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Do Dogs Ever Get Fired?

Started by jburneko, February 06, 2006, 06:23:21 PM

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So, yesterday, I finally finished reading Dogs all the way through.  Now, the question I'm about to ask is going to earn me a long stay in hell but I have to ask it but before I do let me make something clear.

I totally get that the game doesn't present a world in which there is an 'objective' morality proven by the observable exitance of demons and the like.  I totally understand why the corruption process still holds even if you have the supernatural turned competely off.  I totally understand all the stuff about only the players being able to judge themselves and the GM lacking the authority to do so.

But presumably the game world still has plain old regular people and plain old regular people believe all the things outlined in the book.  So, I have trouble imagining that as soon as there was a Dog out there performing marriage ceremonies for same sex couples and condoing people acting outside their gender roles and deciding that 'all was right with world' in other ways that break the tenents of the faith that he wouldn't be immediately recalled and severely punished by the temple.  Or that another Dog wouldn't be dispatched to 'take care of it.'

I would like to hear this simple human issue addressed.




We're used to hierarchies where the authority is top-down.   You're assuming that higher-level Dogs would know better than the Dogs on the ground...

which isn't how the Dogs hierarchy is set up.  It's a bottom-up hierarchy.  The Dogs look to the Temple for guidance and support, but the authority is their own.

"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


There are a couple of ways to deal with this.

The first is that there is no game world. It doesn't exist. All that exists is what you do in play, and if you just never have the folks at Temple show up to fire the Dogs, then no one from Temple ever shows up to fire the Dogs. Dogs doesn't exist to set up a game world, it exists to set up playable situations.

The second is if that if you want to assume that there is a world (probably a mistake, Vincent will yell at me) then just make it clear that the Dogs have a mandate from God to make judgement as they will. If a Dog marries a same sex couple, then GOD HAS SAID THEY ARE MARRIED. The folks at Temple know that this is how it works, and have long since stopped having fits when it happens because they know that is how it works. They know that will happen. It is part of their faith and religion that it will happen.

Note that this doesn't mean its okay for other same sex couples to marry. The Dogs authority is also pretty specific -- they are not the ones that make docrtine, they rule on individual cases. So just because they married on couple doesn't mean others also have the right to be married. This logic, though it sounds odd to modern North Americans with our precedent based legal system is not all that uncommon globally and historically. Many judges in many cultures have had the right to judge individual cases as they would, while being seperate in class and category from the legalists who created, codifiend, and revised the laws.  Under some such systems the law was set up to give unbending rules, and the individual judges there to make the law flex to the realities of life. Dogs are that flex.

Three: There are no angels described in Dog's default setting because Dogs are the angels. What priest will gainsay and angel?
- Brand Robins


That's part of the beauty of the game, if I've read things correctly.  If all the players agree that something like same sex marriage is ok; then it becomes ok, because it forms part of the collective morality.  If so much as one player objects, then theoretically, the game should be progressing in such a way as to highlight that objection, and the group's collective morality comes under debate.

Let say I'm playing Br. Leon, and my fellow Dogs are Br. Hamish and Sr. Emma.  We come into a town where a couple of men have expressed their love for each other, and want the Dogs to marry them.  Br. Hamish and Sr. Emma are cool with the idea; in their eyes, The King of Life has seen fit to allow their love for each other to grow.  That's enough justification for Br. Hamish and Sr. Emma to agree to the marriage.  I, as Br. Leon, don't agree.  Romantic love between two men is a sin.  Two men cannot produce children, and therefore can not continue the Fait; therefore, they should take their place in the Faith and find some nice girls to marry.  If the players are true to their characters and to the setting, the situation demands a conflict.  There are likely several ways to frame the stakes; but chances are, I'd frame them as "Do I convince Br. Hamish and Sr. Emma that same sex marriage is wrong?".

The other way of pushing the issue is to have one of the town's NPCs push the issue; although, that NPC should be in the town writeup.

Take this with a grain of salt, though.  I'm still a DitV noob. :D  I'm sure more experienced people will come around and advise accordingly.
Leo M. Lalande


Hey Jesse.

Of course they do.

Everybody here gets all excited about the Dogs creating doctrine and bottom-up hierarchies and there is no game world and etc., but that's not what's what.

What's what is, use the town creation rules, actively reveal the town in play, drive play toward conflict, roll dice or say yes, don't play God as an NPC, don't have an outcome in mind, etc.

An obvious way to start is: "Pride: word's spread that the PC Dogs married those two guys, and now every man attracted to another man in the whole blessed territory thinks that they have the same right. Injustice: they're petitioning their branch stewards, who're petitioning their regional stewards, who're petitioning the Prophets and Elders, all instead of getting done what needs doing. Sin: the Prophets and Elders send out a band of Dogs to ambush and bring in the 'rogue' PC Dogs. Demonic Attacks: ..."

I bet you can come up with a way to arrange it where you aren't even listing the band of orthodox Dogs as a sin, just a thing that has to happen. Like this: "Pride: Sister Belle thinks she's better than everybody. Injustice: she punches people. Sin: Brother Lucas shoots her in the head. Demonic attacks: the crops fail and the herds die. False doctrine: Brother Lucas thinks God cares only what he does, not what anyone else does, since He's punishing the whole town for just his one sin. Meanwhile, the rogue-hunter Dogs show up. Corrupt worship: Bro Lucas sets aside all his prayers and ceremonies except for begging God's forgiveness. Also he thinks that the Dogs can't help him, only God can; this is between him and God, with no room for the Faith's participation. False priesthood: Sister Belle's family thinks so too and joins him in his corrupt worship. Sorcery: The demons solidify in the rogue-hunter Dogs' minds that their calling is to hunt the PC Dogs, not help this town."

What matters is, when those rogue-hunter Dogs show up? Use the conflict resolution rules and the proto-NPCs. When the PC Dogs are dragged into a disciplinary council before the 70 Old Men? Use the conflict resolution rules and the proto-NPCs. Say yes or roll dice.


Eero Tuovinen

Man, Vincent says it good. Even better when he has to repeat this same issue for the nth time. This one's clear enough to go into a FAQ (because this is the number one question we get about DiV).

I was all fired up to give another sermon about what the GM-does-not-judge means and does not mean, and what Dogs-are-authority means and does not mean. Now I'll have to go kick tires in the parking lot instead :(
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.



I hate you for always being cooler than me.
- Brand Robins


Like, I said, I totally get the whole metaphor issue.  It just seemed to me that fighting with the 'home office' and bringing revolution to the Faith was outside the scope of the game.  What gave me that impression wasn't all the stuff about creating doctrine or demon stuff, but rather the town structure itself.  I couldn't see how to fit discipinary hearings back at the Temple and rogue-Dog hunters and the like into the Town structure.  It seemed to me that as the game became more and more and more about the PC Dogs revolutionizing the Faith the Town structure would become less and less relevant because the more the Dogs stray from the Faith in their judgements the less the conflicts would be about individual towns and their members and more about regional and territorial wide feuds between religious leaders and the PCs.

I see now that isn't the case or rather that feud can still be packaged as a Town.



But it should be clear that while Dogs might change the Faith and the Faith will respond in cool ways as Vincent mentioned above, the Dogs should never take shit after a judgement from the GM in any kind of punative way.

Cool consequences...yes.

Judgement of



Right behind you.  This was definitely not coming from a GM judgment point of view.  The rules state, "play the NPCs."  It seems to me that includes the NPCs that are going to get pissed off if the Dogs start sactioning all kinds of stuff outside The Faith.



Quote from: jburneko on February 06, 2006, 11:17:55 PM

It seems to me that includes the NPCs that are going to get pissed off if the Dogs start sactioning all kinds of stuff outside The Faith.


In my DITV game, I decided that the Faith has an elite posse of "Dogcatchers" to chase down bad doggies.

I had a group of Dogs go WAY over the line in one town, so I had the players roll up a group of these Dogcatchers.  The players took the new Dogs in and "righted" the wronged town and then tracked down their old selves for a little talk

Two of the bad dogs saw the error of their ways, one decided she wasn't a Dog anymore, one got kilt'

Bad doggies!  BAD doggies!


Transit (remind me of your name?),

That is AWESOME.



We're doing something very similar.  In one town, the Dogs came in and cleaned up house.  One of the things they did was to name a couple of newborns whose mother was a drunken sinner.  In judgment, they told the woman her healthy son (Caleb) would be taken by the Watchdogs as soon as he was of age and her other son, born blind, would stay with her as a reminder of her weakness.  As the town progressed, one of the Dogs, Sr. Ruth, took a serious relationship with Pride after making the Raise, "I don't care what God's will is, it's -my- will that is important here."

So, we're planning on running the town over again in the future, but Sr. Ruth's player will be playing Caleb.  Sr. Ruth will be the pride-filled Steward of the town, having retired as a Dog.  The blind son will likely be a bitter sorcerer.  Sr. Ruth won't so much have been fired, but I have a feeling her stint as a Steward will be short-lived, indeed.