Good thread about Dogs in the Vineyard over here at RPG.net. Will update with excerpts as quotes as I read more.
My copy cannot get here fast enough, I hereby swear.
Excellent summary of the dice mechanic for Dogs:
Whenever there’s a conflict, the people who have something at stake roll the dice for their appropriate stats. They don’t roll them again for the rest of the conflict, barring some special cases.
If someone has a Trait that applies to the situation, like “Poker Stare” in a social confrontation or “Rides Like A Bat Out Of Hell” in a horse chase, they can roll the dice that the Trait is rated at as well. And if someone has a Relationship with an opponent in the conflict, or if the person they have a Relationship with is at stake, they roll the appropriate Relationship dice too.
Now, the person who’s got the highest total on two dice goes first, and order of play goes from there. That person has to “Raise” – to do this you remove any two dice from the rolled pool and declare an action, aimed at one or more of the opponents, that goes towards “winning” the conflict. For instance, throwing a knife to win a fight, leading your pursuers through a bunch of obstacles when you’re being chased, or making an intimidating speech. That Raise is worth the total value showing on the dice – you can start out slow with lower values or go for the Big Attack early on.
Everyone who is targeted by the Raise has to “See” any dice put against them, by removing dice from their own pool that show values totalling or exceeding the Raise. This means you’re dodging an attack, making it past an obstacle if you’re chasing someone, parrying a verbal attack with a putdown, or so on. Failing to do so allows the person who Raised to end the conflict any way they like. Having to remove more than two dice to See a Raise causes you to suffer a bad effect, be it humiliation in an argument or injury in a physical fight, so low rolls in a small pool can be bad for this reason. The bad effect is called Fallout, and gives you a bunch of Fallout Dice to roll after the conflict.
Then it’s the next player’s turn to Raise against someone, and so forth. The dice pools dwindle until someone wins with an unbeatable Raise.
There are also rules for helping other people with your dice, and escalating a conflict. Like, if you started out with a social conflict, but then someone starts punching people, it escalates to physical conflict, and everyone rolls the appropriate combat-related dice and adds them to their pools. So if you’re a good talker it helps to draw a mortal enemy into a verbal conflict before everyone starts drawing their guns, since you don’t throw away the social dice when things escalate into a firefight. However, Fallout from combat is much nastier than social Fallout.
When you roll Fallout dice, any roll of 1 gives you an option to upgrade a stat or change a Trait or Relationship – sort of like learning something new from your ordeals. However, higher rolls can do bad things, like temporarily or permanently downgrading your stats, giving you potentially negative traits, and so forth all the way up to death.
I like it. Not your typical “combat rounds” thing, very little re-rolling after the start of the conflict (good for a game with such big dice pools), a nice bidding mechanic, and you effectively gain experience from surviving Fallout.
I’ve already said on other posts how much I like the idea of bidding as part of an in game mechanic (as opposed to Amber, which uses it to suck people into chargen and then regretably never gets used again). I already know how the mechanic worked from questions/examples on the Forge, but I love this summary.