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[DitV] Confused by choices for fallout

Started by exploding_brain, March 18, 2010, 02:38:09 PM

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Hi all,

Brand new member here.  Hope my first post doesn't make me sound like too much of an ignoramus. :)

I'm trying to wrap my head around the choices available to players when their characters take fallout.

Granted that DitV isn't a game about having lots of large dice on your character sheet, but having those big dice that you can bring into a conflict will still, from time to time, present a character with options that they might not otherwise have, making that character more attractive to play.

That said, I look a the long term fallout list, and something catches my attention:

Subtract 1 from one of your character's Stats. = Sucks for my character
Take a new trait at 1d4. = No mechanical downside.
Take a new relationship at 1d4. = No mechanical downside.
Add 1d to an existing d4 trait or relationship. = No mechanical downside
Subtract 1d from an existing d6+ trait or relationship. = Sucks for my character
Change the die size of an existing trait or relationship to d4. = Sucks for my character
Erase a Belonging from your character's sheet. = (probably) Sucks for my character

I was looking for other threads on this subject, and found one ( in which Vincen said that "If the game punished the players for taking the blow, they wouldn't take the blow!"

This left me at least as confused about fallout as I was before.

Can someone fill me in on the rational behind giving the players a choice between choices that suck for their character (mechanically) and choices that don't?  I suspect that I'm missing a mechanical implication of having those d4 traits and relationships, or misunderstanding the philosophy assumed during play, or both.




The mechanically disadvantageous ones are there because, once in a while, they're exactly right - because, once in a while, somebody wants to choose one of them. There's no reason to think that you ever will, but you might find that you do someday. Who knows.

Anyway, meanwhile, always choose the ones that give you a d4, if that's what you'd rather do. That's fine.



If it helps here's an example from one my games.

A player had this as a Trait: "I watched all my younger sisters marry before me."

We were in a Town where the big climax came down to a conflict between this character and one of her sisters.  For fallout she removed a die from this trait and described her character cutting the patch out of her coat that this particular sister had sewn into it.  After that conflict her character's connection to her sisters was simply diminished and she cut down the die to reflect that.



Thanks for quick responses.  It's really neat to get such immediate feedback from the designer.  And thanks for the example Jesse, it was definitely helpful in giving me another view of the implementation of the mechanics.

Formulating a followup question was tougher than I expected.  The scale of my question kept getting bigger the more I thought about it.  I think I've found a good way to express what I'm wondering about.

Those d4s on the character sheets, they represent elements of the character that tend to cause complications.  But they only present the opportunity for a player to complicate the character's life.  You can roll them during a conflict (as long as they're applicable) and then all those low number dice sit there presenting the option of Taking the Blow, but you can ignore them and Give instead.  They don't help the character, but they don't enforce a less desirable outcome.  They never take away options, just present the player with a choice between two bad options, instead of just one bad option.

Likewise, the player can chose to take one of the fallout options that makes their character less mechanically capable, because they want to indicate that the character got hurt in some way, suffered a physical, mental, social, or material setback or injury.  But if the player doesn't want to make the character less mechanically capable, they don't have to.

The only time that the game enforces a negative consequence from fallout is when the character dies.

Does it sound like I'm starting to grok the system?


Well, In my limited experience with DitV I'd say it pretty much narrows down to the kind of players you have.

In the end, this game is more suited to those who find it interesting to cripple their characters mechanically when it is appropriate and not looking for their characters to become mechanical power beasts.

So, I'd guess my answer would be that, ideally, these fallout decissions don't need to be enforces because the players will, themselves, know when to take them.


Oh yeah, I meant to get back to this one, just to say that exploding_brain, yes, I think you've got it.

What's interesting about the mechanically-penalizing options is that players reach for them when they feel that it's time for their characters to suffer, not just when they seem appropriate. There's always a d4 trait that's just as appropriate as lowering your Will, for instance. But for some characters, just once in a while, there comes a moment when the player herself says, "you know what, Brother Jephraim? Here's -1 Will, and screw you. I hope that next time you go to shoot someone, you blow it."