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Author Topic: Other Genres for Dust Devils?  (Read 5068 times)
Kenway
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Posts: 98


« on: November 30, 2003, 11:37:56 AM »

Beyond the Deathwish addon (spies), has anyone tried any other genres?

I imagine a cyberpunk adventure would work:
Digital Devils:  Hack or give up the deck.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2003, 05:02:54 PM »

I think the cyberpunk genre could work very well. Silicon Devils? Something like that, anyway. After all, Chase, the protagonist in Neuromancer, is a COWBOY (computer cowboy? Can't recall the specific term).

Other genres I've considered OR heard suggested for Dust Devils:

* Feudal Samurai (visit www.key20.com for a freebie conversion by Jason Blair)
* Post-Apocalypse = Road Warrior (as Unodiablo here on the Forge about his Hot Wheels actual play)
* Superheroes (Daredevils! -  another suggestion by Jason Blair)
* Noir dectective stories (suggested by Tymen Van Dyk, who also suggests "Fatale" to replace "Devil")
* War films (esp. WWII) a la Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, among many others. (This one I actually want to do as a full, stand-alone product, so long as I can get the naval observatory to change days to 36 hours instead of just 24. It was originally suggested by artist Chris Martinez. So little time .... argh!)
* Crime farce akin to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch
* Science Fiction akin to televison show Firefly, which has many Western trappings and themes. I can't recall who originally suggested this, but I think several people have independently.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Jason L Blair
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2003, 05:28:18 PM »

RE: Feudal Japan
The free games/mods isn't linked from the front page (damn I'm going to fix that!) but it's here: http://www.key20.com/kypx003/

RE: Neuromancer
The term used was "console cowboy" which is such an awesome term.

RE: Supah-hewoes
If someone else doesn't do the damn superhero shtick, I will. I'm not the most qualified but it's just too juicy not to do.

Daredevils!
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Kenway
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Posts: 98


« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2003, 12:47:07 PM »

Superheroes:
Oh man.  I think this could have really outstanding potential.  This could do justice to my favourite thought-provoking series like Watchmen, The Authority (1999-2001), and Kingdom Come.
Narrative Premises:  What you willing to do to save the world?  At what point do superheroes become supervillains?  Can you save the world from itself?
How's this for an Authority Plot Seed:  One day a dozen of the world's capitals are suddenly devastated by a coordinated team of hundreds of supervillains.  Their leader promises double the damage if his demands are not met.  Okay, so what do you as the world's most powerful superteam do?

Jason: I want to help too, if this superhero project gets underway.
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Jason L Blair
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2003, 01:22:15 PM »

Kenway,

If you want to write it up or do the preliminary design I'll help where you want and even lay it out and put it up on key20.com (as a free download, full credit to you, etc).

I meant that I'm not the best-qualified candidate for the job (I like superheroes but others know it better) so if you've got the fire, stoke, baby, STOKE.
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Jason L Blair
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Tim Alexander
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2004, 12:13:21 PM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder

* Science Fiction akin to televison show Firefly, which has many Western trappings and themes. I can't recall who originally suggested this, but I think several people have independently.


Also the anime series "Cowboy Bebop" which is riddled with devils, western themes, and a sci-fi setting.

-Tim
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furashgf
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Posts: 55


« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2004, 08:48:28 PM »

Did anyone move on the superhero thing?
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Gary Furash, furashgf@alumni.bowdoin.edu
"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans"
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2004, 11:52:21 AM »

I am not aware of anyone using Dust Devils for a supers conversion/implementation. I like the idea, of course.

I talked last night with Ron Edwards about Dust Devils, expanding the text and possibly including other "mods" in the text. I'm considering doing so, and am brainstorming possibilities.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
furashgf
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Posts: 55


« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2004, 02:32:30 PM »

I love the same superhero genre mentioned eariler: Kingdome Come, etc.  It's not really Sorcerer (there's no good deamon equivalent), maybe Pool, but Dust Devils, card's aside, seems closer.
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Gary Furash, furashgf@alumni.bowdoin.edu
"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans"
Brand_Robins
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2004, 03:40:36 PM »

I've seriously considered actually doing some real thinking about a Dust Devil's Decandence game -- swashbucklers, sinners, men plotting vengeance against the friend who sent them to jail, etc. I think it would work wonderfully for stories like The Count of Monte Cristo or Scaramouche to Dangerous Liasons and Dangerous Beauty.

Devil becomes Vice – the 7 deadly sins are all good starting points

Hand becomes Fineness
Eye becomes Savvy
Guts becomes Mettle
Heart becomes Panache  

Traits become Qualities, the things which set people up above each other.

Knacks become Masteries, the skills at which the character outshines all the common man.

And... that's about as far as I've gotten.

Edit: I had thought about moving from poker to tarot -- but it seems a bit of a bother. Still, it might be something worth looking into in just shifting cards over, using tarot cards with pokerish rules rather than full tarot rules.
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- Brand Robins
Brand_Robins
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2004, 04:12:44 PM »

To follow up my last post, I did a bit of work and knocked this out:

Vice and Steel
Vice and Steel is an adaptation of Dust Devils by Matt Snyder. You will need Dust Devils to play the game. It is available for purchase at www.chimera.info/dustdevils and at www.rpgnow.com.

Prelude
Vice and Steel is a roleplaying game of intrigue, passion, and human weakness set in a decadent Enlightenment world in the style of works such as Dangerous Liaisons, Scaramouche, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Players take on the rolls of swashbucklers, seductresses, desperate rebels, scheming nobles, and fanatical priests in a world of exquisite elegance and horrid corruption. Where Dust Devils have a Devil, every character in Vice and Steel has a Vice, a weakness or sin that drives them towards darkness and madness.

In a world of courts and pirates, church and state, ideals and carnality life is a passion play of power, freedom, money, and desire. It is possible for a person of vision to become wealthier than Croesus, more powerful than Caesar, or more despised than Judas. Characters have to face their own weaknesses while trying to scramble up the ladder to attain their goals. Vice and Steel asks the question: “Will your passions drive you to glory or to ruin?” In a world in which everyone is flawed but everyone wants to be great, how does a character balance between their raw lusts and their nobler goals?

Sinners
The first step in character creation is for the player to get an idea of who they want their character to be and what they want the character to do. Vice and Steel is open to a multitude of character types, from swashbuckling pirates to sensuous seductress, scheming nobles, fire-brand revolutionaries, musketeers, scientists or philosophers, and a million more. The choice of character will help define the game, and so due thought should be given to it.

Attributes
Vice and Steel defines characters with 4 attributes which mirror, but are slightly different than, Dust Devils’ attributes. Attribute ratings cannot exceed 5. Players assign 13 points among their character’s four attributes. Those attributes are:

Fineness (Spades)
Finesse is the skill and aptitude with which a character controls their body. Finesse covers everything from leaping from a chandelier or fencing to riding a horse through a forest while being pursued by the Cardinal’s men. Fineness replaces Dust Devils’ Hand.

Savvy (Diamonds)
Savvy represents the characters intellect, perceptiveness, and cunning. Savvy covers actions such as trying to figure out who the Duke is sleeping with to finding traces of poison in your glass – hopefully before you drink it. Savvy replaces Dust Devils’ Eye.

Mettle (Spades)
Mettle is a combination of the characters physical constitution, courage, and pure will. Mettle determines if a character can withstand being tortured by the Inquisition, face down a swordmaster in a duel, or ride for three days without rest. Mettle replaces Dust Devils’ Guts.

Panache (Hearts)
Panache gauges how suave, social, and impressive a character is. It’s Panache that lets you seduce the Count, gain an invitation to the Cardinal’s reception, laugh in the face of your executioner, and be more elegant than any human being has a right to be. Panache replaces Dust Devils’ Heart.

Qualities
Qualities replace Dust Devils’ Traits. Every character has two Qualities, things which set them above other people and show the epic potential of the character. These two descriptors should highlight the characters strengths in a short phrase, such as “gifted with laughter” or “smoldering eyes” to “strong as a farm lad” or “perfectly elegant” and even “knows that the world is mad.” As with Dust Devils’ Traits, Qualities give a player an extra card in any conflict in which their Quality is used to overcome the opposition.

Masteries
Masteries replace Dust Devils’ Knacks. Characters in Vice and Steel do not have knacks – those are for peasants. Characters have skills that they master, abilities refined beyond those of the normal sheep. It is an age of excellence, and Masteries define what specializations the character has become excellent at. Masteries are rated from 1 to 4, with 1 being a talented dabbler and 4 being a master’s master. Characters have 11 points of Masteries, which they can distribute among a maximum of 6 Masteries – after all, no one can master every skill.

As with Dust Devils’ Knacks, Masteries allow characters to redraw to improve their hand.

Example Masteries include: Acrobatics, Acting, Ambush, Appraise, Architecture, Art (specialization), Artisan (specialization), Athletics, Bribery, Carousing, Cartography, Dancing, Etiquette, Fast Talk, Fencing, Forgery, Gambling, Gunnery, History, Impress, Incite, Innuendo, Insult, Intimidation, Lawyer, Leadership, Literature, Logistics, Mathematics, Medicine, Music, Musketry, Occultism, Philosophy, Pike Fighting, Poison, Read Emotions, Recognize, Ride, Sailing, Sapping, Science, Scrounging, Seduction, Singing, Stealth, Tactics, Tennis, Theology.

Vice
Every Vice and Steel character has a Vice, a sin or weakness that threatens to ruin all their ambitions and goals (even though it might also be the motivation for their ambitions and goals.) A character’s Vice is not just their wicked side, as everyone in Vice and Steel has more than enough of that; it is the wickedness the character cannot control, the sin that always draws them towards destruction and abandon.

A Vice can be a simple phrase, a sentence or two that sums up what the character’s weakness or flaw is. Examples could be “the Count is driven by revenge, and is willing to destroy what he once loved in order to avenge even a small slight” or “Valios is a lecher, unable to resist seducing maidens.”

A Vice should not be something that the character can get rid of easily. No matter how hard they try it should dog them, their personal imp hounding them towards their fall. The Seven Deadly Sins make good starting points for a Vice, but a proper Vice should be more fleshed out – tied to the character’s history and his goals. After all, someone who has the Vice of greed probably has cheated in the past and has goals based around fulfilling their greed.

Note also that a Vice is the combination of a characters weaknesses and the mistakes those weaknesses have made for them in the past. Lechery, for example, not only means the character is likely to give into lusts of the flesh, but that he probably has a good number of enemies from the maidens he has ruined in the past. Similarly, someone who is vengeful or murderous not only is likely to kill in the future, but probably has done so in the past.

Mechanically, the Vice works exactly like the Devil from Dust Devils.

The Demiurge
Dust Devils’ Dealer is replaced with Vice and Steel’s Demiurge. It is the Demiurge’s job to bring together the stories and Vices of the player characters and guide them into shaping a story. It is the Demiurge that helps to bring order out of chaos, but it is also the Demiurge that helps push characters towards their grand finale – either glory or destruction by their Vice. This doesn’t mean the characters have to die, but if their Vice wins they will become an empty shell, a slave to desire with no more potential for grandeur.

The Demiurge does this by creating a vibrant, exquisite, passionate, and utterly corrupt world for the PCs to master and fall to. The Demiurge does not create the plot, he makes the world of a host of interesting characters with Vices and passions of their own that will sharply conflict with, or conflate with, those of the PCs.

In all other ways the Demiurge acts as the Dust Devil’s Dealer.

The Game
Some groups may find it a bit disconcerting to be playing Five Card Stud, a very American poker reference, while in a game of Vice and Steel. The good news is that the standard playing deck for poker is also known as “The French Pack” and was in use in France from the 1500s. So all that players disturbed by the nomenclature need do is change the name of the draw games and maybe a few terms, if they so desire*.

The Joker becomes The Excuse, or the Fool – and is still wild. Other cards change as follows: Roi (king), Dame (queen), Valet (jack).
Stakes can remain Stakes, or can become Penalty. They could also be called “Chelem” (Slam) – a term used in Tarot when someone takes every trick in a hand.
Five Card Stud can be called a Garde (the Guard).
Three Card Stud can be called a Prise (a take).
Seven Card Stud can be called a Garde contre le chien (a Guard against the kitty – fitting as players usually get stakes for such a hand).
A draw hand for an NPC can be called a Garde sans le chien (a Guard without the kitty – no automatic stakes).

*Note that these terms are being used horribly incorrectly – they are often Tarot terms stolen to make the poker resolution of Dust Devils sound more French, but the terms are not used this way in actual play, as Tarot is a very different game from Poker.

Sources
There are hundreds of novels, movies, and plays set in the period and many of them would be perfect for Vice and Steel inspiration. The following list is only a few of the most accessible and relevant sources.

Movies
Dangerous Liaisons (1988, Directed by Stephen Frears): A truly gorgeous, electric movie of lust, seduction, and power that shows the protagonists destroying each other, and themselves, because they cannot contain or overcome their Vices. Probably the best single source for Vice and Steel – except possibly the novel that the movie is based upon.

Dangerous Beauty (1998, Directed by Marshall Herskovitz): Set in Venice during the Renaissance, and thus a little earlier in history than the other sources, this movie is an adaptation of the book The Honest Courtesan. Telling the story of a courtesan with a heart of gold, a noble divided between love and duty, the inquisition and its sins, and the values of humanity it fits Vice and Steel perfectly despite being slightly out of chronological scope.

Amadeus (1984, Directed by Milos Forman): The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart and Antonio Salieri is a masterpiece of film, deftly unweaving a story of jealousy, genius, and the human weaknesses that lead step by unavoidable step to death and madness. Though it’s a bit less swashbuckling than most of the other recommended sources it is one of the great examples of a story perfect for Vice and Steel in which a sword is never drawn nor royal plot ever foiled.

Novels
Scaramouche – A Romance of the French Revolution by Rafael Sabatini: A book about passion, paternity, acting troupes, and the horror and glory of the French Revolution. It is available online at: http://www.blackmask.com/olbooks/scmshdex.htm

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: The classic novel of friendship sacrificed for passion, the choice between revenge and honor, and the horrible choices we make in search of what we think matters. It is available online at: http://www.blackmask.com/books83c/crstodex.htm. In addition there are several movie versions of the work, including a very decent 2002 version starring James Caviezel.

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas: The end of the Three Musketeers, a story of passion, crowns, and divided loyalty. Available online at: http://www.blackmask.com/books116c/ironmdex.htm. There are also several movie versions available, from the classic 1939 James Whale version to the 1998 version with the inestimable John Malkovich. The newer version is not quite as good as the classic, but does draw out the ways in which conflicting passions lead to death and dishonor.
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- Brand Robins
Brand_Robins
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2004, 09:31:12 PM »

I got bored so I added a couple sample characters, some formating, and tossed up Vice and Steel as a .pdf on my website. If this isn't okay someone let me know and I'll pull it right down.

In the meantime, here is Vice and Steel as a zipped .pdf: http://www.brand-publications.spaceanddeath.com/viceandsteel.zip
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- Brand Robins
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2004, 07:16:15 AM »

No problem, Brand. This is very cool. Thanks! I'll add links from the DD site later this week.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
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