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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)
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Author Topic: [DITV] Suggestions for one-shot play  (Read 1182 times)
jlarke
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Posts: 19

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« on: May 11, 2009, 04:45:50 AM »

I have plans to spend Memorial Day weekend with several friends, and one of them suggested it might be a good time for a one-shot adventure to introduce people to DITV. I've run it once before, also as a one shot, and it took us about six and a half hours to get through the town I made. I don't think I'll have that long over the holiday, what with lots of people around, and lots of other stuff to do. I'll be doing well to get four hours. Has anyone managed to run a satisfying DITV game, including character creation, in that amount of time? If so, I'd love to hear more about your experiences, and any lessons you learned.

In particular, I'm not sure what direction to go in with town creation. Keeping the town small seems like an obvious notion, but should I try to run it up to Hate & Murder right away, to keep the pace quick, or keep the scope of the sinning modest, so there's a more interesting judgement call for the Dogs? If anyone has a town that they've used successfully for a short(ish) one-shot, please let me know, as I'd love to use something proven. Thanks...
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My real name is Jason Larke.
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2009, 06:15:32 AM »

Always go to hate and murder for one-shots! Hate and murder is HOW you make judgment interesting. Towns that top out at false doctrine or whatever aren't more interesting to judge, because the stakes are much lower.

Here's a recent thread you might find useful: [Dogs] Buildin' towns and settin' dials.

When I have strictly 4 hours to play, like at a con, I do character creation and a bloody, non-complicated town. (There's still plenty to do with a bloody, non-complicated town, just follow my advice in the thread above and make every step human.) Sometimes I have to cut the town a little short, but it's way better to say "oops! We're out of time, let's just sum up what happens after this" than to try to speed up play. Play normally and be prepared to leave the town unresolved, don't mess up the game in order to get through it all.

-Vincent
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2009, 07:39:27 AM »

I have plans to spend Memorial Day weekend with several friends, and one of them suggested it might be a good time for a one-shot adventure to introduce people to DITV. I've run it once before, also as a one shot, and it took us about six and a half hours to get through the town I made. I don't think I'll have that long over the holiday, what with lots of people around, and lots of other stuff to do. I'll be doing well to get four hours. Has anyone managed to run a satisfying DITV game, including character creation, in that amount of time? If so, I'd love to hear more about your experiences, and any lessons you learned.

I have played a lot of times a town in convention demos in even less that time (a convention demo in Italy is a full game, using a full game slot of 3-4 hours. I usually finish the demo with time to spare to rest before the following one), but using pregenerated characters, and a very simple town (I have observed that a complicated town don't give anything more to the game experience, really, the first time. It's better to keep it really simple).  In convention games that aren't "demos" (games reserved for people who already read the manual, where I don't explain the rules) there is usually the time to create new characters.

The bigger problem I see in your plan is the "several" friends.  How many will play? How many will know the rules? DitV works better with 2-3 players, 4-5 at most, and if you have more that one or two that didn't at least read the game manual before, I suggest the use of pregenerated characters. Explaining how to create a character (all the different kind of background, for example) is VERY time-consuming, will tire you before the game, and diluite the buy-in of people who will have to wait a lot before playing. And EVERY SINGLE TIME the characters that they will create will be much more adapt to another game (for example, D&D, with only combat trait. And t least 70% of them will beg you to play a veteran fighter with 20 years of combat experience, not a 18-years old novice), and you will bemoan the loss of time to get inferior characters.  If you use pregenerated characters make them play the initiation conflict anyway, but not too many: if you have 5 players play the first two to get everybody to understand the way the game go, and say to the other three to add a d6 trait without playing it.

If you have to explain the rules and the setting, don't make them choose the vest and don't explain how it's created, but simply say that they wear "distinctive colored vests"  I have seen some people "get creative" and spend half an hour to create the design of the vest, with all the rest of the table almost snoring.  Most people don't do this, but it's better to avoid the risk, there are a lot of "creative" people in roleplaying used to games where all you can decide about your characters is how they dress, and they are used to squeeze as much as they can from it.

If they don't know the game, don't have them choose the equipment. There is a lot of D&D-related damage that can make a group lose a lot of time deciding how many feet of rope to take, even if the exasperated GM try to explain to them that it's useless.  Give them a gun, the jar, the book, the vest and the horse, plus "standard dog equipment" (food, bandages, blankets, etc.) and give everything a single d6 (+1d4 for the gun)

Cut everything you can, to get them on their horses arriving to the first town as soon as possible.

Quote
In particular, I'm not sure what direction to go in with town creation. Keeping the town small seems like an obvious notion, but should I try to run it up to Hate & Murder right away, to keep the pace quick, or keep the scope of the sinning modest, so there's a more interesting judgement call for the Dogs?

The answer to this, luckily, it's really simple: keep the town small, AND FOR THIS VERY REASON go straight to Hate and Murder. It's really the most simple and fast way to play a city. If you don't go to hate and murder, the players (especially if they are not used to play Story Now games) will debate endless between themselves about what to do, and the game will stop for hours, and at the end of the time slot they will be still debating.

Go to Hate and Murder, and in no time at all they will be drawing their guns in the main street, blazing away cultists.

Another point, about the supernatural: after a while I stopped using the town usually suggested for first time play (Tower Creek, in the game manual) for two reasons: (1) it' still way too complicated, and (2) it's a city where supernatural already happened, the dial it's already raised.
Now, people tell me that in the USA, players are so used to play with supernatural setting that a game in a more "realistic" tone would not be interesting to most of them. But I have observed instead (maybe because most of the demos I play are with people who don't usually play tabletop rpgs) that here it confuses people. DitV already has the disadvantage of not having an easy film reference (try explaining the DitV setting or the Star Wars rpg setting, and see what's easier...), and people here have an image of Westerns based more on John Waine, John Ford or Sergio Leone that don't mesh well with the supernatural.

So, for my demos, I use a "realistic" city, explaining to the player that they have the power to enter supernatural elements into the game by raises and sees. Nobody ever did it, for now.

Quote
If anyone has a town that they've used successfully for a short(ish) one-shot, please let me know, as I'd love to use something proven. Thanks...

This is the town I use:

Serenity

Pride: Brother Lazarus, the Branch's Stewards, is a old ex-dog, very famous and much loved and remembered, expecially by his ex-colleagues that still teach at the dog's temple. (they give to the PCs a lot of mail for their old friend, telling all of them how much they should learn by him) . After all the praises he got in his life, he became prideful, and "just know" that his only son, Gaspar, will be a good dog like him, because he is his son.

Injuistice: Brother Lazarus believes everything his son tell him, so when the other children of his age complain about his being a bully and a thief, he dismiss these tales as "lies by jealous children"

Sin: Another boy, Jonathan, refuses to accept Gaspar's behavior, and beat him up. In vengeance, Gaspar steal Jonathan's most precious possession, his late father's hunting rifle, the only thing his father left him. The culprit is never in discussion (Gaspar even mock Jonathan about him having "lost his nice rifle") but, as always, Brother Lazarus refuses to accept even the possibility that his son is guilty of something, and punish Jonathan for his "lies" instead.

Demonic attack: The feud between the two boys grows and grows, turning in a "gang war" between the town's youths: some of them, enraged at the situations, join Jonathan's side, the others go to the side they see as the winning one, Gaspar's. But Brother Lazarus blindness cover only his son bad behavior, not his friend's, so he punish both gang's misdeeds. Only, he believe that his son is never implicated in them.
The town's youth get more and more violent and aggressive every day, and some of them already began training with guns where the eye of brother Lazarus can't see them.

False Doctrine: Gaspar believe that, being him the son of a Steward, and a secure future Dog, it's absolved in the eye of the King of Life from every sin, because he is just in "punishing" his enemies.

Corrupt Worship: some of the other youths in his gang begin to believe it, too. (This turn Gaspar in a Sorcerer, but he is not aware that his "luck" is not caused by the favor of the King of Life)

Hate and Murder: Brother Lazarus give Gaspar a present for his 18th birthday: a magnificent horse, to take with him when, in a few month's time, he will go to the Dog's temple to be trained. Jonathan see in this a chance to get revenge on the thief of his father's rifle, and go, alone, that night, to steal that horse. He get to steal it and run away, but he get caught to Gaspar and his gang. They take him back to the town, where he confess, before all the citizenship reunited in the town square, that yes, he did steal the horse, that he is not remorseful, and that he would did it again in an heartbeat. In his rage he even say that he will kill Gaspar someday.
Hearing his confession, the jury judge him guilty, and wait for Brother Lazarus's decision about the penance. Surprising everyone, he decreed that Jonathan will be hanged. Before anyone could react in any organized way, Gaspar and his gang hang Jonathan on a tree in the central square, in front of the temple.

The dogs arrive two hours after this.

WHAT DO THE TOWNSPEOPLE WANT FROM THE DOGS?
Some people (Jonathan's Mother's, His friends, etc.) want justice for his death and for Gaspar's crimes.
Brother Lazarus want to teach these dogs how to be a good dog.
Gaspar want them to go away.

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED: The two gangs would have fought in a final gunfight, killing most of the boys of the city.

I am NOT listing more NPCs because they complicate the game: the PC's will ask SOMEONE about what happened: run with it. In my demos, sometime they ask Jonathan's mother, sometimes they ask his friends, sometimes they ask other people, Once a Dogs asked his uncle, after spending some dice to get a relationship with an uncle in the town. No matter, you should always tell them all what happened, every detail, and ask them for Justice.

Write down at least a dozen of names (some women, most of them men) to give to people in Gaspar's or Jonathan's Gangs if the player's ask them, or to give to any witnesses the dogs meet.

In play, it' really simple: usually, two conflict, the first one with the Steward about his having Jonathan's hanged, and the second with Gaspar. But even a town so simple create a different story, very time I have played it.

- The one I liked more: The first time I played it was with people who did have read the game book, even if they had never had the chance to play it. One of the dogs, by chance (I had already done the city) created a character who was almost the mirror image of Gaspar, and this cause a more nuanced play, where he wanted to "redeem" Gaspar. At the end they fought for Brother Lazarus's allegiance (to the Dogs, or to his own son", and when the dogs dueled with Gaspar's gang on the main street at the end, he did join the dogs against his own son, saying "Once a Dog, always a Dog"
- The most frequent one: The dogs kill Gaspar in a final duel, losing some of their own to the vagaries of dice (often Gaspar is joined by his gang, and in demo play the player's still don't know how to maximize their conflicts helping each other. Seldom I don't get to kill at least one dog, something I consider useful to avoid thinking that the game is "too easy". Once I got too lucky and killed them all...)
- Other outcomes I saw: the dogs capture Gaspar and banish him from the city, sparing his life at brother lazarus' begging. Another saw they simply remove Brother Lazarus from office.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
jlarke
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Posts: 19

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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 08:38:19 AM »

Thanks, Vincent and Moreno. That was fast.

I'd keep the game limited to about four players, five at the outside. A couple local friends have expressed an interest in the game, and I can brief them on it beforehand. (After reading your advice, I'll make more of an effort to do that.) There will be other people turning up over the holiday weekend, and it's hard to be sure who's going to be interested.
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My real name is Jason Larke.
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