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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 184 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] Our Third Session - Oak Bluffs  (Read 1818 times)

Posts: 6

« on: March 25, 2005, 09:26:54 PM »

The thing that struck most about tonight's town was the degree to which the characters behaved in completely unexpected ways, even mine.  (Some of you may know that I was attempting to play a character and GM, with mixed results).  This was our third session, and because our first two Our First Session and Our Second Session had been relatively mild, I wanted to see how something a little more violent would go.  I actually started with an opening scene, where the steward leads a mob in hanging a man, just as the dogs arrive, and built the town from there.  I also tried to create areas where there would likely be conflict between the dogs, which was aided by the straighforward self righteousness of Gabriel, and the ability of the sinner's to potentially draw sympathy from Imiah and Solomon.  
In order to get the post to make sense, I'm going to lay out the town as I had envisioned it, with what expectations I had, as well as what acutally happend.  
The regional steward, Ishmael, is hanged by a mob, just as the dogs arrive.  The local steward, who leads the mob, explains that Ishmael was charged with raping a young (15) woman, and that with the sheriff out of town, the mob felt it neccessary to deliver swift justice.  He is very vaugue  on the nature of evidence, it becomes clear that while Ishmael neither protested his innocence nor confirmed his guilt.  The victim cannot be found, but the dogs are directed at her friend, the local stewards daughter, Rebecca.  The local steward also requests their help with the town doctor, who has been withdrawn on himself, since an accident killed his wife a year ago.  He explained that that accident had also killed the parents of the rape victim, and Ishmael's second wife, after which Ishmael had taken in the young orphan.  (It is worth noting that the Gabriel was related to the regional steward, thought of him as a paragon of virtue, and was seething rage the whole time).  
Gabriel, unsurprisingly, went to talk to Rebecca.  I had expected one of the more level headed dogs to come with him, while Imiah and the other level headed dog went to go deal with the doctor, or find the alleged rape victim.  Instead, Imiah went with Gabriel, while Malachi and Solomon went to see what happened to the doctor.  
The doctor, they discovered, had turned to drink to cope with the death of his wife, but even drunk he seemed more 'with it' than the mob, or the local steward.  He did not, however, want to talk about his problem, and conflict ensued.  Malachi and Solomon talked him around, Solomon again turning toward non-violent physical, with a compassionate hand on the shoulder, and the doctor caved.  His wife had been the best part of his life, and her death in the accident had tried his faith to the breaking.  Sober, he craves help, but alone, he keeps returning to liqour, and the relief that it brings, and drinking intensifies his bitterness, and leads him to blame the king of life.  The dogs threw out his liquor and promised to help, but didn't tell him about the events in town.  He told them that he had been getting his liquor from the local sheriff, who had been flirting with Rebecca lately, and was fond of whoring in general, and Malachi and Solomon split up.  Malachi to find the other two dogs, and tell them the sketch news, Solomon to search the home of the sheriff.  At this point we turned back to Imiah and Gabriel, who found Rebecca pacing in her room at home.  That she was up to something was immediately obvious, and conflict quickly ensued helped along by Gabriels immediate hatred for his cousin's accuser, and Imiah's sympathy.  She was not only a sinner, she was a sorceress, and she put up the strongest fight we've seen yet.  Imiah was quickly won over to Gabriels righteous anger, as Rebecca progressed from defensive and bitchy to bitchy and callous.  They escalated to physical and then figting trying to get information out of her, and just when she seemed to be losing, she allowed herself to be posessed, and attacked them.  I hadn't expected us to get too heavily supernatural too quickly, but when Rebecca's dice allowed her to block Gabriel's point blank shot in the face, the only workable narrative was to have the bullet fail to penetrate, so it melted on her face.  After that, her dice were finally fading, so she threw Imiah at Gabriel, turned, and ran through the wall, and out into the street.  From the second story.  Gabriel shot at her again, and this time it worked, he blew her leg off, and she dropped, defeated and dying.  Her providing a true account of what she knew about the situation had been the stakes, and as the dogs approached (joined by Malachi, who arrived just in time), she asked them not to heal her, and begain to explain.  She had fallen in love with Obedience (the orphaned girl), but had been turned down, because homosexuality is sinful.  She had persuaded her father, the local steward, of the rightness of her feelings, and he had helped her persuade the town.  When Ishmael had taken in Obedience, however, he had become taken with her, and begun courting her.  Rebecca had attempted to dissuade Obedience, but with decreasing success.  She had turned to the sheriff, trying to convince him to falsify charges against Ishmael, but he had turned her down, so she had abducted Obedience, and told her father that Ishmael had raped her.  She told them that she had left Obedience at the sheriff's house, unharmed.  The dogs didn't heal her, and we felt that was worth few dice of emotional fallout, simply because of the difficult internal decision, and headed for the sheriff's house.  Solomon found Obedience, got her side of the story, told her what had happened, and convinced her not to seek vengance (No conflict needed, although it was a tough call).  The rest of the dogs arrive, explaining goes on, and then, surprise surprise, the sherrif arrives.  He gets told the gist, and he says that he will look into matters, but the dogs may have to stand trial for murder before a territorial judge.  The dogs go into a huddle, to debate their options.  Gabriel, self righteous and strong in his faith, thinks that shooting the sheriff is perfectly reasonable, the others are unsure.  At this point, I had expected the players to face three choices:  a) Kill a member of the territorial authority in cold blood, knowing that he was a sinner and a bad influence on the town, and that there would be basically no repurcussions.  b)Skip town, leaving Obedience in charge of getting the townspeople to help the doctor with his drinking, and doing nothing about the steward's sin.  c)Submit to the justice of the territorial authority.  Gabriel was gunning for a), but unwilling to do so without the consent of the other dogs, who thought b) would be sufficient, when Solomon had a brilliant idea.  He had taken "the king of life works through my hands" as a trait, and it had proved unexpectedly potent in interesting ways, so he decided to see if he could deck the sheriff, and leave him with mild amnesia.  We ran the conflict as being opposed not by the sherrif himself, who would never even see it coming if it worked, but against the general malevolence, with the added idea that if Solomon could win with an extra raise left over, the sheriff would be converted to the faith when he awoke.  To intensify the effect, Solomon hit him with his copy of the book of life, and we ran the conflict as occuring in the time it took his arm to conver the distance.  Solomon won the conflict with more than enough left over, so the sheriff was converted, and the imprint of the Tree on the front of Solomons book branded the sheriff's face.  The degree to which the effect surprised Solomon, as well as the inherent cool factor of the effect, was the high point of the night, after that, it was simply a matter of getting the doctor off the wagon (handled by Imiah, as a drawn out conflict, with complete success), passing judgement on the steward (sent him to bridal falls, to serve in whatever capacity the ancients felt appropriate), selecting a new steward (the doctor, helped by his experience, proved an able candidate), and explaining it all to the town.  
I will not attempt to GM a session with my character in it again, even putting aside the problems of needing somone else to play Gabriel in conflicts, and avoiding having Gabriel act as avatar of the GM, or take advantage of out of character knowledge, just trying to narrate both parts was too much of a divide on my attention.  Rotating GMs has worked well, and we will doubtless continue doing that, but one character will always be out of the loop.  
More analysis later maybe, I'm tired.  One final note: My fiendish attempt to play the dogs sympathies against each other has resulted instead in stronger bonds between them.  They seem to naturally work together, and the difference of opinions between Gabriel and Imiah in particular makes them both behave more moderately when the other is around.  This bears further exploration.  These characters are fascinating, and they are already begining to behave in ways that we, their creators, did not expect.  This is my favorite aspect of the game thus far.  

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.  (Asimov)
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