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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Ayyavazi on May 26, 2010, 03:41:47 PM

Title: [DitV] First Session, a few questions and concerns
Post by: Ayyavazi on May 26, 2010, 03:41:47 PM
Hello all.

This is my first session of Dogs in the Vineyard. I have repositioned my questions up top here, as putting them at the bottom and not including DitV in the title seems to have prevented anyone from responding. First the concerns, then  the character bios, then the town.

Here are my concerns:

1. Is the town grabby enough? My players are having a blast, and everyone thinks its absolutely wonderful how messed up Zachary's family is, and how central they are to the plot.
2. Did I make Jacob too good to be true? Would I have been better off not having a solid candidate the Dogs can get behind, or is this to my advantage? After all, he is not well known in the community, and many parishioners support the Martin's handling of things.
3. Did I handle the initiations well enough? I noticed after the fact that the choice of initiation necessarily limits what stats and traits the characters can call on, and so in some ways hedges the bet. For example, an exhibition played to Hezekiah's strengths, and so he easily used his traits to overcome my limited dice pool, likewise with Zachary. On the same hand, Ada was restricted, being unable to escalate beyond just talking within the confines of a courtroom. (admittedly I realize she had some applicable traits, but we both missed it). Any suggestions on how I could have handled these better?
4. How should I proceed at the Martin's? I have an idea that Daniella and David should confront the dogs, and that Paul will more or less shrug them off and refer them to his wife and son. The Sunday service is in two days, and Ada plans to be officiating instead of Daniella. There is going to be obvious tension. So far I hadn't determined how the demons are attacking the town, so maybe another fire is in order once the dog's intentions are known? Or an angry congregation demanding the dogs leave well enough alone? Any ideas for the demons? How they could attack the town, and how I could embroil the dogs? Also, is the love triangle between Cox, Blackburn and Daniella juicy enough, or does it need something more, like an unexpected pregnancy?

The PCs:

Brother Zachary

Zach has a Complicated Community background. While he was explaining his background, he needed suggestions,so I offered broken family, which he liked. After some discussion, he settled on one of my off hand suggestions: drunkard for a father and a sorceress for a mother. He later developed his family a little further to involve a troubled brother, whom he is at odds with for usurping his Father's role in taking care of the family. This was especially helpful, since I wanted a drunken steward with a sorceress wife for my town already. Now it was all interconnected! The relationships reflect this, and the time he spent in the Territorial Association's Militia has made him into a grim man.

Sister Ada
Ada has a complicated history. As a child she was stolen by cultists and raised to follow their demonic practices. She was rescued by a group of dogs early enough to spare her the worst traumas, and brought to Bridal Falls City to be raised there, where she became a dog out of a strong desire to be righteous (her family was unknown and lost, so she had nowhere to go).  Having no family makes it difficult for me to get people she is interested in for the town, but her relationships and traits focus heavily on demons, cultists and such, so as long as something like that is involved (and isn't it always?) I should be fine. She has a great many traits and relationships devoted to demons and former cult members that she knew, hoping to come into conflict, not return to her former ways.

Brother Hezekiah
Hezekiah is a proud man born to a proud family. He is endowed with many gifts and excels in his position as a dog, his only flaw being his very pride. He has taken plenty of traits and relationships with his horse and guns to make him a bit of a loner character, but he sticks with the dogs, and tends to try to be a leader, since he's the natural choice of course! He has the Strong History background. Also, he has a family complication in which he gets along well enough with his extended family, but his immediate family could barely wait to send him off to Bridal Falls, glad to be rid of the fellow.

The Initiations;

Cain wanted Hezekiah to learn humility, so I set up an exhibition of skills at the training grounds, in which the experts would show him up, and teach him that he still has much to learn. interestingly, I rolled horribly, and managed my dice just as poorly. They handily bested him in sharpshooting, but he took home the prize with his horsemanship, and is now even more proud than he already was, though a little sore about meeting a better gunman.

Cat wanted Ada to have rid herself of her dark past, to be seen for the virtuous woman she was. I devised a court setting in a nearby territorial alliance city, where she would testify against some of the cultists she had formerly been a part of. She rolled poorly, and I rolled ridiculously well. The attorney easily sullied her name, drawing to light her own former cult membership, and calling her authority as a Dog into question, sending her back to Bridal Falls in shame and humiliation.

Nick wanted Zachary to learn the truth about his sister's mysterious death. She had come down sick while he was in the military, and suspected his brother's hand. Outside of the game he informed me that he wanted his brother David to have poisoned her. So I set up an initiation before he left for training, where he confronted his brother about his suspicions. They started off just talking, and neither could gain the upper hand, slinging insults and accusations back and forth. Finally, both of them running out of dice, Zachary escalated to combat, and punched his brother for one of the insult. His brother attacked with the ax he was holding (just the blunt side), but ultimately lost due to Zachary's military training. Sobbing, he admitted to killing his sister as a means of preserving the family. She had become troublesome after Zachary left, and it was all he could do keeping his father and mother in line, that he had to get rid of her somehow. He claimed the poisoning was meant only to weaken her, not kill her, but he knew and Zachary knew that such was a lie.

Double Bridge City
The Steward is none other than Paul Martin, Brother Zachary's Father. He was only recently appointed steward (an interim one until someone arrived to appoint a new one) two weeks after Zachary left for training as a dog, as the old steward had died mysteriously in a fire. He was a drunkard before, but seemed to have cleaned up his act. After bearing the load of steward for a few weeks he went back to the drink, and his wife Daniella and son David have been tending to his duties and offering services ever since. Many of those in the congregation approve of them, and believe them to be doing an exemplary job, given the circumstances. Daniella wants to be stewardess herself, and this is indeed another cult following (as she has already cleaned up her act once). Daniella is also Hezekiah's Aunt. Not only does she want to be stewardess, but she believes she deserves a better husband, a righteous man, and has chosen the younger Michael Cox, a local farmhand who is indeed somewhat righteous. He is not aware of her desires. His only vice is his illicit relationship with Adelei Blackburn, the wife of Caleb Blackburn, a man with a savage temper, and another local farmer.

What everybody wants
Daniella Martin wants to be named Stewardess, and to consecrate her marriage to Michael Cox. She secretly wishes (but is not actively praying) for the death or dis-involvement of Adilei in his life.
Paul Martin wants his wife to be named stewardess and to be left alone to his drunken contemplations
Daniella Blackburn wants her husband's anger (and abuses) to stop, and to be allowed a quiet dalliance with Michael.
Michael Cox wants the Blackburn's marriage nullified, and to marry Daniella himself.
Caleb Blackburn wants Michael dead for sullying his wife.
David Martin wants his brother to leave, and never come back, leaving management of the family in his "capable" hands.

What's Happening

Once we got into the town, the first thing that became apparent was that a drunken steward wouldn't do. So, instead of going to meet the steward (and thus learning of all the juicy things going on) they started interviewing people to be the potential new steward. Speaking first with Adelei, they learned of Michael, whom she recommended as steward, despite his young age. Upon finding Michael, they read him as mostly righteous, with a little something off, and he nominated Caleb Blackburn, whom he admires and sees as a righteous, if somewhat angry, man. Michael's father backs up his choice, but also mentions Jacob Miller, a recently widowed farmer who hasn't been doing well of late, keeps to himself, but is a devout follower of the King of Life, and quite the knowledgeable sort. (this is an NPC I made up on the fly, who ended up being everything a good steward should be). Upon meeting Jacob, the dogs come to pretty much that conclusion (he even humbly suggested that Paul would make a fine steward, if he could just give up the drink, or perhaps Caleb, if his temper could be curbed). The session ended there, with the Dogs on their way to the Martin Household, to confront the interim stewards.

Thanks again for any help,

Title: Re: [DitV] First Session, a few questions and concerns
Post by: Noclue on May 26, 2010, 04:45:10 PM
Hi Norm.

1. If your players are having fun, we can assume it's grabby enough.

2. Well, it's not a very difficult problem to solve right now. Out goes Paul and in comes Jacob. The places you might have play is in how people react to the Dogs attempted switch and who suffers any consequences. Any way to suggest, especially to Zachary, that Paul might actually be worth redeeming?

3. The initiations looked cool. Did they get any cool traits from their initiations? Btw, Ada could definitely have escalated to physical if she had narrated appropriate physical actions in the courtroom.

4. Those ideas are all interesting. As for the Demons, keep pushing for "what would happen if the Dogs didn't come." Also, I didn't see What the Demons Want in your write up. What do they want?