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[DitV] outnumbering opponents in conflict - always a winning situation?

Started by xjermx, June 25, 2006, 10:25:41 AM

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Hi folks,  I've been away from the lumpley games section here for awhile, as my attention has been diverted elsewhere, but I'm back and boy the stuff about Firefly in the 'Verse is cool.  Anyway, I had a nagging question that I'm still unclear on that I wanted to ask about.  I browsed through the forums, but didnt immediately see an answer, still I apologize if this has been thoroughly explained elsewhere.

Suppose you have 3 PCs and an NPC.  Um, we'll make the conflict over "You're a sinner, you better change your sinnin' ways!".  Here's my problem- we start in Go's, PC1 raises "You better change your wicked ways, NPC, or God is gonna gitcha!"  NPC is affected.  NPC See's.  PC2 raises "Yeah. If you keep this gambling up, not only will God be pissed, but I will be too."  NPC is affected.  NPC See's.  NPC raises "Look this is none of your business, I'm not hurting anyone else in this community." PC1, PC2, PC3 are affected.  All three See.  PC3 raises "All of the community is hurt, your sin is bringing down everyone in the community."  NPC is affected. NPC Sees......  NPC is out of dice.

So my question is this - is this exactly how its supposed to work?  If so, it seems to me that every conflict involving an outnumbered opponent will end with the winner simply being able to throw more dice than the loser.  If that's exactly the way its supposed to work, then... okay.. but it seems to me it'd take some suspense out of the game.  "Okay guys, your three characters are facing off against the Bad Ass Sorcerer!",  "Dude, its 3 to 1.  We've so got him."  Seems to me that when a conflict is just in the Talking stages, its too easy for the players to brow-beat the NPC into acquiescing.

I know you can Help in a conflict instead of participating, but what do you folks do?  Is this my problem and not the system's problem?  Do I just need to have TWO or THREE bad guys?  And if so, am I rolling pools for all of them? (saw somewhere that Vincent said the GM should only ever roll one pool??)


Remember that the NPC goes against all of the PCs.  So each PC is burning through 4 dice a round, and the NPC is burning through 8- but the PCs together are spending 12 total.  (This assumes no one Reverses or Takes blows.)

And yeah, if the PCs are all acting together, they're going to win.  This is a feature, not a bug.  Just find situations where the PCs won't all act together.  Split them up, and set them against each other.


Hey, :)

Either that or Roll More Dice(tm). A nice 4d8 relationship with a demon and a juicy 5d10 Demonic Influence are always a boon! :)

João Mendes
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Gamer


Also don't forget that PCs can be caused to raise against each other.  they are not a group mind.

If PC #1 says "repent sinner for the King of Life will forgive you"
and PC #2 says "repent sinner or I'll blow your heathen brains out the back of your head"

Then it would be entirely reasonable for PC#1 to have to see #2's raise because #2s message is more violent than #1 wishes to see conveyed.

Like wise if #1 says "fear not, sinner, for there will be no violence done this day, but open your heart to the king and let him take away your sins" it would be reasonable for #2 to have to see.


The game isn't really about winning and losing.  The PC's usually win, if they stay united and don't start making each other see their raises.

It's more about HOW they win, than whether.
"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


QuoteThe game isn't really about winning and losing.

I am down with that.

However, I am interesting in trying to make some conflicts tense affairs, where maybe they aren't entirely sure that they're going to win this one, going into it- not by talking anyway.

The way I understand the system currently, if I were a PC walking in with two of my compatriots to face down Mr. Bad Dude, I'd figure we had it in the bag.  And yes, I'm really just talking about mechanics here. 

Truth be told, I'm comparing RL discussion/argument amongst 3 people vs 1 to DitV discussion/argument amonst 3 people vs 1.  There's no way that me and two of my friends are going to convince any of you that the world is flat, no matter how charismatic we might be.  But in DitV, this certainly seems possible.  I only draw this comparison because, since discovering DitV, I frequently chuckle at how DitV raises/sees/etc do mirror social interactions.

This first came up for me running my first actual Dogs game with a town I swiped from around here somewhere, in which there was an old widow NPC, who was not of the faithful.  She had a little bit of information that would have been helpful to the characters, but as soon as they discovered that she was not of the faithful, they set out to convert her.  Well, to keep a long story short, it was my mistake not to just let them have it and convert her, but my holding out was based on that this was an old woman, near the end of her life, who'd had no use for the King of Life for all of her however-many-years here, and I didnt see any reason that these three Dogs could walk into her house, save her soul, and walk back out.  Well, not just with talking anyway.

Anyway,  the gist I'm getting from the answer here is: figure out ways to roll more dice for the NPC, or just accept that the PCs will win in this kind of 3 vs 1 scenario.   That right?


Did you have Grandma escalate to physical by patting the lead dog on the head and saying "there there dearie, that's a nice story, but now I've got to get back to my baking?"

And then escalate to fighting by throwing a rolling pin at them and telling them to git gone.

And then escalate to gun play when she pulls granddads shotgun down from over the mantle and says "now dearies, I done told you once to get out of my house..."

Will the dogs really gun her down in the name of converting her?

Will they risk getting gunned down and putting the faithful at risk?

If those questions would be interesting to explore, then roll.  If not, then you're right...just say yes and move on.


Yeah, xjermx, if the Dogs are united and they outnumber their opponents, they'll win.

One thing you could have done with grandma is take a more active hand in setting the stakes. "No, you can't convert her in one conflict; save her conversion for a followup. First you have to get her to to trust you, then get her to confess her sins. After that you can try to save her soul."

You have to be honest with your players, you can't be trying to talk them out of doing it, but telling them to save a grand accomplishment for a followup conflict is totally legit.

But, 3 Dogs on 1 grandma, they're going to win.



And from Valamir was saying, if it is interesting to follow up, take the blow from anything physcial with as many small dice as se has.  Get a nice huge Fallout for the Widow, so she can show up at Church the next day with bruises on her face and terror in her eyes.  That really pushes home the consequences of escalation. 

I had a conflict of "Do I get my lazy cousin to the Church before the bell?" go all the way up to fighting.  The player put the 10 year old kid in a headlock and squeezed, so I took the blow with something like 6-7 dice.  The follow-up conflict "Does the cousin get the medical treatment he needs?"  was entertaining, not to mention explaining it to the kid's parents. 
Hi, my name is Jon.


"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