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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Dogs in the Vineyard for my Vampire group  (Read 1550 times)
Warren
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Posts: 167


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« on: May 10, 2006, 06:42:47 AM »

It's occurred to me that I never got back and told people how running Dogs in the Vineyard for the Vampire group I joined went. The dysfunction I spoke about in my previous Actual Play post was never as bad as at that point, and a few weeks later the campaign wrapped up to a satisfactory enough ending. I suggested Dogs in the Vineyard, gave a brief overview, and handed out a one-sheet I had prepared earlier. I also kept on pointing out the freedoms that Dogs have and that the players could come up with any solution they felt happy with.

The next week, although there was a bit of trepidation from the group, they decided that they would give it a go for a single town. So we got to work. This is where things didn't go great; I had 7 players:

T-, the GM of the old Vampire game.
R-, one of the students who lives in the house we game at. A player in the old Vampire game.
M-, a player who I had only met socially the week before. Wasn't involved in the game previously.
L-, the other occupant of the flat. A player in the old Vampire game.
S-, a player in the old Vampire game, and a co-worker of mine. Introduced me to the group.
C-, a player in the old Vampire game. During those games, I seemed to have a bit of a clash of personalities with him.
J-, a player in the old Vampire game. He had most reluctance to the idea of Dogs when I mentioned it to them.

Onto character creation. This went well, and fairly quickly, once the players got the hang of freeform traits. Interestingly, T-, R- & M- made a trio of Dogs, all brothers, and themed around "See no evil, Hear no evil and Speak no evil". S- made a exorcist/inquisitor type. L- made a character who was trying to live up to his father's legacy as a venerated Dog. C- made a great dimwitted "gentle-giant" who was the first Dog to come from his town, Peace Ridge. I honestly can't remember much about J's character, but he was struggling with the reglious aspect of the setting still.

I buzzed through Accomplishments as quickly as I could. Even so it took a couple of hours to get through all seven. Everybody (apart from J-) seemed to pick the system up fairly smoothly, I think. The Accomplishments were, IIRC:

C-; I hope I beat my tutor at wrestling. (Succeeded)
S-; I hope I discovered that one of our tutors at the temple is in league with Demons. (Failed)
J-; I can't recall.
L-; I hope I discovered another student Sinning. (Succeeded; he spotted Brother Seth going to a "lady of the night".)
T-; I hope I took Brother Seth's eyes. (Succeeded)
R-; I hope I took Brother Seth's ears. (Failed)
M-; I hope I took Brother Seth's tongue. (Succeeded)
Those last three; I asked about them, but I think they were determined to play reglious lunatics who took the eyes of those who saw evil and did act upon it, the ears of those who heard evil, and so on. So, as the rest of the group didn't seem to have a problem with it, I let them go for it, which I think surprised them.

After the Accomplishments, we went onto a town I had prepared - a slightly tweaked version of Cottonwood Creek. Rather than go into details, I will sum up and say that all the players (apart from J-) had a good time. When presented with all the problems, one player remarked "This town could be an episode of Jerry Springer!".

There were two conflicts (3 or 4 Dogs on 1 NPC each) in the first session, which went well, although the 3 "Brothers" went off alone and started attacking (pretty much) the first NPC they met for some minor slight (I think it was something like "Oh sirs, if you do this for me I would sing the praises of the King even higher!", "You're not praising him as high as you can now, Brother?"). But this NPC turned out to be the Sorcerer in the town, and two of them needed medical attention after vanquishing him, which they only just recovered from. Normally, in old-style games I would panic because the "Big Bad" of the session had been wiped  out in pretty much the first scene. No matter with Dogs; there are plenty of other NPCs who have conflicting demands for the Dogs, so I ran with that.

We ran out of time before we could finish (a side effect of the huge numbers of players, I think) and took it onto the next week, with everyone apart from J- eager for more. J- dropped out at this stage; saying that this just wasn't for him and he just couldn't get on with the setting.

We finished the game off in the first half of the following week's session, with the notable point being a big 3 vs. 3 Dog-on-Dog conflict about what they should do next. And one thing that I took personal delight in was that once the conflict was resolved, play continued with everyone happy. I have been in several games through the years where a party disagreement would take up most of a session, wheeling around and arguing and so forth.

As we still had another half-session left after finishing this town, all the players were eager for more, so I ran them through Tower Creek in the book, which took another week-and-a-half. Nothing more substantial to add apart from some great play; C- in particular coming up with some beautiful narrations. Now we are in a short Nobilis game being run by M- and I'm hoping to try out Primetime Adventures with them this summer.

So nothing more to add on this epic post apart from even die-hard "White-Wolfers" can enjoy and have a blast with indie games, if you can get them to try them in the first place.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 455

Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2006, 04:11:44 AM »

Nice to hear about the game, Warren!

Could you tell us what allowed play to continue with everyone happy after the conflict was resolved? Or why that might not have occurred in other games?
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Regards,
Christoph
Warren
Member

Posts: 167


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2006, 04:23:14 AM »

It was just down to the fact that in other games (not just this group; it seemes to be a common roleplaying issue, in my experience) you would have things like:

Player A: "OK, we go down the trapdoor and sneak in."
Player B: "Nah, I think we should poison the guard's food supply."
going around and around in circles for hours sometimes, with no outcome that pleases everyone. In Dogs, we had:

Player A: "OK, we should burn this witch in front of the townsfolk"
Player B: "Nah, we should exile her. This town has suffered enough."
and then go straight into the conflict system. The thing is, that once the conflict is resolved (and that conflict rocked), all the players were on board with what should happen next and the game proceeded. That, for me, is a great boon of systems like Dogs.
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Warren
Member

Posts: 167


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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2006, 04:35:08 AM »

Oops; as to why Dogs supported this acceptance, and other systems didn't. Well, I'm not sure, but I think I would put it down to letting all players fight hard for their corner, in both a mechanically-relevant and an interesting-in-the-fiction sense. Guns were drawn, shoving and pushing and so on, just to win this conflict. There is also a time-limit before an outcome is decided, in that you can only make so many Raises before you simply run out of dice.

And when it was over, I think all the players understood that they had given it their all, but it wasn't enough (regardless of rolling bad dice, not having as appropriate Traits, not wanting to shoot another Dog in the face, etc.) And nobody (that I noticed) felt bad or ignored by the process.

Whereas in systems without that support, PvP conflict is swept under the carpet and left to "player negotiation" to sort out. And this seems to have more vocal players having more "sway", less vocal players who are playing more vocal characters feel as if they have not been able to give enough input, and so on. Also the fiction doesn't "go" anywhere; during this discussion - no real threatening, pushing and so on as in the Dogs game, just a bunch of characters sitting around talking. If this were a film, it would be edited out :)

And most importantly, for me, is that these systems have no mechanical "time-limit" on these kinds of things. Everybody wants to have the last word, or to try and restate their points, etc. In Dogs, if you don't have any more dice, you Give. In "real-life", you can always say "just one more thing". And that endless circling is one of the causes of "20 minutes of fun in 4 hours" for me.
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Glendower
Member

Posts: 182

My name is Jon.


« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2006, 06:10:38 AM »

Whereas in systems without that support, PvP conflict is swept under the carpet and left to "player negotiation" to sort out. And this seems to have more vocal players having more "sway", less vocal players who are playing more vocal characters feel as if they have not been able to give enough input, and so on. Also the fiction doesn't "go" anywhere; during this discussion - no real threatening, pushing and so on as in the Dogs game, just a bunch of characters sitting around talking. If this were a film, it would be edited out :)

And most importantly, for me, is that these systems have no mechanical "time-limit" on these kinds of things. Everybody wants to have the last word, or to try and restate their points, etc. In Dogs, if you don't have any more dice, you Give. In "real-life", you can always say "just one more thing". And that endless circling is one of the causes of "20 minutes of fun in 4 hours" for me.


This point really resonates with me.  I have an idea for writing up a painful AP post of where this happened for hours upon hours upon hours.  But I don't know if I want to revisit that awful session.  I stopped GMing for about six months after it.

"Let's do this"
"Let's not"
"Here's why we do this"
"here's why we don't"

And on... and on...  Good roleplaying?  No, it was circular, pointless bickering, with no one backing down.  Dogs is awesome for the very fact that this bickering can go straight to the good stuff.  The "how far do you want to take it?" is great stuff, amazing.
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Hi, my name is Jon.
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