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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Jasper Flick on April 07, 2009, 10:09:09 AM

Title: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: Jasper Flick on April 07, 2009, 10:09:09 AM
We're having a little trouble with narrating a See ahead of rolling dice for traits and things. Here's an contrived example:

GM raises with the guy punching you in the face. You haven't got the dice to See. So you escalate to gunfighting. This happens to be the last escalation, so the only dice that matter are that of the gun.

You must first say what you do, and only then roll the dice. But you have no clue whether you can reverse, block, have to take the blow, or have to give. What do you say? If you say anything now, chances are high you need to revise it.

This isn't an issue with Raising, but when Seeing people are stumped whenever everything is riding on the dice yet to be thrown. A solution has been to roll first in such situations, but it doesn't feel right to me.

An example from actual play was when a player wanted to discipline fellow Dogs in training during initiation. He caught them drinking booze. He soon got a snide remark in his face he couldn't See with just talking anymore. He decided to See by shooting the bottle the guy was holding. He escalated to physical and rolled crap. He said "I shoot the bottle." and rolled his good shooting trait and big gun. He rolled crap again and had to take the blow. He revised his narration to include him losing his cool instead of remaining ice calm, but wasn't happy with that backtracking solution.

This rolls over into a related issue: the See that is actually a Raise. The escalation example in the book is one of these too. The GM Raises with an accusation the player can't See, so the player reacts by escalating and punching. In the book, this single description gets used both for the See and the next Raise, basically folding the two into one action. The flow is like this:

GM Raise: "...Maybe if you’d been in his life he wouldn’t have gone this way."
Player See (block): "I punch you."
Player Raise: ...
GM See (take the blow): “I’m surprised and you catch me right in the jaw."

It's a neat little trick. So neat actually that it's a pity it didn't get any special attention. It begs the question though: what if the player rolled absolutely crap, and found out he had to give or take the blow directly after saying "I punch you."?

Anyway, Dogs is awesome!

Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: lumpley on April 07, 2009, 10:23:30 AM
Going back and re-doing a see to take into account the crappy trait roll has never bothered me. It's the official solution, in fact. It doesn't even bother me if the re-done see DOESN'T invoke the trait in question. Leave the dice as they are and go forward, don't sweat it.

But if you don't like that, then to be safe you just have to make a see that doesn't depend on the dice you're about to roll. Basically you have to take the blow.


Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: Jasper Flick on April 07, 2009, 10:46:27 AM
:) I was afraid you'd say something like that. My poor "traditional" players have much trouble with their perceived disconnect between the fiction and the dice, this was nearly a gamebreaker for them. They're still solidly into "I don't wanna see the GM's dice, yuck metagame!" territory, so to speak.

I guess what didn't help is that it came up all the friggin' time during our first play. The dice really were wonky. They rolled crap a lot, while I rolled complete straights. Still, they enjoyed it, I think more than they dared to admit. Stuff actually happened!

Funny you say re-doing is official, because I can't remember re-doing is written about anywhere. Did I miss it? It might be a "duh!" thing, but not for everyone.

Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: jburneko on April 07, 2009, 11:33:06 AM

For what it's worth, I tend to not use the See then roll rule.  Especially in light of Vincent's "do over" clarification.  Instead when players roll in traits I just make sure they announce them out loud.  Then when they see I basically mentally check them off to make sure they incorporated them.  And if they miss something I just say, "What about X that you rolled?"

But that's because I have honest and creative players.  I know they can work whatever they roll into whatever kind of See they can pull together.


Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: Filip Luszczyk on April 08, 2009, 05:58:08 AM

Funny you say re-doing is official, because I can't remember re-doing is written about anywhere. Did I miss it? It might be a "duh!" thing, but not for everyone.

It's not in the book, as far as I know. Many official rules are not there, though. It's only official in the "official web supplement" sense - as a game manual, the book is somewhat lacking, I'm afraid. I advice reading this forum to anyone who approaches running this game seriously (especially old threads, there's plenty of rules questions threads there that cover a lot of the "not necessarily obvious in the text" ground).

As for the re-doing rule itself, unfortunately it's one of the major flaws of the game (or maybe fortunately, given that, official clarifications taken into account, there aren't many such flaws). The timing on Sees is somewhat wonky.

Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: Jasper Flick on April 08, 2009, 07:46:40 AM
Thanks guys!


My players are honest too, but they aren't used to the freedom Dogs grants them. They'll loosen up with time. Right now they're helped lots by following strict procedures and by me giving them lots of suggestions. That approach worked fine so far, except with that special case of Seeing. Next time I'll present it to them as the gray area it is, and we'll decide how to deal with it.


I just don't like it when people say "it's official" when you can subsitite "that's how I intended it, no it's not in the book or on a handy page of my site, it's somewhere hidden in a forum, maybe". Yes, it's proper use of the word official. No, there's nothing inherently wrong with it. But it fools me into thinking it should've been obvious and I'm stupid for missing it.

I did check online and read a lot about Dogs, but couldn't really find what I was looking for in a reasonable amount of time. My WTF count for Dogs so far is 1, which is actually very good.

Title: Re: Seeing when everything depends on the future
Post by: David Artman on April 08, 2009, 08:30:09 AM
I don't know if it will help you, but you can try our general way of invoking Traits or escalating. I'll use your example:

PLAN: To escalate to physical and invoke a Gun and related Trait.

Beginning see...
GM - "I've had enough of this talk [escalate to physical, because I don't intend to hurt the other Dog; roll dice]. I draw my gun [roll die/dice] and take aim, like any Good Shooter would [roll dice]."

Check out the dice and pick a see...
GM - "Well that was crap; I have to take the blow [push forward dice], so I clearly fire wide of the bottle that I was aiming at and hit the wall. 'DAMN it!' I shout, clearly losing my cool. My gun hand is shaking with rage and embarrassment. [set aside d4s for Fallout] Um... OK, I raise by saying, 'Next shot's your hand... or maybe your head, I'm pretty shaky.'"

So so I (the GM) escalated to physical, invoked the gun JUST because I'm wielding it around--it's NOT fighting or gunplay if I doesn't intend harm, as I understand it--and invoke my Good Shot trait to get more dice. The rolls mean I will have to take the blow on the see, which means his words have had their impact (Fallout at d4) and I make a feeble raise that is *still just talking*. In essence, I de-escalate back to Just Talking, but I can't re-roll those dice (been used). Or, hell, I could say my guys throws the gun at the bottle, having missed with my shot (a physical Raise).

Basically, realize that taking the blow means fallout for what was narrated, NOT the dice used. Likewise, dice are invoked by intent but DO NOT guarantee outcome, NOR do they require a "typical" application of the invocation--viz how I "aim" to invoke Good Shot on a raise which would lead to merely d6 of Fallout if he takes the blow; meanwhile, in a gunplay conflict, I could invoke the same thing to say I shoot him in the face, making for d10 Fallout if he takes the blow.

And it's not retconning if you say, "I shoot him in the face" and push forward, say, a pair of twos; after which he says, "You miss wildly and hit the Tree of Life alter behind me, shattering it" to see with a single die (a four). That's sort of like "soft outcome" narration, where it literally could be narrated as "I try to shoot him in the face." The d10 Fallout dice would come in due to the obvious intent (harm, with a gun), but it is only taken if the blow is taken (yep, shot me in the face, cause I only have a pair of ones left to see your pair of twos). But in the example above, the Fallout dice would, at most, be d6s because the intent (break bottle) isn't literally to harm the target, just use physical means to get them to Give.

Making sense? (Am I off base, Vincent?)