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Author Topic: [DitV] Another batch of Dogs (my first actual group)  (Read 2857 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« on: October 21, 2004, 02:38:33 PM »

Last Sunday, I sat down with a couple of my regular players and we made up characters for a game of Dogs.  This group and their story doesn't have anything to do with this thread about my kid playing Dogs, but it does have something to do with the Guy with a lot of Guns that I talked about here.  

I was very pleased with the level of focus I got during chargen with my kid, so I adopted basically the same approach with this group:  I went over most of page five and some of page six and seven, then skipped up to the Background notes for a typical Dog on pages 18, 19, and 20 and and notes on atypical Dogs in the page immediately after.   During the rest of chargen, I found that most questions about 'what we do' and 'what X is like' could be easily answered from the book.  Very satisfying and very low handling time, even though I'd only been over the book once all the way through.

We started into chargen proper by talking about the kind of Community their characters were from, but not getting into the dice benefits -- I had a summary of what dice came from what background and a basic guideline to chargen, but I was keeping that back until people had a chance to envision their character without rules getting in the way -- it worked well.  

Here's the result:

Of the three players, Dave has been the most enthusiastic about playing Dogs -- I daresay he was hoping up and down by the time we got to writing stuff down.

Quote

Suzannah Paulson

Suzannah was raised in a dirty, half-Faithful, half-atheist mining town on the edge of the mountains. When the town was hit by a large, organized group of bandits led by a one-eyed old man, her family's oh-so-strict kin in more civilized parts whispered that the sinners had it coming.

When they found out Suzannah had survived, they took it on themselves to raise her to be a Dog, so that she could atone for the horrible (alleged) sins of her upbringing.

Complicated History

Stats
    * Acuity 4D6
    * Body 4D6
    * Heart 2D6
    * Will 5D6

Traits
    * Women should know women's work 1d4
    * I must atone for my parent's death 1d10
    * Grand Uncle Isaiah was a Dog, and he brought honor... 1d4
    * You can't trust no mountain people 1d4
    * Jollity is disrespect to the King of Life 1d4
    * I gotta try 2d6
    * Shoot once, and trust the King of Life 1d10
    * I've friends among the Sisters 1d6 (initiation)

Relationships (2d6 unused)
    * Uncle Owen 1d6
    * Aunt Beulah 2d6
    * My poor, dead parents 1d8
    * The Dogs are what the King of Life has chosen for me 1d8

Belongings
My Coat: 2D6
Made by Aunt Beulah, Suzannah's coat is an unremitting black: black wool covered with passages from the Book of Life embroidered over every inch... in black thread (anything too colorful would be unseemly). The passages all serve to remind her of the duty she must do and the sins those in her protection might commit if she is lax.

Uncle Isaiah's Rifle 2d8+1d4
Given to her by Aunt Beulah, in the hopes that her Grand Uncle's honor would "somehow rub off on you".

My father's big knife 1d8
This was, surprisingly, given to Suzannah by Uncle Owen; it was originally a wedding gift to Owen from Suzannah's father (the mining town's blacksmith). Owen never really liked his wife's brother very much, and was more than happy to give the knife to "the girl" and be done with it.

Brooch of my mother's 1d4
Suzannah has had this since her childhood. It's a cheep trinket, but it's all she has of her mother.

Small rag doll 1d4
Again, a cheap thing, but the only surviving remnant of her old life.

Horse 1d6
"Keeper" is, of course, black. He is otherwise unremarkable.

Pistol 1d6+1d4

Jar of consecrated earth 1D6

Book of Life 1D6


Suzannah kept reminding me of Harry Potter, living with the Dursleys... if the Potter's had lived in a slum and the Dursley's were even less fun... and religious fanatics to boot.

--------

Margie, Dave's wife, was not initially interested in working on a Dogs character -- I think she was holding out for a little time spent on the character's we're working up for a tribal jungle Heroquest game -- but after hearing the passages from the pages I mentioned above, she was ready to go at it.

Margie actually proposed the idea for her character first, and I think there was a little initial tension at the fact that both she and Dave were coming up with character's that matched the same type of Background -- I think perhaps an instinctive DnD reaction of "I'm already *playing* that character class -- I kept things rolling here and, as you can see, while there are some mechanical similarities in the Stats, that's about all these two have in common.

Quote

Destiny

Destiny's mother was born to a well-to-do family of Bridal Falls City. They took a huge risk in sending their only daughter away to be educated in the East, and they were not pleased when she wrote them to tell them that she had been delayed unexpectedly.

The delay, it turned out, was her new husband, whom she met in college. The young man, utterly smitten, converted immediately to the Faith and began courtship in earnest. They were married in the spring and with child before the trip home could be properly planned.

The journey west is never a safe thing: 1 in 10 die on the trip in even the best of circumstances, and when Destiny's mother went into early labor, it was more than her body could take -- she died in childbirth, and it was all that could be done to save the baby.

When father and infant daughter arrived in Bridal Falls, they were met with resentment and scorn. Despite this and what would become a lifetime estrangement from his family-in-law, Destiny's father resolved to stay among the Faithful and raise his daughter as her mother would have wanted.

All in all, he did a fine job.

Complicated History

Stats
    * Acuity 4D6
    * Body 3D6
    * Heart 4D6
    * Will 5D6

Traits
    * Don't lie to me 2d6
    * Steely gaze 2d10
    * Don't make me use this gun 2d4
    * Likes to read 1d4
    * Worldly 1d4
    * Spends time reading The Book 1d6 (initiation)

Relationships (2d6 unused)
    * Dogs -- I'm not sure what being a Dog means to me 1d6
    * Father -- Shines like a Saint 1d8
    * Grandfather -- Smiles at me when no one is looking 1d8
    * 2nd Grandmother -- Always polite in her hatred 1d6

Belongings

My Coat: 2D8
Destiny's coat was put together for her by her mother's family -- a bit big for her yet, it is covered in scripture and patterns of vines and falling leaves and is almost ostentatious in it's fine construction. The only jarring bit of work on the whole coat is the large, blood-red leaf sewn to the center back of the coat. Her father added the leaf to cover up the Family Crest that had been sewn into the pattern (which he thought was in horrible taste for a Dog's coat and possibly blasphemous to boot).

Excellent Gun 2d6+1d4
A gift: Her mother's family doesn't know that Destiny would prefer never to have to draw her weapon.

Large grey horse 1d8
As shown by the coat, her mother's family seems to think he's about four inches taller than she really is.

Urn of Consecrated Earth 2d8
The Urn itself is about as close to a reliquary as the Faith allows. It is, unfortunately, a bit unwieldy.

My father's Book of Life 2d6
Specially printed and illuminated.

Mom's necklace 2d6

Poetry book 1d6

Writing stuff 1d6

Pretty rocks 1d4

Detective "novel" 1d4

Fallout
    * Experience (during intiation): +1 to Heart (already included)



Obviously (at least to me and the player), Destiny is an Exorcism machine -- she's crying out for some serious throw-down with a demon or two.  Interestingly, while Margie considered an initiation goal of "I hope my character exorcised a demon," she eventually decided to go with "I hope I learned not to be so stubborn."  Ironically, the trait she got out of that initiation feeds into Exorcism just fine anyway :)

---------

Randy.... well, Randy was just hanging out -- I think he might have happily skipped a game of Dogs entirely, but since he was there... I pitched him the same way I pitched my kid: go through chargen and if you still aren't interested, I'll never mention it again.

The player doesn't like religious fanaticism much (even when it's justified, as it is in Dogs), so he decided that since it was unlikely he was going to make a character he personally liked, he should make someone he'd enjoy watching suffer for his Faith.

Quote

Eli
(http://random.average-bear.com/uploads/DogsInTheVineyard/eli.jpg)

Eli is a convert to the Faith -- a man with a dark past and a nasty reputation as a bandit and a killer. Eli found himself called to the King of Life by way of Sister Anna Patience, an old woman who nursed him back to health after he was left for dead in the mountains by the "men" he'd ridden with for the past ten years.

Eli has done many, many things for which the King of Life has shown him he must atone. He may burn in hell either way, but the King has told him that he has to try.

After he got his strength back, Eli traveled to Bridal Falls shocked the Temple by asking to serve as Dog. The Temple instructors shocked the Temple (and Eli) even further by saying yes.

Strong History

Stats
    * Acuity 5D6
    * Body 3D6
    * Heart 2D6
    * Will 3D6

Traits
    * I have a Murderous air 1d8
    * I am the King's mule 1d8
    * I was an Outlaw 1d10
    * I'm a Mean Drunk 1d6
    * I have Bad Habits 1d6
    * I'm a Gunslinger 2d10
    * I fight dirty 2d8
    * Yes, I ran with that gang, but I changed! 1d6
    * I don't care what folks say 1d6 (initiation)

Relationships (1d8 & 1d6 unused)
    * The Dogs are my punishment and my salvation 1d8
    * Sister Anna Patience 1d6
    * My bastard daughter (un-converted) 1d4
    * The family my daughter's living with 1d6

Belongings

My Coat: 1D6
Eli's coat is actually just his old leather duster -- Sister Anna told him it was lost, but it showed up in a package a few weeks before he was sent out as a Dog -- the duster is still there, but covered by patchwork cloth. It's not much to look at (Sister Anna is stone blind), but it's quite wonder to touch.

Fine Rifle 2d6+1d4
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Excellent Pistol 2d6+1d4
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Big & Excellent Pistol 2d8+1d4
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Q: Bowie knife 1d8
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Sleeve knife 2d6
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Boot knife 1d6
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Fine Silver flask, filled with whiskey/rye/whatever (2d6 or 1d4?)
(Player has the notes on who Eli took this from.)

Horse 1d6
Eli has spent more time on the trail than most folks have spent sleeping -- it's just the way things are. These days he doesn't even bother naming his horse.

Jar of consecrated earth 1D6

Book of Life 1D6



Eli's initation conflict was "I hope that Eli gets some indication that redemption, not just repayment, is possible."  His "I don't care what folks say" trait came from that.  (I'll talk about that and the other initiations in an Actual play post, once we get a chance to play.)

I'm particularly looking forward to tying in Eli's un-saved daughter (raised by her mother -- a whore in a cow-town in Texas -- till she died of syphillis).

Actually, to break it down, here are the traits I can hear demanding to be wrapped into the storyline:

Suzannah
    * You can't trust no mountain people 1d4
    * Jollity is disrespect to the King of Life 1d4
    * Her Black on Black Coat (I'm going to enjoy seeing local towns stitch color onto this as the need for repairs arises.

Destiny
    * Don't make me use this gun 2d4
    * Likes to read 1d4
    * Worldly 1d4
    * Father, Grandfather, and 2nd Grandmother
    * Detective "novel" 1d4  (I'd say Destiny has some erroneous assumptions about what a Dog does :)

Eli
    * I am the King's mule 1d8
    * I have Bad Habits 1d6
    * My bastard daughter (un-converted) 1d4 (I just can't wait to see someone like Eli trying to bring someone ELSE to the Faith.)


We all had a good time working through chargen together, and chuckling about Eli getting paired up with these two "young things."  Eli's player did a passable imitation of the grizzled outlaw near-pleading with the Temple instructors:

"Are you sure about this?  Don't yah think I should travel with some... I dunno.  Men?  Really.  You don't think it's... I mean... can you really trust me?"

Good stuff -- time to work up that first town.
Logged

--
Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
ScottM
Member

Posts: 221

Fresno, California


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2004, 08:19:51 AM »

Our groups sound very similar.  My group is in this thread.

There was a bit of confusion in my group too when we had 2 complicated histories-- but with the way the dice allocate, it's quickly clear that they aren't the same "class" at all.  My group has a repenting bandit (Malachai) and an orphan raised to be a dog (Benson)-- but they're quite different from yours, and I strongly suspect they'll deal with problems in very different ways.

The surface similarity is striking-- I'll be following the wanderings of Suzannah, Destiny, and Eli with interest.  I also like the way you peeled out the traits that have to surface-- so many of them are marked for you by the players with a d4!

Good luck with your group.  I'm looking forward to your Actual Play posts.
-- Scott
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Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2004, 03:36:05 PM »

To me, that red leaf on the back of Destiny's coat is just asking to be torn off at some point -- but maybe that's just me (especially if it's torn off by a relative who doesn't know it...).
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Joshua A.C. Newman
Member

Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2004, 06:10:51 PM »

Quote from: ScottM
There was a bit of confusion in my group too when we had 2 complicated histories-- but with the way the dice allocate, it's quickly clear that they aren't the same "class" at all.


Oh, good Lord, no. It has nothing to do with stuff you know or can do. It just has to do with putting dice where the player wants to use them.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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