*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 30, 2014, 04:17:38 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: 123 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: [DitV] How to challenge Dog teams  (Read 2771 times)
Halfred
Member

Posts: 4


« on: April 30, 2009, 04:33:57 PM »

I got to run my first real session of Dogs on Saturday. I ran Kettle Lake Branch for three of my four players (the other will join for part 2), and we had a really good time with some serious roleplay. One of the things that I found difficult, though, was in providing a significant challenge to the Dogs when they team up.

For example, one of the Dogs, Brother Isaiah, spoke with Sister Judith about her feeling about her sister and Br. Makepeace during morning chores. The conversation left Sr. Judith quite upset. As the Dogs were assembling for breakfast with the Steward, Sister Judith tore off on a horse with her rifle in hand, heading towards town.

Now, the three Dogs all leaped into action. Now I was picturing a cinematic horse-chase scene and was looking forward to playing with the timing of the raises and sees. However, with three on one, and me with a low best-roll, we didn't have the opportunity to go back and forth more than once (each character having a "go"). In fact, by the time it was Sr. Judith's go, Brother Simon was beside her and Brother Zedekiah pulling ahead of her.

So I had her escalate, and sobbing, turned her rifle (albeit awkwardly) to her temple. Brother Simon leapt from his horse and knocked the gun away. She had accumulated so much fallout just seeing the Brothers' raises that she was doomed. But I didn't want to give before each Dog had a chance to do something.

So I said that her spirit was broken. That gave Brother Isaiah a chance to call her back, returning life to someone as he did during his initiation. It was really quite moving, and the story flowed well. We ended the session soon thereafter, with the Dogs gathered in a clearing in silent prayer and reflection, seeking solutions to the situation.

Some things I want to remember to do, next time:
  • play up the Steward's pride/insecurity about his stewardship of his own family
  • get some more involvement/resentment from the Smith clan
  • may make the fourth player a relative of a key character

I'm wondering, though, how to keep a conflict going in such a way that allows a few more rounds, by which I mean opportunities for narration by players and GM. I welcome your input. TIA,

--Geoff in Vermont


Logged
Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 09:30:09 PM »

...me with a low best-roll,

That there's your problem.
Logged

James R.
Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 08:46:23 AM »

That was not the ONLY problem...

This, too, is a big problem:
Quote
Now I was picturing a cinematic horse-chase scene and was looking forward to playing with the timing of the raises and sees

You simply don't do this in DitV: NEVER picture "what will happen". It will ruin your fun, and probably the player's fun too.

Roll with the dice and the narration. Be happy to be surprised, and surprise the other player, too.  Catch the moment for a good raise or see, without trying to force the conflict in a specific direction. This will make for a more intense, dramatic and fun session that any "cinematic horse-chase".

Quote
I'm wondering, though, how to keep a conflict going in such a way that allows a few more rounds

Longer conflicts ---> boring conflicts.

Start a lot of conflicts, see your dice, if they are not very, very good drop the conflict right there. When you have good dice, use that to menace the mental image the player's have of their characters (make raises about they running away in fear, for example). Make them discover WHO their character are by putting them to the grind.  Never leave a conflict linger too much, when you see that you can't force a raise anymore, stop it.

And follow the advice on the book about conflicts: little, give-able stakes.
Logged

Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Halfred
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2009, 04:46:48 PM »

Thanks for the replies. And good points, both. We did have a good time. The game was intense and and we did go with the flow. "Say yes or roll the dice" was very much in play. In fact, I checked in a couple times with the players because we roleplaying scene after scene and weren't having conflicts. But everyone thought things were going great. So maybe if it ain't broke, don't fix it? Or maybe I should be pushing something harder?

Moreno, are you suggesting that the choice to do something like the time-shifting examples in the book (shooting a coin, tracking a criminal) should be made after assessing how the dice have rolled? How do you set the stakes that relate to the conflict, then? I'm not sure quite how I would do that, but then I've got all of one game under my belt.

Thanks for the advice. Must contemplate...

--Geoff
Logged
Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2009, 06:53:07 PM »

I agree that avoiding the temptation to play before you play is a good rule of thumb in Dogs. But, I too, tend to bring lots of expectations to the game regardless. Oh well.

My point was, and I was being glib, that if you roll low in a multi-Dog conflict, you're going to be bleeding dice quick as you see all their Goes. You should know that the chase scene is not going to be the long drawn out thing you expected at that point. If you rolled highest, you could have hit them with Goes that they all had to answer and had the protracted conflict you were wanting. But this story didn't go that way.

So, then you roll with that and maybe you Give, setting up a follow up conflict where you have a nice advantage. Or maybe you see their raises with your low dice, soaking up lots of fallout and then hitting them once or twice with your big guns just to push on their characters a bit. Maybe the big scene is when they have to deal with her broken leg from that 12 points of D6 fallout she took falling off her horse. Maybe you set up follow up conflict where the opponent isn't the girl at all, but the general demonic influence in Town. spooky.

Oh, and don't forget those free relationship diceys...
Logged

James R.
Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 07:07:18 PM »

Moreno, are you suggesting that the choice to do something like the time-shifting examples in the book (shooting a coin, tracking a criminal) should be made after assessing how the dice have rolled? How do you set the stakes that relate to the conflict, then? I'm not sure quite how I would do that, but then I've got all of one game under my belt.

In any case, the stakes would not reflect the specific method you will use (never, ever, use Hedged Stakes: from page 77 of the second edition: "Think outcomes, not methods; the methods come from playing the conflict through"), so why should you roll the dice before setting stakes? The stakes are ONLY the character's intent: they want to catch a fugitive? Well, the stakes are "to catch that fugitive", not "to catch that fugitive using a nifty time trick during the conflict"

In this way, how can the stakes not relate to the conflict? I don't understand the problem. Can you write me a practical example?
Logged

Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Supplanter
Member

Posts: 258


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 07:54:58 AM »

You simply don't do this in DitV: NEVER picture "what will happen". It will ruin your fun, and probably the player's fun too.

Roll with the dice and the narration. Be happy to be surprised, and surprise the other player, too.  Catch the moment for a good raise or see, without trying to force the conflict in a specific direction. This will make for a more intense, dramatic and fun session that any "cinematic horse-chase".

I agree substantially with this. BUT, as a matter of esthetics, it's possible in Dogs for blocks and dodges to render conflicts narratively unsatisfying. This can happen when players use them in ways that stall any movement of the action. e.g. "She hops her horse and rides away." "I grab her reins and stop her before she can go." "She yanks the reins from your hands." "I grab them back." Etc. For some tables a sequence like this in some contexts will properly count as "lame."

Best,


Jim
Logged

Unqualified Offerings - Looking Sideways at Your World
20' x 20' Room - Because Roleplaying Games Are Interesting
KuroFluff
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 06:49:58 PM »

I have only had the chance to run Dogs once but have had the same problem with three Dogs beating the crap out of a challenge. When it came to talking it usually made sense for one person to be the lead and the others to stand by or only give a die of help but fighting and gunfighting conflicts were an issue. The example in the book of more than one person on a side was a team of 3 versus a team of 2, only 50% bigger. Conflicts with a team 200% bigger, 3 versus 1, became too easy even when the 1 was possessed and had demonic influence and a fairly decent baby on her side (+1d6 for the baby, which I find hilarious). We still had a good time but there wasn't much tension in the 3 on 1 battles.

I can't think of any mechanical way to balance this besides adding 1 to the "seeing" dice for every opponent above one. I do think 3 on 1 conflicts need to be balanced.
Logged
David Artman
Member

Posts: 606

Designer & Producer


WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 08:06:20 AM »

A fairly brief search on this site will reveal threads which speak to how to hammer Dogs that, otherwise, are rolling every Trait every conflict and facing little opposition to their will (mechanically).

I am posting, then, to make a brief comment on this:
I do think 3 on 1 conflicts need to be balanced.
One thing I've see mentioned very often about challenging Dogs is simply NOT to think in terms of winning on a mechanical level, but rather try to engage the players' morality such that THEY want to give rather than escalate. It's the whole, "Oh, really? OK, what about NOW?" progression, usually typified by putting the gun into a relative's hands or a child's... or a child relative's... or a cute little girl child relative's. You get the point.

The REAL trick, which you will inevitably face, is getting them not to blast holes in that cute little girl child relative when she is a false-worshiping sorceress backed by the whole town. Then again... that's part of the game: the players define The Faith, not the rule book, not your particular moral sensibilities. You get three Dogs all in agreement that, yep, the wacked-out girly gets filled with lead, well then by golly that's The Word of the King of Life (ironically). Find some sawdust to soak up the blood bath that will ensue (and be sure to describe, in lurid detail, her pitiful evisceration from .45 cal rounds to the guts).
Logged

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages
Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2009, 10:48:22 PM »

My 2 cents worth:

1. DitV isn't really about game balance.

2. One sorcerer is just not going to last very long against three Dogs in a straight up gunfight.

Look for giveable conflicts, push for small stakes, make the Dogs have to think if they really want to do this thing, get them shooting each other; If all three of their guns come out pointed at you the dying is going to start. At that point, use your big demon dice with goes that hit all of them simultaneously (She speaks and a male voice reverberates in your head, driving you all to the ground!) Use lots of small dice to soak up attacks, taking massive fallout but bleeding their big dice so you can get some shots in. It won't last long, so make em count.
Logged

James R.
KuroFluff
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2009, 09:45:34 AM »

I did find mention of the multiple opponents tactic on the forum but they would have only helped a little in the situations I faced/made my players face. Certainly I'm realizing some of it is due to my inexperience with GMing this system. The morality of my one-shot plot was pretty one-sided, with the Dogs always in agreement on how to counsel/bitchslap the NPCs. The two encounters which caused problems were: 1) lone sniper, influenced by demons, trying to take out one of the Dogs mistaking them for the mayor/steward who wears his old Dogs coat on the job. They took down the gunman very quickly and then tended to his wounds. 2) A possessed woman with a baby that the Dogs handled with talking/ceremony and physical only, even though the woman was clawing at them and threatening the 1d6 baby.

I suppose it may take a while before I really get a good grasp on the moral ambiguity that makes Ditv work best but at least for now I wish I could better mechanically balance 1 vs n (where n is greater than 1) conflicts. Simply the fact that it has come up several times in different topics indicates the frequency of this problem.
Logged
Michael Pfaff
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2009, 12:39:51 PM »

What if Demonic Influence was applied for EACH Dog? So if they'll all seen the worst of it, that's 5d10 per Dog... So 15d10 total.

That'd be a nice balancing effect.
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2009, 01:21:37 PM »

Dang, thats like a great idea. Anybody who wants to, please play with that rule, let me know how it goes.

-Vincent

Logged
David Artman
Member

Posts: 606

Designer & Producer


WWW
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2009, 12:09:26 PM »

VERY interesting rule, pin. I'd note, though, that it's not so much what the Dogs have seen as what the players THINK the Dogs have seen. One player's demonic influence is another player's coincidence or natural phenomenon. IIRC.
Logged

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3656


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2009, 12:16:08 PM »

Nope! The GM's the one making that call. Sometimes when I've GMed, I'm like "...and I'm rolling 5d10 because you've seen murder." Players: "we have? But ... really? Wait, that means that little Zeb's death WASN'T an accident! Holy craps!" Me: "bingo."

-Vincent
Logged
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!