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Author Topic: Skipping Steps  (Read 5551 times)
bluegargantua
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« on: February 19, 2004, 08:10:42 AM »

Quick question:

  Could you go from Pride to Sin to Murder?

  We've got Bro Ben thinking he deserves a second wife and sleeping with Sis Abigail.  Bro Fred, Sis Abigail's boyfriend finds out and shoots Ben dead.

  Would this sequence of events just not happen?  Would the Heresy be really short?  Something else?

Tom
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2004, 08:56:19 AM »

This is good.  I haven't managed to communicate clearly on this issue yet; maybe this time.

In the sitch you describe, Bro Fred's murder of Bro Ben is a sinful response to the injustice of Bro Ben messing up Bro Fred's relationship with Sis Abigail.  It's just more sin.  Maybe the demons, allowed to attack the town because of Bro Ben and Sis Abigail's affair, have been putting pressure on Bro Fred, provoking him to violence; maybe it's just in his nature to shoot people who screw his fiance.  Either way there's no heresy or sorcery or anything like that, just pride -> injustice -> sin.  This sort of thing happens outside the Faith all the time, and inside the Faith occasionally - the Faith serves to keep its Faithful more or less from killing one another in a passion.  (So does any civilizing institution - murders of passion happen in the corrupt, decadent, but essentially lawful Back East less often than they do in the frontier towns.  All very normal and just like a Western.)

When you the PC Dogs get to the bottom of Bro Ben's murder, you'll be like "well, that's a relief.  That boy oughta learn not to shoot people but praise God we're not up to our eyeballs in cultists."

The murders that follow from false priesthood and sorcery have an entirely different tenor.  They're senseless, or ritualistic, or their victims are innocent - good people who threaten the cult.  When you dig into those murders, you don't find tidy little romantic triangles.  You find occult significance, motives that don't add up, dirt on the upstanding in the community - the murder is the tip of something big and sinister and it promises more murders to come or more murders already done and covered up.

So it's not that you'd skip heresy etc. to get to Bro Ben's murder, it's that murder exists in two places in the sequence, and they're different kinds.

Does that answer?

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2004, 09:54:47 AM »

Oh - but as a GM, Bro Fred having killed Bro Ben seems kind of eh.  It doesn't leave much for the PCs to do, y'know?  I'd want it to be only one piece of what's wrong in that town.

-Vincent
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2004, 11:30:15 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
So it's not that you'd skip heresy etc. to get to Bro Ben's murder, it's that murder exists in two places in the sequence, and they're different kinds.

Does that answer?


  I think so.  Sin level murder is heat of the moment, un-premeditated killing.  Level 5 murder is crazy, occult serial killer killing.  Like the difference between a guy killing his wife on an angry drunk and a guy killing a random female because she reminds him of Carrie Fisher.

Quote from: lumpley
Oh - but as a GM, Bro Fred having killed Bro Ben seems kind of eh.  It doesn't leave much for the PCs to do, y'know?  I'd want it to be only one piece of what's wrong in that town.


  Right, but there's two big things that pop up from this:

  1.)  "At least we're not up to our eyeballs in cultists!"  Funny.  Funny quote.  Hope I get to say it someday.  But yeah, sin-level murder could be a great way to put a scare into the PCs.  Conversely, you could twist their minds by having some sort of "accident" that looks mighty convenient.  So they have to decide if it's just an accident, a death brought on by sin, or an actual, cult murder deal.

  2.)  The TA recognizes differing degrees of murder, but they're less likely to make a fine distinction.  If they find out that Preacher John has killed the local Branch they might not realize (or care) about heresy.  In fact, they might lump Preacher John in with the Faith as a whole and use it as an excuse to kick 'em all out.

  I just wanted to get clear on the whole murder deal because I had an idea where the second case would be much more applicable.

later
Tom
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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.
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2004, 03:26:02 PM »

This just occured to me, but the Movie "Brigham City," by Richard Dutcher, is not only a fantastic piece of indie filmmaking, but it addresses the feelings of something very similar in an all-mormon town when a serial killer starts up.  Really worth seeing, regardless of your opinions on faith.

Jake
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2004, 08:26:18 AM »

I watched it this weekend.  That's a great little flick, and even more on-topic than it looks.

Spoilers!  Don't read further unless you've seen the movie!  It's not going to make any sense if you haven't, and it's worth watching unspoilt.

.

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.

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Check this out:
Dutcher's character Wes, right?  As the bishop, he's the branch's Steward.  As the sheriff, he's the Dogs.

Pride: Wes the bishop thinks that his congregation is better than all the others, and refuses to see anything going wrong within it.
Injustice: he puts unqualified people into positions of authority.  That's Terry, Matthew Brown's character.
Sin: the position of authority lets Terry murder a couple of people and make it look like a hiking accident and a runaway.
Demonic Attacks: he murders blatantly!

Enter the Dogs, that is, Wes the sheriff.

The FBI are the apostacy that'll result if the Dogs can't resolve the situation.  (One of 'em's even a jack Mormon!)  People'll blame the bishop, some will side with the FBI over the church, they'll lose their faith in the Faith, splinter into hateful little factions, and eventually the town will tear apart.  (It'll be exodus rather than murder, but that's just because they all have cars.)

Anyhow, Wes the sheriff can't stop the demonic attacks without finding the sin, but Wes the bishop keeps pointing him in the wrong directions.  It must be someone outside the community!  Or some disreputable (porn-having) element within the community!  But he eliminates and eliminates and ... eventually he finds the sin, as Dogs inevitably will.

All the cheesy serial killer stuff in the movie - making us wonder if it's the construction foreman, the outsider, the new convert, making us go "she's not gonna live through this movie and if they put the baby in danger I'm'a turn it off" - plus the (discreet, understated) missionarying - I totally 100% forgive because of the scene where Wes confronts Terry.  That was a better scene than I've seen in a dozen better movies.

But the sin points bang! straight at the pride and injustice.

Then the Dogs publically confront the bishop - that's when Wes refuses the sacrament - who is humbled mightily and sincerely.  The congregation forgives him and goes forward stronger than it was.

Thanks for recommending it, Jake.  Also, I grew up just over the hill from Springville, one of their shooting locations.  The landscapes in the movie looked so much like home to me - and I haven't seen that part of Utah since I was 10 - that I literally caught my breath.

-Vincent
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