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[DitV] Temperance and Accountability

Started by khelek, May 04, 2006, 10:28:14 AM

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[DitV] Temperance and Accountability

Executive Summary: A long post, more about our personal discovery of Conflict Resolution during DitV play, than the story that played out.

This is the Actual Play from last night's DitV game. This is my first play of DitV, and my fellow players had never heard of it before, they came with the knowledge that it was 'Sort of a Western.' The crew involved two players, that until recently had been in a two year Vampire (yeah WW) game, which has just recently folded. They have had no experience with indie RPGs in general, and had never seen a Conflict Resolution system in action before. I have had only limited experience (I am trying to get more!) via Burning Wheel (Thanks Rafial!) and a single session of TSOY (Thanks JHarper!).

This was a last minute decision so I hunted though the premade towns on the forums and found one that I liked, Spring's Ford Gulch ( I read through it, and took some notes of my own, and fleshed out a few additional characters, a Steward and wife combo, some Fathers of characters, and a group of possessed Mountain Folk that were being used by the demons to cause strife, and were working with Jorge to carry supplies back to their people (he had no idea about the possession thing).

The players got together, the first question asked was "What Classes are available?" (I give him props for thinking about the game and excitement for playing!). My answer - "Well, there is only one class, Dogs, we will get to that in a minute."

I ran though the setting, the people, the Branches, the Stewards, the Faith. Then I introduced the Dogs, as sort of Faithful Lawmen, trained to root out heresy. It went quick, within 20 minutes they understood, and we moved on.

Before we made characters I wanted to give them a sense of how the dice flowed, so they could how traits tied in. I ran a mock scene with no prep – "You want to stop me from going home to shoot my wife" Named some Stats and Traits we might have and started a bidding war. That took ten minutes. They did not quite understand fallout just yet, but got everything else.

We made characters! They flowed slowly due to the nature of Traits. (They had never seen a Trait/Skill system like this.) We talked about their past, and I offered up sentences, they started getting into it. We had Traits like: Crack-shot, Always Hits the Bulls Eye, Likes to get to the Bottom of Things, Good with Animals. I say it was a good mix. Relationships flowed and they were very excited about the saved Available Dice. On to Belonging! I told them to give me maybe six, and don't worry about the Coat for now. They were stunned that they could give them any dice they wanted, one selected one of each type, the other went more middle of the road.

We discussed Dog Initiation (it had been brought up doing Trait selection), and as one character was an orphan, and the other converted Mountain Folk, I asked them who made their Coats. We got some good idea about designs, and their past (pulled from their relationships, and got two good Coats out of it.

Character Creation took maybe 30 minutes, including the Achievements, we were ready to go. From 'Sort of like a Western' to 'I am Brother Joshua, converted Mountain Folk with a trained Harris Hawk, who needs to focus on my and other people's Temperance,' in just over an hour! Nice Lumpley! The only game quicker that I have played was Pixie (a two page RPG from Dragon back in the 80's maybe?).

Our Dogs-

Brother Joshua – Born to the Mountain Folk, Converted in his early-teens, and raised by a faithful after his conversion. Is quick to draw, but understands temperance is an important trait to have and seeks to instill that in others (initiation trait). Br. Joshua is mainly a gunslinger and tracker. Tamed Hawk.

Brother Arthur – Childe of a Authority Soldier and a Faithful woman, who was exiled when he would not covert. Raised by a town's steward, and overall a very devout preacher man, calm, and social, he seeks non-violent solutions. Carries a Big and Fine Book of Life. Has interest in high ceremony. A pet wolf-hound crossbreed accompanies him everywhere. During initiation he brought his father into the faith, and he and his mother are in the process of being welcomed back among the faithful!

I am not going into a scene by scene, just some highlights, and how we (new players) dealt with the DitV Conflict Resolution System. has all the info on this town, I won't repost it here.

Setting the Scene outside of town, farms, the forked river, a 60-80 person town, everything looks peaceful in this early spring afternoon. I then cut away and introduce a Important Secret of the Faith! I go though, quickly, the Signs of Trouble (Pride – Injustice - ...- Sorcery – Murder/Hate, told them to remember Murder is when two Faithful kill one another; a Federal Authority killing a Faithful is a Demonic Attack!). Back to the town!

Rode in, found the Steward, asked him how things are going... Find out about Mountain Folks attacking, about a young man that be drinking too much, and that there is a room above the Carter Dry Goods Store. They pick up on the Demonic Attacks immediately, the drinking (Sin/Injustice?)... they will address later, as he is the cousin of Brother Arthur. They agree to give a sermon at the Meeting Hall tomorrow, and find out about the tension regarding the MP.

At the burned cabin, they hunt around.. was it Murder? Did a Faithful do this? Found some tracks and we have our first Conflict! The World vs Brother J. I set the stakes (this is the first time they have heard of Setting of Stakes! I had to ask what do you want out of this? First they wanted to track the group that attacked them... we discussed it and we got to 'We want to know who (mountain folk or faithful) and how many, attacked this farm' vs. 'if you fail you will not know for certain who attacked the farm'. By the end of the conflict they we getting into the narration sequence of events. Introduced helping dice (the Wolf/Hound is a good tracker) and saw how a Task turns into a Conflict and the World can be shown to have interest against the characters!

I have read about this, but never experience it myself, worked awesomely. Though I could seem them throughout the night, though especially early on reaching for dice when describing a task, and looking at me weird when I just said 'Yes'.

BTW – it was a mountain folk attack – maybe 10 of them.

Back into town, they go looking for their room, but run across Cornelius (Drunk, in love with a married woman) They talk to him, see that he is drunk, and want to wring out where he gets his liquor from and why he is drinking (They set stakes without thinking about it this time, this got more common as the night went on, though occasionally I had to make sure they were set). This Just Talking conflict was escalated to Physical, but then quickly completed. One character escalated with the NPC, the other refused to do so, as he did not want to fight. They find that a local MP (Jorge) is giving him liquor, and that Cornelius is in love with a married woman, and has broken off his engagement to a woman he has been courting). They take his liquor and send him home, they promise to get to the bottom of this (Cornelius is asking them to annul the marriage, but is not willing to initiate more conflict at this moment).

Off to find the Mountain Folk in their temporary camp outside of town, it is dark and their hungry. They find Jorge and his 7 friends (the possessed posse). They initiate conflict (Stop selling the boy liquor vs I will do what I want, stay out of my business). They get to the point that Jorge has to give or escalate. There is tension all around, his friends speak no normal tounge (not English) so haven't got involved yet, but is it turns physical, they will all start a ruckus... Jorge decides to back down, but he seems unhappy. He might still cause some trouble, they head back to town.

During the previous conflicts the players have discovered the wonders of Relationships, they are now dropping relationships to Groups, to people, they have taken some fallout and now have Traits like 'I once new love as well – 1d4.' In just a few hours we have picked up the system and ran with it. I like the NPC creation, and have the making of traits up as I go. Setting Conflict Stakes is direct, and did not interfere with the story (like I feared); rather they focused the conflict (like everyone at the Forge claims they would).

The Dogs have found Injustice and Sin, Demon Attacks, but they have not found the source of it all... Pride. They think it might be Cornelius and his love for Emiline (the married woman) but are not convinced. When they get to the Carters (to ask for a room) every alarm in their heads go off, they see Jebidiah Carters' Pride (in his store) and the tension in the household. They quick share a glance and realize that they need to remove the pride, and stop the sins and injustice before it gets worse.

The next day, they give a sermon about the necessity of forgoing pride in things and focusing on family. We initiate Conflict! Stakes: The Sermon Touches the Town (and the Dogs get 2d8 for the next conflict with someone who has heard their statements) vs. 'the town is unmoved the NPCs get 2d8 to the next conflict. The player rants and raves about Pride, and Family and Duty! The town: sees the humble beset by things not their fault, they are oblivious to their Pride, and it is someone else's problem to solve! The Demonic Influence is rolled, don't you worry! Brother A finishes; the town is moved, some are crying (Emiline, who has committed adulatory), Jebidhia, is concerned (he seems some of his Pride at work) But how will the Dogs use this edge they have gained?

After the Sermon Cornelius's former betrothed comes up to Brother A and tells him her fear! That Emiline is ensorcling the men of this town! She has come from another town (Hollow Canyon), and is driving her husband to work to hard to keep her satisfied, Cornelius has fallen for her evil charms and lost all sense of right and wrong, and she even has seduced a Mountain Man (Jorge from last night) to share her bed!

The Dogs are now worried that there is Sorcery here! There maybe a False Priesthood and Corrupt Worship! Emiline is the focus of it all, her Pride may have driven a wedge into the town. She moves quickly from Victim to Adversary!

They meet some people for breakfast and see the tension in the town increase the MP are not too be trusted, they have 10 people who will join them if fighting starts. They tell them to relax, we will let you know.

They go to find Jorge, he is nowhere to be found. They go to the Carters, and Emiline come to the door, while some one leave out the back! Brother J chases, while Brother A talks to her about the situation (they now know that she is sleeping around, but how far does it go?). We have a split scene as Brother J chases Joshua down and they argue, Emiline is crying her eyes out about the problems at home, and her need for comfort (she is bewildered about Cornelius, and wants him to marry that girl (the one that called her a Witch no less!).

Brother J draws his gun (to intimidate him into coming back with him to discuss things) Jorge attacks with knives and Brother J shoots him in the leg. At the same time Emiline admits to adualtry and that she is carrying Jorges Child, she and Brother A run to the scene of the fight after gun shots are heard.

Jorge's fallout is bad... he is seriously injured. The Barber is called, but Brother J is used to "Living off the Land" where one has to know about injuries. He tries to heal Jorge with a laying on of hands and mountain folk remedies but Jorge does not heal and he bleeds out while being cradled in Emiline's arms.

Conflict was fast and the dying scene was poignant. The players have been willingly been taking Social fallout to get some more traits and experience. They see how quickly Gun fighting can be Very Very bad.

They enter conflict with Emiline's husband, he has to take the child and raise it own his own as his pride drove her from him, he is none to happy about the Dogs making him keep his adulterous wife, but the two of them win, and threaten him with a return visit in a year if he tries anything.

They leave the town satisfied that they have solved the problems, or that the rest will sort themselves out (it was 2AM in real time).


We loved it! The resolution was quick, rather than prolonged. They conflict kept things focused. I was worried that the system would be too strange, they took it is quickly. The players really liked the social aspect of the game, and the escalation process. They got good at throwing in traits. The narrating the Sees and Raises really struck a cord in them, and they were fully narrator (some times I had to stop them) after just a few conflicts.  The quickness really shocked us, as in Vampire a single fight may take up most of the night, and not have nearly the same Bang as a small social conflict in DitV.

We planned a single session, but they wanted to keep their characters and take their experience and reflection fallout incase we play again soon. A great experience for us, all around.

The only complaint was the inability to enter into a conflict that was ongoing, though we recognized the reasons for the system being the way it was.

It was interesting to watch two players who are non-religious, liberal thinkers take on the personalities of Doctrine focused conservative Dogs. It was fascinating to hear them just judge people for things that I know they don't believe themselves. Very immersive.

I guess my biggest amazement is to see the difference between Vampire and DitV, with the same players. How the two styles bring out very different play styles in the same people.

Thanks, Vincent for a great game, we will use it again soon.




For people's frustrations at not being allowed to join conflicts, I strongly recommend the collapsing-time method: "okay you two, the rest of this conflict has to totally play out before Brother Erving can get his gun out of its holster. If you can't come up with raises and sees that fit in that split second, you have to give. Go!"