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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] First timers - Tower Creek one-shot  (Read 2575 times)

Posts: 6

« on: July 31, 2006, 06:46:54 AM »

Long time lurker, first time poster.  My name is Reed and I’m in Austin.  I played my first game of Dogs in the Vineyard this weekend and I loved it, despite a few hang-ups that I’ll get to.  I’ve been trying to get people together to play for a while, but having trouble due to scheduling problems.  Of course, when it rains, it pours and I got four players for this game.  I can definitely see why that is the recommended maximum, because there is so much going on with each of the characters.

The participants:
Me, the GM, I currently DM a biweekly Eberron D&D 3.5 game and play in two other Forgotten Realms D&D games.  My only other experience with a Forge game was a one-shot of TSoY, which was fun, but made me conscious of my lack of stake-setting and scene-framing skills.  That system is awesome, though, and I’ll hopefully revisit it at some point as well.

P (Brother Wyatt), the DM of one of my FR games and player in my Eberron game.  Brother Wyatt was well-rounded.  His father was a Dog whose legacy may have been questionable (Trait: Proud Heritage 1d4).  He left Br. Wyatt a Well-used Book of Life (1d4) and “Father’s Winchester Rifle” (2d8).

B (Sister Mabel), wife of P and also a player in my Eberron game.  I knew she would like this system much better than she likes D&D.  Sister Mabel’s mother was an alcoholic and she was bitter about it, but still loved her mom, carrying a picture of her.  She came from a complicated community background, learning to understand people real well (3d6) and convince others to do things my way (2d6).  She had an interesting relationship with “her brown horse, Snowflake” 1d4, a big, excellent horse (2d8).

L (Brother Elijah), plays in one of the FR games with me.  He was the only other player with some non-mainstream game experience and is a big fan of Hero Quest (I need to convince him to run a session for me).  Elijah was the name adopted by the Mountain Folk convert.  He had a complicated history and did not fit in with the Dogs real well (I’m a Dog 1d4).  He was One with Nature (2d10) and bore many other traits, skills, and belongings related to his heritage.

M (Brother Theophilus, Theo the Red), used to play in P’s FR game with me.  He had a strong history as a brawler.  Though he was rough and violent, he hated guns and didn’t want to do any lasting damage to people – a difficult prospect, as we discovered ;)  Some traits were, “I beat people up 3d10,” “I don’t like guns 2d6,” and “I’m never wrong 2d8.”  He also wore a bright, flowing red scarf (2d6) around his neck.

There was some silliness that was a blast, like Brother Wyatt’s initiation, “I hope to overcome my fear of physical combat.”  I said, ok, well, one of the other initiates starts ragging on your dad.  His name is Brother… and I grab the sheet of names, when M interjects, “Sister…”  Br. Wyatt didn’t get beat up by a girl, so he wrote on his sheet, “No one makes me bleed my own blood 1d6.”

Brother Theo’s initiation was, “I hope I help exercise a demon.”  So, he is helping his mentor to exercise a demon from a boy.  He pulls out the consecrated earth and it burns on the boys flesh.  Then the demon says, “I sense you want to kill me in this mortal shell,” because he is totally focused on physical combat, but he comes back with, “No, I just beat people, I don’t kill them.”  I thought that was good, sound reasoning, but I have a question here.

Is that a valid see to bring in his “I beat people up” trait?  In general we let people bring traits and belongings in pretty loosely – whipping out their Book of Life to quote scripture and gaining the dice for the belonging, citing their authority as a dog and gaining their “I’m a Dog” trait dice, etc.  Is that too lax with traits and belongings?

Sister Mabel said, “I hope I learn to be merciful.”  Here we took the advice, where B played Mabel as she was, not merciful, so she would remain that way if she won.  She walked in on another girl stealing her picture of her mother because it was in a nice frame.  She confronted the girl with her sinful ways and, taking the blow, she put the picture back, but retorted with something about Mabel being to prideful and Mabel gave, choosing not to turn the other girl in.  The raise was weak on my part, but B narrated her Give very well.

Brother Elijah said, “I hope I converted one of my Mountain Folk brethren.”  He encountered one that was hunting in the hills outside Bridal Falls City and began trying to convince him to come to Worship with him.  Broken Feather resisted and argued that Brother Elijah had joined with people who have no respect for the land.  He also shot a rabbit with an arrow to demonstrate the freedom of living at one with nature that he had.  Brother Elijah kept at him while he skinned the rabbit.  They argued and Brother Elijah even Took the Blow when Broken Feather made a point about land ownership, but in the end Brother Broken Feather agreed to attend worship and gave Brother Elijah a rabbit’s foot.

Character creation took about an hour and a half.  Then we jumped to the first town – Tower Creek Branch.  As they rode into town, they heard a woman’s scream when they passed a house.  Rushing inside, they found her sitting on a bed, bloody and holding a small stillborn baby boy, umbilical cord still attached.  She was hysterical, but when she saw who they were, she asked them to name her baby because he wasn’t supposed to be born dead.

They immediately suspected demons, partly because Br. Theo always suspects demons, but also because the stillbirth happened over the course of minutes – way faster than it should have.

Brother Wyatt went to fetch the husband from the smithy and encountered the Steward, Br. Nathaniel and his two wives rushing to investigate the screams.  They found the husband and went back to the house, where Sister Bethia, the first wife of the Steward told Sister Edie that she should, “go on home, the Steward needs to deal with this and the fewer people interfering the better.”

So, Sister Bethia was Sister Mabel’s cousin and Sister Edie was Brother Theo’s cousin.  In the house, the midwife and the Steward are attending to the family.  Sister Bethia is telling the dogs that Sister Edie just isn’t right for Brother Nathaniel’s family and that furthermore she’s barren.  She asks them to speak to the Steward and get him to set Sr. Edie aside, “for the good of the congregation.”

When they get a chance, Brs. Wyatt and Theo take Sr. Bethia outside to “have a talk.”  Confrontation:  the stakes are, “Do we get Sr. Bethia to accept Sr. Edie and repent her prideful ways or does Sr. Bethia convince us to intervene with Br. Nathaniel on her behalf.”  Big stakes, but it was a one-shot and it was getting late.

She held out pretty well in the 2 to 1 conflict.  There was one die of demonic influence, since they had learned of the injustice she was doing to Sr. Edie.  Eventually, she said, “This isn’t the right time to discuss this,” and began walking back towards the house (escalating to physical).  Br Wyatt assigned a 2d8 relationship to Brother Nathaniel at this point, but still had to Take the Blow on this.  Brother Theo also escalated to physical and blocked her way.

He whipped off his scarf and wrapped it around her to hold her there to listen to Br. Wyatt’s preaching.  We decided that was probably fighting and she took 3d8 fallout before giving to Br. Wyatt’s raise.  I rolled two eights on her fallout dice and she was in bad shape, having a near heart attack after being assaulted by the dogs.

Br. Wyatt saved her and Br. Theo escorted her home, where he found that Sr. Edie was not there as expected.  We glossed over the aftermath of the physical confrontation with Sr. Bethia (one-shot, late, etc.) and jumped to Br. Elijah trying to track down Sr. Edie.  He was going door to door.  I set it up as a conflict just using 4d6+1d10 of demonic influence.

My second raise was Deputy Cyrus putting a hand on Br. Elijah, accusing him of stealing a Dog’s coat, and attempting to arrest him for disturbing the peace.  Brother Elijah gave on the conflict to find Sr. Edie and initiated a follow-up conflict to get Deputy Cyrus to help him look vs. being arrested.

Br. Elijah briefly tried to explain he was a Dog, then he let his pistol do the explaining.  Br. Cyrus was only too happy to oblige, being influenced by Demons as he was and confronted by this nosey Mountain Folk.

Each of them were hit for 3d10 fallout before Br. Elijah gave to the stakes.  Both of them fell to their fallout, but the other Dogs were rushing in, having heard the gunfire.  Br. Wyatt healed Br. Elijah, finishing with the much applauded line, “You’re not done yet, Dog,” while Sr. Mabel, being decidedly non-merciful, healed Cyrus, digging the bullet out of him with her fingers.

It was late, so we quit here.  We all loved the system.  My biggest issues were that it seemed like we let traits and belongings come into play too easily as described above and that some conflicts were almost pointless, because they were so easy.  I don’t see how a player could ever lose an initiation against 4d6+4d10 or a healing conflict until there are lots of Demonic Influence dice and/or the fallout was huge.

L said he likes more action, but I would put a lot of that on me.  In addition to needing work on my scene-framing and stake-setting skills, I’m too nice.  I need to get meaner when I GM and push the characters more.  My NPCs are too weak.  At least I recognize some of my problems and I am working on them.  A few more games of Dogs and I think I’ll have greatly improved in all three of those areas 

None of us loved the setting, but that was mostly just a general aversion to the religious aspects, and less than egalitarian culture.  We all would like to play the game again, but probably in an alternate setting – cops, mobsters, Jedi, etc.
Those complaints are small though.  In general, this was an awesome break from D&D.  It was easy to grasp, though I wish we’d had more time to play.  After two years, and with my wife soon to deliver our second son, my D&D game is about to end and I am looking for a much less prep-intensive system to run after a couple months.  Dogs, in an alternate setting, will be high on my list of possibilities after this game.
Jason Morningstar

Posts: 1428

« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2006, 07:34:43 AM »

Welcome to the Forge!

It is rare for a Dog to lose an initiatory conflict.   Four Dogs working together are going to get what they want.  Once the demonic influence starts piling up, they can die, though, but the cool thing is that it is always a choice and it always means something.

You should definitely play as hard as you can - use every advantage you can find, use the dice intelligently, have the NPCs forcefully present their needs and demands, and do your best to hand them their heads.  It makes the game a thousand times better. 


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