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Author Topic: [DitV] Trial game  (Read 2378 times)
Bobson
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« on: September 12, 2006, 09:34:36 AM »

Last week, when 4/6 of my gaming group didn't show up for our scheduled D&D session, I pulled out a Dogs town I'd created, and ran it for the two who did and my brother (who would have been observing D&D).  I've played in a Dogs game before, but only one and I've never run one.  At the time I wasn't planning on writing a write-up, so I didn't take notes, but I'll try to recap it as best as I can.

The town had progressed all the way up to Murder.  Brother Hiram felt he should be steward, so refused to obey the town's steward.  Steward Obadiah hired a kid to burn down Hiram's fields.  That let the demons in, and they started burning down more fields.  The people of the town (at the Steward's lead) came to believe that the King of Life manifests as fire to punish sin, when the townspeople fail to do so.  Burns were sin being made visible, and the truly righteous (or repentant) would not be burned by fire.  Just before the Dogs get there, houses start burning, with people in them.

The dogs in this group were a rather odd bunch. We had Cornelius Zedekia Tahe-Ve-Nah, the mountain-man convert, Virgil the womanizing convert from Back East, and Seth the Dog-of-questionable-faith.

Cornelius's player (my brother) had payed once before (the same game I did), so his training was first.  He decided to go with convincing the Steward of the Dogs to graduate him/certify him/whatever.  So the Steward called him in, and told him that no one with his background could become a Dog, since they weren't truly faithful.  Cornelius opened his shirt, pulled out a really large knife, and started carving the Tree into his chest while staring the Steward in the face.  The steward countered by throwing salt in the new wound.  I forget the next exchange, but it ended with Cornelius leaping the desk and graduating at knifepoint. All in all, a good scene.

Virgil went next - he wanted to hide his ways from the rest of the Dogs.  So he was with a woman, when the house caught on fire.  He escaped out of it, but a fellow student saw him.  He managed to talk the other student into believing that his being in a state of undress with the woman was perfectly innocent. (his clothes got muddy and she was washing them, and got water on her clothes, and was in in the middle of changing when the fire broke out).  This one went well too.

Seth was up next. He'd taken 4d4 in Dog's Training, but really had no idea what he wanted to do for his scene.  He'd also taken 1d10 in honorable, so I decided that he'd been told "Go be a Dog" but he didn't know why.  His scene was about the moment of inspiration that made him understand why he was a dog.  I had him go pick a quote or two that he liked, then crafted a scene where he had to act on that.  Here's where I encountered the first problem.  I set up the scene, but Seth acted first, which means that the first set of dice I had to use was to see his initial raise. In all the others, I'd gone first.  That meant I got one less turn to raise than I had in the other two, which led to a scene which felt short.  If I had had more to raise with, it would probably have gone on, but I ran out so I had to give early.  In the future, I'm going to always start with my raise for initial scenes.

Then the dogs went to the town.  The town itself worked pretty well. They talked to some people, got into minor conflicts with the Steward, and the like.  They found out about the false worship and went "That seems a bit wrong". There was a conflict where one of the Dogs stuck their hand into a fire (and got burned) which was a bit odd, but worked out. They found the demon-possessed kid who had burned down some of the fields and tried to take him back to the meeting hall - bigger conflict.  It resolved reasonably well.  Then they got back to the hall, confronted the Steward, and here's where things really broke down.

The conflict with the sorcerer-steward and the few people loyal enough to him to stand with him against the Dogs went on long enough that just about everyone at the table had rolled in all their traits and equipment, and most of them had taken a relationship for the extra dice and rolled that too.  And it was still going on.  Virgil's player had managed to roll most of his stuff early on, and for him, it just became a "I narrate something small and push dice". He was clearly getting less involved as things went on, because there was no reason for him to stay involved.  It didn't matter if he did three backflips, climbed the wall and dropped on the steward's head while reciting from the Book, or if he just pulled out the gun and shot him - the results would be exactly the same (well, the fallout die size would be different, but only if the sorcerer actually took fallout, and then it would be in favor of the more boring one).  While the former is a more interesting thing to do, without any reason to do it and the pressure of time to make it quick, he just didn't bother.  This is Problem #1: Rolled out.
In addition, because he had so many dice out early, he was able to match everything that came at him much easier than everyone else could.  The other players, the sorcerer, and his followers all ended up with massive numbers of fallout dice (along the lines of 3d10+6d8 or 4d10+3d6+8d6), but he came out of that untouched. Problem #2: Being rolled out early is the safest thing to do.

After the conflict was over, the two Dogs who had taken fallout were both Badly Injured.  The one who was left wanted to heal them.  After sifting through the rules, I found the rules on healing, but they were rather unclear.  You roll two specific attributes, plus relevant other dice, against the fallout dice + demonic influence dice.  It's not clear if the healer can escalate (probably not), or call in other traits later (possibly).  If they can, then they're almost sure to win (except against massive numbers of fallout dice with a large demonic influence), which means it'd be better to just say "Sure, you heal him".  If they can't, then it may be clear from the initial roll if they're going to make it or not.  The book also says that the healer takes Fallout from the healing rolls, but doesn't say what kind of fallout it is.   So Problem #3: Unclear healing (and healing is important).

The fourth problem I had is more of a general issue: Problem #4: Belonging Balance.  With no limits on the number of belongings you can have, it's possible for someone to have a fairly large number of belongings, giving them significantly more dice to bring into conflicts than other people.  But with no minimum (other than you have to have a coat and you should have a gun), it's also possible for someone to seriously short themselves at chargen (which Seth's player did).  My personal thought (having only played once and GMed once) is to require one Normal item, one Big item, one Excellent item, and one Big & Excellent item, and up to 2 Crap items.  Alternatively, require 2 Normal items and 2 Excellent items, of which up to 2 out of those 4 can also be Big. 

-------------

All that being said, everyone at the table (me included) had a really fun time (except for the end of the final conflict, when they were all rolled out).  Everyone enjoyed the system and the setting, though Virgil's player (the one who rolled out early) said he much preferred the non-conflict part.  Even Seth (who's notorious in our gaming group for having to be prodded to RP) got into it, having some good ideas out of conflict (and some dumb but appropriate ones, like sticking his hand into a fire, and holding it there) and good raises in conflicts.  The game (which was only supposed to go 5-6 hours) went 7 - but that was my fault for underestimating the time needed to deal with various NPCs.  I didn't introduce enough moral choices, but that's also my fault, and the players enjoyed it regardless.  I'm running the same town again this week for a different group of people, and I'll try to improve on those problems that were my fault.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2006, 10:19:19 AM »

Well, let's see.

re Prob 1: Why didn't you give?

re Prob 2: How did he roll so many of his dice, while everyone else didn't get to roll all theirs? Just a fluke thing?

re Prob 3: A healing conflict plays by exactly all the same rules as any other conflict, except: a) you roll acuity+body to start; b) it's your patient's body, not yours; and c) the GM rolls fallout+whatever instead of an NPC's dice. All other rules apply in full exactly as usual.

re Prob 4: How is someone going to bring all those belongings into a conflict? And so what if they do? Limiting belongings is necessary only if you're screwing up some other part of the rules.

What I'm really asking for is more detail about the problematic conflict. Tell me about it - who raised what, what dice they rolled, set the scene and the opening arena and tell me the stakes, all the goods.

I'm glad you mostly had fun!

-Vincent
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2006, 12:14:13 PM »

(Disclaimer: Dan and I are friends and I was the GM for his first Dogs game, so if I seem overly familiar with him, that's why.)


Welcome to the Forge, Dan! Glad to see you made it over here. Wow, lots of fallout! That sounds like an exciting, action-packed game! And facing all that danger and coming out untouched can be fun, too. Where would you put your 7 hours of Dogs on the "fun scale" compared to the other games you play with these same people?


#1: Why was there "the pressure of time to make it quick"? Who was pressuring?

When the player starts yawning at your Raises, I gotta wonder why. You were probably Raising with things the sorcerer was doing to the Dogs, right? Instead, be all like, "I raise: The sorcerer grabs the little girl and puts a gun to her head and says, 'I'ma gonna kill this useless sinnah if y'all don't back off right now, ya hear me?'" Do you Take the Blow then (and accept the hostage situation)? Blocking that is now important and the players invest in the situation.

#2: Fallout isn't always bad! I love to jump into Talking conflicts and take loads of d4 Fallout!  But let's assume the sorcerer is all guns-ablaze at the Dogs and it's guaranteed d10's at the end of the conflict. When you Give, you're basically saying that the thing you got into that conflict for wasn't really that important to you. See my thread, Just a cool Dogs scene for a game where I couldn't see my character taking the safe path because it violated what everything that is Good and Holy was (to me).

#3: As Vincent says, the healing rules aren't unclear. Are you healing by just Talking or are you getting Physical? I've seen healing conflicts resolved with the supernatural dials turned up to 11, and a black-coated Dog of Death coming down from the Kingdom of Life or wherever and the Dogs back on Earth having to talk him out of taking their friend up to heaven. Would you shoot an angel to save your friend when it's his time to go? Well, if so, then it's Guns and d10 fallout.

#4: When Seth "shorted himself" did he feel later on in the game that he wished he had more belongings? There's nothing from stopping you from saying, "I grab a really big hand-crafted rifle off the mantelpiece over there and fire it at that ol' bastard Mortimer! Hand me some of the BIG dice cuz that motherfucker is going down." You don't have to have the belongings on your sheet during play. The game dangles shooting people in the face in front of you like heroin in front of a junkie. Hey, bud, wanna shoot that guy down? Here's some dice. Not enough? You have a gun, too. Have some more!

What were the other players saying about all those belongings coming into play? At some point, when BillyBob had narrated in the third or fourth big, excellent prop, were the other players screaming cries of bogosity, or was it all cool around the table. Did you at any point cry foul?

Why was it a problem at all? If the PCs have a buncha stuff to use in conflicts, why didn't your NPCs? Hey, Steward Obadiah has a Big, Excellent Book of Life out of which he loves to quote scripture and twist its meaning. Hand me some dice.

All in all, it sounds like it was a GREAT game -- even better than the impression I got from when you told me about it on Foundry MUSH.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Bobson
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Posts: 2


« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2006, 05:39:44 PM »

Where would you put your 7 hours of Dogs on the "fun scale" compared to the other games you play with these same people?
I can really only compare it to the one other game I run (D&D), since a comparison to a game where I'm a player wouldn't be fair.  I think that both players who were also in my D&D game enjoyed it more than they did the normal D&D game, and I had a better time running it, but it was much more painful to prep.


Quote from: Adam Dray
#1: Why was there "the pressure of time to make it quick"? Who was pressuring?

When the player starts yawning at your Raises, I gotta wonder why. You were probably Raising with things the sorcerer was doing to the Dogs, right? Instead, be all like, "I raise: The sorcerer grabs the little girl and puts a gun to her head and says, 'I'ma gonna kill this useless sinnah if y'all don't back off right now, ya hear me?'" Do you Take the Blow then (and accept the hostage situation)? Blocking that is now important and the players invest in the situation.
My mother - I was supposed to be home by 5 or so so that we could drive to my grandfather's house - I didn't make it home until 7:30.  She kept calling us to nudge us :/
The yawns were because I stopped spending time trying to come up with interesting raises.  When you're getting interrupted every 10 minutes with a "Are you still there", it kindof kills the mood.

Quote from: Adam Dray
#2: Fallout isn't always bad! I love to jump into Talking conflicts and take loads of d4 Fallout!  But let's assume the sorcerer is all guns-ablaze at the Dogs and it's guaranteed d10's at the end of the conflict. When you Give, you're basically saying that the thing you got into that conflict for wasn't really that important to you. See my thread, Just a cool Dogs scene for a game where I couldn't see my character taking the safe path because it violated what everything that is Good and Holy was (to me).
re Prob 2: How did he roll so many of his dice, while everyone else didn't get to roll all theirs? Just a fluke thing?
He managed to use some new trait almost every time it was his chance to raise or see, when everyone else didn't bother until they needed new dice.


Quote from: lumpley
re Prob 3: A healing conflict plays by exactly all the same rules as any other conflict, except: a) you roll acuity+body to start; b) it's your patient's body, not yours; and c) the GM rolls fallout+whatever instead of an NPC's dice. All other rules apply in full exactly as usual.
So what are the options for the GM to escalate to get more dice, then? Or is it the same as a initiatory conflict, where the GM gets that many dice and that's it?
Quote from: Adam Dray
#3: As Vincent says, the healing rules aren't unclear. Are you healing by just Talking or are you getting Physical? I've seen healing conflicts resolved with the supernatural dials turned up to 11, and a black-coated Dog of Death coming down from the Kingdom of Life or wherever and the Dogs back on Earth having to talk him out of taking their friend up to heaven. Would you shoot an angel to save your friend when it's his time to go? Well, if so, then it's Guns and d10 fallout.
Given that the supernatural dial was high that game, that makes sense.  But what if it's turned down to minimal?  Generally you can't talk a dying man back to health - would it be all physical, then?


Quote from: lumpley
re Prob 4: How is someone going to bring all those belongings into a conflict? And so what if they do? Limiting belongings is necessary only if you're screwing up some other part of the rules.
Quote from: Adam Dray
#4: When Seth "shorted himself" did he feel later on in the game that he wished he had more belongings? There's nothing from stopping you from saying, "I grab a really big hand-crafted rifle off the mantelpiece over there and fire it at that ol' bastard Mortimer! Hand me some of the BIG dice cuz that motherfucker is going down." You don't have to have the belongings on your sheet during play. The game dangles shooting people in the face in front of you like heroin in front of a junkie. Hey, bud, wanna shoot that guy down? Here's some dice. Not enough? You have a gun, too. Have some more!

What were the other players saying about all those belongings coming into play? At some point, when BillyBob had narrated in the third or fourth big, excellent prop, were the other players screaming cries of bogosity, or was it all cool around the table. Did you at any point cry foul?

Why was it a problem at all? If the PCs have a buncha stuff to use in conflicts, why didn't your NPCs? Hey, Steward Obadiah has a Big, Excellent Book of Life out of which he loves to quote scripture and twist its meaning. Hand me some dice.
It didn't really come up in the game I wrote about, but someone asked about it in my second run of this town.  I leaned on him to not overdo it.  But Adam's right about just grabbing stuff and giving equipment to the NPCs.  I'll need to remind people about that, and keep it in mind myself.



Quote from: lumpley
What I'm really asking for is more detail about the problematic conflict. Tell me about it - who raised what, what dice they rolled, set the scene and the opening arena and tell me the stakes, all the goods.
That's about all I remember easily. I can maybe remember a few of the specific raises, but I didn't take notes at the time, and it's been too long for me to be able to put together a blow-by-blow. Sorry :/
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Ricky Donato
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Posts: 156

Just chillin'


« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2006, 06:49:33 AM »

Given that the supernatural dial was high that game, that makes sense.  But what if it's turned down to minimal?  Generally you can't talk a dying man back to health

Yes, you can. Did you ever see the first Matrix movie? At the end, Neo gets shot and is dying. Trinity whispers in his ear that he can't die, because she loves him - and he comes back to life. You can have the same sort of scene in Dogs:

Hiram: They got me, Ezekiel.

Ezekiel: No, Hiram! It's not your time yet. The King of Life still needs you here. WE still need you here. Don't go yet.
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Ricky Donato

My first game in development, now writing first draft: Machiavelli
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2006, 11:10:26 PM »

There's a whole heap of stuff in the bible about guys being brought back from the dead.  Jesus did it, a whole bunch of prophets did it.  It wasn't 'blood dripping down walls' supernatural.  It was just 'get up' and they did.

There's a thread a while back - someone googled a bunch of bible passages.
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baron samedi
Member

Posts: 137


« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 06:34:37 AM »

Hi,

The resource you need:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

Check out the prophet Elijah's many miracles in 1 Kings 17 (Elisha, his successor, also did lesser miracles):

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=11&chapter=17&version=31&context=chapter

Exerpt:

1 Kings 17
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"

 19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times* and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"

 22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"

 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."


* Three times, because the Hebrew conception of the soul has 3 elements (ruach, nefech, neshama).

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 07:04:51 AM »

Hello,

For this thread to continue, I'd like to see the original poster respond. It's not clear to me that this thread was resurrected (only a couple of threads away from falling off the third page) with any purpose that will help his questions. So, it's not closed, but until he responds to let us know this direction is useful to him, do not post.

Best, Ron
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