On 2008-04-10, Brand Robins wrote:
So there was this Dogs game that I played with Mo and Leo where the end of the game was totally unexpected and unwelcome.
Mo and Leo were playing these hard, brutal kind of men who were obviously on a fast track to hell. Leo got married, almost by accident because of something unexpected that happened in a conflict, and ended up having his character radically shift directions and actually start moving towards redemption. Mo's character, meanwhile, killed a whore who reminded him of his mother after Leo had killed his real mother to keep him from matricide.
A town or two after that, we know we're getting on towards the end of the game, but figure we've probably got two more towns to go after this, more or less.
Then Mo gets in a conflict with a girl with stakes like "have her be attracted to me" and ends up being accused of attempted rape. This was really unwelcome as it brought what felt like a big distraction into the story, and was a whole horrible thing about the way rape gets used politically that none of us were happy about.
At the same time, across town, Leo finds the sorcerers in the town and has a gun blazing final confrontation with them, gets a 20 on fallout, and is headed for the deader pile. Well, so much for redemption and his wife, right? Really unwelcome.
So then for Leo's last scene Mo's character comes and finds him, and they have this confrontation. Mo's character thinks he's going to hell if he stops being a dog, and that he can't be a dog without Leo's help. So he wants Leo's character to kill him. Leo wants none of this. Instead he wants Mo's character to find redemption and go on to be a good Dog in order to be his character's redemptive legacy. Mo wants none of this. I mostly think neither character deserves redemption and want them both to be as miserable and lonely as possible.
So we get into a series of conflicts, and end up with no one getting what they wanted. Mo's character forces Leo's character to kill him, but at the same time kind of gets redeemed in the process, which half damns and half redeems Leo's character. They both die in a pool of blood, pathetic, valiant, wicked and righteous, and so fucking ambivalent that taking any kind of clear message away from it is impossible.
Whole thing was damn unwelcome. None of us wanted that ending, or anything really much like it. Of course, now when we talk about the game we mostly talk about how fucking awesome it was. If any of us had our individual creative vision override that of the others, it wouldn't have happened as it did. But because the system set up an emergent thing where it made us, together, come up with and accept these unwelcome things, it got us to make something very much Us In The Moment, rather than any one of us in their own sacrosanct vision.