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[DitV] Looking for input on finishing this Town.

Started by Eric Provost, December 16, 2004, 10:53:26 PM

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Eric Provost

So, I started putting a town together for Dogs this afternoon.  I had in mind two things;  I'd like music to be at the heart of the problem, and I'd like to see things get all the way to Hate & Murder.  

The situation I'm in is that I've got what I think is a fantastic town, but I'm only as far as Sorcery.  Every time I come up with an idea for Hate & Murder, the idea feels... forced.  I'd really like the Hate & Murder that flows from this Town to feel organic.  I'd love any input anyone has.  Any thoughts at all.  

Sister Emelene has always had a beautiful and powerful singing voice.  So powerful, in fact, that Brother Jude, the town's Steward, started noticing that it was having a profound effect upon the men of the town, and started to worry about it.  In order to nip things in the bud, Brother Jude politely forbade Emelene from singing in public ever again.  Emelene was crushed, but obedient.

Sister Emelene believes that her singing is good enough that it shouldn't be kept to herself, and that the Steward's rules just shouldn't apply when she's singing in front of the non-faithful.  

Emelene accepts an offer to sing in a public dance hall, owned and patronized entirely by the non-Faithful.  In doing so, she has willfully disregarded the Steward and her husband, Brother Hanan, who only wants her to be happy.

Emelene's sins first fall under the headings of Deceit and Worldliness (she has to dress in fancy clothes to sing on stage), and were bad enough on their own, but it's what they led to that became so much worse.

Soon Emelene is too excited about how well received she is at the Parlor, and confesses all to her husband Hanan.  But, before she does so, she tricks him into promising not to tell anyone.  Hanan begins escorting Emelene to and from the Saloon in order to protect her.  He does miss hearing her sing in a hall, after all.

After defending her good name from a drunk patron, Brother Hanan discovers a secret lust for violence.  Soon, every night Emelene sings there is a fight and Hanan is there to enjoy it.  His fingers become cut and swollen from the regular fist-fights; evidence of his regular sin.

Demonic Attacks
One night Hanan takes too little of an excuse to start a fight over the 'honor' of his wife, and a full fledged brawl starts up.  During the chaos, old Mr. Wright looses two fingers from his right hand to a drunken man's knife.  Thus ends Mr. Wright's career as the pianist at the Parlor.

The demons already have habitual here.  So, instead, what they want is more.  More of the Faithful to follow Emelene's path.  So, when poor Mr. Wright's career ends, Emelene thinks back to her childhood friend, Sister Carmen.  Before the Steward's proclamation Carmen would play the piano for Emelene's singing.  A clandestine meeting is held, and soon Sister Carmen is trying out for the Parlor's new piano player.

False Doctrine
Between the three (Emelene, Hanan, and Carmen), they convince themselves that Steward Jude is just wrong in his proclamation; there is nothing wrong with Emelene's singing.  In fact, they even have some idea about how it can do some real good.  

Therefore, the King of Life certainly would have no problem with what they're doing, and they pray their thanks to him every night.  In fact, they sneak little bits of the Book of Life into some of their songs.  How could the King not like that?

The demons want to win people over, but that's coming right after the Sorcery.

False Priesthood
Well, it's pretty well obvious.  We've got three here.  Emelene, Hanan, and Carmen.  Together they worship the King though worldliness and song banned by their Steward.  Emelene is easily the leader.

The demons grant Emelene's otherwise powerful singing voice even more power.  Now, no one who hears her sing can refuse her.  Her voice can shatter glass, heal the sick, or change the weather.  Of course, Emelene will see these new powers as subtle gifts from the King.

Ok, so that's all the 'solid' material I have right now.  I have a few floating thoughts that I haven't tied in to the rest yet;

Doing Good With the Money.  Emelene has repeatedly convinced Mr. Harris, owner of the Parlor to raise her pay, and that of her friend, Sister Carmen, the new pianist.  However, both refuse to even lay a finger on the money.  Weekly the three walk with Mr. Harris to a local orphanege where he counts out their money as a donation to the orphans.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep this in, but I'm not sure how to present it yet.  Probably just super-direct.  See, I want to make sure that the players have some reason to think that what the three are doing is a good thing.  In Clement's Patch, everyone in town agreed that Brother Pleasant was a prick, so it didn't seem like that big of a deal when the Dogs agreed that he was in the wrong.  I want the players to think about it this time.  It'll be a Double Whammy for Ullyses, as his character, Brother Theo, is an Orphan.  That feature of his background has come up repeatedly.  I can't wait to see how he judges the three when this bit of info is brought to light.

Secondly, I've got a vague idea that, in an effort to get more Faithful in Emelene's corner, the Demons set the children of an influential Faithful family sick.  After Emelene sings the children to sleep, they wake up healed (or at least recovering).  Through various means, the family discoveres what the three have been doing, and come to the conclusion that the Steward was wrong in his proclimation.  So, they gather a few other families together to talk about it.  When one of the gathered Faithful hears the news, he's shocked and sickened by the activities of the three.  He puts on his hat and walks out the door, threatening to tell the Steward right away.  He makes an off-color remark about Emelene's character, angering Hanan.  Hanan follows him out and kills him for it.

Dang it.  It's the best Hate & Murder I've come up with, and it sucks.  

Any thoughts?



Hmm.  My gut instinct is to say that if the Hate and Murder feels forced, then you've got enough as it is.  Certainly this is a great town as is.

That being said, carry it a little farther.  Who has the most vested interest and greatest possiblity of stopping this?  The Steward.  He's the one the demons will want dead.  Have him learn of it, storm into the dancehall and try to stop things.  He gets thrown out the front window by the cult members (regular patrons, not any of the three ringleaders) and "accidently" gets sliced open by some of the broken window.  No one gets there in time to save him from bleeding to death in the street.  Have the Dogs ride into town for his funeral.

I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

Eric Provost

Glad you like the town James.

Certainly there is enough there to make for a really interesting town, but I was really hoping to find a way to get into the Hate & Murder level.  But here's the thing;  The way I read it, it's not Hate & Murder unless it's premeditated.  Someone's got to want someone else dead.  And it seems like it would be a lot tastier if it's one Faithful killing another Faithful.  So, the idea of someone being thrown through a window dosen't seem too much like Hate & Murder to me...

... but...

The Steward crashing the Parlor... I think there's something there.  

Definately something there.

I'm gonna sleep on it and post back with more thoughts in the morning.



My impression of Hate & Murder is that it's social breakdown -- it has to be a blow at the heart of the community that'll cause it to fall apart soon if the dogs don't do anything about it.

Personally I'd probably work the orphan angle more. Throw in somebody who's rich and refuses to help the orphans, and has always been snotty about her singing besides, and I could see somebody deciding that, once again, good intentions justify bad acts and knifing him, possibly while he's captivated by the magical singing. Once you get that kind of thing going it's pretty much open season on anyone the cult members thing are swerving from the path.

Another possibility seems to be to emphasize the "Steward's rules don't apply when around the non-Faithful" sin and, hmm, maybe Emelene decides why should she live in town any more when she can hang out with the unfaithful and sing whenever she wants. And then her song starts being heard at night and pulling people over to her side ...

Anyway, it sounds like you have an idea where you want this to go, but there's another suggestion or two for you.
Dan Shiovitz

Jason Morningstar

This is a great town!  I really like it and agree that if hate and murder feels forced, don't bother going there.

That said, a few thoughts:

What if the money is piling up somewhere, rather than being doled out in regular increments?  Maybe there is a major purchase (new orphanage building?) the cult is saving up for.  A big pile of cash under the mattress could bring in greed and injustice and even murder in a variety of ways.

Further out there - what if she's using the (demonic) power of her voice to convert some of the unbelievers who hear her?  How to handle these people would be a huge problem for the Dogs once the demonic influence is expunged.


Mmm-good town!

I think this singing part builds up to a big set-piece, with a "bad congregation" singing the mighty hymns of Heaven in a more and more powerful, roaring  way than possible for such a little group of people.

Enter the Dogs. (Or, perhaps, just a Dog's voice: the Temple's stern voice against the ecstasy of the gospel-less demonic song.)

Ending this scene might turn Supernatural real quick. Or just... dirty.

And perhaps even a part where the Sorceress is the only one left singing, and her mouth spouts a multitude of voices, an evil choir of its own.

(Side note: Angels belong to choirs, by the way!)

Other myth on music: The Scandinavian myth of the travelling fiddler who made the whole barn dance their legs off, and the ending line of the story is from the mouth of a farmer who has discovered the truth about the fiddler: "O, Gud bevare han har bockfot!" (O, God have mercy, he has a ram's foot!)

Eric Provost


I was ready to give in and admit that Hate & Murder just wasn't going to happen here.  I certainly wasn't going to force it.  So, I started up on the finishing touches, tallying all the NPCs, figuring out what they want from the Dogs & how they'll get it, etc.

Then, a series of quick ideas flashed across my mind:

1.  I like the idea of half the town in blasphemous harmony, singing against the Dogs.  It should just be eerie.  
2.  In an effort to explain half the town on Emelene's corner, I thought that the childhood sickness (as directed by the Demons) could have affected a majority of the town's children.  So, Emelene uses the power of her singing, one at a time to heal them.  Bing, bang, boom; grateful parents = allies.

Then it hit me...

3.  One of the fathers of the sick children, one Brother Zebulon, is wary of the steward's warnings concerning Emelene's singing, and refuses her help.  The demon's rub their hands in glee, and let the disease kill the child.  The parents both mourn, but Sister Waitsill, mother, blames Zebulon.  She was confident in Emelene's ability to heal their child, and she is confident that it was Zebulon's refusal to accept Emelene's gift that killed their child.  So, as a recent convert to the false priesthood, she's susceptable to being influenced by the demons.  And as such, they plant the idea in her head that Zebulon deserves death himself.  It dosen't take long for Waitsill to accept the idea and make it her own.  The story opens as the Dogs arrive to witness Zebulon's funeral.  Death by slow poison.


Still more polishing to do, but I think it'll be nice.

All comments still welcome.

We might be playing this one tomorrow.  :)

Oh, and thanks for everyone's help & support.