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Author Topic: Dogs in the IRC: Sorrow, part I  (Read 5305 times)

Posts: 407

« on: October 19, 2004, 10:53:20 AM »

<jwalton> By the way, the town's called "Sorrow."

Jezebel (me)
Hosea Laurent (Michael)
Esau (Danny)
Cyrus (Ben)
Jared (Claire)

Dogs in the IRC characters can be found here.
Character initiations can be found here.

I’ll start with a summary and provide snippits from game play, but leave off the full log with peanut gallery comments.  I will include the full logs of the two challenges that happened, for folks who want to get a real feel for how Dogs works in action.

We yakked around a bit while waiting for everyone to show up and get settled, and bounced around some soundtrack stuff; who was listening to what, then got into the game.

Jon had us start off with each player giving first a couple lines to summarize their initiation and then a couple lines saying how they were going on the road (where they ride, how they’re interacting, etc).  This was a great idea and did a really good job (for me, at least, I think for the others as well) of dropping us back into character and getting into the Dogs frame of mind.  I’m totally stealing it.
<jwalton> so "on the last episode of Dogs in the Vineyard..."
<jwalton> everybody recap your initiation for the folks at home.  like three sentences.
<Hosea_Laurent> Hosea has a bunch of flashback sequences. He gets his ass handed to him a bit, but guess what? It's a Dog's Life; it is what it is. King's calling, got work to do.
<Jezebel> Jezebel was certain her beauty was nothing but a curse.  Brother Micah gave her a talking too and told her that no matter where her beauty came from, now she's filled with the light of the King of Life.
<Claire_Jared> Jared failed to trust in the Lord of Life to ease his sister's pain, tried to do to much himself and botched it.  His sister is still hurting, he hasn't learnt when to let things me.
<Cyrus> Farm-girl chick.
<Esau> Esau fell into sin, and was confronted by a deadly enemy.
<Esau> Worse yet, the enemy was right.
<jwalton> cool.  that's it?
<Cyrus> Seems like all of us.
<jwalton> right, so you all passed your final trial at the Temple in one form or another, got your coats, they handed out horses and long goodbyes, and then they pointed you down the road to the troubled community of Sorrow.
<jwalton> so give us a sentence of your character on the trail.  who's riding point, who's hanging back, what you're thinking about duing the long journey, etc.
<jwalton> and then we'll ride into town.
<Jezebel> Jez is an early riser.  She doesn't make a big deal of it if anyone isn't, but she's usually the first up, which means she usually takes care of cooking breakfast and lets the cleaning up to others.  She also has no damn call to look that good right when she wakes up.
<Esau> Esau is quiet and tense, but does more than his share of the work.  Every so often, he rides on ahead to "scout" when he's got a bellyfull of the others.  He tries hard not to stare at Jez.
<Hosea_Laurent> Okay, well, since no one else is, Hosea's riding up front. ;) Been wondering if he'll run across his Cousin Amayn, another Dog; been wondering what's in store at Sorrow, and that's a bad named town, sure to invite troubles with a name like that. Gets into the peoples' head. Sorrow's gonna be trouble.
<Claire_Jared> Jared's not a natural on the trail yet, but he's acting a lot more confident since he's more at home than Cyrus at least.  He's trying to work out his fellow Dogs, turning each over in his head like a puzzle stone he can't work out, then putting then away and deliberately not worrying about it.
<Cyrus> Okay, so here is my moment.  Cyrus spends most of his time with his books, and doesn't really pay much attention to anyone else.  But, one night, as they're sitting around the campfire, someone (whoever wants to do this can have done it) asks what's in that book of his anyway.  "Stories," he says.  "What kinda stories?"  And Cyrus stands up, and reads:  "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more; / Or close up the wall with our English dead..."
<Cyrus> And when he reads it, he's suddenly got this passion in his voice, and you can't tell if he's about to cry or about to go storming off like an angel of vengeance.  Then, when he's done he sits down, folds the book up, and doesn't talk again until the next day.
<jwalton> sweet.  beautiful work, folks.

Jon then narrated us into the Valley of Sorrow, and we got the first indication of somethin’ not right: a lot of smoke and such as though there was another town practically right on top of Sorrow.  None of us had heard anything about another town in this valley.  We talked a little about checking it out right off, but Hosea put his foot down and said that Dogs check with the Steward first, so off we went.  We see a little bit of scenery on the way in, including some kids that mostly run off and some old biddies that give us the second indication of trouble:
<jwalton> one of the more grumpy looking ladies greets you with, "'Bout time y'all done got here."

We let the bait slide and rode on to the Steward, where things got mighty interesting.  As we come up to that end of town we notice a burnt out building from a few seasons back, that’s just now starting to be cleared and new construction laid.
The Steward greeted us, we gave him the mail, and then Hosea drives right to it, asking/telling the Steward that some folks in town are a little to glad to see us, and what’s goin on?  The Steward takes most of the Dogs out of town a bit, saying it’d be better to show ‘em while Jez stays to help his little girl (6 and a HALF!) with the horses.

Steward leads the dogs up a hill to see:
<jwalton> Just then, you get high enough up the slope that you can see over the top of the mesa, where there is clearly a sizable settlement of Mountain People, campfires burning, huts struck, horses prowling around, and people walking back and forth.

Cyrus, given his first exposure to mountainfolk (not counting Esau, he’s almost as civilized as the other Dogs) blanches and decides to “see to our accommodations”
The Steward spills a bit of background, saying the mountain folk were here three seasons past and burnt down the mission, then left, but now they’re back for Ezekiel.  He breaks himself off there and says it’s a long story, best told over supper.  Cut scene to Jezebel and the little girl, Emily.  We do a little bit of scene setting, and then Jon reminds me that we ought to be rolling dice or moving on.
<jwalton> I think we should roll conflict for Jez and Emily.  What do you want from her?
<Jezebel> Kay.  I want to find out if Bo Mac is doing his job as Steward. (I realize she might have a biased view)
<jwalton> cool.  just talking, right, so that's Acuity + Heart.
<jwalton> #roll 6[1d6]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [6[1d6]]: 1 1 3 3 4 5 >
<Jezebel> accuity+heart, I'm not adding any relationships to anyone (yet), so 7d6
<Jezebel> #roll 7[1d6]
-RPGServ:#dogs- <Roll for Jezebel [7[1d6]]: 1 3 4 4 4 5 6 >
<jwalton> I'm going to add "Daddy's the Steward"
<jwalton> #roll 1d10
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [1d10]: 4>  
<Cyrus> uh-oh, Jez.  Looks like you might be wanting some more dice.
<jwalton> 1 1 3 3 4 4 5, you start Jez.
<Cyrus> Be pretty!  little girls look up to pretty older girls.
<Jezebel> (I've got high roll, so I'll open)
<jwalton> yeah, that's See/Raise material tho.
<Cyrus> (I know.  I'm just peanut gallery suggesting raises.  Think of me like an obnoxious fan at a baseball game who yells at the manager.)
<jwalton> (or the obnoxious Chinese football fans. "wo cao ni ma! wang ba dan!")
<Jezebel> 4+3: After the boys have lead away the other horses, Jez waits until they're into the rhythm of the horsecare.  "Has your daddy been Steward long?"
<jwalton> that's a raise?  looks like an innocent question to me.  I'm honestly unsure how to respond.
<Jezebel> Call it leading the witness. :)
<Cyrus> (damn, those chinese fans are vulgar.)
<jwalton> oh, okay, so you're really asking her to spill, disguised as an innocent question?
<Jezebel> Leading the witness always starts looking like innocent questions.  Yeah, pretty much.  I'm implying that her daddy doesn't seem like he's doing a good job on account of maybe being new.
<jwalton> 4+3 Block: "Since before I was born.  And the bestest steward Sorrow's ever had."
<jwalton> can I pass on a Raise?  I just don't seem Em as being aggressive in her protection of her father.
<jwalton> or she could Raise by changing the subject, maybe.  does that work?
<Jezebel> make a crappy raise, dice-wise, then.   Something like "have you ever seen a better steward?"
<Cyrus> (Jon: she could also try to change the subject as a raise.  Or, frankly, the statement of "bestest steward" could be a raise.)
<jwalton> okay, got it.  Raise 1+1: "he don't let nobody push him around twice. he told me so."
<Jezebel> (bestest steward does make a good raise, in context.
<Jezebel> (4: turning the blow) Jez stops what she's doing, long enough for Em to notice. "Push him around?"
<Jezebel> #roll 1 [1d8]
<Jezebel> (trait: I can see hypocrisy a mile away)
<Jezebel> #roll 1[1d8]
-RPGServ:#dogs- <Roll for Jezebel [1[1d8]]: 8 >
<Hosea_Laurent> Woo!
<jwalton> damn.
<Jezebel> raise (4)+4: "What kinds of things ain't your daddy doing that folks have call to push him around?"
<jwalton> Take the Blow (4+5): Well... some folks think he ain't tough enough.  Like how he let them injuns take all the good injuns back after they done burned the mission."
<Jezebel> (this would be where the hitherto unmentioned guilt comes in... I don't wanna make little Em take fallout!)
<Esau> (a little late for that, I think)
<Cyrus> (jon, that's a block, not a taking the blow.)
<Jezebel> (actually jon, that's a dodge or block)
<Cyrus> (taking the blow is 3 or more dice.)
<jwalton> fuck. right.
<Cyrus> (just use three dice instead.)
<jwalton> 1 + 4 + 5 then.  she can't Raise anyway.
<Cyrus> (Okay, so that's it?)
<jwalton> then, roll. "I don't like them injuns."
<jwalton> #roll 2[1d6]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [2[1d6]]: 5 2 >
<jwalton> and Raise you 5 + 2: "But he's not lettin' em do nothing this time.  like a good steward"
<jwalton> now you Reverse the Blow and win.
<Jezebel> 8: turn the blow: Jez kneels right down and looks Em in the eyes. "A Stewards job is to see to the Faithful, child, not say one way or the other about folks outside."
<Jezebel> Raise +1: "Now tell me true, do you think your daddy does right by Sorrow?"
<jwalton> ouch.  okay, so I think Em's going to Give.
<jwalton> which normally means you narrate, right?
<Jezebel> I believe so.
<Cyrus> (no!)
<Cyrus> You play as normal.
<Cyrus> Just, like, Em spills her guts.
<Cyrus> (I'm almost certain that there aren't pervy narration rules in Dogs.)
<Jezebel> (yup, he's right - sorry.)
<jwalton> sigh.  okay.
<Jezebel> I just get to say what happens re: the stakes.  So, umm... Em tells me what she really thinks.
<jwalton> "Well, he's having trouble making the injuns go away this time.  They keep sayin' that they won't leave without Ezekiel, but pa's worried that they'll just kill him, and pa won't let them kill one of his sheep.  So I don't know what he's gonna do.  Not even pa knows what to do, and I'm a little scared and..."
<jwalton> She wraps her arms around your knees and shivers a bit.  "You're not going to hurt my pa, are you?"
<Jezebel> "It's all right, child.  Dogs are here now, and we'll help your daddy set it right."
<Hosea_Laurent> (i like that! help your daddy set it right)
<jwalton> She smiles at you through shimmering eyes.  Cut.
<jwalton> Let's do dinner!
<Jezebel> She ruffles Em's hair and sets her up on her feet.  "Now lets get these horses set away; I think I see someone comin' down the hill."

We cut to dinner, with some pre-dinner banter going on, which the medium of IRC actually benefited:
<Jezebel> Yeah, dinner!
<jwalton> So everybody piles into Bo Mac's house and gathers around his big table that's obviously made for serving large groups of guests.
<jwalton> his wife busies herself around with preparing things, and Emily goes out to invite some people over to dine with the Dogs (which is, of course, an honor).
<Jezebel> Jez looks at the Steward.  "Is Ezekial coming?"
<Hosea_Laurent> "Smells mighty good, ma'am, could do with a proper meal."
* Cyrus is reading a book in the corner, occasionally glancing up to take in the surroundings and conversation.
<jwalton> Bo Mac says "No," without thinking.  But then he realizes that you weren't with him when he mentioned Ezekiel and must have talk to Emily.  He narrows one of his eyes at you, surprised.
<Jezebel> "We'll be wantin' to talk to him at some length, I think."
<jwalton> Mrs. Mac (?) drops a big plate of hearty country goodness in front of Hosea.  "Well, then don't you bother waiting for them Amesburys none.  Dig in boy!"
<Jezebel> "But I suppose that can wait."
<Hosea_Laurent> Hosea murmurs out of the side of his mouth, "Book away, Brother Cyrus. Bit rude out here."
<Claire_Jared> Jared takes himself off for a few minutes and returns with clean face and clean hands.  He walks into Bo Mac's look at Jez and looks from one to the other in comfusion.
* Cyrus looks up at Hosea, clearly surprised that there is any sense of "rude" or "polite" in the middle of nowhere boonies with savages in the hills.  He puts the book away.
<Jezebel> (damn!  Normally the line bouncing in IRC causes continuity issues, but I'll be damned if that didn't make a pretty scene)

I just really liked the way the threads crossed, it felt an awful lot like a big room with a lot of stuff going on, some tension underscored by comedy.

The houseguests, the Amesburys (Abraham and Isabella and their daughter Rachel) arrive, and introductions are made.  Unfortunately Danny had to drop off a bit before this, so we skipped past the revelation that the Amesbury’s have a son training to be a Dog, who happened to be Esau’s rival from his initiation.
We wrangled a bit with the Steward over who should say grace, but didn’t roll dice; in a tabletop maybe we should have, but with challenges running so long in IRC I think Jon looked at the dogs arrayed agin and decided to just give.  The Steward has Abraham give grace, and we get our (as later mentioned: screamed "Come an' get it!  Hot juicy plot, right from the horses's mouth!") next revelation:
<jwalton> Abraham bows his head.
<jwalton> 10 minutes later...
<jwalton> "...and for all these things we ask your blessings and compassion, O King..."
<jwalton> "... especially as we are now in the grip of heathens and apostates.  Let not your people fade into the darkness, but shine like a light even unto the dark places of the earth.  Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and us into thy service.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Here is where Cyrus and Jared show the rest of us Dogs the fine art of tag-team smackdown, with the second challenge.  As with the last challenge, I’ve left the peanut gallery comments in, as it demonstrates a couple minor stumbling blocks we had with group challenges.
<Hosea_Laurent> "Amen"
<Claire_Jared> "Amen"
<Esau> Esau frowns at the odd prayer, then grins.  "Amen and dig in!"
<Cyrus> Okay, I'm initiating a challenge.  Just talking.  The stakes are getting a straight, clear answer of what's wrong out of the "upper crust" of this town.  The degree is just talking.  "Amen."
<Jezebel> "Amen."
<jwalton> The folk all look a bit startled at Esau.
<jwalton> go for it.  do I roll for the group?
<Cyrus> yes.
<Cyrus> #roll 10[1d6]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for Cyrus [10[1d6]]: 1 1 3 3 4 3 6 3 4 6 >
<Jezebel> Jez is certainly willing to kick in on this...
<Claire_Jared> I'm in that.
<jwalton> #roll 10[1d6]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [10[1d6]]: 6 3 5 4 3 1 1 1 2 1 >
<Jezebel> #roll 7[1d6]
-RPGServ:#dogs- <Roll for Jezebel [7[1d6]]: 5 4 1 1 3 2 6 >
<Cyrus> Roll, so I can make my opening bid.
<Hosea_Laurent> Hmm, we can combine dice somehow?
<Claire_Jared> #roll 8[1d6]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for Claire_Jared [8[1d6]]: 6 2 3 1 3 4 4 5 >
<Esau> (OK if Esau sits it out?  He's not the kind to let talking take up valuable eatin' time)
<Cyrus> Okay, I'm going to start this...
<jwalton> This is going to be over fast, I imagine.
<Jezebel> (Each time Jon raises we all have to respond)
<Cyrus> After the first bit of food, Cyrus looks Abraham straight in the eye.  "So, heathens and apostates, is it?" raise (6, 6)
<Jezebel> (woo!)
<Hosea_Laurent> Hosea's eatin' as well. He hasn't quite grown into this kinda conversation yet
<jwalton> It's not like they don't want to tell you what's wrong.  it's just don't want to tell you what's REALLY wrong.
<jwalton> Take the Blow (6, 3, 3): Bo Mac "You done seen 'em for yourself.  They say they'll burn the town to the ground if we don't hand over Ezekiel again."
<Jezebel> (go order:Cyrus, Jon, Clair, me)
<jwalton> Raise 4, 3: "But hell if I'm going to let them get the best of Beauregard McGillicuddy!"
<Jezebel> (Jon: who has to See your raise?  Probably just Cyrus so far, right?)
<jwalton> wait, make that a 2.  I'm out of 3's.
<jwalton> Right.
<Cyrus> block [3,3] I doubt they could, sir.
<Cyrus> (patient sounding, there.)
<Jezebel> (Clair's raise, now)
<Cyrus> (can I keep going, actually?  Clair's call.)
<Cyrus> (but I'm on a roll...)
<Claire_Jared> (I don't mind, I can raise, but if you've got something, go for it.)
<Jezebel> (I'm willing to let slide this round as well.)
<Cyrus> "But an apostate is not a savage nor a heathen.  And I trust you did not use that word in vain?" 3, 4
<jwalton> (nice.)
<Cyrus> #roll 1[1d4]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for Cyrus [1[1d4]]: 1 >
<Cyrus> (proper english, there.)
<jwalton> #roll 1d8
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [1d8]: 8>  
<jwalton> rolling "They're Not Our Responsibility"
<Cyrus> (How i feel like we should handle conversation is just have people jump in when they have something to
  say.  Turn order makes it a little stilted.  THis is just my opinion.)
<Jezebel> (Ok by me.)
<jwalton> Reversing the Blow 8: Abraham, "Well, maybe not apostates.  I don't think any of their kind can really convert to the Faith, so their return is not true apostacy."
<jwalton> (sure.)
<jwalton> Raise 8 + 1: Isabella, "So how do you plan to save us from the heathens? Drive them away?"
<jwalton> She glances suspicously at Esau.
<jwalton> Anybody can See who has a response handy.
* Cyrus clears his throat.  (1, 1, 1, 3, 3)
<Cyrus> (I've still got it, if you don't mind.)
<jwalton> (go)
<Jezebel> (np)
<Cyrus> #roll 1[1d10]
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for Cyrus [1[1d10]]: 8 >
<jwalton> ouch.
<Cyrus> "They came unto the Prophet, and spake unto him 'lord, our sheep have strayed from the fields, how can it be that this has come to pass?'  The Prophet replied 'it must be that the sheep do not love the field.'"  Cyrus pauses for a moment here. *more*
<Cyrus> "'Prophet, what can be done to make them love the field?'  The Prophet looked over the fields, and saw that they were fenced and barren.  'It is because their keepers do not let them walk.  The nature of sheep is to love the field.  If they stray, it is because the field cannot be loved.  The fault is not with the sheep, who know only their nature.  The fault is with the keepers.'  And the people heard his words, and their sheep returned, and they rejoiced."
<Cyrus> [4,8]
<jwalton> woah.  if we had Fan Mail, you'd get some.
<jwalton> rolling "Family First"
<jwalton> #roll 1d10
-RPGServ:#Dogs- <Roll for jwalton [1d10]: 7>  
<Hosea_Laurent> "Book of Earth, chapter 24, verse 5," Hosea mumbles automatically around a mouthful of food.
<Hosea_Laurent> ("What do you mean, where's my Book? Don't you have it memorised?" just for flavour, not dicin' it ;)
<Cyrus> (okay, guys.  I'm out of dice here.  So I can roll more, or someone else could jump in.)
<Jezebel> (claire?  you wanna tag in?)
<Jezebel> (after Jon gets his say back, of course)
<Cyrus> (well, first, let's get Jon's response.)
<Claire_Jared> (sure.)
<jwalton> Block 7, 5: Abraham, quoting easily from a passage he must have read hundreds of times and prayed upon, "They came to him and asked, 'Lord, what shall I do if my child turns away from you and will not listen?  The light has gone out inside him and has been consumed by the devil?  How do I love him?  How do I bring him home?' " (more)
<Cyrus> (jon -- I don't think you have a five?)
<Cyrus> (I have you at 7, 4, 2, 1, 1, 1)
<jwalton> (I have me a 5 1 1 1 +7)
<Cyrus> (huh.  Okay.)
<Claire_Jared> (my go now?  Or a raise first?)
<Hosea_Laurent> (he's got more)
<jwalton> "The Prophet answered him, 'You can love the dream of the faded light.  You can love the son that has gone astray, without loving the sin.  An open heart and an open hand is the way."
<jwalton> Raise 1, 1: Abraham, "My hand and heart remain upon.  But my child does not return.  It is no fault of mine."
<Hosea_Laurent> "Book of Micah, chapter 10, verse 1," Hosea mumbles automatically around another mouthful of food.
<Cyrus> (Okay, I could totally roll more traits, but does Claire want a turn?)
<jwalton> Let Claire go.
<Cyrus> (fair.)
<jwalton> I'd be good for Jared, one way or another.
<Jezebel> (Yeah.  Let Abraham realise he's dealing with Dogs.  Emphasis plural. :)
<jwalton> Claire, destroy him.
<Cyrus> (He's on the ropes!  Win this one for the King!)
<Claire_Jared> Reverse the Blow, 2:  Jared swallows his mouthful "But they have come back, haven't they?  They burnt the mission and they went, but now they're back."
<Jezebel> (ow!  Smackdown!)
<Cyrus> (ouch.  *I'm* reeling from that one.)
<jwalton> Abraham looks very surprised and a bit unnerved.
<Claire_Jared> Raise 2, 8:  "They want Ezekiel.  Why?"
<jwalton> (really nice one, Claire.)
<jwalton> They Give.  What do you want, Claire?  The Beef?
<Claire_Jared> (You asked for smackdown, and Jared's been itching to ask that question for ages.)
<Jezebel> (that was a damn sweet turning the blow, Claire)
<Claire_Jared> The Beef.  Why they're back, and what they want.  If that's not too much.
<jwalton> Sure, you got it.  On a bun with a pickle.

We then unfortunately had to pause for a bit as real life intervened, but did indeed get the skinny out of Abraham:
<jwalton> So there's this guy named Brother Zachariah who started a mission to the Mountain People in the town, slowly gaining converts from among the local MP.
<jwalton> One was a particularly "born again" convert named Ezekiel Mankiller, who took to his new faith with zeal and traveled to other MP communities, bring back converts to the mission.
<jwalton> The Mountain People didn't like this, obviously, so they showed up in a warparty, burned the mission, and demanded the return of the converts.  The steward, in a moment of weakness, agreed.  So the king-fearing natives returned with the warparty to live among the heathens.
<jwalton> But Ezekiel escaped, returned to sorrow, and is rebuilding the mission with the aid of Brother Zachariah.  So the Mountain People came back too, threatening to burn the whole city this time if Zeke is not returned to them (and the people in town suspect that they'll kill him, just to be sure).
<jwalton> How's that for Beef?
<Cyrus> Rare.

We cut scene here, and discussed the game to date, including where to go from here.  We agreed that we need to scene frame a bit more aggressively, and will start next week with a pair of scenes: Hosea goin to talk to Ezekial on his own, while the rest of the dogs go to the mountain folk and get the other side of the story.  There’s Faithful out there.


I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

Emily Care

Posts: 1126

« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2004, 12:28:22 PM »

Good stuff, you guys.  All this and you've only had dinner yet.

<Jezebel> raise (4)+4: "What kinds of things ain't your daddy doing that folks have call to push him around?"
<jwalton> Take the Blow (4+5): Well... some folks think he ain't tough enough. Like how he let them injuns take all the good injuns back after they done burned the mission."
<Jezebel> (this would be where the hitherto unmentioned guilt comes in... I don't wanna make little Em take fallout!)
<Esau> (a little late for that, I think)

How does it work for npcs--do they take fallout? I can't recall and will have to consult my tome when I get home.  Anyway, even if she does, no need for guilt.  Fallout is your friend, and could be Emily's too (nice name by the way :) Though that may seem counter-intuitional.

Thanks for sharing your process!


Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Posts: 221

Fresno, California

« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 01:51:57 PM »

Yeah, NPCs take fallout-- if no one cares about their fall out, the Dogs get to roll it on their side in the followup conflict instead.  Thanks for sharing this James (and all you IRCers)-- it's a good looking game to follow.

As a side note, I had a similar situation-- one Dog began a conflict and another arrived in the middle.  Because it wasn't a tag-team (more a conflict and a straggler conflict), it was 2 seperate conflicts in my case.  In your conflict, with only one Dog having to take the blow (make each call), you'll run them out of dice quickly.  It worked out well.  I also love the Book of Life quotations that everyone worked in.  

The stakes in your conflicts are also quite clear-- which is very handy at resolving conflicts.

Thanks for continuing to inspire,

Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Jonathan Walton

Posts: 1309

« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 05:10:40 PM »

Beautiful writeup, James.  Thanks a bunch!  It's been such a blast to play with you guys.  Not like some times when I've GMed in the past where I end up feeling weary at the end.  I come out of our Dogs sessions excited about what's going to happen next time.

I think some of us are getting used to Lumpley Style play.  I should have just had the old ladies or Bo Mac serve the Beef straight up right at the get go, but instead I forced Jez and Cyrus and Jared to drag it out of the NPCs.  Stupid gamer reflexes!  Argh!  Also, I'm still getting comfortable with the dice and quantified attributes and being confrontational with the PCs.  Do you know how long it's been since I've run a game that really used dice?  That encouraged me to try to win conflicts instead of thinking about Drama?  This'll be good for me, I'm sure, but it's not instictive yet.  Silly freeform mindset! Argh!

Next time: still more aggressive with the scene framing, more bleeding heart confrontations, more Beef that gets in your face, all the revelations come out early, and we get to see how the Dogs pass judgment.


Posts: 121

« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2004, 06:32:29 PM »

One thing I've noticed is that everyone seemed to be very into validating what people do and say.  Pretty much every action or comment is followed up by some positive feedback, and everyone really gets into what other people are doing.

It's very nice, but it's a bit different to what I'm used to.  I'm more used to one action in fifty getting a 'whoa, that was really neat!' comment, rather than every second one like it's felt like in this game.  I'm not sure what's different, but I know a couple of times I've done a double take when someone's given me positive feedback and I've felt that I haven't done anything that exceptional and haven't yet hit the standard I want.  But that's cool.  It does mean that the energy coming from the other players is fantastic.

Another thing I want to comment on is the conflict between Cyrus, Jared and Abraham.  Ben and Jon did a fantastic job with the bulk of it, then I got to finish it off.  That just felt a bit odd.  It was fun, sure, and I guess it really fit with the idea of one guy arguing with a group of Dogs, but I felt a bit like I hadn't earned it.  It wasn't a big deal, and I'm not fussed, but I just thought I'd mention it, because it did strike an odd note with me.  Is that how it should be?


Posts: 407

« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 08:26:49 PM »

Quote from: beingfrank
Another thing I want to comment on is the conflict between Cyrus, Jared and Abraham.  Ben and Jon did a fantastic job with the bulk of it, then I got to finish it off.  That just felt a bit odd.  It was fun, sure, and I guess it really fit with the idea of one guy arguing with a group of Dogs, but I felt a bit like I hadn't earned it.  It wasn't a big deal, and I'm not fussed, but I just thought I'd mention it, because it did strike an odd note with me.  Is that how it should be?

<Claire_Jared> Reverse the Blow, 2: Jared swallows his mouthful "But they have come back, haven't they? They burnt the mission and they went, but now they're back."
<jwalton> Abraham looks very surprised and a bit unnerved.
<Claire_Jared> Raise 2, 8: "They want Ezekiel. Why?"

Trust us, you earned it.  That was a blow turning that was beautiful.


I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

Jonathan Walton

Posts: 1309

« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2004, 10:29:06 PM »

Hmm, I do think that there is an abundant amount of affirmation that goes on in the IRC play I've done, both in Dogs and in the Dharma Thieves pick up game (which has its own Actual Play thread).  Honestly, it seems to me that this happens because the normal ways of affirming someone's participation (smiling, nodding, looking exciting, looking shocked, looking impressed, etc.) don't happen in IRC, but people want to encourage what others are doing and make sure other people know that their comments are being noticed and not ignored.

It's true that, at times, I thought people were being congratulated for stuff that wasn't THAT great.  I think, in particular, with the "What's the Beef?" scene, people were both 1) happy that the Beef had been solidly won, 2) happy that this back-and-forth Bible-thumping got demolished by a couple well-placed innocent questions, 3) happy that Jared got some attention and screen time, since it had been a mostly Hosea/Jez/Cyrus show up until that point.

I do think there are other ways of showing affirmation that are more productive than heaping on the peanut gallery compliments.  For instance, responding to what someone does or says in character does a lot more for the story than saying "Nice job!" or "Sweet!"  This is something that I have to learn too, of course, since having NPCs respond to you guys more would make the game denser and more complex.  Why don't we all see if we can work on that, huh?  Peanut gallery is cool, but first think about if an in character response is more appropriate.

« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2004, 03:09:05 PM »

I was restrained by outside factors from jumping in, which really hurt when I saw the big ol' plot hook with Esau's name on it.  

Two thoughts I had:

--I wonder how it would change things if we made an effort to increase the tempo of conflicts.  I've got a feeling that we have just as enjoyable play if we tried to take more of a "seat-of-the-pants" approach.  We probably couldn't get as fast as a poker game, but I'd like to find a faster rhythm of Raise-See-Raise.    This doesn't count as much for the GM, since he needs more processing time, as for us players.  If I can play next week, I'm going to try fast responses and see if the quality is the same.  I've got a feeling my responses would be better.

--Jon, you're absolutely right about IC responses.  I was there for most of the dinner scene, where Esau was sitting out the conflict for both IC and OOC reasons.  I was still following along, and having Esau react to the conflict as it develops would have been very appropriate.
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