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Author Topic: [DitV] Stillwater Branch  (Read 6672 times)
Eric Minton

Posts: 41

« on: March 22, 2005, 09:30:27 AM »

Here's my first town, which I hope to have ready for Thursday's game.  I'd originally planned to have it stop at Sin and Demonic Attacks, but it kind of spiraled out of control.  Naturally, I'm keen on any advice that y'all might have to give; this is my first attempt at running Dogs and I want it to go well!

If any of my players are reading this (David, Jamie, Jay and Olivier, I'm talking to you): please don't, it will spoil the game for you.  Thanks!

 * * * * *


This small town rests on the shore of a long lake that feeds one of the Four Brides.  The weather is mild, the soil rich, the fish abundant; the town is a treasure for the Faithful.  But the Mountain People prize it as well, and they keep trying to win it back.  It’s only been a couple of months since their last assault, and the rich soil is all the richer for being watered with the blood of the Faithful.

The Steward, Brother Absalom, hasn’t been seen since the attack.  He lies abed, ostensibly sick from the wounds he took in the fighting, but the sickness is in his soul; both his sons died, and he blames himself.  He refused to parley with the Mountain People, thinking that the King of Life would protect the town.

Much of the Steward’s authority has fallen into the hands of his daughter, Sister Judith, and her husband, Brother Carter.  They’ve taken on the Steward’s responsibilities, handling problems actively and with some wisdom.  To avoid trouble, they say that they are just passing on Brother Absalom’s words, and many in town are coming to accept the new way of things.

The Steward isn’t the only one hurting, either.  Brother Hiram lost his wife and both his daughters, and he’s gone wild with grief, drinking liquor and riding out hunting for Mountain People.

Of late, the town has been subject to demonic attack; demons have been taking the forms of ghosts of loved ones, and they cry out for vengeance against the Mountain People.

 * * * * *

1A Pride: Brother Absalom places his self-indulgent brooding above his responsibilities to the Branch.

1B Injustice: The Steward abdicates in deed but not in name, leaving his responsibilities in the hands of his son-in-law.

2A Sin: In neglecting his duties, Brother Absalom has broken faith with the people and left them open to demonic attack.

2B Demonic Attacks: Tormented ghosts have been seen on the lakeshore at night.

3A False Doctrine: Stewards may delegate their authority to others.

3B Corrupt Worship: Brother Carter has just sanctified a marriage, which he lacks the spiritual authority to do.

4A False Priesthood: By performing a marriage, Brother Carter has established himself at the center of a cult.

4B Sorcery: None yet, but the demons, in the guise of  “Angels of Life,” have promised that they can raise the beloved dead in exchange for the lives of the Mountain People.

5A: Skipped.

6A The People:
-   The Steward wants the Dogs to punish him for his failure and strip him of his authority.
-   Sister Martha, the Steward’s wife, wants the Dogs to leave her husband alone; she feels he just needs time to heal.
-   Sister Judith wants the Dogs to heal her father’s spirit, and to make her husband the Steward.
-   Brother Carter wants the Dogs to tell him he’s done right in taking the Steward’s authority.
-   Brother Hiram wants the Dogs to go with him to hunt down the Mountain People.  If he learns of the Steward’s role in the attack, he’ll want them to kill the Steward.
-   The Mountain People want the Dogs to stop the townspeople from fishing the lake; the fish there are sacred to their tribe and they feel the Faithful do not give proper respect to the spirits.

6B The Demons:
-   The demons want the Dogs to approve of Brother Carter’s assumption of the Steward’s authority, while Brother Absalom remains Steward in name only.
-   The demons want the people of Stillwater to raid the Mountain People and bring back captives to be sacrificed.

6C If The Dogs Never Came:
-   Brother Hiram would rally the townsfolk against the Mountain People, and in a night of blood and sorcery, a tribe would be slaughtered and the Stillwater dead would rise, their bodies merely vessels for the demons.
Lance D. Allen

Posts: 1962

« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2005, 09:54:22 AM »

Nice town. Very low-key on the sin, but with the blood and anger, there's a lot of potential for escalation.

If you'd like to keep things fairly low key, lay it all out pretty early on. It seems to me that when the Dogs get half the story, they're much likelier to blow things out of proportion.

If you're cool with things going nuts, then make it seem like there's a lot more to it than there is.

~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Posts: 221

Fresno, California

« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2005, 09:57:28 AM »

Sounds good and creepy.  The number of people you've highlighted seems pretty tight-- it's all within one family except Hiram, with a whole parish full of extras.  Are there others you can bring to light?

Some quick thoughts:
    [*]A man was crippled in the battle (perhaps saved by one of the brothers, but resentful, as he's crippled).
    [*]Did the Mountain Folk burn/destroy anything?  Perhaps a mill on their sacred lake/river?  That's work to rebuild and the village is already short handed...
    [*]Adding more prominent women seems wise-- maybe women who have stepped up to run businesses with their menfolk killed, women who hang on Sister Judith's words (since she's a woman who can relate)...[/list:u] As is, your town sounds like a good one. I'll be looking forward to your Actual Play.

    [One problematic point: If the Dogs approve of Brother Carter's actions, they become doctorine. Since he's handling things well, that seems to be bad for the demons, not good.  It'd be better for them if the Dogs never realize that he's doing the work on his own... so they can never OK the transfer of power.]

    Hope some of these thoughts are useful to you,

    Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.

    Posts: 3702

    « Reply #3 on: March 22, 2005, 10:01:14 AM »

    Oh, I don't know:  "Stewardship is an authority that can be taken over by subordinates" sounds benign in this town.  But remember that what you ask is "Really?  What about now?"  

    That's a nice path to explore in future towns.  Apart from my general and growing sense that Dogs should always find out everything about the tow within the first few minutes, I also think that there's good story meat to be had down the road if they approve Carter formally.

    Just published: Capes
    New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
    Jason Morningstar

    Posts: 1428

    « Reply #4 on: March 22, 2005, 10:11:32 AM »

    I like your town and look forward to hearing how your players resolve things.  

    It is interesting to note that building a town early in the process is more difficult than one with a full-blown demonic infestation, at least in my experience.  It'd be cool to see some examples of fun, playable towns that aren't farther along than, say, injustice.  


    Eric Minton

    Posts: 41

    « Reply #5 on: March 22, 2005, 11:52:53 AM »

    Thanks for the comments!  I'm glad to hear the town described as "low-key"; I'd worried that the demons and open warfare might be a bit heavy-handed.

    My main worry is that there aren't enough conflicting agendas.  Vince likes to say that every town should have three mutually incompatible agendas, and I only have two right now: Sister Martha wants her husband to remain as Steward, while everyone else in their family would be fine with making Brother Carter the Steward.  What to do?

    I could add a third faction in town that's opposed to both, seeing Absalom as inept and Carter as too young for the responsibility.  But I don't want to make the town too dense, either; some of the players seem a bit iffy about DitV, and I want to be able to run through the whole town in one session so that they get the full experience up front.

    Quote from: TonyLB
    But remember that what you ask is "Really?  What about now?"

    For all that I've read about Theme in the GNS discussions, reading this one line actually made it click.  Thanks, Tony!

    - Eric
    Posts: 3453

    « Reply #6 on: March 22, 2005, 12:16:35 PM »

    You have your three incompatible agendas right there between the Steward, his wife, and his daughter - punish him, leave him alone, heal him. Whichever the Dogs try to do, two of the three will be in their face.

    In fact his daughter is sweet all by herself: she wants the Dogs to both heal her father and affirm her husband's authority, but her husband's authority comes from her father's affliction. Wanting both is so ... human.

    I can't wait to hear how it plays out!

    Hello Sailor

    Posts: 7

    « Reply #7 on: March 26, 2005, 03:31:24 AM »

    I love this town. I've finally sold a few people at the local game shop on playing Dogs and intend to start play this Sunday (or possibly the next one). I'm stealing Stillwater Branch for the first session. "Actual play" post coming once it's been run.
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