: NPCs in my Dreamation Dogs game
Matthew, Mayuran, Shane, and John, here are those dice I promised you:
a. 6d6+2d8, 4d6+1d10, 3d6, 1d8+2d4
b. 5d6+1d10, 3d6+2d8, 3d6, 1d10+1d8
c. 7d6+3d4, 4d6+2d4, 5d6, 2d6+1d8
d. 9d6+1d10+1d8, 2d6+2d8, 2d6+1d4, 1d6+2d10
(Anybody curious: these are NPC dice for Dogs, following the rules for nonhuman threats in Afraid.)
And thanks again for running the game for us. I hope you were able to enjoy running the game for us as much as I enjoyed playing it. It was a real learning curve for me, but I found it to be very rewarding, and I really enjoyed meeting you and small-talking about your religious past.
I'll always remember how you snickered at us as you ramped up the pressure. Hope to see you at nerdly.
Each set of dice is a level of escalation in this particular conflict. The steward always leads with 9d6 1d10 1d8, whether the conflict leads with just talking or gunfighting or what. The first escalation, whether it's to physical or to talking or to whatever, he rolls his 2d6 2d8.
The dice sets come in in order, in other words, arena independent.
I don't know any alternate ways to create characters in Dogs, though. Can't help you with that.
This is John from Dreamation (thanks for running for us, you rock!). We playtested this method last night and a minor issue arose.
We had a few conflicts where neither side wanted to escalate although came close a few times. Both sides were talking but for in game political reasons, escalating would have been disastrous (but fun!). The players had a huge advantage using the new NPC rules because they could creatively add in their traits for additional dice without escalating. While the NPC could only add trait dice by escalating. Using the old rules, all of the NPCs trait dice would be available, even without escalation.
Would it be reasonable, using the new rules, to use trait dice from future escalation? And by doing so, making these trait dice no longer available if you do indeed escalate?
I agree about escalation in general. I've run the same Dogs scenario over 13 times in the last 7 months for over 40 different players with players constantly and gloriously escalating back and forth. 90% of those involved have no problem escalating, giving, launching follow up conflicts and more. Escalation rocks!
But I don't want the lack of escalation in this specific example to cloud the playtesting issue. Although escalation is definitely a considerable part of it.
This is more an observation that the new NPC rules act differently than the old NPC rules in ways other than simplifying NPC generation (which may be intentional).
Respectfully, assuming I understand, I don't agree that a conflict where players are extremely resistant to escalate should always end as quickly as possible. It's very much a pacing issue that's highly situational. Some of our finest sessions have had conflicts just like these. They do a great job of building extreme amounts of tension. And we keep pushing it till it's about to burst which makes giving or escalating extremely dramatic. Cut away too quickly and you can rob a lot of that potential energy. I agree that a conflict that is going no where should move on. But the tension building to the point of knowing you are against a wall can be amazing. The dice lend themselves to pacing and tension. These variation rules offer less dice to build pacing and tension for NPC in specific situations. Although they do an absolutely amazing job for streamlining NPCs. LOVE it!.
I like the idea of using town dice. But I wanted to be clear on my intent above for playtesting purposes.
On the using these dice, particularly in combination with ordinary dice, some observations from Afraid:
Last time I ran the game I used four different types of dice pools for characters, more by accident than anything:
1. A Monster, per the rules, with defined traits
2. Slaves, also per the rules, with 4 types of traits separated by level of escalation.
3. A victim, by the player character rules, because I was testing letting the players make the victim.
4. Everyone else, by these dice.
I have to say that these simple sets of dice are much easier to use, particularly in Afraid, when you sometimes cut between conflicts and have to pick them up later.
For comparison, the Monster and Victim were fairly straight-forward, but a bit more tricky, and the Afraid rules for NPCs were actually a complete pain in the arse. It is the sheer number of dice that causes the trouble. While the categories for traits seem transparent, when you combine them with the 5 different levels of escalation, it becomes a real hassle.
I promise that I'll get round to a full report eventually.