The Forge Archives

Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 10:11:18 AM



Title: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 10:11:18 AM
This is a spin-off of a conversation I had with Jeremy Lahnum about his game (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20537.0), but I'm a little bothered by the "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls" judgment that I've seen made in several Actual Play posts. It seems to me that Dogs is about judgment, and that "send 'em packin'" judgment is basically a cop-out. It's passing the judgment on to someone else. I mean, if I were running the game I would be tempted to have the elders say, "What did we train you for? Stop shovelling your shit into our yard."

Does this seem like a legitimate concern? Or me being a tightwad?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: lumpley on July 26, 2006, 10:53:50 AM
As GM, you are allowed to have the Elders say just that. At any time, totally allowed, and especially allowed within the context of town creation. Be prepared to roll dice over it.

So what? I don't understand the moral crisis, the "temptation." You choose to have the Elders respond that way, or you don't; it's entirely up to you.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 10:58:26 AM
The moral crisis was in wanting to avoid old, bad habits of trying to coerce the players into responding to the game the way I want them to respond, rather than a way they'd enjoy.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: lumpley on July 26, 2006, 11:24:07 AM
You wouldn't be having the elders respond that way honestly, because that's how they might legitimately respond and it's within your authority to choose. Instead, you'd be cheating! You'd be having the elders respond that way in order for you (as a player) to punish the other players for playing wrong.

That's the topic?

It's not a bad topic. Here's how I'd raise the question:

If the players are playing wrong, does that give you justification to cheat?
If the players are playing wrong, what does that give you justification to do?
Is there anything that gives you justification to cheat?

I'm interested in people's answers. Bret, I'm interested in your answers, since you brought it up. Everybody else, I'm especially interested in your answers if they're different from my own (my own being, as you'd guess, "no, quit playing, no").

-Vincent


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 11:31:13 AM
Vincent,

My answers to your questions are pretty much in line with yours. I'm a little confused by what's happening in this conversation and if I made a misstep earlier on in terms of framing the discussion.

I guess my question isn't so much "Is cheating justified when the players are playing wrong?" but is moreso, "In this example, do you believe the players are playing wrong? Do you believe that using in-game elements to try to steer their play is 'cheating' or deprotagonizing?"


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: lumpley on July 26, 2006, 11:37:15 AM
Yeah, this conversation is hiccupy. I don't get it either.

In Dogs, if the GM uses in-game elements to steer the players' play, she's cheating, yes. The rules are really clear about that.

In order to play wrong, the only thing players can do is not engage with the town. If they engage with the town in any way, they're playing right. Shipping people off to Bridal Falls is engaging with the town. Is it a lame cop-out judgement? Maybe; I wasn't there at that game, so I have no way of knowing. Even if it is, they're playing right.

If you're the GM, is it your job to get the players to not make lame cop-out judgements? It is explicitly not your job. Your job is to hit them harder next time, whether they make lame judgements or rock-solid ones.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 11:43:42 AM
Okay, maybe I just tripped over something that is obvious in the rules and the conversation is hiccupy because my question is a dumb, obvious one that is clearly spelled out in the book and you're giving me the benefit of the doubt and assuming I'm actually asking an intelligent, interesting one. ;)

So I guess the appropriate tactic isn't to try and steer them in any way, but to see that "lame, cop-out judgment" and hit it harder in the next town you make?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on July 26, 2006, 11:46:52 AM
By way of an example I just thought of: have the problem in the next town be the result of the Pride of someone who was sent to Four Bridal Falls, and now feels he (or she) knows better than everyone else including the Steward?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: lumpley on July 26, 2006, 12:06:29 PM
Sure.

Or you can just hit them harder with whatever. "So last town, you sent the guy who was beating his kids off to Bridal Falls. Here's a guy who killed his teenage son with a shovel. Do you send him off to Bridal Falls too, or have you grown a pair?"

Pardon the crude colloquialism.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: baron samedi on July 26, 2006, 12:25:52 PM
Another possibility : Things go worse after the Dogs send sinners to Falls City; they end up corrupting people in that very town, or in a town while going there, and the killer/abuser/whatever the Dogs postponed judgement on repeats the same act, but more grievously there, and the people now blame the dogs for this? Isn't that a way to hit them harder ?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Judd on July 26, 2006, 12:37:20 PM
I've had NPC's sent to Bridal Falls so that they can begin their training to be dogs.

That was pretty cool.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: lumpley on July 26, 2006, 12:51:33 PM
We had this one (npc) kid in our game who wanted and expected to be sent to Bridal Falls to be made a Dog - but it was clear to us that all he wanted was a coat and a gun. We didn't send him.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Blankshield on July 26, 2006, 06:19:25 PM
To me, it seems like there's a possibility here that's not getting considered in quite so many words. 

Sometimes sending folks to Bridal Falls is players avoiding judgement, and ayup, you should crank up the pressure, or try some other game.  But sometimes, sending folks to Bridal Falls is the judgement.

The mentions in this thread of sending someone for Dog training is clearly that.  Another example would be from the first game I ran (Colorado City II, from this thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=13303.15)) where part of the judgement (there was a whole lotta judgin' going on) was that Bro Jeffs had to take all of these women he'd married deeper into the faithfull territory, as far as Bridal Falls if need be, and couldn't return to his proper wives and family until he'd seen them married with all due care.  The new Steward would take on the burden of his family until he could return.

James


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Vaxalon on July 27, 2006, 04:50:08 AM
We talked about (but never actually ran) Bridal Falls City as a Town.  I was considering a corrupt Elder, a vaccilating, ineffective Dog Temple Steward, and a plague breaking out.

The players decided to stop playing vanilla Dogs and become Jedi before I did it... not that I'm complaining.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Liminaut on August 06, 2006, 04:41:02 PM
Think about things from the NPC's point of view.  You've just been sent by the Dogs to Four Bridal Falls, maybe to get shot down there.  You've heard stories about what the Dogs will do sometimes.

What do you do?  Do you go or just take off?

Maybe you die in the wilderness.  And the Dogs hear stories about a wretched ghost, begging for judgement.

Maybe you live rough for a while and winter is closing in.  Maybe you kill a family in the wilderness for someplace to live.  You've been cast out by the Dogs already, how much further into Hell can you get?  The Dogs get sent to find out what happened to the Johnson family -- and find out what happens when you leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

Maybe you join an outlaw gang.  With your knowledge of the Faithful you can lead the bandits to hit the tender spots.  Then when the Dogs come to catch it they might be fighting, say, three name characters plus a bunch of extra guns.  Plus the Demons.

Yup, in any of these scenarios the Demons are going to be running at 5d10 and in their happy place.

See if they send somebody off to Four Bridal Falls again.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Vaxalon on August 07, 2006, 04:18:05 AM
Liminaut, I don't think it's appropriate to punish the players for choosing something that you as the GM don't agree with or see as a cop-out.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: JMendes on August 07, 2006, 10:38:28 AM
Ahey, :)

Heh. I don't see those as punishments at all. Rather, some could work out to be quite interesting 'towns' indeed.

Start small, maybe do nothing the first time some NPC gets sent to Bridal Falls, then do something minor next time, then escalate, escalate, escalate. :)

Sure, it's all about the players making judgement calls, but hey, the GM is a player too, isn't he?

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Claudia Cangini on August 07, 2006, 10:53:09 AM
Ahey, :)

Heh. I don't see those as punishments at all.

Well I do. It's exactly the same thing as saying "you know, guys? You made poor judgement and now I'm gonna rub your nose in it."

Rather, some could work out to be quite interesting 'towns' indeed.

Yes, the kind of Towns where the character come back after a while discovering all their work amounted to nothing and things are worse than before.
I wouldn't say this is in the spirit of the game...

Sure, it's all about the players making judgement calls, but hey, the GM is a player too, isn't he?

Cheers,
J.

Absolutely correct.
And he has the duty, exactly like all the other players, to make things the most enjoyable for everyone.

If the GM has a problem with "sending people to Bridal Falls" it would be better for everyone if he speaks out loud his mind.
Otherwise it seems to me we're on the road to illusionism.

It never ceases to surprise and amaze me how roleplayers leave as last choice the one that seems the most obvious to me: is there a problem? Let's TALK about it.
(this is not especially meant for you, J.)


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on August 07, 2006, 10:59:13 AM
A lot of talk, even the best intentioned talking, turns into out-of-character browbeating ("You guys aren't playing the way I want you to play") and depending on what kinds of games your players are used to being in, the players may see that as a cue to modify their behavior when their behavior may not be the problem. As in this thread, the "Send'em to Four Bridal Falls" judgment is totally within the rules and totally cool, even though I perceived it as a cop-out. Talking about this out-of-character may have been perceived as, "Uh-oh, we're making the GM mad, we'd better not do this anymore," even if that hadn't been my intention.

Talking to the players is always a good idea, but I'd rather go into such a conversation with my head on straight about the game and its rules.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Valamir on August 07, 2006, 11:31:16 AM
Quote
Yes, the kind of Towns where the character come back after a while discovering all their work amounted to nothing and things are worse than before.
I wouldn't say this is in the spirit of the game...

Actually, isn't sending the Dogs back to a town to see the result of their judgement right there in the rule book?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Claudia Cangini on August 07, 2006, 11:50:51 AM
Actually, isn't sending the Dogs back to a town to see the result of their judgement right there in the rule book?

I don't think so...
Anyway the issue has been discussed quit thoroughly here:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20125.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=18652.0


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Claudia Cangini on August 07, 2006, 11:58:07 AM
A lot of talk, even the best intentioned talking, turns into out-of-character browbeating ("You guys aren't playing the way I want you to play") and depending on what kinds of games your players are used to being in, the players may see that as a cue to modify their behavior when their behavior may not be the problem. As in this thread, the "Send'em to Four Bridal Falls" judgment is totally within the rules and totally cool, even though I perceived it as a cop-out. Talking about this out-of-character may have been perceived as, "Uh-oh, we're making the GM mad, we'd better not do this anymore," even if that hadn't been my intention.

Talking to the players is always a good idea, but I'd rather go into such a conversation with my head on straight about the game and its rules.

Well but why should your players fear angering the GM?
If I couldn't talk openly about my tastes in gaming with my fellow players I'd feel I have a communication problem.

And I think the issue shouldn't be "You guys aren't playing the way I want you to play" but "You guys aren't playing the way I want to play".
So the question is: can we have fun together? Or are our tastes in gaming too much afar?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Bret Gillan on August 07, 2006, 12:12:00 PM
I don't disagree with any of that. But what I'm saying here is that my intention in posting here was to make sure I understood the game correctly, though, and talking to the players is unnecessary because my problem was a problem with my understanding of the rules, not a problem with our communication. "Talk to the players!" works fine as a solution if not talking to your players is the problem. My problem was misunderstanding the game and how it should be played.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Lance D. Allen on August 07, 2006, 12:26:33 PM
A furtherance on Blankshield's point...

When someone was sent back to Bridal Falls (Or Vineyard, as it was called in our slight-twist on the canon setting) in our game, it wasn't a cop-out.. It was the judgement. Our judgement was this: You are a sinner, but you can be saved. Your continued presence in this town would be harmful to it, so rather than leave your rehabilitation to the Steward as is usually the way, we will send you on to Vineyard, the center of our Faith, so that those who have been Stewards and Dogs before us can help you find your right place with the King, and allow you to return to the flock.

Sending someone to Vineyard (Bridal Falls) wasn't ever punishment. We hung people, or shot them on the spot, or declared their punishments to be carried out by the Steward and the community. Sending them on to the hub of the Faith was removing them from the town and allowing them to start anew.

Which isn't to say that it was always the wisest choice, of course. But it wasn't a punishment.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Claudia Cangini on August 07, 2006, 12:31:32 PM
I don't disagree with any of that. But what I'm saying here is that my intention in posting here was to make sure I understood the game correctly, though, and talking to the players is unnecessary because my problem was a problem with my understanding of the rules, not a problem with our communication. "Talk to the players!" works fine as a solution if not talking to your players is the problem. My problem was misunderstanding the game and how it should be played.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be uncooperative.

Actually I started posting in answer to Liminaut and not your initial message (about which I basically agree with Vincent so I've not much to add).

I didn't mean to hijack the thread. If I've given you this impression I beg your pardon.

Best!


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Liminaut on August 07, 2006, 07:13:15 PM
Liminaut, I don't think it's appropriate to punish the players for choosing something that you as the GM don't agree with or see as a cop-out.

When I wrote "Think about things from the NPC's point of view" I meant that absolutely, positively, literally.  Would the character _want_ to go back to Four Bridal Falls?  In Wolfen's case, the answer is probably yes.  Bret's original post, it sounded like the character would probably not want to go back.

Given that the character doesn't want to go back to Four Bridal Falls, what are the logical outcomes of that event?  Maybe the fellow hitches a ride back east or something, or maybe something more cinematic happens.

You and Claudia have a very good point that if a second "town" like this was done in a spirit of punishing the players the game would go south very quickly.  And I can see from the language of my post (especially "see if they send somebody off to Four Bridal Falls again") that you could have thought that was my intent.  But I really was coming from a "Think about things from the NPC's point of view" perspective.

Look at it this way.  You write up a town, including "What happens if the Dogs do nothing".  The players come in, look around, ... and leave.  They do nothing.  A few months later, they decide to come back to the town.  What stage is the town in?  The original write-up or the "if the Dogs do nothing" stage?
 


Title: Re: [DitV] "Send 'em to Four Bridal Falls!"
Post by: Vaxalon on August 08, 2006, 05:45:59 AM
Read it again, Liminaut.

It doesn't say "What happens if the Dogs do nothing?"

It says "What would happen if the Dogs never came."

The Dogs came.  So the "What would happen if the Dogs never came" doesn't happen.