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[DitV] First game, Good Time Had

Started by David Laurence, September 19, 2005, 02:16:18 AM

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David Laurence

So, we played Dogs, and we liked it.

First, a bit of background. There were two of us playing, me and my friend Brennan. Both guys, both 30-ish. I haven't done any face-to-face roleplaying in 10 or 11 years, because I was living abroad for most of that and didn't have the confidence in my Japanese abilities to play there. But, the two of us have been role-playing by e-mail for a good 7 or 8 years, very by-the-book Mage and Exalted – which we've enjoyed. He's been playing in a few stable table-top games, mostly using Savage Worlds, over the past 10 years or so – again, very standard stuff. In short, this is the first time we've met face-to-face in 2 years, the first time we've gamed together face-to-face in 10, and the first time either of us have tried a Forge-type game. I was the GM. So.

We started off with character creation, pretty much going through the steps in the book, not worrying too much about having a fully-fleshed-out character at any step, and we did indeed end up with the beginnings of an interesting Dog. The creation process was very collaborative, with lots of back-and-forth. I've bought and read a bunch of indie games lately, and he's never really been exposed, giving me a bit of an edge up – I felt like I was coaching him a bit, but he seemed to appreciate it. We ended up with:

Brother Cuthbert (I'm maintaining the way Brennan wrote stuff)
Background: Well-Rounded (because it seemed like a safe place to start)
Stats: Acuity 5d6, Body 4d6, Heart 4d6, Will 4d6
Traits (again, since Brennan wasn't feeling particularly inspired, we went straight through the advice in the section, and got)
I'm a good shot 1d6, My granddaddy taught me to shoot 2d8, Appreciation for poetry 1d6, But ashamed for it 1d4, Big but quiet 1d6, I'm a Dog 1d6
Relationships (leaving most unassigned)
Granddaddy 1d8
Belongings: Coat 2d6 (which he only described rather vaguely, but I didn't feel I should push it), Gun 1d6+1d4, Knife 1d8, Book o' poetry 1d6

So, on to the initiatory conflict. We hemmed and hawed and danced around a bit, working through "I want to find poetry in the Scripture" to end up with "I want to gain deeper insight into my role as a Dog," which seemed all right. We set up a scene in the hallway of the Temple, with his Scripture teacher, starting with Just Talking. Unfortunately, I rolled really really badly on my 4d6+4d10, and he won handily. But that was OK, because it gave us a chance to work through conflict resolution. It wasn't really a problem, but at this stage we were tending to stay a step or two back from the characters we were playing. It was rather sketchy – and this probably has to do with me failing to set a non-sketchy tone. My lack of recent experience in face-to-face roleplaying was showing through here, I think. At any rate, he picked up the trait "Found deeper insight into role as a Dog 1d6."

After a bit of a chat about this wacky new way of resolving conflicts (basically, we decided it was interesting and we liked it), we jumped into the town. Here's a link to the lumpley games forums where I laid it out. The only difference I set up was having Br. Cuthbert ride right into town to find Br. Elijah preparing to beat the tar out of Cousin Hiram - presumably Sister Eudora told him and he put 2 and 2 together, but it doesn't really matter. Conflict was initiated, with stakes of "separate Br. Elijah and Cousin Hiram) starting with talking. Brennan rolled less well here, and Br. Elijah had a number of relevant traits, including a hefty d4 relationship with Br. Hiram (who was what was at stake). Br. Cuthbert managed to win, by pulling in most of his Traits and finally escalating to Fighting, to which Br. Elijah didn't stand up – he was mad, but not mad enough to throw down with a Dog. Brennan got 6 dice of fallout, for 1 permanent (he took the Trait "Not good at mediating 1d4") and 1 experience (a 1d6 relationship with Br. Elijah).

Then we spend a good little bit of time role-playing in-character. Br. Cuthbert was able to get the whole truth of the matter from Br. Elijah and Cousin Hiram (the latter of whom had nothing to hide since his secret was out). He talked to Cousin Hiram's parents – Uncle Adolphus was willing to overlook their transgression in the name of love, and was in favor of Cousin Hiram courting her, while Aunt Patience didn't want him to have anything to do with the hussy. There was a quick talk with the Steward, but at this point I could tell Brennan was flailing a bit, looking for a "right answer," so I stopped play and said, "look, you know everything, it's just a question of what you're going to do about it and how you're going to deal with the people who disagree." He said he'd been starting to get that idea, and seemed pleasantly stunned at the thought of this kind of moral choice in gaming.

Unfortunately, we had to call it a night at that point to go to dinner with some friends, but talking with him about it he definitely seemed interested in continuing to play – we both thought it would be a heck of a lot more interesting with more than one Dog, but even with just one it was good fun. I, at least, felt is was sort of a shame we had to quit before the meat of the situation – making a decision and dealing with angry mothers and fathers. But hopefully we'll get another chance.

This was a good experience for me, giving me the chance to exercise my tabletop muscles, which have pretty much atrophied after so long. I really felt like my characterizations and descriptions were flat, and Brennan responded to that with more of the same. Plus, of course, it was a fun game. I'm looking forward to continuing, and it seems like Brennan is too. I'll point him here and see if he has anything else to add.
David Laurence


Sounds like a great session, considering your rust and only having one Dog.  The initatory conflict reminded me of one of mine; the dice made it a cake walk, but it was still good practice for raising and seeing.

I particularly liked this part:
Quote from: David Laurenceso I stopped play and said, "look, you know everything, it's just a question of what you're going to do about it and how you're going to deal with the people who disagree." He said he'd been starting to get that idea, and seemed pleasantly stunned at the thought of this kind of moral choice in gaming.

Think you'll play again? Any hope of rounding up a few more dogs for your next go?

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

David Laurence

I wouldn't go so far as to say a "great" session, but it was fun. Getting our minds around the conflict system and how it's deeply entwined with roleplaying during a conflict made it feel like more of an abstract intellectual exercise than what we're used to calling "a roleplaying game." Especially on Brennan's part (I think because he was still getting a handle on Br. Cuthbert's particular sense of morality - I'd thought about the NPCs before so didn't have the problem), there were pauses to consider dice tactics and think about whether he really wanted to escalate and so on, which sort of chopped up the roleplay. On the other hand, even just over the course of two conflicts, I could see and feel a big increase in comfort level - talking about it, we both decided that it would be pretty easy for us to get used to.

We're definitely planning to play again - probably within the next month or so and probably with at least one more PC.
David Laurence