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Author Topic: On removing homosexuality and violating gender roles as sins...  (Read 21357 times)
lumpley
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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2005, 06:33:08 AM »

Oh, and you might like to know that in real life I'm left-of-Democrat and I'm very proud to live in Massachusetts right now. In play, the game does NOT celebrate its setting's conservativism.

-Vincent
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Particle_Man
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2005, 06:06:43 PM »

Okay, (and here's hoping I am doing it right) lets take case 1 and start with Abigail, daugher of Clarence (the Steward).  Abigail falls in love with her friend Beatrice, and the feeling is reciprocated.  They have sex with each other.  Clarence discovers a love letter Beatrice wrote to Abigail and knows of their love, and that they have had sex.

Since, “unmarried women are supposed to be receptive to courtship”, but not from other women, Abigail’s father Clarence won’t allow her to see Beatrice and wishes Abigail to be married to Dudley as soon as possible.

Pride: Abigail considers her love to transcend sin and virtue.  Abigail, with respect to Beatrice, believes that her father is wrong to keep her from her love.

Pride creates Injustice: Abigail sees Beatrice behind her father’s back.  They continue to have sex, and fall more and more in love with each other.

Injustice creates sin: “It’s a sin to have sex with someone you are not married to”; “It’s a sin to lie”.  “between two women sex is a sin”.  Abigail continues to lie to her father, saying that she is no longer seeing Beatrice, but seeing her and having sex with her secretly.  Yet she is not responsive to Dudley’s courting, and that is something she cannot hide from her father.

Demons: “inspire lust” between Abigail and Beatrice (and also start to do so in other women in the town, though no other women have yet acted on it).  Abigail and Beatrice grow more and more in lust with each other, and find it harder and harder to be discreet.  Abigail is ready to proclaim her love (getting a set up for False Doctrine, but you wanted me to stop at Demonic Attacks).

Abigail wants the Dogs to give “permission” for her and Beatrice to live together as lovers (even to be married to each other).  Beatrice wants the same.  Clarence wants the Dogs to convince his daughter to marry Dudley ASAP.  Dudley wants the dogs to find out why Abigail is not responding to his courting.  The Demons want to inspire so much lust in Abigail and Beatrice that they will be open about their sexuality, and also to lead other women to abandon their husbands and live with other women.

If the dogs never arrived?  Clarence might well kill Beatrice.  Abigail might well kill Dudley.   

Is that enough to go on?
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James Holloway
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2005, 01:28:11 AM »

Well, everyone has a different level of problem-density they're happy with. My instinct would be to add one more problem. Maybe a girl, Elizabeth, is attracted to women but was forced by her parents to marry Frederic? Now she resents both him and them, and has wronged them in some other, more obvious way. It's an example of Injustice leading to Sin on the part of the person who was wronged, but not as sympathetic a Sin as the other cases. Depending on how many players, how long a session, it might make the town a little too "busy," though.
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lumpley
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2005, 05:16:08 AM »

James, seriously, no one post here but me and P_M until I say otherwise.

Thanks!

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2005, 05:52:33 AM »

P_M: Cool, perfect.

Now what you should see is this, you ready? Abigail and Beatrice's affair is causing problems for the people around them. Not because it's a sin, not at all. Just because the people around them have expectations and needs and desires, same as anybody, and they happen to be incompatible with Abigail and Beatrice's love. I bet that every one of your friends, queer and straight, can relate.

When the Dogs arrive in this town, the talk is all sin, possession, damnation, perversion. But the truth is human beings with incompatible needs, stuck together in the pressure cooker of a small town. And the truth is what the Dogs have to deal with.

The Dogs might look at this town and say, "girls, stop goofing off and marry men." Or they might say "guys, you need to back the hell off and let these girls follow their hearts. Hell, I'll marry them right now if they want it, are you gonna stand against me?" Or they might say, "girls, I know it breaks your heart, but your community is more important than your love; I'm asking you to make a bigger sacrifice than they'll ever understand." Or they might say "weekdays for married sex, weekends for fun." Who knows what they'll say?

You play the game to find out what the Dogs will say. Even more, you play the game to find out how you and your players feel about what the Dogs say. You might find that your most lefty friend gets into fire and brimstone mode and has her character gun the girls down, saying "they weren't suitable for marrying anymore anyway." And you might find that your most lefty friend is shaking with hatred for her own character and wishing him dead and in hell, and everyone around the table is in awe and in touch.

So: the role of the demons in town creation is not to say "God says this is a sin." It's to make you, the GM, go "things were already pretty tense, and then the worst possible thing happened." Like "everybody already resented the rich shopkeeper, and then wouldn't you know the well dried up? It was like a match to tinder." Or "the steward was already struggling to deal with his son's unreciprocated love for this girl, and then his wife started sleeping with other women. Christ almighty, it's enough to make a man shoot someone."

See what I mean?

Do you want to try one of the other towns I suggested, to compare and contrast?

-Vincent
« Last Edit: October 04, 2005, 05:59:34 AM by lumpley » Logged
Particle_Man
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« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2005, 06:53:01 AM »

Oh, for the record, I am Alex and I live in Canada (where gay marriage is legal in the whole country, and has been legal in my home province for years).

Let me process this a bit.  There is a newspaper column that has a weekly "what if" column about "ethical dilemma in business" - sort of, "you are a worker/boss in this situation, what would you do?"  I guess you could call it "Suits in the Vinyard" if you like that modern touch.  Is that what this is? 

I am now seeing the situation like this: I describe a "What if" situation, and ask the players "what would they do." There is no IC God/King of Life (but there are IC believers), the "Demons" are not vs. God/King of Life but just naturally arise wherever there are incompatible human needs (if some humans wore red and other humans didn't like that, the demons would arise just as readily), and the Dogs are IC seen as the arbiters (partly because they got the guns, and partly because there is no one else to appeal to - kinda like cops except that they answer to no one), and OOC in fact are the only arbiters that "matter" (because the game is all about PC decisions, and perhaps how their characters' decisions differ from their own).

If this is correct, then if the Dogs say "its ok for women to have sex with women, I will marry them myself here and now" then the people accept this, the conflict between human needs stops, and the demons stop because they have "nothing to work on".  This would also explain why demons could be at work in one town and not in another, with regard to the same situation (Imagine (for illustrative purposes, although I guess this would not happen in a game, because you would never exactly "clone" a conflict because that would be boring for the players) Estella and Francine and George and Harmon in the next town, where the Dogs have not yet visited - even after they marry Abigail and Beatrice, that doesn't mean beans in the next town, which has not been judged by the Dogs yet - unless I have this wrong and the Dogs' judgement on one town somehow has a "ripple effect" on all towns).  So the Book of Life is not for the Dogs, because it has no control whatever over them.  It seems like the Book of Life, etc., is subject to any interpretation at all by the Dogs.   It is just to help set up what a town is likely to have its faithful believe.

So assuming the players go from town to town, spreading the "gospel of gay love" (and assuming I can keep generating conflicts around this) then there would be no conflicts at home because IC the PC Dogs are given this power, and OOC because they are the PCs and thus the only characters that matter so that no one will ever gainsay them (except for digruntled mooks that are there to be killed by the PCs).

I guess there are a lot of questions in the above. 

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lumpley
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« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2005, 07:38:05 AM »

Alex, pleased to meet you.

And: well, yes, sort of.

The "sort of" is because nobody's human needs and expectations ever go away just because a Dog tells 'em to chill. The steward's not just some thug destined to die, he's a human being whose whole life and livelihood depends on the Dogs' judgements. They come in preaching that it's better for a woman to marry another woman than to marry his son, for instance, and he's going to take exception. He's going to argue, preach against them, accuse them of speaking for Satan not God, say that he'd be doing God a favor if he killed them himself, and ultimately he's going to try to follow through.

That's how the conflict resolution rules work.

Everybody in the town has his or her life, pretty much, staked on what the Dogs decide to do, and through the game's resolution rules they have the power to make the Dogs' lives pretty difficult.

...if the Dogs say "its ok for women to have sex with women, I will marry them myself here and now" then the people accept this, the conflict between human needs stops, and the demons stop because they have "nothing to work on". This would also explain why demons could be at work in one town and not in another, with regard to the same situation...

So far so good, given my caveat that the people don't just accept this, but in fact have to have it beaten into their heads.

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(...unless I have this wrong and the Dogs' judgement on one town somehow has a "ripple effect" on all towns).

Since you, the GM, get to create every town according to your own whim, you, the GM, get to decide what effect if any the Dogs' judgement on one town has on the next. There aren't any rules in the text about it, and there's no reason for you to try to be consistent with any made-up in-game metaphysics.

(What'll happen instead is that as a group you'll create in-game metaphysics that are consistent with the decisions you make as a GM, which is kind of a fun process, completely painless and not worth worrying about.)

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So the Book of Life is not for the Dogs, because it has no control whatever over them. It seems like the Book of Life, etc., is subject to any interpretation at all by the Dogs. It is just to help set up what a town is likely to have its faithful believe.

The Book of Life is a tool for anybody to use to try to get their way. The steward, proclaiming that the Dogs have fallen into sin, will quote the Book of Life, and the game's resolution rules will give the scripture oomph. The Dogs will counter with quotes of their own, oomphy too. Sometimes the Dogs will, in fact, be brought low and proven wrong by the Book of Life - if that's how the dice go.

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I guess there are a lot of questions in the above.

Did I get them all?

-Vincent
« Last Edit: October 04, 2005, 07:39:49 AM by lumpley » Logged
Particle_Man
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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2005, 11:00:25 PM »

OK, the Dogs' decision shuts down the Demons (IC they are given this power (somehow? There is no King of Life but I guess if Demons are just "bad luck + tensions" then this just meanst he bad luck stops when the Dogs' make a decision), OOC it don't matter how, their characters are the important characters so their decision goes), but does not shut down the townsfolk, necessarily (but the Dogs are fairly bad ass so that they can usually win vs. recalcitrant townsfolk)? 

Next question: Does each IC session end up being followed by some OOC 10+ minute "debriefing" where the players announce their judgements of their own characters?  Is that part of the game?
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lumpley
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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2005, 05:44:42 AM »

OK, the Dogs' decision shuts down the Demons (IC they are given this power (somehow? There is no King of Life but I guess if Demons are just "bad luck + tensions" then this just meanst he bad luck stops when the Dogs' make a decision), OOC it don't matter how, their characters are the important characters so their decision goes), but does not shut down the townsfolk, necessarily (but the Dogs are fairly bad ass so that they can usually win vs. recalcitrant townsfolk)? 

I don't get this. The Dogs' decisions don't make any mechanical difference - possessed people are still possessed, sorcerers are still sorcerers.

IC, there usually is a King of Life, who gives the Dogs power over Demons, as represented by ceremony and as administered by the conflict resolution rules. But look, the way you're drawing the distinction between IC and OOC isn't helping you. You're thinking about IC as though it exists independent of actual play - that's how you're able to say things like "there is no King of Life" and "the bad luck stops when the Dogs make a decision." In fact, there is no IC except while you're actually playing the game. And while you're actually playing the game, the fictional stuff you're creating is definitive.

As real people in the real world, you follow the procedures of play, as presented by the game text. What results is that you create fiction, as a group. The fiction you create has a certain structure, because the procedures you follow create a certain structure, but there's literally no sense in talking about the nitty-gritty details of your fiction (like "does God exist?") before you've created it.

And yes, in structural terms, the Dogs usually win, of course. Kind of like how Russel Crowe's and Guy Pearce's characters won in LA Confidential, Denzel Washington's character won in Devil in a Blue Dress, and Harrison Ford's character won in Blade Runner. Or, y'know, did they?

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Next question: Does each IC session end up being followed by some OOC 10+ minute "debriefing" where the players announce their judgements of their own characters?  Is that part of the game?

No, although happens informally pretty often. Also, look up "reflection fallout" in the book.

-Vincent
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Particle_Man
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2005, 04:01:04 PM »

I think I must be making one or more assumptions that don't apply here.  I thought I understood things but I guess I need to take another stab at it.

The game is about player judgements of their characters' judgements in "tough" situations.

The game is not designed to be a complete, coherent world.  Only the parts with the player characters in it matter, so everything else is left undefined.

Now the characters have the authority to judge from their bosses.  So their bosses are not going to "overrule" them.  Nevertheless, the townsfolk that don't like the judgements of the Dogs will oppose those judgements.  Now does this constitute the townsfolk (or at least the disgruntled townsfolk) judging the Dogs?  I thought no one but the Dogs and Players were meant to do this, but it seems that the townsfolk can too.

The judgements of the Dogs are in some way important to resolving the conflicts in the town.  This despite the fact that their judgements do not automatically shut down the demons that feed off (and in turn, feed) these conflicts (yet I thought that once the dogs make a judgement about doctrine, then if they say "homosexuality is ok" then the demons no longer get to have "homosexuality is ok" be false doctrine and lead to Hate and Murder).  More work has to be done by the Dogs to put the Dogs' judgments into effect.  The OOC reason why this conflict was not resolved by the townsfolk themselves is that the pc's are important (because the players are important), so their judgments are the key ones (so only the Dogs' judgments have even a chance of resolving these messes - there is explicitly a description of what would have happened had the dogs not arrived).

Now that description of what would have happened had the dogs not arrived is the only nod to a world outside of the dogs.  Everything else is set up for the benefit of the players solving these moral quandries.  The "What would have happened" never actually happens.  The Dogs always go from town to town, always arriving just at the right time to stop what would have happened from happening.

Because the play is about resolving moral dilemmas, there are some restrictions on what the Dogs can do.  In effect, if they stayed in between towns and never moved, or went back east, or killed the heads of their order, the game would be effectively useless, so these things will not happen.  Rather, there are background conditions set up solely to ensure that the Dogs will make moral decisions. 

The enjoyment of the play is designed to come from having one's character make these moral decisions, and then as a player judging one's character's decision.  Theoretically, one could as a player also enjoy judging another character's decision, and one's character might oppose another character's decisions (various permutations arise - one's character might oppose the very action of another character that you as a player approve of).

The players will in play determine whether there is a King of Life or not by their characters' actions.  Or else each player effectively IS the King of Life, judging his character.

In any case, it is the player's judgment of his character that is where the enjoyment of the game is.  Thus it is the judgment that matters.  The characters' judgements are still interesting, but they might will be opposed by disgruntled townsfolk and so are not definitive either in-game or out (in game a townsfolk might judge a Dog to be wrong, and out of game a player might judge his character to be wrong).

Now presumably, in addition to this enjoyment there will also be enjoyment from "roleplaying a cowboy type" and from "beating up/killing bad guys" (but usually not taking their stuff), but these are secondary compare to the enjoyment of having one's character make a decision and, as a player, judging that character and other players' characters.

So my "pro-homosexual marriage" friends, as players, might enjoy playing characters that are homophobes, and then judging their characters as "Bad".  Or they might enjoy playing characters that consistently are pro-homosexual marriage, and going from town to town changing the way things were done before, and judging their characters as "Good". 

And usually the towns will be isolated moral experiments, and so will be out of contact with each other except for "fluff" purposes (unless it really helps to set up the moral conflict in the new town to have stuff from older towns affect it).
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lumpley
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« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2005, 08:43:06 AM »

Alex, it's time for you to go back to the game text.

Read through it again. This time, don't think about how or why things work. Instead, imagine yourself sitting at a table with a few friends. At every stage of the game, do you understand what you're supposed to do? Does it seem easy or hard?

-Vincent
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