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Author Topic: Is a Bad Town a Bad Idea?  (Read 2209 times)
Mikael
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Posts: 206


« on: October 30, 2005, 01:14:29 AM »

In the Good Town thread, someone said that there are the typical Dogs towns with various levels of trouble, and then the ends of the spectrum that might a useful - if rare - change of pace for a long-running Dogs campaign. The Good Town proposed by Lisa is one end of the spectrum; Bad Town would be the other.

In Bad Town, you would have your hierarchy of Sin up to Hate and Murder, and the Dogs arriving too late to do anything but kill the plague before it spreads. All the Faithful in the town have been driven away, killed or possessed, and the demons are either hunting those who escaped, ripping each otherīs throats out or planning a grand push to the next town.

Is there anything worthwhile in such a town, except perhaps as a reminder for the Dogs about what they are trying to prevent? The session might be pure action with lots of special effects, but nothing to judge, no moral judgments to make, almost like a bad zombie movie. Or a really righteous bunch of Dogs might be able to keep their guns holstered, exorcise the demons and then pass judgment on the survivors.

What do you think? Anyone tried this? Anyone up for a little Apocalypse?

+ Mikael
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oliof
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Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2005, 01:30:01 AM »

Actually, I had in mind a 'Ghost Town' for a challenge to the Dogs. They come to a town, the mail bag full of letters, and the only thing they find is a derelict town, empty husks of houses, the street littered, one or three corpses lying in front of the TA building. Then, they hear a gunshot fire. They are just too late to even save the last member of Ghost Town. Being the single group of faithful left, the demons turn their minds to the Dogs...

Now, this would possibly only work on a more supernatural bend the way I envision it, but it might be another place of reflection for the dogs. I envision a game with a lot of ceremony, flash backs, ghostly images of what happened. Should the Dogs think Bummer, Town's lost, let's move on to the next one, have one ready where they move in and combine the town's problems with sudden occurrences of sinful neglect and sloth.

This would probably be hard to pull off, but it might be a lessen about Every Town counts, and leaving behind one unattended will weaken the Faithful as a whole as well.
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2005, 11:24:23 AM »

Actually, I had in mind a 'Ghost Town' for a challenge to the Dogs.

Now, this would possibly only work on a more supernatural bend the way I envision it, but it might be another place of reflection for the dogs. I envision a game with a lot of ceremony, flash backs, ghostly images of what happened.

I had something similar in mind, though with a twist.  The Dogs happen in to a deserted town -- perhaps there's been a massacre, or perhaps the last few Faithful left a while back as the town's economy went bust.  In any case, the town's completely deserted, but the Dogs aren't alone.  A handful of ghosts still lurk, working out conflicts powerful enough to keep them anchored to the world of the living.

For this to work, I have to write the town up like any other, with Pride leading to Sin and so forth.  I have to decide what the ghosts want from the Dogs, which ones want to block the Dogs from doing their jobs, and so forth.  But I don't need living residents to do this.  The hierarchy could even begin with the residents' deaths, or slightly before them.

Consider the cases of Sister Nora and Brother Theodore.  Nora is a bitter, spiteful miser and aunt to the slothful Theodore.  All his life, Theodore has known he had something coming upon Nora's death.  Nora, to spite him, hangs on through sheer force of will until Theodore dies.  Unwilling to give up his earthly rights, Theodore hangs around post-mortem, lazily drifting around Nora's home and grounds.  She finally dies, but will not surrender her ground to Theodore.  The two hate one another with a virulent intensity, and their hate has spread, destroying lives throughout the town.  Nora wants the Dogs to secure her goods from all comers, though she would settle for having them send Theodore on his way.  Theodore wants his rights acknowledged, but he would settle for the Dogs sending Nora on her way.

Mix a few more ghostly conflicts like this one into the ectoplasmic soup, and you're good to go.

I've been imagining that some of the conflicts will take the form of visions, some will be nightmares, and others will be straight-up ceremonial goings-on.  I'm especially interested in running the nightmares, with some of the conflicts taking place in nightmarish versions of places important to the ghosts.

I wouldn't be able to do this often.  Probably, more than once would be a mistake.  But to build a unique town where the worst that could happen has (apparently) already happened, yeah, that's intriguing.  And as long as there are still "people" in the town, and the Dogs have something to judge, this should work.

I guess that would qualify as a Bad Town.
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Mikael
Member

Posts: 206


« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2005, 07:59:26 AM »

Thanks for the input!

Even if I was more after Apocalypse NOW, Ghost Town is an intriguing Bad Town. It can still have sort-of-people with ambiguous problems in it.

But in the end, is it only a mystery/horror thingy, instead of a Dogs judgement thing? What prevents the Dogs from just laying all the ghosts to rest and "letting the King of Life sort them out?"

You would have stipulate something about ghosts in the scripture, saying that a wronged ghost may never enter the Kingdom of Heaven - and I would not want to do that, as it would be restricting the Dogs mandate to interpret scripture.

Cheers,
+ Mikael
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2005, 08:16:04 AM »

(On the off chance that anyone's waiting for my input...)

Same as in the other thread, I endorse every town that's made with the game's town creation rules!

-Vincent
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2005, 08:48:26 AM »

But in the end, is it only a mystery/horror thingy, instead of a Dogs judgement thing? What prevents the Dogs from just laying all the ghosts to rest and "letting the King of Life sort them out?"

Sure, they could do that.  But then, why not do the same with the living?  My solution to the "kill 'em all, let god sort 'em out" proposition is the same as Vincent's advice in the rulebook: play the town's NPCs (living and dead) to the hilt.  Show their personalities in action.  Make the players care about these dead sinners as much as they care about the living.

Besides, they get to judge the living all the time.  How often are they going to have the opportunity to judge the dead?

Quote
You would have stipulate something about ghosts in the scripture, saying that a wronged ghost may never enter the Kingdom of Heaven - and I would not want to do that, as it would be restricting the Dogs mandate to interpret scripture.

In the section on Ceremony (p. 23, my edition), under "Sanctify a Corpse": "According to the folk beliefs of the Faithful, after you've died, each minute that passes before someone sanctifies your corpse presents a temptation to remain on earth as a ghost, which is a sin and will count against you at Judgment.  The Faith has no such official doctrine."

Personally, I think it should be enough that these ghosts clearly don't belong in the mortal world, and in the interests of justice, the Dogs should probably try to sort out what's holding them in place.  But that's up to them.  Perhaps the folk belief is true and the simple act of becoming a ghost is itself a sin.  If that's true, then the Demons can do their work by convincing more and more dead folks to loiter about the old homestead, making life crappy for the living.

Later in the rulebook (p. 53), Vincent gives an example of "Special Effects" with a Dog questioning a dead woman, and he mentions incorporating into Sees and Raises "the hate of talking to a ghost."  I take this to mean it's possible for a Dog to be prejudiced against the unquiet dead, perhaps based on that folk belief, or perhaps just the fact that ghosts give folks a major wiggins.

I would shy away from coming down solid with a piece of scripture, for the very reason you mention.  But then, if these ghosts are hanging about of their own will, then they're probably all a bit tainted, don't you think?  I mean, ignoring that last Calling and hanging around for personal reasons seems to me a rather whopping instance of Pride, to say the least.  It's rather like telling God, "Keep it down, dude, I gotta take this call."
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