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Author Topic: Useless Traits?  (Read 12121 times)
Chris Peterson
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« on: November 25, 2005, 08:51:51 PM »

I just finished reading the Dogs rulebook and it looks great! How, when, or why would a player use these seeming useless Traits belonging to some example NPCs in the rulebook?

  • "Black hair 1d10"
  • "Clumsy 2d4"
  • "I can't see well without my eyeglasses 2d10"

Most of my RPG experience has been pedantic, gamist D&D, so please be patient with my questions as my mind is still expanding to accommodate more narrativism! <:)


thanks,
chris
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chris
Brian Newman
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Posts: 53


« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2005, 09:37:17 PM »

Well, the last two are easy.  "Clumsy" would apply any time your manual dexterity would matter.  "I can't see well without my eyeglasses" would apply whenever the character can't see well... but since it's 2d10, I'm surmising that it's the kind of thing where the character is actually better when fumbling around blindly and lucks into something they would have missed with their glasses on, because it was too obvious.
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fmac
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2005, 12:11:08 AM »

Black Hair is rather difficult. Especially at for a player to take it at a d10. That's like saying that the blackness of this character's hair is one of the best, most important things about him. I find it difficult to imagine black hair being that interesting to a player.

It might come into play if someone messes it up in a fistfight, or if the character smooths it back while bracing to do something difficult, or plays with it nervously, or looks adorable coverin' their eyes, or shines in the moonlight.
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2005, 03:27:18 AM »

It has been my experience that pretty much any trait can be brought into pretty much any conflict, if the player is creative enough.

Black hair is one of the easiest, because smoothing it, flipping it out of his eyes, etc. can be tossed into any action as a throwaway gesture.
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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
Chris Peterson
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2005, 01:03:31 PM »

ok, so my initial interpretation was not that far off. I guess this is just part of the openness of DITV. I'm still doubtful about the usefulness of "Clumsy 2d4" and "I can't see well without my eyeglasses 2d10". Maybe those Traits make more sense for colorful NPCs the players' Dogs will encounter. For example, I think the NPC with "Black hair 1d10" was possessed, so her black hair might be a demonic clue or power..?


chris
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chris
Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2005, 01:14:49 PM »

Could be.  Or not.

Take "I can't see well without my glasses."

"Can you make the shot, Brother Jessup?"  ...  "I've got my glasses, haven't I?"  (add 2d10 to the pool)

"I trip over the carpet, landing against the gun cabinet, which falls over and lands on the cultist."  (add 2d4 to the pool)
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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
lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2005, 01:18:19 PM »

Here's what's awesome about "I can's see without my glasses 2d10."

I raise: He punches you! In the head!
You see, taking the blow: My glasses go flying.
You roll 2d10 into your dice.
I go: Uh oh.

-Vincent
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fmac
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Posts: 10


« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2005, 01:48:05 PM »

I need to learn to write more succinctly. In the time it took my to write my reply on here, Vincent and Vaxalon had already posted . . . With two of the very examples I was using. :p
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2005, 07:01:29 AM »

I had a Dog with glasses who was farsighted 4d8 (or something).

She used a rifle.

When the shit was about to go down, she'd calmly take off her glasses and shoulder her rifle.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2005, 07:03:19 AM »

Oh, yes, and I had a player who had "big, excellent hair, 2d10". We decided, after much debate, that it made a better Possession than Relationship. He used it in social conflict pretty much every time.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Transit
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Posts: 23


« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2005, 08:14:25 AM »

If I remember correctly, "Black Hair d10" comes from an example of a possessed woman NPC who also had a manifestation "my hair moves even when there's no wind" (or something like that) so I could easily see her black hair being a very creepy part of an exorcism.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2005, 08:28:25 AM »

And how cool would it be to counter a great social intimidation raise with, "My character can't see his expression since he's not wearing his glasses. Hand me 2d10, would you?"
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2005, 08:39:07 AM »

So Chris - is this making sense to you?

How's it sitting for you that I gain substantial mechanical advantage (2d10) from my character's substantial in-game disadvantage ("I'm blind as a bat")?

-Vincent
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GB Steve
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2005, 08:55:26 AM »

A PC in one of my games was rather ignorant and had the wonderful trait "I wouldn't know about that". It's a great counter to any argument. There is no other game I can think of where you can win an argument precisely because you are too dumb to understand it.

As such, it seems to me that there are no useless traits in Dogs. In fact quite the opposite, you can almost always shoe-horn any trait into any conflict. You can recognise good players because either they don't try to do this, or because they come up with very plausible explanations.

In one of my longer games we had an agreement that players would police themselves to throwback any of the sillier raises.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2005, 09:13:05 AM »

As such, it seems to me that there are no useless traits in Dogs. In fact quite the opposite, you can almost always shoe-horn any trait into any conflict. You can recognise good players because either they don't try to do this, or because they come up with very plausible explanations.

In one of my longer games we had an agreement that players would police themselves to throwback any of the sillier raises.

Yes, I'm not sure if it's in the rules or not, but in my Dogs game, I make it clear that if any player finds something too lame, we don't run with it. This is especially true for anything I do as the GM. So far, the system has worked very well. We don't really like "shoe-horning" traits into the game, though. Sure, you can do it, but we're very careful that the narration justifies the use of the trait, not the other way around.
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