Would multiple players in a discussion/argument with an NPC all be affected by a raise that one player announces? Let's have an example:

PC1 and PC2 try to convince NPC1 to tell them more about the bruises his child has.

PC1 raises: "NPC1, please, if you want us to help your family, you have to tell us what happened!"

Then, every character affected by that raise would have to set dice. But who would be affected in this situation? My guess would be "only NPC1", but that would probably lead to the players having many, many dice and the NPC having no chance at all to win (in most cases at least). Alternatively, you could argue, that everything someone says in an argument affects all the people in that argument. How would you handle this situation? How can I give the NPC a fair chance to win the argument?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I know that it will be hard for an NPC to win an argument against multiple people with the same opinion, but still I feel that this makes it a bit too easy for the players... \$\endgroup\$ – Patta Mar 4 '15 at 8:08

The answer to the question "who is affected?" is a complex one entirely dependent on the narrative. Depending on what is being said and done, one, some or all of the participants may be required to see the raise.

A single NPC could theoretically keep up with multiple PC's provided that he takes actions that would require all PC's to see. Questioning their collective ethics (talking), pulling the carpet from under them (physical), swinging a big pichfork around (brawling) and using that war surplus gatling gun (guns) are all fair game for forcing everyone to see.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right about that, I should try to have the npcs adress multiple pcs at once, instead of one at a time as I tend to do. But still, it's sometimes pretty hard to determine who is affected, but luckily the players can help with that decision :D \$\endgroup\$ – Patta Mar 4 '15 at 12:47

How Far Will You Go?

The question of who is affected by a raise, and how easily the PCs can overwhelm most NPCs when working together, is an important consideration when running Dogs. But there is another consideration in Dogs in the Vineyard, which I think is even more important.

How far will you go to get what you need? The question is not only one of winning, it's one of what you are prepared to do. The GMs role in the game is to push that boundary, to take the PCs to the edge, and then push them over it.

NPC1 jumps up, hands balling into fist, eyes burning with rage, but also fear, and it ain't fear of you. "My family's none o' your business, dog! Now get out 'fore I whup you good!"

NPC1 has just escalated to Physical, using his size, strength, and anger to intimidate. He's prepared to go to fighting. Something has him more scared than the dogs do.

Are the Dogs prepared to beat down this frightened man just to get answers? Because they certainly can. How Far Will You Go, Dog?

An example I always liked to use in explaining this is the boy who won't eat his brussel sprouts. It is certainly possible to escalate a conflict involving a boy who won't eat his veggies all the way to gunplay. It is even allowed within the setting. After all, that boy must obey his father. But... are you really gonna draw down on a kid for not eating his greens? Really?


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