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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 80 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] Choosing traits  (Read 8334 times)
PercyKittenz
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Posts: 7


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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2005, 09:42:15 PM »

The original post in this thread is something that I've been weighing in my mind before running a game. Most of the role-player friends I have are of the gamist type, strictly, and they'll argue for hours about how to apply a trait to a situation. This is a problem made all the more difficult in that we (before I stopped playing with them out of frustration) were using a system made up by one of the players that has all the inherent combat and mechanics of DnD, but a terrible stat system and none of the traits written down anywhere. Like GURPS, only made up on the spot.

In one case, a player made a very compelling case for the following: If he can use telekinesis, which requires no roll to use, to move a 10lb object at a rate of 20ft/minute, then according to physics, he can move an object the size of a bullet at mach 7 with his mind. The GM (and creator of the game) countered that by saying that he wouldn't be able to track the object in flight, but, oh! the player took the trait "omnipresent" at character creation. Well, then.

I've expressly forbid most of my friends from ever playing Dogs for so long as I am running it. This is the only solution I know to prevent them from breaking it. Dogs requires that you have players who are able to accept a narrativist style of play.

I've considered the problem for a while and have concluded that this is what at least one of the players would do as soon as they understood the system: They would pour every point of experience I let them have into adding dice to "gunslinging". Since guns are the highest that conflict can escalate, as soon as they want something to go their way, they would pull their guns. Everyone knows that they have more dice in guns than anyone else has in anything, so they'd relent or die. And the players would be fine with that because, for them, roleplaying is about them winning and acting out their violent fantasies.

I'm sure that there are situations that could be created where gunfighting wouldn't help. Sure, you could disarm them and they'd be SOL, but where's the fun in that? As a GM, I don't want to set up situations where I have to make them lose, but it isn't any fun if they just shoot or threaten to shoot every person they come across.  

So, sadly, as I see it, if you have someone whose only intention is to make the best character by power-gaming his way through the story, all you can do is to ask them to leave or discourage them enough that they start to branch out their character or leave themselves. Either way, having that player in the group is going to bring the fun down for everyone else.
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"There is only ONE god,
He is the SUN god,
Ra! Ra! Ra!"
- The Illuminatus Trilogy, Book 4
sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2005, 12:30:53 AM »

1) Powergaming in Dogs is all about the talking. If you put all your dice in Gunfighting, not only would you be dodging sudden death all the time, but it'd be kind of hard to use them against, say, your grandmother who asks you to stop being a Dog.

2) I've noticed that people tend to just not powergame in Dogs, even if they have a previous history of such. On the contrast, I've heard a lot about theoretical powergamed characters, which seems to be unfair to the game.
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coffeestain
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Posts: 165


« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2005, 04:17:33 AM »

It's also important not to forget that a gunfighting conflict can be "escalated" to a verbal or physical conflict.  In this case, escalation refers to adding extra dice to the conflict, not increasing the level of violence in it.
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2005, 05:34:26 AM »

Percy,

I think you should take the worst of your power-gaming friends and set all of them down to play a one-shot of Dogs.. Just a one-off, no commitment. Let them take whatever traits they want, so long as it's justified within the setting. Don't even TRY to discourage them from pumping it all into gunslinging, or whatever.

Then face them with a conflict where guns aren't the obvious answer. Face them with a conflict where guns may very well be the wrong answer. If they still escalate to guns and shoot their way through.. Have your NPCs take fallout Take major fallout. Remember, a bullet must actually be fired at someone to escalate to guns. Have them kill people over minor disagreements..

Unless your friends are closet psychopaths, (which may very well be the case..) this will rattle them. Personally, if the conflict is framed correctly, I very much doubt that they'll escalate to guns without a lot of thought.

Dogs is hard to break, but I think it can break a lot of bad habits.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2005, 04:11:05 AM »

Quote from: Andrew Morris
"Uh, what? I got a 10 on my 'Likes bunnies' die? Hmm, I notice that there's a bunny in the middle of the gunfight, so I dive wildly toward it, trying to scare it off so it doesn't get hurt. That throws of their aim enough that they don't hit me." Or something along those lines.


That sounds to me like a far more cool raise than the "I use X trait" version of "There's a bunny standing there".

It's just a difference in narration, sure. But that difference in narration is one hell of a huge difference.
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Simon Kamber
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2005, 05:26:56 AM »

Quote from: PercyKittenz
In one case, a player made a very compelling case for the following: If he can use telekinesis, which requires no roll to use, to move a 10lb object at a rate of 20ft/minute, then according to physics, he can move an object the size of a bullet at mach 7 with his mind. The GM (and creator of the game) countered that by saying that he wouldn't be able to track the object in flight, but, oh! the player took the trait "omnipresent" at character creation. Well, then.

I've expressly forbid most of my friends from ever playing Dogs for so long as I am running it. This is the only solution I know to prevent them from breaking it.


In Dogs, players could do that abpve, and it wouldn't break the system. You could easily add a trait: "My Faith moves things" and then narrate how youy pick things up, take guns out of opponents hands and hurl them at other people's heads, even pick people up and dangle them in the air.
This doesn't break the system, because it has exactly the same effect mechanically as any action.
PC Raise: "I lift the sinner into the air and dangle him helplessly."
Sinner Blocks: "But my sin is too great for you to bear and I fall harmlessly to the ground."
---
or
PC Raise: "I lift the sinner into the air and dangle him helplessly."
Sinner Takes The Blow: "I dangle helplessly."
Sinner Raises: "I take off my belt and throw it at you, disrupting your concentration."
PC can then either Block (in which case the sinner is still in the air, but the PC is still forced to use dice in exactly the same way as if the sinner was arguing with him or shooting him) or Take the Blow (in which case he probably does lose concentration and the sinner is back on the ground).

All these fancy attacks needed to be backed up by dice, and they all work exactly the same way - whether your talking, shooting, or melting peoples minds with the power of your faith.

Quote
They would pour every point of experience I let them have into adding dice to "gunslinging". Since guns are the highest that conflict can escalate, as soon as they want something to go their way, they would pull their guns. Everyone knows that they have more dice in guns than anyone else has in anything, so they'd relent or die. And the players would be fine with that because, for them, roleplaying is about them winning and acting out their violent fantasies.

I'm sure that there are situations that could be created where gunfighting wouldn't help. Sure, you could disarm them and they'd be SOL, but where's the fun in that?


In many other games, I'd agree completely arguing - "change the type of conflict" can miss the point, because players who really want to revert to guns will find a way to do it.
But in Dogs, if you're following the rules for building towns, which means creating people with problems that players have to interact with, this doesn't break the game. Sometimes the players will break out the guns in situations where they really 'shouldn't', but there'll be plenty of situations where players can make this choice:
"Do I break out the guns and shoot this guy, or do I break out the guns and shoot this other guy?"
That's the real point of play with Dogs - the players get to do the gunfight they want to do, but the Dogs town creation gives them choices to face and decisions to make - even if it's just, "which guy do I shoot."

Quote
So, sadly, as I see it, if you have someone whose only intention is to make the best character by power-gaming his way through the story, all you can do is to ask them to leave or discourage them enough that they start to branch out their character or leave themselves. Either way, having that player in the group is going to bring the fun down for everyone else.


This statement is true: if one player is dominating play in a way which makes all the other players unhappy, and that player isn't going to change, asking him to leave is the only solution that will help. Changing the game played won't change that.
If you have players who are powergaming in other games because it works, that's no reason to fear their habits in Dogs. Non-powergamers can be just as effective as power-gamers - they won't be able to dominate play. (In fact, in Dogs, every player is a power gamer - every trait you add to your sheet is extra power you can use in every contest, if you really want to.)
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