Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Escalating and then de-escalating

Started by donbaloo, April 28, 2006, 12:39:44 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Just want to make sure on this before we play.  If a player escalates from talking to say, physical violence, but then after one round wants to back down to talking again or just physical...are the physical violence dice he has on the table still up for grabs or must they be used for physical violence type raises?
Chris McNeilly


By the rules, they can, but I like the idea that once you've said everything there is to say, then there's nothing more to say.
"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

Darren Hill

Yes, when you escalate, all the dice you've already rolled into your pool are still available, and can be used for any type of action.
So if you start at Talking (technically, Non-Physical), and escalate to Gunfighting, the dice you have available can be used for any non-Physical actions and any Gunfighting actions.

Also in case it's unclear, you can start with gunfighting, and then 'escalate' the other way to talking.


Chris McNeilly


Otherwise you would have to keep track of which dice were for what, and that is a pain in the ass.

Anna Kreider

It's not really that difficult to keep track - if you recieve fallout, the type results from what you're actually doing that causes fallout.

Example from last night's session:

Me: I ride up shoot Sr. Promise in the chest without saying a word

Sr. Ceri: I push Promise out of the way

And then when it came back to my raise...

Me: Dammit, Ceri! When are you going to see that you're in the wrong here?

Ceri wound up taking fallout from me yelling at her. But because I was yelling and not shooting for that particular raise, it was d4 fallout. So it's really not hard to keep track of if you just think of it in terms of the fact that the type of the fallout you recieve depends on what arena the raise was that made you take the blow.



Erm, that's not how I read it.

Fallout depends on the harshest you went.
So if you talk to someone till there's no more talking and then you shoot him, all fall-out will be in D10.
You didn't talk at him and then shot him, you shot him because talking didn't work out.
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



The degree of Fallout is determined by the narration of the Raise that inflicted it, not by the current level of escalation that the inflictor is at.  If we're both at gunfighting and I yell some really scathing insults at you from behind a barrel, you'll take d4 Fallout, not d10.




i've played it as Vincent and Daniel said, where the narration decides the Fallout, but I see nothing wrong with taking the taking the highest escalation as Fallout regardless of narration.

It makes shooting your gun more final, since you cant go back to just talking. This might not be a good thing depending on what kinda game you want (should finding a non-violent resolution be a possibility after bullets start to fly? Reminds me of the conceit in films where the badguy still dies after he has seen the error of his ways so as to atone for them, even after the hero has forgiven them. In which case; violence is the final word even if its not by the hero's hand (so if they take 20 Fallout from a player's narrated talking, its just cinematic karma and they'll die some other way, by sacrificing themselves (Darth Vader) or through bad luck (the supervillian is trapped in his own invention). The act of the player shooting is the same as "i cannot have you live" and this judgement is enforced even if the player takes a more moral high ground later on). 

Also, it might stop some narrative munchkining, eg. I'm gonna start shooting [yay! loads more dice!], heres my [pathetic] Raise. Right, from now on I'm gonna talk with these dice so that I can still have that happy peaceful resolution my conscience craves (and my opponent is still available for questioning or i can placate these other NPCs or whatever). I haven't had a problem of this myself though.

just some thoughts.


I think the freedom that Dogs allows with escalation is really important. You do have to get violent if you want your will dice. But you might only have one violent outburst (fire one shot, throw one punch), and then drop back to talking. There are plenty of times in fiction when someone uses violence to get people to listen to them.

Something else to consider: The GM can always threaten PCs with any fallout he wants. And how much should the GM care about what fallout the NPCs are taking? Besides, if the GM feels the players are pulling this stunt too often, eventually, they're going to raise with a 3 or 4 when the GM has lots of 1s... Oops, your gimme raise gets turned into a taking of the blow. Or the GM can take advantage of the wimpy raise to reverse the blow on the PC... (imagine the player's surprise when the GM, having 2x1, 1x2, 1x10, 1x6 in front of him, decides to reverse the blow against a raise of 3 with the 10 instead of blocking with a 1 and the 2..., and then seeing what the player has in front of him, puts forth a 1 or the 2 for a raise of 11 or 12, or even the 6 for a raise of 16...).

I also think this element very significant in granting the players the power to address premise they need for narativist play.

I also like the fact that Dogs allows "stop or I'll shoot" as a character pulls a gun, and rolls his gun dice, but doesn't roll his shooting dice (because he's still just talking), to have power in the game. Of course if the guy doesn't stop, the character can then shoot (now getting his shooting dice), but can then follow up with a 3rd raise: "now will you stop, or shall I shoot again?"

Of course it should also be noted that almost any game is subject to abuse. If players constantly make wimpy raises on escalation to quickly bring in all their stat dice with little consequence, and you can't use the system to teach them a lesson, well, perhaps they don't really want to play narativist.

Frank Filz


Honestly, with the Reversing the Blow mechanic, players should be more concerned about putting forward "wimpy Raises" than the GM.  It's not like the GM doesn't have Escalation as a tool at his disposal as well.


Anna Kreider

Honestly, I have to say that I don't like the idea of making the fallout dice be whatever the highest arena someone has escalated to. All too often in our campaign we had Dogs on opposite sides of a conflict - and some of those conflicts involved guns. Using the arena of the narration to determine the fallout dice is important because where my character would shoot at a townsfolk if pressed to it, he would never have shot at his fellow Dogs without a damn good reason (and disagreeing isn't good enough).

It's important, especially in multi-sided conflicts, to be able to say "I'm shooting at him, but not that guy". If EVERYONE starts taking d10 fallout once you've escalated to gunfighting, then it dumbs conflicts down to black versus white and eliminates the possibility for conflicts with more than two sides.

And anyway, the players can't really cheat with gunfighting if the GM doesn't want to allow it. After all, a player could push forward a five and the GM could see with five ones.