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Author Topic: [DitV] Hobbestown - Questions, Some Answers  (Read 1610 times)
Pôl Jackson

Posts: 33

« on: October 22, 2005, 08:44:57 AM »

Ran my first game ever of Dogs last week. It went really well! I ran my new Dogs through "Hobbestown" (which has changed dramatically since I last posted it).

I hope to have time to write up the "Actual Play" report, someday. For now, I'm just going to go over some scenes in the game that I found difficult to adjucate. For some, I have a pretty good idea on how to handle similar situations in the future. For others, I could use some advice.

1.) Very first game, very first initiation, and I get hit with a doozy. "I hope my character resisted being tempted to wrath by a demon." Oh, man!

We set the scene. Brother Abel is on an icy bridge in the dead of winter, trying to get past three beligerent townsfolk who are unwilling to share their town's food (they have plenty). Brother Abel feels an icy cold chill from the river below seeping into his heart, and he's filled with a cold, terrible rage.

And here's how I play it: the men on the bridge aren't important. The struggle takes place within Brother Abel's heart. As an internal dialogue, he rolls Acuity + Heart; I roll Initiation dice.

It went OK, but just OK. I'm thinking that I could have done this: play out the conflict between Brother Abel and the men on the bridge... and then offer the player more dice. "Would you like another d10 to roll? How about two? All you have to do is stop holding back. And you would have these dice on your sheet, all the time, to call on if you need them..." I really like this idea - tempt the player, not the character!

2.) There's angry words in the street, and the two townsfolk are coming close to brawlin'. We set these stakes: "Do the Dogs prevent these people from fighting?"

Everyone rolls Acuity + Heart, for talkin'. The first Dog makes her Raise. The first townsperson Sees, and immediately Escalates to fistfighting. On his Raise, he steps past the Dog, and swings at the other guy.

The Dogs have failed! Everyone has plenty of dice left, but the Dogs have lost the stakes. This was weird and unsatisfying. I have a couple of questions about this one:

     a.) You can Escalate on a See, right? I'm pretty sure you can, but I want to be sure.
     b.) Did I play this right? The conflict ends prematurely, even though everyone has lots of dice, because one side wins the stakes just by Escalating.

Here's what I would do in retrospect: set the conflict in the time between when the Dogs intervene, but before the townsfolk step around them and start swinging at one another. Play it all out in split-second Raises and Sees, mostly in body language. It's not really a physical struggle, anyway; it's really a struggle of the Dogs making the townsfolk recognize their authority.

3.) Steward Hobbes is determined to kill Stephen Lords, the man who slept with his wife. Lords is lying in his shop, helpless, suffering from a recent gunshot wound. Steward Hobbes wins the stakes, "Do we convince the Steward not to go kill Stephen Lords?" The Dogs fail; the Steward is not convinced. He walks past the Dogs, swings open the door to the shop, and raises his gun.

Followup conflict, with these stakes: "Do we drop Steward Hobbes?" Bang! Bang! Bang! The Steward gets shot by three Dogs, but his rage keeps him upright. On his Raise, he aims inside the shop, and shoots!

But wait... this Raise doesn't affect anybody in the scene. It's not a real Raise, then; it's not something the Dogs "can't ignore". Now what?

And here's how I played it: I let the Steward get a shot off inside the shop, then turn and fire at the Dogs (his real Raise). Now, I'm half-thinking that I should have put Lords in the scene. None of the Dogs could see into the shop, but that doesn't mean that I couldn't describe what was going on in there. With Lords "in the scene", the Steward could have Raised against Lords, directly. Then Lords would get a chance to Raise, etc. But if I did that, then the Steward's Raise wouldn't have anything to do with his side of the stakes (not getting dropped by the Dogs). What do you all think?

(I could have done a time-trick here, too, I imagine. Do split-second Raises and Sees in the time between when the Steward raises his gun, and when he shoots Lords. But it was the very end of the game, and it demanded a gunfight, I think.)

Thanks for reading all this!

- Pôl

Posts: 206

« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2005, 06:14:22 AM »

Hello Pôl

Here´s some comments from another newbie Dogs GM.

(I might ask, why do I bother when Vincent´s soon going to pop in and lay down the law? Well, I can think of about four reasons:
1) Vincent might be on vacation. :-)
2) This is the forum for discussing lumpley games, not an ask-the-vincent forum.
3) We newbies might, at times, get something right, or create something new and worthwhile.
4) It should be helpful for the creator of a game to see how his or her game is perceived, and what are the common mistakes.)

Ok, going through your post, point-by-point:

1) To me your "internal monologue" thing seems really inspired; pity it did not work for you. The idea of GM bribing the player, even if somehow requested in the stakes, is not supported by the mechanics and for a reason, I think. In Dogs, it is not up to the GM to bribe the players, but the players to bribe themselves. That way the players retain the complete moral responsibility for their character´s actions. I guess that in your example the idea thing would have been that the player would have preshadowed this conflict with selecting a trait like "inhumanly strong when angry 3d8" which would then have acted as a sufficient temptation.

2 and 3)

You already seem to have identified reasonable time tricks to handle both of these. I guess it just takes some experience and superior Dogs-fu to recognize early enough the kind of situations where these sorts of tricks are called for.

For a moment I thought your escalating-to-fighting example called for a rules addendum: you cannot escalate beyond the stakes - but nah, that´s just common sense and anyway, it can be handled as you described.

+ Mikael

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