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[DitV] - Play writeup - Stillwater Branch

Started by Hello Sailor, April 04, 2005, 03:19:25 AM

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Hello Sailor

I really liked Stillwater Branch, posted elsewhere in this forum, so I ran my first Dogs game using it. This was my players' first experience with non-conventional RPGs, so they stuck to some old habits of character design. Until they'd taken fallout a few times, they pretty much kept their traits as "job skills." They played Brother Ezekiel and Sister Elektra.

Ezekiel's player wanted his initiatory conflict to be "I hope I stopped a family member from killing someone." So, I had his married sister send him a letter while he was in training: her new husband was very abusive and she was considering taking her own life. The raising and seeing was done through hastily-written letters (I made her town and Bridal Falls about a day's ride away), until Ezekiel ran out of dice. He then broke his training and rode all through the night to try and talk to his sister in person, gaining his dice for physical activity, riding, and the horse. I was pretty low on dice by this time and didn't think his sister would escalate, so I gave.

Elektra's conflict was "I want to prove I'm the best student at shooting while riding." I narrated that there had been a competition between the Dogs-in-training and it was down to Elektra and one other student. The other student took his shot and missed, so Elektra had to make the shot to win the competition and the conflict. She had a ton of dice on her side, I didn't stand a chance.

On to the branch. The Steward's daughter and her husband met the Dogs. They emphasized that they spoke for the Steward and wanted the authority to make the arrangement permanent, while hoping there was "something the Dogs could do" for the ailing Steward. The Dogs chose to go try and speak to the Steward. His wife stopped them at the door, saying her husband just needed to be left alone a while. Conflict! They argued at the door for a while, then she ran out of dice and escalated to trying to slam the door shut. Ezekiel escalated and pushed his way in, dealing her significant fallout from doing so. They won the conflict shortly afterwards, then launched a follow-up (and taking the wife's fallout dice) to get her view on what was going on in the town. She broke down quickly and told them everything she knew.

At this point, they wanted to interrogate the Steward. He'd certainly heard everything from the previous two conflicts and the Dogs had already won two conflicts in the house - I wanted to push the plot forward, so the Steward submitted to the Dogs' judgement without much of a fuss. They took an approach I hadn't really expected: they said the Steward should take back his authority and should straighten out his daughter and son-in-law on his own, because that was his job as Steward. I'd expected they'd get more involved in restoring the Steward to power.

At this point, Elektra's player was fairly content to let Ezekiel make most of the decisions, so I turned the heat up a bit. I told her that Brother Hiram was her uncle who she hadn't seen in a long time and that she remembered him as very stern and strong in the faith. In the creation of Stillwater Branch, he was a drunk out hunting for the mountain people. Elektra rode off on her own to try and talk to him. She met her cousin (who she didn't know existed, ICly) working the fields outside Hiram's farm. He told her that Hiram had ridden off drunk with his rifle. Elektra rode back to town to find Ezekiel.

Once there, the Dogs stayed just long enough to stand in authority with the old Steward as he solemnized the marriage his son-in-law had performed without authority. Then, they rode off in search of Hiram. I launched the conflict "Do you find Hiram before the mountain people kill him?" and watched them sit like "whoa" for a second. The conflict didn't last long, I used the general conflict dice and rolled badly. The Dogs came upon Hiram pinned down by four mountain people, but yet unharmed.

They tried to talk to the mountain people first, but they weren't in the mood to talk. Guns were fired, arrows were shot, and stone tomahawks were brought into play. Everyone took a lot of fallout, in d8s and larger. Hiram and the mountain people definitely needed medical attention, Ezekiel started out injured and lost his roll to recover on his own, and Elektra made her self-recovery roll.

Elektra had some healing-related traits, so Ezekiel let her take the healing conflicts. Hiram was first and she took care of him without much trouble. Ezekiel was a different matter. I rolled the opposition dice and gave them to his player to raise and see Elektra. Things were looking bad, Elektra's player was grasping at improvised items dice. Finally, she saw the latest raise. They both had one die remaining: Elektra 1, Ezekiel 5. It was her turn to raise and everyone forgot about "reversing the blow" in the excitement. At least, I forgot and if they remembered, they didn't say anything. Anyway, she raised, Ezekiel saw, and he couldn't raise back, so she won the conflict.

They left the mountain people for dead and rode back to Hiram's farm, which is where we stopped the game - it was getting late. They both agreed it was a fun game, wanted to play again, and that there was more in the branch to resolve, so we'll finish Stillwater off next weekend.