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[DitV] Knights of the (Blue) Rose

Started by Josh Roby, November 02, 2005, 01:48:13 PM

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Josh Roby

So I keep thinking of using the Dogs rules in the Blue Rose setting, with the PCs as Knights of the Rose, spreading compassion, temperance, and understanding throughout Aldea.  I'm having trouble figuring out where to place Arcana (psychic-flavored magic, or magic-flavored psionics), however.

Does it go in escalation:
1) Talking
2) Physical
3) Swords
4) Arcana

Is it an element of Ceremony?
  • In the Name of the Queen and the Hart! (d4)
  • Invoking the Gods of Light (d6)
  • Arcana (d8)
  • Sorcery (d10)

Or is Arcana simply another Trait, so you could buy "Animal Speech 2d8"?  Should it, like guns, always have a 1d4 tacked on?

Given, the root problem may be that Blue Rose is configured as a system with many equally viable options for players to utilize, and as such these do not fit into a normal progression.  In other words, the game is constituted to allow for a fighter or a caster, and therefore 'fighting' and 'arcana' can not be put into positions superior and inferior to eachother in terms of effectiveness or magnitude of fallout.  Similarly, in vanilla Dogs, most every character can perform all four levels of escalation if they want to; in Blue Rose not everyone has Arcane Talent.  This seems to suggest the Trait option is the best route.

Similarily, Arcana's potential to slide directly into Sorcery is not easily mirrored in DitV.  In the True20 rules, this requires a moral determination made by the GM on whether the Arcana was used in good or evil ways; such a GM fiat is anathema to Dogs play.  It's possible that this can be "unruled" when playing Dogs-style, and become a question of interpretation.
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You could have it that Arcana trait dice can become Sorcery at the player's discretion, which increases their die size by one (to a maximum of d10) but adds an equal number of d4's.
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker

Josh Roby

While that sounds tempting, that's also embedding the Arcana/Sorcery distinction into rule effects, which takes the moral decision "Is that Sorcery" out of the players' hands.  I'd rather see something like one of your Fallout options being 'The Arcana you used tipped into sorcery, do this-and-such to reflect that'.  Then it allows the players to make the decision retroactively, actually judging the actions, events, even intents.

In Dogs, you can always pull a gun, and those dice are just sitting there, tempting you to use them.  But pulling a gun is not inherantly an immoral act.  Sorcery is.  At least supposedly.  Or perhaps not -- the root nature of sorcery is left indistinct in the original game, so I suppose 'sorcery' could be defined as 'channeling negative emotions into the arcana' which is not necessarily immoral per se, but it is more powerful, tempting, habit-forming, and eventually destructive if used habitually.  Defined in those terms, sorcery is not immoral, but using it may quickly become immoral.  And actually, that probably fits the moral privilege of players in Dogs better, in the end.
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Actually, I like Vaxalon's suggestion merged with your's Josh.

Let players decide if they want to push their Arcana to Sorcery, and pump the dice and gain the d4s in doing so. (Or maybe just gain the d4s?). This represents the "dark side" emotionality of the moment, of the player chosing to gain the mechanical benefit in much the same way as chosing to shoot someone to get the extra dice. However, in the end the morality of so doing is still questionable -- sorcery may not always be inherently evil. If the player wants it to leave a lasting effect, they take fallout to show their growing relationship with sorcery. If not, then they were justified in using it this time.

Because the player is the one who choses to push, and the one that assigns her own fallout, they still get to judge their character -- both in the temptation of the moment and in the reflection afterwards.

Anyway, for general escalation, I'd go:

Physical / Mental Arcana
Fighting / Phyiscal but Non Harmful Arcana
Deadly Weapons / Blast Your Ass Arcana

It lacks the symbolism of the gun, or the lightsaber, but that's because Blue Rose lacks that symbolism -- there is no "the buck stops here" weapon/spell. If you want to have a thing that is "THE THING" then you'll either need to add it (perhaps the blue steel sword that the Queen's Own are all given upon their inductions?) or let it go.
- Brand Robins

Josh Roby

Well, I think the Knights of the Rose do have the big "buck stops here" and that's the sword -- I just think there's only two steps before it instead of three. ;)

And after I toss off that comment, I realize that there's no real reason why not to change it to three stages of escalation, make there only be three traits to cycle through, and assign fallout die-sizes slightly differently.

I'd go:
a) Talking, Acuity+Heart, d4 fallout
b) Physical and Non-Harmful Arcana, Heart+Body, d8 fallout
c) Weapons and Harmful Arcana, Body+Acuity, d10 fallout
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this sounds very nice, especially taking out the d6 escalation phase. I'll see if my players want this in the Jarzon game as well. Makes for a rougher game. I think differentiating between harmful and harmless arcana is quite hard. There are several approaches to define what sorcery is and what it does to You.

Maybe a better way of all this would be to give all characters that have access to arcana a free 1d10+1d4 Sorcery trait. If they use it during a conflict, they have to launch a follow-up conflict against all the fallout they caused in that conflict, countering with heart+will, and the stakes are "Will I be corrupted by the Sorcery?".

In our game, the different Arcane Talents (Animism, Shaping, Meditation) each conspire a single aspect. It seemed fitting. You could add 'Wild Talent' as a cool d4 trait!


Josh Roby

I like the thought of players creating their own Arcana, just like they create their other Traits.  "Talks to Animals 2d6", "Lighting from Fingertips 3d10", "Look into one mirror, see out the other 2d4" and whatever else you want.
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You could handle this like the supernatural is handled in the default setting: Let the players decide! Either way has their advantages and disadvantages. IMHO, it's within the spirit to have traits that are encompassing more than a single application, but don't have a universally appliable meaning.

Josh Roby

Entirely true.  The players can decide this easily enough.  A non-specified Arcana trait to me, however, would be pretty bland and colorless.  It's like having a trait and naming it "Do stuff".
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Quote from: Joshua BishopRoby on November 14, 2005, 06:35:24 PM
Entirely true.  The players can decide this easily enough.  A non-specified Arcana trait to me, however, would be pretty bland and colorless.  It's like having a trait and naming it "Do stuff".

Yeah, that would suck.  In the core setting, someone could just as easily write down "Master of Weapons: 2d6" on his sheet, and it would suck almost as badly.  But trying too hard to prevent that would probably stifle individual creativity, and you would never get things like "I can hit a nickel from three hundred paces, but I've never taken guns all that seriously: 1d8."  Maybe this is one of those cases where you just have to have faith that your players will establish an acceptable concensus on usage, and that they will warm to the opportunity to use Traits as vehicles for expressing what their characters are all about.



I wouldn't allow people to take 'Arcana', but 'Fire Shaping' or 'Animism' sound quite OK to me. That is still far away from 'Do Stuff' or 'Master of Weapons'. I ran into problems with a character having a universal trait in my last game, so I share your concerns regarding traits that don't define a character clearly or with an edge to the description.


Seth M. Drebitko

There is always the option to create a series of general arcane traits that represent the different things you can do with magic. Examples would be create, destroy, move, hold, control. Every time the person goes to use a "spell" that decide what traits would be combined gives a dramatic description of the effect and as far as mechanics go find the average of the dice types.
Regards, Seth
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