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Title: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 24, 2011, 05:19:05 AM
I'm GMing a session of FitV (Dogs in the Vineyard, Firefly Verse) and things aren't going that great.  My story is hanging together quite well, but the DotV engine is slowing the action to a crawl.
This is our 2nd session in this campaign.  Total play time up to this point maybe 5 hours.  At this point we're all feeling underwhelmed by DitV .
The players are restless and really want a gun fight.  Cue the final scene.  This the decider, do we ever play DitV again?

Player Characters:
Captain Gabriel
Sniper Donnie
“Steampunk Samurai” Koji

NPC crew:
Medic Leon
Pilot Duke
Tech May

Ship:
Hearts and Clubs, firefly class transport.

Background Summary:
The PCs are trying to evac refugees from Lilac between reaver attacks.  Hearts and Clubs has life support for maybe 30 people.  They're looking for any means necessary to increase this number.  A little PC brainstorming reveals that spaceship fuel cells are fundamentally oxygen tanks.  I'd already described a crashed transport they'd flow over on the way in, so they set to work retrieving fuel cells from the wreckage.  It's a brilliant idea.  So brilliant I conclude that the locals had beaten them to it and removed 3 of 4 cells already.

They fly over the wreckage and quickly resolve a talking conflict to scare off the scavengers.

They'd barely started cutting the remaining cell free when they see a ship flying low, coming towards them.  It's a mercenary firefly, bristling with fire power.  Gabe gives the order to stage a retreat.  Hearts and Clubs flees, but practically the entire crew hides among the wreckage.  The mercenary firefly lands next to the wreckage and the cargo ramp opens.  Four mercs come down the ramp and start scanning the wreckage for stragglers.

Conflict:
Stakes: Do we take the merc firefly vs Are we captured? 

We roll a bucket load of dice and then some.
We have 3 PCs, supported by 6 NPCs.
There are 4 Opposing NPCs on the ramp + an unknown number still on the ship.

Koji opens with a large raise and I rule he and Donnie make it successfully into the cargo bay undetected in place of taking fallout.   There's a lone gunman on the gantry who Donnie drops with a single well placed shot.  Hearing the gunfire the mercs spin and fire at the pair of them.  It's a reasonably high rasie but Donnie dodges behind cover, while Koji's armoured jacket takes the hit.  Gabe follows up igniting a merc's grenade belt with pinpoint accuracy.  The resulting blast floors the mercs, but their armour absorbed the blow.
(That's a lot of action for a single round of raises and sees!)

Koji's turn and he wants to use a grapple gun to advance deeper into the firefly.  But a raise should do something to the opposition, just moving around doesn't count.  We rule that he lays claim to the gantry securing the mid section of the ship.  I block this by introducing a 5th merc to the fight, emerging from one of the shuttle bays.
Donnie is asking “Can he shoot this guy?  Does he have line of sight?”  I say it doesn't work like that.  It's your turn to raise, if you use big number then you must have been able to take the shot.
He pulls a 14, I take the blow with 6 dice, that's one very dead NPC.
My turn, and I have 4 mercs lying on the ground.  So much for shooting all the PCs. 
I reveal my ace in the hole.  The merc firefly opens up with nose mounted machine guns.  Gabe is pinned down in the wreckage.

Koji races to eliminate the new threat.  A single raise covers sprinting half the length of the firefly and hurling himself into the cockpit and at the pilot manning the gun.

The fire fight continues between Gabe, Donnie and the mercs.  It's going to get really messy soon, everyone is running low on dice.  A highlight includes a grenade I lob at Gabe which he easily dodges.  (Thanks to Gabe for introducing grenades to the narration, I didn't plan the mercs to have those.)

Final round.  I prepare my last raise, I've got a pair of eight's and I'm planning on using them to gun down Donnie.  Looking across the table I see Koji also has a pair of eights.  So who has initiative?  We compare our next highest die.  My 5 to Koji's 6.

Koji turns the machine gun on the merc.  His aim is just of and the merc dodges into the cargo bay with the ground exploding just behind him.  Out of large rolls the merc fires inaccurately at Donnie before being blown away by Donnie's return fire.

Gabe wins the conflict by bringing in Hearts and Clubs directly over the merc ship preventing it from going anywhere.  With no dice left to see I have the few remaining mercs throw down arms and surrender.


Impressions:
DotV conflict resolution feels very slow.  It takes forever to resolve the smallest of conflicts.
We had a lot of fun with the final gunfight, but lesser conflicts are painful.

I suppose with practice we could judge both parties rolls and have the weaker side just give without the sequence of raises and sees.  But that seems like not really playing.
I'm left feeling I need to house rule something in.  A quick conflict using only 1 stat and 1-2 traits.

It could be I'm missing the point of “Say yes or roll” and I just need to say yes more often.
However often I want that yes to come at a price, and I'd like a faster way to determine that price.

One thing I found really interesting about the poker style aspect was the desire to win.  Usually as a GM I'm content to let the players win every adventure.  In DotV I find myself trying to beat them down in every conflict.


We've decided it was fun enough to persevere with.  Hopefully it all speeds up with practice.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 24, 2011, 04:51:12 PM
DitV isn't supposed to have small conflicts. If it's not worth throwing down say Yes And move on. Also, why aren't you Giving?


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 24, 2011, 04:54:45 PM
DitV's GM advice encourages the GM to look for givable stakes. You don't need to beat them down in every conflict. Just make sure those conflicts are about the things they hold most dear.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 24, 2011, 07:29:23 PM
I read the GM advice that conflicts should have stakes that balance giving, escalation and taking fallout.
In practice I'm finding the system a little slow if the stakes are that small.
As a result conflicts are being saved for when it's really important but it's not supplying those opportunities to give.

My report doesn't cover nearly the whole session.  We had many smaller talking conflicts to gather information.  Invariably I gave on those pretty quickly.
I could have skipped them altogether but I needed some early safe conflicts to ensure all players understood the rules.

We had one scene where the players were exploring a drifting transport ship.  The ship was trapped, rigged to blow if the distress signal was switched off.
Sure enough, Koji's 1st action is to turn of the distress signal.
All my GM background is screaming for an awareness or mechanical knowledge check to spot the bomb.
I had to just go with "say yes or roll".
"Gabe enters the cockpit taking in the scene with a single glance; Koji reaching for the distress signal switch, the wires somehow out of place.  No time to explain. Gabe pushes Koji flying across the cockpit screaming bomb over the coms."

We're continuing this Friday.  It'll be interesting to see if I can scale the conflicts correctly this time. 


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 24, 2011, 11:28:43 PM
Well at least you learned one kind of conflict that Dog's resolution mechanic is not built to resolve. Really, I think you'll find your biggest problem is that you want action and Dogs is built for moral dilemmas. Dogs is about giving a group of teenagers absolute authority, total responsibility, and guns. And then confronting them with problems where guns are the wrong tool for the job. The mechanic basically mirrors Vincent's idea that when your losing a fist fight you're more likely to pull a gun.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 25, 2011, 04:01:21 AM
That critical element of total authority is something that simply doesn't carry over into the Firefly conversion.

The whole escalation thing feels.  Just about every conflict in Firefly starts with heated conversation before progressing to fist fighting or a shoot out.
It's why I chose this world/system combination in the first place.

For the moral dilemmas I'm working the angle where they're among the few who have a space faring vessel.
With Lilac under imminent reaver attack there's no shortage of high value cargo.

Gabe turned the money down, instead choosing to ferry out refugees.
To my surprise this decision was backed by the rest of the crew.  I had been looking forward to a PvP conflict to resolve that decision.

Quote
Really, I think you'll find your biggest problem is that you want action and Dogs is built for moral dilemmas.
That's likely spot on.  It'll be interesting to see how that pans out.
Gabe's player is seriously into the moral dilemmas and more importantly story telling.
Donnie's player tends to get bored if he doesn't get to shoot something every other scene.
I haven't figured out Koji's player yet.  Always good to have a wildcard.

Oddly enough we found Dogs to work best in the action scene.  Maybe that was blind chance.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 25, 2011, 09:08:51 AM
If you can work out the Firefly equivalent to having to shoot your brother to stop his drinking, everything should work fine ;)


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 25, 2011, 05:45:25 PM
Thanks, I'll try to work in opportunities to do just that.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Web_Weaver on May 25, 2011, 11:35:59 PM
The part of Dogs that seems missing from this discussion is the town creation system. It seems to me that that is a vital part of the mechanics of dogs, not just a prep aid.
The moral decisions need to be baked into the scenario. You may need to adapt the system but I recommend you have a close look at how that works, and how it integrates into the rest of the game.

Jamie


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 26, 2011, 11:07:23 AM
At the risk of kneeing a sacred cow in the ribs, I have never quite understood why people think Dogs in the Vineyard is a good template/system for Firefly-inspired play. The key point to me is the mechanics, which don't match: the Dogs system promotes or even demands radical changes in characters, which is important in the context of the Dogs PCs beginning quite young and naive. Whereas the Firefly characters are more back-story heavy and they don't change as much as they are revealed.

Maybe there's an even more sacred cow, the idea that "comin' into town" and "fixin' things" is central to Firefly, whereas I think it's not. Granted, there are a couple really good episodes with some element of that (Jaynestown and that one with the whorehouse) but also some which are frankly stupid (The Train Job, and that one where Mal is stuck in a swordfighting LARP), and the conversation kind of has to get past the Firefly fan's notion that every single episode is every single kind of awesome.

Anyway, I can see that I'm practically spoiling for a geek-fight in a very geeky way, so I'll stop with that and try to place my above points into your specific situation: what about Firefly, to you, is really what you want to shine forth in play? There's got to be more to it than the fact that characters in the game and in the show wear dusters.

I do agree with you about the escalation issue, and I think that's why your action-y stuff is working out OK. I'm more interested in the larger-scale issues like scenarios and consequential decisions.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Dan Maruschak on May 26, 2011, 02:24:02 PM
Conflict:
Stakes: Do we take the merc firefly vs Are we captured? 

We roll a bucket load of dice and then some.
We have 3 PCs, supported by 6 NPCs.
There are 4 Opposing NPCs on the ramp + an unknown number still on the ship.
In addition to the stuff other people have already mentioned, I have a purely mechanical question: how many entities are getting "turns" in your conflicts? Are you making each NPC an independent entity, or treating them as a group as the rules suggest? Are you playing all of your conflicts as an entire party of PCs against the GM or are you sometimes splitting the PCs up for smaller conflicts? In my experience the DITV conflict system is fun when it's constrained but gets cumbersome with a lot of participants. Trying to "go big" can have the paradoxical effect of making things grind to an unexciting crawl and I'm wondering if that's what you're experiencing.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 27, 2011, 12:42:24 AM
Every "player" got one raise per turn.  That is each of the 3 PCs, and a single raise for me.
I was playing the Mercenaries mechanically as a single (vastly powerful) NPC character.

The supporting NPCs were covered as a single use 2d8 trait which could be brought in once during the conflict.

On each of my turns I would raise against any/all PCs I had line of sight to.  With Donnie making short work of the mercs inside the ship Gabe suffered the worst of it.

Quote
At the risk of kneeing a sacred cow in the ribs, I have never quite understood why people think Dogs in the Vineyard is a good template/system for Firefly-inspired play.
I'm thinking it looked better on paper.  The western theme and escalating conflicts fit perfectly.
Very little of the DitV how to play the GM apply to Firefly.  It's not like the townsfolk come running up to the crew with every little problem.

I've got round that by placing the entire game world under imminent reaver threat.
By making the ship a highly valuable asset I'm able to have NPCs swarm the players with requests and job offers.

At this point I'm stumped at how to keep the interactions high when they come to a comparatively peaceful world.   


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 28, 2011, 06:56:01 AM
The problem is that Mal should fly off and get paid, but his conscience makes him stop and help people. Whereas, the Dogs are obligated to help, but their conscience may very well be telling them the best thing to do is to drop their gun and flee.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Callan S. on May 28, 2011, 03:13:04 PM
From a distance, dogs in the vineyard moral vector seems to be culture Vs culture/religion Vs religion. Ie, do you think your culture/religion is so great your willing to pull a gun and blow someones head off for not following yours? While here, the mercs in the other ship have no competing cultural agenda, nor do the PC's seem to have a cultural agenda to clash against even if the NPC's did.

Speaking of that, the players seem to basically be playing in a gamist like mode. I mean the stakes are if they take the ship or are captured? They have no issue with murdering the mercs to obtain material goods? They are morally empty (or atleast the conflict "Do we take the merc firefly vs Are we captured?" is) - it reminds me of an account of tunnels and trolls, where a player said 'is everyone alright with slavery?', simply because the plan was to use a slave to deactivate a trap. Ie, there is no moral vector - the only vector is the, basically sociopathic one of 'Will I win?'. Which isn't to knock gamism, but simply describe the situation as it is.

I mean, murder is like a base currency of narrativism. Once the idea of murder has no particular value, the only thing left is to win.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 28, 2011, 06:03:02 PM
Callan: Well said.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 29, 2011, 08:18:32 AM
I'll get round to another session report soon.

Quote
Speaking of that, the players seem to basically be playing in a gamist like mode. I mean the stakes are if they take the ship or are captured? They have no issue with murdering the mercs to obtain material goods? They are morally empty (or atleast the conflict "Do we take the merc firefly vs Are we captured?" is)

The players engaged that battle from the moral high ground.
Background information had shown the mercs to be practically robbing the town blind in return for their protection.
Townspeople they'd talked with had described the mercs as being the least of 2 evils; "like reavers but without the killing and eating"

When the mercs turned up to drive them off the wreckage, it was a moral choice to stay and fight for the capability to transport refugees.

The mercs already had their guns out before the conflict started so the PCs dismissed any talking option pretty quickly.

From a player point of view; it was getting late, and we all wanted an action scene to end with.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 30, 2011, 08:59:58 AM
yeah, but the players are given some pretty easy choices between an obvious right and an obvious wrong. "Do you kill the nasty mercs? or let them kill you?"
"Do you stay and help the refugees or let them die and go get paid?"
As Callan points out, the moral dilemmas that are at the heart of much of Dogs play really aren't there. Things like "Do I force this woman and this man to stay in a loveless marriage?" Or "How far will I go to stop my brothers drinking from fomenting pride and injustice?" And who am I to be deciding these things anyway?


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Callan S. on May 30, 2011, 03:14:35 PM
Hi Altaem,

Quote
The mercs already had their guns out before the conflict started so the PCs dismissed any talking option pretty quickly.
Had the mercs actually fired?

As I understand it, the dice rolls in dogs are about a chance to talk someone out of something - but if you start failing at that, it gets more and more tempting to simply pull a gun and blammo! Will you be tempted or simply let their actions go? It's about whether the PC's escalate to violence for their cause or not.

From my own evaluation of narrativist games, a player really needs a wardrobe of potential characters they could play and to choose one who's attitude fits the question the rule set poses. In the example here, we have PC's who go "Ah, fuck talking, they already have their guns out! *Blammo!*". Dogs in the vineyard is pivoted on characters who will talk first - generally because they are religious and like to preach, but it doesn't have to be that reason. You can see this in Jame's examples - your not about to just walk up and blow away your drunkard brother. Your gunna talk. Your not about to straight off the bat blow away one or both of the unhappy married couple, your gunna talk.

Assuming the mercs hadn't fired, this sets the scene for the PC's to talk, yet get increasingly tempted to shoot. But the players have brought along characters who are inclined to not talk (at least if the other guys have weapons drawn they are inclined not to). This short circuits the system. All of this is just my estimate. Maybe someone or even the author will shoot me down on that estimate of how to use the text.


On a side subject - the higher moral ground!?!? If what differentiated the mercs from reavers was they were without the killing and eating, what differentiates the PC's from reavers?? Only that they didn't eat the mercenaries that they killed!? The PC's are fifty percent closer to reaver than the mercenaries who were the 'badguys'!

I am not critiquing gameplay in saying this, simply saying I think the situation is rife with moral confusion rather than some clear cut moral high ground, from this writers perspective. I don't want to derail the thread on this, if anyone starts to try and defend the PC's actions because they think somehow the players are being said to have done some real world wrong. No they haven't. It's the situation that is compelling and no real life person is wrong for having crafted that fictional situation. I hope that's enough disclaimers!


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Abkajud on May 30, 2011, 04:30:14 PM
I'll just chime in and say two things:
1- it always starts at talking. Escalation should revolve around the players' choice to do so, not the actions of NPCs.
2- Only the players know which characters hold the moral high ground. This is because it's completely unclear (deliberately) whether the PCs are *correct* in their judgments about who's a demon, who's a sinner, etc. When players tag an NPC as a demon, there's an escalation (iirc) - - on the one hand, the NPC gets a LOT stronger. On the other hand, if the demon is defeated, the town loses its metaphysical "sin-fuel". That doesn't mean killing a demon puts things back together again, but it helps sin lose its inertia, if that makes any sense.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Web_Weaver on May 31, 2011, 12:22:21 AM
1- it always starts at talking.

This is a common misunderstanding of the rules. Actually you can start anywhere and any change of arena is an escalation. Which means you can start with guns and escalate to talking.

Jamie


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 31, 2011, 05:28:43 AM
Quote
Had the mercs actually fired?
Absolutely not.  They also had not pursued and shot down the player firefly even though their own ship was equipped to do so.

Quote
Assuming the mercs hadn't fired, this sets the scene for the PC's to talk, yet get increasingly tempted to shoot. But the players have brought along characters who are inclined to not talk
What I get in table chatter is Donnie's player asking "can I shoot something" and Gabe's player holding him back.
As soon as Gabe decides someone is a bad guy bullets will fly.

Quote
On a side subject - the higher moral ground!?!? If what differentiated the mercs from reavers was they were without the killing and eating, what differentiates the PC's from reavers?? Only that they didn't eat the mercenaries that they killed!? The PC's are fifty percent closer to reaver than the mercenaries who were the 'badguys'!
I like this comment.  The PCs are't rapists, while the opening scene established it part of the merc culture to help themselves to the townsfolk women.

One direction I had been thinking of pushing was have the townsfolk making those same comparisons.  Much as they dislike even hate the mercs, they've got to credit them with successful defence of the town.
This never eventuated in play due to the player's very heavy handed use of their latest asset.  Namely the only gunship on the whole world.

Quote
1- it always starts at talking. Escalation should revolve around the players' choice to do so, not the actions of NPCs.
We've been escalating in all directions.  Most often shooting to talking or vice versa.  Both players and NPCs have equal option to escalate rather than give.   


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Noclue on May 31, 2011, 07:57:56 AM
@Callan one thing that does come throughh in the OP is that the game handled the firefight just fine and that experience, where the PCs just started shooting was one of their better conflicts. That's actually not surprising. Dogs handles gunfights fine.

@Altaem your statement that "the Pcs aren't rapists," while the mercs were is interesting. In Dogs it is quite possible to come away from the game with the firm belief that your Dogs will all their lofty ideals are actually worse than the demons they're trying to defeat.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Callan S. on May 31, 2011, 05:10:49 PM
@Callan one thing that does come throughh in the OP is that the game handled the firefight just fine and that experience, where the PCs just started shooting was one of their better conflicts. That's actually not surprising. Dogs handles gunfights fine.
Yeah, but that kind of highlights the dysfunction in how well it works if they just get their gamist shoot-on. I mean equally the riddle of steel RPG handles sword fights just fine as well, without spiritual attribute use at all.


Altaem,

Quote
What I get in table chatter is Donnie's player asking "can I shoot something" and Gabe's player holding him back.
As soon as Gabe decides someone is a bad guy bullets will fly.
I think in a gamist game I'd love to play next to Donnie, he sounds an enthusiastic team player!

But in a narrativist game where he's playing a judge - but he's out of game handing over his judge power to Gabe? He'll only shoot if Gabe judges he should? I think that's a problem.

Quote
Both players and NPCs have equal option to escalate rather than give.
Yeah, it just seemed that the player(s) skipped the talking phase with the mercs and went straight down to the gamist tactical/gamble of shooting. The talking is where the nar fun happens, as I understand it. It reminds me of a game I was in where some ritual to cause/summon a big evil was happening and a baby was a pivotal part of it. The instant one player gets in the room, he shoots the baby (with a mega damage blaster - it was Rifts). He was occams razor incarnate. I never saw it coming and even the GM thought there would be some hesitation. He had no interest in questioning the morality of the situation - he simply executed the move that would win. Which is fine - as long as as GM you don't keep squeezing genuine moral quandries from yourself looking for narrativist play that isn't going to happen.

Anyway, I've said alot. Have you ever done any gaming with these guys where between them they have actually had a discussion (from their characters point of view) about what is the right thing to do? If so, before Gabe gives the red flag to shoot, perhaps remind them of that gaming and suggest hey, perhaps such a discussion would be cool now? I'll leave my contributions at that - good luck! If you ever have a chance to try dogs with another group in the future, I hope you give it a whirl as it might be quite different.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on May 31, 2011, 08:32:57 PM
Quote
Have you ever done any gaming with these guys where between them they have actually had a discussion (from their characters point of view) about what is the right thing to do?
Sure have.  The most memorable one was a case where Johnson (Donnie's PC) was offered easy money to participate in a slavers raid on an unprotected town.
Gabe (same character and player, different world) tried PvP to get Johnson to refuse the offer and failed.
After the raid Gabe tried again.  This time to make Johnson feel remorse for his actions.  This time he succeeded.

I had thought it was covered in our play report, but there's only a vague reference.
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=26840.msg255545#msg255545 (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=26840.msg255545#msg255545)

In FitV there was discussion too.  The problem was I'd set the magnitude of the problem too high.
All the characters agreed that staying to fight reavers and protect the town / world was suicide.
They were in total agreement that saving a ship full of innocents was the limits of what they could hope to accomplish. 
Note to self; To create an ethical dilemma, it has to be within the characters power to pursue all options.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: Altaem on June 01, 2011, 07:02:21 AM
Just a quick summary of the story for the session as it's not really what I want to focus on.

The players secure the merc ship as a follow up from the previous session.
The pilot is interrogated and they quickly discover the bulk of the merc forces are not here.  They've just made enemies of a powerful organisation.
Having a pressing need to fly their 2 ships out of the area Gabe talks the merc pilot into switching loyalties and joining their crew.
Gabe decides they need to “legally” own the new ship so they fly to the space port looking to capture the merc leader and with him the ship's papers.
They discover a riot at the space port with refugees storming the grounds from all sides trying to force their way onto any available transport.  Among the chaos they spot the mercs about to steal another ship.
They swoop in dominating the port with their gunship.  A furious gun battle is fought out in which the merc leader is shot and the surviving mercs surrender.
Much to their disappointment they discover the mercs gunship has no papers, it's thoroughly illegal and very dangerous to take into Alliance patrolled space.  Unwilling to suffer such restriction to their movement they elect to sell the ship, conveniently to the people who had offered them big money to more their cargo.
Now well off, if not rich they choose to risk staying on Lilac to train the locals to fight off reavers.
We're just assuming that goes smoothly, next session will be set on a whole new world.


Conflicts of interest:

Does the pilot spill vs Does he resist?
I decide this should be a single player against the pilot.  Gabe volunteers as he's the one with a tone of talking traits.  Koji wants to stand in on the interrogation adding his fearsome presence.
I disallow Koji's stats and traits, but allow his 2d8 katana to be “leant” to Gabe.

Follow up conflict; Does the pilot change loyalties to our crew vs does he fool us and play along?
Gabe's talk dice pool massively swamped the pilot's.
With the threat of Koji still in his mind I have him not risk escalation and instead have him give.

Everyone at the table agrees Gabe won that too easily for the stakes requested.
I agree but I'm struggling with the rules on this point.  It didn't seem appropriate to bring the pilots extensive piloting skill traits into play.
Maybe a mistake on my part?  Something as significant as changing someone's loyalty should allow them to bring in every trait regardless of relevance.  The sum total of a character's traits are in essence their soul.
Despite awarding Gabe the victory here, I think we'll all be calling for follow up conflicts on this issue.  The pilot is now a permanent addition to their crew.


The action scene:
Do the mercs escape on a new ship vs do we stop them (preferably by capture).

On the whole this played out fairly well.  I think I made a mistake in treating the merc leader plus his entire band as a single NPC entity.  This made life difficult for the players as they wanted to apply gunshot fallout to the merc leader while inflicting morale fallout on the remaining band.
In the end I made 2 piles for fallout inflicted and let the player's direct where they wanted their fallout to go.  In future I shall separate any NPC characters from their cardboard cut-out goons giving me 2 distinct dice pools to work with.

One action I like was my large raise “The mercs rush up the loading ramp using the ship to block your line on sight.”
Followed by the player's block “Our ship swings around hovering just above the ground, nose guns pointing into the heart of the other ship”.

What other game than DitV allows diving for cover to be an “attack” and sighting through a scope to be a “block”.  We're definitely enjoying the free narration of our raises and sees.


Title: Re: [FitV] First impressions using the Dogs in the Vineyard System
Post by: mark2v on June 08, 2011, 04:12:28 AM
The reason I do nto run DitV with my group is that the group is to fast to fight to "shooty." it is what they enjoy, thier dogs would look for excusses to blow something up, I have no doubt. After reading the game a couple of times I came to the conclusion that they would not enjoy what it puts forward. So we play a more pulp action system that suits what the group enjoys doing. Perhaps your problems are similar and a more action oriented rules set would serve you better?