*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 24, 2014, 06:44:33 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: [Dogs] Buildin' towns and settin' dials.  (Read 5098 times)
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2009, 04:44:42 AM »

Oh. Yeah, that's a different thing. That's about the outcome of play, which you shouldn't pre-decide.

So, my town above, right? What if, in play, the Dogs side with Brother Ephraim? They're like, "this Steward is for crap. I know he's a sorcerer, but dang if Brother Ephraim wouldn't make a better Steward. And Brother Benjamin? Sure he got wronged, but with a face like that, who WOULDN'T?" You don't try to turn them around, is what. You go with it and see what they do.

Predicting that the Dogs will kill Ephraim like the baby-murderer he is, and being right (or maybe wrong), is not the same thing as plotting that they will. Predict all you want. Don't plot.

That's all that passage means.

-Vincent
Logged
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


WWW
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2009, 08:30:04 AM »

Ohhhhh, I gotcha.

I do understand the "no pre-deciding the outcome" principle, but I was also taking away the idea that everyone in town should be completely understandable, relatable, sympathetic characters. Which is sorta im[possible, actually: the town's in trouble by definition, which means so jerkassery somewhere. Besides which, if the whole point is to create a situation where people will react viscerally about who they like and don't, well, I'm a person too and I'm bound to like and not like characters myself.

Logged

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2009, 09:19:32 AM »

Exactamundo!

-Vincent
Logged
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


WWW
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2009, 07:50:34 PM »

Say, Vincent, now that we've got that whole thorny beast wrassled to the ground, I wanted to check in on another of the issues I mentioned:

You know this thing: "the thing to observe in play isn't what the group's doing, but instead who's dissatisfied with what the group's doing. The player who frowns and uses withdrawing body language in response to someone else's Raise, or who's like "that's weak" when someone reaches for dice--that's the player whose lead to follow."

What's that look like? Follow the lead how? What should I do to "press the group to live up to" that standard?



Also--my brother had one criticism after play, that I wanted to pass along: he didn't feel that Initiation served any useful purpose, except when the players don't know the rules. That those scenes just eat up game time when you could be just getting on to the town. Now, I always figured they're valuable not just for the tutorial factor but for giving everyone a chance upfront to delve into their characters, reveal a bit about them and get comfortable in their skin, so they've got some substance and life when you dive into 'play proper." But my bro just isn't buying it.  I thought his initiation fleshed out his character right nicely in fact, but I do have to admit that every time I play it's an awkward time or group engagement, as all the other players just watch the two people go at it. What would ho have to say about it?

(And actually I guess I do have one complaint about Initiations: it's damned hard for the Dog to lose. I need to get more "breaking a bad habit" type Accomplishments going so the tables'll turn a bit on that.)

peace,
-Joel
Logged

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1970


WWW
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2009, 12:03:11 PM »

Re: Dogs winning/losing Initiations.

The trick is to make "winning" a hard choice. For example, in my most recent game, the accomplishment was "I hope my Dog learns to accept help from others". He was playing the "I don't need help from no one side". The conflict involved an injured trainee needing to be carried back to the Temple for care. I pushed on how he was tired, and the other trainee trying to help him quoted scriptures about pride and such.

In the end, the player escalated to guns, shot the helpful trainee, and carried back the wounded one himself.

I had nothing to reply to that, mechanically or thematically.
Logged

~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Brand_Robins
Member

Posts: 650


WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2009, 02:59:10 PM »

Joel,

Do you ever have scenes in game where there is only one Dog with NPCs, or one Dog on one Dog?

If so, what do you do with those scenes to keep them from being just two guys going at it with everyone else watching? Chances are most of those things will work with initiation scenes.

(My group, we table talk a lot. We also tend to do that thing where someone joins the conflict by giving themselves as "thing" dice to one of the folks in the conflict. So everyone stays engaged.)

Also, do you make towns before or after initiation scenes are done? I forget which the text tells you to do, but I always do them after because I use the things in the initiation scenes to make up and calibrate the first town. First towns are often mildly frustrating for me, as a lot of the things that make towns work (like the whole reflection phase of the game and the "yea, so what NOW?" aspect) are absent in them. For me initiation scenes help make that easier. And when players see their input in the game coming right back at them from the first town, it sets a pretty good tone going forward.

Finally, initiation scenes are great for setting the supernatural dial and addressing issues of tone and such. Because even if you've played Dogs before, you've never played this game of Dogs before, with these people and these characters, and so having a phase of the game where everyone shakes out, gets on the same page, and learns about each other's characters is important (for me at least) in going forward on the game with an even keel.
Logged

- Brand Robins
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


WWW
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2009, 11:45:18 PM »

Do you ever have scenes in game where there is only one Dog with NPCs, or one Dog on one Dog?

If so, what do you do with those scenes to keep them from being just two guys going at it with everyone else watching? Chances are most of those things will work with initiation scenes.

Well, actually, yeah. . .the game in question involved a lot of Dogs split up doig individual things, before coming back together at the end.

And the same problem cropped up there. Everyone had a hard time sustaining interest when it wasn't their scene. One player in particular, turns out he has an extremely hard time engaging when he's not giving direct input right now. He can't stand dead time.

So yes, my question still stands. How DO you keep it from being just two guys talking with everyone else tuned out? I don't have any good answers. It's possibly the hardest skill in all roleplaying for me.

You're "lots of table talk" suggestion doesn't do much for me. I've played lots of games where table talk flew thick as flies, but it didn't equal engagement or contribution to the game situation at hand. Seems to me the table talk needs a certain focus to become actual switched-on collaboration. The 'roll in as an improvised thing" idea--I actually tried that in Initiation, suggesting that other Dogs could make cameos during Accomplishments that way. Didn't go anywhere. My brother actually rolled a die to determine for himself if his Dog was present at the other Dog's training-the result was negative, so he declined to participate.

Actually your earlier suggestion to talk things out without character sheets seems like a good direction to go here. Maybe in so doing the we'd be able to gel around the activity and the fiction and engagement/contribution would flow more naturally. I dunno how to really mine that idea though.

Also, do you make towns before or after initiation scenes are done? I forget which the text tells you to do, but I always do them after because I use the things in the initiation scenes to make up and calibrate the first town. First towns are often mildly frustrating for me, as a lot of the things that make towns work (like the whole reflection phase of the game and the "yea, so what NOW?" aspect) are absent in them. For me initiation scenes help make that easier. And when players see their input in the game coming right back at them from the first town, it sets a pretty good tone going forward.

I had figured that doing the Town afterward would be ideal, but I've always ended up pre-making it for the sake of playing right away. Doesn't help that I've only managed to do Dogs in a one-shot or no-commitment environment, meaning we really want to get through a town in the course of the evening. I've thought of compromising by designing two towns and picking the one that best matches the characters and their accomplishments. . .but I've never managed to acttually go through with it.

Because even if you've played Dogs before, you've never played this game of Dogs before, with these people and these characters, and so having a phase of the game where everyone shakes out, gets on the same page, and learns about each other's characters is important (for me at least) in going forward on the game with an even keel.

That's a good point.

peace,
-Joel
Logged

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Brand_Robins
Member

Posts: 650


WWW
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2009, 06:18:35 PM »

So yes, my question still stands. How DO you keep it from being just two guys talking with everyone else tuned out? I don't have any good answers. It's possibly the hardest skill in all roleplaying for me.

I'm having a hard time coming up with good answers to this one. I have a feeling it is a skill, but that its also a skill that depends partly on a certain paradigm of play. It sounds very much like a lot of your players very much view play as their character interacting directly with the world and the other characters, and anything other than that is getting in the way of the achievement of that goal. My group is sort of like that, but there's a subtle shift where we're still doing the character's thing, but we're also creating something together, and so even when the character isn't directly interacting there are still other things happening around the table that are creatively valued.

So, a lot of things I might suggest that work for us may just not work for you, because there's a subtle difference in how we're interacting around the table.

Which is pretty much a way of saying I'm not a lot of good to you here.

I had figured that doing the Town afterward would be ideal, but I've always ended up pre-making it for the sake of playing right away. Doesn't help that I've only managed to do Dogs in a one-shot or no-commitment environment, meaning we really want to get through a town in the course of the evening. I've thought of compromising by designing two towns and picking the one that best matches the characters and their accomplishments. . .but I've never managed to acttually go through with it.

Yea, that play right away pressure is huge when you're in a low commitment one shot only mode. In times with less pressure I've been able to get the players to talk about their characters and backgrounds, to freeplay some interaction between their Dogs on the ride to the first town, or something like that while I go make the town. But even so its a half hour gap, and if your group isn't gonna be into OOC talk or freeplay, then that's clearly not going to work -- and it does make it significantly hard to get through both initiation and a town in the same night. (Hell, I have trouble getting through a town in one night at the best of times.)

So yes, in that context, I think a lot of the pressures you're feeling are a very real issue, and keep the game from working the way it does for me with my longer amount of time to play. If you can get the commitment and the time to stretch it out, the initiations scenes work wonders, but if you're trying to hit it and quit it in one night, then they may not have the same social affect.

But then, that's me. I've always thought that Dogs as a one shot isn't the same game as Dogs played for a campaign, so I'm biased.
Logged

- Brand Robins
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2009, 07:38:15 AM »

At GenCon, Joshua made up the town in advance, but at the beginning of character creation said "okay, this town is about money+sex, so make a character who's interested in that." He says it worked great.

You know this thing: "the thing to observe in play isn't what the group's doing, but instead who's dissatisfied with what the group's doing. The player who frowns and uses withdrawing body language in response to someone else's Raise, or who's like "that's weak" when someone reaches for dice--that's the player whose lead to follow."

What's that look like? Follow the lead how? What should I do to "press the group to live up to" that standard?

Just keep the person who's talking, talking.

Player 1: I punch him in the eye! I'm going to roll my "daddy never loved me" trait.
Player 2: [frowns, withdrawing body language, fiddles with his pencil]
GM: I don't follow. Daddy never loved you, so...
Player 1: Oh! Uh... right, no. I guess I'm not rolling that trait.
-or-
Player 1: I'm like [punching repeatedly] "God - says - love - your - children - you - bastard!"
GM: [watches player 2]
Player 2: [lightbulb, leans forward, engaged]

Make sense? The most important thing is, the person who's falling short doesn't lose anything. She still gets to make her raise, and if bringing the trait into it really does make sense to her, she'll be able to communicate why, given the prompting and the second chance.

-Vincent
Logged
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


WWW
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2009, 08:38:56 PM »

Brand,

I'm having a hard time coming up with good answers to this one. I have a feeling it is a skill, but that its also a skill that depends partly on a certain paradigm of play. It sounds very much like a lot of your players very much view play as their character interacting directly with the world and the other characters, and anything other than that is getting in the way of the achievement of that goal. My group is sort of like that, but there's a subtle shift where we're still doing the character's thing, but we're also creating something together, and so even when the character isn't directly interacting there are still other things happening around the table that are creatively valued.

So, a lot of things I might suggest that work for us may just not work for you, because there's a subtle difference in how we're interacting around the table.

Which is pretty much a way of saying I'm not a lot of good to you here.

Fair enough. I'll still welcome anyone's contributions who does think they can be a lot of good to me here. :)

But then, that's me. I've always thought that Dogs as a one shot isn't the same game as Dogs played for a campaign, so I'm biased.

No argument here, brother. The only reason I ran it as a one-shot was that it was an opportunity to demo the game for people I want to play it with more long-term. In fact, if my brother's wife had made it as well--she was feeling sick--I may well have spun the game off into the first session of a multi-town campaign. But as it is, it was a successful demo for a key person in that group, which will probably give me an opportunity to run it for them sometime soon.

The upcoming con game is both a way to practice my own Dogs skills, and to share the game with a wider local audience. But yeah, I want long-term play, like bad.

Vincent,

At GenCon, Joshua made up the town in advance, but at the beginning of character creation said "okay, this town is about money+sex, so make a character who's interested in that." He says it worked great.

[SNIP]

Just keep the person who's talking, talking.

Those are pure awesome. Thanks!

The cool thing about all this is that we're not talking about fixing a failed or floundering game. . .we're talking about making a successful and fun game even better. It's like a Master Class in Dogs after I pass the introductory level skills. I'm excited.

peace,
-Joel
Logged

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!