Xand
 member, 25 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 11:40
Dragon's Dogma
I have been pondering the idea of creating a game set in the world of Dragon's Dogma.  One of the players would take the role of the Arisen while 2-4 other players are the Arisen's pawns.  The game system would likely be Pathfinder 1e since that is the system I am most familiar with, but I am also considering Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition.

I have a few concerns, the first being players taking the role of pawns.  I don't know if this is something players would even want to do, or role play well should they play as a pawn.  Since anyone familiar with Dragon's Dogma knows pawns are essentially blank slates as people.

There is also the fact that pawns are essentially immortal, since they are not truly people.  I'm concerned that players would be reckless or even suicidal with a character that cannot die and is instead knocked out and immobilized.

Before I try to develop this idea further, would it be worth attempting or should it just be scrapped?  Advice and input is appreciated!
deadtotheworld22
 member, 168 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 11:58
Dragon's Dogma
I think you've certainly identitified some major concerns you'd want to address before putting this forward - I think the feasibility ultimately depends on what your focus is going to be within the game - are you hoping for a really deep roleplaying experience with lots of character development, or are you more looking for an action packed game?

My knowledge of DD lore is a bit short, but if pawns are blank slates, does that mean they have room to develop personalities or are they basically completely lacking in agency and cogency and are basically mindless automotons who operate at the Arisen's pleasure?

In a purely roleplaying sense, denying players personality (beyond that of the Arisen) is probably a death-knell for the game - if the limit of their autonomy and agency is 'how we do combat' then you're putting an awful lot of power in the hands of the Arisen's player and leaving the pawns with nothing to do outside of combat.

If you're going for a more combat focused game, you could perhaps mitigate said issue a bit, because the personality aspect isn't so great. The immortality issue isn't necessarily the end of the world, as long as you create a consequence to being knocked out, even if it's just not being present for the rest of combat. If you're giving pawns personalities, then it can even be interesting as they're immortal and the Arisen isn't.

In terms of taking suicidal risks, I'd point out that there's very few games out there where the consequences of dying are so great as to make players unwilling to take such risks if they want to - at worst, your character dies and you roll another.

The only other suggestion I might make would be to have multiple Arisen with NPC pawns each, but I'm not sure about the canon on that one.
Xand
 member, 26 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 12:26
Dragon's Dogma
quote:
My knowledge of DD lore is a bit short, but if pawns are blank slates, does that mean they have room to develop personalities or are they basically completely lacking in agency and cogency and are basically mindless automotons who operate at the Arisen's pleasure?


Pawns are brought into the world by the Arisen.  They are fully capable people but their personality develops from that point based on their interactions with the world and the Arisen who summoned/created them.  They might know extensive monster or area lore but not be sure of how to act on it; deferring to the Arisen's judgement on how to use their knowledge.  In setting, their primary purpose is to protect and assist the Arisen in their quest.  But the Arisen does not have direct control over them.

quote:
In a purely roleplaying sense, denying players personality (beyond that of the Arisen) is probably a death-knell for the game - if the limit of their autonomy and agency is 'how we do combat' then you're putting an awful lot of power in the hands of the Arisen's player and leaving the pawns with nothing to do outside of combat.


Personally, I like role play but acknowledge role playing a pawn might be difficult.  The game would likely be a bit more combat oriented in order to make up for it.  But a pawn is not helpless in social situations; I think inexperienced is a better way to put it.  It boils down to my initial concern about players taking the role of pawn at all.

quote:
The only other suggestion I might make would be to have multiple Arisen with NPC pawns each, but I'm not sure about the canon on that one.


That would be lore-breaking; the Dragon only selects a single Arisen and would only select another should the Arisen fail, die, or quit their quest.
Zag24
 supporter, 714 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 18:47
Dragon's Dogma
Xand:
There is also the fact that pawns are essentially immortal, since they are not truly people.  I'm concerned that players would be reckless or even suicidal with a character that cannot die and is instead knocked out and immobilized.

That sounds like a role-playing opportunity to me!
deadtotheworld22
 member, 169 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 19:14
Dragon's Dogma
In reply to Xand (msg # 3):

Based on this, I'd say it's a challenge but not impossible.

When GMing, you'd probably want to create a situation where the pawns have more of a role/autonomy than they perhaps do in the video game - even if the Arisen doesn't have direct control over them, you're giving the player who plays the Arisen a lot of overarching authority over the direction of the plot and the party, given they determine how they approach their quest and the pawns exist solely to further said quest.

That being said, if you set the boundaries right, and get players who understand and are content with their respective roles, then it could be a go-er.
Harley Quinn
 member, 171 posts
Wed 17 Nov 2021
at 19:18
Re: Dragon's Dogma
Xand:
That would be lore-breaking; the Dragon only selects a single Arisen and would only select another should the Arisen fail, die, or quit their quest.

No it wouldn't.

https://dragonsdogma.fandom.co...gon%27s_Dogma_Online

"multiple Arisen can take part in quests."
Xand
 member, 27 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 00:16
Re: Dragon's Dogma
While I have to admit to little knowledge of the Dragon's Dogma Online MMO, I would also believe that multiple Arisen teaming together is a convenience for online play rather than canon for the setting.  Two Arisen cannot slay the Dragon and both become Seneschal.

Regarding pawns as players, I would hope that anyone who applied would know what they are getting into.  That said, I would definitely have to spell out what it means to be a Pawn in the game, probably in the RTJ section.

The Arisen player would have more of a standard character I suppose.  But since the Arisen is the one with the quest, it would require someone who acts rather than reacts.  And the players would each have to understand their roles, but this is role playing after all.

A not impossible challenge sounds like a good way to describe starting up near any game around here.  But I understand what you mean; for a game like this to work, each player would have to know and be comfortable in their role as pawn or Arisen.

A lot to consider.
deadtotheworld22
 member, 171 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 00:26
Re: Dragon's Dogma
Xand:
The Arisen player would have more of a standard character I suppose.  But since the Arisen is the one with the quest, it would require someone who acts rather than reacts.  And the players would each have to understand their roles, but this is role playing after all.


I think this perhaps is the key point - that bit of player recruitment would be key, because you need someone who is both confident enough to be active and push the plot forward, but also give enough space to the other players to give them opportunities to roleplay and do their own thing.

One option could be to make the Arisen a GM character and have all the players as pawns - that way, you can very much dictate the flow of the game, and you don't have an awkward situation where the pawns and the Arisen don't get along or feel there's an imbalance of power or responsibility.
Xand
 member, 28 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 01:03
Re: Dragon's Dogma
That's something I hadn't considered.  I usually try to avoid keeping a DMPC, but in this scenario it might be a convenient way to keep the players (as pawns) engaged and keep advancing the plot.  That might just solve a lot of issues with the concept, since it eliminates the imbalance of power between players.

Of course it raises the issue of the entire campaign literally being all about an NPC, with the PCs all as supporting characters.  In my experience that tends to raise some resentment among the players.  Still, they should know what they are getting into if I decided to go that route.
Harley Quinn
 member, 172 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 01:43
Re: Dragon's Dogma
The fact multiple people died when the player character killed Grigori in DD is proof that multiple Arisen could exist at once if the Dragon were to choose to.

https://dragonsdogma.fandom.co...nd_the_Endless_Chain
quote:
The true purpose of the interplay between great Dragons and Arisen is to find a person with sufficient will to be a worthy candidate for the role of Seneschal - in that respect the Great Dragon is merely part of a test. However the true goal is to break the endless cycle of rebirth and destruction itself.


There is no lore saying there can't be more than one Arisen.

A dragon could choose to make more than one an Arisen if it wanted to, increasing the odds of success.

If two Arisen are chosen the dragon could pit one against the other. One of them could choose to accept the dragon's deal and (attempt to) kill the other Arisen.
Xand
 member, 29 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 02:02
Re: Dragon's Dogma
Why are you arguing this?  It has no bearing on how I've described potentially setting up the game.
Harley Quinn
 member, 173 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 02:12
Re: Dragon's Dogma
Xand:
Why are you arguing this?  It has no bearing on how I've described potentially setting up the game.
And here I thought this section was for giving people input and advice. My bad, I must have misread the name of this section. Excuse me.

From the notice at the top of the forum.
quote:
Be ready to receive your feedback on this board.  Those asking for help on this board need to be willing to receive their feedback on this board.

This message was last edited by the user at 02:14, Thu 18 Nov.

V_V
 member, 977 posts
 Read my biography...
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Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 02:41
Re: Dragon's Dogma
I'm going to be blunt, because you're asking for advice; because you have invented a problem of power inequity, and are looking to solve the problem; when it's not the problem you're making it out to be. You're attached to the idea, that's a red flag. In my GMing experience at least. Being attached to an idea, very rigidly limits a game.

I was going to post this earlier, and so I'll put it here.

Xand:
would it be worth attempting or should it just be scrapped?
No, and yes. Frankly, it makes for a great story, and crappy game with that rigid of guidelines. There are really only a few exceptions. If you can find any of these scenarios, then, yeah your idea could really work! If not, scrap[ it, find the themes that you like and make it more pathfinder with Dragon's Dogma feel; not strictly adherent. Think about what you really like, deep down, not the trappings.

Here are the scenarios I see the Arisen being player and having the four pawns.
  1. You have a group of players that know each other. There are cliques like this on RPoL. I am in correspondence with one in D&D 3.5. which is close to PF. In my case, they know each other IRL. If you can find this grouping, then power inequity won't be an issue, they can negotiate that roles; they know each other.
  2. You have two groups. You're able to partition the scenes from Arisen and pawns, and be filter from one to the other. You can edit and repost from one group to another, mirroring in many cases the whole post. This allows the pawns to be cohesive, and the Arisen to be a forceful direction. It also doesn't disrupt the post flow, which is going to be an issue.
  3. You abandon the system of Pathfinder, which is very much leveling up game, and choose system that values power on point by point. Pawns could have access to certain perks, powers, charm, backgrounds, flaws, talents, attributes, you name it, and the Arisen would have others. It wouldn't be 2d6 vs 10d6, but one at 50 pts vs four 20 pts but with special permissions. This helps soothe power inequity. In PF, sorry to say, a character much lower level or undergeared just isn't fun to play. They are largely ineffectual. This is just the way d20 works. Much as people say it isn't, it is. It's mathematical problem, that's systemic.
  4. You find out WHY you want only one Arisen, what ABOUT the lore makes that compelling, and do that through another method. An example I give was when I wanted to limit resurrection in a D&D game. But why? My answer was that death was supposed to be facet of the Deathlords. Okay, I thought, could the Deathlords ressurect poeple? Yes! they could. Would they do so for the PCs? of course not! Okay, so why do the Deathlords have to be the sole users or ressurection? I really had to think about this. Because...it just makes sense? no, it didn't. Not in this case. Slay living, other death magic yes. Not resurrection though. My motivation was I wanted the deathlords to feel like the masters of death. If I had stuck to the idea I had, and not had other clerics be able to resurrect the character; the game would have died, as soon as the first deathlord succeeded. My players would see it frivilous to be able to make brand new character with no penalty, than be allowed to raise their valued one. So ask yourself the question of what you're after. Not the method, but the product. Once you know that, you might be able to sell the group on that basis. if the pitch is well thought out, and articulates a meaningful investment, players might overlook the inequity.


Power inequity at the very least is willful volition. The pawns, after all, aren't the same kind of characters. You say "I like role play but acknowledge role playing a pawn might be difficult" you need to solve that problem yourself, or take the advice to budge your adherence to lore.

Star Wars d20 (I forget the name of the system) is a great example of how NOT to do it. It's predicated on critical hits going to wounds, yet...every...single...freakin...god...damn...major character...is immune to criticals. Every one! Utterly poor way to incorporate lore into system.

In essence, I'd say, it's good story (at best) bad for rigid game plot and theme. An inspiration sure, but yeah, I think scrap the rigid idea. Be willing to deviate from the canon. Or, and this is a valid alternative! or Just sit with these posts and think about what you're wanting to justify, focus on why THIS and THAT are important and internally contemplate and articulate that. Having sounding board is good. Sometimes you get good advice. Sometimes, however, you get the wrong advice, but it makes you defend the idea and that gives you the right idea.

Best of luck! It doesn't sound like game for me, so I played the devils advocate well. I do hope you find some way to make this interest into a game. Cheers!
deadtotheworld22
 member, 172 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 09:42
Re: Dragon's Dogma
Xand:
Of course it raises the issue of the entire campaign literally being all about an NPC, with the PCs all as supporting characters.  In my experience that tends to raise some resentment among the players.  Still, they should know what they are getting into if I decided to go that route.


That is an issue, but I suppose you could see it similarly to something like Dark Heresy, where it's common for the Inquisitor to be a DM character and the players are in a retinue. That system does have its disadvantages, and I''m not sure how much independence/distance from the Arisen the pawns can have, but it might be a good model to build towards.
Xand
 member, 30 posts
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 12:47
Re: Dragon's Dogma
In reply to V_V (msg # 13):

You do make good points.  I'm starting to more seriously consider the idea presented by deadtotheworld22, and have the Arisen be an NPC instead of a player.  Then the players are the pawns.

But at the end of the day, the more I think about it the more I come to realize that this is all a very amusing idea.  And what I mean by that is I could expect some early interest that dies off once the novelty of the setting is through with.

Thanks for all of the input.  I'd probably be better served by pouring energy into a more traditional setting, wouldn't I?  Instead of piling effort into a novelty.
V_V
 member, 978 posts
 Read my biography...
 Feel free to Rmail me :)
Thu 18 Nov 2021
at 12:59
Re: Dragon's Dogma
In reply to Xand (msg # 15):

I'm glad you didn't take the post too seriously or confrontational. TBH, yes, I think the idea is very novel but...sadly, yeah...it's a waste of your time. I should have emphasized that. I really think that ideas like this are good. Don't throw it out and never look at it, but just shelf it until more (naturally) comes to mind.

I have had more campaigns die than succeed. Not literally, but close to 100 to 1. That is 100 games die for every game that succeeds, and I don't even mean runs a grand beginning to end, I just mean has story fulfilled, and characters grow, and some milestones reached.

I learned that taking and recycling elements helps me find what I really do enjoy, and REALLY want to make work, and what I was fussy about initially that months, years or decades later, I really don't feel as attached to.

Again, very glad my post didn't come off wrong. By the time I sat on it, and came back (why I came back) it could have been phrased better. I'm just glad the message mostly made it intact. :)

Good luck, stay imaginative. ;)
Ameena
 member, 220 posts
Fri 19 Nov 2021
at 10:55
Re: Dragon's Dogma
You could perhaps use some elements of Dragon's Dogma in another game, if you want some aspects of it to show up. Like, maybe have some NPC show up who is basically an Arisen in search of their dragon (but perhaps reflavoured for whatever setting you're using) and the PCs can help them (and their pawns) on the way to their goal. That way you can sort of do a mini-Dragon's Dogma but without worrying about any of the issues raised above about players being pawns and such :).