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Author Topic: An Important Lesson to Learn  (Read 5171 times)
lumpley
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« on: February 12, 2004, 11:42:40 AM »

If you're explaining and you say "you know, like in a western," and your (potential) players just keep staring at you blankly?  Dogs is going to be a hard sell.

-Vincent
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2004, 11:56:14 AM »

Speaking from personal experience, Vincent?
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Emily Care
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2004, 12:18:33 PM »

I think you need a catchy by-line. A concept to pitch.

What about Reservoir Dogs crossed with The Last Temptation of Christ?

Mm. Except you lose that outsider feel that the dogs have. Really, it's High Plains Drifter, the role-playing game.

--Em
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2004, 12:28:46 PM »

Brennan, you know it.

I made characters last night with my friends Tony, Jodi and Bruce.  Tony's played before and he's into it but Bruce and Jodi with the blank stares. (Em, you can probably imagine.)  I'm gonna try to play a session with them - unless they show any of the scheduling reluctance we geeks use to communicate disinterest to one another - and if it doesn't catch we'll switch to some other game.

I'm all like, "but... but... it's a religious western game about teenage Mormons with guns!  How can you not be immediately captivated?  What more could you POSSIBLY want?"

-Vincent
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2004, 12:51:13 PM »

Wow. I can imagine this would be rough. Some folks are probably just not going to be interested.

I think my presentation of the game for testing over Christmas was a bit crude and fumbling (see Krista's post for her version). I think the game has so much going on it can be hard to pitch.
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2004, 01:01:55 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
If you're explaining and you say "you know, like in a western," and your (potential) players just keep staring at you blankly?  


  I'm from the West, and my dad's reading material consists solely of Westerns -- he has a stack of Westerns that puts most Sci-Fi geeks to shame.

  So, yeah, I totally get where you're coming from.  And I can see where other folks might not get it as much....

 ...but you say 'Western' and people look at you blankly?  How can you be an American and not grok the Western ethos?  Cowboys, Indians, Rail Barrons, Cavalry charges, pioneers...it's like the myths of our nation.

  Maybe that's why Deadlands only achieved moderate success.

  Weird...spooky.  Would they have looked at you blankly if you went "You're like a team of marshalls come to clean up the town.  Only in this case, you're a bunch of religious marshalls -- a bit like a Paladin in D&D but without the restrictive morality."

  As far as Western movies go -- "Pale Rider"  have people sit down and watch that.  If they can't hook into the idea after Clint gets through with 'em...I dunno what to say except let us bewail the degeneracy of our nation.  

Tom
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Emily Care
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2004, 01:02:56 PM »

Oh my.

Brennan's right. It's complex, and hard to take in all at once. Pick a simple angle that they'll understand and like, then introduce them to the setting via all that amazing color (like the coats, dogs' coats kick a')

What about giving the old supernatural investigator spin? What brings the dogs into town is going to be something affecting the whole community, created by demons. That gives you a magical in that may intrigue them, especially Jodi.  I think the mystery aspect of it will be of interest to Bruce.  

Presenting it to them that they get to play Mormons will, I'm sure, give you a predictable response. But you're not asking them to play mormons, you're giving the the chance to wrestle with moral quandries in a freakie-deakie social structure based on Mormonism. They'll dig it.

--Em
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2004, 12:57:30 PM »

Yeah, I think Emily's right on. For one thing, you have to settle in your mind whether or not they're Mormons. I think we have to say they're not. Battlestar Galactica wasn't pitched as MORMONS IN SPAAAAACE, I'm sure.

So I think you have to say, "it's like the West in the mid-19th century, and the PCs are roving holy warriors, investigators, and sorcerers in combat with the demons that beseige the towns you visit." I mean, yeah, they'll probably pick up on its Mormonity, but most games are so frickin' Christian already, it won't seem so out of place.

Me, I've been thinking about a game that takes place in the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia, just to get away from all the Christian symbolism. Compared to that, Dogs seems positively docile.

I think the anti-Western thing has to do with a shift in our sensibilities. For one thing, I think we're sort of embarrassed to have this land of freedom built on a hill or corpses. But I also think that the postmodern sentiment that's becoming a real moral stance in our society doesn't view anything as really mythic any more. We have our leftover Enlightenment ideas about Progress, which gives us near-future sci-fi like Transhuman Space, but it's deliberately non-mythic. Or we have space opera, like Star Wars, which really addresses the period in history when Space was a noble frontier, not a series of engineering problems to solve. The Matrix showed a possible new myth, with outlaw hackers changing reality, but they went and fucked up the second and third movies, so we might have seen a case of SMDS (Sudden Mythic Death Syndrome).

I love the mid-19th century for its extraordinary weirdness born of the desperation that many felt about losing control of their lives at the hands of Industry and Science. The Mormons, the Matthians, the Christan Scientists, Spiritualists, and a pile of other groups were all trying to recreate a feeling of wonder, where simultaneously inexplicable events could happen and yet be described in scientistic terms. It's a true period of American myth and magic, and the Lone Ranger doesn't exactly cover it.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2004, 09:06:54 AM »

Quote from: nikola

I love the mid-19th century for its extraordinary weirdness born of the desperation that many felt about losing control of their lives at the hands of Industry and Science. The Mormons, the Matthians, the Christan Scientists, Spiritualists, and a pile of other groups were all trying to recreate a feeling of wonder, where simultaneously inexplicable events could happen and yet be described in scientistic terms. It's a true period of American myth and magic, and the Lone Ranger doesn't exactly cover it.


Actually, I think that says it right there.  Something like that needs to go on the back of the book.

Jake
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"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
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2004, 10:19:26 AM »

I know this thread is months old, but I had to respond to it anyway.  Vincent just let me know that this forum existed.

Quote from: nikola
I love the mid-19th century for its extraordinary weirdness born of the desperation that many felt about losing control of their lives at the hands of Industry and Science. The Mormons, the Matthians, the Christan Scientists, Spiritualists, and a pile of other groups were all trying to recreate a feeling of wonder, where simultaneously inexplicable events could happen and yet be described in scientistic terms. It's a true period of American myth and magic, and the Lone Ranger doesn't exactly cover it.


See, I don't think it's about Industry and Science at all.  I think this is the first big wave of "The World is Getting Smaller" syndrome.  After all, you see it all over the world, even in cultures that aren't dealing with Industry and Science issues.  What everybody's dealing with is forced contact with people of other cultures and worldviews, which leads to both the adoption of new ideas and rampant nativism.

At the same time that you're getting Mormonism (Christianity + American folk beliefs), you're getting Santeria (Christianity + West African beliefs), the Taiping religion (Christianity + Chinese beliefs), and, in native America, the sudden and momentous rise of prophetic nativist movements and the idea of the "Great Spirit," all influenced by missionary activities, Christianity, and the rapidly changing social conditions.  You get Handsome Lake's longhouse religion, you get Neolin and Teskwatawa (also known as The Prophet) bringing elements of Euro-American monotheism in the form of spiritual revitalizations, and eventually you get the Ghost Dance Religion sweeping the plains.  The late 18-and early 1900's was a time of worldwide spiritual transformation, brought on by the global impact of Euro-American colonialism, the Christianity that came in its wake, and the mutual impact of one culture on another.  That's my theory anyway.  I'm doing research in China next year to try and find more evidence for it, which is why I had to respond here.

Now back to your regularly scheduled silence...
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