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Invoking others traits?

Started by NickHollingsworth, August 21, 2007, 11:04:22 PM

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During character creation I was trying to explain how traits might get invoked in play and in passing said something along the lines of "of course, if you take a trait like My Breath Smells Of Whisky" the npcs might invoke it during play and get dice.
On reflection this is not by the book and I had carried it over from some other game (HQ perhaps).

Can an npc invoke a characters trait and vice versa?
Nick Hollingsworth


(Sorry, forgot to mark the thread "[DitV]" and can't see an option to edit it now).
Nick Hollingsworth


Quote from: KingOfFarPoint on August 21, 2007, 11:04:22 PM
Can an npc invoke a characters trait and vice versa?
Not per the standart rules. Your strenghts and flaws are yours to bring in.

I think a houserule wouldn't break the system, but especcially when you are new to Dogs I would stay close to the system.


Ice Cream Emperor

The idea of invoking 'negative' traits of your opposition in order to get an advantage seems to me to run counter to the whole idea of the trait system in Dogs.

What the trait system says is: any trait your character possesses -- any trait at all -- benefits you mechanically when you bring that trait into the narrative. It doesn't matter if the trait is 'drunk as a louse' or 'god among men' or 'I have amazing hair'-- there is no such thing as a negative trait, and there is no such thing as a trait that gives your opposition an advantage. The closest thing to a negative trait is a trait that is so obscure or strange that you can never figure out how to narrate it into the game, and so end up rarely using its dice.
~ Daniel

Filip Luszczyk


I think it's an interesting modification, as it nicely changes the way conflicts work without adding needless complexity. However, if I were to use it I'd probably limit it specifically to d4 traits and apply it both to PCs and NPCs, allowing everyone to activate anyone's problem trait, even if it's "positive". This would probably make taking Fallout a bit more risky choice - but at the same time I don't think it would be overused, given that one could gain only some weak d4s. All in all this could make conflicts slightly more challenging in terms of NPC's potential staying power, I suppose (i.e. no need to overuse Belongings to put a harder opposition against the group).


Thanks for the answers. Invoking other peoples traits was an off the cuff comment I made to a new Dogs player and a voice in my head immediately challenged it.

Filip you are right: I was thinking of what would tend to be d4 traits.

It is something I do from time to time in HeroQuest; but in HQ there is no mechanical connection between using skills and character enrichment, so by taking a double-edged ability the player is simply making a statement about what he wants to see happen in play.

However in Dogs enrichment comes from fallout so it makes a difference whether you get the d4s for the ability or your opponent does. You would be being cheated out of potential enrichment if the GM stole your D4s.

So my vote is with Daniel: its inappropriate to call on others traits in DitV.

Instead I would have an npc refer to the dubious trait
(1) as part of the description of his Raise (like any Raise this is mechanically unrelated to any traits of his own or the pcs)
(2) to spur the player to invoke it in his See and get his D4s into play.

After concluding this I had a couple of further thoughts, both of which I have decided against:

* I generally encourage a limit of one trait or thing per raise or see so that they get a good moment in the spotlight and dont just get name-checked for dice. I considered relaxing this in this case so you get 1 trait or belonging plus the one the npc invoked.

* I also considered allowing the player to get the dice for the trait the npc has invoked without referncing it in his description of his see, after all we have already heard it in the narrative via the npc's mouth. To all intents and purposes this is the same as the player taking up the dice when the npc references his dubious trait.

I dont intend to go with these thoughts though. Whatever approach I take it should work the same whether the npc or the player has such traits. I dont want the players (who I suspect have gamist-by-habit leanings) to clam up for fear of invoking a negative trait of the npc and granting him extra dice.

Nick Hollingsworth