Diamond Dogs: Playing the Game

Before I get back into my badly written attempt at a game, I want to make a few notes about Diamond Dogs.  This game is not a completed game, nor is it balanced.  It’s not going to be too much fun if you play it with your friends that listen to gangsta rap and love to loot dungeons (that oh-so-frequent combination of interests).  It is an experiment, proof of concept, comedian, corinthian, chameleon and caricature.  It’s also written by a guy who’s brain is harried by work.  The game probably works best by playing it once or twice with a group of friends that can fill every single scene with constant Bowie lyrics, like mine.  I wrote it to see how versatile the Sai-Fi system can be and also so that I can cross a game off of my Dream Game list.  Someday the last remaining game, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, will become a reality, but for now I’m pretty happy with what I came up with.  If anyone has some ideas as to how the game can be better (it can’t be that hard, I’m sure), or if something doesn’t make sense, be sure to leave me a comment or something.

And without further ado, the next part of Diamond Dogs.

Playing the Game: The 3 Phases

The game is split into 3 phases, just like in your favorite movie, Labyrinth starring David Bowie’s codpiece.  The game consists of the Introduction, Main, and Climax phases.  The Introduction phase is sort of when Jennifer Connely is yelled at by her wicked stepmother and her baby brother starts wailing like a baby (with the power).  The Main Phase is when Jennifer Connely walks around the maze and talks to David Bowie and his codpiece.  The Climax Phase is the final climactic battle, like the one between Jennifer Connely and her attempts to stop staring at David Bowie’s codpiece.

The Introduction Phase

The Introduction Phase is where the GM allows the players to introduce their characters while at the same time setting up the plot of the scenario.  The GM should come up with a basic, simple scene that allows the player to show off his/her character, while also presenting the character with an impetus to follow the scenario.  The best way for this to happen is to introduce an NPC that is related to the incident at hand.  In fact, I’m decided right now that every Introduction Phase scene must have 1 NPC that somehow interacts with the player; when this happens, the player writes the NPC’s name in the People chart and randomly rolls their relationship type.  If this is the character’s first relationship, the relationship Fate starts at 3.  Each player lastly rolls 1d6 to determine their starting Crowd.  Once each player has had a BRIEF scene, the Introduction Phase is complete, and the Main Phase begins.

Hold on!  Relationships, Fate and the Relationship Chart

I’ll explain the way that relationships work in this game.  In this world, human beings exist, for the most part, as digital data stored in the body of our saviors, the Diamond Dogs.  The Bowie Clones have had some success, however, over the past few millennium, and small pockets of humans exist.  The Bowie Clones need relationships to tie them to this world; if all the relationships of a certain Bowie Clone happen to die, that Bowie Clone will lose his grasp on this world, drifting into space with Major Tom.  A relationship can easily be: a human existing somewhere in hiding, another Bowie Clone, a memory of an old love, your dog.

Relationships are even more important to the Bowie Clones because they allow them to draw on their spiritual power to help them in times of dire need.  For every point of Fate you have total (out of all relationships), you may add a +1 to a dice roll, before or after the roll once per game.  Note that starting players will be able to add +1 3 times in a session.  When a new relationship is created (see the Main Phase section), the relationship type is determined by dice roll.  I’ve been using the Magicalogia relationship table (and sort of stole half of that game’s relationship mechanic) and that has players roll 1d6 to determine one of: loyalty, interest, love, enemy, authority, and family.

Main Phase

During the Main Phase, each player (and the GM if they choose to do so) takes turns controlling a scene.  When this happens, that player is called the Scene Player.  The Scene Player must first choose between a Drama Scene or a Battle Scene.

Drama Scene

A Drama Scene is used by players to find information such as secrets or hidden NPCs, to gather more Crowd, recover life, start or strengthen a relationship, or obliterate an Enigma.  To begin a Drama Scene, the Scene Player rolls on the Scene Chart (I just used Shinobigami’s with a few Bowie touches).  The Scene Player then acts out a scene and chooses between Information, Recovery, or Relationship.  The GM then chooses a skill that most closely matches the action of the scene.  The Scene Player then rolls his character’s skill check; on a success, the character gets what they’re after:

  • Information: A character’s Secret is revealed to all or an Enigma’s information is revealed.
  • Recover: the character recovers 1d6 Crowd or HP.
  • Relationship: the character either adds 1 Fate to an existing relationship or adds a new 1 Fate relationship.

Enigmas will have special skill rolls for characters to pass in order to stop their effects.

Once the resolution of the skill roll plays out, the next player takes their turn.

Hold On!!  Crowd and the Crowd Skill

Crowd is an abstraction of a Bowie Clone’s powerful charismatic force.  Using this energy, a Bowie Clone actually emits enough power to bring into existence a certain number of humans from the digital data that they carry.  These humans are completely devoted to their savior and are always cheering and doing awesome stuff.  However, Songs and other cool stuff that the BCs can do require energy.  As Crowd energy is depleted, a Bowie Clone’s charisma drops and the number of clingy groupies that hang around drops accordingly.

The Crowd Skill may be used at any time for any skill check with a difficulty number of 6.  However, every time the Crowd Skill is used, a Crowd point is lost.  This represents someone from the crowd volunteering to do anything they can for their Bowie Clone and running off to sacrifice themselves.

I suppose the Crowd value can also just represent normal people that are hanging around too, but whatever floats your boat.

Battle Scenes

If a player so chooses, they can engage an NPC or a random group of O-Type grunts in a Battle Scene.  Combat rules will be covered in the next post.  Battle Scenes have a couple of special rules, though.  Anyone that takes at least 1 point of HP damage is dropped out of the scene.  If the Bowie Clones win, they may recover 1d6 Crowd and gain either the Prize (depending on the scenario) or obtain information.

Climax Phase

The Climax Phase is basically the final battle with a boss, usually a high-ranking O-Type, a brainwashed rock star, or a country hillbilly.  This is a fight to the death, except that Bowie Clones can’t die.  If a BC’s HP is reduced to 0, they must go into retirement until the next scenario.  When the boss’ HP is down to a quarter of its original HP, the Bowie Clones may attempt to save its soul with rock and roll.  To do so, each player must, on their turn, have the GM roll a random skill.  The character must pass that skill check; if they are successful, the GM writes down the skill name.  Once each player has succeeded on their random skill check, the GM reads aloud the skill names; the players must then come up with a song title using all of the skill words.  Once they do, they choose a skill from among the skills used for the boss to attempt a skill check with.  If they are successful, the boss recovers his senses, puts on makeup and flashy clothes and becomes a new 1Fate relationship for each player.  Each player also writes down the new Song in their Song List; they all discuss with the GM what the Song’s effects, cost, and required skill will be.

Once the boss has been either converted or destroyed, each player gets 1 last scene to conclude the session.  If the game wasn’t too completely ridiculous, the GM could leave it open for a continuing session, including some form of XP.

My next post will include Enigma rules and combat rules.  I’m going to try and do something about a character sheet soon.

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~ by mattgsanchez on May 30, 2011.

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