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Started by elgorade, July 28, 2005, 06:42:36 AM

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I doubt I'll try these, but I'm curious about what others think.  What is the root of interest in Dogs? 

It came to me at one point that Heralds from Mercedes Lackey are kind of similar to Dogs.  They don't have the same gritty feel as the West though.  And the general moral code isn't as likely to strike the players as a little wrong so there is less tension there. 

From there I ended up wondering whether superheros fit.  Again, they are basically making their own laws and potentially at odds with the civil authorities.  I'm not sure really high powered heros would fit because too much of their conflicts are outside of ordinary society.  But street level heros and anti-heros might. 

Any thoughts?

GB Steve

I know nothing abour Lackey and I think your summation of superheros is probably correct. They aren't really interested enough in the morality of the common man to be a suitable vehicle for Dogs. Which isn't to say that you couldn't run a Superhero game with the Dogs' system. I'm sure you could but it wouldn't be around the same kind of ideas.

After our game at SteveCon Paris I mooted agents of the Revolution, enforcing La Terreur, as a possiblly more gallic background for Dogs. Agents travel around with their portable guillotine which is set up in the village square as a symbol (and enforcer) of their authority. PCs must pass judgement on the village, in line with the revolutionary precepts of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Those who are not revolutionary have pride, pride that they somehow know better than what the Committee of Public Safety has decreed. Pride leads to injustce and false doctrine. False doctrine leads to counter-revolution and consorting with the Enemies of the Republic ...

Frank T

I had the idea of playing Dogs with a team of MP officers in not quite the Vietnam war. But then again, first I gotta try that not quite Utah. (I will, in two weeks, finally. :D)

- Frank


Clinton's Fourth Axiom of Game Design has garnered some agreement that it applies to capes.

I renamed it "The Nixon Principle" in my thread:
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker


Capes?  What was I thinking?  Damn you, absent edit function!
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker


After I run DitV a lot more in the default setting to get better at setting stakes and phrasing raises and sees I hope to use it to run a few campaign ideas that have been knocking around in the back of my head waiting for a system that would work for them: A) The enchanted west, B) something like Shadowrun, except if it were written by Sean Stewart, C) a cross between Amber and Whispering Vault (in which the Dreamers who shape reality sometimes fall in love with their creations and want to live in them, and have to be dealt with), and no doubt other things, including a superpowered campaign.  (The idea of "Say yes or roll dice" applied to, say, reforesting the Sahara desert.)

A friend who hasn't GMed before is thinking about using it to run a Sailor Scouts campaign, but first is thinking a lot about Vincent's thread on setting and source material at

To familiarize her with the system, I'm running the Dogs setting with a shoujo anime style for her and another friend. The way conflict, damage, character growth, and relationships tie together are very appealing for that.


I think Fallout would work splendidly for Lovecraft-inspired games, players losing their shit, becoming something other-worldly and just all around breaking down but in a cool way that shows up on their character sheet how they want it to.

Mark Woodhouse

I may have mentioned that I am tinkering with adapting Dogs to wuxia, with the 'dogs' as emissaries of the Three Masters of Mountain Heaven working against the 'false doctrine' of the Qing emperor and his warlords. The Faith immediately reminded me of the late classical Chinese beliefs about the importance of correct action and social heirarchy.

Of course, I need a LOT more actual play with vanilla Dogs before I'm ready for prime time.


The setting ideas are cool.  I didn't frame my real question tightly enough though.  What makes a setting for Dogs?  What is it about the game that works?

* Is it the dice mechanics?  That seems unlikely.  They are good, but we wouldn't want to play a game that was just them.

*  Is it the West?  Appearently not since people have lots of other ideas.

*  Is it that we accept violence, even shootings, in the West?  I'm sure that is part of it.  I don't think it would be nearly as interesting as power politics in an academic department (years as towns, deans as shepards, etc.)

*  Is it the chance to make your own morality? 
*  Is it that in making that morality there is a higher group the characters are working with/against?
*  Is it that the baseline morality of the setting is quite different than most of us profess in real life?
*  Is it something else all together?

My guess is that it is the character's authority to make judgements, plus the freedom to resort to violence, plus the tension of the characters being part of a moral system the players are somewhat at odds with, plus the ease of having isolated issues in the West as a setting.   Which seems like a lot of things coming together.  Which leads me back to wondering if anyone has actually made a sucessful series of runs in some other setting?


Although I'm not sure I'd run it, I think you could have a fine game of Dogs as Imperial Inquizitors in the Warhammer 40k universe.

Towns become planets.
King of Life becomes the Emperor.
Sorcerers become pychers.

It's not perfect, but it might work.

Trevis Martin

Hi daHob, and Welcome.

I've thought about this topic some.  A huge part of dogs is that the situation and setting tie in very closely.  To have a dogs like game you need,

1.) An absolute moral code.
2.) Players positioned to be the judges and interpreters of that code, with no appeal.
3.) Small isolated communities in moral crisis.
4.) Possibly, legitimate alternatives to that code.  (In Dogs this is fulfilled by the Mountain People and the non-faithful.  It becomes problematic in Inquisitor when there are NO legitimate alternate interpretations of morality.)

I think small community is almost required.  I can't imagine how dogs would work on a city or planetary level.  There would be a huge amount of dilution. 

Number 4 is why I think the spanish inquisition alternate setting doesn't work.  The church is the ultimate authority in Europe at the time, so again there are no alternative interpretations.



Nick Brooke

Quote from: Trevis Martin on August 09, 2005, 01:49:55 AM
Number 4 is why I think the spanish inquisition alternate setting doesn't work.  The church is the ultimate authority in Europe at the time, so again there are no alternative interpretations.

I don't see why the eminently civilised 'alternatives' of Islam and Judaism (and, dammit, non-auto da fe driven interpretations of Catholicism!) should be any more 'acceptable' to your average Spanish Inquisitor than the moral outlooks of the heathen Mountain People and the damn-fool Atheists Back East would be to 'mainstream' Dogs and the Faithful. They're minority faiths among the Faithful, stronger elsewhere, and it's easy to make them and their culture appear attractive, or to have a town set up so they appear more "in tune with what feels right" than the gung-ho inquisitorial approach. Just saying, is all.

Cheers, Nick
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