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Author Topic: [Dogs in the Vineyard] Eden's Prophet  (Read 19796 times)
Judd
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« on: August 25, 2004, 09:50:36 AM »

This game ambushed me at Gen Con and this Thursday I'll get to play it.

A gaming buddy from ye olde D&D game is visiting and so we're getting together with him and the GM and a player from the weekly TROS game.  

Below are the incomplete characters 2 of the 3 players have begun.

Name: Jeremiah Young

Background: Strong Community

STATS

Acuity: 3d6

Heart: 5d6

Body: 2d6

Will: 3d6


TRAITS

Good ol' Boy 3d6

New, YOUNG, Dog 1d4

Dead-Eye with the Winchester 1d8

Knows Bible Stories 1d8

RELATIONSHIPS

Dogs are the cat's pajamas 2d6

BELONGINGS

Dad's Winchester

Sonny, my Dapplegrey

Jar 'o Home

Mom's Family Bible

Name: None yet but the concept is an alternate take on Lenny from Of Mice and Men

Background: Complicated History

STATS

Acuity: 3d6

Heart: 4d6

Body: 6d6

Will: 2d6

TRAITS

Beat up every day of his life

Doesn't know his own strength

I don't know much but I know what's right

RELATIONSHIPS

Dogs keep me out of trouble

BELONGINGS

Horse

Rifle - doesn't shoot it much, just beats with it

Earth

Book


We ain't done yet.  "Lenny" still needs to put dice to his Traits and they both left thinking about what their Accomplishment would be.  The Accomplishment is this wonderful mechanic in which you tell something you would like your character to have accomplished during their Watchdog of God training and are run through a kind of prelude concerning that episode, giving you a trait of some kind (and giving you a handy feel for the game).


And here is the first meandering efforts at the making of a town:


All sin in this game stems from pride. In this town's case Pride leads to False Doctrine.

Benjamin Ibex is a goat-herder in the hills on the outskirts of Eden, a small town of apple orchards and cool mountain breezes. The desert is on the horizon, a white line in the noonday sun.

Benjamin's family was in turmoil after his wife passed and his eight sons were having troubles. The local steward for Eden's congregation wouldn't make the trip out to the Ibex homestead since one of his sons, Job, acted untowardly with the Steward's daughter.

So, when Prophet Jedaiah came to Benjamin's home he praised the Savior Returned. The Prophet made everything right and Benjamin's son apologized to the Steward's daughter and the brothers made peace with one another and their mother's passing.

Benjamin didn't want it to end. He kidnapped the Prophet and put him in the basement, telling the townfolk that he had died and the Prophet's ghost talked to him. Benjamin began prodding the Prophet Jedaiah and twisting the words he spake.

The Ibex family began to slip again. Job broke into the Steward's home and told him that his father was the closest ear to the King of Life. Folk in Eden began to believe it and regular pilgrimmages to the Ibex Homestead are made each Sunday for a sermon.

Benjamin knows a Watchdog will come some day soon.

Okay, I vomitted a bit at the keyboard here and didn't precisely go by the manner in the book but lets check the checklist he has and see if I have enough for now.

NPC's with a claim to the PC's time: The Steward might just grab the PC's and ask them to deal with Benjamin and his boys but that'd be rather dull. I have to remedy that.

Some NPC's who can't ignore the PC's arrival: Check...big time.

Some NPC's who have done harm but for reasons anybody could understand: I am thinking the daughter of the Steward might do something desperate to bring this situation to a head. We'll see.


Other elements in my head:

Ghost of the Ibex boys' mother.

Boy who is in love with the Steward's daughter who is hereby named Bethany.

Bethany's older married sister whose husband is a Territorial Regulator of some kind.

The Ibex late mother's sister, a spinster aunt in town who makes hard cider on the sly and sells it illegally (idea stolen directly from an idea in the book) but is wise in Eden's ways.

Its a beginning.

More to come.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2004, 11:51:10 AM »

"Lenny" is rockin' my world.  His player's going to have a fun time bringing those Traits into play, whatever dice they get.

I can't wait to hear what their accomplishments are and how they play out.  If I can offer any advice or anything just ask.

-Vincent
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2004, 11:58:12 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
If I can offer any advice or anything just ask.

-Vincent


Any thoughts on the town?  Old Scratch (a poster...not the Devil...I hope not the Devil) posted some good ideas on charging the town up a bit and making it more dramatic and poised for player mucking about.

Just want to know that I'm on the right trail here.

Great game.

The two gamers who are sitting in on this were two of the three guys who sat in when I ran Dust Devils for the first time and so they are very open to new games.  Mateo, creator of "Lenny" is a Math wiz and always watches the die mechanics with a cunning eye.

Anyway, should be a fun table of gamers and a fun game.

Thanks for chiming in.
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2004, 01:11:56 PM »

Old Scratch's suggestion is fine, yeah.

It looks like a solid town to me, though.  Oh here: there's something that Bro Benjamin's providing for the town that its legitimate Steward isn't.  Right?  That's why the town's swaying.  What is it?

The thing to absolutely do is go through the list of everybody you know in the town and write down one sentence for each: "I want the Dogs to ..."  Don't worry about contingencies or hypotheticals, just write the most obvious, straightforward agenda of each named townsperson.  Include the ghost!

-Vincent
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2004, 09:51:28 PM »

I just played my first game and it was incredible.

There is a built-in prelude system hard-wired into the character creation that gave everyone a feel for the conflict resolution before heading off to Eden &
the prelude created the game's villain, a demon-possessed Dog Acolyte who had bullied one of the Dogs-in-Training and another attempted to exorcise him during his training and failed, allowing him to get away rather than call an Elder for aid.

I can't say enough good things about the conflict resolution system.  A player came a hair away from dying in their big gunfight.

In the end they laid their Word down on Eden and rode off after the Demon who had possessed a local boy and stole away with the kidnapped prophet.

It was an amazing night of gaming.

The game rocks.

I will post the other two characters and how things went tomorrow.  Tonight I'm beat.
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2004, 05:20:48 AM »

Quote from: Paka

the prelude created the game's villain, a demon-possessed Dog Acolyte who had bullied one of the Dogs-in-Training and another attempted to exorcise him during his training and failed, allowing him to get away rather than call an Elder for aid.


  Cool!  I always thought an "evil" Dog (I called 'em Wolves) would be a great foil.  Better still, now you can set up a line where the Dogs have to trace a trail of corruption all the way back up the Church Hierarchy.  Is there a Dark Prophet?  Are you sure?  Is it the King of Life telling you to root this great evil out or just the devil telling you lies?

fun stuff
Tom
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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.
Manicrack
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Posts: 8


« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2004, 11:24:50 AM »

Wohoo, here i am with my first post.
So, I was one of the 4 guys in Paka's group, and the game was amazing.
I only played 2 actuall conflicts(including the prelude). The rest was done by roleplaying.
I was also the one who failed to excocise the dmeon the first time but did a good job in the end.
So, big comliments to lumpley, you made a great game, and I really look forward to playing some more.
and more compliments to paka, the scenario was really fun and as I see you actually changed a little form what you planned to do. It all turned out great.

-Crack
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The mind lies somewhere between insanity and madness.
lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2004, 12:22:09 PM »

Thanks for playing my game!  I can't wait to hear details.

-Vincent
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2004, 11:01:03 PM »

I realize this has more story than Actual Play posts generally have but here it goes anyway.  Any play related questions are welcomed.

Meet Alvidechedezzar

Abiah’s coat was faded from years of service to God.  She had served as a Watchdog of God for decades and now that her shooting hand had grown shaky, she taught young Dogs, made sure they were ready to execute the Savior’s will among the Faithful.  She taught rhetoric and scripture, made sure that no devil would ever turn a Dog she trained with some silver tongued words.

Her star student these days was Alvidechedezzar.  The children called him Al.  The boy’s family had been heretics.  They proclaimed one of their own the only True Prophet of the Lord, handed down from generation to generation.  Alvidechedezzar had escaped from their mountain stronghold and found the Watchdog Training Grounds.  Now he was being trained to serve the Savior Who Has Returned.  

Abiah shook her head, thinking of her finest student, a former heretic.  Mysterious ways.

Al was studying in his room, pouring over the Book of Life when the acolyte Abiah sent found him.  “Al, you got a visitor,” the boy said, not yet ten years old.

“A visitor?” Al asked.

“I hear its yer sister, Al.  Wasn’t your family heretics, Al?  Is yer sister a heretic too?” the acolyte asked.

“Yes,” the future Watchdog responded.  “Yes, she is.”

Abiah waited in the parlor of the Temple with Elspeth, Al’s sister.  She claimed her family had sent her to retrieve her brother, heir to their prophet title.  Abiah waited silently, waiting for her favorite student.  It is time to test him, she thought.  Time to test how he does when rhetoric fails, as it so often does.

Al walked into the room with her sister and his rhetoric instructor.  “Elder Abiah, may I speak with my sister privately?”

“No, child you may not.  She is here to retrieve you for your heathen family.  Is she not?”

Elspeth nodded.  “Ma and pa want their son returned to them.  They know you’ve all brainwashed him with this nonsense about being Watchdog of the Lord.”

Al spoke up defensively, “I am a Watchdog of the Lord!”

Elder Abiah corrected him.  “No, child, you are not a Dog yet.”  She swept her quilted robe aside, colors faded from countless hours in the harsh desert sun.  She took her pistol from its holster.  It was an iron monster, a Colt Dragoon with the Tree of Life carved on the handle.

“Rhetoric is a powerful too but there are others.  Your sister will stay with us having renounced her heretic ways or you will put a bullet in her brain-pan.”  She laid the pistol on a nearby table, its cold, iron weight making a palpable thud on the marble.

Elspeth’s eyes narrowed like a viper.  “These are the people you have sided with against yer own blood, Al.  I came here because I missed my brother and they’re going to have me shot and they want you to do it.  Nice people, Al.  God’s people.”

Abiah nodded.  “Cancers must be cut from the body or they can cause irreparable harm.  Show her the Light or show her the barrel, son.  You may begin.”

Al gripped his Book of Life as tight as a pistol in his hand and he argued his Faith with his heretic blood.  He argued for his Savior and he argued for his sister’s life.  

He was sweatier than at the end of the pugilism instruction when he was finished.   Finally he slammed his Book onto the table next to the pistol when his sister had seen the light.  He showed her the false pride of their uncle for declaring himself the Mouthpiece of God and she had seen the errors of her ways and repented sincerely.  His words were bullets.

Before Abiah took the newly converted Elspeth to the Girl’s Dormitory she put her Colt back in its holster on her right hip both pleased and worried that the boy didn’t have cause to use it today.

GM’s Notes:

I love when a prelude is built into the game and Dogs in the Vineyard has Accomplishments, in which the player says something they would like their character to do during their training.  This sets the scene for a pre-Watchdog prelude like the ones depicted here.

We used the amazing rules for social arguing here and they worked really well, with the players rolling and role-playing at the same time with one aiding the other.  Great stuff.

Alex wanted his character’s accomplishment to be that he would solve a problem with only the Bible and no violence.  I was pleased with the way I interpreted that and really made it a tense conflict.

This was a one-shot and we had limited time so in the preludes and in the adventure I found myself escalating every chance I got and it really made the game strong.

Al's player had to leave early in order to catch a plane which is just a cryin' shame.



Meet Jeremiah Elijah Young

Jeremiah’s pa had been a Watchdog and so he visited his Pa’s grave every chance he got.  He could sense some movement in the graveyard.  Sometimes old Dogs would be setting in front of a tombstone, crying or uttering prayers.  Jeremiah knew to leave these folks alone, leave ‘em to their greavin’ and allow them to make their own peace with the Lord of Light.

On the grave of his pa were two Dogs in Training, just like him.  Josiah was an older boy who should have either been made a Watchdog or sent home to find another calling.  The Elders weren’t ready to do either just yet.  Jeremiah’s eyes widened as Elspeth, a sister of a friend, and word had it, a recently converted heretic rolled her sleeve back up.  Her arm had been bare clearly to the elbow.

Jeremiah had never seen such a thing before.

“What’re you doing?” Jeremiah’s young voice cracked.

Josiah smiled, towering over Jeremiah.  “We was just talkin’, Jeremiah.  No word of this ever need reach the Elders, y’hear?”

“She’s a heretic…a…a Bathsheba!”

Josiah looked puzzled.  “Who?”

“Don’t you know yer Bible stories, Josiah?”

The older boy looked uncomfortable and his mouth tightened into a line.  “No, not good.”

“Jeepers.  I’ve got to tell the Elders.  Gotta, Josiah.”

Josiah sneered.  “No, little boy, you don’t.”

“If I tell a lie to the elder…I can’t tell a lie to the elder.  Can’t.  Lies let Satan’s snakes slither into your mouth.  You was getting to know her Biblical like on my pa’s grave, Josiah.  That ain’t right.”

Josiah sniffed, looking from Elspeth to Jeremiah.  “Tell ya what I’m going to do.  I’m going to bend your arm behind your back and pain you.  When I pain you enough, you’ll swear to the Lord and Savior and on the grave of your own pa to keep your mouth shut tight.”

Jeremiah didn’t have a chance to say that he wouldn’t.  He had wrestled with his brother but this was different.  Josiah was bigger and his intent was terrible violence.  Despite Josiah having told Jeremiah exactly what he planned on doing the bigger, older boy got behind him.  

Jeremiah felt his arm begin to twist towards the sky, towards heaven.  Josiah was whispering to the younger, smaller boy.  “Swear; swear on your pa’s grave.  Swear that you won’t say a word about none of this.”  Just when the pain couldn’t seem to get any worse there was a crack, like wood splintering and Jeremiah passed out.

When he awoke he told the Elders what he had seen on his father’s grave.


GM’s Note:

This was an interesting one because the character lost the dice battle but won the Accomplishment.  Jeremiah got his arm broken (healed by the time the game started) but the Accomplishment Mario asked for was to “Make his Pa proud of him.”  We decided his Pa was a dead Watchdog and went from there.



Meet Anadarch Keelson

Newton was a teacher at the Watchdog Training Grounds, the youngest to have such an honor.  It was well know that Newton and Anadarch, the oldest of the Dogs-in-Training didn’t get along and so the Elders assigned them to do their pistol shooting together.  Newton hated Anadarch, hated that the other boys looked up to him.  He hated that he had avenged the murder of his family at the hands of bandits alongside a legendary Watchdog of the Lord.  He hated that Anadarch’s left hand was scarred in a fire while struggling with the bandit who had killed his pa and he referred to it as the Left Hand of the Lord.  Most of all he hated Anadarch’s pride.

They had shot all of the clay pots they brought to the fields.  Anadarch could shoot with either hand, the Elders already said he was well on his way to being a fine shootist.

“I know a brook over the next hill where we can freshen up before heading back.  Let’s go,” Newton said curtly.  Anadarch followed without comment.  

Sprawled in the shade of a willow tree was one of the Mountain People.  They were heathen folk who had lived in these lands before those of the Faith arrived.  Despite their heathen ways, it was said the Savior had plans for them.

Newton looked the heathen over.  “He’s hurt terribly.  It’s no use taking him back to the Temple.  Time for the Savior’s own mercy.”  The Watchdog Instructor brandished his pistol.  He would show this showboat, show him that he wasn’t afraid of some blood on his hands.

Anadarch shook his head as Newton leveled his gun at the unconscious man’s head.  “No.”

Newton’s face pinched up.  “What, what did you say?”

“You aren’t doing this.  I’m not going to let you.”  Anadarch spoke simply, making it easy to imagine that the Lord was speaking through his lips.

Newton was shaking with anger.  “I am the Savior’s Own Instrument.  My bullets are God’s Will.  This heathen needs to be taken out of his misery.  The way to hell needs to be sped up and it is my hand that shall do this.”

Anadarch’s left hand moved faster than Newton believed possible.  He leveled his pistol at Newton’s face.  “You aren’t doing this.  This man is only sick.  He will get better.”  His voice was steady as the barrel he leveled.  

Newton’s eyes focused on his student’s pistol in disbelief.  Anadarch’s thumb pulled back the hammer, priming the Colt to fire.

Newton put his gun down and began to stammer as he stumbled back to the Temple.  “The Elders will hear of this.  You’ll be cast out.  This is an abomination!”  The Elders never heard of the incident and when Anadarch explained that he had nursed one of the Mountain People back to health beyond the Pistol Range his Elders were pleased.

GM’s Note:

Aaron told me he wanted a bad-ass gunslinger and I told him, Hell YEAH.  But I asked that he give him something to hold on to, some twist.  I liked Aaron’s take.

Aaron’s chosen accomplishment for Anadarch was to Protect the Innocent and on his character sheet (to be posted later) he had down that one of his superiors hated him.  Nice.



Meet Benjamin

August, Watchdog of the Lord, asked to take Benny with him into town to get provisions because the boy was as big as a mountain and strong as an ox.  Benny was touched in the head but somehow he knew right from wrong with a child’s clarity.  Despite their initial disbelief, the Savior was showing the Elder Watchdogs that Benjamin would make a fine Watchdog some day despite the beatings that had left his head soft.  August thought he would make a fine Watchdog exactly because of those beatings.  “They’ve taught him violence to be sure but they’ve also taught him mercy of a kind.”

The lynch mob was forming even as they arrived.  A weasel of a man led the mob, taking the condemned to a hanging tree.  August called out, letting the crowd see his quilted trench-coat that marked him as a Dog.  This town was under Territorial Law but most of its citizens were of the Faith and would listen to a Watchdog without question.

A brick was thrown before August could be identified as a Dog and he fell to the ground unconscious.

“Shit on a stick, you done knocked out a DOG!” someone from the crowd screamed.

Another voice rang out from the crowd, “The big ‘un with him must be a Dog too.”

Benny trundled up to the hanging tree, where the weasel was throwing a noose over a branch.

“Stop.  No hanging.”

The weasel sized up his adversary with a quick glance.  He smiled as he saw Benny’s simple eyes, without a hint of cunning in ‘em.  Most of all he smiled when he saw that he wasn’t wearing a Dog’s coat.

“This big dumb jack-ass ain’t a Dog.  I’m hanging this man here and now.”  

The crowd began screaming, some for blood and some for mercy.  None stopped the weasel.

Benny tried to argue with the man but the weasel’s words were winged.  Talking was never Benny’s strong suit.  The boy pushed the man away from the tree with mighty arms and the weasel fought back.  The weasel threw Benny into a water trough and the wood broke, leaving the boy wet on the ground.

Benny got up and the Weasel moved in to finish him.  Benny could see that his opponent was a bully and enjoyed preying on those weaker or less cunning than him.

The weasel was thrown over the crowd into a pile of horse shit.  He landed with a sickening noise and skulked away, wind taken right out of his sails.  With strong, loving arms, Benny cradled August and took him away from the mob, which soon dispersed.

GM’s Note:

Mateo asked that Benny’s accomplishment be I hope I don’t get the Dogs into trouble again.  Mateo was really tired for this game and he was a large part of the reason I drove this game as hard as I did.  He had been through a 12 hour day and yet was still gaming.  Gotta love it.




Meet Cain Gareth

Cain and Virgil were doing their chores in the Watchdog’s stables.  The horses were sleeping at this time of night.  Virgil heard the disturbance first.  “Cain, you hear that?”

There was a noise from inside one of the empty barns and the horses were growing restless.  Cain wasn’t sure where the Elders would be at this time of night or what they would be doing.  With a mischievous grin he turned to his Watchdog Brother and said, “Let’s see.”

They opened the door and Josiah, the big boy who had recently been punished severely, was writhing on the ground.  It was only a matter of time before Josiah was sent home once the winter thaw melted.

Josiah’s mouth was open at an unnatural angle and past his jaws slithered a tremendous black snake.  Cain knew right away it was a Demon, taking possession of Josiah’s very soul.  Picking up a pitch-fork he turned to Virgil and ordered, “Go get an Elder, I’ll hold it.”

Virgil, nearly passing out from seeing such a thing, turned and ran head first into the doorway.  He was knocked out cold when he landed in a pile of hay that cushioned his fall neatly.  Now Cain was alone with Josiah and Josiah’s Demon.

Cain recited scripture as best as he could remember and the creature ignored him, continuing to slither down Josiah’s sinning throat.  The sinner writhed on the ground, eyes rolled back, spine arched.

Cain made the sign of the Tree of Life and the creature continued its path to Josiah’s heart and soul.

In a desperate effort, Cain screamed, “Begone creature, I am Cain and I am a Watchdog of the Lord!  I command you to leave this place and leave that boy’s body!”

Red eyes glowed from within Josiah’s heart where the serpent coiled.  “You are not a Watchdog yet,” it hissed.

Cain woke up in the barn and was questioned sternly by Elder Watchdogs.  

“Cain, you must not be so brash.  Once you put on the quilted jacket of your eventual vocation your words and actions will be dictated by the Savior Returned but you must allow the Holy Spirit to move through you.  Do five weeks penance and think on that.”

Among the Elders they spoke highly of Cain’s bravery.

Josiah was never found.

Until Cain, Anadarch, Jeremiah and Benjamin donned their quilted trench-coats, strapped guns to their hips and walked into the ghost town of Garden and the town of Eden just below it.

GM’s Note:

Cain's player wanted Cain to be wrestling with his brashness and his irresponsibility.  He lost his conflict with the Demon and yet that wasn’t really the driving conflict of this story.  The accomplishment had more to do with whether or not he went for help or tried to take on a Demon as only an acolyte.

Naturally Josiah popped up later.  He is just one of those NPC’s who happens through play.  It was a nice birth.  Take ‘em where you can get ‘em I reckon.


Next:   Eden’s Prophet
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2004, 05:50:38 AM »

Hoo.  

That's some scary goodness.  Any hitches?

-Vincent
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2004, 07:56:01 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Hoo.  

That's some scary goodness.  Any hitches?

-Vincent


While walking to our cars one of the players mentioned that he would like it if there was a way to do a faster conflict resolution but I disagreed.  I like that when you have a conflict it is rather important.

When the player rolls the dice, it matters.  There aren't any "roll to see if you know that information" rolls that might matter a whole lot but no one really cares about 'em.

Nah, just took a while for us to get used to a new system but the learning curve isn't bad at all and the examples in the book are brilliant.
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Judd
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2004, 05:13:41 PM »

Sunrise

Watchdogs are given a jar of consecrated earth for their rituals, a pistol or a rifle, a horse, the Book of Life and a quilted trench-coat.

Jeremiah’s trench-coat was made by his Ma back home. She and the other women in their congregation gathered and quilted it together. The jacket was so obviously a labor of love, modeled after the jacket his father had worn when he was a Dog. Jeremiah also carried his father’s Winchester with pride.

Cain’s jacket was also made from his congregation where he grew up but his family didn’t pay him much mind. They threw it together, despite the honor of having their own child achieve the rank of Watchdog. Before the coat was sent to the Watchdog’s Temple his friends and buddies had gotten a hold of it. They stitched on patches, to remind him of the mischief they got into as boys and the friendship he still had in them.

Anadarch’s family was killed but the Watchdog who had found him and helped him sneak into the murderous bandit’s camp and see that justice was done made his coat. There were slits on the sides so even while wearing the coat closed Anadarch’s Left Hand of the Lord could still retrieve his pistol. Anadarch’s qulted coat wasn’t a labor of love but was a functional tool. Tucked in his belt was a tomahawk, a gift from the Mountain Folk heathen he had nursed back to health during his training.

Benny’s coat was made by several of his Watchdog Elders. It was a bit too small for him in length and at the shoulders but he wore it with pride as he saddled up on his horse, Bunny, a draft who many said could outwit Benny nine times out of ten.

The Elders left them in front of the Temple, allowing them to choose their own path as the sun made the horizon blue with morning. The mountains ran north and south for as far as anybody cared to know. There were small communities of the Faithful in the mountains but not many. Mostly, the range was home to the heathen Mountain Folk.

East was a den of sin. To the east were cities of high society types not of the Faith. Cabals of business-men and railroad barons made deals with demons who could earn them more money. They bowed before golden calves and sucked at demonic teats.

West were the communities they were to serve and watch over. There were towns not of the Faith but they were the exception to the rule. Anadarch was the first to mount up and turn his horse west. With the sun on their backs, they road west towards the Faithful.

They road until dark until they reached the ghost town of Garden, population: zero.


Garden, Population: One

Garden had been a gold mining town but when the mines went dry and mostly collapsed the people moved on. The town’s sign had been embossed with gold or maybe some silver but it had long since been chiseled away, leaving only scarred letters. The sign had population tallies from the town’s golden days and scratched into the wood with a bowie was evidence of the exodus until Garden’s last soul carved an ominous zero.

Anadarch, being the oldest of the boys, took up a role as leader. Jeremiah set up camp and began heating up beans while Benny and Cain dealt with the horses. Anadarch got a lay of the land and saw the town in the hills where many of Garden’s folk had run off to. In the valley below, lay Eden. The town’s Temple bells were ringing faintly in the distance, letting town-folk know that someone had died and a funeral service would be held on the morrow.

Goats began to drift into town. They were kept together by a smart herding dog and a boy of 14 followed them. Benjamin Ibex III was the first of Eden’s populace to see the Watchdogs. He greeted Anadarch with slack-jawed awe. The other boys he greeted as heroes out of the Book of Life despite the fact that he was not much younger than Jeremiah and Cain, if at all.

“Howdy, Dogs. My name’s Benjamin, just like my Pa and my brothers.”

Jeremiah pointed out that they had in their Watchdog posse, a Benjamin of their own. Benny grinned.

“Call me Tres, though. Everybody does in these here parts.”

Jeremiah, never having done anything of the sort before stepped forward with his hand raised, fingers spread in an official Watchdog greeting. “Greetings, we are the Watchdogs of the Lord and I offer my official greetings to the town of Garden.”

Tres giggled. “Dang, mister, ain’t no people here but me, you and the goats. This town don’t have no problems. Its deserted. I just brought the goats up for the good grazing. No, Eden’s where you’ll want to go. That’s where trouble is.”

Jeremiah waved his finger at Tres. “Tres, now you have to watch that language of yours. That is how Satan gets in, by forcing his way past your Faith through cuss-words and the like.”

“Sorry, Dog, sir. I’ll watch that language.”

“Y’see, the Steward won’t come visit our homestead in the hills and we was in bad shape after ma died of the pox. Me and my brothers tried to go into Liztown and get the vaccine but we didn’t get back in time before her passing. The guilt was something terrible.

“My pa and the Steward known each other since they was boys in this town of Garden and they don’t like each other none at all.”

They gently asked him about the funereal bells.

“Probably Old Man Carson passing on. He was an old one, not yet ninety winters in him but certainly eighty. He’s been going for some days now. That’d be a good place to meet the townfolk, I reckon.”

After helping Benjamin Ibex III put his goats into closed off pens in Garden, they shared some beans with the boy and he shared some jerky. After their meal they slept in the town of Garden, population: five.

GM's Note:

I was driving this game hard.  The players were tired and we had started late.  After a weekend of tight Gen Con gaming, I wanted to run a fast and tight game.  

I was not interested in making them look for clues but giving them the situation and forcing them to make decisions in how to deal with it.

The presence of a possessed Josiah changed things a bit and I knew I wanted him to be a part of this mess somehow.

At this point in the game, no conflicts had presented themselves.


Still to come:

Old Man Carson’s Funeral


The Ibex Homestead


Return to the Garden, Population: Four


Judgment in Eden


Thanks for reading.  Thank ye kindly.
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Grover
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2004, 08:52:48 PM »

Paka - I've been reading your stuff since I ran across 'Through a Red Door' on Enworld, and I gotta say, you are an amazing GM - this thread just sold another copy of Dogs :)
Steve
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Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2004, 08:57:06 PM »

Quote from: Grover
Paka - I've been reading your stuff since I ran across 'Through a Red Door' on Enworld, and I gotta say, you are an amazing GM - this thread just sold another copy of Dogs :)
Steve


Thanks.

The writing and the GMing...well, there is some cross-over but they are two rather different animals.  I love when I can use my GMing to feed my writing beast.  Its nice when its symbiotic like that...but that's a different thread.

Writing up purty Actual Play posts and getting people to support the games I think are cool is why I write this stuff up.  

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading.
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Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2004, 07:24:13 PM »

I realize that these frustrated short story writer posts are not the Forge's style so I've put the GM's Notes only in 'em and if someone is interested in looking at the plot write-ups they can check 'em out at ENworld or RPG.net where those kind of posts are more the norm.

GM’s Note:

The first conflict of the game outside of the accomplishments was Jeremiah’s battle of wills with Benjamin Ibex I.  Their discussion was a conflict that Mario (Jeremiah’s player) declared the goal as, “I want to know if he is lying.”  In the end he knew.

It had become obvious at this point who the movers and shakers in the group were going to be.  Mario, player of Jeremiah, was taking this adventure by the throat and going with it right along with Aaron, player of Anadarch, who had cast himself as party leader and was prepared to walk the walk.  Mateo was playing Benny and having picked him up at ultimate Frisbee practice before the game I knew he had just gotten through his first day of grad. school and had been going for over 12 hours.

Kolja was playing Cain and I liked the character and the player but he was new to the group and the youngest to boot.  I had contacted Kolja through the Burning Wheel forums because I knew he didn’t have a regular gaming group in these here parts.  I think Kolja was still getting his feet under him and I drove the adventure so hard that I wasn’t giving people spotlight time and I think our newest player in the group suffered from my unrelenting pace.

Either they moved or they were left behind.  I fear I left Kolja behind a bit.  After the game I got the sense that he likes the way we game and wants to do so again.  I think he will relax and enjoy himself more in future sessions and hopefully, he will play in a game I run in which I can ease up and enjoy a moment here and there.  Nice kid and a good gamer.


GM’s Note:

The momentum had begun to die and once the players realized there would be no big revelation at the Ibex Homestead I could feel their energy deflate.

BANG BANG.  They heard shots as soon as the room we were gaming in got still.

Off they went to Garden.  It wasn’t subtle but it worked.

Like I said, I drove this thing hard.
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