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[DitV] Horton's Hope: A noob town for feedback

Started by Aaron M. Sturgill, July 17, 2006, 05:09:37 AM

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Aaron M. Sturgill

Shortly after being introduced to DitV a couple of weeks ago (at Origins), I convinced my regular group to try it out. (Although I've lurked around the Forge as long as it has existed, I never would have purchased this game if it weren't for the folks at the Indie Press Revolution booth. Many thanks to them.)

Somewhere I read that people have found it profitable to post their town ideas prior to play.... So, this will represent my first attempt at a Dogtown.

*     *     *     *     *

-      Brother Josiah
-      Sister Chastity
-      Brother Andrew

Horton's Hope

The dogs arrive the day before Brother Leonard's wedding – the first in his village to be granted polygamy. Of course, he's just doing it for the sex – his first wife, Sister Bethany, cut him off years ago, which quickly led to his philandering (making this a two-sided issue).

Restricted from what he feels is his marital privilege, Leonard has slept with several young women in the village. Clearly he is less than worthy of the privilege of polygamy – but Brother Gregory, the Steward, empathizes with his situation. Naturally, there is great turmoil between the wife (Sister Bethany) and the fiancée (Sister Amelia).

Polygamy for all the wrong reasons – which leads to jealousy and partiality. (On the other hand: could this be preferable to Leonard sleeping around?)

The women of the town have become outrageously fecund, to the point of their offspring being a strain on the community.

Brothers Leonard and Gregory have convinced themselves that a man may take another wife if he is not being physically fulfilled. Of course, Sister Bethany (and others) feel justified in cutting their husbands off, for no better reason than boredom or distaste.

*   *   *

Done. No Corrupt Worship, False Priesthood, Sorcery, or Hate & Murder.

-   Brother Leonard Bishop: Brother Josiah's uncle; polygamist-to-be.
-   Brother Gregory Stewart: Steward of Horton's Hope; Leonard's collaborator.
-   Sister Bethany Bishop: Brother Leonard's first wife.
-   Sister Amelia Clark: Brother Leonard's bride-to-be. Daughter of Brother Alden and Sister Martha Clark.
-   Brother Alden and Sister Martha Clark: preparing to give away their daughter, Amelia, in marriage to Leonard Bishop.
-   Sisters Camilla and Livia: friends and cohorts of Sister Bethany.

-   Brother Leonard wants them to bless his marriage, perhaps also to condemn his first wife, Sister Bethany, for her selfishness (or at least take her down a peg or two).
-   Steward Gregory wants them to approve of his award of polygamy for Brother Leonard.
-   Sister Bethany wants to expose Leonard's depraved urges – but without admitting her own selfishness.
-   Sister Amelia wishes their blessing. Things get complicated when she becomes infatuated with one of the Dogs.
-   Brother Alden and Sister Martha (Sister Amelia's parents) are very worried about their daughter, and about the character of Brother Leonard. They wouldn't mind for one of the Dogs to try to talk some sense into her – they might even welcome the prospect of a Dog suitor....
-   Sisters Camilla and Livia are behind Sister Bethany, and adamant that the Dogs take steps to chastise basically all the men in the town for their sinful urges.

To exacerbate the jealousy and strife by making sex a curse (manifests in the women's outrageous fecundity).

To bless the marriage and the heresy of wrongful polygamy. To chastise Sister Bethany and the other older Sisters, thereby aggravating the growing tension between many of the couples. Really, the demons will be happy if the Dogs pick any side to the exclusion of the other, since this will only worsen any injustice.

Older wives would band together against their husbands. Men would take more and more wives for less and less reason (younger and younger, too) – or just ignore the sanctity of union entirely, in favor of their baser urges. Children would cripple Horton's economy, and eventually, Brothers Leonard and Gregory would find enough men to form a FALSE PRIESTHOOD. Shortly after that, a deadly STD would spawn, seemingly ex nihilo, and decimate the community (and possibly spread to others).

*     *     *     *     *

Embarrassingly, I'm not certain what critique I'm looking for. I guess... whether it strikes you as "grabby" enough.


It looks fine, except that I strongly recommend - so strongly that I wish now I'd made it a rule in the book - I strongly recommend that you take your first town all the way up to hate and murder.


Aaron M. Sturgill

I read elsewhere that you've advised others similarly. Could you expound? For me, it would seem counter-intuitive, to sort of 'take it to the limit' the first time out.


Let's see...

Here is what I've said about that before.

Why don't you want to take it to the limit the first time out? You want the first town to be boring?

That was needlessly snide of me, but take it in good spirit, same as I meant it. You need to give your players time to come to care about things like who marries whom. You need to show them, very early in play, just how serious the consequences of things like bad marriages ARE.


Aaron M. Sturgill

Thanks for the link, Vincent. Reading others' thoughts is always helpful (and I guess I need to learn how to search the forums a little better before posting redundant questions).

It seems like a (common?) newbie mistake to assume that escalating the action (not in the conflict resolution sense -- just referring to the overarching plot) implies a progression of issues and conflicts, from subtle doctrine to hate & murder. To me, an ascending progression seems intuitive... however, reading that practically everyone has had the opposite experience (not to mention the fact that Vincent apparently wishes it had been a set-in-stone rule), I guess I'll insert my second town idea as my first.

All the help was much appreciated. Look for the New Gilead post, coming soon!



You might find this little tidbit interesting, too, from this recent thread:

Quote from: lumpley on June 21, 2006, 03:58:18 PM
The way you know a town is baked is when it makes you feel sick to your stomach.



Its also alot easier on the players.  Having the first town go all the way to murder and nastiness, with a bad guy who's a legitimate bad guy (maybe sympathetic but clearly wrong) makes easing into Dogs much easier. 

The subtle "something is wrong, but nobody is really a villain (or everybody is a little bit)" towns should be saved until the players have grasped the game enough and engaged with its premise in play enough to do them justice.

My favorite AP posts are when players, used to having a villain, encounter a subtle town with no villain for the first time...and then go off half cocked, conclude person X must be the villain, gun them down, and pronounce the town saved.  Its that "oh my god, I can't believe we just did that" good kind of way.

Andrew Cooper

What I've noticed from Actual Play posts and town write-ups is that having a real Villain and going to Hate and Murder doesn't mean a lack of moral complexity.  Look at a lot of the Towns.  The person who originally has the Pride problem isn't generally the person that ends up starting a False Doctrine and becoming a Sorcerer.  Often times the person doing the murdering isn't the Sorcerer either.  So, while the murderer and the Sorcerer might be fairly cut and dried (depending on the players), what do you do about the guy who just had the Pride to begin with but didn't do anything else wrong?  After all, his probelm might have been small but it sure caused a big mess.