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[DitV one-shot] White River Falls

Started by thrall, September 14, 2005, 09:25:45 PM

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I finally got to pick up Dogs at GenCon Indy, and I still get happy shivers when I think about playing it.

I convinced two of my fellow gamers to play through a one-shot last Sunday, including character creation, and I must say I had a blast and I think they did, too.

First, the characters; then I'll do the play summary. I'm easily distracted, so this could take a while ;)

I introduced the game basically by having the players read the website or (at least) read the excerpts from the website beforehand. This worked pretty well as an introduction, though they seemed a little ... defensive of their authority in play. They were a little ignorant of the society of the Faith, but I expect that will come with time (I'm "in talks" to start up a monthly game now :D ).

Sister Elisheva
Sr. Elisheva is following in her father's footsteps: he was a Dog, so she is too. She carries his gun and wears his patched coat. She's got a mild telepathic touch, and a tomahawk from no one knows where. For initiation, she hoped she'd discover a past sin of one of her Dog teachers.

I had her come across her scripture teacher, Br. Artemis, in the fields one day, kneeling over a mystery grave. He left before she could ask about it, but she found some Mountain Folk markings at the site, despite Br. Artemis's attempts to hide its origins. The next day, Br. Artemis challenged Sr. Elisheva, pushing her against the wall and threatening to do violence unless she promised not to pry further. In the end, she managed to touch his hand and thus learn that he had once killed a fellow Dog because that Dog was planning on revealing their mutual knowledge (and practice) of sorcery to the Elders. Sr. Elisheva got a new trait "I've learned even Dogs have sins," and took fallout, which she turned into an enmical relationship with Br. Artemis (who disappeared soon after the confrontation).

Brother Job
Brother Job is a big, strong man, of Swedish heritage. His mother died when he was young, which is why he now goes out of his way to protect women. He's also got a "guilt-smelling nose." In initiation, he wanted to learn self-reliance.

Br. Job's player took the initiative in setting the scene for his initiation (cool!); he was sent by his teachers into the desert to make his way to the Dry Gulch Branch with only his wits and his knife to make his way. He used his knowledge of the landscape to find his way, and tried to catch buzzards for meat by pretending to be dead. Unfortunately, he waited so long a dry lightning storm moved overhead. He ended up outracing the storm all the rest of the way to Dry Gulch, succeeding in his goal without even taking fallout!

GM comments
I was a little worried that running the initiations for each player would leave the other player in the lurch, but since we were all learning the game, everyone was paying attention. I hope it'll be like that next time I preside over Dog creation. Other than that, everything went smoothly with the traits (not as colorful as others I've seen, but just fine for first-timers, IMHO -- let me know if you'd like a full list). I forgot to ask about supernatural traits until the very end; suddenly, everyone was redistributing their dice so they could have a supernatural trait; I'm a little worried about how powerful these traits will be (particularly the telepathic touch), but not too worried. It looks like my players want a very supernatural game :D. A couple minor questions came up about the conflict mechanics, but I'll ask about those over in the lumpley forum.

Also, in case I forget later, I want to say that I stole several elements of White River Falls from other Branches and Actual Play here in the forums; they inspired me! So, special thanks to Paka and pfischer for Eden's Prophet and Three Mills (respectively).
-- Bryan Thrall


Sounds like a pretty good start.  What did the player of Sister Elisheva ask for to get that as her opening conflict?
Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.


He asked if Sr. Elisheva would discover a past sin of one of her teachers.

Oh, and I should get time to post the actual play tomorrow some time.
-- Bryan Thrall


So, after their initiation, the two Dogs are assigned a route and they head out. First on the route, the little town of White River Falls.

Br. Job and Sr. Elisheva crossed a ridge to see the town below them, just in time to hear Temple bells calling everyone to worship for the evening. The town has a little river running through it, with some falls just upstream. One particularly noticeable detail as the descend the ridge, is a burned out mill. They ride into town and approach the Temple; they throw open the doors, and the Steward stops his sermon, everyone turns to look. Br. Job motions the Steward to continue, and the Dogs take a discrete position in the back.

The Steward's sermon is about charity, specifically how the King of Life understands, and even asks sometimes, families to accept charity when they need it; it is in the spirit of the King to give and to receive. One family in back is not taking too kindly to this preaching; well, mostly it's the Husband, but Br. Job can smell guilt in the congregation, and the Husband keeps getting angrier and angrier...

After the sermon, the angry Husband takes his family home; the rest of the town gathers around the two Dogs outside the Temple asking them questions like "Are you really Dogs?" until the Steward pushes to the front and offers the Dogs rooms in his home for the night. He disperses the crowd.

At the Steward's house, the Steward, whose name is Br. Isreal Harwood, tells the Dogs he's been having problems with Br. Joachim Miller, whose mill burned down a couple months ago. Br. Joachim won't accept charity or even help from anyone else in the community -- which is why the mill hasn't been rebuilt, and the Millers have been on hard times ever since. Br. Job and Sr. Elisheva decide to take some food to the Millers, and Steward Isreal has one of his young son show them the way.

Mrs. Miller opens the door, but it's Br. Joachim who greets the Dogs: "What do you want?" Sr. Elisheva explains they've brought some food to share with the Millers; Br. Joachim will have none of that, but he becomes much more polite and invites the Dogs to share dinner with his family -- a meal of broth and onions (with the onions somewhat far between). Two things happen during the meal: none of the Millers eat any of the food the Dogs brought, and Br. Joachim raves about how the Steward is using his offers of charity to demonstrate his power and dominance over the community and, in particular, the Millers. Sr. Elisheva offers to help with the dishes after supper, in order to get a word on the side with Mrs. Miller, Sr. Dinah. Sr. Dinah expresses her doubts about what her husband is doing; she's worried about how the lack of food is affecting her children, especially the two young boys. Fourteen year-old Bethany seems to be getting by, though, in much better shape...

The Dogs head back to the Steward's to bed down for the night, but are met a little ways down the street by Bethany herself, who practically falls over herself to explain how she wants the Dogs to marry her and her unofficial beaux, Br. Thadeus Culver, White River Falls' teacher. She says they've been a'courtin, but she can't ask her father to allow Thadeus to court her officially (let alone allow them to marry), since Thadeus has been giving Bethany money to buy food and materials to rebuild the mill. Her father's too proud to accept that! The Dogs assure her they will look into it, and she leaves to sneak back into her house, assured in her own mind that the Dogs will marry her and her love.

Next: Teacher on the Hill, and The Demons Throw Down!

GM's notes: While I had some mild "secretitis", what with being new to Dogs and all, I was able to push through it -- every time I thought, "Should I tell them that this is happening?" I answered either "That's a piece for someone else to tell," or "Yes," but the most important thing, I think, was that I made the NPCs go to the Dogs with their troubles. Sure, it's okay not to have Dinah tell them about her daughter's secret relationship -- because Bethany will be right out to reveal it herself! I rather liked how well that worked :)

The main thing I don't think worked was Br. Joachim: I really poured on the Pride, but didn't make it clear that he was only doing what he thought was best. He sort of turned out to lack a saving grace, when I should have had him say more about how his family would be stronger for their hardship or something like that. Maybe I should have made him a relative of one of the Dogs, too ;)
-- Bryan Thrall