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[DitV]West Cotton Fields Branch

Started by Simon Kamber, May 07, 2005, 10:10:37 AM

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Simon Kamber

Pre-game

I ran West Cotton Field Branch for a group of four players yesterday. Only one of the players had played Dogs before, as a gm in our previous game. Members of the group, in various combinations, have played in our previous games of mainly D&D and werewolf.

We started off with a quick introduction of setting by having the new players read a few pages of the setting (the background chapter might have been a better choice, but whatever). Then we went on to creating characters. It's a funny thing with our group that character's names aren't used, if they even get one. After the game, I could only remember the name of one of the characters. I'm not really sure if this is something I should try to change. It works fine, but it tends to blur the line between character and player to nothingness. Maybe that's a good thing...

Character creation went pretty smoothly. The new players had a tendency to create trait-like traits like "extremely stubborn" or "well-educated" rather than phrasing them as history or descriptions. Also, they all phrased them in english (the group played in danish), which seemed weird, but nothing I wanted to comment on.

Two of the characters are worth more comments. One player (the one who's played before) played Jossiah, a complicated society guy, who could be pretty much summed up with the trait "there's no mercy for sinners in this world", and another responded by taking the trait "everything can be forgiven" for Dolph. Pretty interesting opposition.

The characters:

Brother Josiah: Merciless complicated society guy. Accomplisment trait: "I cannot show mercy, even to my cousin".

Brother Joshua: The guy with all the gun dice calling his name. "I am a good shot 1d10", "the best shot on the team 1d6", a 2d8+1d4 rifle AND a 2d8+1d4 gun.

Brother Jeremiah: The doctor on the team. Educated on a university back east of cause.

Brother Dolph (Yep, name has a history. No, it's not relevant to the dogs game at all): "Everything can be forgiven" as a trait, but he still hasn't forgiven himself for him and his father killing his mother because of her sinful ways...

Accomplishments seemed a bit heavy. This is my second experience with those, and it seems they're really one of the difficult parts of the game. It's hard to come up with scenes, and the raises and sees never quite seem to fit either. It worked out though, and we got on to the town.

Resume

The Dogs arrived in West Cotton Fields, and got the usual greeting and happy people and all that. At this point Jeremiah's player kickstarted the whole thing by asking if there was a doctor in this town, which lead them straight to Brother Albert and his wife. They talked to him, and his wife, and moved on to Enoch.

The game had been running along pretty well, but not really well, untill that point. They had a series of conflicts where they managed to figure out what was going on, but he prevented them from burning down his house ("to cleanse the sin and allow him to be forgiven" as Dolph put it)  by getting posessed. Then things got interesting. Some of the Dogs thought he should be killed right away, while others wanted the demon exorcised. We had a bit of a discussion off-game about whether or not it made sense to have some of the players actually take the side of the demon-possessed guy with the d10-fallout broken bottle, but we ended up doing the conflict. The conflict in itself wasn't that long and exciting (two on two, with one side having a possessed sorcerer on their side, is quite predictable), but Enoch still took some lethal fallout. And the sheer difference of the conflict was cool.

It struck me afterwards that I'd completely forgotten about Dina, Enoch's wife. This made things a lot more black and white than they could have been.

After dealing with Enoch (including exorcism, execution and burning down the house), they returned to Albert. They convinced him to stop selling alcohol, and debated how to punish him. They never really reached a conclusion, but decided to talk to the steward first. This was pretty interesting. Because where the debate about punishing Albert, who had imported quite a lot of whisky, letting it be because he has promised to stop wasn't entirely out of the question. And when the steward was too incompetent to actually help in carrying out a punishment, it also ended up being the solution. But when the steward made clear (despite his feeble attempts not to) that he had done nothing even though he knew what was happening, he was stripped of his duty right then and there, with no discussion, and without considering who to replace him with until afterwards. They figured they would certainly be able to find someone better than this.

Interesting judgments:

- Br. Albert. They weren't harsh with Albert at all. They contemplated judging him to pay everything he earned beyond what was needed to feed his family to the church. But this would have to be managed by the steward... So he basically got out of it with nothing but a word of warning.

- Br. Enoch. Nope, no mercy here. The only discussion was whether to exorcise the demon and then kill him in public, or shoot him right away.

- Br. Job, the steward. Immidiate and unyeilding judgment. He was stripped of his title just as soon as they realized how incompetent he had been. Without discussion. And by the forgiving dog too.


Themes:

Well, Dolph and Josiah sorta served the main theme on a game right there, on a silver platter: "When does a sinner deserve mercy". That one's gonna get interesting.

The secondary theme, as I see it, popped out of the most surprising judgment in the game: "Stewardship". The stewards neglect of duty was punished without question, which actually surprised me. I had expected them to somehow judge him, but not THAT quickly and decisively. Gonna have to explore this more.

Interesting moments:

Oh, and the important part, the moments I found memorable:

- The discussion of how to do the conflict with Enoch's fate. It was completely outside the usual frame of how things work, yet we ended up running a conflict with players on the "bad guy"'s side. And they won.

- The judgment of the steward. When Dolphs player announced, without any warning at all, "You're stripped of your duty". Let's just say I had no problem roleplaying the Stewards surprise. Cool, simply cool.
Simon Kamber