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Dogs in the Vineyard - tips for playing it today?

MeMeMe

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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',m speakingn with experience from back when the game came out, and many discussions with the game designer who has confirmed you can escalate 'downwards'. The word Escalation does suggest things getting more extreme, but the game mechanic does it.

There are lots of ways a conflict can go. It might start with a shove, then attempting to talk down the situation, for instance.

Consider: you are arguing with someone, they draw a gun and escalate to gunfighting. You exchange a few shots, then try to run away - here you Escalate to physical. He chases you and tries to grab you, escalating to Melee. (Of course, you always have your full dice after escalating twice- the third escalation does nothing in terms of general pool dice, but it's for sake of example.)
 

vini_lessa

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Updated the playbooks with a backpage:


Was unsure between a Colt Paterson or Walker revolver - I love the look of the Walker! - but went with the Paterson in the end, as it's cited in the book and more "canonical" I guess.

Suggestions or criticism welcome!
 
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vini_lessa

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Ok, new version with a Colt Dragoon (because I've just seen it's cited in the book instead of the Paterson... which is strange, I could swear it was the other way around). I think this one is better.

 

MeMeMe

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I'm not really a fan of all the preset stat and trait dice. i like the way in the core rules that players have freedom to spend their totals however they want.
Then again, I'm not a fan of the way relationship dice work in general - relationship-heavy backgrounds seem to get short-changed to me, since those dice are a lot more situational.
 

vini_lessa

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I don't have a strong opinion on the preset trait dice, M MeMeMe , but I guess they help on tight, 3-4 hours one-shot slots, which is the scope the author (Jenskot) assumed.

About the Relationships, yeah I'm with you. It seems the most problematic part of DitV design as a whole. Besides being too situational as yoiu said, once you assign them in one town they supposedly can't be changed to new relations in other towns, so the slots are spent forever? It's... weird. For campaign play, I would let players reset/assign new relationships at each new Town. (or at least do this for half their relationships, and dictate the other half be permanent but targeting non-person things like sins, demons, institutions, etc - this way they get more useful).
 

MeMeMe

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I don't have a strong opinion on the preset trait dice, M MeMeMe , but I guess they help on tight, 3-4 hours one-shot slots, which is the scope the author (Jenskot) assumed.

About the Relationships, yeah I'm with you. It seems the most problematic part of DitV design as a whole. Besides being too situational as yoiu said, once you assign them in one town they supposedly can't be changed to new relations in other towns, so the slots are spent forever? It's... weird. For campaign play, I would let players reset/assign new relationships at each new Town. (or at least do this for half their relationships, and dictate the other half be permanent but targeting non-person things like sins, demons, institutions, etc - this way they get more useful).
I should have realised they were from Jenskot, I remember him doing a lot of con and pregen setups.
That part about Relationships being fixed after you move on to new towns was what I meant. I think they work fine on the scale of a single adventure. They give a lot of flexibility, and are stronger than normal traits at that scale. It's only when playing a campaign and you end up with a bunch of relationships - some of which are fixed to very specific characters you met in a town several adventure ago and might actually be dead - that it becomes a problem.
Especially when the rules are very explicit about how the object of the relationship has to be directly related or involved in the conflict, so you can't easily adapt them as motivations inspired by the character or flashback scenes, or similar techniques other games often use with relationship-style mechanics.

It is weird, and there's no easy way to fix it if you see it as a problem (as I do, but many players never did). The approach I would try to build would be to give characters a fixed number of relationship dice per town. It would be smaller than the current pool, because you can assign it again every town.
 

vini_lessa

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I have a question:

When ending a conflict (say, a gunfight) where the loser side didn't have enough dice to "See", can the attacker impose some sort of fallout/damage on the loser besides winning the conflict? Say, my final Raise was a 6, and the other side only had a 4. That means he loses the conflict, Ok, I get that, but can't I say "Nah, I WILL SHOOT YOU first, then you lose the conflict" or something?

I can see the frustration of a player that took fallout/damage in a given conflict, but when he goes to retribute, he just "wins" but without opportunity to inflict fallout/damage back at the other side.

Is that right? Shouldn't the winner have an opportunity to say..."You're "Giving" my ass, I'm gonna shoot you first you bastard!" :ROFLMAO:
 

MeMeMe

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The simple answer: no. You rely on fallout to deliver any consequence.

The longer answer: When you started the conflict, you chose the stakes. Now that you've won, you get to resolve them, but only the defined stakes. (The book is a little vague on how you resolve those stakes - that could do with more clarity if there had been a second edition). But you don't get to add on extra details. If you want to add some fallout or other consequence to a loser that wasn't defined in the stakes, you start a new conflict over that.

In dogs, one conflict often leads directly into another.
 

vini_lessa

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That's weird, as the game already maps really well the fact that conflicts frequently go past the starting stakes into violence. But this bit was left out!?

So, how problematic it would a "Last Shot" rule that looks like: "If you want, when the adversary can't see your final Raise, you can inflict a 3 dice fallout on him as a Last Shot".

(And maybe add "But if you do it, he carries the higher dice of that Fallout to a follow-up conflict. At least as long as revenge burns in his/her heart" )
 
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MeMeMe

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You can kill people during a conflict, if they aren't PCs, and in fact it's a great way to get people to give. If you make a Raise and say, "I shoot the shopkeeper dead," and the shopkeeper is unimportant to the stakes and not your direct opponent in the conflict, that shopkeeper will die if the opponent can't See: if they Take the Blow, the attack lands and the shopkeeper dies (or at least is severely wounded).

GMs should use this sparingly, but also as a tool to encourage players to give. When the players make an attack, you can deliberately Take the Blow, and describe how the attack lands in such a way that it does more damage than they intended (I'm talking not just violence here, but an argument might lead to a disproportionate reaction). You can also make Raises with very challenging consequences, and pick your moment so they cant See it, they have to Take The Blow. They might choose to Give instead.

But once the conflict is over, you should only resolve things that are directly related to the stakes. With your suggested house rule, it would lead to much harsher consequences for players when they lose a conflict they care about, and may cause a bunch of PC deaths (chance of death in dogs is lower than you might expect, but if you're slapping an extra 3d10 fallout on the entire losing side, it'll ramp up quite a bit). This will distort how conflicts and the campaign itself are played out. Its not necessary.

The fallout itself plays the role you are asking for: when people roll their fallout, they discover what the personal consequences were, whether they won or lost. It's entirely possible for an escalating conflict to end up with a lot of people injured or dying, once the conflict ends already. Wait till you see the size of fallout pools players can get, in conflicts they care about. You dont need to add to that.
 
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