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Author Topic: [DitV] Assumption of a Dog's role  (Read 1290 times)
museleading
Member

Posts: 36


« on: October 08, 2006, 10:50:17 PM »

Last night, I ran Horton's Bend. Quick synopsis of the town –

Br Simon came to town and started peddling his wares. Sr Philomena bought a 'cure' and used it on her very sick fiancée (Br Prophecy). Br Prophecy got better.
Steward Ira preached from the pulpit the dangers of sorcery and told the faithful to beware the Br Simon.
Br Cryus, a teenage boy whom Steward Ira is encouraging to become a dog when he's grown up, kills Br Simon. Br Everett, the town's TA, has just locked up Br Cryus (and is getting ready to hang him) when the Dogs ride into town.

I thought the game may ask questions about people's roles.  Things such as:
Is Sr Philomena right to take on a man's role (in wanting to continue Br Simon's work)?
Was Br Cryus right to act as a Dog, even when he wasn't?

The major q being whether the 'cures' came from the King of Life or Sorcery.

In the game, the issues PCs were more interested in were around berating Steward Ira for assuming Br Simon was a charlatan.  An interesting thing was that the players then went on to make the same assumption.

At one point, the chrs consecrated the ground Br Simon was buried in (Steward Ira had him buried in an unmarked grave) and started to perform a 'hedged bet' funeral service. Saying things like "We're not sure if he was a member of the faithful, but the King of Life might want to look favorably on him if he was".
Sr Philomena started a conflict on that – she wanted a proper funeral service.  She escalated to the point of pulling out her own book of life and commencing a funreral service.  It was at this point the chrs placed themselves between her and the grave and started fingering their guns.

So as you can see, the hot buttons for the players seem to be around NPCs taking over the Dog's roles.  The game ended before they had a chance to talk with Br Cryus, we'll take it up next session.  Seeing this looks to be a button for them, I am interested in what they do.

My q now is, has anyone got a cool twist/escalation/next town ideas on this assumption of a Dog's role? 

One thing I was thinking of was a rich man assuming a Steward's role, but I'm a little concerned it might not interest them as Sr Philomena's assumption of a man's role didn't interest them much.
-------

Lessons:
They didn't seem to see some of the issues I lay before them.  This might have been because the first person they ran into (Steward Ira) was only concerned about Br Cryus.  Next time, I think the Steward will be concerned with more threads. Anyone seen this same issue/overcome it?

Problems:
Spotlight –  I wasn't sure all the players received the amount of spotlight they wanted. Two of the players were loud, a third I had never played with before (and seemed quiet.  Not sure whether that was unfamiliarity with system and other players, or natural).  The fourth player only initiated one conflict the entire night.

Any ideas on this?
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Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 07:44:37 AM »

I ran a town called Big Rock Fork (here's the write-up and actual play report) where the Dogs haven't visited town in a long time and, thinking they've been forgotten, Brother Absalom takes justice into his own hands. He starts calling himself the Hound of God and settling things, Dogs-style. You might mine that town for ideas about messing with the Watchdog role.

Also dig through the rulebook and read the section about proper roles. You can mess with the roles of men and women, patriarchs, the Steward, and so on.

What if someone like a Steward who has the authority to make a ruling about something (like who can marry whom) makes a really atrocious decision? What if a previous group of Dogs came through town and lay down the law on some issue that your play group will certainly think is bullshit?

What if Philomena starts dressing as a man? What if she asks them to marry her to another woman? Escalate!

If players don't see issues, bang them over the head with them. Or tell them outright what the issues are. Are you having the NPCs come to the PCs with the things they want? Those things they want should drag the PCs into trouble. Can you list the bit of prep you did for "what the NPCs want from the Dogs"?

If players are quiet, ask them why. Maybe they just don't like the game. No sin in that!  There's nothing wrong with them not initiating conflicts themselves. Look at their traits and find what grooves them there and toss them into that stuff. If you want more specific advice, tell me what their big-dice traits are and tell me what their Initiation conflicts were.
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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
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 11:04:28 AM »

Lessons:
They didn't seem to see some of the issues I lay before them.  This might have been because the first person they ran into (Steward Ira) was only concerned about Br Cryus.  Next time, I think the Steward will be concerned with more threads. Anyone seen this same issue/overcome it?

This isn't a problem. It's good.
The issues you lay before them are the fertile starting ground for play. If the players then see something different and follow that, well, it still came out of the issues you prepared, and those other things were more compelling to them.

Quote
Problems:
Spotlight –  I wasn't sure all the players received the amount of spotlight they wanted. Two of the players were loud, a third I had never played with before (and seemed quiet.  Not sure whether that was unfamiliarity with system and other players, or natural).  The fourth player only initiated one conflict the entire night.

Any ideas on this?

It depends if they are quiet because they like watching the others, and are still enjoying it, or if they are quiet because they want to get involved but are naturally reserved. I've found some players who are reserved really come into their own in this game. But that requires the GM to support them by making sure the important things are addressed through the game system. Quiet or shy players can have just as much of a say in how things happen, by engaging in a conflict with their fellow players through the system and getting a fair shake in persuading them to do what they want. Your job as the GM is to enable these conflicts to happen, to show them that it's possible.
So, if noisy players are saying, "let's do this," and a quiet player isn't saying anything but you can see from the look on their face that they might disagree, ask them directly, "you look a bit dubious - what do you think?" If they start talking about doing something else, and a noisy player says, "let's do this instead," you say, "Aha, sounds like we have a conflict over this. What do you think, quiet player?"

Chances are, they'll back off once or twice, but sooner or later they'll bite. On occasion, you'll see that the reserved player really wants to object to another player's action, but even when prodded won't come out and say it. At that point, you should state, "this is a conflict. You two, roll your dice." Once 'forced' into it, they'll get into the swing of it. Remember, if you've misjudged, it's not really force, since either side can Give at any time for no real consequences - unless they really do care and get into it. And that's what you should be hopping for. :)

Reserved players often won't prod for conflicts proactively - you have to be on the lookout and prompt them, and show them the opportunities. That's part of your role as spotlight-time-guardian. IMO.

I've emphasised player v player confliuct, but of course you can challenge quiet players with NPCs just as well, and more easily. But in my experience, getting the quiet players into conflicts with their fellow players (whether they win or lose) is fairly important in showing them they can be just as effective and just as important as the noisy players.
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cdr
Member

Posts: 93


« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2006, 01:13:52 AM »

Quote
has anyone got a cool twist/escalation/next town ideas on this assumption of a Dog's role?

Bryant had a branch inspired by the high school football-obsessed town in S.J. Rozan's Winter and Night. The ex-Dog Steward thought the Dog's Temple was getting too soft and was training up his own Dog candidates using all the teens in his branch, two of whom were in love with each other.  Some were suited to be Dogs, some weren't.

I had an idea for a deeply divided branch just barely a step away from open warfare in the streets, kept in check by the presence of a single Dog who wasn't really, just a girl who'd come to town wearing a bloodstained Dog's coat full of bullet holes, who hadn't been able to explain she'd just taken it from a dying Dog to keep warm and wasn't really a Dog herself, before everyone lept to conclusions that she was. Then she was too scared of what might happen when the truth came out, and now the real Dogs (the PCs) come to town.

After a Dog hangs up his coat, can he ever be a Dog again?  How about a town where an ex-Dog is righteously refusing to solve the town's problems because that would usurp the Stewarrd?  Or a town where after the Dogs shot or deposed the Steward, one of them stayed behind to continue directing the town through its perilous times, but is he really doing it for the good of the town, or is he prideful in thinking he knows what's best?

I really want to run some branch exploring the false doctrine "Anything a Dog does is right" because it's so allluring. And if the PC Dogs agree, then maybe it ain't false doctrine after all!  (Note that while only the player can judge whether what her Dog does is right or wrong, but that's not at all the same thing as saying everything any Dog does is right.)

So that's a fistful of ideas, but even if they're not what you're looking for maybe they'll spark some ideas.

--Carl
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museleading
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2006, 03:23:01 AM »

I ran a town called Big Rock Fork …You might mine that town for ideas about messing with the Watchdog role.

Thanks for the link.  I've read the town and the AP and its given me food for thought.  I agree with you that pre-prepared towns, while useful in getting the game going, lack the tailoring which later sessions bring.

Are you having the NPCs come to the PCs with the things they want? Those things they want should drag the PCs into trouble. Can you list the bit of prep you did for "what the NPCs want from the Dogs"?

This is an area where I could have done better.  The first NPC they met (Steward Ira) was only concerned with the hanging, not the other issues.  The PCs went from there to Br Simon's grave, only talking to one other NPC (Sr Philomenia).  I had said the grave was an unmarked one and the only NPC who would be likely to be there they had already picked up.  By the time they got back to town, they already had opinions on what was important and weren't interested in talking to other NPCs.

This is what the NPCs wanted.
Sr Philomenia wants Dogs to confirm the 'cures' come from the King.  She also wants license to take over Br Simon's wagon and sell his 'cures'.
Br Prophecy wants the Dogs to confirm the 'cure' wasn't sorcery.  If they won't, he wants them to punish Sr Philomenia for using it on him.  Either way, he wants the engagement to her broken off.
Steward Ira wants confirmation that the 'cures' are sorcery. He wants Philomenia & Prophecy wed
Br Cryus wants not to be hung.  He wants to be made a Dog.
Br Everett (TA) wants Dogs to approve him hanging Br Cryus

Demons want:
Sr Philomenia to become a traveling salesman, sell more 'cures' (sell one to TA's wife to make a third believer)
Want Dogs to say cure is from the King
Want Br Cryus to hang so he doesn't become a dog


If players are quiet, ask them why. Maybe they just don't like the game. No sin in that!  There's nothing wrong with them not initiating conflicts themselves. Look at their traits and find what grooves them there and toss them into that stuff. If you want more specific advice, tell me what their big-dice traits are and tell me what their Initiation conflicts were.
I did have a quick chat with the quiet one – who said she did like the game.  The others I'll catch up with over the course of the week.  I'll ask them what they thought then.

I have four chrs – Br Shiloh, Br Thaddeus, Br Jack & Sr Amilee. 

Br Shiloh (Strong History) comes from a rich European family who migrated out here and converted.  His flag traits are "I'm a dog 3d8", "Raised as a European nobleman 2d10" & "Morally Upright 1d10". His Initiation hope was "not to disappoint my family".  He got word that his father was dying and he needed to come home.  During the conflict, he discussed the issue with the Head of the Dog's school, then simply got up and left – taking the trait "Blood is thicker than water"

Br Thaddeus (Well Rounded) comes from money.  His faithful family sent him back East to be educated.  His flag traits are "Quote the Book 3d8" & "Educated d8".  He also has a d6 relationship with "Sin:money".  His Initiation hope was to "Get over his prejudice of poor people".  He has a 2d6 annotated Book of Life, which went missing from his room.  He immeditaly challenged the poor Br James (who he was teaching to read).  He Gave that conflict and took the trait "Don't jump to conclusions" as experience and " prejudiced: poor people" as his new trait.

Br Jack (Complicated Community) was sent to Bridal Falls while he was a youngest to be straightened out.  His flags are the trait -"I'm a Dog 2d8", and relationships with "Mentor's memory 1d10", "King of Life 2d8" & "Sin: Stealing 1d10". His Initiation hope was to "get over being abandoned".  The conflict we ran was him seeing all the couriers and family streaming in, bringing coats to the new dogs, then having to go to the quartermaster and get an anonymously made one.  I Gave in that conflict, so he took the trait "Newfound confidence"

Sr Amilee (Strong Community) grew up in Bridal Falls.  Her flags are "Looks harmless 1d10" & "Tricky 2d8".  Her Initiation hope was to "Not get caught making up quotes from the Book". We ran her final theology exam as a conflict.  She didn’t get caught making up quotes, so she took "Speaks with authority" as a result.
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museleading
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2006, 03:38:08 AM »

They didn't seem to see some of the issues I lay before them.

This isn't a problem. It's good.
The issues you lay before them are the fertile starting ground for play. If the players then see something different and follow that, well, it still came out of the issues you prepared, and those other things were more compelling to them.

I agree that if the players see something different that's great.  My thing was that they spoke with one NPC and went to solve his issue.  The rest of the NPCs weren't able to raise their issues as the PCs spent hours roleplaying outside town.  They had fun; so I'm not overly disappointed.  Just something I would like to polish a little more.

Quote from: /quote

So, if noisy players are saying, "let's do this," and a quiet player isn't saying anything but you can see from the look on their face that they might disagree, ask them directly, "you look a bit dubious - what do you think?" If they start talking about doing something else, and a noisy player says, "let's do this instead," you say, "Aha, sounds like we have a conflict over this. What do you think, quiet player?"

Chances are, they'll back off once or twice, but sooner or later they'll bite. On occasion, you'll see that the reserved player really wants to object to another player's action, but even when prodded won't come out and say it. At that point, you should state, "this is a conflict. You two, roll your dice." Once 'forced' into it, they'll get into the swing of it. Remember, if you've misjudged, it's not really force, since either side can Give at any time for no real consequences - unless they really do care and get into it. And that's what you should be hopping for. :)
Quote

Thanks for this.  I'll keep a closer eye on the quiet player, see how they react to the noisy ones' suggestions.  Maybe prod a bit.  I'm treating this a little more delicately than I normally would cause I don't know the player – first time I've roleplayed with her.

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museleading
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2006, 03:56:28 AM »

Quote
has anyone got a cool twist/escalation/next town ideas on this assumption of a Dog's role?

I had an idea for a deeply divided branch just barely a step away from open warfare in the streets, kept in check by the presence of a single Dog who wasn't really,

How about a town where an ex-Dog is righteously refusing to solve the town's problems because that would usurp the Stewarrd?

I really want to run some branch exploring the false doctrine "Anything a Dog does is right" …(Note that while only the player can judge whether what her Dog does is right or wrong, but that's not at all the same thing as saying everything any Dog does is right.)
 

Wow Carl, all three of these ideas have me thinking.  I don't want to run anything where there is a clear 'good' and 'evil' side.  The players got into judging real fast last time, so I want to make three clear sides for the next town.

The false doctrine idea "Anything a Dog does is right" – well it's not false doctrine… but playing with the consequences of another Dog's judgment is … intriguing.  It's close to Adam Dray's town of Big Rock Fork, the 'judge' is no longer there and was a real dog.  Hmm.. I could put questions around whether the previous one was a real dog or not…

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Danny_K
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2006, 12:49:03 PM »

My modest attempt at addressing this issue was Hotwater Flats:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=13371.0

In short, this is a town literally divided, half Faithful and half gentile, with lots of bad blood between them.  Among other things, the Steward's son has taken the initiative of forming his own posse, the Boazite Knights, to meet out the King's wrath among the unbelievers.  I wrote it a while ago, and it's probably a weakness of the town that the Knights are pretty clearly a bunch of teenage vigilantes hopped up on blood and bad religion.  You could tweak it a little bit, so the vigilantes seem quasi-legitimate, the only hope of survival for a beleaguered community. 

If you do run it, let me know; I never got to finish the game it was written for.

Danny
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I believe in peace and science.
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