thread: 2006-03-20 : Creating Situation: a practical example

On 2006-03-27, Vincent wrote:

Marhault (Jamey): How do you produce a dynamic situation where the PCs aren't already an integral part of it?

How do you make spinach quiche where you leave the spinach in a bag in the fridge?

Here's how Dogs in the Vineyard works. Dogs in the Vineyard's town creation makes a bunch of npcs who already have conflicts of interest wrt the Dogs in the abstract, it doesn't matter who the Dogs actually are. Every named npc comes pre-created with a conflict either a) directly with the Dogs-as-authority-figures, or else b) with another named npc, and presuming with all her heart that the Dogs-as-authority-figures will take her side, so that if the Dogs don't take her side that becomes a conflict between them.

That works okay to make one fun session, and that's what I'd recommend for your Burning Wheel + C&C charts game. Give the priestess, the monks, the antique god interests that either conflict with the PCs' or else depend on the PCs' total support.

But that's only part of how Dogs works, and it won't sustain your Burning Wheel game either.

The real situation that Dogs in the Vineyard cares about is the one between each of the PCs and each other and the Faith. (Joshua BishopRoby, listen up!) You know how the real situation that The Mountain Witch cares about is the one between the PCs with their trust and their dark fates, and the GM throws grief at them to simply just apply pressure to that situation? Dogs is the same. It's better to understand a Dogs town with its sin and judgement as an encounter along the way, an attack by Oni or a freezing cold night, than as the thing that really matters.

In other words, Jamey: there is a situation the PCs in your Burning Wheel game are an integral part of, or there will come to be one over the first few sessions: the situation between them. In the Burning Wheel as in Dogs, it's the players' responsibility to create it. As long as the characters have interests, the players will create a good one, and the Burning Wheel does a great job at creating characters with interests.

My advice to you as GM is to notice what the characters' individual interests are, where they overlap and where they conflict, and not make a big deal out of it. Just notice, apply pressure via priestesses and sinners and oni, not targeted pressure mostly but just grief, and watch what happens.


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