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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 252 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV]Life and death conflicts  (Read 13114 times)
Eric Provost
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2005, 03:12:35 PM »

Right.  That's why I put that ineffective edit in there.

If you Give when the stake is your character's life, then the fallout is 16.  You don't roll for it.  I missed that in previous plays, but it's important.  The character is not yet dead, and may not even need medical help.  At this point, at worst you've got 9d10 on the side of the reaper to deal with.  (4d10+Demonic Influence)  I'm pretty confident that any Dog can handle that easily.  

And if you choose not to Give, then you're saying that you're willing to risk your character even further to prove the point that you're not going to be murdered.  :D

-Eric
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Simon Kamber
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2005, 03:45:39 PM »

Yeah, you're probably right. On the other hand, I've had dogs fail initiations against 4d6+4d10. I could see it happening, with a bit of aid from lady (un)luck, with 9d10 despite the player's attempts to avoid it.

However, the chances of success aren't quite relevant. True, risks of failure are close to zero. But still, it's a bit like "do I make it through initiation?". Just feels wrong to start a conflict with the mindset that you depend on a win to avoid a catastrophe, even if that win is virtually guaranteed.


And just a note to clear up misunderstandings I could see appearing at this point. I'm not saying that ambush scenarios are bad by definition. I'm just saying that they should only happen if the Dogs brought them upon themselves.
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Simon Kamber
Blankshield
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2005, 04:53:16 PM »

I (quite literally) started my last session this way, and the players loved it.  See here for the setup.

It was completely an out-of-the-blue conflict where a PC would have been shot and dying if they'd given, and I even stacked the odds by letting them see the Hate & Murder to max out my demonic influence dice.

Nobody was deprotagonized, everyone was playing full to the hilt, and it was 100% pure Dogs.

Getting shot isn't a catastrophe.  It's two picks from longterm fallout and probably some experience to boot.

James
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I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

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lumpley
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2005, 05:08:12 PM »

Quote from: Simon
Sorry, I don't play that often. "Giving it a try" and running a conflict that I believe will violate the way I want the game to run isn't an option. Could I get you to try to explain to me just how it works? And more importantly, how it stops the player from being completely deprotagonized if the conflict should result in his death (unlikely, I know, but still). If I'm killed, I want it to be my own damn fault!

This answer is, as you say, your own damn fault. I didn't ambush you with this.

a. That's not what deprotagonize means. You can't deprotagonize a protagonist by providing adversity, no matter how sudden or deadly.

b. If you don't want to ambush your Dogs, don't.

c. It IS the Dogs' own damn fault. They ride into a town full of sin, demons and murder like they're God's Own Judgement. Do they really think that somebody's not going to try to kill them?

d. No one character is that important. Characters die and stories are better for it. Watch a few movies, read a couple books, you'll see it over and over.

e. It's okay for them to kill people, but not to be killed? Are they hypocrites? Are they cowards? Are they thugs? Are they bullies? Are they babies? They need to face just what it is they're doing. YOU need to face it.

f. What is with these weak-ass roleplayers who think that Narrativism is safe? Jesus. Narrativism is the most dangerous way to play there is. Dogs is dangerous, you invest emotionally in characters WHO CAN DIE. Simon, you need to start taking the risks, start trusting your players to take the risks, and play the damn game.

g. Point (b), where I said if you don't want to, don't? It's plain as day that you do want to. I think you should.

-Vincent
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Simon Kamber
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Posts: 175


« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2005, 01:58:28 AM »

Hmm. I have a few comments to those. But I'll post them later, because I need to think about this a bit first.
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Simon Kamber
Simon Kamber
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2005, 07:16:26 AM »

Ok, here we go. I'm going to butcher your post a bit, because the point-to-point format calls for it.

Quote from: lumpley
a. That's not what deprotagonize means. You can't deprotagonize a protagonist by providing adversity, no matter how sudden or deadly.

At this point, I disagree. According to the glossary, deprotagonize means " To limit or devalue another person's opportunity to establish their character as a protagonist during Narrativist play". If you kill a character completely without reference to the character's position in the story, you've just taken away any chance the player had of influencing the death. "Bang, you're dead", "Why?", "Because I say so!" isn't any different in Dogs just because it had a conflict leading up to it.

Quote
b. If you don't want to ambush your Dogs, don't.

I don't plan to ambush my dogs (without cause). I just wanted to throw the topic in here for discussion. Doing so has often changed my view on such things.

Quote
c. It IS the Dogs' own damn fault. They ride into a town full of sin, demons and murder like they're God's Own Judgement. Do they really think that somebody's not going to try to kill them?

It's the Dogs' own damn fault. Yep, agreed. But it's not the players'. The players didn't choose to ride into the town. Again, once the players have acted like they're Gods Own Judgment, they're up for grabs. Because if so, their death will play into their story as the consequence of their judgment.

Quote
d. No one...

e. It's okay...

f. What is with...

I'm starting to get the impression that you've misunderstood me. If that's the case, I'm not entirely sure how to explain it. Could I get you to write what you think I'm saying?

Quote
g. Point (b), where I said if you don't want to, don't? It's plain as day that you do want to. I think you should.

I'm leaving this one open until we've discussed the rest of it.


Quote from: Blankshield
I (quite literally) started my last session this way, and the players loved it.  See here for the setup.

Yup. And I imagine that was one hell of a conflict. I like the "scarecrow" too. But, suppose one of the Dogs had died. Do you think that Dog's player would still have loved it?
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Simon Kamber
lazarus
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2005, 08:38:09 AM »

I'd have to play the game to figure it out for sure, but I think it's pretty damn hard to kill a Dog if the player doesn't want him dead.

The trick, you see, is to not use guns.  Using guns are the only way to kill one outright, rather than have a "healing conflict" go on.

In light of this, personally, I don't see ambushes being an issue.  Sure, they can get a _lot_ of Fallout Dice, but unless any of them are d10s (guns), then they're not going to die outright.  With d8s, you'd have to roll 2 8's in order to get them to a "dying" stage.  With d6s, you wouldn't even have _that_!

Howabout, then, having one of the Dogs wake up to someone strangling him?  No Fallout immediately, and even if there is, it's only d6 (unarmed physical).

I saw that you were concerned about ambushes that you hadn't built up to - if the dogs are riding into town, and there is an ambush there, why not start with a conflict "Do you notice the ambush?" then a followup for "Do you subdue your attackers?"

Let your players determine what's at stake, and turn it on the GM characters - in almost all cases, I think I could find a way to get a What's At Stake that's not something like "Do the Dogs die?" - which would go into the funny "yeah, well, you really didn't" mechanics.

Laz, actually just got the book this week, so may be wrong about some things ;)
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Simon Kamber
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Posts: 175


« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2005, 08:43:46 AM »

Quote from: lazarus
I'd have to play the game to figure it out for sure, but I think it's pretty damn hard to kill a Dog if the player doesn't want him dead.

That's true. And it means that most likely this won't become an actual issue. However, I could see the gun-slinger-ambush ending in a situation where you've started a conflict where you can't afford to "win".

Quote
The trick, you see, is to not use guns.  Using guns are the only way to kill one outright, rather than have a "healing conflict" go on.

That makes it even less lethal. But still, are you prepared to accept the (unlikely) outcome of a dead Dog? I know I'd only be if the Dog's death had meaning.

Quote
Let your players determine what's at stake, and turn it on the GM characters - in almost all cases, I think I could find a way to get a What's At Stake that's not something like "Do the Dogs die?" - which would go into the funny "yeah, well, you really didn't" mechanics.

Yep, that's a good way of doing it. If you want to use a gun-ambush to present the town, keep the Dog's lives out of the stakes. Perhaps if you want it a bit more lethal, have a "do you get to the town unharmed?"
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Simon Kamber
Brand_Robins
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2005, 08:52:19 AM »

Quote from: Simon Kamber
That makes it even less lethal. But still, are you prepared to accept the (unlikely) outcome of a dead Dog? I know I'd only be if the Dog's death had meaning


I think one of the gaps happening here is based around this statement right here "had meaning."

Where does meaning in a game come from? Who determines it? In relation to the dice? When is it determined?

Simon, you seem to be of the camp that finds meaning by arranging conflicts so that they happen when it is dramatically appropriate according to the way you feel that the game should go. So you don't want a Dog dead in the first scene of a game because it wouldn't fit your sense of drama and pacing. You aren't praticipating in illusionism, really, becuase you won't force a Dog to live or die -- you just won't start a scene in which their death is likely (or possible) until you feel there has been enough build up for it.

Others feel that you create interesting scenes that have potential to go multiple ways, and let the meaning and drama come out of that. So if a Dog ends up gacked in the first 10 minutes of game the game will then come to revolve around that death, around the other Dog's reaction to it, and so on. And if the Dog doesn't get gacked then he's sure as heck going to be focused on finding out why the hell people were trying to off him before he even got into town.

Any of this sounding right?
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- Brand Robins
Simon Kamber
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Posts: 175


« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2005, 09:56:05 AM »

Quote from: Brand_Robins
Any of this sounding right?

Yep, certainly. As far as I'm concerned, you describe what I meant better than I even knew myself. Thanks ;)
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Simon Kamber
lumpley
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« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2005, 09:59:09 AM »

Excellent!

Simon, can you imagine a Narrativist game where it's okay for a player character to be killed, apparently meaninglessly, in the opening scene or opening session?

If you can't imagine such a game, I suggest that your problem isn't with Dogs at all, but more general. I'd recommend that, if you care, you start a thread in GNS or comment in my open house about what PC death in Narrativism can mean and how it can work. For a pretaste, consider how a PC's early, sudden death might affect both the other players' characters and that player's next character. Consider how it might kick the game off fast, hard, and good.

If you can imagine such a game, I suggest that Dogs is one of 'em.

If that doesn't do it for you - if you're like, "I can see where a game could possibly work like that, but Dogs isn't it" - then my followup question. Can you imagine having a group whose social contract does allow Dogs to be it?

-Vincent
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Simon Kamber
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Posts: 175


« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2005, 02:39:52 PM »

I can certainly see where you're going with that. I agree with you that Dogs isn't any different in that aspect.

I also follow you in that a character dying right off the bat is one hell of a kicker for the other characters. Their character has just dies in their arms, coughing up blood in the final part of a losing healing conflict.

Where I still don't see it working though, is for the player whose character has just died. As for that, I'll post it for further discussion where appropriate once I've had a chance to think it through.
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Simon Kamber
Brand_Robins
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« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2005, 03:19:40 PM »

Quote from: Simon Kamber
Where I still don't see it working though, is for the player whose character has just died. As for that, I'll post it for further discussion where appropriate once I've had a chance to think it through.


Recently I was talking to a guy I know, a pretty Simmy GM, with occasional semi-functional drifts towards Nar, and he told me about a problem he was having in some of his games (he runs 6 or so at any given time) that he had heard other GMs that ran for the same players were having too.

They called it "suicide bombers" -- players who had found out that in games in which they weren't getting what they wanted (or even were getting it) they could absolutly dominate an entire session or even multiple sessions by having their character bite it. By all the conventions of drama and RPGing, when the PC bought the farm in games in which there was normally little PC death, it made the whole game all about them.

Now that's obviously a dysfunctional version of it, but the simple truth is that a dead character, handled well, makes the player and the character the center of the game for the rest of the session. The other PCs will be talking about their fallen comrade, getting vengeance, contacting the family who will weep (or curse) their fallen son, and so on. And in Dogs the player gets to bring in a new character -- maybe a little brother looking for blood, or an old uncle who was a retired Dog coming out from retirement -- to help them make it even more about them.

Believe it or don't, biting it can be one of the most protagonizing things a PC can do. And not just "when it's dramatically fitting" -- because in a lot of Nar games whenever it happens is dramatically fitting, people just have to work to make it so.
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- Brand Robins
Blankshield
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2005, 05:23:38 PM »

Quote from: Simon Kamber
Quote from: Blankshield
I (quite literally) started my last session this way, and the players loved it.  See here for the setup.

Yup. And I imagine that was one hell of a conflict. I like the "scarecrow" too. But, suppose one of the Dogs had died. Do you think that Dog's player would still have loved it?


Absolutely.  There is no spotlight like the one that shines on your death scene.  Even Shakespeare knew that.

There's a whole heapin' helpin' of smarter folk than I chipping in to this thread, so I'll mostly shut up, but I do want you to think about these questions:

If a Dog isn't ready and willing to die for the King if the King asks it, are they really a Dog?

If a player isn't ready and willing to sacrifice their Dog, are they really playing Dogs?

And underlying #2: If you aren't willing to trust the other folks at the table enough to make the conflicts meaningful, why are you at that table?

James
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I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

http://www.blankshieldpress.com/
cdr
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« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2005, 06:22:46 PM »

I really like what both Vincent and Brand had to say on this topic, but it also reminded me of a question I had, so apologies if this should be its own thread instead.

What if a Dog dies, and his fellow Dogs want to resurrect him?  Now, that sure turns the supernatural dial ALL the way up, and a case could be made that no player would ever want to do that, given that there's only one person who ever raised the dead and its unlikely he's returned as a Dog, but the rules are perfectly clear: "Say Yes or roll dice."  So my question is, what dice do I roll?  The standard 4d6 + Demonic Influence seems way too light for something that big.

I've seen several very nice writeups of folks calling the spirits of the dead back to talk to them.  The souls of the faithful can't ignore ceremony, right?  So what happens when a Dog tells that soul to get back into its body, the King of Life ain't done with you yet?

--Carl Rigney
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