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A Gigantic Favor

Started by lumpley, February 03, 2004, 07:54:38 PM

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Anybody who has a few free minutes, would you do me a gigantic favor?  Check out the scenario creation procedure and make a town?  As though you were going to GM the game.  Just start at the top and work through and post whatever comes out into this thread.

It'll take a half-hour or so, probably.  I'd be grateful!


Clinton R. Nixon

Widder's Canyon:

1a. Pride
The local Territorial Authority tax collector is using his power in a bad way. A local family's fallen on hard times this year, and he's offering to cut their taxes for the hand of their daughter, Ruth, in marriage.

1b. Injustice
Ruth and Jacob, the orphaned cousin of Brother Elisha, are in love. The tax collector doesn't care a whim for that, though, and threatens to leave Jacob without a bride.

1c. I've still got three open dots, one pointing to Brother Joseph, one to Brother Zed, and another to Faith.

2a. Sin
Ruth, angry at her parents' inability to out-and-out refuse the tax collector, is taking matters in her own hands. She won't give the man her most precious gift, and is making sure her goods are damaged by nightly boinking Jacob. This might be ok, except she's not doing it solely out of romantic love - much of it is revenge for what's going to happen to her.

2b. Demonic Attacks
A horrible flu has started to ravage the town. Many people have gotten quite ill, and a few children have been lost, most to one family, the host family of Brother Joseph.

2d. I've got one unattached dot left, pointing to Brother Zed. Let's see what happens.

3a. False Doctrine
Enoch, the father of the flu-dead children, is well convinced the flu is coming from the Mountain People who live above Widder's Canyon. He thinks the King of Life wants his people to wipe them out. (This ties into Zed's background: he came from the Mountain People.)

3b. Corrupt Worship
Unbeknowst to anyone else, Enoch's already killed one of the Mountain People, a young woman who was sneaking into the town one night.

3d. All done, it seems.

4, 5. Skipped.

6. The Dots:

- The tax accessor wants the Dogs to either butt out, or show Ruth a woman's place.
- Jacob wants the Dogs, and his cousin specifically, to stop the tax accessor from taking Ruth as his bride.
- Enoch wants Joseph's help in spreading the prophecy he's been given to eliminate the Mountain People nearby.
- Ruth wants the Dogs to help her and Jacob leave, or to bless their marriage secretly, so they can thwart the accessor.
- The Mountain People will want the Dogs to stop the town from attacking them: the flu's gotten them too, and they're defenseless with many of their warriors dead.


Hey, this was fun! I did find it a bit hard, but it's only because I couldn't figure out if townspeople were supposed to be related to the Dogs. They were in the examples, but the Dogs' mission didn't seem to have any particular reason they should be.

I also kept wanting to write the story ahead of time, with Zed ministering to the Mountain People girl at night, and being attracted to her, but that's for play.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


Clinton R. Nixon

At first, I thought everything had to be connected - that is, the sin and demonic attacks should be in some way related. Doing that, though, I ended up with the same NPCs and PCs involved for everything, so I threw this flu in there. According to the spiritual rules of the setting (as opposed to game rules), elimination of Ruth and Jacob's sin should stop the flu plague though, right?

Otherwise, this is pretty easy, but I also come from a religious background, so ideas leap at me. I imagine playing this with my current group would not work at all. Grr. Now to find ex-religious or religiously-liberal people that would enjoy this, as I think it rocks.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


A double-scenario:  Iron Mountain Branch, Gateway Branch

Background:  Iron Mountain Branch, not surprisingly, has a small iron mine operating.  This is very important to the Faith as a whole because they want to get more self-sufficient.  Being able to mine and smelt iron ore to make tools is cruicial to that effort.  The Dogs will get an extra-long pep talk before heading out on the trail reminding them of the importance of keeping Iron Mountain happy and healthy.  Gateway is the settlement that lies closest to the TA, it's also a very important settlement because things that the Faith can't make themselves usually gets shipped through here.  Obviously, as the site of a lot of Faithful/Non-Faithful interactions, it's a town that needs constant repair and has a bit of a bad reputation.

So this scenario has the two towns linked together.  The Dogs' route should take them to Iron Mountain first.


1a.  Pride:  Money and Stewardship -- Miners have discovered a silver vein near a bunch of Mountain Folk ruins.  The local Branch, Bro. Adam, has gotten greedy and wants to get the silver for himself at the expense of getting the iron mined.

1b.  Injustice:  The Faith as a whole is being cheated out of needed supplies.

2a.  Sin:  Bro. Artax's Uncle is supposed to be reporting on the output of the iron mines.  He lies to his superiors back home to cover up the fact that they've pretty much stopped mining iron.  He doesn't feel good about it though.  Anyone related to the PCs who actually works in the mines is neglecting their assigned duties by mining the silver and the rest of the townsfolk are assisting this effort.

2b.  Demonic Attack:  The miners are invading Moutain Folk territory so they're fighting back.  Mountain Folk assault is part of it.  More importantly, the demons are attacking/destroying food supplies.  

2c.  The Demons want to force the town to buy food from Gateway, which forces them to continue mining silver to pay for it.

3a.  False Doctrine:  "The King of Life has given us this silver.  We don't need to work for our food, clothing, or shelter.  We can just buy these things.  Mining silver is the only work we have to do and the rest of the time we can focus on worship.  Silver is the key to our salvation."

3b.  Corrupt Worship:  There's a huge focus on rituals and ceremonies for miners, mining activities.  Silver becomes a key focus of worship (both as an object of veneration, a prime material for ceremonial gear, and as a symbol for various religious beliefs).

4a.  False Priesthood:  Bro. Adam, and the greed of the townsfolk has pretty much corrupted the entire town.

4b.  Sorcery:  "Silver Angels" appear to people and give them advice and guidance...mostly consisting in instructions to obtain more silver whatever the cost.  Brother Cadmus's cousin is one of the head miners and he's a high-ranking member in the new hierarchy.

4c.  The demons want to kill off any dissenters.  They also want to make sure that they can completely infect Gateway Branch as well.  To that end, they need to get rid of Gateway's Branch (see below).

5a.  Murder:  Brother Benjamin's aunt held to austere living.  She didn't cotton to this silver business.  She's dead now.  There are a few other people who've gone missing.

6a.  Bro Benjamin's Aunt would like to be revenged (possibly she's a ghost?).  Bro. Cadmus's cousin doesn't want the Dogs to find out what's going on and wants to keep the silver a secret.  Bro. Artax's Uncle is afraid that if the mining gets found out, he's going to get hung for it.  He wants to keep things covered up.

6b.  The demons are looking to get Gateway Branch completely embroiled.  They want the Dogs to go after Bro. Zachary and kill him (see below).  Failing that, they want the Dogs to die.

6c.  Eventually, Bro. Zachary will be captured/killed.  The mining of silver will continue despite losses due to Mountain Folk attack.  The Faith will be forced to rely on Gateway to keep supplies coming in and Gateway's corruption will spread out.


1a.  Pride:  Money.  There's an offical TA merchant in Gateway who coordinates the various mercantile operations in Gateway which that bring in supplies to the Faith.  He likes his job and he doesn't want to see anything threaten his business.  

1b.  Injustice:  With Iron Mountain coming on-line, the merchant has been adjusting fees in economic blackmail to hamper this effort.

2a.  Sin:  Bro. Cadmus's older brother has started stealing from the TA wagon trains.  Although he does share some of his loot with the community, it's still no altruistic Robin Hood-ing and it's still stealing.

2b.  Demonic Attack:  TA troops are hired to protect the trains and root out the thieves.  The troops spend most of their time looting houses (in search of stolen goods or thieves) and sitting around drinking, gambling, and making advances on the womenfolk.

2c.  The demons want to increase tensions between the locals and the TA.

3a.  False Doctrine:  Bro. Benjamin's Father believes that the TA is winning because the King of Life is loving and compassionate, but at this time and place they need a King of Death who will wipe out the TA thugs.

3b.  False Worship:  Bro. Benjamin's Father becomes a heretic.

4a.  False Priesthood:  With Bro. Zachary gone (see below) and the TA oppression continuing.  More and more angy townsfolk are turning to the Father.

4b.  Sorcery:  "Angels of Death" possess worshippers and they sneak about and slay lone TA troopers.  Against larger groups, "their faith fails" and they revert to gibbering madmen whom the TA usually slay out of hand.

4c.  The demons want a bloody tit-for-tat war of attrition to continue.  They're trying to encourage the Father to capture Bro. Artax's young niece and sacrifice her to the King of Death as part of a ritual to create a horrific undead monster.

Step 5 skipped.

6a.  Bro. Artax's neice is in serious trouble.  Bro. Benjamin's Father is heading up a serious Heresy and will fully expect the Dogs to join in once he's shown how clearly oppressed the Faithful are around here.  Bro. Cadmus's brother isn't part of the Heresy, but sees no reason to stop sticking it to the man.

6b.  The demons would like the Dogs to join the Heresy, but mainly want to get them to muddy the waters and further stoke up the conflict.

6c.  Eventually, the Heretics will start sacrificing their members to create monsters.  The TA garrison will be wiped out in a night of blood and fire.  Which is great until the TA sends in the Army to utterly raze the town.


The TA Merchant in Gateway notices that Iron Mountain is starting to buy a lot of stuff and they're paying in silver.  The merchant is completely happy with this, although he does wonder where the silver is coming from.  But he cheerfully takes their money and hires a pair of scouts to figure out where the money is coming from.

Bro. Zachary is the Branch of Gateway.  He too notices the influx of silver from Iron Mountain and he also notices that they haven't as much iron from them lately.  He goes to check it out, discovers the cult of silver and loudly denounces it.  The silver cult chases him and a couple of assistants up into the hills.  The cult tells Gateway that their Branch has been abducted by Mountain Folk.

Bro. Zachary does fall in with the Mountain Folk who are extremely displeased about Iron Mountain's incursion into their lands.  Zachary and the Mountain Folk from an alliance of convenience and start to attack Iron Mountain miners.

Just as the PCs arrive in Gateway, the scouts hired by the TA merchant in Gateway finally discover the silver mines, but they're chased off by the Mountain Folk.  One of them gets killed and the other one sees Bro. Zachary.  When he finally arrives, he spreads the story of how Bro. Zachary is in cahoots with the Mountain Folk.  Privately, he lets the merchant know what he found.  The merchant starts scheming on how to get at the silver.  Possibly by getting the TA troopers to go after the Mountain Folk.

The Iron Mountain townies will go to great lengths to conceal their corruption.  They will exhort the PCs to go after Zachary and end his treacherous alliance with the Mountain Folk.  They will also decry the sinful town of Gateway and the problems there.

The Gateway townies will either be pissed off at the TA or pissed off at the TA and heretics to boot.  After the scout's report, they'll figure that Bro. Zachary has gone right round the twist.

Bro. Zachary really wants to go home to Gateway and go back to being a Branch.  He's terrified of the state of his soul -- aside from dealing with Mountain Folk, he's helped them kill off members of the Faithful, but he doesn't know what else he can do.

The TA merchant wants the silver.  Badly.  PCs might be able to give him access to the silver mine in exchange for lifting economic sanctions and pulling out the troops.  But things would have to go very well to make that happen.

The Mountain Folk want to be left alone.

The head of the TA troopers wants the bloodshed to stop.  He's loyal to his men and nothing else.  The merchant, the townies, the mountain folk -- he just doens't care.  He wants to kick up his boots back at the fort and keep watch over the most boring stretch of wilderness in the area.  He doesn't really reign in his troops, but they'd listen to him if he put his foot down.

How's that?
The Three Stooges ran better black ops.

Don't laugh, Larry would strike unseen from the shadows and Curly...well, Curly once toppled a dictatorship with the key from a Sardine tin.


Sweet is how's that!

Any hitches?



Quote from: lumpleySweet is how's that!

Any hitches?

 Ummm...I was kinda at the end.  When I started I knew that I wanted to have this Faithful guy hiding out in the hills and one town looking OK, but really completely blown and another town looking out of control, but actually being easier to resolve.

 Trying to figure out how I got to that end state took a little doing.  If I didn't have any preconceptions about the end state (which is really the start of play), I'd probably find it easier to go along.  But it was tying them together which was hard.  It was easy enough to work up the ladder for one town and then do the other.

 The Dogs are going to be well and truly screwed on this scenario.  Most of Iron Mountain is compromised and it's going to be very hard to pacify Gateway in any meaningful way.  Assuming they can't run back and get help (and the situation will be moving pretty fast to afford the loss of a teammate), they're gonna have to make some really strange bedfellows to fix this.

 If I had to solve it?  Work with the Mountain Folk to utterly cave in the mineshaft.  Take all the leftover silver from Iron Mountain and use it to bribe the TA Merchant to go back home and appoint a local Faithful to do his job instead.  The Faithful merchant dismisses the troops and there's a lot of pennance and self-flaggellation for everyone.  I go back home to Salt Lake City, drink whiskey until I'm blind, then go over to the Church the next morning and turn in my coat.  Go live on a dirt farm somewhere.

The Three Stooges ran better black ops.

Don't laugh, Larry would strike unseen from the shadows and Curly...well, Curly once toppled a dictatorship with the key from a Sardine tin.

Joshua A.C. Newman

Good one, Blue. Very nice. Clinton, also very nice.

I'll go through this when I get home. I've actually had to *work* all day.
the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.


[I started this from nothing (as I have no PCs, etc.); most of the names came from "baby names" or "biblical names".  I made dots in circles semi-randomly; it wound up being 9 dots for 5 PCs- two more than suggestion of 1 apiece plus TA & faith. Circle, dots, and arrows all came first. Then I wrote down the names. I did all that before writing the first situation.
Oh, sidenote: I used the p4 (in the PDF) Creating the Community header for some things (like writing the PC names on the left, etc.) Some of the additional direction was very useful.]

PCs: Layla, Nils, Isaac, Vito and Barclay
Masada Branch:
1a.   Grandpa Aiken (Nils' grandfather), a successful newsman, takes great pride in supporting his daughter, Elizabeth, and her family. (Elizabeth is Layla's second cousin).
1b.   Her husband, Reuben, is diminished in Elizabeth's eyes. His farm is sneered at by the family as inconsequential; everything of value comes from Grandpa.
2a.   Reuben has had sex and consoling talks with Dinah, the wife of the local TA representative.
2b.   Demons plague Reuben & Elizabeth's farm in the form of corn blight. This lowers her respect for him (and the cycle turns).

[I decided that I was marching up the pyramid a little too quickly, so I started again at 1a with a new pride.]

1a.   Phillip (Barclay's cousin), is councilor for this branch. He believes he should be rewarded for the scholarship he brings to the task.
1b.   Vito's cousin, Hur's place has been getting run down, because he's spent so much time repaying Phillip's research.
2a.   Hur had sold whiskey to the Mountain People for a little extra cash; now that he doesn't have time to make whiskey, he informs them about his neighbor's absences, so they can raid unopposed.
2b.   The raiders are often possessed mountain people.
2c.   They pay Hur well for his tips.
3a.   Absalom, the local bishop, was going to make a procession through some outlying farms. He was delayed for a day. That day the mountain people raided, but he was home to defend his place, and their attack turned aside (despite their superior numbers). He now believes the mountain people raids are a test of the King of Life. The King is punishing those who are insufficiently faithful.
3b.   Haran (Isaac's Uncle) has listened to Absalom's theory and believes.  He has taken to making symbols of the faith (with tinsnips) and hanging them on travelers' gateposts in their absence, to protect their land while they're away.

[I had Lois and Reuben left over; since I hadn't drawn a Reuben arrow, it became the name of Elizabeth's husband.]

1a. Lois, Dinah's daughter, knows of her mother's affair.  She angles her knowledge to escape from boring and tedious work. She's no longer deferential.

That everyone, and it's boiling, so lots of skipping...

- Dinah: Wants to keep her relationship with Reuben quiet. She needs their help with Lois, but is afraid that Lois will reveal her sins.
- Elizabeth: Wants her husband to be worth paying attention to again; perhaps the dogs can teach him how to be manly?
- Lois: Doesn't trust the dogs, who will make her go back to boring work. Wants to share her secret, without losing her power.
- Absalom: Wants the mountain people driven away; their raids have hurt his flock. But he doubts the dogs can succeed, since the raids are the King of Life's idea.
- Aiken: Wants the dogs to shape up his son in law, the slouch. He's certain that his daughter and her family couldn't survive without his support.
- Haran: Wants the dogs to help protect the town; particularly if their presence is TKOL's way of protecting the faithful.
- Hur: Doesn't want his trade with the mountain people to be discovered. He wants the crushing burden (of helping Phillip) to be eased.
- Phillip:  Wants the dogs to pass along word of his scholarship; perhaps he should be promoted.
- TA: um... he'd definitely be interested if the dogs found out about his wife's affair.

- The demons want people dissatisfied with their faith-- people who have lost their livelihoods are particularly vulnerable.
- The demons want the dogs gone. If the dogs must come, they want to "clearly defeat them", if only in the bishop's eyes, to reinforce the bishop's false belief.
- The demons are likely to continue raiding, even in the dog's presence.  If they can raid while the dogs are occupied on the other end of town, so much the better.  With the many successful raids, the non-possessed mountain people grow bolder.

- If the dogs didn't come, Bishop Absalom would persuade everyone that the raids are earthly punishment for people's crimes against the King of Life. The town would be edgy and divided, circling on anyone who was raided by the demons/mountain people. Isolated from everyone else (since they daren't leave their property), they'd turn to the demons directly, to solve their bitter quarrels.

[Problems: Absalom pointing to faith and still being unassigned when I got to 3a. I didn't know what to do with this- I made him the bishop, but that seemed... strange, like jumping out of order. It certainly seems like a different order of problem when the bishop is involved in false doctrine.
6b, what the demons want, took a second round of looking. To be honest, so did most of the people's reactions to the Dogs... it was tricky to come up with reasons why most of them would welcome the Dogs. (There just didn't seem to be much the Dogs could do to aid most of their schemes.)]

I'm looking foreward to advice on what I'd need to bone up on to get this to go more smoothly.
Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.


Well Scott, it looks good to me.  It's a tough situation, with lots of ins and outs - but that's just fine.  I'm not surprised that it took some looking to figure out how people'd deal with the Dogs.

You might want to think about how the various schemers will react as the Dogs find them out, too.

Maybe try creating a town with only two PCs, four dots to start, and only one, um, pillar of What's Wrong.  I think you'll find that much smoother.  Towns don't have to be complicated to be good; as I've played the game, it's actually very satisfying to resolve a town in a session.

The bottom line though is: could you run it?  If you had some players, could you say to them, "okay, you arrive in the Masada Branch..." and know what to say next?



Yes, I think that I could run a game set in the Masda branch... once I thought enough about the NPCs that I could get behind them.  It'd take some further thought and identification with the NPCs before I could open a scene with any of them.

But if I had this degree of prep ready a few days ahead of time, I'd probably flesh them out... both consciously and subconsciously.

I suspect that you're right about fewer dots being easier to assign; it was mostly a "can it support the numbers you're likely to run" kind of thing.  I think that what you have as advice for prep so far is very handy.  (I also suspect that having real PCs would make choosing who to tie to whom much easier.)

The biggest concern I'd have at this point is the TA, which I didn't flesh out at all, not even to a name.
Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.

Brennan Taylor

I thought I'd more fully flesh out my playtest community. I did a half-assed job the first time (I was trying to finish it in half an hour before we started to play).

Chimney Rock Branch


1a. Pride
Brother Ezekiel has decided that he is a better judge of what the King of Life wants him to do that Brother Jebediah, the Branch here. Brother Jebediah disagrees, and the two men begin to publicly argue.

1b. Injustice
After much exasperation and anger, Bro. Jebediah loses his temper and tells Bro. Ezekiel to get out of town. This occurs in the main meeting hall and is witnessed by the whole community.


2a. Sin
Bro. Ezekiel decides to move to a hermitage up in the hills away from the community. He feels he is in closer communion with the King of Life here, anyway. Three women from the town, Sister Sarah, Sister Prudence, and Sister Rachel decide they must keep Bro. Ezekiel from starving up there and begin to secretly bring him food. Sister Sarah is Bro. Jebediah's daughter.

2b. Demonic Attacks
The demons see to it that Bro. Ezekiel's garden thrives in the hills, and then dry up the spring that feeds the community's crops. The Branch begins to run out of food, but Bro. Ezekiel is doing fine up in the hills. They want him to seem more successful and favored by the King of Life. The three Sisters who were bringing Ezekiel food now reverse their practice, bringing Ezekiel's food back to their own families. They eat well, but keep the bounty hidden from the rest of the community because they know there is not enough to go around.


3a. False Doctrine
Ezekiel and the three Sisters believe that he is right in his argument with Jebediah, and that the King of Life prefers his mode of living to the community's.

3b. Corrupt Worship
Ezekiel leads the Sisters in prayer in his hermitage, following his own new doctrine.


4a. False Priesthood
Ezekiel begins to lead prayers in some Mountain People ruins that exist up in the hills, and declares himself a new Branch. The Sisters bring in some more people they know, and they too join Ezekiel's secret services.

4b-d: Skipped

STEP 5 Skipped


6a. What people want
Ezekiel wants the Dogs to validate his doctrine over that of Jebediah.
Jebediah wants the dogs to stay out, because he is ashamed that his initial action led to these events. He wants to solve the problem on his own and has been going up to try to talk sense into Ezekiel with no success.
The three Sisters want the Dogs not to kill Ezekiel, and will do everything they can to protect him.

6b. What the demons want
The demons want to lure everyone away from the branch into their cult in the hills, and turn Ezekiel's worship to them. They will get Mountain People to attack the Dogs as they explore the hills, and perhaps even goad one of the three Sisters into an assassination attempt.

6c. If the Dogs never came
The demons would continue to reinforce the impression that Ezekiel has power and no one else does. The Sisters would eventually be goaded into assassinating Jebediah and moving everyone up into the hills. Then the Mountain People would attack and wipe out the new community, leaving no indication in the Branch below of what had happened. It would just be abandoned.