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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Kitbashing and the Faith  (Read 4865 times)
Mark Woodhouse
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« on: August 09, 2005, 09:28:38 AM »

Hey Vincent, if you wouldn't mind, could you elaborate a wee bit on this
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the real purpose of the Faith is to give the PCs no back door
'coz it's a sticking point that's come up a couple times in one form or another lately. I know I'm wrestling with it in trying to do my own kitbashing of Dogs. I know the King and the specifics of sin and demons and stewardship are color for the narrative furniture - but what do you see the essential functional nature of that furniture as being? What color would you swap in to accomplish the same things as - for example - the town creation structure, if you wanted to do "Browncoats In The 'Verse"?

Coz I'm not quite sure I'm seeing it.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2005, 09:53:43 AM »

A wee bit? Maybe, but probably my elaboration will be non-wee.

I'll get to this as quick as I can.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2005, 10:20:51 AM »

Okay. The first bit to get clear is the supernatural. Do you get this:

You can play the game in such a way that the Faith isn't true. Despite the belief of every character in the game, there are no demons, no God, no sorcerers, no Authority of the Ancients, no supernatural at all. In that case, you still use the rules for demons, sorcerers and ceremony, all unchanged.

In other words, the procedural  thing called "possession" doesn't require demonic possession to be real in the game world; the procedural thing called "ceremonial fallout" doesn't require the PCs to actually have supernatural power in the game world; "sorcerers" get all those dice and procedural perks even if God and the demons aren't real.

In fact, you can take it as just a coincidence that the real-world procedural things have the same names as the fictional in-game things.

With me?

-Vincent
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Mark Woodhouse
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2005, 10:35:06 AM »

Absolutely. It was the kerfuffle over that issue that got me thinkin' hard about this. I guess what I'm after is: when you strip off the words that call these things possession, ceremony, demons, etc. - what ARE they? What constraints do they create on play that channel creativity in useful ways?

When I re-map Dogs these Dogs concepts to new color, what happens, in your view?

Let me give a quick ferinstance. I had a discussion with a friend a while back about her idea to remap Dogs onto a fringe cult of UFO contactees. I argued that the change from the Faith being what 'nearly everybody believes' to being 'that wacky thing these nutbars believe' was significant. It alters the relationship between the Dog and the Community in a meaningful way. Am I nuts?
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2005, 12:20:19 PM »

Hang in there. It's a good question and it deserves a good answer.

(Pride) - Injustice - Crappiness - Bad luck - "Justified" crappiness - Antisocial behavior - Bastardy - Organized antisocial behavior - Hate & murder.

That's a flowchart that shows how a person or some people in relationships can go. It's not religious, except pride, which is why pride's in parentheses. If you like, you can start straight in with the injustice. The purpose of the flowchart is to create a grabby relationship map, and it does it wicked well. If you have some other technique for creating a grabby relationship map - there are others, you have all the Sorcerer books right? - feel free to use it instead or in addition.

Now but there's no reason to change the structure of the flowchart just because you're changing the stuff of the in-game. In fact I'd recommend strongly against it. That's because the flowchart doesn't reflect that stuff at all. It's about how relationship maps work in the real world, not about how things works in-game.

What you should change are the specific in-game details attached to "bad luck" and "organized anti-social behavior" and the rest. Is taking a second wife anti-social behavior, or pro-social behavior? Questioning your elders? Hiding guns from the cops? When you adapt the game, these are the things you change.

So now, that's the answer for town creation. Still with me? And what's next, character creation without the Dogs?

-Vincent
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Mark Woodhouse
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2005, 12:46:43 PM »

Still with you. :)

So town creation = relationship map building, with specific attention to pro-social/anti-social behavior and reified norms (vs internal norms). Attachment leads to suffering leads to karma leads to ....

That was kind of my Socratic question... I pretty much figured I knew the answer. On to a tougher one. What are Dogs? (Or as you put it, how do you do character creation without the Dogs color?) What makes a fit protagonist to engage the specific kinds of dysfunctional relationships that the Town system builds?
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Solamasa
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2005, 10:13:04 AM »

How's this...

Dogs:
1.  Are people with whom the NPCs are willing to engage and whose very presence serves as a catalyst to that engagement.   

The Dogs themselves achieve this by being (a) respected authority figures, and (b) outsiders (and perhaps (c) instantly recognizable?). 

2.  Have a personal stake in engaging "the specific kinds of dysfunctional relationships".

Well, Dogs are created keeping in mind that they want to preserve the Faith and the Faithful.

So for character creation without Dogs, you just need to figure out why the NPCs are willing to engage the PCs, and how the PCs have a personal stake.

Is that any good?
- Kit
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lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2005, 10:43:42 AM »

That's just what I was going to say.

The PC's fit when, witnessing the grief in the relationship map, it'd be out of character for her or him to not engage.

The Dogs, the in-game institution, is a shortcut to that, and follows the good old tradition of cops and private detectives: they engage because that's their job. (Then a bit later they really engage because they feel like they need to, y'know, because it matters to them. This is a reliable feature of detective + relationship map!) Sorcerer takes a more individual route, the kicker + some GM prep, making a space for the character in the relationship map. In Firefly it's a combination of the characters' pasts, their criminal poverty, and who they know.

Firefly's a great example. Mal's all like, you can't take the sky from me, and they look so footloose and free-and-clear, but really they spend all their time caught up in other people's business. They're made of velcro! One of my fears for the licensed game is that it's going to replicate the appearance, not the reality. And honestly, I'm pretty sure that most of the show's fans miss what's going on, distracted by what Mal says from what Mal does.

So anyhow, if you're adapting Dogs, you need to arrange the characters so that dealing with the relationship map is in character for them, that's all.

Good? What's next?

-Vincent
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Mark Woodhouse
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2005, 11:11:13 AM »

So that's what you mean about the Faith being a way to give the Dogs "no back door." It makes engaging with the problems of the community (a) Their duty, (b) Their right, and (c) do-able - there's a road map for understanding What Is To Be Done.

Off to one side, I'm thinking that might be a potential weak spot in the Firefly version - you'd want to elaborate some kind of ethos to fill that role for Mal & co, I'd think. Either that, or make damn sure you had juicy Kickers and Relationships. (Not that you wouldn't want to do that anyhow.)

All right. I'm almost home.

Fallout and Escalation. In Dogs, it's all about violence. Social violence, exercise of power, concrete physical mayhem. In my tinkering with "dogs by other means", I've felt a need to fiddle with Fallout and Escalation a bit - for example, I played in a game using Dogs mechanics that was a relationship drama - all the violence was pretty much verbal and emotional, maybe a little bit of pushing and shoving. We differentiated out "Social" and "Emotional" levels of conflict - you used Acuity & Heart for Social (appealing to norms, reason, etc), but Heart & Will for Emotional (appeals to emotion and sensation) - and lopped off Gunfighting entirely. I think I recall some tinkering with the actual fallout charts, too, but that's foggy. Anyhow, the point is - can you tinker effectively with what Violence is?

I'm thinking in my particular case about wuxia drama, in which physical, lethal violence is pretty darn easy - it's the emotional/social kind that is brutally destructive and has the most profound lasting consequences.

BTW, thanks very much for taking the time to dissect your game, Vincent!
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2005, 11:38:41 AM »

Off to one side, I'm thinking that might be a potential weak spot in the Firefly version - you'd want to elaborate some kind of ethos to fill that role for Mal & co, I'd think. Either that, or make damn sure you had juicy Kickers and Relationships. (Not that you wouldn't want to do that anyhow.)

Maybe, I wouldn't think so. What they did on the show was more like, "you need a job. Here's a town with a job!" And then the person offering the job hit them with relationship-map expectations along with the job, or someone else in town hit them with relationship-map expectations while they were waiting for the job, or the job required them to get along with someone who hit them with relationship-map expectations, or whatever.

You only need to obligate the character to be there until the relationship map kicks in and does its magic. Then they're yours.

When I make my pirate game there'll be a thing called "enough money." You'll write on your character sheet what you'd do if you had it, and then every session starts like this: none of the PCs has it, but an NPC - the governer of Jamaica, gun-running Ben Franklin, a fat Spanish merchantman - does. (Of course, there's only one, so only one PC can have it at the end of the session, if any...) Anyhow I don't think you'd need anything more weighty than that for Firefly.

For fallout and escalation, check this. If you're going to stick with violence - which is appropriate for Firefly - you don't have to go nearly so far.

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BTW, thanks very much for taking the time to dissect your game, Vincent!

Sure thing!

-Vincent
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