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Author Topic: [DiTV] Prudence (Crystalline v2)  (Read 3319 times)

Posts: 11

« on: August 16, 2006, 11:21:12 AM »

This is for the Supernatural Town Creation thing.  I liked what I read of Crystalline, but I... remixed it, slightly.

I tried to involve the Steward more directly, I created a second(!) cabal of sorcerers, and I tried to include the amazing moment that Danny_K added.  I’m pretty happy with it – it’s gnarly and weird and supernatural, and it’s open for the Players to pick a side and start escalating.

Prudence (Crystalline v. 2)

Winter is setting in, the streams are frozen in the mornings and thaw again by noon.  Prudence is a modest town of maybe two dozen families, most faithful.  It is a remote and isolated town, separated by low mountains from the nearest branch, and the infrequency of visitors has allowed demonic influence to fester unimpeded for some time.
The Tree at its center is well-tended.  Outlying farms stretch west, and Mountain People are in the snowcapped mountains to the east.

A heavy gloom is palpable as the Dogs approach the town, and unlikely numbers of crows lurk in dead cornfields.

1A. Pride --

Heloise Parker believes her company is enough for her brother.
Noah Riley believes his daughter too good for Artemus Parker.
Caedmon Archer believes Heloise should wed him despite her wishes.
Steward Amos, the local schoolteacher, has devoted his time to teaching his new bride, a recent convert from the Mountain People, and has neglected both his flock and his pupils.

1B. Injustice --

Heloise spreads rumors about Emmeline and about Artemus.
Caedmon courts Emmeline against her wishes.
Artemus begins to neglect Heloise, dining at the Rileys’ and trading their food stores away for ostentatious gifts to prove his financial stability.

2A. Sin --

Artemus and Emmeline enjoy carnal relations without marriage.
Caedmon begins to spy on Heloise.
Heloise begins to poison Emmeline to render her infertile.  She poisons Caedmon as well, but the mercury drives him mad.

2B. The Demons Attack --

All crops save Artemus’ are blighted.
A plague of crows infest the dying crops and attack children.

3A. False Doctrine –

Laughing Birch leads Heloise and Amos to gatherings of Mountain People.  Amos believes the Mountain People know the true word of God.

Brother Artemus and Sister Emmeline believe his success is a sign that Heaven has blessed their match.  The will of the King of Life is written in the things of the earth: in the growth of a plant and the ways of the beasts of the field.  Nature is the true word of god.

Caedmon believes that marriage only applies to the Faithful.

3B. Corrupt Worship --

Heloise, Amos and Laughing Birch commune with Spirits to help their crops.  They begin to teach the Mountain People rites to the children.

Artemus, Emmeline, and Noah form the Church Under the Stars

4A. False Priesthood –

Yes.  Two groups!

4B. Sorcery --

Artemus & Emmeline learn the true names of Nature.

Heloise, Laughing Birch and Stewrard Amos only succeed in blighting Artemus’ crops, rather than bringing back their own.

5A. Hate and Murder –

Heloise is lacerated and crucified.

6A. What Do the People Want? --

Brother Artemus Parker – Wants to be hailed as the savior of Prudence, wants the Faith to recognize the Green Lady.
Sister Heloise Parker – wants to be taken down from the cross.  She wants the Dogs to expose Emmeline as a sorceress, and exonerate Artemus.  She wants them to kill Caedmon.
Sister Emmeline Riley - Wants to be told she is not living in sin.  Wants Artemus to be made Steward for all he’s done.
Brother Noah Riley – Wants Emmeline exonerated.
Brother Caedmon Goodson – Wants to marry Heloise, wants the voices in his head to stop.
The local branch steward, Brother Amos Drake, wants to be left alone.  Once winter passes, he’ll get through this with his town.  He doesn’t want a bunch of eighteen year old fresh from Four Bride Falls running around town shooting people.
Laughing Birch wants to marry Amos and be among the Faithful.
The other cultists want the cult to thrive and grow.  They will try to distract the Dogs with petty issues, minor services, and so forth, trying to draw attention away from the cult.

6B. What Do the Demons Want? --

They want the cults to grow.  They want all the Faithful in town to join a cult or be starved out.
They want the sacrifices to become accepted as the cost of doing business.  They want them to become regular and routine.
They want the Dogs to miss the cult altogether, or else to become its victims.

6C. What If the Dogs Never Came? --

The cult will grow in power as other families join or leave town.  Anyone in town who knows of the cult and doesn't join will be killed.  Ritual homicide will become a town tradition, and it will form the core of a new orthodoxy of fornication and murder.

7. What is happening when the Dogs arrive?
The Dogs are invited to dine with the Steward, as is traditional.  Caedmon’s assault and Heloise’s sacrifice take place while the Dogs are eating. 
When dinner is over, Heloise is bound to a cross and dressed as a scarecrow, bleeding into the earth.  Caedmon is beaten and confused, but has told Artemus what Heloise and Amos have been doing. 
Artemus and a few other believers, Caedmon in tow, arrive at the Steward’s door just as Laughing Birch is returning from lighting candles in the branches of the Tree.   
8. Cool Scenes:
Caedmon spills his guts, and the Dogs are getting twitchy trigger fingers, and then they go to Caedmon's room and find the tied-up voodoo doll and (probably) say, Oh, crap.
His confession should involve both Heloise’s imprisonment "Yes, I've got Heloise tied up in my bedroom, I'm making a good Faithful woman out of her..." and her crucifixion “They tied her up like the King of life and they cut her and they made her bleed.”
Heloise, when rescued, explains that everything that has happened to her  is Emmeline's fault.  She will tell the Dogs that everything in town was just fine until young Emmeline bewitched and seduced Artemus away from the faith, and that Emmeline used evil magic to cause the crop failures in the first place, just so the starving people would be forced to join her cult. 

And, at some point, the Green Lady is just going to have to up and animate Heloise’s voodoo double. 

In terms of mooks and mayhem, I see:
1. Mountain People coming out of the mountains if Laughing Birch is hurt and word gets to them.  They will recognize the Green Lady and will try to burn the town down.
2. A school full of children taught false worship, and fields full of sorcerous crows can both be put to use.
3. Artemus has a posse of believers, opened to Demonic Possession.

Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland

« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 01:05:48 PM »

much better than my two twists on this. I especially like the double sorcery thing. It really packs a punch.


Posts: 11

« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2006, 11:40:32 AM »

So I ran what ended up being the first half of the town last night.

The scarecrow'ed Heloise and the Voodoo Doll Heloise, with Caedmon and Artemus's weird rantings really worked to creep my players out.  Their characters kept taking 'Spooked 1d4', 'Skittish 2d4' and one ended up with 'Afraid I may be crazy 3d8'.

I had some trouble with large group actions, where each player had to see the raises of everyone before him - they ended up bowing out and letting the player with the best dice face off against me alone.

Also - average NPC (8d6), Possessed (4d6), HAte and Murder (5d10) - without relationships or traits, He's throwing 12d6 and 5d10.  Plus the mob, it got ugly.  I ended up having Laughing Birch (Mountain Person, Steward's wife, sorceress) call upon her ancestor spirits to aid the Dogs.  I rolled 5d10 at the beginning of every encounter afterwards and put them in the middle of the table for the Dogs to call on.  For a while they wouldn't touch them.  Then, as the stakes rose and the fallout turned to d8's, those d10s in the middle of the table got more and more tempting.

I found that having the supernatural dial cranked made it harder to set difficult decisions in front of them.  The demonic dice helped, and maybe this game wasn't about difficult decisions, it was about showing off how cool the system is and how awesome it is to have a relationship with The Moon, or People Fear My Stare as things on your sheet.

Because we were all new, we would baby step our way to throwing dice as follows:
[me] So you successfully tracked the posse to the Church Under the stars.  There's a luch cornfield, a gazebo and a scarecrow.  They have Laughing Birch tied up.  They are building a cross.
(pause - I am essentially trying to escalate things until the players will set a stake against me)
[me] They tie her up to the cross and pull out long knives and sickles.
(Player 1 - Okay, I'm going to stop them.  I stand up and call out to them, "...)

Because of this, we ended up with a lot of very... combat-ish situations, despite the character sheets seeming to indicate interest in sneaking and talking.  OTOH, there were a few non-combat conflicts.  The stakes of the conflicts were (in order):
"If I win the mob does not take Laughing River away with them."
"If I win the Steward tells me what he knows about the Green Lady."
"If I win Caedmon tells me what he knows."
"If I win I track the mob."
"If I win Artemus turns the investigation over to me." <- Interesting.  The conflict went badly for the players, who gave up, then launched a followup conflict,
"If I win the demon is cast out of Artemus."

Fallout caused injury, which meant a player had to lay on hands, so the player would invoke his Jar of Sacred Earth, which escalated fallout dice, which injured the healer.  However, I think the players gained somewhere around 10 experience fallout during the course of the session, and they didn't seem to mind the fallout-injury-fallout minigame.

Anyway, we had to end the session early (it took a lot longer than I thought, as the players tended to deliberate over their blocks and raises), so when we play again, play will begin with the Green Lady, cast out of Artemus' (dead) body, possessing the animated Heloise Doll. 

So, next session, I'm going to do a little pre-game pep talk about how they can set scenes themselves.  And then I'm going to describe where they are and what's going on: Heloise dragged herself off the cross and threw herself at the Gazebo, where she is wrestling with a massively pregnant Emmeline.  Artemus is gutshot and dying, and the demon that was in him is now possessing an animated bundle of flour sacks and Spinster's bloomers.

I imagine they are going to want to start off by neutralizing the spirit in the doll (I know I would, and I know they're all really freaked out by the scarecrow stuff).  But after that, I think I want to have the townspeople react to what they've just seen - crows attacking Dogs, Artemus killed, and a visual reminder of the splendor of the King of Life. 

I'm apprehensive about not getting a chance to show off the cool stuff next session.  They have seen the depths of Sorcery, now I want to show off its breadth: this whole town is in bed with demons, for a wide variety of reasons.

Other than that, the players seemed to *love* the system.  My favorite block/raise was during a laying-on-hands: "The demon is trying to possess him.  Green blood oozes from his eyes and nose."  //  "No, that's a trick of the light." (block)  "It's just blood." (raise).  I was so happy at that - the disputed narration gig seems to really have sparked their imaginations.

Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland

« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 12:52:23 PM »

Other than that, the players seemed to *love* the system.  My favorite block/raise was during a laying-on-hands: "The demon is trying to possess him.  Green blood oozes from his eyes and nose."  //  "No, that's a trick of the light." (block)  "It's just blood." (raise).  I was so happy at that - the disputed narration gig seems to really have sparked their imaginations.

Awesome! Also, this is one thing I learned from VIncent: Remind people their raises need not be perfectly stated since there's still the dice doing the heavy lifting for you.

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