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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 185 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [DiTV] Fresno Group: Destiny Branch  (Read 2979 times)

Posts: 221

Fresno, California

« on: October 28, 2004, 10:40:13 PM »

This is a continuation-- the Dogs in our ongoing game moved on to the next branch.  This is the the crunchy & town planning end, while this is the Actual Play write-up.

The second session was interesting.  I was debating how to start the game; on impulse, I decided to frame them riding to the town, encountering a pack train moving the same direction they were-- toward the town of Destiny.  [I was stuck on the name for a while; I'm still not very satisfied with it, but it worked-- or was largely glossed, which was also OK.]

Very quick town synopsis: The town was all the way to a false cult (with a sorcerer) at their head.  There were a few less related strands, but almost everything tied into the cult. Which, coincidentally, was the group of people the Dogs encountered riding in to town.

The Dogs decided to press a bit harder, try to catch the pack caravan before it reached the city.  They made no attempt to conceal themselves; as they drew closer, a pair of people dropped to the rear.  The Dogs also noticed that the whole caravan seemed pretty well armed...

So, led by Benson, they pushed forward.  The two men at the rear (father and son), fell back and spoke with the Dogs... it was rocky from the start.  The father led, bemoaning the blight that had stricken their fields.  "Here, let me show you," they said, and guided the Dogs away from the pack train and up onto a hilltop.

From the hilltop, the Dogs saw circular dark patches in the middle of most of the fields on the south end of town.  Nate explained that wheat smut had struck the fields; to prevent its spread, they burned it out. (Obviously they hadn't been totally successful...)

The Dogs asked about their goods & supplies; Nate tried to answer with a facile "the King provided", but the Dogs wouldn't stand for it.  Their questions grew pointed; Nate told them that they had raided some nearby Mountain People.  He tried to push through, but the Dogs had encircled him and his son.  Finally, he stopped when Malachai fired a pistol into the sky, then leveled it right at his son.  The fight went out of him and he gave. Benson was particularly angry about the Mountain People quip (they're just resources, provided by the king); he cut Nate's shirt off and tied his hands behind his back.

The Steward, an older gentleman and a gaggle of kids streamed toward the excitement.  The kids were shushed and sent back to safety, while the Steward and Issiah continued out to join the dogs.  Benson separated out, riding ahead of the others Dogs & the Steward, his trophy (Nate) jogging behind him, bound by a long rope.

The players took an instant dislike to Issiah, when after being introduced, the Steward let him lead the responses.  They were doubtful (OOC "Palpatine" comments were floating around the room).  They finally had it when he quoted some fancy book he'd studied at Harvard.  Isabelle punched him and, while he was clutching his nose, told him that it was the Steward they wanted to speak with.

Isabelle and Malachai told the Steward that Nate had mentioned his sermons about the fallen Mountain People (they wanted to gauge his response).  He was horrified; it came out that he was working his way through the Book of Life methodically, drawing in context that he gained in his discussions with Issiah about their life and times.  Issiah started to comment but swallowed his words before Isabella's raised fist.

Meanwhile, Benson flipped the rope over the dry goods store's pulley and lifted Nate off of the ground a few feet as an example.  Nate took it stoically, correctly guessing that he'd only make things worse if he struggled.  The streets were almost clear; people were watching, but not eager to cross the half-blooded Dog's line of sight.  Benson popped into the dry goods store and bought some staples (oats for his horse and the like). Returning outside, he exchanged a few words with a boy... and waited for the others to show up.

When Isabelle, Malachai, Issiah and the Steward turned the street corner, all eyes went to the dangling Nate.  They all rode together and rejoined Benson (Issiah tried to beg off, saying he wanted to have his nose set, but no one wanted him out of their sight.)

Benson gave a quick lecture on raids and thievery, then they broke up.  They wanted to keep the Steward apart from Issiah, so they turned down the offer of a snack at the Steward's. Benson and Isabelle took rooms at the inn; Isabelle had water warmed, for a bath, while Benson sat at a table with the Steward.  The tavern was empty otherwise.

[[Note perhaps I have Malachai and Benson backwards between who's where in these next few paragraphs.]]
Malachai and the Steward talked, with Malachai trying to identify the Steward's intent in his sermons, etc.  Malachai winds up a bit disgusted with the Steward not reading/guiding by inspiration, but leaves it at that. Isabelle comes down the stairs and offers to help him with his next sermon, if he likes.  Eventually, Benson lets Nate down and the Steward and Nate go off to correct the lesson he was supposed to have drawn from the last sermon.

Anyway, Benson admires Issiah's education, and tells him to pack, he's being called by the faith.  He escorts Issiah back to his house (and scopes it out to see if the town's stipend-- another sore spot for both Nate and the Dogs is lush) and helps him pack.  He's amazed by the number of books Issiah has, and is intrigued by Issah's science equipment. (Issiah claims inspiration from the Founding Fathers).

They gather back up at the inn; first thing in the morning Issiah is to ride to Bridal Veil Falls city with the horse he loaded, no more.  He agrees. (That night they discuss; Benson points out to Malachai that his education might prove useful to the faith, even if he's not called as a Steward.) They write a note that cruelly lays out his faults and don't seal it.  In the morning, they give the note to Issiah, and he rides off for Bridal Veil Falls.

They decide to wander down to the burned patches, look them over, and talk with the families affected by the wheat smut.  They start with Nate, who's tightly wound, but not confrontational.  They listen to him explain the problem, then wander off to speak with the neighbors.  Benson decides to play on his blacksmith role instead of talking.

Isabelle and Malachai were speaking with the first neighbor, Barry, when Barry’s eyes spark and turn blood red.  (He had just finished talking about Nate's "insight" into the Book of Life, making them suspicious.)  He reached out and slashes at them with sudden clawed fingers; Isabelle looses her sleeve and meat on her arm; Malachai gets off more lightly.  [A better roll; I think he saw the raise. The group's energy level jumped at the demonic attack; the two dogs (and a quickly drawn Benson) put Barry down. They storm into his house, chasing terrible shrieking; they find his wife beating the floor and hear the shrill cry of a child in the bedroom.  They decided to split up; Isabelle watching the mother, Benson going out the front door, and Malachai exiting out the back.

Here rolling the dice got wonky. New conflict-- Nate shot Malachai as he emerged from the back door.  We weren't sure what dice Malachai should roll, since once he was shot, his sole intent was to scramble back inside.  We had him roll physical, but then we had another problem.  Could he pass on a raise?  He was interested in getting under cover, surviving; there wasn't much "something he can't ignore" to raise with his "take cover" action.  The stakes weren't clear enough-- I wasn't sure if it should have been "kill Malachai", "drive the Dogs away" (and leave the dying to fallout), or what. We decided that he could pass on raising... he kept under cover in the kitchen, shotgun leveled, waiting for someone to come in.

There was a tense gunfight; Nate was behind cover-- the short stone wall that separated the two fields.  Isabelle and Malachai crept toward him from opposite sides; raising with sprints through the wheat, the corner of the building, shots to keep his head down and the like.  They were amazed when he "shrugged off" a riffle shot; Benson decided to take advantage of Isabelle's cover fire and ran around the end of the wall, blindsiding Nate, and killing him with a few well placed shots.  [Which was also strange-- the stakes were kind of "who lives and who dies" by the time we were through; so when he ran out of dice and couldn't block or dodge, he died.  I didn't roll fallout, though I probably should have. Especially since he was taking less damage due to the demon's gift...]

Anyway, the son, whom I'd largely forgotten, stared, dumfounded at his slaughtered father and the dogs who had put him down.  [If I'd  remembered him earlier, he might have joined his father's side of the fight.  If he did... should he have contributed as a separate character with his own stats and fallout, or should I have just added +2d6, +1d8 to Nate's pool? This came up earlier as well... does all NPC coordination work under the groups rule, or just Mooks?]

Anyway, that was pretty much it.  They hung around while people recovered (Isabelle from her wound, Malachai from his shot), and lent aid to the Steward-- tried to get him used to preaching as the King of Life calls, in answer to his people's needs, not abstract scholarship.

Eventually they rode out, some slightly worse off physically, but eager to return to their tasks.

[Tomorrow they'll be visiting New Gidea, snatched from Paka.  It'll be interesting to see how they handle the situation... in many ways, I think they're more confident about fighting than the intricacies of the heart.  I'll be interested in seeing how they fare in a town that has the same opinion.]  Also, belated note: I'd planned on introducing relatives of the PCs, but in the rush to investigate, I forgot them. Next town, next town.


Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
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