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Author Topic: Banthas in the Vineyard  (Read 22717 times)
ashultz
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« on: November 18, 2004, 11:50:17 AM »

I was thinking of running a Star Wars game with a load of young Jedi wandering the galaxy before I got DitV, and upon receiving the game I was struck by what a good match it is... at least, I think so.

Jedi aren't supposted to judge, but they are there to help, and they are supposed to fight dark siders when they show up and generally support the justice that is declared by society.  I don't think the mechanics really require that the characters judge, only that they take action and deal with the results.  And the escalation mechanic is just the sort of conflict I would want to run - we talk, then we use the force, then we start throwing stuff around, then it's lightning bolts and lightsabers...

But I was wondering what thoughts people who have actually run the game would have on the subject, hence the post.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2004, 12:25:20 PM »

Clinton's Fourth Axiom of Game Design: Any good game can, with some effort, be used to play Jedi.

Dogs in the Vineyard is a strangely good match for a young Jedi Knights campaign. The focus on guns translates awesomely to lightsabers, and actually provides something no Star Wars game ever has: the ability to describe your different and interesting lightsaber. (In the new movies, the coolest part to me was the purple lightsaber. I don't know why, but custom, cool-looking applications of your supernatural persona rock it.)

The town-building advice is screaming out Star Wars. Shit, it's Yoda's "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side" speech translated into Old West Christian imagery. Building a town (or "colony"): decide what is making people fear. Fear has the repercussion of prejudice. Step 2, find out what's making people angry. Anger has the repercussion of injustice. Step 3, find out what's making people hate. Hate has the percussion of murder. Step 4 - man, it's the flipping Dark Side, complete with dead and gone evil Jedi demon-spirits, because, well, why not?
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2004, 01:18:16 PM »

Damn straight. There was an earlier thread about Wuxia (we'll call it Dragons in the Peach Orchard) where this came up.

There's an inherent morality to Star Wars that isn't present in DitV, and I think you probably have to consider the impact of introducing one to the environment.

- Do Jedi all have their own relationship with the Force, leading them to different - perhaps morally challenging - solutions? (Me, I hope so, but that's not reeeaally how it works in the movies.)

- What happens when a Jedi decides to choke or shoot lightning bolts at someone? I suspect they get an "I'm playing with the Dark Side - 3d4" trait when the fallout hits the fan. Like choked a couple of Gammorean Guards once he started wearing black, for instance.

- Evil is defined in DitV as going against the will of the King. In Star Wars, the Dark Side is defined as actions that lead to suffering. A Dog has no problem causing suffering if it cleanses the town.

I'm sure there's lots more to this and I think that, if you think it out beforehand, it could work really well. Play the game straight once or twice and I think the solutions will come to mind easily.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Judd
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2004, 08:33:19 PM »

Whenever someone has talked about alternate settings for DitV, I have quietly posted that it would rock for Jedi.
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ashultz
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2004, 10:56:33 AM »

Thanks for the Yoda quote, I had forgotten that.

I might just have the Dark Side be a regular skill that you can add to like any other...  and just raise the fallout dice as soon as the dark side comes out.

Because it seems like the only thing worse than a 2D4 dark side rating, which causes fallout, is a 2D10 darkside rating, which makes you want to use it to solve your problems.
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DannyK
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2004, 11:12:56 AM »

Damn, it is a nice fit, isn't it?  Even the Initiation scenes work, maybe as flashbacks to Jedi temple training.  

The big difference I can see is that there's really no depth to which a Dog can't go, as long as he's walking with the King of Life.  Burn a town to the ground, leaving only orphans?  Sure, if there's a good enough reason.  

There's no Humanity or Dark Side mechanic to work from, although I agree that Fallout seems the logical place to put it.  

If someone would care to write up a list of suggested traits and Fallout for SW, I wouldn't take it amiss.  I like the setting, but I don't know it all that well.
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2004, 12:02:30 PM »

I think it could work, and work well, especially if you took a slightly heterodox view of the Jedi. As it stands the issues of morality are all to true, and could lead to a very different feel than Dogs base presents.

However, I donít think that you have to take Jedi at face value. Despite what the Jedi masters say, Jedi in the movies routinely use their powers in questionable ways. Obi Wan controls minds, chops arms, manipulates fears, and so on. Luke chokes folks, blows up stations containing millions of folks (most of whom are assumed to be evil but any number of whom could have been custodians and prisoners), kills random guards, and so on. And in the prequels they took a cowards way out by making the evil army all droids Ė but had they been humans do we think that the jedi would have hacked their way through them with any less ferocity? (Given the head chopping off in Episode 2, Iím personally inclined to doubt it.)

So what is it, really, that separates a good jedi from a bad one? Iím going to suggest, for the convenience factor alone, that it is the twin forces of intention and control. A jedi who has the intention of helping others and does so from a position of self control is, essentially, working for the good force. A jedi who has bad intentions and no control of their lusts is working for the dark side. A jedi who does other than that is questionable.

Thus Obi Wanís arm chopping, Lukeís station blowing up, and all the decapitations in part 2 were all okay Ė because they were done with the intention of saving lives and done from a position of control. Lukeís attack on the Emperor, while done with good intentions, was done without his control (he was bowing to the Emperorís request) and thus opened a dark side window. Anakinís slaughtering of the village that killed his mother was bad, not because he killed a lot of folks, but because he was out of control and murderous when he did it. And of course Vaderís choking of the general in A New Hope was all bad because he did it with evil intentions (fear and power) and, despite his calm faÁade, did it because he couldnít control his temper.

Now the good thing for Banthas in the Vineyard about looking at Jedi like this is that there is only one person that can say if a Jedi did something out of control or with wicked intentions Ė their player. Your jedi could slaughter a whole town and say that it had to be done, and if the player holds that it was done with good intentions and self control, then itís true.

So the time when players pick up Dark Side fallout is when they chose to, in order to demonstrate that their character did something questionable. The Dark Side thus becomes something that the player, as well as the character, chooses. And when they get those 2d10 in Dark Side, the choice becomes ever the more tempting.
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- Brand Robins
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2004, 10:16:02 AM »

So, dig: escalation goes like this: talking, fighting, the Light Side, Light Sabers, the Dark Side.

That means that, if you've got Dark Side powers, you want to rush to them, escalating all the way to the top, choking people and throwing lightning bolts. You, the player, get to decide what a Light and what's a Dark power, for reasons stated in the last post. Maybe you can even take Dark side powers as negative fallout: you were beaten by a Sith with her mind control powers and now you hate them, so you take "I can use the Dark Side to force others to see what they do not wish to: 1d4". The key here is that you force someone, depriving them of the ability to choose. This isn't the gentle guidance of the weak-minded, this is putting a tablespoon of LSD into their punch.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
John Harper
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 01:49:49 PM »

I think Brand has it right. And the movies even support this view, if you care about such things.

The Jedi code is all about the emotional state of the Jedi. A Jedi is at peace. He does not act out of hatred, anger, fear, or aggression. The code doesn't say "do no harm" or even "be nice." A Jedi can basically do anything as long as they maintain their inner peace. When the inner peace is disturbed, and the Force is flowin', the Dark Side creeps in.

Like Brand said, the players are the ones who decide if the Jedi have inner peace or not. So it maps perfectly to the shifting morality play at the heart of Dogs.
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Trevis Martin
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2004, 12:59:20 AM »

I keep feeling that I'd wnat the town progression to go.

Someone FEARS something,  Fear leads to ANGER, Anger leads to HATE and HATE leads to SUFFERING.

quoting yoda of course.  I can't quite figure it yet, but if I can use it I will.

best,

Trevis
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2004, 07:03:25 AM »

I've been thinking about this topic muchly too.  I know my players would really dig it if we played a few games of Banthas.  So, here are some thoughts I've had on the subject.

Escalation
The only change I'd make would be to replace 'Gun Fighting' with 'Blasters or Lightsabers'.  So, the levels would be Talking/Physical/Fighting/Blasters or Lightsabers.  I'd also have Blasters & Lightsabers both dealing d10 Fallout.

Heirichy of Something-Is-Wrongness
1.  Fear
2.  Anger
3.  Hate
4.  Suffering
5.  The Dark Side

What's missing here are the 'manifestations' that each level takes on.  That is, Pride manifests Injustice, Sin manifests Demonic Attacks, False Doctrine manifests Corrupt Worship, and a False Priesthood manifests Sorcery.  So, what would the manifestations of Fear, Anger, Hate, Suffering, and The Dark Side be?  Dunno.  Still kinda rolling that bit about in my noggin.

Oooh.. in reviewing the whole thread again, I see that Clinton already had some ideas about that.  

Quote from: Clinton
Fear has the repercussion of prejudice. Step 2, find out what's making people angry. Anger has the repercussion of injustice. Step 3, find out what's making people hate. Hate has the percussion of murder. Step 4 - man, it's the flipping Dark Side, complete with dead and gone evil Jedi demon-spirits, because, well, why not?


I think those manifestations/repercussions might work nicely.  What's missing there is Suffering.

Light Side vs. Dark Side in PCs
There should be an infomal list of actions, attitudes, and such that define the Light Side vs. the Dark Side.  But, just like in Dogs, this list should only be held up against the NPCs for comparison.  The PC Jedi characters will only be guilty of using the Dark Side when their players decree that they are guilty.

I've given some thought to making slight alterations to the Fallout system to further represent the Dark vs. Light actions of the Jedi, but I've come to the conclution that I just don't think it's necessary.  If a player feels that his character is deserving of a 1d4 trait in 'I used the Dark Side', then he's already got ample opportunity to do so.

Jedi Powers and Fallout
I see the Jedi's super-powers as parallel to the Rituals of the Dogs.  A short list of available Jedi powers should be made, and a corresponding Fallout dice should be attached to it.  A few ideas come to mind:
Jedi Mind Trick  d4
Crazy Athletic Feats  d6
Force Lightning  d8

Lightsabers
I'll glom together the rules for Coats and for Guns to handle Lightsabers.  Every Jedi has one, every player should describe theirs in detail, the default value should be 2d6 as a quality item, and every lightsaber should come with an additional 1d4, as drawing a lightsaber will almost certainly bring complications with it.

Sorcerors and the Possessed
The rules for those that are possessed will work just fine when we think of them as Possessed with the Dark Side.  Or better yet... I just thought of it...  Replace Possessed with Seduced.  'Seduced by the Dark Side'.  And, finally, I'd replace Sorcerors with the Dark Jedi.  Oh yes.  Otherwise, I don't think there need to be any major changes with the powers associated with these characters.

Well, that's about it in my brain right now.  I think the Town-Building-Heirarchy needs some work.  It's too important an aspect of the game to let it get through half-assed.

Any more thoughts on the subject?

-Eric
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Solamasa
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2004, 10:42:53 AM »

Quote from: Technocrat13
Jedi Powers and Fallout
I see the Jedi's super-powers as parallel to the Rituals of the Dogs.  A short list of available Jedi powers should be made, and a corresponding Fallout dice should be attached to it.  A few ideas come to mind:
Jedi Mind Trick  d4
Crazy Athletic Feats  d6
Force Lightning  d8

I don't see the need to connect Force powers with Ceremonial Fallout; even in your list there's a one-to-one correspondence between Force powers and good old fashioned Fallout.  To wit, Jedi Mind Trick is talking; Crazy Athletics is physical; Force Lightning is non-gun weapons. It's all situational.  Like telekinesis:  d6 if you're holding someone back, d8 if you're repeatedly slamming them into a wall.  And so on.

And because you know someone will start juggling thermal detonators around, how best should the rules handle such a situation?  

I definitely can see these games taking place mostly on the Outer Rim, where law and justice are in short supply!
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2004, 02:33:40 PM »

Quote from: Solamasa
I definitely can see these games taking place mostly on the Outer Rim, where law and justice are in short supply!


Or in the very center of all things -- where justice is also in short supply, but there are political forces to make it more difficult to just hand it out willy nilly.
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- Brand Robins
jknevitt
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Forgeite Freshman


« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2004, 05:24:12 PM »

This thread is so good it hurts. Ouch!

That is all. :)
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James Knevitt
charlesperez
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Posts: 25


« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2004, 01:24:33 PM »

Let me take a stab at the "what's wrong with a community" hierarchy for BitV.

1a) Someone in the populace begins to fear.
1b) Fear, unchecked, manifests as prejudice, either by or toward the fearful individual.

2a) Prejudice creates opportunities for anger, either from being the object of prejudice or from the prejudiced having a false sense of entitlement.
2b) Anger manifests as injustice, committed by the angry or in outrage against someone else's display of anger.

3a) Injustice creates opportunitites for hatred, prompted by the unjust acts of others or by one's own unjust acts against others.
3b) Hatred manifests as acts of violence, perpetrated against objects of one's hate, or in retaliation against other violence. At this level, people may be seduced to the dark side by Dark Jedi already in existence.

4a) Violence, of course, leads to suffering.
4b) Suffering creates opportunities for the Dark Side, tempting one either by the power to cause more suffering or power to make the suffering stop. At this level, Dark Jedi may come into being on their own.

5) The dark side then vies for Dark Dominion, which basically means the Dark Jedi are in control of the community.

Dark Jedi may call upon the "how bad things are revealed to be" dice at any time, and get a 4d relationship with the Dark Side for free. Others seduced by the Dark Side must pay for the relationship to the Dark Side normally. Light-side Jedi may also call upon the "how bad" dice - at any time - with consequences that are up to the player. Rember that the easy path is always there.

Keep in mind that the Dark Side doesn't necessarily want many Dark Jedi to exist; it just wants them, and through them, it, to have the power. For example, in the original trilogy, there were only two Dark Jedi in evidence, and they were in charge of the Empire, and that was jake with the Dark Side. Suffering and dying are also secondary; the Dark Side is out for power.

Also, becoming a Dark Jedi is a purely personal act, even if others are seeing to your temptation. Unlike in Dogs, Dark Jedi cults don't exist; the closest anyone comes is a Dark Order, such as the Sith.

Regards,
Charles
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