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Author Topic: Ceremonies in DitV  (Read 7060 times)
patientfox
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« on: February 08, 2004, 07:23:32 PM »

I recall in the older dogsoutline.doc file, there were some more structured rules layed down in regards to how ceremonies would work in DitV. That idea was abandoned later in favor of ceremonial traits taking the forms of other traits, i.e. the PC comes up with them on the spot. Unforetunetly, I think this could act as a roadblock for some new players, especially those without much religious background (myself included,) who would find themselves asking the question, "Ok, I can make up any ceremony I want and assign x number of dice to it, but -what- are some good choices?"

I also recall in the mentioning of the drop of structured ceremony choices from character creation, that it would be replaced with some kind of list of "ceremonial elements." Also unforetunetly, unless I haven't been looking around as well as I should, this list is still outstanding. So I thought this would be a good place to talk about ceremonies and what ones people can remember have been chosen in the past from playtests, and how they were used in practice. Also I'll throw in some of my ideas for elements of ceremonies...

Laying Hands - basically the hand to face/head/shoulder/whatever contact, with the dog/branch being the person administering the hands to whoever needs the blessing. A logical choice for any blessing ceremony or driving out of demons/unclean spirits.

Submersion in Water - I don't know how baptism works in mormonism, but the classic down by the river type thing would be something I would be willing to explore, or in a more abstract gesture, splashing some "blessed" water from a stored vial ala Catholacism? (I know thats a dirty word for the Faithful, hehe)

Annoiting of Sacred Earth - I heard someone describe this as blessed river clay carried around in a jar. Is the clay still wet, or is it all dry and crumbly? I suppose this would be useful for something similar to Laying Hands, especially where you'd want to make a person "clean" again, as contradictory as that sounds.

Speaking with the Authority of Heaven - I recall this being described as an actual ceremony under the old layout ... but i think this would be useful as an element of ceremony, as it describes the general "Listen up you primitive screwheads!!!" type behavior that would be required of a dog to take charge of a given situation.

Quoting the Scripture - you know, honestly I've never read the bible, but I think if I were a PC (or even as a GM), i would consider getting down on some serious bible scholar action in order to put together a list of verses which could be bastardized for the sake of DitV. These could/would serve as hook lines for various phrases in your ceremonies you put together.

That's about all I could dig up from my head for ceremonial elements, but I wanted to talk about some of the ceremonies as well.

Treading on the Serpent - that has got to be the coolest name for anything I've never heard of. But for all the talk about it, I never heard it described, as the name is a bit esoteric. I figured it was the spiritual six-shooter to kill demons/sorcerers with. I think this would obviously require Quoting the Scripture and Speaking with the Authority of Heaven, but what else would really fill out a ceremony such as this?

Blessings/Driving out of Demons/Unclean Spririts - I think this would rely alot on like Sacred Earth and Submersion/Annoiting w/ water... makes sense, if you look at it like a healing process, i.e. where the person is tended to/nurtured back to spiritual health by the Dog/Branch who is conducting the ceremony. Altho this sounds like it would come to the whole "this is my flesh, this is blood," which might be a little too dogmatic for this austere setting.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on the whole topic. i hope you guys all have some interesting thoughts to add to this whole thing, as I've sure I've missed something along the way. feel free to critique as neccesary if my thoughts have fallen outside of what exactly is starting gel w/ the whole game world.

Thanks,
Jeff
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2004, 07:16:32 AM »

Hey Jeff!

I think the list of elements of ceremony is in there somewhere.  Try page ... 7?  Middle of the left column?  It's incomplete but a start.

Laying on Hands, Anointing with Sacred Earth, Calling by Name, Invoking the Ancients, Reciting the Book of Life, Singing Praise, Making the Sign of the Tree, and I'm open to suggestions for sure.  I think I may let the sacred earth replace immersion in water outright.

How ceremony works in action is: demons, sorcerers, the possessed, and the souls of the Faithful can't ignore ceremony, so when you're in conflict with those, you can use ceremony to See and Raise.  Each individual element can be its own See or Raise, or else you can string a bunch into a whole ceremony as one See or Raise.  Here's the example in the text:

Quote from: The Text
I call upon the Authority of the Ancients!  I make the Sign of the Tree!  I command you By Name to depart!  Raise 9! vs. I call upon the Authority of the Ancients!  Raise 6!  I make the Sign of the Tree!  See 7!  I command you By Name to depart!  Raise 9! Either is, as I say, valid.


Ceremonial Traits are a whole unrelated thing, practically.  How it happened was, I was playing with Meg and Tom, and Tom and this demon went at it.  They fought fierce, with great special effects and all kindsa creepy supernatural action - and then Tom rolled "just talking" d4s for Fallout.  Too little!  The fight deserved bigger Fallout dice.

So the more mystical experience your character has had, the bigger Fallout you inflict in supernatural conflicts.  "Ceremonial Traits" just means mystical, supernatural, or yes ceremonial experience.  "I've been initiated a Dog," "I sometimes have prophetic dreams," "I've seen angels," "I've been possessed by a demon," "I've exorcised demons," "I died as a child and my father called my soul by name back into my body," whatever works for your character.  In the final text I'll provide examples but they won't be much more extensive than these.

"Treading on the Viper" and the others get left by the wayside, alas.  You can have your character Tread on the Viper, but you'll have to define it yourself, per case, and build it out of the elements of ceremony as seems good.

Have I answered your question?

-Vincent
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Librisia
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2004, 02:24:03 PM »

Now, everyone talks about possession like it's only a demonic thing.  It's not (in many religions, including Christianity).  What about someone getting bonuses to something if they are ....

okay, I'm probably going way off the Mormon blueprint track here.  Possession of believers by the Holy Spirit is the central theme of Pentecostalism and is a main feature of Charismatic Catholicism, and happens in Evangelical Christianity as well.  Is there anything like that in the LDS?  If so, you might want to consider a positive possession effect when someone is touched (or believes they are being touched) by the Holy Spirit right at that moment.  You could call it, "The Spirit is Upon You" or something like that.  It would differ from the ritual stuff you describe here in that it would add a bonus to whatever the PC was doing at the time.

There would be, of course, the possible perception by others that such a thing was actually demon possession and not the HS at all - could provide a nifty twist.  Or you could write a canned adventure where the Dogs go to a community where demon possession is being reported and they actually find out that it's the HS - what will they make of that?

And when I've studied my ritual theory a bit more (less than a year away!), I can get back to you with something concrete and easily understood.

Krista
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2004, 04:25:36 PM »

Quote
okay, I'm probably going way off the Mormon blueprint track here. Possession of believers by the Holy Spirit is the central theme of Pentecostalism and is a main feature of Charismatic Catholicism, and happens in Evangelical Christianity as well. Is there anything like that in the LDS?


At the time period Vincent is setting Dogs in, yes, there was, though it was a little different in form.  Through the "power of discernment" any worthy (read: genuine and devout) elder should be able to know--by personal revelation--that the spirit is a good one.  What doesn't happen is any kind of possesion, where Free Will is eclipsed.  In fundamental Mormon theology Free Will is what God cannot take from man, or he ceases to be God. Therefore the devil strives to get men to hand over their free will to him, which he then abuses and uses to enslave man (more often metaphorically than not).

Thus sudden forceful visions, angelic visitations, and speaking in tongues accompanies most of the "big" events in the old Church, but never anything that would be either true possession, or that wouldn't claim to be from "on high." In fact, the discerment issues is greater when someone claims to have a gift from on high, that turns out to actually be something from the devil.

So a more functional play model would not be "it turns out the possession is good," but rather "The possession, which we thought was of God, isn't, and we all got suckered in without using the God-given power of discernement."  Wolf in sheep's clothing, as it were.

Jake
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Librisia
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2004, 04:25:18 PM »

Quote
but never anything that would be either true possession, or that wouldn't claim to be from "on high."


Ah, you assume that possession impedes free will.  Your statement also implies that you refuse to see possession as anything *except* demonic.  

And why wouldn't true possession "be from 'on high'"?  In religions where possession takes place (African Traditional religion, Afro-Caribbean religions, Korean Traditonal religion, etc.), possession is the only way for the spirits to let God's will be known because spirits don't have bodies, so they must use the bodies of the devout in order to voice God's will to the community.

Quote
So a more functional play model would not be "it turns out the possession is good," but rather "The possession, which we thought was of God, isn't, and we all got suckered in without using the God-given power of discernement." Wolf in sheep's clothing, as it were.


Of course, it would be up to Vincent to decide what a more functional play model would be.  I think the HS idea in a community where it was being viewed as demonic would be a reflection upon the community's state of grace - like Jeremiah in Egypt.

Krista
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2004, 03:12:48 PM »

Hi, Krista.  

I was answering the question, "Possession of believers by the Holy Spirit is the central theme of Pentecostalism and is a main feature of Charismatic Catholicism, and happens in Evangelical Christianity as well. Is there anything like that in the LDS?" Not necessarily saying how it ought to be in-game. The game's seeds are in early Mormonism, but the game isn't about Mormons, so there is no need for it to follow the Mormon doctrinal model.

Quote
Ah, you assume that possession impedes free will. Your statement also implies that you refuse to see possession as anything *except* demonic.


That's the stand of the LDS church, and the term "possessed," as I understand it, implies that. I'm not assuming anything her, but presenting the doctrinal position of the faith-in-question.

Quote
And why wouldn't true possession "be from 'on high'"? In religions where possession takes place (African Traditional religion, Afro-Caribbean religions, Korean Traditonal religion, etc.), possession is the only way for the spirits to let God's will be known because spirits don't have bodies, so they must use the bodies of the devout in order to voice God's will to the community.


Maybe it would be, but a Mormon wouldn't think so, as doctrinally such "possessions" are all manifestations of unclean spirits.

Quote
Of course, it would be up to Vincent to decide what a more functional play model would be. I think the HS idea in a community where it was being viewed as demonic would be a reflection upon the community's state of grace - like Jeremiah in Egypt.


Interesting point, and certainly worth exploring. My quote,
Quote
"So a more functional play model would not be "it turns out the possession is good," but rather "The possession, which we thought was of God, isn't, and we all got suckered in without using the God-given power of discernement."


Would probably make more sense if I changed it to
Quote
"So a more functional play model based on Mormon doctrine would not be "it turns out the possession is good," but rather "The possession, which we thought was of God, isn't, and we all got suckered in without using the God-given power of discernement."


Jake
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2004, 09:33:13 AM »

The game'll present a Faith that pretty much lines up with Jake: being overcome by the Holy Spirit is fundamentally not a possession.  Possession is something the demons do, not God.

But then I'll also include some suggestions on how to adapt the Faith if you want to play it differently.  They'll look a little bit like this:
Quote from: Elsewhere and long ago, I
The Faith has a pretty much normal set of moral codes: don't do violence to one another, don't sleep around, don't lie, cheat, steal, break promises, conspire against one another, or profit from another's misfortune. It has the standard religious ones: worship the correct god in the correct way, don't turn to demons or false gods for favors. It also has a handful of "avoid the appearance of sin" and "separate people" ones: modesty rules, including who's allowed to be alone with whom, who's allowed to touch whom, what people are allowed to wear; consumption rules, dietary rules; and random conduct rules of the "no swearing" sort (although what's "swearing" and what isn't might still be working itself out, socially).

The laws of the Territorial Authority (that is, the gubment) are based on the same core moral code: don't do violence to one another, don't sleep around, don't lie, cheat, steal, etc. The thing is, being made by the corrupt and decadent, the legal interpretation of the code differs from the Faithful interpretation in at least one key way. Maybe multiple marriage is allowed by the law but prohibited by the Faith. Maybe ritual tattooing is considered "violence" by the law but "correct worship" by the Faith.

So but within that framework, you can totally muck around with the specifics. Does the Faith's understanding of "don't sleep around" permit or prohibit multiple marriage? Do its consumption rules permit or prohibit eating pork? What arrangements constitute "conspiring against one another" or "profiting from another's misfortune"? What makes "correct worship"? When are the holy days and what do you do on them? Come to think of it, is "the King of Life" God (if so, YHWH, Jehovah, or Allah?), or Jesus, or the head of a Pantheon, or the Earth, or what? Are "false gods" gods who don't exist, or real gods we oughta not be worshipping?

It'd be easy-peasy to create a version of the Faith where possession is divine.  Just make it so and follow through in your local interpretation of the What's Wrong.

-Vincent
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Librisia
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2004, 07:14:40 PM »

Okay, Mr. ... uh, Jeff, I apologize for my crappy attitude in my reply to you.  There's a long, convoluted story that I won't go into here about why I get so prickly when discussing the idea of possession.  None of which has anything to do with you.  So, please accept my apologies.

Good show, Vince.  That looks like a good solution to my suggestion - though you didn't have to include it at all.  So, thank you.

FYI, the belief that other gods exist but that worshipping only one of them is correct and proper is called "henotheism."

Cheers,
Krista
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2004, 05:01:28 AM »

No worries nor obligation!  When I wrote that bit, I was still deciding whether to detail a particular Faith at all.  I thought I might just dump the whole thing, via those guidelines, on the GMs and players.

Making the Faith customizable has always been part of my plan.

-Vincent
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2004, 04:58:26 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
No worries nor obligation!  When I wrote that bit, I was still deciding whether to detail a particular Faith at all.  I thought I might just dump the whole thing, via those guidelines, on the GMs and players.

Making the Faith customizable has always been part of my plan.

-Vincent


Vincent-

I'd be careful with that for a few reasons, or at least I'd approach it differently.  I like the way that Paladin presents a few pre-built codes, and I would do the same here, if you're going for a customizable faith approach.  The trap of not having at least one faith created in advance is all the handling and prep time is going to be a huge turnoff to some, especially to the types that like quick chargen or game prep. Likewise, choosing an established religion and it's weirdnesses (such as Mormonism) forces players to face a few things they're not familiar with or--better yet--not comfortable with. Kinda like what Sorcerer does.

I would propose a Mormon-based faith write-up, a Judaism-based write up, an Islamic-base write up, and a catholic or baptist write up, and then capitalize about how (1) these all come from the same initial source and (2) some pretty interesting crap happens when they clash.

What happens if in DitV your dog PCs come to a town that's only 10% neo-mormon (or whatever) and the rest are antagonistic protestant types? Do the dogs go about like the Danites, reaping vengance for the faithful, do they try to set things straight, do they try to convert the unbelievers, or do they try to lead an exodous out of there? What happens when the non-mormons are a persecuted minority.  

This is fertile territory, and perhaps not readily apparent to someone reading the game that isn't in your (or my) head.

Jake
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2004, 06:29:03 AM »

Yikes!

When I said that I thought I'd dump it on the players and GM, I meant that back then I was thinking I would.  But I had a big argument with myself (you can see evidence of it on my LiveJournal) and I won!

Nope, the game text will be all faux-Mormon, with just a little section on customizing somewhere toward the back.  In the future there could be pamphlets about basing the game on other religions - or other genres.  I think the game would make a kickass mobster game, where the PCs are the internal enforcers who go from crew to crew and figure out who's ratting and who's skimming.  Then, y'know, shoot them.

I haven't given much thought to minority-Faithful towns.  What are the poor Dogs gonna do about them?

-Vincent
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2004, 08:08:40 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
I haven't given much thought to minority-Faithful towns.  What are the poor Dogs gonna do about them?


  Depends...

  ...on the one hand, they are Faithless non-believers so...BANG!

  ...on the other hand, the Faithful got kicked out of every non-Faithful town back East so how did this situation even come about?  Maybe the Dogs order the Faithful to pack up and leave.

  And there's another great Dogs Campaign:  There's a bunch of Faithful back east who are headed out to the Promised Land.  They've never crossed the plains before, but how hard could it be?  Besides, the Church sent out this pack of Dogs to help guide us back there and keep us all righteous and stuff....

*shudder*
Tom
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2004, 03:23:15 PM »

Quote from: bluegargantua
Quote from: lumpley
I haven't given much thought to minority-Faithful towns.  What are the poor Dogs gonna do about them?


  Depends...

  ...on the one hand, they are Faithless non-believers so...BANG!

  ...on the other hand, the Faithful got kicked out of every non-Faithful town back East so how did this situation even come about?  Maybe the Dogs order the Faithful to pack up and leave.

  And there's another great Dogs Campaign:  There's a bunch of Faithful back east who are headed out to the Promised Land.  They've never crossed the plains before, but how hard could it be?  Besides, the Church sent out this pack of Dogs to help guide us back there and keep us all righteous and stuff....

*shudder*
Tom


Totally.  This would be a fantastic way to play.  Putting your PCs into the shoes of those that knew about John Law's upcoming Mountain Meadows Massacre, maybe the Dogs support the idea of vengance on the southerners that persecuted the faithful not so long ago, or maybe the Dogs are trying to prevent such an unChristian thing from happening, or maybe the Dogs come across the towns that did the massacre, and now they have to figure out how to put the town back together and what to do with the truly guilty...hard stuff.

I also really find myself jamming on the idea of Dogs being sent back east to help out (and possibly extricate) small groups of the faithful from their prosecutors.  It's worth noting that in the real world the state of Missouri had an extermination order making it legal to kill a mormon for no reason up until the 1970s, initiated in the 1830s or 40s.  I'd reference that Porter Rockwell book again for some of the early skirmishes between the mob and the Mormons that chose to fight back instead of run.

Jake
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