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Couple-o-Quickies and one not so obvious one

Started by JMendes, May 02, 2006, 10:02:07 PM

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Ahey, :)

I and two friends got together to draw up a couple of characters, the other day, and a few questions were raised in my mind.

First, mechanics stuff:

1) About fallout, what's "bad" about gaining new d4 traits and relationships? If only the player can bring them in, it looks like it's just another resource that the player can bring in, albeit a dangerous one. In that optic, why take the options that actually are bad, such as reducing d6+ traits or the coat or whatever?

2) Do the initiatory conflicts generate fallout as normal? If so, what happens if a character dies during initiation?

3) Let's say a character takes 12 fallout and a '1', meaning two long-term fallout choices and one experience fallout choice. Can the player take these in a sequential order? For instance, first long-term is new trait at d4, second long-term is increase the trait to 2d4, experience is increase the trait's die size, thus yielding a new 2d6 trait from the whole thing. Is this legal?

4) During initiatory conflicts, can the players escalate normally? If so, isn't winning those conflicts pretty much a foregone conclusion, with the GM limited to those initial 8 dice? Or can the GM escalate as well, and if so, with how many and which dice?

5) On taking relationships, what happens once the Dogs move on to the next town? Are those dice pretty much lost, hinging on the off-chance that the Dogs will come back to this town at some later date? Or are relationship dice usable in the next town in other creative ways?

Now, the not-so-obvious gameplay question:

6) The book talks about revealing the town in play. From reading the threads here, I get the feeling that this leads to a sort of "two-phased play", so to speak. In the first phase, the players are sniffing around while the GM is dumping information on them. In the second phase, the Dogs pass judgement and chase the sinners around, in order to either amend their ways or punish them, possibly with lead. Is this how you guys play, or do you mix things around more? Vincent, I'm especially interested in the designer's vision on this one.

That's all for now. Probably basic stuff, I realise, but still...

João Mendes
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Gamer


1> Nothing.  Do it.

2> Yes.

3> Legal, but might set off the stinkeye rule.

4> The GM can't escalate.  One of the nifty ways that players can constrain themselves in initiatory conflicts is by things like, "I hope to save a woman from sin without resorting to violence."

5> Yeah, pretty much... but remember you can top up that tank between towns.  I am profligate with my relationship dice.

6> That's common at first. Sometimes the players will surprise you, but that's the basic outline.  The GM shouldn't be pushing to have it go any other way.
"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


Concerning point 6, it is important not to get caught in the traditional GM move of revealing information very slowly a la an traditional investigation game.  The GM must work hard to put all of the facts on the table as quick as possible so that the PC's are allowed to make judgments based on the actual situation, not just the situation which has been revealed to them.  Vincent, specifically, made remarks about how he sometimes finds himself wanting to hold back, yet that is not the most prolific or appropriate way to play Dogs and even goes against the very nature of the game.

You can call me Charles


Regarding #1, it's not "Bad". You have more dice, but they are likely to roll low. You aren't obligated to use them, but then when they're all that left you're looking at "Give up" or "Take Fallout". Dogs makes you encounter conflicts where you aren't willing to give up, if you didn't have those dice there'd be no temptation.

But dammit, the dice are there.
Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010


Regarding 6, there's no reason why you cant include a revelation or two in your town, but i think it has to be obvious that there is a revelation to be found so that your Dogs arent fumbling in the dark. Not like "everything is normal, and suddenly..!" but like "everything seems normal, but X seems a little off, [why dont you go look into it?]".

Also, I would avoid using revelations to lord it over your Dogs, dont invalidate their judgements at a later date (dont make a habit of turning sinners into saints posthumously)  but certainly show unforeseen consequences that are realistic or interesting.

However, it is entirely fine to skip step 1 altogether. Start with the meat, and throw the problem in your Dog's faces as quickly and straightforwardly as possible.

Ben Lehman

Most of the advice so far: Good.

An important note is that, if a Dog has a big relationship with some character, that's a sign to the GM that that character maybe should show up again.


Alex F

About 1) - why would someone take other 'bad' fallout other than d4s? When they use it to make interesting statements about their characters. One of our players was a flaming-sword-of-god type guy, but somehow every time he brought in "I'm a Dog 1d10" he flubbed his roll and went with a weak raise. I think he dropped its die size twice in one town.
The next time round, he was a more measured Dog, taking his lead from human need as well as scripture. We got to see "I'm a Dog" creep back up, which was wicked cool for the group as a whole and the player in particular. Taking that fallout felt right, and turned out to serve his creative agenda well. And this being DitV, I suspect this is no accident!


And another similar tale; I had a player in my most recent game take the Trait "I've seen worse, 2d8". After going too far in the town and needing emergency medical attention, his fallout was to reduce that trait to 1d8. Tactically, a really bad choice, but suited the outcome of the conflict perfectly.


Hey, :)

Cool answers all around, guys, thanks all. I just need to clarify a couple of things:

A) What happens if someone gets injured during initial chargen conflicts. Do you guys go through the healing followup conflicts? And what happens if the character reaches fallout 20? Death and chargen? Do you start over?

B) Fred, what was that about topping the relationship dice tank between towns? Are the relationships valid for the next/current town only, freeing the dice up for the next town?

C) Regarding the gameplay thing, should the GM tell the players, 'right, you have all the info, go forth and judge' when it comes to that point?

Again, thanks for this, most helpful.

João Mendes
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Gamer


A) It's never come up in my game,  but if it did, I think I would fudge, explaining how the NPCs stop him from dying, but this is pretty much going to be the only situation where you will get that kind of support. Give em two Long-term fallout and send 'em on their way. The Traveller option does have a certain charm, tho' :)

B) I think Fred was talking about the extra free Relationship dice option when between towns. (p79 on Dogs Revised)
In addition, choose one of these:
- Add any two dice to your unassigned Relationship dice.
- Add 2d4 plus any one die to your unassigned Relationship dice.
- ...

C) I haven't found any need to tell the players "OK, start judging". They seem ready to judge pretty naturally. In my games it tends to go; opening scene - present problem - PCs follow up on that problem - present another problem as they do this - PCs argue about what the judgement should be - present another problem as they argue - PCs enact judgement on one character - present another problem, etc. and so on until the town is "done".

Darren Hill

Quote from: JMendes on May 04, 2006, 11:12:27 AM
C) Regarding the gameplay thing, should the GM tell the players, 'right, you have all the info, go forth and judge' when it comes to that point?

During the session, the players will be encountering people who try to get them to do things for them, or will see things they want to things about right there and then. They'll do this before you've revealed all the NPCs, and that's good.
But, if they are more cautious, and you reach a point where you have already revealled everything about the town and they are still looking around for more and hestitating to yake meaningful action, at that point you should be willing to tell them, 'right, you have all the info, go forth and judge'.
But even then, you might not have to if you can manage to play NPCs proactively - "the dogs are here, we've told them what needs to be done to fix this town, and they do nothing. I'll do it myself!"


I agree. The Dogs coming changes the setting, you're basically throwing a timed-bomb into a house. The occupants see they still have time, but not much, so they begin acting.
Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010


About Judging

Last night we had our first game ( I have never run it, and the players did had not even heard of DitV till the game began. (Full thing in the Actual Play Forum).

I an tell you they started judging right away. They did not act right away, but they were juding to each other right off,. They had their bad guys good guys list real quick. It changed allot via revelations, but when they had an oppertunity to judge they did. I just kept the problems gettign bigger till they worked though the whole thing. Seemed very natural. The firts character they talked to listed three problems right off, it gave them somethign to do right away. They just tore through the session, and it was 2AM before we new it.



The time I ran, they were definitely starting to judge before all the information was out, but they did also try looking for more information after it was all out. A simple "you've learned everything there is to learn" statement was sufficient to cut them free. I would not expect to have to do that with a group more than once or twice, though I suppose if the players were really conditioned from previous play experiences in other systems, they could get hung up on that.

As to fallout in the initiation conflict: On the one hand, I would be inclined to wave it off since what's at stake is not supposed to be whether the character becomes a dog or not. On the other hand, perhaps the consequences should still be there. As a learning experience though, if the player was risking 3d10 or more fallout, I would really make sure they understood what the risk was, and their options for getting more dice, or just giving. If a player took 3d8 or more fallout, I wouldn't worry quite so much.

One thought on fallouts reducing dice: My gut feeling is that players, at least over time, will reduce dice. If they don't, it may be a flag that they aren't interested in narativism. I know that in my one play session, I used my fallout to reduce one of my stats by 1 die, and increase another by 1 die. It's also worth pointing out to players that it's a way to say "I'm not so interested in that type of situation any more." If a player has built up a 3d10 trait, you can bet the GM is going to be banging away on that trait. As long as the player understands how the flagging works, they will eventually be ready to move on, either that or you're getting some real kick ass play because you're really grooving with something the player seriously wants to (or needs to) address.

Frank Filz

Darren Hill

In an initiation conflict, I personally would never make a gunfighting raise that the player couldn't block, so that death isn't an option. Bearing in mind that players can escalate and the GM can't, the players have a big edge. I've only ever seen players lose initiation conflicts when they want to, and I think that is the way it is supposed to be.