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Dogs in the Vineyard - tips for playing it today?

vini_lessa

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Cat, wow this hack of yours is AMAZING! You should get back to it and finish it. Also, pardon my ignorance about the subject matter but, who exactly the PCs are in this case? What gives them the authority to judge the town and suppress (or join?) the rebellion?

The terror cycle reminded me of Papers, Please:
Spoiler: Show
 

Aviatrix

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Cat, wow this hack of yours is AMAZING! You should get back to it and finish it. Also, pardon my ignorance about the subject matter but, who exactly the PCs are in this case? What gives them the authority to judge the town and suppress (or join?) the rebellion?

The terror cycle reminded me of Papers, Please:
Weeell now, after I saw "At Home Among Strangers, A Stranger Among His Own" I was planning to make them Cheka, as the trope of "heroic and incorruptible Cheka agent" shows up a bunch in Soviet media about the RCW. Buuuuut then you research the Cheka and...uh, no. Not a freaking chance.

So I made them militsiya, tasked by SovExComm to go out and restore order in the dangerous and wartorn regions. The idea was that they would be in a backwater of the war, where they might make some kind of a difference, and there wasn't anybody nearby to gainsay their decisions. And that mostly works! But...I just got antsy about associating the PCs with any kind of authority structure among the main factions of the RCW. The Whites were dreadful, the Reds were also dreadful, the Cheka was horrific; and I say this as someone who believes the Reds winning was definitely the least bad outcome possible for the Civil War. So ultimately I decided that there just was no ethical way to do the game within the constraints of "young people with vague authority riding in and trying to do right." Dogs is a great fit for the idea--it's just that the idea is pretty chancy. It also helped that I was working on this at the same time as the early version of Red Carnations and that game clearly was in a better state, easier to handle, and ultimately had legs :)

I still have the rules and research and as I've mentioned a couple of times, a straight AW game in the setting probably works; then it's up to the players to figure out what they're going to do, and there's not an obvious side that they've already chosen. Plus there's more...hope that way. A major downer of the Dogs version of this idea is that everybody is going to lose, unless the PCs decide to go rogue and IDK maybe lead a migration out of the Soviet Union. Which could still happen I guess! Maybe I'm too worried about it.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I played Papers, Please before working on this :) great game, made me feel terrible :)
 

Rook S.

scritches make me floof!
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I was working on this at the same time as the early version of Red Carnations and that game clearly was in a better state, easier to handle, and ultimately had legs :)
Damn. I just followed the link to that in your signature and I'm sad I missed the KS—I know a few people with whom I'd like to play it, including one who ran a freeform Paris Commune game at a convention a few years back. (That was one of my all-time favorite games at that convention. The GM was a history teacher and a former chair of the state Socialist Party, and he did an amazing job of research for a one-shot, digging up info about historical figures in the Commune. I played a Proudhonist university lecturer who pulled together a gang of radicalized students and took over a printing house to print propaganda, then died making sure his students could flee when the absentee owners' thugs came to drive us away at gunpoint. [I read Proudhon in translation to get into character. Fun. Thought-provoking.] My second character survived and escaped to write a history, so in that universe there's documentary evidence from the Communards' point of view.)

Anyway, is it at Itch or DriveThru?
 

Aviatrix

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Aw, thanks! Red Carnations has a bunch of stuff that now needs to get written and the art needs to be commissioned before I can get the text in any kind of shape for other folks to see :) but I'm pretty sure we'll open it up for preorders when we get closer to production. That freeform sounds great (she said, as the author of a...Paris Commune freeform game ;) ) The base game of Carnations is focused more on working class folks getting swept up in the events of the Commune, but several of the additional characters from the KS are historical and political for folks who want to play around with more explicit politics.
 

Longspeak

I'm a Bard, Dammit!
Validated User
- When I escalate to gunfight does it mean I must shoot (Raise: "I draw and shoot him!") or it could mean I just draw my gun to threaten the opponent?
As others have said, using a gun in a verbal stage is still verbal, IMO. But the gun's d4 still shows you how guns always complicate everything. :)

- Its rare, but not impossible, to have 2 opponents fighting in different arenas, right?? Let's say I escalated by drawing my gun but the opponent doesn't have one and will try to desperately engage me with their bare hands: it means the fallout from my raises will be d10s, while from theirs will be d6. Is this correct?
I'd say no. One one person has escalated, all fallout is at that level, and all parties immediately roll the required extra attribute dice.
Imagine it this way. We argue. I grab my gun. You don't have one, but I'm intent on shooting you. You grab at the gun and we wrestle over it. This is incredibly dangerous, so the d10 fallout should apply.

The rules are in place to give the other opportunity a chance to Give, to end the conflict without taking fallout. But if you stay in a fight once a gun is in play, you're taking your chances along with everyone else.

- In conflicts with multiple dogs present I don't want to have each one playing full - I'd rather have one dog taking the lead and the others helping him/her as per the Helping rules. Is this ok? Would this hinder the game in some way? (my groups sessions are usually fast, I suspect going full resolution would be slow and blow our timetable).
This is probably fine, but a conflict with multiple Dogs vs a lone NPC is usually pretty short. The NPC has to see every raise, but if the dogs are all on the same team, they only have to see the NPC's raise.

OTOH, there's always a case to make for the "say yes or roll the dice" in a situation like this.
 
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MeMeMe

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- Its rare, but not impossible, to have 2 opponents fighting in different arenas, right?? Let's say I escalated by drawing my gun but the opponent doesn't have one and will try to desperately engage me with their bare hands: it means the fallout from my raises will be d10s, while from theirs will be d6. Is this correct?
I'd say no. One one person has escalated, all fallout is at that level, and all parties immediately roll the required extra attribute dice.
Imagine it this way. We argue. I grab my gun. You don't have one, but I'm intent on shooting you. You grab at the gun and we wreatle over it. This is incredibly dangerous, so the d10 fallout should apply.
It would be neater if this was the case, but it's not actually so. The fallout you take from a specific raise is based on the description of that raise. You might shoot someone, and their fallout is on d10s, but they might shout at you to stop shooting, and you'll only take d4s.

Remember that escalation isn't always upwards: you can 'Escalate' from shooting to melee to physical to shouting.

Also, people Escalate individually, during a raise or see. You dont have to escalate even if others have. Of course if you dont have enough dice, you'll need to Escalate or Give. The rulebook implies that when your opponent escalates, you need to escalate or give, but it's misleading. It's assuming you dont have enough dice so those are your only two options. From discussion threads back at the Forge, it was stated you dont have to escalate - you'll just be running with lower dice, and will feel the pressure to escalate.

It's fine to run it as though you have to escalate or give, though.
 

vini_lessa

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As others have said, using a gun in a verbal stage is still verbal, IMO. But the gun's d4 still shows you how guns always complicate everything. :)
Nice insight. Thanks. (y)

...The fallout you take from a specific raise is based on the description of that raise. You might shoot someone, and their fallout is on d10s, but they might shout at you to stop shooting, and you'll only take d4s.
Makes sense to me.
 

Longspeak

I'm a Bard, Dammit!
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It would be neater if this was the case, but it's not actually so. The fallout you take from a specific raise is based on the description of that raise. You might shoot someone, and their fallout is on d10s, but they might shout at you to stop shooting, and you'll only take d4s.
I just re-read that section, and it could be seen the way you suggest. I've never run it that way, but the way the "Take the Blow" section is written does leave it open to interpretation.

Remember that escalation isn't always upwards: you can 'Escalate' from shooting to melee to physical to shouting.

Also, people Escalate individually, during a raise or see. You dont have to escalate even if others have. Of course if you dont have enough dice, you'll need to Escalate or Give. The rulebook implies that when your opponent escalates, you need to escalate or give, but it's misleading. It's assuming you dont have enough dice so those are your only two options. From discussion threads back at the Forge, it was stated you dont have to escalate - you'll just be running with lower dice, and will feel the pressure to escalate.

It's fine to run it as though you have to escalate or give, though.
Here, I disagree. Escalation is and should only be to ever-increasing risk. Just look at Vincent's choice of word for it: "Escalation."

In the rules, and as I've always run it, under the section on escalating, it says, "Now I get to decide if I'll Give or Escalate to Match." I don't think this is misleading at all. I think it's all part of the design intent. Admittedly, the rules get a little vague in places. Vincent sets forth examples in a lot of places instead of clear rules. But I've always treated that phrase as written, because I see the intent here as... well... an old teacher of mine said it best... "Once someone hits you, you're in a fight whether you wanted one or not."

I do see a difference between "Escalation" and acting without regard to escalation. If you throw a punch, we've escalated to physical. I must Escalate or Give in my See. But then, when I raise, I could respond with, "Hold on there, hoss! No need to throw hands over something like this! Let's settle this with word before this gets out of hand!" But I'm still doing it in the "Physical" arena. My use of this raise isn't an Escalation, and you're not required to match it or Give, but simply to See within that. You could respond with words or a punch; Escalation opens up extra options, but doesn't require them.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

Blogger and gamer
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You can escalate in a nonlinear fashion through the various arenas, but you definitely have to find ways that your escalation makes sense and can't be brushed off within the current conflict. So if you want to escalate from guns to talking, you'd best hit them with something soul-shattering in your words. Something that's a bigger deal than just shooting them. Which...is not easy.
 
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