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Author Topic: [DITV] Unlurk, and advice on making a town  (Read 2884 times)
jlarke
Member

Posts: 19

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« on: January 14, 2006, 11:59:57 PM »

Hello all! Ever since I heard about DITV I had a sense it was the game I didn't know I'd been waiting for. This forum has been very helpful to me in the process of wrapping my head around the game. It's so different from what I'm used to that whenever I focus too much on any one part of it, I find myself heading down blind alleys until I get the full picture into my head again.

A brief illustration, if I may: Reading one of the threads many pages down on how to handle PCs who want to join a conflict already in progress, Vincent used an example from the "War Stories" episode of Firefly. Mal's fighting a thug, and Zoe tells the others not to intervene because the Captain needs to do this himself. Mal tells her he really doesn't, so she shoots him. Vincent describes this as an example of a character Giving to allow other PCs to join a followup conflict.

Folks, I was baffled. I couldn't figure out how a character locked in mortal combat could just give without consequences. It was hours before I remembered that Mal, as a "PC", would have had a role in setting the stakes, which were probably something like, "Does Mal kill this guy?" He can give those stakes and only take accured fallout. That makes sense... but wait, Mal's just been tortured to death, there's no way he can win, so why would he start the conflict? And then I had two thoughts at once. First, I remembered that even being dead is just Fallout traits as long as you come back. Second, I remembered that Mal's known for starting fights he can't win. Satori. It's a whole new paradigm. Thanks much to Vincent and The Forge for cluing me in.

So anyway, now I can't wait to play. I invited four friends to play in a one-shot game, expecting to get 2-3 of them. I got all four. Now I'm wondering how "grabby" my Branch needs to be to keep four people occupied for 8-10 hours, including character creation, and of course I'd be happy to hear any suggestions people have for improving it.

I came up with a Branch called Caleb's Bridge. Old Steward Caleb founded it a ways back, built the eponymous bridge, and generally carried the whole town for a decade. Now the Branch is growing up, and adolescence is proving troublesome. (Many thanks to Vincent for his posts on Branch creation. I had gone a different and much less satisfying direction until I read a post that pointed out that in any Branch where the Steward wasn't doing his job, someone else was.)

Pride

Brother Caleb is the founder and Steward of the Branch that bears his name. He has a splendid farm, and in the earlier years of the Branch he often helped the rest of the families through winter with his own stores. Lately his yields have been declining, and he's been exhausting himself trying to bring in as much as he used to. His Pride in his farm has caused him to lose sight of his responsibilities to his family and the town.

Sister Talitha is his wife. He's been ignoring her emotional needs for years now, and last year she began an adulterous affair with Brother Micah just to feel loved again. Her pride makes her place her emotional needs before her relationship with her husband.

Brother Micah's son Luke believes his father deserves to be Steward, and has been urging him be more Faithful. He's not courting at all; he thinks he can marry better as son of a Steward than of a shopkeep.

Brother Micah's wife Sister Elizabeth was once a Dog; now she's acting as an unofficial Steward for those who can't get Caleb's attention. Her Pride makes her think she's capable of performing the Steward's role.

Injustice

Caleb is not fulfilling his role as Steward.

Talitha is being unjust to her husband.

Luke isn't filling his role as a young man. Instead he's trying (ineptly) to put his father in a role he doesn't want and isn't suited for.

Elizabeth isn't fulfilling her role as wife, but she is improperly acting as a Steward.

Sin

Caleb is committing Faithlessness by blowing off his duties as Steward.

Talitha is an adultress.

Elizabeth is guilty of disunity.

Demonic attacks

The social fabric of the town is beginning to collapse. Bad advice is being given and accepted, the youth are losing respect for their elders, and there have been repeated incidents of vandalism.

False Doctrine

Caleb has grown to believe that his farm is proof of his right to be Steward. The vandalization of his fence proves that someone in the branch is trying to destroy his authority, presumably to take it for themself.

Sister Elizabeth believes she can advise the townsfolk as well as a Steward can.

Corrupt Worship

Caleb regularily prays for the good of his farm before all other things. Since the fence broke, he's also been praying that the King of Life will punish the offender.

Sister Elizabeth has been leading the womenfolk of the town in prayer services.

False Priesthood

Sister Elizabeth's advice hasn't always been bad. Those who sought her out first, her closest friends, regularily pray with her and respect her the way they would a Steward. They have accepted her False Doctrine.

Sorcery

Not yet, but it's coming. Someone has to keep those damn kids under control...

Hate and murder

Not yet.

The people

  • Brother Caleb, founder of the town, Steward. His farm is failing. He wants the PCs to validate his authority so conclusively that he'll be able to focus even more on his farm.
  • Sister Talitha, Caleb's wife, neglected, emotionally deprived due to her husband's obsession, is sleeping with Brother Micah. She feels terrible about her sin and wants the Dogs to give her her husband back but also to absolve her of her sin.
  • Sister Nicole, Caleb's daughter, obsessed with Brother Luke. She wants the Dogs to make him marry her.
  • Brother Micah, drygoods shopkeep. He's a handsome devil, well-spoken, but his Faith is just veneer. One of his shop's windows was broken recently, and he wants the Dogs to find the culprit. Other than that, it'd be fine if they ran right along.
  • Sister Elizabeth, Micah's wife. Once a Dog, still a strong and virtuous woman. Probably too virtuous, really, since she's too caught up in her duty to her husband to confont him about his adulterous ways. What's worse, she's known throughout the town as a pure and Faithful woman, and people have been seeking her out to get the advice Caleb doesn't have time to give them. Lately she's been feeling so put-upon by her husband's infidelity that she's giving mean-spirited advice to the rest of the town. She wants the Dogs to give the Branch a proper Steward, preferably without noticing what she's been up to.
  • Brother Luke, Micah's son, the Branch's most eligible bachelor. He wants the Dogs to make his father the Steward.

The demons

The demons want the town to fall into anarchy and False Priesthood.

They'd love the Dogs to appoint Micah Steward; his lack of Faith would render the entire town open to them.

If the Dogs never came

Sister Elizabeth's advice would grow steadily less wise, but her need to keep the town going would eventually lead her into Sorcery. The demons would convince her that she had to kill to preserve order, just like she did when she was a Dog. Hate and murder would reign supreme in the Branch.
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My real name is Jason Larke.
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2006, 10:29:41 AM »

Please don't take this as "you're not doing it right!". I think, however, that you're declaring some of your Progression a bit loosely, which could cause problems down the road. You've got all the right things, but it seems a little loose to me how it's laid out.

Here's how I would lay it out.

Pride:
-Br. Caleb is awfully proud of his farm, and it's ability to support the town through lean times. He's been overworking himself.
-Sr. Elizabeth is proud of her past serving as a Dog, so she feels that, even though it's over, she's just as good as the Steward.
-Br. Luke wants to be the son of a Steward, because it's obviously better than being the son of a shopkeeper, and is pushing his father to take the role.

Injustice:
-Caleb's focus on his farm is leaving his people without their Steward, and leaving his wife neglected.
-Sr. Elizabeth's pride is drawing people to her, rather than their rightful, if neglectful, Steward.
-Luke's pride is putting unwanted pressure on his father to take a role he doesn't want, and isn't suited for, and he's neglecting the interest of a young woman who's interested in him.

Sin:
-Caleb is ignoring his stewardship
-Talitha and Micah are engaged in adultery due to Caleb's neglect
-Luke isn't fulfilling his role as a young man
-Elizabeth is taking on stewardship that isn't hers, and not doing it properly out of spite for her husband's infidelity

Demonic Attacks:
-The demons whisper in Faithful ears, causing the people of the town to become disunified (is that a word?) partly due to the bad advice given and the proper authority's laxity. Acts of vandalism are becoming more common as the youth begin to lose respect for their elders.

False Doctrine: (always best defined as concrete statements of belief)
-Caleb: My authority comes from what my farm provides, rather than the King and the Temple, and destruction of my farm will mean the destruction of my authority.
-Elizabeth: A former-Dog, even a female, can take the Stewardship for herself if the appointed Steward isn't doing his job

Corrupt Worship:
-Caleb has been praying that the King maintain his farm over all other concerns, and he's been praying for the punishment of whoever damaged his fence (perhaps damage to their farms, as he sees the farm being the symbol of authority)
-Elizabeth has been leading the womenfolk of the town in prayer (this needs something more, I think.. maybe she's telling them different things about a woman's place?)

False Priesthood:
-Some of Sr. Elizabeth's friends have taken on her beliefs that she's the new Steward (or should be!) and have begun assisting her in implanting her beliefs in the other womenfolk of the town.

When you do the What the people want section, it's also best to make sure that each person has a very definite thing they want the Dogs to do. Don't hedge your bets here. Sr. Talitha wants her husband back, and she wants to be absolved of her sin. Br. Micah wants the Dogs to mind their own damned business! Sr. Elizabeth doesn't just want a proper Steward.. She wants the Dogs to declare HER Steward, and punish Br. Micah and Sr. Talitha in the process.

All of the above is just advice, and I really do hope I didn't come on too strong. You've got a nice situation shaping up here, with lots of different judgements the Dogs could conceivably hand out, with a lot of gray areas to boot. It just needed to be a little more concrete, I think.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
jlarke
Member

Posts: 19

Grump


« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2006, 11:43:16 AM »

That's helpful. I thought I was being concrete, but seeing the way you phrase things, I realize where I could do better.

My vision of Elizabeth is that's she way too righteous to want to be Steward. I think that instead I'll harden her heart against her husband. She's condemned him, and she doesn't believe in divorce, so clearly there's only one solution. She wants the Dogs to kill her husband. That ought to get the ball rolling. :)
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My real name is Jason Larke.
Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2006, 03:43:07 PM »

My vision of Elizabeth is that's she way too righteous to want to be Steward. I think that instead I'll harden her heart against her husband. She's condemned him, and she doesn't believe in divorce, so clearly there's only one solution. She wants the Dogs to kill her husband. That ought to get the ball rolling. :)
Slimy... I like it.

But there's one thing I noted. You say you aim for an 8-10 hour game. One of the things Dogs does is that it cuts away a large parts of what some other games spend time on. That means that games get considerably shorter unless you add that much more meat to compensate. The first town I ran was about as complex as the one you have there, and we played for 5 hours, including character creation, with new players.
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Simon Kamber
jlarke
Member

Posts: 19

Grump


« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2006, 04:00:09 PM »

Going short isn't a big problem, but going long would be. All of us have pretty complicated schedules, so while people can block off a Saturday for a session, it could be three months before the same group could get back together again.
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My real name is Jason Larke.
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2006, 04:26:26 PM »

You know, Simon says that, Vincent says that, everyone says that Dogs is a short-run game.. But we've only once been able to finish a town in one session. So hey.. Your mileage may vary.

Anyhow, however long it runs, I think you've got a good start there.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Mikael
Member

Posts: 206


« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2006, 09:13:00 PM »

Hello "jlarke"

Wolfen´s way of describing your Town seems to have the bits "under the correct headings," while yours seems to repeat itself after the first statements of Pride. Wolfen´s Way makes for a more interesting read, even if the end result would be essentially the same. Also, when creating Towns, I try to make each step on the ladder to work for me, with a basic guideline that at least the three first steps should each introduce a new NPC with a different view on the same situation.

Another, add-on option: This is not very sophisticated, but I think that a first Dogs session should have someone who´s ready to go out and shoot somebody RIGHT NOW, and for a reason that the players might symphatise with. That´ll kick off things nicely, especially if the easons behind the action are complicated enough.

The woman spurned by Luke and someone else spurned by her - or her despairing father - might make good additions to the named NPC´s if you want more stuff to fill the available time.

Cheers,
+ Mikael
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