other. (Which you can tell me about?)

I personally thought the conflicts during initiation and the travel towards the town had more interest than the conflicts in town itself. This may be due to those last conflicts being in that last (time-pressured) hour, and me rushing/escalating the story too hard on the stakes of the conflict (demonic possession, which was NOT planned that way, and rape) near the end to get in some 'heavy' conflicts (more than just talking) as well. This definately contributed to my sense of 'trying the system' over 'telling this story'.

Since we all had fun AND the system was tested (which was a goal as well), I'm not going to worry about it, but just take it in stride and draw my lesson for if/when I play it again.

I also really enjoyed the traits and fallout everyone took, and I also enjoyed being able to occasionally suggest something appropriate. I also enjoyed learning I had Ceremony all wrong - learning is good. :)

About the self-destructive thing - I agree that that was exaggerated by the one-shottish/testing nature of the evening. There was plenty of potential for the Dogs to find ways to meet each other - but that would've been something for a longer series of sessions. Still, I was happy that I didn't "correct" this aspect of your characters - it's good for me to let go and not force the story (which is echoed greatly in the Dogs rules).

If Obedience, Elijah, and Josiah don't self-immolate in their first towns, I can see them growing strong bonds (and possibly even stronger hidden resentment as well.... the joys of love-hate).

On the rape - I felt it as highly escalating, faster than planned initially. This was fueled by a few things:

- the 'it's almost time before the evening's over' sense of getting in one more big confrontation.
- the fact that sister Obedience was visiting drunken, worldy soldiers, alone and really pushing them hard - so they'd push back hard
- I had the soldiers written up as less evil initally.

So it was a bit awkward for me, but it was also part of my 'rolling with the story'. Rape always hits home hard in RPgames, though (often harder than threat of death), so I thought I was pushing a line, and your comment about not liking the stakes did make us need to adjust that, which was a bit strange (but good! Better to have spoken out while there was still room to change without retconning - although I would've retconned without hesitation, if needed).

So we learn. I'll be interested to read your discussion on your reaction to the rape.

And I think your conflict wasn't uninteresting to the others, BTW. But they can tell us.

Just had a thought - an interesting thing about Dogs is, that if you're REALLY good at talking, you're always going to force your opponent to escalate or lose - which makes it a strong GM responsibility to not too easily take the escalate option for NPCs from a sense of wanting to win/push the player. The gamist in me needs to learn to reward the player for his good talking when it's not appropriate to start punching (yes, this sentence is partly inspired by the Elijah/August conflict, but August was a punchy type - Elijah could've easily bested him if he'd learned the lesson that tough love is good, sometimes. :) ).

You're right - the story would be interesting, told further.
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Rimke
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2005, 06:04:58 AM »

Quote
Just had a thought - an interesting thing about Dogs is, that if you're REALLY good at talking, you're always going to force your opponent to escalate or lose - which makes it a strong GM responsibility to not too easily take the escalate option for NPCs from a sense of wanting to win/push the player. The gamist in me needs to learn to reward the player for his good talking when it's not appropriate to start punching (yes, this sentence is partly inspired by the Elijah/August conflict, but August was a punchy type - Elijah could've easily bested him if he'd learned the lesson that tough love is good, sometimes. :) ).


This occured to me also. I had 7 dies in my 'talking' dice pool so it wasn't that extreme, but I also had some traits I could easily use in both conflicts to give me extra dice. Also I rolled really well.

The escalation of the conflict with August seemed a little seemed a little unnatural to me. He seemed a shy boy and he said he repented his actions. (Which were minor offences like drinking beer and trying to pick a fight in order to impress a woman.) The stakes were: I tried to convince him that he should follow the way of the way of The Lord because of several reasons. He tried to have me approve of his sins.
I was threatening to win the initial non-physical conflict when he suddenly started to push. This seemed not a natural thing for him to do, it seemed more like a way to get extra dice than something that was likely to happen in that conflict. I still had enough dice left to counter the push however and so I threatened to win again when he escalated even further and tried to hit me. I had no good dice left so he succeeded, resulting in brother Elijah lying knocked-out on the floor and August leaving.    

I know Tobias wanted to try out the system and escalated all our encounters because of that, but still a few things bother me.

* By knocking out Elijah, August won the argument and I had to 'Give'. But to me it doesn't feel like he got what he wanted, his stake being that he wanted approval of his actions. In Elijah's mind certainly not. The nature of the conflict (see above) seems to me to almost define the conflict to a non-physical one. Beating approval or repent out of somebody (say you approve or I'll run this bullet through your brains!) is not the same as the real thing in my opinion. To me it seems he just 'got away' that would be a different stake than the one he intended initially. Hence my question: Is it possible to change stakes during the conflict?

*It seems to me the party willing to escalate is in the advantage. The other one uses high dies to win the conflict (he wants to end it quickly in his advantage, why escalate when you can win without it?), the other can keep his high dies, escalates, takes a blow and can now counter having some high dies left plus the ones he rolled.

*In extremes this could lead to conflicts like this:

Smooth Talker: Bla bla bla bla bla.

Agressive MoFo: (takes the blow) True, but...

Smooth Talker: Bla bla bla bla

Agressive MoFo: (takes another blow) Yeah you’re right, but...

Smooth Talker: Bla bla bla bla

Agressive MoFo: (takes yet another blow) I couldn't agree more, you are TOTALLY right, I was so wrong but... I HATE people who are right! And I have a VERY convincing argument RIGHT HERE! *pulls out Very Large Shotgun Of Extreme Good Quality* What's your answer to this Asshole!

Smooth talker: *Blinks* Then stubbornly reaches for his Small pocket gun... (doesn't want to give)

Agressive MoFo: *Shoots Smooth Talker in the gut* What d'ya have to say to that Asshole? What's up? Cat caught your tongue? Do you give in?

Smooth Talker: *wimpers*

Agressive MoFo: Thought you'd see it my way. You were totally right of course, but I hate people who are right. Makes me feel all wrong about myself. Have a nice day, it was nice talking to you.

End of story.

If the Agressive MoFo doesn't escalate however he'd be forced to almost always agree with the Smooth Talker. Both situations would be really frustrating for the losing side I would imagine.
We probably played too little for me to understand the game mechanics fully, but if we play a next time I am thinking to play an extreme character, either a Smooth Talker or an Agressive MoFo, just to see how it'll work out.



[/quote]
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Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2005, 06:40:36 AM »

There's a little bit more going on.

1. There's backstory to August you didn't know yet (and didn't get around to asking, although he provided some of it in/before the conflict). So his shy demeanor has some deeper grounds.

2. Dogs are able to use much more violence than we would normally consider appropriate in our current society. Likewise, wronged parties (NPCs) generally use more violence than we are used to. I wanted to let let you eperience (through Elijah) that this is the case.

3. As much as I was testing the system, August would not have escalated to guns. (Just FYI).

Still, as I mentioned, I probably need to better learn when to NOT escalate with NPCs.

Your comment on tactical escalation and picking the fallout dice you're going to get is an interesting one, though, and I hope Vincent will chime in - is this an example of using the system in too gamist a manner? (Only true if there's dissatisfaction with the resulting narration, of course).

If you want experience fallout, you'll take a blow when people are still talking - it's a "smart"  thing to do. (As I understand it at this point).
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
coffeestain
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2005, 07:05:57 AM »

I've found that Taking The Blow in verbal conflicts is harder than in physical ones, even though the potential reward is greater, simply because of the fact that you must narrate some kind of failure to protect yourself against your opponent's narration.  

In the case of a physical conflict, this isn't too much of an issue.  Bruises, cuts, and even gunshots heal and your character is no worse for wear afterward.  But in verbal conflicts, Taking The Blow can often mean your character says or is convinced of something you don't want him to say or be convinced of.

So before my players Take The Blow in a verbal conflict, I always ask them if they're certain that's the stance they want to take on the issue at hand.
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Rimke
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2005, 07:09:16 AM »

Quote

As much as I was testing the system, August would not have escalated to guns. (Just FYI).


But what is it worth to have him say he's sorry and will change his ways at gunpoint? I wouldn't have convinced him.
In reverse, he might have forced Elijah to say he didn't mind his earlier behaviour and say it was all alright in the eyes of The Lord, but Elijah wouldn't have meant it. Only in conversation it would be possible to achieve the stakes stated I think. That's why I wondered if it is possible to change the stakes halfway the conflict.
Elijah's stake could become: forcing him to promisse never to do such things again. (Not as good as convincing him his actions were wrong, but the next best thing probably.) Augustus stake could become: leaving the room, not listening anymore to Elijah and not promissing anything either. (Which was what he did in our game).
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Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2005, 07:15:58 AM »

I would have to re-read DitV to see if Vincent has any advice on 'I convince' types of objectives in conflict.

Is it true, in DitV, that a PC with a strong opinion on subject X much alter this opinion if he loses a conflict where the opposing party's intent was 'I convince him of new opinion Y'?

Or should the conflict be restricted to intents 'I make him verbally accept this new opinion Y in this instance?'

Or is it a group-contract-determined thing that Dogs makes no statement on in the rules, the relative power of conflict intent?
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Warren
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Posts: 167


WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2005, 07:21:23 AM »

As Vincent notes in this thread, if you make a Raise that would automatically win the stakes you have to help the opposition make a reasonable See that would allow them to defend the stakes. If that is not possible, you have to make a different Raise.

Also, it has been suggested (but I can't find the thread now), that the stakes should be one statement, without fudging, so "Do I stop the madman kidnapping the girl" should be just that, not "Do I stop the madman kidnapping the girl without spilling any blood." That latter form of the stakes would be 'fudging'.

But yeah, tactical usage of dice to See and Raise, and when to Escalate is a pretty big part of our play of DitV, but I've go a group with a pretty Gamist background. I don't think it detracts from the game, though, as the mechanics are so geared towards the DitV theme.

Warren
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Rimke
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2005, 07:21:39 AM »

Quote
But in verbal conflicts, Taking The Blow can often mean your character says or is convinced of something you don't want him to say or be convinced of.


But how would you handle that in our conflict? I was trying to convince August to give up drinking and fighting. He tried to convince me those things weren't a bad thing when you are trying to woo a girl.

I am pretty sure August Took the Blow a few times. I seemed to win him over to my point of view, when he suddenly shoved me and then punched me unconscious. He won the conflict, I had to give. But if the earlier fall out in conversation meant that he was forced to agree on those points I made then I would have gotten my objective after all, wouldn't I?
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Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2005, 07:31:08 AM »

I gotta run for a train, but will just note that Taking the Blow is literally Taking a Blow. The results may be very different from the conflict intent.

Warren - good comment. I remembered the '.. without bloodshed' clause not being part of a good conflict intent, but I'll need to re-examine if I didn't, through one raise, try to resolve the entire conflict.

(Don't think I did, tho... the Raise was just to punch, after which the Give came directly).
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
Warren
Member

Posts: 167


WWW
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2005, 07:33:40 AM »

I think in that case, when you Took the Blow, he would accept those individual points, but not accept your theory entirely (unless he Gave, of course). i.e.

(Raise): "Drinking is a Sin against the King of Life"

(See - Take the Blow): "I understand that, but..."
(Raise): "when you are wooing a woman, is it not your duty to impress her? Doesn't the King also wish us to go forth and multiply? And as such, in this case, I think a little drink - nothing to excess, mind - is appropriate, don't you?"

OK, it's a fairly weak example, but essentially, he Saw the raise and has to accept the point, but he thinks his interpretation is 'more right' -- this of course can get more heated with Dogs, as they each have an individual hotline to God in any case.
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Rimke
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2005, 07:38:00 AM »

Quote

I gotta run for a train, but will just note that Taking the Blow is literally Taking a Blow. The results may be very different from the conflict intent.


Then why would it be worse than Taking the Blow in Physical conflict?
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