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[DitV] First session tomorrow morning

Started by Eric Provost, October 09, 2004, 10:36:16 PM

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Eric Provost

Hiya all.  I've just gotten finished working out the basics of my first town for Dogs, and I'd love it if I could get any feedback before our first session tomorrow.  I've never run a game with narrative rules like this, and none of my players have played one either.  Any help would be appreciated.

Here it is,

Clement's Patch
First attempt at Dogs town.

1a:  Pride
Brother Pleasant is Proud.  Brother Derrik has everything better than he does.  His house is bigger.  His wife is prettier.  Heck, even his horses are nicer than Brother Pleasant's.  Unfortunately for Brother Pleasant, he thinks that he deserves better than what he's got.

1b:  Injustice
Because Brother Pleasant thinks he should have better, he tends to treat what he has very poorly.  His home goes unrepaired.  His children don't get new clothes.  His wife doesn't get any good attention at all.  And his horses get nothing but beatings.

1c:  More?  

2a:  Sin
To make up for what they don't have, Brother Pleasant's eldest daughter, Sister Althea, a pretty young thing, has begun irregular prostitution in order to make enough money to feed the rest of the family.  She's sinning with non-faithful railroad men who occasionally stop through town to rest between one stop and another.

Furthermore, Sister Ninea, Pleasant's wife, has begun praying to the King for an accident to befall Pleasant.  She'll never bring violence against him directly, but she certainly would enjoy it if he died horribly.

Jada, Pleasant's 10 y.o. son has taken to hunting & killing every critter that crosses through the nearby territory, in hopes of impressing his father, and thus gaining some attention.

2b:  Demonic Attacks
The family of S. Marille are all killed in a 'freak accident'.  A railroad-owned wagon carrying a few jars of nitroglycerine exploded as it passed by their home in town.  Everyone but Marille was killed instantly.  She just happened to be in the right place at the right time, protected from the blast. Now, young Marille is an orphan and alone.

The heart of the demon attacks are to inspire a sense of loneliness, and the feeling that money will solve the problems that have been caused.

2c:  The Demons want the Sin to become Habitual
Outside the town, the Demons ensure that rumors of the whore of the town are spread.  Every time the railroad men come through town, more of them seek Althea's company.  As a result, Althea comes into enough money to fell rich, or she sees enough to see riches in her future.

Marille is a long-time friend of Althea.  Althea comforts her after the loss of her family, and volunteers her own home (B. Pleasant's home) for her to come to.  Eventually, Althea convinces Marille that she too should become a prostitute.

3a:  False Doctrine
Althea and Marille have come to the incorrect conclusion that the King of Life has placed the profession of prostitution in front of them as compensation for their losses.  They know that what they are doing is held as wrong by the rest of the Faithful, but they firmly believe that they have been set apart.

3b:  Corrupt Worship
Althea and Marille have been offering regular daily praise to the King of Life, thanking him whenever they make good money for their work.

3c:  The demons want the false doctrine to win over other people
With more and more railroad men coming into town every month, Althea and Marille have been considering talking to Sister Electa, a young woman from outside of the faith whom they believe will make a great third to their cause.

3d.  That's about as far as it's gotten.  There isn't a third yet, so there is no False Priesthood as yet.

4a:  False Priesthood.  Three or more worshippers make a cult.  Who is the cult leader, and who are the cult?

4b:  Sorcery.  What does the cult have the demons doing?

4c:  The demons want someone to kill someone.

5:  Hate and murder.  Eventually someone kills someone.  Who and how?

6a:  What does each named person want from the Dogs?
Brother Pleasant wants the Dogs to support and inspect his theory that Derrik has obtained all the 'fine' things he has through illicit means.  He'll even go so far as to suggest sorcery, but not directly.
Brother Derrik doesn't understand Pleasant's anger and resentment towards him, and he'd like the Dogs to settle things between them.  
Sister Althea is out right afraid of the Dogs.  She'd like nothing better than for them to move on and never see them again.
Sister Marille on the other hand, has no fear of the Dogs.  While she won't come right out and volunteer the idea that prostitution is her gift from the King, she certainly won't make any attempt to conceal it if questioned.
Sister Electa is a single young woman who's simply been unlucky in love.  She's pretty enough, but simply hasn't drawn the attention of any of the boys of the town.  She's beginning to wonder if the King doesn't have something else in mind for her future.
Sister Ninea would love some attention from the Dogs, but she's too afraid of what Pleasant would say if she spent too much time with them, so she'll avoid them.  What she secretly desires is for the Dogs to bring violence that would include Pleasant.
Brother Jada just wants some attention.  Especially from any men amongst the Dogs.  

6b:  What do the demons want?  What do they want from the Dogs?
The demons want to set up a regular brothel here in Clement's Patch.  From the Dogs they'd like nothing better than for them to leave.  Barring that, they'll gladly possess Marille in an effort to seduce and/or kill the Dogs.

6c:  If the Dogs never came, what would happen?
If the Dogs never came, then Althea, with a little help from Marille and her demons, will eventually convince Electa to join them.  A subtle False Priesthood will form between the three.  The demons will find some way for Pleasant to find out that his only daughter is a prostitute, and will feed the anger within him to lead him on to murder.  Unfortunately for him, the demons are throwing their weight behind Althea, and it'll likely end up he who dies in the street.  Eventually the demons will win out, the town will become clogged with Eastern railroad men and the corrupted women who serve them.  The Faithful will loose their town to vice.

I'm imagining that the timing of this would be better if the railroad men either aren't in town or are just leaving town, or are scheduled to return to town soon.  I don't really want the PCs to get into a direct confrontation with those outside of the faith right away, especially since this isn't about them really.

Anyhow, anything anyone has for commentary, questions, etc would be wonderful.  Like I'd said, I've never run anything like Dogs before, and I'm a bit nervous about it.  Thanks.



It's a great little town! I think you're all set. I've already said in the game text my best advice: play the town, show the good stuff, say yes or roll dice. You'll be fine.

I can't wait to hear how it plays out.

I have some observations about what the various people might want. Please take or leave these as you like, I'm just musing...

The demons want sister Ninea to go ahead and try to kill brother Pleasant. If she finds out what her daughter's up to, she'll blame him, and a fearsome blaming it will be. A screaming, shotgun in the kitchen kind of blaming.

The demons don't want the Dogs to affirm the divine provenance of sisters Althea and Marille's new vocation. It seems like Marille probably does want them to, but is smart enough to realize that it's unlikely. I'd play her as calm, good-natured, well-reasoned, and ultimately a realist: prostitutes and wives are the same, doing their best to provide for themselves with sex as their only resource. I wonder what your Dogs would say to that.

The demons desperately want sister Electa to join the other two, because then it's a cult, one of the girls becomes a sorcerer, and the demons are in a much stronger position. The Dogs' arrival is a problem, there - so the demons may well step pressure up on Electa, hard and fast, as soon as the Dogs show.

Yeah, a great little town. I hope it goes well! I hope that at least once, one of your players gets serious righteous indignation about something you wouldn't've guessed. That's my fave.

Please follow up with how it plays out! I'll be as interested to hear the parts that don't go smoothly as the parts that do.


Eric Provost


Ya know, I probably wouldn't have thought about how the demons will want to up the pressure on Electa when the Dogs arive.  Gold, baby!

Now I've got to put a bit more thought into Electa.  *ponder*

I was wondering if you (or anyone else really) have any advice on opening scenes.  You know, that part where we draw the curtain back on the first act & get things rolling.  See, I'm sure that once it all gets started, the players will chug along on their own steam, but right now, I'm imagining them kind of staring at me, waiting for me to give my usual opening speech to introduce the town.  I'm not sure if I should even do that with Dogs.  But, if I don't, then how do I get the ball rolling?  And if I do, then what would be a good starting point?  

*heh*  I imagine a description of sister Marille's former home, blown to kindling might get their brains working, and fast...

Dang I think what it really is... I'm having a real hard time letting go of the idea that I need to try to hide things from the players to keep it interesting for them.  It's gonna be a hard habit to break.

Thanks for all the advice, I'm soaking it all up as well as I can, and I'll appreciate any more you've got for me.



Sister Electa is outside the faith? Hm. Would Sr. Ninea already be suspicious or nervous about Althea's relationship with a non-believer? That could be something the Dogs are asked to look into, and could point right at the deeper problems.

I can see Bro. Derrik being totally baffled by the complaints of Bro. Pleasant. I'd play Bro. Derrik as a total stand-up guy, concerned for his neighbor, and a genuinely good man. And he may never show up on-screen.

I'd totally go with your first instinct about the opening scene. You do their scenes in training, then cut to them riding up all unsuspecting on the burnt-out remains of Marille's home. The training scenes really serve to get players into the game, and it's low-stress because everyone sort of thinks it's not the game yet, even though it's major. Good luck.

Eric Provost

Well, unfortunately my Dogs game has been delayed.  I'm hoping to get it all together in the next few weeks to play, and I'll keep everyone posted on how things go... once things are actually going again.




Hi, I liked your little town so much that I stole it for my first DitV game. Went rather well, too. A few things came to mind while analyzing our game afterwards:

1) It's really best to just expose the problems of the community as soon and as plainly as possible. I tried really hard not to hide anything, but still the first half of our session seemed like a cluehunt. You should just trust that the social and moral situation is complex enough to generate content for the whole session.

2) Once you trust background, drive play aggressively with it. Take one sin/injustice/quarrel, make it plain to the players, they will judge it / deal with it, then move on to the next one. Here it may help if there are at least two distinct sources of conflict in the community to give variety. Leave the non-immediate after-effects of the conflict to the epilog, only continue the same scene after the resolution if it directly leads into another crux.

3) The main root of the moral dilemmas should be left unjudged. In this scenario, it served me really well to not really myself know if Brother Derrik truly had more than he should have. Brother Pleasant certainly thought so, with fervor. Brother Derrik certainly didn't, and was all baffled and apologetic about the situation. The heads of other families didn't really think so, but couldn't also say anything definitive. This forced the decision on the dogs, and made sure it wasn't an easy one. It was also an educational experience for us all, to see how all the grief originated without a real culprit, all sides believing to be right.

- Eetu