Monday, April 22, 2013

Introducing THE DOG

Everybody's got to eat, and humans have most of the food. It's win-win as far as you're concerned because most people seem to like you just because of what you are, without even being able to get to know you. If foraging and stealing isn't working for you, you do have other abilities you can rely upon.
Man's best friend. If they only knew.

When I was talking with Willow Palecek about fleshing out the missing spots of her The Boy & His Dog playbook, I spent some time re-reading the novella by Harlan Ellison titled "A Boy and His Dog" and I woke up the next day from a dream where I was a dog like Blood, telepathic and in the wasteland, and I mentioned the dream to Willow saying it would be an unusual spin if the playbook were for the dog and the human companion was the NPC that you could control and guide. Her response was "You should write it!" So I did.

1) The playbook is a little bit derivative, but my original write-up for the "psychic dog" archetype was incredibly complex and by trying to simplify it I realized that some of the things I had written were simply unnecessary.

2) Ears up, nose down is my rewrite of Willow's Somewhere over the wasteland move, which I felt the original was too harsh on the player, and Third nostril is just the Angel's Sixth sense. Once I had given the Dog a +3 in Sharp as one of it's main "things" I felt the move was perfect and didn't want to rewrite something new and convoluted to do a similar thing. Besides, the Angel's Sixth sense is identical to the Driver's Weather eye so I also didn't feel I was breaking a rule of playbook creation by having an identical move with a different name. Then Lassie come home is not identical to Bonefeel but I used Bonefeel as the starting point. The hold from Lassie come home is triggered by wanting to help or interfere with another PC, so it's meant to act as a "that dog that's been following you was just waiting for you behind the door" or "that dog that's been following you leaps in through the window, attacking that guy" sort of move.

3) The human companion is a unique feature of the playbook, separate from the A Friend in the Wasteland starting move. They always have +tele-radar so the dog will always have at least one person they can consistently communicate with. The A Friend in the Wasteland move doesn't give +tele-radar because another character might conceivably take that move. Think of A Friend in the Wasteland as the "I'm getting a loyal follower" move. It's written in such a way that the character could be a confidant or ally, like Batman's butler Alfred or Batman's sidekick Robin, but when The Dog has a follower they get +tele-radar.

4) You're a psychic dog! is not a move. That's why it's on the back of the playbook and it's not listed as a starting move. It's a feature of the playbook, and other characters should not be able to get it, unless your MC is running a very weird game.

link = the Dog playbook
if you use this in your group, I would love to hear about how it played, please e-mail me with your stories:
nerdwerds AT gmail

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