In a Dogs in the Vineyard game earlier this year, my character Brother Wiley was a blacksmith in his home town. He brought his hammer with him, marked as a “1d8 Excellent blacksmithing hammer” in his Belongings alongside his 1d6+1d4 Gun.
Now, to my knowledge, conflict gets resolved at one of four stages of escalation (page 79):
- Just talking
- Physical, not fighting
- Fighting hand to hand
- Gun fighting
Over the course of the few sessions we ran, a surprising number of conflicts were resolved at the fighting hand to hand stage by Brother Wiley pulling out his blacksmithing hammer and swinging it into someone's knee or leg. Since this wasn't gun fighting, nor was it an attempt to actually kill anyone (just subdue them), we didn't consider it an Escalation up to that stage. However, it also wasn't just “hand to hand” — weaponry was getting involved!
At what stage of escalation is it appropriate to bring in non-gun weaponry? Is hand-to-hand an OK stage for doing this? Should we have escalated to gun fighting? Do we add some kind of “weapons but not lethal” Escalation stage between hand-to-hand and gun fighting and consider this to be in that new stage?