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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] 82nd Airborne in Iraq  (Read 4464 times)
Ramidel
Member

Posts: 54


« on: September 25, 2006, 01:22:45 AM »

Well, I was looking over the necromanced SSitV thread, and I was struck on the head with this post:

American megachurch fascism?  Yes, just as revolting.
1984?  A bit of desensitization due to distance, there, not as revolting.
82nd Airborne in Iraq?  Far more revolting... but may need doing anyways.

As Vaxalon mentioned, 82nd Airborne in Iraq may be painful, but like SSitV, it has to be made...and I might even contend that it has to be played.

American soldiers have defeated Saddam Hussein, now they've got to rebuild Iraq. To make matters worse, not only are the Ba'athists getting in the way of democracy, both Shi'ite and Sunni Islamic fundamentalist militants seek to throw out America and establish a new Caliphate of Baghdad. And as a final straw, the Americans have no clear protocol, no clear rules of engagement, and the troops on the ground have no idea what to do...so they have to make their judgements and hope they're right.

Sounds like Dogs to me. The Faith is replaced by Democracy, in its purest incarnation: a constitutional republic where all live according to laws they choose to make, with a firm foundation in capitalism and trade (with America). That's the ideal; I'd rather not stick my tongue too far into my cheek when looking at America here.

Now, there aren't really hard lines between "Faithful," "TA" and "Mountain People;" generally speaking, everyone recognizes J. American Grunt as the symbol of American authority, whether or not they like it. Nonetheless, Shi'ites, Sunnis, Kurds and American citizens all have their own goals and objectives.

The supernatural dial is low, and "Demonic Influence" is replaced with Fundamentalist Influence. Mind you, this is like the abstract White Devilry in the Black Muslim game; an Allah Akbar-quoting servant of Zarqawi is not inherently evil. What is evil is the spirit of fundamentalist Islamic psychosis that drives fanatics to blow themselves up, not only to kill Christians, but women who have been raped by force, and even other fanatics who aren't as devout as they are. This spirit isn't something you negotiate with; you either convert people from it, or you exterminate them.

Now, problems: I can't think of a Sin Ladder, or of Rituals for this. Can someone help me develop this idea a bit further...because like I said, it needs to be at least thought through, and possibly played if someone has the steel and the right group for it. In particular, I can't see the bottom layer; I can see "CIVIL WAR" in neon at the top. But I can't see the root; what is going to lead to what to lead to civil war; what leads to the town going hungry, like Pride in Dogs?
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My real name is B.J. Lapham.
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2006, 01:54:15 AM »

The supernatural dial is low, and "Demonic Influence" is replaced with Fundamentalist Influence. Mind you, this is like the abstract White Devilry in the Black Muslim game; an Allah Akbar-quoting servant of Zarqawi is not inherently evil. What is evil is the spirit of fundamentalist Islamic psychosis that drives fanatics to blow themselves up, not only to kill Christians, but women who have been raped by force, and even other fanatics who aren't as devout as they are. This spirit isn't something you negotiate with; you either convert people from it, or you exterminate them.

I find this paragraph highly problematic. It sounds a lot like the approach that hasn't actually been working all that well, in real life.
But anyway, there's a difference to Dogs. In the Vineyard, the Dogs have moral authority, the respect of the people in a very big way. In Iraq, the GIs (and some other nations troops!) don't. Some people will respect them and welcome them, some will resent them, and some will hate them. They are outsiders, and that's going to lead to a very different feel, I think.
I'm not by any means saying it shouldn't be tried, though. I'm always interested in experiments like this.

Quote
Now, problems: I can't think of a Sin Ladder, or of Rituals for this. Can someone help me develop this idea a bit further...because like I said, it needs to be at least thought through, and possibly played if someone has the steel and the right group for it. In particular, I can't see the bottom layer; I can see "CIVIL WAR" in neon at the top. But I can't see the root; what is going to lead to what to lead to civil war; what leads to the town going hungry, like Pride in Dogs?

I don't see CIVIL WAR as something that should be on the ladder at all - that's an environmental event, like an earthquake, out of the scale of the game. In Dogs, you don't have "The Faith Is Torn Asunder" at the top of a town ladder.
The sin ladder ought to be built with the scope of the local situation - that is, the troops are in a particular town or village, and are figuring out how to sort that out, and the sin ladder should relate to that.
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DevP
Member

Posts: 576


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2006, 07:21:10 AM »

In a Dogs context, everyone on the ground - the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Kurds - are all Mountain Folk, in many different senses. They don't recognize the inherent authority of the US soldier, but the US soldier must also consider them to be worth saving. Moreover, they are certainly an Other, from the POV of the guys with guns; you simply cannot help but feel more kinship with your few countrymen at your side, than a nation of people whose culture you don't understand.

This sounds really problematic to me, and I'm not sure if this is a game I'd find enlightening or simply depressing. I think I'd rather translate this back into a Dogs-like world to achieve the necessary distance - Watchdogs are sent out to be among the Mountain Folk to prevent things from going wrong?
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2006, 09:07:51 AM »

Dogs in DITV are most definitely "Other".

They are not part of the same church hierarchy that the townsfolk are.  They are not subject to the same rules.  Look at the true name of the Dogs!  They are the "Order Set Apart"!

If the Dogs authority has been universally recognized in your Dogs game... IMHO you're not playing it right.

IMHO this is a fine implementation.
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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
DevP
Member

Posts: 576


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006, 09:17:19 AM »

I'm sorry, I wrote unclearly. I meant that from the Dogs' POV, the people they are surrounded by are certainly an Other. In vanilla Dogs, yes, they are an order apart and have to deal with the subsequent alienation, but they are still surrounded by people they consider "their people". In contrast, they're out trying to save souls while in a culture that is very certainly not theirs.
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oreso
Member

Posts: 67


« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 09:30:59 AM »

You can't play a grunt, or yeah, you'll be out among the mountain people with few connections with the people you are trying to save and few methods to save them. You've gotta have some connection to them. So how about those guys who are meant to be training the Iraqi security forces? They'll be more respected as a source of stability by some, but they still have a job to do rooting out evil that wants to infiltrate the security forces, as it were, and they dont have a squad of trigger happy buddies to back them up at a drop of a hat (they are their to train, not to kill). The focus is not on directly fighting the insurgents, but cutting off their support by 'winning hearts-and-minds' of ordinary folk and keeping your own security forces free from the fundamentalist taint.

Does this sound more palatable?

To the OP: ritual is using the authority invested in you to directly purge the badness, yeah? I'm thinking this would range from an airstrike and special rendition to seizing bank accounts or raiding a house for evidence, etc. Its all the stuff that one man on the ground can't do, but they have the power to call friends for. The time tricks used in Dogs will come in handy here.

Sin ladder:
Discontent: Things arent right. Manifested as annoyance, and demands upon the occupying forces.
Hatred: When the demands arent met, folk will start to hate the the occupying forces and want them to leave because they suspect they are making things worse. This manifests as support or sympathy for the insurgency.
False Ideology: Eventually the ideology behind the occupying forces, democracy itself, is held responsible. This manifests as some people turning to fanaticism (martyrdom, etc).
False Militia: When enough fanatics get together, they subvert the institutions around them and turn them against the occupying forces. This manifests as militias and organised terrorism.
Tragedy: This metaphysically causes a tragedy. An airstrike hits the wrong target, photos are leaked, a tortured man is found innocent, etc. This manifests as open rioting and rebellion from a large proportion of the community.




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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 04:54:06 PM »

Private military contractors in Iraq-- are a much better Watchdogs-equivalent, than "the 82nd Airbourne".

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/

PMC's are more unsupervised than active-duty military;
more-likely to consist of small teams of ex-special forces badasses minus mundane support personnel;
more-likely to be deployed to do a different piece of 'off the books' grey-area dirty work each week.
Heck, Blackwater was even sent to Hurricane Katrina!

PMC's are also a distinguishing feature of the Iraq conflict.  Whereas, playing active duty troops, your game would likely be Vietnam in Iraq clothes.

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Taltos
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2006, 11:08:22 PM »

At risk of being too radical, you could always flip this idea on its head: follow the religious aspect and play it as the local religion/culture resisting the "corrupting Western influences".

The direct tie to Dogs is probably stronger as the local religion acting to counter the demonic influence of Western democratization and challenges to proper Islamic values.
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Ramidel
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2006, 06:36:51 PM »

Thanks for the advice, all!

Sin ladder and rituals: Thanks, this is exactly what I'm looking for. I had meant "Civil War" as the general breakdown of order in a particular district, but Tragedy covers what I thought of nicely. As for "rituals mean calling in backup," yeah. I'd been looking for an excuse to use Bureaucracy: d10 there, but Iraq is the wrong place for that inspired mechanic.

Hmm. I see the point about Americans being outsiders and Watchdogs in Iraq; they're trying to convert the Mountain Folk, so to speak. Filling this in, "military trainers" busy Watchdogs-ing Iraqi soldiers does seem to be better than grunts. You also have a necessary level of ambiguity in the chain of command; like Dogs, they're apart from their elders and have no clear authority over them. (This requires a degree of stretching things, but that's never been a problem.)

Likely, most of their relationships would have to be built in play, which is fine. The discontent and rebellion underscore the fact that guns are not going to solve anything by themselves; the M16A1 is a necessary tool, but using it has consequences, also known as Fallout.

PMCs...I'm not sure I can fully articulate my feelings on this, but Blackwater feels a lot like "Mercenaries in the Vineyard." These soldiers are fighting to secure limited areas, protect contractors, and "do their job" in a way that doesn't seem to include the combination of social work and political surgery you'd see a Dog performing. It seems easier to stretch 82nd Airborne soldiers or (even easier) Delta Force into "wandering troubleshooter PCs" than to do the same with a PMC.
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My real name is B.J. Lapham.
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