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[DitV] Augurann - a medieval setting (YGADesque)

Started by Tobias, March 11, 2005, 09:29:58 AM

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YGAD has been written as DitV setting. Renamed Augurann to be a bit more distinct. Enjoy, comments welcome, I hope to play it once the hectic life I'm living now settles down a bit.

Much fluff and detail can still be added, but the core should be clear. People looking to embellish are welcome!

A semi-post-apocalyptic Dogs in the Vineyard variant/setting.
By Tobias op den Brouw


This document describes an alternative setting for the game Dogs in the Vineyard (DitV), by Vincent Baker. This alternative setting is based on the Your Gods are Dead (YGAD) setting. It is, in short, a (post-fantasy) medieval world where Gods played a pervasive beneficial role, but always as low-key as possible. The Gods, however, have died, and you, as a member of the former priest caste, are now travelling to keep the communities together.

This document also describes the mostly cosmetic alterations to the rules that are required for this setting to function.

Setting detail:
The planet Augurann ("Life") was once wild and untamed – and so were its people. Headhunters from steaming jungles, raiders from the cold north, nomads from the deserts – you name it, Augurann had it.

These people prayed to their Gods. And their Gods listened, and helped them in their struggles against other peoples – and other Gods.

So they say. Because that's not how reality has been for the last few centuries. At some point in the past, for unknown reasons, the Gods started cooperating. A shared pantheon spread across the world. They tamed the savage minds of their followers, much as their followers tamed the planet afterwards. Tribes cooperated – also assisted by divinely powered communication possibilities (one of the few areas the Gods were primarily active in). Trade, agriculture and learning flourished. Technology had advanced to a level comparable to 13th century (note that this makes for many regional differences in reality, but on Augurann communication was much more effective, so there were less regional technology/thought differences).

The Gods always used their powers as little as possible, and preferred to inspire human action to achieve something rather than do it directly themselves. Occasionally, at a festival, or at a temple, the gods would show a measure of their divine power, but just enough to keep people believing in them. Over the last 2 generations, even that has been dropping sharply. The common people have noticed, but not cared overly much, since things were still going smoothly (largely due to their own efforts), and due to an increase in the priest caste, many of them oriented towards directly serving their flock (for a small payment).

You, as a priest, unfortunately know a lot more.

Very recently, you were shocked to the core when you, and your fellows, felt the demise of your Gods. All of a sudden, their presence was gone, and none of the rituals you used to contact them worked any more. The communications options with your fellow priests all over the world also were gone. Suddenly, a number of structures that had been put in place over the last generations made sense – the centralisation at the Grand Temple, the communication structures, the lessened dependence on centrally dispersed godly advice from on high – and the training of certain Ceremonies, recently.

The internal discussions and investigations at the Grand Temple have been frantic. What to do? How to support the masses? How to keep them on the road of cooperation? What to tell them?

The beginnings of a big rift started to show, even at the Grand Temple, very quickly. Things might have gone bad at the Temple even before the masses learned of it, if it wasn't for one thing: the sudden possession of a much-respected priest. Any hope and joy from such a sign of divinity was swiftly crushed by the absolutely foul language that came frothing forth from the lips of the priest. One enterprising young priest stepped forth and performed one of the new Ceremonies, and managed to banish the Demon.

While the Gods are still gone, at least, now, there is a common enemy. A diversion. However, some other disturbing details have come to light. The ceremonies don't work due to some divine inspiration – they are just things the demons are vulnerable to. In fact, one needn't even be very faithful, or a priest, to perform them, as was subtly tested in a roundabout fashion with a few servants.

The masses are free. No longer guided divinely, connected to their brethren through easy communication, supported by divine wisdom. Free to be sinful. Free to do evil.

So, what do you do? As a priest, supporting the community is one of your priorities. For now, a ban has been placed on revealing all these changes, but people will want to know. Strict rules are in place on what can be communicated. Travelling priests are encouraged to claim that the gods are 'testing' their followers whenever Demons attack.

Character building:

-   Identical (although relations will look different), up to belongings
-   Belongings:
o   Priests also have a Coat that functions much the same as in DitV.
o   There are no guns. There are, in fact, at this point no items that get the +d4 that guns get in DitV.

-   Accomplishments:
o   As in DitV, characters will have an accomplishment before they set out on their trip.


Ceremony, in DitV, is basically divinely powered. This divinity and its associated ceremonies has till recently been available to Priests, now it is no longer, except for a very few rigid ceremonies that still work (due to demonic vulnerability, nothing else). The ceremony list is the same as the list in DitV with different names reapplied.

Demonic Influence:

There is Demonic Influence – that of the God's Enemy.


The scale is changed to:

1.   Just talking
2.   Fisticuffs
3.   Improvised weapons
4.   Proper weapons (of which there are few, mainly for self-defense against animals or the hunt)

Town building

The loss of Godly power had lead to Fearful Need. (Manifests as Injustice)

Fearful Need will cause Self-centered action. (Manifests as (Community) Anger and Resentment)

Which will lead to new rules for society

Which might lead to a separated following/group

Which, in the end, might lead to Conflict, hate and murder

As in DitV, the Demons want their piece.


Sin is in many of the same things as in Dogs. Independence, Freedom, Power, Anger, Hate, Community breakdown, it's all there.

Another interesting twist is that the Gods had been keeping the rate of childbirth slightly dampened. Now that it's gone up, there will be more mouths to feed over the coming generations.

Of course, is it really sin, now that there are no Gods?....


Much as regular DitV play, but with the added moral uncertainties of how to treat the flock now that the Gods are gone. Which course is best for the priests? What are the Demons?
Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.


Ok, this post's had a few looks now.

What's missing? What would people like added?
Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.


Waah! Head cold and I can't read that fast. Give me time, I need more time!



No sweat. The hayfever demon struck me today, so I empathize.
Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.


QuoteMuch as regular DitV play, but with the added moral uncertainties of how to treat the flock now that the Gods are gone. Which course is best for the priests? What are the Demons?

This is my first area of question.

Dogs mechanically is really cool. But what makes the game so mindblowingly compelling to me is that there is no divine uncertainty.

The Faith is devoid of the common modern universal church theory of "can't we all just get along and worship in our own way".  It is completely orthodox in its insistance of there being a One True Way.  But the key is...They're right.  Its not a matter of this church say the OTW is X and that church says Y and they fight about it while the agnostics sit back and nod.  The Faith and its doctrine are 100% correct in standard Dogs.

But what takes it from being an interesting perspective on religion and turns it into something amazing is that the PLAYERS are the empowered embodiment of Divine Will.  For any given problem in a town there is no "here is the scripturally correct is what the players came up lets evaluate how well they did".

In Dogs whatever decision the players bullying the town to obey the steward, to overthrowing the steward, to pulling iron and start blasting folk...IS the scripturally correct solution.  Whatever choice they make is backed up by the full power of divine will.  What would you as a player do if you knew that every action you take is automatically the will of God...that's powerful stuff...and powerful commentary on the nature of religion / faith / cult worship.

My concern is that by making the gods dead and the leaving the Dogs sort of hanging out there with no divine mandate that you run the risk of essentially de-fanging what makes the game so compelling.  If the world really is grey, if the only reason you worshipped the gods was to get their favor, and no they're dead...where does that leave the Dogs?

See, I can see running a standard western game without the religious trimmings using Dogs...if you have someone profoundly convinced by the ultimate rightness of justice in a place where law is questionable.  Whatever choice they make is the just one by their own conviction.  I'm thinking of a figure like Bullock in the HBO series Deadwood here.

But if the Dogs themselves know that the gods are dead and their faith is a hollow one...I'm having trouble picturing what their motivation is, and whether that motivation still makes it a "Dogs" game...or if its now an entirely different game borrowing the Dogs mechanics.


And it is a good question.

The easy reply would be to say that what appeals to you (agents of divine will, no uncertainty) might not be what appeals to me (I prefer the dilemma's of how humans make their own choices).

I can see the power of a player knowing that every action they take is automatically the will of God. I can also see the struggle and troublesome issues that arise when it is a (former) Dog that's Sinning, such as in Paka's upcoming campaign with the blue-eyed hero. Something powerful and fun to investigate.

Just as much fun and exploration of issues is possible when the Gods are dead, I think. The 'sort of hanging out there, but with pressing issues, now what do you do?' makes the moral question all the more pressing because there isn't the easy 'we're always right cause we're the will of God' line to fall back on.

But the world doesn't have to be grey without the Gods. There may still be a 'Good' and an 'Evil' - only now there is no supernatural agent promoting 'Good' anymore (note that I've kept the Demons).

If I were a Dog, and I'd known my Gods had died, other than a whole bunch of heartache and being torn inside on what to do, wouldn't I still wish to promote their ideals? Isn't that EXTRA neccesary, now that they're gone?

And if it isn't - wouldn't that be fun to investigate as well?

I'm not sure if it's still a "Dogs" game. I'm also not sure it needs to be - I think this version can be as fun/powerful as "regular" Dogs, just like Delta Green or Star Wars adaptations might be.

Of course, all this is coming from a guy who warped the V:tM system to ask these questions as well (as a character, that is), so I may be more interested in these issues than the next person. I'm ok with that.
Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.


Actually, Ralph, the characters DO know that theirs is the right way (in passing the word of their Gods)- they've communicated directly with them for centuries. The trouble is, the Gods are gone and the world is on the brink.
The characters can still have that absolute conviction without the Gods presence- the tension level just shoots up because although you're right, your God isn't watching your back as he used to.
Uncertainty isn't in the Gods- that has been proven for generations, including to this new line of priests who were taught the last Ceremonies. The Gods, for whatvever reason, know what they are doing. The uncertainty is in the people.
Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!