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Author Topic: [DitV] Wizards in the Vineyard  (Read 3700 times)
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« on: July 23, 2006, 02:03:33 PM »

A number of weeks ago, I came up with an idea for a Dogs variant, and went to work on it. Basically, it concerns powerful wizards who have been given lordship over Mediterranean cities in the ancient world. The first post has all the background material, what the game is all about, and how you create your Wizard.

The second post has some stuff about Sin and its progression that I am wavering on and very uncertain about, as well as a bit on the nature of Mages (fallen Wizards and bad magic-users).

The third bit is about Alchemy and Ceremony, the latter of which I have questions about it matching the way Ceremony works or is supposed to work in regular Dogs (having read through the Banthas thread and seen the comments about ceremony there).

I have stopped working on it both due lack of feedback where I had posted it, concurrent with my inability to work out some of the stuff on my own. Hence my posting it here and hoping it stirs up some interest.

My current question concerns town creation. I'm wondering if the typical town creation rules in the book would suffice for building a city in Wizards, or rather the "problem of the day" for Wizards?

I think they might, with changes to the Color of some of the levels, but at the same time, I'm not so certain given the different circumstances: if this were Dogs, you'd be playing the Steward(s) of a town rather than the wandering gun-fighters.

I'm also trying to figure out some more spiffy neat-o magical effects for the Wizards: brilliant neon lights, swirling black runes, eldritch green fires, invisible psychic forces, and so forth.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Rustin
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Posts: 91


« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2006, 12:53:05 PM »

Sounds cool.
I'm thinking the mechanics of Afriad might help.
ie, Neon lights, runes, etc.. = Bonds. (Equal to dice you can roll as long as they are true, iow: As long as I maintian my Increase Intellect Spell, I get a 1d10 bond dice each and every conflict, right at the start.)
 
Rather than convert towns to cities, think of how you could convert Monsters to your setting?

The aggresive Scene framing requirements would focus play..


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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2006, 02:07:08 PM »

Afraid is the DitV-inspired game Vincent is working on, or am I mistaken?
(I'm afraid I haven't read much about it except for a mention somewhere else.)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2006, 05:37:07 AM »

Afraid lives here.

-Vincent
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 08:44:31 AM »

Afraid lives here.

Ahhh. Thanks!

-----

Rustin, I'm looking over Afraid and wondering how you think Monsters would be better fit for Wizards instead of towns? I'm not sure I see the reasoning.

As for Bonds, interesting idea. Not sure how I might use that...it's not really about the magic, per se. It's about the pressures and pitfalls of being responsible for everything and everyone, with a lot of fantasy color added in so we aren't playing "Bureaucrats in the File Cabinets." But it seems like I might be able to use it. Bonds are a new thing, correct? Not a mapping/renaming of anything from DitV?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Rustin
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Posts: 91


« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2006, 08:10:03 AM »

You've said, "its not really about the magic per se."
I would feel frustrated as a player if I played a Wizard, and just magic'd away the problems.  (ie, I cast my mind control spell, and Joe stops sinning).  Note that in Dogs it isn't necessarily the sinner who becomes a Sorcerer.  Though,  I could see how those who have "black magic" as you say, could counter our Wizard Dogs' magic.

Now, a Wizard going against a Monster with the dice and bonds, and the power to victimize the cities (not individuals?? hrm.. that's an idea)--- now that is going to be a battle, particularly when you as GM have those powerful Scene framing tools.   Now my imagination as a player can go crazy with the color of magic.  And as a GM I don't feel as though I need to hold back. 

From reading your stuff, I sense you want to focus on a Sin progression of the people.  I suppose it would work fine. As I imagine it , it just doesn't have the gripping emotion you feel when you envision a young man or woman, with a book and a gun going into town to do justice.  Yeah, a book and a gun, but it is basically an even playing field. 

I'm in a rush, I'll think about it some more.
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klaveshy
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2006, 10:39:52 AM »

The solution here, I think, is to make most if not all of the main NPCs wizards or supernaturally-blessed/ cursed things too. Still with more or less human motivations, but with the capability to enforce and defend their will magically.

Add to that a ceremony that creates a setting-suggested magical defense (akin to Vince's Sign-of-the-Tree), and you've got an impass. Like, the kind only badass Wizards like the PCs can solve through their efforts.

'Demonic influence', then, would be a dark magical practice that would give the wizards (PCs and NPCs) access to dark energy (I suggest draining energy akin to psychic vampirism, the harmful effects of which drain the populous, causing blights to crops and medical problems). 'Sorcerers' become Wizards that have resorted to the use of this unholy energy and have thus become more powerful. They can thus tap the 'what's the worse thing that's happened' dice to augment their magic and take the quick and easy way. And if they do something that escalates the evil-the-players-have-noticed, that available pool increases for them (just like in Dogs).

I'm really excited about the idea that the PCs can access this energy, too, if they find themselves tempted. I think this is how the Star Wars and vampire mods should work as well.

Anyway, yeah. I think using Afraid, for this, would be a mistake. Mostly because it seems to me the PCs in Afraid are always on the lamb, and when you play a wizard, it's a little because you want to blow stuff up, no? Even narratively? ;)



'How shall I handle my power' is a better fit for mages than 'will I survive this night with my body and soul intact'. IMHO.
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greyorm
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2006, 02:46:11 PM »

I would feel frustrated as a player if I played a Wizard, and just magic'd away the problems.  (ie, I cast my mind control spell, and Joe stops sinning).

Ahh, I see.

But magic is no guarantee you will win. Just as there is no guarantee you can successfully shoot Joe to end the conflict. Yeah, you can try to accomplish your ends magically, but the results? It isn't as though magic is an automatic "I win!" switch. The result is up for grabs.

The bigger issue I'm seeing is the one of mind control. You're right, that seems to suck the emotion right out of play...but it's covered. Buried in the text somewhere, almost as a throw-away (so I'm not surprised it was missed) is the statement that magic can't change the human heart. You can't go around casting "mind bondage" on everyone and making them into happy, complacent citizens. It doesn't work that way. You can't go, "Here's a magic potion so you are now happy with your lot in life," or "Obey me! Love me! Serve me fritos!" and have it just happen.

But this is a good indicator to me that what magic is like is a problem spot: what does the magic of Wizards look like? Can you mind control people? Throw fireballs? Etc. What does it do and how do you do it? Definitely something I'll need to spell out.

Second, consider that just like using a gun, using magic has big fallout. Use magic, the consequence is d10 fallout.

Just like you don't walk up to Brother Zed and say, "Brother Zed, I hear you're angry at the steward for something. Well, you'd better just stop it," and wave your gun in his face expecting the threat to fix everything, and suddenly everyone starts hugging bunnies. Thus you only use magic in conflicts with the citizens when you HAVE to, because it's dangerous (and not just dangerous to other people). Magic isn't "Let me pick the appropriate spell and it just works" or "Wait, I have the best technobabble solution to that problem!"

I honestly don't see the difference between "I shoot him dead. Problem solved." and "I magic him into fiery chunks. Problem solved." I mean, holy crap! You just nuked one of your own citizens. The very people counting on you to be fair, honest, upright, to solve their problems and make their lives work right are all staring at a power mad dictator. You're friggin' Jesus Christ, man: you're their conduit between the better nature of the capricious universe and their own tiny voices.

Quote
Now, a Wizard going against a Monster with the dice and bonds, and the power to victimize the cities (not individuals?? hrm.. that's an idea)--- now that is going to be a battle, particularly when you as GM have those powerful Scene framing tools.   Now my imagination as a player can go crazy with the color of magic.  And as a GM I don't feel as though I need to hold back.
 

I guess I will have to read Afraid over a few more times, because I'm just not certain what you're saying about monsters attacking the cities being a step up from Wizards trying to successfully run a utopian society full of real people. Because it isn't supposed to be about destroying or fighting the Monster of the Week.

It is supposed to be a game about being in charge, about being responsible for others, about having authority over them when they have their own minds...and all the conflicts that entails. It's about being a government servant, and in another way, it's about being a parent.

You can't just become a magical dictator using fear and power to control the populace. Despite the logistical problems of trying to run a utopian society that way, eventually, with enough of it, you'd have a cabal of neighboring Wizards at your door and end up banished Inland by the Tower along with all the corrupted citizens under your thumb. Or maybe not. Maybe you beat the Wizards who come to put you down, and the Tower shrugs and says, "Ok, so maybe your way is best." Can you live with the society you've gone and created? Do you LIKE what you've created and what you've shaped the populace into?

If this stuff isn't getting through in the writing, I can see I'll need to rewrite things.

Quote
From reading your stuff, I sense you want to focus on a Sin progression of the people.  I suppose it would work fine. As I imagine it , it just doesn't have the gripping emotion you feel when you envision a young man or woman, with a book and a gun going into town to do justice. Yeah, a book and a gun, but it is basically an even playing field.

I dunno. When I played Dogs, half the conflicts I went into didn't happen to involve guns. The BIG conflict I got into had nothing to do with my gun. I certainly could have judged the girl as a corrupting influence on the town, dragged her out into the town square and executed her, and there's nothing she could have done because she's just a young girl who doesn't own a gun. Her lack of firepower didn't make the whole situation any less compelling.

Magic is just a supernatural gun. The word I'm using is the only difference. It's a tool, just like a gun, albeit a mythical one. The playing field is even, as even as if you're walking around with a gun empowered to shoot anyone you feel like shooting on your own authority. But the gun doesn't make you magically win every contest, doesn't make you right, doesn't help you sort out the human kinds of things you have to sort out everyday, and it doesn't protect you from getting killed by a knife in the dark.

But if it isn't your thing, it isn't your thing.

I'm not writing a game about magic. The magic is pure color.

Maybe I need to rewrite it and make it into Congressmen in the Vineyard or something so people stop going, "Oh, magic. Wizard battles. Yeah!" Because, yeah, Wizard battles. Wizard battles are fun. They're also not the point. Just like gunfighting in Dogs is fun, but also not the point ("...and we need a laundry list of different types of guns along with specifics like distance and caliber and...but what if your opponent is unarmed and you shoot him, oh fret?").
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2006, 05:39:47 PM »

Half-way through pushing the "preview" button, I realized I was pushing the "post" button. Ah well.

Apologies if the previous post was defensive-sounding. I really do appreciate the input, guys, it is really helping me to have to explain and describe what I'm looking for out of play, and how I am envisioning the way things are supposed to look and feel more clearly and concisely as I get feedback from what others are seeing. Plus you never know what will actually make it into my final version, no matter how strenuously I argue against it here. So thank you!

And Paul, yes, I agree. Afraid is just wrong for the kind of game I'm looking to have with Wizards: "Will/Can I survive this and how" isn't really what I want to explore. It is very much "How will I handle power and responsibility."
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ramidel
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Posts: 54


« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2006, 04:03:50 AM »

One difference I can see between Wizards and Dogs:

In Dogs, you don't usually see the same town again. The Dogs themselves are not tied in to Two Kitten Pass unless they choose to be, they're setting the town right as they see it and riding off into the sunset towards their next town. (Of course, the GM is perfectly allowed to recast the same dilemma from Two Kitten Pass in Three Kitten Pass, with slightly different language and a harsher tone, but that's not what I'm getting at). They are not a part of the community that they heal or wreck except for the few days it takes them to heal or wreck it.

In Wizards, this is the Wizards' city that they're building; they see the results of their judgement and they live with them daily. Fallout has a lot more ripples. If you cut funding to that Journeyman's Ph.D thesis, he knows exactly who did it six years later when he's a full-fledged Wizard in his own right. Kill a merchant for dabbling in Magery, and his brother will make sure not to sell you any of that special black wine you like. And while roasting a powerless peasant alive for not selling you his daughter might not irritate anyone with any power, if it happens often enough there'll be a lot of peasants with pitchforks charging the Tower door.

This adds a political dimension which is generally absent from vanilla Dogs. The Dogs walking into a town are above the local politics. They want to throw the Steward's favorite out and force his daughter to marry a Mountain Person, the Steward has no way to take revenge upon them once they leave town. As a result, they have little or no need to make decisions based on their own political position. They are unaccountable.

Wizards, meanwhile, are a part of the Utopian Magical Venice. Their decisions impact people they will have to deal with, possibly on a regular basis, and who are very capable of sabotaging their later actions. Forcing the merchant to lower his prices in a famine may be the correct thing to do, but he's also a lot more capable of making the Wizards' lives miserable than the peasants he's screwing over. Because of this, a Wizard is forced to take into account "who am I going to offend," and may make judgements based on "who is the least likely to cause grief later if I dump the shit on him now."

This sort of political judgement, on the one hand, leads to yet another level of "how do I handle Power and Responsibility," namely "Do I do what I feel is wrong to maintain my power?" On the other hand, Dogs' judgements are based on their own naked character, their training, and their beliefs, and this impartiality is (as I see it) a key reason why they can show their true selves in the blood spatter as they perform drastic invasive surgery on the town. Wizards have a different dynamic and regular amputations aren't a part of that as I see it.

Greyorm, is this something you were looking at?
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