Archive for May 8th, 2005

May 8, 2005: 8:37 pm: Game systems, Playing

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to play in a Dogs in the Vineyard game last weekend. We were GMed by Michael Croft, with Ginger, Jennifer, Kevin, Deb and I as the players, and I’m pretty sure everyone had a darned good time. It was an interesting mix of Dogs experience, with Michael having played (but not GMed), Ginger having GMed (but not played), my having read the rules through a couple of times (but never played), Jennifer having given much of the rulebook a quick read, and then Kevin and Deb not having had much exposure to the game at all.

Since about half of us knew the system to some extent, it didn’t take too long to get started. My character was Brother Virgil, a reformed gunfighter who’d found the King of Life and was trying to learn not to settle every argument with the gun. Having the game start off with everyone going through their initiations is definitely the way to go, both for getting to know the characters and getting to know the conflict resolution system. At the suggestion of one of the players, Michael let some of the PCs be a part of each other’s initial conflicts. That worked out pretty well, and helped to get the relationships within the group of Dogs going.

We ended up playing Saddle Ridge, the town the GM had created, over two sessions (and still not finishing it), both because it was a big town with lots of deal with, and because we were overly shy about getting into conflicts during the first half of things. When the NPCs got coy about whatever was troubling them, we’d do the usual PC/NPC dance, instead of pushing things to conflict. I think this was just something that most of us had learned to do as players in lots of other RPGs, and it took us some time to get out of those habits, though by the second half of the weekend the dice were hitting the table on a regular basis. That really got the pace of the game going, and the system made every conflict, whether it involved talking, fighting, or both, a lot of fun to play through.

There are probably more details I could talk about, but those’d come to mind easier if I hadn’t waited a week to write this. I guess I’ll know better next time, and at least take better notes. Ginger has posted about the game and about our mix of characters, so you can check those out if you’d like to know more.

Now that I’ve had a chance to actually play DitV, I can tell you that all of the hype is true. Get this game, and get your friends to play it. You’ll be really glad you did.

: 5:18 pm: Game systems

Ain’t it great when Vincent gets all passionate about Dogs in the Vineyard?

There’s this thing that happens sometimes when people see Dogs. They go “holy FUCK, the characters are effective! I gotta put a stop to that! How can this possibly go well if the characters run around accomplishing all their goals all the time?”

It’s nonsense. The meaning of the game, now look I’m talking about the MEANING of the game, depends on the characters being effective and accomplishing their goals. Your job as a GM isn’t to keep them from accomplishing exactly what they want to accomplish, it’s to design good towns and then play the townspeople fully and with passion. I promise, the Dogs can win every single conflict easily and the game still works, it’s still challenging morally and it’ll still engage you and your players. Losing a conflict once in a while is a spice, not a staple.

It makes me want to just shout amen.

: 4:36 pm: Game systems, Miscellaneous

Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue, the guys behind Evil Hat, best known for FATE and the upcoming Dresden Files RPG, get interviewed over at RPG Blog. They have plenty to say about the future of FATE, about how things are looking for the Dresden Files game, and about how one of the games that has infuenced them the most is the Amber Diceless RPG….