*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 29, 2021, 03:15:55 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 85 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Swords for Guns?  (Read 14366 times)
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« on: September 13, 2005, 07:00:37 AM »

I must say, it's indeed a bit unclear that the actual final step of escalation is weapons of any kind, and not just guns. That's not made very clear in the book, so perhaps a little note about it somewhere could be useful.

But this has truly helped, so thanks.

Let me try this again.

"Escalation," mechanically speaking, only refers to which stats you've rolled.

When you start talking, you roll acuity and heart.
When you start touching or running or whatever non-violent physical thing, you roll body and heart.
When you start fighting, with your bare hands or with any weapon but a gun, you roll body and will.
When you start shooting a gun at someone, you roll acuity and will.

That's all escalation means.

Now, since you can only roll each stat once in a conflict, the first time it comes into play, look what happens:

I talk to you. I roll acuity and heart.

That's going badly, so I throw a punch. I roll body and will.

That's going badly too, so I shoot you in the head. I roll ... no new stat dice! I've already rolled acuity and will. Screw that. I stab you with my big ol' bowie knife instead. I roll ... no new stat dice anyway!

Oh well. I'll get dice for my "I'm super-stabby" trait and my knife - so stabbing it is. Or else I like my "I'm scared of guns" trait and my d6+d4 gun better - so I shoot you. Either way, most of the time, the weapon is going to end the conflict.

Sometime I've been shooting at you and you're still winning and I can't get a good shot in and I say "screw this" and I dive on you with my knife after all - now I've rolled my gun's dice and my knife's dice too, and I'm happy.

So: "Escalation" goes talking -> physical -> fighting -> guns.

But in real play, conflicts generally go talking -> physical -> fists -> weapon, or talking -> weapon, or shooting -> talking -> physical, or however this conflict happens to go this time.

Fallout is a whole independent concern, not mechanically linked to which stats you've rolled.

With me?

-Vincent

Oh and anybody considering bringing up nuances about escalating to gunfighting on a see can kindly shut up instead.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2005, 07:02:10 AM by lumpley » Logged
Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2005, 04:29:17 PM »

Okay, I've been reading this over and over again, trying to understand what exactly it is about his whole explanation that keeps telling me in the back of my head that I'm still not grasping it.

I think I may have found the crux of the matter in this little bit here:
Quote
shooting -> talking -> physical

This is the bit that is making me wonder if this is not, at heart, a problem with the term 'escalation'. To me (I'm not a native English speaker, but Merriam-Webster does seem to agree with me), 'escalation' speaks of things getting worse, deadlier, intenser. It has a meaning of going up, and not down. I mean, think about what I quoted above. Can you really imagine yourself saying: "I escalate to talking"? When you write down those four possibilities and speak of escalation, I see it as a ladder. I think also partly because they're always listed in the same order, an order that clearly goes from something rather calm to potential large-scale death.

But, if I read what you're trying to say here correctly, it would seem that the correct representation is like a compass rose. On the 4 cardinal directions, you place the 4 stats. Between every stat, you place one type of action.

You know what, I like fiddling with Photoshop. Here's what I mean:


I think this better conveys the fact that you start with one of the action types, and are free to switch to any other action type whenever you feel it is more appropriate (or in other words, when you need more dice from it).

The reason why I put 'Shoot' between apostrophes is because, sort of like the term 'Escalation', it seems a bit problematic. In the original thread, you spoke of simply replacing guns with swords for a nordic setting, and how using Acuity and Will would fit. I'm now really getting that, but that certainly wasn't made easy by the fact you keep referring to this category of actions as 'Shooting'. It seems to me that a more accurate description would be 'fighting with weapons that require finesse and expertise' (of which guns are simply the best and most common type for the default setting), while those weapons that rely more on strength fall under the category of fighting. Of course, that's quite a mouthful...

You know, I've just re-read the book and, with the insight I have now, it really seems as if somewhere along the lines of reading AP reports here on the Forge and other discussions, my mental image became warped in places. You're not even totally blameless in this area, since later in this very post, you write
Quote
So: "Escalation" goes talking -> physical -> fighting -> guns.
, which to me totally looks like a straight one-way line when the reality of the system totally isn't a straight line, let alone a one-way one.

So yeah, I'm pretty sure I've grasped it all now. It was hard, and I think that part of that blame lies with the term 'escalation'. Perhaps also with the lack of examples of escalation going down the ladder I had imagined, both in the book and in AP reports and such. The exact definition of the actions that use acuity+will is actually another matter, and I feel that is an area that could benefit from clarification in the text. Perhaps things to consider for the next print run.

(Which reminds me to go order my dead tree format copy...)
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2005, 04:41:56 PM »

Ah ha ha ha! This is advanced Dogs in the Vineyard. Ready?

IN ACTION, that is, in real play, when a conflict goes shooting -> talking, talking IS escalation over shooting.

I'm shooting at you, you're shooting at me. I'm down behind the woodpile. As you're reloading, you say:

"Your wife asked me to say hi."

GUARANTEED, it's more serious now than it was when you were just shooting at me.

-Vincent
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2005, 04:47:26 PM »

In straight Dogs, only guns use acuity + will. Swords certainly don't. Thus, shooting.

In Wolves in the North or Samurai Dogs, only swords use acuity + will. Guns (in Samurai Dogs for instance) certainly don't.

You change what acuity means when you adapt the game; you change what the weapons mean too. Just like you change the demons and ceremony.

-Vincent
Logged
DamienNeil
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2005, 04:55:11 PM »

This is the bit that is making me wonder if this is not, at heart, a problem with the term 'escalation'. To me (I'm not a native English speaker, but Merriam-Webster does seem to agree with me), 'escalation' speaks of things getting worse, deadlier, intenser. It has a meaning of going up, and not down. I mean, think about what I quoted above. Can you really imagine yourself saying: "I escalate to talking"? When you write down those four possibilities and speak of escalation, I see it as a ladder. I think also partly because they're always listed in the same order, an order that clearly goes from something rather calm to potential large-scale death.

Sure, escalation to talking is easy.

You're walking through town when you see Black Bart, scourge of the prairie, stealer of women and molester of cattle, worth $600 dead or alive at any post office.  So you declare a conflict ("Do I catch Bart?"), haul out your pistol (1d6+1d4), roll acuity and will, and open up with your first raise: "I do my damnedest to put a bullet in his head."

Some exchanges of gunfire later, you begin to realize that Bart's superb elephant gun of unusual size (2d8+1d4) and trait of "ain't nobody that can shoot like me" (4d6) are making life just a bit touchy for you.

So you duck behind a convenient barrel, and escalate to talking: "Hey, Bart!  You hear what I did to Tan Dan when I hauled him in?  You better give in now, or you, me, and my bowie knife are spending some quality time together before I let the sheriff have you."  And you roll in heart, will, and your "I'm one mean bastard" (3d10) trait.  Of course, you're only doing d4 fallout on that raise, but you've got some more dice to play with.

You see this all the time in movies.  Think Star Wars, with Luke facing Vader and the Emperor in the Death Star--some swordplay at the start, but Luke had to escalate to talking in order to pull off a win.  (And that "my father, Darth Vader" (8d4) relationship sure didn't hurt.)
Logged
Sean
Guest
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2005, 05:36:50 PM »

Hi Vincent.

There's another thing too - when you're so pissed off you go talking --> guns, or just guns.

There can be a tactical dimension to this decision too. If you think your acuity + will vs. his is better than all vs. all, or acuity + will + heart, etc., it can make sense.

Just thought I'd mention.

Also, I saw some 1850's European rifles (Viennese I think they was) at a local history museum. They were pretty all right. Thing is I don't know if they came here until the civil war...
Logged
Joshua A.C. Newman
Member

Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2005, 08:39:12 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
l get dice for my "I'm super-stabby" trait

Best sentence in the history of role-playing games.
Logged

the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2005, 04:51:08 AM »

In straight Dogs, only guns use acuity + will. Swords certainly don't. Thus, shooting.

In Wolves in the North or Samurai Dogs, only swords use acuity + will. Guns (in Samurai Dogs for instance) certainly don't.

You change what acuity means when you adapt the game; you change what the weapons mean too. Just like you change the demons and ceremony.

-Vincent

Okay, now I'm having a hard time figurung out whether you're agreeing with me or not...

Some of the things you say here seem to hint that there's only ever one weapon in the Acuity + Will category, and that it's always the biggest baddest bestest weapon that also does the most Fallout, no matter what 'weapon' it actually is. And there's something about that that feels wrong, mainly because it once again speaks to me of the whole escalation bit just being a one-way ladder with Acuity+Will and whatever weapon they're associated with being the pinnacle, the top of the mountain.

Which it's not, right?
Hi Vincent.

There's another thing too - when you're so pissed off you go talking --> guns, or just guns.

There can be a tactical dimension to this decision too. If you think your acuity + will vs. his is better than all vs. all, or acuity + will + heart, etc., it can make sense.

Just thought I'd mention.

This is actually wrong, correct? You can start a conflict shooting if you feel like it, but there's nothing that prevents your opponent from switching to talking, so you can't force a conflict to be all shooting and nothing but shooting, because shooting is not the top of the ladder, it's just one part of the circle.

Which implies, to me, that from a purely theoretical point of view, all four arenas have equal value. Sure, in any given setting they'll be fleshed out in different ways which will create different values. But is it really impossible to think of a setting where, say, Body+Will is associated with the defining weapon?

(I'm not at home right now, and this comp needs a reboot soon so I'll post this now and follow it up later)
Logged
Sydney Freedberg
Member

Posts: 1293


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2005, 06:25:09 AM »

A quibble:

Some of the things you say here seem to hint that there's only ever one weapon in the Acuity + Will category, and that it's always the biggest baddest bestest weapon that also does the most Fallout, no matter what 'weapon' it actually is.

From reading various Vincent comments, I'd say it's not about the bigness and badness in themselves: The Acuity+Will weapon is the weapon with unique moral significance for the setting: the weapon that can only be mastered by a true hero (or villain), in whose hands it becomes an instrument of judgment. In a Western, that's guns, but not simply because guns are deadlier than pitchforks or knives (though they are), but because guns resonate with themes of power and judgment and mastery -- think of the classic face-off at high noon between sheriff and outlaw, good and evil, or (inverting the themes) the end of Unforgiven. In a Star Wars setting, the morally resonant weapon is of course the light-saber; in a samurai or Western medieval setting, the sword (no knight ever swore an oath on his morning-star); in a martial arts setting, the well-trained empty hand itself. It's not about simulating combat, it's about the moral meaning of violence.
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2005, 06:43:58 AM »

Hey Falc, what's your interest in all this? Are you thinking of playing the game with swords, and you want us to reassure you that it'll work?

-Vincent
Logged
Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2005, 09:05:57 AM »

No, it's about me understanding the game well enough that I'm able to play it with swords if I'd ever want to without immensely messing it up.

Looking back, it's entirely possible that I've been asking the wrong questions in this thread here. Then again, I'm not sure I would have been able to ask them properly earlier.

You see, all 4 arenas of conflict are mechanically equal. Escalation is going from one arena to another, and it's not a one-way street. But then you keep saying that there's something special about the Acuity + Will arena. That it's reserved for shooting, or for lightsabers, or for whatever else is thematicaaly appropriate. But, you never explained why it's special and I was only now getting to the point where I realized that that was the key question that I'd have to ask.

Of course, Sydney Freeberg has explained it now and now it all truly makes sense. Now, I think, I've finally pried open the lid and I can see all the little cogs spinning in harmony. Now I understand, and now I can tinker with finesse, should I so desire.

So, just to confirm that I've understood. Let us assume a superhero setting. In such a setting, where there's a huge diversity in powers, would you agree that every superhero has his own distinct 'signature' weapon which falls under Acuity + Will? Wolverine's claws, Captain America's shield, etc. It's the meaning of the weapon that matters, and even though most settings only attach that meaning to one particular weapon, that's not a necessity.

Now, I do like to understand the games I play, to understand how they work. I guess that's because I am a tinkerer at heart and have been building my own little Frankenstein of a system, looting and plundering from others. So I'm going to ask one more question about the inner workings of Dogs:

Why are there no actions listed as Acuity + Body or as Heart + Will? What sparked this question was re-reading the example in the book about the sleeping person who gets ambushed, and he only rolls Acuity to start with. This is obviously not one of the four standard stat combinations, which just leaves me wondering what other possibilities are left unmentioned, and why? Did you consider them and reject them? Or did it just never come up?
Logged
Sydney Freedberg
Member

Posts: 1293


WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2005, 09:15:16 AM »

all 4 arenas of conflict are mechanically equal

Except for fallout, of course. That's the one area that your otherwise beautiful circle diagram doesn't capture, and in which "escalation" in the sense of a linear progression actually takes place: talking gives fallout in d4s, physical in d6s, fighting in d8s, and "the morally resonant weapon for the setting" gives d10s, which makes that weapon (as Vincent notes in the book) the only way fallout can kill a character outright (because your two highest fallout dice can only sum to 20 if they're both d10s). So the moral resonance and the mechanic interlock: When this weapon comes out in a conflict, it immediately poses the question, "Are you willing to die for this? Are you willing to kill for it?"
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2005, 09:24:27 AM »

Coolness, Falc.

Acuity + will means seeing what to do + being willing to do it. Guns are just exactly that, in a Western. Thus, about superheroes' signature powers: right on.

Acuity and body are what you're doing, heart and will are how you're doing it. That's why there's no acuity + body or heart + will.

The acuity-only conflict in the book is interesting, isn't it? That's a "follow your group's lead" moment, is what that is.

Oh and Sydney's right about fallout, naturally.

-Vincent
Logged
Sean
Guest
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2005, 12:15:56 PM »

OK, I'm a little bit confused here.

I understand that you can escalate to talking from anything by introducing something to say which changes the nature of the conflict. Vincent's examples of this are always pretty extreme stuff, though - "It's your baby..."

Hmm. Other examples. Maybe you could 'escalate' from gunfighting to physical-not-fighting by just walking out from behind the shed, putting yourself in the line of fire, and grabbing the other guy's shoulder. "Enough is enough."

Here's where I'm hung up. I sort of thought an escalation should be, you know, an escalation. So I would have allowed any switch that was described as something which changes/intensifies the conflict. But. Most of the time, that seems like it would work by the usual talking/physical/fighting/guns progression. 'Escalating' 'downward', as I was thinking about it, would require more player creativity and/or use of the situation. Or rather, you can escalate 'for free' along the stated path, but it requires some kind of justification to escalate in some other direction.

Is that wrong? Is escalating really just switching? Is making your switch look like an escalation just a matter of optional color?
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2005, 12:38:54 PM »

Sean, the answer is, each and every raise in a conflict is a step upward, a step forward, more serious, toward resolution. Shouldn't any raise be backing down or backing out - that's called giving.

If you need a rule for it, it's there in "a raise is something your opponent can't ignore." If I'm shooting my gun at you, you need to come up with something to say to me that I can't ignore, that's more pressing than me shooting my gun at you. "Nice weather though, huh?" isn't (generally) going to cut it.

-Vincent
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!