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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Dust Devils Revenged] Prepping a one-shot  (Read 4145 times)
BlackSheep
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« on: April 09, 2007, 05:22:35 AM »

I'm going to be running DDR in a few weeks, and was trying to decide whether the (pregenned by necessity) player characters should be a gang of outlaws or a posse of lawmen.

Then I had a much better idea.

Screw the traditional adventuring party.  Screw players-versus-GM.

I'm going to create, say, eight major characters.  A mix of lawmen and outlaws, locals and drifters.

And then I'm going to offer them all up as player characters.  Whichever ones aren't taken I'll use as supporting characters.

Bingo, player-versus-player conflict.  With, of course, the supporting cast there to make matters worse.

The players aren't William Munny, Ned and the Schofield Kid.  They're William Munny, Little Bill and English Bob.

What do you think?  Will this work?
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 07:16:57 AM »

Of course it works. My demo for Dust Devils, which must have been played close to a hundred times by now, works exactly like this.

The way I do it in short demos (not necessarily limited to 15 minutes, this works for an hour or two even) is to simply deal character cards to each player and tell them to pick one they want to play. Quick and to the point, I make it clear with my manner that you're not supposed to worry overmuch about picking the right character. Works well, and unless I have very few players, there's always some outlaws, some law-abiding citizens and some gray characters.

One point I'd like to emphasize: don't think of your characters as simply "outlaws" and "lawmen". Give each character real reason to be on this or that side. DD pretty much presumes that players will have some real reason to draw that gun, the game will feel pretty arbitrary if your character is shot full of holes just because you drew that gun because the GM told you to. Let the characters pick their sides and make their decisions based on personal, passionate convinction, not some abstract "I'm a bad guy so that's why I have to ride with the outlaws" roleplayer reasoning.
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BlackSheep
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Posts: 40


« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 09:18:41 AM »

One point I'd like to emphasize: don't think of your characters as simply "outlaws" and "lawmen". Give each character real reason to be on this or that side.
Oh, certainly.  It won't just be four good guys and four bad guys.  More like:

"Sure, I heard Old Bill robbed a train years ago, but it's just a rumour and anyhow these days he just runs the store and looks after his family, same as anyone else.  Besides, Sheriff Johnston don't want no trouble. I heard the two of them made a deal and nowadays you'd think they was best buddies.  But now this US Marshal's rode into town on the tail of Old Bill, and the sheriff's looking mighty worried..."
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Hans
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 10:10:25 AM »

This is pretty much exactly the way I run my convention Dust Devils scenario, and it has never failed me.  Someday I will actually post it out on a wiki.  A couple of other tricks that might help.

* Have a map handy of the the area in which the action will take place; a town with a bank in it sounds good if you want outlaws and lawmen.  Don't say anything about WHAT the players should be doing in that town, simply describe it for them, and help them select an initial starting point for their character.  This helps people focus in on what is going on and gives some setting in which to operate in. 

* Have some kind of border on the map that implies conflict; cattlemen versus farmers, anglos vs latinos, locals vs out of towners, etc.  Watch how the players quickly take up sides without any push from you at all.

* Allow some of the characters to "claim" things or roles on the map.  "I'm the barkeep/owner of the saloon."  "I'm the sherriff."  "I'm the school teacher."  This gives the owners something to defend, and the non-owners (and you, if the player vs. player stuff isn't happening) something to attack.

* Draw a relationship map that includes ALL of your pregenerated characters.  Make sure this map has all the characters on a collision course with at least one other character.  Use this to guide how the characters all interact with each other once the story starts.

* Spike the scenario with some initial story that will get things off to a quick start. Examples of this would be:
 - start one lawman character off in the bottom of a dry well, next to the body of his dead partner.  Watch as the outlaw players fight amongst themselves over the right to be the one who heaved him down there OR give the lawman player the right to, at any point during the game, suddenly point to one of the other characters and say "YOU!  You did this to me!"
 - Start at least one outlaw character out in jail, due to be hanged the next morning.  Make the following statement to that player: "At least one of the other characters in this game betrayed you to the law.  Let us know when you have figured out which one it is."  Watch the other players fall all over themselves to convince this player that THEY were the betrayer.
 - Throw a woman in, and say something like "ok, which one of you is her true love?  Which one is her current beau of convenience?  Which one of you desires her, but is in turn reviled by her?"  Watch how the players immediately claim these positions and beat the crap out of each other.
- with outlaws and lawmen, just start the thing out with a bang; the outlaws are JUST NOW starting to rob the bank/wells fargo coach/train/whatever.  No tedious planning of the job, figuring out escape routes, whatever, the job is happening NOW.  This might work especially well if you have devils like "full of greed", "naive and trusting", etc., and you think the players will rapidly get at each others throats Reservoir Dogs style. 

* Have at least two possible, opposed, "mastermind"-type characters that are not available for choice to play, but can be either sources of adversity or nuclei of alliances.  In my own scenario, I have Hidalgo Marti (the representative of the old Spanish money in Texas) and "Mayor" O'Halloran (the boss of the town who owns everything and represents the new anglo influence).  Sometimes neither character really makes an appearance, sometimes the game becomes a battle between these two with the PC's as pawns, sometimes one or the other becomes the bad guy that all the PC's are against.  But its nice to have them handy in case you need a big stick to whack the players with to get them fighting each other or something else.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 12:56:56 PM »

Yes, as Eero and Hans have already shown, this will work.

Guys, this thread is superb. I can't add much! Eero, spot on as ever. Hans, your suggestions are awesome.

Hope the game goes well for you, BlackSheep (name?). Keep the good questions coming.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
BlackSheep
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Posts: 40


« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007, 02:01:11 AM »

It's Greg.

Grabbed the original ages back, read through it but never got around to using it.  Started loking at it again after watching some Westerns and running DitV at the last society get-together; apparently there are more Western fans than I thought in the group.  Was thinking of making a few rules tweaks, but the Revenged edition clears up everything I was unhappy with.

I've heard the term 'relationship map' (or R-map) a few times...is that just a family-tree sort of thing, but showing rivalries and friendships and so on as well as blood relations?  X used to be part of Y's gang and is now married to Z's sister, sort of thing?  If so, I've done something similar in the past (for DitV, PTA and Capes) although I've never drawn out the chart itself, just written out the connections.

Thanks for the help, all.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2007, 09:11:55 AM »

Hi, Greg --

Quote
Was thinking of making a few rules tweaks, but the Revenged edition clears up everything I was unhappy with

You just made my week. Maybe my year.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2007, 04:03:43 PM »

Hi Greg,

Actually, what you're describing isn't a relationship map, not as I introduced the term in my book The Sorcerer's Soul. What you're describing is relatively traditional prep. If you're interested in the difference, or rather, in the term and concept, head on by the Adept Press forum and let me know. I don't want to divert Matt's forum into Adept-based topics.

Best, Ron
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BlackSheep
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2007, 03:52:14 AM »

If you're interested in the difference, or rather, in the term and concept, head on by the Adept Press forum and let me know.
Will do, cheers.

Actually, one little question for Matt while I'm here:

Is it necessary to include the jokers in the poker deck, or are they just there because wild cards are fun?
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Hans
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Posts: 576


« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 06:51:33 AM »

I was talking about regular small case "relationship maps" pretty much exactly as you described, Greg, in my post.  As Ron points out, these are nothing new, really.  I just can't keep it all in my head, and find it useful to put it down on paper. 

Here is one I did for a possible Crusader-based Riddle of Steel game (I can't find the CMap for my Dust Devils thing right now) to give you an idea of what I meant:

http://cmapspublic2.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=1141438920859_1693025664_2549&partName=htmltext
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2007, 11:26:49 AM »

Greg, wild cards are good fun. They occasionally tweak things up a notch. But, playing without them would be perfectly workable.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Yokiboy
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2007, 01:19:45 AM »

Holy cow Hans, that is awesome! [Jaw hits floor.] What a setup!

TTFN,

Yoki
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Hans
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2007, 04:52:04 AM »

CMap can make event he most pedestrian map look cool.  I recommend it.

http://cmap.ihmc.us/

Its free!
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2007, 10:49:11 PM »

Oh, sorry Hans, while your map thing is cool, it's your ideas I loved! That first post was awesome! I'm stealing it wholesale.
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BlackSheep
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Posts: 40


« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2007, 03:26:58 PM »

Game is tomorrow...well, today technically since it's just gone midnight.  Wish me luck, and I'll pass on more details of the setup and the session when I have more time.  Took a few tips from this thread, so we'll see how it goes.

One quick rules thing I want to check:

When the narrator decides whether a hand deals Harm and there are multiple viable targets, is it all-or-nothing?

That is, say A, B, C and D are all opponents, and their hand ranks are A beats B beats C beats D, with C holding the high card.

Can C declare that B's hand deals Harm to D but not C?  Or does he have to decide between B's hand dealing Harm to C and D, and not dealing Harm to anybody?
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