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Author Topic: [DITV] Good raises are hard!  (Read 6879 times)
Brian Newman
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Posts: 53


« on: November 30, 2005, 10:14:15 AM »

We started a DITV game yesterday night.  Information is at http://bnditv.pbwiki.com ... please let me know if you see anything we did really wrong!  I did let one character have a coat at 1d4 1d6 even though only guns should mix dice, just because it's a second-hand coat, and even though it's somewhat crappy, it's still a Dog's coat.

We got through character creation and initiation conflicts.  At times, I found it really hard to come up with good raises, especially for Reversing the Blow.  Any tips for how you do it?  Is it just something that comes with time?
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2005, 10:18:25 AM »

The key to good raises is good stakes.

Choose a conflict where it was hard. Tell us the stakes and what raises you came up with, we can probably help.

-Vincent
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2005, 10:19:25 AM »

Just because you've got the DICE to reverse the blow, doesn't always mean you have the NARRATION to reverse the blow, or even block.

There's two ways to resolve this issue.

1> Block or take the blow, and put up dice to match that narration

2> Reverse the blow or block, and either ask for help in figuring out the narration, or just throw in whatever crap narration you can think of.

Each of these choices says something about how you want to play the game.
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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
Brian Newman
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2005, 10:51:11 AM »

I actually Gave once when I still had at least a 7 8 up (against the Dogs' d6s) just because I didn't feel I could actually refute the point that the player made.

The toughest one so far was Brother Phineas' initiation: "Do I use my skills and new training to gain confidence in myself?"  I had him catch one of his teachers gambling on dice with some locals.  The teacher was actually doing it to try to win some money to put in the collection box for the orphanage after he discovered that someone had stolen from it (due to a Raise from another Dog's initiation conflict).  After that, though, it was hard to justify it, and the Dog had the upper moral hand in the situation.

Actually, it was really tough coming up with well-framed initiation conflicts too.  I don't think I picked the best ones; I just polled for ideas and went with the best we had.
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2005, 11:02:37 AM »

Yeah, I bet that gooey stakes are your problem. Next time you play, work hard at making concrete, solid, sensible stakes, ideally wholly physical ones to start.

When someone comes at you with something like "Do I use my skills and new training to gain confidence in myself?" for instance, my advice is to respond with, "Perfect! What could you do that'd give you confidence in yourself? Win a fight? Survive a week in the wilds? Exorcise a demon? Read a book?"

-Vincent
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Brian Newman
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2005, 01:34:41 PM »

Technically, it was "find and fix corruption in the Dogs' Temple".

But since I as GM wasn't supposed to go in with any particular angle in mind, and since I had no NPCs made up because it was initiation conflicts, I had to make up on the spot why a teacher would be gambling, and it went downhill from there.  I managed to save it after about five minutes of thought, but it really bogged the conflict down to wait so long.
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2005, 05:38:28 PM »

But since I as GM wasn't supposed to go in with any particular angle in mind,

I don't exactly know how to read this, and so I am going to tread carefully here. If you mean "go in with no ending in mind" or "go in to make a harsh situation that has no "right" ending" then, yea. If, however, you mean "go in without a big freaking stick to swing" then I'm not so sure this is true. I almost always go into a scene in Dogs with angles in mind -- usually more than one. Pushy pushy pully pully, all up and all down the road. What I don't do is try to think of how the scenes should progress or end. What I do is think how I can make the scene explode as big and as fast as possible. Then the dice come out and shit happens.

It's a fine line, I know, but the idea that GMs in Dogs don't push and push as damn hard as they can doesn't seem like a sound one to me. There is lots of Force in Dogs -- it's just used in different ways and different places than in most games.

 
Quote
I had to make up on the spot why a teacher would be gambling, and it went downhill from there.  I managed to save it after about five minutes of thought, but it really bogged the conflict down to wait so long.

Yea, sometimes when you have to think on your feet you're going to get caught flat-footed. Just happens, and with time you get better at faking it.

Also, in every single Dogs initiation that I've run that worked (we shall not talk about the ones that didn't) I've found it really helps to brainstorm out the setup with the player, and the group as a whole. "Look, I have this idea about the gambling teacher, but I'm blanking for motivation. What do you guys think his damage is?" You'll be surprised at the things that come out of people's mouths, and that crazy stuff they come up with will often help push the game to levels no single person could reach alone.

If you don't want to come in with your angle, get an angle from the player. Then push that angle until the player squeels for mercy. Or shoots someone in the face. Either way.
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- Brand Robins
Bill Cook
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2005, 01:55:13 AM »

The one chance I've had to play Dogs, the initiation conflicts were the best part, to my complete surprise. In just reading about them, I thought they were silly. But in practice, they broke the players to the central mechanic for the game. Each player came up with something wild and unplanned, which was good because I had nothing prepared and wasn't really behind the idea to begin with. I guess I just got lucky in assuming that everything needed to be demonstrative and that physical was preferable. One player wanted to track a chicken thief. So the Stakes were Do you catch him? Another resolved a civil dispute; there were some young punks carousing after dark, and there'd been a break-in at the dry goods store. (BTW, I don't know Western from Eastern. I made it clear to the players that they had to come up with their own stuff and that if it sucked that just meant that they were boring.) There was a lineup of usual suspects. The Stakes were Can you find the real perpetrators? Even though that's not a punch or a jump, it's melodramatic in the sense that the store owner's standing there with his arms crossed and so is that Dog's mentor, watching how he handles things.

The Raises were easy. "He doubles back and hides in the scrub brush." "He drops the chickens and breaks into a dead run across a moonlit field." Or .. "His eyes dart nervously back and forth and he stammers a denial." "He claims he was bailing hay all night." "He claims his new boots were a gift from his aunt Back East." Etc, etc.
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Valamir
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2005, 07:38:23 AM »

So the Stakes were Do you catch him? Another resolved a civil dispute; there were some young punks carousing after dark, and there'd been a break-in at the dry goods store. (BTW, I don't know Western from Eastern. I made it clear to the players that they had to come up with their own stuff and that if it sucked that just meant that they were boring.) There was a lineup of usual suspects. The Stakes were Can you find the real perpetrators?

Its also helpful to when setting stakes to assume the obvious and make the stakes be the repurcussions.

For instance "Do you catch him" can become "Of course I catch him, the stakes are 'does he truly repent of his crime when I do.'"
or "Can I find the real perpetrators" can become "Of course I find the real perpetrators, the stakes are 'can I convince them to surender peacefully'".  It all depends on what aspect of the character's nature you want to highlight in the conflict.
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Brian Newman
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2005, 10:01:02 AM »

So, it was probably mushy conflicts and unclear stakes.  That's good to know.  Hopefully, when we finally get into a Town and people have real motivations, it'll be easier.
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2005, 10:23:14 AM »

The reason is simply that the raises follow from the stakes. Good stakes are stakes where the character wants it and sees how to get it. Good raises follow: if I want it and see how to get it, raising is just saying what I obviously do.

-Vincent
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Brian Newman
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2005, 10:47:16 AM »

Hm.  I guess I'll give it one more shot, but it sounds like I'm just not creative enough to run this game.

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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2005, 10:57:03 AM »

You what?

Not creative enough?

Good grief.

Keeping in mind that this is all in good spirit and that what I want is for you to have fun playing my game, are you in the mood for a pep talk or a dressing down?

-Vincent
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Bankuei
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2005, 11:03:32 AM »

Hi Brian,

I'm not sure how coming up with a good raise is any different than either a) describing what you do in fight, or b) roleplaying an argument/discussion/whatever.  The only difference I see is that the dice help structure and pace it, but it's really no more descriptive juice being called upon than playing, say, D&D or Call of Cthulhu.

Chris
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Danny_K
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2005, 11:19:01 AM »

To put things slightly differently: coming up with Raises isn't too hard if you have good Stakes; coming up with good Stakes can be hard.  I know the feeling you describe exactly, when you're playing out a conflict and realize that the Stakes are too mushy once you're in the middle of it -- it's like finding yourself in quicksand.  It sucks. 

The two things I've found helpful in that situation are:

1)Escalate quick to something more concrete that the player can't ignore.  The guy that the Dog is preaching to gets mad and throws a punch at him, or starts crying and throws his arms around hiim, or pulls a gun on him.  Then you're back on solid ground, and it'll be a whole lot clearer to both sides how and why to Raise. 
2)Just Give already.  The players are a lot likely to notice a little slackness on your part if it goes by quickly and they end up "winning", and you're moving on to the next cool thing. 
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I believe in peace and science.
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