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Author Topic: Forcing an Outcome  (Read 8598 times)
bluegargantua
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« on: September 15, 2004, 07:25:14 PM »

OK,

  Me and Cadmus, just stumbled in on Branch Zachary having an affair with Avigail.  We catch them going at it through the bedroom window and you say that Avigail isn't being raped.

  Well, we bust in like the righteous Dogs we are and our thought is that she's not being forced, but she *is* being coerced because the Branch has authority over her and is telling her how God said it was OK and stuff.

  But then, Meg, who's playing Cadmus and wise to your sneaky ways says "Hang on, he just said she wasn't being raped.  He didn't say if Avigail was being a harlot and a temptress or just a hapless vicitm or what.  He's probably going to try and bop us over the head with this later after we mete out punishment to Branch Zachary and let Avigail off the hook."

  "New challenge," Meg says, "I interrogate Avigail.  What's at stake is, do I get her to tell me if she's actively seducing the Branch or not?"

  OK, now what?  As the GM, you just knew that there was an affair going on, but the stake is such that you'll have to make a decision that will influence our judgement on the situation.  If Cadmus wins, Avigail will say something that either exonerates or incriminates her.

  What do you do in situations where the players are fishing for a "correct" answer, or where players are trying to suss out what's going on and the information they ask for will clearly lock down their eventual decision?

later
Tom
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The Three Stooges ran better black ops.

Don't laugh, Larry would strike unseen from the shadows and Curly...well, Curly once toppled a dictatorship with the key from a Sardine tin.
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2004, 08:06:48 AM »

Well, in that particular, very particular case -

I give, we don't roll dice. Here's the fact: she's going along with him because she's having fun and she likes him okay, but she doesn't want this to be her future - she doesn't want to marry him, she wants to marry Jonas, in her ideal world. She hasn't really thought about how this affair might impact her ideal future.

That's just what's written in my writeup for the town. I stand by it even with the judgement that you and Meg pronounced - it's simply part of the factual sequence of events that led up to the situation you played out.

You and Meg pronouncing judgement didn't determine what happened, just what's important. His sin - and he certainly was abusing his authority, by the book - mattered to the town. Her sin - and she was certainly there in bed with him - didn't. So say you and Meg, who have the authority to say it. You had all the information, you interpreted it to lay blame, as is your job. All kosher.

What's interesting to me is how immediately and viscerally you layed blame. You didn't second-guess yourself or agonize once. "His sin matters, hers doesn't" came through your characters' actions like Truth From On High. (Between the two of you, I mean. It sounds like Meg was driving the judgement and you were going along with her - which is fine and kosher too.)

Make sense? You've been chewing on this.

-Vincent
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DannyK
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2004, 08:56:29 AM »

Well, Vince, would it be fair play for the GM to turn around (as Meg was apparently suspected he would) and show that the Dogs had blown it and that Avigail is a Jezebel who will continue to seek the tempation and humbling of church officials until she's stopped?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2004, 09:01:57 AM »

Hiya,

I'm not Vincent, but I have an opinion on that, Danny.

It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter if Avigail does who knows what, tempts and humbles the officials and runs the town into the ground. The Dogs have rendered judgment. The town will meet its fate according to the will of the King of Life.

Right - the town descends into chaos and sin and hellfire. Demons, heresy, murder, the works. But the Dogs rendered judgment, and they were right. The rest is up to the King of Life.

The Dogs might do well to consider that their judgment, right as it is, does not control outcomes. I believe there's a passage in the Book that makes this point precisely.

Best,
Ron
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bluegargantua
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Posts: 167


« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2004, 09:04:06 AM »

> Well, in that particular, very particular case -

  Eh, I could see cases where you have a theory about what's going on so you put someone to the question about it.  

> I give, we don't roll dice.

  Unless they're trying to keep it from the PCs which sends it right back to the "they're lying about it aren't they?"  "Oh yeah" scenario.

  I supopse you might not actually have an answer and you could still roll but take a page from Donjon and whatever they think is the right answer really is the right answer.
 
> Make sense? You've been chewing on this.

  Yeah.  Although now I think I'll just shoot everyone in town.  A lot easier that way.  :)

Thanks
Tom
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The Three Stooges ran better black ops.

Don't laugh, Larry would strike unseen from the shadows and Curly...well, Curly once toppled a dictatorship with the key from a Sardine tin.
DannyK
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2004, 11:06:29 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter if Avigail does who knows what, tempts and humbles the officials and runs the town into the ground. The Dogs have rendered judgment. The town will meet its fate according to the will of the King of Life.


Ah.  I getcha.  That's a very interesting distinction, and completely logical along the lines of the Calvinist predestination theory.  It sounds like a perfect setup for secretly conflicted Dogs and all kinds of horrific outcomes, but that's a good thing IMO.

I should really stay off this forum until I have the book in front of me, but these discussions are too interesting for me to stay out of.  I'll hush till next week, when I should be able to jump in with something better informed.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2004, 11:18:18 AM »

Hi Danny,

One doesn't even have to bring predestination into it. The King of Life is, well, he's the King of Life, inney? Whether he set it all in motion with a vast detailed plan, or whether he's up there deciding as he goes (just like us) doesn't matter. This is a God of miracles and of His will manifest upon the earth. It's still his show.

All the Dog can do is render judgment, upon fellow humans, as a human, doing his best to represent for the King of Life and the Church. That judgment is adopted as the right thing to do, in the annals of the Church and by extension (and possibly with twisting or misinterpretation) enters the traditions of the Church for all time.

But as for what happens to the town? The Dog can literally do nothing about that, in terms of ensuring anything. No person can.

To quote another thinly-disguised fictional character:

"Child, no one is ever shown what would have happened." (Aslan, in the Chronicles of Narnia)

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2004, 11:28:17 AM »

I like Ron's answers better than whatever I was gonna say.

-Vincent
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charlesperez
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2004, 02:23:36 PM »

Jezebel, Shmezebel.

The real remaining issue seems to be Avigail's Pride in thinking that she can boink who she pleases, strictures against fornication and adultry notwithstanding. This attitude manifests as Injustice in that it leads her to treat her family - particularly Jonas - less well than she might, either believing she can take them for granted or thinking about boink-fests when she should be thinking about her duties as a wife and mother. The Sin comes in either when she has another affair or when, say, Jonas chafes under Avigail's neglect - and maybe her careless treatment of his feelings - and does something Sinful. The transgression proceeds from there.

If the players aren't interested in the sequel, then either the town went to Hell in the handbasket Avigail wove, other Dogs (or even the new Steward!) handled the matter or else Avigail wasn't Proud to begin with and saw the error of her ways after the old Steward was shipped off to Bridal Falls.

If this pleases you and your players, Vincent, run with it - and by all means tell me how it came out.

-Charles
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2004, 07:59:09 PM »

I think it's important here to say that the Dog's judgement isn't necessarily right in the eyes of the King of Life.  As in -- a Dog can make a bad call.  They can have flawed judgement.  Heck, they can be motivated by Pride just like anyone else.

The key to Dogs, and what makes Dogs different, and why you can't as a GM have the PCs come back to an old town and find someone that they had judged as innocent a sinner, is that the judgement of the judgement -- whether it was the will of the King of Life -- is not in the hands of the GM.  It is in the hands, explicitly, of the players.  The players decide whether or not their characters are acting on the will of God.  In fact, they are completely in charge of their relationship with the divine.

This is hardcore cool, and the center of what I like about Dogs.

So, do you want to reprise an old town?  Cool.  Ask your players if they made the right choice.

yrs--
--Ben
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Valamir
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2004, 04:17:34 AM »

I think that's exactly right Ben.

The decision of the Dogs isn't establishing God's Will, its establishing church dogma; which as anyone who's secure in their Faith, convinced of the fallacy of man, and not brainwashed by charismatic church leaders knows...ain't the same thing at all.
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2004, 05:24:29 AM »

Quote from: Ben Lehman
I think it's important here to say that the Dog's judgement isn't necessarily right in the eyes of the King of Life.  As in -- a Dog can make a bad call.  They can have flawed judgement.  Heck, they can be motivated by Pride just like anyone else.


Personally, I totally disagreee with that.  The whole point of the Dog is that they're special.  They're empowered to make judgements and whatever judgement they make is not only right, it's what the King of Life His Very Own Self would do if He Personally showed up to take care of things.  Every Dog, from the most pious, humble servant to the wildest, badest, most blashphemous thug are all following the King's Word and enacting His decisions.

Sometimes Dogs have differing opinions on how to handle a situation.  Not only are both of them right, both of them are carrying out the King's Word.

Which I suppose pretty much handles my dilema.  Doesn't matter who was seducing who, the King of Life said "give the girl a chance and pack off the Branch" and that's what we did.  If we come back and Avigail is still a problem, maybe the King tells us to go shoot her, but I can walk away from any situation knowing that God was on my side and I was doing the right thing.

cool
Tom
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The Three Stooges ran better black ops.

Don't laugh, Larry would strike unseen from the shadows and Curly...well, Curly once toppled a dictatorship with the key from a Sardine tin.
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2004, 06:10:45 AM »

Yeah, within the game structure, this is true: the Watchdogs can do no wrong by the King of Life (unless the player decides sHe wants to). That doesn't mean that they can do no wrong by each other, the townies, or what-have-you. Dogs have a mystical connection to the King; everyone else, they have to talk with.

Whatever they decide, it was preordained by the King.

Now I like the idea that the King of Life might want the Dogs to do fucked up stuff.  I think it works in the genre. I also like the idea that the only-marginally-sane dogs might all want to to something different from each other.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
jrs
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2004, 06:26:53 AM »

And just because a Dog can do no wrong by the King of Life, does not mean that the players have to agree with it.

Julie
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2004, 06:39:55 AM »

Huh.  Without the ability to willfully go against the King of Life's intentions, Dogs would lose a lot of its punch for me.

You are judging God's people.  Similarly, you shall come to judge God.

To each their own, I guess.

yrs--
--Ben
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