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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Dust Devils: Assigning Difficulty  (Read 4911 times)
Tim Alexander
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« on: September 08, 2003, 11:59:26 AM »

Hey Folks,

In the text it makes reference to the Narrator of a given conflict being able to have even losing hands give difficulty to the winner, but there's not much in terms of guidelines for when this is appropriate. What was the original intent?

-Tim
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2003, 08:29:21 PM »

Tim, this is intentional. The specific, original purpose escapes my tired brain, but I believe it was discussed here on the boards once upon a time (I searched to no avail).

So, I'll explain what I can. In the game, the narrator has real authority. He says how it goes down, period. Now, players can really abuse that given inappropriate priorities. But off hand I can think of two specific reasons for the rule.

1) It helps explain situations that otherwise become absurd. The events of a hand can often get downright silly. Sometimes, having a bit of the Difficulty spread around helps make it a bit grittier, and makes for a better story, rather than a silly one.

2) Sort of related to reason 1, this Narrator rule really lets things get ugly fast. This propels the game on a fast-track to ruin, which is often the point of Dust Devils. It's also genre emulation, in which we have, say, a saloon shoot out in which the no-good sons-a-bitches finally kill each other in the end (or damn near it).
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Matt Snyder
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"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Overdrive
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2003, 11:29:43 PM »

Does the narrator have to deal difficulty from the winning hand? Or was that stated in the rules, can't remember..
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2003, 05:28:17 AM »

Quote from: Overdrive
Does the narrator have to deal difficulty from the winning hand? Or was that stated in the rules, can't remember..


The "Fastest Tongue in the West" section does not specify this. What it does say is:

Quote
This tremendous power is flexible, too. The player might, for example, decree that even losing hands deliver Difficulty to winner.


The "Difficulty" section, however, does expressly say:

Quote
When a character loses a conflict, he subtracts a number of attribute points equal to the number of cards in the Poker combination that beat him. The player subtracts the points as desired from the attributes related to the suits played in the winning Poker combination.


I'd say, yes, the player should subtract the full difficulty from his character.  But just to keep it confusing for ya'll, note that the narrator really is all-powerful in his moment. If he says no difficulty is dealt, and it makes the story better, then go for it!
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2003, 05:44:07 AM »

Hey Matt,

Thanks for the reply, I poked around the archives looking to see if it had been covered and I couldn't find it either so I appreciate getting the low down. I think initially I was a bit too distant from the source material, so I did a little 'research' and watched a bunch of the classics again.

-Tim
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2003, 05:52:45 AM »

Quote from: talex
Hey Matt,

Thanks for the reply, I poked around the archives looking to see if it had been covered and I couldn't find it either so I appreciate getting the low down. I think initially I was a bit too distant from the source material, so I did a little 'research' and watched a bunch of the classics again.

-Tim


Excellent! Can I ask what you watched?
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2003, 06:06:38 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
Excellent! Can I ask what you watched?


Absolutely! I found out a friend of mine had yet to see Unforgiven, so that came off the shelves first and we gave that a look. Hang 'em High was next, then Stagecoach. This sent me on an all out binge, so winging to me from Netflix are Outlaw Josey Wales, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Man who Shot Liberty Valance. Dust Devils has gone a long way towards reminding me how much I love westerns.

-Tim
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2003, 06:38:05 AM »

I would suggest adding Once Upon a Time in the West, perhaps the pinnacle of the dark spaghetti anti hero in an almost surreal west.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2003, 06:46:45 AM »

What Ralph (aka Valamir) said.  The movies you caught are superb. I'm also pretty fond of Pale Rider, The Searchers (one of John Wayne's best portrayals), and -- absurdly -- Maverick. The latter is obviously comedy, but there are Devils galore in that movie. This is also true of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both help one remember that Dust Devils need not always be so damn gritty and depressing. Not that there's anything wrong with that! ;)
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2003, 07:29:20 AM »

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the tip on Once upon a Time in the West, unfortunately NetFlix seems to not have it so I'll have to go looking. I love Pale Rider, and I haven't seen The Searchers in forever, I'll have to add it to the list. I'm a Maverick fan as well, it's awfully fun.

-Tim
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2003, 07:39:26 AM »

Hi there,

No Name on the Bullet
Django
The Shootist

Best,
Ron
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HMT
Member

Posts: 66


« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2003, 08:00:11 AM »

If they can be found, most episodes of Have Gun Will Travel are pretty good. These aren't great movies and they aren't so gritty but I think they are somehow in the spirit of Dust Devils (at least indirectly, they're all about the protagonists being pushed to their breaking point):
Big Jake
Fastest Gun Alive
Return of the Gunfighter
Sons of Katie Elder
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Valamir
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2003, 08:13:22 AM »

Quote from: talex
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the tip on Once upon a Time in the West, unfortunately NetFlix seems to not have it so I'll have to go looking.
-Tim


<blink> That's practically blaspheme.  This could be Leone's greatest movie.

From the crippled rail baron trying desperately to reach the pacific before he dies, to the somewhat soiled widow trying to cling to her husbands dream, to the totally amoral hired gun out looking for one last score (played brilliantly by Henry Fonda...the movies worth watching just to see Fonda as a villain), to Bronson's character out for revenge...everyone of the the characters is so distilled down to their essential essence that they almost become caricatures of their respective devils...almost.

I consider this to be the most quintessentially Dust Devils movie ever made.  I rank it higher than even Unforgiven in this regard, because the surreal, almost outrageous turns the plot takes mirrors well the kind of game many Dust Devils sessions become due to the passing of narrative control among the players.

This movie is one of the all time classic westerns, I have to believe its readily available from Amazon or BN.com.  Well worth the purchase price.
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Tim Alexander
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Posts: 304


« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2003, 10:35:54 AM »

Wow, lot's of great suggestions, I've got a bundle of movies to watch now. I think I've also figured out the reason Netflix doesn't have Once upong a Time in the West. It seems the dvd has yet to be released here in the states, though the Region 2 disc is available. I'll have to track down a VHS copy.

-Tim
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Valamir
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2003, 07:20:01 PM »

Quote from: talex
I've also figured out the reason Netflix doesn't have Once upong a Time in the West. It seems the dvd has yet to be released here in the states, though the Region 2 disc is available. I'll have to track down a VHS copy.
-Tim


Aha...you are correct.  The DVD, I've just discovered (and ordered), will be released November 18...no doubt in tribute to / to capitalize on  Bronson's recent passing.
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