[DitV] Jedi hack and Help with Town/Colony creation (long, help needed)

Started by Ayyavazi, January 24, 2012, 06:21:55 PM

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Greetings all,

I've run a few games of Dogs in the past but never hacked the game to be Jedi-centric. I've read the posts on it here in the forums and on story games (four threads in all) and gathered up a lot of useful changes, but little to do with town (colony) creation. So, I'd like to propose my changes and ask for feedback on a number of questions sequestered toward the bottom of this potentially long post.

For reference, the game will take place during the Clone Wars time period (I am not terribly familiar with any of the time periods, but my players promise to be forgiving). It also takes place in the Outer Rim ,where the Jedi are tasked with rooting out Separatists and Sith influence.

The Symbol of Office
I've seen a lot of good arguments for changing the Dog's Coat into a Lightsaber but have decided against it. I'll leave it as the Jedi's robe. Mostly this is because Sith or non-Jedi can acquire a Lightsaber and thus easily impersonate one, if it is the sole symbol of office. Though this may be a staple of Star Wars (I honestly don't know), it certainly never seemed to be a staple of Dogs that people could impersonate them. This is one of the things I am very impressionable on, so it might change to Lightsabers being the badge of office after all.

Converting Guns
The consensus seems to be that converting Guns in a Jedi game would logically go to Lightsabers, but I can't bring myself to do that. Guns in Dogs are common things, or at least common enough that the average person is able to escalate to gunfighting (in order to endanger the dogs). In a Jedi game, even though some people could have lightsabers, it would be ludicrous to assume that they ALL have them. Instead I have made Guns into Force or Force-equivalent (which is basically some high-powered guns, alien abilities that mimic or dampen the force, and other things).

Demonic Influence
This one seemed really easy, the Dark Side. Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering, and Suffering leads to the Dark Side. It maps nicely, and the Dark Side influence, rather than be controlled by a sorcerer will be controlled by the Sith in charge of whatever nefarious deeds are afoot.

Belongings and the Guns Conversion
Given that I've decided to change Guns to Force/Force Equivalent (relegating blasters and lightsabers to belongings that occupy the fighting slot on the escalation tree), there arises a problem with Belongings. Typically a Dog could have many guns to use in Gunfighting. I could reasonably upgrade Lightsabers into the Force equivalent category, but one can only be expected to use one or two of them at most. So, I have created a sub-set of belongings called Force Powers. They function just like belongings (in that they can be taken away through fallout, explained as the dampening or damage to whatever it is that controls a Jedi's force ability). Having or not having a Force Power does not preclude someone from using it. What I mean is that just because someone hasn't written Force Push on their sheet doesn't mean they can't force push, it means they aren't particularly specialized in it and don't get any extra dice for the flavorful description of its use. Of course taking a Force Power (like taking a gun) adds in that lovely d4 for complications.

Belongings, Relationships, and Droids
Being that droids are such a staple of Star Wars, especially during the Clone Wars, they occupy belongings when they will be used by the character, and relationships when the character wants to work against them or have them as the stakes of a conflict. In circumstances regarding the rules for Big and Excellent, a Big Droid does not need to be physically large, though it is certainly possible. Big can also refer to increased capacities, whether it is upgraded programming, weapons, or other reasonable "improvements"

Upgrading Belongings
An interesting thing I noticed regarding Belongings in core Dogs, is that players can start with d10 belongings (if they spend the trait dice to do so), but cannot ever improve belongings up to that point once play has started. The rules simply don't address it, technically speaking at least. I think it would not be much of a leap to say that the experience chart could be extended to allow the upgrading of belongings from poor, to normal, to excellent or big to excellent and big, and then to better than excellent, much the way you could improve a d8 trait to a d10 trait. I believe there is inherent balance (indeed, great risk) in investing such experience into a belonging when it can be erased completely with a single appropriate fallout (which could never happen to a trait). And, if the character uses experience to add that belonging (or in some cases, Force Power) to the sheet, it could never start better than Big and Excellent, even though it may have had many d10s of dice! I feel such a rule dovetails nicely with the rules about Droids as Belongings and Force Powers as a subset.

Relationships and Blood
I must be honest, this is the hardest conversion for me. In Dogs, given the Faith and the setting, having plenty of family members rooting around to get free d6 relationships makes perfect sense. In the far flung reaches of the Outer Rim where not all colonies will even have the same race as the Jedi, this part becomes harder. I've read about the idea of replacing or supplementing relationships with passions (or Desires/Fears) and making them increase die size based on use (rather than the experience chart), but wonder if it might be too complicated. For now, I am going to supplement relationships with Fears/Desires, but instead of Blood relations being a free d6, people with competing passions become the free d6. I feel this will encourage the players to take a healthy does of passions. The Passions will start as Fears or Desires at d4 when added. This means one of the fallout experiences is actually add a fear/passion at 1d4, in addition to the typical add relationship at 1d4. Another fallout experience option will become to upgrade a Fear or Desire to Anger, which is a d6. Still another to upgrade Anger to Hate, at 1d8, and still another to upgrade Hate to Suffering at 1d10. Players will also have the option of increasing the number of dice rather than the die size, though GM discretion is advised.  The Normal Experience chart will have its typical options, meaning a character can use it roll down the die size by one, effectively using his experience to try to keep growing Passions in check.

When someone uses Suffering, it opens them up to the Dark Side. Another Fallout Experience option becomes to add a special dark side trait (equivalent to a relationship with a Demon in vanilla Dogs, but functioning like a trait) at 1d4. Like calling on a demon for help, calling on the Dark Side lets a player use the Dark Side influence dice on his side in a conflict in addition to the trait dice. At the end of any conflict where this is done, the player is presented with a choice: they may either increase the die size of their Dark Side trait by one step, or add a die to it. Again, GM discretion is advised, as players may purposely increase number of dice to avoid temptation of big dice. Also, Fallout Experience related to use of a suffering can also add the die or increase the die size, meaning that the Dark Side trait can grow very quickly (and become extremely tempting).  Under these rules, a relationship with the Dark Side will not allow a player to call upon the Dark Side for help, but will function like any other relationship (I realize this actually may make relationships with the Dark Side too powerful, as it is far more general than relationships with specific demons).

Character Creation and Passions
Players pick a background for their character which includes many different die sizes in the Relationships category, which means they may start with some Passions already at the Anger, Hate or Suffering levels. I think overall this is a good idea, and can really enhance the initiations conflicts as players try to curb their passions, effectively reducing or increasing the dice as part of stakes.

The Battlefield of Morality
In one of the threads I read, I encountered a great way to look at the game and game changes regarding morality. In Dogs, the battlefield of morality is the town, with the player characters defining good and the demons defining evil. In this Jedi game I will be following Vaxalon's lead and shifting that border. The players are defining good, and I as the GM are defining evil, but the Player Characters are the Battlefield. The colony becomes set dressing, much like in a good zombie movie, where the zombies are background for the troubles between the survivors.

That sums up the rules changes I am going to be using. I could use any suggestions for other changes, or insight into how my proposed changes may break the game or unbalance it. Now, for my specific questions (in order of relative importance):

1. How do I create colonies for this location and time period? The old trope of adultery doesn't have nearly the same punch anymore, and the scope of a couple people having monetary squabbles obviously doesn't cut it either. What kinds of problems with Sith and Separatists will energize the Jedi and force them into action? In addition, I recognize that these things have to cause lots of internal conflict. Maybe the system of passions and the NPCs I design to beat the Passions drum will be enough to do that, but I'd like any insight you have to offer.

2. What are some good resources for learning about this time period in Star Wars. I have been recommended to watch the Clone Wars cartoon but may not be able to absorb all of that in time for my next session (in just 6 days). Is there anything I can read that sums up the key components and might suggest colony ideas? Stuff about what you can and can't do with droids, the dark side, sith and everything else?

3. What are some things that worked for you in running hacks like this? And is there a detailed sheet somewhere I could reference, in case my rules changes prove too clunky? The threads I've scoured have bits and pieces here and there, and though this is my attempt to consolidate and change it the way I'd like to see it, I'm interested to see if anyone has the done the same or similar.

4. What kinds of ceremony should replace those found in Dogs? I know some map easily, like the laying on of hands, but others such as reciting the book of life or anointing with earth are a tad harder. Are the ceremonies even necessary? I suppose they might be if exorcism changes into bringing someone back from the dark side. Power of three could become Master and Apprentice, but none of my players are likely to be traveling around with their Master, so that could become limiting.

5. What do I do about traits that get out of hand? One of my characters has a trait Fast Talker 2d10. He can use it in almost any conflict, and it will quickly become absurd if he puts too many dice in it, and I only have so much fallout experience to go around given the Passions supplement to Relationships. Is it even a problem? Maybe 5 or 6d10 in a trait like that isn't so bad, if I think outside the box on how to deal with it. Any thoughts?

Thanks again for your help and time.


P.S. Lumpley, In may of 2010 you answered some rules questions I had about Dogs and really gave me some great insights into town creation that I never thanked you for. Though the game never had that next session, I appreciate your help and apologize for waiting so long to say so. Thanks again for this great game.