[DitV] We're just talkin', but it's gonna hurt

edited March 2009 in Story Games
Over in another thread we started to talk about making your raises during "just talkin'" conflicts really stick. Baker makes it clear in the book that when you Take the Blow during any conflict, even a verbal one, it should make sense that you'll experience fallout. In other words, it needs to hurt.

What have you done to make the Blow un-Take-able? What do your characters say to each other that simply cannot be allowed to stand? And what Raise/See sequences have you had in your games that were especially memorable?

Comments

  • I like to do mean things to innocent bystanders.

    GM: "The skinny man's eyes are all crazy as he lifts up his ancient blunderbuss and fires off a booming shot at you, blasting through the arm of the young girl right behind you. I raise with 20."

    Player: "Ack! No, I give."
  • From the other thread:

    The very first, and very least subtle, talking raise of that sort that springs to mind was from a Dogs game in which one of the Dog's mother was a prostitute back east. The character had found the faith and come west, leaving his mother behind.

    He'd brought his past into a conflict when dealing with a guy who was shamed because in order to save the family farm his wife had to sleep with miners for money. The guy was angry and the guy says something like, "That's only because you were jealous. I don't know if it was of attention, or because you wanted to lie with your mother yourself, but you were jealous of those man and all your faith is just based on running away from the problem like a coward."

    So, you wanna take the blow and admit that you abandoned your mother because you wanted to fuck her?
  • Colin,
    Well, it is really too easy, you just have to question their authority. Everything else is just ammo for that.
    One way to do it is to be real condescending and explain to him how their PC is wrong and why the GMPC is right. That there wouldn't be a conflict if they just could understand with their limited intelligence.
    Also, "what are you going to do about it?" works wonders...
    Then there is the good old, "everyone in town is happy, what's the problem?"
    In fact, that is a common problem I hear from ditv GMs is, everyone gets shot, lol I would love it if I had to try harder to coax my players to violence, lol
    Dave M
  • edited March 2009
    Dave, I hear you. The two complaints that new players keep having about Dogs is "all my Dogs do is talk" and "all my Dogs do is kill", and while the latter is the one you've seen, the former is what was plaguing parties to the previous discussion. (A corollary to "all they do is talk": "Why are d4s/fallout so bad?") I figured I'd open up a discussion of making verbal conflicts that really hurt so that we can help people who have three different issues:

    1) "The PCs don't feel like it's a big deal to Take the Blow, or even give, when we're just talking."
    2) "The PCs never choose to escalate to violence."
    2) "The PCs don't feel like making GM characters Take the Blow from talking is effective, so they always go for their guns."

    I feel like all three of these make Dogs less fun than it should be. So I'd like to help build a toolkit for players and GMs to make sure that conflict counts at every level of escalation, primarily by helping them think of really painful raises (and creative ways to see) for the first level.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly with your point that good raises are about questioning the Dogs' authority. How have you done that in a way that really stings? It's one thing to say "Oh yeah, mumble, he questions your authority." It's something else to say, in character, "[see] Brother Malachi, I ain't the one with a mile-long trail of tombstones behind me. [raise] Murder follows you like a chick follows a hen. You ain't right with the King, and you ain't right with me or with no man."
  • Actually that post clarified the connection between the rest of the ideas in the thread, maybe I was a bit dim but I didn't get it until now, kudos to you for that.

    I think in addition to just having more strident fallout, you could have the admission spread beyond the confines of the conflict (which is kind of what taking the blow does in physical confrontations too). It's not just questioning authority in general, it's that people know that your judgment in this area flat can't be trusted. And that should move them down along the ladder of sins just as much as anything else.
  • edited March 2009
    Posted By: JDCorleyI think in addition to just having more strident fallout, you could have the admission spread beyond the confines of the conflict (which is kind of what taking the blow does in physical confrontations too). It's not just questioning authority in general, it's that people know that your judgment in this area flat can't be trusted. And that should move them down along the ladder of sins just as much as anything else.
    In practical terms... "I see: 'We all got our doubts about you.' Raise is a flashback, the night before you get to town. The Branch Steward, Brother Ezra, and Brother Isaac are talking about the stories circulating about you. 'Maybe Brother Malachi...' '...his methods...' The Steward nods. 'I don't care to hear more talk like that. But maybe... We should pray on it.' They're all here now, all shaking their heads."
  • Or maybe have the impact be afterwards. "Why did this happen? Didn't I just say..." "Well, we considered the source."
  • "No one cares what you think, Judah. Now get out of my face."
  • edited March 2009
    I think it boils down to:

    - you attack ego/self image of someone heavily invested in it or sensitive about issue in question (e.g., question sexuality of macho guy);

    - you attack reputation/public image of someone heavily invested in it (e.g. political attack ad)

    - you fake someone out about your future intentions being something they oppose so strongly they will act immediately (off to murder innocent people now, see you later).

    There are some personas it is logically difficult to damage with with talking (Kwai Chang Kane etc.) but luckily most PCs/NPCs in DitV (or any RPG) are not very far along the road of spiritual enlightenment and disengagement from ego and ambition.

    Rob
  • Valvorik, your example of Kane from Kung Fu is a very interesting one.

    Suppose for the moment that I have just such a Dog — his Faith is so strong that he's personally unshakable. I direct verbal raises against him to the audience rather than directly to him ("Damned right I'm calling you a jealous sinner, right here, to your face, in front of the King and these here good folks."), which causes a chink in the armor when he Takes the Blow (temp trait "There are doubts about my Stewardship 1d4"). Once you've got that, you get a crowbar into that chink in later conflicts: "We wouldn't even be talking right now if you wasn't set on taking the gold for yourself. Brother Luke was right, what makes you a Dog is that you're a greedy son of a bitch!"

    Maybe I threaten someone else instead. The Dog can't be hurt by what I say to him, but he knows someone else could be vulnerable. "Maybe I can't beat no sense into your head, but I reckon that old grandpa of yours ain't so stubborn."

    Maybe instead (this was suggested by Adam, above) the conflict between the Dog and the GM character is verbal, but there's another conflict going on that has already escalated — a hostage situation, say. The sorcerer is holding a screaming little girl, a knife to her throat. It hardly matters what he says, as long as the next thing narrated is "...and a fresh trickle of blood starts down her neck." Blows Taken, or giving, in the talking conflict may equate to harm, maybe mortal harm, being done to characters not party to the rules-mediated conflict.
  • Yes, insult Kane and he is impassive, reduce a weak 3rd party to tears with verbal abuse and he acts. Caring is the key, what do they care about.

    Rob
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