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Author Topic: Another alternative setting - seeking opinions  (Read 4395 times)
Tyberious Funk
Member

Posts: 4


« on: February 18, 2006, 02:26:59 PM »

I read through the alternative settings thread and was surprised that there wasn't really mention of any cop show styled games.  I think the conflict resolution mechanics would be really appropriate for the sort of detective work you see in shows like Law and Order... y'know, a crime is commited, the cops (Dogs) show up and start their investigation.  They interview suspects (conflicts) and bring down perps (even more conflict).  Their sign of office is their badge (coat).

I'm thinking of running a game where one of the local criminal elements is being driven by dark mystic forces.  One of the lesser-known criminal families start to make inroads in the local drug scene and as their success grows, they get involved in deeper and darker activities (hard drugs, prostitution, extortion, murder, people smuggling etc).  As the PCs investigate, they discover that the family's rise to power has coincided with the patriarch's turn to voodoo and the worship of mayombe spirits.  Of course, that's all superstitious bollocks.... right?  I'll take my cues from the players themselves has to how "real" the spirits are. 

Anyway, I've been thinking that this might be appropriate for DitV.  But being a relative newbie I thought I'd seek the advice of this forum.  Opinions?

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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2006, 02:48:14 PM »

I don't think that Dogs is a good system for investigation/mystery stories.  Generally speaking, it's considered a good thing to get the "what's wrong" out on the table ASAP.  The "onion" you describe isn't how Dogs is supposed to work.

That being said, that's not to say that "police drama" couldn't be done.  I think Sin City, for example, would be an excellent setting for a Dogs 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
Levi Kornelsen
Member

Posts: 210


« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 04:31:25 PM »

I don't think Dogs is ideal for a straight-up mystery; then again, that kind of game doesn't really appeal to me.

Now, if the Dogs/Cops were, say, cops set onto crimes where everyone *wants* to talk, thinks different things are the real deal about what went down, actively comes to the characters and try to manipulate them into doing what they want...

...That sits with me as a much stronger set-up all together.  But that's me.

There's also been some work done on the idea of having Dogs as cops operating out of a corrupt precinct as well, and some great thoughts on that were in there; I don't have a link handy though (I believe it was on RPGnet's roleplaying open board).
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 06:17:24 AM »

Isn't Elliot Ness in that section?

I'm most of the way through the second season of The Wire, and I've been thinking pretty hard about investigation in a Dogs police variant. So far, not super fruitfully, but I'm patient, and I'm certain its doable. You can see the raises and sees plain as day.

Anybody else comes up with something good, please post it!

-Vincent
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HenryT
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2006, 12:47:09 PM »

Many of the crime shows out there--Law and Order: SVU in particular comes to mind--do fall squarely into Dogs territory some of the time.  Some episodes are investigation oriented mysteries, but in others, the facts of the crime come out within the first twenty minutes or so, and the rest of the episode consists of trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.

One example: a young teen comes into school with a gun and shoots some of his classmates (or something like that).  He gets caught quickly, but the episode revolves around why he did it: he had ADD, or something along those lines...and his mother had been giving him prescription medication which may have caused him to react violently (but maybe not)...but his mother had gotten that medication mailed to her as part of an aggressive marketing program from a pharmaceutical company (or something like that).  The various law enforcement officers involved disagreed, quite forcefully, with how to handle it.

With a little work, I think you could even work it into the Dogs town creation formation.

Henry
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Tyberious Funk
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2006, 04:02:23 PM »

Isn't Elliot Ness in that section?

Elliot Ness!  Damn... that's exactly the way I'm thinking.  Well, in a more modern setting of course.  But that righteous "dont-screw-with-me" kinda crusading cop.  Day to day, tackling the small issues... but against a backdrop of a broader problem; the cancerous evil that is infesting the city.

Quote

I'm most of the way through the second season of The Wire, and I've been thinking pretty hard about investigation in a Dogs police variant. So far, not super fruitfully, but I'm patient, and I'm certain its doable. You can see the raises and sees plain as day.

I mentioned Law and Order because it has some good interrogation scenes.  As others have pointed out, the police drama as a genre is not, per se, particularly appropriate for dogs.  But watch Detective Goren interrogate a suspect on L&O: Criminal Intent - I'll be damned if that isn't a conflict straight out of Dogs... with the raises, sees and sometimes even fallout.  In some of the grittier cop shows you can even see the interrogation escalate from talking to physical. 

Quote
Anybody else comes up with something good, please post it!

What "bits" do you think are necessary for a Dogs conversion to be successful?
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Tyberious Funk
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2006, 04:30:19 PM »

The "onion" you describe isn't how Dogs is supposed to work.

I described things poorly.  The layers I'm talking about are really only there to provide a loose metaplot that ties the campaign together.  My group likes their campaigns to have a purpose with a start, middle and end.  At it's core, I'd still be running games in an issue-by-issue manner, similar to the town-by-town approach proposed in Dogs.

Example;

The cops respond to a domestic violence complaint.  When they arrive, the victim is sporting bruises and a blood nose but she claims it was an accident and that she "fell".  Her husband glares at her menacingly and is very insistent that the cops leave.  No-one is actually sure who called in the complaint, so the officers start investigating.  There's a building supervisor who seems kind of greasy and creepy, but not out of the ordinary.  One of the neighbours is a "working girl", so she's nervous when the cops arrive and really doesn't want to answer any questions.  She's frightened they'll arrest her and she'll loose custody of her 6 year old son.  But if pressed for details she tell the cops that the walls between the apartments are thin and that she's heard the victim screaming and crying numerous times in the past. 

In the apartment across from the victim lives an old lady.  She'll happily tell the cops whatever they want.  She's also heard some of the fights between the victim and her husband, and even seen him hit her occasionally.  Not that she'd be willing to testify though, because she's too frightened and doesn't really want to get involved.  But she's seen all sorts of strange people coming and going from the victims apartment, so she’s certain “something” must be going on beyond simple domestic violence.

Of course, she’s right.  Because the husband is actually dealing drugs from his apartment.  Really, he’s just small fry.  But he works for a guy who is part of a larger drug cartel that is making a move on the city.  But the first priority for the cops is to deal with the domestic violence complaint.  Even if they find out about the drugs, there wont be much they can do.  At least not now.

Does this make a bit more sense?
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2006, 09:03:41 AM »

I think in order to make a judgement, I'd have to see your hierarchy of "what's wrong".
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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
Liminaut
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2006, 10:56:36 PM »

I've run a film noir DitV that went went amazingly well.

A couple of points:

1) The resolution system is amazingly flexible. At one point, the gumshoes wanted to find a person who had gone missing.  So, it become a conflict of the gumshoes against the character with a few helpers.  You could do the same with, say interrogating the neighbors, and narrate the conflict as a montage scene.

2) For crime RPGs, I don't think finding out the answer is nearly as interesting as what you do with the answer when you find it.  I pretty much let the gumshoes get all the right answers from all the right people.  What do you do then?  This won;t be such a big part of a cop-centered game, though.  Arresting the bad guys is pretty much the only option.

==Ed
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==Ed Freeman
==If there's no such thing as magic, why do we
  have the word?
Tyberious Funk
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2006, 09:06:21 PM »

What do you do then?  This won;t be such a big part of a cop-centered game, though.  Arresting the bad guys is pretty much the only option.

That depends on the type of cops.  Not all cops work the same :)

And some can be baaaaaaad.  Very bad.
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