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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Dude, don't bogart my dice.  (Read 3311 times)
Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« on: November 11, 2005, 09:30:35 PM »

Maybe this should go into the Actual Play forum, but I'll introduce it here and see if anyone has anything to say...

In my last session of DitV (only the second I've run), a situation came up that I thought might cause hard feelings between my two players.  It didn't, which is good, but it got me thinking.

My players were Dave (a friend of mine from way back), and Mike (a cousin who is practically a younger brother).

During one conflict -- a knock-down, drag-out battle with a possessed witch -- I introduced both players to the "Helping" rule.  "You guys should know, if you want to do this, you can pass a good die over to a friend either on his Raise or on his See.  It sucks for you, in a way, because it limits your next Raise to one die, but it can keep your buddy in the fight for another Round.  Just saying, is all..."

Mike seemed to be pretty into the mood of the game (he's pretty Narrativist, if I understand that term correctly), while Dave seemed more concerned with scrounging for more dice and winning the conflict (he's Gamist from way back, and that's perfectly okay with me).

Well, during a follow-up conflict, with both PCs pretty jacked up, Dave rolled absolute CRAP on his Stat dice.  I could swear there were about five 1's in that pile, and nothing over a 5.

On one See (and honestly, I don't recall how critical it was for Dave's Dog), Mike passed him a high die.

Dave never returned the favor, even when he had some high dice showing and Mike was down to 4's and below.

It didn't turn into a bad situation, as I said, but I could tell it could have.  I kept out of it, but I started to think about it afterwards.  So here's my question...

Has this become a problem for any other players of DitV (GMs included)?  I mean, do you have some players who are quite willing to take a helping die, but stingy about returning them?  What's the worst that's happened?
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Josh Roby
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Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2005, 11:28:06 AM »

Neal, did Mike give Dave a die because as a player, Mike wanted Dave to stay in the action, or if Mike's character wanted to keep Dave's character in the fight?  While trading dice are out-of-character concerns, they are supposed to reflect in-character details.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2005, 01:12:50 PM »

In my experience, helping dice are mostly a role-playing element.

In my last game, a player died from giving a helping die to another player.  He took the bullet for a fellow Dog.

It was awesome.
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2005, 02:00:11 PM »

Neal, did Mike give Dave a die because as a player, Mike wanted Dave to stay in the action, or if Mike's character wanted to keep Dave's character in the fight?  While trading dice are out-of-character concerns, they are supposed to reflect in-character details.

This is a tough question to answer, on one level, because while Mike's character fended off an attack that might have taken Dave's character out of the fight, I'm pretty sure Mike the player wanted Dave the player to stay in the scene a little longer.  So, a bit of both, actually.  I didn't ask Mike for the reasoning behind his action.

As for the last part of your reply, I informed the players when I introduced the rule from the book (neither owns a copy) that any Helping dice had to be narrated as any other action.  I asked them to think of Helping as a kind of "split action."  So in short, they both knew it wasn't just a mechanical thing, that it did have to be narrated, and Mike had his character act accordingly.  Rules-wise, the Help was flawless.  It was only the lack of reciprocity later in the session that troubled me a little, and apparently I was the only one troubled.
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2005, 02:08:07 PM »

In my experience, helping dice are mostly a role-playing element.

In my last game, a player died from giving a helping die to another player.  He took the bullet for a fellow Dog.

It was awesome.

Judd, I agree that the Helping dice are a wonderful role-playing tool.  I am interested, however, in how they might (and perhaps I should put that might in scare-quotes) create player expectations.  My misgivings turned out to be groundless this session, but that's no guarantee they won't become justified at a later date.  I'm not advocating any quid pro quo, mind you; I'm just vetting opinion and stories from folks who've run the game for a while.  Has this, in fact, become a problem for anyone?  And if so, is there some kind of link between (for want of a better term at the moment) the Dice Bogart and some G/N/S preference?  In other words, are Gamists more likely to bogart the dice than, say, Narrativists or Simulationists?

Sounds to me like your players didn't let the mechanics interfere with the telling of a good story.  Neither did mine.  And as I said, perhaps my fears will always prove unfounded.  I hope so.  But just in case...
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2005, 05:05:27 PM »

Maybe if you encourage the player who is handing over the helping dice to narrate a kind of way that their PC is helping the other it will be seen as more of an in-game mechanic, rather than a player to player mechanic?

I dunno.
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2005, 12:05:19 AM »

Maybe if you encourage the player who is handing over the helping dice to narrate a kind of way that their PC is helping the other it will be seen as more of an in-game mechanic, rather than a player to player mechanic?

I dunno.

Hm.  I may be misunderstanding your reply, Judd, but I think I addressed this in my own reply to Joshua.  The players knew it was an in-game mechanic, that it followed the same structural logic as the rest of DitV's conflict-resolution system, and that anytime dice move from a player's or a GM's pile into the center of the table, they are accompanied by appropriate narrative.  The Helping player narrated his action appropriately, justifying the dice-passing.  I'm not looking for a solution to clumsy gameplay because no clumsiness took place.

What I'm exploring, instead, is the possibility that this mechanic will be treated unevenly by different players.  Perhaps that won't become a problem: if not, so much the better.  But in a game which seems usually to even the playing field among the G/N/S play styles, blending the causal logic of storytelling with good old-fashioned odds-making, this mechanic stands out to me.  I like the mechanic; don't mistake me.  I want to be perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that the mechanic itself is flawed.  I do want to know, however, if anyone has experienced a problem with it.

I see two possible problems cropping up, and here again, perhaps the word possible should be in scare-quotes.

First, as I have stressed to my players, character choices are what demonstrate character, not some pair of alignment letters on the character sheet.  Character is shown in the Relationships the Dogs form, in the judgments they make, and in the very way they list their Belongings.  That's one of the strengths of this game -- that character is not about "levels" or any other such abstractions, but about concrete choices and their consequences, and the Dog's development as a character is an ongoing process of formation, deviance, and regeneration.  Actions in a conflict are no less indicative of character, and the player whose Dog receives help, but does not return it when the opportunity presents itself... well, that player is saying something rather profound about his Dog, isn't he?  All this is a roundabout way of saying "Stingy gaming can -- must -- reflect a stingy character."  So in a way, that hard line between player-to-player mechanic and in-game mechanic gets blurry just here, at the point of Helping dice.

The second problem, and it is a manifestation of the first, is the possibility (again, supply your own scare-quotes if you like) that the Helping rule will fall into disuse as a result of players (and characters) feeling cheated.  If I've helped someone out of a jam, or assisted him to a more effective "attack," but have gotten nothing in return, I may begin to lose interest in helping that person in the future, and this applies whether I'm a character or a player.  Here I should say, if I found the Helping rule to be in any way flawed, I would welcome such a withering-away.  I don't, so I wouldn't.  I want it to be used more, not less.  This is partly because I like the way it feels in the game, the way it permits narration of cooperative action.  But it is also partly because it creates moments of extreme vulnerability for Helping characters, and that can translate into more gripping drama.

So again, to be perfectly clear, I'm not asking "What did I do wrong?"  I did nothing wrong, and neither did my players.  I'm asking "What has gone wrong, or What can go wrong?"  If nothing occurs to anyone, that's fine, and the thread's dead.  But I'd like to be clear that this isn't about my GMing errors or sloppy gameplay.

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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2005, 03:41:57 AM »

What I'm exploring, instead, is the possibility that this mechanic will be treated unevenly by different players. 

I think it should be handled in character first.

"Brother Theo, I want to talk to you about that gunfight.  I needed your help, and you didn't back me up.  I find that very disturbing, especially since I got this bullet in me as a result.  Perhaps you can explain your actions?  Is there some affront I have given you?  Is there some reason you would want me dead?"
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
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