Just read DitV tonight. (I'll be playing it for the first time tomorrow.)
I was startled and inspired by this passage in particular:
"— As GM, you should always follow your group's lead. A big part of your job in the first couple of sessions is to figure out, mostly by observation, your group's standards for legit Raises and Sees, invoking traits, valid stakes, using ceremony, the supernatural, and so on. However, the thing to observe in play isn't what the group's doing, but instead who's dissatisfied with what the group's doing. The player who frowns and uses withdrawing body language in response to someone else's Raise, or who's like "that's weak" when someone reaches for dice — that's the player whose lead to follow. Everyone's Raises etc. should come to meet the most critical player's standards. As GM, it's your special responsibility to pay attention, figure out what those standards are, and to press the group to live up to them."
Well, that's fucking ballsy in the context of this hobby's culture.
But that's the point of where we're all going with this stuff, isn't it? You've helped map a road to a different culture. (Along with so many others, of course.)
This is why you've had to lay down the clean and bold ground rules for your blog that are so contrary to the we-all-need-to-get-along-no-complaining-expect-as-little-as-possible-to-not-rock-the-boat attitude that is part of so much of the hobby. You're working in a whole new context not just of mechanics or what not -- but expectations of play, experience and presence of the players at the table.
Also: Love the style of the writing. Clean, and always clear in instruction and inent. ("In every town the characters visit, there's something wrong, and their job is to figure out what it is and put it right. Sometimes what's wrong is just a minor thing with the potential to become much, much worse; sometimes it's worse already.") You're always leading the players and GM to the purpose of the game, which is to lead to those conflicts. Great stuff.
And the choice of fonts and the layout. All of it, sweet.
I know there's a strong rule at the Forge about "me too" posts but I'm going to risk Ron's wrath and second this motion.
I'd like to add to your observations that Dogs is also an incredibly adaptable game, as we have seen, a game that can be drifted to cover any number of interesting and powerful situations. He gives us some suggestions at the end of the book, but that's really only the beginning.
I'm hoping that our Dogs group, after finishing the first round of five or six Towns, can go on to do more, in other cultures. I have several really big Firefly fans in the group, and several more who are rapidly becoming fans.
Well, this in Vincent's Forum. I'm sure it's Vincent's call whether or not we can keep stroking his cock.
But I want to really emphasis how radical that quote from my first post was. Yes, yes, Dogs is a great game with lots of possibilities....
But Vincent said that the most dissatisfied person at the table should set the agenda for the GM.
I mean, that's crazy. That's a) admitting that someone might be dissatisfied and not be a problem for it; and b) that the standard to play by is not some marshmellowy as-long-as-we-don't-expect-too-much all will be fine attitude, but expecting MORE from the game.
By using the least satisfied player at the table as a measure, you're basically asking the GM to use an indivual's expectation of something more from the game to raise the standard of the game for everyone.
Compare this to the standard assumptions of the gaming culture: we all have our place at the table, and as long as we all do our small job and dont' step on each other's toes, all is well.
Vincent says, when someone says, "that's weak," in regard to someone's playing, that's a good thing! That statement becomes a judgement worth listening too, not something that needs to be "Shhhhed" down for fear of causing someone to fear the club of BadWrongFun.
And it's in the text. It's in the rules. It is a rule. The GM is to run the game according to this standard. That's new. Not that many people around here aren't already playing that way. But leaving aside cool mechanics that encourage high-thematic stakes play and such, THAT statement is really the innovation in the game.
I know, I know, this attitude is exploding all over the blogs right now. But damn -- right there as a rule. That's cool.
How about when someone says, "That's going too far."
"What a freak."
People don't disengage just because they expect MORE. People also disengage/act up/whatever because they expect LESS, because they're uncomfortable, because they're scared or even (gasp) challenged.
I get there feeling there's something going on here that I don't know about.
But I'll only say that in the passage from the rules I'm quoting are these words:
"Everyone's Raises etc. should come to meet the most critical player's standards. As GM, it's your special responsibility to pay attention, figure out what those standards are, and to press the group to live up to them."
So, while you have a valid point, it's not the point I'm talking about. Nor, clearly, the point Vincent was talking about.
Is there something going on here I don't know about?
That particular passage is new to the illo'ed ed, as it happens. In the original text I say "follow the group's lead to establish standards" but I realized in discussions here that people were reading that to mean that they should go along with whoever's talking, not that they should, y'know, establish standards. In fact I think I lifted that passage directly from a post here ... yep, here's the thread: [DitV] King's Perch (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=15911.0).
Wish I could leave it at that, but yes, there's something else going on here too between me and Fred.
Fred, you're off-topic, and you're axe-grinding. Stop it.