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Author Topic: collateral damage in conflicts  (Read 10173 times)
Adam Biltcliffe
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Posts: 56


« on: January 23, 2006, 03:52:16 AM »

So, my group has got through two sessions of Dogs now, and it's all going pretty well; I'll make an Actual Play post when I get some time to write it up. But one of the players came to me with a question after the last session which I wasn't really happy with my answer to.

What turned out to be the mostly-final scene of our first town involved the Dogs facing off against an angry, violent father. The big conflict was something along the lines of "does Brother Samson to repent?", and so far the players have been digging that the conflict system basically makes for cooler play when, if the stakes aren't totally vital, one of the Dogs steps forward to take it on alone, on the understanding that when things get rough whoever's in the limelight can give on the current stakes and then the rest of the gang can whip out their guns and force things to a less subtle conclusion.

So one of the Dogs goes, "Brother, are you aware that what you did was wrong?", and I'm like, sweet, this is a conflict, what's at stake is, does he repent, who's in? And the one player, Tom, who just made the opening statement, says he's in, and the second player says she'll watch. But the third player says she doesn't care about this conflict and she doesn't care about Brother Samson at all, he can repent or get shot or whatever, but she wants to make sure that his son Bartholemew, who's in the room with them, doesn't get hurt.

I don't know how to handle this. As it turns out, Brother Samson doesn't get too violent, so it's all good. but I wasn't sure how to make sense of her protecting of little Bart within the confines of the conflict system. Since anything that's not part of the stakes is fair game, I'd have been totally within my rights to have Brother Samson kill his own son as a big Raise to force the Dogs to either Give or live with Bart dying. (I'm not sure why the player thought that Samson was likely to hurt the kid, but it was obviously a concern for her, and I can totally see situations where this could be relevant.) So my answer to her was that if that happened she should say "Tom, you'd damn well better Give on this conflict right now, and then we can kick Brother Samson's ass for what he's trying to do to his son", but she pointed out that if Tom really cared about getting Brother Samson to repent, the mechanics put the decision of whether or not to sacrifice Brother Bart in pursuit of that goal solely and totally in his hands and there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.

I know Dogs has a philosophy of "if you don't want in on the conflict, it's your lookout if things get nastier than you intended later", but when you can potentially bring any damn consequences you like in on a Raise, I dunno how to prevent making everyone except the participants totally powerless as soon as a conflict starts.

adam
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2006, 06:32:10 AM »

Let's name the player who's protecting Bro Samson's boy Ann.

GM: I raise 10: Bro Samson shoots his son! In the head!
Tom: Crap, my dice...
Ann: I AM AN IMPROVISED BELONGING! I am excellent at protecting him! Roll 2d6 for me!
Tom rolls.
Tom: I still have to take the blow...
Ann: HE PLUGS ME INSTEAD!
Tom: Wouldn't that be a block or dodge?
Ann: I HAVE A FRICKIN' BULLET IN ME. Does that fee like a block or dodge to you?
Tom: ...So do you take the fallout? D10s?
GM: Nope. D4 fallout for you, Tom. You took the blow.
Tom: But ... that seems weak.
GM: I promise you, my followup conflict is: does Ann die from the bullet in her?
Ann: Oh. Damn. Sweet.
Tom: Yeah, that works. My raise. Bro Samson, YOU ARE DONE.

-Vincent
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Adam Biltcliffe
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Posts: 56


« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2006, 07:03:58 AM »

Sweet! This game rules.

I'll see how 'Ann' feels about this example.
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2006, 02:00:39 PM »

Come back and tell us; I'd like to hear.

-Vincent
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Bryony
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2006, 11:03:23 PM »

Hello :)

Yup, I'm happy with that.

I have slight jarrings of wanting there to be something in between nothing at all and BIG DRAMATIC ACTION, along the lines of "well, in that situation my character would do this"... Otoh am logically happy that "this" is relatively boring and probably entirely peripheral to the context of the conflict that's going on.
Also wow, BIG DRAMATIC ACTION.

And you can also jump into conflict's against other dogs on the GM's side when appropriate. I'd wondered about that. Cool.

I think I'd need to say "I want to do this" and talk it through with the GM or the player, whoever gets to improvise with my character, rather than just saying "I'm doing this ROLL DICE FOR ME", otherwise I'd feel I was overstepping. So far each conflict has been the province of one individual controlling only their Dog (I could be wrong). I guess you negotiate with the relevant person if the initial suggestion doesn't cause burning lights of anticipation in their eyes, as it's still their dice pool and narration. This might slow things down horribly?

I imagine the last will just get easier with more experience of setting/framing conflicts.

Anyway, thanks. I'm really enjoying Dogs.
Anything where a few lines of play can make me grin like a loon... :)
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Adam Biltcliffe
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Posts: 56


« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2006, 08:02:07 AM »

So, actually, this is still kind of bothering me, because in the cold light of morning (read: after a day or so of mulling over it), it still does feel like a Block or Dodge to say "no, he doesn't shoot him, I take the bullet instead". I discussed this with another player (Tom, in fact) way back before we started playing (he was the one who'd GMed a Dogs game before and seen how the mechanics worked) and we came to the conclusion that Taking the Blow meant conceding that yes, whatever you just did lands exactly as you intended it to, no pussyfooting around trading consequences.

I guess this is a "work out with your group what your standards for narration are" issue, but I'd be very interested to hear from other Dogs players where you draw the line between Blocking or Dodging and Taking the Blow.

I'm kinda wondering if the whole problem is that the example is an invalid one to begin with -- it doesn't make sense to argue over whether a response to Bro Bart getting shot is blocking or taking, because Bro Samson shooting him wasn't a valid Raise in the first place; how does that make sense as something which, if ignored, would win him the stakes (ie. let him be the one to decide whether he repents)? If Brother Zeke (Tom's character) cares so passionately about Brother Samson's redemption that he's willing to let innocent people die rather than be distracted from his goal (which was the situation Bryony was worrying about originally), then how is killing innocent people to distract him from his goal a valid Raise?

Grabbing the kid and sticking the gun to his head and saying to goddamn leave me be and get out of my house or I'll shoot him I swear, that's a valid Raise. That's a Raise I want to make. Having him pull the trigger -- is that? If not, can it happen? When does it happen? Can anyone stop him?

I need to think about this some more, but I'd love to hear everyone else's opinion.

adam
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dunlaing
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Posts: 308

My name is Bill


« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2006, 08:17:59 AM »

So, actually, this is still kind of bothering me, because in the cold light of morning (read: after a day or so of mulling over it), it still does feel like a Block or Dodge to say "no, he doesn't shoot him, I take the bullet instead".
I would agree with you if the person who would have otherwise been shot was one of the participants in the conflict. In this case, it's not though. The GM raises with "My character in the conflict shoots someone who's not in the conflict" and the PC takes the blow with "ok, but it's a different non-conflict character, ok?"

When you Take the Blow, you get to say "how the attack lands." The GM's raise says how the attack starts off. Really, a Raise should be "He shoots at his son" not "He shoots his son" because if you did Block or Dodge, the son would not get shot. It's the same with Taking the Blow. "He shoots at his son" can't be met with "and misses" but it could be met with "and this other thing which partially meets your raise's intent happens." Of course, each group has to decide for themselves what's a legitimate Take the Blow and what's not.
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Mikael
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Posts: 206


« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2006, 08:54:07 AM »

One question, if I may, using Vincentīs example:

Let's name the player who's protecting Bro Samson's boy Ann.

GM: I raise 10: Bro Samson shoots his son! In the head!
...
Ann: HE PLUGS ME INSTEAD!
...
Tom: ...So do you take the fallout? D10s?
GM: Nope. D4 fallout for you, Tom. You took the blow.
...

Shooting someone like this feels like escalating to physical, since you certainly could not do it when tied to a chair.

... Just starting with a new group, so I would like to get this straight.

+M
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2006, 09:01:29 AM »

Adam and Bill, you're doing great. Take my example as an approach to the problem, keep it in your back pocket for when you need it, and assume that when you need it the stakes, raises and sees will all make sense.

Mikael, the fallout dice you take depend on the specifics of the blow you take, not on who's escalated to what. In my example, Tom gets d4 fallout because his taking the blow didn't result in his character being shot.

-Vincent
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Tindalos
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Posts: 23


« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2006, 11:28:46 AM »

Adam and Bill, you're doing great. Take my example as an approach to the problem, keep it in your back pocket for when you need it, and assume that when you need it the stakes, raises and sees will all make sense.

Mikael, the fallout dice you take depend on the specifics of the blow you take, not on who's escalated to what. In my example, Tom gets d4 fallout because his taking the blow didn't result in his character being shot.

-Vincent

I'm afraid this confuses me.  What the raise did was to fire a gun creating gunplay fallout, which is d10s.  The person having to see, could not block and and had to take the blow and seems to me should take gunplay fallout d10s.  Whether or not he was shot it's the impact of a gun being used that creates the fallout,  keeping in mind that fallout is not the same as damage.  Otherwise, a "take the blow" could always be narrated so that the actual attack doesn't land to its intended victim and therefore reduce the fallout to d4.

Seems to me, that Tom's character takes d10s in fallout regardless of Ann's character's actions.  My reasoning is, Ann did not "see" and cannot take fallout from the raise.  Tom did see (using Ann as an improvised object) but had to take the blow.  The raise was clearly gunfire and that's d10s.  The result is Ann is shot, potential follow up conflict with that, and Tom is facing at least 3d10 fallout.

Now a follow up with Ann's character's life in the balance is great.  However Tom's character, having now witnessed the willingness of a man to shoot a fellow dog, may be having second thoughts about continuing his life as a dog.  20 in fallout is not necessarily death, just inability to continue in a permanent way.

It just seems to me, by the book mechanics, that Ann cannot take fallout directly from the raise only Tom can. 

That's my read on it, what am I missing?

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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2006, 01:17:35 PM »

Tindalos, first of all, I fully endorse your way as a house rule. It's my favorite house rule ever.

But strictly speaking, "he shoots you!" "I take the blow!" is the only way to get d10 fallout. "He shoots your dog/his son/your friend/the gun out of your hand!" "I take the blow!" gives you d4 fallout (practically always, though I can see d6 fallout for "he shoots the gun out of your hand").

That's just how it works.

Would the game have been a better game if I'd designed it your way? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly would have been a more theoretically hardline game - but I figured the game was theoretically hardline enough already.

Finally, though, again, I totally encourage you to play your way if you prefer, and if you think I'm a simulationist-pandering weakling, I can't say you're unjustified.

-Vincent
who hopes everyone reads in this the easy tone I wrote into it.
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dunlaing
Member

Posts: 308

My name is Bill


« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2006, 01:30:37 PM »

who hopes everyone reads in this the easy tone I wrote into it.
I read all of your posts as if they're said sort of lazily while chewing on a toothpick and shuffling an old west-style deck of cards with an empty shot glass and a half-empty bottle of whiskey sitting on the table next to you.

But that's probably just me.

(I have to say, that mental image confused the f*** out of me back when the only game you had out that I knew of was kill puppies for satan.)
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Tindalos
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2006, 02:22:44 PM »

Tindalos, first of all, I fully endorse your way as a house rule. It's my favorite house rule ever.

But strictly speaking, "he shoots you!" "I take the blow!" is the only way to get d10 fallout. "He shoots your dog/his son/your friend/the gun out of your hand!" "I take the blow!" gives you d4 fallout (practically always, though I can see d6 fallout for "he shoots the gun out of your hand").

That's just how it works.

Would the game have been a better game if I'd designed it your way? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly would have been a more theoretically hardline game - but I figured the game was theoretically hardline enough already.

Finally, though, again, I totally encourage you to play your way if you prefer, and if you think I'm a simulationist-pandering weakling, I can't say you're unjustified.

-Vincent
who hopes everyone reads in this the easy tone I wrote into it.

Actually DitV is the best RPG I've ever seen.  However, coming from many years of regular RPGs ala D&D and such, I'm still getting to grips with how it is played.  I'm trying to make sure I understand how fallout is taken, by who, and when.  Apparently, there is something in the rules I missed and since I don't have the rules with me at the moment I can't look it up.

So if someone raises that doesn't directly affect the character but is a raise the character cannot ignore, is that d4 Fallout (or maybe d6) no matter the specific action?

This is how it confuses me:

If a I raise to a player "Bang! He shoots you!" (Granted this is different from "Bang! I shoot your little dog!")

And the player takes the blow with "I dive behind the table, the bullets punching holes through it covering me in spliters of wood".

Is the fallout d4s, d10s, something else?  Am I confusing a raise taken directly against a character for those taken against another party that can't be ignored?  To me that seems like d10 fallout, but by the player's description the bullets didn't hit, so would it become d4?

The reason this confuses me is because:

Quote
In my example, Tom gets d4 fallout because his taking the blow didn't result in his character being shot.

I guess my question is: can a player narrate in such a way as to lower the fallout dice the character takes for "taking the blow"?

Heh feel free to say "Tindalos, please go read section (x) again."

As for weakling?  Anyone who wrote "Dogs in the Vineyard" certainly t'aint no weakling!


Oh, by the way, my name's Kenyon a pleasure to meet everyone!
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lumpley
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2006, 02:32:14 PM »

Hey Kenyon.

"I dive behind the table, the bullets punching holes through it covering me in spliters of wood" is a dodge, not taking the blow.

So the answer is that no, if I raise that I shoot you, and you take the blow, you can't narrate it down to d4 fallout.

I don't have a copy of the rules handy either, or I'd give you page numbers.

-Vincent
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Tindalos
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2006, 02:39:56 PM »

Thank you very much.  I think I get it now.  That makes the specifics of a raise very important. 

"I shoot you!" is different from "I shoot you in the hand!" is different from "I shoot the gun out of your hand!" in terms of fallout? d10s for the first and d6s for the second and d6s maybe d4s for the third?

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