Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[DitV] Joshua's Peak (Part 1)

Started by daftnewt, October 14, 2008, 02:49:39 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Yesterday I ran my first Dogs in the Vineyard town for my nascent gaming group (may it flourish!).  I've fiddled with the system before, but never sat down and tried to run it straight the way it's supposed to be done.

I browsed the forum on The Forge looking for nifty towns, and found a half dozen I thought would make good starters.  After I'd arrived at Andreas' house and taken stock I selected this simple little town,

which I named Joshua's Peak.

The characters are:

Brother Obediah (Wesley Moynihan)

(Complicated Community)


Acuity: 4d6
Body: 3d6
Heart: 3d6
Will: 5d6


The King of Life has all the answers - 2d8
Always wary - 2d6
I'm a Dog - 1d6
I love but I haven't been loved - 2d6
Friend of the downtrodden - 1d6
I've learned to connect to others - 1d6*


Brother Zachary who taught me about the King - 1d10

(Unspent: 1d10, 2d8, 2d6, 4d4)


Coat: A kind of oxblood colour with yellow and blue suns, 2d6
Gun, 1d6+1d4
Jar of consecrated earth, 1d6
Big excellent Book of Life, 2d8
Horse, 1d6
Excellent prayer beads, 2d6

Brother Elijah (Troy Leaman)

(Strong History)


Acuity: 4d6
Body: 2d6
Heart: 2d6
Will: 5d6


Death is my nursemaid - 2d10
Banish the unbidden - 2d8
Beloved of animals - 3d6
Gaze of eagles - 2d8
A hound that serves without qualm - 2d10
Beat one demon - 1d6
Pour oil on the water - 1d6


My teacher - 1d8
Capt. Abrams - 1d8 (commanded the T.A. soldiers that killed my folks)
Br. Absalom - 1d6

(Unspent: 2d6, 1d4)


Coat: 2d6 (I can't read Troy's handwriting)
Horse, 1d6
Gun, 1d6+1d4
Book of Life, 1d6
Jar of consecrated earth, 1d6
My father's watch, 2d6
One-demon box, 1d6 (The demon's sitting on a "7" for followup)

Brother Absalom (Andreas Davour)

(Complicated History)


Acuity: 6d6
Body: 3d6
Heart: 4d6
Will: 2d6


I'll never forgive myself - 1d4
Angelic face - 2d4
I'm a Dog - 1d4
Faith, because there is no alternative - 1d10
Voice of gold - 2d6
Doubts - 1d4
My soul is tainted by sin - 1d6


My sister, the witch - 1d8
My brother-in-law, the shepherd - 1d6
My brother Dog, Elijah - 1d6


Coat: Sky blue, with a golden sun and pearls for stars, 2d6
Poor horse, 1d4
Excellent gun, 2d6+1d4
Book of Life, 1d6
Jar of consecrated earth, 1d6
Lock of my sister's hair in a silver locket, 2d6

Only Brother Elijah and Brother Absalom were with us.  We figured Brother Obediah's horse had lamed in the last town and he'd stayed behind.

I still have trouble with the way Dogs front-loads the plot instead of making the players work to find out what's going on.  I decided I'd really make an effort with Joshua's Peak to dump it all in their laps.

So, taking some advice from further down the thread I had Lavinia meet the Dogs on the outskirts of town.  News had preceded them, and here she came all smiles and apple cheeks in her Sunday best with a hamper full of her fresh-baked muffins, bottles of lemon-barley water, and some jars of last year's preserves.  And they sat right down on an old fence, while their horses took a roll in the grass, and ate up.

And she told them everything, everything.  Why not? In her mind she hadn't done anything wrong, and it was all wonderful.  She was just bubbling with the news of her impending marriage.  And what she and Hiram done in the hay barn *giggle* ...well, she knew it was a teensy-weensy little sin except that they were getting married so it was all right.  Right?

She was a little bit anxious about that but the Dogs told her yes it was okay if she was getting married.  And the players looked at me and I looked at them and we understood each other.

Anyway, she even told them about Br. Josiah, poor boy, and how her father didn't like Hiram and all.

So they walked into town with Lavinia chattering beside them and the whole town met them in their best clothes and there was a welcome feast and Br. Ezekiel the Steward made a speech and they delivered the mail and everybody was right glad to see them.

They kept their eyes open and I was plain about which people seemed unhappy - Br. Hiram, Br. Edward, and Br. Josiah.

Br. Hiram, I told them, looked and sounded very full of himself and seemed to be avoiding them on account of they were the center of attention rather than him, and he didn't like that. Ah-hm, said the players.

Br. Ezekiel the Steward was clearly well-respected by everyone.  They went and talked to him and he told them everything he knew, which was that though there was a lot of hard work up here, things were fine, and his son was the apple of his eye and was courting Lavinia.

The Dogs inquired if there'd been any formal arrangement yet and he said no not yet but before long he'd be going to speak with Br. Edward and everything would be fine.  Br. Edward was a bit reluctant, he knew, but he'd come round. And that boy Josiah was a good young man and he'd find another girl.

I managed to make it clear through the way I spoke that Br. Ezekiel was hedging a bit - it was really past the point where there should have been a formal arrangement - and the players looked at each other.

Next they spoke to Lavinia's father Br. Edward, and we had our first conflict.  He came right out and told them he didn't like Br. Hiram one bit and he suspected him of having dishonourable intentions towards his daughter.  He was really worked up about it, and it all came out, and by Heaven the Dogs had to do something about it.

Conflict:  Does Br. Edward make you promise to forbid a marriage between Br. Hiram and his daughter?

This got fought mostly through Talking and a bit of Physical (moving around and strong gestures; I don't think anyone laid a finger) and in course it became clear that Br. Edward was so passionate he was ready to take matters into his own hands if he found out anything unrighteous had passed between "that boy" and his girl.

The players, who knew that something had, were so worried by this that they launched a followup conflict to stop him from doing anything.

At first, they proposed stakes of him leaving it all up to them.  I didn't want that, and with some effort (Troy especially wanted everything to be neat and clean and guilt-free) I bargained them down to:  Does Br. Edward promise to leave Hiram alone as long as the Dogs are here?

I figured, if he finds out Hiram has had sex with his daughter he'd keep his promise by inciting Br. Josiah to violence.

Working together the Dogs won that handily, and I had Hiram Give early so I could keep a nice fat die for myself for any followup.

By this point what with me being late and all the jawing we did before we started playing it was near time to quit, but I had them meet Br. Josiah when they left Br. Edward's house.

He told them everything he knew, which was that he was miserable, he loved Lavinia, and Hiram was stuck-up and full of himself.  Lavinia wouldn't even see him, and that wasn't fair because there was no promise between her and Hiram.  And (I said) what he really wants you to do is make Lavinia love him, but he knows better, so he wants you to promise to make Lavinia receive his courtship.

Sure, the players said, declining to roll dice.  We'll do that.  They thought Br. Josiah seemed promising.

I should have pushed for something more challenging, I suppose - Br. Josiah came out weaker than he should have been all through this scenario - but it was time to stop so I left it there.


All in all it was fun, and the players got engaged.  Troy in particular was a driving force, in spite of trying to play a silent, withdrawn character.  He can't stand injustice, or people being unhappy if he can do something about it.  Andreas, who I hadn't played much with before, turned out to have a nice gift for narration and I was happy in several cases to let him describe what was going on, how folks reacted, how things resolved.

They also tried to do some classic player stuff like Looking for Clues ("I check around to see if there are any family photos in the Steward's house") but I headed them off by having the NPCs spill their guts.

I was slightly surprised by how involved Troy got.  After the game he remained somewhat agitated, making comments about how he was afraid the Dogs would have to burn the town down or shoot everyone.  I think he's used to situations where the moral right is clear; his memories of the last campaign I ran with him must have dimmed!

Anyway, he found the uncertainty about what was best for the young people concerned a bit stressful.  He really wanted things to work out, but wasn't sure if he could make it happen, and was mentally preparing himself for disaster.

I told him I'd picked the simplest most straightforward town I could find, and he should wait 'till I sent them somewhere really difficult. He groaned and waved his arms around :)

I already have the second (concluding) session wrote up, and I'll post it later tonight or tomorrow.

Also, Andreas' three year old daughter was running around the house and sitting with daddy and generally being three years old, and I was pleased at how I was able to run the session around her and even enjoy her being there.  I sure learned a lot teaching kids in Japan!

I'm looking forward to the next session, which should wrap it up.
Glaucôn the Serpent God
a helping hand
in a sock