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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Handling the Supernatural in DitV vs. Afraid  (Read 3747 times)
Archer5280
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Posts: 17


« on: May 11, 2007, 06:35:41 PM »

This post includes some background about the particular game, and then an actual question. Skip the background if you like.

Background

My play-by-post game that started out as pretty straightforward DitV has morphed into an Afraid/DitV hybrid. Here is the setup:

The town of Surrey, Colorado (a fictional town about 50 miles south of tGrand Junction) has decided to move its residents and all its stuff to a patch of desert they're calling Bitter End, Utah. The town of Surrey has many of the elements you would find in a standard DitV town, except I'm removing the Dogs concept in favor of making the PCs temporary town marshals and guides who will lead the people of Surrey by wagon train through the Utah canyon country to Bitter End.

So, this basically amounts to a DitV one-shot adventure/story, with the added twist that the town is moving. I believe that in play-by-post this will help drive the action a little.

The main drivers for the game are supernatural horror and wilderness survival. At the suggestion of one of my very sharp players (Malthusian, incidentally), I took a closer look at Afraid and decided that the conflict ecalation mechanic (faster, deadlier, and less restrictive) would work a lot better for play-by-post, and the way non-human opponents were created would work much better for the kinds of supernatural horrors I wanted to create, as well as the "man vs. nature" aspect of the game.

So, now I've ended up with a sort of hybrid -- a game that uses the western and poker terminology of DitV, but has NPCs and a plot (for lack of a better term) more like Afraid.

Question(s)

So, where I'm stuck is marrying up how to handle the supernatural in Afraid vs. DitV: Specifically Supernatural Belongings vs. Ceremonies.

As I understand it, In DitV, Ceremonies don't grant extra dice. They just give you a method for dealing with the supernatural that supernatural beings can't ignore. Supernatural Belongings in Afraid, on the other hand, grant +1d4.

My question is, how do you deal with a supernatural being in Afraid in a way they can't ignore? Do you need a supernatural Belonging? And if so, you also would get a bonus? Or is there some equivalent to DitV Ceremonies in Afraid that I'm just missing?

One example I'm thinking of here is dealing with a ghost. You can't punch or stab or shoot a ghost. That's why they're scary. So, how would you deal with one in Afraid in a way they couldn't ignore? Could you have some sort of spell to deal with them? If so, where would that fall on your character sheet?

Finally, is there any mechanical harm in allowing +1d4 for supernatural Belongings in DitV?


Thanks very much.
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David Artman
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 07:28:42 AM »

Finally, is there any mechanical harm in allowing +1d4 for supernatural Belongings in DitV?

Though I'm not an expert, I *did* stay at a Holiday Inn last night....

Seriously, though, I'd say "No, no problem at all" because DitV allows players to invent whatever Traits they want in the first place, including "add-on" Traits for their belongings. In other words, if I as a player can simply assert "Big Gun" and get the extra die for Big, why can't I assert "Supernatural Symbol of the Tree of Life" and get 1d4?

Heck, 1d4 is more often a complication and a "bad" die than anything one would covet; so I think it would be self-limiting, once players realize that +1d4 isn't very desirable in DitV.

As for Ceremonies, available actions against ghosts, etc... I'd say let the players guide you, rather than looking for some "cross-over rules" for Afraid & DitV. If they gravitate toward using Ceremony to engage otherwise incorporeal adversity (i.e. they can't escalate through Physical to Fighting to Shooting... and you might even disallow Talking, for some adversity) then roll with it.

Hope this helps (and that I haven't mangled the RAW too much);
David
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 08:42:19 AM »

Cool.

Here's how I'd deal with a ghost in Afraid.

Giving supernatural things the bonus +d4 in Dogs - well, I wouldn't do it myself for purely aesthetic reasons, but it's interesting and no, it won't break anything.

-Vincent
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Archer5280
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Posts: 17


« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 05:37:01 AM »

Very good information, Vincent and David, and also some good insights from Tim Ralphs in the thread Vincent linked to.

What I'm taking from this thread is that basically a veteran with dice to back it up can create new ways deal with supernatural beings in a way they can't ignore on the spot, as long as they're apt to the narrative.

In my game, all the characters have a little bit of experience with the supernatural. One, for example, is a former Confederate soldier haunted by the ghost of a young man his unit slaughtered in the Civil War. Another is a Native American who occasionally has visions of the future. So, in this game, I'm not actually using the Afraid backgrounds, but I assume them all to have that quality of Veterans in Afraid. 

My thought was that Ceremonies might help put some structure around dealing with the supernatural, but now I think I'm seeing that structure as maybe being more limiting than it is helpful. It sounds like the dice will actually provide the required structure.

I think I'll dispense with Ceremonies and the +d4 for supernatural Belongings. I'll just leave it up to the experience of the players and the characters to steer things.

Thanks for the excellent information.
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PbP HOUSE. Games Live Here.
High-quality play-by-post roleplaying.
David Artman
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 11:41:41 AM »

...I wouldn't do it myself for purely aesthetic reasons...

If I may ask, could you elaborate on your comment above, even though the OP has (basically) made "thread is closed" sorts of comments? What do you find aesthetically displeasing about using Possession dice to drive supernatural mechanics? Would you prefer a different die, or a different Escalation Chart for supernatural conflicts (say, Evoking, Talking, Spurning, Banishing)? Or are you echoing (sort of) my advise to let the players state what's-what, from scene to scene, rather than "baking" it into a rules mod (the thread to which you linked seems to say as much)?

David
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Malthusian
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 07:41:02 PM »

As one of Archer5280's players, I'd be interested in reading your reply to David Artman's inquiries.

-Michael
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2007, 06:21:50 AM »

Not a problem.

In Dogs in the Vineyard, all guns get a d4 in addition to their regular dice, for free, just for being guns. In Afraid, all supernatural belongings, traits, relationships and bonds get a d4 in addition to their regular dice, for free, just for being supernatural. Those are the dice I'm talking about.

For aesthetic reasons, I wouldn't give supernatural things the d4 in Dogs - in Dogs, guns are special and problematic, the supernatural isn't. The supernatural is just a thing. In Afraid, the supernatural is special and problematic, and guns aren't, guns are just a thing.

-Vincent
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David Artman
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2007, 08:03:24 AM »

Thanks you; makes perfect sense, put that way.

In fact, that reply might warrant its own Sticky thread, because it is KEY for creating an alternate DitV setting: that one setting element which is "important and problematic" must be established by an alt-setting designer, among other things like Escalation, Ceremony, and Fallout.

[Aside: Do you think it would be useful/worth your time for you to make a sort of "form" for designing an alt-setting? Basically, just a series of "must answer" questions or re-writes to the base rules that a designer can follow to be sure a port is complete? I, for one, would love it, as just reading some alt-settings on the forum has sort of confused me as to what MUST port and what CAN'T port and what is optional. Yep, thread creep, worthy of splitting if you wish. Smiley ]

Thanks again;
David
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Malthusian
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2007, 11:27:38 AM »

Yes, thank you for that answer. It makes perfect sense, and helps me to understand the inner workings of both games a bit better.
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