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Author Topic: Dogs in the Black: brainstormin' required  (Read 19291 times)
anonymouse
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« on: August 08, 2005, 04:36:16 PM »

In a nutshell: stick the Faith out on the Firefly border worlds; the Alliance is the a rather meddlesome "East" back in the Core. It's DitV with a change of scenery, more or less.

the Faith is out there on the border worlds, far from the Core, and is pretty much the same. Nothing's static, and I'd like to work a bit of Eastern mysticism in for setting reasons; the trick is to accent and flavour, however, not substitute.

It seems like referring to Stewards as Shepards would be a pretty okay thing to do.

Dogs carry heavy revolvers or hunting rifles. "Simple" weapons. No Alliance assault weapons or lasers; this is rougher country, remember.

When a Dog needs to get to another planet, they book transport. I think having a flying kennel would be cool, though; maybe something in-game could trigger this? (Alliance cracking down on the Faith, maybe, so the Dogs would just use their own ship to get around..). This means they probably don't have their own horse, though, and I'm wondering if that should be replaced by something.

The real, physical demons are Reavers, of course.

I have no idea what to do about Mountain People when you're talking about interstellar space travel.

..This sound about right to folks? Want to run this IRC-like as soon as I can hammer out the details, make sure I haven't overlooked any gaping conversion holes, and find a couple players. Any general thoughts on this would be 'ppreciated.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2005, 05:01:30 PM »

Well, as to whether this is "right," that's really a personal choice. As a fan of both Dogs and Firefly, this sounds wrong, wrong, wrong to me. There's no real analog to Watchdogs in the Firefly verse. Actually, closest I can come up with is the Alliance -- they have the power and authority. Reavers as demons makes no sense to me -- they don't infiltrate society,  they don't try to corrupt the faithful, and faith is no protection against them. Nor do they grant powers to their followers (unless by "grant powers to," you mean "kill, rape, eat, and wear the flesh of"). Shepards as Stewards doesn't fit either, because they have no secular authority. It seems like a real "square peg, round hole" situation to me. I'd be interested in the results of any conversion attempt, though. And, as I said, this is a personal choice.
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anonymouse
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2005, 06:51:07 PM »

Well, I wasn't looking to take anyone in particular from Firefly and make them Dogs; personally, the setting seems pretty wide open to me, with not a hell of a lot sketched out. Which is why I'm not looking at this as a "conversion" at all.

Anyway, 'ppreciate the comment, regardless. =p
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Christopher Weeks
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2005, 06:59:18 PM »

I think it'll be hard to keep any real purity from either Dogs or Firefly.  And I only think it's a problem if you try to.  Why not just have the two setting heavily influence one another and come up with a middle ground.  So there's this cultural melange across the planets, space travel is at once common and rare.  There's a bunch of setting stuff from each that you can just cram together.  Say the temple is a religious sect that sided against the alliance so it's somewhat displaced, but growing in frontier popularity.  There are Faithful settlements on lots of frontier planets and some planets that are mostly faithful.  The PCs are still Dogs with the same job as in the game.  There aren't mountain folk, and ethnicity is really not an issue in Firefly, but there are alliance converts, etc.  Maybe there are more people like River, with some kind of psychic(?) gift -- are they analogous to some DitV element or something else?  As important as anything, I think, the morality of Dogs and the morality of Firefly are pretty different, but both key issues.  What does the game focus on morally?
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2005, 07:25:47 PM »

Well, I wasn't looking to take anyone in particular from Firefly and make them Dogs;

Definitely not. Though Mal certainly does have a relativistic sense of morality: "We're not theives. Well, we are thieves, but the point is, we're not taking his money."

personally, the setting seems pretty wide open to me, with not a hell of a lot sketched out. Which is why I'm not looking at this as a "conversion" at all.

Well...yeah. The setting hasn't been fully defined, and you can fill in the blanks. You could say there's a frontier world which is just like the setting in the DitV book. Oh, and yeah, there's spaceships out there. But then, you might as well just play Dogs as written, because Firefly is just flavor or color.

The core problem I can see is that nothing about the settings fits, other than the fact that there's lots of territory that's pretty much on its own, and plenty of folks carry guns around.
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GB Steve
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2005, 01:38:28 AM »

Dogs can work in an SF setting, and that SF setting can look like Firefly but that's about as far as it goes.

Firefly is about keeping your freedom, and caring for your crew, in spite of what life throws at you. Dogs is about laying down the law and sorting out moral dilemmas. It's certainly not about player character personal freedom.

Dogs is about going to towns with problems and settling the problems. So it doesn't really much matter how you get from town to town, it's what you do when you get there that counts. There isn't really much scope for play between towns, that's the experience and feedback phase. So whether the Dogs hire transport for their horses and themselves, or whether they own a ship, doesn't really have much game impact. Dogs is not a game of picaresque derring-do.

Dogs should still have horses though, or tech equivalent, as these are part of the 5 gifts to a starting Dog (coat, gun, jar of sacred earth, horse and book of life).

I've been tempted to run Dogs in different settings but I'm not sure it really needs it, unless the current background is really alien to players. There's enough in the book to explain it to most people and because the background is an enabler rather than a focus, transplanting it somewhere else wouldn't necessarily bring anything to the game.
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Kaare Berg
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2005, 04:34:09 AM »

The easiest would be to select one premise. One idea. What wil you do to . . . .

For an idea I'm working on (Dogs in the Backyards) I am going to be looking at is : how far will you go to get revenge?
I am here looking at the element of Judgement in the original. With town creation beecoming more of looking at the hierachy of the crimelord, and then picking the level at which the PCs enter, and killing the Top Badguy isn't the question, he is evil, just how much pain will you inflict to get to him? and so on.

Combining the Firefly universe with the DitV somewhere on the fringe I really don't see the problem, gentlemen. The fringe is huge. A mormon-oriental liefstyle cult may well have spread to the stars, sending out dogs to root out the inisdious influence of the reavers that will eventually open the colony for a raid.

Clue is that the players should have authority to pass judgment and that this judgement must force the player to make a moral choice. Thats whats drives DitV play.

Heck you want to push the envelope, the reavers, that's mountain people and demons are the influence of the Alliance.

lets not negate Anonymouse's whish to play his Firefly universe by trumphing our fanboy views here. He wants great DitV play. lets help him get it.


/rant
*looks under shoes to see if there are any unitentional toes there.

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GB Steve
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2005, 04:56:52 AM »

Clue is that the players should have authority to pass judgment and that this judgement must force the player to make a moral choice. That's what drives DitV play.
No arguments with that, but is that Firefly?
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Kaare Berg
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2005, 05:25:34 AM »

I agree that the quote isn't my take on Firefly, but that isn't the point.

Heck it is my humble opinion if you wanted to play Firefly, then look to CRN's TSOY. It gives you more this type of play. (even more so than PTA IMO)

The point is that we shouldn't arguing whether its firefly or if its dogs. How the fuck cares? If we can help anonymouse get the type of play he wants lets stretcht our creative muscles. It is possible.

the question is, and this goes to anonymouse: Do you want to play Firefly, or Dogs in the Firefly 'verse?
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2005, 05:29:54 AM »

lets not negate Anonymouse's whish to play his Firefly universe by trumphing our fanboy views here. He wants great DitV play. lets help him get it.

Eh? We're just talking, here. As I said, I'm a fan of both Dogs and Firefly, and I'd like to see a functional combination, but I think there are some very serious challenges in doing so, and I put those forward. I think that in order to get "great DitV play" you need a setting that matches with the core of Dogs, where the PCs have the power, authority, and duty to destabilize towns for the good of the whole. So, "it's a bad fit" is a perfectly valid piece of advice.
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2005, 05:52:47 AM »

I think it's easier than all that. Not every episode maybe, but the Firefly folks are all the time landing in a little town and pronouncing judgement upon its sins. The Train Job, Heart of Gold, Jaynestown, Safe, Shindig... right?

Ditch the Faith, that's easy. Instead of Dogs the PCs are space outlaws, no problem. For initiatory conflicts you can do conflicts about how they became part of the crew.

Then just do what they did on the show: everywhere they go, a) there's something there they need to accomplish; b) they know somebody; c) people want things from them; d) the things they want are all contradictory and problematic. You can easily use the game's town creation rules for that.

Dial the supernatural down to nothing, except for River, but still use the demonic influence, sorcery and possession rules. Like I say, demons and sorcerers are just bad luck and bastards. Every Western needs those; the mechanics of sorcery and possession are there just to make the bastard and his thugs harder to deal with than the townspeople, which is totally consistent with the show.

I predict that it'd be grimmer, tenser, and less flip than the show - on account of the game's pacing and escalation dynamics - but fundamentally similar.

-Vincent
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2005, 08:20:32 AM »

Vincent, isn't that just taking out the conflict resolution from Dogs and using it in the Firefly setting? I mean, even the episodes you cite weren't really about "pronouncing judgement on sins." They were about the crew trying to make a buck and getting caught up in things. Even in The Train Job, which seems to come closest to "moral judgement," it wan't really about Mal making a moral stand. He just said, "nope, that's not something I want to do, so I'm not going to be part of it." He didn't try and stop Niska, he just broke the deal with him.

Now, if that's what the original poster was going for, great. But it doesn't seem like a cross between Dogs and Firefly, just Firefly using the Dogs dice mechanic.
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2005, 09:04:36 AM »

Hey Andrew.

Nope, not really.

In Dogs I call it things like "pronouncing judgement on sin," which is grand, but it's just exactly what Mal does in The Train Job. (And in Safe, and in Shindig...) Calling it by religious words instead of "that's not something I want to do, so I'm not going to be part of it" doesn't change what it is.

Then consider that the real purpose of the town creation rules is to give you NPCs who are easy to play and who want problematic things from the PCs, and the real purpose of the Faith is to give the PCs no back door, and the real purpose of both is to put the PCs in high-pressure circumstances, and the real purpose of that is to find out what they're made of... And you'll see that Dogs does pretty much just exactly what Firefly's writers were doing.

Dogs isn't about religious judgement, in other words. It's about the social and personal ramifications of violence; it's about its characters; it's about living up to your ideals - same as Firefly. Dogs uses religious judgement to get at those real questions, where Firefly uses its hardscrabble Robin Hood criminality - so swap them! No biggie.

Now, I read anonymouse as wanting to play Dogs pretty much straight, Faith and all, in "Firefly's setting" (whatever that means). To that all I can say is: go to! Which hopefully anonymouse doesn't need me to say in order for him to do it.

-Vincent
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anonymouse
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2005, 10:19:31 AM »

Whew, some good stuff!

The judgement-style of the show's crew is exactly what I was thinking,Vincent, which is why I thought of seeing if the two could fit in the first place. ;) So on the same page there. Coats, guns, frontier worlds, and judgin' made me immediately think of DITV by the time I was 2 or 3 episodes in.

re: "setting": by that I mostly just meant the Color (dredges brain for his rarely-used jargon file). Which Andrew mentioned further down to the effect of, "Just play DITV as written with Firefly color," which is.. exactly what I was trying to do, but there seems to have been some static in the wave. ;p

I think I may take your suggestion and not worry about fitting the game's setting into what I see as the "Firefly 'verse", just adapt it to a captain, a crew, lookin' for work to keep flyin', et cetera. 'spossible that's what I'm actually -looking- for; I'll sit down with it today and poke at it.

To answer some of the stuff that came up:

Yeah, I was mostly just trying to see if I could slide the Dogs (mostly) seemlessly into the 'verse; seemed to me like they'd be right at home out there. Wanted to play DITV with some cosmetic changes. Had nothing to do with the base setting being unliked, unfamiliar, or anything of the sort; I just blew through the series last week, dug it crazily, wanted to use it in something that wouldn't be a straight, "Let's play a Firefly game!" kinda thing. Plus the "Hey, this seems pretty similar to me," thing mentioned above.

Anyway, 'ppreciate all the conversation on it!
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2005, 11:42:59 AM »

re: "setting": by that I mostly just meant the Color (dredges brain for his rarely-used jargon file). Which Andrew mentioned further down to the effect of, "Just play DITV as written with Firefly color," which is.. exactly what I was trying to do, but there seems to have been some static in the wave. ;p

Well...huh.. So the conversation basically went: "I want to do X." "I don't think you can easily do Y, you'd end up with X." "Uhh...I wanted to do X in the first place." "Oh."

Great, glad I could help.  :-)

I look forward to seeing an Actual Play post of how this turns out.
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