Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

First Dogs run!

Started by The Mule, April 05, 2007, 10:49:03 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

The Mule

Dogs is one of my first indie rpgs, and so me and my crew are pretty new at this stuff, but we've managed to have a lot of fun so far with our trial runs.

We had a 3 hour initial run that I got to play in, using the book's White Church Branch, and with me as a traditional gunslinging Dog vs another player's feminist progressive socialite, we had lots of interesting conflict over who gets to marry who right quick.  The game got cut real short due to time concerns, and it felt dissatisfying.

The next game was with a different group of people, so I tried running a town of my own.  I built it based on the notion of getting to Hate and Murder first thing, shoving it in the Dogs face and letting them get to the other sins at their own pace.

New Spring Branch
Background: Two families with a generational feud over nothing much at all, when the wives of the family heads conspire to end the feud by marrying two of their children together (Sister Delilah and Brother Seth).

Pride: The town steward thinks that his son's (Brother Soloman) love for Sister Delilah is more important than the ending of the feud.

Injustice: The steward refuses to allow the marriage of Sister Delilah and Brother Seth.  He orders Delilah's father to instead wed Delilah to Soloman.

Sin: Sister Delilah and Brother Seth's relationship develops irregardless they start sleeping together.

Demonic Attacks: Both Seth and Sister Delilah are trying to maintain the peace between their two families, but the demons turn their own efforts against them.  Seth loans a mule to Delilah's father for farm work, but it goes wild and kicks him, breaking his arm.  Delilah bakes a pie for Seth's parents, but it goes bad and they fall ill after eating it.

False Doctrine: The Steward sees the misfortune of the families as God's punishment for failure to obey, and concludes that his authority is absolute, and any disobedience is a sin.

Corrupt Worship: The Steward begins to preach to the town of the virtue of obedience and the righteousness of his ultimate authority.

False Priesthood: In addition to his son, the Steward wins over the mind of Brother Seth's younger brother, Brother Issac, who blames his brother's disobedience for their father's misfortune.  The cult is complete!

Sorcery:  The Steward, empowered by the demons, wants not only Seth dead and his son wed to Delilah, he wants the entire town to see that Seth's family was *wrong* to oppose him.

Hate and Murder: Brother Issac, possessed by a demon, takes Brother Seth's personal hunting knife and ritualistically murders Sister Delilah's mother, leaving the knife to frame Seth.

What do the people want from the Dogs?
Delilah's Father, Brother Gregory: For them to let him kill brother Seth with his own gun.  For the Dogs to judge Seth's entire family as corrupt.  To have the dogs wed Delilah to Soloman.

Brother Seth: To clear his name, to wed him and Sister Delilah and say that their fornication was just.  To convict Brother Soloman of the murder.

Sister Delilah: To convince her father to allow her to wed Brother Seth, then and only then to wed her and Seth.

Brother Issac: To blame Seth for the murder in front of the town, and to kill him for it.

Brother Soloman: To convince Brother Seth's family that they were wrong to stand in the way of the Steward's wishes.  To marry him and Sister Delilah.

What would happen if the Dogs didn't come?
Right now, Gregory Issac and Soloman are headed out to Seth's house.  They all have guns, and if the Dogs did not come, they would drag him back to town, declare him guilty of murder in front of the entire town, and kill him.  Gregory would then order Delilah to marry Soloman and she would.  The Steward would continue to pressure Seth's family to conform, eventually destroying them all.  Then  he would find some other family to ostracize, continuing the cycle until the town was destroyed.
A few points of confusion:

1.  So the Dogs rode toward town, and see three men with guns riding out of town towards one of the outlying farms.  I have Issac be pushy and bossy, saying that "they don't need Dogs, this town can solve it's own problems", and the players call for a conflict "do we get into town?"

One thing I wasn't sure how to handle came out of this; after a bit of yelling back and forth, I blocked; "The old man in the back yells, 'Just let them go, Issac; we've got a lynching to attend to'", and then raised "the old man looks at you three, 'And if you really are Dogs, you'd come with us.'"

They all took the blow, and shortly thereafter forced me to Give.  Then, instead of going into town, they turned and followed the lynch mob!  I didn't know exactly what to do; they'd won the conflict to get into town, so there was some question about "do we *have* to go to town?".  I said if they didn't want to, they probably should have just given, but I wasn't going to make them.  So it worked out, but it was weird.

2. Conflicts seemed to end very abruptly.  I think maybe it was because we needed stronger raises, but there would be a back and forth of raises, and then all of a sudden one side (mostly me) would be out of dice and the conflict would be over, even though the narration seemed to have a ways to go to get there.  Someone's initiation conflict was "Do I settle a marital dispute?", so I had her find a shopkeeper's wife with a black eye, then had the shopkeeper storm in and yell at her to stop asking questions of his wife and get out of his store.  And then, right then I ran out of dice, so I had to give, and didn't know what to do.  I just had the shopkeeper break down after being yelled at, crying about how much pressure he was under with his shop going out of business. 

Should every raise be phrased so that it is potentially a "finishing blow" if the other side gives?

3.  Conflicts with multiple Dogs is awkward when I raise with an NPC performing an action that affects multiple Dogs, like "NPC 1 guns down NPC 2", and someone Blocks or Dodges "I grab his gun and disarm him before he shoots."  What to I do with the rest of the Dogs who haven't yet Seen?  I had the other Dogs also have to See, even though narratively it didn't seem to make much sense.

Overall, the experience was a great one.  One of the players said that his character in the adventure was one of his favorite RPG characters he's ever played.  Again, we ran short of time, but this time it was because my town was *way* more confusing than I had anticipated.  The party spent several hours just uncovering all the stuff.  I tried my best to actively reveal the town in play, but there were points when I knew that everyone would be happier if I made finding something out a conflict.  "Who's the real sorcerer?", for example.  I flat out told the players, "The sorcerer is the Steward.  Would you like to amend your stakes to "Do we discover that the Steward is the sorcerer?"" and then we had a nice bit of conflict over that.

Next time I play a game of Dogs where a follow up session isn't for sure, I'm going to make sure to make a much, much simpler town!  I thought that having almost all the "Something's Wrong" fall on the shoulders of one guy, the Steward, would make it easy to judge, but with so many people involved it got complicated.

Finally, my personal thanks to Vincent Baker for making such an excellent game!

The Mule
Raised by wolves.