Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[DitV] Long Bounty

Started by ADamnFox, July 15, 2005, 04:00:45 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


I recently picked up the book (or at least the pdf version) after joining an online game.  I enjoyed the book so much, that I'm going to try and get some of my local gaming group to try it.  I thought I should have something specific in mind, especially on the off chance they say "Sure, how about now?"
 So I thought I'd run the town I came up with past the experienced folks around here.  I considered simply using one of the ones from the book, but I did want to try out the town generation chapter.  Also, this one doesn't have every other person as a blood relative of one of the PCs, something which I could never entirely get my head around in all the examples.  Anyway, any feedback would be appreciated...


Long Bounty

 Long Bounty is surrounded by farmsteads on all sides and is located where three roads meet.  The main road comes from the west and turns south, where a smaller, rutted road leads out of town to the east where most of the bigger farmsteads are located.  

 To the north, there's a fair sized Mountain Folk camp.  They're seldom in the same place, but they wander around the wide valley there, depending on the game they can find.  The tribe has been growing in recent years, and probably won't get much larger before it's too large to sustain its lifestyle, and thus splits.  The townsfolk trade periodically with them, mostly grains for meat, especially in the winter.  The townsfolk generally hold them in high regard, though the mayor doesn't like how numerous they've grown.
 Long Bounty is primarily agricultural, though it is an ideal stopping point for caravans using the main road, so a number of businesses have sprung up catering to such things: numerous inns and a small, yet busy saloon.  The preacher in town is upset about how much patronage it gets relative to how many show up for services, so most of his sermons tend to be on the evils of drinking.  The merchant traffic allows the farmers to produce more than their family or the town itself would ever need, selling the excess to caravans.  Most farming families often pick up side-trades in the hopes of making a bit extra in addition to the sale of their crops; usually this is just the women making wooden dolls or toys, but there are whisperings about other sorts of production out among the fields.

1: Pride/injustice

 The Mayor (local official, or whatever this is in the DitVerse) is getting older, and is dying.  His wife's pride is feeling that she knows better than the King does about when his time should come.  She has been trading firewater to the local Mountain Folk tribe in exchange for "spiritual" remedies.  She has been doing this for some time, making the local brewer a rich man.  His production has expanded, making such things more readily available in town.  

2: Sin/demonic attacks

 Though such trade may not be sinful in and upon itself, the Mountain Folk spirits are demons.  Attempting to evoke them, even through the middling trinkets they unloaded on her, is somewhat sinful.  She places her trust and her husband's faith in these demons and in unFaithful men, rather than in the King or his people.  As mentioned, the early remedies might have had some medicinal value, but their intrinsic spiritual nature was almost nonexistent.  Instead the sin of seeking them out was enough to allow a demonic presence into town.  Since the trinkets weren't working, she turned to them and they helped stave off the mayor's sickness.
 That was about a year ago, and he's been fine ever since.  He gets the occasional spell of weakness, but this is put down to aftereffects of such an illness and the fact that he's not as young as he used to be.  Such spells are growing more frequent.  The spirits have been whispering to his wife that the sickness they've been suppressing has grown beyond their power to cure alone.  In truth, after saving him from the sickness in the first place, they ensured that a seed of the illness remained, and they have begun slacking off on their suppression of the illness in order to goad her into spreading their influence.

 Also, the brewer has been getting richer than most in town, even the mayor.  Some townsfolk have been overindulging anyway, further allowing the demons access to the town.  The mayor's wife had continued purchasing his most of his extra production even after he used his new wealth to expand his operation, but she's suddenly stopped.  With such a direct relationship with the spirits, she has decided she no longer needs to trade with the Mountain Folk (the demons likely told her this), so she's stopped obtaining the necessary firewater.  The slow increase in supply, combined with a sudden drop in demand means that he has a large surplus on his hands lately.  He's dropped prices to compensate, increasing the amount of overindulgence in the town.  Even with this, he doesn't have his wealthy, desperate client, and he's losing money, losing the lifestyle he's become accustomed to.  He didn't even bother to plant crops this season, figuring he'd be able to buy enough from his neighbors to keep production flowing.  The demons have taken advantage of this by further increasing his surplus subtly and by increasing its potency.

3: False Doctrine

The spirits tell her they need the physical focus of more strong-hearted individuals like herself.  She begins subtly trying to recruit some close friends.  She believes "Spirits can be followed if it means preserving life," but she is desperate and this will likely get worse before it becomes a full-blown false priesthood.
She chants over his bed each night in a language she doesn't understand while he sleeps an unnaturally deep sleep.  She'll want others to join her in this.

The brewer has no pretenses about the morality of what he does.  He goes to services, but he's not that faithful.  He likely saw what he does as a sin at one point, but not anymore.  It began as a small operation out of his farm, and has grown slowly enough that he's now at a level he would never have fallen directly to.  Not feeling guilty enough, he's not come up with any false doctrine, unless you count "Drinking to excess is okay" or something.

What the major characters want the Dogs to do:

Brother Zedikiah Bradshaw: Mayor – Wants the Dogs to clean up the town, clamping down on all the drunks.  He doesn't like how the numbers of Mountain Folk have been growing, noting that they've been rowdier of late.  He wants permission to gather up some townsfolk to go thin them out, though he won't ask this in so many words.  In passing, he'll want the Dogs to do something about his occasional bout of weakness, though he doubts it's anything serious.

Sister Nance Bradshaw: Wife – Wants the Dogs to affirm the rumours she's heard about how the Mountain Folk were once Faithful, and that their beliefs may still be.  Doesn't want them to find out about her little following.  Wants them to approve of and legitimize such a following.

Brother Pleasant Dalton:  Brewer – Wants them to stay the hell away from his farm.  Wants them to buy something to drink, though not from him directly.  Wants them to stay in town awhile so he can blackmail the mayor's wife: "I won't tell 'em what sort of business I've been doing, or who I've been doing it with, if you make it worth my while."  If they catch on to him as the source of the town's drunkeness too soon, he'll use the same tactic to gain her protection "If they catch me, I'm bringing you with me."

Brother Jackson Dunn:  The local preacher, the steward – Wants the Dogs to do something about all the drunks in town.  Wants them to close down the small, but busy, saloon for good.  Wants them to go to the mayor for help, as he's been the biggest supporter in this.

If the Dogs never came:

 The wife would gather followers.  The demons would sicken the loved ones of these followers, making them equally desperate and willing to go to extreme measures.  The demons would say that the strength of the living can no longer sustain the ill.  Their doctrine would become "The foolish must die so the wise can live."  Obviously they would rank their loved ones as the wise, and would use their ceremony to transfer the illness to those who they see as deserving it, perhaps eventually turning to outright ritual sacrifice to sustain their loved ones.
 The Mountain Folk had grown accustomed to the firewater trade, but don't know who to go to in order to obtain it directly.  Growing drunk on the good stuff they'd been saving, they'll attack the town to get more.  They'll be drunk and probably die trying, but they'll take the town by surprise killing many.  The wounded will need to be saved, and the mayor's wife happens to know who can help them.  The Mountain Folk will no longer be popular, so it'll become clear that these spirits are in fact divine agents of the King, who had stayed with the Mountain Folk despite their fall from Faith.  The Mountain Fold clearly weren't listening to the wisdom of these beings, surely we wouldn't want to make the same mistake.  We can save the wounded and ill while cleaning up some of the town's drunks all at the same time.  When we run out of the "foolish," there's always the women and children who stayed behind at the Mountain Folk camp.
In any event, Hate and Murder all around.


 Obviously I could keep going another step or two, going all the way to the beginnings of murder, but I think this isn't bad as is.
 The other thing I'm thinking is that the demons would already be infecting the alcohol in the town.  This would sicken some men enough that their wives would be open to the influence of the mayor's wife, connecting the two main problems more.  Not murder yet, merely the seeds of motivation for murder.
-Adam Fox
"I've never been good with words, which is why I'm in such a delicate conundrum."

Jason Morningstar

Here are some comments for you.

As written the Faithful aren't supposed to drink alcohol, although that could be different in your game.  If you want to stick with what the book says about the Faith, you could definitely divide up the town into Faithful and Non-Faithful, with the Brewer and the Mayor on the outside.  I think that would make it more interesting in any case.  

So you've got:

A Steward with a congregation turning to drink

A woman trafficking in sinful remedies, alcohol, and now demons

A brewer who is flooding the town with cheap booze

All cool conflicts in themselves.  

First of all, I'd suggest you not plot things out very tightly.  Your write-up has lots of "she's going to" and "he'll do this" which is probably unneccessary and counter-productive.  Just amp up everybody's wants and hit the Dogs with them immediately.  Secrecy is fine, but make sure that the Dogs know they are keeping secrets (good conflicts there) and/or
get told what's up by other interested parties in the small town.  Lay it all out in the open - this may sound crazy at first but it is absolutely the thing to do.  

I'm also not sure you have really compelling, competing agendas - in this town, take away demon rum and you're golden.  I'd make sure that the Dogs have some very difficult choices to make and no obvious win-win solution.

Something that popped out at me is your idea of having the alcohol sicken people.  Alcohol does that anyway.  Strong enough alcohol even makes people go blind.  There's all kinds of blindness, too.  



It was my understanding that the faithful did occasionally partake of weaker sorts of alcohol.  That whole section had a ring of "ideally" to me anyway, and, regardless, it seemed like a slippery enough slope on its own, let alone demonic influence.  Also, I doubt the saloon owner is Faithful, because, well, he runs a saloon.
As for secrecy, I'm mindful of the great section "Actively reveal the town through play."  A lot of people are going to have secrets, but it'll be terribly obvious that this is the case--these folks were under enough stress before, and now a bunch of Dogs showed up.  Not being raised to lie anyway, that kind of stress will inevitably lead to slips.  I don't want to keep the PCs from learning anything, since, ideally, knowing shouldn't make it any easier.

I'm not sure exactly what to say about too many "this will happen"s.  Most of them are in the "what would happen if the Dogs never came" or "what the NPCs want from the Dogs" sections, and are mostly there to get a handle on everyone's motivation.  Obviously the former won't be a big problem, because the Dogs did come.  All the stuff in the various steps (pride, injustice, sin, yadda, yadda) have already happened, so if I happened to imply that it has yet to, or that something will potentially happen, it's probably just poor word choice on my part.  I'm quite aware that no plan survives contact with the PCs, if that's what you're trying to say.  Really, I don't have much of a plan beyond the basic situation--I have no idea what I'd do about things, which I thought was the idea.

The alcohol poisoning suggestion is a good one, since they don't have to supernaturally mess with it, just crank it up to something dangerous.
I do hope I get to run this some time, I'm just worried that the group tends to be more d20- or storyteller-system oriented.
-Adam Fox
"I've never been good with words, which is why I'm in such a delicate conundrum."