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Breaking Dogs - Opinions Needed [MY PLAYERS STAY OUT!]

Started by FruitSmack!, February 08, 2005, 11:28:29 AM

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If you are Anna, Kit, Nick or Mr. Drew, stay out or Ill go upside your head.  ;)

(I also posted this on another forum, but Im looking for lots of input so I put it up here too)

Last chance, my players.....................

I mean it.....................

Well, we just hit the halfway point in the Dogs in the Vineyard game that Ive been running.  The last town was the furthest out on their route and now they will begin the long loop back to Bridal Falls before winter sets in.  From here on out the game is starting to go to 11.  We all discussed how we wanted the game to start heading as we make it to the end, and the concession is between myself and the players is that it should push the Dogs to the limits completely and totally.

My goal is to get at least one of the Dogs to quit by or before the end of the route.  This is actually proving to be harder than I thought, however.  What I need is some possible suggestions or even just "this is what I would do, were I running the game..." from people.  Im not dry on ideas, but I do need a bit of an alternate view of things, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, a bit about the game:

Our Territories is built off of the basics in the book, although there are some changes both small (Coffee is actually allowed because I forgot it was forbidden for like two sessions) to huge (out on the "Frontier", there are towns where the Faithful trade with Easterners).  

Ive injected a bit more tech (for Easterners only) for no other reason than to throw off the players and make it clear this isn't Proto-Utah, this is its own place divorced from our world's past.  Easterners have primitive Diesel engines for locomotives and they also ran into an eastern sheriff who's men were armed with guns faintly reminiscent of semi-automatic weapons circa WWI (I sweated throwing that in, but surprisingly after a demonstration of its killing power, they decided that it "...killed to fast.  If we have to resort to shooting, then it should be done with the King's patience).  Needless to say, I threw them off so bad, that they actually did feel out of place in the one trade town and couldn't wait to get deeper into the Territories where things were familiar and safe.  They also got a taste of the exotic while at the trade town because they got to meet the Cathay (Chinese) and the Tenoctics (Mexicans).  It made for some great role-playing as even the players felt a bit out of place and confused (in a good way, Id never screw them up if they didn't want it).

As for how the supernatural has been dealt with, it's all or nothing.  If there is some, than it's unmistakable, otherwise everything has been "coincidental", as in there have been demons and evil at work, but its all been super subtle.  If you didn't know there were demons, then you'd never suspect them.  The one time they did run into overt supernatural events, they came into a town that had been cursed by a Crone that lived out on the dry brine lake. That was pretty magical with them frying the Damned with holy words and smiting the Lost with the King's Blessed Lead.

The Characters:[/b]

Brother Simian:  His mother was Mountain Folk and his father faithful, so he's had to suffer the stigma of being a "Halfbreed".  This has just made him stronger and he's become a fairly devout member of the Faith and a pretty good Dog.  His only problem is that he's a bit too liberal at times and thinks more with what's good for the individuals to keep the peace.  Really at odds with Brother Hector (Has the trait "Brother Hector is a tool: d4)

Brother Hector:  Was about as old as he could be to still be a Dog.  He had a love affair with another young man before becoming a Dog, which he now suppresses with strict adherence to the Book and the King.  The youngest member of the Faith to be given a Book of Ceremonies and was able to school the Ceremony Master of the Temple.  Currently, Hector has taken it upon himself to pray for Brother Simian's soul (Has trait:  I fear for Simian's soul: d8).

As you can see, Simian and Hector are really at odds a lot.  One time, Simian even punched Hector in the face in the middle of a Church (empty of course)!

Brother Lazarus:  Orphaned Mountain Folk, raised in the Faith.  He is a big hoss that hates hurting folk.  He's pretty much the voice of reason in the group with tempers flair.  While rarely angry, when he does its very scary and very serious.  You know someone deserves it if Lazarus gets mad.

He's been shaken after the run in with the Brine Crone.  She used all manners of black magic and witchery to unnerve him.  The straw was when she filled his mouth full of his father's seed.  Sense then, Lazarus has been a bit nervy and quieter.

Brother Ishmael:  After the departure of Brother Patience due to his father's untimely death, Ishmael was the replacement sent from the temple.  He was raised on the Western Frontier at a trading post that traded between the Territories and the slightly more accepted than Easterners, Western Republic.  He looks a bit like a young Buffalo Bill, all wrapped in buffalo skins.  Defiantly has some differing opinions than the others in the group, however is very honorable (almost to a fault) and is staunch in his duties as a Dog.

The guy that plays Ishmael came in as a replacement for a player that moved away.  It was great because he decided instead of making his guy "just there" that he would embrace the fact that he was a new comer to this tight little group and face the unfair stigma of being the "replacement".  The role-playing that has come about has been fantastic.  He's only now getting to be accepted by the other three.

Grandfather:  The only other character of note is a reoccurring "Entity" named Grandfather.  He is defiantly a demon and is very powerful, but I haven't fully figured out what to do with him.  They've only met him twice (same session).  The first time, on the way across the brine flats to get to the Crone.  He had a wagon and offered them food and water (they ran out).  When they awoke the found the camp long abandoned and that the stew they had been eating was made from people.  The second time was after they killed the Crone.  They stood watching her house burn and he appeared to tell them that he had taken a liking to them.  Still don't know what he's all about but I like him.  He kinda looks like a unhealthier David Carradine.   He also wears a dirty old cavalrymen's outfit from the Eastern Army and carries a bugle

That's about it. Like I said, Im trying to get at least one of the characters to get so frustrated/sickend/feed-up/depressed that they just quit the Dogs and ride away (more than one would be a bonus...). Because of the eppisodic nature of the game, there isn't much background to draw on for the characters beyond what I put up there. They have lots of relationships, but most of those are made on the road and dont last more than the one session. Besideds, it would feel right with the way the stories are going to dredge up stuff from a backround the same way.

For example, I think there is a lot of potential for Hector in dealing with his repressed sexuality, however using the same lover wouldnt fit right. Same problem, new sceanario is much more useful.

I have some ideas, but like I said before, a fresh look from someone else would do me some good.

Visit my homepage where I keep all my homebrewed RPG stuff.


Quote from: FruitSmack!Like I said, Im trying to get at least one of the characters to get so frustrated/sickend/feed-up/depressed that they just quit the Dogs and ride away (more than one would be a bonus...).
You know, don't you, that you can never in any way drive them to this, right?  The only way it's going to happen is if they decide independently that it's the story they want for the character.

If we're all clear on that then we can talk about ways to roll out that red carpet in case they feel like walking down it.  But if you're looking for ways to tempt/draw/force them into it then you probably need to find yourself a different rules system.
Just published: Capes
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After I wrote the initial post, I realized that someone would misunderstand my crappy crappy confusing writing.  It sounded right to me...  ;)

Yes, thats exactly what I mean.  Im not trying to force them into doing anything because that isnt going to happen.  What Im doing is taking the story to a level where they could do such a thing.  Like you said, roll out the red carpet.  Our carpet just needs to be generally bad, gloomy and full of horrible consiquinces.

When it comes to typing out my thoughts, I fail miserably.  ;)

Visit my homepage where I keep all my homebrewed RPG stuff.

Russell Collins

Seems like they nearly all have troubled pasts.

On the return trip, why don't they meet others living through the same predicaments they survived. For exmple, Hector must pass judgement on sodomites. The town wants them killed, but they need a dog's blessing to do it.

Worse yet, Grandfather can be arranging those situations, escalating them from outside so that even in a town they just visited, a new sin has grown like virginia creeper over the whole town.

Having to re-do your work can be frutrating though, so try to create variety in the sins.
My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.


Aaron, it sounds like you'd know better than any of us.

I understand you to mean that you want to step up the grief, right? You want to really let 'em have it.

So ... anything you've been holding back, so far? Anywhere you haven't dared go? Anything where you've been like, "ooh, he's giving me that warning look, guess I'll slide off to one side rather than taking it on..."?

Oh and obviously you need to reveal what's Grandfather's deal. That's a tough one. He has to be just right, he can't be wussie or a sucker punch. He has to be the exact worst thing.