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Author Topic: [Dogs] A couple of questions  (Read 1219 times)
Simon C
Member

Posts: 510


« on: August 06, 2009, 09:05:46 PM »

I ran a pretty intense game of Dogs last night, and it was super fun, but a couple of things came up that I didn't quite know how to deal with.  Some of them are "style" questions, and some of them are rules questions.

First off, in one of the final conflicts, what's at stake is "Can we get these two men talking to each other?" or something.  There were two guys, the steward (Virgil) and this Mountain Folk guy (Elijah) , and they hated each others' guts, and it was tearing the town apart.  The final conflict was about getting the steward to ask Elijah for forgivness for some past (pretty terrible) misdeeds.  So neither of these guys wanted to talk it out, they were all about fighting.  The dogs wanted to get them talking.  We ran it as a conflict with Virgil and Elijah on the same side, against the two Dogs.  Virgil and Elijah could raise by pushing and shoving each other, calling each other names, as well as getting in the Dogs' faces.  That worked out pretty well, but it was sometimes a bit awkward assigning the type of fallout.  What fallout do the dogs take if Elijah punches Virgil?

Near the end of the conflict, Elijah (who had a whole false doctrine emerge during playing out the town) effectively called on the demons for help.  We're playing low supernatural, so this wasn't overt.  The town is way up in the mountains, right at the end of the summer.  Elijah looks up at the storm clouds moving in and says "If you Dogs don't leave town now, you'll be stuck here all winter".  He pushes 19 forward for his raise.  Both the dogs took the blow.

Now, I wasn't sure how to handle that one.  On the one hand, I was tempted to interpret it as meaning that the Dogs were therefore stuck in town all winter.  Elijah has the power to bring in the snow and close the pass.  He raised with that power, and the dogs took the blow.  Just like if he'd raised with shooting someone, taking the blow means they're hit.  On the other hand, it kind of felt like a cheap move.  Possibly the best way to handle it would be to say that the pass is full of snow, but it's still a conflict as to whether the Dogs get out.  The problem with that is that it would be a boring conflict, coming after all the other issues had been resolved.

The last question is about playing the Demons.  I wasn't sure how much to play Demons as a "character" in the town.  For example, the Demons goal was to stop people talking to each other, to foment miscommunication and distrust.  When the Dogs were taking Elijah to talk to Virgil, I was kind of tempted to have the demons interrupt somehow, maybe with them letting horses out of the corral, or setting a house on fire.  Something to distract the dogs from their immediate aim.  I didn't go with that, partly because it was getting late, and partly because it felt like a bit of a dickish blocking move that wouldn't add anything to the game.  Was I short-changing the demons? 
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cra2
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 06:49:43 PM »

That worked out pretty well, but it was sometimes a bit awkward assigning the type of fallout.  What fallout do the dogs take if Elijah punches Virgil?

Instead of fallout on the dogs, can't you award fallout as bonus dice to their opponents?


Elijah looks up at the storm clouds moving in and says "If you Dogs don't leave town now, you'll be stuck here all winter".   Now, I wasn't sure how to handle that one.

How did you handle it? 
What did the players think about how it worked out?

I didn't go with that, partly because it was getting late, and partly because it felt like a bit of a dickish blocking move that wouldn't add anything to the game.  Was I short-changing the demons? 

Same questions:
So what did you do?
And how'd the players react?
And after the game, did you talk about it?
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 07:48:40 PM »

Virgil and Elijah could raise by pushing and shoving each other, calling each other names, as well as getting in the Dogs' faces.  That worked out pretty well, but it was sometimes a bit awkward assigning the type of fallout.  What fallout do the dogs take if Elijah punches Virgil?
Hmm...that's an interesting one. I would probably go with physical D6 fall out for the dogs, same as if you got up in the dog's face, but I have to think about it a bit.

Quote
On the one hand, I was tempted to interpret it as meaning that the Dogs were therefore stuck in town all winter.  Elijah has the power to bring in the snow and close the pass.  He raised with that power, and the dogs took the blow.  Just like if he'd raised with shooting someone, taking the blow means they're hit.  On the other hand, it kind of felt like a cheap move.  Possibly the best way to handle it would be to say that the pass is full of snow, but it's still a conflict as to whether the Dogs get out.  The problem with that is that it would be a boring conflict, coming after all the other issues had been resolved.
You don't interpret them taking the blow. Its the responsibility of the players of the dogs to narrate how they take the blow and how it effects them. What were the exact agreed upon stakes? Just the fact that Elijah says something does not make that something true. He can say "you're gonna be trapped" but he can't trap them if the stakes are "Does Virgil talk?" To trap them you need stakes like "Are the Dog's trapped by the ice and snow." Also, Elijah doesn't possess any power over the fictional ice and snow that the Dogs do not theoretically also possess, for example "I raise my hand in the sign of the Tree and the ice and snow are driven before me in a flurry of holy wind!"

[/quote]The last question is about playing the Demons.  I wasn't sure how much to play Demons as a "character" in the town.  For example, the Demons goal was to stop people talking to each other, to foment miscommunication and distrust.  When the Dogs were taking Elijah to talk to Virgil, I was kind of tempted to have the demons interrupt somehow, maybe with them letting horses out of the corral, or setting a house on fire.  Something to distract the dogs from their immediate aim.  I didn't go with that, partly because it was getting late, and partly because it felt like a bit of a dickish blocking move that wouldn't add anything to the game.  Was I short-changing the demons? 
[/quote]I don't think I'm seeing the dickishness and blocking. Why wouldn't it have added to the game?
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James R.
Simon C
Member

Posts: 510


« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 09:21:53 PM »

Right, those weren't the stakes of the conflict, but just like how in an argument about something else, if you say you shoot someone, and they take the blow, they're shot.  If you say someone's gonna be stuck in town all winter, and they take the blow, aren't they trapped? Certainly they could have seen the raise by praying for an end to the snow, but they didn't.  I guess my point is that a raise is something your opponent can't ignore.  If he says they're going to be stuck, and they ignore it, and then they're not stuck, what does that mean for the game?  I was trying to make them make a tough choice in the conflict.  Are they willing to spend all winter in this town? They weren't willing, but there were no consequences for that.

With regard to the other issue, I felt like the thing with the demons would have just been delaying the inevitable.  It might have led to more interesting developments, but at that time of night, I was more interested in getting to the end.  On the other hand, I strongly felt like it was exactly what the demons would do.



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Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 10:03:59 PM »

Right, those weren't the stakes of the conflict, but just like how in an argument about something else, if you say you shoot someone, and they take the blow, they're shot.  If you say someone's gonna be stuck in town all winter, and they take the blow, aren't they trapped?

Well, coupla things. First, in the example you had Elijah just saying they were going to be trapped. I can't really tell if there was any ice and snow actually trapping them in the story or if Elijah was just threatening them. If it was a threat then they're taking the blow from his words, not being trapped. Assuming there was honest to God ice and snow, you can totally narrate that snow and ice block the pass. And if they take the blow, then its on them to narrate how they take the blow from snow being all trappy on the pass. But you can't make them trapped until the end of winter with a see, (unless, I guess, you are playing with time such that your sees and raises are lasting entire seasons).

Fore example, you cant go "I trap you with ice and snow and you're not going to be able to get out until spring!" and then give on the stakes about Virgil talking, and then have the Dogs trapped in town for three months unable to get out. You can get snow and ice blocking the pass sealing the Dogs in town, but the Dogs aren't bound by your "stuck there until spring" after the conflict. They're stuck there until they try to leave and you either say yes or take it to dice.

Its the same with shooting. You can narrate I shoot you in the hand on your go, and if they take the blow, they get shot in the hand. But you can't say I shoot you in the hand and you can't shoot your gun for the next three months.

Quote
With regard to the other issue, I felt like the thing with the demons would have just been delaying the inevitable.  It might have led to more interesting developments, but at that time of night, I was more interested in getting to the end.  On the other hand, I strongly felt like it was exactly what the demons would do.
There's not much to say about it being late. If you're getting tired, its time to start wrapping things up. However, "exactly what the demons would do" is not the litmus test. The question to ask is will this lead to an interesting conflict that will engage all of the players, including you? If not, do something else. Although, I think burning buildings and stampeding livestock tend to make for interesting conflicts.
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James R.
Simon C
Member

Posts: 510


« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 10:38:12 PM »

I think I see where you're coming from.  Let me explain the background to make sure we're on the same page.

The demons want the dogs out of town, so they can keep escalating the conflict.  One of the things the demons are doing is bringing in snows early.  I've been mentioning through the whole game about how winter is coming in early, and folks kept telling the dogs that the pass is pretty much impassible once the snow comes.

Elijah doesn't want to resolve things with Virgil, because he's too proud.  Elijah has just made the leap to false doctrine and sorcery, so he's able to call on the demons for help.  In the conflict, while he's saying "if you don't leave, you'll be trapped", what he's really doing is calling on the demons to make that true.  The dogs take the blow, effectively saying "we'll take our chances" and "if that's what it takes". 

So what you're saying is that the consequences of that raise is that the pass is full of snow, but whether that means the dogs are stuck is a whole other issue?

I can see how that works.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1970


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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 12:03:36 AM »

Simon,

What happens if I narrate putting my shotgun against the Dog's head and pulling the trigger, then advancing enough dice that they have to take the blow?

Do I blow their head off? What happens if the fallout roll is lousy, and they don't die?

That's part of the craft of DitV, I think. Yeah, he took the blow, and I shot him. I probably didn't blow his head off, though. He gets to narrate how he takes the blow. Maybe he narrates how he rolled to the side, and my shot took him in the back, but the armored plates sewn into his coat kept him from dying outright.. Maybe he dies at the end of the conflict, maybe he doesn't. That's what fallout decides.

In your case, I'd have the Dog take the blow in whatever appropriate way he wishes.. The possibility of him getting stuck in the town doesn't even matter until he's leaving. Maybe he takes the development trait "frostbite" because he had to fight his way through the storm. Maybe he takes the trait 'delayed'. Maybe it doesn't matter. The raise had its mechanical consequences and it's narrative response in the conflict.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
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