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[DitV] Boxelder Canyon Branch with new-to-RPGs player

Started by LostSoul, December 14, 2007, 05:16:28 AM

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I played DitV last weekend with my girlfriend.  She had never played an RPG before.

We're hanging out on Saturday.  We had spent the previous day together and had planned a "do nothing" day, so we're relaxed and casual.

I ask her out of the blue, "Wanna play D&D?"


"Actually, let's play Dogs in the Vineyard."

"Okay..."  She's a little unsure what's expected of her, but she's ready to try it out.

We lie down on my bed with the book and a notepad.  Start off with character creation: "Pick a background," I said.

She had some problems with the method of assigning dice to Stats (I think it was the jargon xdx that threw her), but once we finished that she had no problem.  She ended up with Acuity 3, Hart 5, Body 2, Will 3.

On to Traits.  We stumbled a bit at first.  I asked her what her backstory was, and she told me about a girl with 6 brothers who lost her mother at a young age.  She was raised like a boy.  This led to the Trait "I know how to scare men 3d10."  Once we had that down, the others came quickly:
"I wasn't treated as a girl 1d6"
"I know how to paint 1d6"
"I have a special connection to animals 2d8"
"I have two sides to my personality 2d8"
"I know how to sew 1d6"

She chose a relationship with her younger brother "Newton 2d8".

Things were interesting.  We were rolling at this point and I was really liking what she was coming up with.  I know from what she said later that she picked up on my enthusiasm.
Orange, red, black, cream-coloured coat, with deatils some embroidering, beading 2d6
Gun (rifle) 1d4+2d8
Book of Life 1d6
Horse 2d8
Small jar of earth 1d6
Picture of my mother 1d6 (she mentioned that she keeps it hidden)
Sketchbook 2d6
Heart locket 1d6 (left empty)
Chewing tobacco 1d4

Wicked.  We give her a name; she laughs at the ones in the book.  Settles on Almena.
Dave Lucas


Initiation.  I read over some of the stuff in the book; she asked to read it herself, so I gave the book to her.  She decided to go with an example: "I want to learn to control my temper."

We take sides, her as Almena is, me as Almena wants to be.  I frame a scene with Almena in town and some girly-girls teasing her, then I realize I'm not on the right side.  So I re-frame.

Almena meets her younger brother Newton after her class to walk him home.  Almena's complaining about her teacher.  "Newt" says to "Allie", "I wish you wouldn't be so angry all the time.  It's not very girly."  I forget how this played out, except that she won the conflict quickly.  Her last Raise was something along the lines of, "Why don't you shut up, Newt?"  The new trait was "I have a bad temper 1d6".

I'm really having a blast, so I ask her if she wants to play another scene.  We go ahead with it.  I pick a sample town from the book, Boxelder Canyon.

I describe Almena coming to Boxelder Canyon on her horse, snow covering the red earth, spotting the lights from the town off in the distance.  "You've been sent here to figure out what happened to the church.  It burnt down, and that's not supposed to happen."

She describes Almena going to the site of the burned down church, getting off her horse and walking through the ashes.  Almena finds the cross in the dust, then screams, "Who did this!" and fires off a round. 

I'm watching, smiling enthusiastically, saying "Awesome!"

Brother Benjamin (the uncle of Brother Benjamin in the book's writeup) comes over to Almena.  I describe the burn marks on his face and his bandages.  "I know who did it," he says.  "I was the Steward."

"Take me to him!"

So they head off to the Steward's house.  They look through a window and see the Steward (we never gave him a name, we called him "Steward") and his "Indian" (didn't use "Mountain Folk") grandmother.  She's peacefully knitting in a rocking chair.

"She's the one what done it," Benjamin says, pointing to the grandmother.  "<racial slur> curse."

Almena tries to speak with Steward alone, but Benjamin isn't having it.  My girlfriend describes Steward's grandmother getting up and leaving - and I almost said, "No, you can't do that, she's an NPC"! - and I described Benjamin slapping the grandmother and throwing out more racial slurs.  He keeps telling Almena to do her duty now, but she doesn't want to, she wants to speak with the Steward alone, which means we have a conflict.

Insults are slung back and forth, and my girlfriend decides to have Almena grab Benjamin by the neck.

Now I should point out here that we were "learning by playing", which is how I like to learn things, asking questions as I go, so I guess it's how I teach as well.  My girlfriend didn't know that you get more dice if you escalate, but I explained it to her as we went.

Back to the fiction.  Benjamin punches Almena; my girlfriend decides to have Almena Take the Blow ("I just take it", she said, though maybe it could have been a Block of "I can take it" toughness instead... oh well).  Then she pulls out her gun and shoots him in the testicles.  "So that he can never have kids again, and pass on his evil ideas."

Benjamin has to Take the Blow.  Now he has only two ones left, so he gets out one last curse, "That Dog's crazy violent, don't go anywhere near her!"  But her Reversal is just, "The Steward leaves him in the street and no one helps Benjamin and they leave him there."

We quit there - more or less - my girlfriend talked about how she and the Steward were meant to be together and would get married, and I said, "Maybe not - maybe there are problems because you're a Dog and he'd expect you to quit your job and settle down with him.  But we'd have to play more to find out!"

Then I remembered - Fallout!  She rolled long-term, and picked a Relationship: "Steward 1d4".

We wrapped up then.  I told her I had a great time.  She enjoyed herself as well.  "That's D&D," I said, "That's what I do every Thursday night." 

We talked about how we could both see the town and the cottage in our mind's eye; how we saw things, how they were different.  I started talking about the choices she made and that she could have done anything that she wanted to, being a Dog.  She seemed pretty happy Almena did the right thing.

Good times.  Hope to play with her again some day.
Dave Lucas



Quote from: LostSoul on December 14, 2007, 05:16:28 AM
This led to the Trait "I know how to scare men 3d10."

Quote from: LostSoul on December 14, 2007, 05:17:19 AM
Then she pulls out her gun and shoots him in the testicles.

That's about the most convincing display of a Trait I've ever heard.


Mike Lucas

Awesome stuff bro. This inspires me to pull out Dogs and ask Kristen (my wife, never RPed before) to give it a go.

It's really neat that, lacking any "PCs / NPCs" gamer baggage, Colleen naturally narrated the NPCs doing stuff. Also, it seemed like she didn't shy away from conflict at all, in fact she moved toward it. Cool.

Vincent: Dogs is the game that for both Dave and me, opened the door to this other world of RPGs that fit our play-style so much better. So thank you!

- Mike