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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 89 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] The First Sign of True Valley  (Read 3083 times)
Eric Provost
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Posts: 581


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« on: November 11, 2005, 07:59:05 AM »

Note:  If yer headed to MACE this weekend you'll might want to skip this thread 'till Monday.

Hiya all.  Coming acha with yet another town to paruse.  The First Sign of True Valley.

I wrote it specifically to run at MACE this afternoon and again on Sunday, but I managed to get the opportunity to run it for my little brother and his girlfriend of the moment when Lisa and I went to visit up north last month.  My brother Patrick's experiences with RPGs ran from D&D to BESM during his highschool years.  As far as I know the DitV session was the first session of anything he's played in a year or so.  His girlfriend, I can't remember her name, had never played any RPGs ever, and had that wrinkled-nose look when we talked about sitting down to play.  So, when she sat down at the kitchen table with us that afternoon I was a tiny bit shocked to see her snatch up the character sheet I'd put under Patrick's nose.

I jumped right into it, feet first, cannon-ball style.  Br. Jadon, the steward, met the Dogs at the edge of town and as he walked them to the jail where Fidelia was being kept he explained absolutely everything that was going on.  From his own perspective of course.  After a short interview with Fidelia I had a very pleasant S. Honor meet them outside on the steps to the jail house, to explain her position on the matter.  What I found interesting there is that as soon as I narrated Honor pulling out her big ol' Book of Life to read a passage to the Dogs, every one of my players got indignant about it.  How dare she read from the Book of Life to Dogs?  As if they didn't know every passage in there?!

During the game I noticed something very interesting about Patrick and his girlfriend.  See, I was imagining a repeat of the session with Maura, where she immediately grasped the intuitiveness of the game and rolled with it.  That didn't happen here.  Patrick immediately overcame any RPG baggage he may have had and didn't need anything explained twice.  His girlfriend, on the other hand, needed contant encouragement.  Help with authoring her Traits and encouragement to disagree with the other two players for instances.

So, my theory that gamer-baggage was exclusively the culprit in making Dogs difficult at first seems shot down.  A player who'd never played any RPGs ever before showed what looked like baggage, and a player who'd played games that support and cause common dysfunctional forms of play took right to the game.  I was surprised.

I also discovered that the eight NPCs I created for the town (a personal record) was pretty darned meaty for a 3-hour session.  Four or five NPCs with strong desires seems to keep three our four Dogs busy in a three or four hour session.  Especially when character creation is part of the session.

If you've got any ideas on how you like or dislike the town, or how you'd run it for your players, I'd love to hear it.  Opininons on the Towns from outside my own head always seem to add dimensions to the acutal play.  I'll expect to be back here early next week at the latest with tales to tell about the convention.

-Eric
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2005, 08:05:38 AM »

Eric, I tried to go to your geocities link, but it wasn't working.  I'm assuming that's where the town workup was located?  I wanted to read the town itself before commenting on what you'd written.  Can you provide a better link, or better yet, just slap the town down as text?
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Eric Provost
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Posts: 581


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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2005, 08:12:00 AM »

Yup.  Looks like I messed up both links.  Lemmie try again.

The First Sign of True Valley

MACE

Thanks,

-Eric
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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2005, 10:09:08 AM »

Eric,

First, let me say that I like the way this whole mess of a town spun out of one old man's stubbornness and one girl's moral quandary.  That's nice.

Second...

So, my theory that gamer-baggage was exclusively the culprit in making Dogs difficult at first seems shot down.  A player who'd never played any RPGs ever before showed what looked like baggage, and a player who'd played games that support and cause common dysfunctional forms of play took right to the game.  I was surprised.

This doesn't surprise me at all.  Not to go all Granny-Wisdom or anything, but I've been gaming since D&D was three little pamphlets, and I've long since abandoned any Single-Bullet theory to explain why some players can or cannot play certain games well.  I think it has a heck of a lot more to do with someone's social comfort and expectations than it does with any given game, and anytime I'm tempted to think otherwise, I remind myself that I'm arrogating to RPGs a heck of a lot more power than they can be shown empirically to possess.  Player mood trumps Game mode every time. 

Clearly, I wasn't present at your session, but do you think Girlfriend (and I'm sorry, but it says something to me that you can't recall her name) might have been reacting not so much to the game itself, but more to the fact that she was in the company of gamers who knew more than she did, who made her feel somehow less than fully involved, less than a real person with experiences and desires (and a name)?  I've found new gamers (and disproportionately females, sorry to say) quite willing to be countermanded and shepherded by more assertive, more confident, more experienced gamers (male or female), and that's independent of the game we're playing.  It's something I've had to negotiate very carefully as a GM, to ensure that the new gamer's experience is his or her experience, and that he or she does not become an appendage of another gamer (especially when that other gamer is romantically connected to the newbie).

My suggestion -- and it may be waaaay off-base in your particular case, but I'm going on what you've written here -- would be simply this: specifically involve new gamers in a way that doesn't put them on the spot with mechanics; bring the game to them, but let them come to the dice.  Aside from always -- always -- being patient with a player who doesn't quickly "get" how the system works, I'd say try to serve some soft pitches early, then bring them up to speed as quickly as their individual comfort will permit.  You don't want the others at the table to feel the newbie is a burden, but you also don't want to lose the newbie to the pace of the game.  And while it sounds like I'm lecturing a pre-school teacher (and I know newbie gamers are not children), some encouragement never hurts.  Mostly, though, make the newbie know he or she is part of the game and part of the group.  We gamers have a well-deserved reputation for being bitchy little fascists when it comes to bringing new people into our hobby; we all need to work on that, one newbie at a time.

Alternatively, you might think about your own comfort, and tell your players something like "This week's game, I don't want any newbies.  It's just not the right week to introduce someone.  Things are going to get frizzy at the edges, and I don't want the pacing to slow down, okay?"  See, when you combine things like this nameless Girlfriend with statements like "I jumped right into it, feet first, cannon-ball style," my Snubbed-Newbie radar starts lighting up like a casino at sundown.

Okay, enough lecturing out of me, and I apologize in advance if the above was off-base.  From group dynamics, we turn to gameplay...

How dare she read from the Book of Life to Dogs?  As if they didn't know every passage in there?!

I love it when that happens.  It's like the player painting a target on their characters' egos.  It tells me this is a really good place for a conflict.

I also discovered that the eight NPCs I created for the town (a personal record) was pretty darned meaty for a 3-hour session.  Four or five NPCs with strong desires seems to keep three our four Dogs busy in a three or four hour session.  Especially when character creation is part of the session.

I'm noticing this, too.  For me, it means "Add more NPCs," but then, I run eight-hour sessions.  I also found, during the two sessions I've run, that low-key side-jaunts eat up a disproportionate amount of time, compared with multi-party brouhahas of sin and violence.  This is fine with me, but for a GM who wants to condense his game into a shorter session, it might feel like he's being kicked to death by crickets.  I guess what I'm saying is that if you want a lot of NPCs, you might try tying them together in such a way that the Dogs can resolve them in fewer steps, if they so choose.

If you've got any ideas on how you like or dislike the town, or how you'd run it for your players, I'd love to hear it.  Opininons on the Towns from outside my own head always seem to add dimensions to the acutal play.  I'll expect to be back here early next week at the latest with tales to tell about the convention.

I like the town, personally.  One thing I found myself pondering was "Where are the level heads in this place; where's the drag of the Status Quo?"  Half the town thinks "She's a Prophet!"  The other half thinks "She's a Demon!"  Where are the people who think "What's all this nonsense?"  Then again, maybe they just don't involve themselves, so they just don't matter, huh?

One other thing: I'd finesse the Demons' desires.  Wanting people killed is fine, but don't they want anything else?  How about wanting the T.A. guy to prevail and hang Virgil?  How about wanting the consumption of alchohol to spread?

Anyway, interesting town, and thanks for sharing your session.

Neal
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oliof
Member

Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2005, 02:56:47 AM »

Eric,
nice town once again. I found You didn't write down what the Steward wants as all. You describe his position but not his wants and needs. Under his entry, You describe what the TA wants, but not where this conflicts with his view on things.

Also, I am missing the end of the second paragraph of 'Hate and Murder'.

Regards,
    Harald
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