2005-09-13 : Dogs in the Vineyard, Illod Ed - Upgrade Deal

So, Dogs in the Vineyard is back in print, it's illustrated now, if you own the unillustrated book or the PDFs I'm offering an upgrade deal for the new book.

The deal is: $10.50 within North America, $13.00 worldwide.

Now, before you rush to PayPal me, the changes to the text are minimal. I corrected maybe a few typos and I added only a couple short sections, I'll provide them in full right here. Don't upgrade so that you'll have the current game; you already have it.

Here are the new sections.

This one comes between "Timing Traits and Things" and "Fallout" in the resolution chapter:

When you Give instead of Seeing, you don't need to Take the Blow. In fact, one of the best reasons to Give is to avoid a Blow you can't bear to Take.

There's no need to stay in a conflict to the bitter end. You can and should Give as soon as you're willing to let the conflict go — be it because the stakes aren't worth it, or because you've thought of follow-up stakes even better — or as soon as you realize you can't win.

When you Give instead of Raising, you get to cut your losses. Grab your highest showing single die and set it aside. If there's any follow-up conflict, roll your Stat and Relationship dice as usual, then add this reserved die to the mix. Don't reroll it! This represents the advantage you keep by ceding the previous stakes on your own terms.

This one comes between "Fallout" and "Using Relationships":

Follow-up Conflicts
A follow-up conflict is simply a new conflict that follows on the one just ended. In general you treat it exactly as you would any other, but it does have a few special considerations:

— It counts as a follow-up conflict only if its stakes follow directly from the previous conflict's resolution.

— Its stakes can be the same as the previous conflict's stakes only if all three of its participants, its stage as set, and its opening arena are different. That is, if your character tries to talk my character into admitting her sin, but fails, you can't just try again. That conflict's done. What you have to do if you want a follow-up with the same stakes is come back another time or catch her at some other place, with your friends to back you up — and this time it can't be just talking.

— If you cut your losses in the previous conflict, Giving instead when it was your turn to Raise, you get to keep your single best die from that conflict. After you roll your dice for this conflict, add your reserved die (without rerolling it) to the mix.

— As the GM, I get an extra option, and it's a good one. If nobody cares about my NPCs' Fallout, when I roll my Fallout Dice, instead of calculating and choosing Fallout I simply give you the two highest dice to add into your side of the new conflict. You don't reroll them, just put them straight in with your own dice. They're the advantage you carry into the follow-up.

Later on, I have your character's brother hire some thugs to go burn down the shopkeeper's store. We play it out as a conflict and your character fends them off and manages to corner one in a nearby stable. There's lots of hitting and even a couple of shots fired during the conflict, so I have some ugly Fallout Dice: 6d6 and 3d10; when I roll them the two highest are a 6 and a 9 — but nobody really cares whether this thug is hurt or killed, nobody's going to keep track of his Traits or Relationships.

You launch a follow-up conflict; what's at stake is whether this captured thug reveals that your character's brother is behind the attempted arson. So instead of giving the thug his due Fallout, I give those two highest Fallout Dice to you for the follow-up conflict. You roll your character's Acuity and Heat and then I pass them over.

Frankly, an extra 6 and 9 for you to Raise me with? I don't like my odds.

And this one closes the resolution chapter:

GMing Conflicts
I think of this as "second session" advice. The first time you play, you'll be busy figuring out the simple mechanics and rhythm of the game. It's when you reflect on the first time that this section will make the most sense.

— As GM, you get to help establish stakes. If your player says "what's at stake is this" you can say "no, I don't dig that, how about what's at stake is this instead?" Not only can you, you should. This is an important duty you have as GM and you shouldn't abdicate it.

— As GM, you should push for small stakes. It's natural for the players to set stakes big. "Do we get the whole truth from her about everything that's going on? Do we convince him to give up his sinnin' ways and do right forever after? Do we undo all the harm the cult has done?" You as GM have to engage with them and wrestle them down. You should be saying, "no, how about do you win her trust about some small matter? Do you give him a moment's pause? Do you make this one person breathe easier, right now?" It's out of creative tension between their big stakes and your small stakes that the right stakes are born.

What you're after is two things: follow-up conflicts and givable conflicts.

Since you want good follow-up conflicts, the right stakes can go either way without creating a dead end or a dull patch. Pushing stakes smaller will tend to make them less make-or-break.

Givable conflicts — that's the trick. The right stakes will make it so that escalating, taking a blow and giving are all roughly equal. Set the stakes too large and Escalating is always worth it. Set them small enough and Giving vs. Escalating becomes a real question, as does Giving vs. Taking a bad Blow.

Conflicts always end with a Give. It doesn't have to be because one side has used every single last die. It can be as soon as one side sees which way the wind's blowing - but that won't happen if the stakes are too grandiose.

— As GM, don't put up with hedged stakes. "Do we get him to repent?" is fine. "Do we get him to repent without spilling blood?" is not.  Think outcomes, not methods; the methods come from playing the conflict through.

— As GM, you should always follow your group's lead. A big part of your job in the first couple of sessions is to figure out, mostly by observation, your group's standards for legit Raises and Sees, invoking traits, valid stakes, using ceremony, the supernatural, and so on.

However, the thing to observe in play isn't what the group's doing, but instead who's dissatisfied with what the group's doing. The player who frowns and uses withdrawing body language in response to someone else's Raise, or who's like "that's weak" when someone reaches for dice — that's the player whose lead to follow. Everyone's Raises etc. should come to meet the most critical player's standards. As GM, it's your special responsibility to pay attention, figure out what those standards are, and to press the group to live up to them.

If you still want to upgrade, PayPal me the $10.50 or $13.00 and make sure to say both what it's for and where to send the book.

1. On 2005-09-14, Kaeru said:

Will you be updating the PDFs in the Forge Bookshelf, or do I need to do the upgrade thing for that as well? Thanks in advance!


2. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

I'll be updating the PDFs on the Bookshelf. I'll send out a mass email when I've done it, letting you know to come download them.


3. On 2005-09-14, Brand_Robins said:

I'll pay.

My current copy of Dogs is to beat to hell that it looks like it actually went out on the trail with Dogs.

So you'll be seeing money from me shortly.


direct link

This reminds...
CPA of Hrm, not sure, so many indie RPGs to buy!

This makes...
GBS go "Me too!"
JK go "Ha, me too."

4. On 2005-09-15, coffeestain said:


Can you talk to me about illustrations?  Are there additional illustrations inside this new version?



5. On 2005-09-15, Vincent said:

The game now has ten or so illustrations. (I keep counting them, but the number doesn't stick in my head.) Some of them are by Ed Heil, some by yours truly.

Click the link and look around to see a couple of Ed's.

Here are a couple of mine:


6. On 2005-09-15, Ninja Monkey J said:

I love the one of Clinton in the middle.


7. On 2005-09-15, coffeestain said:


Thanks.  Looks like I'm sending money your way!


8. On 2005-09-18, Christian Fasy said:

Hey Vincent,
I had no idea you were an artist, but I should have guessed from your predeliction for visual descriptions in your writing. I love the Sister with the elk horns. Beautiful.


9. On 2005-09-19, Chris said:

Just got my new copy today!  The artwork fits- I really get the feeling of the empty expanse from all the illustrations.


direct link

This makes...
Chris go "Don't complain"*

*click in for more

RSS feed: new comments to this thread