*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 01, 2022, 09:45:57 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Where I can help...  (Read 6745 times)
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« on: February 05, 2004, 02:59:53 PM »

Hi all.

I don't know if I'm the only practicing Mormon on the board (I get that suspicion), but as I was reading the game some things really struck me.

1) I think I want to play.  In fact, I'm sure I do.  Vincent, you'll run for me at Gen Con? There are some things about the game that just hit me "right," and which appealed to certain parts of both my faith and my struggles with it.  More concrete examples later.

2) I don't know how much of this Vincent wants, but I've got some insights into being a "Dog" that others might not.  I served a mission (not unlike being a dog) where I handled internal (dog-like) issues and external (missionary) issues.  What's a bigger deal, though, is that I was one of the most respected and well-known trainers in the Missionary Training Center (that place where dogs go to learn how to be dogs) over the last 4 years.  I know the place, and it's methodologies, inside and out.  In the long run that may be useless, but it might also provide insights that could really get some where.  

3) I know as much about the doctrine "of the ancients and the prophets" as anyone I know my age.  Again, this might be useless, but it might help, too.  I'm also a big fan of the early Utah period, especially where Orrin Porter Rockwell and J. Golden Kimball are concerned.  Rockwell was the most famous mormon Gunslinger and mountain man of all time (with quite a bit of wild-west notoriety even before the wild west), and Kimball was as close to a Dog in day-to-day functions as possible, and he swore like a sailor.  I've got one of the largest private libraries on LDS Church history (primary and secondary sources) available currently as well.

4) What I probably can't do is play it.  My wife would play it, I would play it, but I can't think of anyone else in the area that would currently.

I guess I'm offering to help because I don't think that this is a bad thing for my religion, nor do I think that there's even ill will here, even if the light this pseudo-mormonism is presented in isn't always positive.  One of the problems within the Church as I see it is confusing the infalibility of God with the infalibility of his Church--something I delt with as a Branch President.  I'm always looking for things that look at us differently, fairly, and hopefully with some tenderness--but not blind "all is well," for not all is well is Zion.

Jake
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
Brennan Taylor
Member

Posts: 499


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2004, 02:58:51 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
One of the problems within the Church as I see it is confusing the infalibility of God with the infalibility of his Church


I think this is a problem common to all sorts of religious institutions. This tension is a major theme in many of my games, and part of the reason Dogs is so interesting to me.

I'll be following your comments, Jake; I think your insights will be really useful for this game.
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2004, 06:49:32 AM »

Jake!  I'm glad.  Thank you.

In case any of you don't know or haven't guessed, I'm born and raised Utah Mormon.  I left the faith when I was 19.

-Vincent
Logged
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2004, 04:48:05 PM »

EVERYONE: "Hi, Vincent"

Okay, sorry, it was just starting to sound like an AA meeting in here...

The real question is, since DitV isn't a Sim Game (that I can tell), what, if any, of my experiences look immediately useful, Vincent?

"I will go and do..."

Jake
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2004, 07:37:00 AM »

As it happens, I've been having the very devil of a time coming up with a vision of the Dogs' training and initiation.  I have some sort of poorly-thought-out boot camp+scout camp+bible camp image that's not doing it for me at all.

How much ritual is there in the modern-day MTC?

How long would you want a Dog to be trained?  I've been saying "a month" to people who ask, or sometimes "a couple months," but I just don't know.

Ultimately I want a checklist of things that your character probably experienced during initiation, but I haven't made any progress yet.  Anything strike you?

-Vincent
Logged
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2004, 04:00:55 PM »

Well, current MTC methodology is constantly in flux, but it's primarily about overload (even though it supposedly isn't).  IRL it looks like this:

English Speaking: 3 weeks
Non-english speaking (or any non-native tongue): 9 weeks

The things that stick out the most to MTC grads and students are, in no particular order:

1-lack of anything "personal." No personal time, no personal space, very little personal belongings. Life is very tightly scheduled from sun-up to sun-down, with about 9 + hours of class every day, to which is added "extra" classes and meetings (you know the Mormon love of meetings...ugh...).
2-lack of sleep.  Even though 8 hours are scheduled, it never quite works out that way.
3-problems with the opposite sex.  Missionaries have tighter inter-gender relations than even monks.  So they train in close proximity with members of the opposite sex, but aren't allowed anything beyond a handshake, and only then with the most platonic intentions.  This is taken very seriously by the serious, and is played-on-the-line with those that haven't gotten a sense of "calling."
4-inspiration. The mTC is full of not only a great deal of time studying one's religion (in the case of some missionaries, it's the first serious attempt to do so in their lives), which is a path of discover and, hopefully, one leading to a "testimony" (a term used in mormonism to denote the development of a very strong witness that Jesus lives, Joe Smith was a prophet, and the church is true, often in that order...somewhat equivalent to being "saved" for Baptists, but not nearly so permanent).  It's also a place of a million and one "inspirational talks".  Most of them fall flat, perhaps because those giving them don't care, or the listeners don't, but whether it's once a week or once in the whole "semester," just about every missionary has a mind-blowing "pump-up" moment as something a teacher, trainer, or ecclesiastical leader says really hits them right.
5-Goals, goals, goals...to the point of stupidity.  Those of you familiar with Steven R. Covey should (a) know that he's a Mormon and that (b) all his books are just modern Mormon philosophy with the label scratched off. Really.  Missionaries are encouraged to set goals for EVERYTHING, such that most of them are usually forgotten.

Now, one of the things that I worked at very, very hard while a trainer there was stomping out mediocrity and lip-service, and calling something stupid when it was.  At first I think the MTC heads might have been threatened, but I got good results--some of the best in the whole school of 3,000 students (in overlapping 2-month semesters), and I had the best track record in the "hard languages" department hands down for maybe 2 or 3 years. So here are some proposed ideas for Dog School, some of which are "my" MTC, some of which I made up, and some of which are pulled straight from the real thing.

1-Training should be long.  Maybe 7 weeks.  It consists of 11 hours of class and training every day, under three trainers.  Outside of these trainers, the only other person with any responsibility over you is your current Branch leader.  He works tightly with the trainers.  

2-The trainers don't love you.  They love the people you're being sent to serve, and that should be clear with some of them, and perhaps even the inverse with others (who love everybody).  They help you because it furthers the common goal and glory of the giver of life, not because they like you...at least that's how it always begins.

3-Psychological trauma is intentional.  Classic military strategies like "hurry up and wait" are mixed with Sleep deprevation, a 24-7 buddy system, and the imposition of all-but-impossible goals that you're bound to fail at.  These things (a) cull the weak (b) prepare Dogs for the very real stresses of being a dog and (c) get them used to disapointment, which is a massive part of any ecclesiastical service.

4-While official ranking isn't too tight, some Dogs and some Trainers are clearly more respected than others.  Dogs stand when these folks enter a room, and do what they're told right away.  These people should inspire awe.  Those that don't never envy the respected dogs, but instead are in awe of them as well. It's not easy to be them.

Now, back to the real world.  Missionaries study the scriptures (and Mormons have a LOT of scriptures) for several hours a day.  They practice teaching and other missionary responsibilities for several hours a day, and they learn about the language they'll be teaching in.  Language doesn't apply to dogs (and in old Utah you just went and learned it where you were going), so training time could be shorter, or it could have an emphasis on other things.

There were a lot of differences in the old "School of the Prophets" that trained the first missionaries. Usually it was just a week or two spent with apostles and 70's learning doctrine at the knees of the prophets, where any question could be asked.  People also had harder lives back then, and were full-blown adults by the time they were 19.  Much of what goes on in the current MTC is to make up for the slack-ass way that we raise our kids now.

Okay, I'm rambling at this point.  More specific questions, maybe?

Jake
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2004, 12:49:12 PM »

Quote
The trainers don't love you. They love the people you're being sent to serve


That goes straight into the game text.

Check this.  Your teachers have to accomplish four things.  They have to a) prove/cull you, b) teach you, c) train you, and d) initiate you.  So by the end:

a) They exhausted, humiliated, stressed, hurt, disappointed, tempted, scared, and provoked you.  You've proven yourself better than those.

b) They taught you scripture, doctrine, ceremony, theology, and demonology.  You've proven yourself equal to those.

c) They trained you to ride, shoot, fight, preach, perservere, be patient, be discerning, judge, endure and survive.  You've proven yourself capable of those.

d) They set you apart, invested you with the authority of the Prophets and Ancients, consecrated you to your service, received your oaths, and sanctified you.  You've proven yourself ... yeah well you know what I mean.  You took on all those commitments.

Your personal background, naturally, had a big effect on how long they spent on each of those things.  If you could already ride, shoot, fight and survive, they noticed that right away and moved on.  If you were a scriptural scholar already, they put you to work teaching your fellows.  Maybe even teaching them to read!

I missed inspire.  They have to inspire you.  That deserves to be a fifth top-level thing they have to do.

Anything else I missed?  Any other thoughts?

-Vincent
Logged
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2004, 04:09:34 PM »

Vincent-

That looks like an excellent boiling-down of my rambling, into something functional for the game. Run with it.

Anything else?
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!