[Classic] Dominion: The Struggle Within

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Waxahachie
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[Classic] Dominion: The Struggle Within

#1 Postby Waxahachie » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:45 am

Dominion represents the constant struggle for
control over the Harrowed’s body and mind
between the manitou and its host.


- Book o' the Dead, p.63

In my campaign, I have two Harrowed. One started out with full Dominion, and the other started out with something like half, and worked his way up to full (it wasn't hard). Once a character is at full Dominion, I find that the "constant struggle" is basically gone.

Unless the character busts or both fails miserably and the manitou aces at least once if not a couple of times, there seems not to be any struggle anymore. As per the rules, one of the players rolls 3d8+8 for Dominion tests (Spirit 3d8 + full Dominion), against the manitou's 3d8. (The other guy is rocking 5d12+12 for his tests).

I do not feel/believe that near permanent immunity from Dominion tests actually represents the idea of the constant struggle a Harrowed should endure.

Questions:
1. Is this the way it is supposed to be?
2. Can Marshals use chips on Dominion tests?

Anything else appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

King Snarf
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#2 Postby King Snarf » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:06 pm

Well, first, remember there are areas where the manitou can get a bonus to Dominion rolls (like Manitou Bluff in the Great Maze); if you think things are too easy, send 'em there. There are other ways to stack the deck in favor of the manitou (there's a hex in Hexarcana, I believe that can allow a huckster to force an instant Dominion check, and give a bonus to whichever side he wants to win.)

Also, yes the Marshal can spend chips, but that's a risk/reward type thing.

SilasWrathStrike
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#3 Postby SilasWrathStrike » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:14 am

Keep in mind that while it means you're less likely to gain Dominion POINTS, that only increases the TN of what your demon needs to hit to take over the body. For your character with a d8 spirit who has all Dominion points, that means the demon needs a 13 (5+8) to take over the host for a while. Can you think of a better way to spend your Marshal chips? ;)

ValhallaGH
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#4 Postby ValhallaGH » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:04 pm

First, Dominion is a trait roll (Spirit in this case) - you can always spend Fate Chips on those.

As Silas implies, taking over mid-game simply requires a Fair TN, modified by the deader's Dominion (in your specific cases, 13 and 17 for the final totals). If you've got a few chips to burn, and a real desire to see things happen, then spend them and watch the sparks fly. :twisted:

Also remember that the Manitou can use any and every power the host has learned, including Supernatural Trait (Spirit).

Total Dominion is a huge advantage, and it's meant to be. It means that the side with it is going to win almost every test of control - but even the most stalwart heroes occasionally lose to the demon. They may lose dominion (very rare, as you say), but they are vastly more likely to lose control for a while because the deck is stacked that way. Similarly, even a demon with total control will eventually slip and let the human back in the saddle (though that generally takes years - hence the Marshal's guidelines).

Best of luck, and don't be afraid to cheat a bit.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

James Butler Hickok
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#5 Postby James Butler Hickok » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:17 am

Also remember relics. The Agency's beloved Andrew Lane lost dominion for weeks when he came in contact with "Lincoln's Bullet". there are plenty of ways to stack that deck against the player. and once the harrowed starts to slip, it can be real easy for total dominion to just go away.

Waxahachie
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#6 Postby Waxahachie » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:02 am

Good advice all around. Thanks everyone! :)

McCurmudgeon
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#7 Postby McCurmudgeon » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:28 am

So a fellow Marshal I met at school had this really neat idea in which the manitou wouldn't contest dominion as long as the hero did certain things. Pretty much the hero would make a deal with the manitou.

The one example I got was that the manitou wanted to beat the Reckoners and take over the world itself, and to do this it planned on raising a giant undead army. What the player had to do was every living person he kills, he can do it anyway he wants as long as he doesn't hit their brain, this way the manitou can bring the victim back as an undead minion.

I thought this was a really cool idea but I can't think of any other deals that would really make sense without making the player do wantonly evil things.

Any ideas?

Crion
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#8 Postby Crion » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:28 pm

McCurmudgeon wrote:So a fellow Marshal I met at school had this really neat idea in which the manitou wouldn't contest dominion as long as the hero did certain things. Pretty much the hero would make a deal with the manitou.

The one example I got was that the manitou wanted to beat the Reckoners and take over the world itself, and to do this it planned on raising a giant undead army. What the player had to do was every living person he kills, he can do it anyway he wants as long as he doesn't hit their brain, this way the manitou can bring the victim back as an undead minion.

I thought this was a really cool idea but I can't think of any other deals that would really make sense without making the player do wantonly evil things.

Any ideas?


That is an interesting idea, and might make for some interesting roleplaying scenarios. . .

Now, one of my soon-to-be players is requesting to be more of a grey hat; he wants to promote the Reckoners without doing wanton evil throughout the West, so I've been trying to pull some ideas for this one as well.

Currently, I'm looking at the overall goals of the Reckoners: how can a person further the goal in the proper ways.

The answer was right in front of me in the Marshal's Guide. I need goals that the Reckoners (and therefore, a Manitou) would have, and relay that to the player. Current ideas have included:

-- Framing a "hero" for a deed they did not do, but will take them out of commission (putting them in a jail cell, attract attention that will halt investigations, etc)

-- Helping a fearmonger, even inadvertently. Be creative with this one; it can be pretty fun.

-- Extending the Rail Wars or any other battle. I can see some work in the contested states, or setting up a Rail Baron to take the fall for some heroic action the party performs (i.e. slaying a bunch of LaCroix's undead workers, leaving evidence to make it look like Union Blue).


These are just the current ones I've been soundboarding with my player, and all of them have potential depending on how it goes.

Hopefully that helps you get your own thoughts in order.

ValhallaGH
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#9 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:53 pm

Anything that increases fear or decreases hope serves the Reckoners.
- Smearing a hero's reputation (so people stop believing in her, and stop being inspired by the tales of her deeds) is a simple, effective, and often very easy bit of evil.
- Never bothering to tell the locals that the problem is solved will leave them in fear of the unknown. That fear usually spawns another problem that reinforces the fear - mundane or mystical problems.
- Getting into fights with, and killing, the mean hombres the PCs come across, all of whom are jerks that happen to fight monsters, is a subtle way to serve evil without looking evil. Heck, you might not even be evil, and you can certainly be legal while doing so. But by killing off heroes (surly and insulting as they may be), you make things that much easier for the bad guys.

Characters that hoard secrets serve the Reckoners, usually without realizing it; no one else knows about the dangers, how to fight them, or when they've been killed - and the greatest fears come from our imaginations. Characters that boast of their amazing (true) deeds fight the Reckoners, usually without realizing it; everyone else knows about some of the dangers, that they can be beaten, how to beat the, and that random heroes will show up to fight - all are sources of hope, which counters fear pretty well.

Deadlands, where the line between hero and villain can be extremely narrow.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."


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