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[DitV] A small town for first time players

Started by Ul, March 31, 2005, 09:41:06 PM

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Hi, here is a small town I have created for my first time as GM in Dogs, I recieved the package Wednesday and after a very sleepless night where I couldn't leave the book, I had read the rules and a idea about a town was spawning in my head (started out entirely different, but sort of evolved.. or maybe mutated)

I've been GM in a lot of other games, and honestly, had a hard time leaving my old habits behind ("and then I want them to go find that clue.. ohh wait, that's what I wont do"). First time as GM in dogs will most likely be this commin saturday.

(ohh, and Simon, I can't stop you from reading this if you want, but don't  ;) )



What's going on:

The town is located about as high in the mountains as their faithful get, the soil isn't very good, and there is really cold in the winters, and not all that warm in the summers. The rivers are really blue, and the sky is always high. A beautiful place, but not the best place in the world to live.

The steward (Brother Ezekiel) has a son, but no other children. Throughout the boys childhood he hopelessly spoiled this kid, out of love. Now that the son (Brother Hiram) is a grown up, young man he has gotten prideful, and arrogant, thinking that he is better than everyone else in the town, as he is the stewards only son.

He is courting the young women Sister Lavina, who is a pretty girl, but not terrible bright, and she fails to see him as he is, prideful and arrogant. However he has no intentions of marrying her, and really just want to have sex with her. Even though she doesn't see through him herself, her father (Brother Edward) definitely does, and doesn't like what he's seeing.

At the same time there is another young man courting her. Brother Josiah. And he really loves her. Her father likes her... sadly she doesn't have a eye for anyone but Brother Hiram (who she is convinced will marry her)

Depending on their back grounds I'll have one of the players be Brother Hiram's cousin

1a) Pride. Brother Hiram is prideful and arrogant, making him think that he is better than the other people in town.

1b) Injustice. Because of Brother Hirams pride, Sister Lavina is thinking she will be married, but wont. And Brother Josiah doesn't get the chance he deserve.

2a) Sin. Recently Brother Hiram has succeeded in his goal, and got her out in the hay barn. He knows it is a sin, she doesn't think it is, after all "they are going to marry as soon as his father gives his accept"

2b) Deamonic attacks The deamons are making Hiram want to her again.

2c) The deamons are trying to make their sins a habit, at some point expose it.

3-4-5 skipped

6a) Persons

Ezekiel: Doesn't know about the sex. Wants the dogs to keep out of it, so it can all settle down.

Hiram: Wants to keep the sex, but definitely not marry. Really wants the dogs to stay out of it.

Lavina: Wants the dogs to wed her and Hiram

Edward: Wants the dogs to make his daughter see what Hiram really is and accept Josiahs courting.

Josiah: Wants the dogs to make Lavina Love him, and then wed them.

6b) The deamons

The deamons wants it to stay as it is, while the affair is escalating. Until the point comes where it is exposed, thus making people really hate each other. Which in the end will make the town spiral down really fast.

6c) What would have happened

After a while the affair would have been exposed, and in a outburst of temper Brother Edward would have killed Brother Hiram, thus making himself the leader of a small cult, which would believe that killing for honor is perfectly acceptable. And the murders would have started.

Just read it over one more time, what a great writer of soap operas I am ;) but I hope it wont seem all that much like a soap opera in real place. It is designed for complete beginners to Dogs in the vineyard, including myself. So I'm trying not to make it way to subtle for the first time.

There isn't really a whole lot of NPC's at this point, mostly because those are the important ones.

What I'm wondering about, is how I tell it to the players. I'm considering having had Brother Hiram and Brother Josiah be in a fist fight over her just before the players arrive. Or make it the perfect arrival with happy people and all, and that evening having brother Edward come to the dogs and ask them to talk with his daughter, thus exposing the problem to them (without knowing that it has gone as far as it has)

If you have any ideas about how to let the players know, or just general suggestions. Please do tell me :D Ohh, and I can't figure out the name of a town either
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every single moment of it


Lavina tells them the whole story.  Why wouldn't she?  She hasn't done anything wrong.

In fact, I'd have her joyfully meet them on the outskirts of town.  With muffins.  They should get her whole story before they talk to anybody else in the town.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

joshua neff

What Tony said.

If this town is meant to introduce people to the game, and is meant to be run as the first session (right after, I presume, everyone has made a character--you roll for Accomplishments, and then bam! right into this town), keep it simple, throw the NPCs right at the Dogs, and let it be as operatic as everyone is happy with.

So, yeah, I'd have Sister Lavinia come to the Dogs right off the bat and explain everything. Everything. Then, Brother Edward or Brother Josiah comes to them and comes out with everything they know. Let the players do what they will.

Sounds like you know what you're doing.

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes


Good idea, exactly why didn't I think of that? I'll use that, far better than either of the two other solutions.

And yes, it's right after initiation that this happens.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every single moment of it

Simon Kamber

Allright, played this one now, and enjoyed it :) Actual play thread coming up as soon as I'm done writing it.
Simon Kamber

Simon Kamber

Simon Kamber


I played this branch last night with my Girlfriend as an introduction to the game. Unfortunately, I'm so desperate to play I haven't even received my copy of Dogs in the post yet, so the rules I'm using for character creation are from here, and the dice rolling rules came from the PDF help sheets and reading this forum a lot.

I've been roleplaying since I discovered Traveller back in the mid-80s, then went onto a lot of Shadowrun and then Vampire, with various bits of other games along the way. I've been out of touch for a few years when my last group fell apart, and I'm just starting to try and get back into it. Dogs really lit a creative spark in me, which is why I've jumped the gun somewhat. My girlfriend, on the other hand, is into Westerns and has played a few games of D&D etc. in the past, but isn't really 'into' roleplaying in a huge way. She was willing to give Dogs a try for me though.

So, she created Sister Dee, a the daughter of a branch Steward and his 2nd wife - who was one of the Mountain Folk. Being rather outcast from the rest of her family, she spent a lot of time with her mother's people until she decided to rustle cattle from the town for their benefit. One night however, she was spotted and Dee instinctively killed him. Soon afterward she was tracked down by one of her brothers and put on trial, but a visiting Dog saw her potential and took her back to Bridal Falls for training.

It took a while for my girlfriend to get a 'hook' for a character, but after that, character creation went well enough, and she's got nice traits like "I know how to live as the Mountain Folk do". It got a bit tricky when it came to her accomplishment, however.

She chose "I hope I can forgive my brother" as the stakes, and I set up a scene where her family came to visit Bridal Falls to present the Coat to her. Doing so, I had her Brother start being a jackass and insulting her. It went OK - and indeed, she Escalated to physical with a hug with no prompting with me. The only problem came when her character *had* forgiven her brother, but the dice didn't work out that way (she had to Give, despite the Escalation). That gave her "I can't forgive my brother for what he did" trait, which caused a bit of grumbling as she considered that she had, despite the dice results.

Anyway, we started play with this branch (Whispering Mountain, I called it), and had Lavina meet her on the outskirts of town as Tony suggested above. It took a while for my girlfriend to get the fact that she had more narration rights than she was used to, but soon got the hang of it. After talking to the Steward and Brother Edward, and bumping into Josiah along the way she got a grasp on what was happening - It felt odd, as a GM, to just give out information 'for free', but I think it worked well - and went back to confront Hiram at the Stewards house.

The stakes were "Do I convince Hiram to travel with me to the next town?" Her reasoning was that, without Hiram in the way, Lavina would lose her infatuation and fall for Josiah. This was a very big conflict, and worked very well, although I found that the randomly generated NPCs had a lot of dice. Dee decided to create a relationship with Hiram's mother and got her on side too. Eventually, Dee had to Escalate to Physical with her dice, getting out her Mountain Folk Dagger as intimidation. I Gave at that point, and I think it worked really well.

After going retiring for the evening, I had Hiram try to attack her in the night, with the stakes of "Does Hiram kill you?" On reflection, I'm not sure if this was a good way to raise the stakes of the town, or good specific stakes in this instance. Anyway it turned out OK, with Dee drawing upon her "I know how to live as the Mountain Folk do" Trait in a way she hadn't expected she would be able too (light sleeper) and eventually talking Hiram down into a Give. She then tied him up and went to see Brother Edward in the morning to explain her plan. I had Lavina overhear this and start shouting and screaming the place down. Dee ordered Edward to lock Lavina in her room for a few hours, which he did without the need for a Conflict.

When she got back, Hiram had been let free by the Steward and run off out of town. I thought that was it, but my girlfriend was determined, and wanted to start a conflict about tracking him down. It was getting late, so I just said yes and wrapped it up. Now, Dee has a travelling companion of a lecherous, spoilt brat who once tried to slit her throat, which I think it a good way to end it. She's got a new "I'm rather overzealous" trait and relationships with Hiram and his mother from it too.

Overall, I think this was a good session, but I did find the randomly generated NPCs to have a lot of dice - I suppose this is to deal with more players, or maybe force more Escalation. Is there anything I did wrong, or obviously broken?

I now can't wait for the book to arrive and to be able to run this for a group - and hopefully I might get to play too!



[Minor Edits ofr clarity]

Simon Kamber

Hmm. A note on that initiation. You might have been better off doing it as a reverse conflict, with the player taking the side of the part of her that cannot forgive her brother. Doing those conflicts like you did, with the player wanting to change, does tend to get some odd results (how on earth do you RAISE with trying to forgive someone when you can't forgive them right away because that's the stakes?)

In fact, those reverse conflicts are discussed in the book (which you'll probably see when you get your hands on it ;) ).
Simon Kamber


Hi! I have no idea if you're still around to see this, but I used your town for my first session of Dogs. It went really well!

I've posted the first part of my writeup to Actual Play, here:

Thanks so much - it was a great little setup to open the campaign with.
Glaucôn the Serpent God
a helping hand
in a sock


I used this town (named Nazareth Summit) for my first Dogs game to open a campaign, and it was a hoot!

AP here: