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Author Topic: Dogs Prep Questions  (Read 6252 times)
Sean
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« on: June 01, 2005, 09:41:35 AM »

Well, it appears that I'm going to be running this game by the end of the month! My players all come to the Forge, so I don't want to post all my prep here, but I do have some questions it would be cool if someone could answer. I'll use this thread also to post new ones as I think of them.

1. On Mormonism

A. Are there any special dietary restrictions other than the ones on alcohol? In particular, can Mormons eat goat?

B. What is the attitude of Mormons towards the Tanakh and the New Testament? I know that they see themselves (like Islam) as inheritors of this tradition, but do they actually quote e.g. from Judges or Acts, or is this more of a token respect type thing, with the real scriptural authorities coming from the Book of Mormon and other ‘internal’ sources?

2. On the Game

A. Towns. It seems as though the ‘ladder of sin’ is primarily a tool for GMs to construct towns, and that the way the Dogs engage with the whole situation is more important than their uncovering each step upon the ladder. That is, the ‘solution’ to a wife’s Pride that she should be richer and more respected than everyone else in town might wind up being ferreting out her pride and counseling her, or it might be setting her crooked husband straight without much interaction with her, or it might be a gunfight with the various underlings in her husband’s business, etc. As I understand it the Dogs don’t ‘win’ or ‘lose’ by figuring out the GMs setup, but by learning as much as they can about the situation and the actors in it and then making a judgment. Yes? Any extra tips here?

B. One Man Stands Alone. Classic gunfights in Westerns often involve a lone hero or small group shooting their way through a superior number of bad guys until at last they stand face to face with the leader of the gang. In such situations, usually blowing away the lesser members of the gang is something that I would see the player as narrating as part of the conflict, not something that has to wait for Fallout or whatever.

Dogs can easily handle this by making a ‘group NPC’ where the leader of the gang is used as the stat base and given several traits and relationships and the gang members are +2d6 to stats and one additional trait each. Then the High Noon scenario goes like this: GM narrates villain coming on scene looking for character, player narrates cool combination of guts, stealth, bravery, etc., then maybe they come face to face, someone shoots first, but when the PC shoots, he just plain narrates the other guy getting shot down and moves on. Unless the PC wants to face more than one guy in the final face-off, you can just save all the dice for that final encounter without worrying about which bodies are actually present in it.

This is a little different from the thing in the book where Vincent stats Brother Benjamin and his seven farmhands separately though – is there a problem with it? In general it seems like GMCs in conflicts should be formed into ‘gangs’ like this as much as possible so you don’t get the ‘players wait while GM goes multiple times’ thing.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2005, 10:39:35 AM »

Coolness!

1. Before I answer, just, the Faith in your game can be but doesn't have to be like real-world Mormonism, as you know. These are the real-world answers, don't consider 'em binding for your game. So if you don't want your Faithful eating goat, go for it.

A. ...But Mormons can eat goat, absolutely. Here's the whole text of the food rules:
Quote from: Doctrine & Covenants 89:5-17
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—

11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;

15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—

17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

(Between then and now, "pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make" has become understood to mean "water." "Hot drinks" has become understood to mean "caffeine." "Barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks," has become understood to mean "barley for all useful animals, but don't drink beer." And I don't know any Mormons who eat meat only in times of winter, cold, famine or excess hunger; I guess I don't know what they think those lines might mean.)

Also, as I understand it, none of this was a big deal in the society at all, until the gold rush brought a zillion non-Mormons to Salt Lake City. Then the leadership of the church wanted to differentiate the Saints from the "gentiles" in every way they could think of: dress, diet, habits. That's when Mormons really stopped smoking, drinking and swearing.

B. Generally speaking, Mormons dig the Bible. I wouldn't call it a token respect type thing a'tall.

Mormons regard four books - the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price - as God's true scriptures. They consider the Bible the least reliable, as it's been in the care of the World for so long, so when there's a contradiction between it and one of the others they go with the other. Conveniently, usually there's no contradiction.

In fact, the Book of Mormon quotes a big piece of Isaiah directly, and then later includes text closely following (Mark Twain says "plagiarizing") the Sermon on the Mount.

So it's more that Mormons interpret some passages in ways that other Christians would find odd, and emphasise some passages other Christians don't care much about, that kind of thing, instead.

2. A. You got it.

B. The GM should never roll more than one batch of dice in a conflict, so yeah, glom all the NPCs together into a group NPC every time.

Killing NPCs is totally within the scope of a single raise and see, for those kinds of conflicts. You raise: "I gun down fifty men!" I see, taking the blow: "dang, dude."

Also, if it were me, I'd handle the classic gunfight as two conflicts: one to get to the gang boss through the gang, then a followup conflict to fight the gang boss.

-Vincent
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cdr
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2005, 01:11:05 AM »

Quote
Also, if it were me, I'd handle the classic gunfight as two conflicts: one to get to the gang boss through the gang, then a followup conflict to fight the gang boss.


I definitely agree.  Plus that way, you can use the fallout dice from the giant mook battle (if you don't care about what happened to them after) as bonus dice vs. the level boss, err gang boss.

Which feels very right, to me, as the Dogs come striding through the carnage and flame for the final confrontation.  But then I'm a big fan of Hong Kong action movies, too.  (Note to self: Flock of Slow-Motion Doves 1d6.)
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Sean
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2005, 04:29:21 AM »

Maybe I don't understand the way combat works then. The gunfights at the end of e.g. High Noon and Pale Rider look a lot to me like all four/seven of the foes are one Dogs unit. There are other Westerns where there's a conflict with a gang culminating in an underboss first followed by a conflict with the boss, and that seems to fit the model you're both advocating better.

I can see using either one depending on how you want the scenario to play out. But do you agree with me about those two gunfights, which is what I had in mind, or do you think I'm missing something about the cinematic analogues?


As long as I'm back on the thread I had a question about Blood. It seems like in the GM prep section there's careful attention to giving each Dog a relative in each town. That's cool. Should the GM always do this? How do you work it out if a player points at one of your NPCs and says 'hey, I want that guy to be my cousin', or something? Or 'there's an uncle in this town, a blacksmith, and I go to him about...' (using Director stance as I imagine it). Do you have any general advice for dealing with establishing Blood connections in prep vs. in play?


Also a setting question. Were there Mexicans around? I'm thinking I want some Mexican Catholic dirt farmers and maybe even vaqueros on the border of the community to mix things up a little.
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Danny_K
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Posts: 198


« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2005, 10:06:11 AM »

Quote from: Sean
A. Towns. It seems as though the ‘ladder of sin’ is primarily a tool for GMs to construct towns, and that the way the Dogs engage with the whole situation is more important than their uncovering each step upon the ladder. That is, the ‘solution’ to a wife’s Pride that she should be richer and more respected than everyone else in town might wind up being ferreting out her pride and counseling her, or it might be setting her crooked husband straight without much interaction with her, or it might be a gunfight with the various underlings in her husband’s business, etc. As I understand it the Dogs don’t ‘win’ or ‘lose’ by figuring out the GMs setup, but by learning as much as they can about the situation and the actors in it and then making a judgment. Yes? Any extra tips here?


I'm not the guy to speak to about rules, but I can tell you that in my experience ( a little playing, a little running), the Dogs get a pretty good sense of what's what just in the process of going through the town and setting things to rights.  This doesn't happen in a check-list way like "Oh, here's the Pride, check!" but more organically.  Maybe the Dogs have their guns out and are interrogating one of the henchmen, and he spills the beans.  

The way I've seen Dogs working is that everybody in town, with a few exceptions, is eager to tell the Dogs just what's going on and what they need to do about it, and if possible to sic the Dogs on somebody in town they don't like.  

From a semiotic perspective, the town is a blizzard of signifiers, and the challenge for the dogs is to put all this together into some comprehensible form so they can figure out what is right. The fact that the Dogs can approach this through careful listening or by punching people in the face and seeing what happens and either approach will work is one of the beauties of the system.  

Danny
P.S.  Again in my experience, you can incorporate just about anything in the Old Western genre into the setting -- I've used runaway slaves and  silver miners.  Mexicans would a great group to introduce too, either as semi-virtous semi-civilized gentiles or as converts to the Faith with some troubling lingering doctrinal differences.
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2005, 11:12:26 AM »

Thanks, DannyK.

I realized I had another question too. I'm confused about how the 'GM has one pile of dice' rule and the groups rule interact. I assumed that whenever there were multiple antagonists they got rolled into a group according to the group rules. But now some other comments make me think that groups are just another kind of individual and that if you have multiple individuals the GM adds their dice together.

Which is it? If the players are fighting two guys with say 3 stats across the board, do they get rolled into a group with 4433 or 5333, or do they combine to make, effectively, 6666 in terms of available dice?
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2005, 11:25:32 AM »

4433 or 5333.

-Vincent
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