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Author Topic: [DitV] Rule question: Dogs in IIEE  (Read 5245 times)
Moreno R.
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Posts: 389


« on: August 13, 2006, 05:20:38 PM »

Hello! I have a question for Vincent, when he will be back from GenCon (but I would welcome comments and answers by others people, too)

I have a doubt about what happens, in IIEE terms, when you Take The Blow against a raise that specify a precise, narrative  effect different from the effect you would get winning the conflict.

Example: Jane (the player) play Jack (the character, a Dog), Dana (the GM) play Daniel (a Character, a violent cultist) [for clarity, I am using female names for the players and male name for the characters, and the character's and player's name have the same initial]

They begin a conflict. The stakes are "can Jack subdue Daniel or Daniel get to flee?". After some turn of raises, Jane hasn't left any dice higher that "six" (but has a lot of them), and Dana has still two "ten"

Dana raises with "Daniel slashes Jack's face with a knife, putting out Jack's left eye", and put forward both dices for a total of 20.

I think this raise is legal:is something Jack can't ignore, and is something that Daniel do be able to flee, but doesn't, by itself, give him the stakes.

In IIEE terms, I think that the raise could be written like this:
- intent: Daniel want to slash Jack's face. (it's Dana, the GM who play Daniel, who want to limit the slash effect to one eye, Daniel is really trying to kill Jack)
- initiation: Daniel begin to move his knife to slash Jack

These two steps happen in any case, because they can't be stopped by Jane (even if she had good dices). [Ron Edwards explain it very well in this post: [DitV]deconstructing dogs, gencon play, and Vincent confirm this in his blog, here: 2006-05-18 : A quick IIEE primer, by request. It was this blog posting by Vincent who made me doubt the way we are playing DitV and caused me to post this question]

- Execution: Daniel slash Jack's face.

Now, if Jane had enough good dices, she could BLOCK the execution, putting forth two "ten" saying "no, I block the knife with my gun" o something like this, but she has not enough good dices and can't block the execution. The knife cut Jack's face.

Or not? Do the "execution" part contain the "Jack's face" part, or the "execution" is only "Daniel slash"?

- Effect: this is where I have the problem. If you read the post in Vincent's blog that I linked above, you will find this:

Quote
[...] I want my character to throw your character off a seven-story building.

I say "I totally pitch you off the building to your death. So long, sucker."

We do some process of resolution, the upshot of which is: you get to block me (in the improv sense: you get to negate my input). You get to say, "no you don't. Instead..."

How much of my input do you get to block?

Do you get to block me all the way back at my character's initial intent? "No you don't. Instead, you invite me out for coffee."

Do you have to grant me my character's intent, but get to block me before my character starts to move (initiation)? "No you don't. Instead, you restrain yourself, clenching your fists and standing menacing over me."

Do you have to grant me my character's intent and initiation, but get to block me while my character's doing it (execution)? "No you don't. Instead, you get your hands on me but I twist away, you can't catch me."

Do you have to grant me my character's intent, initiation and execution, but get to block what comes of it (effect)? "No you don't. Instead, you catch me and heave me over, sure, but I catch a window sill a story down. I'm dangling there."

See how that works? At the real-world moment of resolution, what fictional stuff have we bindingly established, and what's up for grabs? Of what I've said, what can you potentially negate, and what must you let stand?

In Dogs in the Vineyard, I raise ("I throw you to your death") and if you see with two dice, you block my execution ("I slip out of your grasp"), but if you see with three or more, you block my effect ("I fall - crunch - but I'm not dead yet").

Notice that the first example Vincent wrote (about some not-specific game) is different from the second example (about DitV). In the first one, "blocking the effect" mean that you DON'T get thrown from the building, you are still "dangling there", in the second, you get thrown from the building, the effect is NOT blocked until the very last part, "to your death".

Now, in DitV, that last part ("to your death") would be the stakes. You can't raise with something that would give you the stakes as an effect.

So, I have these questions...

1) Seeing that even if I "take the blow" I can block the last part of the effect, it's all right to raise with the stakes (for example, raising with "I shot you in the head" when at a stake is your life) because even if it's not blocked, you can narrate "you shot me in the head, but you only graze my skull and I am still alive"?

2) Returning to the example with Jack and Daniel, the slash on Jack's face is execution or effect? If it's effect, is blockable even "taking the blow" ("your slash don't connect with my face, but to avoid it I slip and hurt my ankle (and get xd8 fallout)") or not?

3) If the slash on the face it's it's not blockable, what about losing the eye? You can say "Your knife cut my face (giving me xd8 fallout) but I turn my face just enough that you miss my eye", or not?

4) If the cut on the eye it's not blockable, the final effect (the eye is lost) is blockable ("you cut my eye (giving me xd8 fallout) but it's only a little nick, it will heal in time" or all what the raising player (in this case, the GM) said (excluding any effect that would decide by itself the stakes . the "to the death" in Vincent example) has become solid, incontestable reality in the SIS, and the eye is lost?

How much "power" has an unblocked raise, to change the SIS?

What if the raise is not "I slash jack's face", but "I throw the knife killing poor npc xxxx"? Without pushing against Jane's character ownership, but still causing a concrete, narrative change in the SIS with only a raise?
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 06:40:48 AM »

Brief answers today, I've got a lot of ground to cover.

Losing your eye forever is fallout; a raise-see can't decide it. Losing your eye for now is what a raise-see can decide.

When you take the blow, say "I reel back, blood pouring down my face." When you roll fallout dice at the end, THAT'S when we find out if you really lost your eye.

"I put out your eye" is a strong, good, excellent raise. Consider it to direct fallout, ultimately. It's a fuse; fallout is the bomb.

-Vincent
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 389


« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 07:59:11 PM »

Hi, Vincent. I am sorry to bother you again these days when you have so little free time, but even if your answer was useful, it wasn't exactly the answer to my questions...

I don't want to bother you too much. I don't need an answer now: my group is now playing PTA and we will not return to DitV for at least two months. So please don't feel forced to answer this post right now.  I can wait until you have enough free time, and if you prefere I can repost these question when we will return to play DitV.

My problems with your first answers are these:

A) you didn't answer question #1:
Quote from: Brother Blood
1) Seeing that even if I "take the blow" I can block the last part of the effect, it's all right to raise with the stakes (for example, raising with "I shot you in the head" when at a stake is your life) because even if it's not blocked, you can narrate "you shot me in the head, but you only graze my skull and I am still alive"?

B)
Quote from: Lumpley
When you take the blow, say "I reel back, blood pouring down my face." When you roll fallout dice at the end, THAT'S when we find out if you really lost your eye.

This is a good way to leave the door open to different fallout results, but it's not a general answer valid for every different raise. What if I raise with "I hit you with my axe cutting off your hand at the wrist"?

From the wording of your answer:
Quote from: Lumpley
Losing your eye forever is fallout; a raise-see can't decide it. Losing your eye for now is what a raise-see can decide
...it would seems that a raise cannot hurt in a permanent way the character until it's "comfirmed" by the fallout. But what about the NPC? I can raise with "I kill that girl under your protection"? What about inanimate object? ("I crash the church window with a shot" in any trivial conflict, in a town where is very important for the Dogs that the church's windows aren't damaged)

C) your first answer game me another doubt: how can a fallout find out "if you really lost your eye" when it's the dog that choose from the tables, and he can choose to NOT take as fallout missing an eye even with a fallout of 19?

Any permanent change in the character must be chosen by the player, or in the case above if the fallout is enough to justify losing an eye, the eye is lost?



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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 03:36:05 AM »

Any permanent change is chosen by the player, but keep in mind, he can take "Brother John put out my eye 1d4" as a trait or relationship to add to his sheet, and that's that.  Many players will, after seeing how Dogs really works, JUMP at the chance to write that down on their sheet.  Powerful stuff.

One of the nifty things about Dogs is that the Dogs can get ripped to hell and still be entirely playable PC's.  There's little or no death spiral.

When it comes right down to it, Dogs is a "Strong consent" game... rare among RPG's.  "Strong consent" is a term from freeform that means "Nothing permanent happens to your character unless you decide it does."  There's no way for anyone to FORCE you to take any particular fallout... you can only suggest.
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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
lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2006, 05:30:39 AM »

No need to apologize for asking questions. I like answering Dogs' rules questions a lot.

You say as your raise, "I chop your hand off!"

I'm going to take the blow with 4 dice. Let's say that when I roll my 4d8 fallout they'll come up with only an 11, so we don't have to deal with complications, just one long-term fallout. What are my options?

Option 1: "Aaah! My hand! It's off, it's lying there on the stump, still handcuffed."
When I take fallout:
Option 1a: I take "I've got only one hand 1d4."
Option 1b: I reduce my body by 1.
Option 1c: I reduce my relationship with you to d4s.
Option 1d: I take "God don't look after me like I thought 1d4."

Option 2: "Aaah! Your axe chunks into my wrist, but you don't chop my hand clean off."
When I take fallout:
Option 2a: I say that my hand is unsalvageable after all. I take "I've got only one hand 1d4."
Option 2b: I take "I've got a crippled right hand 1d4."
Option 2c: I reduce my body by 1.
Option 2d: I reduce my relationship with you to d4s.
Option 2e: I take "God don't look after me like I thought 1d4."

All totally legit.

In the case of options 1b-1d, my character has lost his hand, for good and forever, but without any particular mechanical consequence. I don't need "I've got only one hand" on my character sheet to play a character with only one hand.

If you want to play around, therefore, with making raises that would resolve the stakes, give it a try. Bringing a nuanced enough view to taking the blow might protect you from the dangers. "Don't make raises that'd resolve the stakes by themselves" I stand by as the general rule.

-Vincent
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 389


« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2006, 02:32:49 PM »

Let's see if I understood what you mean...

1) no raise can change anything permanent about the PC without the explicit consent of the PC's Player (given with the choice of fallout consequences or with the narration of the blow taken or with both). So in the example of the cut to the eye, she could accept in the narration of the blow taken that his PC lost the eye, or she could let the fact be unresolved for now (narrating the blood on the face and nothing else) reserving to herself the possibility to choose after the end of the conflict, or she could negate with her narration even the possibility that the eye was cut ("you bloodied me but you missed my eye by an inch). So when you raise you can force the opposing player to take fallout, but you can't force no permanent consequences with that raise. You can only suggest the specific form of that fallout with your narration of the raise, but it's her choice to accept that narration ("you took off my eye!") or refuse it ("you missed it!")

So, in IIEE terms, a blocked raise is blocked before the execution phase (the raising character can't complete the action: he is stopped or he miss the target, whatever is decided by the blocking player, who get to narrate the action), and an un-blocked raise complete the execution phase but it's still stopped before the "effect" phase. You can't get your desired effect with a raise. But the player who is taking the blow can, if she want, narrate a part (of all) of the effect you desired, in the narration of the blow taken or when she choose fallout. But she is in no obligation to do so.

You should not make raises that could get you the stakes, because in this way you force the opposing player (in case she take the blow) to refuse your suggestion about the effect, because it would cost her the stakes. NOT because your raise would get you the stakes. It's still not sufficient.

Problem: if it's so, in what sense "I put out your eye" is a "strong, good, excellent raise"? It's no more dangerous for the character than "I hit your foot with my hammer" (the fallout is the same, and the eye or the foot are only suggestion for the player about the kind of narration and effect she could choose. She could choose to take as fallout that his character broke a finger in both cases...)

2) What if the raise is directed against another person (an NPC) or an object? The effect still stop before any permanent effect is assigned, or in this case the full effect happen? You still didn't answer about this...

3) what about permant changes to the character as the stake in a conflict? Winning the conflict is enough or, as in the case with the conflicts that have as stakes the life of a Dog, there is another conflict to see "what really happened"?
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2006, 11:34:13 AM »

Y'know, you're having this conversation with the wrong people, here.

Over the course of the first few sessions of play, you and your group will come to a consensus, spoken or unspoken, about what you can decline and what you must accept when you take a blow. This consensus will probably be highly adaptable, case by case - sometimes it'll be just fine to decline permanent changes to your character when you take a blow, and other times it'll be clearly bogus to do so. Do not expect your group to establish principled standards; expect to establish highly aesthetic standards. Expect the standards to be different depending on which player you are and what your character's about, too.

You're not to use my answers in this thread as any kind of justification for any kind of behavior in your group. You are to establish and abide by functional standards for taking the blow (as well as several other related matters) with your friends, not with me.

You should understand my previous post to be about the range of possible standards your group may come to, not the range of decisions available to you as a player in your group at any given moment.

-Vincent
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Spooky Fanboy
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Posts: 585


« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2006, 11:55:58 AM »

I have a similar question, but for Afraid. should I move it to a new thread?
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2006, 02:06:11 PM »

Yes please.

-Vincent
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Claudia Cangini
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Posts: 38


« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2006, 11:59:12 AM »

Y'know, you're having this conversation with the wrong people, here.

Over the course of the first few sessions of play, you and your group will come to a consensus, spoken or unspoken, about what you can decline and what you must accept when you take a blow. This consensus will probably be highly adaptable, case by case - sometimes it'll be just fine to decline permanent changes to your character when you take a blow, and other times it'll be clearly bogus to do so. Do not expect your group to establish principled standards; expect to establish highly aesthetic standards. Expect the standards to be different depending on which player you are and what your character's about, too.

You're not to use my answers in this thread as any kind of justification for any kind of behavior in your group. You are to establish and abide by functional standards for taking the blow (as well as several other related matters) with your friends, not with me.

You should understand my previous post to be about the range of possible standards your group may come to, not the range of decisions available to you as a player in your group at any given moment.

-Vincent

Hello I'm from Moreno's group and just wanted to say a few words about this issue.
It seems to me you're kind of worried Moreno is sneaking behind our backs just to come back showing off with new and arcane knowledge like: "nyah, nyah, nyah, that's the way to play, cause Vincent saide so!" (joking ^__^)

Actually this is not the case, instead some of us (the most interested in RPG theory) followed with interest this thread (in my case mainly because I think my play experience could be improved from a better understanding of the rules).
I'm also sure Moren won't try to introduce any change in our playing without group consent.

In the end I think the matter raised by Moreno are being adressed in a AP topic, but thank you anyway for the answers and please don't you worry!

Best.
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Claudia Cangini

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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2006, 12:15:12 PM »

That's a big relief! Thank you.

I'm happy talking about the subject, but I'd be much happier framing it as a discussion about the range of standards a group might set, not about the things a player can guaranteed do by the rules.

-Vincent
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 389


« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2006, 09:11:59 AM »

Hi!

I was thinking about a longer post to explain what happened in our games to made us doubt about the way we were playing with the conflict rules, but then I noticed the threads (here and at the story-games forum) about the GenCon "stakes seminar", and in particular this one: Big Gencon stakes discussion

Reading that discussion made me realize that we often pre-narrated the stakes, and that something like this happened with the raises, too (see the example in the first post in this thread: "Daniel slashes Jack's face with a knife, putting out Jack's left eye" instead of "Daniel try to slash Jack's face with his knife, aiming for the left eye"). Now I think that maybe this was the real problem, and not the IIEE sequence. I don't know. I need to try to play again changing the way we set stakes and raises, and see if that make a substantial difference.  So I think I will return to this question in another thread, AFTER trying this (at least 5 weeks from now, we just started a PTA game)

The problem we had was the conflict "engine" crashed and halted every time we had raises like the one in the example, with ours in-play decision shifting between "the wording of the raise become the absolute truth" and "it's only generic fallout", not finding any of these two solution appealing, trying to find a middle ground that make sense (and it's applicable always, without having to re-do the discussion every time) without finding it.

We talked about that before asking here? Check. Done it. Results? We all agree. We agree we don't know the solution. What we do now? We avoid the problem. We simply don't use "strong" raises like these anymore.

It's not a solution I like very much. I consider a defeat for the goals of this new game group. We wanted trying to "learn" to play in a different way, with different games. We discovered that we are not able to do so, consistently, without marking whole areas of play "don't go there, it could crash the game".

I think that it's a subset of a greater problem we had: we played a lot (really, a lot) of "crappy games", we are almost hard-wired to a certain way of thinking (I personally have almost twenty years of experience as a dissatisfied but very good illusionist / surprise the players / make the players afraid / soft railroad GM, and I am not the only one in the group...), we have a lot of "blind spots" [the way we mis-read in different ways the DitV rules for MONTHS, reading bits that aren't there and missing bits that very clearly are there, could be worth a thread by itself], we tend to return to "old habits" when we are tired or distracted (somewhere in this form there is a post of mine about the difficulties I found with something simple as "reveal the town in play". I think "OK, concentrate, reveal the town, reveal the town, reveal the town" and after too much food and wine and too little sleep, a couple of hours later, I find myself doing absent-mindly the DitV version of "rolling for clues"...).

So, I don't trust my instinct as a GM. They ofter still tell me things like "make them roll for clues", "make empty rolls to scare them" and "the made a mistake, punish them". I have to shut up my instinct, for now, and THINK about what I am doing.  To be able to THINK about what I am doing, when I do something so strange and new (and exciting) for me, I need (1) clear rules, or (2) a theoretical framework that can help me understand WHAT THE GAME AUTHOR MEANS, if he didn't spell it in a way that it's clear to me.

After that, after understanding "how the game go", I can TRY IT THAT WAY, and decide by himself if I am satisfied or if I want to change something, drift the game, do what I what with it. But to change a game, I need to understand it first.

This was all this thread was about. Understanding the game. Understanding how raises work in the game. In the PUBLISHED game. Not in our drifted version. I am not satisfied by out drifted version. We STARTED with a heavy, heavy drift, because the first GM didn't even read all the rules, because he like me had an "hardwired" previous understanding of "how role-playing works" (and, unlike me, he didn't find anything wrong with the way he played before. Until we, as a group, tried DitV and talked about it) and used the setting and rules (with a heavy drift) of DitV for a gamist somewhat-railroaded story about criminals to found out searching for clues and big bands of Mountain People to avoid. We crushed his big bands, circumvented his search for clues and showed him that he didn't know everything about role-playing (and now he is a almost-narrativist-new-convert) but the damage was done. From the first city we are trying to reach the original game under all that drift (non all of it from the first GM. A lot of the drift came from misreading the rules, and misunderstanding about them, and bad habits from everybody), without starting over with new characters and a new setting, thinking every time "almost there. But we must stop doing this, and begin to do this instead. And do this, to. And..."

We are almost there. But then, we hit this roadblock. We talk about it. We don't know how to go around it. We think about it and we have two choices: (1) stop here. We are arrived at the end of what we can do. Never, ever even think about going to the other side of the roadblock. Be happy with raises like "I shot him" and don't go making waves or asking question nobody at the table can answer, or (2) ask the game author if there is a way that he designed around the roadblock, if we have to go back a couple of miles and go on another road, or if there is nothing behind and we should stop here.

Nothing in this question is going to give the game designer any responsibility about what we will do next. We could ignore his way. We could go in a total different way. But it would be very nice to know WHERE IS HIS WAY, because we can't see it.

So, you see as an answer, "do what you want" is both true to give, and useless to receive in this situation.  It's like trying to drive a car the first time, without knowing what all these pedals do, asking "how do you drive this thing?" and being answered "you use it to go where you want to go". Very true, but useless at this stage.

Anyway, what Ron said in that thread make a lot of sense to me, and showed that we are in the wrong road. Again. Time to go back at the last junction, turn left, and try the other road. Maybe we will find the same roadblock, or maybe a different roadblock. Or maybe not. I don't know a this stage. We'll see what happen when we will arrive there.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
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