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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] New Gidea (the Fresno group)  (Read 7030 times)

Posts: 221

Fresno, California

« on: November 04, 2004, 05:03:54 PM »

There are several threads related to this one; I used Paka's New Gidea this time.  I had a few reasons, among them raw curiosity-- would the way my players handled this new town resemble the experiences of Paka's group?  [Short answer: not really.]  Plus I was a bit dissatisfied with the way the previous session had gone-- it was very action/adventure, but there wasn't a lot of complexity.  New Gidea offered me hope on that score-- it delivered that complexity in spades.

Previous threads in the series include: Destiny Branch (town 2), Broder's Branch (CharGen & town 1),  and the Crunchy Thread (Characters & Stats).

On to the session.

We discussed the characters' experiences in the last town, how the session had gone, and looked forward to the new session.  I asked the players about their characters' horses again, and got a much better idea as to how the players viewed themselves and their horseflesh.  I started framing to their arrival at night (similar to the first scene Paka introduced in his thread), when they delayed-- they'd much rather hole up a few miles outside of town and ride in early the next morning.  I agreed... then quickly scanned my notes, trying to figure out which stuff would happen on schedule (before they arrived), and which stuff I could hold over for the next morning without destroying plausibility.

So we resumed, with the characters riding in to the town the following morning.  The thwarted robbery/murders had happened the night before, so the whole town was simmering.  As they rode up, they spotted Balaam Richards, dozing, shotgun in hand near the west gate.  They weren't interested in riding near him, to they circled to the north... and caught a returning (unsuccessful) posse.

We quickly established that the PCs really expect deference to their authority; there was some tension as the exhausted posse members suggested that they should return with the dogs to catch the murderer.  Once they briefed the dogs, they started pressing for immediately tracking the varmint.  The PCs weren't interested in that at all; they wanted to get a room/ base of operations and gather more rumors.  Finally the Dogs told the posse to go home and let them handle it-- they're the pros.  Reluctantly, the posse members departed.  [The players were unhappy with the posse members-- they had read the posse member's acts as disrespect, rather than inclination to violence.]

So they set up on the porch of the inn, where Balaam caught up with them-- he was much more insistent, cursing and chivvying the dogs, trying to get them moving to avenge his son's death.  The Dogs were unsympathetic... Benson finally cracked him in the head with his riffle butt.  [The players seemed frustrated at wading through these locals and their agendas, since they weren't getting the respect they deserve.  I was happy that the Steward was the next to arrive-- the Dogs were irritable, to say the least.]

So the Steward and his blind, ex-dog wife come to lament the tensions of their city.  The Steward and his wife layout what happened yesterday (the thwarted robbery, Seth's murders and flight, and the angry tension of the city).  The Dogs spoke with them, briefly, and seemed predisposed to blame him for the problems of the branch.  The Steward explained all that he could, then excused himself to turn to the town's problems.  The Steward and his wife wandered off.

The Dogs decided to split up; Benson wanted to check out the local smithy (as has become his pattern), Isabel wanted to speak with Seth's wife and sister, while Malachai waited for other reports to trickle in.  At this point, Benson encountered the riot; he shot his pistol to break up the crown and summon the other Dogs.  The other PCs put their plans on hold and charged his way.

There was no quick dash to grab the man the mob was gathered to lynch; they decided that they could mow through the mob-- a show of force should be enough to scatter them.  The fight got bloody; while they weren't eager to kill the mob, they weren't going to let the lynching go on.  So they fought; the mob was large enough that the PCs were frequently taking some fallout or barely blocking/dodging.  Finally, somewhat arbitrarily, they were growing worried about their characters (who were all getting mobbed).  Finally Benson shot the leader of the mob (with dice high enough that he had to take fallout); instead of playing it out further, I had the mob break & scatter, giving them their prisoner.

They rounded up the fleeing people (clubbing them as necessary), and gathered them under watch.  Here, the first cool event happened-- the bandit (ex-TA soldier) I'd created as someone Malachai recognized-- someone he'd fled from back in his bandit days.  Everyone got jazzed (Will remarked that it was cool, and everyone was pleased. I reminded Jim that he could sink dice into the relationship from his free pool, if he wished. He did so; I wish I could get over old habits enough to say "hey, the man they're lynching is someone you recognize", while its going on.  Cause the dice he assigned didn't get rolled much, given that the conflict was over; it would have been even cooler if he'd been able to draw on them during the conflict. Serious digression over.]

So they discuss how to discipline these guys, and they decide to march them off to the smithy, so they can make/get manacles, etc.  (Since the mob had busted the prison up some getting the bandit out.)  Once the process started, they split up again.  The grumbling ex-mob sat under Malachai's guns, while Malachai spoke with his former hunter.  He gained much sympathy from the PCs for deserting (with his men) after they couldn't stomach another Mountain Folk village burning.

They played out a scene, while Benson forged chains and Isabel went to talk to the women.  Again, everyone remained interested in Isabel's scene, even though they weren't participating.  They even mentioned that it had worked out for the best-- they doubted that Clarissa (the sister who'd be raped) would have confided.  This "talk" was done with dice... they weren't eager to explain their reasons, but they were hoping to persuade the Dog.  It went well for Isabel...

A bit later Isabel returned with the necessary info. to Malachai and Benson.  Oh yeah, Malachai had a cool scenelet where he spoke with the mob, one member at a time, leaving them praying for forgiveness as he moved along.  The distinction between Malachai and Benson continued-- Malachai constantly refrains from violence (and never escalates to guns, cause he's certain he'll be condemned if he kills an innocent), while Benson's more direct in his justice.

Briefly, they gathered; Isabel informed them about Seth's apparent motives (gathered from Clarissa and Leah), they decided to get specific directions from the women.  So they set off (after shackling the prisoners) and (by chance) met the Steward at Clarissa & Leah's.  The Dogs decided to haul all three with them (the two women and the Steward), since their familiarity would stay (or at least slow) Seth.

They head out, talk, try and ID if Seth was possessed when he killed them.  I gave: nope.  They returned (all seven), with Seth disarmed.  They got back to the city, there was a cool scene with kids running around and "bang banging" Seths.  Malachai shined, speaking to the kids seriously, but dissuading them from their violence.

Then they went to judge the deserters-- they decided that the deserters would set their own punishments (one at a time, so there couldn't be collusion).  Since Malachai had focussed them on prayer before they left, they were contrite and suggested pretty solid lashings and the like.  

Then they turned to Seth and his crimes.  I was amazed.  There was a huge variance in "what do we do", and they juked and jived to shed their responsibility to judge.  Long story short, they discussed proper punishment for almost an hour.  In a small way it was painful, since the game world wasn't moving, and some of their strategies to avoid judging were pretty ugh.  At one point they wanted to have a jury trial and have the community judge; they justified it as a way to unify the community.  [Protests from various characters about Clarissa's public humiliation were ignored-- or justified with 21st century, "she's the victim, not the criminal, so there's no shame to telling the story."]  

Exactly what happened in the story is a bit fuzzy, because there were some "take backs" and a lot of OOC discussion about what resources exist (like, are there prisons, if a jail term was the right punishment.)  Emily had Isabel arguing for minor penalties, if any, since his crime was in the heat of the moment, and she could empathize with his avenging his sister.  Will's character Benson was for a hanging-- an innocent woman had died, so string him up.  Malachai wandered wide; he argued for prison, for recruitment into the Dogs, and a few other things.  None of the positions were static (save perhaps Benson's); Isabel was constantly exploring alternate punishments, shifting along with Malachai.  It was fascinating, seeing what everyone thought was moral... and what was beyond the pale.

In the end, the players grew tired of the argument; drawing on "well, they hung even petty thieves back then," they finally decided to hang him.  But it was very interesting getting there.

Tomorrow is probably the last game before Em's unable to get around any longer... I wonder where they'll go.  I liked the nuance that came from this session-- despite being a bit more tentative, because I didn't "own" the characters as much as ones I'd worked up from scratch.

I'll be looking forward to it.

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