thread: 2008-09-29 : Creative Tension

On 2008-09-29, Vincent wrote:

So we're playing Dogs, it's the first session, and there's an enormous bonfire in town and it's a problem (I forget the details why). It's my raise. I say "I put my hands into the fire and I say 'peace, be still,' to extinguish it."

Like all right Dogs players, we haven't talked about the supernatural up-front at all. Never, ever talk about the supernatural up-front, except for the GM to say only "hey, supernatural things might happen, we'll see."

So. Peace, be still, to extinguish a bonfire.

a) Is it a legit move on my part? YES. I am clearly within my rights to say that my character does that.

b) Is it a legit raise, though? YES. The GM rolled demonic influence against me; ritual is how you make raises against the demons.

c) Is it tacky? UP TO YOU. Ron thinks it is, probably. I think it's cool. I think, most importantly, that it's true to the stories of my childhood and respectful of my family's faith and mythology.

d) Does it work, though? HERE'S THE FUN. This is why you don't set the supernatural dial up-front, but through play.

What dice did I push forward? High dice? Then I'm making a bid at nudging the supernatural dial upward. Low dice? Then I'm making a bid at nudging it downward.

How does the GM see? Both the dice he uses and what he says matter a whole lot. A block like "you can't bring yourself to put your hands in the fire" is a whole different thing from a block like "the fire leaps away from your hands but burns up more brightly elsewhere." So here's the GM participating in nudging the supernatural dial one way or the other.

And then, how often, over the first few sessions, do people get up to shenanigans like this, and what are their outcomes overall?

We played one game where, by luck and synergy, the raises we all made with magic were crap, but the sees we made with magic were good. In that game, the supernatural was there to protect you, not to let you advance your agenda. After three or four sessions of that pattern, it becomes what you expect and what you look for. The GM screws around with that expectation at his own peril.

I think this is the same thing. I think that, if I were to play Dogs with Ron, his considering my moves tacky would be a fruitful component of our play, a productive, or at least not destructive, tension between us.


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