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Author Topic: Having trouble sorting out the progression...  (Read 3123 times)
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« on: May 28, 2005, 10:32:07 AM »

So okay. I got this town idea, one I wanted to be downright vicious. I tried to start with the progression of sin, but everything feels all disjointed and out of sequence. I'll start with the story I wrote to try to get it all sorted out, then my efforts to fit it into the progression..

Blackwater Branch

Description: Blackwater is a small settlement in the back of a dead-end canyon. The sides of the canyon are terraced and planted, and a system of pumps and piping irrigates the terraces, leading from the spring which is the source of the river which wends it’s way through the center of town. The small river is bottomed with small stones, and a black algae from which the town takes it’s name. Despite the algae, the water is pure and sweet as only unspoiled spring water can be. Despite it’s isolation, it is about as ideal a spot for a settlement as can be found.

The Story: The town had been struggling until Cornelius, a man trained as an engineer back east devised a system of pumps and pipes to irrigate the town’s terraced fields. He became proud as the community began to prosper as a result. His wife, Theodosia, tried to keep her husband from becoming too proud, but it did not seem to help. He began to make comments that he had done more for the town than the Steward, and one who listened was the Steward’s only child, Malvina. Malvina liked the respect that Cornelius received, and realized that her father’s position was weakening. She set out to seduce Cornelius to make him marry her, but she had no desire to be second to anyone; Theodosia would have to go. Meanwhile, Cornelius began to give less water to those who did not agree with his opinions, and more to his supporters, and crops began to fail and florish, respectively. Everything came to a head after the old Steward caught wind of his daughter’s desires, and put his foot down; Shortly after, she conspired to get him to the spring, where she struck him in the head, and pushed him under the waters to drown.

   In the shock that followed, Cornelius stepped up and began to take charge, comforting the populace, and telling them that the King would provide for those who were strong enough. Many accepted his authority immediately; Holdouts had their water supplies diminished until they capitulated. Thereafter, Cornelius performed his own wedding to Malvina, and divorced Theodosia in the same day. Hurt, confused she retreated to the house that had been hers and Cornelius’ while he moved into the old Steward’s home. Some disagreed with this, but they mostly held their tongues; Cornelius’ control over the water supply was too effective a lever. Among those who did not privately support Cornelius, a few unmarried men sought to wed Theodosia, but she would have nothing of it. She’d reasoned that maybe Cornelius was right; Only the strong had the support of the King, and she would submit to no one else ever again.

   Things progressively got worse. Theodosia grew ever more hostile, and the men she’d spurned grew angry and lustful. Eventually, one man and his friend decided that Theodosia would only submit and marry a man who proved stronger than she, and tried to take her by force. She shot one and stabbed the other, though both survived. Despite their failure, this attitude soon spread to the married men as demons whispered and cajoled, and it wasn’t long until fights broke out between men over their wives. Sometimes the wife would accept the new doctrine of might makes right, and go willingly with the victor. Others refused, and were taken and raped. One such was Theo’s youngest sister, recently married just before the old Steward had died. Waiting until the cover of darkness, Theo crept into the man’s house, and shot him three times, killing him.

   This act made Theodosia feel strong and righteous; It had been a while since Dogs had visited the town, and she saw this as the King calling her to fill that role. She made of her home a veritable fortress, and whenever a woman was raped, she was swift vengeance. The fact that Cornelius has implied that Theo is acting as his enforcer does not help the situation at all. The women believe that submission to the victor is necessary to avoid incurring the wrath of the King, Cornelius, and Theodosia.

Into this situation will the Dogs ride; Cornelius has everyone acting cheerful, as though nothing is wrong, for fear of losing their water, or having Theo descend upon them in vengeance. Through it all is an undercurrent of fear and anger, and despite everything, lust.

--------------------------------------------------------------------


Something’s Wrong:

Pride:
-Cornelius the Waterman believed he should be Steward, because he rigged the pumps that allowed the community to prosper.
-Malvina Smith, the old Steward’s daughter, wanted to marry Cornelius the Waterman because he was a man of some stature within the community, but she didn’t want to be the second wife.
-Theodosia née Atwell, divorced after Cornelius became Steward and married Malvina, has decided that she doesn’t need a man, and can make it well enough on her own.
-Cornelius feels that he has the right to determine who gets water, and who does not, because he rigged up the pump system.

Injustice:
-Cornelius undermines the old Steward’s authority by questioning his judgement in private to the other townsfolk.
-Malvina seduces Cornelius, and once he becomes Steward demands that he divorce his first wife, Theodosia.
-Theodosia, angered by her wrongful divorce, and bitter against men in general scorns several virtuous suits.
-Cornelius uses his influence over the water to gain support, then uses it to force obedience once he gains the Stewardship.

Sin:
-Disunity: As above, Cornelius undermine’s the old Steward’s Authority, gaining followers.
-Sex: As above, Malvina seduces Cornelius, rather than letting him court her.
-Disunity: Theodosia scoffs at Cornelius after he’s made Steward, and sows dissent among the unmarried men with her bitter refusals of marriage proposals.

Demonic Attacks:
-The demons whisper in Theodosia’s ears, telling her that she’s stronger than any man, and that they would only demean her.
The demons fill many wives with lust for other men than their husbands, and men with lusts for women other than their wives.

False Doctrine: The King of Life supports those strong enough to take what they want.

Corrupt Religious Practices: Cornelius’ followers set him up as a second Steward even before the old Steward died because he was strong enough to take what he wanted. Men have begun to fight publicly for other men’s wives, and the woman goes willingly with the victor. Those that do not are taken and raped. Theodosia has seriously injured two men who’ve pushed their suits too far. She submits only somewhat to Cornelius’ authority, because he has control of the water that she needs to farm.

False Priesthood: Most, if not all, of the town has fallen under the Might Makes Right doctrine Cornelius is preaching. The old Steward still holds some loyalties, but even those are tenuous as Cornelius has a stranglehold on the community due to his control of the water.

Sorcery: No active sorcery yet, but the demons stand ready to fulfill any whim of Cornelius’ or Malvina’s, or to further any murder that Theodosia might commit.

Hate and Murder: Cornelius and Malvina couldn’t get the old Steward to step down, so Malvina conspired against her father, and drowned him in the spring with her own hands, so that Cornelius could declare them wed and divorce Theodosia. Since that time, Theodosia has actually killed a man who had raped her sister. Theo has set herself up as a vigilante, and has cut the rough shape of a dog’s head into her bicep.


So.. is this even vaguely comprehensible? If not, help?
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2005, 11:35:58 AM »

My read on this immediately was "Man, he's trying too hard."

You want your people to be evil, as opposed to sinful.  Malvina kills her father to support her lust for power and sex, for instance.  Ain't no way she can think that was right.  Cornelius starves people out just because he wants to.  That can't be right.

Dogs really isn't a game that supports evil, per se.  Just sin.

I think you could do a terrific progression just starting from the idea that Cornelius loves the water-works (itself) more than he loves the community that it serves.  End up with a whole bunch of people, all of whom individually have a solid claim to having done the right thing (or at least the utterly necessary thing).  That's where the good stuff is.

It ain't no fun to have some psychotic nut-case try to kill the Dogs.  It gets fun when the most virtuous, well-intentioned, downright decent person in town is the one gunning for them, for the best possible reason.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2005, 06:12:07 PM »

I dunno, Tony. Yeah, the town's outright evil, it's true. But the Dogs still have to do something about it. As long as every town's not like this, I think this could be a nice town that's just totally fucked.

That said, your suggestions up the ante a little bit, and that makes it better. If these are good people doing horrible, horrible things, it's much more interesting.
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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.
TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2005, 06:29:20 PM »

Oh, yeah, I probably misconveyed what I was thinking.

I think this would be a fine town.  Something to give the Dogs some fervor, to convince them that yes, their mission is holy and they're really on the side of good in a corrupt and corrupting world.  I think it would run quite nicely.

But Lance said that he was having some problems with the smooth flow of the Sin-progression, and I do think that the drive toward early, stark evil is what's throwing it off for him, as a tool.  Does that make more sense?
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Just published: Capes
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2005, 06:55:07 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
... I do think that the drive toward early, stark evil is what's throwing it off for him, as a tool.  Does that make more sense?


Yep! I think you're totally right.
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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.
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2005, 05:51:58 AM »

I totally agree that good people doing bad things is generally more interesting. This town is an effort to throw a monkeywrench in that whole scheme though. There are good people in the town (I think I probably need to detail out a few more) and at least one person (Theo) who could be considered a good person led badly astray, but for once, I want the perpetrators to be dyed in the wool nasty. Not incapable of salvation, as anyone can be saved, if you're willing to do what it takes (at least, as per the rules) but really nasty. Something to shake up characters like my own in the game Lx is running, who believe all people are basically good.

But yeah, I can see how some of your initial suggestions might smooth things a bit. I'll give it a do over, and post the results later.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
sirogit
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Posts: 503


« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2005, 05:57:51 PM »

I don't see a very strong connection between the Demonic Attack and the Corrupt Worship, it seems like both of their connections to the False Belief make sense, but its applied across two seemingly disconnected groups/idelolgies, even if they later assist each other.

Were you intending that the Demonic Attack be the result of everyone's Sins, or just Theo's(Who's sin is kind of a result of everyone else's Sins)?

If the former, it'd look better if it included the other sinners directly in a similar way, and if the latter, it seems strange that Cornelius is given the head-sorcerer mojo.
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