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Author Topic: DitV - Rules Clarification - "De-escalate"  (Read 3145 times)
carshow2
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« on: May 29, 2011, 12:02:01 PM »

Question both for the esteemed designer and those who've done this in the past: Is it possible to start a conflict at physical (or fightin' or gunfightin') and then to "de-escalate" in order to get more stat dice? (I searched the forum but only found one thread mentioning this - I apologize if the rules address this and I simply missed it) I imagine this could come up in conflict where someone returns to an earlier conflict (provided, of course, the location, players, and the escalation level are all different than the first time), or, in my case, where it was the end of the night, the NPC met the players at high noon, everyone knew the stakes, and we simply went straight to gunfighting.

I don't see anything in the rules that prevent this, but I would think it could be a bit anticlimactic if a player could just walk out and start talking when they run out of gun dice. I could see an argument how some cool stories could result from this (the one guys runs out of bullets and with just the power of his words and his faith manages to talk the opponent down), but it seems like such a use of stat dice would be susceptible to abuse.

So, can one de-escalate, or is the escalation mechanic a "one way ratchet"? Thoughts?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 02:20:13 PM »

Ooh! I want to jump into this one first.

The following is an entirely non-author's, player's only, dad-gum unofficial and totally inappropriate view.

My reading of the original text, in draft, then the first printing, and then the second one, is that escalation goes one way. Start by shooting, and that's what you have. I loved that. I loved the way that it tied into Traits, such that if you wanted to be the sort of guy who started with shooting, you best have a ton of Traits to beef it up to make up for all the d6's you were missing. I loved the way that if you got someone else shooting right off, you could stick those loudmouth talky guys right where they were forced to hit the dirt and try to fuck it ... And I loved the way that it worked classically, too, hoping that you could win by talking, but knowing that all those dice were just sitting there, especially when you started with a bad roll.

Anyway, you get the idea. Who should be so come-upped as me when I said to Malcolm Craig, concerning his Dogs-derived Soviet Ronnies entry, Defenders of the Union, that it would benefit from a reversal of the Dogs escalation steps, from shooting to fighting to talking ... when it was then revealed that you could escalate in either direction in Dogs.

So that was the revelation and I sighed. It opened up play in a way I didn't really prefer.

Best, Ron

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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 04:11:49 PM »

Yah, I concur with both Ron's reading and his opinion on the rule. "Escalation" in DiV means the process of bringing in more stats from your character by moving between the arenas of conflict. It does not matter which way you're going, the only thing that matters is whether you've already tagged that particular ability; if you have, then you don't get its dice another time even if you're moving to a new arena.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 04:27:09 PM »

Eero, I think you misunderstood me. My (incorrect) reading was that Talking only ever escalated either to Fighting, or possibly to Shooting; and Fighting only ever escalated to Shooting. In other words, you could rate them in order with Talking at 1, Fighting at 2, and Shooting at 3, and therefore the sequence could only ever go 1-2-3, or 2-3, or 1-3 directly, and if you started with 3, well, you were stuck only with 3. I am saying I liked that. I imagine I'm in a minority of one.

I am not advocating for that particular reading in the face of the designer's clarification, but I did like it.

Best, Ron
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 04:35:37 PM »

"Carshow2", The thing to remember (the MOST important thing to remember, in DitV conflicts) is that it must be a TRUE escalation (a true raise. As in "not ignorable")

For example, let's say you are in the middle of a gunfight. And you want to get the talking dice. It's not simply a matter of starting to talk. It's not enough to say "stop or I will kill you" You are already shooting at him, he can simply ignore your words.

The usual example cited by Vincent in a old thread was "Luke, I am your father" from The Empire Strikes Back.  It a bit of conversation after a light-saber duel, but it's a hell of a escalation. Try to ignore THAT.

In a gunfight in DitV, you could say "if you don't surrender, I will shoot your daughter, here" (assuming you have his 5-years old daughter with you). Something like that. Something that would make the other opponent pause in his shooting (to start a conversation with you, or to increase his shooting afterward, or to follow a new course of action to address your raise)

Require that every escalation is a true escalation (not a "de-escalation") even f you go from gunfight to talking, and the rule will work just fine.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
carshow2
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 04:31:17 PM »

Durn - I searched the forum for "deescalate" and "de-escalate," but not for "de-escalation"....thanks for pointing out that thread, Moreno. Any ideas where I can turn in my Junior Webelo Web Searching badge?

My assumption had also been that escalation was one way. My thought was that it might help foster followup conflicts and provide more pressure to call on the demons once somebody had gone all-in on gunfighting and had still come up short. In future games, I suspect I'll allow escalating from gunfighting to words provided none of the other players call bullshit and that it is in fact a bonafide escalation. I assume that will be the exception rather than the SOP.

Thanks for the input, all!
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 01:46:37 AM »

In future games, I suspect I'll allow escalating from gunfighting to words provided none of the other players call bullshit

The general rule in the game manual is even more strict than this.

From page 77-78:

"— As GM, you should always follow your group’s lead. A big part of your job in the first couple of sessions is to figure out, mostly by observation, your group’s standards for legit Raises and Sees, invoking traits, valid stakes, using ceremony, the supernatural, and so on.
However, 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. Everyone’s Raises etc. should come to meet the most critical player’s standards. As GM, it’s your special responsibility to pay attention, figure out what those standards are, and to press the group to live up to them.."

The way I usually explain this, is the "eyebrow rule": if even one player raise an eyebrow hearing a raise or a see, that raise or see isn't legit. Even if that player didn't complain openly.

It's a utopia, of course. The GM has already so many things to do during play that asking him to become a sort of Carl Lightman (Tim Roth in "Lie to Me") at the table, and be able to detect even unspoken problems, is a little too much. And it open him to the risk of becoming too much of a Mother Hen, worrying too much about some body language that maybe has nothing to with the last raise. (and I personally dislike any rule that make the GM responsible for the entire group enjoyment of a game. The players have been given a mouth by the Lord of Life, they should use it) But if you don't fall in the mother hen trap, it's a good way to empathize the fact that the rules, in DitV, don' tell you what is acceptable or not in a raise or a see. The rules only say HOW raises and sees are to be played, brought into play, their numerical and mechanical effect, but the range of acceptability is decided by the entire group. And not by a majority vote, but by the fact that every raise and see has to be acceptable by every single player at the table.

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Ciao,
Moreno.

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