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[DitV] Questions! 2. About rules

Started by Paul T, April 17, 2010, 05:48:35 PM

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Paul T

There's one more question buried in my original post I'd like to ask for some advice on. It has to do with naming Stakes in conflict as a GM, when characters are talking.

Quote from: Paul T on April 17, 2010, 05:48:35 PM
It's easy to set tough, small stakes in physical conflicts of various kinds. But when an NPC tries to talk a Dog into helping them with something, unless they're doing so at least somewhat coercively it feels more natural for me to let the Dogs decide for themselves than to take it to dice. I'm not sure if this is a bad instinct of mine or not.

So, a Dog comes into Town. An NPC says, "Oh, please! You're the King's Watchdog, you MUST do X, now!"

How often do you take this to dice?

It's a lot of fun to go to dice over stuff in Dogs, but as a GM I often worry that I'm stepping on the players' toes by going to the dice. My fear is that the player, in his or her head, is going, "Whoa! We're going to roll for this? I don't even get to decide what I'm doing here?" As a player, though, I've usually found it fun to be on the other side of that exchange.


The stake there is whether the Dog says he'll do X, not whether he actually goes and does it. The game works by far best if you don't stake future actions.

I rarely, rarely go to dice for those anyway.

I don't mind staking what an NPC will do and going to dice over that, but that's because NPCs aren't PCs.


Paul T

OK, great. That's how I've been looking at it, too.

Thank you for all the great advice, Vincent!



My pleasure! I know I'm sometimes terse and occasionally cranky, but I really do enjoy answering rules questions.


Paul T

Quote from: lumpley on April 19, 2010, 06:56:15 PM
But on reflection, yeah, letting the GM keep only the single highest die from raise to raise might work very well. Given your example dice, the 7 would stand in each raise, and you would have to use up other dice to make up the difference. Give that a try, if you want.

Just for posterity's sake:

We playtested this rule, and it worked extremely well as a compromise between the two extremes. Both procedurally and in terms of results, it was great for us.

For what it's worth!

Paul T

For anyone curious how this all came out in the end, there's a writeup of the session on the Actual Play forum (

We had a blast, although it really helped that we never had many three-on-one or four-on-one conflicts after that second session. All the stuff that didn't quite fire for some reason in the first Town really paid off in the second one, and I had enough NPCs around this time to give the Dogs a lot of different things to deal with (and I did end up rolling two simultaneous conflicts at one point, when an NPC was trying to keep one of the Dogs from participating in the larger fight that was taking place).

But I know that, if I run the game for more than two or three players again, I'll need to come up with some firmer guidelines for myself when it comes to dealing with mobs and groups of people. It felt a little too arbitrary for me--I want to be able to just play my NPCs, not be worrying about dice and game balance at the same time. Dogs accomplishes that fantastically well with single NPCs (although I almost always use the "quick NPCs" rules from Vincent's blog), but with mobs things get more difficult, as there are many more subjective decisions to make.

In any case, thank you, everyone, for your input.